The Licenian Heresy

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.

View
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…

View
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

View
Demons of Ymir-3
Ymir-3

(600 + GE)
(All present)

Encryption-Pattern Zeta
Cipher-Lock Engaged
To: Hans Steendahl, Inquisitor
From: Marigold, Interrogator, Temple Vanus
Thought for the Day: Shine Your Light upon the Darkness

My Lord,

We entered orbit around Ymir-3 on time. The services of the navigators of House Risari continue to be a boon to your endeavors. I gathered the acolytes of Epsilon cell for their briefing. I gave them an update on current intelligence on the political factions within the Licenian subsector on the off-chance they would discover evidence of recent Regency or Consular interference, I told them of the Dynasty Haram data, and avoided discussing the reports of Interrogator Svenya on the subject of nearby Port Constance and his speculations as to what xenos laired there. I did not wish to pre-dispose the acolytes to any particular conclusions in the early stages of their investigation.

Inquisitor-Sicarius Dinali reported that the path had been prepared for a formal introduction of “witchhunters” from the Imperium into the court of Queen Atali of Praxia. The Queen’s acceptance of foreigners from the stars has, I suspect, far more to do with her ambitions to rule the entire planet than anything else, and I anticipate she will make strong overtures to the acolytes for gifts of technology. Once we have finished our assessment of the situation, we can consider who might be an appropriate planetary governor on behalf of the Emperor.

Veteran Sister-Superior Castita took the lead, as well as the Rosarius, from Acolyte Rees and they made their arrival to the Queen’s court in Praxia. They managed to make an excellent first impression with the royal family and assorted hanger’s on, were formally welcomed, and completed their first formal dinner.

Epsilon cell has, indeed, become a well-honed tool. By the end of their first day on Praxia they have already uncovered more than Inquisitor-Sicarius Dinali has in the previous week. Of course, they have the benefit of being able to ask direct questions. There are certain disadvantages to deep cover it would seem.

Epsilon cell reports an enclave of the Tynian heresy hidden away in a polar bunker-fortress. My own scans verify that this enclave holds the only functioning plasma-reactor on Ymir-3. I have already calculated the necessary firing trajectory to annihilate the bunker with the Void Star’s lance battery, but I am withholding that sanction until Epsilon cell can ascertain if this enclave is somehow connected to the larger issues on Ymir-3 or is merely an additional point of corruption.

The matter that gripped Epsilon cell’s imagination immediately, as well it should, was the contention by inhabitants of Ymir-3 that their world is prone to persistent and constant daemonic possession. The acolytes at first worried that their blase attitude toward apparent psykers might be the cause, but upon additional investigation they noted that the entire paradigm of daemonic possession, as understood by the locals, differed significantly from all known manifestations of that type. The “daemonic possessions” appeared to merely transform ordinary people into clever, knowledgeable insurgents, and the strength and effectiveness of these rebellions correlated to the political power of the polity they were rebelling against. Nowhere were there any indications of actual daemonic manifestation. The acolytes rapidly came to the conclusion that a concerted effort by a cabal of telepaths could easily bring about this same state, and that some group or cabal was apparently manipulating the politics on this planet to keep them tumultuous. It suited someone’s agenda to keep the planet wracked in perpetual warfare.

When they were able to attain an eyewitness description of the Queen’s “sceptre of office,” however, I deemed it appropriate to fill them in on our leading theory, which the appearance of the sceptre seems to confirm. It would appear that Slaugth artifacts, if not Slaugth themselves, are present on Ymir-3. I briefed the acolytes on the scant intelligence we possess on this sinister species, and warned them to be careful in their ongoing investigation. I will brief you as we learn more.

In Service,

Marigold,
Vanem Umbrae

Cipher Lock Disengaged

View
The Shattering of the Council
Port Echo

(800 + GE)
(All present)

Encryption-Pattern Zeta
Cipher-Lock Engaged
To: Hans Steendahl, Inquisitor
From: Marigold, Interrogator, Temple Vanus
Thought for the Day: “…A Light in the Darkness”

My Lord. Epsilon and Gamma cells have, I believe, effectively concluded all that they can accomplish on Port Echo at this time. I know that your own arrival is imminent, and that I will be making a… more complete report at that time, I send you this report so as to give you some time to digest the information.

