The Haarlock Legacy Campaign

The Light of Reason
The Light of Reason

The Light of Reason

  • As he departs Sinophia Magna, reestablishing several overt connections following the undercover assignment upon Sinophia; Tybalt discovers a encrypted message of unknown origin waiting for him. The only legible aspect of the data is a question that relates to his previous experiences on Donaris. Once revealed, the key unlocks a disturbing message from Tech-priest Austos Sann: Austos Sann’s Message
  • After reviewing Sann’s data, Tybalyt decides that there is a legitimacy to the late Tech-priest’s concerns, and brings it to Inquisitor Gedeliah’s attention. Achiel invites the entire cell to discuss the matter, and gives them his blessing to pursue the investigation. While recovering from events upon Sinophia, the mystery proves a good distraction to the acolytes who, under Tybalt’s guidance, dissects the data. Meanwhile, Inquisitor Gedeliah conducts some inquiries of his own.
  • While the acolytes conclude that there is quite possibly something located within the cloud of comets surrounding the Lathe system that warrants investigation, Achiel reports that their friend Marr has “reached out” and in gratitude for their efforts upon Sinophia granted the cell use of his heavily modified gun cutter “The Lysithea” for the duration of this investigation.
  • The Lysithea is heavily modified with stealth capabilities, and Captain Nathaniel Galhardo and his crew are all Inquisitorial agents well-used to clandestine operations. As the cell boards the ship and presents their destination, the first question so the ship’s captain is whether or not the Adeptus Mechanicus are to be informed of their operations into their sovereign space?
  • The cell orders Galhardo to take them to the area of space where Sann discovered the anomaly. Tracking his findings, the cell found the same faint evidence, leading then to a cometary fragment drifting in deep orbit. 24 hours of augury survey confirms the suspicion that something is affecting their skein between reality and the warp, but little else. Visual inspection revealed constructions upon the fragment, seemingly Mechanicus in origin.
  • Desiring to take a close look, the Lysithea brings them as close as they dare without risking detection, and the Acolytes make the zero-g jump in void suits. Tied together, they drift off together as most of them are inexperienced space walkers. They still managed to hit the cometary fragment after a 2km drift, but far off target. The traverse back towards their target point burns a lot of breathing gas, especially after a delay fighting (XXXXX). Eventually I approach the hanger bay blast doors, but their path is barred by a sentry gun and a Tech-priest in exo-armor conducting maintenance work.
  • The acolytes survive a desperate and haphazard charge accompanied by several blind grenades, covering their disarrayed infiltration via an maintenance elevator. Re-pressurizing just in time, Tybalt hack into the system to cover any alerts to their presence. Although successful, Tybalt is offended by the corruption of the system. It is evident that delving into the data core might prove dangerous for the Tech-priest. Fortunately, a public announcement draws personnel to other workstations, emptying the hanger bay for the acolytes to enter.
  • There are two Arvus Landers in the bay, both flight capable if given the proper flight preparations. Tybalt continues to assess the data core, albeit carefully; and discovers that thousands of men and women are working on the cometary fragment on some unknown (but given the corrupt data code, probably unsanctioned) project. The cell is divided on their course of action, some wanting to fall back; other claiming they have too little information to report. Eventually, after a close call with an enemy patrol; they decide to push on.
  • The cometary fragment is revealed to be mostly hollowed out by exotic, unrecognizable tech, with crawlspaces, maintenance access, piping routes and dataline conduits running throughout the facility. After some cautious probing, Cromwell finds hidden access ways that lead into the structure. Although dangerous, as shifting gravity, radiation spikes, and mechanical reconfigurations harass the acolytes, the cell uses the crawlspaces for most of their maneuvering within the cometary fragment.
  • After some hazardous exploration, proving how difficult navigation within the machine structures is; the cell find a storage silo with a range of various containers. While investigating, they are almost surprised by a group of loading servitors and their handler, only just managing to dodge into a container themselves – all except Tybalt. Some quick deception allows Tybalt to slip away, but the container (now full of acolytes) is transported elsewhere in the structure.
  • Tybalt’s wanderings eventually leads him to some holding cells where he finds a tortured and emancipated Navigator held prisoner. After some careful cajoling to speak, the navigator explains that the cult here in the cometary fragment are experimenting with dangerous technologies, trying to create a means to replace the Astronomican, perhaps even Navigators. The Tech-priest, having stabilized the Navigator’s terrible state, takes the poor creature with him.
  • The acolytes eventually manage to escape the confinement of the container, and make their way through various structural hazards into the guts of the cometary fragment once again. Although horribly lost, they eventually stumbled upon the (oversight chamber). While observing the vest amphitheater from a ventilation duct, the acolytes take note of a figure robed in black with a heavy hood consulting with the senior magi of the chamber. They have also noticed how all the Tech-priests of the facility seem unusually modified, leaving little in the way of visible flesh anywhere. Before the feral cyber cherubs pick up their scent, the acolytes retreat.
  • After some more exploration, while public announcements inform of ongoing preparations for the engagement of the “Paradox Reactor”, the group manages to reconvene and compare what they’ve learned. Constantine does what he can for the Navigator, who switches between incoherent rambling and mad exclamations of horror and outrage over what the cult is trying to achieve here. The acolytes decide that whatever the details, the experiment must be stopped, and so they aim for the central control room.
  • As the cell make their way to the control room, the public announcement system announces the initiation of the Paradox Reactor, but it seems something goes wrong. The group prepare themselves, then they assault the control room. Although the tech-priests and their laborers prove no threat, the Murder-Servitors on guard prove to be a severe threat. Tybalt himself is nearly killed, only finding himself alive as he is able to leap backwards through the doorway as the blast doors close, sealing him from further attack. Eventually the acolytes are successful, and the control room is clear.
  • Inspecting the damaged control panels, and risking a hack into the wildly corrupted data core, the cell discovers that a warp breach has been formed that seems to be out of control. Any chance of closing it from the control room is lost, their only hope is to make it to the breach itself. The acolytes quickly descend into the mechanical guts of the cometary fragment, pushing themselves ever deeper towards the reactor core. Lesser daemons that manage to exploit the tortured skein occasionally break through, forcing the acolytes into a desperate running battle. Atellus’s faithful chants provides them respite from the onslaught, as the confused and frenzied daemons shy away from the God-Emperor’s words. The Cleric’s faith becomes their shield, as Constantine unleashes barely-containable levels of warp energy.
  • As the cell has fought its way down to the core, they realize time is horribly set against them. Daemonic manifestations in increasing exponentially and larger entities of the warp are beginning to push through. Their only hope to is close the rift before they are overcome. Desperately holding the rear, Tybalt loses a leg trying to buy the rest of the group time. Cromwell and Atellus hold the final intersection as Constantine, aided by the Navigator, set their wills to sealing the rift. For many mites the desperate battle rages, despair threatening to set in as two larger, fierce Charnel Daemons step through the rift, pushing the lesser Bloodletters aside; but just as the group is about to be overrun the rift is sealed.
  • The resulting backlash further damages the stability of the structurally compromised cometary fragment, and the cell is forced to make a hasty retreat amongst shrieking, fading daemons while several structures collapse around them. Eventually making it back to the hanger, the cell find themselves competing with a group of Magos lead by the black-clad stranger for the transport. A fierce battle secures the Arvus for the acolytes, but the strange rival manages to slip away into the elevator through which the cell infiltrated the structure. With no more time, the acolytes burst out of the cometary fragment.
  • Almost immediately, the Arvus Lander is hailed by a Mechanicus Cruiser and a few escorts, which seem to have arrived to investigate the anomaly. Fortunately, the Lysithea is still in the area, and whisks away the acolytes’ Lander with Inquisitorial overrides before the Mechanicus can seize them. Whether the Mechanicum decided to let them go, or the stealth systems of the Lysithea managed to shake the Cruiser and her escorts, is unknown, but the modified guncutter slipped away and entered the warp as soon as possible.
  • Inquisitor Gedeliah wasted no time in his reception of the Acolytes, actually taking his own craft out to meet his cell before Inquistor Marr could join them. Although respectful in the receipt of their report, their exposure so near to the warp breach drew suspicion upon their purity. Tybalt’s damaged form was immediately separated from the group after the initial debrief and dispatched to an undisclosed location. The rest of the group was isolated, confined to quarters, and conducted the remainder of their debrief as individuals, before being delivers to the Tricorn Palace upon Scintilla.
  • Receiving the remaining Acolytes, the obviously displeased Inquisitor Marr lead them into confinement for “screening”. Stealing themselves for a lengthy, painful (and possibly terminal) process, the four acolytes find themselves cleared after a mere two weeks of interrogation. However, something seems amiss as the characters are quickly moved out of the palace and ferried off to different destinations, and not all together…
  • Tybalt’s location is unknown. Jericus has not been seen since Sinophia Magna. Atellus is sent to Maccabeus Quintus for service with the Ecclesiarchy, while Cormwell and Metalus are sent back to Iocanthus to serve with the Adeptus Arbites once again. Constantine, on the other hand, is ordered to accompany Inquisitor Marr himself. The future of the cell, and what is expected of its former members, is unknown…
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Death in Sinophia Magna
Death in Sinophia Magna

Death in Sinophia Magna

  • Metalus received Inquisitor Gedeliah’s summons as he was present in Port Suffering. The cell was to prepare to be picked up from Iocanthus and brought aboard the merchant scow Tarsus’s Pride, which would convey them to their next assignment. Their orders were to assist in the clean-up operation following a purge by the Holy Ordos upon the world of Cyclopea.

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  • Inquisitor Gedeliah was aboard the scow, surprising the acolytes by briefing them in person. They were to forget about the cleaning operation on Cyclopea (but to hold on to the orders). Instead, the cell are to be deployed to Sinophea (a world conveniently on the route to Cyclopea), where the Inquisition has received reports of a series of particularly grisly murders. ( Fihad’s Report). Although Achiel’s acolytes are not the nearest team, Inquisitor Marr has requested that they take the case due to a suspicion that there might be a link to the Haarlock legacy ( Marr’s Note).
  • Gedeliah warns the acolytes about Sinophia Magna, explaining that it is a dark city caught in the final death throws of a wicked planet. Heresy is ripe upon Sinophia, and recently a plot by the Logician Cult was uncovered. The purge of the cult’s activities resulted in the destruction of the Adeptus Arbites precinct fortress, and as a result the Arbitrators were moved into the ancestral home of the Haarlocks, a tower known locally as Haarlock’s Folly. Although Achiel obviously doesn’t share Marr’s enthusiasm for the Haarlock legacy, he agrees that the clues warrant investigation. The acolytes’ accomplishments so far has earned them the rights to bear Achiel’s rosette to aid them, but the Inquisitor warns them that they will truly be on their own on Sinophia – and reminds the characters that the rosette is a tool than can get them killed a lot faster than it can save them.
  • The cell decided to approach the assignment with caution, hiding their true strength. Metalus and Cromwell crafted false documents that claim them as Arbites agents sent by the Holy Ordoes to assist with the investigations. Their intention was to make contact with Arbitrator Adjutant Fihad Constantine and approach the investigation more directly. Atellus, Constantine, and Tybalt, however; assume a cover as a merchant traders, taking station on Sinophia on behalf of the Tarsus’s Pride in hopes of brokering some deals for the merchant scow’s return journey.
  • As the cell prepares to make planetfall, their old colleague Jericus reveals himself, greeting them awkwardly and apologizing for not making his presence known earlier. He confirms that he will be working alongside his old team mates, but that he and Achiel have decided that he will stay apart from the group and work on a even deeper cover. Without any more explanation of where he has been for the last year, Jericus takes up a position in the back of the lander.
  • The local date on Sinophia Magna is 03109816.M41, local designation Buhdvor, the Emperor’s 39th ( The Sinophian Calendar).

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  • The lander takes the acolytes down to Sinophia Magna’s Flavian spaceport, where they are unceremoniously unloaded into the pouring rain. Jericus uses the opportunity to vanish, and so once the lander has departed they characters find themselves alone on an empty space port. Only after gathering their belongings and making their way towards the low buildings to one end do they see some robed fellow shuffling towards them. The man, a junior adept who introduces himself as Charon, is flustered and out of breath as he excuses himself and claims there was no report of the character’s arrival. The reedy little man is apologetic of circumstances, but unwilling to assume responsibility for any problems the acolytes have. While he checks their papers, he explains that there are no air shuttles, and the roads to town are not trustworthy, and that the best way to get to town is to make their way down to the coast and catch a boat..

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  • While the men argue the point, a young girl makes her presence known, and offers to guide the group to a boat that can get them to the city. Her streetwise attitude charms the characters, who accept her services after some bargaining. Happy to be rid of the problem, Charon encourages the group to follow Elizah even though it is obvious from his demeanor that he considered the child a pest. She leads the characters out of of the spaceport, who struggle to carry all their cases and bags. Fortunately, there are a series of outdoor mechanical elevators that help the characters descend to the water level several hundred meters below. The view of Sinophia Magna is darkly magnificent, and the cell get their first proper view of the setting they have come to dissect. It is a near-overwhelming prospect following their year on sparse and desolate Iocanthus.
  • After locating a skipper with a sturdy boat, the acolytes load up and motor across Saint’s Mouth towards the lower levels of Sinophia Magna. The skipper is open to comment, but avoids conversation. His advice is to take the “traders” to the Granite Colonnades (District 6) where Elizah can help them find some safe accommodation. The “arbitrators” will then get passage back across Saint’s Mouth to Haarlock’s Folly.
  • The Skippers dispersed comments reveals that the murders of the nobles are to some degree common knowledge, as he has heard there is a lot of trouble among the Quorum: “Something about House Krin taking control while the Undertow strike out against the nobles”. Apart from that he confirms the basic state of his world and city, and warns the characters to stay far away from “the Sinks” – the lower parts of the city that seem to sink into the dark, filthy waters.

