The Manachean Commonwealth is a conglomerate of advanced and populated worlds that lies at the border of both the Segmentum Obscurus and the Ultima Segmentum. Established in the early millennia of the Dark Age of Technology, the Commonwealth is first and foremost comprised of the sprawling Hive Worlds of the Manachea System and the neighbouring Imperial Navy Sector Headquarters at the fortress of Port Maw. Since the days of the Great Crusade and its liberation from the baleful rule of the xenos empire known as the Mitu Conglomerate, it is arguably the most strategically vital area of the entire Coronid Deeps. By the end of the 30th Millennium, the Commonwealth was perhaps the preeminent power within the Coronid Deeps. This led the Traitor Warmaster Horus Lupercal to personally lead the conquest of the Manachea System after his gambit at Istvaan V had failed. Suffering harshly under the traitorous regime but ultimately liberated by the Imperium during the Great Scouring, Manachea's position would nevertheless decline, the once formidable Hive Worlds of the Commonwealth slowly being surpassed and overshadowed by the growing importance of Port Maw.
The Manachea System which lies at the heart of the Commonwealth and which has given its name to the surrounding sub-sector was likely founded during Mankind's first golden age of conquest known as the Dark Age of Technology. The three worlds of Manachea survived the horrors of Old Night relatively intact, its technology still advanced and its disciplined population numbering in the hundreds of millions. However, somewhere during the Age of Strife, the system also fell prey to the Mitu Conglomerate, a xenos empire of great strength which ruled over much of the Coronid Deeps. The Mitu were a cabal of several psychically empowered pseudo-actinaric xenos species believed to have evolved from a common stock. Technologically advanced and Warp-capable, their pocket empire soon grew to subjugate other worlds from whom they periodically demanded a culling of the population and a tribute of flesh to provide them, it was believed, with the basic components to construct their technologies. Although enjoying a semblance of freedom and self-governance, which made their rule less harsh than the brutal slavery maintained by Orks or the Eldar, the Mitu controlled the Manachea System entirely, tracking down and rooting out nascent psykers and forbidding any attempts at space flight. It is unclear for how many standard decades or even centuries the worlds of the future Manachean Commonwealth suffered under that regime, but the overlordship of this vile breed of xenos was brought to an end by the armies of the Great Crusade. The war the Imperium would fight to end the Mitu Conglomerate would be protracted and bloody. Essentially fought as a series of brutal close-quarters boarding engagements in the void interspersed with sudden and world-shattering planetary assaults on both sides, this campaign would mobilise no less than several Expeditionary Fleets and three Legions of the Legiones Astartes –- amongst them the Imperial Fists of the Primarch Rogal Dorn –- and hundreds of Cohorts of Solar Auxilia. Most of the worlds of the Conglomerate would eventually be purged by Exterminatus, but for the human-populated Manachea System the Imperium would fight hard.
For the masses who had lived so long under the oppression of inhuman intelligences and the constant threat of being harvested or culled, Imperial Compliance was taken up with open arms. Due to its long-standing ties and common history, the three inhabited worlds of the Manachea System were established as a commonwealth under the authority of a single Imperial Commander. The seat of power and governance would be on Manachea Vysidae, at Hive Illium where the noble patricians of House Becket would act as the Lord Protectors of the Manachean Commonwealth. Here, from the Palace of Light as it would soon be called, the vast wealth and manpower of the Commonwealth would labour for the Imperium of Mankind. Quickly becoming a powerhouse of military and industrial activity, Manachea prospered, serving as a lynchpin of commerce and trade for the entire region. This prominence caused the Commonwealth to become the regional capital of the entire sub-sector, which even adopted its name. At the dawn of the 31st Millennium, Manachea was a shining beacon of Imperial civilisation in the northern stellar reaches of the Imperium, a powerful, autonomous pocket-empire that was utterly loyal to its liberators from the Great Crusade and concentrated much of the military might of the Imperium in this region of space.
