Official Tau Background

Discuss Tau background and even your own Cadre fiction here.
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Official Tau Background

Post#1 » Dec 24 2008 03:34

Before its recent revision and relaunch, there were several compelling pieces of background fluff available on the Games Workshop website. As these stories are some of the few official stories written on the Tau - and are no longer available on the GW website - they are posted here for your enjoyment.

Tau Background

With their commonality of purpose and hi-tech weaponry, the Tau have won many great victories in pursuit of the Greater Good.
In this article Andy Chambers, Andy Hoare and Graham McNeill take a look at some of their most famous triumphs and their curious use of propaganda.

The War of the Place of Union
Echoes of the Mont'au
Front Line Report on Tau Battle Doctrine
Cleanse the Xenos

Crisis Suit Configurations

The Tau are a strongly united people with communal goals and ambitions. This does not necessarily mean, though, that they have a common approach to strategy and tactics. In this article, Pete Haines and Phil Kelly explore the use of the Tau XV8 'Crisis' battlesuits, hard to kill, very mobile, and equipped with a powerful array of weaponry, and describe the differing tactical doctrines of the Tau septs.

Aun'shi, Hero of Fio'vash

A modest hero of many battles, Aun'shi longs for peace but is bound by duty to his comrades to wage war. Lionized by the Fire Caste, he is seen as a good luck charm by those who have served with him.

Commander O'Shovah, Hero or Villain?

O'Shovah, or Commander Farsight as translated from the Tau language, was a great hero of the alien Tau empire. His exploits against the Orks won him a reputation as a renowned campaigner protecting the other Tau castes for the Greater Good. But O'Shovah has become the greatest enigma of the emergent Tau race. In a society renowned for its dedication and sense of duty he has become a renegade and defied the ruling caste, the Aun.

Anghkor Prok, The Great Uniter

Anghkor Prok was a Kroot chief and holy man under whom the Kroot kindreds of Pech united in their struggle against the Orks. After refusing to give way to a larger Kroot at a feast table, he was given the name Anghkor Prok, a term used to describe a bull Krootox sitting intractably on its haunches. It was a name he would live up to throughout his life. Celebrated for his ferocity in battle, Anghkor Prok came to be recognised among his kindred as a visionary leader committed to preserving traditions and values of the Kroot’s way of life.

Assault on Nimbosa

A retelling of the famous Ultramarines attack.

The Struggle For Vor'Anoth

This is the story of Vor’Anoth, and only you can decide its ultimate fate.

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The War of the Place of Union

Post#2 » Dec 24 2008 03:37


At the height of the first Tau expansionist phase, an expeditionary force set out from Dal’yth. This force was led by the Water caste explorer Por’o Dal’yth Kiv’rai, famous for his discovery of two artifact-worlds now under Ethereal caste interdiction. Air caste observers based on orbital stations around Dal’yth had studied a cluster of worlds beyond the Perdus Rift, and after many years of careful planning, the expedition was sent to explore, study and colonize these worlds.

The journey to the nearest system within the cluster proved uneventful, and O’kiv’rai decided that it was safe to set his fleet on a course for the fifth world of the system. The chosen planet was a blood red gas giant, the second moon of which was considered the most likely to support life. Entering orbit, O’kiv’rai was surprised when initial scans detected a large amount of debris scattered over a substantial area of the upper atmosphere. His Earth caste advisors counseled caution, and samples of the debris were brought on board for analysis. It was determined that the debris was the remains of a large spacecraft that had exploded very recently.

Landing a Crisis battlesuit team, O’kiv’rai watched through an uplink as the moon’s surface was revealed. Under a crimson sky, the Shas’ui came upon a scene of destruction; a settlement reduced to charred rubble. Sickened, O’kiv’rai directed the warriors to search the ruins, where they discovered the mutilated remains of unknown alien bodies.

O’kiv’rai recalled his teams and ordered an extensive sensor survey of the surface. The readings showed evidence of further destruction at numerous locations, and O’kiv’rai concluded that the moon was far from suitable for colonization. The fleet moved on and soon found mounting evidence that a violent invader had recently laid waste to this part of the cluster. O’kiv’rai began to suspect that the region would prove too dangerous for settlement.

As the fleet neared the core systems of the cluster, alarms rang out and a group of ships were detected heading in on an attack course. After years of exploring the frontiers of Tau space O’kiv’rai recognized the crude constructions of the Ork race and knew how to deal with Ork pirates. His Air caste interceptors made short work of the ramshackle flotilla. Knowing now who had caused the devastation across the region, O’kiv’rai seriously considered abandoning his mission altogether, yet a part of him would not allow the fleet to leave without first discovering the identity of the Orks’ victims.

Setting course for the next scheduled system, O’Kiv’rai put his fleet on high alert. Soon they encountered random groups of Ork fighters engaged in insane races with one another through the system’s asteroid belts. The stronger expeditionary force soon drove off these disorganized bands. As the fleet moved in-system, no resistance was encountered, and O’kiv’rai came to the conclusion that the Ork ships merely represented a small scouting force, and that he could therefore safely claim the worlds in the name of the Tau empire.
After months of disappointment, the Earth caste colonists were keen to begin the process of claiming these worlds, and several shuttles embarked in preparation for landing. What happened next would be written in Tau history as one of the greatest tragedies of that era. O’kiv’rai’s sensor operators reported the approach of a huge, spherical alien spacecraft. Opening communication channels and preparing to greet the ship on behalf of the Tau empire, O’kiv’rai saw that it was pursued by a substantial force of Ork warships. Cursing the warlike greenskins, O’kiv’rai ordered the fleet to take evasive action as the fleeing alien ship was heading on a course that would smash through his fleet.

The fleet scattered, all except the colony transport ship Sha’tiro Suli, that had almost completed the disembarkation of her passengers. The sphere was heading directly for the transport and in an instant O’kiv’rai was faced with a stark choice: destroy the alien vessel and save the lives of the skeleton crew still to disembark the Tau ship, or attempt to save the lives of the far greater number of crew aboard the alien ship by firing on the Sha’tiro Suli.

+++ +++ +++

The Orks made the choice for him.

One of the Ork warships had set itself on a heading intended to ram both ships. O’kiv’rai’s bridge crew watched in horrified silence as the Ork ship smashed aside the Tau carrier, causing it to disintegrate and spill it's remaining passengers into the void. The Orks continued on their course, and the communication channels came alive with the insane laughter of thousands of battle frenzied Boyz readying themselves to board the sphere. The Ork ship seemed to impact on the hull of the sphere in slow motion. The surface buckled and the Ork ship ground into the guts of the alien ship until it was almost entirely buried, only its rear quarter remaining visible. A series of explosions lit the grotesque scene from within, and the sphere burst apart in a massive explosion that consumed both ships as one, scattering superheated wreckage over the remainder of the Tau fleet.

O’kiv’rai ordered a full sensor sweep of the area, and reports flooded in of more Ork frigates swarming after another of the strange alien spheres. The ships’ course would bring them into contact with his fleet once more, and O’kiv’rai was not prepared to witness the destruction of any more of his ships.

Bringing his fleet around, O’kiv’rai allowed the sphere to pass through his formation. As the Orks came into range, they realized too late they were heading into the midst of a completely unexpected foe. Traveling too fast to alter their course, the Orks rocketed straight through the Tau fleet. Timing his command to the instant, O’kiv’rai ordered the release of a massive missile salvo. Streaking from the Tau battle lines, the hundreds-strong salvo unerringly altered trajectory to pursue their targets. Ork Fighta-Bommerz tried desperately to intercept the missiles, but they were too slow, and too few. Scant Ork ships escaped.

One kai’rotaa later, O’kiv’rai, flanked by the fleet’s finest Fire caste hunter cadre looked across a windswept plain. In the distance he watched a party of tall, crested aliens making their way towards him.

Communication between the two groups was at first difficult. However, O’kiv’rai was an experienced diplomat and the aliens seemed to have an innate ability with language, learning quickly by mimicking O’kiv’rai’s words and body language. The two parties soon found common ground and the Tau were impressed by the new race, although they had yet to witness their more disturbing, carnivorous tendencies.

The aliens were called Kroot, and the talks established that the world, which the Kroot referred to as Krath, was part of a larger region occupied by them. O’kiv’rai recognized that this race would make a notable addition to the Tau empire, and prepared, with the permission of the Ethereal caste, to make representations to the Kroot people.

Events, however, took a hand and the two peoples would be forced to wait some time before an alliance proper could be negotiated.
O’kiv’rai’s command ship signaled that an armada of Ork ships had appeared, and was speeding towards Krath. Against such numbers the fleet had little chance, and so O’kiv’rai ordered those ships that could to land immediately. Those too large to make planetfall he ordered scuttled. The finest Air caste scout crew was assigned to run the blockade and bring help from the Tau empire as soon as possible.

