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Eye of Terror, Warp Skein Conflict

Event occurred 2003.08.10, as part of the GW Eye of Terror campaign.

That's right, this was the day of our Eye of Terror mega-event.

  • Info - The original info page when I set up the event.
  • Prelude - The narrative "fluff" telling the story and giving the players clues as to the objectives of the missions is contained here.
  • Saim-Hann Batrep - One of our players wrote a nice piece of fiction to tell the tale of the battle
  • General Guidelines

The Generals

Player Army (General)
Cull, Graham CSM - World Eaters (Lord Melchoir)
Ericson, Lars CSM-Undivided (Maligant the Cruel)
Schnell, Luke Feral Orcs
Kullerd, David Dormivimus Nunc Resurreximus Necrons (Anubis)
Hatley, Chuck Dark Eldar (Archon Lord Cru'X)
Li, Ric CSM-Iron Warriors (Commander ?)
Jimenez, Frank Space Wolves (Commander Ull the Sharp Eyed)
Casavant, Reema Blood Angels (Sanguinia)
Palmer, Christopher Dark Angels (Castor)
Burgess, Travis An-Lashoc Saim-Hann Eldar (An-Nohn)
Maxwell, Cliff Ulthwé Strike Force (Farseer Mauglir of Altansar)
Garcia, Mondel Space Wolves 13th Co. (Bjorn the Fell-Handed)

How the Event Unfolded...

This will make a lot more sense if you have already looked at the Prelude background material.

Recall that the armies were split into two detachments and the first one used was determined randomly.


It's a somewhat large event. To make sure things went as smoothly as possible, army lists were solicited before the event and printed out in advance. Everyone chipped in to get the tables and terrain downstairs, and myself and Angelo set up the terrain so players didn't have to worry about it.

The objectives were cylinders spaced every 6" across the centerline of the board between the players. All of the cylinders were then scattered 1d6" for variety.

The setup proceeds at a rapid pace.

From left: Zack, Angelo, Lars, Cliff, Michael (the ref), Mondel "Gar" Garcia (the one mugging for the camera), Luke (sitting) Graham, Dave.


We had a perfect match of Order and Disorder players for our event. Oh joyous day! But that did not last. Less than 48 hours in advance, one of our Order players (Dale) had to drop out. It seemed that it was going to be a wash because of a missing Disorder player (Chuck), so we went ahead and started with our five pairs of players. Then Chuck rolls in at 11:00 AM, half-dead from heat exhaustion after exploring the vast hinterlands of Rice campus. So, Reema stepped up and save the day, giving us an even six pairs. I threw together a hasty Blood Angels list (it had Dante in it, did I mention hasty?) and she got ready to play her first game of 40k ever!

So there we were, by some miracle, with an even matchup of six Order and six Disorder...it was as if fate was favoring order...

The briefing and scenario Q&A

Phase 1 - Keys of Fate

The scenario was pretty straightforward. Get the artifacts and get off of the table with as many survivors as possible, because at the end of turn 6, the table will blow up! There was a modified voluntary fallback to assist in the goal.

The two armies being played from the Eye of Terror Codex, Gar's 13th Company Space Wolves and Cliff's Ulthwé Strike Force, had a little extra route of escape via their special army powers. Neither army had to use them in this fight, though.

Near: Chris's Dark Angels face off against Ric's Iron Warriors (Chaos Space Marines)
Middle: Luke's Orcs face off against Gar's 13th Company Space Wolves
Far: Graham's Worldeaters face off against Travis's Saim-Hann Eldar

Near table: Frank's Space Wolves face off against Dave's Necrons
Middle table: Cliff's Ulthwé Strike Force face off against Lars's Chaos Undivided Space Marines
Far table: Reema's Blood Angels face off against Chuck's Dark Eldar (Chuck had not shown up yet)

The battles were hard fought, but in the end, Libromagis Ericson recorded the following:

  • Dave's Necron defeated Frank's Space Wolves
  • Cliff's Ulthwé Eldar defeated Lars' Chaos Undivided
  • Reema's Blood Angel's defeated Chuck's Dark Eldar
  • Chris' Dark Angels defeated Ric's Iron Warriors
  • Gar's 13th Company defeated Luke's Feral Orks
  • Travis' Saim-Hain Eldar defeated Graham's World Eaters

Although the side of Order pulled out 5/6 victories, most were very narrow victories <200 pt. Going into the Mega-battle, Order had 15 Warp Keys and Disorder only had 7.

I then gave folks reinforcements. They rolled 1d3 and that determine how many reinforcement points they had. For each point, they could:

  • Raise a destroyed Troop unit to 50%
  • Raise a damaged Troop unit to 100%

The two Eye of Terror Codex armies gained an additional 1d3 points.

I also had a "My dice hate me" provision for anyone that lost very badly. In such a case, the player gained an additional 1d3 reinforcement points.