The Horus Heresy
As a vital and highly industrialised star system, it was clear that the Manachean Commonwealth would sooner or later come under the attack of the Renegade Warmaster Horus' troops. However, in contrast to the more fractious Cyclops Cluster, the worlds of the Manachean Commonwealth were both better protected and more powerful. On one hand, the proximity between the Manachea System and Port Maw meant that the military and naval might possessed by these two worlds would readily be able to support each other and thus posed a threat the Warmaster could not ignore. On the other hand, the industrial and repair facilities of the Port Maw installations constituted an ideal stepping stone for Horus' March on Terra. Where in the Cyclops Cluster Horus' armies had benefitted from the element of surprise, this would not be the case at Manachea or indeed Port Maw, as several Loyalist survivors, escapees from the Massacre of Istvaan V, had already spread word of Horus' victory. Worse yet for the Traitors, Port Maw was already rallying every available force to engage Horus' own war fleets. Fortunately for the Traitors, a large portion of its fleet was already engaged elsewhere in a protracted and bloody battle against an Ork Space Hulk designated as the Red Polyphemus. Other squadrons had also been despatched to far-flung sectors under the Warmaster's orders well before the Istvaan III Atrocity and were struggling to reach their home port when Horus struck simultaneously at Manachea and Port Maw. History has remembered these troubled times as the Manachean War, Horus having long since planned to weaken the Armada Imperialis battlegroups stationed at Port Maw. The Warmaster had initiated countless schemes and treacheries to ensure that when his axe fell, it would do so on a weakened and disoriented enemy. Horus' duplicity would culminate in the Treachery at Port Maw whose outcome would deliver nearly the entire sub-sector into his hands.
Manachea's Planetary Governor, Lord Protector Pryamus Beket, died in the ruins of the Palace of Light among the slaughterhouse that had become his command amphitheatre. Defiant to his last breath, he stood before First Captain Ezekyle Abaddon of the Sons of Horus Traitor Legion after the murder of his city, which had taken six solar days to die. Holding his ground, the brave Lord Protector offered the towering Astartes only words of rebuke before being casually brought down, crushed by the powered claw of the Sons of Horus' First Captain as a normal man would swat aside a fly. With the terrible fate of Hive Illium to contemplate, the other hive cities of Manachea quickly surrendered. Manachea became the first truly autonomous domain over which flew the Eye of Horus instead of the Imperial Aquila. Yet Horus did not rule there, nor did the bleak Primarch of the Death Guard, Mortarion the Reaper. The Manachean Commonwealth fell under the sway of Taloc Thorne, a line captain of the Sons of Horus whom the Archtraitor had installed to rule in his absence. Claiming the title of Tyrant of Port Maw, Taloc Thorne would ensure that Manachea's industries and formidable workforce, but also the naval facilities at Port Maw, would now toil for the Warmaster. His seat of power was established in the blood-bedecked corridors and hall of the Triumph of Reason, Battlefleet Port Maw's former flagship, now aptly renamed The Lash. For it was under the cruel eye and whips of Horusite overseers that Manachea was now placed, the former proud and spectacular hive cities becoming little more than gigantic slave camps.
Those that willingly allied themselves with the Traitors soon rose to power, ruling over their kin with iron fist and demonstrative cruelty. Taloc Thorne had been given his own company as well as six Cohorts of Solar Auxilia drawn from the infamous Cthonian Headhunters -- recruited on the Sons of Horus' homeworld of Cthonia but judged unsuitable for Astartes-conversion -- to maintain order in the Warmaster's new dominion. On more far-flung worlds, the authority of Horus could still be contested, and some planets like Mezoa or Numinal still actively resisted the invaders. Even though they were supported by the forces of the Imperial Knight Household of House Ærthegn and Forge World Cyclothrathe, the troops of the Tyrant were too few to police effectively such a vast domain as the Cyclops Cluster, the Grail Abyss and the Manachean Commonwealth together. Only in the Commonwealth was Taloc Thorne's power undisputed. However, with the advance of the Traitors' frontline, the Coronid Deeps became a separate warzone. Loyalist splinter-fleets and lone vessels of the Loyalist Legions shattered at Istvaan V remained a constant threat, while Mechanicum Cohorts of the Mezoan Mechanicum and Agathean Loyalists continuously harassed the domain and even dared to raid the worlds of the Commonwealth. Taloc Thorne's power, though substantial, was not enough to impose his will on forces that were supposedly his allies. The Wræken Dreor raided and plundered conquered worlds in the Grail Abyss while Archmagos Yelav Draykavac led the expansion of the Cyclothrathine Holdfast domain with his own war of conquest in the Coronid Reach Sub-sector.
Planets of the Manachean Commonwealth
- Aestellica – Aestellica is a life-sustaining world of little strategic value and is only known for being the homeworld around which the Armada Imperialis Segmentum-fortress of Port Maw orbits. Due to the rising importance of Port Maw's facility for the Segmentum and indeed the whole northern Imperium, Aestellica would soon become a thriving Hive World. Anticipating the major role that Port Maw was to play in the Imperium, several sensitive administrations of the Armada Imperialis, the Officio Astra, the Administratum and the Imperialis Arbites were established on Aestellica to support Port Maw's development. Overshadowed by the sector headquarters of Battlefleet Gothic, the name of Aestellica quickly vanished and was supplanted by that of Port Maw.
