The War of the Wolf was an Imperial campaign led by the Great Wolf Logan Grimnar of the Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter in 612.M41, against the vile geneticist Fabius Bile and his Forces of Chaos. When Grimnar learned that the arch-traitor Abaddon the Despoiler had found the location of one of the long-lost members of the Space Wolves' only successor Chapter, the Wolf Brothers, the Great Wolf led his elite Champions of Fenris to rescue the battle-brother from the clutches of the Black Legion, before the Clone Lord could use him for some nefarious experiment.
For the Space Wolves, one of their greatest and most closely-guarded secrets is the fate of their one and only Successor Chapter, the Wolf Brothers. Created as part of the Second Founding, the Wolf Brothers' gene-seed proved unpredictable and unstable, combining all the worst aspects of the Canis Helix and the curse of the Wulfen. After the Chapter was disbanded hundreds of Wolf Brothers vanished entirely, taking with them prized gene-seed created from the Space Wolves' own stockpiles. In the year 612.M41 word reached the Great Wolf that one of these long lost brothers was found. For millennia the Space Wolves had been watching over their wayward kin, secretly shielding them from both the wrath of the Imperium and the influences of Chaos -– though not always with success. So was it to be this time, and the glad news of the Wolf Brother's discovery was tainted by word that the planet upon which he rested was in the hands of the Black Legion. Worse still, rumour placed the arch-traitor Fabius Bile within the system, and Grimnar knew it could only be the Wolf Brother and his unstable gene-seed that Bile sought. Access to the successor Chapter's gene-seed would enable the traitorous geneticist to create an army of monstrously corrupt, mutated horrors to fight for the forces of Chaos. The Great Wolf would be damned before he let this come to pass. Calling his Wolf Guard to his side the Old Wolf ordered his Great Company gathered. So armed, Grimnar, his most trusted champions and a small fleet of ships set off into the Sea of Stars to find the Wolf Brother and slay any who dared stand in their way.
The Well of Souls
Keen hunters and able voidfarers, it did not take long for the Champions of Fenris to find the planet on which the Wolf Brother was hidden, despite the stench of traitors hanging heavy around the Eye of Terror. Guided by intelligence collected by his Wolf Scouts and following the augur-scent left by the Black Legion craft, Grimnar and his Wolves came upon the world of Lumerius. A frozen ball of frost and snow, barely warmed by the watery light from its distant blue star, Lumerius was where the Wolf Brother lay, imprisoned in the ice-locked ruin of a shipwreck thousands of years old. From the command bridge of his Strike Cruiser on the far edges of the system, Grimnar considered the reports of his Wolf Guard and the faint outline of the Styx-class Heavy Cruiser Well of Souls hanging like a dark splinter in the milky white eye of Lumerius. Grimnar had chosen a small but elite flotilla of ships for speed and stealth, and lacked the brute strength to take on such a powerful vessel in open combat. Neither could he ignore it, however. In the end it was his champion Arjac Rockfist that came up with a daring plan to take out the enemy vessel, one that brought fierce grins to the faces of the Champions and a thundering din as they beat their fists onto their chest plates in approval.
Like shadows racing across the night sky a salvo of boarding torpedoes silently bore down upon the Well of Souls. The Space Wolves had launched the missiles from the depths of space, letting their engines burn cold until they glided in under inertia alone. Inside the lead torpedo Grimnar, Arjac and a dozen Wolf Guard Shieldbrothers braced for impact. Seconds before they struck home the Chaos vessel's augurs detected them, enemy crews scrambling to quad-lascannon turrets and krak missile batteries. As the void came alive with slashes of light and fire the Wolf Guard joked over the vox that they might have to swim the rest of the way, as the armoured hulls were rocked by nearby explosions and raking lascannon fire. Grimnar's boarding torpedo had its tip sheared off by a fusillade of turret fire, vapourising the Servitor pilot and sending the craft spinning. It tumbled through the open launch bay doors of the Well of Souls and crashed into the deck with the screech of tortured metal. With a bellowing war cry Grimnar smashed his way free of the wreck, the first of the Champions of Fenris out into the hold. Tangled in a twisted ruin of gantries, the torpedo had skidded to a halt beneath a Heldrake roost, dozens of the Daemon Engines hanging like monstrous mechanical chiropterans overhead. Black Legion Chaos Space Marines on the deck below fired bolters one-handed as they scaled ladders to meet this unidentified threat. Moments later, Arjac and the Shieldbrothers rejoined their lord. The first Black Legion warrior to reach them had his head hacked from his shoulders by the Axe Morkai, while the second was torn to bloody ribbons by Grimnar's Storm Bolter. Stirred by the sounds of battle, a Heldrake descended from above, sweeping out its wings and snatching up a Wolf Guard Terminator in its claws. Even as the daemonic beast soared off over the launch bay the veteran smashed at it with his hammer, cursing the creature and the Warp that had spawned it. The Heldrake let out a metallic screech as it tore the Space Wolf apart in a shower of gore and shattered ceramite, its kin heeding its call and unfurling their wings.
