The siege of Csilla has gone from a rumor to a confirmable threat. The great terror fleet of the Brotherhood of the Maw is in motion, setting out from their core territories around Rhand and Osseriton and beginning the journey across Chiss space. Their dread purpose is confirmed by one simple fact: they do not stop to ravage the rich agriworlds they pass, instead moving with haste toward the Ascendancy's capital. Any attempt by local defense forces to stop them is swiftly and decisively ended by the Maw's overwhelming firepower. This is a planet-killing fleet, and nothing will stop its momentum as it hurdles toward its goal. The only hope is to intercept it above Csilla itself.

Dedicated to that goal, half a dozen fleets from great powers across the galaxy have begun their own journey to Chiss space. Although some of them are extremely distant, they have a speed advantage: they do not have to shepherd a battle station, as the Maw fleet does. Independent spacers, too, flock to the scene of the coming battle, some seeking to provide humanitarian relief while others hope to make a profit in the chaos. It is a dangerous game they play, coming between the Brotherhood and its prey, and many of them may not live to regret it. Time will tell whether the scavengers among them pick through a wrecked Maw fleet... or the debris of a ruined planet.

Back in its core territories, the Brotherhood locks down the worlds under its dominion, defending them with the horrific orbital outposts known as the Monasteries of Slaughter. The Holy City of Gehinnom remains behind as well, taking up its dark orbit over Rhand. The Maw seeks no prisoners this time, and so its dungeons are not needed. No, the battle to obliterate Csilla is truly the dawn of the Age of Annihilation; the Brotherhood will either sweep away everything in their path, or see its fleet - and its great weapon - annihilated instead. There can be no half-measures or compromises. The old cycle is ending, and if faith in the Maw is strong enough, the unbelievers shall face their Final Dawn.