Additional background Section 6: The Despoiler’s Demesne.
For ten thousand years, the despoiler had spread across the entirety of Segmentum Obscurus, breaking each system in turn with his vast fleets of chaotic beasts and loyal minions. Endless regiment sof the Dark Cadians known as the despoiled marched under the dark banners of cleaved-aquila, and murdered those who opposed the Chaos Emperor ruthlessly. Leading these vast armies were the Black legion, who formed a diamond hard centre to the great Despoiler’s regime.
Abaddon forged a new empire from the splintered marrow of ruined Imperial domains and xenos empires, crushing each in turn and forcing their broken populations to kneel before him and his diabolic forces. Many did so willingly, for those the Despoiler was a butcher and a madman, he wished to rule a powerful and unified Imperium of darkness, rather than a shattered ruin of roving warbands and screeching devil-spawn. Agri-worlds were enhanced by warp-tainted contagions that infested their crops and their forests, forming great tangled masses of man-eating mangroves across thousands upon thousands of miles. Captured forge worlds and enslaved hive worlds churned out towering daemon engines of ever-more grandiose and insane designs, concocted by the Dark Mechanicus of the putrid, poisoned worlds of Lathe and their vassal forges. In some of the more vile and odious hives, those who toiled in their factories barely registered that the Impeirum of old had ever gone.
Yet, to maintain the great Western Imperium required constant warfare and cruel reprisals, for many and powerful were the supposed Vassals of the Despoiler. Kharn the Betrayer was a constant irritation to the Dark Lord; smashing apart worlds at random as he howled his frustration into the void. Abaddon and his allied forces engaged warbands associated with Kharn over a hundred times throughout 273.M52, and during the great uprising of M55, Lord Ulvenial of the Screamers (a warband of Fallen Iron Knights who owed feudal obligation to the dark Lord) were almost constantly in pursuit of the Betrayer’s charnel-barge and those crazed vessels full of madmen who pursued him like hungry hounds lapping at the frothing gore left in his wake. Ulvenial was finally brutally butchered during the siege of Mordia, by Kharn himself who rammed his brass-fanged battleship straight through Ulvenial’s grandcruiser.
The Word Bearers, who had at first allied with the Despoiler, had gained much influence and power over the millennia, and their hellish Daemon Worlds were the largest and most fearsome in the Eye of Terror, some claimed. The Word bearers were useful to Abaddon as orators and enforcers of the profane creeds of the diseperate factions of the Chaos Imperium. No consensus could ever be reached between all the various insane demagogues and slavering monsters taht dwelt within the deep pits of these worlds, or ruled from obsidian thrones like dark heralds, but nevertheless the Word bearers made sure that unrest and insurrection remained a localised affair; Abbadon encouraged coups and bloody uprisings, as long as they were never against himself. Altarships full of Dark Apostles and their familiars roamed the void between enslaved worlds of the Chaos Imperium, preaching and summoning daemons into reality as they passed by. Abaddon expressly forbade the Word Bearers’s dark star-shaped vessels to enter the systems of any of his major powerbases, on fear of unmaking in the great swirling heart of Barbaritan. Barbaritan was a daemonship which had crashed into a star and poisoned it, turning it a vile green. Anything which fell into the warp-plasma vortex was utterly destroyed, body, essence and soul.
In 173.M53, the Despoiled, alongside a veritable tide of mercenaries and mutants and fallen Astartes, conquered the Q’orl Swarmhood. The final siege of their honeycombed homeworlds was performed by the great spider-like Daemon King Xexes, another of the deep-warp daemons (a brother of Valchocht the Maker). The titanic spider’s hulking form toppled the towering funnels of the Swarmhood to the ground, and the capering daemons and mad humans who flooded the world in his wake overwhelmed the insectoid empire after a bitter campaign of destruction, which cost billions of lives on both sides. It ended when their queen was captured, and infected with warp-tainted blood. These plague flooded her systems and internal juices, and the pheromone stench which allowed her to enthral her drones turned her entire realm into an eager ally of the Western Chaos Imperium.
