The Forging, also sometimes called the "Golden Age of the Imperium," is an era of the broader Age of the Imperium that began roughly in the middle of the 32nd Millennium and lasted until the start of the 35th Millennium.
It represented a time of further consolidation and expansion of the Imperium beyond the borders originally created during the Great Crusade. The Imperial state church, the Adeptus Ministorum, firmly established during the Time of Rebirth, gained further political power as the Imperial Creed became a dominant facet of Imperial culture on most Human-settled worlds.
Overall, The Forging represented the zenith of Imperial civilsation in the post-Heresy age culturally, politically and technologically.
The Forging is sometimes called the "Golden Age of the Imperium" by Imperial historians because during this period the Adeptus Terra brought the most important Human-settled star systems of the galaxy that had not been reached by the Great Crusade under Imperial control and expanded the interstellar borders of the Imperium.
Internal stability was gained with the establishment of astropath choirs on countless worlds, with major communications hubs established on the best-garrisoned Imperial worlds, including Armageddon, Bakka and Macragge.
This allowed a reliable network of interstellar superluminal communication to function using the power of an astropath's astro-telepathy to send and receive messages across light years.
This period also saw a slowing in the decline and stagnation of the Imperium's technology and the growth of the interstellar economy due to the rediscovery of a valuable Standard Template Construct (STC) database from the Dark Age of Technology in the Cana System as the Imperium expanded.
Many Imperial cults dedicated to the worship of the Emperor as the God of Mankind arose over the following centuries, the majority of which were united into a centralised religious body called the Temple of the Saviour Emperor.
This powerful church gained momentum until, in the 32nd Millennium, it was finally granted the status of the official state religion of the Imperium and the title of Adeptus Ministorum, though it was more colloquially called the "Ecclesiarchy."
It was only a few centuries later that Ecclesiarch Veneris II received a seat amongst the High Lords of Terra, and after 300 standard years, the seat reserved for the Ecclesiarch was made permanent within the ranks of the Senatorum Imperialis.
2nd Black Crusade
In 597.M32, the Warmaster of Chaos, Abaddon the Despoiler, launched his 2nd Black Crusade against the Imperium of Man and initiated the 2nd Black Crusade. This time, Abaddon placed a terrible curse upon the worlds of the Belis Corona Sector, infusing them with the touch of the Warp.
Meanwhile, his Black Fleet attacked the sector's Imperial shipyards, destroying dozens of Imperial Cruisers being constructed or repaired. Before the Imperium could muster its strength to fight back, the Despoiler retreated into the Eye of Terror, his works complete.
Restoration of the Senatorum Imperialis
In 646.M32, Agnathio, the Chapter Master of the Ultramarines, united over 50 leaders from other Chapters of Space Marines and arrived upon Terra. Such a show of power and faith put an end to the squabbling for the contentious seats of the High Lords of Terra that had consumed the differing factions since The Beheading.
In locked council with the mightiest of Mankind's warriors, such matters were quickly sorted out. None know exactly what was done or said, but when the Space Marines departed back to their far-scattered missions, there once again sat twelve High Lords of Terra. If there was further dissension, none dared speak it aloud.
In 888.M32 the Imperium was consumed by the event known as the Astropath Wars. There is no further information on this conflict available in Imperial records.
3rd Black Crusade
The daemonic horde that followed in Tallomin's wake accounted for the destruction of millions of lives and drew in Astra Militarum regiments and Space Marine Chapters from across the Segmentum Obscurus.
Under the cover of the attack, Abaddon led a dedicated strike force to desecrate the Shrine World of Gerstahl, breaking the ancient seal on the tomb of the Imperial Saint Gerstahl and utterly destroying his remains whilst the Imperium's attention was directed elsewhere.
This was done to forestall a prophecy which claimed that the saint would rise again when the "Eye of Darkness opened for the last time" and stem the tide of the treacherous.
In 910.M32 the event known as The Firestorm unfolded. There is no further information on this conflict available in Imperial records.
War of the Confessor
At some time in the 33rd Millennium, the War of the Confessor unfolded when in a particularly violent display, the Adeptus Ministorum exerted its newfound political strength in the wake of the War of the Beast. Many key Shrine Worlds were added to its holdings during this first of many Wars of Faith to come.
In 265.M33, Admiral Usurs of the Imperial Navy was cast down by the High Lords of Terra for becoming too ambitious. However, he was still too politically powerful within the Navy to be executed without initiating a costly civil war, so he was instead despatched on an Explorator mission to the intergalactic gulf beyond the Milky Way.
