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“Together with our allies in the Polar Crystal Alliance, we will lay their battlefleets aflame, liberate their thralls, and ensure that our victory in Borealis will portend our ultimate triumph!”
- - Primarch Voro Acetenus
The War of Cleansing was a conflict fought in 11 NE between the forces of the Mou'Cyran Accords, the Unified Order of Cognalorilos, the Polar Crystal Alliance and the New Cyrannian Republic against the Cognatus Empire led by Warmaster Xarn Senakh'tenre. A war of liberation to free the enslaved Eaglartin from the iron grasp of Senakh'tenre, the war was distinguished by an Order-led blitz into Cognatus Empire-occupied space, orchestrated by Fleetlord Thaur Vicliquam under the direction of the Primarch Voro Acetenus.
While short, the War of Cleansing was one of the bloodiest conflicts in the Sundering of the Cognatus, both in terms of military causalities on both sides and the xenocidal campaign against the enslaved Eaglartin when they began to rise up when news of the advancing allied fleet reached their enslaved worlds. The conflict ended during the Battle of Fanaticus, during which the allies were spared from near-destruction by the arrival of the New Republic armada. Nevertheless, the Allied victory would be pyrrhic. While Eaglartin space was liberated, it was also decimated and depopulated. Nevertheless, the Eaglartin people survived to rebuild their ruined culture and civilisation as equal members of Borealisan society.
The Allies Conspire
At the Council Tower of Hyperborea, Arkarixus consulted his terminals in order to keep himself up to date with the current events happening across the station. As the warmaster of the Polar Crystal Alliance, it is his duty to ensure the safety of its citizens. The information which passed through him would be normally too overwhelming for a normal person to understand, but his near-Ultraterrestrial mind allowed him to pay attention to multiple things at once with fair ease. Suddenly, a notification appeared on one of his terminals, indicating that someone was seeking to begin a long-range conversation. Turning his attention to the notification, the warmaster answered.
- Arkarixus: "This is Warmaster Arkarixus."
The holographic image of a large Cogsangui emerged, adorned in an elaborate golden and crimson battle armour.
- Voro Acetenus: "Greetings, Warmaster. This is Voro Acetenus, Primarch of the Unified Order of Cognalorilos. I bring tidings on behalf of my people."
- Arkarixus: "An unexpected contact. What is it you desire, Primach?"
Voro placed his hands behind his back.
- Voro Acetenus: "It has come to my attention that the barbaric fools of the Cognatus Empire established a string of colonies in your galaxy many years ago, through fire and death. They are savages which I intend to destroy. Tell me, warmaster, have you any dealings with these terrorists?"
- Arkarixus: "The Cognatus Empire interferred with the formation of the Alliance during the Great War. They enslaved the Eaglartin race and cut off contact when we dealt with their leaders for the purpose of them joining our ranks. The Alliance as a whole has a sour view of them."
Voro slammed his fist against a surface which did not appear in the hologram.
- Voro Acetenus: "Vile beasts! Their madness must end!"
- Arkarixus: "You intend to fight them, I assume."
Voro clicked his mandibles in an apparent gesture of surprise.
- Voro Acetenus: "But of course. How else would I deal with them? I invite your forces to fight alongside ours against this mutual foe."
- Arkarixus: "I expected you to say that when you mentioned them. I have seen your warriors in action before and your people reminds me of my own... The Alliance would most definitely be content with the Cognatus Empire out of our galaxy."
- Voro Acetenus: "Glorious day. I shall dispatch Fleetlord Thaur Vicliquam to represent our Order in this matter. May the worlds of the traitors return to the dust."
- Arkarixus: "I shall speak to the Council to confirm this plan. I already have soldiers in mind to lead our fleet to war. We shall see to removing these zealots from our home."
