THE EYE OF TERROR
The Eye of Terror is an anomalous region of space in the galaxy where there exists a tear in the fabric of reality. At the very center of the Eye lies the byssos, a hole in the fabric of reality through which raw Chaos energy pours out, and the surrounding areas exist within both the material universe and the warp; the whole region is a maelstrom of psychic energy and impossible to navigate through.
For the traitor legions, the Eye of Terror has been their exile, sanctuary and safe haven for ten thousand years. The Eye is also sanctuary for the most heretical renegades, fugitives of Imperial justice and traitors throughout the galaxy, and all are welcomed as fellow enemies of the Emperor and the Imperium.
The warp storms that disturb the Eye are so intense that there is little point in even trying to steer a ship in a particular direction. Imperial ships avoid the space surrounding the Eye for thousands of light years; traveling too close to the Eye risks being thrown far off course—or worse, getting caught in temporal whirlpools which could carry them backwards or forwards in time, possibly even trapping them in limbo forever. Chaos renegades, trusting fortune to carry them to their enemies, simply launch themselves into the swirling eddies of the warp. It is during the rare respites in warp storm activity that brings the most danger to the Imperium, for it is then that the forces of destruction are better able to coordinate their forces and attack the surrounding regions less randomly.
The Cadian Gate
Located to the galactic south-east of the Eye lies the Cadian Gate, an area of relatively calm space leading in and out of the Eye of Terror, it is the only predictably stable way out of the Eye and is a target of frequent raids by the forces of Chaos. Because the Imperial world of Cadia lies strategically in the midst of this conduit of stability it is the first line of defense against Chaos incursions into real space and the most fortified and militarized world in the Imperium.
However, the Cadian Gate is not the only stable exit from the Eye, the Rubicon Straits and the Arx gap are other, somewhat less stable ways to exit the Eye. But because they bypass the Cadian Gate, they are a more attractive place to attack from when breaks in the Warp storms allow.
Throughout the past millennia, there have been many massive Chaos incursions spilling out of the Eye of Terror, led by an exceptional Chaos Champion strong enough to bring his fellow warlords and their hosts under his sway. These all-out invasions have been dubbed Black Crusades to better reflect their scale.
When a crusade is launched, whole worlds fall prey to the rampaging hordes of Chaos; the Dark Gods themselves divert their attention to the material realm, delighting in the sacrifices made in their names. The forces and fleets that gather for a Black Crusade are made up of all types of Chaos servants, and leading them are the vengeful warbands of the Chaos Space Marines: the remnants of the original traitorous Marine legions that rebelled against the Imperium.
None of the Black Crusades have been more savage or all-encompassing than the ones led by Abaddon the Despoiler, warmaster of the Black Legion and successor to the primarch Horus. Referring to Abaddon’s Black crusades as mere invasions is completely inappropriate—even labeling them as wars dismisses the magnitude and resources he brings forth from the Eye of Terror. Abaddon has led no less than thirteen Black Crusades. His latest Black Crusade gained him a foothold in space around the Cadian Gate; and though bitter fighting still continues from the last crusade on some worlds, the regions surrounding the Eye of Terror have managed to withstand his last invasion. That is about to change.
Recent History: The Thirteenth Black Crusade
Abaddon’s Thirteenth Black Crusade began in 999.M41, and resulted in the largest mobilisation of both Imperial and Chaotic forces seen since the Horus Heresy. Strategically, the Thirteenth Black Crusade resulted in a minor victory for the forces of Chaos and gave Abaddon a foothold in the Cadian Gate, though he suffered grievous losses to his fleet. Abaddon has been marshalling his allies and negotiating the Fates, waiting for the perfect moment to attack again and finish what his last campaign had started.
