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Gereon is an Agri-world located within the Khan Group of the Sabbat Worlds. Despite its isolation and small population Gereon eventually became a focal point of the Sabbat Worlds Crusade when General Noches Sturm, after turning Renegade, used Gereon as a mustering ground for the infamous Sons of Sek, a Chaos warband that rivalled the equally dreaded Blood Pact.

Thanks in no small parts to the efforts of the regiment of the Astra Militarum known as the Tanith First-and-Only, the world was eventually liberated by the crusading armies of the Imperium of Man.

History

Gereon is believed to have been settled in the second half of the 35th Millennium in the wake of the original Imperial Crusade that established the Sabbat Worlds as an Imperial sector. Since the days of Saint Sabbat, Gereon has been exploited as an Agri-world, its isolation keeping it out of harm's way.

This long period of peace ended in 771.M41, when the forces of Archon Urlock Gaur swept through the Khan Group in an effort to separate the Crusade's leading elements from its rear echelon which Warmaster Macaroth had left exposed in his daring rush for the Cabal Salient.

While the Gereon Planetary Defence Force fought valiantly, the world was swiftly conquered by the Forces of Chaos. Millions died in combat or in the Archenemy's brutal display of power to cull the remaining population into submission. Thus began a period of time the locals referred to as "the Days of Pain." For almost three Terran years the forces of the Archenemy occupied Gereon. The Agri-world retained its original function, but its bountiful harvest now went to feed the armies of the Blood Pact and other heretics.

Under the rule of Chaos, the planet was governed by an official known as the Plenipotentiary, who ruled the world in the name of Anarch Anakwanar Sek, one of Urlock Gaur's most trusted and powerful lieutenants. After the conquest of Gereon, the planet's Imperial population was violently oppressed in the name of the Chaos Gods. The occupiers forced droves of downtrodden citizens to convert to the worship of Chaos. Those who refused were either killed or fed to the "meat factories," large manufactoria that butchered humans for meat to feed the rest of the populace. Others were used as forced labour in the Iconoclave, also known as the "Breaking House," which was dedicated to the destruction and defacement of Imperial symbols and statuary wherever they were found across the world.

On Gereon, the occupation forces were divided into two distinct groups, the first called the "Excubitors." These were hideously disfigured human soldiers whose eyes and nose had been removed and replaced with a bionic mask and collar. The Excubitors were easy to distinguish, as they wore distinctive greatcoats and carried ornate las-locks, laser weapons that were inferior to the Lasguns used by the troops of the Astra Militarum.

Lasguns were issued to the second group of Chaos soldiers on Gereon, the better-trained and equipped occupation troops who guarded more strategically important areas of the planet such as bastions or large cities. The cruel officers of these elite warriors were known as "Sirdars."

The Excubitors and other occupation troops were supported by a number of other Chaos creations to help control the populace. Excubitors frequently used fetch-hounds to hunt down fugitives and Daemon Engines known as "Wirewolves " -- tangled jumbles of metal and sharp claws animated by Warp energy -- to supplement their infantry forces. While they would eventually run out of power, the Wirewolves would refuse to give up the hunt while they were powered.

Connected to the Wirewolves were "glyfs," Warp-born creatures in the shape of constantly changing sigils that would sound alarms if they sensed treachery. Creatures called "imagos" were given to each citizen, which allowed them to bypass the planetary curfew as long as they were scanned by the Excubitors. Any citizen who did not have an authorized imago or who was caught outside after curfew was put to death on the spot.

These harsh measures proved necessary when remnants of the PDF and Loyalist civilians began to form cells of resistance fighters. Spread throughout the various towns and villages of the world, these cells resisted the occupiers as much as their meagre means allowed. The resistance used a variety of codes related to Gereon to communicate. Stopping at a resistance safehouse would draw the challenge "How is Gereon?" to which the seeker would respond with, "Gereon lives." The return had two variations. If the house was safe, "Despite their efforts" was the reply. If the house was compromised, "even though it dies" would come back.

It was only three Terran years after Gereon had been conquered by the Archenemy, in 774.M41, that the fate of the small Agri-world became relevant to the wider Sabbat Worlds Crusade. In great secret, Anakwanar Sek had begun raising his own group of fanatically loyal troops, the Sons of Sek, to rival and maybe even surpass Urlock Gaur's own Blood Pact.

In Gereon, Sek had found a perfect training ground for his elite warriors. To further the training of his troops, Sek had acquired a very rare commodity: a former General of the Imperial Guard. Lord General Militant Noches Sturm, formerly of the Volpone Bluebloods, had previously shown inexcusable cowardice during the defence of Vervunhive and had been scheduled for a court martial that would likely have ended with his execution. Due to the highly sensitive information he had access to, General Sturm's mind had been secured by a so-called "mindlock" that actively repressed his memories. Having captured Sturm, Sek had the means to progressively break the mindlock and acquire classified Imperial military intelligence on the course of the Sabbat Worlds Crusade.

Experienced with carrying out secret high risk missions following the events on Phantine, a small squad of specialists from the Tanith First-and-Only, also known as "Gaunt's Ghosts," was tasked with Sturm's assassination. Led by the regiment's commander-in-chief, the famed Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt, the strike-team landed clandestinely on Gereon and established contact with the Gereon resistance.

Through an arduous journey and the costly assistance of the planet's resistance cells, the Ghosts managed to make it to Lecticia Bastion, where Sturm was held. The Ghosts were able to infiltrate the bastion and succeeded in their assassination of Sturm, but were initially unable to exfiltrate from the planet. Caught behind enemy lines, the members of the strike team joined the resistance in their fight against the occupiers, a fight several members of the team chose to continue with rather than rejoin their regiment once exfiltration was possible.

Once Gaunt's team had been debriefed on the success of their mission, Imperial forces returned to Gereon and liberated it from the taint of Chaos.

Geography and Society

As an Agri-world, Gereon is home to a variety of forests and large fields that were used to grow a wide array of staple crops. Bocage was a common type of terrain found on Gereon, and the world was also covered by several wide oceans. The first settlers of Gereon made use of every available bit of farmland save for the region known as the "Untill."

The Untill was a massive, all-but-uninhabited swamp save for various isolated tribes of partisans who called themselves the "Nightbane" or "Nightwalkers." These were rebels who had been driven into the swamp during an earlier civil war between the world's various factions before the Chaos invasion.

Filled with a large variety of hazardous creatures such as highly poisonous moths, massive reptilian predators, and aquatic beasts, the Untill was so-named for being untillable, unfarmable land that possessed very little solid ground. Vents of promethium jetted out from the ground, and were used by the Nightbane to light their lanterns.

Human society on Gereon was mainly centred in various farming towns divided across several provinces. Each province possessed one large town or city as its capital, with smaller towns, villages, and various farms scattered across it.

Sources

  • His Last Command (Novel) by Dan Abnett
  • Traitor General (Novel) by Dan Abnett
  • The Armour of Contempt (Novel) by Dan Abnett
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