- "Do or die, when love ran dry,
And soldiers clutch their wounds and sigh.
We don't quite see eye to eye,
But Throne help us, we love her!"
- —Chorus of the popular Deck-Song When Love Ran Dry
New Korinthos, the so-called "Crown Jewel" of the Periphery, is, in reality, anything but beauteous to behold; a barren, radiation-scoured desert periodically broken up by inhospitable salt flats and mazes of jagged fossilized coral. The devastation that the Amphra wrought upon this former Agri-World is practically all-consuming, yet its inhabitants cling to its dusty wastes with a desperate fervor. For to abandon this world would be tantamount to conceding defeat to the xenos, and that is something the Imperium will never allow, no matter how much the Korinthosi suffer for it.
The planet that would come to be known as New Korinthos was originally colonized by a wave of settlers hailing from the nearby Riga System, specifically the Hive World of Mazul, in response to the planet's growing overpopulation crisis. Due to the environmental similarities between the two planets, Administratum surveyor teams had concluded that the transition would be the least jarring for the seafaring Mazulites. Thus in 095.M39 over 5 billion Imperial citizens, roughly one-eighth of Mazul's population, were transported to their new homeworld over the course of several years.
Christening the planet Korinthos, after a similarly waterbound Terran city-state of pre-Imperial antiquity, the colonists quickly set to work establishing their new home as a prominent Agri-World. Hydroponic arcologies sprung up across the planet's titanic oceans, exacting a rich bounty of sea life that was then processed, canned, and then shipped back to the Niero Sector by way of the newly-named Riga Borderlands.
This period, lasting from 108.M39 to the early days of the 40th Millennium, is largely considered to be Korinthos' golden age, in which resources were plentiful and business continued to be profitable, with blossoming economic wealth ensuring a decent standard of living amongst the Korinthosi citizenry. The planet even garnered a reputation as a sort of "everyman's paradise", where hard work was rewarded with just compensation and life went on unmolested by the many horrors of the galaxy. Granted, if left to its own devices no doubt Korinthos' population would have continued to swell until it too faced the same overcrowding situation as its parent world, but alas whatever future it might have had was abruptly aborted when the Amphra arrived.
The battle that would later come to be known as the Siege of Korinthos did not go well for the Astra Millitarum at first, for the Amphra were masters of amphibious warfare and quickly gained a foothold on the planet, resulting in a hard-fought campaign in which the Imperial Guard only barely managed to repulse the crustacean xenos. Unfortunately, the warlike Drays of Clutch Bloodwake were loath to concede defeat to what they considered an inferior prey-species, and thus released upon the beleaguered world the deadliest craft of their War-Artisans. They referred to these Exterminatus-grade munitions as Lsskorrai, the "Eaters of Skies", but years later the Adeptus Mechanicus would saddle it with a more technical classification: the Ionic Ignition Bomb.
One of these devices was enough to set an entire city alight, but a mass bombardment unleashed a calamity of biblical proportions. The air itself caught fire as Korinthos' ionosphere was supercharged with unstable nuclear particles, flash-frying entire continents in blinding flares of light and heat. Even after the thermal hellstorm finally abated, those precious few survivors that had sought shelter in underground bunkers and coastal caverns where treated to another sky-bourne onslaught, as the condensed remnants of the planet's oceans released bolt after bolt of lightning in a world-spanning thunderstorm that would rage for a solid year before mercifully abating.
From that fateful day forward, the memory of that apocalyptic event would be forever ingrained within the cultural identity of Korinthos' precious few remaining inhabitants. Forevermore, it was known simply as The Scorch.
In the aftermath, the Imperium would revisit the burn-scarred shell that was Korinthos twice, once to construct a forward military base that was ultimately undone by the treachery of the xenophile Caebolgs, and yet again after the Xenocide had messily concluded. The Revanchist Initiative, Magos Antiochus' dream of stoking the fires of a moral revival from the embers of a humiliating stalemate, saw new life breathed into the dead planet. In the name of symbolic victory, the Adeptus Mechanicus spared no expense in this grand reconstruction, their coffers already swollen with mineral wealth pried from the surface of Gilgamesh.
Massive terraforming engines not seen since the days of the Great Crusade were flown in from light years away, atmospheric purifiers that funneled millions of tons worth of airborne toxins out of the planet's atmosphere and into the void. Underground caches of unspoiled groundwater were located and pipe-knotted distillation centers built upon them, providing clean drinking water. Hive Cities began to spring up, layer by layer, sprouting from the abandoned foundations of former settlements, and metallic mag-rail lines began to spiderweb the vast deserts provide easy transportation between them. Within the span of a few years the foundations for a new society were laid, and all that remained was the matter of repopulation.