Thousands of light years away, a Melkón-class Dreadnought hovered motionless over the Eaglartin homeworld of Fanaticus. In the cavernous interior of the bridge, Warlord Xarn Senakh'tenre sat in his hovering command chair, overlooking the scurrying bridge officers as they did their duties in the service of the Cognatus Empire. From the distant Borealis Galaxy, the politics of the core Cognatus territories in Cyrannus meant very little. Nevertheless, when a priority transmission arrived from the mother galaxy, Xarn was inclined to respond. Where once was a large holographic image of Fanaticus, the head of Vos Adamae appeared—the self-declared Archon of the Cognatus Empire.
- Vos Adamae: "Warlord Xarn. I trust you are coping well with the challenges of overseeing those Eaglartin heretics. I admit some trepidition whether or not a leader of your calibre would be up to the challenge."
Xarn growled under his breath.
- Xarn Senakh'tenre: "Hold your tongue, "Fleetlord" Adamae. Your authority hear hangs on the edge of a blade. Incur my wrath and the False Primarch will not be your only concern."
Adamae dismissed the threat with a wave of his mechanical arm.
- Vos Adamae: "You will accord me the respect befitting the Primercer's Hand."
- Xarn Senakh'tenre: "Will I, indeed?"
Vos narrowed his eyes, but decided to drop the matter.
- Vos Adamae: "No matter. It may interest you to know, Senakh'tenre, that the False Primarch has dispatched the Fleet of Majestic Integrity to Borealis. If you are so eager to cut ties with the true Cognatus Empire, by all means, be my guest. Know this however, as the heretic fleet smashes your defences, you will receive no aid from me."
Xarn templed his hands.
- Xarn Senakh'tenre: "Very well... Archon. Our partnership will continue, provided you can aid against the False Primarch's forces. I do not intend to rot in an Acetenu prison."
Moving his mandibles in the Cogsangui equivalent of a smile, Vos nodded and closed the transmission, content that his power over the Borealis worlds was reaffirmed.
It took less than a day for Primarch Acetenus to receive the news that the Polar Crystal Council unanimously agreed to lend their support to his cause. At the spaceports of Hyperborea's Arm One, the commanders of the Order of Cognalorilos awaited to meet the fleet leaders who would represent the Alliance in this campaign. Flanked by Aegis Guardsmen was a Zoles in ornamented armor, which displayed trophies of past successful conflicts. Standing in front of their dropship was the Fleetlord of Majestic Integrity, Thaur Vicliquam, who stood alongside his first officer, Ankhnes Nar Monomai. As the Zoles approached, the two Cogsangui placed their claw-like hands to their armoured chests and bowed their heads in greeting. Fleetlord Vicliquam was adorned in a golden armour indicative of his high status in Cogsangui society, while Ankhnes wore gleaming silver as a lower ranked, but esteemed Warrior. Thaur was the first to speak.
- Thaur Vicliquam: "Honour to you."
- Asraels: "Good day. I am Asraels, Grand-Commandant of the Zoles Imperium. By the Warmaster's request, I will lead the Alliance's fleets by your side."
- Thaur Vicliquam: "I am pleased to hear it. I am Fleetlord Thaur Vicliquam of the Harbinger of Truth. This is my first officer, Warrior Ankhnes Nar Monomai."
The female Cogsangui bowed her head upon Thaur's introduction.
- Asraels: "I must ask the strategy we shall use against this Cognatus Empire. They are a new enemy for us all."
- Thaur Vicliquam: "They are fearsome foes, no doubt. This, Warlord Xarn fellow is particularly dangerous. With him in command of the Battlefleet, our victory is by no means assured. Nevertheless, I command a Melkón-class Dreadnought, much like our opponent. Perhaps you would consider having your ships play a supporting role?"
- Asraels: "It is possible. The fleets of the Zoles are currently awaiting orders, as are those of the Niaka, the Seagon, the Kicath and the Paladians. This Warlord you speak of should be considered a high priority target."
