"Surround yourself with the greatest warriors at your command, or cower in the deepest and darkest hole you can find. It matters not. I shall take your head for the Great Khan and for the Emperor."
- — Kor'sarro Khan, Master of the Hunt
The "Hunt for Voldorius," as it was remembered by the White Scars Chapter, but officially chronicled in the Imperial record as the Liberation of Quintus, was a campaign led by Kor'sarro Khan, Captain of the 3rd Brotherhood of the White Scars Chapter, against the Daemon Prince Kernax Voldorius, the warleader of a particularly insidious Alpha Legion Chaos Space Marines warband.
After more than a solar decade on the hunt, in 865.M41 Kor'sarro Khan drove Voldorius from his foremost stronghold on the Hive World of Modanna to the world of Quintus, where Kor'sarro and the 3rd Brotherhood of the White Scars formed an alliance with Shadow Captain Kayvaan Shrike of the Raven Guard Chapter's 3rd Company, who also sought to dislodge the Alpha Legion's grip on that benighted planet.
Together, the two Astartes officers and their companies ultimately ran the Daemon Prince to ground and slew him once and for all.
Kor'sarro Khan took Voldorius' head back to the White Scars homeworld of Chogoris (officially known to the Administratum as Mundus Planus) where it was set on a pike on the road to the White Scars' fortress-monastery, so that all who saw it might know that no foe of the Chapter ever truly escapes the Emperor's justice.
At the centennial feast in celebration of his ascension in 855.M41, Kyublai, the Great Khan (Chapter Master) of the White Scars announced his intention to bring to justice one of the greatest foes ever to have opposed the Chapter. Kernax Voldorius, known to the White Scars as Bladespite, was a Daemon Prince and warleader or "strikemaster" of the renegade Alpha Legion Chaos Space Marines, and as vile a foe as any the White Scars had ever fought.
Trillions of men and women had died when Voldorius had unleashed the merciless horror of the Bloodtide some two thousand years earlier in 034.M38, and billions more had perished in the sacrilegious massacres dedicated to the Ruinous Powers of Chaos on the worlds of Kento, Loran and Blindhope.
Now, the Great Khan declared, Bladespite's triumphal reign of terror would cease. Kor'sarro Khan, captain of the White Scars' 3rd Brotherhood (Company) and the Chapter's 51st Master of the Hunt, was dispatched with his company and charged to return with the Daemon Prince's head, or not at all.
It was a hunt to last more than a solar decade. Though Kor'sarro caught sight of his prey on the battlefields of the worlds of Zoran and Kavell, and almost came within striking distance in the choked underhives of Modanna, chance always conspired to save Voldorius from his deserved fate. And so the trail finally led Kor'sarro Khan and his Brotherhood to Quintus, a desolate Imperial Fortress World to the galactic south of Chogoris in the Ultima Segmentum.
Quintus had only recently been one of the Imperium of Man's chief bulwarks against the brutal Ork Empires of the Jagal Stars, but that was before the coming of Kernax Voldorius, who had arrived with his Alpha Legion forces to discover the presence of another Traitor Legion warband, this time of the Night Lords, already within the system.
Following a necessary period of brutal "readjustment," Voldorius joined both forces under his command. Through intimidation and false promises, the Daemon Prince's combined warband had infiltrated and corrupted Quintus' Planetary Defence Force (PDF), leading them to take up rebellion against the Emperor of Mankind. The White Scars found no mere warband of Chaos Space Marines on the world, but a whole world's population ready to stand against them in defence of the Ruinous Powers' emissaries. But Kor'sarro would not be so easily denied his prize.
Leaving their Strike Cruiser in the outer system, the White Scars mounted their Thunderhawk gunships. Following rigorously plotted stealth trajectories, the attack craft slipped through Quintus' defence grid and landed amongst the blasted canyons southwest of the planetary capital city of Mankarra. Kor'sarro expected to have a battle on his hands to secure the landing zone but he found no enemies, but rather unexpected allies in the shape of Captain Kayvaan Shrike and his Raven Guard 3rd Company.
