The many worlds of the Exile Sector are home to various civilizations, most under Imperial rule and control, others commanded by vile Xenos warlords and, in the case of a few lost worlds, the pawns of the Dark Gods.
The northernmost region of the Exile Sector is a vast and isolated expanse still shrouded in the darkness of the Old Night even so many millennia after the Imperium of Man laid claim to it. Merchants, explorers, and pirates alike actively avoid the well-named Frontier, turned away by chilling tales of malignant xenos and stranger, darker horrors said to lurk in the void between stars. Humanity's outposts are few here, but those who do persevere are a singularly determined breed, points of light in an otherwise all-consuming sea of shadows.
Home to House Vichy Sannois sits in the shadow of most of the hostile Xenos races of the Exile Sector. A rugged world of hills and dense jungle the people of the world have carved a life for themselves, having taken it from the original alien inhabitants after a grueling eight year campaign that earned Lord General Augustin Vichy’s badly mauled army the Right of Settlement and so the few settlers are determined not to give it up for anyone or anything whatever the cost. Sannois is a world constantly at war as is much of the frontier and House Vichy's hold on Sannois is tenuous at best but they have established order and the most obvious sign is a well maintained rail network.
The threat does not come from within, the majority of the large Xireki population accepts Imperial rule as it provides them protection from the true threat presented by the hostile races beyond the frontier. Those few who don't are in open, if subtle, rebellion operating from jungle villages and mountain caves. The planet's PDF are not always enough to face the more dangerous xenos and so they have fought alongside House Faramond Knights many times.
The Southern Holds
The Southern Holds are home to ancient, well established Imperial worlds that stand in sharp contrast to the more recently settled Northern Frontier and they date to the earliest days of human habitation in the region. These planets are fortresses but also centers of learning and culture. They are the holy light to which the faithful in the Sector look for guidance, its beating political heart and the pride of every world they rule over.
The political capital of the Exile Sector, the world is protected by both Battlefleet Exile and a dozen orbital cities. Eleven were converted into makeshift fortresses during The Long Night and the last was converted into a Cathedral dedicated to Guilliman and the Ultramarines in M32. In the millenia since it has been named New Atlas and has become a holy city to the whole of the Exile Sector.
The planet is home to eighteen billion people, its dual moons house five hundred million more and the towers of the capital city of Peregrimos reach the lower atmosphere. It is a world of austere beauty and the nobility have set aside a nature preserve the size of a small nation for all the citizens of the world to enjoy. Unfortunately this nature preserve is the only corner of Ierus where the environment has not been damaged or destroyed in some way.
Ierus is Exile's political center, housing a government building the size of a city containing all that is needed for the region to function. Due to its position it is also a target for Chaos rebels operating from within. The Adeptus Arbites maintain a strong presence on Ierus, working alongside the Imperial church and the PDF to root out and destroy them.
House Aiva holds massive influence over Ierus and therefore the Sector as a whole, the current house head Solonius is also the sector governor and his brothers and sisters serve in various government posts.
A gloomy world wracked by constant foul weather her citizens are kept in crushing poverty by the Great House Stine. They are forced to look up to the Great House's fortresses built amidst the jagged mountain peaks populated by bats almost two meters from wingtip to wingtip. Stentzholt has little to offer beyond its strategic position and as a source of recruits for The Sector Battlefleet.
While few would live there by choice most do not have the option to leave, they are either tied to the world through farming inherited land and heavy taxes imposed on them by their rulers. Despite the less than ideal climate the planet is hardly a dead rock, as the people scratch out a living on small plots or in the mines that wind throughout the mountains. They see little of their hard work as most of the valuable minerals are shipped off world and used to construct war machines or skyscrapers on Ierus.
Stentzholt is also a world awash in rumors. The common citizens whisper stories about just what happens inside their rulers' homes- heretical experiments meant to preserve life and raise the dead, the test subjects allegedly Dark Eldar victims traded to Ekkehard Stine. The stories grow increasingly outlandish with each telling but none dare speak them aloud.