Phase 2 - The Portal of Fate

And now the mega battle!

I wanted to avoid the tactically uninteresting and somewhat trite approach of a long 4' table. I also wanted a configuration that would accommodate a central objective without shafting one or more of the armies. But, people still had to be able to reach their minis.

Voila! a "plus sign"-shaped board to reflect a gate area with four tactical assembly hangars, carved into a huge asteroid (so no shooting through the empty parts).

We strived to maintain no more than 15 minutes per player turn, and we generally succeeded, although we often got close to 20 minutes as the fighting intensified.

The detachment not used in the first battle was already in place at the site. Infiltrator rules were in effect for that detachment. The other detachment was essentially deep striking in after commandeering a flotilla of pirate raiding ships. Because of this, all armies could deep strike (even Space Wolves) and there was no destruction on "snake eyes". The Ulthwé Strike Force was given the option of using the Webway as usual or using the deep strike flotilla; they chose the webway.

After the units were setup, the call came in from the seers as to their objective - get the keys to the gate!

The initial detachments are in place and the fighting begins in fits and starts.

Order focuses heavily on the objective, taking some serious risks, including Travis basically offering his army up for sacrifice to hold the gate area.

The scream sheet summary:

  • Dave's Necrons advance cautiously, laying down fire.
  • Lars's Chaos Undivided take on foes in multiple boards, seeking out juicy targets.
  • Chuck's Dark Eldar race up and deploy, taking most of the initial casualties on the side of Disorder but allowing the Necrons to advance with few casualties.
  • Chris advances steadily towards the objective, but is tied up by Orcs and Chaos. He deep strikes one hero with a key into the opposite baord, though, contributing to the success of Order.
  • Frank advances and meets Chaos and Orcs blow for blow, but is slowed by multiple swirling melees.
  • Cliff gets his Wraithgate close to the center board and his Ulthwé Strike Force explodes onto the board somewhat close to the objective.
  • Reema charges up both sides of her board, engaging Orcs on one side and gunning down Dark Eldar on the other, while advancing keys up the middle. Her jump pack-equipped Chaplain and Death Company easily get their key to the gate.
  • Gar takes on the Orcs and tries a rear offensive on the Iron Warriors and Necrons using his Runepriest's ability The Gate, but both are blunted by unlucky deep strike rolls.
  • Travis punches it and races to the portal, laying down fire and dragging keys with him, but exposing himself to heavy fire.
  • Ric advances towards the portal and brings his massive firepower to bear, blunted somewhat by the appearance of a key near two of his vehicles mid-way through the game (the keys incapacitate vehicle).
  • Luke does a great job being an Orc and attacks everything he can get his Choppas on. His guys drop in droves, but there's always more.
  • Graham's initial fight is blunted while waiting for Daemons to warp in. Once they do, he tears up the backfield.

Overall, Disorder attacked in all directions and Order raced to the portal with their keys.

The big surprise came when enough keys reached the gate area and a massive force field engulfed the gate region. The units locked inside were almost exclusively those of Order and they secured the portal and won the day!

Well, there you have it. Well fought battles, lots of fun had, and smiling faces all around. We only ran fifteen minutes late, which was great considering we had a mega battle and one of our first battles started over an hour late.

The early departure trio: Chris (top), Ric (lower left), Gar (lower right).
From left to right: Chuck (black OwlCon XXII shirt), Dave (tan shirt), Cliff (white with blue shirt), Luke (in back), Frank (in front), Lars (black shirt with crest), Graham (black Shiner bock shirt), Travis (white with gray shirt), Reema (black Crouching Homer, Dipping donut shirt).

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Brought to you by the fevered mind of Michael J. Casavant and hs evil henchman, Angelo Benedetto.


Battle report - Saim Hann Wild Riders

War Seer An'Nohn cast his mind across the possible futures. The portal at the station was key. If Chaos were to achieve such direct access to the webway, it was likely that the Black Library would become exposed and his forces would be lost fighting fiends of Slanesh in less than 6 months. To live, he must lead his forces and persuade his allies to victory.

Some must be sacrificed if all are to be saved.

That phrase resonated in his mind. The entire flight could be lost anyway trying to pick up artifacts and activate the portal. If the Mon-keigh allies can stand and be true, then perhaps the sacrifice would be a small one.

The decision was made to split each of the allied forces to ensure artifacts to activate the portal were collected in time, and that the portal itself could be secured. An-Nohn separated his forces into a maneuver element, with jet bikes accompanying the swooping hawks, and a support element with the jet bikes accompanied by a D-cannon battery. The support element would be lead by his apprentice De'Raenn. It was his responsibility to secure the portal. An'Nohn chose to lead the maneuver element himself. His vast skills would be needed to seize as many artifacts as possible, preserve his forces for the battle at the portal, cause maximum casualties to the Chaos forces, and leave the field of battle before the area is destroyed by the ancient's trap.