- Bredac Junction – Bredac Junction was a small human colony that suffered harshly under Horus' offensive on the Manachean Commonwealth. On Breda Junction he unleashed the Knights of House Ærthegn against the small settlements. Much of their population was enslaved and banished to an unknown destination.
- Cryxa – Cryxa is no true planet, but a planetoid that shattered as the result of some unknown cataclysm. Naturally rich in carbide, exploitation of the planetoid by the Imperium soon began and a permanent mining colony was established to house its ever-growing workforce. During what was to become the Manachean War, Cryxa would become the location of one of the many atrocities perpetuated by the Death Guard. The lone Battle-Barge, the Forth Horsemen, delivered an entire Company of Grave Warden Terminators into Cryxa's mines where they would enjoy their month-long cruel sport, hunting the miners in the dark corridors that had been their workplace.
- Fen Rock
- Lethe – First contact with Lethe was made in 824.M30 by the Rogue Trader Vaspperly Elgin then on pathfinder duty with the Great Crusade as it advanced into this region of the Coronid Deeps. Having seemingly been spared by the baleful attention of the xenos empire known as the Mitu Conglomerate, Lethe is a world of vast mist-shrouded forests crisscrossed by an extensive network of rivers. Lethe's human population barely survived the Age of Strife, the population having regressed to a borderline pre-industrial state, clustering around the rivers for fear of the native fauna. Extremely conservative, Lethe has ever remained a Frontier World, whose feral inhabitants would, however, contribute to the Imperial war effort by supplying the Imperium with some elite pioneer light infantry cohorts for the Imperialis Auxilia such as the famed 905th Solar Auxilia Cohort, "the Ash Scorpions." As would be demonstrated in the millennia to come, Lethe's people would always make exceptional fighters, which would lead the planet to become the homeworld of the Flame Falcons Space Marine Chapter. Its fate irremediably locked with that of its new masters, Lethe is now sadly a Dead World, purged by Exterminatus on the orders of the Emperor's Inquisition.
- Manachea Lux – Second planet of the Manachea System, Manachea Lux is an arid world thanks to its proximity to its sun and whose landscape is dominated by silica dune seas and sprawling manufactoria. Lux –- as it is commonly called within the Commonwealth - is perhaps the world most changed by its adherence to Imperial Compliance, having become a heavily industrialised, populous world where order reigns and production capabilities regularly surpass their prior output. It is an industrialised world that equips the many Solar Auxilia Cohorts and tank regiments maintained by the Commonwealth. Lux also harbours the site of the last battle fought to liberate the system from its baleful former overlords, the dread xenos of the Mitu Conglomerate. After its liberation, Lux would also be protected by the Bastion Kvet, a fortress watch-station built and garrisoned by the Imperial Fists who had fought hard to liberate the world and sworn never to see it fall again under the sway of the xenos. True to their oath, Bastion Kvet would continuously be manned by an Imperial Fists detachment and was the only notable Astartes presence within the Manachea System when the Manachean War erupted. Manned by the soldiers of the 135th Demi-Company -- a mix of Tactical and Heavy Support Squads -- the Bastion would come under heavy assault by the Warmaster Horus' forces but valiantly held out for eight solar days against wave after wave of human troops even after its fortifications had been blasted to little more than ruins by orbital bombardment. Rallying behind Sergeant Reinor, the former hero of the defence of the frigate Eon of Stone in 856.M30, the Imperial Fists stoically held out against these mortal troops, killing thousands until the Sons of Horus joined the fray. Having pinned down the Imperial Fists garrison and forced it to expend much of its ammunition, the Sons of Horus launched their first attack in the twilight of the eighth day. Still holding out on the ninth day of the siege, Bastion Kvet would eventually fall, the Imperial Fists being the last Loyalists to give their lives in the entire Manachea System.