Bolt rounds hurtled up from below, blasting ragged holes in the gantry and exploding against the Shieldbrothers' armour as the traitor Space Marines concentrated their fire on the invaders. In the air above, Heldrakes circled like gargantuan carrion birds, swooping down to snatch up Wolf Guard or washing the Space Wolves with flaming death. Arjac Rockfist held the centre of the Space Wolves' formation, the Anvil Shield bashing aside the razor jaws and claws of the Heldrakes as they snapped hungrily at the Space Wolves, while Foehammer scored fracturing blows against the creatures' Warp-iron hides. Again and again his hammer was cast at the Daemon Engines, each time flashing back to his hand in an actinic blaze. With his warriors outnumbered and trapped amongst the wreckage of insertion, the Old Wolf had known from the start it would be but a matter of time before they were overwhelmed. Thinking on his feet, Grimnar struck at the supports of the gantry from which enemy reinforcements were arriving. In a shower of sparks the walkway came free, the scream of twisting metal drowning out the cries of the Heldrakes as it hurtled to the deck below.
Guns of Chaos
While Logan Grimnar and his Wolf Guard were locked in combat underneath the Heldrake roost, the rest of the Champions of Fenris had breached the Well of Souls in their own torpedos. Ranulf Ironfang and Ingvarr Thunderbrow led a pack of Wolf Guard Void Claws –- clad in hulking Terminator Armour and armed with paired Wolf Claws, they proved deadly in the close quarters fighting. Enemy crewmen would try to erect hasty barricades in corridors and void-locks, only to crumble before the fury of the Space Wolves. Only when squads of Black Legionnaires confronted them did the advance slow, the deafening hammer of boltgun fire and blinding flash of wolf claws filling the corridors. After each brutal skirmish Ranulf would make some jest about the quality of their foes while grinning at Ingvarr, and each time Ingvarr would shake his head in silence, only once allowing the ghost of a smile to cross his features when Ranulf hurled a deck-hand at one of his erstwhile overlords.
Meanwhile in the depths of the ship, Grimnar fought his way towards his intended target. Reduced to a handful of Shieldbrothers, the Great Wolf's force smashed its way through the Black Legion defences with hammer and shield. With arcing hammer blows the Space Wolves caved in blast doors to clear a path. Finally the Great Wolf and his packmates emerged into the Chaos cruiser's gun loading deck. Vast beyond reckoning, the deck spanned almost the full length of the vessel. Along the outer hull towering macro cannons, each as large as a habblock, pointed out into the void. On overhead tracks, cranes and hoists transported shells the size of Land Raiders, while thousands of slaves hauled on chains of black iron under the lashes of their overseers. Grimnar pointed with his axe to where fresh ordnance was being carried up from the ship's magazine below. Here was where they would cripple the Well of Souls and take her out of the fight. The vessel's captain was no fool, however, and between Grimnar and his goal were a dozen Black Legion Terminators, backed by throngs of maddened Cultists. Baring his fangs Grimnar raised the Axe Morkai above his head and charged. As the two sides closed bolt rounds and autogun fire whipped between them, detonating in clouds of scorched flesh or ricocheting from Terminator plate. Then, with a deafening crash, the two sides met.
