Rogue Trader-Victoria aut Mortis
The First Jenurax Crusade
Vanus Temple take on Jenurax Crusade:
The Jenurax Crusade was one of the many crusades undertaken in order to reverse losses in a sector. It is primarily notable for the catastrophic losses sustained despite powerful forces committed and the daemon which caused most of them.
The beginning of the crusade came after decades of small losses as chaos forces defeated regional units and made small gains on peripheral worlds. It was noticed by an Admiral Jellaque that while those worlds were minor they would make an excellent staging point for attacks on Ultima IV, a planet which served as a trade nexus for half the sector. If the Imperium lost that planet, the sector’s defense would be severely compromised and all those planets would likely fall.
The sector battlefleet was mustered, and reinforcements were asked of neighboring sectors. The response was quite strong, even including a nearly full company of Space Marines of the Gryphon Knights chapter under Librarian Rodrigo Diaz and the battle barge Stormbringer. With such an unassailable force at their command, the leaders of the crusade were able to batter world after world into submission, and worlds started falling after desultory resistance. However, the Chaos forces knew that the Imperial force was dependent on getting supplies, and so after losing nearly half the planets they had taken, in a series of short, sharp blows on Imperial supply lines, they managed to inflict serious damage on the Imperial ability to supply their fleet. Before long, the crusade fleet sent ships from neighboring sectors home due to an inability to supply them and brought in as many Rogue Traders as could be found and trusted to carry the supplies needed.
As the Imperial fleet fell upon the last Chaos footholds in the sector, Chaos sprung its trap. Cults on Ultima IV threw the planet into turmoil and cut off the fleet from supply as Rogue Trader convoys were destroyed by raiders. Mistrust sprung up as traitors were suspected, and the Inquisition spent much time looking at Rogue Traders, and there are rumors that Inquisitors used these investigations as an excuse to co-opt control of more than one dynasty. Uprisings on worlds that had fallen without much fighting jeopardized all the Imperium had regained.
The Imperial fleet was forced to retreat and after a very hurried and inadequate supply stop, moved to protect Ultima IV in light of increasingly panicked messages about Chaos taking control of the planet.
The Imperial fleet left the warp expecting combat, instead they found the world deserted. The orbital structures were boarded to secure them, and reports were sent of blasphemous desecration, but no enemy contact was reported. After the last Thunderhawk had docked with a target, Chaos struck. An atmospheric incineration torpedo that had been left in low orbit was detonated, and the entire remaining population of the planet sacrificed. The full Chaos fleet dropped out of the warp as the troops on the orbital station reported a huge number of daemons, the last the fleet ever heard of those troops.
The Chaos fleet immediately disgorged massive numbers of assault boats and boarding torpedoes and then maneuvered to engage the disordered Imperial fleet. The Stormbringer was boarded by over a thousand assault boats and the boarding action rendered her combat ineffective. The Imperial fleet, while notionally the more powerful one, showed the effects of their long time on marginal supplies and heavy Chaos use of boarding attacks diverted crew from their tasks to take the place of the armsmen dying on the orbital stations.
The fleet reached its climax as Chaos troops reached the bridge of the Stormbringer. Information of what happened is inconclusive but it seems that the demon Iocanthurax had bound itself loosely to the sword of the man claiming to be the leader of Chaos forces, and when he parried the force sword of Librarian Diaz, Iocanthurax was able to use the connection to destroy the librarian before he could defend himself properly. With the death of Diaz, the Stormbringer fell. With the most powerful ship in the Imperial fleet falling to the Chaos forces, the Imperials found themselves outgunned and outfought. The loss of the Imperial flagship, the Light of Redemption, to an incredibly powerful Repulsive class cruiser with a silver castle in lieu of a bridge caused the final shattering of the Imperial fleet. Only one in five ships to attack Ultima IV returned, and the most optimistic estimate of Chaos losses were four cruisers and assorted escorts.
With the defeat over Ultima IV, half the sector fell as quickly as the late Admiral Jellaque had predicted, and the crusade soon shifted to a fight to save whatever of the sector could be protected. After getting their ships sent back underprovisioned, however, neighboring sectors sent only what they could afford to lose and the rest of the campaign was mute testimony to the equivalence of sending only what can be lost without complaint and loss. The communication in the fleet was strained at best and it seemed to observers that the only being who knew what the Imperial fleet was doing was Iocanthurax.
The sector fell nearly as fast as the Imperial forces were able to destroy facilities too important to allow to fall. The greatest loss was the Mechanicus research facility on Tercius III, where promising research into conflating human intelligence and machine spirits was ongoing. Unfortunately the ships where such research was being performed were all lost during the crusade, a fact which led to multiple failed Mechanicus expeditions in the millenia since.
This crusade was the first time Iocanthurax appeared that can be confirmed (indeed confirmation is often the hardest part), but he made it clear that stopping his plans is of the utmost importance due to their skill and ultimate scale. If allowed to accomplish his first goals, entire sectors can be endangered at the minimum. We suspect he may have been behind the Daemonhost Inquisitor Incident, which should serve as suitable testimony to his ambition.