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Even before the coming of the Noctis Aeterna, Ultramar faced a series of dire threats. Tendrils of several Tyranid Hive Fleets drifted inexorably towards Guilliman's realm. The Arch-Arsonist of Charadon, one of the greatest Ork warlords in the galaxy, led a monstrous Waaagh! from his anarchic domain with the intent of overrunning the Ultramarines' eastern defences. Yet the greatest threat of them all was that posed by the dark servants of Chaos. A vast horde of traitors, renegades, mutants and madmen fell upon Ultramar under the leadership of the foul Daemon Prince M'kar the Reborn. And then came the Noctis Aeterna, and with it wave after wave of Daemon-filled warp storms. In the wake of these disasters, some of the greatest servants of Nurgle, the Chaos God of Plagues and Decay, fell upon the Ultramarines' stellar realm, seeking to corrupt the bucolic beauty of its worlds. The Plague Wars, as they came to be known, saw some of the greatest battles the Imperium had ever endured, with every inhabited planet of Ultramar suffering a staggering number of casualties.
Macragge, the capital world, saw fighting across its bleak rocky uplands as well as in its populated cities. The Ultramarines' sprawling fortress monastery - including the shrine in which Roboute Guilliman had lain in stasis for over seven millennia - came under concerted attack. The Bubonicus Legions, led by a favoured Great Unclean One known as Ku'gath Plaguefather, seized the nearby Tartella System before descending upon the planet of Iax, a garden world rich with life. The Espandor System suffered beneath the Creeping Doom offensive of the Daemon Primarch Mortarion and his Death Guard. On Parmenio a great armour battle took place, and throughout the sub-sector a naval battle raged, with defensive battle stations engaged by a Plague Fleet led by the Death Guard lord known as Typhus. Even the disciplined tactics and heroic sacrifices of the defenders were only enough to stave off defeat. Nurgle's followers pushed their befouling offensive forward, contaminating all they touched.
Breaking apart his Indomitus Crusade, Roboute Guilliman returned to aid his home system. Seeing that his only chance lay in seizing the initiative, the Primarch masterminded a brilliant campaign known as the Spear of Espandor. Rapid counter strikes and a series of daring boarding actions clawed back many of the foe's gains. Where the disparate Chaos armies fought separately, the defenders of Ultramar supported each other in every way they could, allowing Guilliman to slowly reverse the course of the war and put Nurgle's favoured commanders on the defensive. Utilising their superior numbers, the Chaos forces amassed for a final confrontation upon Iax. There they fought to a standstill, with Guilliman countering every ploy. Ultimately the Chaos forces escaped under the cover of a massive virus bomb. With little time to spare - for the galaxy remained riven with war - the Lord Commander of the Imperium organised the rebuilding of Ultramar, beginning with the defence networks, before leaving once more at the head of a retributive strike force.
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