The Tiro'fal system is a sept situated on the ever growing borders of tau space. First settled during the late Second Phase Expansion as an attempt to expand beyond the Perdus Rift, the sept pushed the borders of the Tau Empire, settling near the territory of the Kroot worlds. The sept came under attack in late M41 and was declared under quarantine by the Ethereal Caste, the sept's Fire Warriors leading a valiant defence of the other castes' escape.
973-982.M40 - Sept Founding
In early 973.M40 the Tau Empire discovered a bright, idyllic world beyond the Perdus Rift using exploration fleets. When attempting to colonise it, they quickly realised that the world so close to the territory of the Kroot was infested by Orks, their long-sworn enemies. Determined to claim the world, the Tau deployed the massed ranks of the Dal'yth Fire caste far beyond the established borders of the Tau Empire, outfitted with all manner of new technology to give them the cutting edge.
The Dal'yth Sept fought the Orkish menace for several years, repeatedly igniting the landscape to burn away any spores, leaving nothing but ash, from which the native flora could once again grow. The Tau assailed the Orks mercilessly all across the planet, only offering them the chance to surrender when it was confirmed only a handful of the beasts remained. The Warboss refused this most generous offer according to reports, and his few remaining Orks are slain, the local area being set on fire for an extended period, to prevent the spores taking hold and the threat returning.
With this act the world was won, and native species could once again be introduced to the regions in which they once grew. Soft, elegant cities arose from the land, and a new Sept was founded, being named "beautiful world" after the first sightings made by the exploration fleet years before. The Sept established itself quickly in the wake of the defeat, welcoming the exploration fleets that arrived en route to further deployments, and the various Septs that offered up their might to the far flung beachhead the Tau had founded in the depths of space.
The Defence Against Hive Fleet Gorgon
In 899.M41 the Tyranid Hive Fleet known as Gorgon smashed into the Tau Empire colony of Sha'draig after having devoured several worlds inhabited by the Tau empire's trading partners. Destroying one of the world's orbital perimeter outposts, the Tyranids then began to assault the shipyards on the planet's moon, where they were held at bay for a time by the satellite's interceptor guns. Unfortunately the Hive Fleet proved impressively adaptable, and it was not long before the shipyards were overrun.
Commanded by Kor'o Valroth, a fleet from the Ke'lshan Sept was sent to investigate the outpost's silence with assistance from the Tiro'fal Sept. When they arrived in 900.M41, they found the moon completely devastated, and the world itself under siege from the Tyranids. The two fleets fought their way through the Tyranid blockade long enough to deploy troops to the surface.
On the planet's surface the Tyranid forces proved far more adaptable than first predicted as they quickly overcame any obstacle blocking their path. Eventually the Tau forces were steadily pushed back in a long, grinding conflict, the unpredictability of the Tiro'fal sept assisting them somewhat as the situation became more and more desperate. The Tau Fire warriors were cut down as the Tyranid monstrosities charged their lines, forcing the ever more desperate deployment of battlesuit wearing warriors and armoured convoys, which in the end were forced to be deployed as improvised battering rams.
The battle finally came to an end in 901.M41, when Supreme Admiral Kor'O'Vanan deemed the situation on Sha'draig irretrievable and ordered a full retreat. By that time almost all the Tiro'fal Fire Caste forces deployed to Sha'draig had been destroyed, with only the Tiro'fal Commander Swiftstrike and a band of battlesuit pilots able to adapt to the rigours of close combat against the Tyranids having survived. With this almost total loss, the fleet limped back to their world to call for a drasticly larger armed force.
When the Tyranids were next encountered by the Tiro'fal sept a year later they had already consumed several worlds in the later named Zone of Silence and had invaded the sept world of Ke'lshan amidst a battle between the Tau and Imperial Forces, forcing the two enemies to pool their forces to fight a desperate defence. Amidst this the reinforced Tiro'fal fleet deployed hundreds of battlesuit teams in a strike force to deploy more traditional Mont'ka tactics. Fighting both in desperate melee and ranged combat, the Tiro'fal forces working together destroyed great swathes of the Tyranid invaders. Unable to be resupplied with new swarms immune to their tactics and weaponry, the tide of battle finally began to turn in the favour of the Tau.
Third Phase Expansion
At some point in M41 warriors of the Tiro'fal fire caste encountered a significant Chaos force on a ruined Imperial planet on the borders of the Tau Empire. The Tiro'fal Sept were deployed as the spearhead of a series of expansion efforts due to their experience in this unknown area of space.
The sept world would eventually be attacked by the Orks in the end years of M41 and was declared under quarantine by the Ethereal Caste, the sept's Fire Warriors making a valiant defence of the world's major cities, to cover the other castes' escape.
The Symbol of the Tiro'fal sept is that of a small orb at the lowest most point of the sept circle. this is "protected" by a chevron, which lies at the approximate middle of the Pictogram.
Much like their unorthodox nature in combat, the Fire Warriors of the Tiro'fal Sept enter battle and ceremony resplendent in bright, rust coloured uniforms, an eye catching sight both as a point of pride for the Sept's citizenry, and the perfect lure, to drag the Empire's more gullible enemies into carefully laid ambushes and traps.
The colours that mark out members of this sept are of a sparkling silver, a rare material found in remarkable abundance in the Tiro'fal Sept system. This chosen colour stands out noticeably against the contrasting armour plates, aiding notice-ability as it glints off of the local sun. It has been well documented that the flurry of quickly moving silver sept markings adorning Fire Caste warriors can create a dazzling effect on the eyes of some species that are open enemies of the Tau empire, leading to the development of ever more unorthodox tactics the sept can use in combat.