Ankhnes placed her hands behind her back and clicked her mandibles.
- Ankhnes: "As he should be. Though reports indicate that if we capture or, preferably, kill the traitor, his fleets will fall apart. When the so-called Cognatus Empire invaded your galaxy many years ago, they did so as a united empire. Now, with the fall of the Primercer, they grow desperate. Desperate and fractured."
- Asraels: "I see this war extends far beyond Borealis then. You have already bested the bulk of the enemy and are now after its remnants."
- Ankhnes: "Yes. Since we captured Cognalorilos, they have struggled to make a dent against our superior fleets. Though, as we all know, a menda is at its most dangerous when cornered."
- Asraels: "If the enemy will scatter at the defeat of the Warlord, then we should prioritize gaining control of Fanaticus, the homeworld of the Eaglartin race. He is most certainly stationed there, as that was where the Cognatus Empire first arrived to our galaxy."
- Thaur Vicliquam: "You know more about this galaxy of ice than we. What would you suggest as a means to capture Fanaticus and the sectors under the corruption of our misguided brothers?"
- Asraels: "The Polar Crystal Alliance is a force with great numbers. Perhaps we can diverge his attention by attacking his borders, while you make a push for the planet. He will not be able to counter attack both of us at once. Once Fanaticus is in our control, capturing the other sectors should not be an issue."
- Thaur: "A clever strategy. If you require any of my vessels to partake in your attack on the border worlds, say the word. Likewise, we may require one of your fleets to aid us in the push for Fanaticus. I daresay Xarn knows the vessels of the Order well, while your ships will be an unknown element to be sure."
- Asraels: "Would you rather have me in the push, or would you prefer if I led the border assaults? Depending of what you prefer, I have individuals in mind who will make for fine commanders."
- Thaur: "That is not for me to say. Assign your officers and yourself in the positions you see fit."
- Asraels: "Very well. Unless there is anything else to note, we should prepare for the campaign to come. It will certainly be a bloody one."
Battle of Xararus
On the bridge of the Harbinger of Truth, Ankhnes and Thaur watched eagerly as the hundreds of vessels in the combined Fleet of Majestic Integrity sped toward their destination. The planet Xararus, a Cognatus fortress world constructed over the ruins of a once proud Eaglartin city awaited them, and to Thaur's relief, they had retained the element of surprise. One by one, the ships of the fleet erupted from hyperspace above the partially glassed surface of Xararus, with the outlines of now pulverised urban centres clearly visited from above. When the Harbinger of Truth transitioned to normal space, Thaur folded his leathery arms over his golden-armoured chest. Standing next to him was Ankhnes, who leaned forward over the holographic console displaying a broad overview of the planetary system. At the centre lay Xararus itself, which was blockaded by a fleet of Cognatus Empire warships, including a Oupavia-class Battlecruiser, twelve Ágios-class destroyers, five Angelós-class destroyers and over two dozen Loriss-class attack frigates.
Perched on his hovering command chair, Thaur ordered the Fleet of Majestic Integrity to fire all weapons at the lead Oupavia Battlecruiser. Scratching a mandible, Thaur realised that he possessed the sheer numerical advantage, as well as the fact that a single Melkón-class Dreadnought would be sufficient to combat an entire fleet of Imperial Star Destroyers, let alone a Cognatus defence force consisting of largely obsolete vessels. Nevertheless, he knew that arrogance was the bane of many commanders and took great care with every decision. Flanked by over forty Co-Nihil-class battlecruisers, three Exaltatio-class assault carriers and ten Diabolus-class armoured cruisers, the Herald of Retribution unleashed the full power of its cannons, melting away even the shielded Cognatus frigates as soon as the mighty lances of the Dreadnought impacted against their once gleaming hulls. As Thaur and Ankhnes watched, the commander of the Oupavia-class was clearly a capable tactician. He knew that his fleet could not win with a vast gulf seperating their fleets and therefore moved his surviving vessels within close range to the invading Order vessels, commanding some of the heavily damaged destroyers in suicide runs against the Order's cruisers and carriers. Ultimately however, despite sustaining considerable losses, Thaur brought the Herald port to starboard against the Oupavia Battlecruiser and with a single lance from the quark disruptor, annihilated the bridge, causing the once proud vessel to sink beneath the battle before disintegrating in the planet's atmosphere.