Phase 1

The Mon-Kiegh called it "Man Catcher Valley." It held a large cluster of artifacts, and was filled with carnivorous foliage. An'Nohn foresaw this battlefield and had already installed powerful flora-suppressor field generators on all of the jet bikes, support platforms, and swooping hawk flight packs 6 weeks prior. The valley was located on the far side of the Chaos landing side. Rangers reported that a World Eater force was in route, but moving slowly because. They did not expect Order to try to take the site. An'Nohn plotted a course to bypass the ancient's defenses and the Chaos pickets to get through to the valley….perhaps they would get there before the World Eater arrived.

As An'Nohn and his forces crested the ridgeline he saw the enemy advancing across the valley floor toward the artifacts. He sent telepathic orders to all of his squadron leaders simultaneously:

"Sword Squadron, take point and seize the closest artifact. Have one of your riders bond with it so you will still be able to lead your force most effectively"

"Ospreys, advance to take the artifact on the left most side of the valley. I have detected a defiler behind those trees, so take care you to not linger farther from it than this line." The copse of trees glowed a light green and the line glowed in a fiery orange in the minds of the swooping hawks warriors. "Select one of your warriors to bond with the artifact so you can lead your forces in any close combat battles the lie ahead. Leave the field as soon as you have the artifact."

"Vypers, do you see this lone Chaos warrior on an attack bike?" The Vyper gunners saw, in their mind's eyes, the biker light up in a golden aura. "This is the leader of the World Eater force. Put him down." "Stay out of range of the disruption fields broadcast by the artifacts, and move inside the barrage range of the defiler." The zones of disruption glowed red and the range line for the defiler glowed a fiery orange in the minds of the Vyper pilots.

"Warlocks, follow me."

The jet bikes, swooping hawks and Vypers streaked across the valley toward the World Eaters and the artifacts that lay in the valley between the opposing forces. The flora-suppressor fields worked perfectly and the carnivorous plants did not react to the presence of any of An'Nohn's forces. Unfortunately they did not attack the Chaos forces either. Apparently even these voracious plans would not eat some things. The World Eaters were caught off their guard allowing An'Nohn's forces the opportunity to fire first.

The Vypers maneuvered into position and fired bursts of plasma at the World Eater's Leader, burning holes in his armor, and a significant portion of his body. While such burns would have felled most creatures of his stature, the Chaos leader seemed to ignore much of the agonizing blasts continued to rally his forces.

Sword Squadron formed up in front of An'Nohn and his bodyguards and moved to the closest artifact. An'Nohn used his psychic prescience to advise Sword Squadron's leader of any dangers that lay in the future. Two shuriken cannon fired on a rhino transport attempting to hide beside a hill, blowing off the rhino's combi-bolter.

The Ospreys swooped in on an artifact while positioning themselves so none of the Chaos forces could engage them.

Sword Squadron and the Ospreys each took an artifact. Their training allowed the bond to take place without danger, and each artifact tender was encased an a barely perceptible bubble of energy.

The Chaos response was quick. Marines from the damaged rhino disembarked and moved out to close proximity with an artifact. A warrior reached out, expecting a jolt. As he touched the artifact, energy arced over the warrior's armor and a force field encased him. The bonding was successful.

The Chaos leader gunned his bike forward toward an artifact confident that he would get to it before the starcannon fusillade could fell him.

The second rhino moved behind a hill and into position to allow as fast assault of the guardian jet bikes streaking toward the cluster of artifacts.

The defiler received its fire mission and adjusted its cannon to strike. The valley thundered, and the defiler sent its high explosive shell in a low arc over the trees toward the guardian jet bikes. From its vantage, it watched a vast plume of soil and fire rise. The pilot knew instantly that the shot was long. The velocity of its shells was to high to allow a closer barrage.

An'Nohn saw he has seized the initiative and pressed his advantage. While the Defiler reloaded he issued his next series of orders.

"Ospreys, take your artifact to the portal site. Move across the roof of the portal cavern and drop down from above."

"It will take time to follow that path Seer, are you certain?" the Ospreys' leader responded over the comm line.

An-Nohn responded with a rapid series of images. An arrow streaking toward a warrior's back, but the warrior turns at the last minute to block it with his shield. Two Chaos sentries on a wall walking toward each other, a bright lance crew holds fire until the exact moment that they line up and the beam kills them both.

The Ospreys left the battlefield confident they would be at the right place at the right time at the battle for the portal.

The guardians piloted their jet bikes between the defiler and the Chaos commander, allowing them to bring their shuriken cannons to bear on the second rhino. They fired, and cannon rounds struck seeming all over the vehicle tearing chunks of armor away in an shower of sparks that seemed to jump from every portion facing the jet bikes. The telltale metallic snap and ring followed as one of the rhino's drive wheels broke away, separating a track. The rhino was going nowhere and would have to be left on the battlefield if the crew were to escape the ancient's time bomb.

