Today we study one of the ancient mysteries of the galaxy – The ever-increasing Blackstone Fortresses, their enigmatic origins, and disturbing abilities.
A Blackstone Fortress is a massive starship of unknown origin, first used by the Imperium as a naval base, then used by the forces of Chaos as a weapon of mass-destruction. Another has recently been discovered on the edge of Imperial space.
The Blackstone Fortresses were remotely controlled by Abaddon the Despoiler with the alien artifacts Hand of Darkness and Eye of Night. Once fully activated, a Blackstone Fortress is capable of breaking the barrier between realspace and warpspace, creating a beam of pure immaterium to destroy everything in its path. This power can be linked with other Fortresses to create an even more powerful beam, as was evident when Abaddon used two Fortresses to destroy the planet Fularis II, and three to cause the Tarantis star to go supernova.
The First Blackstone Fortresses
Abaddon the Despoiler first learned of the Fortresses sometime in M40, where he was guided by the visions of Zaraphiston to an Eldar Crone World. There, he read an ancient prophecy revealing their existence.
Six Blackstone Fortresses were discovered by the Imperium in the Gothic Sector around early M33. Initial studies dated the Fortresses between 17,000 and 300,000 years old, however their exact construction process is unknown. Most of the Fortresses’ systems were offline aside from the main power systems. The Adeptus Mechanicus retrofitted their own weapons (the weapons batteries they were given far surpassed the firepower of any ship in the Imperium) and life-support systems to the main power grid, as well as a number of hangars for smaller craft, turning each Fortress into a primary naval base for Battlefleet Gothic.
The Gothic War was Abaddon’s Black Crusade to capture and activate the six Blackstone Fortresses. He succeeded in taking three, but was defeated by the combined might of the Imperium and the Eldar. The Imperial Navy and Angels of Redemption tried to recapture one of the Fortresses, however it self-destructed, along with the three still in the Imperium’s hands. The remaining two retreated with Abaddon back into the Eye of Terror.
These two would reappear, 800 years later, supporting Typhus and his Plaguefleet in Abaddon’s 13th Black Crusade. They would later split up, each sent to reinforce the attacks on Cadia and Kasr Partox. The Blackstone assaulting Cadia, the Will of Eternity, nearly destroyed the planet but was itself crippled by the Phalanx after a Space Wolves boarding party disabled its shields. The debris of the Will of Eternity was later redirected into Cadia by Abaddon, which shattered the planet.
At some point, Abaddon gifted one of the Blackstone Fortresses to Huron Blackheart. This Fortress was later used to house the reborn Primarch Roboute Guilliman and his followers when they were captured during the Terran Crusade. It became the site of fierce fighting when Cypher and Sylandri Veilwalker freed Guilliman and his men.
Later, Harlequins of the Masque of the Shattered Mirage launched a surprise attack on the Red Corsairs Blackstone Fortress, aided by a rogue faction from Yme-Loc. The Eldar seek to capture and control this ancient “Talisman of Vaul”.
The 7th Blackstone Fortress
Located in the Western Reaches region of Segmentum Pacificus, this Blackstone Fortress was discovered shortly after the opening of the Great Rift. The station was discovered when it began to emit strange signals following the opening of the Rift.
Impossibly old, the Blackstone Fortress is surrounded by a debris field of ancient vessels spanning millions of miles in all directions. These wrecks orbit around the station, which hides deep in its interior. These wrecks themselves are a tempting prize for scavengers, as they contain ancient wonders and weaponry. Many vessels that were thought lost in the Warp have emerged in the orbit of the Blackstone, drawn by unknown means. Large vessels have been pulled into the Blackstone itself, and it appears to have the ability to break them down and draw the components into itself for unknown reasons.
Traveling to the Fortress itself requires a small and nimble vessel. Near the structure is a small way-station known as Precipice, inhabited by a ragtag crew of explorers and scavengers from across the galaxy and consisting of a variety of races.
An uneasy truce endures in this station, something which is enforced by a small cadre of powerful and influential captains looking to maintain stability for their own interests. Precipice is the final destination before the Blackstone Fortress itself, and is home to many merchants and information providers. From Precipice one goes into the nearest opening of the Fortress itself, known as the Stygian Aperture
The interior of the Fortress itself is a brutal labyrinth of corridors and chambers. its geometric halls are vast, arrayed with spire-like towers and deep chasms dropping away into rivulets of energy. The Fortress is filled with mysterious wonders from across history and the corpses and remains of many past explorations. Travel inside the Fortress can sometimes be achieved by Maglev. However unlike the other six known Blackstone Fortresses, this construct reshapes its own interior regularly and makes consistent mapping near-impossible.
The Fortress it fraught with a wide array of dangers. From savage Ur-Ghuls to Spindle Drones to the twisted creations of Chaos, exploring the fortress’ interior requires martial prowess or at least a suitable bodyguard entourage. Many believe the Blackstone Fortress has traveled across space and time and collected these entities, deliberately steering them towards interlopers.
Despite these dangers, many recent expeditions to explore the Fortress and plunder its wonders or even gain control of it have been attempted; none successfully.
An 8th and 9th Blackstones
Just when we had our hands full on the galactic far west with the 7th Blackstone, we find in the Necron codex that there are two others that race is aware of. In the map below, the 7th Blackstone is the one on the lower left. There is another near the galactic core right in the middle of the Great Rift, and a 9th on the far Eastern Fringe. There is clearly a connection between the Necrons and the Blackstones as they appear on no other Codex maps.
The codex goes further in its description of the Mephrit Dynasty, known as “The Solar Executioners”. This Dynasty once held an armory of “Spaceborne weaponry of incredible power” which could destroy stars. Upon awakening, the Mephrit discovered their spaceborne weapons were missing. This description lines up with Blackstone fortresses quite closely. Also note that the location of the Imperial Gothic Sector aligns closely with the location of the Mephrit Dynasty on the Necron map.