On the moon of Threnbane, a psyker fraternity had spun a world-wide tapestry from psychic threads. Without the Imperium, they had flourished, and their seers had constructed this great warp-empowered edifice, which they used to divine the future strands of history like some great humming orchestra. Such rippling waves of psychic energy soon attracted the attentions of the Despoiler and his cohorts, for Abaddon very much desired to learn of his own fate in the destiny of the universe. However, a great fleet of Iron Warriors fell upon the world, in alliance with the Beasts of Annihilation; creatures bound to Angron. The Iron warriors determined to deny Abaddon his desires, in vengeance for his defeat of their Primarch many thousands of years ago. They fell upon the witch-world like grim mechanisms of steel and hate, burning and gunning down all they could find with pitiless cruelty. Threads were severed, and settlements blasted into blackened craters. Their warsmith, a villain known as Kadvein, smirked humourlessly as he destroyed Abaddon’s new toy.
By the time Abaddon arrived with his fleet, almost every thread of the world-weave was ruined, and the iron Warriors were fully entrenched in their grand bastions; impervious to orbital or ground assault, and patrolled by the frothing mongrel war hounds of Angron. The siege nevertheless lasted only a few days. This was because Abaddon, in his paranoid wisdom, had installed numerous mercenary Callidus assassins and Alpha legion infiltrators amongst the population of Threnbane. On his command, they unleashed life eater capsules inside the shielded Iron Warrior bastions. Contained inside the void shielding, the virus did no harm to Abaddon’s landing forces. Howeve,r battle was soon joine don’t he ground as the Beasts of Annihilation charged into the fray with infinite fury, their possessed marines ignoring tempests of weapons fire and blades to reach the Despoiled’s lines. The Dark Lord personally carved his way through masses of half-daemons and freakishly mutated Astartes as he made his way through the dense foliage of fallen threads. Finally, he reached the final enclave of psyker-monks, and their last functioning seer-loom. Before he destroyed them, he demanded to know his future. No one knows what prophecy they imparted to the Chaos Emperor, but soon after he massacred them all, and bombed their world into dust, before the planet killer destroyed it utterly.
Daemonic agents, lacymole, callidus fiends and other shadowy agents employed by Abaddon were later instructed to scour the Chaos Imperium for ‘good, honest men’, who they were to eliminate with maximum misery and pain inflicted upon them. Some say the monks told Abaddon who it was who would finally kill him, while others claim they merely revealed to him the final piece of the great engine of destiny which was guiding the galaxy to some great climax. Whatever it was, Abaddon grew obsessed with altering the outcome foretold in the legends.
If the prophecy was indeed related to his death, he perhaps had cause for alarm, for he had narrowly avoided death on several occasions. The closet the Dark Lord came to being destroyed was during the siege of the Nemesis Vault; an Inquisitional fortress located on the borders of his expanding Empire. The fortress was one of the most formidable of its kind, and had been held in a planetary stasis field for almost 20,000 years when Abaddon finally disturbed the relic of the Old Imperium. The highly advanced world boasted a full Titan legion, many Deathwatch kill teams, ten regiments of Inquisitorial stormtroopers, Sororitas Convents and a full squad of Grey Knights (one of the few contingents of Grey Knights who were not trapped upon the unbreakable fortress of Titan, at the heart of the Void Dragon’s prison). The great bastion contained many dark and forbidden artefacts held under lock and key forever. The Despoiler and his allies desired them, and he persuaded many hundreds of divergent chaos facitosn to fall upon the world. Ram-faced beastmen and tides of mutants from the Brotherhood of the Foul, the towering Daemon-Knights of Securilan, hundreds of Vampyre Covens of possessed monsters, a billion strong force of plague zombies, shipped into combat by Death Guard under the silent glare of Typhus, half-beetle barbarian mutants and schaephylid swarms, war machines and hell-engines of the Lathe, Relictors, Dragon Warriors, Kol Badar and his personal army; and finally the grand Imperial army of the despoiled and its subordinate legions of twisted mortal soldiers.
The skies burned and the walls ran molten, as these great forces all bombarded and invaded as one discordant mass. Abaddon tried to force some order upon them, but chaos is as chaos does, and it was utter anarchy. This, ironically, played to the strengths of the Inquisitor Lord who commanded the Vaults, for the warbands began to fight each other as much as the defenders. In an effort to bring order to the madness, the Despoiler brought the vengeful Spirit close to the world, as a visual symbol of his continuing presense.
