As part of our Caluphel Prime 40k campaign setting, we’re sketching out backstories and motivators for some of the main factions who are converging on the newly rediscovered deathworld. Here is Paul’s contribution — a writeup of his Tau army, The L’Ranna Company.
Founding and Recent History
The L’Ranna Company is relatively new compared to some of the storied units of the Tau Empire.
Following the Emperor’s abortive Damocles Crusade (742.M41), Shas’o Shovah Commander Farsight set up his Farsight Enclaves on the far side of the Damocles Gulf. The Ethereal Leadership found it appropriate to guard against the rebel Commander and thus set up a defensive presence on the nearest Septs, particularly Viorla and Sa’cea, on the western rim of the Tau Empire. The Company was originally founded as part of the Fire Contingent garrisoning Sa’cea against a possible rebel incursion.
In 889 – 903.M41 the hive Fleet Gorgon invaded Tau space.
Gorgon was exceptional for its ability to quickly adapt on a biological level to new circumstances of battle, such as evolving immunities to Tau weaponry.
The initial push by Gorgon was so devastating that the garrison forces on Viorla and Sa’cea were pulled off and sent into combat. It was on the manufacturing world of Davos, Bork’an Sept, that the Company was birthed in its crucible of fire.
The larger regiment was ordered to defend a munitions manufacturing city while the fleet redeployed. Just after the fleet moved off, a rift opened in the Warp and Tyrant Hive Mother Gorgon with her full brood manifested and began their assault on the city.
Most of the regiment were lost within the first few hours of the Tyranid assault. Night fell when the last distress transmission from the regiment made it off-world.
The fleet returned at daybreak the next day and landed reinforcements expecting to find Tyranids in control. The city was deserted and adrift with smoke. All was silence on the battlefield when landing party found, still at their posts, the victorious Company, exhausted but alive. The rescuers set up a clamor, banging their guns against their shields crying aloud “L’Ranna! L’Ranna! L’Ranna!”
L’Ranna is a Tau word that describes the stillness of a battlefield when all that is left is smoke and the last quiet whimpers of the dying enemy.
Shas’o Shaserra, Commander Shadowsun herself anointed the Company L’Ranna and promoted their remaining lieutenant Nyessa to Shas’el Captain Nightsbane. The Gorgon offensive was eventually destroyed in 903.M41 due to the combined efforts of the Tau and the Imperial Guard 903rd Tank Regiment. Shaserra took Nyessa on as pupil and began to train her in the sacred Code of Fire and the all-important law of the Tau’va.
Over the next 90 years the L’Ranna Company saw repeated action against the enemies of the Tau, capturing banners of the Space Wolves, Necrons, Space Marines and multiple Ork Waaghs! during the Great War of Confederation (975.M41) just prior to the Third Expansion (current year 975.M41).
975 was a year that changed the destiny for the Company. Under the orders of Shadowsun herself, Shas’el Nyessa led the Company on the assault of the tundra mining world of Aggoroleth. Unbeknownst to the Company, the world contained a lost artifact stargate that triggered upon their approach. Its energy bubble engulfed the Company and instantaneously transported them 250 lightyears toward the galactic core, and directly into a massive battle between Farsight forces and a tendril of Hive Fleet Kraken. The Company helped Commander Farsight drive off the Tyranid forces — and then found themselves prisoners of the rebel Tau leader.
Colonel Nyessa’s first reaction to her capture was to attempt assassination of Farsight, obeying her training under Shadowsun and according to her loyalty to the Tau Empire. However Farsight easily disarmed the Nyessa and bound her fast.
He treated the company well, and over the coming weeks made known to them the evidence of the betrayals by the Ethereals that had first triggered his departure. Once he had presented his evidence, he offered the members of the Company a choice: join the Farsight Enclaves in honor or be given transport back to Tau space. He could not guarantee their survival across the Damocles Gulf, but he did not wish to deprive the Tau Septs any defense, despite their current differences.
Several Fire Cadres planned their trip for home, but the bulk of the Company looked to Nyessa for guidance.
She was honestly torn, having grown into leadership under the guidance of Farsight’s rival Shadowsun. But she found the evidence against the Ethereals compelling and understood that Shovah could also be pursuing the Greater Good, albeit on a different path. Seeing the beauty of the Farsight Septs and finding many lost Sa’cea relatives among their worlds finalized her decision, and she swore loyalty to Farsight and the Enclaves. The bulk of the Company did the same.
As their first assignment, Farsight has sent Nightsbane and Company L’Ranna to investigate the newly rediscovered deathworld Caluphel, recently reemerged from the Warp. He has no additional forces to pull from his defense of the Enclaves from Hive Fleet Kraken, and so this is a perfect proving operation for his new Company. So soon has this operation arisen that many of the Company have not yet had time to change their Sa’cea markings from the orange of their Sept over to Farsight red.