For the next eighty kai’rotaas, Tau and Kroot forces fought together against the Ork hordes. Casualties were high on all sides, but the Tau soon learned to appreciate the fighting abilities and fieldcraft of their newfound allies. As time passed and no aid from the Tau empire was forthcoming, the Tau came to rely on the Kroot in certain battlefield situations, and their tactics became increasingly integrated. In the wake of the first combined victory, Tau Fire caste warriors witnessed the Kroot warriors’ practice of eating the bodies of the fallen. This caused some tension and the Fire caste commanders almost refused to fight alongside the Kroot. O’kiv’rai was instrumental in arguing the case for continued cooperation, arguing that contact with the honorable and civilized Fire caste would ultimately influence the less civilized aliens.

By the eightieth kai’rotaa, the Orks had amassed a huge army with the intention of destroying once and for all the troublesome allies. Eager to begin the looting of Krath, the Orks gathered and, as darkness fell, began their assault on the combined lines.

The battle should have been a slaughter, as the allied army was far outnumbered by the Ork horde. At the height of the fighting however, the night skies were lit by what witnesses took to be a spectacular meteor storm. As the fire streaking the sky brightened, combatants on both sides realized that the display was in fact a flight of Tau Barracuda superiority fighters. The Ork hordes were decimated by the concentrated bombardment that followed. At the last moment, Crisis battlesuit teams dropped from their Manta Missile Destroyers, encircling the Orks and cutting them down with relentless precision.

Over the next twelve Tau’cyrs the Fire caste warriors of Sa’cea embarked upon their campaign to rid the entire cluster of the Orks. The culmination of the campaign came when the Kroot war-leader Anghkor Prok swore fealty to the Tau empire at the Oathstone. O’kiv’rai bore witness to the spirit of the Kroot people, and the two races stepped forward into a new period of peace and cooperation.

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Echoes of the Mont'au

Post#3 » Dec 24 2008 03:40


Excerpt from the Book of War, memoirs of Fire Warrior Commander Shas’o Sa’cea Tsua’m, a true and glorious account of the noble actions of the Fire Warriors from the Kais-shi academy on Sa’cea. Being the telling of events pursuant to the invasion of Ke’lshan by the forces of the Mont’au.

Listen well to this, my warriors, and learn of the method of war of those who care not for the furtherance of any common goal, and fight for the sheer pleasure of violence, the vicarious thrill of defiling those they defeat. It is a cautionary tale, yet one that will inspire others and provides a salutary warning against turning from the Tau’va, the Greater Good.

The world of Ke’lshan is a place of turbulent climate and uncertain peace. All manner of foes call the nearby Perdus Rift home: aliens, pirates and beings too terrible to name. It is a region of treacherous space, shunned by all pilots of good standing and many among the Kor whisper that it may be haunted. Haunted by what, they do not say and until the battle of Mont’au, I felt sure that such tales were mere apocryphal whimsy. Now I am not so sure.

The depredations of those that venture from the Perdus Rift are well known, all seek to plunder and kill with no thought for what they do. Though of course, I myself do not hold with O’shova’s methods and do not condone what he has done, I cannot now bring myself to condemn him totally. The things I have seen out here on the frontier have given me the clarity to at least understand what he talks of and this was never more true than after the events on Ke’lshan which I shall now relate.

Many times had those schooled at Kais-shi led expeditions to fight to protect our brethren of the other castes and every time had they been victorious. When I received orders from the Shas’ar’tol to lead six cadres to Ke’lshan, I was naturally honored by the command, eager to defeat whatever threat had emerged from the Rift.

En route, we were joined by a Kroot warsphere and, though I was glad of their assistance, I had not been aware of any warspheres in this region of the empire. Upon reaching Ke’lshan, it became immediately apparent that what had occurred on this world was unnatural. Whole outposts and towns had been razed to the ground; the bodies of the Tau dead violated in the most unimaginable ways possible. It seemed unlikely that piracy was the motive for the attack, as nothing had been taken, the storehouses were still full and the machine shops were untouched. There was no purpose to the slaughter, save the wanton horror of destruction and mutilation.

But there was worse to come. Pathfinders reported sighting ominous pillars of black smoke over the horizon and we made best speed towards the fires. We arrived at a colony I later learned had been named Fio’kai and discovered a portion of the invaders’ army still encamped in the smoking ruins. Though superficially each bore a resemblance of form to Gue’la, there was among them a riot of anatomies and form I had never before seen and could barely believe drew breath. Each creature bore distended limbs, twisted organs and gibbering mouths, each giving voice to vile exhortations in the name of indulgence.

We fell upon them and killed all save one, who seemed to revel in the pain our weapons had inflicted upon him. His form was twisted and warped beyond any physical norms and he spat and swore such vile things at us that I was forced to order my Shas’el to stand down, for fear that he execute the prisoner there and then.

I myself spoke to our captive at length and was to learn many things, which I will spare you the full horror of. It is enough to say that he claimed to serve a dark master, a being known as Slaanesh, a being who is the antithesis of all the Tau believe in. It appears that his servants are actively encouraged to pursue hedonistic pursuits and that the concept of a Greater Good is abhorrent to them. Such a creature will never submit to the Tau empire and must be destroyed lest his subversive dogma be allowed to spread. It appears that this being is one of some considerable power as it was he (or she – the subject claimed both genders for its master) who had claimed Ke’lshan as his own. I brought the distasteful questioning to an end as the prisoner appeared to take an unhealthy pleasure in the interrogation techniques I was forced to employ. Before terminating the captive, I was able to extract the location of the main force of this Slaanesh and formed up my forces, ready to engage this depraved foe.

As I ventured outside I was confronted with the sight of some Kroot carnivores devouring the bodies of those we had killed in battle. Though distasteful, I was not surprised by this and paid no more mind to their feasting than I had on previous occasions. Later events would show how costly an oversight this was to be.

\The route of march our prisoner had furnished me with enabled us to deploy rapidly into an ambush position ahead of Slaanesh’s forces and I chose to employ the Kauyon strategy. With Kroot positioned in the center as the lure, I stationed myself, the Crisis teams and a pair of Hammerheads in some dead ground behind a hill on my right flank with a Broadside team on the left of the Kroot. With Stealth Battlesuits, Fire Warriors and yet more Kroot guarding my far left flank, I considered my plan to be as tactically sound as I could make it. Within the hour, forward Pathfinders reported engaging the vanguard of Slaanesh’s army. I instructed the bulk of my army to remain in cover while the Kroot to be used as the lure advanced cautiously in plain sight as the Pathfinders’ Devilfish came into view, the enemy snapping at their heels. If the sights I had seen at Fio’kai had appalled me, what I now saw before me sickened me to my very soul.

A horde of fierce-looking warriors in armour emblazoned with shimmering colors and surrounded by a cacophony of discordant noise, bearing icons and sigils of wanton indulgence was approaching. On the flanks came snapping creatures of disturbing appearance, hideously genderless and garbed in fine silks and ermine trimmed armour. Where one would expect to see hands, these creatures were equipped with sensuous claws and darting, barbed tongues whipped from their jaws. Shambling horrors of thrashing pseudopod, claw and fang were driven before the army by grotesque, beast-headed monsters armed with crackling energy prods. At the center of the horde stood a giant in electric blue armour, edged in gold and pink. I took this to be none other than Slaanesh him or herself and vowed to personally defeat this vile creature. The sensors of my battlesuit detected unknown chemical pollutants suffusing the air around the advancing troops, but could not discern its nature. As the first elements of Slaanesh’s army rushed towards the lure, I noticed a curious thing; many of the Kroot appeared entranced by the sight of such a garishly colored horde and had lowered their weapons, sniffing the air with bemused looks upon their faces.

As Slaanesh’s army approached our allies, horrifying changes began rippling through the Kroot and they began convulsing, screeching horribly as their flesh erupted in mutation. At this point I realized that these were the Kroot who had feasted on the flesh of the enemy dead at Fio’kai. Slaanesh’s main thrust suddenly altered direction and, instead of charging the Kroot, began heading towards my position. Worse still, the Kroot I had stationed in front as the lure, began advancing alongside Slaanesh’s forces with murder in their eyes! I immediately ordered the forces on my left to advance, engage the flank of Slaanesh’s army and link with my Crisis team. The Broadsides fired salvos of rockets into the masses before them, each blast killing dozens of the enemy. Yet they paid little heed to the carnage being wrought within their ranks. Indeed, many appeared to take perverse pleasure in their wounding. My Hammerheads moved around the opposite flank of Slaanesh’s army and began pounding them with hyper-velocity sub munitions from their rail guns. Yet still they came on.

