SIX YEARS AGO
The council of the three tribes were gathered to meet with the Empire.
First the Fil. Quick, agile and adept hunters, bearing similarities to the cougar or the cheetah. The Fil favour guile, stealth and pursuit as signs of nobility and ability. Famed archers, they never loose their target once they have taken sight of their prey. Favouring work and determination over birthright, the Fil are a meritocracy- the quickest minds lead their people, the quickest feet lead their armies, the quickest eyes lead their spies. The slow are left behind, forgotten and useless. Aside from quickness, they are often remarked for there great courage, sacrificing themselves in battle against stronger foes.
Second, the Pan. Strong, brutal, bearing similarities to the lion, the tiger, the jaguar and the leopard. Unlike the stealthy Fil, the Pan take pride in the majesty of their roars, and the might of their claws. The prey should kneel to the predator, grateful for the chance to serve their masters. Such is the natural order of things, for the mighty deserve their meat on the sole virtue of their might. The weak are food to this theocracy- the strongest are worshiped as gods and take possession of whatsoever takes their fancy. What cannot be defended with strength is not deserved.
Third, the Neo. Powerful mages. Physically stronger than the Fil and far quicker than the Pan. The Neo would have dominated the entire continent had it not been for the small size of their litters.- two or three kittens a brood compared to their rivals eight to sixteen. Their magics, however, are beyond any of their rivals. Despite being the smallest of the three nations, they undoubtedly produce the strongest warriors. They operate a democracy- the wisest form a council of twenty-one, who discuss the leadership of their land in an open forum where any can come and offer their opinion on any matter being discussed.
The one thing that unites the three nations, however, is their slave trade. The bald were treated as items to be bought and sold, and were known as Mogs. Word had come of a nation of Mogs coming from the west, beyond the mountains of the iron ghosts, and immediately a summit was called for.
The Mog Emperor was little more than a boy, barely a man. He spoke big words, but what could a mere mog have to say? Still, the Furred ambassadors humoured him, and continued with the summit.
First came the traditional exchange of slaves, showing goodwill and willingness to trade with all present. When it was discovered that the Mog Emperor had not brought slaves, this was a reasonable excuse for the Furred ambassadors to take offence. However, this was laughed off, surely a misunderstanding caused by a difference in customs. In fact, how could a bald mog beg expected to know of the higher practices of nobility? Indeed, the ambassadors decided to let this error slide, so long as the Emperor remembered to observe the custom during the next summit.
There was no next summit. The Emperor took the heads of all three Ambassadors and the nine slaves brought for exchanges, as well as all the slaves in the ambassadors personal parties, killing their guards in an unforgivable, unwarranted act of brutality.
Surely, this empire of mogs are brutal and bloodthirsty in all that they do! They must be brought under subjection. They must be reminded of the natural order of things.
The three Furred nations signed a treaty, uniting against these bald murderers, lasting until each one of these mogs were brought into slavery.
ONE YEAR AGO
"Dammit..." SamJaz swore, looking over the battle reports. The Imperial Guard were barely holding the line. They were mostly keeping control of the under folk tunnels thanks to Mechanicus's control over the machines there, but the Furred soldiers that came over the tops were breaking through into the empire in small groups, taking families and burning settlements.
"There is a way we can win this." Mechanicus told the Emperor. "But it will need time. The longer you delay-"
"Fine." SamJaz snarled, through clenched teeth, barely believing himself for making this decision. "Start project astartes. Only use volunteers."
Mechanicus nodded, and departed for the orphanage.
Commander Hagane Kumaga looked through her binoculars at the city before them. This was Pantherinae- the capital city of the Pan tribe. It was currently preparing for a festival, where there would be bonfires, fireworks, drinking and the trading of slaves.
Hagane looked at her team. Eight Hellhound Tanks- fast and powerful. Seven metres long, Six wide and four tall and capable of reaching speeds over 70 MPH on even surfaces, 55 on rough terrain, the Hellhound weighs 35 tonnes and has 150mm of solid ceramite armour. All are equipped with multiple Heavy Bolter turrets, though their main weapons varied according to their purpose. Some carried large flamethrowers, some anti-seige cannons, some targeted missile launchers, all intended to kill as many of the enemy as possible.
There were also four Chimera tanks. Weighing 38 tonnes and with similar speed, size and armour to the Hellhounds, the Chimeras had lighter weaponry, and were used to carry soldiers and supplies. With heavy bolter turrets to the sides and fronts, it carried an auto-cannon turret that was able to pierce through dragon hide. For this mission, however, it was essentially a transport vehicle.
The heavy artillery, as it were, were the four Leman Russ tanks in her group. Both the biggest asset and biggest risk to her mission, the Leman Russ was five metres wide and five tall, seven metres long and weighing a mighty sixty tonnes. Its armour was a solid twenty centimetres thick, and could shrug off the heaviest hits. Its battle cannon could tear through any city wall, and that was what faced her now.
To destroy a city without the long war of attrition involved in a siege, the Leman Russ's firepower was essential. However, it had a crippling maximum speed of 35MPH on the most favourable terrain, meaning that the faster Hellhounds and Chimeras were forced to travel at half their maximum speed to allow the Leman Russ to keep up.
The objective of this mission is to strike the three capital cities, annihilating them without allowing them to get the message out, and striking the next cities fast enough that they don't suspect foul play. The Hellhound and Chimera tanks could achieve the kind of speed needed for that easily- the fastest Fel's couldn't run faster than 70MPH for more than a few minutes at a time, so without the Leman Russ these vehicles would outspeed any of these messengers with ease. However, since they were limited for speed, they would have to make leaving the city to communicate impossible.
That was why they were attacking during festivals, not to attract attention from the smoke. The bonfires were already lit, the fireworks would go up any second. They had targeted a Pan city first- they were the simplest, and would be the least likely to get word out without the team knowing it. The tanks were using MTP pattern camouflage, and were all but invisible to the feline eyes of the enemy.
The first fireworks went up, and the division began to approach the city walls.
"FIRE!!" Hagane roared, and the cannons rang out, piercing the stone walls and tearing the west side of the city's defences open within seconds.
The battle had begun.