Seven Saints of Talis
The Thracian Militia is the largest standing army on the continent. Numbering close to a quarter-million troops, it hearkens back to pre-War days as the Planetary Defense Force, the legacy of which is still evident in their grey and blue uniforms and laslock rifles.
The Thracian Militia has been in an on-again/off-again war with the Iron Priests for the last 30 years. The Iron Priests invaded northern Thracia with an army of skitarii and armored vehicles, quickly capturing large swaths of northern Thracia before the Militia could assemble and begin a counter-offensive. Though the Thracians fought bravely, and were supported by other factions such as the Brotherhood of Steel and the Cult of the Morning Star, their tactics were woefully out-dated by the forces of the Iron Priests. Massed infantry blocks and horse-mounted cavalry, supported by gunpowder cannons and mortars, were simply no match for the heavily-augmetic soldiers and tanks of the Iron Priests.
For the next 20 years, Thracia ran a campaign of fighting retreat, withdrawing towards their capital in the south. The Iron Priests were content to seize towns along the way and then rebuilt and re-fortify them, modernizing Thracia’s largely-agrarian society and turning local farm-owners into land-barons and puppets of the Arch-Magos. The populace was left largely alone, though they were instructed in the use and function of agricultural technologies by members of the Iron Priests.
The fortunes of Thracia changed at the Battle of Gerrisburg. Supported by elements of the Cult of the Morning Star and the Brotherhood of Steel, the Thracian Militia threw themselves at the advancing armored vehicles and skitarii infantry of the Iron Priests in successive waves. Though the army of the Iron Priests out-gunned and out-classed the Thracian Militia in every way, it simply did not outnumber them. Forty thousand Thracians were killed in the first twenty minutes of the six hour battle but, by the time the smoke cleared, Thracia had destroyed the tanks of the Iron Priests (primarily through the use of suicide bombers carrying krak and melta charges provided by the Brotherhood of Steel) and decimated the skitarii legions through massed volleys of fire from their laslocks. The Iron Priests withdrew to the Iron Hall and consolidated their hold on over half of the former nation of Thracia, while the bloodied remnants of the Militia withdrew to the south, seeking refuge in the Reach.
From that day forward, Thracia has waged a guerrilla war against the Iron Priests, rarely offering an opportunity for a decisive battle, but instead raiding the train-yards, supply depots and farming centers of their enemies. Often, they will liberate entire towns, simply riding off with every man, woman and child in the dead of night, putting the land-baron’s estate to the torch. For their part, the Iron Priests simply replace the village with citizens relocated from other towns, installing another puppet-baron in place of the previous one.