The firepower we laid down was above and beyond what the academy at Kais-shi teaches us would be sufficient to break a foe of such numbers, yet Slaanesh’s troops did not falter. Truly were these warriors brave! The slaughter continued, with my warriors falling back and firing into the charging mass. No matter how many we killed, there were more to take their place and I feared we might not have the firepower to deal with these numbers. But then my left hammered into the flank of Slaanesh’s army, throwing it into confusion as the untainted Kroot warriors carved a path through their ranks and a swirling EEC erupted as these warriors fell upon their corrupted kin. In the confusion, I launched a counter-attack of my own.

Together with my escorting Shas’vr, I fought through the center of the horde and linked with the bloodstained Kroot to surround Slaanesh. Now, as any student of mine from Kais-shi will tell you, I am a Tau little given to flights of fancy or romantic notions of beauty, but as I faced this being in shocking pinks and blues, I was very nearly entranced by the colors and heady musk's that seemed somehow to permeate my battlesuit. I quickly threw off such notions and dispatched the villain with a shot from my fusion blaster. His death seemed to throw his minions into disarray and within minutes they were a broken mob, fleeing in utter panic. I knew I could not allow such a foe to escape, ordering a full pursuit, and by nightfall we had destroyed every last remnant of Slaanesh’s army. As I returned to our original ambush site, I found the Kroot dispatching their sickly comrades and pitching them atop a vast pyre. I have seen that is the normal custom of the Kroot to feast on the bodies of their fallen kin, but after what had happened in the battle, I could not blame them for their caution. The Kroot would not leave until the pyre had burned to ashes and the remains scattered to the wind. When the fire burned out, we collected our dead and left Ke’lshan.

I shudder to think of what might have happened had Slaanesh been allowed to claim Ke’lshan as his own and I offer thanks to the Ethereals that their prescience led my warriors and I to that world. To allow such a debased echo of our former selves to exist would have dishonored all those who have fought and died for the Greater Good.

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Front Line Report on Tau Battle Doctrine

Post#4 » Dec 24 2008 03:43


Por’ui Elsy’eir K’tadie straightened the unfamiliar bulk of the armored vest over her body as an explosion echoed from the ridge behind her along with scattered sounds of gunfire. She glanced over her shoulder and nodded to her colleague, holding the recording phonic below her mouth.

“La’je’ri? Are you ready?” she asked.

Her pict-recorder, Por’la Elsy’eir Je’ri nodded. “We’re live in thirty dec’taa.”

“Very well. Let’s get a picture of the battle,” said Ui’k’tadie, scrambling up the slope.

La’je’ri followed, slowed by the heavy load of the pict-recording equipment. Also clad in a thick, armored vest, he was sweating profusely and hoped that this assignment wouldn’t involve as much running as the last one.

“Come on, hurry up!” snapped Ui’k’tadie. “We’ll miss the best bits.”

La’je’ri struggled to the top of the ridge, breathing heavily and pointed the pict-recorder at Ui’k’tadie, his superior back-lit by explosions and streaks of tracer fire. Ui’k’tadie once again straightened her body armour, her features taking on the dignified and serious expression of a Tau war correspondent.

“We’re live in four, three, two, one…”

“I’m here at the Nimbosa colony, where the forces of Shas’o Tash’var Ol’nan B’kak are preparing the way for the future expansion of the Tau empire. As you can see the battle is raging fiercely, with casualties high. It’s a hard fight, but it’s a noble fight and the heroic Fire Warriors are making it a victorious fight!”

La’je’ri panned the pict-recorder onto the Gue’la outpost, ensuring that he avoided showing dead Fire Warriors. The outpost was in flames, Battlesuits pumping hails of deadly plasma fire into the flimsy barricades. A Hammerhead gunship swept around the flanks of the buildings, its railgun tracking a Gue’la tank. The Hammerhead fired, the hyper-velocity slug tearing its target apart in a blinding fireball. He felt a fierce surge of pride at the Fire caste gunner’s accuracy. He swung the pict-recorder back to Ui’k’tadie as she continued her report.

“The Gue’la have been offered the choice of joining in the glorious expansion of the Tau empire, but have thus far declined the honor. As you can see, Fire caste Hammerheads are moving into position and…”

An explosion rocked the ground as a mortar shell impacted twenty meters to the left of their position. La’je’ri stumbled, blood running from a cut on his leg where a stray fragment had torn his fatigues. Lasbolts burst around them as more Gue’la opened fire on their position.

“The Gue’la are shooting at us!” shouted Ui’k’tadie, gleefully, “Come on, we have to get closer!”

Reluctantly, La’je’ri followed Ui’k’tadie down the slope towards the battle, the pict-recorder bouncing on his shoulder. As she ran, Ui’k’tadie shouted back towards La’je’ri, “As you can see, Fire Warriors have secured the outer perimeter of the outpost and a squadron of gun drones are pinning the Gue’la in place. There are others firing upon us, but I see the Broadsides about to engage them.”

The building before them erupted in flames as missiles from the Broadside battlesuits reduced it to a smoking pile of rubble and twisted metal sheets. Gue’la screams issued from within along with the popping of ammunition packs cooking off in the flames. Fire from the explosion washed over them and La’je’ri felt the heat singeing his scalp lock. A stray lasbolt slashed across La’je’ri’s arm, and he yelled in pain. Ui’k’tadie seemed not to notice, coming to halt at a hastily constructed barricade, and continued her report.

“I’m now at the edge of the Gue’la outpost and I can tell you it’s very exciting here. The Gue’la have fought with their customary bravery, but they’re no match for the skill and dedication of our brave Fire Warriors. Even as we speak the last pockets of resistance are being engaged! We’re moving in to witness the final victory of Commander O’b’kak’s troops!”

La’je’ri followed Ui’k’tadie over the barricade into the burning wreckage of the Gue’la outpost. Bodies lay everywhere and he felt his horror mount at the scale of the slaughter. He knew it was for the Greater Good, but that didn’t make it any easier to stomach. He supposed the Fire Warriors would be used to sights like this, but he was not and was grateful for the fact.

La’je’ri found himself running alongside armored Fire Warriors, their team leader throwing him a puzzled look. La’je’ri shrugged and continued to follow Ui’k’tadie as a volley of lasbolts blasted from a building ahead of them. The team leader’s head exploded and La’je’ri felt a hammer blow in his belly as he was struck by a lasbolt. His legs turned to water and the ground rushed up to meet him, smashing into his face. The lens on his pict-recorder cracked and he struggled to hold it steady on Ui’k’tadie, watching as the counter wound down in the corner of his eyepiece. The live feed to T’au was almost at an end.

Ui’k’tadie returned to her fallen pict-recorder and said, “The battle is almost an end now. The remaining Gue’la have been marked by the Pathfinders and there… yes… I think I see four missiles zeroing in on their position. Yes, four missiles have just impacted on the last Gue’la defenses and I think I can categorically say that their resistance here is at an end! Another glorious victory for the forces of the Tau empire and another world added in our glorious expansion. I am just hearing now, that casualties have been light and that no serious losses were incurred.”

La’je’ri groaned and checked the time counter again. As it wound down to zero he managed, “And we’re clear…”

Ui’k’tadie lowered the recording phonic and began hauling him to his feet.

La’je’ri howled in pain. “I’m shot!” he gasped.

“No, your not,” snapped Ui’k’tadie exasperatedly. “The armour took the hit. You’re fine. Now come on, stop being so lazy. We have to speak to some of the Fire Warriors, get their thoughts on the battle.”

La’je’ri groaned and pushed himself to his feet, wincing in pain as he recovered the fallen pict-recorder.

Surely there had to be easier ways of furthering the Greater Good.

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Cleanse the Xenos

Post#5 » Dec 24 2008 03:48


+++ vidslug activated+++

+++Commentary/text only. Encrypted+++

+++Input Authorization+++

+++Authorization Accepted+++

+++ The following record was made from illegal las-line transmissions in the Slide underhive sector of Monrovia hive, Jakart IV.+++
+++Tracking 0001-0008. No image, voiceover only.+++

“Hello friend, I know you’re probably taking a risk watching this if the Imperium’s anything like I remember it,”

+++Voiceover ident: Private 893478JH728. Slovaz, Jerakim. 18th Brimlock Dragoons regt. Listed MIA in the Damocles crusade.+++

“So I’ll be brief”

+++ Tracking 0008-0016. Panning shot moves across a landscape of rolling green hills and a cloudless blue sky, ending on an obviously alien-built compound comprising four geodesic buildings, a generator plant and a drilling derrick. Image evaluation indicates three concealed observation posts on the surrounding hilltops, no personnel are visible.+++

“I’ve been asked to tell you something about the Tau.”

