Featuring discourses upon the dalliances with Chaos certain of their officers did entertain, the unusual events on Ha’lios, and other informations.
Introduction: The Nature of Era’ven
To begin this report consider first the location of the system known to the Tau as Era’ven, to its previous masters as Erufas Elia Primus. It is comparatively far from the centre of their small empire, seized from a marginal Imperial presence late into their most recent spate of expansions. Most notable of all is its station within a knot of nebulae of strange form, where the boundary between warp and realspace is thin (cf. Gakarius, Notes on the Elia Primus Subsector & Its Stellar Phenomenae, 667.M41). In his Notes, Inquisitor Gakarius claimed “Erufas Elia Primus would have been declared uninhabitable, were it not already settled and known as Erufas by the time the Explorator Elia arrived.”
The curious stellar geography of Erufas Elia Primus extends to its two habitable planetoids (of a cluster of ten). Two bodies, one a moon of the other yet close in size, remain in geostationary orbit and their complex gyrations account for the compass of almost the entire habitable belt of the sun. The first human colonists there declared the binary planet to be a sacred thing and endeavoured to turn it into a glorious shrine-colony. They failed, perhaps proving Elia’s point that the system should not have been colonised. Instead, the colony remained a cluster of failed hive projects and cities around the skeletons of cathedrals and reliquaries, guarded forlornly by a force comprised from several under-strength Guard regiments.
Thus when the Tau laid eyes on the system, its defences were weak and it was quickly overrun. Half of its defenders surrendered within the first month of combat. By the second, they had turned their guns on the survivors.
The system was renamed Era’ven, and ruled over by a council led by the Ethereal O’Sea’le and several Water Caste dignitaries. As the human race had found it hard to live, the Tau found it easy, the dust and desert apparently no obstacle, and quickly it had developed into a flourishing Sept-world.
Section I: The Ascension of Ru’luc
A star system is only as safe as its soldiers are strong, and while the Imperial defenders of Erufas Elia Primus had been weak in mind and body (comprised as they were of the under-manned and disillusioned members of the 133rd Ilian Returners, the 27th Bauhaus Grenadiers and the 98th Abac Warriors, among others) the Tau had an idealistic and charismatic leader in the form of Shas’O Ru’luc O’Virana, Commander Sunset. Leading a well-balanced invasion force both through the perfunctory campaign and then into the occupation operation, he surrounded himself in time with soldiers knowledgeable of human tactics, the unique geographies of worlds outside the Tau Empire and more.
This way of waging war – eschewing the Puretide doctrines and allowing lower-echelon officers to advise their seniors based on personal history – irked O’Sea’le, but the Ethereal was powerless. Ru’luc was far too popular and had the ear of Por’O Eu’fea who sat on O’Sea’le’s government. From Erufas Elia Primus, he fought a brief but bloody campaign into nearby systems and the Era’ven Sept expanded to be quite succesful, with a subsidiary sept of Ha’Lios established in time and O’Sea’le assigned to rule it. Quite what followed perturbed the Tau; a new Ethereal was sent to Era’ven (Aun’vre Co’Relia) but her ship never arrived. It is not impossible that the primitive vessel (cf. Adm. IV. Blackhawk, The Tau Empire’s Space Vessels) was lost in the warp-nebulae around the system, never to emerge, or indeed that the thinning of space proved too grave and demons claimed the ship, but for whatever reason Ru’luc took a significant time to inform T’au of the loss – which led to accusations of foul play. The rebellion of O’Shovah, it seems, is held by the Tau as their own Great Heresy and Ru’luc was compared to the renegade.
So was completed his rise to power; with no Ethereal ruling Era’ven, he placed himself on the council and between his own force (supported according to unsubstantiated rumours by the deployment of Stealth Teams in the council-building) and Eu’fea’s convincing arguments, Era’ven quickly became a strong and independent Sept – despite a lack of resources on the habitable planets, the Tau erected mining stations on the other eight worlds and prepared for inevitable Imperial counter-attack.
Section II: The Campaign Against Greenbeard
When Ru’luc and Eu’fea, leaving a trusted cadre in command of Era’ven, set off for the Hexal Sector, they knew not what to expect. There had been rumours of worlds ripe for the taking and strange foes to fight. What they found, almost purely by mistake, were the industrial wastelands of New Bardos. From the Fortress Budo, the Great General of the Darkness ruled through his lieutenants and, seeing new arrivals in the mysterious warp-eye called the Panopticon, a great deceit was planned. Vogler, the General’s master of machines, pretended to be an Adeptus Mechanicus Arch-Magos and Planetary Governor of a Forge World – quite convincing the Tau, ignorant as they were of Chaos and its workings. It was not until it was too late – after Vogler had convinced Ru’luc to attack an Ultramarines relief force sent to the planet – that the deception was revealed. By that time, Vogler had divined a combination of psychoactive drugs to turn Eu’fea into a mind-controlled thrall, and the sector was quite shocked by the apparent fall of the calculating, warp-resilient Tau to Khorne worship.