The Tiro'fal's fire caste is a relatively small, elite group of fire warriors. Decimated during the attack on the sept's world in late M41, the fire caste led a valiant array of evacuation missions which counted greatly to the survival of the other castes. When the sept's world was declared under quarantine by the Ethereal Caste, the fire warriors were left behind to stem the green tide that raged across the world, the warriors honing their skills to become superb warriors.
The Tau of the Tiro'fal have a noticeably abnormal outlook on the Greater Good when compared to other Tau Septs, most easily documented within the operational history of the Sept's Fire Caste.
Crisis Bodyguard Teams
Where as the position of Crisis Bodyguards would most often be a "permanent" position, it is not so for the Tiro'fal Sept, though the position still offers the same great prestige one would expect from such a duty. Many commanders in the Tiro'fal Sept use the position of the Crisis Bodyguards to mentor those baring the rank of Shas'Vre in the intricacies of battle at a command level, offering them wisdom and advanced experience that they will carry with them as a Shas'El, and then on as a Shas'O of the future generation.
Due to this, it is quite often that bodyguard teams will be drawn together for only a few battles, before being returned to their respective Shas'Ui teams, or going on to take up the mantle of a XV104 Riptide.
The XV88 Broadside Battlesuits are well defined within the Tau Empire and it is well documented amongst the Tau that the battlesuit pilots of the Tiro'fal Sept who don this formidable suit utilise several older incarnations of the armour which bare more similarities to the original XV8 Battlesuit than the Broadside's current incarnation. When asked they say it is due to the smaller frame of the older suits, enabling them to evade incoming fire more easily when in cover or moving to reposition themselves.
The Tiro'fal Sept has a long history within the Tau Empire, and has seen several people born who can be considered heroes of the Greater Good.
Seroshal is an experienced Commander in the sept's Fire Caste and something of a legendary figure amongst his fellow Tau. Shas'O Tiro'fal Seroshal Kais M'yen, to use his full name, is an expert in the unorthodox method of combat he and his Fire Warriors have come to display in battle, and is hailed by most as the saviour of the sept's Prime-world.
His given name, which when translated through the local dialect roughly means Shadowsword, is said to stem from his unorthodox and nigh-on impossible movements in battle which make him difficult to predict and counter, making him a formidable force on the battlefield and enabling him to turn the tide of the battle to the Tau's favour.
Fireblade is a great hero of the Tiro'fal Sept, boasting lengthy service within the fire caste and having operated on the front lines of many of their extensive expeditions and combat actions. He was best identified by his XV8 Crisis Battlesuit, with which he is able to wield a plasma rifle and fearsome Cyclic Ion Blaster, while maintaining suitable protection with a back-mounted Shield Generator, which he utilised effectively until the Sept's homeworld was invaded by the Orks, at which point he donned the titanic mantle of the XV104.
Fireblade has performed superbly in several theatres of war, as can be expected for most that have attained the rank of Shas'vre, though due to the unorthodox nature of the sept, Fireblade has achieved more than what might be expected, having possessed the position of Commander Shadowsword's personal bodyguard in a Shas'vre team on repeated occasions, such as later engagements during The Invasion of Say'hoas, before being returned to a XV8 Crisis Team to perform deep ranging assault operations as a vanguard of the Tau Armed Forces.
Tau lettering in plated gold across his battlesuits is the best way to indicate Fireblade's presence on the field - a minor gesture to most races, but a marker of his long and exemplary service both as a warrior of the Tiro'fal sept, and that of The Greater Good.
Notable Relations with other Tau Empire Groups
Though the Tau Empire is one body, the Empire is made up of many worlds, each with differing ideas and philosophies. It is worth noting the Tiro'fal Sept's relations with other Septs in the Empire.
the Tau of Tiro'fal hold a special reverence for the tau of the Dal'yth sept, and such is understandable. the legendary Tau commander "Puretide" was born on Dal'yth, and the Tiro'fal sept look to each and every member of the Dal'yth sept as a potential future Puretide in their given caste. Dal'yth is also the closest Sept to Tiro'fal, and the sept which originally founded the Tiro'fal colony. As such, the two maintain a close link that will likely never break.
Throughout its more recent history, the Tiro'fal sept is well known to have operated alongside the Ke'lshan sept, seemingly developing good relations with the Sept on several levels; by coming to the sept's aid during the war against Hive Fleet gorgon, their shared belief of unorthodox-but-efficient methods of combat, and a continued working relationship that the two septs seem to appreciate.
These short alien traders have been seen in space around the Tiro'fal sept greatly in the past years, bringing materials to trade so that the Earth caste may hurry to return the sept to working order in time for the Third Phase Expansion to begin officially.
These green scaled mercenaries enjoy a relatively high place within the Sept's employ, alongside that of the Kroot, paid to fight alongside the depleted numbers of the caste's own Fire Warriors, or as a body guard, to other officials such as those of the Earth Caste.
It is currently unknown if there are any Gue'vessa remaining within the sept. The conquered world did not have human settlers on it when the Second Phase Expansion came, and though over time humans were introduced, it is thought they were killed alongside the Teronau when the sept was quarantined.
The Tau of the Tiro'fal sept enjoy a close friendship with the Kroot of the Tau Empire, the bird-like aliens being the first and foremost most numerous auxiliary within the Sept's armed forces.
It is said that the Kroot are honoured by the tau of the Tiro'fal, this is likely because of the recent Quarantine, where masses of Kroot auxiliaries fought against the Orkish invaders, eventually allowing the Empire to win the battle for the world.
A primitive, reclusive race of saurian warriors native to the Tiro'fal sept world. It was almost a century before the Tau were able to locate and make first contact with the species and after much effort the Teronau joined the Tau Empire in spreading The Greater Good to the stars before the disastrous Orkish invasion of the sept world. It is unknown if any survive, but the Sept deems it unlikely.