HISTORY of JORNATH
The Imperial world of Jornath is the fourth and only inhabited planet of the Jornath system within the Segmentum Tempestus near the border of the Ultima Segmentum. Little is known about the world of Jornath prior to its rediscovery by agents of the Imperial Crusade Fleet during the Emperor's Great Crusade.
After reunification with the Imperium of Man Jornath enjoyed a prosperous period of trade and involvement with the greater holdings of mankind. Notable among these events was the investment by the Adeptus Machanicus, while most of Jornath is ruled by its Noble Houses, and most industry carried out by ancient Merchant Guilds, the mineral wealth of Jornath did draw the attention of the Priests of Mars. Now the most populous settlement on Jornath's large and mountainous northern continent is entirely overseen by the Adeptus Mechanicus.
Jornath has not had ten thousand years of peace however, many small conflicts between the Noble Houses, Merchant Guilds, and even extra-planetary invasion from perfidious Xenos have beset the world at times.
GOVERNMENT of JORNATH
The rulers of Jornath are elected from a council of leading Patrician Families, the criteria for inclusion in the council are confusing and byzantine, but only families approved by the majority of the council can be included. This system has led to armed conflict in the past, but such internecine wars are often short lived affairs that see one house rise to prominence quickly as the others acquiesce to their power.
In this way the Planetary Governor is not appointed by the High Lords of Terra but rather sanctioned by them after being elected by his peers. The current Governor, High Patriarch Neravan, has ruled Jornath for almost a century. The High Patriarch, or High Matriarch as has been the case more than once in the long history of Jornath, is answerable to the Council of Patricians and can be called into censure if they act in a manner that is not befitting their station or detrimental to their role in the government.
Under the Council of Patricians is the House of Aggregated Mercantile Concerns, its members are drawn from across Jornath's social strata, some representatives coming from common birth others drawn from the many Noble houses of Jornath. The vast majority of government activities are decided within the House and enacted my agents of different Merchant Guilds. In this manner business runs the day on Jornath.
THE ARMED FORCES of JORNATH
Jornath, like most Imperial worlds is subject to periodic tithes to the greater Imperium of Man. Chief among these is a contribution of fighting men to the Astra Militarum. These men are equipped to the highest standard that can be afforded at the time of tithing. These tithe forces are organised to the requirements presented to by the Administratum and the Departmento Munitorium. Jornath's indigenous forces are not so well organised.
The laws of Jornath allow anyone, or any organization to raise an armed force so long as that force adheres to an ancient code of behavior and ethics. This practice has led to almost every Merchant Guild, Noble House and significant population center having its own military forces. Reforms in this practice have led to a system by which there can be a chain of command starting with the Council of Patricians and extending down to individual force commanders.
- Jornath Cohorts - These forces are raised by the various settlements and comprised of volunteer fighters drawn from the population and equipped at the expense of the people. The Cohorts would be most similar to other world's PDF Regiments. They answer directly to their local governor and the Patrician Council.
- Hearth Guards - These troops are raised by the myriad Noble Houses of Jornath. They answer to their Noble House of origin and are commanded directly by Seneschal of their Noble House. Their recruitment varies between Noble Houses, some are indentured while others are paid volunteers.
- Retained Mustermen - The Mustermen are by far the most varied forces on Jornath. Each Muster belongs to a single Merchant Guild, most internal conflicts have been fought by these forces as the various Merchant Guilds battle for supremacy of the market.
Uniforms and equipment of the many armed forces of Jornath can vary greatly.
Most of the Cohorts wear uniforms that denote their place of origin, colors drawn from city heraldry and markings that show their allegiance to Jornath and the Imperium. Cohorts raised in the capital city of Kula wear white armor with obsidian detailing to proclaim their association with the High Patriarch and the Council of Patricians, while Cohorts from the rough seaside city of Oakenzid wear umber plate with pale blue grey uniforms as befits those peoples stalwart manner. Universily Cohorts are equipped with lasguns or autoguns and armor similar to Imperial Guardsmen.
Hearth Guards are often even more ostentatious, their uniforms depending greatly on the whims of their patron. Those serving as the Hearth Guards for the House of Berkin Lud wear striped coats of yellow and black with gilded armor plates and ornamental helmets sporting red feathers. The much more morose Baron Festenfeld makes his men wear drab gray greatcoats with simple pillbox hats of black. Hearth Guards are often equipped to a standard beyond that of Cohorts, some even boasting carapace armor and exotic hellguns or forgotten techno weapons from Mechanicus allies.
Retained Mustermen are usually equipped in a manner of rough and ready action and economy, only the wealthiest guilds bother with high quality equipment, most preferring to attach a simple Guild seal to their Mustermen. Some Merchant Guilds simply dress their Mustermen in the uniforms of their profession. A notable instance of this occurred during the Second Kula Trade War when the Freight Elevator's Guild armed an entire city precinct over night in the ocher jumpsuit of their heavy lift operators and gave them a mix of autoguns and las weapons, it would prove to be a bold but rewarding gambit as their irregular force carried the day.
