The Lelith Incursion
One of the most famous battles the Space Marines of the Guardians of the Covenant have fought, the Lelith Incursion was also one of the must brutal, grinding the chapter down to almost two thirds of its strength, costing the lives of many Battle-Brothers. The campaign began with a cry for help from the distant world of Chordis, a planet colonised during a crusade, several centuries ago. All this reached the ears of Inquisitor Volkov, who requested an audience with Lord Guardian Solaceon. His plea was that the Chapter sent its full strength against this alien threat. Volkov, being a Psyker, had long felt a shadow approaching through his witchsight. He felt the threat was so dire, that the entire Chapter needed to rush forth to meet this threat.
With just the formal request for aid from Chordis, Solaceon and his Council of Angels found no reason to march the entirety of the Chapter to war. Something that had not been done since the Second Battle of Mortikah, several thousand years ago. And thus, not the Chapter, but a strike force comprising of elements of several squads from different companies led by Chaplain Olmas, the acting Force Commander, got seconded to the Ordo Xenos and in the ancient strike cruiser In Crimson Clad the expedition went forth to meet the Xenos threat.
The veterans of the Lelith Incursion can well remember these vile Xenos. They describe black and grey beings, clawed and fanged with red eyes. The Lelith were said to move with the shadows itself, utterly deadly and highly psychic. And there were so many. A seemingly sophisticated society with primitive but efficient ships of their own, the Lelith came forth from the uncharted regions of the Halo Stars in vast numbers. No one but the Adeptus Astartes could have met such a threat and hope to be the victor. Though the price would be high indeed.
Chaplain Olmas led the strike force valiantly, gaining a firm foothold on the surface of Chordis, digging themselves in. There was no resistance. Until night fell.
Brother Thetys was the first to fall. Out of thin air they came, clawing their way through sacred Power Armour as if it were wax. The onslaught was bloody and brutal. Within minutes, over a tenth of the strike force's strength had been sapped. The casualties on the side of the foe were even bigger. Between the gunmetal corpses, white armoured apothecaries waded through scythed and clawed Xenos bodies to reap the Chapter's Due.
Chaplain Olmas was quick to adapt to the Xenos' style of warfare, the Guardians of the Covenant having fought against countless alien races. He distributed the strike force's strength between concentrations of the enemy, his Battle-Brothers being supported by swift attack craft such as Land Speeders and Astartes Bikes. The weeks that followed were dangerous and lethal. Each force testing each other's strengths and weaknesses. It was a war of attrition. A brutal stalemate into which many bodies fair and foul were ground to a bloody pulp. Casualties on both sides were staggering, but the sheer overwhelming firepower combined with the stubbornness of the Crimson Brothers made sure they were slowly winning.
The world of Chordis got turned into a charred husk. There had been no trace of its inhabitants to begin with, but following the war, even the last traces of Imperial civilisation had been all but gone.
As Chaplain Olmas thought the battle done; the last of the Lelith had been put to the sword, he received word from the strike cruiser In Crimson Clad. Strange alien vessels were bleeding from the warp. Within moments, the sky of Chordis turned purple and strange semi-organic drop ships fell from the atmosphere, impacting upon the surface shortly after.
Chaplain Olmas suddenly understood that the fierce war on Chordis, that had cost the lives of so many of his brothers had been a mere test. Seeing no chance to return to the strike cruiser, he decided have the remnant of the strike force dug in, while the cruiser sent a a desperate plea for help.
It was well over a month later when the astropathic choir of the Spire received the distress call. Upon hearing it, Lord Guardian Solaceon gathered the entirety of the Chapter and gave the now famous speech of deliverance. In his mind it was clear. The threat was dire, and an entire sub-sector was threatened. No longer would the Guardians of the Covenant send a strike force or a company.
The entirety of the Chapter would answer the call to war.
To be continued