The Blood of Baal is apparently all the rage these days, with whispers of a more sanguine psychic humor stirring, but who exactly spilled the Blood of Baal?
Gather ’round Loremasters, and recite your litanies of devotion for the time has come to learn whence the blood of Baal was spilt. And before you point out the obvious, Loremaster-initiate Crenshaw, all gathered here are well aware that Baal is the Blood Angels homeworld and was the site of cataclysmic battle during the Third Tyranic War, so of course that is where “all the carnage was.” But in order to grasp the full scope of the desperate struggle, we must travel back further–to the Cryptus system.
The Cryptus system is a wealthy world, rich in mineral resources, but also the boundless energy of its twin suns. And harvesting all of this wealth is a massive population of Imperial Citizens who exemplify the brutal struggle that is establishing a foothold in a harsh, unforgiving galazy. For the worlds of the Cryptus System, located in Ultima Segmentum, are all (save one) hostile to life.
The Cryptus System is in area of space known as the Red Scar, a dangerous region notorious for its blood red stars whose light is harmful to the skin. To settle within this region is torturous and slow, and it is known for its high crime rate, and requires extreme adaptability in its settlers. From the nomads of Lysios to the inhabitants of the vast city of Phodia on Asphodex, the inhabitants of the Cryptus Shieldworlds had adapted to their harsh environments and even flourished.
Until Hive Fleet Leviathan Arrives. As the Hive Fleet’s terrible path of devastation through the galaxy puts Baal directly in its path, the Cryptus System, called by some the Cryptan Shield, was intended to hold back the might of Hive Fleet Leviathan. However, new reaches the Blood Angels‘ homeworld of Baal that the Cryptan Shield, intended to hold back the might of Hive Fleet Leviathan, has collapsed.
In response, Chapter Master Dante puts plans in motion to defend the Blood Angels’ home world, strike forces fighting hit-and-run battles with Leviathan’s smaller splinter fleets throughout the Red Scar.
Meanwhile, the defences of Baal and her moons have been bolstered like never before, and the might of the Blood Angels’ successor Chapters gathers from across the galaxy. Yet still it may not be enough, for the Tyranids are seemingly without number, and Hive Fleet Leviathan is learning the weaknesses of its prey at an exponential rate.
Knowing that the consumption of the Cryptus System would open the floodgates for an unstoppable Tyranid invasion of Baal, Commander Dante takes action. At the head of a mighty strike force that comprises the 1st and 2nd Companies of the Blood Angels, Brother Corbulo, Captain Karlaen, Chief Librarian Mephiston and the bulk of Gabriel Seth‘s Flesh Tearers, Dante strikes out for the Cryptus System. He will see the defences shored up if such a thing is still possible, and if not will do battle with the Cryptoid Tendril directly in a desperate bid for the salvation of Baal. The Blood Angels were not alone, joined by forces from the Sisters of Battle, Imperial Guard, Ordo Tempestus, and Imperial Navy
Meanwhile, back in the Cryptus System, the hive fleet encases itself in vile secretions that quickly froze into diamond-hard armor to protect it as it sailed through the system’s asteroid belt: the Aegis Diamondo. This armor not only protects the Tyranids from the unnatural cold but against the Imperial battlefleet‘s massed guns. Numbering millions of bio-ships and lesser organisms, the alien tendril divided as it sailed in-system, heading to each of the inhabited worlds. The Imperial ships were brushed aside, overwhelmed by an enemy that outnumbered them many times over.
The battle among the stars was lost in a span of hours, the rest of the system’s defenders forced to watch, powerless, from their planetary fortifications as the Tyranids consumed the Imperial fleet and moved in for the kill. Then the invasion began in earnest and every planet of Cryptus became a target.
In the early days of the invasion, the Imperial defenders make their valiant stands. On the world of Asphodex, the ground forces manage to air superiority to Tyranid forces, herding them into kill-zones, while on Lysios, one of the Canonesses, Magda Grace, corrals the nomads of the world against the xenos. The Vostroyans stationed on one of the moons, fight and die in poison mists, but manage to hold firm–eking out not just a minor victory, but seeming to drive back the alien swarm.
These early victories came at considerable cost in lives, and were ultimately only able to provide false hope. After the first day of bloody fighting died down, and the storm of battle settled, the true size of the Tyranid invasion fleet become clear.
Wave after wave of bio-creatures rained down from the skies to take the place of the millions already slain. Worse still, the Hive Mind was adapting at a terrifying rate, and for every tried and tested tactic the Imperium had discovered to defeat the Tyranids the Hive Mind had developed a defence. What little hope there had been died at the sight of the stars blotted out by hive ships, and the worlds of the Cryptus System seething with xenos invaders. One by one, the planets are overwhelmed. The great heroes of the first day find their valiant bulwarks broken, unable to stand against the massed numbers of the Tyranids.
And one by one, the heroes of Cryptus are slain and devoured, leaving the Cryptus system completely at the mercy of the Tyranids. However, not all hope is lost. Commander Dante arrives in system to bring the Blood Angels to mount a swift counterattack. Some say that the Commander sacrificed the worlds of the Cryptan system to buy time to mount a more concerted counterattack with his legions of Astartes. Whatever the case, Dante and his Blood Angels manage to push back the Tyranids–and though few are slain, many are lost to the Black Rage.
Even the Astartes might not be enough to push back the Leviathan. Help comes from an unlikely place…
We’ll get to that next time, Loremasters, while we await clearance from the Ordo Xenos to unseal certain records.