The Licenian Heresy

Cosmic Communion
Aleron's Rest / Neumos

(700 + GE)
(all present)

From the Archives of Archibald Fanning, Vanem Umbrae

Inquisitor Promethea and her Throne Agents prepared the loyal servants of the Imperium on Aleron’s Rest for the potential of a cult-outbreak before taking charge of a local atmospheric craft and traveling to the played out mines within which this cult had built a deep-rooted bunker. Utilizing subterfuge, they sought to approach this well-fortified position without activating the defenses against them.

The Inquisitor used her psychic arts to craft her flesh into the form of Remus Leshar, the heretic-son they still held prisoner, as well as Magos Attilan’s talents with subverting surveillance and technological defenses. The group’s skills were tested to the limit as they descended past turrets and gun-emplacements. As they went deeper and deeper into the earth, they started hearing strange psychic whisperings. Some noted the mines were permeated with a psychic static that began interfering with their own ability to perceive what lay ahead.

In the heart of the mountain was a large room, decorated and appointed in the fashion of this Yu’vath-worshiping cult. In niches in the wall were the recovered crystal chunks of the Whisperer. There was an assemblage of men and women, cloaked and masked, and before the altar stood a being that strongly resembled the transformed Lord-Captain Finn. The strange crystal amulet of which they had been told was centered on the being’s chest as he welcomed his “son” to receive his birthright.

The Inquisitor and her group attacked. The masked men and women wielded power swords but had little else in the way of martial protection. The star-eyed creature that had once been Solus Leshar was, however, a stronger being. The group’s experience putting down Finn, however, proved its worth, and Leshar was rapidly wounded to the point where he deliquesced into a pile of rot, the amulet left gleaming in the viscera. The surviving masked individuals were captured and interrogated.

The roots and extent of the cult were traced from the minds of the captives, and the matter left, ultimately, to the local authorities to clean up. The economy of Aleron’s Rest would suffer, but the souls of its people would rest safer. An Inquisitor’s work is never done, however. They looked at the mysterious amulet, clearly a relic akin to the legendary “halo devices”, one of which had granted Finn his “immortality.” Agent Dido touched it with her mind and found herself communing with the Yu’vath in a manner similar to when they entered the grotto on Entheo. She came to the realization that the Yu’vath were not so much a species of many individuals, but rather a psychic gestalt, connected over vast distances by the psychic-resonant properties of the crytals mined on Entheo, supplemented by the microscopic crystalline species engineered by the Yu’vath to create an alternative source. In this way, they were able to ascertain the locations of similar “halo devices,” including two on the capitol planet of Ichabarr.

After some effort to aid the locals in cleaning up the cult, they left the matter in the hands of the local Administratum, who saw an opportunity to “nationalize” many local industries. The Inquisitor and her retinue then departed, seeking to consult with Inquisitor Steendahl.

They found him on a base on the moon orbiting the mysterious planet of Neumos. They reported what they had learned, and consulted with him. He had been studying the origins of the Yu’vath, how they had evolved from an ancient society of humanity. It would seem that Neumos itself held the secrets of this inscrutable race’s origins. According to Steendahl, Neumos was an artificial planet, created by a human civilization from the Dark Age of Technology. In the depths was vast machinery powered by the warp and governed by a gestalt world-mind. When some of Steendahl’s agents first found the planet, it was insane, poisoned by fragments of Eldar psyche from the time of the Fall and the Age of Strife. As a result, the primitive tribal human inhabitants of the world stay in the rural plains, avoiding the massive ruined cities where the world-mind’s mechanisms could touch them. According to Steendahl, his agents managed to cure the planet’s madness, but it is still an ancient inhuman mind from an unimaginably ancient era. It was Steendahl’s theory that the technologies of Neumos were prototypical of what eventually developed into the Yu’vath’s crystalline gestalt-mind.

Inquisitor Promethea, being new to the Rosette, and willing to take risks older Inquisitors may not, volunteered to take her agents to the planet’s surface. Once there, she and her agents found communion with the planet’s world-mind. The records say little of what secrets of ancient and bygone days they learned, but it did appear to confirm that an ancient civilization of humanity built the planet long before the coming of the Emperor, had commerce and trade with the vast Eldar empire, bastions of which were nearby in what are now referred to as the Birth Stars. Seeing the Eldar’s facility with the warp and psychic technology, these ancient humans experimented, ultimately developing the mechanisms of Neumos which could preserve the minds of all the planet’s inhabitants in eternal existence. The planet became the repository of this civilization’s knowledge and wisdom, a place where honored ancestors could be consulted. Ultimately it became a preserve where only the wisest and most respected elders could come and retire after a life of service to this ancient realm. When the Eldar’s empire fell, however, birthing the Great Devourer and starting the Age of Strife across the Galaxy, the civilization of Neumos fell, Eldar refugees poisoned the world mind, and, it is presumed, the survivors fled in great ark ships, ultimately founding the Licenian Republic which would not be discovered by the rest of humanity until the Angevin Crusade a mere two millenia ago.

Magos Attilan was the first to realize that the ancient philosophies of this culture, as embodied by its world-mind, would be wildly dangerous if permitted to enter greater Imperial culture. He cautioned his fellows to depart the planet rapidly. Ultimately, Inquisitor Promethea and the rest did depart, and returned to Neumos’ moon to report their findings to Steendahl and consider their next move.

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A Deep Rooted Conspiracy
Entheo / Aleron's Rest

(700 + GE)
(all present)

From the Archives of Archibald Fanning, Vanem Umbrae

After their epiphany in the grotto of the Yu’vath, Inquisitor Promethea and her agents returned to find an invitation to speak privately with the Arch-Cardinal. What was said in that chamber remains obscure even to a scholar such as I, but it doubtless was a discussion of the dangers facing the souls of all men and women of the sector and mutual assurances of aid and support.

After some discussion with her throne agents, the Inquisitor decided to return to the Licenian subsector, specifically the spinward quadrant, to wrap up some potential loose ends in the Aleron’s Rest, Ymir-3 and Embers systems. They opted first to return to Aleron’s Rest to see how the colony world was faring after the destruction of the Yu’vath dreadnought known as The Whisperer. Magos Attilan also wished to curry favor with the ancient Magos Genetor in the system by giving him a cutting of the forbidden xenos plant-species known as the Zamarkand Rose.

They found the world recovering well. The Governor was aided by a new Imperial representative, Administrator Keiko Yamamoto, who had been sent by the newly-appointed subsector Governor Reginal D’rien. Administrator Yamamoto had clearly deduced that Inquisitor Promethea and her associates were, in fact, agents of the Inquisition and not Administratum representatives as they had claimed when first they came to Aleron’s Rest. She offered to aid them in whatever way they wished.

They sought to discover if there were lingering effects of Yu’vath infiltration, and furthermore sought an answer to some of the tantalizing clues they had learned of the activities of one Lady-Captain Elizabeth Starling. They knew that Dynasty Starling was working with the Amaranthine Syndicate who were, in turn, controlled by the Slaugth. They knew that Elizabeth Starling had delivered… something… to the prometheum refinery known as Installation 23 just as the Whisperer was once again awakening. The agents sought clues to discover what the Slaugth’s aims and goals might be.