+++ Notes: The outpost shown is somewhere with a g-type star, spectrographic analysis gives a 72.4% possibility that it is AZ 34.2 on the edge of the Damocles gulf. We know this is what the Tau call a second phase colony world, basically a mechanized mining and ore extraction facility with a Fire Warrior garrison and a handful of non-combatant engineers. We’ve seen this piece used in propaganda before, vibrant azure sky and lush green hills makes good copy apparently.+++

“This is probably about the most you’ve seen of the Tau.”

+++ Tracking 0017-0022. Rapid cut to skirmish line of twenty-four alien warriors with energy weapons firing downhill into a charging mob of Orks. Seventeen Orks are felled from 0017-0020. From 0021-0022 the surviving Orks turn and flee.+++

+++ Tracking 0023-0027. Rapid cut to night shot of three large armored figures dropping from an aerial vehicle using jet packs. The darkness behind them is cut by fire-trails indicating massed missile salvoes. Underlighting is apparent from ground detonations. The vehicle is mostly out of shot but the hatch design identifies it as a Manta class missile destroyer.+++

+++ Tracking 0028-0038. Fade to night shot from ground-based position. Eight large armored figures sweep overhead, pouring energy weapon fire and missiles into three ruined buildings mostly hidden by flames and explosions. Scattered las-fire is the only reply, sparking harmlessly off the armored figures. As the figures land their fire intensifies markedly before stopping as six weaponless Imperial Guardsmen emerge from the ruins with their hands in the air.+++

+++ Note: Sure enough these are familiar shots; Fire Warriors pushing back a rushing horde of Orks with disciplined volleys of shots, followed by flame-lit images of Battlesuits swooping down by night and efficiently leveling a hapless platoon of Imperial Guard. I think their Water caste like this one because the Fire Warriors stop firing so smoothly when the last few men throw down their weapons.+++
“ Lots of things that prove they’re dangerous, devious aliens that’ll torture, eat or enslave every human they meet.”

+++ Tracking 0038-0047. Cut to free captain trade vessel [registration unknown], docked to a Tau orbital structure, planet is not in shot.+++

“But Mankind’s been getting that line about aliens for a long time now, and any free captain will tell you it’s not always true.”

+++ Tracking 0047-0056 This is the gem, the shot fades to Private Slovaz, now in his late sixties but looking hale and well-fed, bronzed by the sun and with a nice friendly smile. He’s standing on one of those lush green hills which is now marked out into fields and with several crawlers harvesting grain in the background.+++

“I was a soldier for the Emperor and I went to war with the Tau almost forty years ago. I was lucky and lived, but when the crusade pulled back they couldn’t take everyone with them.”

+++ Note: This keys with records of the Damocles crusade. Several garrisons could not be withdrawn due to lack of ships or Tau fleet activity. Most likely some were simply forgotten about in the rush to get to Macragge and stop Hive Fleet Behemoth. Private Slovaz doesn’t appear bitter or angry when he talks about being left behind, he’s probably been well-briefed.+++

“We fought the Tau as we’d been taught, but we couldn’t beat them. While their attacks were terrible, they were always honorable with us afterwards; they let us tend our wounded and bury our dead.”

+++ Tracking 0056-0064. Slovaz gestures and the shot pans to show sixty four stone eagle headstones on the hilltop in neat rows.+++

“When the time came that we couldn’t fight any more they offered us a truce and, because we knew we couldn’t serve the Emperor by dying, we took it.”

+++ Tracking 0064-0073. Slovaz starts walking down the hill, and a cluster of clean, white buildings comes into view down in the valley. The materials and construction are undoubtedly Tau, but the styling is more reminiscent of a human frontier settlement. Men, women and children can just be identified moving around the buildings.+++

“And what they said to us was that if we wanted this world enough to fight for it we could have it; other humans that needed a place to live could join us and we could make it our own. All that we needed to do was join the Tau empire and they would give us all the help of their technology and their protection.”

+++ Tracking 0073-0084. Shot refocuses on Slovaz as he stops and turns, the settlement neatly framed in the background. The smile fades from his face as he suddenly becomes serious. +++

“We told them that we could never renounce the Emperor, the guiding light of Humanity, that to treat with the aliens was to imperil our immortal souls.”

+++ Note: He looks deadly serious, voice stress analysis tests say its unlikely he’s lying (3.2%) but such things can be faked. Presumably the unit’s commissar was no longer able to provide guidance for the men by this point. +++

“They told us we could worship who we pleased, that all we need do was play our part in the Greater Good and our culture would be welcomed into the empire. In the Guard our chances of being able to found a world were about a million to one. The Tau wanted to give this one to us just because we’d fought for it. We would have been insane not to accept.”

+++ Tracking 0085-0090. Shot moves into close-up of Slovaz’s face, smiling warmly again.+++

“It was the best decision of our lives. Sure, the work has been worth it. We gained an opportunity to breathe life into a new world by meeting the Tau, a more honorable and generous people than any other I’ve met. So when you hear stories about them, remember what I’ve said. A lot of people will call me a traitor and a heretic but now you’ve heard my story you can decide about that for yourself. All I ask is that you think about whether the Tau really are a threat to Humanity, and what’s to be gained by fighting with them if they aren’t.”

+++ Image fades out. Transmission ends.+++

+++ Conclusions: In comparison to other alien attempts this is an extremely sophisticated piece of propaganda. By using a traitor to supply commentary it manages not only to convey the impression of the Tau military might but an advanced, open-minded culture capable of generosity and honor. Assuming that the settlement shown is not an elaborate deception it gives us confirmation of the existence of at least one traitor enclave and implies that there could be several others within Tau space. Change Imperium for Empire. Change Administratum for Aliens. The trade was as simple as that, from men who have trained to chants of ‘suffer not the alien to live’. This heresy must, will, be stamped out before it becomes a Contagion of Unbelief.+++

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Crisis Suit Configurations

Post#6 » Dec 24 2008 04:26


Without telepathic abilities, communication between septs is slow. Just as the Imperium has discovered, the Tau now realize that central control of a galactic empire is impractical and inefficient. The Tau Ethereals therefore provide local leadership, facilitating greater dynamism within each sept. All septs have a branch of the Shas'ar'tol, the Fire caste's high command. It is responsible to the Ethereal caste for all military intelligence, operational planning and recruitment within that sept. Most Shas'ar'tol maintain a military academy where distinguished Shas'o and Shas'el can pass their experience on to the next generation of Fire caste soldiers. Each Shas'ar'tol's training regime is based on the expertise of its commandants and is therefore unique. There are inevitably a mass of techniques each has in common though. For example, Drone deployment patterns are standardized across all septs in order to utilize the most efficient programs.

The Fire caste are dedicated warriors who make excellent infantry and tank crews but within this professional force there is an elite, the battlesuit pilots. Every Tau warrior aspires to joining a Battlesuit team, and only the finest and most courageous are selected. Despite the Tau's prodigious industrial capacity there are never enough battlesuits to please the Shas'ar'tol. The Ethereal caste is very aware of the trust that is implicit in the issuing of a battlesuit to a warrior. The battlesuit represents considerable power, and in wielding that power, warriors have been known to forget the greater good and become obsessed with their own needs and desires. The example of O'shovah is an extreme one, but milder cases of battlesuit neurosis are more common than is realized. It is for this reason that the Ethereal caste limits the supply of battlesuits to ensure they are only issued to those who have proven themselves worthy.

The special place occupied by battlesuit technology in the Tau military is most clearly evidenced by the rank of Shas'vre. This rank is a prerequisite for any aspiring commander and is only open to veteran battlesuit pilots. Thus every Tau commander has reached his current rank after an extensive period as a battlesuit pilot. These commanders are the teachers at the Tau military academies and their beliefs are passed on to their students. Within each academy there is a slightly different approach to the art of war as it applies to battlesuits.

Tau tactics are based around two techniques called Kauyon and Mont'ka. These are very broad techniques with dozens of different variations based on the type of enemy, the prevalent weather conditions, terrain, available supplies, and so on. The subtleties of Kauyon and Mont'ka are debated at length by the Shas'o masters of all the septs. The Shas'vre however concentrate more on battlesuit team tactics and it is here that greater sept variations occur. Whilst Broadside and Stealth team doctrine varies a little between septs, the greatest differences are witnessed in the equipping of Crisis teams.