RECENT HISTORY of JORNATH
Some time ago in 897.M41 several small Ork Kruisers penetrated the system picket ships of the Jornath system and made haste to the primary world of Jornath. A brief but violent orbital battle was fought, despite the majority of Imperial vessels being armed Rogue Traders and static orbital weapons batteries the Ork fleet was severely damaged and the majority of it limped away into the deeper reaches of space. The last contact with Xenos ships was by deep auger array from the Mechanicus research station on Jorn's Reach, the sixth planet in the Jornath system.
At first the people of Jornath were overjoyed at their victory over the would be raiders, but in the following weeks it became evident that some of Orks had not only survived the battle in orbit but had managed to make landings on the sparsely populated northern continent. Several crash sites were discovered by mining crews as they ventured out from their settlements, the largest of these crash sites had been converted by the Ork survivors into a bustling camp. Within days the marooned Orks had organised themselves into raiding parties and began a campaign of ambushes and raids against the small and isolated northern settlements.
The larger northern cities of Usamljen and Nezavisan quickly organized their cohorts and raised new citizen watches to combat against the threat. Their pleas for assistance from the south went largely ignored, the northern continent having roughly ten percent of the planet's population, had little sway in the House and no members in the Council of Patricians, Jornath considered the war against the Ork "survivors" a local problem.
The Adeptus Mechanicus were more concerned with the threat posed by the Orks as their primary base on Jornath, Prima Jama, was well within striking distance for the Ork raiders. Magos Logis Davarian Syntax overseer of Prima Jama quickly made available new arms and armament to the larger towns of the north. This action was regarded with some suspicion and mistrust by the ruling body of Jornath who saw the move as an attempt to curry favor with northern settlements, or even worse a way to create an army that could destabilize the ruling order.
High Patriarch Neravan dispatched the First and Second Kula Cohorts to show that he and people of the south would not abandon their northern brothers. This was regarded as a token gesture at best, the Cohorts made their way to the city of Usamljen were they would organize the troops and march out to defeat the Ork menace.
THE BATTLE of USAMLJEN HEIGHTS
In late 897.M41 the combined host of the First and Second Kula Cohorts under the command of Armsmaster Gaston Jelaki, the 6 Bastion Garrison Cohorts of Usamljen under the shared command of Armsmaster Jinos Vazinas and Guild Master Horace Hezital and a Maniple of Battle servitors under the control of Dominus Grax mustered on the outskirts of Usamljen. The coalition of troops was disorganized from the outset, every commander having a different plan for the upcoming fight.
Armsmaster Jelaki preferred a direct approach, his plan involved marching the entire force in the direction of the Ork camp and engaging them in a pitched battle if the Xenos would commit, he assumed they would given the warlike reputation of Orks. Armsmaster Vazinas disagreed with this tactic having had more experience fighting these particular Orks, knowing that the greenskins tended towards ambush fighting and raids he argued for a more involved strategy of breaking their forces into large combat patrols that would attempt to encircle the Orks. Vazinas' plan was directly questioned by his Co-Commander, Hezital arguing for a purely defensive deployment of forces around important mining installations. Dominus Grax withdrew from the command meeting after the other commanders could not agree to a course of action, he deployed his Maniple on a ridge that overlooked both the Usamljen Heights and the city itself.
Outraged by the actions of the Dominus and exhausted with arguing his case Armsmaster Jelaki ordered his Cohorts into action, his formation marched off in the direction of the Ork camp. Within hours Jelaki's forces found themselves squeezed into a narrow column by the tight landscape, the road snaking through rocky valley floors. Then the Orks attacked, units of Kommandos ambushed the trailing elements of Kelaki's Cohorts. As the bulk of the formation tried to respond by doubling back, the Orks triggered landslides further dividing the beleaguered troops. Around this time after-action reports indicate that Armsmaster Jelaki was killed, some eyewitness accounts state that he was struck with a missile and killed instantly, others that he fought a valiant hand to hand struggle against an Ork commander, regardless of the truth, after his demise the survivors of his command routed completely.
The sounds of the fighting carried to the Usamljen Heights before the first terrified and wounded survivors trickled into the Imperial camp. The condition of the savaged troops unsettled the Bastion Garrison Cohorts, soon men dropped their weapons and fled for the walls of the city. The Mustermen of the formation were among the first troops to withdraw in disarray, their commander Guild Master Hezital gathered any who would follow and led them back to the city, later he claim it was in order to defend Usamljen proper from the deprivations of the Orks, those that stayed at the heights claimed that the Mustermen and their commander ran faster than the survivors of the initial ambush.
