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Librarium

The Rise of Polyphy

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Early History

Noted for his hands-on and humanistic approach to war, Sephran Mawl was already a seasoned commander by the time of the Mellissan Secession, and he was well-loved by the men and women under his command. Brooding and war-hungry, Sephran was seen as a model commander, and by the end of the campaign, he had the ear of several influential Imperial figures – all of whom reported him as being personally and passionately dismayed at High Command's lack of appreciation for the realities of the campaign.

He was officially censured over the Terror Hill Incident, when Ork mercenaries were reported to have fought alongside troops under his command; and the Murder Rations order that stripped a nearby agri-world of its tithe for the year to feed the Imperial troops – but acts like this only strengthened popular adoration of the High-Colonel.

Rumours of collusion with Tau forces were dismissed as Xenos propaganda, though the Inquisitor Josiah Maltheus was posted to keep an eye on Mawl. The two are known to have spent much time together, and Mawl's reputation emerged stronger than ever after Maltheus' glowing report.

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Post-Mellissa

At the close of the Mellissan Campaign, Sephran Mawl was viewed with some disquiet by his peers – he was a strange and distant man, gripped by a frightening vision of humanity's potential and obsessed with 'improving' and 'civilising' the sector.

Political pressure ensured the victorious commander's promotion to General, and it was with some relief when murmurs of discontent and formenting rebellion on Mawl's homeworld of Cambylon arrived at High Command. The High Marshal dispatched Sephran and his entire brigade to Cambylon – on the surface, a noble chance to save his world, but in reality a perfect opportunity to maroon the General on a distant and unimportant planet.

On his return to Cambylon – by then in the grip of civil war between the Natstats of Slavmyl and Incemuth – General Mawl immediately led an elite cadre of his veteran troops into the Blackwoods region of Incemuth, where they disappeared for several months, emerging only after atomic detonations launched from Slavmyl and Incemuth had wrought havoc across the surface of the world.

Alarm and rioting in Mawl's home Natstat of Lanton caused the panicking Governor to immediately order Mawl's withdrawal from Incemuth, an order flouted by the General in a politically charged fashion. The returning message boat was daubed with a disquieting tract, apparantly dictated by the General to the Governor's archivist.

The archivist had elected to stay alongside the General, describing him as 'Genius' and 'Messiah'; and encouraging the Governor to hand over military control to Mawl, now styling himself as Polyphy. The Archivist's index finger was included in the message boat as a token of devotion to the 'Great Poet of Incemuth, Polyphy the Magna'.

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Reprisals

Mustering an Expeditionary Force from the Lanton and Semitt Natstats, the Governor's forces moved to support Slavmyl's attacks on Incemuth in a hasty alliance. Unable to make meaningful inroads in the swampy morass of Incemuth, and harried by guerilla attacks from Mawl's men, the Expeditionary Force was outclassed, demoralised and unable to extricate themselves from the area when reports came through of forces loyal to Mawl revealing themselves in Lanton itself. The Governor sent a general plea for help from off-world at this point – the last official contact with Imperial space.

It is believed that the main conurbs of Lanton fell within mere hours. Forces loyal to Mawl had toppled the Dictator-For-Life and set up a junta, calling themselves the Children of Polyphy.

Caught without support in Incemuth, the loyal Expeditionary forces are believed to have been systematically wiped out – though disturbing and fragmentary records report that whole regiments were surrendering or defecting to the Children of Polyphy even as the hastily-assembled XII and XIII Veet Ling regiments deployed from off-world.

The fate of the system is unknown.