Armageddon. Cadia. Vraks. Macgragge. These are wars so vast that no one will ever forget them. Now, in the waning years of the Imperium a new name has been added to that list, Stygia. A world located deep in the heart of the Ghoul Stars. A world that has become the centre point for every major power in the galaxy. A world whose fate may very well spell the salvation or damnation for the entire universe.
Thousands of years before mankind crawled from the seas, the Eldar race had already been instrumental in the banishment of the Necrontyr, but found the universe still beset by warp entities from the Immaterium. Their seers knew of the Chaos Gods, and foresaw a time when the ruinous powers could collapse the walls between worlds and all would be lost. They scoured worlds where daemonic incursions had destroyed native species and laid traps for the most powerful daemons, drawing them from the warp and containing their essences within specially prepared devices called the Amarth-Thame ("Apocalypse Box"). By the time the seers declared an end to their work, they had contained the spirits of thousands of powerful warp entities within these devices. Now they needed somewhere to hide them away. Such a place was found along the rim of the galaxy, a newly forming world still primordial with a surface of molten rock. The Amarth-Thame were dropped into the churning core of the planet, hidden away but protected from the untamed forces of creation. Within a few generations knowledge of the Amarth-Thame had been forgotten amongst the petty desires of the Eldar race. The world that would be Stygia cooled and solidified. The artifacts were distributed across its surface, deep beneath the ground. Here the contained daemons slumbered and awaited a time when they would be freed to extract their wrath upon the galaxy.
Stygia was first discovered by humanity in M24 when a colony ship, the Endeavour, was swept of course in the warp by powerful storms that buffeted and pushed the ship far off its intended route. When finally, the ship's navigator was able to punch a hole back into the material universe they were in a region of space dominated by ancient and dying stars. Too far from Earth or its other colonies to make contact, the colonists looked for a new home out here. They found Stygia, a beautiful green world with vibrant blue oceans. After a brief exploration, this is where they decided to make their new home.
In M31, an exploratory ship moving ahead of the Great Crusade located Stygia and its colony. What they found disturbed the crew greatly. The colonists were living a simple lifestyle, living off the land but almost a third of the population exhibited mutation or unchecked psychic potential. The mutants, though accepted by their human counterparts, lived separate to them and had thus slowed the unnatural evolution of the humans on the planet. The world was logged but all concerns were swept aside when in the following year the Imperium was plunged into civil war. The Horus Heresy had begun.
Once again, Stygia was forgotten until 812.M41 when records of the planets existence were uncovered by an accident in the great libraries of the Administratum on Holy Terra. For some time now, space marines of the Death Spectres chapter had been stationed near the Ghoul Stars, fending off incursions from daemons and other warp entities, and word was dispatched to them to investigate the current situation on Stygia. When they arrived, they found that mutation had spread further through the population though no direct cause could be attributed. Those who were heavily mutated or were identified as latent psykers were eradicated by the Death Spectres and the planet forcibly converted into the Imperium. Local system lord, Salem Draco, paid a visit to the planet and decided that it would be perfect for an agri-colony, supplying the nearby systems with an abundance of food. The locals were put to work working the newly planted fields, or in the mines pulling precious ores to the surface. The surviving mutants, manyclassified as "beast men", fled into the untamed forests and hills to escape persecution or extermination. The planetary governor, Exon Valdez, set up his palace in the newly constructed city of Bludhaven.
Several years later, miners working the Drakkensgraab mines unearth and bring to the surface an unusual object bearing xenos markings. The first Amarth-Thame had been pulled from its resting place beneath Stygia. Concerned by this turn of events, Exon has the artifact dispatched to an Inquisitorial facility in a nearby system. Scholars of the Ordo Hereticus determined that the object was of Eldar manufacture and that the runes were of containment, and that they held the essence of Chaos. The Amarth-Thame was quickly secured within their fortress library behind multiple purity seals, for safekeeping. Over the next one hundred and fifty years, several more of these artifacts are uncovered and the concerns of the Inquisition grow.