Administrator Yamamoto introduced them to Missionary Via D’oro, the “personal secretary” to the new Cardinal of the Licenian subsector. Missionary D’oro was a scion of the Rogue Trader Dynasty Aguirre, a name which had popped up frequently in the Inquisitor’s investigation. This caused some pause, but they had no cause to complain about the Missionary’s aims and methods. She was the one who was tackling the immense job of rehabilitating the Whisperer’s former thralls. She had developed a method separating the thousands of people who had fallen prey to the Yu’vath construction into “saveable,” “potentially saveable,” and “lost cause.” It had much to do with how much of their original psychological state was preserved through strength of will and strength of faith and how much was lost to the Whisperer. Veteran Sister Castita took it in hand to work with the Missionary on interrogating these lost souls for potential clues.

Magos Attilan underwent his own secret methods to learn secret information on the colony while Adept Dido pored through records both social and financial.

Of greatest concern, however, was what became of those pieces of the Whisperer that had fallen to the surface of Aleron’s rest. Even a small fragment of such a ship could contain shards of a Yu’vath mind and could be immensely dangerous. Furthermore, much of the crystalline structure of the ship was, itself, an engineered microscopic xenos colony-species that could infest and grow upon a world until reaching enough mass to achieve sentience. The Throne Agents took a shuttle to the known impact sites where, to his credit, the local governor had posted quarantine forces. Their investigation revealed, however, that others had excavated at least one of the sites already, subverting the quarantine forces and making off with whatever they recovered.

After interrogation, they learned that the local quarantine forces had been subverted through the simple expediency of cash bribes and nothing more sinister. Their other resources rapidly narrowed down the list of suspects to the son and scion of one of the First Families of Aleron’s Rest, Remus Leshar. The Leshar family controlled much of the mining and industrial capacity of the colony and, it was said, was descended from the very first colonists two millenia ago.

Donning once more their guises of Administratum agents, they paid a visit to the Leshar estates carved into one of the many mountains overlooking the valley of the primary city. Young Remus Leshar, used to power and obedience, was disinclined to be cowed by these off-worlders, and did not recognize the authority of the “Administratum” to question him. He imperiously demanded they depart. Inquisitor Promethea and her people were similarly unused to such blatant defiance.

Ultimately, many Leshar men-at-arms were slain and Remus himself captured as the Inquisitor revealed her true authority. Sadly, Remus’ father, Solus Leshar, the patriarch of the Leshar family, was forewarned and his mother, Cynthia Leshar, fled the estates during the violence.

Governor Tal of Aleron’s Rest called them in a panic, wanting to know what they were doing with such a rich and powerful family. Inquisitor Promethea revealed herself to the Governor as well, eliciting instant obedience and deference.

Interrogation of Remus revealed the shocking truth that the Leshar family has led a hidden cult devoted to the Return of the Yu’vath masters, and the ascension of their glorious elite priesthood to immortality. It would appear that this cult had infested Aleron’s Rest since the beginning. The very first colonists were former Yu’vath slaves who had fought in their own liberation and were rewarded with a distant world rather than extermination at the hands of the Angevin Crusade. It would seem that some of the elite priests of the Yu’vath had infiltrated and hidden within the rebellion, and found themselves on the colony world. Over the millenia they had kept hidden, recruiting carefully and in small numbers, keeping alive the heretical hope that the Masters would return and reward their faith. The cult was centered around a crystalline amulet-artifact, and had a hidden temple somewhere on the planet, carved deep into the heart of a mountain.

Inquisitor Promethea and her agents set about the plan of exterminating this heretical cult once and for all.

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Epiphanies
Port Echo / Entheo

(700 + GE)
(all present)

From the Archives of Archibald Fanning, Vanem Umbrae

Inquisitor Promethea and her Throne Agents pursued loose ends in Port Echo. They procured from a mercenary gang in the Gray Holds an assortment of xenos weaponry and a couple of Vain-pattern here-tek rifles and resupplied them with proper Imperial weapons and delegated them to their acolyte cell to help in investigating and combating the Pale Throng. Inquisitor Promethea also hit on a tactic of blandishment, asking her cell to spread the rumor that there was a school for psykers on Rubrica, and that if the rogue, untrained talents hiding within the Pale Throng wished to become proper, sanctioned Imperial subjects, there was an option available other than the Black Ships.

Recognizing that such a propaganda tactic might take a while to take root, they continued their investigations into the Rogue Trader Dynasty Starling. Noble Dido Caracalla successfully seduced Elizabeth Starling, conveying the impression that the seduction was the other direction, and while feigning her ongoing cover of underworld-connected noble, was able to learn a great deal about Elizabeth’s recent activities.

Magos Attilan found a tech-priest who once worked for Hiram Vain but now served aboard Elizabeth Starling’s vessel. After some dance of code and counter-code, the Magos realized that the otherwise innocuous priest was, in fact, an Acquitor Tech-Assassin, whose target was Hiram Vain, and who served the Starlings in hope of finding Vain’s trail once more in the Licenian subsector. This assassin was able to smuggle one of Attilan’s cyber-creatures aboard the Starling vessel to plunder its data caches.

The story they pieced together was troubling. It appeared that the Starling Dynasty, along with the Amaranthine Syndicate, were well aware of the abatement of the warp storms before nearly anyone else in the Sector. Elizabeth Starling collected a cargo-hold’s worth of unusual equipment from the Slaugth-held Port Constance, leaving behind the crew used to package and transport it, and delivered this cargo to Installation-23 just as the Yu’vath construct was starting to awaken. The Amaranthine Syndicate also had taken over Lord-Captain Finn’s entire smuggling, piracy, and Cold Trade network, along with purchasing outright Hiram Vain’s entire mercantile organization. The Syndicate was investing heavily throughout the Ixaniad Sector, focusing in areas that had once been important Yu’vath worlds.

Why an inscrutable species like the Slaugth, anathema to the Warp, should be interested in a blasphemous species whose very existence was dependent on the warp was utterly unknown. Similarly concerning was what Hiram Vain did with all the money he got for the sale of his entire mercantile empire, and where he, and his logician tech-heresies, had disappeared to.

Sister Castita received a response from her Sisters in the Ordo Famulous indicating that the genetic information on Dynasty Starling that she requested could be procured at the Chapterhouse on Entheo. Inquisitor Promethea and her people left Port Echo to the hands of their acolyte cell and departed.

Upon arriving on Entheo, they saw for themselves the vast beacon that was the crystal cathedral, immense tomb of a Saint, and shining light of the Ecclesiarchy. They were granted an audience with Arch-Cardinal Doran who received the new Inquisitor with suitable words and formalities. Sister Castita got access to the Famulous records and discovered that, in fact, Lazar and Elizabeth Starling were not of the Starling lineage at all. Certain genetic markers were, however, in keeping with a distaff branch of the Rogue Trader Dynasty Aguirre. It would seem, then, that the siblings were imposters. How they found the Starling Warrant, or whether that Warrant was even genuine, was now open to question.