The Vypers continued their fire on the Chaos commander, and under intense starcannon volleys, he and his bike were turned to ash. A lone wheel rolled on, striking an artifact before falling to the ground.

An'Nohn and his guards were near the center of the valley floor, behind the guardians. He headed straight for the tree line separating his unit from the defiler. Along the way, one of his guards bonded with a third artifact. The guard sheathed his witch blade as the force field encased him; it would no longer do him any good.

The resistance offered by the World Eater force started to unravel with the loss of their commander. The Marines carrying their artifact left the valley with their weaponless rhino following at a safe distance to prevent system failures from the artifact. An'Nohn had no time to pursue them and they knew it.

The remaining Chaos Marines emerged from their immobilized rhino and saw the charred remains of their dead commander. Their sergeant knew the critical nature of the mission and time was running out. He rallied his troops forward and pressed on the closest artifact. A wheel from his commander's attack bike lay smoldering at its base.

The defiler thundered again, sending a shell at two Vypers just inside the edge of its minimum barrage range. The winds of Chaos blew, and the shell was deviated to a point right between the bikes. The closest bike was engulfed in fire, shrapnel, and great chunks of earth churned up by the round. It pilot lost control and the Vyper crashed to the ground exploding into tiny fragments. The other Vyper was at the edge of the blast and the pilot was able to prevent a similar fate. The gunner called down indicating he would have to power down the starcannon because a piece of shrapnel was lodged in the fire control assembly. An'Nohn ordered the two remaining Vypers to leave the battlefield, effect repairs, and make best speed to De'Raenn's detachment. He knew that he would need as many working Vypers as possible at the portal, and he did not need the Vypers to handle the remaining Chaos forces.

An'Nohn sent his new orders. "Sword squadron, fire on the Marines at range, don't get close enough to be assaulted." "Warlocks, flow me." To the Warlock at his right, he direct, "ready your spear."

An'Nohn prepared his singing spear and gunned the slow-trans engine of his jet bike. The Warlocks followed, one with the artifact bonded to his hand, the other with his singing spear ready to throw. They leapt upward and over the trees on bursts of anti-gravitic energy. As they cleared the canopy, they saw the defiler cycling its next shell. The jet bikes landed at the edge of the tree line. The giant barrel of the defiler swung toward them, as its sensors intensified their angry red glow now that a high value target had revealed it self; there was no need to worry about minimum ranges now, the shell could be fired directly.

An'Nonh and the Warlock threw their singing spears. An'Nohn's spear streaked toward the thing's sensor cluster. It was a glancing hit that seemed to stun it for only a moment. The second spear found the ammunition compartment and the defiler shattered in a deafening crescendo of explosions.

The remaining World Eaters were now out of options. While additional troops and rhinos were available as reinforcements, their commander and heaviest weapon could not be replaced. The Chaos Marine sergeant decided that he must leave the field immediately or die to the elder guns or the ancient's bomb. He knew that his comrades at the portal would need each and every man with the losses in the valley, and he decided they must leave.

An-Nohn saw they were retreating and withdrew form the valley as well. He would have to make it to De'Raenn in time for the battle at the portal and he had a long way to go.

As his forces raced for the portal, reports from the other forces of order came in. Four others were victorious in their engagements, and they had a total of 15 artifacts between them. The Chaos forces were able to leave with only 7. Perhaps order would win the day, even in these dark and chaotic times.

Some must be sacrificed if all are to be saved.

An-Nohn sensed that at the battle at the portal, he would come to understand this phase that seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere.

Phase 2

The planning session had been going on for hours. Each detachment commander was confident in his or her abilities, but none seemed interested in coordinating their efforts for the battle ahead. De'Raenn thought, "If this is order, seeing Chaos would shatter the heart stone from my chest." Nothing would be accomplished here, and he would have to rely on his persuasiveness to try to coordinate his main effort with that of the others when the battle at the portal came.

An'Nohn, De'Raenn's War Seer, and Farseer Mauglir of Altansar, commander of the Ulthwé Strike Force, agreed to each guide two groups of Mon-Kiegh in the battle. De'Raenn was charged with coordinating his efforts with Sanguinia, commander for the Blood Angels force, and Bjorn the Fell-Handed, commander of the 13th Company Space Wolves force.

A holo-projector showed a wire frame schematic of the orbiting asteroid housing the ancient's warp portal…through which supposedly "the riches of the warp" lay. The facility could be entered through any of four docking bays evenly spaced around the equator of the asteroid. The combined order fleet could only hope to secure two of the openings while battling the Chaos fleet, meaning Chaos would be sending a strike force after the portal as well. Neither fleet acted to take the portal facility right away. Is seemed both sides wanted to examine the artifacts before committing to battle. Moving hastily with the ancient's technology had already been proven disastrous.