Acolytes Rees and Attilan successfully sowed discontent and distrust alongside Lady-Captain Surma within the Council of Nine. Epsilon Cell then coordinated with Gamma cell and the local Adeptus Mechanicus to gain access to Finn’s hidden port facilities on the underside of the station. He had, apparently, sealed off this part of the station, effectively cutting the Stryxis off from their ships. While Gamma cell fought their way through the Pale Throng in the Gray Holds on their way to the Black Holds, pulling attention or other resources away, Epsilon cell infiltrated Finn’s stronghold and boarded his Raider-class vessel, the Void Kraken. Along the way, Epsilon cell encountered a curious lack of people, and a disconcerting number of wide-spread if low-powered psychic effects. The local warp had been flooded with psychic static making attempts by psychic powers or even technological surveillance devices more difficult, and the veil between worlds was, itself, dangerously thin.

As the Acolytes approached the ship, they started to hear Finn’s voice in their heads alternating between incomprehensible alien babbling and sly entreaties to join him and reap all the wealth and power they could desire. Epsilon cell held firm to their faith in the Emperor and boarded the vessel. They encountered disturbing carnage, but were more immediately threatened by a Navigator who appeared to have been driven mad in some fashion. Attacking her caused her to split in half as her warp eye tore open a hole into the warp. The subsequent manifestation of daemonic presences caused many of the acolytes to be shaken in their resolve, but Acolyte Promethea dispatched the daemonic manifestation. They then made greater haste to the bridge.

They encountered Finn there. He appeared to be a human in the prime of his youth but with white points of light burning in his eyes. They assaulted him. I have taken from the mind of Acolyte Attilan a complete account of the battle, and will likewise be providing it to you so that the details of this Halo Device manifestation can be analyzed. In brief, he appeared preternaturally quick, unnaturally strong, and superbly resistant to any source of damage they could deliver. What minor wounds they did inflict bled with an eerie blue blood, and slowly appeared to knit before their eyes. Aside from incredible resilience, however, he did not appear to be much of a physical threat, opting instead to assail their minds, drawing mental schisms to the surface. Once he had successfully done so, he seemed capable of using those schism to insinuate an echo of his own alien intelligence into their minds.

Acolyte Cromwell was the first to fall to this possession. He engaged his fellow Acolyte, Promethea, in close combat, which effectively removed her from the greater conflict. Finn attempted but failed to similarly subvert Acolyte Davos, but succeeded on Acolyte Attilan. Before Acolyte Attilan could similarly turn on his companions, however, Acolyte Rees revealed possession of a “Blood Thorn” artifact, which he used to deal the death blow to Finn, who had already been pretty well battered by grenades and other assaults.

As we both know, however, one who has bonded with a Halo Device cannot die in any conventional sense. Acolyte Attilan found the alien presence leave his mind, but it was to permit Finn to focus his attempts at full possession of Acolyte Cromwell, who telepathically taunted his companions, daring them to strike him down.

I am pleased to report that the did not hesitate to do so. Acolyte Cromwell, however, was a singularly tough individual even before the possession. Fortunately Acolyte Attilan was able to entreat him successfully to fight against possession. Acolyte Cromwell was able to suppress Finn’s mind long enough to successfully kill himself with a krak grenade to the head.

I have attached to this report the formal amendment of an Inquisitorial commendation post-mortem for Acolyte Cromwell, formerly of the Adeptus Arbites.

In the course of the conflict, Acolyte Hiberna managed to somehow shut down the Void Kraken’s plasma drives. Epsilon cell, taking the bodies of Finn and Cromwell with them, accompanied by the newly arrived Gamma cell, escaped the dying ship, sealing the maddened crewmembers inside as gravity, air, and everything else failed. They escaped here to the Void Star where I have received their report. They have some loose ends to tie up on the station, but I intend to keep them out of sight until you and your entourage can arrive and effect arrests and purges.