This was an error. As soon as his vessel entered low orbit, the last of the defence lasers simultaneously pounded the vessel, knocking down its shields for five seconds, before they recharged. This was all that was required, for in that instant, the grey knights teleported aboard. They struck the reactors first, and the Black legion stationed there barely managed to prevent them sending the engine critical. Nevertheless, the generators lost power, much to Abaddon’s fury. Gathering his most fearsome chosen around him, he rushed to butcher the fools who thought to deny him his prize. The grey Knights were waiting. Ten gleaming terminators fell upon the huge tusked chosen and the despoiled who rushed to aid them. The leader of the Grey Knights was a thing of epic legends; Brother captain Stern, long thought lost, towered before Abaddon, clad in a vast dreadknight fighting suit. Abaddon’s champion, the daemon prince Belpharoc, brayed in loathing and dread as he threw himself into combat with the hulking war machine and its holy occupant. Two giants clashed in the light cast by a dying plasma reactor; daemon claws against force sword, kai gun against psycannon. Fencing became wrestling, became frantic clawing and punching. At last, Stern broke the prince in two with a single vast sweep of his force sword, before obliterating the body with bolts of psychic lightning which flared form his eyes like a holy beacon.
Abaddon recoiled from the towering silver god of war, who bellowed the 666 litanies as he proceeded to aid in the slaughter of the rest of the Chosen. Abaddon fought alone now, slaying each terminator with ever increasing difficulty. His daemonic runes flared in protest and his sword churned with hate and terror as it felt the holocaust building.
“Your world is dead, failed bastard of my father’s loins! Your Imperium toppled into the abyss. You are alone in this galaxy! You are nothing now!” Abaddon defiantly screamed, as he prepared to fight his final battle. A psycannon bolt blasted his helmet from his shoulders, and snapped his head backwards, unleashing his extravagant topknot from the barbed braid at the top of his skull. Blood frothed from his mouth, and he fell backwards roughly.
Stern advanced, smiling grimly as he removed his helmet. “My brothers survive in me. The Emperor is avenged in me! The bastard of Horus is punished by me!” he howled, raising his blade high.
A las bolt struck his uncovered head. And another, followed by another. Stern’s head was ruptured by the searing blasts, and his concentration was lost. In his dying flourish, a great blast of white light erupted from Stern as his dreadknight simply toppled to the floor. The psychic backlash stunned the terminators, and the daemons bound within the vengeful Spirit took this chance to vanquish their hated foes. Tendrils and oily monstrous sphincters closed upon the defiant knights, who died fighting one and all.
Abaddon rose from the ground, and turned to observe the quivering Despoiled soldier, who lowered his smoking lasgun unsteadily. Abaddon, for the first time in many centuries, cracked a sinister smile. It is said that when on the field of battle, Abaddon is now accompanied by a towering dreadknight, bound and deconsecrated by the greatest of dark mechanicus, and piloted by a mortal man, bound into the machine by disciples of Bile in such a way that every death inflicted by the knight sends a shiver of pure pleasure into the spinal cord of the loyal despoiled Cadian; a grandiose and disgusting reward for saving the Dark Lord’s life.
The nemesis Vault was breached after half a decade of furious siege. The defenders were defeated after most of them starved to death, or were poisoned by the plagues and noisome elixirs of Typhus cleared them out and turned them into shambling monsters. The artefacts within were fought over by the assembled forces, and a furious naval engagement ensued. Some say the greatest artefact in the vault wasn’t a chaos item at all, but rather some great xenos blade, which vanished as soon as the stasis field was lowered. Others say it was stolen by agents for the Heracles cult or the Sons of Magnus. None can be sure.
The Chaos Imperium found foes from without as well as within Angyl worlds began to form in some areas, and specially bred new men, bound with daemons and weapons of profanity, were sent to cleanse these worlds and banish their Archangyls. These elite possessed warbands were known as the Blasphematii, and modelled themselves in ironic mockery of the almost-extinct Grey Knight order. Not only this, but the Vulkan Imperium and Huron Blackheart’s mongrels pressed against his border regions. And, with almost unnoticeable progress, the seals around Solar began to loosen, like the old threads in a tarred rope...
The worst of Abaddon’s foes remained an elusive element for many millennia however. The Alpha-Wulfen and its frenzied inhuman Fenryka who followed the beast destroyed armies and butchered worlds at the heart of the Eye of terror, and seemed to expand their influence as Abaddon left the Eye, as if pursuing him and his forces. All efforts to hunt down this unseen beast have ended in failure, and those malatek stalkers and assassins sent after the Wulfen-king never return. It was claimed it was some sort of wold-daemon from the Eye, summoned and bound by Lorgar to unnerve Abaddon.
However, the truth came some time later, when the threads of eternity pulled more tightly together, and the true conflict became disturbingly apparent.