+ inload: Byblos +

+ inload: Byblos +

The civilised and populous world of Byblos lies in the Galactic East, one amongst the Warrior-King's Guilliman's Five Hundred Worlds. Glittering on the cusp of the pocket Empire, Byblos sits gazing out across Plaintive Rift, an area of wilderness space containing nothing beyond flecks of ancient stardust and the maddeningly empty depths of the star-sea.

Far-flung and isolated, strategically unimportant and distant from normal void routes, the inhabitants of Byblos might have hoped to avoid the excesses of any other conflict; but in the bitter throes of civil war, all are called. 


The Ruinstorm

Following the Calth Conjunction, the Ruinstorm draped over Byblos like an unwanted embrace, isolating the inhabitants from outside contact. Assuming it to be merely a particularly severe warpstorm, the populace continued mostly as before, pausing only occasionally in their labours to turn a nervous eye to the newly-argent skies.

Matters took a more sinister turn when Umul Sistro – one of the astro-gazing mathemagicians tasked with re-establishing lines of communication with the rest of Ultramar – turned his instruments away from the familiar coreward reaches and towards the Plaintive Rift. Idly hoping to find the suggestion of echo-signals or ghost-vox that had bypassed the planet, he was astonished to detect the presence of a distant battle fleet.


Plague Fleet

Relief turned to celebration, and then to suspicion as repeated hails over the next month elicited no reply. The vox ominously silent, the fleet remained lurking in the void. Gradually at first, unrest rippled and spread across the world as inevitable rumours leaked. Space Hulk, murmured some. Xenos whispered others. Such flotsam had emerged from the Rift in times past. Rumours fed rumours. 

The days stretched into weeks, with no news from Ultramar. Perhaps, some said, the warpstorms of Old Night had returned. Compliance – which had been a bruising affair for many of the older inhabitants – was resented in some quarters. In the charged atmosphere of the Ruinstorm, resentment bred and tempers frayed easily. Talks of secession and freedom were bandied in the resthouses – laughingly at first, then more darkly. By the end of the month, the Byblans usually even-handed rulers were forced to draft and deploy Imperial Militia regiments as portions of the population erupted into open rioting in the larger cities.

Thirty-three days after the first hail, a faint new star appeared in the sky. For those with access to primitive telescopes or vision enhancing technology, it became clear that the fleet had lit their engines. The mysterious craft began drifting slowly but inexorably towards the system. The famed Metauran Immortals and Silvermen of Trimundi, veterans of the Great Crusade, were drawn back from their new lives and reissued their equipment. Tough, resourceful and well-equipped, these powerful regiments had fought in some of the worst campaigns of the late Crusade. They were amongst the elite of the Imperial Army, well-led and with staunch morale. Well-prepared and dug-in on fortified home turf, they were confident any Xenos assault could be forced back in short order.

They were to last less than thirty-two hours against the Death Guard and Word Bearers.


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