The Imperial Naval and Konor Expeditionary Force (IN&KEF) began forming following a request by the Praetorian government at the launch of the Plague Wars in Konor. The objectives of the force were the manufactorum stations at Astaramis in the Konor system. The force was assembled under the guidance of Praetorian Colonel Command, and was separate from the main Ultramarine and Imperial Forces forming under Roboute Guilliman. The IN&KEF comprised one battalion of Cadian infantry of 1,000 men enlisted in Cadia's surviving "Steel Host", plus 500 Praetorian naval reservists and ex-sailors who would serve as infantry. The 1st Battalion, IN&KEF was commanded by Colonel Kelly, while the naval reservists were formed into six companies under Commander Beresford. Also included were two mortar gun sections, a signals section and a medical detachment.
Vanitor is a harsh and windswept world that houses the Konor System’s astropathic relay. Without this key communications outpost, the system would be left completely isolated from the wider Imperium.
The Konorian Astropathic Relay, situated upon the wilderness world of Vanitor and guarded by a vast fortress basilica, once linked the Konor System’s Imperial defence force to the greater war effort across Ultramar. It was one of the first targets overwhelmed in the initial blitz of the Chaos invasion, for severing this line of communication left the Konor System shrouded in darkness and confusion. Despite a brave stand, the Munitorum forces responsible for maintaining and defending the facility were encircled and slaughtered. The relay’s astropathic choir were ritually bound and excruciated by Chaos Sorcerers, and the sheer agony of their torment – amplified by the unfortunate beings’ raw psychic power – became a shining beacon to the ravenous monstrosities of the warp.
This piercing psychic scream soon came to the attention of the Grey Knights, who had swiftly identified the growing conflict in Ultramar as a potential lodestone that would draw entities from the roiling depths of the immaterium into realspace. The grim brotherhood of Daemon-hunters knew that to allow this beacon to continue to broadcast its vile signal would ultimately invite the horror of a sector-wide daemonic incursion. Gathering allies to their side, the Grey Knights assembled several strike forces and fell upon the corrupted defenders of Vanitor with merciless brutality, hacking apart Chaos-spawned horrors and their wretched masters. Yet even the Grey Knights could not accurately grasp the nightmare that was spreading across this windswept wilderness world.
Upon the great plains, vast warp breaches vomit the rancid deluge of the empyrean into reality. Amidst the soaring Tremantaen Mountains, Heretic Astartes and their foul minions have dug in like ticks, creating a circle of rockcrete redoubts around the relay, which rests atop the highest peak. Blizzards of frozen blood and transmutative hurricanes whip through these mountain passes, birthing new flyblown horrors or flaying the flesh from those foolish enough to brave the open air. At the Konorian Relay itself, Chaos forces defend their tortured wards with savage determination, unleashing blistering cascades of gunfire and artillery upon those who look to breach the basilica walls. If the Imperials cannot break through this formidable barrier, the agony of the tortured astropaths will only flare brighter, drowning Vanitor in the surging tides of the warp. Surely the damnation of the entire Konor System will swiftly follow.
The breadbasket of Konor, Nethamus’ vast crop oceans and synth-silo complexes feed countless trillions of loyal souls across the system.
Having brought the horror of total war to both the Konor System’s manufacturing capital and its central source of recruits, the Chaos invasion fleet next seeks to deny the Imperial defenders sustenance. By corrupting the breadbasket of Nethamus – a massive, temperate agri world whose enormous crop oceans stretch for thousands upon thousands of miles – the forces of Chaos will starve their prey. Without Nethamus’ vital food supplies, the enormous military engine of the Astra Militarum will grind to a halt. Even more deviously, the Death Guard and their allies can begin the process of distributing tainted produce throughout Ultramar. Once consumed, this plague-ridden foodstuff creates an unending hunger that would tempt millions of mortal souls toward embracing the bountiful gifts of Nurgle.
Yet the Imperium, by now all too aware of the doom approaching Nethamus, has prepared a doomsday response. Soldiers and agri-workers have loaded crop reserves upon vast factory-crawlers, as well as synthesizer silos capable of producing enough food to sustain the ongoing defence of the Konor System. Orbiting Imperial battleships rain magmatic bombs across the planet, incinerating vast swathes of land. As the first Death Guard troops make planetfall, they unleash their virulent contagions into the atmosphere. The spreading blight is met all on sides by colossal walls of swirling flame, or vast stretches of barren wasteland, where clouds of ash mix with daemonic spores to create a putrid toxic rain.
The corruption of Nethamus has been stalled, but if the Imperial defenders cannot hold the attackers at bay, it will be for naught. The Chaos forces’ armoured formations have launched assault after assault upon the mobile factory-crawlers. Thus far, the bravery of the Astra Militarum and Adeptus Astartes tank crews has held them at bay, but many isolated crawlers have been surrounded and blasted apart, or boarded by vengeful Chaos warriors, the agri-workers inside butchered and their precious cargo despoiled. Should the Imperial forces continue to lose their factory-crawlers at such a rate, famine will spread across Konor and the surrounding region in a matter of weeks.
After days of bloody fighting, the Imperium has regained control of the forge world of Konor. Even now, its sprawling manufactorum districts pump out fresh munitions and weapons for the war effort.
Their armies reinforced by fresh conscripts and supplies after the victory at Astaramis, the system’s defenders entered the raging battle for the forge world of Konor with eager fury. They found themselves battling through a nightmarish hellscape of industrial devastation, a maze of shattered manufactorums and debris-strewn labour-halls where they were as likely to be sliced into pieces by malfunctioning machinery as they were to be slain by one of the roving bands of Chaos marauders that haunted the ash-choked streets.