Against the disciplined elite of the Black Legion and the disorganised rabble of the Cultists the pride of the Space Wolves proved their skill and ferocity. Brutal hammer blows, flashing fangs and crackling storm shields all took their toll, as Space Wolves were dragged down with savage snarls on their lips. Though the Black Legion were a dire foe indeed, under the protection of the Shieldbrothers the Master of the Space Wolves and his champion slew them to a man. As Grimnar tore the Axe Morkai from the throat of the last Chaos Terminator in a spray of blood, he realised that only he and Arjac remained standing. Bloody but unbowed, the Great Wolf gave the signal to Arjac, who hurled Foehammer with all his prodigious strength into the critical workings of the macro-cannon shell hoist. As the chains broke, a massive shell fell back down into the ship's primary magazine with a deafening detonation.
Heart of the Void
Ranulf Ironfang was the first to step onto the Well of Souls' bridge, his hulking grey form lumbering through the still smoking remains of the void-lock. At his side Ingvarr Thunderbrow and a score of other Void Claws thundered across the deck to meet the Chaos forces. As the Space Wolves pressed their assault, Voidheart, favoured of the Despoiler's lieutenants, watched them come. Clad in baroque black armour with a helm of twisted horns and the leering face of a Daemon, Voidheart sat on the vessel's command throne overseeing his warriors below. From all sides of the huge chamber Chaos Space Marines marched forward, blades and bolters ready to end the invaders. Ranulf howled his challenge and charged, his brothers close upon his heels. Everywhere the air was filled with the crash of mass-reactive bolter rounds and the screech of ceramite being rent asunder. Eyes fixed on the Daemon-faced Chaos Lord, Ranulf forged a bloody trail across the deck. His heavy Terminator armour turned the blades and bolt rounds hammering down upon him, while his frost blade parried blows and flashed out to sink into heretic flesh. By the time Ranulf reached the base of the command throne his armour was scarred by dozens of blows and his sword was crimson with blood.
Voidheart levelled his Daemon blade at Ranulf as he descended from the throne, promising him an eternity of torment within the Warp. Ranulf's response was blunt, crude and to the point. Voidheart easily repelled Ranulf's first flurry of attacks, and at once the Wolf Guard knew how dangerous an adversary he faced. His foe’s Daemon blade cut darkly through the air around him, black Warp-flame dancing hypnotically along its edge. Voidheart's hatred of the Space Wolf was almost palpable in its intensity – a feeling Ranulf held in equal measure for the thrice-cursed traitor standing before him. For a span of agonising minutes Ranulf tried to breach Voidheart's guard, but the Daemon sword seemed to move with a mind of its own, always there to turn his frost blade. Sparing a second's glance across the bridge, he could see his brothers equally pressed by the massed ranks of the Black Legion, and was forced to accept that there would be no aid against Voidheart. This moment of distraction was what the Chaos Lord had been waiting for, and in an instant his weapon flicked forward in an attempt to pierce Ranulf's skull. Only the Wolf Guard's acute senses saved his life, and he twisted partly out of the way. Even so, the unnatural blade pierced his helm and scored a bloody line across his face, burning away his left eye.
Howling in rage and pain, Ranulf bared his fangs and snarled at Voidheart. Deep within Ranulf's mind the shadow of the Wulfen stirred to life and the Space Marine hurled himself at his foe like a wounded Thunderwolf, the two exchanging a flurry of blows. However, it was only when an explosion from far below threw the combatants off balance that the tide turned, a momentary opening allowing Ranulf to hack off Voidheart's sword arm at the shoulder. Clutching the ruined, bleeding stump, the Chaos Lord fled the bridge, his crew moving to cover his escape. As another explosion from below rocked the deck, Ranulf heard the crackling vox message from the Great Wolf ordering them to withdraw. Cursing the escape of Voidheart, Ranulf hurried to obey the command of his Wolf Lord. Supporting their wounded, Ranulf, Ingvarr and the remaining Void Claws enacted a fighting retreat. Down through decks of fire and ruin they battled, clearing the way with the savage fervour of cornered wolves. As the Space Marines reached the aft launch decks of the Well of Souls, the Chaos craft was already listing dangerously toward Lumerius: the damage had been done. Debris raining down all around them, the Wolf Guard fought their way onto the awaiting Stormwolves as the Great Wolf led a defence of the extraction point with the surviving Champions. Ranulf was the last to step onto the ramp, pausing only to spit contemptuously onto the deck.