Guardsman Davos, finding himself at the heart of the Ecclesiarchy in the Sector, and the planet upon which his patron saint, Serena the Conscripted, had experienced her theophany, decided to hit the pilgrimage sites. He flew, with thousands of other pilgrims, to the battlefield where Saint Serena had fought at the moment of her vision. There were pillars upon which priests prayed and exhorted the pilgrims at all times, and the clerics intoned the tale. The sands still held a dull red sheen, which the priests explained was the blood of millions that had soaked into the very earth itself.

Davos realized that it was unlikely that real blood would still color the earth some two thousand years after events, but also realized that the pain and agony of millions of soldiers could very well have imprinted the psycho-active crystalline sands of Entheo. Subsequent inquiries revealed that most of the planet was off-limits to anyone unless escorted by a proper representative of the Ecclesiarchy.

Upon conferring with his associates, it became clear that the entire planet of Entheo, filled with massive crystalline deposits of psychoactive crystal, could very well contain within it all manner of horrific knowledge from the time when it was a central Yu’vath world.

Deciding to take such danger upon their souls for the sake of needed knowledge, the Inquisitor and her Agents made a request to venture into the wild and were introduced to Banisher Keramiah Tor, known to some as the Hollow Priest. He asked if they intended to undergo the “Crucible of Faith” and they assented.

Tor flew them into the wild deserts of Entheo to a massive mountain range that they could see, from the wind-blasted exposed faces, was likely made almost entirely of massive crystalline deposits. He led them into a crevasse, and ultimately to a grotto in the heart of the mountain, with massive planes of purplish crystal on all sides. The grotto looked to be an ancient gathering place, with a flattened dais of crystal. Tor mounted the dais and prepared to protect his charges as best he could.

The Agents places their skin upon the crystal, and experienced vast horror. The mountain, the planet, was filled with immense alien intelligences, trapped, angry, immortal, seeking to escape the slow-burning purge that was the Crystal Cathedral and the ever-present faith of millions of annual pilgrims. Of them all, Sister Castita cracked from the fear, but was prevented from doing too much damage to herself or others by the Hollow Priest. The rest of the Agents came face to face with the horrible truth of the Yu’vath, that they had once, in the unimagineable past, been humans, their psyches elevated, stored in crystalline matrices, become immortal and abandoning their humanity to lord it over those still cloaked in mere flesh, using their own former kind as slaves and pawns, mastering sorcery and the warp in blasphemous daemon engines.

The dark minds within the mountain offered each of them their heart’s desire if only they could possess them, ride them out of this place… all but Magos Bastian Attilan successfully refused such blandishments. Fortunately for them all, however, Keramiah Tor was there, his faith blazing, his hard eyes stubbornly refusing defeat. The power of Tor’s faith jolted the Magos from the near-damnation of his soul and he successfully cast out the mind that sought to take him.

The Inquisitor and her Agents left the grotto, not unchanged by their experience, and recognizing the wisdom of the Inquisition of two millenia past to destroy and suppress all knowledge of this blasphemous race.

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Building the Foundation
Port Echo

(700 + GE)
(All Present)

From the Archives of Archibald Fanning, Vanem Umbrae

It is always a struggle maintaining histories of those whose very natures make history, yet who obfuscate and confound the historian at every step. Nevertheless, those who will hold the standard of the Imperium in the future must needs plumb the wisdom of the past, and every fragment, half-remembered, is more than nothing.

Many details of the origins of the career of Inquisitor Tiberia Promethea Lunaris Sacrificula have been lost, but even upon her ascension to the Rosette, Inquisitor Promethea had the wisdom to keep at her side a number of agents of the Throne who value record-keeping and the preservation of knowledge. The Magos of the Adeptus Mechanicus, Bastian Attilan became a veritable storehouse of obscure data, as did the enigmatic noble Dido Caracalla Hiberna and the Sister Famulous Castita. Much can be pieced together, and much may seem mundane to our eyes now.

Let it not be said that the Rosetta makes life easier. Almost as soon as she was elevated, Inquisitor Promethea surrounded herself with capable people she could trust, namely those former Acolytes who had served with her under Inquisitor Steendahl, and began to build the foundation of her power and influence. Because an Inquisitor must balance such needs with the needs of the Imperium, much of this activity was done in the midst of ongoing investigations into a variety of troubling leads. Although the newly-minted Inquisitor had not yet formally declared an Order, her service under Steendahl had exposed her and her companions to a number of ongoing sinister Xenos threats, and the senior Inquisitor was more than happy to share the load with his erstwhile protege.

Much of her early activity took place under-cover on Port Echo, a naval port newly reclaimed from obscurity, no longer a haven for pirates and the cold trade, much of which was due to the earlier efforts of Inquisitor Promethea and her Agents. Due to those earlier efforts, the Lady-Captain of the station was deeply in her debt, and it made a suitable base of operations; close to the dangling threads of her investigations, yet safe enough for some recruiting of an acolyte cell of her own.

Five promising individuals were recruited. Kayleigh Vandilus was a noble-born newly sanctioned psyker, fresh from the Scholastia Psykana, and referred to Promethea’s attention by her Inquisitorial peers. Ilyana, a cleric of the Ecclesiarchy who had served her early years as a missionary on Dusk, and who was later attached to the Imperial Guard, was also snatched up, having lost her Guard unit on Caedicius. Birbo, a skilled assassin whose mind had been cleansed and who was a blank slate, was found in the gray holds of Port Echo, along with a cunning man of the lower classes named Tym Steek. Finally, Inquisitor Promethea plucked Toby from Port Echo, remembering his earnest service for the Council of Nine, and seeking to make a more honest servant of the Imperium out of him.

The Inquisitor and her Agents arranged a formal initiation and induction ceremony for the five, forging them into a cell of Acolytes, and tasking them with cleaning Port Echo of those Stryxis who continued to hide there, procuring the dangerous xenos artifacts from them, including a deadly Zamarkant Rose. This the cell did in the forthcoming week, whereupon they were turned to a longer-term goal of rooting out the Pale Throng who infested the underbelly of the station.

Having set their new cell of Acolytes to that task, they set to reaffirming their connections and allies. Sister Castita ensured that Mother Katalina continued to be a valued source of local information while famed Catachan Guardsman Davos continued to cultivate the military elements who came through the Port. Bastian Attilan reacquainted himself with the Enginseer Richmond, who was the station’s Omnissianic Congregator, and plumbed him for fragments of knowledge about the plans and connections of one Hiram Vain, a suspected member of the Logician cult, who remained a loose end from their prior investigations.

Much of their efforts, however, went into investigating what seemed like a looming, insidious, if amorphous threat. They had encountered firsthand the horror of the Slaugth on the planet of Ymir-3, and came face-to-face with a newly-awakened Yu’vath Dreadnought near Aleron’s Rest. While these two species could not be more different, there seemed to be some strange threads of coincidence that bound the two seemingly disparate investigations together. One such thread was the mystery of Elizabeth Starling, sister to the Lord-Captain of the Starling Rogue Trader dynasty. Lord-Captain Lazar Starling had been co-opted by Inquisitor Steendahl, an acolyte infiltrated into his ship, and both of those assets handed over to Inquisitor Promethea. But it remained unclear whether or not the sister intended to be similarly cooperative. She was the one who had visited the fetid Port Constance, nest of the Slaugth, as soon as the warp storms had abated, and far before anyone else even recalled its existence to investigate. She also had been the first ship of the Imperium to arrive at Aleron’s Rest after the storms abated, and visited briefly Intallation-23, near the heart of the Yu’vath artifact. What had she been doing there?

