The Naevus Heresy
Mission 19 Prologue
The fighting in the Helion Belt Freesian Sector has been going on for some time. Legions of Ostian troops are deployed there in order to blood them and remove the requirement for the munitorium to send an actual Guard Regiment.
The current fighting is centred around the Jarvinis system. The Ostian III legion is in the centre of the fighting supported by sections of the Ostian VIII. Morale amongst the Ostian troops is not great, many begrudge the fact that they have been deployed out of rotation and it was clearly the VIII’s time for a major deployment, however the military tradition of Ostia is strong, and even though many troops moan about their unscheduled deployment and lack of rest, they get on with the business of fighting the enemy to the best of their abilities.
Legate Lecrutia is a highly skilled and competent commander who commands respect from her troops. She holds a power gladius, an award for bravery and skill in the pursuit of her duty nearly 50 years ago in the Tycho Mutiny. The second in command Centurion Primus Durmius Libo Cassius leads the 1st century and bears the Primus Pilus. Durmius was also present at the Tycho Mutiny and was awarded the Golden Torc for bravery.
Although the troops are not a guard regiment they fight as well as any new guard regiments and better even than some veteran regiments. The calibre of recruits is very high, and it is a great honour to be part of the Ostian Legions. Regiments for the guard are often drafted directly from the legions, and that is what every Legate dreams of for his or her legion.
The quality of the auxiliary troops fighting on Jarvinis cannot be spoken of so highly. Almost twice as many men and women again as are in the legions form the irregular auxiliary elements fighting for the Emperor. These consist of conscripts from hive worlds, penal battalions of petty criminals and deserters, feral humans captured from deathworlds, and even an army of about 15,000 recruited from a primitive world where they still use swords and shields. These troops handed lasguns and flak jackets are ill-disciplined and generally weak, though individuals in them are often very fierce.
It is into one of these units that Ex-commissar Isaac now finds he has been thrust. Loaded like cattle into a troop transport, fitted with a collar designed to “improve morale” and given a las-pistol and knife, survival kit and told to fight/die for the Emperor.
Jarvinis III is a non-toxic planet with a breathable atmosphere. It combines large arctic like regions with huge swamp like areas. Weather patterns can change quickly as the climate is variable seemingly able to reverse those zones in a matter of months. The strange crystalline structures that grow here can be mined and used as a component in warp engines. Hence why the planet is worth fighting over.
The first two weeks of fighting went well for the Imperial troops. The enemy were handed several major defeats. The advance then halted, many of the irregulars felt angered that after getting the enemy on the run they would just stop and lose their momentum. But Isaac had seen enough wars before and was well aware that the Legate’s initial advances were probably too quick and she needed time to bring up supplies and support as well as artillery or risk a major reversal. The survivors of Isaac’s unit had gathered around him as a leader figure after his experience saved them on more than one occasion.
However after a week Isaac was pumped up for another push, he’d seen enough fights to know it was time and he trusted the skill of the Legate, after two he was confused at the lack of an advance, after three he knew something was wrong and by the fourth the enemy had brought the battle back to the Imperials.