Iron Staff League

Early History of the Iron Staff League

The original Iron Staff League formed a formidable micro-empire in the Antona Australis system between M23 and M36. Its origins lost to the Imperium, and shrouded in myth by the abhuman inhabitants, it is known that all of the original Holds of the League, which weathered the Age of Strife, were lost during the civil war that shattered the Second Yig Federation in early M28.

The Newholds that sprang up from the scattered survivors in the following decades were marked with an understandable wariness of outsiders and adopted a doggedly insular form of politics; refusing to meet directly with any of the species of the sector. This insularity extended even to their fellow abhumans, and many minor holds sprang up in isolation across the sector.

Nevertheless, by the closing years of M28, a new Iron Staff League had formed, with its core around the old stars rimwards of what is now the Invictus subsector. The League had extensive settlements and mineheads in the rich planetoids of the Mere Marches and Genosan Expanse, both in the south of the Starfire subsector; and extended as far north as the Peckim system. By the closing years of M28, the abhumans had made extensive trade agreements with a number of worlds and species.

Sadly, warfare remained a necessary constant for the League, particularly with the orks, which continued swelling in numbers. By the time of the Great Crusade, many Holds had fallen, and the League was hard-pressed on all sides. Far from their zenith in M28, the League was impoverished and in serious trouble. Their isolationism and hard bargains ensured they had few allies amongst the species of the sector, and things looked bleak.

The reigning Althing (High King) of the League at the time of the Great Crusade was Hurthar the Thrice-Cursed. Unpopular amongst the Hold Thanes of the League's components, he had been selected as High King mainly because he represented a neutral compromised between the power blocs of the League.  Aware of his lack of power in the League, he cemented his unpopularity by welcoming the Expeditionary Fleets of the nascent Imperium with relatively open arms.

Having allowed Imperial dignitaries to enter the Thronghold of Ibistan, he signed away the League's Independence by agreeing to become a Protectorate of the Imperium. This in essence forced Compliance on all of the worlds of the League while nominally allowing them independence.