Fiends of the Deep
Wolf Scouts had made planetfall on Lumerius, pinpointing the shipwreck where the Wolf Brother slumbered, frozen in time. Floating in the middle of a vast polar sea, the void-ship was more ice and snow than steel, having drifted among the icebergs of Lumerius for millennia. In the heart of the wreck, colossal vaults housed countless stasis caskets, and in one of them slept the lost son of Russ. It was in these vast chambers that Fabius Bile and the Black Legion were searching for Abaddon's prize. Outside, the Chaos forces had fortified the tundra around the ship against assault, trenches and emplacements reaching out to where the frozen island ended and the frigid blue sea began.
From high in the atmosphere Grimnar surveyed the augurs of his Stormwolf, considering where to strike. His golden eyes noted the dark prow of the vessel pushing up from the centre of its icy prison. Like all Space Wolves Grimnar was well versed in the ways of the sea and glacial drifts like the one he now considered. He knew much of the ship was hidden below the waves, and it was here that the Champions of Fenris would strike. The Wolf Lord ordered the Stormwolf's pilot to come in low over the sea. He rapidly formed an image in his mind's eye of the size and shape of the entombed wreck. Just below the surface was an ice shelf with tunnels leading deeper into the wreck. This would be Grimnar's point of attack, and with his brothers he would drop down to the shelf below and walk beneath the freezing sea into the wreck. Covering his landing, Grimnar had ordered Thunderstrike formations –- combined teleportation and Drop Pod assaults -– to target the Chaos defences. An orbital barrage arced down from the heavens to pummel the traitor trenches, preparing the way. As huge chunks of snow-covered steel were hurled skyward, the first Space Wolf Drop Pods crashed down and Terminators appeared in flashes of light. The cold air was soon filled with the smoking trails of shells and plasma bolts, and red splashes of blood stained the ice. In answer to the carnage, Chaos Space Marines emerged from the wrecked vessel to bolster the defences.
While the maelstrom of mayhem and death raged overhead, Grimnar and his Wolf Guard attacked from below, marching up out of the frigid sea into the huge caves honeycombing the iceberg. Hundreds of metres across, the tunnels were part ice, part twisted steel, their upper limits lost in shadow overhead. Near the front of the advance Arjac suddenly paused, motioning for his Shieldbrothers to still their tongues. As silence descended the others heard it too, a hissing, grinding wail coming steadily closer. Through the distorted walls of ice the Wolf Guard could now see dark shapes approaching, moving like metal kraken beneath transparent waves. In a burst of crystal shards a Maulerfiend emerged, its magma cutters searing a hole through the ice and releasing billowing clouds of steam that obscured the Space Wolves' vision. In the close confines of the tunnel the Wolf Guard could do little to avoid these weapons designed to crack open fortifications, and two Shieldbrothers were sliced open by super-hot blasts of energy. Arjac pushed forward, but before he could strike another one erupted from the ground beneath his feet, grabbing him in its pitted jaws. The Wolf Guard rallied around him, their hammers fracturing the steel beast's hide but failing to bring it down.
In the blinding mist Grimnar's nose guided his attacks as he followed the oil-and-blood stench of the machine. Grimnar let out a battle cry and struck out into the fog, feeling the Axe Morkai sink deep into Warp-forged iron. Hearing their lord join the fray, the other Wolf Guard let out their own howls of rage, and attacked with even greater fury. Arjac, still trapped within the Daemon Engine's grinding jaws, hurled Foehammer into the mist before thrusting his gauntlet deep into its mouth. In a flash of light the hammer rematerialised in his fist, smashing apart the monster’s head from within. Wolf Guard swarmed over the remaining Maulerfiend, a mighty blow from Grimnar finally sending it crashing to the ground with a pained roar. Gathering up the remaining Wolf Guard, Grimnar advanced down the tunnels made by the Maulerfiends, following them into the rusting heart of the ship.
