Obstiria is a world of barren black rock, battered by extreme radiation from solar flares. Despite its harsh conditions -- or perhaps because of them -- Obstiria was the homeworld of the Obsidian Glaives Space Marine Chapter. The Obsidian Glaives were a Second Founding Successor or Primogenitor Chapter of the Ultramarines.
In the year 998.M41, Obstiria was the first planet to bear the brunt of the Ork Warlord Grukk Face-rippa's Red WAAAGH!. The majority of the Obsidian Glaives Chapter mobilised to hold back the Ork menace, but despite slaying hundreds of thousands of the Greenskins who made planetfall, every solar day saw millions more land upon Obstiria until the Space Marines were utterly overwhelmed.
The Obsidian Glaives were a Primogenitor Successor Chapter of the Ultramarines. Founded in the dark days after the Horus Heresy, the Obsidian Glaives was a Primogenitor or First Born Chapter, created during the Second Founding. Like their forebears, the Obsidian Glaives were composed of highly disciplined and courageous warriors. The Chapter continued to remain true to the teachings of the Codex Astartes penned by their Primarch, Roboute Guilliman, for nearly ten millennia. They were granted the irradiated world of Obstiria as their Chapter demesne. Though an Imperial world, due to Obstiria's harsh conditions as a result of its exposure to constant solar flares, this inhospitable Dead World was never successfully settled by human settlers. Instead, the planet was given to the Obsidian Glaives as their Chapter homeworld and personal demesne. The Obsidian Blades were charged with defending the Imperial worlds of the Sanctus System -- a task they obediently performed for the next ten millennia.
The Red WAAAGH!
In 998.M41, the Ork Warlord Grukk Face-rippa and his Red WAAAGH! ploughed into the densely populated Sanctus Reach Sub-sector. By the time Grukk reached Sanctus Reach he had billions of Orks following in his wake. Only a few obstacles stood in the Orks' way, most notably the Space Marine world of Obstiria, home to the Obsidian Glaives Chapter.
Five companies of the Chapter defended the planet, led by their Chapter Master Midnias, a scarred veteran of countless wars against the Greenskins. Despite Grukk's numbers, Midnias had assured the Imperial Sector Lord that he could halt the Ork incursion before it plunged even deeper into the sub-sector. Even before Grukk reached Obstiria, Freebooterz and mobs of Evil Sunz had raced ahead to be the first Greenskins to attack the Space Marines. Kaptin Dakbad Flamegut was the first to descend upon the planet, his Kill Kroozers charging at the Obsidian Glaives' orbital defences. Hundreds of thousands of Orks reached the surface of Obstiria through a hail of anti-aircraft fire and laid siege to the Penumbral Spike, the fortress-monastery of the Obsidian Glaives. In the ten millennia since the Founding of the Chapter, it had never fallen to a foe. Soon Orks scaled the fortress walls, bellowing war cries while the Space Marines blasted at them from above.
Numerous times the Orks bludgeoned or shot their way into the fortress, Midnias personally leading counterattacks to throw them back, and for seven solar days and nights the Obsidian Glaives held back the Orks, the loss of each fallen Space Marine keenly felt, each section of their fortress defiled a stain upon their honour. In a desperate ploy, Chapter Master Midnias brought with him the final weapon to be deployed from the Chapter's arsenal -– the Ancients of the vault, the Dreadnoughts, eleven of them storming onto the battlements in a tide of ruthless steel. During this epic battle, Midnias faced Flamegut himself and managed to kill him. This shattered the morale of Flamegut's forces. By the dawn of the eighth day, the tide of Orks seemed to slacken, leaving the Space Marines to count their dead, which included all but one of their Dreadnoughts, most of which had succumbed to the intense radiation of their homeworld. The Ork onslaught had been temporarily halted. But the Chapter Master knew this was only a temporary respite. Then the Warlord Grukk arrived.
At the Slaughter of Black Gulch soon after his arrival, Grukk famously tore open a malfunctioning Drop Pod to get at the Space Marines inside. He then cut all ten of the Astartes into pieces, one by one, in a series of increasingly violent kills. It was such an ignoble fate that the commanders of the Chapter's Battle Company, with the assent of Chapter Master Midnias, authorised a revenge strike upon Grukk himself. Despite inflicting severe damage, the Space Marines were unable to complete their mission.