- Manachea Mortis – Manachea Mortis is in fact the second moon of the system's principal gas-giant known as Manachea Umbris. The proximity to this gas giant made the moon a readily inhabitable satellite, the tidal forces generated by the nearby gas giant heating up its atmosphere. Manachae Mortis is almost entirely covered in tropical jungles which harbour strange and utterly lethal fauna, which has led to its classification as a Death World. Mortis has a long-standing native human population, generally thought to be descendants of those refugees and outlaws who managed to escape the inhuman reign of the Mitu Conglomerate and sought shelter within Mortis' impenetrable jungles. With the system's liberation, Manachea Mortis' jungles were deemed an important resource and at the time of the Horus Heresy they were still being subjected to as-yet unsuccessful attempts to be managed as an agricultural resource. It is generally believed that much of Mortis' population have taken to the ways of their ancestors, seeking to hide out in the moon's jungles to escape the attention of the Sons of Horus.
- Manachea Vysidae - Manachea Vysidae, the fourth world of the system is a sprawling Sol Pattern Hive World whose terrestrial climate has yet to succumb to the burdens of endemic urbanisation and the exponential growth of its population. Referred to simply as Manachea by popular convention, Vysidae harbours a total population that numbers into the tens of billions. Living in one of the eleven hive-metropoli interlinked by continent-and-sea-spanning maglev transit systems, Manachea's population is highly disciplined and productive, and the world can readily rival the production capacities of more established Hive Worlds of the Segmentum Solar. It is no surprise then that Manachea Vysidae's influence not only extended to the neighbouring worlds but also into such sub-sectors as the Coronid Reach and the Cyclops Cluster. Having become the home of several Imperial administrative divisions which serve the entire region, such as the Great Tithe or the Arbites Imperialis, Manchea can easily be considered the single most important world of the entire Coronid Deeps. Manachea fields numerous regiments of highly-trained Imperial soldiers, most of them being equipped in conformity with the Solar Auxilia-template, while its industrial resource allows it to field several armoured regiments of Leman Russ Battle Tanks and even manufacture superheavy tanks in limited numbers. The seat of its Planetary Governor was the imposing Palace of Light, a fortified spire of the planetary capital, Hive Illium, where the Commonwealth's government under Pryamus Beket, Lord Protector of the Manachean Commonwealth, ruled his vast domain.
- Port Maw – The current Sector Headquarters and Sector Fortress for Battlefleet Gothic in the 41st Millennium suffers few rivals in the Imperium. It is one of the Imperial Navy's most prominent and well-secured bases of operation, and has served its purpose for almost ten millennia. Discovered during the Great Crusade by captains of the 60th Expeditionary Fleet, Port Maw owes its name to a five-hundred-kilometre-wide aperture in its planetary crust roughly resembling a fanged mouth. An artificial planetoid of ancient and presumably xenos provenance, Imperial historians have been able to ascertain that Port Maw's construction must have predated the rise of the Eldar empire. Port Maw's existence as an Armada Imperialis Port Majoris began in 001.M31 when construction on the hollow inside of the planetoid was begun, the planetoid's flanks offering insurpassable levels of protection for such sensitive installations as ship-forges and docks. Soon the outer planetoid and indeed the entire star system was given over to other spacefaring installations: battle stations, trans-orbital dock yards, and provender belts. By the time of the Horus Heresy, this grand work was far from completed, but Port Maw was already operational to some degree as a supply base and mustering point protected by its own Battlefleet lead by Grand Admiral Ospeus LaBray. With blood having been shed in the Istvaan System and the majority of the Cyclops Cluster already fallen to the Traitors, the Grand Admiral called for a great mustering of Imperial forces to oppose the Renegade Horus Lupercal. Falling due to betrayal during the infamous Treachery at Port Maw incident, Port Maw would suffer harshly under the overlordship of the Tyrant of Port Maw, Taloc Thorn and the Cyclothrathine Mechanicum charged with maintaining and expanding Port Maw's facilities for the Traitors. Reconquered by the Imperium during the Great Scouring, Port Maw would become one of the greatest strongpoints of the Imperial Navy and would participate in every major conflict in the region, most notoriously the Gothic War and the 13th Black Crusade.
- Sagathi (Feral World)
- Salvis Regnem
- Subinus - Subinus is one of the numerous minor Knight Worlds that can readily be found in the Imperium. Located on the outskirts of the Manachean Commonwealth, Subinus has been much influenced by the traditions and valour of the Manachea System despite the notorious conservatism of most Knight Households. Its name appears both on the banners of the 204th (Manachean) Cohort to which it contributed and the vexillia of the 1522nd(Agathean) Cohort by whom it was liberated in the Great Crusade. Subinus was destroyed from orbit during the Horus Heresy, when Traitor naval vessels disguised as Loyalist escorts for an expected relief convoy suddenly opened fire on the patrol cruisers they were supposed to help. Upon the destruction of the patrol cruisers, the frigates then turned their guns on Subinus' few cities, blasting them to rubble in total impunity.