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  • As the boat makes its way up Drusus’s Flow, they come upon a Y-junction where a freighter barge is caught behind a toppled crane. The crew of the barge, all wearing faded, powder-blue uniforms are arguing with a man on shore near the crane. Suddenly, small craft come roaring up the waterways behind the acolytes, filled with men and mounting a large crank-cannon on their prows.
  • Awaiting no invitation, Cromwell opens fire on one of the boats, drawing their attention and a massive volley of return fire. Everybody dives for cover, and the skipper powers the boat in towards the shoreline just behind the barge. As most of the characters jump ashore and run for cover, sniper fire harasses their every move. A violent gun battle ensues, in which Constantine finds himself trapped in the stern of the boat. The cannon-mounted boats and sniper fire have him covered from every angle, and he is bleeding from several gun wounds. The Sanctioned Psyker grits his teeth and seals his own wounds before unleashing a series of psychic shrieks that stun the majority of the attackers.
  • Taking advantage of the Constantine’s success, Tybalt strikes down two attackers that had cornered himself and Atellus, allowing the priest to rush one of the boats and spray it with holy promethium. Meanwhile other boats are incoming, and Metalus bravely risks running several fields of fire in order to warn his comrades. Cromwell, in the meanwhile, slowly makes his way to the ceiling of a nearby building where he has identified a particularly lethal sniper. Approaching cautiously from below, he manages to get the jump on his opponent and with two shots sends the sniper reeling off the rooftop.
  • Another soul-stunning psychic shriek warns off the second wave of attackers, who gather what wounded they can and pull back. Moments later an airborne response team of Sinophian Enforcers respond to the battle, locking the site down and demanding answers. Metalus quickly presents himself and his credentials to the lead Enforcer, pointing out his and Cromwell’s false identities as Inquisitorial resources seconded to the local Arbites unit. Showing them grudging respect, the lead Enforcer allows them their liberty as they finish off taking statements of dishing out summary field executions. Fortunately, Metalus manages to convince the Enforces to take one prisoner, as well as claiming the innocence of the other characters as well as the laborers on the barge.
  • The Enforces and the crew of the barge all swiftly summarize that the attack was just another prosperous act of hostility by the underworld against the righteous rule of the noble houses, and the lead Enforces pridefully establishes it all as an “open and shut case”. He offers Metalus and Cromwell a seat on one of the air-shuttles, while the prisoner is secured on the other. Without any further consideration to the rest of the people, the Enforces depart, leaving Atellus, Constantine, and Tybalt with the barge crew and the people from their own chartered boat. After identifying the barge as belonging to House Maywroth, and providing some first aid medical assistance to the wounded, the remaining acolytes mount up in the boat again after a short round of renewed negotiations – “look at all these bullet-holes I need to fix!” – carry on towards the Granite Colonnades.
  • Atellus makes an effort to lighten the captains spirits, and succeeds in getting the man to make some recommendations on where the characters’ should seek residence. The captain described an old inn known as “The Turning Hand” that has always catered to on- and offworld travelers of the trader class. Elizah knows the place, and leads the characters there; and his happy to agree to meet them the following day.
  • Once Atellus, Constantine and Tybalt check into the place, they decide to refresh themselves and meet in the bar. Tybalt decides to spend the evening exploring the various grids, manifolds and vox lines in hopes of gathering some more information on the city, and in particular Mechanicus holdings. Constantine and Atellus focused on the clientele at the bar, however; socializing and picking up tidbits of information, rumors and local news. One man in particular turned out to have some general connections to trading establishments which seemed like a promising place to start. Apart from this man, Kavihn Ptorek; the trade delegate of house M’kormakk, Atellus also managed to strike up conversation with a another group of three locals that shared some news on Sinophia Magna. Although the planet’s situation is bleak, tension has been rising sharply due to confrontations between the noble ruling classes and elements of the underworld. Several nobles and representatives from the more powerful merchant houses have been murdered the past year, and according to some rumors there are reprisals amongst the underclass – despite news of such deaths never making it into any media reports.
  • Further northwest, Metalus and Cromwell as set down just beyond the reinforced walls of the temporary Arbitrator precinct fortress at the Haarlock’s Folly. The dark tower loomed black and ominous in the night sky, unlit, scarred and faded. As the air shuttle lifted off, the gates rolled back, revealing a lone Arbitrator standing beyond in greeting on the wide, paved decking. The arbitrator, greeting them sternly but genuinely, introduces himself as Fihad Constantine and thanks the Ordos for their assistance and apologizes for not being able to greet them at the space port (citing operational concerns and miscommunication). As the group walk back to the tower Cromwell asks about the “operation concerns”, learning that another body fitting the M.O. of the others in question has just been found in District 8.
  • Not wanting to waste the opportunity, Cromwell decides to leave inspecting the tower and getting settled in to Metals and join Fihad down to the scene of the crime. The two accompany a Arbites Vakyrie that takes them down amongst the giant hab blacks of District 8, where the wide street has been sealed off by armored units of Adeptus Arbites. Joining Fihad, Crom’ takes the lift unit to the 40th floor, where a two-room apartment is the scene of a grisly murder. The door stands open, and the apartment is splattered with dried blood: there are still chunks of flesh on the floor and furniture, and the smell is horrific. Inside the hab unit, the corpse is twisted across the center of the floor. It is clad only in a pair of dirty military fatigue trousers. A discarded pump shotgun with a mangled barrel lies on the floor next to it. The cause of death is clear: The corpse’s head and chest have been smashed in and the left arm ripped out if its socket, and the blood pooled on the floor is slowly congealing in a halo around it. A pair of old PDF dog tags has been found, indicating the corpse’s identity as Bal Grey.
  • Not wanting to interfere at the scene of the crime, Cromwell decides to do so door to door inquiries. Those who open are generally skeptical or even hostile, but when he after a while comes across a disheveled woman she looks looks at him at says “You are like them, but not of them, aren’t you?”. At patience’s end, he intimidates her into telling him what she has seen. Frightened, she stutters that she hid when “they” came, wanting to get away but trapped. She claims she didn’t look closely, as she was trying to hide, but she whispers that “they were monstrous. Not inhuman in their appearance, but in their demeanor. Moving without purpose or emotion, the sense of casualty in contrast to the terrible screams was terrifying.” Suspecting something that he needs to talk to Tybalt about, Cromwell tipped the lady and departed.
  • After slipping into darkness from the lander, Jericus slowly made his way on foot into the city of SInophia Magna, patiently keeping to the shadows while taking in the character of the decaying city. The dispersed population makes it easy for him to stick to rooftops or traverse abandoned urban areas, eventually finding himself skirting between the sinks of District 5 and the more commercial areas of Districts 9. Observing the interaction of the population for some time, he starts to get a feel for some of the basic social rankings of the lower classes. Jericus senses an order, where certain individuals of particular mannerisms and subtle dress move with more confidence than others, and how others manage communication and transportation is an area of such lacking infrastructure. Decided to test his interaction, he moves into the crowd and books passage up Saint’s Mouth to the commercial piers near the Folly.
  • Jericus quickly departs the commercial piers and walks west, heading up into a headland upon which several ancient gothic towers are built. Nestled amongst the sharp spires out near the cliff face is the tallest of them all, Haarlock’s Folly. As he draws near he is surprised by a squatter who lies near lifeless in a shadow. As Jericus walks by, the disheveled man suddenly looks up and cackles, looking Jericus in the eye and croaking “you have seen the sun too, boy? Even though you ‘re not from around here; you’ve seen the sun?”. Hurrying past, Jericus leaves the cackling man behind and draws near to the Folly. Climbing a nearby abandoned tower, he picks a perch upon which he observes the temporary Arbites precinct for some time. Their defenses are formidable, as expected, but they have focused on the surrounding area. The tower itself has not been externally modified, its cracked and faded gargoyles the only obvious defenses upon the tower’s surface itself.
  • Cormwell continues his door-to-door, and after a few failures finally gets a large man into conversation. He confirms that the victim was indeed Bal Grey and that he was part of the undertow, a junior boss of some sorts. However, apparently he wasn’t as bad as most (not a rabid beast or a random killer)m as he only took on those who crossed him or his employers. It was known that he was an ex-PDF Sergeant who ran his own crew, providing muscle for hire and making sure trouble stayed away from the area.
  • After thanking the man for the information, Crom’ returns to the scene of the crime, where the Arbites are finishing up. He gets a chance to thoroughly search the room, finding more paraphernalia that supports his suspicion that victim was a former PDF trooper. He also notices a loose floorboard that can be removed without too much effort, revealing a small space where an ammo box is hidden. Unfortunately, the box has been opened and apart from a fine cloth that was obviously used to wrap something small (perhaps jewelry?), it is empty. Crom also finds some vials of Ghostfire pollen cleverly hidden amongst the pipes in the bathroom. The former Guardsman pockets the find and concludes his search, joining Fihad and riding back to the Fortress Precinct with the Arbites.
  • During the ride back, Cromwell observes how much more rough and bitter these Arbitrators are compared to those he worked with on Iocanthus. This he has plenty of time to do, for although the flight took less than ten minutes, the drive back takes over four hours. It is late evening when they arrive back at the Folly, where Fihad asks Crom what he needs to work the investigation. After some discussion, Fihad graciously assigns three of his Arbitrators to work with Cromwell and Metalus; Arbitrator Devi, Chastener Krak and Detective Salomon.
  • Eager to show his commitment, Cromwell assembles the team in a meeting room for a briefing. Together with Metalus, who has retrieved the relevant case files ( The Murders on Sinophia Magna); they summarize what they and discuss tactics. Crom feels somewhat uneasy around the Chastener, so he assigns some immediate field work to him and Devi, who seems to know how to handle the big man.

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  • Krak and Devi are tasked with searching for Bal’s rival, Juvinal Prioter. Returning to the block where the murder took place, the two intimidate some local street kids into revealing what they know. The kids can’t say much about Juvinal, but after some threats the Arbitrators learn that one of Bal’s crew, Shockee, usually hangs out at The Pit, a local den.
  • Shockee is indeed at The Pit, where Devi and Krak waste no time roughing him up a bit in preparation for some dialogue. Shockee dispels the belief that Bal and Juvinal were rivals. Actually, they were; but they made peace a few weeks before Bal’s death. “And besides, nobody has heard from Juvinal in a while either,” Shockee explains pleadingly. The nasty business with the unavenged murders has both crews dispersed and gone to ground. Not giving up, the Arbitrators make sure that Shockee isn’t trying to hide something, who in his desperation tells them that Bal’s former 2-I-C, Pinky; is around and might be able to help with more information. However, they never locate Pinky so eventually the two Arbitrators let a battered and bruised Shockee go. However, they do learn that Juvinal’s turf started over beyond 2-2.
  • While the two Arbitratos check the streets, Cromwell and Salomon review picts, vivit the bodies in the morgue, and investigative notes – look for details, patterns, anything that stands out. Unfortunately, the most prevalent discovery is just how shoddy the investigative work has been on these cases. Salomon is very defensive about it, and Crom doesn’t push the issue. The local precinct is stretched thin and morale is low, but the lacking details are frustrating. Nevertheless, the long night of work gives Cromwell and Metalus a solid overview of the four killings so far ( The Murders on Sinophia Magna). There is no doubt that the force used in the killings are supernatural in its strength (tearing limb from limb), and Crom has a dark reminiscence of the Widower’s mode of operation (although on Sinophia Magna, there has not been any skinning).
  • The morning finally comes (Tukvor, The Emperor’s 40th), and amongst dark clouds and cold rain, and Metalus, Crom, Krak, Salomon and Devi convene a the Folly to debrief and summarize their individual findings, updating the case files as they go. Cromwell is quite exhausted, and recognizes that he needs some good rest before they can continue, so he dismisses the group to do the same.
  • That morning Atellus and Constantine find that Tybalt still hasn’t returned from his visitation yet, so they pursue their own avenues of inquiry in line with their cover. Following up the previous night’s leads with visits and meetings, they try to explore possible trade opportunities. Although nothing useful presents itself (Constantine finds it difficult to set up promising deals with outfits that have nothing valuable to offer nor any real wealth with which to deal), but Atellus’s charming behavior leaves a grudgingly good impression wherever they go. Atellus also takes a particular interest in Elizah, ensuring that she is paid to be their guide on a daily basis regardless of whether or not they actually need her. He also takes to gently schooling the little girl on matters of the church, if only to test her outlook and share with her a small glory of the God -Emperor.
  • When Cromwell’s team assembles for their next shift, Crom’ decides to focus on getting an overview of the case (hoping to find some link to their true mission, and thus takes Detective Taub with him to the administrative records to investigate the Haarlock lineage on Sinophia. Metalus takes the remaining two Arbitrators assigned to their case to identify and interview the detectives who lead the investigations of the earlier murders.
  • Dolf Gravak, responsible for investigating the first murder, is dead. The detctive responsible for investigating the second murder is Jith Mahgee, a man strongly disliked by Krak. The team interviews him and asks him to recall the event, but they learn nothing new from the detective’s recollections. Terrick Kough is another detective, responsible for the investigation of the Sur’Seculo murder. He demeanor is frustratingly disinterested. Although Terrick is far from insubordinate, he simply fails to attach any significance to the murder apart from being at påarticularly violent murder “probably carried out by someone who owed him a lot of money”. Sinophia is simply too corrupt to make such a grisly murder something out of the ordinary. In summarizing these interviews Metalus clearly sees the link between unprofessional case files and disinterested, overworked and demoralized Arbites personnel.