In Faith,

Marigold
Vanem Umbrae

View
Under Siege
Port Echo

(500 + GE)
(Brian, Jane, Peg, Randy)

Encryption-Pattern Zeta
Cipher-Lock Engaged
To: Hans Steendahl, Inquisitor
From: Marigold, Interrogator, Temple Vanus
Thought for the Day: “The Emperor’s Enemies Flourish in Darkness”

My Lord,

In the aftermath of the actions by renegade Navigator House Virth to blackmail Lady-Captain Surma on behalf of the presumed deceased Lord-Captain Finn, Surma decided to confront her fellows on the Council of Nine on the subject of Finn’s continued existence, Flamel’s knowledge of it, Finn’s aggression against Surma, and other matters that, when voiced in Council, could not help but sow distrust and dissent. As this is all to our goal and benefit, Acolyte Rees, supported by Acolyte Attilan, attended the Council meeting leaving the rest of Epsilon cell to head to the Grey Decks in an attempt to purchase the Warp Disrupter ship-borne device that the Stryxis had on offer, and to make inquiries into Finn’s hidden whereabouts.

The siege and blockage of Port Echo by the navy of the “Licenian Regency” has made the station rather unstable at the moment. Although not enough time has passed to cause serious inconvenience, the fear of starvation has struck the station and riots over food supplies have already broken out. They are fairly well-contained thus far, but this station has not had to suffer such deprivation in living memory, and was clearly unprepared for a naval blockade. The Acolytes descended to the Gray Decks where they discovered the denizens of those slums taking a far greater interest in them and their movements than previously, including a small group of what they surmised were probably Vain’s commandos in disguise.

Epsilon cell arrived at the Stryxis market, which was much more heavily guarded by the xenos and their “meat” servants. There was evidence of recent violence, and Acolyte Dido noted intact suits of Vain’s commando armor for sale. The Stryxis informed them that the Warp Disruptor had already been purchased. The acolytes entered trade negotiations for information on who bought it and where they might be found, as well as seeking to buy the scavenged commando armor, and the salvaged implants the inhabitants of the armor needed to effectively use it. The Acolytes learned that the Warp Disrupter had been purchased by Rennic, who the acolytes knew from Celine’s testimony was an agent of Finn. The Stryxis also revealed that Finn had secret ship-docks on the underside of the station amidst the “Black Holds”, the industrial parts of the station where the plasma reactors, corpse-starch vats, and other necessary but unpleasant parts of the station lay. Many sections of the black holds were without gravity, air, or even power, and navigating them to find Finn’s secret docks was dangerous, but the Stryxis provided a map, as these self-same docks were the ones they were permitted to use when boarding the station. The acolytes gave to the Stryxis the information they had gathered on the location in the Gray Decks where Hiram Vain’s transmissions were originating for the direction of his soldiers and servitors, as well as the signal-cipher being used. They also encouraged the Stryxis to consider abandoning Port Echo once the blockade was lifted, as the business climate for aliens here was likely to sour rapidly.

The Acolytes investigated Vain’s technology and discovered highly sophisticated carapace armour with many interesting built-in systems. The weapons also had some advantages. They delivered these items to me. I am continuing to investigate their fabrication. The acolytes and I discussed possible routes into the Black Holds that didn’t require the Stryxis map. Since the Black Holds are mostly the domain of the Adeptus Mechanicus, I posited that they could have Acolyte Attilan utilize his contacts to get them access if they did not wish to trust entirely to the map. Either way, hunting Finn in his lair would require a team at full strength, so they intended to wait until the Council of Nine’s extended negotiations came to a close.

The Acolytes went on a meeting with Rogue Trader Dynasty Starling. As their Lord-Captain was in the Council of Nine meeting, Acolyte Dido met with Elizabeth Starling, the Lord-Captain’s sister. Apparently the Aguirre Dynasty managed to negotiate with the Licenian Regency Admiral on behalf of Lord-Captain Starling permitting him to transport food through the blockade. Armed with this new monopoly on imported food, Lazar Starling contacted “House Rees” to discuss a distribution deal. Starling anticipates making a significant profit, and seeks House Rees’ superior connections to the station’s Lady-Captain, as well as their influence over the Lys Syndicate to arrange distribution of food throughout the station for Starling warehouses, as well as protection for the food as it’s distributed. Acolyte Dido effectively agreed while leaving it open to be paid in information on the Amaranthine Syndicate, or some other, non-monetary form if necessary.

The Acolytes returned to their rooms to await the conclusion of the Council of Nine’s meeting.

I know you are in transit. Hopefully the Lord-Captain Aguirre, guided by your agent aboard his ship, can negotiate an end to this blockade before you arrive.

In Faith,

Marigold
Vanem Umbrae

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