- Taracanis – At the beginning of the Horus Heresy, Taracanis was still listed as a non-compliant world. This was, however, not entirely true as Imperial Compliance measures were still in progress and Taracanis had already been recognised as an autonomous administrative entity with its own Imperial Commander. With a number of Imperial forces at his own disposition, the world's Imperial Commander -- one Guald Numo -- felt confident in his abilities to resist, when the feared Sons of Hours Battlecruiser Ikon broke out of the Warp and demanded the world's obeisance. Numo flatly refused, upon which the Ikon blasted the world's docking station from orbit. Thirteen thousand people on board the station died as they burned in Taracanis' atmosphere or were reduced to a fleshy pulp as the station impacted the surface. This marked the beginning of the Taracanis Genocide when most of the world's population was murdered by the savage Sons of Horus. Upon the discovery of the genocide by the Imperium, Commander Numo's corpse would be found horribly defiled, the words "Mortus Autem Horus Rexia" in High Gothic carved in his flesh.
- Vlorath Srader – The Commonwealth's main astrotelepathic relay is located in orbit around Vlorath Srader where it was established during the later Great Crusade-era. For unknown reasons, the relay has proven particularly effective in the re-transmission and reception of astrotelephatic messages between the outlying areas of the Ultima Segmentum and the core worlds of the Segmentum Solar. The colony itself was not established until 926.M30 after Imperial Compliance of the entire region was achieved. Vlorath Srader is a terrestrial world, its size and climate analagous to those of Terra during the Industrial Revolution. At the dawn of the 31st Millennium, the colony was well-established. Despite the fact of being located in an unremarkable star system, it had evolved into a functioning planetary society with a mixed economy. Given a few standard centuries more, Vlorath Srader would undoubtedly have evolved from a developmental state to take on a particular role such as a Hive World like those situated in the Manachean System. On a political and cultural level, Vlorath Srader has been heavily influenced by Manachea. During the Manachean War, the Vlorath Srader System was not overrun by traitorous Legiones Astartes or indeed their Dark Mechanicum allies from Cyclothrate, but by an enemy unlooked for: the Orks. Unfortunately for this world, or perhaps as another machination of the powers of Chaos, a Space Hulk, the Red Polyphemus, made its appearance in the Vlorath Srader System, probably misguided –- or redirected -- by a brief but terrible Warp Storm. The Ork rampage devastated the world and destroyed the astropathic relay, thus isolating the Commonwealth from communications and help. To make matters worse, the destruction of the Red Polyphemus would consume valuable military resources and ammunition the Armada Imperialis could ill-afford to lose before the Manachean War.
Notable Military Campaigns
- The Mitu Eradication (Unknown Date.M30) - Discovered while still under control of the xenos pocket-empire known as the Mitu Conglomerate, the worlds of the Manachea System were liberated by the Imperium through a bloody and protracted campaign. The war against the Mitu Conglomerate was foremost a naval war, constituted by savage boarding engagements between Imperial and xenos starships. Once naval superiority was ensured, planetary assaults were then conducted to liberate the human worlds. It is a testimony to the strength of the Conglomerate that several Expeditionary Fleets drawn from the Solar Auxilia Cohorts and no less than three Space Marine Legions were necessary to bring their baleful rule to an end. In the Manachea System, the Mitu's grip was broken on Manachea Lux, the second planet of the system in a gruesome struggle. Here the Mitu were broken and Manachea liberated. Taking an oath never to see the worlds of the Manachean Commonwealth fall again under xenos sway, the Imperial Fists -- who had proven themselves in the naval combats of the campaign -- began construction of a fortress watch-station that would take the name of Bastion Kvet, a towering keep that has stood watch over the Commonwealth until its destruction during the dark days of the Horus Heresy.