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  • While Cromwell follows up the physical investigation, Metalus turns his attention to the cogitator banks of the Adeptus Arbites. Like most other things, these are in a poor state following the destruction of the precinct fortress and relocation to Haarlock’s Folly. A lot of data has obviously been lost, and damaged machine spirits make it difficult to make sense of much that remains. Metalus patiently continues his search for days, however; reconstructing any data he finds that relates to his search parameters. He discovers evidence of Inquisitorial tampering, data purges that frustrate his searches even further, but eventually a piece of data turns up. The find is data that was at some point sent to the Sinophia Arbites, a diary entry found on a wreck on the far side of the sector that details riots in Sinophia Magna following the appearance of a black sun.
  • Tybalt discovers clues on Amon Thol / Ammicus Tole…
  • A few days have gone by pursuing trade connections, while Constantine and Atellus carefully stick to their cover. Occasionally they witness individuals that seem to be spying on them, and Atellus swears he can recognize a particular servo skull hovering at times in their vicinity, but there are no confrontations. While following up business visits, Atellus takes note of which place of worship this particular social class favors, and with Elizah’s help he finds the place and starts attending mass on a regular basis. Constantine joins, and the two use the opportunity to slowly form some further connections. However, the preacher is one of the worst Atellus has ever witnessed. The bleak, reedy man is seems constantly intoxicated, and his sermons are grey and uninspiring. However, during one particular sermon, a unoriginal talk concerning “sins of the past”, Constantine gets the sense that the preacher is absentmindedly describing something personal, something traumatic, and suddenly a wave of premonition comes over Constantine. Forcing him self to calm his mind and stir the psychic forces, he is nevertheless witness to a psychic vision of a black sun burning darkly above the statute of the God-Emperor (Tukvor, The Lord’s 2nd).
  • A week earlier (Tukvor, The Emperor’s 40th), Tybalt sent out an inquiry to fellow initiates of the Adeptus Mechanicus, presenting his cover and stating that he was looking for business. The Tech-priest managed to establish a connection with Sinophia Magna’s Transmechanic Haden Colm, who invited him to his holdings. A servitor-controlled shuttle comes to pick him up, and as he heads to Colm’s hold he notices how the chaotic network of cables seems to somehow reach back towards the Transmechanics estate. Once he has arrives, Tybalt is greeted in a friendly and respectful manner, and invited in to see the Tranmechanic’s hold and converse. The inside is as chaotic with regards to the mass of wires, of all shapes and sizes, and the constant buzzing of servitors inspecting, mending and adding wire. Colm frustratingly explains that his fight to maintain Sinophia Magna’s communication grid is a constant struggle against sabotage and decay, while at the same time the ruling elite take his services the granted and refuses to provide neither the homage nor the resources he requires.
  • During their conversation, Tybalt also meets Colm’s apprentice, Technographer Ligia Mareen. She seems withdrawn and bitter, but Tybalts charms seem to catch her a bit by surprise. Not necessarily warming to the newcomer, Ligia nevertheless expresses fascination with Tybalt’s manners.
  • Transmechanic Haden Colm is a withered character, his once-nimble legs now stuttering and the vast array of mechedendrites that have replaced his arms hanging heavy down his thin frame. As Tybalt is taken to the heart of the Transmechanic’s domains, he witness the cogitator banks, and they do nothing to dissuade the Tech-priest what he has already begun to suspect – that Haden Colm is quite mad. The poor state of the vast cogitator banks seem amble evidence of this, as the thick mess of wires and cables stretch throughout the building in a way that barely allows passage. Hiding his suspicions, and distracting Haden with talk of the Transmechanic’s other, rival Tech-priests; Tybalt manages to deceive the old Adept to allow him to commune with the cogitator core’s machine spirit. Although not expecting a healthy spirit, Tybalt is shocked to discover a weak trace of scrap code corrupting the machine. Angered, Tybalt confronts the crazy old Transmechanic and demands to know how the cogitator banks could come to be in such a state. However, Colm will not be intimidated and his merely infuriated by Tybalt’s accusations of corruption. Sensing the approach of servitor-guards, Tybalt suppresses his anger and makes his departure.
  • Meanwhile, Jericus eventually returns to the sinks of District 5, deeming it a good place for him to set up his operations. Moving from one abandoned area to the next, he shifts his habitat as he observes the community around him. Learning the patters of the people, he finds the drug dens and watering holes where the most serious muscle hangs out, and while Jericus attempts to distinguish between the genuine gangsters and the posers, he makes his presence known. A few minor incidents establishes a zone around him and a reputation that he is not to be trifled with, but the Reaper finds in difficult to identify who are the real powers at this level. He hears tales of Rag-barons, Rag-kings and the Rag-court who are in a war with the encroaching nobles, but finds no evidence of such structures and hierarchies on the streets.
  • Jericus alters his objectives a bit, and starts tracking lines of communications. Several days pass while he watches – then discretely follows – those who come and go, and slowly but surely he is rewarded with an growing understanding of certain locations and their importance to the underworld. One afternoon he tracks a man who leaves the sinks and follows him to a discrete meeting with a more well-dressed man in District 9. Although he doesn’t hear what the subject matter is, or whether something changes hands, he manages to shadow the other man until he is picked up by an air shuttle bearing a faded logo of a starburst upon a checkered background. Although the significance is lost on Jericus, he commits it to memory. After returning to the Sinks, Jericus passes through one of his previous habitats. There he pauses, inspecting the the area with a feeling that somebody else has been here. He finds no evidence of this, however, which disturbs him more.
  • Tybalt is not willing to ignore the corruption he has discovered. He steals himself into Colm’s system remotely, investigates the myriad of cables and wires strung throughout the city, and makes inquires about Colm, Ligia, and the particular rivalry between Colm and Forgemaster Chorgam. Tybalt discovers that Tecnographer Ligia, bitter and resentful, is an unfaithful servant who has come into contact with the SInophian underworld. Allegedly in cooperation with Rag-king Hesul, she has introduced a virus into the cogitator banks that allow the Rag-king to tap into select communications on SInophia at will. Whether she know that the virus was tainted or nor is inconsequential. Her actions have corrupted the machine-spirit and Colm, in his madness, has rigorously embraced denial and obsessively pursued the expansion and overlay of cables and wires as a means to make up for the cogitator bank’s failings.
  • One evening Jericus is drinking at one of the spots where some of the more serious gangsters seem to hang out (Buhdvor, The Lord’s 1st), Jericus finally finds himself approached by a man who seems interested in investigating who the mysterious newcomer is. Jericus claims to be an offworlder who recently arrived, not interested in discussing his past, but in need of work. The man accepts the situation, understanding that whatever the situation Jericus is obviously a man with some skill at holding his own. However, if introductions are to be made some token of good faith must be received. The man suggests that Jericus makes a visit to the “haunted” District 11, where it is said that there still can be found “treasure” from when the Mechanicus actively ran the now-abandoned industry of district.
  • Having grown used to Elizah’s usefulness as a local guide in Sinophia Magna, Atellus and Constantine decide that they must make sure she is not working for anybody else as a little spy. Atellus decides to question here directly, respectfully; while Constantine scrys her aura. Atellus carefully explains to Elizah that if they are going to keep employing her, they need to know a little bit more about her. Talking to the little girl about her home amongst the boat people of Saint’s Mouth, they learn that she is quite a traumatized child, and particularly sensitive to the topic of her family. Although she is elusive regarding her mother, she speaks warmly of several other adults – there amongst the skipper Maksim Semago and Rachelle Callier, a market trader working the sea-markets beneath the Folly. Constantine’s reading of her aura is consistent with her story, and neither Atellus nor Constantine get any sense that there is a particular agenda at work, nor that there are other organizations interested in the little girl (such as the Undertow). She is a survivor with a special talent for getting around, looking out for herself in a harsh environment.
  • After investigating Elizah, the sub-cell gets to work investigating the Quorum and various family lines of Sinophia’s Noble Houses. Using all public accessible information (and some not-so-public sources), Constantine does his best to map out all that he can find on noble lineages, taking particular note of any fallen houses, lineages that are extinct on SInophia. After a few days of work, the Sanctioned Psyker assembles the following list of Noble Houses relevant to the Quorum: Quorum of Noble Families.
  • While Constantine is busy studying families of note in Sinophia Magne, Atellus and Tybalt turn their attention to researching clues for good business opportunities – a rather daunting task on SInophia Magna. Atellus takes the lead, working his small but growing network of contacts for all it is worth. It takes some time to build up the necessary trust, but after some time clues of possible ventures begin to emerge. The difficulty is that most business opportunities on SInophia Magna are of an immoral or downright illegal nature.
  • Impressed with Atellus’s determination and winning personality, Kavihn Ptorek (for a small retainer fee) helps introduce him to some people who share some interesting ideas on gaining wealth in the damned city. The arms approach is unoriginal but always a steady demand, unfortunately the most interested buyers are either undertow-associated organizations, or noble houses without the means to procure more quality arms (such as House Sacchetti). The medicea/pharmaceutical approach provides clues that there is a market for producing and/or processing narcotics to supply the needy, essential rejuvenat chemicals that are in high demand amongst the nobles, or transplanting organs from healthy lower class inhabitants to the sickly higher class population. Finally, while investigating the Adeptus Mechanicus approach Tybalt is made aware of a man known as Bregje Tang. Bregje is one of the main traders working the device-markets of Consilium Ruin. He is usually found near the Blind Wall, and would be the individual who could broker most deals with the local Tech-prists.
  • Cromwell and Metalus, accompanied by Krak and Devi; take their investigation to the Flavian Space Port in order to look through records of who has arrived or departed from the planet around the time of the murders. Once again this brings the characters into contact with Charon, who makes a fuss about the Arbitrators’ complication of his work. The adept does not hinder the investigation, though; but once again this line of inquiry seems to be a dead end. Apart from the lack of interesting clues in the available data, it is obvious that for anyone with means covert arrival to Sinophia Magma is far too easy.
  • Metalus questions Charon about older records, looking for anything that relates to the supposed visitation of a dark sun, black star, etc. Although his interrogation frustrates and intimidates Charon, Metalus finds nothing conclusive (such as suspicious holes in the records, or notes of large-scale exodus following social unrest, etc.) that is of any use.
  • While returning to their precinct, attending the long lift down the mountainside northwest of Saint’s Mouth, the Arbitrators come under attack. The lift is released and begins to accelerate downhill, but heroic action by Krak manages to slow the acceleration enough to for them to escape. The Arbitrators are battered by tumbling and falling down the hill, but manage to arrest their descent and seek cover from sniper fire. Finally backup arrives, but by the time the group is rescued there is no sign of any attacker. Even the lift controllers are gone without a trace. Further investigation a day later reveals that the lift operators are still gone, missed by their family and comrades who have no explanation for their disappearance.
  • The attempted murder, and the obvious skill of whoever made the attempt, prompts a cautious reaction by the Acolytes. Although not all are in agreement, the group agrees to convene for a meeting in person and discuss what they have learned, how to proceed, and what to do with the direct threat (not to mention, discussing the question of who might be behind it). In the meanwhile, Metalus summarizes the investigation so far, along with the central lines of inquiry; and with Fihad’s help arranges for it to be submitted to their Inquisitors via astrotelepathic communication.
  • Tybalt is responsible for selecting and preparing a safe house for their meeting. He arranges a location in northern District 10, a warehouse with several offices that is inactive (but not abandoned), and after sweeping it clean communicates its location and the time of the meeting to the group in their cipher, as per agreed protocol. All but Jerichus confirms receipt of the message. However, there is another message for Tybalt, signed by a man who claims to be assigned to the cell by Inquisitor Gedeliah. He says he has a message and needs to meet the group as soon as possible, and all his ciphers check out. Tybalt double-checks, then provides the location for the meeting.
  • All but Jerichus assemble at the warehouse, received by Tybalt who has prepared the meeting. The cell checks the perimeter, then greet each other warmly before settling down in the meeting room to discuss their situation. Shortly after, the newcomer arrives with a knock on the main doors. Tybalt lets him in, and after re-checking ciphers leads him to the rest. After a brief round of introductions, SIlas presents the messahe he bears from Inquisitor Marr ( Marr’s Warning).
  • After hearing the message, Constantine’s sense of foreboding spikes and he advises his fellow acolytes that they should re-locate. Tybalt checks is auspex, but only gets strange interference and no readings. The team quickly exits in a direction advised by the Techpriest. As soon as the cell departs the building, it is consumed by a fiery explosion.
  • As the acolytes pick themselves up in the streets, they come under surpressive fire from above. Tybalt, Atellus and Constantine duck into the nearest building, while Cromwell, Metalus and SIlas seek cover in another. Constantine is sensing a strange presence in the warp, and so he casts his sight above. There he witnesses a lady he believes is a psyker, followed a distance behind by a black-clad assassin with a large, elongated skull mask.