Vior'la is a Fire caste world and its warriors have served the Empire in virtually every major campaign. They operate their battlesuits either as Ta'ro'cha which means 'three minds – one purpose' or as Monats which means 'freedom of one'. All teams initially operate the Ta'ro'cha but if casualties are suffered such that one team member is left alone he will be trained as a Monat. Ta'ro'cha are teams of three battlesuit-equipped warriors. Every battlesuit is configured in the same way with the same weapons. These are determined wherever possible based on simulations run in advance. The principle is that for a particular foe there is one ideal choice of weapons and therefore every warrior using that combination serves the Greater Good. Vior'la Monats tend to be Tau with a grudge, often the lone survivor of a team bonded by the Ta'lissera as young Fire Warriors. The Monat has seen his comrades die and has become skilled in the ways of war. They are consequently teams of one, although they make extensive use of drones. While the Ta'ro'cha teams hunt the expected enemy with their carefully selected weaponry the Monat acts to deal with unusual opponents who his comrades might not be prepared for.

When a particular weapons configuration has been proven it is included in Vior'la's Book of War and becomes a part of their method.

The following are three examples of Vior'la Battlesuit teams conforming with the Ta'ro'cha:

Three Shas'ui all with twin-linked missile pod, drone controller and 2 gun drones.
The Orks encountered were Speed Freeks. The long-range fire of the Tau missile pods crippled the Ork trukks before they could get close enough to unleash their barbaric passengers. Once the Orks were dismounted they were helpless before the battlesuits, their few heavy weapon strikes being absorbed by the drones. When the time came to press forward, the drones were able to add to the team's formidable firepower with their pulse carbines and photon grenades.

Three Shas'ui all with twin-linked fusion blaster and shield generator.
This configuration was created by the need to fight overwhelming numbers of Gue'la battle tanks. The team is well shielded to give it maximum survivability when opposed by heavy weaponry and the fusion blaster is an excellent tank killer once in range. Whilst successful in action, their 'close-in' tactics cost many Tau lives. After Gel'bryn this team configuration was added to Vior'la's Book of War but is reserved for desperate situations.

Shas'vre and two Shas'ui all with twin-linked plasma rifle and target lock.
When Ke'lshan was subjected to a slave raid by the Dark Eldar, the Vior'la cadres responded with battlesuits mounting plasma rifles which were capable of destroying virtually any item in the enemy arsenal. Combined with target locks Crisis teams could engage several targets simultaneously for maximum disruption. The destruction of most of the Eldar's Raider grav-ships stopped the raid in its tracks. This configuration is highly favored amongst the Vior'la Shas'os.

Monat configurations are many and varied, being subject generally to the whim of the pilot. However, doctrine tends to maintain a favored Monat configuration at any given time. This suit is therefore instantly recognizable to the other Tau troops in the cadre. In the absence of Shas'o or Shas'el then a Tau Monat Shas'vre Monat could easily command a small force, his bitter experiences making up for more formal training. For some decades the preferred Vior'la Monat configuration has been as follows.

One Shas'vre, bonded, drone controller and two gun drones, burst cannon, fusion blaster, hard-wired multi-tracker.
The Monat has a close range weapon package that is able to engage tanks or infantry as required. The warrior will use all available cover to stalk the most valuable or dangerous prey. The role of lone hunter is one of the most dangerous and the Monat relies heavily on his drones for his survival.


Sa'cea is as close to a hive world as it is possible for a Tau civilization to get. Its teeming cities produce large numbers of highly disciplined Fire Warriors. Considering the number of Sa'ceans enlisting as Fire Warriors there are few who attain ranks above Shas'ui. This is not because Sa'ceans lack the instinct for battlesuit operation but because it is Stealth and Broadside armour they specialize in.

There are Crisis teams in the Sa'cea cadres, however there is no clear doctrine on their armament. Warriors in Sa'cea Crisis teams are encouraged in their personal preferences when it comes to weapon fit. This has resulted in Sa'cea producing some of the most illustrious Crisis teams in Tau history. The advantage rests with the fact that whatever enemy they have to confront they will have at least one team member suitably armed. There is an element of finesse to Sa'cea warriors, who disdain multi-trackers and pride themselves in selecting the right weapon from those available to them.

Because of their approach, there is no such thing as a typical Sa'cea team, but the following represents Ke'lshan'Tsua'm'Padroch'Ul'syn (theatre of war – force commander – cadre commander – team leader), all of whose members are now respected Shas'el at the Kais-shi academy.

One Shas'vre with hard-wired drone controller and two shield drones, target lock and twin-linked plasma rifle; One Shas'ui with flamer, burst cannon and fusion blaster; One Shas'ui with target lock and twin-linked fusion blaster.
The fighting on Ke'lshan was against Gue'la in the service of a being named Slaanesh. The enemy was well-supplied with unusual sonic weaponry that had not previously been encountered and fought differently to other Gue'la. Some cadres were confused by this and the original plan of battle had to be discarded. Team Leader Ul'syn and his companions stayed close to the enemy flank as it advanced and were able to continually pound them at close range and disengage before any counterblow could be struck. The team fought at close range for two decs until the victory was won.


Tau'n is a sept in which all castes are represented equally. Its Fire caste warriors are more sophisticated than most and this is reflected in their tactics. Tau'n Crisis teams combine the Sa'cea and Viorl'a methods, using teams with different weaponry but where the overall configuration is defined and each team member can be trained in the job expected of them.

The Tau'n operate both Monat and Ta'ro'cha configurations; they are also alone in using teams of two Tau. This is a recent innovation that came about with the realization that an under-strength Ta'ro'cha could combine the advantages of the two older approaches, being more able to use cover but retaining enough firepower to do a great deal of damage when attacking. These can be constructed by dropping any one warrior from the Ta'ro'cha configurations below.

Tau'n Monats tend to specialize in destroying enemy armour. One battlesuit less in the firing line is unlikely to sway a large battle, but operating ahead of the main force seeking and destroying valuable vehicles they can be very effective. Tau'n Monats do not stick to standard weapons configurations, though, and are equipped based on preference and circumstances.

Tau'n Ta'ro'cha teams are carefully trained teams using one of two principal configurations. These are shown below.

Shas'vre and two Shas'ui. The Shas'vre has burst cannon, plasma rifle, multi-tracker and hard-wired drone controller with two gun drones. One Shas'ui has a target lock, a fusion blaster and a missile pod, the other Shas'ui has a missile pod, a plasma rifle and a multi-tracker.
This configuration is complex but very flexible, it is able to engage virtually any target and can split its fire to where it will do most good. It does not have great survivability, though, and has to maneuver to avoid heavy fire. The gun drones provide some defense but they are unlikely to last for long.

Shas'vre and 2 Shas'ui. The Shas'vre has twin-linked missile pods, a drone controller with two gun drones and a hard-wired black sun filter. One Shas'ui has a shield generator, a flamer and a drone controller with two gun drones, the other has a flamer, a fusion blaster and a drone controller with two shield drones.
This configuration specializes in night fighting. The team leader carries the only long-ranged weaponry but has a black sun filter to ensure it is useful. The team has considerable survivability, essential for the type of close range firefights it is likely to be involved in. When fighting Orks on Fal'shia, Tau'n cadres employing this configuration proved deadly in night attacks against Ork encampments and supplies. The technique involved first eliminating the Ork transports and then ambushing the Orks as they came looking for their tormentors. The combination of flamers mixed with the drones' pulse carbines and their photon flash launchers left few members of the mob to fight back. Without their transports to fall back on, the Orks tended to scatter and could be hunted down at the Crisis team's leisure.


The Tau home world is known for the wisdom and experience of its warriors. Much of their battle doctrine is gleaned from the initial clashes between the Tau and the other denizens of the Eastern Fringes. Although T'au is a haven for each of the castes, it has a strong body of experienced warriors to advise upon the best use of its Fire caste. Many of the battlesuit tactics taught at the Fire caste academy are accepted as standard throughout colonies still to establish individuality.

The T'au Ta'ro'cha teams favor concentration of fire; rather than taking the opportunities afforded by target locks, they will rain death upon one unit until its total annihilation. T'au Monats tend toward introspection, often spending the eve before battle planning their next day's actions in meticulous detail, meditating and making their peace in case they fall in battle.

The T'au are loath to abandon their set configurations. However the senior T'au Shas'vre realize full well that if their enemies know what to expect, they will also be able to adopt effective countermeasures.

One Shas'ui with plasma rifle, multi-tracker, missile pod, hard-wired drone controller with two gun drones, bonded. Two Shas'ui with plasma rifle, multi-tracker, missile pod, bonded.
One of the most illustrious events in Tau military history was the retaking of Y'leth, where a faction of Space Marines had launched a full-scale assault into the defense network. As the Tau fell back, several teams of bonded Crisis battlesuits demolished the enemy's APCs and Dreadnoughts with their missile pods. They then proceeded to sow accurate plasma rifle and pulse carbine fire throughout the oncoming foe as they charged across the battlefield. Maintaining distance enough to prevent the Gue'la from reaching the Tau ranks, the enemy's numbers were whittled down until they were finally led directly into a Kroot ambush. The Fireknife configuration is still favored when a sept faces an assault from the Imperium's elite warriors.