- Destruction of the Red Polyphemus (007.M31) - Drawn perhaps by the strong astrotelpathic signal of the Vlorath Srader relay, or simply thrown off-course by an unfortunate Warp Storm, a vast Space Hulk carrying with it its own fleet of ramshackle Ork starships emerged in the Vlorath Srader System. According to the principle of the Coda Navis, this new threat was baptised by the name of Red Polyphemus and almost immediately an entire Battlegroup of the Port Maw Armada was despatched to deal with this new threat. The appearance of this severe and fully unexpected menace could not have occurred at a worse time, as the Armada was trying to mobilise every possible vessel and company to face the approaching forces of the Traitor Warmaster Horus. The Red Polyphemus harboured perhaps millions of degenerate Orks and constituted the most sizable migration of Orks for nearly thirty standard years. Ten thousand mutated Orks and gyre-worms had already laid waste to the vital astropathic relay and were now scrambling over Vlorath Srader whilst the Space Hulk itself inexorably ploughed deeper into the system. The battlegroup had no other choice than to engage pursuit, the lack of Legiones Astartes personnel meaning that the Orks would likely have the advantage in case of boarding actions. Therefore the Red Polyphemus would have to be destroyed at gun-point, the Armada Imperialis vessels having to get in close and unleash close range bombardment to dislocate the shattered planetary rocks and derelict ancient shipwrecks that made up the Space Hulk. This was inherently dangerous as the Imperial warships exposed themselves not only to the long and short-distance fire of the Space Hulk itself but also offered easy targets for Ork suicide-runs and boarding assaults. At the same time the Space Hulk was destroyed, Vlorath Srader itself had to be purged of the mutated xenos that had assaulted it. In both cases it is probable that had it not been for the courage and discipline of the Port Maw Exercitus Solar Auxilia, these battles would have been lost. However both actions severely depleted the Imperial fleet's already limited numbers. Worse, the Battlegroup nearly used up all of its complement of macro-ammunition which would be nearly impossible to refurbish as the major production site on Mezoa was now blockaded by the Traitors. As a result, the fresh troops intended to face Horus were now depleted or missing. In a desperate attempt to stem these losses, the Port Maw authorities would appeal to the Numinal and Agathean Domains for help, knowing that if Port Maw were to fall, the system fleets of these worlds would not be able to hold back the coming tide of Traitors.
- Treachery at Port Maw (0044.008.M31) - The catastrophic defeat of the Port Maw Armada and the system seizure that was to become known as the Treachery at Port Maw was the culmination of solar months or perhaps standard years of covert operations and hidden manipulation. In a feat few believed possible, the Sons of Horus fleet assailed the worlds of the Manachean Commonwealth and the Armada Imperialis muster of Port Maw simultaneously. Fearful of expending too much of its naval might and troop complements so soon in the civil war, the Archtraitor Horus had led countless plots to ensure that the vital supply point of Port Maw would fall from within and not from without. Most important to Horus' plans was Archmagos Astral Meit Mercuric, master of Port Maw's central communication and broadcast tower known as the Panopticon. Secretly in league with Horus, the Archmagos would scramble Port Maw's communications with a specially devised blanketing signal, thus immobilising a large part of the gathered Imperial fleet and hindering Grand Admiral LaBray in giving his orders. Unable to organise its defences, the gathered fleet would then be easy prey for Horus' own vessels. Furthermore, many of the gathered ships had secretly been corrupted: the Cyclothrathe Mechanicum war-arks were long in league with Horus and only awaited his command to strike from an unexpected quarter. Even onboard Loyalist warships, officers had been bribed or corrupted and timely planned ratings revolts would cause chaos and mayhem amongst the fleet. Some ship captains were turncoats, other would be killed when their officer-cadre would storm the bridge and seize command of the mighty vessels. The Sons of Horus would then strike wherever resistance formed, keeping the Loyalists fractious and disorganised. When this plan failed in execution, Horus used the stealth technologies of two captured Raven Guard Battle Barges to covertly approach Port Maw and LaBray's flagship, the Triumph of Reason, with the Vengeful Spirit and launch a decapitation strike against the tenacious Grand Admiral. As a last, desperate measure LaBray released several dozen Ogryn Charonite Squads into the corridors of his flagship, succeeding in stemming the tide and even throwing back the Sons of Horus' boarding assaults. Horus teleported directly into combat aboard the Triumph of Reason and rallied his Astartes before making for the bridge. The Grand Admiral tried to escape covertly, but was killed in the process, thus ending the orbital battle for Port Maw. Several Loyalist ships would still fight on and in some cases even escape pursuit, but as a coherent fighting force the Port Maw Armada was no more. Worse yet, the Traitors' ranks had now been boosted by the turncoat and captured Loyalist ships and now had a logistical base from which they could operate in almost total impunity.