De'Raenn reviewed the reports from rangers he sent to the portal shortly after the Wild Rider Fleet Arrived. The stealth boarding torpedoes had proven their usefulness yet again. Text and images projected directly to his optic nerves scrolled across his field of view. The atmosphere was breathable. The portal sat on the floor of the vast terraformed interior of the asteroid. Each of the four bays was terriformed as well and was open to the portal in the central area. A small cluster of stone ruins and archways lay between the bay access points and the portal itself. A network of full spectrum light emitters lit the cavern to a soft twilight, and it was getting brighter over time.

A presence touched De'Raenn's mind. Recognizing An'Nohn, De'Raenn lowered his psychic screens and received contact.

"It is very well. The text on the artifacts makes it clear that they must be brought in close proximity to the portal as quickly as possible. It does not state what happens thereafter, but I foresee you will need six artifacts to activate the portal. The Vypers will arrive first, then sword squadron and I will follow."

"Were there any losses Warseer?" asked De'Raenn.

"Ot'ehl and Ja'sten were lost when their Vyper was shot down."

"Some must be sacrificed…" De'Raenn started.

An'Nohn finished "…if all are to be saved. You hear it too?"

"Yes, but what does it mean Warseer?"

"We will find out in four hours." An'Nohn answered.

Reports started coming in from the detachments sent to retrieve the ancient's artifacts. They had gathered a total of 15 of them, more than doubling that Chaos held. Each of the Mon-Keigh races translated the messages from the artifacts as well, and both fleets went underway to seize the asteroid housing the portal.

Three hours later De'Raenn and his detachment were waiting in their boarding craft, ready to launch from the Scythe of Vaul, an Eclipse class carrier. His seat included a command display, which he set up to monitor the naval engagement and the other detachment's assent to orbit. Weeks before the battle, De'Raenn foresaw the need to bring a cargo accelerator, and it was a good thing he did. The device was typically used to gravitically accelerate cargo pods to orbiting vessels that were not designed for atmospheric flight. In this case, the Vypers, the Ospreys, the jet bikes of An'Nohn's detachment, and their artifacts were accelerated into orbit in specially prepared assent pods containing no machinery for the artifacts to disrupt. With all of the stray fire from the naval battle, and high velocity debris, the assent would still be extremely dangerous. Four flights of fighters, and four flights of torpedo bombers were tasked with clearing any threats to the ascending detachment.

Fifteen minutes later the Scythe of Vaul was in position. A flying wedge of Hemlock destroyers went ahead, their lances bisecting enemy destroyers as they went. The launch order came and the boarding craft seemed to lurch downward and forward. The engines then exploded to life, rocking the vessel. The acceleration dampening fields compensated, protecting De'Raenn and his detachment from having the life crushed from them. Even with the dampers, the D-cannon platforms swayed against their cradles. Landing craft from the other factions were approaching the facility as well. The forces of order held two bays, opposite each other, and Chaos held the other two.

De'Raenn again brought up the live feed from the rangers. Some of the Chaos elements were arriving. He issued his initial orders to the minds of his squadron simultaneously. "When we land…," he began. The Warlock leading the support battery received, "…move your battery to this position." A clearing near a copse of trees glowed green in his mind. "You will be protected, initially, from the dark kin and the Necrons from this location. Advance into the trees and fire on the enemy as they advance to the portal."

The Warlock leading the jet bikes of Serpent Squadron received, "…take point and head for the portal. We must get there before the others."

The Vyper pilots and gunners received, " …move into these positions." The crews of the Vypers each saw where they needed to be. "Cover these approaches, nothing must get through." indicating two open areas that Chaos would need to cross in order to reach the portal.

De'Raenn then contacted Sanguinia of the Blood Angels over the comm line. "If I am to hold the Chaos approaches to the portal, I must be assisted by your Marines. My Vypers and D-cannon will cover you."

"Agreed Eldar," she responded. "Will you protect my artifacts if I bring them through this bay?" she asked.

"Indeed, our artifacts, and the whole of our other detachment are coming this way."

De'Raenn called on Bjorn of the Space Wolves on the comm line. Before De'Raenn could say anything, Bjorn spoke, "I am sending my forces to harass the enemy backfield, and my artifact with your jet bikes. See that no harm comes to my artifact tenders."

"Very w..., " De'Raenn started to respond, when Bjorn cut the comm line. "And this is order," he thought to himself as he prepared to board the asteroid that loomed ahead.

The detachment has rehearsed boarding maneuvers often, and it was shown again that perfect practice makes perfect. As soon as the boarding craft landed, three Vypers flew out to secure the approaches to the area. Jet bikes followed, exiting in an expanding wave, taking what cover was immediately available. Finally, three support platforms each with a distortion cannon glided down the ramp and toward their position behind the protective tree line. The two rangers that had been covering the area withdrew into the boarding craft to return to the Scythe of Vaul; their part in the battle was done.