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  • As Tybalt, Atellus and Constantine cautiously make their way up the stairs, they hear grenades being down. They manage to escape the blast, but the stairwell is compromised. Tybalt uses his servo-arm to tear away the remaining support struts, Bringing the stairwell down, while Atellus erupts the dust and debris with a blast of promethium.
  • Cromwell, Metalus and SIlas follow a hallway to another open warehouse space, with a single circular stairwell leading to the roof. Cromwell covers the others as they make a run for it, taking a shot at an assailant above as his two comrades make the stairs. Suddenly he feels a cold steel blade against his neck, and a female voice mocking him “tsk, tsk, tsk”… Meanwhile Metalus and Silas come under fire from above, and have no choice but to storm into it.
  • Cromwell is surprised by the sense of his would-be killer being tackled away from him, and then hears Jerichus’s voice telling him to get out of there. Glancing at their assassin and seeing him square off against the female, Cromwell nods in gratitude, picks up his rifle and runs after Metalus and Silas.
  • SIlas makes it to the top of the stairs with a flesh wound to his shoulder, but as he charges the first assailant a second one unloads his two autopistols into Metalus, knocking him back down the stairs. Cromwell leaps over him, and gets to the roof just as their opponents throws another couple grenades their way. Crom and SIlas give chace, but their two attackers are too quick to back off and as the grenades go off, the staircase gives way and the roof begins to cave in.
  • Tybalt, Atellus and Constantine make it to their fellow acolytes, and come across Jerichus dueling the female assassin. She proves resilient to Constantine’s powers, so they decide to knock their way through some walls and get around the duel in order to assist the others. They make it into the warehouse just as the grenades go off and the roof comes down. The body of Metalus is buried in the rubble, but Cromwell and Silas manage to ride the collapsing roof to the ground relatively unscathed. In the chaos of the collapse, Jerichus manages to chase off his opponent for a moment.
  • Jerichus quickly rushes over to Tybalt and gives him a brief report, speaking too fast for anyone else to pick out all the words and their content. Tybalt can follow, however; and records Jerichus’s warning that there is something “emerging” deep in District XX. He has a spot he has been using as a base, and Jerichus reminds them that some lesser evils may be godo alies in the fight against the greater evil.
  • As Jerichus is speed-talking his report, the psyker and blank that Constantine witnessed earlier emerge. “Hunt down Ammicus Tole!” Jerichus demands, ending his report and turning to charge the emerging threats. Knowing Jerichus’s intent, Tybalt turns to slam through the doors to the street. Without hesitation, the rest of the cell turn to follow Tybalt out into the night, making their escape.
  • The surviving Acolytes ran for hours through the sprawl of Sinophia Magna; dodging through abandoned parts of the city, cutting through population centers, switching back, and working their way obliquely southwards towards Jericus’s safehouse. At the shoreside sprawl along Saint’s Mouth the group made contact with a local tailor who helped them assume a more local look. Further equipping themselves with some basic necessities, the acolytes purchased an urban sump boat that Tybalt and Atellus piloted across the river and further southward into the Sinks.
  • Relying heavily on Tybalt’s augers, the characters make their way as far south as they can before locating a safe spot to hide their boat. From there the characters find themselves carrying on on foot, working across rooftops, ladders, makeshift bridges and platforms over the flooded sumps of the destitute ruins of Sinophia’s lost greatness. As the acolytes become aware that their disguise has lost its “local appeal”, they find themselves ambushed by a desperate slumgang. Cursing the attention and subsequent turmoil, the characters nevertheless put up a furious fight led by Constantine’s psychic assault. The gang is quickly torn apart, although some survivors manage to escape.
  • Eventually the party gets to the site of Jericus’s safehouse, a floor up in the skeletal remains of a former spyre-block, reigning supreme even in ruin among the remains of other dead spyres. Access is tricky, but the site has an incredible overview of its surroundings without giving much away to observers. There are numerous points of escape as well, although several of them consist of wires and bridges to other spyres that only Jericus himself would traverse without rather copious amounts of anxiety.

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  • Once the team is confident that the area is secured, and that they haven’t been tracked to this site; they set up securing the position. Constantine and Tybalt both use their unique talents to ensure the hiding place’s safety, assisted by Crom with regard to more practical manners.
  • Cromwell also reconnoiters the area, getting the lay-out of the land. It is not as abandoned as it first seemed. There are several pockets of lively underground communities, apparently self-governed under the heavy oversight of the Rag-court representatives, and underworld organization of criminals and gang lords. There is, however; a distinct difference between the communities of District XIII and District XI – although they are situated near the boarder it is clear that the locals harbor no love or sympathy for the lawless communities of the former forge areas.
  • Atellus investigates what he can find of the remnants of Imperial faith, and comes across a humble cult of God-Emperor-fearing subjects who follow the teachings of an elderly missionary with no eyesight. Atellus ingratiates himself with the small cult, and quickly charms the old missionary into believing he has been guided to him to carry on his work. Atellus’s sermons quickly begin to draw attention from others in the community.
  • Further investigations across the boarder into District XI reveals that there are similar pockets of communities in the deeper sinks, although their tech-legacy is apparent in the scavenging societies. SIlas comes across an urban caravan that traverses the waterways on long, automated stilts; and observes firsthand the trade in components, lost tech, faded servitors and various other scrap that keeps the destitute economy grinding among the near-lost and soon-to-be-damned of SInophioa Magna’s Deistrict XI.
  • Atellus continues to ingratiate himself with the small cult, following the blind missionary on his rounds blessing those who seek the God-Emperor’s protection. His charms quickly find favor among the flock, but Atellus doesn’t feel he can waste any time so he confides in the Missionary, saying he is here on a mission and needs to get in touch with the Undertow.
  • Tybalt and Constantine both continue to secure their safe house, through their own preferred means. However, once Atellus returns with a lead they all decide to approach the supposed contact with the undertow. Finding the man, Grim Vverruks; Atellus approaches him rather truthfully and explains that they seek to discuss the matter of the murders with local “authorities”. Appreciating Atellus as sincere, Grim says he will bear word and bids the new missionary goodbye.
  • The following day Atellus receives word of a time and place to meet a representative of the Rag Court. He brings this information to the attention of the rest of the cell, and they discuss their options. Ultimately they all decide to go, putting their trust in the God-Emperor but armed as if they would be expecting trouble. The meeting place is a small landing along the wider venue of water, and as they arrive the few people present clear out. A single, cloaked figure beckons them forward, but as they approach him he quickly reaches out and stabs an injector into Constantine’s wrist.
  • Before the acolytes react, a familiar voice asks them to halt. Turning, they see the Missionary approaching, but erect and obviously seeing them. His transformation is uncanny, but he quickly assuages the group and explains that the drug injected into Constantine is simply a matter of precaution. It is not dangerous, but will dull the mind enough to make psychic manifestations dangerous. There are several armed guards surrounding the clear area now.
  • A large, enclosed barge comes into view, floating down the murky watereays towed by two small skimmer craft. Once it is docked the acolytes are invited in, accompanied by six menacing undertow guards. The door closes, and the barge moves off gently. Next the acolytes are surprised by the young Elizah, who runs up to Atellus and hugs him, whispering that she is happy he’s still alright. Before anything else can be said, Hesul – Rag-King of the Undertow Rag Court – appears.
  • This large, menacing lady calmly takes a seat while introducing herself to the party and explaining that although she’s been tracking them for some time (obvious given her employment of Elizah), it was high time they all met. Though since the Acolytes instigated the meeting, however, she invites them to tell her what they wanted to say. Once explaining their suspicion of Ammicus Tole, however; Hesul offers them a trade. If they infiltrate District XI and disrupt the operations of a certain Techpriest called Nahdrek (a person whom might also be able to give the Acolytes some information regarding Ammicus), she will present the acolytes with some pieces of information she believes will be highly interesting to the Acolytes.
  • The cell packs up their gear, adjusting their disguise with the intent to pose as a visiting Rogue Trader seeking contraband deep within the 11th district. They make their way across the boarder, seeking the caravan “The Crawler”. They investigate its path, and spend the night hiding in the ruins while awaiting its arrival. The next morning Tybalt picks up the blaring binary transmissions that herald the arrival of the caravan. Large numbers of people from all ends of District 11 also converge as the caravan makes port to trade with the Enginseers of the walker. The crowds make it hard to approach, but Tybalt clears the way with a Feedback Screech. As the party approaches the barge in the wake of the horrible siren, Tybalt concludes the harsh negotiations for passage.
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Intermission upon Iocanthus
Intermission upon Iocanthus

Intermission upon Iocanthus

Following events in Illumination the characters find themselves stranded upon the desolate world of Iocanthus for a bit over a year before their Inquisitor once again calls upon their services.

  • Left to handle the aftermath of the Crow Father’s failed manifestation, the acolytes had their hands full with the fate of Stern Hope. Abbot Skae was dead, the cathedral heavily damaged, the grounds proven cursed, and Warlord Kos’ke, the town’s primary means of security, had abandoned Stern Hope. The people were all but shattered, reeling both from the preceding events, the violent attack and the terror of the partial daemonic manifestation. Were it not for their inherent toughness as natives of Iocanthus, they could have been considered broken.
  • Having already been central in rallying the people of Stern Hope’s faith on several moments occasions, Atellus took it upon himself to continue the work of spiritual healing amongst the flock of Stern Hope’s unconsecrated cathedral. He immediately identified the need for goal, something to provide focus and opportunity for good, god-emperor-honest toil, and the obvious purpose of Stern Hope was the cathedral. Continuing Abbot Skae’s work would not only provide purpose for the survivors, it could also provide Atellus with an opportunity to advance his standing in the eyes of the Ecclesiarchy.
  • The rest of the group agreed with the righteousness of Atellus’s assessment, and together they formed a plan to improve Stern Hope’s fate. Firstly, they would need to repair relations with the Ashleen and gain the trust and support of Kos’ke. Furthermore, despite his misgivings towards the natives, Constantine believed that they would need Eshra Rain’s help if they were to purify Stern Hope in preparation for a future consecration. Seeing how hard the group worked on restoring Stern’s Hope for its people, their genuine attention of restoring safety and security – and faith – amongst the lost flock – impressed Eshra Rain. Dialogue with the wise Death Singer developed into a friendship, especially (and perhaps surprisingly) between Eshra and Constantine. This in turn led Eshra to help win back Kos’ke’s support for the people of Stern Hope.
  • Conditions being what they were at Stern Hope, Tybalt was left with lots of capacity to ponder the mysteries that had taken place in the cursed town. Already feeling drawn towards the chaotic mysteries of the warp, Tybalt found himself paying particular attention to the matter of purifying the corrupt hill, albeit from a more scientific and logical perspective.
  • Once the immediate crisis was over, and Kos’ke agreed to lend his strength to the defense of the town, Metalus and Cromwell decided to travel to Port Suffering and gather the support of whatever agents they can at the capitol – official Imperial agents being a priority of course. Brother Lemark had recovered sufficient to take Cromwell’s place as security coordinator at Stern Hope, and Metalus wasn’t feeling very useful in the town after concluding his investigation and transmitting the final report to Inquisitor Gedeliah.
  • Once back in Port Suffering, the two were disappointed by their failuse to raise any particular interest from the Adeptus. Abbot Skae’s mission had never been too popular to begin with, and so his death only served to strengthen the belief that a cathedral in the wildnerness of Iocanthus was folly. The Adeptus Arbites, however; proved to be an exception. Not in that they were at all interested in the consecration of the cathedral, but Proctor-Laureate Lestano Dietz saw the political and social value in what the acolytes were doing. A stable, God-Emperor-fearing town with good relations to the Arbites could prove a valuable asset to the Suffering Marshal program. Furthermore, the assistance of Metalus was a highly valuable commodity in and of itself.
  • Metalus agreed to assign himself to the Arbites precinct until called up for further service by the Inquisition, and in doing so paved the way for Cromwell to be assigned to assist with the Suffering Marshal program, in particular developing Stern Hope as a haven for active Suffering Marshals. Although the two would remain in frequent contact with the rest of the group, Metalus and Cromwell would spend the rest of their time on Iocanthus working actively with the Arbites.
  • Back in Stern Hope, the remaining trio applied themselves to building and stabilizing the community organization and infrastructure of Stern Hope, as well as researching the mysteries of the curse. At the mundane level, Atellus saw to the spiritual well being and politics of the town, while Constantine helped organize trade and health care programs, and Tybalt saw to the logistics, organization and engineering issues of daily operation, defense and repairs of the Cathedral. This facilitated a professional intimacy that developed their relationship throughout the year, but more important was the esoteric aspects of their mission. Working with Eshra Rain, the three devised wards and rituals of cleansing to purify the site, and to ensure that what happened to Stern Hope would not repeat itself. This would provide a greater challenge to cooperation, as it required at times an even greater level of trust shared between the three than events had previously demanded.
  • Although ambition seeded his heart at the outset of this self-imposed mission, the reflections upon Abbot Skea and Aristarchus the Seer’s fall and damnation gave Atellus a great deal of inner turmoil. Despite his genuine intentions, Atellus could not help but feel a some comparison between Skae’s worldly ambitions and suspiciously shallow faith and his own heart. However, as time passed by the young priest began to see and – more importantly – feel the effects his service was having on the people around him. As the mental exercise of community-building began to bear fruit, and he saw the microcosm of Church, Mechanicum and the Psyker working together to do the God-Emperor’s work in rebuilding Stern Hope; a deeper sense of purpose began to emerge. In the eyes of his congregation during his sermons, in the commitment of his fellow acolytes shown during discussions, in the beauty of the righteous toil upon the rock of the cathedral Atellus began to feel a presence. Not a temptation, nor a drive, ambition or need; but a deeper sense of being right where he is supposed to be, doing what he is supposed to do. The old phrase, “Doing the God-Emperor’s work” became words of a whole new meaning!
  • Constantine found his time upon Iocanthus challenging in a different way. Having been so rigorously indoctrinated in his Imperial Faith, the Psyker found it difficult to re conciliate his views with that of the native Ashleen. His subtle hostility towards the backwards natives made cooperation with the Death Singer quite difficult, but the overriding threat of warp corruption compelled Constantine to put their differences aside. In doing so, however; the wisdom of Eshra Raine began to make an impression upon the man. Her insights, although not revolutionary by any means, gave the Imperial Psyker a perspective that he found helpful. As the months passed delving into the mysteries of warding and exorcism, Constantine found that he appreciated the friendship of the old lady more and more. The ways of the Ashleen, although they remained foreign; grew less frightening and curiously Constantine noted that the along with this trend followed also an sense of increase psychic ability. This further opening of the mind as Constantine theorized also helped him and Tybalt work together with easier familiarity. Although his perspective was easily as alien as the Death Singer’s, his approach challenged his practice every step of the way.
  • Iocanthus proved to be a pinnacle of sorts, the furthest Tybalt’s unexpected journeys had taken him from the domains of the Holy Omnissiah and his knowledge and wonders of technology. The backward setting of Stern Hope proved to be a setting that enticed Tybalt, and focused his mind on that which truly fascinated him – the mystical and otherworldly science of the warp. The witness of the gate and the thwarting of the Skae-thing’s manifestation was an experience that drew at his curiosity like a moth to a flame. The task to ward and purify the grounds of the cathedral became a perfect excuse for Tybalt’s studies. The Techpriest saw to his duties amongst the scarce machinery, weapons and other technology present in Stern Hope, and showed a ready willingness to support visiting Marshals, but the majority of his capacity was delegated to assisting Atellus and Constantine with the mission to purify the grounds of Stern Hope.
  • Immediately following the defeat of the Skae-thing, Cromwell found himself busy establishing, organizing and strengthening Stern Hope’s defense. His efforts were successful, but once the group restored relations with Warlord Kos’ke and Brother Lemark was restored the former Guardsman found himself somewhat superfluous. Although Crom’ told himself that he was happy to willow away his days in the quiet town, the truth was that seeing his companions so busy in contrast galled him somewhat. Once Metalus concluded his investigation and report he readily agreed to accompany the Verispex to Port Suffering as a personal safety detail. While Metalus attempted to gather support for the cathedral’s restoration, Cromwell followed along. However, apart from paving the way for some dealings in the seedier parts of Port Suffering, Cromwell still found himself without any particular purpose. Although not one to complain, the observant Metals took notice of this, and so it was once he volunteered his services to the Arbites the Verispex cleverly instigated a similar arrangement for Cromwell. The Weapon Specialist’s service in Stern Hope had earned him a great deal of respect, and Metalus rightfully argued that Cromwell would help establish good relations with the Arbites should the Suffering Marshals wish to establish the town as a safer haven during their travels. As it was, Cromwell found himself quite well suited for the duties of the Suffering Marshals, and would spend the remainder of his time traveling Iocanthus, assisting the Arbites with their dealings and investigations in the wilderness of the savage world.
  • Metalus himself took responsibility for ensuring that a thorough and complete report of their mission to Iocanthus be submitted to Achiel Gedeliah. This consumed his time for a while, following up with the necessary investigations at Stern Hope as the other acolytes stabilized the little community. However, it soon became apparent that the group would need support from some outside agency to help keep the little town alive. Metalus needed to ensure that the rapport was submitted through the proper channels at Port Suffering anyway, so the Verispex volunteered to travel to the planetary capitol and appeal to the Adeptus there to assist their endeavors. However, the resistance to the late Abbot’s vision was still substantial, and few considered the mission at Stern Hope anything but folly. It was only the Arbites who showed any interest in working with the Inquisitorial agents, and then only at the cost of Metalus’s services until his skills were once again called upon by the Holy Ordos. Truth was Metalus was happy to serve the Proctor-Laurreate Lestano Dietz, and considered it an good opportunity to use Cromwell to help build positive relations between the Suffering Marshals and the people of Stern Hope, establishing a haven for Arbitrators during their travels in the region. Apart from his frequent communication with the other acolytes in Stern Hope, Metalus would spend the rest of the time on Iocanthus based in teh Arbites stronghold in Port Suffering, training the Arbitrators in his specialized investigative techniques and assisting in matters of investigation.
  • Metalus also assisted Atellus with his communications with the Ecclesiarchy, submitting his reports and requests for further aid to complete the consecrations of the cathedral of Stern Hope. After many months of administrative innuendo the Ecclesiarchy offices of Solomon finally presented their answer. The group of remaining acolytes had been successful of properly warding and cleansing the grounds of Stern Hope, and Atellus felt that the flourishing community was due their reward for their faith and toil. However, siting a number of supposed irregularities with Abbot Skae’s mission the Eccliarchy claimed that the site of Stern Hope could not be rightfully consecrated. There would be no Cathedral on Iocanthus, and that the town’s chapel of Port Suffering was more than sufficient for the needs of the people.
  • Shortly after, Metalus received a summons from their Inquisitor, a coded set of orders telling the acolytes to convene in Port Suffering and prepare for planetary extraction. The Inquisition had need of the characters to support an ongoing clean-up operation following a purge by the Holy Ordos upon Cyclopea, and the inter-system freighter Tarsus’s Pride would be providing transportation to the site of their next assignment.
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Illumination

