The Licenian Heresy

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

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