The Lost Shore
A bleak string of ravaged and dead worlds, the Lost Shore is the no mans land between the River of Exiles and the perimeter worlds of the Golden Cordon. These desolate war worlds are constantly subject to endless conflict as the forces of Chaos and the tide of crusading Imperial forces clash over the meek resources that can be won on these hell blasted worlds. What's worse, the vast majority of the Exile Sector's Ork population blights this region, too hardy to be totally destroyed by either the forces of the River or the Cordon.
The massive Greenskin empires of Da Profet Skarbad, Gruurg Iron'Ed, and his rival Uglyface Frakka take up vast swaths of this region with remaining territory taken up by countless other minor warbosses and warlords. The addition of the Greenskins makes certain that even in times where Imperial and Chaos forces are on the wane, the Lost Shore will never be at peace as the Orks wage war amongst themselves as well as any other invaders. The only "static" human population of the Lost Shore are roving bands of scavengers, often living in massive sub-light ships, migrating from war zone to war zone looking for salvage on the corpse fields of the Lost Shore.
Before the first Exile Wars Charybdis was considered an agricultural powerhouse, a world of great oceans where massive hydro-farms supplied the rest of the Sub-Sector with sustenance in the form of bountiful seafood. Then the River of Exiles spilled forth, plunging Charybdis into literal Chaos and warping it beyond all recognition. Now Charybdis is a world of storm-wracked skies and seas as black as pitch, where great leviathans plumb the Stygian depths, periodically emerging in search of prey. Its remaining landmasses are no safer, their surviving human inhabitants having mutated into amphibious monstrosities that haunt scrap-metal ruins that were once canneries and fishing docks.
The Imperium would have abandoned the planet long ago if not for it's strategic importance in the war against the Ork Iron'Ed Empire, and thus efforts have been made on both sides of the conflict to establish staging grounds on Charybdis. Doing so has proven to be a harrowing task for both man and Ork alike, for those who aren't swallowed up by the dark tides are often dragged away in the night by fish-scaled mutants, never to be seen again.
The unofficial throne world of the Iron'Ed Empire was once a thriving industrial world of mountain fortresses and sprawling cities it fell to Orks sometime in the distant past only for them to fall to infighting before falling into line behind warboss Iron'Ed after a bloody intra-clan war.
Since then Uxlag has weathered numerous civil conflicts and a single attempt at recapture, the infamous "Uxlag Campaign" which ended in disaster for the Imperial forces committed to the battle. Among them were House Faramond troops commanded by the infamous and completely unqualified Simon Silvestre cousin to the house's rulers, who led them into many bloody defeats. It only made the warboss stronger and destroyed any hope of reclaiming the once verdant and productive world for the Imperium.
The Golden Cordon
A host of several hundred heavily fortified Shrine Worlds that have stood long since the Great Crusade, each initially established by the hand of Roboute Guilliman himself. Over time these grand fortresses became hallowed places, the birthplaces of thousands of grand heroes and daring defenses against the forces of Chaos and Ork alike, and the hosts of countless counter-crusades. Thus the so-called Golden Cordon is both a destination for endless waves of Imperial Guard soldiers to garrison and advance from, but also the destination of nigh billions of pilgrims year after year. These fanatics and zealots bolster the defenses of the Golden Cordon, creating legion upon legion of Frateris Militia ready to fight and die in the name of the Emperor. However, the most enduring defenders of these worlds are the Sisters of Battle, the sacred maidens of war that are often recruited from the pious peoples of the Cordon worlds.
A tempting target to xenos invaders and homegrown cultists alike Caritas is a world of inland seas such as those that once surrounded the now destroyed Eporias Islands. Caritas is also home to mountain ranges such as the Myrib Highlands which have seen countless battles over the millennia. The citizens of Caritas have often fought Chaos taint from within and Orks emerging from the River of Exiles. However, despite this, they were able to stand on their own, dividing into several nations and principalities who fought among themselves as often as they fought off world invaders. The Ultramarines became the catalyst for their eventual unification. It took decades but in time the people of Caritas accepted their place in the new Imperium, hunting down any who would not submit.