Illumination

  • Having concluded matters in the Granithor System, the acolytes return to The Brazen Sky and continue their journey to Iocanthus. Once they make the warp transit, the entire cell starts sleeping poorly. Only Constantine remembers his dreams, however; the reoccurring theme being the escape from the House of Dust and Ash, when Abbot Tamas of Shale attempted to ambush the cell. But instead of being executed by Achiel the Abbot’s congregation falls upon the entire party and savagely tears their eyes out. Throughout the voyage this theme of the Abbot’s congregation attacking and tearing out the eyes of acolytes, or just Constantine, or even Inquisitor Gedeliah, is reoccurring.
  • Feeling a little stir-crazy, Atellus and Tybalt defy the wishes of the ship’s purser and go explore nearby areas of the ship. After some failed attempts to engage with conversation with the ship’s crew, they come across a foreman who speaks reasonably good Low Gothic. He is of a friendly disposition, but very uncomfortable with the characters’ presence. They learn very little from talking to him, and after some further exploration return to their lodgings. In the meanwhile Metalus has managed to distract Sebek from a visit, covering the absence of his colleagues.
  • During his talks with Sebek, Metalus questions the purser about Iocanthus, and Sebek conspiratorially informs Metalus that Iocanthus is not a friendly place to visit. The planet is a war-torn planet, forced by its own dependance on imports to host a never-ending battle over supplies of the world’s only worthy resource, Ghostfire pollen. The natives are hostile, lawless, and – in some cases – godless. He warns the characters that “nobody… nobody goes to Iocanthus, unless they have hard business”. Sebek knows nothing about the events the characters are sent to investigate, but shrugs and says “when bad things get worse, they are still bad, no?
  • During one of the night cycles, Constantine, Tybalt and Atellus are woken by an unusual noise in the spaces above the passenger module. Constantine risks some psychic use, sensing the presence of an adult-sized humanoid in the crawl-spaces above his berthing. Unfortunately, the presence is alerted to their scrutiny, and manages to scurry off before the characters trap him/her/it. Metalus investigates the scene, and concludes that it was most probably a human of impressive agility that was moving about the ventilation ducts. While Tybalt sealed the relevant access hatches to the ventilation system, the incident is reported to Sebek. He apologizes, but simultaneously admonishes the characters for advertizing their presence amongst the common crew. There is no further attempt of entry, and the stalker’s motivation is never discovered.
  • The cell re-enters real space after 9 ship-cycles of warp travel, entering Iocanthus orbit just within four weeks of their departure from Solomon. The lighter that takes the characters to Port Suffering is a former military craft, and the acolytes are warned about the drop. Atellus and Constantine accept offers for sedatives, but only Atellus actually swallows the blue lozenge before the orbital drop. The result is messy as Constantine empties the contents of his stomach out on everybody but Cromwell, who wisely picked a seat out of range from the suspicious psyker.
  • Landing in Port Suffering, the cell is met by Under-council Kerred Smyk and two shotgun-armed enforces. Atellus and Metalus try their best to accommodate the bureaucrat, despite his nosy and overbearing manner. However, before they manage to twist the situation to their advantage Tybalt grows weary of their behavior and intimidates them into leaving. While the cell gather their thoughts in the dust of the bureaucrat’s departure, a Cherubim arrives and in a childish voice greets the characters and requests that they follow it to Aristarchus the Seer, who is waiting at their intended lodgings.
  • While the characters follow the hovering Cherubim, hauling their luggage as best they can, they take in the sights and sounds of the city. The mix of people and cultures is a bit surprising, but the number of native Ashleen is not, nor is their curious, almost hostile nature. Atellus and Metalus notice Ashleen individuals in the distance who seem to be watching them intently, however. Meanwhile, Constantine is struggling with flash visions of Ashleen in the surrounding crowd that reminds him of various persons in the Abbot Tamas of Shale’s “congregation”.

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  • As the characters move through an allyway, they come across a raving native man who is running up to people and shouting chaotic phrases of mad and incoherent prophesy. Despite the mumbling screams, the characters pick up a number of chilling phrases: “He’s here, he’s here again, the Crow Father come to drown us in lies!”, “False, flase, the two faces he has. First of three has two!”, “His hill shall run with blood!”, and “They have grasped a serpent to their hearts, fools! Pity the damned fools!
  • The last phrase is screamed by the madman into Atellus’s face, but when Atellus and Metalus try to calm the raving man, his angered anxiety turns to subdued, almost childish fear and he sags between the two characters. Suddenly a number of younger, temperamental Ashleen surround the characters , angrily shouting “Begone off-worlder! We don’t need your kind!” and ordering them to release the old man. Atellus and Metalus try to calm the angry mob, and so does Constantine. The mob pauses, unsure; but when their alpha orders a few young braves to move against Atellus and Metalus, Tybalt once again grows impatient. Following a Feedback Screech he intimidatingly orders the mob to disperse, which they do in a hurry.
  • Constantine examines the now-unconscious madman, and once they ascertain he seems okay they take him with them. They only manage a couple blocks, however; before they now find themselves surrounded by an adult warrior, perhaps a warlord, and s number of his fighters. Without any regard for conversation or negotiation, the warlord orders the characters to release the old man. Finding themselves acutely outgunned and outnumbered, the characters acquiesce. The Ashleen warriors take the unconscious man with them and leave the acolytes alone without further ado.
  • The acolytes move on, finally arriving at a sturdy building adorned with an Imperial eagle. Inside they are meet by a surprisingly warm and friendly man, who presents himself as Aristarchus the Seer. The man is impressively considerate, ensuring that he takes each acolyte by the hand and praises their reputation, while inquiring personally about their trip, their well being, and what he can do to make them comfortable. His concern seems quite genuine, and it doesn’t take long for the characters to enter into a pleasant discussion about their assignment.

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  • While the group awaits a good meal, Aristarchus quickly describes the important framework of their assignment. A cathedral dedicated to St. Drusus, the first cathedral upon Iocanthus (!) is to be consecrated in just five days! Mentioning that he himself is a distant descendant of St. Drusus, Aristarchus admits that he takes this assignment very personally! “A consecration of a cathedral upon Iocanthus will mark one of the most important events in this world’s history, it is a most sacred event that the Holy Ordos fully support! We must not underestimate the importance of our task here!”.
  • The acolytes are to depart Port Suffering early the next morning, and Aristarchus has already arranged a ground vehicle and the necessary camping gear. The drive to Stern Hope should take two days, which will leave the characters with a full day to investigate events there, and prepare to protect the consecration. Once again, Aristarchus impresses upon the characters the holy importance of their duty, before inviting them to discuss details over a full meal.
  • The group is treated to a very pleasant meal as they all discuss their assignment. Aristarchus, sharing that he has the great honor of being distant kin to St. Drusus, begins by explaining the significance of that saint upon Iocanthus. The cathedral is to be consecrated to St. Drusus, and so Aristarchus sees it as a personal calling to ensure nothing sabotages that event.
  • While discussing their mission, Aristarchus tells about some of the unusual phenomena that has occurred in Stern Hope. “_Bleeding statues, manifestations, haunting noises, sounds of scratching from the walls…” are some of the reported occurrences. As far as what is causing this, Aristarchus’s suspects a rogue psyker – Iocanthus does produces a slightly higher number of psykers than average in Calixus.
  • After their meal the group disperse to explore Port Suffering and make inquiries. Aristarchus has his own preparations to make, so he bids the characters good day and agrees to meet in the morning. Tybalt and Cromwell go to prepare the flatbed truck and ensure all their gear is properly stowed.
  • Atellus and Constantine make their way to the town’s chapel where they find Preacher Goudt. Like most peeple stationed on Iocanthus for some time, he is a stern and venomous old man. Although he is open to help the Imperial agents, he is exasperated over their inquires, in particular questions about any myths regarding the “Crow Father”. He explains the nature of the “Shale Crows” that populate much of the great continents of Iocanthus – foul scavangers, more reptile than avian – and says they feature heavily in local iconography and symbolism. The closest he can recall to a “Crow Father” is a tale of a dark “Vai” or prince/warlord, that was defeated by Drusus during the taking of this world for the Imperium.
  • Further inquiry into Missionary-Abbott Skae and the cathedral of Stern Hope reveals that although grudgingly respectful of his achievements, Preacher Goudt has little love for the Abbott – “a self-righteous noble flop from Scintilla here to save the heathens”. The site of the cathedral is chosen because myth would have it that it is where St. Drusus won the final battle to secure Iocanthus in the God-Emperor’s name.
  • In the meanwhile, Metalus visits the Arbitrator precinct-command, where is unusual status as a Verispex grants him an audience with Proctor-Laureate Lestano Dietz. The two men quickly take a liking to each other, and engage in a fruitful discussion about Iocanthus, Stern Hope, and the reported occurrences at the cathedral. Metalus is introduced to Suffering Marshal Valeria, who visited Stern Hope not long ago. As expected, the relationship between the Adeptus Arbites and the Ecclesiarchy remain formal, but Valeria reveals that establishing a good relationship with Brother Lemark will help the characters with valuable insights.