One Shas'vre with plasma rifle, burst cannon, multi-tracker, hard-wired drone controller (two gun drones). Two Shas'ui with plasma rifle, burst cannon, multi-tracker.
When a system of Tau worlds was first threatened by a tendril of Hive Fleet Kraken, many hundreds of Tau and Kroot were slaughtered. Eventually, the Ethereals ordered all battlesuit fire to be concentrated on the alien monarchs and their bodyguard. Despite swarms of clawed beasts descending upon the Tau firebase, the Crisis teams stayed calm, each member of the team synchronizing a devastating fusillade into one creature at a time before choosing another target. They had little to worry about in the way of enemy firepower, and so the larger Tyranids were blown apart one after another. Once the Crisis and Broadside teams had done their work, their drones pinned the smaller, disorganized aliens in place, allowing the Fire Warriors to destroy them with massed firepower.

One Shas'ui with flamer, fusion blaster, shield generator, hard-wired drone controller.
Occasionally, Tau suffering from battlesuit neurosis become aware of their condition, and as such assume the role of Monat voluntarily. Realizing that they can no longer function effectively within a team, these individuals often adopt the Soul Cleanse configuration. Equipped with a selection of close-range weaponry, the Monat will often operate within enemy lines, sowing confusion and death with his flamer and neutralizing armour and heavy infantry with his fusion blaster. The shield generator mounted on one of the hard points, combined with the defense afforded by the gun drones, protects the Monat from harm long enough for him to make his escape.

Those adopting the Soul Cleanse configuration can buy their companions valuable time, allowing them to fall back or regroup without pursuit. Some consider this close-in tactic akin to courting death. Certainly, it is true that only the bravest and most confident among the Tau assume this pattern.


This is by necessity a simple outline of the four major septs and their tactical methods. All Tau commanders tend to be protective of their Crisis teams and see their doctrines as part of that protection. Battlesuits are not for impetuous attacks or heroic last stands. They are the most flexible troops available to the Fire caste and they must be used in concert with a combined arms cadre to be fully effective. Without supporting railgun fire to give enemy tanks pause for thought or Kroot auxiliaries to threaten the enemy with the possibility of being overrun, Crisis teams become far less effective. Always consider the rest of your army first and then decide what Crisis teams you need to cover its weaknesses and augment its strengths. No matter what the Crisis team members might think, it's all for the Greater Good.

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Aun'shi, Hero of Fio'vash

Post#7 » Dec 24 2008 04:37

The Tale of His Defense of Fio'vash

"I have taken great pains not to laugh at the actions of aliens, nor to weep at them or to hate them, but to understand them." - Attributed to Aun'shi

At the time of this famous battle, Aun'shi was already nearing 40 years of age — old for a Tau — and was looking forward to spending his last years on the paradise Sept world of Au'taal. A much respected life was behind him marked by many long years spent helping to expand the Empire across space by providing guidance for the Tau in his care. Hailing from the hot-blooded Sept of Vior'la, Aun'shi had perhaps a better understanding of the Fire Caste and their way of war than other Ethereals. It is said that on occasion he even went as far as to join them in their battle rituals, all the while honing his skills with the Honor Blade to a level where even the Shas'vre could not pierce his defenses. His skill with a blade had reached the level where spirit, weapon, and body had achieved complete harmony.

In what was supposed to be his last assignment, Aun'shi led a Tau colony force to a world he named Kel'tyr, the newest world in the expanding Tau Empire. Infested with feral Orks, initial progress in claiming the world was slow, but under Aun'shi's guidance, Fire Warrior Teams were soon able to push the Orks back from the main areas of Tau settlements. Within 4 years, the world was flourishing, and the Fio were building many fine towns across the main continental mass. Fio'vash was one such town, a mining outpost in the low foothills of a mineral-rich mountain range some 400 miles to the east of the capital. While on an inspection tour of the outlying towns, Aun'shi and his bodyguard became trapped in Fio'vash when a horde of feral Orks surrounded the town and launched a surprise attack to capture the mine workings.

The existing garrison of Fio'vash was augmented by Aun'shi's Fire Warrior bodyguard, and together they cut down the Orks in their hundreds. Early in the fighting, the Shas'vre of the Fire Warriors was beheaded by an enormous Ork Nob. The loss of this heroic warrior sent a surge of panic through the ranks of the Tau warriors, and it seemed as though their defense would crumble. Aun'shi leapt in front of the Nob and cut him in two with one blow from his Honor Blade, planting the haft of his weapon between the shorn halves of the corpse. Heartened by the Ethereal's brave defiance, the Fire Warriors' line steadied, and they threw the Orks back. Again and again, the Orks attacked Fio'vash, and each time Aun'shi led the defenders in battle, fighting alongside his warriors and spurring them to unheard of feats of valor. He dispatched Stealth-armored warriors and a member of the Kor to take word to the capital, as he knew that facing so many Orks meant that it was only a matter of time before they were overrun.

The battle raged on, the Tau defenders silhouetted by the flames of burning buildings. The Fire Warriors were fighting at the limits of their courage and endurance, held together by the indomitable will of Aun'shi. Every time their line bent back under the Ork assault, Aun'shi was there, his flashing Honor Blade a shimmering blur of silver steel as he cut down Orks by the dozen. Aun'shi moved like quicksilver, dodging killing blows, twisting and weaving through the air in a graceful ballet of death. Wherever he struck, Orks died, and soon none would go near him, so fearful were they of this warrior who could not be killed. Eventually, the Tau were forced to pull back to an inner perimeter of defensive walls that the Fio had constructed, and there they prepared for the next assault. Aun'shi stood in the ranks with the surviving Fire Warriors, hoping that the Kor had managed to carry word of their situation to the capital.

The greenskins attacked again and, though the Fire Warriors slew scores of Orks with every volley, they simply could not kill enough to prevent them from reaching the walls. All through the burning heat of the day, Orks charged the defensive walls, the mound of dead before them growing every second as the Fire Warriors killed with grim efficiency. The walls were beginning to give in places, and Orks poured through these gaps whenever they appeared, swamping Tau battlesuits and dragging them to the ground. Each time the Orks formed a wedge within a breach, Aun'shi led a counterattack to hurl them from the compound. As dusk approached, less than 50 Fire Warriors remained alive, and both forces sensed that the end was near. As the Orks massed for the final attack, Aun'shi ordered a retreat into the barricaded shrine at the town's center, knowing that there were too few of them to hold the full length of the wall. The Fire Warriors readied their last clips of ammunition while the workers of the Fio caste took up their picks and shovels, ready to fight in hand-to-hand combat.

With a roar of pure hatred, the Orks swarmed over the wall and into the compound, burning and destroying everything in their path. Fire Warriors shot from prepared loopholes to thin the first wave of Orks, but the Tau were unable to prevent it from reaching the building. Orks set about the door to the shrine with giant axes, climbing the walls to smash through the roof and screaming their bestial war cries. The first Orks to enter the shrine were killed swiftly, but there were always more pushing their way inside. Aun'shi fought at the shrine doors when they were finally ripped from the frame. Together with the last of his Fire Warriors, Aun'shi stood ready to fight, his Honor Blade cleaving the air before him in long, sweeping slashes. If they were to die, then they would die together.

Suddenly, the Orks were thrown into silhouette as a series of rippling detonations exploded behind them. Sweeping through the flames came the bulky forms of dozens of Devilfish Troop Carriers, guns chattering with deadly firepower as team after team of Fire Warriors poured from their interiors. Alerted by the Kor, the full wrath of the Tau now fell upon the Ork rear flank. Lumbering Broadside Battlesuits sprayed the Orks with lethal blasts, cutting them down in droves as Hammerhead tanks blasted huge holes in the Ork mobs. Within the hour, the Orks were either dead or fleeing, and the leader of the recently arrived Fire Warrior cadres found Aun'shi still standing at the shrine doors, his Honor Blade slick with Ork blood, a handful of his bodyguard left alive. Despite the terrible casualties, the defense of Fio'vash was hailed as a great victory: the Ethereal shrine still stood, and the mine workings were still in Tau hands. The survivors of the siege hailed Aun'shi as a hero, the Fire Warriors pledging to serve him for the rest of their lives.