As the forces of disorder came into view, De'Raenn noticed the mission clock and saw that it had been 4 hours and 5 minutes since his conversation with An'Nohn. He wondered, "How does he do that?" as he waited for his units to get into position.

The Forces of Disorder were assembling as well, with Chaos Marines, Necrons, and Dark Eldar assembling in the bay to the left, and Orcs and Chaos Marines assembling in the bay to the right.

Across from De'Raenn's bay, several lines of Eldar and Space Marine allies assembled as well. It looked as though the Forces of Order were outnumbered almost 2 to 1. He hoped that enough elder warriors waited on the other side of the Ulthwé's gates to even the odds.

On the left flank, a group of Grotesques were prodded on by a unit of Wyches behind them. These poor, twisted, creatures had been tormented to the point of mindlessness, and toughened to shrug off small arms fire. If left unchallenged, the Wyches that hid behind their dark creations would overrun the Blood Angels and D-Cannon platforms. Two Vypers fired their starcannon as the creatures came into range, starting the process of thinning the ranks and opening the way for the Marines to fire on the Wyches before they got too close. One of the units of Space Marines covering the approach advanced into the tree line before them to gain cover from disintegrator fire from the Dark Eldar Raiders that were rapidly gliding forward. The other unit of Blood Angels waited for the Dark Eldar to come into view from around the corner of the two bays.

The Vyper on the right flank was in position to cover the advance of the Blood Angel's Assault Marines. The gunner saw a sea of green Gretchen flesh approaching and began firing. Each plasma bolt that struck home shattered its target leaving nothing but scattering of charred meat. The starcannon was ridiculously overpowered for such foes, but each one put down now was one less to deal with later, and there were no better targets in range.

De'Raenn, his guards, and Serpent Squadron streaked forward toward the portal. He was determined to take the portal site first to ensure no traps lay ahead for An'Nohn and the others.

The enemies recognizing the danger starcannons represent on the battlefield returned fire attempting to shoot down the Vypers. A Raider flew into range and fired its disintegrator at one of the two Vypers protecting the flank. Bolts of energy struck the cockpit killing the pilot instantly and sending the Vyper in a rolling dive into the ground. Behind the Raider, two long lines of Necrons marched toward the portal in the center. Several clusters of Dark Eldar moved in the fringes.

At the other bay, a unit of Chaos Marines on a hill out of range from the Vyper covering the right flank prepared its lascannon. When it fired, the beam sliced the Vyper in half causing it to fall to the ground instantly. Miraculously, the pilot and gunner survived. They quickly emerged from the debris and made their way back toward the assembly area and away from the onrushing Ork horde.

Behind the two squads of Blood Angels, the distortion cannon crew were finally ready to fire. All three cannon thrummed as their warp cores cycled to firing mode. No one saw the three invisible blasts of b-meson particles streak to the midst of the advancing grotesques, but the effects of the particles' decay were impossible to miss. Three large spheres of pure midnight, each shrouded in a veil of crackling blue energy, appeared in the middle of the squad of grotesques. Some were entirely consumed; some were left writhing on the ground partially eaten away by the warp. Half their number was lost in the blast, but they pushed on anyway toward the Blood Angels.

De'Raenn's comm line opened, "Farseer, we come." The display showed three Vypers on rapid approach. He tasked them to take positions protecting the left and right flanks, filling in for the Vypers lost.

On the left flank, concentrated fire from the Vypers and Blood Angels decimated an approaching squad of Dark Eldar and shot down a Raider. The line would hold!

To the right, Vypers fired on the Chaos Marines at the hilltop, dropping two of their number. With Chaos' attention firmly on the Vypers, the Blood Angels' Assault Marines, bolstered by newly arrived Death Company Assault Marines waded into the Ork lines. Their captain wisely elected to take his artifact to the portal, and he fell in behind the advancing jetbikes, which were now one terrain feature from the portal.

Savaged by the combined Eldar and Blood Angels force, the Dark Eldar returned fire, destroying the engine of another Vyper, but achieving little else.

De'Raenn took a moment to survey the whole battlefield to gauge what was to come. More boarding pods landed from all forces and in all four bays. Disruption from the portal prevented them from landing any closer. The entire area was a cacophony of heavy fire and swirling melee. No enemy forces had as yet landed behind De'Raenn's detachment, which was fortunate.

He felt a psychic presence reach out to him…

It was An'Nohn! "It is very well De'Raenn. You have cleared the way for us." De'Raenn updated An'Nohn on the events so far. "Hold the portal and defend the approaches to it," An'Nohn ordered, "and I will lead the artifact bearers to you."

Serpent Squadron finally reached the portal and took defensive positions. They would have to hold as the artifacts were brought forward. De'Raenn and his guards circled the portal itself. He cast his mind to the possible futures for Serpent Squadron and was struck with sadness. He decided not to burden them with the truth. "Hold the line. An'Nohn is coming with the artifacts. We just need to hold for a little while."