- The Fall of Hive Illum (0044.008.M31) - The Fall of Hive Illum marks the end of the Manachean War, Horus' conquest of the powerful Manachean Commonwealth. Prosecuted at the exact same time as the dire events of the Treachery at Port Maw, the attack on Manachea Vysidae displayed all the tactical acumen the Sons of Horus had always been famed for. Command of the attack had been given over to Fist Captain Ezekyle Abaddon on board the King Eater, a mighty Battle Barge of the Sons of Horus' fleet. Bypassing almost all of Manachea's outer defences by dint of ruse, the Sons of Horus' fleet adopted an unusual precise conical formation before reaching the planet's higher orbit. Hive Illium, the seat of Imperial governance and the planetary capital of Manachea Vysidae was to be the obvious target, as since their time as the Luna Wolves, the Sons of Horus had always valued the swift victory of a decapitation strike. As the Hive's own orbital defences opened fire on the peculiar fleet formation, the Sons of Horus vessels assembled in low-orbit directly above Illum before unleashing the power of their forward batteries. The orbital bombardment flattened entire habitation blocks, killing countless thousands but failing to do any real damage to the hive. It was only when the second attack wave of the Sons of Horus was unleashed that Lord Protector Pryamus Beket realised the danger: the Sons of Horus had not conducted a random bombardment, but blasted precise landing zones into the urbal sprawl of Hive Illum for their troops to assemble. Already Condor Pattern Stormbirds and Warhawks were descending from orbit, their holds teeming with renegade Astartes, as were their smaller brethren, the newer Thunderhawks and Storm Eagles, daring the barrage of flak now rising from Hive Illum. With pinpoint accuracy the Sons of Horus struck anti-air-batteries, Auspex antennas, defence domes, and concealed power nodes. Every field of fire, every trap laid, had been circumvened, every hidden asset destroyed; defensive measures designed to hold back entire armies for weeks shattered in less than a solar hour. There could be only one explanation for this swiftness: the enemy knew where to hit hard, where to land his troops and how to circumvent Hive Illum's most potent defences. Illum had been betrayed from within. As the orbital guns where finally silenced, the Sons of Horus' heavy assault cadres and Titan-support from the Renegade faction of the Legio Tempestus could land in the previously established landing zones. Valiantly, the Solar Auxilia held their ground, selling their lives in the orbital laser batteries, in the fortified defence domes and in the streets of their city. Protected from bombardment in subterranean vaults and bunkers, the Solar Auxilia Lasrifle Tercios and militia formations surged forward, fighting the rampaging Astartes alongside their fellow soldiers. Leman Russes in their hundreds, heavy Malcadors and even heavier Baneblades and Shadowswords duelled with the Titans of Legio Tempestus; even some brave scions of the Knight House Vyronii took to the field. For eleven solar days the defenders of Hive Illum held back utter defeat, then their strength was spend. The Sons of Horus seized the initiative again, carrying out bloody massacres amongst the militia before mounting a last assault on Hive Illum's Palace of Light, Abaddon and his Justaerin Terminator bodyguard at the fore. As a cruel jest, Abaddon had let Pryamus Beket, the Lord Protector of the Manachean Commonwealth, watch as the city and seat of power he had ruled crumbled into ruins. Almost casually, Abaddon killed him while he watched, thus sealing Manachea's fate. With Hive Illum taken and their lord dead, the other hive cities quickly submitted to the Warmaster Horus' rule. Thus began the Dark Compliance of the Manachean Commonwealth.
As a sizable and technologically advanced domain, the Manachean Commonwealth could muster a very large military force for its own defence. This strength was again concentrated around the two major star systems of the sub-sector, the Commonwealth itself and the naval base located at Port Maw. Both were in their own right strongholds of military might that could resist major incursions of xenos. It is likely that if the enemy had not been of the Astartes, the Traitor rampage would have been stopped at Manachea. In fact, few regions outside the heartland of the Segmentum Solar could claim to be as well-protected as the Manachean Commonwealth.
At the dawn of the 31st Millennium, the Commonwealth was a bulwark of military might, charged with the protection of much of the Segmenta surrounding it and constituting undoubtedly the single most powerful faction inside the Coronid Deeps. As a standard peacekeeping and rapid response force, Port Maw and the Manachea System could field no less than ninety-three Solar Auxilia Cohorts, which amount to a notional strength of some 3,860,000 fully armed, equipped and disciplined fighters equipped to the highest standards of the Imperium's human soldiery. As Solar Auxilia, they were trained and experienced both in void combat and planetary defence operations and represented a significant military force, even set against the might of the fearful Legiones Astartes. Amongst these Solar Auxilia Cohort also figured some elite formations such as the 905th Cohort, the Ash Scorpions, recruited from the savage world of Lethe.