Meanwhile, the ground under the battle was quickly filled with troopers as both the Order and the Polar Crystal Alliance sent down suttles for the purpose of taking control of the planet. The Eaglartin still living there, until now confused at the seemingly Cognatus fighting each other, realized what was happening once the races of the Alliance emerged alongside those of the Order. Ankhnes was tasked to leading the Cogsangui into battle, and once she arrived, she would meet up with the leader of the Alliance strike force: the Paladian captain Olcinius, one of the famed commanders brought to the campaign by Commandant Asraels.
The Empire forces at the surface of Xararus steadily found themselves overwhelmed by the combined force of the Order and the Alliance. While their technology surpassed that of the majority of the natives, the Cogsangui found themselves attacked in melee range by creatures such as the Murgur, the Ransio, the Borealis Zazane and the Loron who were more than a match to them in physical prowess. This great variety of races was the Alliance's trump card, and while the Empire fought with all they had, the allied forces eventually pushed them back and gained control over the capital of Xararus. Both Ankhnes and Olcinius found themselves hailed by the Eaglartin in the city, who begun collectively bowing to them as a form of gratitude for saving them from the Cognatus Empire's clutches.
Ambush at Castrion
For four weeks, the unified armada of the Order of Cognalorilos and the Polar Crystal Alliance had won victory after victory, carving through Cognatus Empire space aiming for the utter liberation of the Eaglartin people from the tyrannical claws of Warlord Xarn. On the bridge of the Shadow of the Cleansing Sun, the Melkón-class Dreadnought serving as the flagship of the Cognatus Empire in Borealis, Xarn stood overlooking the war table, a map of local space overlayed before him. The traitorous filth and their extragalactic allies had successfully captured more than a third of Cognatus space since their invasion began. Placing his hands behind his back, Xarn nodded to himself resolutely. Their advance would stop here, at Castrion. He would see to that.
Forty ships of the Fleet of Majestic Intregrity, joined by twelve Paladian vessels and twenty Niaka fighters, dropped out of hyperspace. On the bridge of the lead Battlecruiser, the Cogsangui commander Mae Turanai sat on his hover chair, his eyes fixed on the planet ahead. A part of him questioned the logic of Fleetlord Thaur's decision to split the Combined Fleet into several taskforces to aid to limit loses, though thus far, no such problems have presented themselves to confirm his misgivings. As he glanced at the display unit, he was somewhat surprised to learn that only a single Cognatus vessel remained in the system, hovering over the northern continent of Castrion, its gleaming crimson hull glimmering in the setting sun. Clearly the Warlord Xarn believed that, given his recent loses, preserving his strength for the inevitable battle for Fanaticus was the only way he could survive as a commander of his fellow Cogsangui.
With a volley of plasma torpedoes, the enemy ship was destroyed, though almost as soon as Turanai had given the order, they received a distress transmission from the planet's surface. Putting it onscreen, the commander was presented with a clearly emancipated female Eaglartin, who spoke of the horrors she and her people had suffered under Xarn's rule. On behalf of the Order, Commander Turanai pledged that their hardship was over. Holding geosynchronous orbit over the capital city, the smaller vessels of the fleet descended into the planet's cloudy atmosphere toward the central plaza. Watching their descent, Turanai clicked his mandibles in relief, an entire planet was saved with not a single casualty. Just as he was about to turn to his first officer to announce their victory, everything around Turanai exploded.