Also, the evacuating Stryxis had odds and ends for sale, including salvaged ship parts of the Rak’gol, a species not generally known to be in the Ixaniad sector, but a species that, for all their ferocity, had been known to be seeking Yu’vath technology to salvage. Were the Rak’gol entering the subsector to scrounge the forbidden Embers, and other systems of former Yu’vath space?

And what of the Amaranthine Syndicate? Lady-Captain Surma had indicated that this vast, sprawling, immensely wealthy organization was riddled with corruption at the highest levels, specifically the maggot-men of the Slaugth. Why was the Syndicate encroaching from the Calixis sector?

Some of these questions had tantalizing answers. Bastian’s formidible intelligence couple’d with Dido’s wide academic correspondence and other hints and portents revealed the high likelihood that upon the collapse of Lord-Captain Finn’s Council of Nine, Finn’s network of pirates and cold-traders had been taken wholesale by the Amaranthine Syndicate, making them, overnight, one of the most influential criminal organizations in the Ixaniad Sector. The Agents learned of multiple investments across the sector, including a significant criminal port on the hive world of Rashan, heavy investments in the pilgrimage trade to and from the Ecclesiarchal capitol and shrine world of Entheo, and strong ties to the noble House Rees, especially their pleasure-planet Axinite. Bastian noted that one thing these three worlds had in common was that all three had been prize worlds in the Yu’vath empire prior the Angevin Crusade.

Inquisitor Promethea sent her associate Callidon Rees out into the Ixaniad sector tasking him to recruit a second cell of Acolytes to investigate the criminal port on Rashan, but stopped short of overtaxing her limited resources too heavily by recruiting any more than this second cell. Then, using once more the cover of “indolent noble allies of House Rees”, Dido arranged a party at the Rees family casino on Port Echo for the movers and shakers on the station, including the various Rogue Trader elements. The plan was to pick at the thread that was Elizabeth Starling.

And pick they did. Sister Castita learned from an inebriated representative of the Lin Dynasty the interesting rumor that the Starling dynasty had gone bankrupt and defunct nearly a century before, and that “Lazar Starling” and “Elizabeth Starling” re-appeared in just the last decade or so, bearing the Dynasty’s Warrant of Trade, but without any actual proof that they were bloodline descendants of the House. Sister Castita, as a member of the Ordo Famulous, immediately arranged a missive to her Order seeking bloodline and genetic data to attempt to determine the truth of this accusation. Magos Bastian was even able to procure a sample of Elizabeth Starling’s genetic material from the glassware.

Elizabeth Starling herself, however, proved an able socialite, and did not overtly implicate herself in anything more sinister than ongoing cold trade interests. Magos Bastian’s cyber-mastiff, however, noted some odd chemical compositions to the perfume she was wearing, and Dido’s knowledge of chymistry revealed that her perfume contained a certain amount of the notorious xenos-derived drug known as the Deluvial Tincture. Starling was apparently seeking to subtly influence those near her with the subtle euphoric effects of the tincture as well as her feminine wiles and slinky, night-silk evening gown.

Those early weeks of Inquisitor Promethea’s investigations on Port Echo were wide-ranging, and thus far little more than hints and threads, but now, at least, she and her throne agents had some leads to consider.

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An Inquisitor Arises

700 + GE
(All Present)

This game was mostly level-up montage as we worked through the Ascendance process:

  • Promethea was initiated into the Inquisition as a political move. Inquisitor Steendahl had blackmail on Dynasty Vallenti, and so Inquisitor Vallenti agreed to elevate a new Inquisitor from Steendahl’s acolytes, but chose the one most likely to have a cultural tendency to obey anyone named Vallenti, namely Promethea, who grew up on Rubrica, a planet governed by the Dynasty. There were other inquisitorial politics involved as well. Demetria met a bewildering variety of new colleagues.
  • Dido was initiated into the Temple Vanus, the most secretive temple of the Officio Assassinorum, who kill with information. She has been recruited by Inquisitor Promethea as one of her new Throne Agents. Promethea knows her new affiliations, but the others do not (yet)
  • Bastian Attilan finally cleansed his name and record of the taint of Logician association, and has ascended to the rank of Magos. He continues to associate with the Inquisition as part of his ongoing studies into the machine-spirits and fabrication patterns of cyber-mastiffs and other tools of Imperial law and order.
  • Davos had a “training montage” where he went to super-special-forces school to earn the rank of Stormtrooper
  • Sister Castita continues to serve the Inquisition on the role of Interrogator.

Inquisitor Steendahl and Inquisitor Tiberia Promethea Lunaris Sacrificula (Promethea) met to divide their ongoing investigations. As Promethea had been working on many of Steendahl’s ongoing affairs, it seemed reasonable to divide them so as to lighten the load on each, and avoid stepping on each others’ efforts. Promethea took the matter of the Slaugth and the mysterious, criminal Amaranthine Syndicate, as well as Steendahl’s asset, the acolyte known as the Sparrow, currently serving aboard the flagship of Dynasty Starling.

Inquisitor Promethea and her new Throne Agents traveled back to Port Echo via their new ship, the frigate Cromwell’s Fury, to further investigate and to begin recruiting acolytes of their own, with the full cooperation of Captain Surma of the station…

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Fall of the Whisperer
Aleron's Rest

(advance to Ascended rank)
(Brian, Doug, Jane, Peg, Randy)

Encryption-Pattern Zeta
Cipher-Lock Engaged
To: Hans Steendahl, Inquisitor
From: Marigold, Interrogator, Temple Vanus
Thought for the Day: Those Who Do Not Learn from History are Blessed

My Lord,

Since departing Neumos with your blessing to approach High Admiral Aldred about requisitioning a battle-group to return to Aleron’s Rest, my Astropathic Choir reported that Epsilon Cell, along with Lady Captain Antigone of the Starburst, and the Planetary Defense Force of Aleron’s Rest had managed to destroy the Yu’vath construct.

Much surprised and pleased, I nevertheless requisitioned two Raider-class vessels in case this good news was premature and returned with all haste to Aleron’s Rest. Upon arriving, I was asked to assess whether certain members of Epsilon Cell retained their minds and free will. I debriefed them in the usual manner, and learned the following:

After I left to get military aid, Epsilon Cell ventured to Cog where they cleared out the few remaining Whisperers and contacted Magos Genetor Sidon who provided the means to some of them to stave off sleep while they continued to investigate. Upon departing Cog, they thought to investigate Installation 23, the promethium refinery. As they approached, however, from out of the gloom of the gas giant’s cloud came a crystalline ship the size of an Imperial Raider, crackling with eldritch energy. Recognizing that a small gun-cutter could not possibly defeat a xenos ship that size, Epsilon cell fled, eventually losing the vessel in the cloud using a nearby minor moon. In the process, however, Callidon Reese was stricken senseless by the warp-generated weaponry of this shard-vessel.

