Vervunhive was a hive city of the Imperial Hive World of Verghast in the Sabbat Worlds Sector. It was destroyed during its internecine war with another Verghastite Hive City, Ferrozoica, which became a part of the much larger conflict known as the Sabbat Worlds Crusade after Ferrozoica's population was entirely corrupted by Chaos. Vervunhive's last hive governor was the High Master Salvadore Sondar. The famed Tanith First and Only Astra Militarum regiment participated in the liberation of Vervunhive from the Forces of Chaos, led by Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt.
Battle of Vervunhive
Verghast was a major producer of materiel for the Imperial Crusade underway in the Sabbat Worlds Sector, and it was drawn into that Crusade directly when it was attacked during an attempt to conquer the world by the Forces of Chaos in the sector. At first, the people of Vervunhive thought they were under assault by the rival hive of Ferrozoica in a replay of the "Trade War" that had scarred relations between the two Verghastian hive cities 90 standard years earlier. However, when Commissar Kowle led a Vervunhive armoured division out to meet the forces of "Zoica" it became clear that this was no conventional assault; the Zoican army massed in the millions, as its entire population had been corrupted by Chaos and transformed into fanatical Chaos Cultists. In comparison, Vervunhive could muster about 500,000 Planetary Defence Force troopers out of a population of over 40,000,000 people. What made the force imbalance even more frightening was that the hive city Ferrozoica was approximately only two-thirds the size of Vervunhive. The Ruinous Powers had sunk their fangs deep into every man, woman and child in Ferrozoica.
After receiving Vervunhive's request for assistance in facing the Zoican assault, the Imperial Crusade in the Sabbat Worlds Sector dispatched the Tanith First and Only Regiment of the Imperial Guard to aid the hive city's defense, as it was not known at the time that the Zoican forces were servants of the Ruinous Powers. The Tanith First and Only took up defensive positions on the southern side of the hive, manning the walls alongside the Vervunhive Scratch Companies and paying particular attention to the city's main access points, including the Verveyr Rail Gate and a heavily-polluted area outside the city's defensive walls called the Spoil. Early in the deployment, the Tanith Regiment witnessed the massive explosive flashes of the thermonuclear detonations that the Zoicans unleashed against Vannick Hive, which reduced the massive Hive City to a radioactive scrap pile. Vervunhive was protected from artillery bombardment by a powerful Void Shield that was projected over the top of the hive from a pylon in the dead center of its spired structure, but the garrison was under constant assault by Zoican soldiers in heavy infantry armour and a powerful force of Zoican main battle tanks.
However, the corrupted High Master Salvadore Sondar of Vervunhive, following orders from the Chaos Warlord, the Heritor Asphodel, who was the commander of the Zoican forces, deliberately lowered the Void Shield at a crucial moment to allow the Zoicans to unleash a full bombardment. Much of the hive city was destroyed in the devastating barrage until a desperate strike force led by Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt, the commander of the Tanith First and Only, managed to infiltrate the High Master's quarters and bring the void shield back online. Gaunt then led another strike force composed of the Vervunhive irregular Scratch Companies, the Tanith First and Only and troops of the Volpone Bluebloods into the massive armoured assault crawler that served as the Heritor Asphodel's mobile headquarters and destroyed it, after Colonel-Commissar Gaunt engaged and killed the Chaos Warlord in single combat. With their leader dead, the Zoican forces soon became disoriented and their assault was turned back.
Shortly after this victory, Warmaster Macaroth, the Lord Commander leading the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, ordered massive reinforcements to be sent to the planet once the Imperial Guard forces there reported the sheer strength of the Forces of Chaos present there. The new forces sent to Verghast included 6,000,000 Imperial Guardsmen, 500,000 main battle tanks, 3 companies from both the Iron Snakes and Imperial Fists Space Marine Chapters and 2 Titan Legions. This overwhelming show of Imperial force proved adequate to exterminating every last remaining Zoican cultist on the planet and Verghast was declared free of Chaotic taint. The Warmaster next issued an edict known as the Act of Consolation which provided Imperial support for the construction of new hive cities to replace Vannick Hive and the ruins of Vervunhive which also allowed the civilians of Verghast to join Imperial Guard Regiments without going through the standard tithing process if they desired. Many of the survivors of Vervunhive who had served in the Scratch Companies alongside the Tanith First and Only willingly joined that regiment.
Vervunhive's geography included outer habitation sectors and manufactorums running along the River Hass to the north, with two bridges leading inside the main hive city, one a rail line, the other a road for vehicular traffic. At the center of the hive was the Main Spine, which was surrounded by more habitation sectors, the Commercia District that served as the hive's main marketplace and the city's defensive Void Shield Pylon in the very heart of the city. To the west was the Hass West Fort, which was manned by Vervun Planetary Defence Force troops. Farther west lay the city's landing field, and then more habitat sectors right outside the hive city's main walls. To the southeast lay the Croe Gate. Northeast lay the fortress that defended the Ontabi Gate. To the south, the Hieronymo Sondar Gate opened up into the Square of Marshals, which lay adjacent to House Anko's chemical plant. The Veyveyr Gate, also to the south, lay near the Vervun ore works and the city's Imperial Basilica, a place of worship dedicated to the Imperial Creed. Various mining districts lay outside the southern gates, with the Spoil and the mudflats to the southeast, well past Vervunhive's walls. The hive city was bustling and busy throughout most of a Verghastite day, with many of its citizens working in the great manufactorums or serving the needs of the city's ruling noble houses.
Nine houses of nobility had long collectively ruled Vervunhive. These noble families included, but may not have been limited to, the Houses Sondar, Chass, Anko, Yetch, Croe and Jehnik. The succession in a house follows the rule of agnatic primogeniture, meaning the oldest male inherits. This person is also that house's candidate for the election of hive governor. Nobles representing each of these houses regularly meet in the hive city's Hall of Legislature in the Main Spire to discuss hive business. Hololithic plates served as a form of public address system throughout the hive city and displayed holograms that relayed that day's essential political and economic news to the hive's citizens.
Vervunhive was a place heavily dependent on intercity, interplanetary and interstellar trade for survival. The Commercia District was where most of these deals were arranged by the noble houses who completely controlled the hive city's economy, and they indulged in interhouse trading within the hive city's borders, forged deals with the other hive cities on Verghast and even arranged for deliveries of Vervun goods to other Imperial markets off-world.
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