The bulk of the population lives in cities such as Catriona, whose green tiled spires and domes rise above the fortified walls. They are a proud people and those spires and domes are a symbol of their strength. They simply rebuild each time they are damaged or destroyed, something that has happened many times over the millennia.
The same is true of the newly restored Catriona Cathedral District. Once badly damaged by a cult insurrection it has been restored to its former glory and its proper place as the symbol of their faith in the Lord of mankind. They survived invasion by a Tyranid Hive Fleet only to face new threats from within The River, forcing them to take to the front lines of eternal war once again.
One of the Imperial worlds along the River of Exiles and like most in the region it is overseen by the Imperial Church. Home to small fortified towns, snow capped mountains and sprawling plains the world is full of almost unspoiled beauty. However the regions far from these cities have seen countless invasions from within the river leaving them blasted and lifeless regions few travel to without dire need or to fend off yet another threat. They were spared attack by the Hive Fleet that devastated the Cordon worlds but have seen plenty of others ranging from Orks to Traitor Guard.
Despite this there is still a large population of nomads who make a living moving their herd from town to town worshiping at shrines placed at the side of well worn roads. As a rule the people of Colombanus are a devout people, practicing a quiet faith and commonly wearing silver Aquila pendants.
The single large city on the world is their capital Lindisa. Buildings made of a red clay bricks line the narrow streets full of pack animals and motorized vehicles competing for space while banners and prayer flags bearing the images of Saints, Guilliman and the Emperor himself hang over them. Lindisa is densely populated all but the almost garden like open spaces of the noble district located on a hill overlooking the streets below. Their large houses and estates dwarf the more humble dwellings of the poor and middle class.
The bulk of their citizens live in small towns ringed by high walls and built around a central hilltop fortress. Though simple in appearance they hide a secret, they are built atop vast underground tunnels connecting them to each other and from which soldiers and vehicles can be deployed via hydraulic platforms and hidden trapdoors.
While a quiet world full of people aspiring to holiness they also possess a single place of worship given over to finery. The Incina Mountain Cathedral takes up the entire peak, its towers are made of an ivory colored stone obtained from quarries at the mountain's base and can be seen for hundreds of kilometers in every direction. A golden Aquila overlooks the four great pilgrim roads that end in the cathedral's central courtyard.
Kurosos, like most worlds along the fringe is a Shrine world. Described as a world of "rock and water" it's defined by both. Kurosos is ruled over by "priest-kings" who squabble over political power and doctrine. Due to the planet's location along the River of Exiles the inhabitants have carved their fortress cities directly from the mountains while heavy weapons batteries always point to the skies.
Those not fortunate enough to live within these natural fortresses or in the shadow of artillery batteries live on the banks of the many river networks that serve as unofficial territorial borders and feed the lush green farmlands they work. There are several provinces that constantly wage war for independence from the Imperium and it is commonly believed their leadership is tainted by Chaos. Nothing ever comes of this as these provinces constantly fight each other as well.
The faith of these inhabitants gave them the courage to face The Storm Draugar when they launched a raid on the outlying Kantoro Province. While the Storm Draugar were stopped by the Khazamga 1st Rough Riders "Hard Chargers" and Olea Heavy Infantry they paid a high price for it as did the world's PDF.
Esparas is a world of sharp contrasts with only a thin barrier between two extremes. Only a few hundred meters of rockcrete and stone separate green fertile farmlands, chains of lakes, steep forested hills and cities home to millions from the terrors of The Warp.
These "Wild lands", once fertile plains between the hills and one of Esparas' oceans were consumed by Chaos long ago and so they are divided from the urban centers by a wall two hundred meters high and more than a thousand kilometers long. Watchtowers with their own garrisons and long range weapons are stationed every five kilometers.
This wall locally known as the "Great Work" took more than a century to build beginning around 300.M41, with the workers under constant attack the entire time.