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  • Constantine and Atellus make their way to the Alm’s House, where Atellus has a meeting with Sister Xanthe of the Sisters Hospitallier. In the meanwhile, Constantine folds up his sleeves and helps the medical staff where he can. Atellus learns that the acerbic Sister Xanthe is even less impressed with Abbott Skae than Preacher Goudt, and although building a cathedral upon Iocanthus is an impressive feat, she seems to believe it smacks of hubris. There is no doubt in Atellus mind that Sister Xanthe believes such efforts could be better spent elsewhere to spread the good work of the God-Emperor. Meanwhile Constantine learns some more about the Ghostfire flower, and how it seems to thrive – quite literally – on death an misery. It is practically impossible to cultivate, and the bloom migrates along areas of warfare and strife.
  • Metalus meets up with Tybalt and Crom, and together they head to the Pits, where they spend a few hours navigating the shanty town in search of various goods. While dealing with various black market arms dealers, the group picks up some rumors about how the Asleen have been unusually restful of late. This supports observations from Marshall Valeria, Preacher Goudt and the staff of the Alm’s House, who have all heard stories of strange occurrences up north. Clans are clashing over unknown reasons, natives of speaking of “evil spirits”, and more and more Ashleen are gathering in the shadow of the aquila at Stern Hope.
  • Eventually the entire group gather and share their findings, before retiring for the day. Early the next morning they gather to set off, together with Aristachus. He is his usual friendly self, but it is obvious he hasn’t slept well. In the truck, Constantine and Aristarchus come to discuss a rather fine deck of the Emperor’s Tarot the Seer has. Artistarchus reveals it is a “rare and generous gift” from the Abbott, and goes on to reflect upon his fascination with the man and what he has achieved. To give up his comfortable and successful life in Scintilla and come to Iocanthus, and succeed at such a monumental task as gathering support for a cathedral – and to have the strength of faith to place in in such a remote location of such symbolic significance. Aristarchus reveals he is quite humbled by the man.
  • That night, after everybody has turned in and Metalus is sitting watch; the Verispex notices a figure out in the darkness approaching. The figure stops when being hailed, and Metalus rouses the camp. Despite multiple attempts to hail the figure, it simply stands there, unresponsive, right at the edge of darkness. Eventually, they approach under cover of Crom, only to find a long-dead Ashleen standing. Obviously, wounded in a battle some time ago, the body collapses to the ground at the first touch. Metalus finds tracks that indicate the corpse somehow walked to the camp, but neither Constantine nor Aristarchus can detect any psychic disturbance. Atellus holds a short sermon and the corpse is burned, and a rather disturbed Aristarchus retreats to the truck to consult the tarot.
  • The next morning the group set off again, and Aristarchus obviously hasn’t slept. He spends most of the day sleeping while they drive north, and Crom observes that the presence of Shale Crows seems to be increasingly common the further north they travel.
  • Late afternoon Cromwell spots something off to the side of the trail, and everybody notices a figure standing upon a rocky outcropping, indistinct in the haze sun glaze. The group pulls over, but by the then the figure is gone. Suspecting another corpse, Aristarchus orders them to investigate. Crom and Constantine climb the outcropping, but find nobody. However, they both find a pictograph of a bird grasping a skull in its talons burned into a flat sheet of rock. Based on their descriptions, Atellus recognizes the bird as a falcon, and Metalus recalls that the image is strikingly similar to the iconography of General Drusus’s 2nd army group. Although Constantine clearly senses that the skein is this in this area, and that something terrible once happened here, Aristarcus simply states that this is “indeed an age of miracles”.

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  • The group journey on, and late that day well after sundown, they arrive at the rough walls and haphazard gates of Stern Hope. A man of obvious authority amongst the armed guards standing watch on the walls approaches and carefully scrutinizes the group before welcoming them as servants of the Emperor.
  • Once inside the gates, the characters make their way to the Crying Clota, the only place that passes for an inn and a guesthouse in Stern Hope (as well as a scrap trader’s yard and livery stable). There they are greeted by Churchman Brother Lamark. Brother Lamark apologizes on behalf of the Abbot, who isn’t able to greet the party in person; and helps them get settled in to their rooms.
  • Once settled in, Brother Lamark takes his leave and Aristarchus retires to his room. The group make their way to the priory, which they identify as a pre-manufactured Imperial bunker that has been converted to the Abbot’s priory. Thereafter they make their way to the Cathedral, which is bathed in darkness up on the central hill. While the rest of the group inspect the perimeter, Constantine searches the aether for clues, finding that there is some old taint upon this place.
  • After inspecting the grounds of the Cathedral, the acolytes inspect the rest of Stern Hope. People all around them stare, smile, and whisper greetings as they pass, obviously in awe of the Emperor’s Servants that have come to protect them. Idle inquiry confirms the belief in the strange and unusual phenomena that has been reported, and reveals other strange incidents as well – in particular a glow of a light that is often witnessed up in the surrounding hills.
  • Cromwell also meets the man who let them into Stern Hope, Brother Sevarus; and discusses the state of Stern Hope’s security with him. Crom learns that the security is good enough to keep out bandits and roaming predators, but any concentrated attack by a warband would easily overrun the parameter.
  • Other discussions with natives and visitors in Stern Hope give the group some other clues. Some bands of Ashleen consider this location cursed ground, but there are not all who welcome the presence of the God-Emperor on Iocanthus. Furthermore, it is mentioned that amongst those opposed to the good Abbot’s work is Seth the Voice. However, the curious thing is that until Abbot Skae decided to build the Cathedral it is said that Seth and Skae enjoyed a good relationship.
  • The characters also learn that Warchief Kos’ke will be visiting Stern Hope for the consecration. The Warchief is an ally of the Abbott, a man whose support has provided some measure of safety to Stern Hope. Accompanying will be a Window of the Asheel, Death Singer Eshra Raine. There are mixed feelings about the visit of a Death Singer, and it is obvious the Asheel attribute a lot of myth and superstition to these mysterious women.
  • After the group returns to the Crying Clota, Tybalt and Metalus decide to go back to the Cathedral after the others have turned in. After some time, as they are about to leave, theys pot eerie lights in the nearby mountains. Tybalt’s analysis reveals it is no natural light phenomenon, and while they study it Metalus notices that one of the statues is crying blood. Feeling ill at ease with their surroundings, the two acolytes decide to call it a night and consider their experiences in the morning.
  • The next morning Aristarchus is looking even more fatigued, but his spirits are still high as he assimilates the information the group has gathered and discusses possibilities. His main suspect is still a rogue psyker, but he takes note of several other interesting pieces of information – in particular that concerning Seth the Voice. Aristarchus seems to share the Abbott’s sentiment on allowing the Ashleen to practise their own ceremony of blessing before the consecration, but agrees with Skae’s handling of the political matter.
  • After breakfast, Brother Lemark turns up to lead the group to the Abbot. Abbot Skae greets the acolytes with a sincere apology for missing their arrival the night before, but assures them that the young girl whose illness needed his attention is feeling better. The group talk for some time, and the Abbot’s passion for consecrating a Cathedral is evident. He shares with them the story of how he came to Iocanthus and devouted himself to this project, and reveals that it is in large part due to his connections amongst noble bloodlines on Solomon that he has managed to fund this enterprise. However, the Abbot fears that the phenomena are signs of a moral threat in Stern Hope, and he is adamant that it must be extinguished before the Cathedral is consecrated.
  • Brother Lemark is tasked with aiding the characters, and so after the meeting they decide to investigate a few questions, such as the crying statue and the lights in the mountains. Although there is no sign of any blood, Atellus identifies the statue as one of St. Drusus, and it stands stirring into the mountains where Tybalt and Metalus witnessed the lights.
  • Led my Brother Lemark, the acolytes make the trek into the nearby mountains, up upon the ridge line where the unnatural lights have been sighted. Having reached the top of the spur, the party is ambushed by three predatory Hexalids. The beasts prove no match for the group, but after the battle Metalus discovers that the Hexalids are long dead, old wounds rotten and full of pus and eyes pecked out. Constantine senses warp taint, and the confirms that entire area shows signs of corruption in the aether. Above, a murder of Shale Crows circle the party in an unnatural formation.

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  • On their way back to Stern Hope, having made no further discoveries on the ridge; Atellus strikes up a conversation with Brother Lemark. They discuss the Abbot, and Brother Lemark shares that the Abbot is feeling a lot of pressure as they near the consecration. He is not happy about his reliance on the Warlord Kos’ke, and sees the plainsong ritual that the Asleen have arrange prior to the consecration ceremony as somewhat insulting, especially as the Warlord has invited the mystic Death Singe Eshra Raine to the ritual. However, behind the worldly frustration Brother Lamark believes Skae is a pious man, driven in his faith in St. Drusus and the God-Emperor.
  • It is late when the party returns to Stern Hope, but they arrange to get another look at the cathedral with Brother Lemark’s help. On their way there, they come across a sudden commotion. After some inquiries they discover that an Ashleen men, standing amongst his peers around a barrel-fire, suddenly dove in; burning himself to death face-first. While looking into the tragic indecent, speaking to shocked comrades who cannot explain the apparent suicide, Matelus asks about death rituals and mourning amongst the Ashleen. He learns, amongst other things; that Death Singers are revered Ashleen widows who sing to protect the spirits of the dead from harm.
  • Once they finally make their way up to the Cathedral, they witness Brother Lamark stop as he sees another Ashleen (a familiar worker who resides in Stern Hope), standing deathly still before the Cathedrals’ side entrance. Closer inspection reveals the man to be another dead, similar to the occurrence in the desert. They learn nothing more from inspecting the body that before, unfortunately.
  • The inside of the Cathedral is dark, and covered up to protect the furniture and decoration from dust prior to tomorrow’s ritual. Constantine attempts to do a reading, but suffers a sharp migraine as a result, leaving him disturbed and unable to get a proper sense of the place. Atellus is not comfortable with the empty feeling of this building, either; as it arises none of even his usual sense of warmth associated with places of the God.Emperor.
  • The group’s dislike of the circumstance convince them to pull back and get some sleep. Aristarchus has already gone to bed, and listening beyond his room tells them he is sleeping poorly. The next morning Aristarchus doesn’t come down for breakfast, and when Tybalt goes to wake him he is told that Aristarchus will be down shortly. Once present it is obvious from his haggard appearance that the Seer is not getting much rest. He admits the Tarot is a harsh master, and tells the acolytes that he will return to rest during the plainsong ritual, in order to be fresh for the consecration of the cathedral. However, first he will share some words with the Abott.
  • A great commotion has sprung up during this time, heralding the arrival of the Warlord Kos’ke and his accompanying warriors. The population of Stern Hope has flocked to the main avenue, and the acolytes join them to witness the warlord and 6 bodyguards ride into Stern Hope on large, menacing dustdog mounts. Amongst the bodyguards rides a venerable lady who strikes an impressive pose, and the Ashleen amongst the Stern Hope population reverently whisper her praise as she passes by.
  • The warlord and his group presents themselves to the Abbot, who frowns at his introduction to the Death Singer much the same way as Warlord Kos’ke frowns at his introduction to Aristarchus, who happens to catch up to the scene just in time. Once the Ashleen warriors have moved on to prepare, the characters returned to their lodgings in order to prepare.
  • Once the ceremony begins, it begins with a procession from the priory up to the cathedral. It is done with all the pomp and ceremony that Stern Hope can muster, and Atellus walks at the Abott’s side as a respected member of the Ecclesiarchy. Tybalt and Cromwell hang back, watching things from a distance and content to wait outside the cathedral. Once the congregation is seated, the Abbot introduces the events and is just about to let the plainsong commence when alarms are sounded.
  • Attention drawn to the gates of Stern Hope, Cromwell and Tybalt see that a large host of fanatical warriors have come to Stern Hope and are making a swift, concentrated attack on the main gate. Their numbers are such that even the warlord’s men cannot hope to stop them from battering down the front gates, and so the acolytes prepare for the inevitable defense of the Cathedral. Incensed at this heretical interruption, the Abbot orders for a price in blood to be sought for this sacrilege.
  • The main gates fall as Atellus takes control of the town-wide vox network and starts chanting his commands for the people of Stern Hope to find their strength, not give in to fear, and organize a proper defense. Constantine uses his abilities to provide an inspiring presence to the heart of the gathering, lending people faith and courage to set up the core of the defense, where the Abbot boldly strides amongst his flock, helping them erect barricades and firing positions as well. Metalus and Tybalt both head down to the city, to help rally the population and send then up to the cathedral. Cromwell sets up a firing position at the top of the hill, covering the road up to the cathedral.
  • As the attackers flow into Stern Hope, Warlord Kos’ke and his bodyguards mount up and charge into the fray. The main route becomes a scene of fierce and savage conflict, but a group of attacks manage to outflank the main conflict and set up the hill towards the cathedral. Cromwell catching an eye on the satchel they are carrying, and suspecting demolition charges he and Constantine try to suppress their advance. Eventually, as the suicide bombers draw dangerously near the cathedral, Cromwell launched a grenade at the group, which in turn detonates the improvised bomb they were carrying. The blast takes out a number of people nearby, and stuns both Cromwell and Constantine in the process.
  • Meanwhile, as Atellus continues to fortify the hearts and minds of the people, Metalus and Tybalt rush to the inn to get to Aristarchus and lead him to safety. They dodge a Dustdog stampede as they enter their lodgings, rendezvousing with the Seer and rapidly updating him on the situation. As they head back Tybalt attempts to “guide” the stampede into the heart of the conflict, breaking up the organization of the main thrust to the cathedral.
  • Simultaneously, Metalus spots another group of attacks trying to outflank the main fight, this one lead by an obvious champion that is passing orders. Warning Tybalt, they all charge into the small group of attackers and dispatch them with violent prejudice. After a short but fierce combat, Tybalt and Metalus slay the enemy champion and disperse his immediate bodyguards.
  • Robbed of their momentum, the sum of these events disperse the attack and the Warlord’s band and the population of Stern Hope slowly get the upper hand, slaying and driving off the attacking horde. The party of acolytes find themselves rallying in front of the cathedral, checking that everybody is alright. The view of the town shows the horrendous damages done by the attack, despite the fact that the battle was won.
  • As the characters rally before the Cathedral in the aftermath of the battle, they are witness to a fierce confrontation between the Abbot and the Death Singer. Standing over a wounded attacker, Eshra is claiming that there is something horribly wrong here, that the attackers were maddened and that there is something amiss upon the hill of Stern Hope. Before the Abbot can answer, Aristarchus steps up and executes the attacker and calls the Death SInger a heretic. “We await a holy miracle here, woman. A miracle that has been revealed to me by the Emperor’s Grace, and all those who would stand against it are heretics! Do you stand against it?
  • The confrontation nearly results in violence, before Eshra cries out that there has been enough bloodshed. Calling the area cursed, and claiming the “crow sits on their shoulders, whispering lies” she rallies Kos’ke and his men and leaves, vowing not to return.
  • In the aftermath of the shock Aristarchus and the Abbot confer with the acolytes, and they make a plan on how to secure the town in order to continue the ritual. Atellus and Constantine tend to the wounded, both of body and spirit, while Tybalt and Cromwell fortify the gate. Metalus investigates the scene, and discovers that a kill-team under Brother Severus has moved through the battle ground dispatching wounded attackers.
  • After an hour, there is a sudden commotion at the Cathedral. Abbot Skae stumbles out of his chambers, stabbed and bleeding, claiming to have been attacked by a woman in black with mysterious powers. Aristarchus gathers the acolytes and demands that they find Eshra Raine and bring her before them for questioning. If she resists, the acolytes are to execute her.
  • As the Acolytes approach Eshra’s steading, they witness Kos’ke and a number of his bodyguards emerge from the central hut and take up a defensive position. The group parks their truck, and all but Cromwell (who has found a concealed sniping position) and Tybalt (who waits in the vehicle) approach the hut on foot. Kos’ke bids them halt at a safe distance, and Eshra emerges to ask their purpose. Atellus replies, calling for her to join the Acolytes back to Stern Hope, but she denies this. After some testing negotiations, Atellus agrees to sit down and talk to her, but as he moves carefully towards he dark swarms of Shale Crows attack from above.
  • Each Acolyte finds himself battling against the swarming carrion birds, including Tybalt whose vehicle is assaulted, and Crow, whose position is discovered by the swarming creatures. Holy flame erupts, and Atellus begins to drive back the creatures as his comrades slowly gain the upper hand as well, battering the blind monsters with melee weapons and spraying the swarm with full automatic fire. Eventually the swarm is driven off, scores of dead Shale Crows littering the ground. Eshra, Kos’keand his bodyguards have also survived, aided by the Acolytes, and Eshra begins a chant a blessing in wake of the attack.
  • The characters are brought into Eshra’s hut, where they speak of legends surrounding the hill of Stern Hope. There a foul spirit known as the Crow Father was defeated by the St. Drusus, but has haunted the grounds ever since. She believes that the foul spirit has somehow corrupted the proud Abbot and his companion, Aristarchus the Seer; and that something foul will take place upon Stern Hope soon. Against Kos’ke’s wishes, she presents the Acolytes with an ancient bound leather book that gives some insights into the nature of the foul spirit known as the Crow Father.
  • Studying the texts, the Acolytes learn that events leading up to the consecration, including the attack upon Stern Hope, all follow the pattern associated with of the warp-creature. Fearing that it all will culminate this night, the group decides to rush back to the town. There is some disagreement as to Eshra’s fate, but eventually her promise to remain in her home – and to return with the Acolytes later should their suspicions prove untrue, persuades the characters to leave her and rush back to the cathedral.
  • Hours later, once the characters approach Stern Hope, they immediately know something is wrong. The town is cast in darkness, and the damaged gates are stand wide open and unguarded. There is nobody about within the gates either, and the characters find nobody as they search their way to the Crying Clota. The guesthouse is in disarray, and Aristarchus is gone. However, they find a damaged dataslate that belongs to him, and Tybalt accessed his journals – revealing the belief that a miracle was about to happen this night, the holy return of St. Drusus himself!
  • Swiftly realizing what is happening, the characters rush back towards the cathedral, only stopping to investigate the priory on the way, as it shows signs of battle. Search the small bunker, they find Brother Lemark wounded, lying near death in the hall. Clinging to consciousness, he begs the acolytes to save the flock – all of whom the Abbot has gathered in the cathedral “Emperor save their souls”. Constantine quickly stabilizes the man, but he has fallen into unconsciousness.
  • Defiant, the group rushes to the cathedral, entering to fins a horrifying scene of betrayal and damnation. Aristarchus floats in the air, under a otherworldly whirlpool of aether burning in the unnatural heights of the cathedral. The cards of his Tarot circle him in mystic patterns, and he is enraptured in a hypnotic trance. At the main dais, the Abbot is in the middle of a horrifying transformation, his flesh distended and visage one of foul corruption. The people of Stern Hope are all transfixed, standing along the pews with terror frozen on their faces. Noticing the acolytes, the Skae-thing laughs and taunts them, and the acolytes find their willpower straining to keep them from embracing the damnation beckoning them.
  • Breaking the spell at last, the characters attack, firing at Aristarchus and the Skae-thing. The Tarot prove to be a near-impenetrable ward that deflects the character’s attacks, while the Skae-thing regenerates as fast as the characters manage to hurt it. While Tybalt and Atellus take on the Skae-thing, Metalus begins to shout at Aristarchus, trying to reason with the distant man. As the scene grows more and more desperate, Tybalt bravely fending off the worst of the warp-spawn’s attacks, more at more of the acolytes start to shout at Aristarchus – seeing their words are slowly having an effect on the man.
  • As Metalus, Atellus, and Constantine call for Aristarchus’s reason, Tybalt finds himself fought further and further back, the Skea-thing beginning to break through the Techpriest’s defenses. Eventually the horrible truth of the his surroundings dawns upon Aristarchus, and in a moment of panic and desperation the seer hurls himself into his own cards, his body instantly being shredded by the violent ritual, but in the process disrupting the psychic energy that was being channeled through the seer and collapsing the warp portal.
  • The portal collapses, and with it the Skae-thing is torn asunder and sucked into the closing gate. The people erupt into a screaming frenzy as they are released from their torment, but Atellus and Constantine soothe their souls with words of faith and psychic becalming. Aristarchus is dead, the Abbot torn asunder and his soul damned for all eternity, and the cathedral is heavily damaged, but the majority of the town’s people have survived, and the acolytes have averted the rebirth of an ancient daemon-creature of Iocanthus’s dark past.
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Jurisdiction
Jursidiction