Having confirmed that Installation 23 was protected by patrols of crystalline Yu’vath construct ships, Epsilon Cell returned to Aleron’s Rest where they consulted with the Astropath I left behind to facilitate communication. She utilized the gifts granted her by the Emperor to passively spy deeper into the cloud. She reported that Installation 23 was defended by a patrol screen of these crystalline shard ships, and that beyond Installation 23, hidden in the depths of the gas giant, was a dark and terrible intelligence, a massive construct ship that the shards seemed to be connected to. She also reported a mere 2,000 or so active minds aboard the Installation.

Epsilon Cell spent a few days planning a daring and potentially fatal act to attempt to critically weaken this immense and imminent danger when Lady Captain Antigone Zenobia arrived. As I had departed Aleron’s Rest, I sent a message to the Lady Captain at nearby Port Constance asking for her aid as a first-responder, knowing that it might take me a month or more to muster full naval aid. She was only able to spare herself and her flagship, the Starburst, having to leave her other ship to contain the Port Constance reclamation effort. Epsilon Cell revealed their Inquisition credentials to Lady Captain Antigone, who coordinated the planetary defense force under Governor Tal to prepare a defensive containment action should Epsilon Cell’s plan fail.

Epsilon Cell took two gun-cutter shuttles. One with themselves, the Astropath I lent them, Beatrice, a handful of murder servitors, and a backup pilot borrowed from Lady Captain Antigone. On the other shuttle was a crew of naval marines also from the Starburst. Using Astropath Beatrice’s immense senses, the two shuttles avoided the shard-craft. The second shuttle approached Installation 23 openly, distracting any who may have been inside, as well as calling the attention of the shard craft, while Epsilon Cell’s vessel was able to covertly approach and dock near a refueling port.

The naval crew in the second shuttle did not survive the gambit. Attached is a list of names for commendation.

Epsilon Cell utilized their particular skills to infiltrate Installation 23, following a carefully constructed plan to seize the Enginarium and input new course coordinates. The Installation had engines for minor orbital course corrections. Acolyte Bastion Attilan calculated the optimal timing and optimal course correction to rapidly send Installation 23 into a decaying orbit, to crash solidly into the Yu’vath Destroyer-class construct concealed in the cloud. There were some complications in bringing this plan to fruition, but Epsilon Cell ultimate succeeded, barely escaping in their shuttle before the entire promethium refinery impacted the immense ship I’ll code-name The Whisperer. As they fled, the Whisperer attempted communication which resulted in Acolyte Davos’ unconsciousness. Fortunately their backup pilot managed to outrun the immense explosion.

As their shuttle fled the cloud, the damaged remains of the Whisperer erupted from the gaseous surface behind them and engaged the Starburst and the planetary defense force. In the subsequent naval battle, nearly 2/3 of the PDF ships were destroyed, and the Starburst sustained heavy damage, but Sister Castita led a fleet-wide song in glory to the Emperor, a display of faith that appeared to distract the construct somewhat. That faith, and the immense amount of damage it had received, was ultimately enough for the Starburst and assorted craft to crack the thing apart as it fled. Lady Captain Antigone had her ship pulverize the remains for nearly an entire day, ensuring that no significant fragment remained.

Shortly thereafter, Astropath Beatrice contacted me with the news and I set course for Aleron’s Rest.

Upon arriving a week later, I debriefed Epsilon Cell. Their victory was a significant one. They survived close proximity to a Yu’vath destroyer-construct, and invoked official Inquisitorial authority to do so. I decided that a period of rest and recuperation was necessary, especially as they can no longer rely on anonymity in the Licenian subsector. I also saw fit to brief them on the true history of the Yu’vath, their origins, and the importance of Neumos. We also discussed the potentially complex politics surrounding the dark secrets they discovered about Dynasty Vallenti, and the fact that the head of the Ordo Malleus in the area is tied to that Dynasty. I assured them we would be following up on the increasingly uncomfortable clues being discovered about Dynasty Starling.

I will transport Epsilon Cell to the Solemn Hall on Ichabarr where they will receive full debriefing. I look forward to your further instructions.

In Faith,

Marigold,
Vanem Umbrae

View
The Whisperer
Aleron's Rest

(500 + GE)
(all present)

Encryption-Pattern Zeta
Cipher-Lock Engaged
To: Hans Steendahl, Inquisitor
From: Marigold, Interrogator, Temple Vanus
Thought for the Day: Be Always Vigilant

My Lord,

Epsilon cell has confirmed initial suspicions. They managed to defeat a Yu’vath crystalwisp without suffering memory loss, and also dispelled a Yu’vath Dark Energy Construct which had infested the moon of Silence. I admit to being impressed. In this old monastery were ancient records dating back to the Angevin Crusade telling the story of Loras Vallenti, Lord-Captain of the Vallenti Rogue Trader Dynasty at the conclusion of the crusade. Apparently, upon ascending to the Lord-Captain’s throne, he became privy to a terrible secret held by his predecessor. During the Crusade, Dynasty Vallenti came upon a damaged, derelict Yu’vath destroyer-class construct similar to the one destroyed over Rubrica. Remembering the sheer power of the construct that plummeted to Rubrica’s surface, this Dynast opted instead to salvage the ship, towing it through the warp by means that must have been extensive, and hiding it inside the gas giant around which orbits the moons of Aleron’s Rest.

This secret caused Loras Vallenti to abdicate his position and take up a life of monastic dedication to the Emperor and his saints. The monastery of Silence was not only a place to practice the sculptor’s arts, but also a desperate attempt to make up for the sins of his father, and perhaps to ward the system against the eventual rise of this Yu’vath battleship. He became convinced that if he could only create the perfect symbol of faith in the Emperor that he could seal the entity and prevent it from ever waking.

It would appear that these aspirations were in error. I hypothesize that when the warp storms erupted they started the slow process of self-repair, but that the instability of the immaterium prevented full activation. When those storms waned, however, the construct awoke. It has been subverting the populace of Aleron’s Rest, starting with the innermost structure, namely the Promethium refinery, and insidiously spreading to outer orbits.

Epsilon cell delivered the contents of Silence’s library to the Void Star, an immense number of books that I will catalogue. They also delivered the corpse of the crystalwisp. I have opted not to seek to recover the knowledge contained in that crystalline structure. I am, however, on my way immediately to Neumos to consult with you prior to what must be the mustering of a significant naval force.

Epsilon cell opted to stay behind and gather intelligence on the current operational status of the Yu’vath destroyer, and to hinder it if possible. I do not know what success they will have, but I hope that they remain alive and un-enslaved by the time we return.

In Faith,
Marigold, Interrogator
Vanem Umbrae


System Reboot Authorization: Sidon-magus-00002300×09
Facility: Cog, 11th moon, Aleron’s Rest
System Update: Processing…

Dear me, it will take weeks to clean up this mess. Fortunately those delightful representatives of the “Adeptus Administratum” have informed me that the storms have abated and there is once more contact with the greater Imperium. I look forward to sharing the last seven centuries of study with the greater Mechanicus.