New Korinthos, as it was now being called, represented a unique opportunity for the Cancridrean Periphery fledgling Administratum; a means of dealing with the millions-strong refugee population displaced by the Xenocide. Practically overnight and with the Mechanicum's blessing, hundred upon thousands of asylum-seeking citizens were drawn from all corners of the Periphery and deposited upon their new home. Some went gladly, all too happy to escape the confines of the cramped evacuation centers that they had been sequestered in for years on end. Most, however, did not relish the idea of spending the rest of their lives on a dismal dustball of a planet and resisted, in some cases quite strenuously. Regardless, none were given much of a choice in the matter, and the grand sector-wide exodus that would become unfavorably known as the Korinthos Exile has since been associated with a multitude of horror stories, in which panicked refugees are supposedly abused and even attacked by the Adeptus Arbites sent to "escort" them.
Almost a millennia later, New Korinthos has survived but never truly thrived. Its "symbolic" status has fostered a growing resentment from the rest of the Periphery, as its continued relies almost entirely on goods and materials imported from offworld, and said status has allowed it to persist with a relatively low Tithe-Grade for a planet of its type and population. There is even a growing movement to have the neighboring world of Descillion declared Sector Capital, New Korinthos' detractors even going so far as to suggest the wholesale abandonment of the planet. Fortunately, said threats have insofar been empty ones, though that hasn't stopped the rest of Periphery's citizenry from saddling the Korinthosi with such detractive slurs as "leeches" and "wasters".
- "The sands have teeth. The cliffs have eyes. The towns lack trust. The wind tells lies."
- —The Dust Trader's Mantra
Post-Scorch, most of the surface of New Korinthos was reduced to little more than a rad-blasted wasteland, the once-fertile grasslands having been reduced to dusty scoria-ridden plains and the oceans hollowed out into sandy lowlands occasionally broken up by outcroppings of stony, sun-bleached calcium, remnants of Korinthos' formerly massive coral reefs. These deposits, known locally as "Dune Teeth" or "Bonetrees", vary in size, from lone spires no larger than a small hab, to forest-like expanses of dead coral that cover entire swathes of desert. Other natural features of the lowlands include toxic salt flats, fused-sand glass pits, and the titanic bones of the great pelagic leviathans that once roamed the watery depths.
The highlands, by contrast, tend to be more desolate in terms of scenery but far more habitable. Essentially massive mesas that at one point were island archepeligos, the Imperial inhabitants of New Korinthos eke out a frugal living admist the detritus of long-derelict fisheries and coastal depots. Outside of the major Hives these scrap-metal shantytowns are quite common, but not nearly as destitute as one might assume, for all are interconnected by the Mesh, the planet-spanning network of mag-rail lines originally installed by the Mechanicus during the Revanchist Initiative. This system of suspension bridges and tram-tunnels that effectively interconnect the Korinthosi settlements is so expansive that it can actually be seen from orbit, like a wire-thin net of geometric patterns, gleaming silver in the light of its sun, Illus Major. Its often remarked that the Mesh is the only thing that keeps the planet from truly falling apart, hence the name.
- The Whistling Sea - The largest of the reef-remnants is the Whistling Sea, which takes up a good quarter of the planets western hemisphere, bordering the pass near Hive Augustus. Named for the peculiar sound the winds make while billowing through its pitted bows, the Whistling Sea is quite the formidable natural barrier, as while passing through it can shave weeks off of lowland passage to Hive Zephyrus, Augustus' sister city, its interior is littered with the bones of Dust Traders and Bandits that had become hopelessly lost within its jagged, labyrinthian expanse.
- Ingram's Refuge - According to local legend, during the Siege of Korinthos wealthy fishing magnate Marius Ingram supposedly constructed a massive undersea bunker to keep safe both himself, his family, and his egregious wealth during the Amphra's invasion. There, the Ingrams secreted themselves away, eating, drinking, and engaging in all manner of debauchery even as their homeworld burned. Its said the God-Emperor himself looked upon their callous disregard for their fellow man and in His disgust levied upon their entire bloodline a baleful curse. The exact details of this divine punishment and the gruesome and often ironic deaths of the Ingram clan tend to vary depending on who is telling the story, but all agree on one thing: somewhere, out in the deep desert, is an abandoned stronghold filled to the bursting with the spoils of a more prosperous age. All they have to do is find it...
- Dead End -