To start off our new section in the Imperial Primer, I thought a good start might be where it all takes place. The book setting for Deathwatch, and where we get our namesake, the Jericho Reach.
The Jericho Reach sector is a little war-torn slice of hell in the galactic southeast of the Imperius Dominatus. Once considered a jewel of the Imperium, warp storms cut it off from the Emperor’s light, and in the darkness Dark Gods, Xenos, and feral barbarity moved in. The Achilus Crusade has been launched to take it back, but their forces are flung into what is essentially a cage fight with the enemies of man. And watching them from the shadows is a group that’s always been there. Everyone’s favorite Marines in Black.
What? No. Not the Black Templars. No, not the Mortifactors either. Raven Guard? No….. DEATHWATCH! OK? ITS THE DEATHWATCH!
The story of the Reach starts way back. Conquerored late in the game in the Great Crusade, it was quite a bloody battle to get it into the fold, with a few alien civilizations having to be put down and a few bloody revolts (And being the 40k universe, such things have been covered up or forgotten). It was also a battle ground during the Horus Heresy, but when the smoke finally cleared, it became a jewel for the imperium. A shining beacon of light so far from Terra.
But with most good things in the 40k universe, that didn’t last very long. During the Age of Apostasy, when the rest of the rest of the Imperium was on the brink of civil war, strange happenings started to occur in the region. Astropathic messages not going through, and more and more ships being lost in the warp. What was actually happening was that a powerful group of warp storms started to surround in the region. And cut off from the rest of the Imperium at large, to put it mildly, all hell broke loose.
Within a generation, most of the planets within the sector fell into barbarity and chaos. Civil wars and unrest ravaged worlds, either turning them into radioactive wastelands, or blasting them back to the feudal ages. The sector capitol, Varrus was swallowed up by their the Hadex Anomaly, the Jericho Reach’s own little Warp Disturbance. Samech, one of the most prized Forge worlds, became a seat for the dark mechanicus, trading with whomever brings them something interesting, or slaves to be used in their experiments. Planets like Castobel, that survived the horror intact, were few and far between. Darkness fell over this whole sector, and it was written off by the Imperium as lost in the late 37th millennium.
However, some things have changed.
It was the Jericho-Maw Warp gate that suddenly put eyes back on the the Reach. In the Kronos Expanse, the exact opposite direction of where the Reach is, a large artifact of unknown origin was found that was mysteriously active. Inspection proved that it was a gateway into the Jericho Reach, and eager to bring this territory back into the fold, a crusade was launched to take it back. Thousands of ships carrying millions of troops have traveled through the Warp gate, flooding the sector with Imperial Guard, Companies of the Adeptus Astartes, Missions of the Sisters of Battle, and even there are rumors of some Grey Knights being in the ranks of the Crusade. But they have their work cut out for them, because Chaos isn’t the only contender anymore.
The Tau have set their sights on the Jericho Reach, and are starting their expansion for the greater good. And from the cold depths of the galactic rim, Hive Fleet Dagon has started it’s decent, feeding on worlds recently taken by the Imperium. Now fighting a war on three fronts, the Crusade is threatened to be bogged down and pushed back.
And then there’s the Deathwatch. They have always been there at Eroich, and survived the Age of Shadow, and are not only aware of what’s happening with the crusade, but keeping their eyes open for even greater dangers that loom on the horizons.
Some say the end times are coming. Some say they’re already here. But there are many Inquisitors at Watch Fortress Eroich who are convinced that the Jericho Reach is going to play a part in it.
Thought of the day: Abhor the Night, it is the Light that Endures!