A bother about whatever this is that is brainwashing people. Those “Adepts” didn’t seem particularly forthcoming with details, although visual and olfactory analysis of their bio-electrical fields and heat signatures indicated they were actively withholding a great deal from me. They had an adept of Verispex armour, a Tech-Priest with a cyber-mastiff, a Catachan (who, sadly, denied me a blood sample…), a man who moved with the effete grace of a noble-born melee combatant, a Sister of the Adepta Sororitas in antique power armour, and a tattooed psyker of significant potency. As they were obviously a cell of Inquisition agents, I opted against pressing them for details. I trust they will take care of whatever it is that subverted my acolytes and turned them against me. Apparently it invades the mind during dreams. I suppose it is fortunate that I have long-since altered my neurology to make sleep unnecessary.

They did me a great service in returning this facility to my control. They even left most of the defensive emplacements intact. That must have been one remarkable act of piloting.

They have apparently determined that the source of this unusual signal is coming from the old Promethium refinery and they have departed to investigate. I wish them the grace and blessing of the Omnissiah.

Magos Sidon
Collegia Genetor

View
A Xenos Mystery
Aleron's Rest

(600 + GE)
(Brian, Doug, Jane, Peg, Randy)

Encryption-Pattern Zeta
Cipher-Lock Engaged
To: Hans Steendahl, Inquisitor
From: Marigold, Interrogator, Temple Vanus
Thought for the Day: Through Faith we are Free

My Lord,

The “world” of Aleron’s Rest was not what I expected. An immense gas giant orbiting a dying red star was bleeding mass into the void through a combination of reduced solar gravitation and increased solar winds. The inhabited colony world itself was the largest and outermost moon of the gas giant, now gliding just above the expanding vapors of its parent world. Other moons, some showing signs of habitation, now traversed the murky storm, wracked by ion-storms and other difficulties. While the moon of Aleron’s Rest itself seemed reasonably safe, and indeed, still possessing a full degree of Imperial technological capability, the deeper moons were a more difficult matter to read with the augur arrays of the Void Star.

We were hailed by vox-caster with surprising alacrity considering the Void Star’s silent running, and I left initial negotiations to Acolyte Hiberna. It would appear that the planetary Governor, named Tal, was most eager to see representatives of the Imperium. Voice-pattern analysis indicated a great degree of stress, and an urgent need for relief of some problem he was unwilling to discuss via vox-caster. Epsilon Cell took a shuttle to the capitol city of the moon while I took up a more cautious, distant orbit.

It would appear that the citizens of Aleron’s Rest have thoroughly internalized the Imperial position that their ancestors were worthy of extermination but for acts of brave rebellion against their xenos masters. For this, they were given this moon, to live out their lives in service to the Empire, segregated lest the taint of the Yu’Vath spread. It would appear that when the warp storms arose some seven centuries ago, the star changed, expanding, dulling, and that this resulted in the expansion and mass-bleed of the gas giant. The planet is immense, and will not lose sufficient mass to threaten the colony for some centuries yet, but the people of Aleron’s Rest saw this as a sign that a time of testing was upon them. Sudden lack of Imperial tithe ships, as well as the black ships of the Inquisition, confirmed that they were in for an isolation, and they bolstered their faith.

It would appear that the Licenian Regency’s ships did make landfall here every fifty years or so. The people of Aleron’s Rest, having dutifully stockpiled their owed Imperial tithes, handed them over without complaint to the Regent’s people, and as such, was left alone and in peace.

Governor Tal made great pains to impress upon Epsilon Cell the piety and sense of Imperial duty possessed by the people of the moon, who have sought now for two millenia to be worthy of full Imperial citizenship. Once he stressed this, however, he revealed the source of his concern. It would appear that about seven months ago, at a time coinciding with the waning once more of the warp storms, a strange cult began to suddenly rise within the communities of the various moons of the planet. This cult is not characterized by any particular belief or creed, but rather has all the hallmarks of mind control or possession. People began having strange dreams filled with enigmatic whispers, none of which could be remembered upon waking. Suddenly, and without apparent reason, people began acting in murderous, concerted ways against their fellow citizens. Epsilon Cell, with the full cooperation of the colony government, began an investigation that appeared, at first, to be similar to the sort of thing the Slaugth were up to on Ymir-3, but as time went on, became increasingly bizarre.

I will append the full report when next I see you in person. For now, I will sum up their findings garnered via interrogation of captured “Whisperers” and exhaustive records analysis. The frequency of these dreams varies widely person to person, and there is somewhat of a correlation between dream frequency and the likelihood of full conversion. Once converted, the “Whisperer” retains all of their former knowledge and even personality, but suddenly bears the utter conviction that any non-Whisperer needs to be slain. They do not act mindlessly, nor compulsively, feeding the growing paranoia in the colony that anyone, at any time, could be a Whisperer merely biding his or her time. The main colony moon of Aleron’s Rest, which bears by far the majority of the population, is teetering on the edge of paranoia-induced anarchy held barely in check by the governor, who to all appearances is actually quite competent at his job.

The plague started, it would appear, deep within the clouds of escaping mass at a promethium refinery known as Installation-23. At first it appeared to be acts of sabotage by criminals or malcontents. The PDF was sent in, the rebellion pacified, only to flare up again once the PDF had left. Soon, the PDF themselves started manifesting saboteurs and murderers. Contact was ultimately lost with the Installation as similar uprisings were reported from the Mechanicus moon known as Cog, and the first stirrings of such uprisings on Aleron’s Rest itself. Patterns in the data indicate a single intelligence controlling the dreams and causing the subversion of these otherwise pious citizens. Acolyte Promethea discerned a very subtle disturbance in the warp around individuals having one of the dreams, and I developed theoretical frameworks around both known warp-using xenos, and daemonic activity.

Ultimately, however, Epsilon Cell realized that their investigation must bring them into the storm to one of the more infested moons. They selected the moon of Silence, a airless rock holding a religious monastery dedicated to enshrining Imperial saints in the form of exquisite statuary. After that, they may go on to Cog, an icy moon with underground greenhouse installations dedicated, apparently, to the work of a Magos Biologis. Their plans after that I cannot speculate without further data. I will not be able to contact them once they penetrate the outer layers of the storm, and so I will continue to monitor conditions on Aleron’s Rest, and aim the Void Star’s augur arrays deep into the planet below.

An interesting detail: Apparently Lady-Captain Elizabeth Starling made a visit to Aleron’s Rest some two months after the warp storms abated. This coincides with Lady-Captain Callista Flamel’s initial forays, reports from which alerted the Lord-Sector that the storms had abated. Our endeavors against the Council of Nine resulted in contact with the Starling siblings, and her presence at this moon, her exploration of events at the very start of these strange uprisings, and her subsequent silence about them is of intriguing concern.

In Faith,

Marigold
Vanem Umbrae


Data-Recording Begin:
Unit-Designation: Crimson
Supplemental Datafeed: Bastian Attilan

a visual of an oblong rocky planetoid with a force-bubble dome, blue and green gasses wash over it as ion lightning plays around the shuttle. The shuttle penetrates the dome to reveal a large tower built of stone, with elaborate carvings of massive Imperial saints gracing the four sides. All around the tower is an elaborate stone garden holding hundreds of broken cast-off statues of notable Imperial saints. There is no sign of life.