Tomb of Wolves
Inside the ruined vessel the Space Wolves climbed through corridors twisted and torn by centuries beneath the ice. Ancient statues and reliefs stared forlornly at the Wolf Guard from under layers of snow. Grimnar recognised some of the tunnels and chambers they pushed their way through, the icons and regalia of the Imperium upon them. Others were alien –- strange asymmetrical shapes and xenos symbols dominated their walls. This had been an accursed vessel even before it found a resting place upon Lumerius; countless dark deeds had been wrought here, of that Grimnar was sure.
The Great Wolf was the first to hear the hum of plasma generators from up ahead, a thread of sound hidden under the muffled thump and rumble of the battle raging overhead. Motioning for his brothers to draw close and ready their weapons, he led the way down into a vast fractured chamber. The room was the broken remains of a stasis vault, where thousands of people would sleep away centuries of interstellar travel. Concentric circles of stasis caskets ringed the vault from floor to ceiling, vanishing up into the dim ice-locked roof and down into the debris-choked depths below. Precious few of the caskets still thrummed with life, the contorted remains of their occupants barely visible in the shadows. The rest were wreathed in darkness. Several levels below, Grimnar could see the flickering lights of las-cutters and the unmistakable form of Fabius Bile's spidery harness as he directed his vassals to carve open one stasis casket after another. The Wolf Lord knew it would be only a matter of time before the traitor found the Wolf Brother -– a tragedy he could not allow to come to pass. Roaring a challenge, Grimnar fired a burst of bolter rounds, though he was far out of range. Even so, it had the desired effect and Bile turned from his task, his Black Legion bodyguard closing ranks around him. Like a ceramite avalanche the Wolf Guard descended down the side of the cylindrical vault, crashing down from one level to the next, along rusted gantries and ramps. As they came the Chaos Space Marines poured bolter fire into the Wolf Guard, rounds exploding as they tore the chamber apart. Grimnar was the first to reach the traitors, landing on the lower level with a reverberating clang. The first Black Legionnaires to charge him met with a bloody fate, their remains tumbling to the floor.
In moments Grimnar was upon Fabius Bile, a brutal axe blow hacking off one of the Primogenitor's arachnid appendages. Quick as a serpent, Bile counter-attacked, wielding a ghastly-looking weapon that crackled with Warp energy. Inflicting agonising pain, the barest touch was enough to bring the Wolf Lord to his knees, his fangs gritted in pain as the weapon's curse raged through him. Before Grimnar could rise, Bile raised a dripping syringe. He had come here for the Wolf Brother, but with the Master of the Space Wolves kneeling at his feet he could capture an even greater prize. At that moment, Foehammer smashed Bile's pseudo-limb aside, Arjac barrelling forwards to place himself between Grimnar and his foe. With the Black Legion now giving ground before the ferocity of the Space Wolves, Fabius Bile made his own plans for retreat. The Primogenitor had not lived so long or with such care to chance his life when the odds turn against him. With a contemptuous sneer Bile keyed a teleporter homer on his belt, vanishing in a flare of crimson light. Arjac helped Grimnar to his feet, the Great Wolf nodding to his champion in wordless thanks before charging forwards to finish off the remaining traitor forces.
What would have taken Bile days took Grimnar but a few hours, his enhanced senses finding the Wolf Brother's stasis casket from among the thousands in the vault. With a drop of blood the Wolf Lord opened the genetic lock and looked upon the face of the Chapter's long lost battle-brother. Sorrow filled Grimnar's heart as he noted the signs of the Wulfen upon the ancient warrior, his rictus snarl frozen in time by the stasis field. It would be no kindness to awaken him, and so Logan closed the casket once more, ordering it returned to the Fang. There would be no redemption for this brother of the Space Wolves, but at least he had been spared corruption by the powers of Chaos.
- Champions of Fenris - A Codex: Space Wolves Supplement (7th Edition), pp. 15-27