The Red Fury
- excerpt from the ancient journals of the Bedouin Cartographers Lost Chronicles on the faction known as Red Fury -
The Black Jihad, also remembered informally as the Phantom War, was a conflict against the forces of the ancient Karminian Republic led by the infamous Torchbearer Unus, the Defacer and the bloodthirsty Red Fury, launched out of the the Galactic Eastern Rim at the height of the 1st galactic year.
At that time, the forces of the mythical Red Fury spewed forth from edges of the galaxy into the inner systems and promptly "disappeared".
This event is what earned this conflict its informal name of the "Phantom War." The following years saw a game of hide-and-seek played between the forces of the Red Fury and the Republic which spread confusion, paranoia, disinformation and deceit across the galaxy.
Raids became commonplace in far-flung areas but eventually the forces of Unus returned to the Rim, having caused enough trouble and destruction that led to the eventual fall of the first galactic republic in recorded history. The Karminians would never recover from the conflict and their influence would wane until a few centuries later they were no more
The Black Jihad began when the Red Fury fleet slipped out of the Eastern Rim undetected and fell covertly upon the worlds of the Republic. Whole planets were lost before the defending armies could muster the forces to repel the legions of the Defacer.
Unus proved himself a masterful tactician and a match for the combined Republican Navy commanders of the Battlefleet Pyro, repeatedly outmanoeuvring their scouts and confounding their attempts to bring him to battle. While the Republic tried to find and defeat Unus' fleet, his Red Fury laid waste to numerous settlements and star systems. In the volcanic depths of the Hornas Collective, the fleet broke the great steam seals and left millions to die screaming as scalding clouds engulfed their cities.
On the storm covered oceans of Kyrro, Red Fury squads sunk the silt-mining platforms and fed their workers to rift whale-sharks.
Red Fury centurions assaulted the Jolian void stations of Hiess, deep within the Whort Nebula. They ransacked the void stations' stores, taking ancient artefacts recovered by the Republic. When Republican forces arrived, they discovered the Red Fury forces gone and the station decorated with the corpses of the Keepers
When Republican forces battled against the Red Fury shock troops at Andora, Unus singled them out with implacable fury. He personally led his men into Republican stronghold positions. In the final days of battle and when the Republican generals thought the conflict lost and where ready to surrender there is an obscure reference to an unidentified stellar of mysterious origin coming to aid the Karminian forces and eventually pushing Unus and his forces from the system in what was his first real defeat during the Black Jihad.
Images of these events can be found upon the ruined walls of the waste World of D0ktasitis created to house the honoured dead of that war, depicted in repeated frescos and bar relief. Curiously, the faces of the race depicted there are obscured with featureless disks of black obsidian. Given the largely unknown history of the star-faring Xarchad race, accounts of their activities can only be constructed from recorded historical incidents and fragmentary records that are believed to have involved the Xarchad on balance of evidence. This is likely one such event as noted and listed by several prominent Bedouin philosophers of the time.
While the Phantom War would rage for many standard years before the Red Fury finally retreated to the Eastern Fringe, a single engagement stands out among the long list of bloody battles. On the world of Mauto, its centurions ravaged the planet, putting its remote dust-mill towns to the torch and tearing apart the grand Basilica of Splendour, raised to honour the might of the Old Gods.
Arriving in time to halt the escape of the invaders, Republican forces under the command of the infamous Admiral Jox Norl, set up defensive positions around the Red Fury's landing zone in an attempt to cut them off from their fleet.
Although the conflict ultimately ended in the near-extinction of the Republican forces at the hands of Unus, the Defacer, the battle itself marks the real halting of the Black Jihad across the galaxy and inspires other races outside the Republic's sphere of influence to come to its aid. With his forces devastated, the Admiral endured weeks of hardship in the wilderness and the constant trials of keeping his crazed warriors undetected on Mauto. When the time proved right, Jox led his commandos in lightning raids behind enemy lines, butchering the unprepared sworn warriors Unus honour guard, and it is said the Unus himself bore grievous scars from that battle.
In the final years of the Black Jihad the Karminian Republic forces were broken and would never again recover from the ravages suffered against the Red Fury and its leader, Unus.
Mauto becomes legendary in the long story of this Republic, and although not its final chapter, it most likely marks the beginning of its End...