The Shadow of the Cleansing Sun disengaged its phase device as the matter disruptor unleashed torrents of energy onto Turanai's ship, which was almost immediately incinerated by the far larger vessel. The resulting explosion destroyed much of the remainer of the fleet, while subsequent blasts from the Shadow of the Cleansing Sun and her escort ships mopped up the rest. To the survivors, Xarn granted them enough time to report what had happened to their superiors, before turning his cannons onto the planet itself, personally directing the lances of "cleansing flame" onto the planet below, obliterating all life in the populated zone.
After the destruction of Castrion, the Shadow of the Cleansing Sun returned to Fanaticus with the remainder of its core fleet. Xarn sat in his ready room, his arms crossed over his chest, awaiting a status report from his first officer, Wyvex Dar'uantan. After a few minutes of waiting, the Warmaster saw the face of his officer appear on his screen, though his expression was not a common one, for it was one of appearent unease.
- Wyvex: "Warmaster Senakh'tenre. I bring news from the inner colonies."
- Xarn: "What news, Wyvex?"
- Wyvex: "The news of the enemy's campaign are spreading. The slaves have become unruly. They have started a so-called... "revolution"."
- Xarn: "I do not have the patience for such vague information, Wyvex. On which world is this... revolution?"
- Wyvex: "Most of them, Warmaster. The Eaglartin are taking arms against our forces. Burning buildings and vehicles. Chanting about how the Order are their... "saviors"... I would expect such a movement to be brewing at Fanaticus as we speak."
Behind his helmet, Xarn's red eyes narrowed and he tapped his talon-like fingers against the arm of his hoverchair in irritation.
- Xarn: "Foolish beasts. Make this decree known; for every Eaglartin seen to take up arms against us, kill fifty. For every city overun by the rebels, destroy two. Let them know that the price of their freedom will be the abject destruction of their kind."
- Wyvex: "Very well, Warmaster. We shall teach these vermin respect."
- Xarn: "My will be done. The next we speak, I expect to hear that our thralls have been brought to heel."
Wyvex nodded and with a bow, ended his transmission with the Warmaster.
The Battle of Fanaticus
- Space Battle
The loss at Castrion dealt a serious blow to the joint battlefleet of the Order of Cognalorilos and the Polar Crystal Alliance, both in terms of ships lost and morale shaken. Nevertheless, despite multiple loses in the interior systems of Eaglartin space, likely due to the newfound resolve of the Cognatus Empire in the seat of their Borealisan power, after almost two months of constant struggle, Fanaticus lay on the doorstep of the Fleet of Majestic Intregrity and their allies in the Alliance. Thaur Vicliquam knew that many brave warriors had died to bring them to this day, as well as courageous Eaglartin civilians, who independently from any alien influence, tossed away their shackles and chains and rose up against their Cognatus overlords. Though their casualities were high, Thaur found comfort that their spirits looked down upon them with pride, in the knowledge that the liberation of their kin was nigh. As he sat on his hoverchair, Thaur addressed his allies.
- Thaur Vicliquam: "Friends, clanmates and new found allies, hear my voice. When we arrived in this galaxy, we were greeted with the knowledge that those who would sully the name 'Cognatus' had invaded the sovereign space of a native race, bombarded their cities, slaughtered their children and enslaved their families. Once, we called our foes brothers in arms and in blood, though today, we reject such ties! We are true Cogsangui! The will of the Primarch! We will cast down the false ones as the barbarians they are. We will grind their ships into nothingness and plunge our blade through the heart of their vaunted 'Cognatus Empire'. Their days are numbered my friends. Let us end this!"
- Asraels: "The people of Borealis no longer accepts the machinations of tyrants in its stars. The criminals will be brought to justice. The lives lost will be repaid in blood. Let the enemy witness the consequences of their actions."
