172 million kilometres
Vraks Prime was a Departmento Munitorum Armoury World in the Vraks System of the Scarus Sector of the Segmentum Obscurus and the site of the Basilica of Saint Leonis the Blind, a saint of the Imperial Cult. The Vraks System comprised four worlds, Vraks Prime, Vraks Secundus, Vraks Tertius and the large, gravitationally-trapped asteroid Uryx, of which only Vraks Prime had been settled by the Imperium. Vraks was besieged by the forces of the Imperium of Man in 813.M41, after the attempted assassination of the heretical and traitorous Apostate Cardinal-Astra Xaphan by the Officio Assassinorum failed. The Imperial Guard's 88th Siege Army was raised from line regiments of the Death Korps of Krieg to undertake the siege of the world and bring the Renegade Cardinal down in a campaign of attrition that the Administratum's Adepts calculated would take 12 standard years to successfully conclude. At the conclusion of what actually turned out to be a 17-year-long Imperial campaign of attrition called the Siege of Vraks that required 34 regiments of the Imperial Guard to re-take the planet in 830.M41, 14 million Imperial Guardsmen had been lost and Vraks Prime's entire original population of 8 million souls had been consumed in the violence or exterminated after they fell to Chaos corruption. The world was then declared Perdita by the Imperium and placed under an interdiction to cordon it off from the rest of human space as ordered by the Ordo Malleus Inquisitor Lord Hector Rex.
Vraks was a barren and drab world, covered in a layer of old volcanic dust and pumice-like rock. It was first discovered and logged into Imperial records by Imperial forces during the Great Crusade at some point after the Age of Strife. Later it was explored by an expedition led by Rogue Trader Van Meer of the Van Meer household. A supply base was established on Vraks for stockpiling materiel for future exploratory expeditions around the rim of the Eye of Terror. As the supply base grew in size the stockpiles needed protecting, and thus Vraks' uses as an Armoury World began in earnest. A fortress was built to protect the stockpiles from raiding pirates or xenos. A star port facility was constructed to allow easy access for freighters and transport vessels. This facility was eventually destroyed during the siege by the Dark Angels under Supreme Grand Master Azrael in 821.M41.
The Vraks starport was surrounded by an Imperial city of approximately 5 million workers. Smaller settlements were scattered across the Van Meersland Wastes. Over thousands of standard years, Vraks was transformed into a huge Imperial armoury. The spaceport was expanded to service the largest Imperial landing craft, capable of ferrying huge shipments of arms, vehicles and munitions to bulk carriers waiting in orbit. Vraks was one of a network of Armoury Worlds established across the Segmentum Obscurus by the Departmento Munitorum to stockpile arms and munitions for the Imperial Guard that would be needed in the event of a major incursion from the Eye of Terror, such as a Black Crusade.
Situated in the centre of the Van Meersland Wastes, the Vraks Citadel was the control centre of Departmento Munitorum operations on Vraks. It was a large fortress, situated atop the core of a long dead volcano. It contained the headquarters of the Planetary Defence Forces, the Master of the Administratum's offices, extensive archives, the Cardinal's palace and the Citadel's own garrison barracks. High security dungeons carved into the rock beneath the Citadel itself were sometimes used as a secure prison for Inquisitorial prisoners captured in the sector. Astropathic communications, the Adeptus Arbites precinct, as well as the control centre for the network of defence laser batteries were also sited there.
The Citadel of Vraks also included the Basilica of St. Leonis, built by Vraks' Cardinal-Astra in the 38th Millennium to attend to the faith of the millions of indentured workers interred on Vraks and consecrated with the bones of St. Leonis (an Adeptus Ministorum Missionary of the 38th Millennia who was martyred by Heretics in the Scarus Sector). Pilgrims and penitents visiting the Shrine of St. Leonis arrived by the thousands on Vraks Prime, and were attended to by the many priests based at the Basilica St. Leonis and the attached Cardinal's palace.
Siege of VraksEdit
- "When the maelstrom descends, Vraks shall overflow with blood and skulls, and even the dead shall find no peace. Millions shall be sacrificed in their names, and the true Gods will rejoice... I have seen it, for I am the messiah of the coming apocalypse."
