The Coldforge Campaigns

The Coldforge Campaigns

'They look like us. They move like us. They fight like us. But they don't think like us – and for that, they must die.'
[//Mournas, Captain of the Veil of Iron+]

[//'What if everything I've been told is a lie?+]



Coldforge stands as an anomaly; simultaneously one of the few conflicts permitted to remain in the official cover story for the sweeping redactions that surrounded the War of the False Primarch, and – for much the same reason – also one of the most heavily airbrushed, edited, redacted and conflated.

Dozens of recordists, didact-directors and individuals of professorial ranks from across the Imperium analysed the official reports over the course of a dozen centuries following the supposed events, but investigation of even passing thoroughness quickly reveals contradictions within their conclusions. Nor was this inadequacy on the researcher's behalf, but rather a deliberate obfuscation. 

Most – perhaps all – of the reports were created by falsified authors, the institutions granting their  supposed qualifications non-existent, conjured into creation for the purposes of a particular report.

So far, so hum-drum. If truth retains any currency in the latter-day Imperium, it is entirely secondary to the Will of the High Lords and their agents. 

[//3rd Arkhan Sun Hounds+]


It was reputed to be Inquisitor-ordinary Canton Bracc, a firebrand of the Ordo Pacificus during the Nova Terra Interregnum, who uncovered the so-called 'Coldforge Conspiracy'. He believed that this revealed that an entire branch of Segmentum history had been created whole cloth – and he is thus, without doubt, the seedpoint for all information pertaining to the affair of the False Primarch. 

Alas, as the 'Coldforge Conspiracy' makes clear, there is more than one way for the truth to be suppressed. Rather than hiding, shrouding and guarding any verifiable information; one might simply create so many counter-narratives that any investigator would be doomed to wander a hall of mirrors; never able to tell fabrication from the authentic...

+ Marines Saturnine appear in a few scattered report of the Coldforge Campaign +


In addition to the obvious obfuscation and redaction which becomes so wearyingly familiar to any investigator, we must also accept that any epiphany we might reach as regards the events of Coldforge must – as with so much else that surrounds the peculiar legends of Volnoscere – remain agonisingly unverifiable. 

The information presented below represents a selection of material gathered – often at great risk – by the so-called Braccian Star-cult. These monomaniacal followers of the teachings of Inquisitor Bracc spent lifetimes obsessively filtering through the colossal amount of misinformation created in the wake of the greater War to search for points of commonality. Thus they have been able to discard sufficient material to claim the following material to be as close to fact as is possible – but with so much fabrication obvious, how much more must remain intentionally to be uncovered and convince the unwary? How many hidden passages can one pass through before declaring oneself at the centre of the maze?

[//Star Warden hunting in the Gryme: Third War for Coldforge+]



Coldforge itself certainly exists – indeed, it may simply be the political and practical implications of freezing a primary Forgeworld from history that ensure its name is remembered. Today, the Forgeworld is a relatively minor entity, having been successively ravaged by the Dain Mir in M37, and subsenquently the Orks of Waaa! Gargag in M39. The planet is still recovering – and the resultant damage has further occluded any hope of finding primary evidence on the surface.

Lying in the interzone between the Myrean League and the Corewards systems of Heliopolis, Coldforge was a critical keystone of the False Primarch's defence. While they held it, the Partisans had a virtually endless supply of Mark VI power armour with which to supply their forces – and if they lost it, not only would this resource allow the Pentarchy to capitalise on their newly-raised troops, but it would leave the route to the Myrean League worlds fully open. 

Seemingly, then, the two sides poured as much strength as they could spare into the battleground, with three apocalyptic wars lasting a total of twenty-seven years of intermittent fighting.

It was to be the first battleground in which Volnoscere – the False Primarch himself – was to be intimately involved; and the contrast between how the swollen but reeling Pentarchy were fielded has frequently been pointed to as evidence that the Partisans were indeed commanded by a Primarch-level strategic intelligence.


Prevailing attitudes

[//Veterans of Moreaumunda+]

'We should never have left the void. Woe to be laid to rest in such hateful ground.'
[//Otho Donata, of the Void Barons+]

Coldforge was garrisoned either by the Death Eagles (records of this Chapter remain maddeningly unclear), the Charnel Guard, or perhaps elements of both. It seems likely that the Death Eagles formed the bulk of the Orthodox Astartes forces, which had arrived seemingly peaceably at some point during the second decade of the greater war. 