The following Battle of Black Gulch was Midnias' final attempt to kill the Warboss. At first, the Space Marines caught the Orks by surprise, slaying thousands as they fell upon the horde, but then the Orks' numbers started to come to bear. Into their midst Midnias soared, roaring across the battlefield on his jump pack to engage Grukk, his blade moving in a blur to hack off the Ork's head. Grukk turned at the last moment, taking the blow on his thickly-muscled shoulder, roaring in pain. As Midnias raised his blade for another strike, Grukk lashed out and wrapped a meaty fist around the blade. The Chapter Master strained with his considerable strength against the Ork to free his sword, but Grukk pivoted against the Space Marine's weight and delivered a thunderous uppercut that tore Midnias' helm from his head. Grukk wrapped a massive hand around Midnias' body, pinning his arms to his sides. The massive Ork's mouth yawned open, revealing rows of gory fangs leading to a hungry black throat. The Ork Warlord closed his massive maw, severing the Chapter Master's head from his body. Thus ended the Obsidian Glaives. Their commander dead, the Space Marines valiantly attempted to defend their world for a further three solar days, fighting a battle they could not hope to win against the overwhelming numbers of Grukk's hordes. With Obstiria crushed and the Sanctus Reach aflame, only the Knight World of Alaric Prime remained defiant, and the Red WAAAGH! gathered once more for war.
The Penumbral Spike
The Penumbral Spike was the mighty fortress-monastery of the Obsidian Glaives Chapter. Forged from the tallest peak of Obstiria's mountains, the Spike was an impressive fortification, rising hundreds of metres above the radiation-washed plains of Obstiria's polar continent, its spire permanently cloaked in thick cloud. In the ten millennia since the creation of the Chapter, it had never fallen to a foe. The fortress-monastery was riddled with chambers, some of them enormous assembly grounds and sparring arenas, others tiny cells or shrines to Imperial heroes whose inscriptions were all that remained of them in the Chapter's memory. Natural volcanic tunnels had been enlarged to form the interior of the fortress, each constructed with a mind towards defending against an invader -- dead ends, switchbacks, false gateways leading to killing zones. Notable areas of the Penumbral Spike include:
- Cloisters of the Bold – These Cloisters were where the cold earth met the heat of Obstiria's core. Below were the citadel's generatoria and forges, and above were the sparring halls and cell blocks.
- The Cathedral of Victory – An ornate chapel dedicated to the worship of the Emperor and the Chapter's Primarch Roboute Guilliman. A large statue of the Primarch stood at the rear of the chapel, depicting Guilliman poring over the Codex Astartes.
- Vaevictis Monument – This monument chamber had been enlarged many times to contain the stasis chambers in which were displayed arms and armour captured from fallen enemies. One contained a slender crystalline rifle of Eldar design, another the crested skull of an enormous war-beast fielded by the Tau. Some held fragments of armour carefully suspended in psychic wards, taken from Warp-corrupted foes.
- Quartermaster's Cloisters – The Quartermaster's Cloisters served as the office of the Master of the Marches whose duty it was to oversee the deployment of the Chapter's fighting strength. It was his knowledge of Chapter dispositions the Chapter Master turned to when readying for war. This area was decorated with carvings which depicted the fall of the Beast of Vengor to the Obsidian Glaives.
- Duelling Hall – A chamber that served as a place for close combat training for the Chapter's Neophytes, conducting drills and sometimes as a formal meeting place. Sculpted panels within the hall showed scenes from the life of Roboute Guilliman.
- Shrine of the Ancestors – A sacred place of reflection, where the greatsword of Chapter Master Erberan lay on an altar.
- The Dawn Bastion – This area of the Penumbral Spike housed one of the fortress' anti-aircraft batteries and led to the battlements around the upper slopes.
- Malikan Gate – The primary entry point of the pass that led to the Penumbral Spike.
- Codex: Orks (7th Edition), pg. 65
- Red WAAAGH! Campaign Supplement (E-Book), pg. 9
- Sanctus Reach: Penumbral Spike (Short Story) by Ben Counter
- Sanctus Reach: Black Gulch (Short Story) by Ben Counter