With Ru’luc’s help, the Tau waged war on the Crimson Fists, forcing them away from Budo, and then retreated to guard the Panopticon. It was not until the second wave of forces arrived that they fought again, and then the main campaign began. The Ork Warlord Greenbeard was a determined enemy of the Great General, and yet when it looked like the two forces would clash again instead it was Ru’luc’s second-in-command R’in who led the attack. R’in, filled with hatred of all Orks, annihilated Greenbeard’s attack force and secured a landing-zone in the baking deserts. From there they expanded outwards, containing the Ork threat – although none could have predicted the intervention of Captain Zeldanis of the Mind Tearers chapter. Zeldanis’ first landing-force isolated Tau Stealth units, and in the furious battle to recover the missing suits casualties were immense for the newly-promoted Shi’vre Qan, on her first mission as sole commander.
Thus is Ru’luc’s current station – pawn of the Mykene Legion, his trump card in the Water Caste last seen a brainwashed slave of Chaos. It is perhaps inevitable that in time O’Sea’le will capitalise on this weakness.
Section III: Brief Notes on the Ha’Lios Incident
Under O’Seale’s guidance, the Ha’Lios Sub-Sept has become a testing ground for the Earth Caste’s new developments – including the XV-104-9 Riptide II. An attempt to increase the still-new Riptide’s power further, including full flight capability, planned tests were interrupted by the arrival of Tyranid forces and the destruction of Ha’Lios Red Planet Research Facility. The XV-104-9 prototype was extracted safely thanks to the heroic intervention of a Fire Warrior known as Kai’la – although the secrets of its experimental systems remain locked away until the coded notes of its inventor can be deciphered.
Kai’la was rewarded for his actions by promotion to dedicated pilot of the prototype – although it is implied that once its secrets are divined, Ru’luc will take command of it as befits the supreme commander of Tau forces.
Section IV: Structure of the Full Ru’luc Expedition
Supreme Commander: Shas’O Ru’luc O’Virana, Commander Sunset
Pilot of the XV9-K Hazard Custom “S’inkirō”, supreme commander of Tau forces, former ruler of the Era’ven Sept.
Adjutant-Commander: Shas’O R’in I’Vasa, Commander Firebrand
Pilot of the XV85-K Crisis Custom “S’insei-Ki”, operational commander of the Ork Destruction Project.
High Infantry-Commander: Shi’vre Qan O’Kisri, Fireblade Harmony
Commander of Infantry forces in Firebrand’s expedition. Currently in low favour after unacceptable casualties against the Mind Tearers.
Adjutant Infantry-Commander: Shi’vre Kim A’Iato, Fireblade Crescendo
Second-in-command to Harmony, likely to succeed her should she fail too many more times. A rising star in the eyes of Firebrand.
Special Advisory Officer: Shas’vre My’amura Kai’la
Pilot of the Riptide until further notice.
Fire Warrior Cadre 1: Ai’yan’s Cadre
Seven Shas’la, one Gun Drone; Commanding Officer, Shas’ui L’ai Ai’Yan
Fire Warrior Cadre 2: Ta’el’s Cadre
Seven Shas’la, one Gun Drone; Commanding Officer, Shas’ui Za’lga Ta’el
Fire Warrior Cadre 3: The Unbonded Cadre
Training Unit; Ten Unbonded Shas’la
Fire Warrior Cadre 4: A’Iato’s Cadre
Twelve Shas’la; Commanding Officer, Shi’vre Kim A’Iato
Pathfinder Cadre: The Unbonded Cadre
Training Unit: Five Unbonded Shas’la
Crisis Suit Cadre 1: R’In’s Cadre
Three Crisis Suits; Shas’O R’In will not use the S’insei-Ki unless taking personal command and so usually leads her bodyguard team in advanced tank-hunting operations.
Crisis Suit Cadre 2: Gen’kai’s Cadre
Three Crisis Suits; Shas’vre Gai Gen’kai was severely wounded in battle against the Mind Tearers and until he returns to the field it is unlikely this cadre will serve.
Stealth Suit Cadre: Mae’lia’s Cadre
Six Stealth Suits: Shas’vre Mae’lia Sai’lun is a particular favourite of R’In owing to her barely-contained aggression despite a small frame and the two cadres work together in infiltration operations.
Broadside Cadre: Mi’kel’s Cadre
Three Broadsides; Shas’vre Ku’ran Mi’kel is an accomplished sniper renowned for a significant number of aircraft and tank kills.
Hammerhead Tank: Shas’ui Mi’orin
A newly-trained tank commander, Mi’orin idolises the legendary figure of Longstrike but is yet to come anywhere near his legendary successes in battle.
Razorshark Fighter: Kor’ui Ai’lto
Following the death of Fio’vre Dai’sun at the hands of an Ork fighter ace, Ai’lto has risen through the ranks with distinction and is only a small number of kills from becoming Fio’vre himself.
Remora Fighter Squadron
Two Remoras; operated remotely from the ground by local command elements. As yet unproven in combat.