Several months have passed since the escape from the Burning Isle, but Inquisitor Gedeliah has kept his new acolytes busy with the predominantly administrative tasks of getting their new lives sorted. Each acolyte was tasked with reestablishing their lives on Solomon in accordance with the needs of the Inquisition.

(What this means is something that needs to be discussed with each player.)

The task is been surprisingly challenging, as Inquisitor Gedeliah expects his Acolytes to pursue a daily routine of both physical training and scholastic study in addition to any administrative tasks, both professional and private. However, the change of pace has not been entirely unpleasant.

Shortly after the aftermath of their last adventure, the characters were treated to several meetings with the Inquisitor. Achiel earnestly apologized for his rather brusk acceptance of the characters as his acolytes. Although he was honest about his personal thoughts on gathering cells of acolytes, he did not consider it a fault of the characters that he was tasked with their administration. Despite the auspicious nature of their meeting, it seems that the Inquisitor has somehow been forced to take on the tutelage of the characters.

Nevertheless, he has embraced his duty, and in return his demands are straightforward: the acolytes are to make his efforts worth their while, embracing their duties with initiative and an independence that will have his investment pay off.

  • Atellus is presented with papers that declare his secondment to His Holy Inquisition, and he is given a reference in the Eccliarchy whom Atellus must meet in order to see all necessary administration of his official reassignment seen to. Accompanied by Constantine, Atellus goes to meet Archpriest Grecor Savaanin. The Archpriest turns out to be rather contemptful of Atellus’s position, but assigns a Deacon, a mean man named Kogam to assist with the administration.
  • Although Deacon Kogam carries out his duties (at least to the letter of the law), he is overtly hostile towards the characters, seeming to enjoy belittling Atellus for abandoning their beloved Adeptus Ministorum for the questionable practices of the Inquisition. Atellus and Constantine avoid any argument, and leave his charge as soon as they can. However, they later find themselves ambushed by Kogam and a few Fratis Militia goons who seem intent on teaching them a lesson in breaking certain perceived bonds of loyalty. Kogam and his goons nearly get the better of Atellus and Constantine in a back-alley scrap-up, until Constantine unleashes his fury in the form of a psychic harrowing. The group of attackers are all subdued to some degree of fear and terror, the worst case suffering severe mental traumas as a result of the sudden terror ripping through his consciousness. Atellus finishes the job by beating the terrified Kogam within an inch of his life, his anger almost getting the better of him; until Constantine drags him off the poor deacon and leave them to their shame.

Just as the characters are starting to feel some sense of continuity and daily routine, however; Achiel summons the acolytes to a meeting chamber. He has an assignment for them, and as their first tasks they are brought together as a team to assist and safeguard a senior Inquisitorial agent in carrying out an investigation on the barbaric world of Iocanthus.

  • During the morning meal, Inquisitor Achiel Gedeliah arrives unexpectedly and informally requests the presence of the Acolytes for a mission briefing after their physical training. At the meeting the Acolytes are met by Achiel and another acolyte who the Inquisitor introduces briefly as Metalus, a Verispex formally of the Adeptus Arbites who will be operating together with the cell during this assignment. As soon as introductions are complete, Achiel presents the mission: Illumination Brief

Purser_Sebek.jpg

  • The Acolytes are transported to the Brazen Sky, where they are met by Purser Sebek, a rough-around-the-edges ship’s purser who sees the characters to their module. He is overbearingly friendly, but cautions the characters against venturing beyond their assigned lodgings aboard the ship. Their lodgings consists of a module, once a fine passenger facility but now ancient and worn, consisting of a common room, a few sterile and sanitized bathrooms, and a number of small sleeping cells.
  • The general state of the Brazen Sky does not inspire any particular confidence, and although the characters request meetings with the ship’s Captain and it’s Mechanicus crew, their requests are never answered. The few crew encountered by the characters are generally hostile and speak a strange dialect, but the services (food, sensitization, etc.) are punctual and adequate.

The_Brazen_Sky.jpg

  • Tybalt sets up a hack to enter the ship’s systems, and start monitoring data, while the other characters settle into their berthing. The next day Metalus has a conversation with Sebek about acquiring some much-needed ammunition, and Sebek tactfully requests that Metalus look into some “unwanted tampering” within the ship’s passenger module. Tybalt accepts that his actions have been detected and disconnects from the Brazen Sky.
  • Purser Sebek undertakes the role of a go-between and brokers a deal between Metalus and the ship’s under-market for an autopistol and some ammunition. Constantine requests some heavier ammunition, but Sebek isn’t able to track down this item for them.
  • The ship receives an astrotelepathic message…

(This is where The Brazen Sky is ordered to make a visit to Granithor, on its way to Iocanthus)

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The House of Dust and Ash

The House of Dust and Ash

Second adventure in the Haarlock Legacy campaign.