The wall has never known peace, warp spawn constantly hurl themselves against it but it has held firm since its completion. While the "Great Work" has been breached in the past none of mankind's enemies have ever set foot on Imperial soil. The locals simply repair the damage giving the Great Work a patchwork appearance.
The Great Work is a holy site to the people of Esparas and the holiest segments are the four great fortresses built by Guilliman himself and which the Great Work was built around. These bastions house thousands of PDF, priests and the Adeptus Mechanicus crews for massive anti ship artillery pointing into orbit.
Viora is noted for the city of St. Xiebos, once tainted but retaken and an underground cluster of ruins and twisted passages known as "The Rat's Nest". Both are remnants of an ancient pre-Imperial civilization which had descended into barbarism before the word of The Emperor came to them through the Ultramarines Legion.
Since those days during the Great Crusade they have become a people dedicated to the Imperial Church and a people seen as dour, humorless and fatalistic to outsiders. They believe that when the Emperor says their time to die has come there is little that they can do about it. It is not their place to question his will, simply to do it.
They have little that is not inherited- they have forgotten how to build their ancient architecture and now simply maintain it. This is seen almost as a holy act in itself, the preservation of what the Emperor has allowed them to keep is a reminder to be humble, to seek his will in all things and not to give into simple human pride. While they maintain these cities there are many that are still in ruins and are overrun by Chaos spawn, mutants and heretics.
As such it falls on Light Infantry units such as the 3rd Olea Light Infantry "Ragged Angels" to fight on these urban battlefields. The great pilgrim throngs that once again come to Viora are not warriors but builders working to restore the fortress cities and build new defenses against the threats within The River.
A proud people, the citizens of Tadourl had once carved their homes from Tadourl's untamed wilderness without any outside interference and refused to accept help even from the Ultramarines or the nascent Imperium. Guilliman opened their eyes to the terrors beyond their world and how their only hope of survival was to accept the Emperor and the Imperium. The planet's early leaders were convinced by these arguments becoming a productive Imperial world.
Like most of the worlds along The River Tadourl was a shrine world. Its people, once led by Governor-Militant Mangdred, practiced a form of the Imperial Cult dedicated to physical perfection and combat training. Its devotees developed their own martial arts training daily at cathedral fortresses dotted around the planet. Once protected by the forces of the Golden Cordon their PDF was unable to cope with the sudden rise in cult activity that came with the Cordon's collapse. Thousands fell to Chaos every day and thousands more died fighting them forcing Tadourl to look elsewhere for aid.
They received it in the form of Lord Mason Zulkach's band of Freeblade Knights but they arrived too late, the cults had already taken several key locations including the capital city. He and his twelve followers led the PDF in the famous Last March which saw their governor militant slain and his army broken. The Knights still fought on even as the sky turned black and the ground beneath their feet crumbled. Their efforts were not enough and it is assumed that Tadourl is lost within The River.
The last of the Goldon Cordon worlds to be destroyed by Hive Fleet Orthros its destruction spared many others. Once green, thriving and home to two billion people The Hive Fleet's delay in consuming the planet gave the Exile Sector's military forces time to rally and make a dangerous gamble. Though the Imperium was successful in shattering the Hive Fleet, Kephis was left a lifeless ball of gray stone, nothing more than a tomb for the countless loyal servants of the Emperor lost there.
Located in the Center of the Sector the Crossroads is well named. The region is home to the trade capitals of the Exile Sector, a place of commerce and intrigue for all roads meet here. Refugees and renegades fleeing the west to begin new lives or soldiers traveling in an Imperial Guard Regiment, those fleeing the war torn worlds to the North and the East, traders from the ancient, well established Imperial worlds to the south, their port of call hardly matters as all pass through these worlds eventually.
- "Kyberia is a world not unlike home, not unpleasant but for the Shadowlands. I would like to see more water but you can't have everything "
- —Lorenzo Amarenti Medici Nobleman and former Planetary Governor
Kyberia is a world made wealthy by trade and ship building with a strong Adeptus Mechanicus presence as a result, the homeport of Battlefleet Kyberia and the center of a trading network spanning almost the entire Exile Sector. While the not the political capital Kyberia is the region's financial and trade capital, endless merchant convoys travel to and from ports of call across the whole of the Exile Sector and beyond.