Alongside this elite army, the worlds of the Manachean Commonwealth were also intended to raise their own planetary defence militia. In truth, the Commonwealth emergency defence planning had been specially designed to quickly raise, equip and muster tens of million of militiamen in extremis. Such was the strength and accuracy of this planning that even the full mobilisation of the militia would have no effect on the massive industrial output of the sub-sector. The continued productivity of its citizens had also empowered the Commonwealth to stockpile a considerable quantity of war materiél, making the Commonwealth's troops one of the very best-equipped fighting forces in the entire Imperium. In the case of more serious menaces, the Commonwealth could also count on the limited presence of some members of the Legiones Astartes, the Imperial Fists garrison of Bastion Kvet on Manachea Lux. While refusing to submit themselves to the authority of a "mere" human commander, the Imperial Fists had doubtlessly heavily improved Manachea's defences, despatching several advisors to training regiments and lending their expertise in countersiege warfare to the Commonwealth's authorities as to better improve existing fortifications and tactical doctrines in case of attack.
Notable Military Formations
- 204th Solar Auxilia Cohort - A notable Solar Auxilia Cohort raised from the Manachean Commonwealth.
- 891st Solar Auxilia Cohort - Like the more famous 905th, the 891st Cohort had been recruited from the Feral World of Lethe, but did not participate in the Manachean War. Instead, the 891st Cohort would find much glory in the defence of the beleaguered Imperial Forge World of Mezoa, most notoriously holding the line at the Tertial-05 bastion during the Third Siege of Mezoa.
- 905th Solar Auxilia Cohort (the "Ash Scorpions") - Veterans of a dozen ferocious war zones, the discipline of battle had turned these infamous Feral Worlders into a lethally effective fighting force. Raised from the fearsome tribal warriors of Lethe, the 905th Cohort was known for its aggression and dedication, and earned numerous battle honours in pacification wars across the Coronid Deeps before its final, glorious sacrifice during the Treachery at Port Maw.
- 6629th Solar Auxilia Cohort - The 6629th Cohort would fight in defence of Hive Illum and muster a brave last stand defending the Commonwealth's seat of power, the Palace of Light. The 6629th Veletarii units had retained their Volkite Weapons and these would prove far deadlier against Traitor Legiones Astartes than standard las-weaponry.
- 6633rd Solar Auxilia Cohort - The 6633rd was one of many Cohorts deployed at Manachea that fought in the eleven-day Battle of Hive Ilium. Anticipating the need to conduct expeditionary warfare against xenos remnants across the region, these units were founded according to the Solar template and were granted the right to bear the blue and yellow livery of the Ultima Segmentum Armada Imperialis.
The troops raised from the Manachea System typically wear the Commonwealth's livery, which consists of blue and yellow hues that are hallmarks of the Ultima Segmentum's Armada Imperialis. As a badge of origin, the Solar Auxilia Cohorts and Armada-detachments drawn from the Commonwealth bear the brazen Bull of Manachea, except for those units that distinguished themselves to the degree that they were attributed their own heraldry. For the many armoured Cohorts and sub-cohorts the Commonwealth maintained, each vehicle's flanks was adorned with coloured stripes in the colours of the Commonwealth alongside the utilitaran grey-white drab commonly worn by vehicles attached to the Solar Auxilia.
Due to the extreme interaction between the Solar Auxilia Cohorts drawn from Manachea and those fleet elements stationed at Port Maw, it was fairly common to see units of the Port Maw Exercitus or the Ultima Segmentum Armada, such as the elite 233rd Reconnaissance Wing, bear the blue and yellow stripes of the Manachean Commonwealth on the fuselage of their aircraft.
- Triumph - Solar Ryza Pattern Leman Russ Battle Tank. The Triumph was a dedicated support engine permenantly attached to the elite 204th Veletaris Corps. The Solar Pattern does not indicate, as other names would suggest, its place of manufacture, but a specialised variant of the more common Leman Russ main battle tank designed to meet the requirements to serve alongside Solar Auxilia Cohorts in void-warfare.
- Tribune Sula - Solar Akuria Pattern Stormblade Super-Heavy Tank. The Tribune Sula was the command vehicle of the 23rd Armoured Cohort of the 109th Armoured Corps. It was a veteran vehicle that had been profoundly modified to serve as a mobile command post for a Solar Auxilia tank commander befitting of its rank.
- The Horus Heresy - Book Four: Conquest (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 10-11, 36-54, 72-73, 86-89, 189