Few Forgeworlds would willingly submit to Imperial occuptation, so it should be borne in mind that this may well be a gloss of events. After all, with the victors writing the history, it would seem unbecoming for the Forgeworld not to welcome the Pentarchy and its Orthodox allies. Indeed, standing against this record of events was the Forgeworld's studied neutrality up to this point in the war. 

Perhaps, then, Coldforge welcomed the Pentarchy. More likely, there was at least some political resistance to an occupation force – some Naval records suggest orbital bombardments at odds with the official record, for example.

[//Death Eagles (II) assault marine in Coldforge-pattern Mark VI plate. This can be dated to the Late War by the post-production additions of the stabilising vanes (a crucial benefit in low-grav warfare) and the external power cabling running down the outside of the thigh – a necessary manufacturing adaptation to account for poorer-quality materials at this stage.+]

Whatever the case, Coldforge was to become crucial owing to its ability to manufacture power armour. while early in the war the planet produced a variety of exports, including, but not limited to war materiel, Coldforge-pattern Mark VI plate would later become the planet's near-exclusive manufacturing product, was highly regarded, and supplied to both sides, seemingly without fear or favour. While it became increasingly simplified and debased in order to keep up with demand – and the later debilitated state of the planet's manufacturing capabilities – it remained a vital resource for both sides.

[//{identVAL=}incerto. Silver Star clad in early Coldforge plate. Seeing the many advantages over their habitual antiquated plate, the Silver Stars were quick to restock and adopt the new armour plate following the successful capture of Coldforge.+]

A substantial force of Pentarchy Space Marines were planetside when the Partisans, headed by the seemingly-reborn Solarion Dawnstar struck.

Prelude to the Coldforge Wars: Pressures of Office

'Like a great gasp for air that brings as much pain as relief, some things are remembered that might have better been forgotten.'

[//High Lord Braxon Mercutial+]

If the timelines are correct, the First war coincided with the Pentarchy's numerical strength nearing its zenith. A colossal amount of inductees – perhaps numbering in the tens of thousands – had received their black carapace and stood ready to bond with power armour. 

Therein lay a problem, as demand far outstripped supply. The decades of war had depleted the Pentarchy's armouries and pushed the majority of the region's Forgeworlds into the red to keep up with Master Enoch's demand for war materiel. Besides the lack of capacity, few of the regional Magi had the requisite expertise in manufacturing Power Armour. 

Coldforge was the exception – and thus it became a critical objective for the Pentarchy. Equally, the Partisans were aware that the fall of Coldforge would open a selection of superlative warp routes directly into the Myrean League space, where Volnoscere and Partisan High Command had made their fastness.

[//Stanislav Gorn leads Charnel Guard forces into the attack; the burning manufactorum-complexes of Halcyon lighting up the sky behind them.+]

Gorn had recently been elected as a successor to overall command of the Pentarchy of Blood following the loss of Velghor on Qorabbas. It is perhaps owing to the struggles of overseeing not only his own swollen Chapter, but that of his cousin-Chapter the Flesh Eaters – temporarily under the stewardship of its Chapter Council – that his actions proved sluggish in reinforcing this critical region. The Pentarchy's attention was far from Coldforge.

If blame must be attributed, Gorn's defenders might also look to the inaction of the nearby Red Talons, who had seemingly fallen into a defensive slump falling the reported loss of their Chapter Master and figurehead Autek Mor at the hands of the Star Wardens

While the later history glibly states that the Pentarchy 'eliminated eleven renegade Chapters', this stage of the War shows how close it came to collapse at the hands of the possible-Primarch. 

With the Death Eagles (II), Red Talons, Carcharadons and Flesh Eaters all having apparently lost their experienced Chapter Masters, and the survivors struggling to oversee the logisitics of their hitherto-unknown numbers, the War could easily have gone the other way.

Thus was set the stage for battle – a demoralised Pentarchy defence force in a potentially hostile region, with little chance of immediate support. Ranged against them: the Void Barons, Inheritors and Iron Guard.


[//Be it known, O! Be it known, that Death is amongst you.+]