700 + GE
(Doug, Jane, Peg, Randy)
From the Archives of Archibald Fanning, Vanem Umbrae
On Rashan, Inquisitor Promethea met with the six acolytes recruited by Callidon Rees to infiltrate the Emporium. Two of them were star-crossed lovers of rival minor noble houses who had kept their love a secret for seven years. Such skill and subtlety made them most effective at navigating the treacherous climate of Rashan’s ruthless politics. One was a member of the lower classes, convinced of his noble legacy, who was actually a low-level employee in the Emporium already. One was a dull but intimidating woman more muscle than brain. One was a misused Administratum adept who spent his spare time investigating crimes for the Adeptus Arbites, and the last was a young cleric of impeccable breeding who sought valuable service in the Emperor’s name.
The Inquisitor inducted these six officially into her service. In the process, the talents of her own throne agent, Lady Dido, detected a greater than usual degree of spiritual corruption in the female noble, one Lydia Dao, that prompted greater investigation.
They discovered that House Dao, as well as a few of the other minor noble houses, were involved in a sinister cult dedicated to a chaos entity known as the “Dark Hierophant,” a being summoned by dark rites of debauchery, degradation, and sacrifice. Lydia herself had left the cult, perhaps for love of her secret beau, but the mark of those black rites had stained her soul. She confessed all to Sister Castita, and was shriven, knowing full well that such confession might bring low her entire family.
Callidon promised to keep an eye on Lydia, and to alert his own secretive associates to the existence of the cult so that it could be traced and culled. The Inquisitor and her agents spent a week aiding their acolytes in various subtle ways before returning once more to Ichabarr.
The black cells aboard the Cromwell’s Fury were nearly complete as promised by Inquisitor Purusha. In thanks, Inquisitor Promethea informed her Ordo Hereticus peer of the cult discovered on Rashan. Lady Purusha had, apparently put a similar cult to the sword on Rashan merely fifteen years before. The was most grateful for the news that it had regrown or flowered anew in such fertile soil.
They discovered that Inquisitor Gaius Vallenti of the Ordo Malleus had been brought to the Solemn Hall to face charges of Phaenonite heresy in a formal hearing that might well result in an edict of Excommunicatus Traitoris. Upon speaking with Inquisitor Distaff, the formal accusor, Inquisitor Promethea discovered that Distaff had utilized Rogue Trader assets to procure the means by which to rob Vallenti of his daemonhost companion. In so doing, Vallenti had attacked Inquisitor Steendahl and his agents before ultimately being apprehended through extreme violence. Distaff also conveyed to Promethea the proxy of Inquisitor Steendahl, and a dataslate containing much greater detail of Vallenti’s crimes.
While they waited for the trial, Sister Castita spent the time well making connections among the Ecclesiarchy of the Capitol, including a meeting with Cardinal Alahr. Magos Attilan spoke with Magos Biologis Fortran and discussed the methods whereby Gaius Vallenti was kept alive and functional, as well as arranging a bargain for the construction of a potent combat servitor. Inquisitor Promethea and Lady Dido spent their time researching Inquisitorial precedent in anticipation of the trial.
The day of the hearing came. Only Inquisitors were allowed within with the exception of specialists necessary for evidence or service to the hearing itself. Sister Castita was named Ecclesiastical officiant. Magos Attilan was brought in as a technical specialist. Lady Dido was included as having material information relevant to the proceedings.
In all, 15 Inquisitors made it to the first hearing of Excommunicatus Traitoris in 120 years.
Inquisitor Distaff formally accused Inquisitor Vallenti of adherence to the Phaenonite Heresy. Inquisitor Vallenti, missing an arm and visibly weak from his recuperation, employed the unexpected tactic of openly acknowledging such adherence, but claiming that the philosophy should not be deemed heretical, and should rather be embraced as an accepted, if Radical, viewpoint within the Inquisition.
This put Vallenti’s foes on a back foot as he proceeded to make an impassioned defense, citing the existence of Neumos, and calling it the culmination of all the lore and power of ancient humanity, a psychic machine capable of elevating an individual to power equivalent to that of the Emperor himself. To counter the accusation that his Phaenonite beliefs precluded worship of the Emperor, he claimed that the Emperor himself had never desired worship, that the Emperor was a great and powerful man, the greatest psyker ever produced by humanity, but that he never claimed to be a god. Vallenti claimed that his philosophy was not a disrespect to the Emperor, but rather one of emulation. Vallenti, in short, sought to follow in the Emperor’s footsteps and bring about another Great Crusade, a renaissance for the Imperium.
The question and answer that followed tread on dangerous ground. Inquisitor Promethea and Inquisitor Distaff did not want to reveal too much about Neumos to all assembled, but Vallenti seemed insistent that the planet was central to his plans, and one could not rightly accuse him without understanding why. Vallenti also broke with precedent and summoned his own former daemonhost to testify on his behalf, an act that condemned him in the eyes of many.
Nevertheless, it was clear that there were some, particularly among those Inquisitors who claim the Recongregator faction, that some of what Vallenti said struck home. Although all assembled adjudged him guilty of Phaenonite heresy, some few saw merit in aspects of his philosophy.
It was not enough, however, to come even close to saving him, and it appeared as if he fully expected that it would not. He accepted his judgement with admirable calm, and when given the option to name the method of his execution, opted for beheading by Inquisitor Promethea according to the ancient customs of Rubrica.
This she did, in her role of priestess of the Fire Temple, militant, and executioner of her people.