Sword Squadron arrived, with An'Nohn and his guards filing in behind. With them was a lone Space Wolf Warrior with an artifact. This made four that were on their way to the portal. A message came over the comm line and De'Raenn listened. "An'Nohn," he asked," The Ospreys are in place, should we call them down with their artifact?"

"No, because they are needed later," he responded.

On the right flank, the Blood Angels and remaining Vyper, and the distortion cannon battery pounded the advancing Dark Eldar. The Wyches fell to a hail of bolter fire, and the few Grotesques that survived the long march to the Marines were quickly dispatched in hand-to-hand combat.

To the right, the Orks were almost wiped out in the fury of the Blood Angels advance.

The battle looked very winnable until the final wave of Chaos forces arrived. They landed everywhere. A gaggle of Orks landed on the right flank, preparing their weapons, two more Raiders landed supporting the Dark Eldar, and two pods landed deep behind An'Nohns detachment. The doors of the farthest pod cycled open, and Chaos Terminators emerged, raining fire upon the Space Wolves that had been teleporting around the battlefield harassing enemy stragglers. The other pod disgorged Necron Destroyers, their gauss cannon blazing. De'Raenn could not see the effect of their fire, but realized that if the Marines fell, there were not enough Vypers remaining to handle these enemies. De'Raenn called for a fire mission for the distortion cannon. The cannons began to turn.

Serpent squadron adjusted to take advantage of what little cover was available. Their bikes were simply too big to hide behind the ruins.

An'Nohn and sword squadron advances at maximum thrust to the portal, the two artifact bearers struggling to maintain control at the dizzying pace.

Two more Marine landing pods dropped to the floor of the bay behind the advancing jetbikes. One lone Marine with an artifact emerged from one, and five Marines, one an artifact bearer, exited the other. This made six total, but the Marines were on foot and it would take some time for them to get to the portal. The line had to hold a little longer.

The remaining Vypers maintained pressure, firing on the approaching Obliterators, Ork hordes, and Dark Eldar.

The D-cannon thrummed to life again, cycling up to another barrage. They fired again, this time at the newly arrived Chaos Terminators that landed in the backfield. This time the spheres of stark un-reality appeared just short of the target area. The crew adjusted the particle speed and began the firing sequence again.

The Forces of Disorder lashed out in every direction, in a frenzy of fire and melee, seemingly loosing consideration of the portal and basking in the carnage. The Necrons and Terminators appeared too busy to react to the barrage, and they continued to fire on the space wolves.

Two jetbikes of Serpent squadron lit up brightly just before exploding, the tell-tale mark of enemy lascannon finding their targets, and a volley of armor-piercing missiles struck one of the three remaining Vypers perforating its slow-trans engine and sending it crashing to the ground.

An Ork landing pod clumsily impacted near the D-cannon battery, and close to the advancing Marine artifact bearers. Gretchen swarmed from the pod and began firing on the battery crew, killing one guardian; the Gretchen's poor marksmanship and the concealment offered by the tree line would not save them for long. Their Warlock, Ra'Thenn, telepathically called to De'Raenn, "What are your orders?" An'Nohn, monitoring the situation, called the Ospeys down, "Your time is now. Land as close to the portal as you can and direct your grenades at the Gretchen." To De'Raenn he sent, "The decision is yours. I can not help you." Two imperatives glowed in the possible futures. First, the Gretchen must be stopped from getting the Marine artifact bearers bogged down in a melee. Second was to stop the cluster of Necron destroyers from advancing up the back lines, gunning down the artifact bearers in a hale of fire, or stopping them in a melee of their own. There was a chance the Ospreys' grenades would miss, but it is a chance that had to be taken. "Ra'Thenn, target the destroyers and Terminators again."

"Very well Seer."

As the Gretchen prepared to move out toward the D-cannon crews, a hail of grenades landed in the Gretchen's midst. The blasts engulfed their group entirely, killing 15 of the 30 creatures. The Ospreys landed between the Gretchen and the portal, solidly placed to prevent the Gretchen from taking advantage of their position. As the last Osprey landed, they opened up with their las-blasters, killing 6 more of the creatures.

Sword squadron , An'Nohn and his retinue, and the Marine captain artifact bearer finally arrived at the portal. The artifact carriers sat at the center of a ring of jetbikes. The four shuriken cannon on site blazed at the Orks and the handful of Obliterators still advancing on the portal. While the shurikens cut through the Orks, they were ineffective against the Obliterators.

The two remaining Vypers repositioned as best they could and maintained fire, but the Obliterators were too tough, and the Orks too numerous.

Ra'Thenn gave the fire order and the D-cannon fired again. This time the shots were true. All of the Terminators, and two of the destroyers were consumed in three crackling globes of warp energy. Only one destroyer remained.