On the Order's vessels, roars of battle sounded as the fleet transitioned into realspace in the Fanaticus system. Led by the Harbinger of Truth, the massive armada immediately raised forward shields and launched fore torpedo and beam cannons. Across the gulf of space, solid black was illuminated by the crimson lances of fire erupting from the Order/PCA fleet, impacting against the forward line of Xarn's ships with a violent ferocity. Many of the smaller frigates were immediately obliterated by the force of the Order's attack, though Xarn had months to prepare for this inevitable confrontation.
- Xarn: "All ships, let your cannons roar! Let the void from whence they came, swallow them whole!"
The forward line of Xarn's vessels advanced toward the invading fleet, attempting to form a pincer movement around the more compact mass of allied ships. With weapons fire from every direction, both sides suffered intense casualties during the opening bout. However, the Polar Crystal Alliance fleet, consisting of a far larger number of vessels than seen in earlier engagements provided the allies with a distinct advantage, one which Fleetlord Thaur was keen to take advantage of. As the Order ships provided both direct and diversionary attacks, the Alliance vessels utilised their more nimble designs to run rings around the enemy Cognatus battlecruisers.
Nevertheless, the Shadow of the Cleansing Sun, a heavily upgraded dreadnought, smote Order and Allied vessels alike, sending burning hulls careening to their demise beneath the clouds of Fanaticus' atmosphere. After three hours, neither side had managed to obtain the advantage, prompting Thaur to send a land invasion party led by Ankhnes to the planet's surface. Noticing the orbital insertion pods from the sensors of the Shadow, Xarn turned to Wyvex with a malevolent glint in his eye.
- Xarn: "I will see to their destruction personally. Go, Wyvex, smash their fleets while I deal with their armies."
- Wyvex: "As you order, Warmaster."
Commandeering a dropship, Xarn and a sizable portion of his on board garrison departed from the raging battle in space toward the planet's capital city below.
- Land Battle
The capital city of Fanaticus burned as the battle raged on, with the forces of the Cognatus Empire fighting the soldiers of the Order, the troopers of the Alliance and the Eaglartin who tried to use the opportunity to take arms against their oppressors. The ancient temples dedicated to their god, Lud'nev, were painted red in Eaglartin blood as the garrison under Xarn's control showed no mercy to the natives. He would revel in the destruction of the Eaglartin, their native supporters and the traitors of the Order.
As the Warmaster pushed against the invaders, he found himself attacked by one of them, who attempted to impale him with her energy blade; Ankhnes Nar Monomai and Xarn Senakh'tenre saw each other eye to eye for the first time as she attempted to strike at the enemy leader, who parried her blow with his own blade, the two of them entering a fierce battle as their forces fought around them.
- Xarn Senakh'tenre: "Come, female. May your neck feel the sharp kiss of my blade."
Ankhnes, however, quickly found herself overwhelmed by the far older and more experienced Warmaster as he delivered a strike at her side and swung his blade across her torso, leaving a visible slash across her armor. With a kick, he sent her into the ground and jumped as to pummel his blade into her head, but before he could land, he found himself shot and thrown to the side by soldiers of the Order, who would not just stand and watch the scene unfold. With a growl, he ordered his soldiers to open fire, though that left him distracted enough for Ankhnes to rise to her feet and thrust her blade into Xarn's stomach, impaling through him. Wincing in pain but unwilling to let himself be beaten, the Warmaster swung his elbow to the side of the female warrior's head to knock her back before stepping back to his own soldiers; a lucky strike, perhaps, but he was not willing to be delivered another blow as deep as this one.
Unlike most of his kind, Xarn was not one to let honour step in the way of survival. He knew he would not win this day and had no intention of dying. Cutting down a fumbling Vevilog underling in his way, Xarn stepped into his personal shuttle and ascended into the atmosphere, evading Ankhnes attempts to personally gun down his craft from the surface. To his delight, when he emerged from the clouds, space was littered with the debris of the allied vessels, which had begun to collapse under the intense firepower of the Shadow of the Cleansing Sun. Docking with his flagship, Xarn immediately made his way toward the bridge, where he intended on destroying the Herald of Retribution and its traitorous commander in one fell swoop.
