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During the dark and terrible times known to later historians as the Nova Terra Interregnum, when the Imperium fractured into warrior factions during the 34th Millennium, there exist in what records remain from this era scattered and veiled references to a great threat arising from the Ghoul Stars known as the Pale Wasting. Much of the extant evidence relating to this threat has been censored or purposely destroyed, but there are contradictory indications which describe the nature of the threat as both a "Star-spawned plague" that swept away scores of worlds and as "Nightmare engines" slaughtering the populations of whole sectors. Those partial records which have been uncovered suggest that the threat was xenos in nature and that more than one Space Marine Chapter may have been completely destroyed in the course of the conflict.
The xenos threat briefly mentioned in Imperial historical records might be the Thexian Elite of the Thexian Trade Empire, a biomorphic race few in number but strong in influence. They hail from the oxidised worlds known as the Bloodmoons of Thex Prime, which are located in the region of space known as the Ghoul Stars. These vile xenos are known to be masters of manipulation and have worked themselves into integral positions in the Borlac, Loxatl and Nicassar civilisations. Though Thexians are famously persuasive, when guile is not enough their battle form is quite horrifying to behold. Eleven Space Marine Chapters were lost in the final battles of what must have been a truly apocalyptic struggle. The chronicles of many Chapters who took part in this campaign are curiously empty of any reference to this conflict, and it is quite possible that this ancient threat may also account for the unusually large number of formerly human-inhabited Dead Worlds in the region.
The Novamarines Space Marine Chapter took part in the campaign to quell the threat of the Pale Wasting, and though this is one of the Chapter's earliest recorded battle honours, the Chapter's own chronicles are curiously empty of any reference to this conflict. It is quite possible that this ancient threat may also account for the unusually large number of formerly human-inhabited Dead Worlds in the region. Eleven other Chapters were lost in the final battles of what must have been a truly apocalyptic struggle. Stationed beyond the frontiers of the Imperium, the Death Spectres Space Marine Chapter currently maintains a constant vigil to ensure that the inhabitants of the Ghoul Stars never again threaten the galaxy.
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 26
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War, Part One - pp. 76, 118