An'Nohn and De'Raenn surveyed the battle, looking for Chaos artifact bearers, and for new advancing threats. Only one enemy artifact bearer was visible, marching along with as advancing line of Necrons and Dark Eldar. The Blood Angels would have to hold them away from the portal. The advance of the Ulthwé Strike force became apparent as dozens of black guardians emerged from warp gates, preventing Chaos units that landed in their backfield from advancing to the portal. At the Ork assembly area, only a few mobs remained due to the success of the Blood Angels. Three of Order's artifacts were already at the portal, and four more were being carried forward.

Undaunted by the incoming fire, the Obliterators advanced and fired las-cannon at Serpent squadron again, destroying another bike. At the left flank, lines of Necrons and Dark Eldar, easily forty in number, supported by two Raiders advanced on the Blood Angels positions, firing as they advanced. The combined fire of Necron warriors and destroyers and the hand to hand ferracity of the Dark Eldar warriors would likely crush al of Order's units that held the portal. The Dark Eldar's artifact drew closer, but was he was still some time from the portal area already held by An'Nohn and the jetbike squadrons.

The remaining Gretchen near the battery emplacement fired, badly wounding two more crewmen. Only three remained, and they could only man two of the three guns. The crew held on, rotating their cannon again to fire on the Obliterators. The blast on one cannon engulfed one Obliterator, leaving only the smoldering tip of a las-cannon, which fell to the ground.

Two Marine bearers on foot finally made their way to the portal, one more was still needed.

Only the Warlock and two guardians remained of Serpent squadron, but they held firm and fired on the Obliterators that had been decimating them. Finally, one shot found a hole punched by a starcannon, and one of the abominations fell.

The Vyper protecting the left flank fired at the Obliterators as well, burning one to ash with its starcannon as the creature's armor gave way. Only one Obliterator remained.

The Osprey's exarch called to Ra'Thenn, "Fear not, we will crush these green beasts."

"No." Ra'Thenn responded. You must get your artifact to the portal before the Dark Eldar and Necrons get there, or all of this will be for nothing."

"But you will not last Warlock; we are swift, there is time," the Exarch responded.

"There is no more time. Hurry, you will need all of your speed to reach the portal. Some must be sacrificed if all are to be saved." Ra'Thenn had made his decision. An'Nohn and De'Raenn heard all of this an understood.

"Your loss will diminish us all. We obey." With that, the Ospreys leapt into the air and made their best possible speed for the portal. They moved far to quickly to make effective use of their las-blasters. The bikes of Sword squadron held positions just ahead of them.

The last Obliterator fired on Serpent squadron, incinerating another bike. This was followed with a volley of armored piercing missiles that struck home, wiping out Serpent squadron to a man.

The Necrons and Dark Eldar approached to the edge of their bay and were about to enter the central area housing the portal. The Blood Angels backed from their positions in the tree line and toward the portal to form a last line of defense, but they knew they were hopelessly outmatched.

Ra'Thenn and his remaining cannon crew took cover in the tree line as best they could, but their last shot left them vulnerable from three sides. Dark Elder warriors gleefully sprayed shredder rounds in general vicinity of the crews while the Necron warriors methodically concentrated their fire from crewman to crewman. Each fell in turn to the fusillade of magnetically accelerated spikes. Ra'Thenn and his guardians were no more.

The Dark Eldar's artifact bearer, noting the close proximity of a Vyper, advanced toward it The disruption field of the artifact shut the Vyper down immediately, sending it crashing to the ground.

On the right flank, Sword squadron took positions before the advancing Orks. An'Nohn saw two Orks brandishing crude missile launchers, preparing to fire. He reached out to one creature's mind, easily taking over its autonomic functions. An'Nohn stopped its pulmonary system and constricted all of its muscles to their maximum potential. It collapsed to the ground twisted and dead. The other Ork fired, destroying one of Sword's bikes.

An instant later, the Ospreys with their artifact reached the portal. Arcs of power coruscated along its ringed shape, dancing and flickering across it. Bolts lashed out to the four corners of the central hangar area whipping immense force fields to life that cut off the surrounding forces, trapping those near the portal for the final conflict. With an otherworldly whooshing sound the atmospheric pressure equalized between the hangar and the destination. The portal flashed to life, showing a staging area and control room. The remaining warriors fell upon one another, their vigor renewed as they realize the rumors of a stable warp portal may have been true.

Within the field, only a few Necron destroyers and Dark Eldar warriors were left to face the savage ferocity of the Ospreys, and the horde of black guardians. Most of the Forces of Chaos were trapped outside the energy field, and they watched as their brothers were slaughtered within.

Those outside the field fought bitterly as they retreated to their boarding pods and landing pods in an effort to get back to their fleets. The Chaos ships retreated to warp space as soon as their troops had returned. Their commanders had no desire to watch helplessly as the Forces of Order exploited the warp portal.

In the staging area, on the other side, An'Nohn, Farseer Mauglir, and Sanguinia looked upon the ancient wonders.