News of the victory soon reached the Ethereals on T'au, and — rather than allow Aun'shi to spend his remaining years on Au'taal — it was decreed that he lead fresh expeditions to expand the Tau Empire. There would be no peaceful retirement for Aun'shi.

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Commander O'Shovah - Hero or Villain?

Post#8 » Dec 24 2008 04:56

Hero or Villain?

The Tau are a young race in galactic terms, but their rise to power has been meteoric. Their nascent empire, which lies in the Eastern Fringe, has survived Ork invasions, Tyranid assaults and an Imperial crusade, while still vigorously expanding to absorb several other minor races. Their science and technology has also advanced rapidly, ensuring their explorers and colonists are always well-equipped and well-armed to deal with any difficulties they encounter. Tau society is a tightly structured caste system of warriors, workers, intermediaries and travellers keyed to four elements; fire, earth, water and air respectively. These are ruled by an enigmatic fifth caste, the Ethereals.

Over the last few centuries the Tau castes have been completely unified, enabling them to push their boundaries further and to reap richer rewards from it. But the galaxy is a dangerous place, and the Tau race has yet to encounter its full horror.

In the aftermath of the Imperium's abortive Damocles Gulf Crusade in 742.M41 a Tau Fire caste commander, Shas'o Viorla Shovah Kaius Montyr, led an expeditionary force which broke away from the main Tau empire and established a series of fortified Tau colonies at the far side of the Damocles Gulf. The underlying reason for the split has intrigued certain (admittedly obscure) scholar-adepts in the Imperium for centuries. As more information has come to light the actions of Commander Farsight have become the source of grave concern for certain members of the Inquisition who perceive a distinct threat to the Divine Rule of the Emperor of Mankind.

Firstly, Tau forces for the Farsight enclaves have frequently acted as mercenaries, selling their considerable martial prowess to any aggressor willing to pay the price in raw materials they demanded. Secondly, intelligence from within the Tau empire has identified Farsight 'sympathisers' within the ranks of the Fire Warriors, those who claim to understand the actions of the renegade commander in the context of the Tau central tenet of faith, that of acting 'for the Greater Good'. Thirdly, the place where it all began holds deep and dark significance.

Inquisitors fear that O'Shovah and the colonies he established have been corrupted in some way. Members of the Ordo Malleus naturally sway towards the insidious influence of Chaos as being at the heart of it, citing the likelihood of a possessing daemon or accursed artefact, or even a silver-tongued worshipper of the Ruinous Powers planting the seed of corruption in Farsight's expedition. Those of the Ordo Xenos contend that xeno corruption is just as likely, Tyrannic organisms have been known to overthrow entire civilisations from within by subversive genetic corruption. Likewise there are many known alien entities which are capable of enslaving other races – parasites, vampires and symbiotes which can control their hosts or prey.

The Ordo Hereticus see O'Shovah's actions as those of a crisis of faith, a crumbling of ideology. They believe something caused O'Shovah to question the very basis of the powers he served. For some reason, perhaps revenge or power lust, fear or disgust, he made the fateful decision to use his personal power to betray his masters and strike out on his own. Treachery begets heresy, so they also fear something as insidious as corruption by an idea, and that if the Tau prove vulnerable to disruptive concepts many more will follow his path with unpredictable results. To date there is no record of Tau with psychic powers, but such an uncharacteristic change in motivations and personality may also indicate O'Shovah being awakened to some power of the wyrd buried deep in the Tau psyche.

Less biased observers point to the simplest conclusion of all, that O'Shovah still serves the empire. Many times commanders take on the guise of pirate lord, mercenary or renegade to achieve some end that is desired by their masters but which has to appear otherwise. All agree that O'Shovah's apparent rebellion is a disturbing twist in the rapid expansion of the Tau. It is hoped that a recent expedition by Inquisitor Artelles to the world of Arthas Moloch, seen by all as lying at the heart of the matter, will uncover more clues.

To many in the Tau empire itself O'Shovah is a virtual non-entity now, an old soldier that disappeared in to the void and never came back, one among many in the histories being written of the Tau's expansion. For the Tau it is a time of heroic endeavours, and the apparent end of one has obscured successes of others. Those who know of the Farsight enclaves seldom speak of them. When they do, O'Shovah's sympathisers emphasise the impossibility of returning across the vast region of the Damocles Gulf after his pursuit of the Orks to their lairs after ten years of battle and pursuit. His fiercest detractors fear this is a sign that the Fire caste harbours a desire to overthrow the Ethereals and rule the empire in their stead. Almost nothing is known of the distant enclaves in recent decades, but there are persistent rumours that their mercenary forces have even clashed with the Tau empire, a truly repellent concept to the devoted followers of the Greater Good.

"Each must find their own way, if those in our heartland had witnessed the savageries of the void as have we they would know this. The hand of each of the great starfarers is turned against the other, none will join their strength together just to see their ancient enemies prosper. Neither should we." - Attributed Commander Farsight, 765.M41

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Anghkor Prok, The Great Uniter

Post#9 » Dec 24 2008 05:12

Anghkor Prok
The Great Uniter

Even as a youth, Anghkor Prok was a warrior of repute, and when the Orks invaded Pech, the Kroot home world, the kindreds were almost wiped out by the warlike Greenskins. More and more kindred were destroyed by the Orks in brutal raids on their homelands, until less than 50,000 Kroot were left alive on Pech. In one such attack, the supreme Ork Warlord, Dregruk Grimtooth, encircled the winter camp of Anghkor Prok’s kindred. At dawn, the Orks attacked the encampment and within minutes hundreds of Kroot were dead, many of them cut down by Ork choppas as they crossed a frozen river. Anghkor Prok would only speak of this massacre in his later years, where he talked of mothers chopped down with their infants, warriors and young killed as they fled with their families. Barely a handful of Kroot escaped the killing and, as they left their dead behind in the snow, Anghkor Prok vowed he would have his revenge.

Thus the stage was set for a bitter war between Anghkor Prok and Dregruk’s Orks. He orchestrated the most successful guerrilla war against the Orks ever fought by a Kroot leader, engaging in deadly hit-and-run attacks throughout the rest of the winter. So successful was he that the Orks were forced to construct forts throughout the heart of Kroot territory, stretching from the Kamyon Mountains in the east to the highland forests in the west, Anghkor Prok’s courage was legendary and his reputation soon spread to the other kindreds. Widely respected for his bravery and insight, he was declared Chief of the Kroot kindreds; the last, best hope for the race.

As three columns of Ork warriors moved to surround Anghkor Prok, he summoned the allied kindreds to his camp on Kaikown Mountain. There he led them in ritual feasting, offering prayers to the Great Ancestor Spirits, and slashing his arms a hundred times as a sign of sacrifice. During this ceremony, he was granted a vision in which he saw Orks falling into his camp like Kroothawk falling from the sky. Inspired by this vision, Anghkor Prok set out for battle with 5,000 warriors, surprising Dregruk’s troops and forcing them to retreat at the Battle of the Ice Fields. To celebrate this victory, the Kroot moved their camp to the Valley of the River, where they were joined by 9,000 more Kroot who had left their lands to follow Anghkor Prok. Here, they were attacked by Orks under the impetuous Warboss Rotfang, whose badly outnumbered Stormboyz first rushed the encampment, as if in fulfilment of Anghkor Prok’s vision, then made a stand on a nearby ridge, where they were utterly destroyed.

Following the victory, some Kroot Kindreds took refuge back at Kaikown Mountain, but Anghkor Prok remained to battle Dregruk. The Warlord’s outrage at this defeat brought thousands more Orks to the area, and over the next year they relentlessly pursued the Kroot throughout the highland forests. But Anghkor Prok remained defiantly elusive. Many years of fruitless war followed, with neither side able to gain a clear advantage until news reached Anghkor Prok of the return of the exiles, those Kroot who had left Pech many years before on their war spheres to ply their trade as mercenaries. Anghkor Prok was elated, believing that this event promised to rid Pech of Orks and restore the Kroot way of life. Sending word to the newly arrived Kroot, he marched at the head of ten thousand warriors to the Plain of Bones where Dregruk had his camp.

Dregruk’s army had also suffered in the intervening years. Cut off from reinforcements, his army had dwindled to a fraction of its former size. The Kroot’s consumption of dead Orks prevented their numbers from being replenished by natural means, and the lack of raw materials on Pech had limited the war machines he could construct. The Kroot fell upon his army from two directions and the battle was fierce, lasting nearly a full day. Neither side was willing to give or ask for quarter, but in the end, the Orks were defeated and their flesh consumed in a feast of celebration.