- — Lord Xaphan, Apostate-Cardinal, Arch-Heretic and the Despot of Vraks
After the previous Cardinal-Astra Borja of the Scarus Sector in Segmentum Obscurus died in 804.M41 following 400 standard years of life greatly extended by the ministrations of the Adeptus Mechanicus' Magos Biologis, his successor, Cardinal-Astra Scarus Xaphan, took his place as the Cardinal of the Scarus Sector. Over the course of 5 years, Xaphan undertook a pilgrimage across the Scarus Sector, his new domain. He wished to see the places he would preside over, and he wished to bring a spiritual revival to the people. Where he and his entourage passed, he amassed ever more followers in a series of religious uprisings. Criminal governments and oppressive tyrannies were shattered with each world he traveled to. Whispering into his ear was the Cardinal's favoured advisor, Deacon Mamon, a secret devotee of Chaos, who pushed the Cardinal into believing himself to be a sacred champion of the Emperor of Mankind, who would single-handedly reignite the faith of the people of the Imperium and lead them to new heights of righteousness.
After years of pilgrimage, during which he was increasingly received as a living saint by the people of his sector, Xaphan went into seclusion on the Imperial Armoury World of Vraks in 809.M41, also the site of a popular Imperial Cult shrine of Saint Leonis the Blind, an Ecclesiarchy missionary who had been martyred in the 38th Millennium after having his eyes removed while spreading the word of the Imperial Creed across the less civilised worlds of the Scarus Sector. A shrine had been built to contain the saint's remains and relics, as well as a palace for the Cardinal-Astra of Scarus should he ever choose to make a pilgrimage to the shrine. Here, Xaphan chose his battlefield. As the Cardinal had come to hold, through Deacon Mamon's careful encouragement, that corruption was eating away at the Imperium, he now saw himself as a messianic figure destined to ignite a holy war and give the faithful a chance to purge the galaxy of darkness. Believing the Cardinal to be amassing far too much popularity and power, an agent of the Officio Assassinorum was sent by the Ordo Hereticus of the Inquisition to assassinate Xaphan during one of his sermons. After the failed attempt on his life by this operative, the Armoury World of Vraks erupted in full-scale rebellion against the Imperium. It wasn't long until the Citadel and the industry of the armoury world were under Xaphan's control.
By seceding Vraks from the Imperium, Imperial forces in the sector and, in some cases, the entire Segmentum, would be left without adequate resupply of arms and armour. By breaking the Imperial supply chain of which Vraks was a part, forces as far removed and important as the Cadian Imperial Guard regiments guarding the Eye of Terror would be sparsely armed, allowing a potentially major Chaos incursion to occur in or around the Cadian Gate. The Administratum deemed that Vraks must be returned to the Imperium's fold. By the time word reached the Imperium of the rebellion on Vraks, it was already too late. Millions of Traitors and heretics were now dug into meticulously planned, constructed, and reinforced defences, with massive orbital lasers protecting the world's Citadel from orbital bombardment and assault. It fell on the Imperial Guardsmen of the Death Korps of Krieg, united under the umbrella of the Imperium's 88th Siege Army, to dislodge the traitorous forces of Cardinal Xaphan in what would become a grinding war of attrition that would consume millions of lives across 17 standard years of battle.
As an Administratum facility, Vraks' society was organised with the same hierarchy as the Adeptus Administratum on Terra. Masters, Prefects, Adepts, Ordinates, Scribes, Ciphers, Curators, Menial and Subordinate workers ran the vast bureaucracy on Vraks. The millions of Administratum Labour Corp indentured workers were guarded by Departmento Munitorum garrison troops. Vraks' also had its own Planetary Defence Force militia, organised from within the work force. There was also a substantial Ogryn population amongst the Labour Corps. There also was a transitory population of Imperial pilgrims that visited the shrine of St. Leonis, ranging from approximately 1 to 5 million. The exact figures were unknown. Many Imperial Guard regiments arrived for arming and equipping on the world before being transported to their next destination. Barracks were provided at the starport to house these troops.
The largest urban area on Vraks Prime was the sprawl of worker habitats, temporary storage facilities, hangers, repair facilities, barracks and administration building that had risen up around the landing areas. Although still referred to as the starport, Vraks' starport was in fact a small city of some five million workers. Other urbanised locations were the Labour Corps workers habs, scattered across the Van Meersland Wastes to house the labourers that constructed and maintained Vraks' network of storage bunkers, service roads and defences. These hab-zones contained rudimentary barracks as housing for workers and their Departmento Munitorum guards.
- Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks - Part One
- Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks - Part Two
- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three