The Time is Now: The Fourteenth Black Crusade
Through the Fates, Abaddon has foreseen this moment: a time when the Man’s Imperium in this sector will be beset upon all sides from multitudinous foes: the Ork threat in the region has been increasing and the psychic null in the Warp that heralds Tyranid hive fleets is encroaching upon the region—all at a time when warp storm activity is on the decline around the Eye. And ever the opportunists, the Tau will likely strike the moment the Imperium’s guard is down, such is their lust for empire. The time for Abaddon to redouble his efforts and strike fast approaches; the only factors a mystery to him being the capricious Eldar and the ever-elusive Necrons. Both are likely to be factors swinging against the Imperium if Abaddon’s attacks are conducted with precision. Even now, Abaddon plans his initial moves, stealthily moving towards the Rubicon Straits and the Arx Gap to sow confusion and disorder before fully unleashing a renewed three-pronged attack.
Trident of the Gods
Abaddon has reconstituted his allies into three vast armies, each with different objectives, each promised different rewards for upholding their obligations to the warmaster. At the outbreak of this new Black Crusade, Abaddon will renew his assault upon the Cadian Gate with hopes of reinforcing the marooned remnants of his last Crusade still embroiled in conflict throughout the Cadian solar system.
Abaddon plans to hit the Cadian Gates on its flanks —both physically and metaphorically— as well, targeting the ravaged Scarus and besieged Agripinaa sectors. Should both sectors slip from Imperial control, Cadia will lose vital fighting forces and more importantly, supply lines, reserves and staging grounds with which to wage war.
The paths to the three objectives of Cadia, Scarus and Agripinaa are guarded heavily by Imperial battlefleets. Only through seemingly undirected raiding actions can Abaddon gain the momentum necessary to forge head-on into the hearts of the three sectors that are Abaddon’s true goal.
The First Prong: Scarus Sector
The Scarus sector lies to the galactic north-west of the Eye and is a sub-sector filled with hive-world systems ripe for the picking, with Thracian Primarus being the seat of Imperial power and the only bastion of Imperial strength left in the sector. The easiest path to Scarus lies through the treacherous Rubicon Straits and Arx Gap. Both pathways are lightly defended by the Imperium, but carry their own risks: rampant warp storms. Still, should Abaddon continue to hold the favour of the gods, the warp storm risk will be minimal.
The Second Prong: Agripinaa Sector
The Agripinaa Sector flanks the Cadian Gate and is situated to the galactic south-south-east of the Eye. Much like Scarus, the Agripinaa sector has been ravaged (some systems have completely fallen to Chaos—the planet of Ulthor has even been claimed by Typhus of the Death Guard Traitor Legion), with only the Agripinaa solar system itself still standing strong. As with all the space lanes surrounding Cadia, the skies in this sector are dominated by the Imperial Navy, and so the way to Agripinaa’s defeat must be circuitous in nature. Consequently, it is with his eyes on Agripinaa that Abaddon plans to attack the Chinchare sub-sector and the Sentinel Worlds—two seemingly unrelated sub-sectors whose fall will guarantee easy travel to the Agripinaa sector.
The Third Prong: Cadian Gate
The Cadian Gate—and the planet Cadia itself—has ever been the goal of every one of Abaddon’s Black Crusades. Through striking at the Inquisition-held system of Nemesis Tessera, Abaddon hopes to storm the Cadian sector and reinforce his armies marooned in the Cadian solar system proper. However, even if the planet Cadia should itself fall, the Gate will stand strong until all other systems in its sector are subjugated to the will of the warmaster: there are simply too many bases and forge worlds capable of continuing the fight even without the planet Cadia there to lead them.
Abaddon has learned much since his last crusade, foremost being that he can afford to bide his time more than the Imperium can –so long as he stages his successes. Even if only one attack prong of this campaign is successful, it will still carry a margin of victory for Abaddon should his legions suffer not too many losses. Though the destruction of all Imperial bastions within the vicinity of the Eye of Terror remains Abaddon’s ultimate goal, his being brought closer to ultimate victory requires complete success merely from two prongs of Abaddon’s attacks. Should all three offensives meet success, the galaxy would be visited a darkness and time of burning the likes it has not seen since Horus was last warmaster.
The Imperium is all too aware of the precipice they stand on at the Cadian Gate…