Its central location makes it ideal for the Rogue Traders of House Pantegrul who use the world as their center of operations. While they do not control the world the house does have considerable influence within the local government. As such Kyberia has very liberal views and lax laws on such things as controlled substances and relations with the Xenos powers of the Sector. The Ar'Cyr'Ru Mercenary Fleet have been seen here from time to time fulfilling contracts presented to them by the merchant guilds and House Pantegrul itself.
Kyberia has a single ocean making up less than a quarter of the surface but despite this it is a relatively fertile world as the bulk of its water is contained in underground lakes and rivers. The area beneath their major shipyard is known as the "Kyberia Shadowlands", due to the massive orbital structures and the vessels under construction there blocking out Kyberia's sun. The Shadowlands are a radioactive wasteland dotted with ruined cities the result of a nuclear meltdown in the distant past.
While the Shadowlands are uninhabitable the rest of the world's landmass is home to sprawling cities home to diverse cultures and peoples having drawn influence from worlds across its home sector. The largest buildings in these cities tower almost a kilometer above the streets. Kyberia is also home to a sizable community of Kashidaan Cluster refugees centered in the city of Amarenti named for the Medici noble who funded its construction.
- "A little too austere for my liking but they're shrewd negotiators and I have to respect that."
- —A merchant captain speaking about his visit
Harajuku is the central world of House Shujinko's dynasty, a world dotted by vast and thriving metropolises whose cities are built in the shadow of the planet's great snow capped mountains. However, she is also home to more humble rural dwellings within the valleys and pine forests, crafted of wood and wax-paper as opposed to the towering edifices of rockcrete and plasglass of the urban centers.
House Shujinko essentially rules Harajuku at the top of a considerable heap of noble born clans and lordships, with the head of the house serving as de facto planetary governor. The Houses interests and defense of the planet itself are seen to by a mighty private army known as the Great Guard, a supremely well funded force of professional soldiers outfitted with the finest weapons and armor their wealthy overlords can afford. General law enforcement is handled by the lower clans and their personal security forces, the Ashigaru, who also act as PDF, though more in the vein of state troops lacking in the more impressive arsenals of the Great Guard.
The Western Marches
So named because the worlds of the region provide the Sector's Imperial Guard. While not directly involved in the unrest so common elsewhere in the sector, they provide the fighting men and woman that respond to threats from within and without. While the Western Marches are home to many diverse planets and peoples they work together for a common cause, the survival of the Exile Sector and the Imperium. With the fall of the Golden Cordon and the following invasions the Western Marches have been called on to fight, now more than ever.
The homeworld of the great House Holt it is largely untamed, while not quite a death world it has so far resisted most of humanity's attempts to claim it. Steep mountain ranges, vast forests with trees towering hundreds of meters and wide, icy rivers give way into rolling plains taking up millions of square kilometers. Though dangerous and rugged those loyal to House Holt and those daring enough to survive can quickly grow wealthy. There are fortunes to be made in the untapped mineral wealth of the mountains and in the trade on Culara's exotic animals and birds.
The most valuable of these beasts are the Fosterpillars, a five meter long insect similar to caterpillars once found on Ancient Terra and named for the man who discovered them. They are dangerous not only for their large size but for their easily startled natures and their poisonous quills, but once trapped and stripped of these quills the fur they produce is regarded to be the best of any in the Exile Sector. The poison that drips from the quills softens the fur and, with the right chemical alterations is the main ingredient in a highly sought after perfume.
The only civilization to be found on Culara is in the trading posts, small cities built in the shadow of mountains and watched over by PDF funded by House Holt's money. These trading posts are full of men and women from all over the Western Marches willing to try their hand in the vain hope of wealth; most fail becoming the thieves, beggars and renegades that inhabit their too crowded streets. The House remains above it all, overseeing their interests from opulent orbital station from which their merchant ships ply the sector's trade routes.