Events come to a head in early 999.M41 when suddenly and without warning all the Amarth-Thame began to broadcast a psychic scream that penetrated the minds of all on Stygia. The scream echoes into the warp, affecting psykers across the galaxy, disturbing the sleep of ancient evils and drawing the armies of Chaos like bees to honey. Even the Tau whose species have no psykers were able to hear this call, though faintly. The Eldar farseers are affected worse than any other, feeling the rage of a thousand trapped daemons flooding through their souls. The Amarth-Thame have been unearthed and awakened.
Now, in the last days of the 41st millennium, every major race has descended upon Stygia.
Why We Fight…
Chaos Marines & Chaos Daemons.
The call of the daemons trapped within the Apocalypse Boxes has reached across the galaxy. Touching the minds of all who serve the Ruinous Powers, it calls them to battle, plunder and fire. Fleets of traitor ships are leaving the Eye of Terror, the Maelstrom, and their strongholds throughout the galaxy are heading towards the Ghoul Stars. Daemons claw their way through the weak fabric of reality, stepping onto the surface of Stygia. Soon this world will burn and the entities within the Amarth-Thame will be freed.
Grey Knights & Sisters of Battle.
The Inquisition has been aware that something is afoot on Stygia for some time and has planned for just such an event. Grey Knights and Inquisitorial forces have been drawn from their secret places and now bolster the defences of Stygia. Under the guidance of one High Inquisitor Butlerian, the armies of the Inquisition fight to uncover and safely deal with the xenos artifacts and any heretic forces that have arrived.
The Dark Eldar have raided Stygia for centuries, taking slaves and generating fear among the colonists. Drawn again to Stygia by the cry of the Amarth-Thame, these piratical Eldar see the war as a great opportunity to conduct their attacks with impunity. Let the lesser races fight one another, while they sow disorder and reap the benefits.
Memories of the Amarth-Thame have resurfaced and the Elder rush to Stygia. They have found the foolish humans uncovering things better left alone. Reading the fickle winds of fate, the seers of the Eldar know that this war will determine the fate of the entire galaxy. Either humanity will rise from this stronger or else they will usher in a new age of Chaos. Neither event favours the Eldar, but they cannot sit back and do nothing. The Eldar ride to war.
The psychic scream of the Amarth-Thame have disturbed the Necron who still slumber under dead worlds in the Ghoul Stars. The psychic scream interferes with their machines, awaking them early and causing great pain. The Necrons have begun to materialise upon Stygia, harvesting life forces and seeking a way to silence the incessant scream that interferes with their operation.
Orks are drawn to conflict, and even they sense that something big is going down. Across the galaxy Orks are leaving battlefields to follow larger fleets that are headed into the rim of known space. Most Ork vessels are destroyed before reaching orbit but a few have managed to get past the great fleets above and crash into the surface of Stygia. It matters not to the Orks what this fight is about, they just won't be left out of it.
Space Marines & Imperial Guard.
The might of the Emperor's finest have been redirected to Stygia by the planetary governor and the Inquisition. The PDF has been augmented by troops from Cadia, Valhalla and other fortress worlds, while companies of Space Marines are deployed across the surface of Stygia. This world belongs to the Emperor and they fight to ensure it remains so.
The Tau high command has sensed an opportunity with the growing conflict on Stygia. Their race has no knowledge of warp travel, but intercepted communications hint at the presence of artifacts from the warp. If such artifacts could be recovered and returned to the enclaves, the Tau would gain a significant advantage. Under cover, the Tau have managed to sneak a force onto the surface of Stygia in an effort to recover the Amarth-Thame for the Greater Good.
The psychic scream of Amarth-Thame has even blotted out the shadow in the warp. Disorientated and lost without a connection to the greater hive mind, a Tyranid bio-ship entered the Stygia system and was engaged by picket vessels of the Imperium. Confused, the ship was no match for the enemy and crashed through the atmosphere, its carcass spewing spores in a last ditch effort to ensure the survival of its brood. However, the Amarth-Thame have prevented the emergent Tyranids from connecting to a single hive mind and those hives that have sprung up and survived have become single entities. Reports from the Ordos Xenos have even indicated that rival hives have fought and consumed one another in a savage survival of the fittest.