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The final catalyst came from a rebellion in the Isstvan system. The Imperial governor upon Isstvan III had renounced his oaths to the Emperor and declared independence. The Emperor decreed that if the commander of Isstvan went unpunished, other worlds might follow. He ordered Horus to put down the rebellion by whatever means necessary, not knowing of the subtle changes Chaos had wrought upon the Warmaster's soul.
Horus chose to end the Isstvan rebellion swiftly and without mercy, employing virus bombs against Isstvan III from orbit. The voracious life-eater virus consumed every living thing upon the planet in a matter of minutes. Whole continents and cities were burnt to ashes as the mass of gasses released by the rotting organic material ignited in the atmosphere, scouring Isstvan III clean in a devastating firestorm. Twelve billion souls died with a death scream that momentarily pulsed brighter than the Astronomican. It was a signal to the Chaos Gods that Horus was now completely theirs.
Over one hundred companies drawn from the Emperor's Children, Death Guard, World Eaters and Sons of Horus Legions had already taken up arms against the rebellion on Isstvan III's surface. Horus had ensured their numbers were almost entirely made up of those Space Marines from each Legion who were still loyal to the Emperor, intending to wipe out those who had proved incorruptible in a single deadly stroke. Of these brave warriors, fully two-thirds miraculously survived the bombardment, thanks to warning messages received from the dwindling ranks of loyal comrades left aboard the orbiting fleet of Warmaster Horus. Angron, headstrong as ever, made planetfall at the head of fifty companies of Traitor Marines, and the gorund war began in earnest, signalling the start of the greatest turmoil to ever have engulfed the Imperium.
As the forces of Horus launched their orbital barrage upon the loyal Space Marines on Isstvan III, Captain Garro, of the Death Guard, seized the frigate Eisenstein from the traitor fleet. His instinct had led him to warn the loyal warriors on the planet's surface of their imminent betrayal, and he determined to flee the Isstvan system. Garro's vessel was no match against the powerful battleships of Horus' blockading fleet; all Garro could hope for was that the Eisenstein could escape from the Isstvan system and somehow find a way to reach Terra to warn the Emperor of Horus' treachery - he was unable to prevent the coming atrocities.
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