Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Wardens of the Gate: A History of Cadia
I'm going to try something new here. This is going to be a very fluffy post and is going to be solely focused on the Fortress World of Cadia, its history, and importance in the 40k universe. So if you are expecting some rules are tactics, read no further, this is for the fluff bunnies out there. Some have said that Cadians are the ultra smurfs of the Imperial Guard. In many ways this is true, but that's not a bad thing, someone has to be the high standard everyone else strives to reach. Note this is not to be taken too seriously.
To start off with, Cadia is classified as the Most Important Fortress World of the Imperium of Man by the Administratum. It is like many Imperial worlds and has a population in the hundreds of billions. Its geography is much like Terra, 70%ish ocean with the rest varying climate regions. Cadia is a colder world than Terra and is more dominated by mountains and forests than ancient Terra was, with it having harsher winters than norm, but nothing compared to arctic death worlds like Valhalla. The population of Cadia is concentrated in fortress hives/cities known colloquially as Kasrs. These are the lynch pins of Cadia, providing the manpower and war material as well as fortified defences against the Archemeny of Mankind.
The exact time frame of the settlement of Cadia is unknown, though it is thought to be some time during the Dark Age of Technology and the Age of Strife, around M20-M25. The history of the original settlers of Cadia is unknown and lost to history. The first contact with Cadia and its people occurs during the waning years of the Great Crusade M31. An expeditionary fleet led by the Lorgar and the Word Bearers legion, including Imperial Army groups and all under the watchful gaze of the Custodes, there to watch for any sign of regression of the Word Bearers to their previous pious ways.
The early Cadians are even then marked by their unique violet eyes. The commander of the Custodes Vendatha sees them as mutated by the nearby Warp rift, later to be named The Eye of Terror, and demands their extermination. Lorgar initially refuses as their Priestess seems to know what Lorgar is looking for. It is in an arcane ceremony involving human sacrifice where Vendatha breaks and attempts to slay the primarch and his accompanying Word Bearers, though he fails and is killed. The Word Bearers report his murder and proceed to exterminate the population of Cadia to conceal their treachery.
Cadia is not resettled until the end of the Horus Heresy, it is during the Scouring as the Traitor legions are driven into the Eye of Terror that Imperial Expeditions rediscover Cadia and settle it. It is during this time when the Imperium is fortifying systems around the Eye of Terror that the stable path of warp space is discovered. This will become known as the Cadian Gate, the only major warp route leading from the Eye of Terror into Imperial space. Thus is Cadia destined to become the lynch pin in Imperial defence against the Archenemy and the Traitor Legions.
The new inhabitants of Cadia soon begin to display the mark of violet eyes, giving credence to the theory that the proximity to the Eye of Terror has a hand in this mutation. During this time of settlement and expansion, the Pylons of Cadia are discovered. Their purpose and origin is unknown and many in the Imperium speculate to their purpose to this day (If you are familiar with Necron fluff and the War in Heaven you will know their origin, but the greater Imperium and Mechanicus do not know the truth). The Kasrs of Cadia are raised and the earliest martial institutions established. The original Kasrs were organized much like many cities of the imperium, with large roads and grid like structure. During the first Black Crusades, these Kasrs were undefendable, Traitor forces being able to maneuver with ease through the large thoroughfares and many the Kasrs were razed to the ground.
From these ashes the foundations of the modern Cadia were raised. The Kasrs were rebuilt, not in the grand imperial style, but into maze like fortress, every house and building a bunker, a redoubt to be used in time of war. All Cadians were trained from childhood to fight, knowing how to service a lasgun before being able to read or write. It is said that a Cadain that cannot field strip his lasgun by age ten was born on the wrong planet.
It is during this time that the Cadian Interior Guard is formed, Cadia's equivalent of the other world's planetary defence forces. Equipped with the best equipment that the forges of the Cadian System can produce and supplemented by the greater Imperium, the Cadian Interior Guard is better equipped than most Imperial Guard regiments, the best of their worlds, and are seen by many in the Administratum and Departmento Munitorum as the Standard Template the Imperial Guard should follow. As such, much Cadian equipment and weaponry is used widely throughout the Imperial Guard.
It is said that the recruitment rate and birth rate of Cadia is synonymous, and while this is true in many respects, if every Cadian was a rifleman, none of the rifles would be produced, the transportation of war material impossible. While many Cadians do serve in the Interior Guard as soldiers, many serve in the logistical and industrial aspects of the Cadian and Imperial war machine. It is this machine that holds back the tide of Chaos and spares the greater Imperium a fate worse than death.