The shuttle touches down. The camera has a low-to-the-ground angle, the members of Epsilon Cell loom large on all sides. They cautious walk through the empty garden of broken statues. Suddenly, a black-purple energy erupts from the ground, crackling between the statues, which lumber to life and attack. Epsilon Cell fights bravely, but is herded by the press of stone to the closed door of the tower, which Dido pushes open in terror. The rest follow, closing the door upon the statues without.

A glow-globe lights the first floor. The entire bottom floor of the tower is the living quarters, kitchens, communal dining areas, and store rooms. It is full of corpses. Epsilon Cell moves amongst the corpses, investigating them. Data recording reflects the medical conclusion that they all stopped where they were, sat down, and died of thirst.

A stone staircase leads up into the tower. Upon reaching the second floor, data feed indicates a massive library. Fifteen foot tall shelves stacked with books and scrolls with corridors narrow enough for only one to walk. Dido’s eyes light up. She finds an index, and determines that this library is full of two-thousand years of scholarship into Imperial saints, their iconography, their rites, their appearances. She takes a book on Saint Aleron from the shelf. It is blank. Another book is also blank, as is the next scroll. After some frenzies checking, about 75% of the books appear to have somehow been erased. As Dido checks the books, Promethea tilts her head as if hearing something. She indicates the approach of something that resonates with her psychic abilities. Suddenly the shelves fall away from the Acolytes opening a space and something horrific emerges from the stacks.

It is a crystalline orb, a meter across, with smaller crystals in orbit around it. The whole construct crackles with a black-purple energy which pulses and reaches for the acolytes. Dido appears to recognize the construct and a look of horror and panic causes her to turn specifically to Bastian, as if he is in particular danger, and yell “run Bastian!”

Feed Disrupted

View
The Worm that Walks
Ymir-3

(600 + GE)
(Brian, Jane, Peg, Randy, Sean)

Encryption-Pattern Zeta
Cipher-Lock Engaged
To: Hans Steendahl, Inquisitor
From: Marigold, Interrogator, Temple Vanus
Thought for the Day: The Emperor’s Gaze Pierces All Mystery

My Lord,

We travel once more through the warp on our way to Aleron’s Rest. I have calculated likely tactical scenarios for an assault on Port Constance, but I do not believe I have sufficient data to calculate with any degree of certainty the likely outcome. I will report, however, on the specific matter of Epsilon Cell’s successes on Ymir-3.

My last report concluded with the acolytes going into the depths of the palace and being confronted with a blasphemous Slaugth device. I apologize that I was not able to complete that report. There was an error in Astropathic transmission. I will complete it now.

Upon viewing the device, the acolytes heard the various emergency blast doors they passed slam shut as the engine manifested two Slaugth constructs which sought to entangle the acolytes in a quickly-solidifying mucous or inject them with mutagenic substances. They fought the flesh-and-metal constructs, destroying them, whereupon they erupted into smoke and bubbled away into a noxious cloud that dissipated. Our agent of the Callidus Temple, Dinali, who was with them in her guise as a soothesayer, managed to open the first door. The Prime minister, who was with them, expressed shock and surprise, and Epsilon Cell deemed it unlikely that he was the source of the betrayal.

As they worked their way back up into the palace, they ascertained the tell-tale sounds of battle. In the royal dining hall, they found royal guard doing battle with more of these constructs. The acoyltes joined in, surprising the guards who had apparently been told by Prince Zenith that the acolytes were clearly responsible for this “demonic” invasion, and had ordered them to apprehend the acolytes on sight. Epsilon Cell managed to convince the royal guard of the purity of their intentions, and the cell, along with Dinali and five Royal Guard headed to the Queen’s quarters where Acolyte Promethea detected more people, and the possibility of more Slaugth presence.

They arrived to discover that Queen Atali was dead on her bed, her cranium having been dissolved, and what could only be a full-fledged Slaugth feeding off her cranial matter. Prince Zenith was nearby, clearly in league with the alien, along with two subverted Royal Guard. Princess Nadir was slumped against the wall, presumably drugged, while the royal soothesayer was cowering in the corner before the clear might of the alien.

When next we are in proximity, I will submit to a full datamine of the details, as I extracted them later from the mind of Acolyte Caracella. For now, I will use crude descriptive language. The Slaugth appeared cloaked in sight-baffling shadow, but looked like a vaguely humanoid shape nearly three meters tall. One vague limb was buried in the queen’s cranium. In subsequent flashes of brilliant light from Prince Zenith’s conversion field, the acolytes saw the Slaugth’s true shape, namely an immense mass of pale worms congealed by a thick mucous into a single, amorphous mass. It appeared as a psychic hole to those with the sight. It carried another one of those corroded-seeming sceptres.

Dinali, wearing the guise of a Praxian lieutenant, charged Prince Zenith. Her initial blow revealed his conversion field, the resulting flash from which showed the true horror of the Slaugth to all. Epsilon Cell engaged the Slaugth and his human allies in combat, in contravention of my advice that they should avoid direct contact with such a creature. Nevertheless, they deemed the situation warranted it, and in light of their eventual success, I can find no fault in their tactical decision on the ground.

Prince Zenith proved to be an effective melee combatant, nearly killing Acolyte Rees. He eventually fell before the concerted assault of Dinali, Rees, and a few shots from Acolyte Davos, and some of the royal guard they brought with them. Acolyte Davos’ fully automatic weaponry seemed not to affect the Slaugth much, but Veteran Sister Castita’s blessed Seraphim-pattern flamers seemed to do it significant harm. Acolyte Davos switched to a power sword and rather bravely engaged the alien in melee.

The alien itself attempted a blast from its sceptre, but ultimately resorted to strikes with elongated appendages of swarming maggots, oozing a necrotic fluid. Acolyte Rees once again nearly died, each time being brought back from the brink by the healing powers of Acolyte Promethea, who managed to maintain constant and consistent healing notwithstanding the anti-psychic aura of the alien. Even so, she was unable to save Callidus Dinali, who was ultimately dissolved and digested by the creature. I deeply regret the report you will doubtless have to make to the Temple Callidus on the loss of one of their rare members.

Ultimately, the power swords of Acolyte Davos and Acolyte Rees reduced the Slaugth to the same bubbling smoke that the constructs assumed when sufficiently damaged. While it is not entirely clear whether the creature is dead, or somehow retreated, circumstantial evidence supports the supposition that they are somehow… manifested intrusions into our reality, and that the Slaugth inhabit some alternate dimensional realm, as postulated by Magus Scorius in the fifteenth millennium, that is not the warp, and is in fact anathema to it. Whether that theory is correct or not, it would seem that they cannot transport themselves instantaneously or it would have fled. I think it likely that this particular creature was, in fact, killed.

During the fight, Acolyte Caracella managed to revive the drugged Princess Nadir. In the aftermath of the battle, they made the Princess understand that her brother had turned to “demonic” allies in an attempt to usurp the throne, and had sought to blame the acolytes, which would have doubtless resulted in their lynching had they not foiled the plan. They did their utmost to help her accept the fact of her mother’s loss and her own ascension to Queen.