Under heavy bombardment in a broadside with the Shadow, the Herald of Retribution was beginning to fall apart. On the bridge of the mighty Dreadnought, Fleetlord Thaur was about to order a tactical retreat, ordering Ankhnes and her warriors back to the flagship. Just as he was about to speak, the bridge shuddered under the Shadow's firepower, killing three of Thaur's bridge officers. Frantically, Thaur rushed through the debris of his bridge toward his tactical officer, a male Vevilog who was simultaneously working his console and tending to his injured arm.
- Vevilog: "Fleetlord, we need to run away! I didn't sign up for... this!"
- Thaur: "Hold it together, major!"
- Vevilog: "B-bu..."
The Vevilog's attention was distracted by an icon on his monitor.
- Vevilog: "Fleetlord, sir. Ships are dropping out of the void! It's the Republic!"
A distinctly Libertus voice sounded throughout the remnant of the allied fleet.
- Tymonir Vargeryan: "This is Captain Vargeryan of the CRS Ardaeinos. I hope we haven't missed the party."
Led by the CRS Ardaeinos, the newly constructed Republic Constitution-class cruiser, a large Republic fleet had erupted from hyperspace with weapons baring down on Xarn's fleet. Caught unawares, a significant portion of Xarn's armada was unprepared to deal with the newly arrived Republic vessels, around which both the Fleet of Majestic Integrity and the Polar Crystal Alliance fleet had coelesced for a retalitory strike against the Shadow of the Cleansing Sun. Now with three fleets versus one, the Empire's armada begun to fall at an increasing speed, pushing it back as the Order and its allies prepared to deliver the final blow to put an end to the Warmaster's reign of terror once and for all. He growled audibly under his helm for several moments before stopping, an equivalent of a grin growing on his face as he issued orders for his fleet.
- Xarn: "You think you have won here, but your prize is about to escape your grasp. Wyvex."
- Wyvex: "Yes, Warmaster?"
- Xarn: "Destroy Fanaticus. Let "Lud'nev" burn."
As the sole surviving vessel in his fleet, the Shadow of the Cleansing Sun engaged its engines and arched away from the debris-filled sky of the battlefield and toward the planet's surface. As the Order, Republic and Alliance ships pursued, what they witnessed from the relative safety of their vessels would forever impact on each and everyone of their lives. Massive bolts of energy descended from the underbelly of the Shadow, vast lances of quark plasma sinking beneath the clouds, boiling away the atmosphere before impacting against the capital city. The Shadow had scarcely begun its bombardment when the planet's mantle began to buckle, creating a titanic pyroclastic explosion which began ripping apart the entire surface of the planet. The oceans boiled away in a matter of minutes while the once verdant surface of the planet sank beneath a planet-wide ocean of magma.
At the bridge of his dreadnought, Grand-Commandant Asraels put a hand over his mouth, before clenching it and slamming it against his desk in rage as he watched his objective be reduced to cinders before his eyes. He had expected the Cognatus to display brutality, but not to go this far.
Xarn's mandibles curved into the Cogsangui equivalent of a smile. As his ship prepared to leave the system, he sent a final transmission to his foes.
- Xarn: "I hope you enjoy the taste of victory, friends. What a pity it is, if you did not launch your invasion, all those pathetic little beasts would still be alive. Tut tut. I hope you find that inhospitable graveworld worth the hundreds of thousands of lives spent toward its liberation. But it matters not. They are dead and soon, you will all follow."
- Asraels: "Heed my words, psychopath. I will see that your Empire never sets foot in our galaxy again. I will see that you rot at Exile Station for this."
- Thaur: "No. I will place my boot upon your throat, vermin. A thousand infernos await you!"
