Today we delve into Abaddon’s most deceitful Black Crusades and thier unexpected Imperial targets.
A Black Crusade is an incursion that is formed when the usually disparate forces of Chaos unite under a particularly strong Chaos Champion and go forth en masse to wage war against the Imperium of Man.
Following the devastating events of the Horus Heresy, the Imperium began the Great Scouring, a campaign to cast out all traitors who had sided with Chaos and drove them into the warp stormknown as the Eye of Terror. There, the followers of Chaos began to fight among each other for domination and territory and their vast armies eventually fractured.
Even so, the threat the exiles posed was far from gone. To this day they seek to overthrow the Imperium, launching separate raids and invasions against it. Once or twice within a millennium however, an exceptional Chaos Champion rises who is strong enough to bring his fellow warlords and their hosts under his sway. When this happens ancient rivalries are set aside and uneasy alliances are forged, clearing the way for what is called a Black Crusade.
The forces and fleets that gather for a Black Crusade are made up of all types of Chaos servants: the multitudinous hordes of the Lost and the Damned, ancient and towering Chaos Titans, the bizarre war machines of the Dark Mechanicum and the Daemons of the warp. Leading them into the realm of man are the vengeful warbands of the Chaos Space Marines.
When the crusade is launched, whole worlds fall prey to the rampaging hordes and the Dark Gods themselves divert their attention to the material realm, delighting in the sacrifices made in their names. Still, the nature of Chaos is fickle and unless it is repelled by the defenders, the crusade is bound to splinter into separate hosts and warbands who pursue their own ambitions.
9th Black Crusade – War in the Stars
Intending to bring about the demise of the Imperial Navy fortress of Cancephalus, Abaddon led his forces in the Antecanis Massacre with the hopes of distracting and drawing away Imperial forces in the area. The 9th Black Crusade started in 165.M37 with the attack upon Antecanis IV. By the time Imperial Guard reinforcements arrived at the massacre site, Abaddon and his forces were already out of orbit and proceeded to destroy the planet with Cyclonic Torpedos. The next seventeen years of fighting saw the fleets of Cancephalus depleted, and Abaddon ravaged the rest of the sector at will.
10th Black Crusade – Perturabo’s Revenge
In the Tenth Black Crusade Abaddon forged an alliance between the Black Legion and the Iron Warriors, making a deal with their daemonic Primarch, Perturabo. In exchange for Abaddon agreeing to settle a debt of vengeance against the Iron Hands, Perturabo opened an ancient Warp route out of the Eye of Terror for the Despoiler’s fleet. The passage, calculated over several agonising months by the tortured machine spirits of a chain of enslaved cogitators, allowed Abaddon’s forces to steal past the layered defences of the Cadian Gate and into the Helica Sector, spinward of the Eye of Terror.
Once again, Abaddon employed a feint, sending the Black Legion fleet against Thracian Primaris, the capital world of Helica, while he attacked elsewhere. Abaddon also scattered his warlords across the sector and, on scores of planets, Traitor vessels thundered down from the skies to kill and maim Imperial citizens. While his warlords indulged themselves in the slaughter of Imperial worlds Abaddon traveled with the Iron Warriors to the Medusa System, home world of the Iron Hands. From the Vengeful Spirit he watched as the Iron Warriors laid siege to the loyalist Chapter. In a protracted war of attrition, the Iron Warriors systematically burnt the outer worlds of the Medusa System, tearing down the loyalist defences one by one.
By the burning light of their ruined fortifications, the Iron Hands struggled to hold back the Traitors, buying time for their support companies to arrive. Before the bulk of Iron Hands and their allies could arrive, Abaddon and the Iron Warriors retreated, leaving hundreds of dead loyalist Space Marines in their wake. Though Medusa still stood, Abaddon had learned much about its defences and the Iron Hands themselves, both of which he would put to good use later.
The Tenth Black Crusade’s true target was the Iron Hands who suffered Perturabo’s wrath.