As Epsilon Cell was now exposed to the Slaugth, I deemed it necessary to send, by Astropath, a requisition order to Battlefleet Ixaniad, which was currently engaged around the planet Licenia. We required a significant Imperial presence on Ymir-3 so as to prevent the Slaugth from deciding to escalate matters. They are a species that prefers subtlety and the shadows, and shining the bright light of Imperial attention on Ymir-3 seemed the best defense against the creatures. I had a number of the Void Star’s gunships patrol the vicinity of the capitol by remote so as to support the message, as delivered by Epsilon Cell, that the Imperium would support Queen Nadir as planetary governor within the Pax Imperialis. She took the news relatively well. Apparently the religious structures of Ymir-3 already accomodate the idea of lesser monarch-divinities bowing to greater monarch-divinities as part of their history of conquest and assimilation of lesser tribes and kingdoms.

In the week until we could receive an Imperial response, Epsilon Cell helped guide Queen Nadir in preparing her people for assimilation into the Imperium. Acolyte Rees and the Queen’s spymaster uncovered a Slaugth receiver station, which I lanced from orbit. The demonstration of orbital weaponry was also a useful PR tool for convincing ambassadors of rival powers that they should not oppose Praxia by force.

Eventually, a small task force of three ships under the command of Lady-Captain Antigone Zenobia arrived with a significant force Guardsmen of the 117th Dusk Infantry, as well as Imperial representatives of the various Adeptus Terra. Epsilon Cell brokered the initial meetings, and then left Ymir-3 in the hands of its new Planetary Governor, and the Imperial forces that would make the unification of the planet under her role a reality.

Acolyte Attilan was able, after some study, to remove the Slaugth power-supply from the royal palace. The mechanism is currently in the quarantine holds being analyzed by the Adeptus Mechanicus. We hope to discover if my hypothesis as to the trans-dimensional state of their technology can be confirmed, and if so, if there’s some way to block it.

I am engaged in arranging a concerted naval strike on Port Constance. It would appear that the use of overwhelming force is the proper response to a known nest of Slaugth. It is my hope that the increased military presence on Ymir-3, along with Gamma Cell which I left behind to oversee the Inquisition’s interests, can deter the Slaugth from retreating there. That leaves one other known inhabited world in the proximity of Port Constance. We are now traveling to the world of Aleron’s Rest to ascertain if it, too, has fallen under Slaugth control. We should give them the fewest possible options when our strike on Port Constance begins.

Although I am well aware of the history of Aleron’s Rest, I’m afraid that I am in the uncomfortable position of going into a situation entirely blind. I have no intelligence about Aleron’s Rest more recent than 7 centuries ago that might give us an idea of what to expect.

In Service,

Marigold
Vanem Umbrae

View
Amidst the Wolves
Ymir-3

(500 + GE)
(Doug, Jane, Peg, Randy, Sean)

Encryption-Pattern Zeta
Cipher-Lock Engaged
To: Hans Steendahl, Inquisitor
From: Marigold, Interrogator, Temple Vanus
Thought for the Day: Be a Lion Among Wolves

My Lord,

Epsilon Cell’s investigations proceed apace. Inquiries into the Soothsayer’s Guild of Praxia has revealed that, contrary to earlier fears, Soothsayers in this culture are not psykers. They are some cross between psychologists, analysts, and skilled con artists. In fact, overt use of supernatural power is deemed de facto evidence of daemonic possession. All of this is notwithstanding the fact that the Royal Soothsayer is a minor psyker. The extremely subtle use of psychic abilities could certainly explain his rise to his current exalted position.

A culture that destroys any and all overt evidence of psychic power is certainly in keeping with the pre-Imperial Licenian civilization. It also fits our current theory that there is nothing truly daemonic about Ymir-3’s obsession with daemons.

Sister Castita, Acolyte Attilan, and Acolyte Promethea gained access to the palace dungeons where they discovered a political prisoner of the local branch of House Rees and three prisoners captured as the result of “daemon” inspired uprisings. Apparently, when the uprisings fester long enough, full-fledged military action is required to suppress them, but in some cases prisoners are acquired. It is up to the military officers of Praxia, who double as official clergy of the cult of the queen, to rule on summary execution or investigation. Often those prisoners deemed worthy of investigation are those who have wealth, power, or relatives with either or both, and even then only in cases where the evidence of possession is not damning. Acolyte Promethea discerned no hint of psychic power or residue upon the prisoners, but did note a fifth prisoner that the Royal Jailor insisted was not present. It became rapidly clear that the Queen was holding a secret prisoner she wished to keep concealed.

Acolyte Dido did some research in the Royal Archives while Acolyte Rees planted surveillance equipment in key places around the palace. He was also able to infiltrate the royal apartments, which are apparently contained in an old colonial STC pre-fabricated administration building, which the rest of the palace was built around. The royal apartments still had electrical power, although the source of that power was suspected to not be the original, STC micro-fusion reactor.

After the acolytes re-convened, it was suspected that perhaps the Ryneian hereteks in the polar facility might be aware of Slaugth manipulation. I set up the Void Star as a relay and Acolyte Attilan conversed in binary with whichever member of the cult was on the receiving end of our transmissions. The cult revealed highly sophisticated augur arrays, and provided us with data to indicate that “corrupted technology” (i.e. technology fused with flesh, which Ryneians consider inherently flawed and corrupt) was brought to Ymir-3 by those who “predate” upon humans. The hereteks asserted that only through transfiguration into pure machine could humanity hope to survive. More importantly, they indicated the mechanism whereby the Slaugth travel to Ymir-3, namely “receivers” that permit them to transport themselves to concealed locations from their base of operations. The hereteks confirmed Interrogator Svenya’s report that the Slaugth originate from the vicinity of Port Constance.

If the Slaugth have instantaneous transportation abilities between Port Constance and Ymir-3, that strongly implies they may be active on Aleron’s Rest as well, as both worlds, cosmically speaking, are in the same “neighborhood.” So far we have no current intelligence on Aleron’s Rest, but I will calculate the feasibility of detailing agents to look into the matter.

Inquisitor-Sicarius Dinali revealed herself to Epsilon Cell in her guise as the Soothsayer Serena. She attached herself to the group for the purposes of a less formal, more private dinner with the Queen that evening.

During dinner, the Queen’s soothsayer utilized a psychic power to make it more difficult for the dinner to be spied upon by means psychic or technological and the Queen and her son revealed: 1) The mystery prisoner is a relative of the House of Fera who fell under possession and attempted to assassinate the queen, 2) The Queen was concerned that certain matters of unusual technology at her disposal are, in fact, of “daemonic” origin, citing her own sceptre, the weapon the assassin apparently attempted to use on her, and the power source beneath her palace. She promised that if the acolytes could provide her with replacements for these things so as not to disadvantage her against her enemies, she would gladly give them up.

After dinner, the Prime Minister took the acolytes below to view the “daemonic” engine powering the palace, and presumably those parts of the capitol with power. The acolytes witnessed a full-fledged Slaugth artifact. I will update you as we know more.

Yours in Faith,

Marigold
Vanem Umbrae

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