Xarn laughed as the Shadow departed from the Fanaticus system. The war was over.
At the Council Tower of the Polar Crystal Alliance, news of the war's end had just been reported. The combined force of the Order of Cognalorilos, the Alliance and the New Cyrannian Republic pushed the Cognatus Empire out of the galaxy, the zealots fleeing back to Cyrannus through the use of wormholes. However, the destruction of Fanaticus delivered a terrible blow to the Eaglartin, who had been relocated to the space station after being rescued from the Cognatus; their expressions, instead of relief from being given freedom, showed conflict and angst. Their home had been reduced to a sea of magma, and so they asked themselves, did Lud'nev abandon them? Or perhaps the Empire was right, and He never existed at all?
The commanders of the campaign had united for a final time in order to speak of the incident. Grand-Commandant Asraels's expression was clearly discontent, as he hoped to recover the homeworld and not have it destroyed in the conflict. Primarch Voro was clearly saddened by the news, his head bowed down in memory of the billions of innocents killed by Xarn.
- Voro: "There are no words to describe how the surviving Eaglartin must be reacting to the destruction of their homeworld. To think, millennia of history, destroyed in the blink of an eye..."
- Asraels: "Their people is broken. Their worlds are theirs again, but they are in complete disarray. But alas, this is for the Council to resolve. Our goal to push the Empire out of our galaxy has been achieved.
The Libertus captain of the Ardaeinos ran his fingers through his head-feathers.
- Tymonir Vargeryan: "If there is anything the Republic can do to help, it's the least we can do."
- Ankhnes: "Likewise. Xarn and his vile ilk sully the good name of our race and our culture. We would be honoured to pledge ourselves to the protection of the Eaglartin."
Thaur scratched his mandible.
- Thaur: "I doubt there's a single Eaglartin who would like to see a Cogsangui again..."
- Asraels: "All things considered, it was an honour to fight by your side. I admit, I had my doubts due to the image left by the Cognatus Empire, but I can see your Order is worthy of respect."
- Voro Acetenus: "Your words honour us, my friend. May we find solace in the fact that our foe is vanquished in this galaxy, never to return. The war is over and we have emerged triumphant!"
- Mysterious Transmission
Travelling through the wormhole linking Borealis with Cyrannus, Voro Acetenus sat on the bridge of his flagship, the Herald of Retribution, awaiting the transition to his home galaxy. Despite the destruction of the Eaglartin homeworld, Voro took some modicum of comfort in the fact that the Cognatus Empire have been driven from an entire galaxy. Soon, if fortune favoured them, they would be driven from Cyrannus and ultimately, existence by the superior might of the Unified Order of Cognalorilos. Just as the Primarch was about to retire to his chambers, the vessel received a transmission from one of the Order's ships operating deep in the Milky Way Galaxy.
The image of Morin Ehtar, clad in silver armour appeared holographically from the central display unit. Recently returned from action in the Neraida War, Ehtar had been assigned to the Milky Way upon receiving reports that preliminary exploration ships along the galaxy's outer arm had mysteriously vanished.
- Morin Ehtar: "Primarch Acetenus. This is Morin Ehtar from the Endurance of the Hallowed Star."
- Voro Acetenus: "Fleetlord Ehtar, honour to you. What is it that you wish to report?"
- Morin Ehtar: "Following investigation of the missing exploratory ships in the Milky Way, we have reasons to believe we have uncovered another pocket of Cognatus Empire activity in this galaxy. Most specifically, in the region once inhabited by the First Empire that we thought abandoned."
- Voro Acetenus: "I feared that would be the case. No doubt they believe reclaiming that territory would restore some measure of prestige after we smashed them in the skies above Cognalorilos."
- Morin Ehtar: "What shall be our course of action?"
- Voro Acetenus: "Our conflict is not confined to Cyrannus, Fleetlord. Our course is clear. We shall seek out these false Cogsangui and hunt them to the last!"