Shrike had been on campaign in the Targus System when news of Quintus' fall to Chaos had reached his ears. With the Targus battlezone swinging towards the victory of the Imperium's forces, Shrike redeployed his own company of Astartes to Quintus and had been fighting a guerrilla war against the Night Lords invaders ever since. The piloting expertise that had allowed the White Scars to make planetfall unobserved by the Quintan rebels had not been skillful enough to go unnoticed by Captain Shrike's forces, and the Raven Guard had mustered to meet the new arrivals.
The Raven and the Khan
As dropships deployed the White Scars' support vehicles, the two Astartes captains held a council of war. Neither entirely trusted the other. The rivalry between the White Scars and the Raven Guard Chapters went back many thousands of standard years, but both Shrike and Kor'sarro knew that they had little choice but to set aside their inherited differences, weighty though they were. The Alpha Legion and their treacherous Quintan vassals were simply too numerous for one company to defeat without the other's aid, and so the Space Marines' battleplans had to be drawn accordingly.
The following morning before dawn, Shrike led his company in a surprise assault against the Traitors garrisoned in an orbital defence battery some leagues west of Mankarra. This was the method of war Shrike and his battle-brothers had perfected against the forces of WAAAGH! Skullkrak, and within moments of the assault's beginning, the Traitor forces were in disarray.
A good portion of the complex was already in the Astartes hands when Kernax Voldorius, seeing the danger, despatched half of his Alpha Legion Traitor Marines and much of Mankarra's garrison as reinforcements. But Shrike had drawn his plans well. As the Raven Guard captain led Assault Squads into the heart of the complex, his remaining forces entrenched themselves on the perimeter.
So it was that Voldorius' tide of reinforcements crashed upon the bastions of the defence complex's outer fortifications like the sea upon distant shores. The Alpha Legion Aspiring Chaos Champion directing the assault was a canny foe, and held his deadliest troops back from the slaughter.
Instead he sent wave after wave of Chaos Cultists and Traitor PDF troops into the guns of the Raven Guard, casually expending their worthless lives in search of a weakness to exploit. Such a weakness offered itself up when one of the bastions cracked asunder, broken by fire from Ironsoul, a massive Baneblade tank manned by a traitorous Quintan crew. Seizing his opportunity, the Aspiring Champion led his reserves forwards.
Over 300 Chaos Space Marines of the Alpha Legion and the Night Lords flung themselves at that single point in the defences. The Raven Guard stood their ground, pouring bolter fire into the oncoming horde, but their numbers were thin and the enemy ferocious. Kayvaan Shrike emerged from the depths of the complex to lead a counterattack and the enemy fell back wherever the Shadow Captain trod but, little by little, the Raven Guard began to give ground. The Alpha Legion Aspiring Champion roared his praise to the Ruinous Powers and drove his men forwards over the dead and dying. It was then that the White Scars struck.
Before Shrike had led the assault on the orbital defence complex, the White Scars had concealed themselves in the caves to the south. Now, with the bulk of the Chaos force strung out, the White Scars launched their attack. With a throaty roar of engines, Rhinos and Assault Bikes broke from the shadows and spurred towards the fray. The Ironsoul was the first to feel the White Scars' wrath. Though the Baneblade's commander bellowed at his crew, the massive tank could not turn swiftly enough to engage the new threat.
Kor'sarro's vanguard, skilled bikers all, tore through the Traitors that protected the Ironsoul 's flanks. Never once slowing their breakneck charge, the White Scars bikers swarmed about the adamantium monster's flanks, targeting its sponsons with Melta-fire and its vision slits with Flamers. One by one, the Ironsoul 's guns were silenced and the bikers spurred on towards the embattled Raven Guard, leaving only a crippled tank and slain Traitors to their rear.
