By now I think everyone has read Warzone Charadon: The Book of Rust, and if you haven't, most likely you don't intend to do so. By any chance you do want to read up on the lore, then be warned, I'm giving spoilers. Well, duh. What else am I supposed to talk about if I don't give spoilers and details of the book? The weather?
So it began with the prophet of doom on Heliotyr in the Audax System only for him to get killed by Enforcers. Then you had a sleeper chaos cult - seeded by the Alpha Legion - rise in Dhaku in the M'bor System, only for them to get annihilated by Genestealer Cults. Yeah, the Genestealer Cults are here, and so are the Alpha Legion (who allied with several of the Word Bearers to form the Disciples warband).
Plagues broke out in Ferryk in the Feiror System and St Espin's Gift in Rhodior and the cardinal world of Alexistor. Meanwhile, daemons appeared in Kobolt in the Gildras System, but fortunately the Excruciators Chapter was on hand to purge them. Unfortunately, Fabricator General Heptus Khleng of Metalica sent his most zealous arch-magi to conduct Exterminatus on these planets, sending three eradiation arks to unleash maco-rad-leanser batteries. St Espin's Gift was scoured of all life. The eradication arks also attacked Borthreas in the Alumax system and the prison world of Unhallow in the Brezantius System. Unfortunately, before he could Exterminatus Alexistor, the Death Guard showed up. Damn.
Needless to say, the Death Guard won.
If you've been following the Flashpoint articles in the White Dwarf magazines, then you will know what's going on. The Charadon Sector all but fell to the Death Guard and their Chaos Space Marine allies. They conquered Martyr's Rest, Dyroch's Reach, Torthusa and Alumax. They wiped out the Cadians at St. Bartolph's Throne. They took Resplendis and finished off Magnifiria, which had been bombarded by one of the eradication arks earlier. Thanks to the short-sightedness of the archmagos and Fabricator General Khleng, their zealous desire to wipe out all biological life, there weren't many defenders left to protect the planet from the Death Guard, but before they died, they destroyed the erdication ark with an orbital battery as revenge. Hah! They deserve it.
Fortunately, Imperial Forces held Sabhira, forcing Lord Thraxoplasmox - one of Typhus's most trusted lieutenants - into a stalemate. The Excruciators helped the Vostroyans recapture Resplendis. Space Marines retook Sustace. The three Metalican Gates held, thanks to massed Metalican forces, their Defence Cohorts, Legio Cybernetica and Skitarii macroclades driving back the Death Guard and other invaders. Even better, a fleet from Deimos arrived in the Rhodior System alongside Grey Knights. Oh, the Deimos Skitarii are led by Cryptoemissarius Presumptor Uchultor L'au, a Deimosian Archmagos whose Skitarii marcoclades are armed with daemon-banishing weaponry. Yeah, you heard that right. Skitarii daemonhunters. Whoa. Battlefleet Charadon also helped, driving the plague fleet away...only for orks to show up and drive the final nail in the plague fleet's coffin. Apparently Typhus lost another of his favored lieutenants here when a Kill Kroozer smashed his flagship apart. Ouch.
And then...the Knights.
The Knights of House Raven showed up in the Duralim System in force, trampling upon the Death Guard and Black Legion forces, which was led by the Lord Discordant Zeid who brought a whole host of daemon engines with him. So the Imperium won a temporary victory. Phew. Unfortunately, while the Death Guard had retreated, they had left a whole bunch of Miasmic Malignifiers behind on the worlds, which proved to be disastrous for the Imperial defenders. Ugh. Not again. Alumax System fell to the Death Guard despite the efforts of the Excruciators and other Space Marines. One by one, the Metalican Gates fell. Even the plague Titans of Legio Morbidus and Chaos Knights showed up to join the fun. Fortunately, a bunch of Freeblades, known as the Forgotten Company, fought alongside the Titans of Legio Metalica, the Iron Skulls, and stalled the Legio Morbidus Titans on Plenitas. Everywhere else fell and Metalica stood alone.
Right. I forgot one thing. While all this was going on, there was another tear in real-space, from which plague fleets and daemons poured forth from. It's called the Sore, and I suspect it's a miniature Rift. Not sure what that's about, but apparently Zhleng realizes that reinforcements will not be coming and that Metalica is all alone. His stupidity and stubborness caused the Imperium's loss. In contrast, the Death Guard draws strength from the Sore, with more plague ships and daemons coming from it.
Seriously, with all the defeats, casualties, losses and whatever that the Imperium suffered, I'm surprised there's still anything left on Metalica to defend the forge world. Well, apparently the majority of the Iron Skulls Titans have remained there, along with the veteran macroclades, but this doesn't bode well. Then again, the whole grimdark thing and overwhelming odds have left me jaded. Happened in Warzone Pariah, happened to Cadia, happened every freaking where. Boohoo, the Impeerium is doomed, billions of Chaos cultists and their Chaos Space Marine masters are attacking, everything looks grim, we're going to lose. At this point, it's...I don't know. When you raise the stakes too high, everything kind of falls apart after that. You no longer care what's at stake because apparently they've been pulling this high stakes thing over and over again for so long.
Besides, even though the book ends with Metalica standing alone against the Death Guard and impossible odds, we know the Imperium will win. Wait, how do I know that? Because the result has already been written in stone.
"Wait!" I already hear some of you crying. Where did you get that from?! Well...from the Adeptus Mechanicus codex in 2017. I guess they really were trying to visit all these major warzones and events in 9th edition that they hinted at in the beginning of 8th edition, but never really got around to doing so. Still better than nothing, I suppose. I suppose we'll be seeing Warzone Stygius eventually, eh? The Thousand Sons invaded the Stygius Sector in force, so...yeah, I anticipate another campaign detailing the exploits of Magnus and his sons. Looking forward to that. Yay. Might actually get a supplement for Mordians there, which would be amazing!