Anghkor Prok led his kindred for a further ninety years, winning many battles and, famously, swearing allegiance to the Tau empire at the sacred Oathstone before falling in battle against Ork pirates. His body was buried on the slopes of Mount Kaikown, where a carved Jagga tree marks his grave. Anghkor Prok is still venerated among the Kroot, not only as an inspirational leader and fearless warrior, but also as a Kroot whose faith in their way of life gave him prophetic insight and lent special power to his spirit.

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Assault on Nimbosa

Post#10 » Dec 24 2008 05:27

Assault on Nimbosa

The sweet aroma of incense filled the launch bay of Severian and drifted in lazy coils from the incense burners carried by the Chaplaincy Hierophants who followed Chaplain Clausel. The scent reminded Captain Agemman of the northern highlands of Macragge, and he experienced a moment's nostalgia for his homeworld before his thoughts returned to the skull-masked Chaplain's prayers. He and a score of his fellow warriors of the Ultramarines' First Company knelt to receive Chaplain Clausel's blessing before climbing into their drop pods to begin the assault on the Tau colony below. Techmarines and expressionless servitors ministered to the drop pods, used silver aspergilla to anoint their charges with blessed oils, and removed the sacred warding pins that chained them to the deck of Severian.

"Into the fires of battle we go," intoned Clausel.

"Unto the anvil of war we strike," replied the Space Marines.

"We are the Ultramarines, warriors of the Emperor, and our bravery is beyond question! It is the stuff of the soul-forge, stronger than adamantium and enduring as the Immortal Emperor Himself. The fires of battle are our places of worship, the roar of bolters our prayers, and the slaughter of our foes an offering to the gods of battle!"

"Our bolters are charged with death," promised the assembled Space Marines. "They are the divine wrath of the Emperor!"

Clausel nodded, stopped before the opening of the nearest drop pod, and turned as his acolytes approached with his crozius arcanum and rosarius borne within vermilion-lined reliquary boxes. The crozius glittered as Clausel lifted it from the box, torch light winking from the blood-red eyes of the winged skull atop the weapon. Clausel leaned forward and allowed a hierophant with a gold face mask to place the rosarius around his neck, the heavy chain of the protective amulet contrasting starkly with the black of his armor.

Agemman rose to his feet, and the warriors of his company followed suit, the launch bay echoing to the crash of booted feet slamming to attention. He marched to stand beside Clausel and turned to his assembled warriors.

"Look to your weapons, brothers," he said. "We go to war!"

+++ +++ +++

The sky above the Tau outpost on Nimbosa was a dirty, smudged mess of contrails and flak, batteries of pulse cannon painting the sky with traceries of fire. Streamers of fire streaked the sky as the Space Marine drop pods slashed downward toward their targets. Smoke from burning buildings twisted in the wind, and flames crackled hungrily as they devoured the fledgling xeno outpost. Tau tanks glided through the ruins as the first of the drop pods impacted the surface of the planet in great wash of flaring rocket engines. The armored sides of the drop pod clanged open, and Captain Agemman swiftly debarked from the pod onto the surface of Nimbosa, his Terminators following him out and forming a perimeter.

"All squads, converge on my position. Wedge formation. Target dead ahead!"

Scrambling teams of alien soldiers opened fire on the newly arrived Terminators, but the blessings placed upon them held firm. Not a single warrior fell. The answering fire of the Terminators ripped through the Tau warriors and shredded them in a hail of mass-reactive bolts. More and more drop pods were landing. The blue-armored Space Marines spread out in a prearranged pattern to secure the landing zone and push onto the Tau battery position. Thunderhawk gunships were en route with yet more warriors, and the Tau anti-aircraft guns had proven uncannily adept at shooting down Imperial aircraft. That could not be allowed to continue. Agemman watched Chaplain Clausel cut down Tau warriors like wheat before the scythe, his crozius arcanum a blinding, golden arc as it cut through alien armor and flesh. His bellowed Litanies of Hate spurred those around him to greater effort, and the slaughter was magnificent to behold.

Explosions and gunfire filled the air, the whine of pulse rounds and the chatter of bolter fire mingling in an all-consuming crescendo. Agemman and his Terminators smashed through the barricades protecting the makeshift entrance to the battery. An actinic pulse of blue light lit up the landscape as the guns fired, and Agemman knew they did not have much time. A trio of mechanized battlesuits, the elite warriors of the Tau, came into view, powerful weapons spitting bright bolts of death at his warriors. Brother Helion, the veteran of the Gabalas Crusade fell, his arm a bloody ruin, the flesh and armor fused into a molten mass. The doughty warrior picked himself up, as pain balms were dispensed from his armor. They would allow the veteran to carry on fighting despite the horrific wound.

"Jantine!" shouted Agemman.

"Assault cannon!"

Brother Jantine swung the multiple barrels of his weapon around, the whine of the motor cutting through the barks of gunfire and crump of explosions. Shells spat from the barrel of the assault cannon and kicked up great plumes of powdered rockcrete and alien blood, as hundreds of shells tore through the battlesuits in a matter of seconds. Shells continued to rip the alien warriors apart long after they were dead.

"Enough!" called Agemman. "To expend ammunition needlessly is wasteful. Assign yourself three days fasting for lax targeting rituals."

"Yes, Brother Captain," said Jantine, bowing his head. "It will not happen again."

Agemman accepted Jantine's contrition and said, "I know that, but let us push on. This battery is not going to destroy itself."

Agemman watched as the last of the charges detonated and the great barrels of the gun battery come crashing down. Flames leapt skyward and the noise of Imperial transports inbound for the liberated airfields was deafening. He and his warriors gathered in a circle to give thanks for their victory and to offer their prayers to the war spirits of their battle gear. The number of alien dead was unknown yet, though Agemman knew it would be high. They had left no survivors, and the site had been well-defended but not so well-defended that it could stand before the might of the Space Marines.

He finished the Litany of the Warrior and rose to his feet as Chaplain Clausel approached, the wings and skull of his crozius arcanum stained red with the blood of his foes. The two Space Marines shook hands in the warrior's grip, wrist-to-wrist.

"Your men fought with courage and honor," said Clausel.

"Aye, that they did. Your courage was an example to us all."

Clausel nodded, "In these difficult times, warriors need an example to follow."

Agemman nodded. As well as exhorting the Space Marines to greater and greater feats of courage, it was a Chaplain's sacred task to minister to the spiritual well-being of his company. The recent loss of the 4th Company's Captain and its senior Sergeant had inflicted a serious blow to its warriors' morale, and Clausel had spent many long days in prayer and fasting with them.

"Will you take prayer with my men?" asked Agemman, changing the subject.

"That I will, Captain Agemman," said Clausel. "I would offer them the Benediction of Battle."

"We would be honored for you to speak it," nodded Agemman.

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The Struggle For Vor'Anoth

Post#11 » Dec 24 2008 05:35


The ever-expanding Tau conquer, tame, or negotiate to get new worlds into their fledgling empire with each passing year. Outside of full-fledged war against hostile systems, the Tau mainly utilize colonization to achieve their expansion goals. In order to nurture a planetary system so that it bears fruit, the Tau set up colonies on promising worlds. Often these worlds are barely habitable or full of hostile lifeforms.

Over the years and through a lot of hard work, the colonized planet becomes a fruitful, valuable resource for the Tau empire. Before long, these new colonies transform into bustling cities that serve as waystations to fuel further expansion efforts. Thus, the Tau continue to grow across the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy.

On the southeastern fringes of the Tau empire, between the major sept worlds of Fal’Shia and D’Yanoi, lie vast regions of frontier space unexplored by the Tau. With the young sept world of Tash’Var being the nearest bastion against the alien pirates that roam this void, Tau colonists in this region need to be very independent and possess a strong survival instinct. Several early colonies have been begun on planets within this rather remote area of Tau space. One such place is the 2nd Phase colony Vor’Anoth.

This colony is located upon a lush, mountainous planet categorized by the Earth caste as a very promising supplier of rare mineral ore. Established now for a mere 2 years, the colony has nearly set up the operations necessary to begin basic mining and refinery of raw ore. Large portions of the temperate planet remain untamed and the promises of more valuable geological treasure lie hidden beneath its surface. Eventually, this development will all come to pass – one thing at a time, after all. Unfortunately, time just ran out for Vor’Anoth.

Orbital drones recently picked up indications of a large object dropping out of the Immaterium on the outskirts of the system. Twisted metal fused with debris and rock, the space hulk now drifts above the planet’s orbit like a menacing fist. The worst fears of the Tau colonists were soon realized when the entry trails from incoming Ork Roks became visible in the sky. Now, the brave colonists prepare to defend their home for the Greater Good. The Tau know it will be some time before any aid arrives from Tash’Var. All the colonists can do is hold out and fight the smart fight.

This is the story of Vor’Anoth, and only you can decide its ultimate fate...

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