Worse still, hordes of opportunistic Orks had descended upon the stricken forge world, seeking to strip as much scrap metal and fuel as possible from Konor’s vast reserves. These violent looters were equally dangerous to the forces of the Imperium and the Chaos invaders, as they rampaged across Konor in their smoke-spewing war machines, hacking and bludgeoning to death any unfortunate enough to cross their path.
Nevertheless, the soldiers of the Imperium went about their task with grim courage, pushing through the ravaged districts towards vital strategic targets. In a bloody and attritional grind, elite units of Adeptus Astartes warriors forced back their hated foes, the Traitor Marines. Terminator and Aggressor armour clashed and sparked under ceaseless volleys of bolter fire, and Dreadnoughts and monstrous Daemon Engines rumbled through the carnage, crushing and blasting the life from their foes. Many heroes fell in this crucible of slaughter. Yet, with freshly bolstered detachments of well-armed Astra Militarum veterans at their side, the loyalist counter-assault overwhelmed the embattled Chaos forces.
Though victory came at a heavy cost, Imperial control of Konor was secured, and a sizeable percentage of its precious production capability remained operational. Within hours of the battle’s end, the forge world’s recaptured manufactorums and assembly halls were sanctified with machine blessings and reactivated, and began to churn out vital equipment and machinery for the escalating war effort.
The forge world of Konor is a vital cog in the war machine of Ultramar, its sprawling manufactorum districts pumping out a ceaseless stream of weapons, ammunition and battle tanks.
Konor is the manufacturing and fuel-producing capital of its eponymous system, and thus this forge world is a vital target for both Imperial and Chaos forces. The Death Guard and their allies have assembled a vast invasion force for the conquest of the planet, including detachments of xenos mercenaries and millions-strong hordes of fanatical cultists.
Manpower will be vital in the attritional conflict to come. The Chaos assault on Konor opened several days ago with an apocalyptic orbital bombardment, plague-ridden space hulks and Despoiler-class warships ravaging the holdings and armies of the Adeptus Mechanicus with waves of inferno missiles and toxin cascades, churning the planet’s atmosphere into a hellish cocktail of flesh-melting viruses and choking smoke. Almost half of Konor’s industrial capability has already been utterly demolished, and the invaders are landing an increasing tide of troops planetside. The prodigious level of destruction has been judged appropriate by the Heretic Astartes commanders responsible for prosecuting the slaughter, for even with so many manufactorum districts shattered, Konor is still capable of pumping out colossal quantities of battle tanks and munitions. With the billions of slaves claimed by the invasion fleet put to work in the manufactorums, the forge world would produce even more still should it fall under Chaos control.
The Imperium of Mankind’s war effort in the Konor System, and indeed the wider conflict raging across Ultramar, will be severely derailed if Konor is lost to Chaos. Thus, Imperial high command has authorised the dispatching of several armies to relieve the besieged defenders. Archmagos Gother Zymus and his Skitarii legions yet retain control of Forge Temple Cladis and its surrounding domain, and are aided in their stubborn defence by Imperial Knights of House Raven. Yet outside their rapidly receding kill-quadrants and excoriation zones, the enemy presses ever closer, with heavily armoured assault troops and Daemon Engines grinding their way through the shattered innards of manufactorums and hab-arcologies. In this hellish no man’s land, squads of dead-eyed killers stalk the choking sprawl for fresh prey, looking to secure key objectives such as vox relays, promethium refineries and precious intact generatorums.
Astaramis stands. The forces of Chaos brought terror and death to this gleaming hive world, but the Imperial Aquila yet flies from its tallest spires.
The forces of Chaos fell upon Astaramis like slavering wolves, bringing ruin and terror to this once proud monument of Ultramar’s glory. Yet, as the smoke cleared and the echo of gunfire ceased, the hive world remained standing, battered but unbroken. Despite suffering horrific casualties during the early stages of the Chaos onslaught, the armies of the Imperium dug in with rugged determination, hurling back each fresh assault with blistering cascades of las and bolter fire, turning to knives, makeshift weapons and fists when the slaughter boiled over into hand-to-hand combat.
Try as they might, the Chaos invaders could not break the defenders’ spirits, nor scour them from their fortifications. Their rage and frustration was only exacerbated by a series of lightning attacks by the Aeldari of the craftworlds, who emerged from the hidden labyrinth of the webway to slice into the rear of the Chaos formations. There was no formal alliance between the Imperium and these deadly raiders, but the Aeldari ever follow their own mysterious whims. Fusillades of shuriken fire and pinpoint lances of searing energy tore through the unsuspecting ranks of the invaders, and even as they regrouped and reformed, the xenos disappeared from whence they came, leaving nothing but the smoking bodies of their victims behind.
This flanking assault badly stalled the Chaos advance, buying precious time for Primaris Space Marine reinforcements to arrive on Astaramis. Unable to force a breakthrough at the vital Praxima Skyport, the massed heretical legions could only watch with furious hatred as fresh regiments of grim-faced warriors and columns of heavy armour made planetfall, rushing to shore up gaps in the Imperial line wherever they emerged. Inch by bloody inch, the Chaos invasion force was pushed back to the outer hab-zones of the hive cities, and the flag of Ultramar was raised proudly upon the highest spire of Saviour’s Landing – a symbol of defiance and Imperial might that girded the heart of every loyalist warrior.
In the wake of this vital victory, Imperial High Command immediately ramped up the production of munitions on Astaramis, and issued a decree requiring every human of fighting age to take up arms in the defence of Ultramar. Such a vast resource of manpower will be vital in the battles to come, for the war in the Konor System is far from over…