Armsmaster Vazinas did what he could to steady the men of his command and ordered them to dig in and improve the defenses of the camp. Vazinas even managed to rally some of the survivors of the Kula Cohorts as they entered the Imperial camp. The Armsmaster sent word to Dominus Grax to assist in the defense of the heights, he requested the servitors be re-positioned to bolster the camp's defenses, there was no reply from the Mechanicus host.
As night fell over the camp the first explosions ripped through the perimeter defenses, the Orks attacked in a screaming tide of green aggression. Surprisingly accurate fire raked the outlying Imperial heavy weapons emplacements, Orks armed with grenades and brutal axes stormed the perimeter. It wasn't long till Vazinas had to order his men back to secondary positions, strong-points within the camp. The defenders were paying a heavy price but they were still holding out against the Orks, as the greenskins pushed into the middle of the camp the Mechanicus forces finally acted. Like a wave crashing against the rocks the Ork charge was first broken then repulsed by the mass of fire supplied by servitors overlooking the heights.
In a bounding fashion the servitor Maniple of Dominus Grax advanced, one unit would pour searing las-bolts and mass-reactive shells into the onrushing Orks while the other would move into a new firing position, and with mechanical precision the process would begin anew. The Cohorts under Vazinas were filled with vigor and redoubled their efforts alongside their Mechanicus allies. The Orks were slaughtered under the combined fire of both forces. As dawn broke over the Usamljen Heights a hard won victory was evident.
Vazinas was greatful for the support of the Mechanicus, but when he questioned why Grax had waited till he did to lend his support in battle he was sickened by the Dominus' reply, "My calculations determined that the estimated Xenos force would spend its capability for attack after approximately forty-two percent of your forces had been killed, at which point the application of overwhelming firepower would result in nearly ninety-six percent casualties for the Xenos host. My determination was correct. We have destroyed the Xenos' ability to wage war against us and in so doing have secured the safety of our facility here on Jornath, we may yet continue to do the Omnisiah's holy work."
THE LONG WAR AGAINST the ORKS
While the battle of Usamljen Heights destroyed many of the Orks that plagued the northern continent it did not eradicate the greenskins. Smaller raiding parties of Orks would continue to attack and destroy the smallest settlements in the north. Armsmaster Vazinas did rise to prominence after his victory on the heights however and went on to be appointed Supreme Armsmaster of the Northern Reaches, a primarily honorary title bestowed on him by the High Patriarch, command of most forces falling to their immediate commanders. Vazinas did do much to organize the Cohorts he could influence to better hunt the Ork warbands, he established a series of outposts that could respond to threats more rapidly and created special commando units that hunted the Orks on their own terms.
The Orks also reorganized and conducted many significant raids and smaller battles, the rolls of honor of the northern Cohorts are filled with battles that ring with significance, Blood Gulch, Red Creek, Oxide Mine, Thunder Ridge, The Sundering of Galjasim to name but a few.
The Mechanicus busied themselves during this period with gathering influence with the higher orders of Jornath and bettering the defenses of their own installations. Many of the northern Cohorts now bear the mixed symbols of their home cities and the Mechanicus. Members of the Ordo Biologis have done much to categorize the Orks they fight. The most numerous seem to be members of an Ork clan who call themselves Blood Axes, they tend to fight in unexpected ways and often mimic Imperial troops in a way.
The most significant change in the war against the Orks came early in 993.M41, huge objects appeared in the Jornath system, spacial objects too large to be ships, when system patrol craft investigated the anomalies they were destroyed. It was clear that something terrible had come to Jornath.
As the things moved into orbit near the planet Jornath it was clear what they were, recorded else where in other imperial histories, "Roks" as the Orks call them in their language, great hollowed out asteroids made into space faring bases. Three of the horrors hung in orbit over Jornath, all attempts to destroy them were met with failure. When it was clear that nothing else could be done all of Jornath mobilized for war.
The Roks fell on Jornath like the wrath of a Xenos god, the two largest crashing into the isthmus that joined the northern and southern continents while the third, and smallest, impacted in the mountains north of the Mechinicus base at Prima Jama. The effects of the crash landings were terrible millions died in the ensuing tectonic events, infrastructure across Jornath was destroyed.
Untold thousands of Orks poured out from the Roks, they gathered in huge warbands that quickly overwhelmed the nearest settlements and cities. Usamljen in the north became the front lines of a war of survival against the Xenos menace. The south fared a little better, able to establish long defensive lines before the onrushing Orks. A dreadful war of attrition would be the only way the forces of Jornath would be able to hold the invaders at bay.
The Orks of the Roks were different than the ones already present on Jornath, they painted themselves and their war machines blue, they had banners of blue skulls and they looted everything they could get to. The Orks would overrun a mining facility one day and the next they would ride to war on stolen digging machines and converted excavators.
High Patriarch Neravan sent requests for aid far and wide, by every means at his disposal he pleaded for assistance against the Orks, but the wheels of the Imperial machine turn slowly and even now it's unclear if any force in the greater Imperium of Man will aid the beleaguered people of Jornath.