Dismayed by the unforeseen assault to their flank and the swift demise of the Ironsoul, the Traitors fled. The Alpha Legion fought on to the last, but the White Scars were upon them. Squads of bikers swept through the ranks of Chaos Space Marine, blades and lances flashing. More White Scars disgorged from Rhinos, Bolters coughing death at the foe. By the time Kayvaan Shrike led the Raven Guard over the defences and into the fray, the outcome of the battle was no longer in doubt.
Death of Voldorius
Captains Shrike and Kor'sarro had no time for celebration. Voldorius and his followers still had control of the capital city of Mankarra and, if given time, would be able to fortify it further. Leaving a small garrison in the orbital defence complex, the White Scars took to their Rhinos and the Raven Guard to their Thunderhawk gunships.
Mankarra's defences remained a concern. Both Shrike's and Kor'sarro's companies had travelled light, and could only boast a single Vindicator between them, the aptly-named Thunderheart. Fortunately, the efficiency of Voldorius' tyrannical rule over Quintus had not extended to basic maintenance. A salvo of Hellstrike Missiles from the Raven Guard's Thunderhawks and a brief pounding from the Thunderheart Demolisher Cannon brought down a sizable segment of Mankarra's outer wall. Before the Traitor garrison could react, the White Scars were already in the city.
Not wishing to get caught in the brawl of vicious urban warfare, the White Scars fought from their transports, exiting them only to launch lightning assaults. White Scars Bike Squadrons hurtled through the streets and alleys of Mankarra, swarming wherever the defenders were unprepared, whittling their opponents down through attrition without granting them the slightest chance to answer in kind.
As the White Scars commanded the battle at street-level, Shrike's Thunderhawks deployed squad after squad of Raven Guard into the upper levels of the city's many manufactorums and basilicas.
True to their specialty, the Raven Guards swiftly and silently descended upon the unprepared defenders. Beset from above and below, the heretical defenders of the Traitor PDF stood little chance. Many threw down their arms and begged for mercy, but there was none to be had for those who had betrayed the Emperor of Mankind.
At the end, only Voldorius and his personal bodyguard remained. Infused with the battle rage, the Daemon Prince fought on against impossible odds. Many battle-brothers fell to Voldorius' wrath that day, but the vengeance of the Space Marines would not be denied and they pressed forwards to finish their hated foe.
Encircled, outnumbered and trapped in the shadow of the grand Cathedral of the Emperor's Wisdom, Kernax Voldorius finally met his end. The Daemon Prince did not fall quickly or easily to the servants of the Emperor, and his bodyguard of corrupt and twisted Chaos Space Marines fought without fear, yet the outcome was not in doubt.
At the last even Voldorius' unholy strength, born of Chaos Undivided, could not prevail against the sacred determination of his Astartes enemies. Pierced and pinned to a fallen statue of the Emperor he had long ago betrayed by Kayvaan Shrike's Talons in perhaps a rare instance of truly poetic justice, Voldorius could not escape the vengeance of Kor'sarro's ancient Power Sword Moonfang. With one terrible blow, the White Scars Khan cleaved the Daemon Prince's head from his shoulders, erasing the foul stain of his existence from the material universe.
A solar month later, with Quintus now in the firm hands of an Astra Militarum force sent from Tallarn, Kor'sarro and Shrike exchanged their final words and went their separate ways once again. Shrike returned to the Targus battlezone to face the Orks once more in the never ending vigilance required to keep the Imperium's borders safe.
Kernax Voldorius' head soon joined the long line of other foes of the Emperor that lined the approach to the Palace. Each captain took with him the respect of the other and the glory of a hard battle won, and perhaps the beginnings of a newly reforged brotherhood between Chapters that had for so long been rivals.
- Codex Supplement: Raven Guard (8th Edition), pg. 28
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 42-43, 49
- The Hunt for Voldorius (Novel) by Andy Hoare