For the following solar decade, Usurs' reports reached Terra by astropath, detailing the conquest of new star systems for the Emperor. After two decades, these reports finally ceased. Contact was never reestablished with the star systems Usurs mentioned in his reports.
Siege of Eternity's Gate
In 313.M33 the Siege of Eternity's Gate unfolded.
The Blade of Infinity
In 615.M33 the Blade of Infinity, a pre-Heresy Cruiser, emerged from the Warp, its re-entry signature suggesting that it had left realspace over 20,000 standard years before. This period predated even the Warp-Drive's invention in the Age of Technology and suggested a radical time stream disorder.
Vox transmissions picked up the from the vessel suggested that the Blade of Infinity was trying to communicate some type of warning, but before much could be deciphered, the ancient starship disappeared once again into the Warp.
In its wake arrived an invasion fleet of Heretic Astartes Traitor Legions, the Archenemy of the Imperium who wreaked much havoc. The Blade of Infinity reemerged from the Warp several more times in subsequent years, always as a harbinger of further incursions into Imperial space by the forces of Chaos from the Immaterium.
Year of the Ghosts
In 831.M33, during what became known as the "Year of the Ghosts," the honoured dead rose up in the Segmentum Solar to drive back the terrors of the Warp.
4th Black Crusade
The 4th Black Crusade, also known as the "El'Phanor War," was launched into Imperial space from the Eye of Terror by Abaddon the Despoiler in 001.M34, his Black Legion besieging the great Citadel of the Kromarch.
Abaddon led the charge against the adamantium gates of this famously unbreachable citadel upon the world of El'Phanor. Only one in ten of Abaddon's spearhead reached the gates before they were trapped by Heavy Bolter fire.
In an orgy of violence, the Traitor Legions and their daemonic allies fall upon the Kromarch, the Imperial Commander of El'Phanor and his kin, extinguishing their ancient line forever and weakening the defences of the Cadian Gate for future Chaos assaults.
The Pale Wasting
Sometime during the early years of the 34th Millennium a great threat to the Imperium arose beyond the Ghoul Stars. Even today, its true nature remains suppressed. The ravages are said to cause the extermination of a score of Space Marine Chapters and souls unnumbered.
Much of the extant evidence relating to this threat has been censored or purposely destroyed by the Inquisition, but there are contradictory indications which describe the nature of the threat as both a "star-spawned plague" that swept away scores of worlds and to "Nightmare Engines" that slaughtered the populations of whole sectors. This threat is remembered only as the "Pale Wasting."
A stele mounted within the Imperial Palace on Terra recognises the services of the Novamarines for their action against the Pale Wasting. This artefact praises the Chapter and credits their work for having "unmade that which cannot die." This campaign was where the Novamarines earned some of their earliest recorded battle honours.
Those partial records which have been uncovered suggest that the threat was xenos in nature and that more than one Space Marine Chapter may have been completely destroyed in the course of the conflict.
The Novamarines took part in the campaign to quell the threat of the Pale Wasting, and though this is one of the Chapter's earliest recorded battle honours, the Chapter's own chronicles are curiously empty of any reference to this conflict. Were it not for such prominent recognition, the incident might be completely forgotten.
In 401.M34 the terrible crisis known as "The Howling" unfolded. Black Templar Space Marines ended the Catelexis Heresy by executing the Cacodominus, an alien cybernetic psyker whose formidable powers allowed it to psychically control the populace of thirteen hundred star systems.
Unfortunately, the Cacodominus' death scream was amplified by the Warp and burned out the minds of a billion human Astropaths while it also distorted the beacon of the Astronomican.
Millions of starships were lost in the resulting upheaval and entire Sub-sectors of the Imperium slid once more into barbarism without the dictates of the Adeptus Terra to guide them. It proves a terrible price to pay for victory.
Following a fierce Warp Storm bursting from the Eye of Terror in 666.M34, the first of many "Warp Stars" are sighted. The tendrils of their power pulled any starships or small planets that fell within their reach to a grisly, if spectacular, doom.
An Aeldari Warning
- Black Legion: A Codex Chaos Space Marines Supplement (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 31-33
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (8th Edition), pp. 40-47, 50-53, 123, 134, 152, 164-166
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 168-177
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition), pp. 122-129
|Warhammer 40,000 Timeline|
|Pre-Imperial Eras||War in Heaven • Age of Terra • Age of Technology • Age of Strife • Fall of the Aeldari|
|Founding of the Imperium||Unification Wars • Great Crusade • Horus Heresy • Great Scouring|
|Age of the Imperium||Time of Rebirth • The Forging • Nova Terra Interregnum • Age of Apostasy • Age of Redemption • The Waning • Time of Ending • Era Indomitus|