The Cadian sector as a whole is a fortress, consisting of ten worlds, each a piece in the greater bastion that defends the Cadian Gate. Cadia itself is the lynch pin and most fortified of the worlds, but it is not the only one. The nearest planets, both away from and closer to the sun are also fortress worlds, Kasr Holn and Kasr Sonnan, each heavily fortified and acting as staging grounds for mobilizations outside the Cadian System and to repulse assaults within the system. Macharia is the largest planet and is a militarized hive world, providing a large bulk of the popultion supporting the Cadian Interior Guard. Vigilantum is a Naval Training world and home to multiple battlefleets. Kasr Partox is the outermost Fortress world and first to respond to any threats in the Cadian system. St. Josman's Hope is a military prison where those found wanting are sent to serve the Emperor still in back breaking labor. Solar Manatus is the outermost world and produces much of Cadia's war material. Korolis is the second closest planet to the sun and is a source of weapons grade atomic materials. Prosan is the closest to the sun and is the infamous Hostile Environment Training Ground, and many Cadians die here, failing to prove they have the mettle to be a Cadian Shock Trooper.
To become a Cadian Shock Trooper is a gruelling feat, many not surviving the rites of passage and continuous wars and conflicts Cadia endures. All children of Cadia are taught the ways of war from birth and as they grow, more is expected of them. Upon reaching puberty, they are inducted into the White Shields, the Cadian Youth Army. This is the rite of passage into adulthood that every Cadian must go through. These child conscripts are not helpless though, having years of training and in many cases experiences to prepare them for this moment. It is in the White Shields where these Cadians learn their final lessons, experiencing combat and facing the enemies of man, where the only measure of success is survival or a death in service to the God Emperor.
Surviving the White Shields to adult hood is not the end though, merely the beginning of many Cadian's short lives. Having proven their worth, they are then inducted into the Cadian war machine, their fate decided by the Lords of Cadia and Deparmento Munitorum in how to best serve. Most will go on to serve as riflemen in the Cadian Shock. Many though are fated to serve in secondary, but if not more important roles. Those that showed promise and aptitude in treating wounds during their time in the White Shields are further trained in medical expertise, to meet the ever rising demand of treating the fallen heroes of Cadia. Those who show aptitude in vox communication are further trained and some will end up in the Staff of General officers, communicating vital messages and ensuring the essential coordination's of war are successfully conducted. Those with logistical aptitudes are taken in by the Administratum and Departmento Munitorum to provide the crucial link between the forge and front line. Whatever the fate, each Cadian will serve in defence of the Imperium and Gate till death.
In the end though, Cadia is not famous for the lasguns made nor efficiency of logistics, it is the Cadian Shock, the Wardens of the Gate, that it is known for. The only true difference between the Cadian Shock and the Interior Guard is their name and where they fight. To Cadian's they are all Cadian Shock, whether defending their home worlds, or fighting the Emperor's wars across the galaxy. Such is the quality of the Interior Guard, that when guardsmen are chosen for service in the Imperial Guard, they are chosen at random, the Lords of Cadia knowing that none will fail in their duty to mankind. The best of the Cadian Shock are inducted into the Kasrkin, the elite of Cadia, and they are considered to be equal of the best of the Imperium's Storm Troopers in both skill and equipment.
The Cadian Shock espouses a way of war that is in many ways different from many worlds of the Imperium. Their officers go through the same rigorous rite of passage as the White Shields and there it is that they learn the value of Cadian blood, none more precious. Discipline is the most important aspect of the Shock, in that they share with much of the Imperial Guard. For the officers of the Cadian Shock, theirs is not to throw lives away for trivial pieces of ground. Instead the Cadian Shock seeks to destroy their foes in the most effective ways possible, and tales abound of generals of Cadia out thinking their enemy and destroying them utterly. Though when called, the Cadian Shock is not afraid of making bloody sacrifices to achieve victory.
At the outset of the 13th Black Crusade, a great procession of Cadian military might was assembled on the Tyrok fields to mobilize for war. The Volscani Cataphracts announced their allegiance to the Archenemy by opening fire on their former Cadian allies. The Cadian 7th sustained massive casualties in the initial volleys, but their discipline held long enough for Lord Castellan Ursarker Creed to organize a counter attack. Leading an attack with the combined forces of the Cadian 7th and the Cadian 8th "The Castellans Own", and coordinating artillery fire, the void shield protecting the Volscani were dropped in time to meet the charge of the Cadian shock. The standard of the Cadian 7th was carried forward by no fewer than 12 guardsmen and is said to have never touched the ground throughout the charge.
The Lord Castellan is but one, if not the greatest example of Cadian Martial traditions and leadership. Starting life as lowly commoner, he proved his mettle over the years and rose to become the one of Cadia's greatest commanders. As a child he was found in a ruined warzone of his home Kasr, clutching a laspistol and Imperial Primer. During his time in the White Shields he cemented a relationship with a guardsman named Kell. The two were destined to be together, and the bellicose oratory and brutal skills were a perfect foil to Creed's tactical thinking and unyielding faith. Creed became the Colonel of the Cadian 8th, who would later adopt the title "The Castellan's Own" in honor of his service and leadership to the regiment. It is during the 13th Black Crusade that he is elevated the title and rank of Lord Castellen, supreme commander of all of Cadia's forces.
Through sacrifice and skill, Cadia holds to this day. Though it is under constant invasion from the Archenemies legions, the Cadian Shock and it's generals hold back the tide that would seek to bring ruin to mankind. Cadia makes this sacrifice willingly, knowing that no other is capable of meeting the threat that brings damnation and hold firm.