  • Following the debacle on Quaddis, the unfortunate group of survivors are taken into custody by the Inquisition. They suffer harrowing interrogations as part of the investigation, during which time they are all brought to Solomon. There the broken survivors are all sentence to death for their exposure (innocence proves nothing). However, while waiting for their sentence to be carried out the group are dragged out of their cells and presented for an audience with Inquisitor Silas Marr.
  • Silas Marr introduces himself as an Inquisitor who has taken note of the groups’ exploits, and for their part in the Quaddis incident has ‘taken custody’ of them and offers them a stay of execution. Their involvement in Haarlock matters has drawn his interest, and he wishes to task them with a mission that also has ties to the very same notorious bloodline.
  • The group are to act as the acolytes of Silas Marr and go undercover to investigate matters at an auction of several artifacts belonging to the estate of Erasmus Haarlock. The auction is to be held at the House of Dust and Ash, a huge and acient crematoria and tomb complex that dominates a volcanic promotory set amid Solomon’s toxic Balemire Sea known as the Burning Isle.
  • A great many items belonging to the late Erasmus Haarlock are being auctioned off there, and all sorts of groups are hungry for the items in this collection. The group is to look into this affair, and see whether they can uncover anybody with unwholesome intentions. Silas Marr’s other acolytes are “otherwise indisposed” and cannot easily be re-routed for this task.
  • Accepting the task (preferable to a death sentence, after all) the group designs a cover as a Rogue Trader (Atellus) and his retinue, and the Inquisitions helps equip them for their role. The majority of the group are to take quarters aboard the Cygnus Martyr for transportation to the House of Dust and Ash. It is decided that Jericus accompanies another acolyte of Marr’s, the Lorelii Dekanta (one of the few nearby and available, according to Marr); traveling to the House of Dust and Ash by a different airship.
  • When Atellus, Tybalt, Constantine and Cromwell board the airship, Cromwell recognizes the captain of the airship from his time serving in the Margin Crusade (remembering him as an officer from a regiment Cromwell served alongside). Apart from Captain Elias Shadrack, the group are introduced to Nahun Grist (the First Mate) and the crew of fifteen. Apart from the crew, there are four other parties traveling with the Cygnan Martyr: Abbot Tamas of Shale and a selection of his congregation, Lanus Cisten and his assistant Whent, Octavia Nile and her bodyguards, and the mercenary-looking Vymer and Quill.
  • As the passage gets underway, the group begin to subtly investigate their company. Atellus makes a great impression on Lanus Cisten, a minor scion of one of Solomon’s guilder families who has devoted himself to a life of academia and lore. Cisten seems to see this auction as a once in a lifetime chance to own a piece of the things he has dreamt of and studied for years. Whent, Lanus’s junior scribe, seems like a somewhat feckless and stolid young man, mutely terrified of absolutely everything.
  • Constantine approached the Abott, a heaving, sweat-stained cleric with blotchy skin and fingers like writhing meat-worms. Tamas is a loud, highly-strung missionary who repeats loudly and at length that he has received a divine vision that has led him to here to bid on a holy saint’s relic. Whilst he has no definite proof, he believes the relic is included in the auction. His journey has been founded by his congregation, who have all given generously so that Tamas can secure the holy artifact. However, Constantine detects a faint warp stench on the man, and is suspicious of the Abott’s true motives.
  • Cromwell manages to make a connection with the Captain, although Shadrock doesn’t recognize him until the guardsmen subtly brings up their common past. At fist, teh Captain is highly suspicious of Cromwell’s motives (it strikes the guardsmen that the Captain is happy to keep his past somewhat quiet). However, Cromwell’s good-natured socializing and discretion warms the Captain’s attitude a bit. The Captain seems genuine enough, and runs a tight, but fair ship.
  • After extracting himself from Lanus’s excited dialogue, Atellus also manages to make contact with the Lady Octavia Nile. Octavia is an attractive young woman dressed in formal business attire, with fine manners and a cool, easy charm. She claims to be working for an undisclosed guild cartel, and despite her smooth manner Atellus gets the impressions that she is engaging the other passengers to find our who they are and their business at the auction. She strikes Atellus as a sharp woman on a mission, although that itself sin’t necessarily any suspicious.
  • Well into the second day of the voyage, sudden, violent storms of squalling winds and heavy, corrosive rain force the ship to slow to have its speed in order to keep altitude, which makes for a very bumpy ride. The skyship passes close to the rusted skeletal ruins of what looks to have once been a great hive spire jutting from the black waters. These ruins are used as a navigational marker, known locally as the southern shard. Shortly after passing the Shard, the Cygnan Martyr comes under attack from violent raiders. Their lighter vessels catches up with the Martyr and harpoons her with multiple grappling catapults.
  • As the two vessels join for boarding actions, the crew of the Martyr prepare to repel invaders. Fortunately, Atellus, Cromwell and Constantine fight bravely and slay a great many number of invaders, while at the same time managing to cut some of the harpoon lines. Down below, Tybalt works the ship, cutting anchor chains wherever he found them fixed to a boarding harpoon. The character successfully managed to defend the Martyr and ward off the attackers, destroying their wrecker ship in the process. Hailed for their actions, the Captain and the crew treat them with utmost respect the rest of the tour. However, teh battle was not without losses: Quill has been wounded in the attack, and one of Octavia’s bodyguards was killed, as well as six slain deckhands.
  • In accordance with their plan, Jericus is separated from the other party of acolytes in order to pose as Lorelii Dekanta’s bodyguard – the thought being that two parties on each their skyship being able to gather more intelligence pre-arrival. Their skyship also comes under attack near the Shard, but unlike the Cygnan Martyr it is eventually overwhelmed. However, Jericus and a fellow passenger Tech-priest manage to sabotage their ship before they evacuate to the pirate vessel. There they fight ferociously to kill the remaining raiders, the encounter accumulating in a violent clash between the Tech-priest and the rogue tech-heretik piloting the pirate craft. The loyalist tech-priest wins, but at the expense of his life. He last act is to eject a tech-relic that he implores Jericus to return to an Adeptus Mechanicus temple.
  • Atellus, Cromwell, Constantine and Tybalt arrive at the Burning Isle, are greeted by the head provost Hiram Bland, and get themselves settled in at the House of Dust and Ash. Their quarters are spartan, but practical (and near each other). They make contact with Marr’s inside man, Locutor Mayweather. Locutor is on the verge of a nervous break-down, and reports of grim happenings, adepts and PDFs vanishing and bodies turning up in strange place – all which Provost Hiram Bland does his best to cover up and carry on as if its business as usual. It takes quite some effort to reassure Locutor and motivate him to keep on doing the Emperor’s work.
  • That evening, a formal reception is held in the Garden of Lost Saints. There are about 40-60 various parties present to bid in the auctions, each a prominent person and many their own entourage of servants, bodyguards, retainers. Provost Bland introduces the rules of the auction, and Head Mourner Greel blesses the proceedings with a prayer ending with “He who held stars and wonders in the palm of his hand”. The ceremony is followed by a somewhat surreal and sinister social gathering with drinks where the group manages to get a broader overview of the public in attendance.
  • Meanwhile Jericus is steering his stolen wrecker skyship towards the Burning Isle, using prayers as much as the late Mechanicus prist’s blessings to keep the craft alight until it reached shore. As the stripped down priate craft crashes onto the shore, Jericus escapes alive only to watch the wreck crumble back off the cliff and into the toxic sea. A lone survivor, Jericus takes his weapons and the tech-relic entrusted him and heads to the House of Dust and Ash, noting a town laying by the coast in the distance.
  • At the reception, amongst the many guests, the characters present take particular note of another four. The group engages in dialogue with a Master Nonesuch, a very calm and pleasant man that nevertheless sets Constantine’s nerves on edge (he believes there is something horribly wrong with that man). Master Nonesuch claims to be a dilettante collector who is looking for something unusual.
  • Cromwell finds himself taking pleasant note of a stern, professional man who names himself Magyar Marshrek. Magyar introduces himself as a Rogue Trader looking to invest the profits from a recently fortuitous deal. Another character the group speaks to is Captain Yúchün, a noble and vessel master seemingly intent on simply enjoying life’s many adventures and experiences. Captain Yúchün’s style is dramatic even amongst this extravagant crowd, and is accompanied by a rather large retinue of servants, guards, and other various sycophants.
  • Finally, there is Rogue Trader Rubio – a exaggerated flop who is looking for something worthy of his weapons collection. Rubio attempts to lay his charms on Octavia Nile, who is obviously annoyed with the young upstart. However, when Atellus attempts to intervene on Octavia’s behalf he provokes the young Rogue Trader and the two end up in a social stand-off. Violent confrontation is avoided by Octavia “flirting the man away” as well as the dramatic arrival of of a rather roughly-appearing Jericus.
  • Finally convened, the group updates each other with their recent adventures in a quiet corner of The Garden of Lost Saints. Jericus tells the other acolytes of the town he spotted in the distance where he came ashore and the group decides that it is worth investigating the location. Cromwell and Tybalt are eager to volunteer in order to get away from the oppressive social context of the formal reception, and join Jericus on a journey to the town they will come to know as Deadtown.
  • The three make their way directly to the only feature that is open and active at this late hour, a no-name watering hole at the center of Downtown. They enter separately, each looking to establish some connection. Jericus fails abysmally to ingratiate himself with a couple of Mourners but sensing his lethal edge, Chanshen the barkeeper makes contact with the Deathcult Assassin in order to investigate his presence.
  • Tybalt and Cromwell end up helping two local farmers with their old, worn-down vehicle – or Tybalt works on the vehicle while Cromwell talks to the two young vat farmers – and discover rumors of cave systems northeast of the House of Dust and Ash that may lead in and out of the citadel. Meanwhile, Jeriucus and Chanhen come to an understanding that if Jericus can help acquire some new arms for the barkeeper, Chanshen will do what he can to gather intelligence on the killings up at the citadel. The party decides to split in two.
  • Tybalt and Cromwall head northeast and explore the tunnel system, the veteran guardsman’s survival skills seeing them through some light cave exploration (assisted by Tybalt’s sensor and memory systems). Although they don’t find a way into the House of Dust and Ash, Tybalt is quite sure that if he manages to unlock their map, he could superimpose it over their cave survey and find likely points of intersection.
  • Jericus approaches a PDF patrol and manages to bribe them into taking them to their duty officer, whom Jericus in turn threatens to supply him with arms vs. payment of suffer a far more unfortunate fate as another “missing” victim. The terrified Sergeant on duty wisely decides to accept the payment and supplies the Deathcult Assassin with three combat shotguns that the Sergeant claims he can “make disappear” from the armory.
  • Jericus meets Cromwell and Tybalt as they are all traveling back to Deadtown. The shotguns are handed over to Chenshaw, who tells the group to come back later that day (it is now early, early morning), and he will relay what information he manages to gather. Fatigue catching up to the three acolytes, they return to the House of Dust and Ash, where Jericus reports the lost skyship and eventually gets a room. The three agree to get up late and continue their investigations.
  • The next day the group gathers early afternoon to make a plan, and quickly decide to task Jericus with trailing Master Nonesuch. The rest set out to visit the Alter of Fire, where they find Provost Hiram Bland meditating. After a pleasant chat with the Adept, they all return to the grand hall to see a body being carried away by some PDF troopers. The body is of a man whose head has been torn open, and brain missing. Dowsing attempts by Constantine indicates the brain is missing, probably either burned or devoured.
  • Jericus spends a few hours looking for Master Nonesuch and his entourage, and eventually comes across the female that accompanies the “dilettante collector”, not far from where this evening’s viewing will be held. He quietly tracks her back to where the party has rooms. Finding a clever vantage point where he can look into the abode, Jericus confirms the whereabouts of Master Nonesuch and takes note of the strange behavior of the entourage – cold and practically void of any personality.
  • Meanwhile, the rest of the group freshens up and has some food before meeting up with Lady Octavia Nile to attend the viewing ceremony. The viewing area is heavily guarded by PDF troopers and gun servitors, and all weapons must be checked before entering the area. There is minimal fuss in these proceedings, apart from some arguments from Tybalt, and soon everybody is viewing the astonishing collections.
  • Jericus watches his mark until they leave the apartment. Shadowing safely behind, he follows them to the viewing. Master Nonesuch displays perfect behavior, but Jericus is surprised not to see any interest in the items. Master Nonesuch seems pleased to socialize and watch the spectacle “as a whole”.
  • The other characters are attentive to the people and items that catch their interest. Lady Octavia Nile is her usual charming self, but seems drawn to the Greyskin Psalter (a book in gibberish High Gothic). Abbot Tamas is there with his entourage, acting very unstable. He is confused and angry for not finding what he is looking for, and his cover is cracking under the slightest scrutiny. Vymer and Quill are quietly and professionally surveying the items (Quill seeming to recover nicely from his wounds), and so is Magyar Marshrek – neither giving anything away. Lanus Cisten is his usual excited, naive self; but assists Tybalt in cataloging the items on display. Rubio parades around (although out of Atellus’s vicinity), mostly paying attention to flamboyantly ornamented weapons. Captain Yúchün is simply making a drama out of the whole viewing, loudly boasting his appreciation to members of his extravagant entourage.
  • The items that draw the character’s attention are consistent with the items that were delivered late, most of which also give Constantine some form of background reading as warp-tainted:
Artifacts of note
A Book Unbound An apparently leather folio filled with loose parchment pages
Constatine believes the leather the folio is bound in is humans skin
Bloody Seal Gilt seal, the width of a human palm, showing the symbol of the aquila clasping keys in its claws
Silver Key Large and ornate key made of tarnished silver, inscribed with archaic human symbols
Greyskin Psalter A battered but sizable prayer book of achaic style and design
Octavia Nile tries not to show it, but she seems nonetheless particularly interested in this piece
A Shattered Pauldron An Adeptus Astartes shoulder plate, torn and badly damaged
It is crimson in color with the symbol of a black, fanged skull blazoned on it
A Xenoflesh Mask A vile looking hood-like mask of withered grey-green flesh, featureless but for a wide, circular, lamprey-like mouth.
An Onyx Statue A beautiful carved statue of a three-eyed, bat-winged fiend
Tybalt is disturbed by this, and tries to discover what it reminds him of – but to no avail
An Unknown Portrait Blurred-looking portrait with the inscription The Mirror of my Blood
A Primitive Doll in a Glass Jar A small rag and stick doll, trapped in a dusty, stoppered bell jar
Constantine recognizes that a tormented and particularly vicious Astral Spectre is trapped within the jar
The Guilded Widow One of three large items not on display until the actual auction
This item garnishes a lot of attention, and is reported to be some type of fortune-telling servitor
  • The group finish off their part in the viewing and convene for a short discussion. During this move Cromwell manages to covertly rendezvous with Jericus and is told that although seemingly clean Master Nonesuch and his entourage simply are too perfect in their behavior to be written off as “harmless”. After having observed them for some time, Jericus is skeptical to the fact that their facade never slips.
  • After the viewing, Jericus attempts to shadow Master Nonesuch back to the apartment, but looses the party. After some careful reconnaissance, Jericus finds one of Master Nonesuch’s entourage hiding in the shadows, as if to set up an ambush. Jericus attempts to approach non-chalantly, in order to see if the bodyguard will let him pass – but finds himself brutally attacked instead! It is a hard-fought match, and it takes a lot of effort to slay the bodyguard. The man feels no pain, sheds little blood, and his flesh seems dry and almost unliving – but when Jericus ultimately wins he is truly revolted to discover a large insect-like creature imbedded where the bodyguard’s brain should be.
  • Elsewhere, Atellus and Cromwell make contact with some PDF troopers and ingratiate themselves to some good intelligence: The bodies of these mysterious deaths began turning up three days ago, and have consisted of other PDF troopers and visitors. Yet even though none of the Mourners have been killed, they seem unsettled by these deaths. Additionally earlier that evening, in a moment of fatigue Bland admitted to Tybalt that he should conclude the business of the auction as soon as possible and get out as soon as he could.
  • Atellus and Cromwell arrange a meeting with Bland, and reveal their status as agents of the Inquisition. Bland is relieved, but can’t help the characters as much as they’d like. He provides a list of names of people arriving on the island the same day the killings started, and otherwise provide some casual background information. He describes the relationship with the Mourners as strenuous that he can’t wait to finish up his duties here., As Inquisitorial agents, Bland is happy to defer authority to the characters, but that doesn’t help them with the Mourners. Greel, the Head Mourner, holds all the cards in terms of running the auction. Nonetheless, Bland promises the characters the use of the PDF when and if the time comes for open conflict.
  • Meanwhile, Jericus has hidden the body of the bodyguard and picked up on finding the rest of the suspicious party. Some time later he find the lady and another bodyguard leaving their abode (he has lost track of the last bodyguard and Master Nonesuch himself), and so he continues to follow them, even though they leave the central areas of the House of Dust and Ash quickly behind, moving deeper into the vast complex.
  • Working on deciphering the map of that complex, Tybalt and Constantine devise a way to send out Constantine as a beacon in order for Tybalt to get some fresh data to work with. During his movements, Constantine notices someone is following him. Advancing to open ground as cautiously as possible, Constantine counts four pursuers. He finds a place up top with a vantage point and waits. As the first two are about to come into view, they retreat beneath and fade from his senses. he other two have split up – one seemingly attempting to outflank Constantine to the left. While Constantine attempts to counter-maneuver, he discovers that it is Jericus trailing the first two that disappeared. The presence outflanking also pulls back and vanishes – and Jericus confirms that he was tracking two of Master Nonesuch’s entourage.
  • Jericus continues tracking the strange party, while Constantine returns to the other members of the group. However, as Jericus is unable to pick up the trail he returns to the rest of the group shortly thereafter as well. They collaborate their experiences and findings and return to their quarters to rest. It seems the following day will be worth being rested for. Discussions in the group reveal that although they have plenty of information to rapport to the inquisition, it is the greater plot unfolding that concerns them. The group suspects that Haarlock has arranged the entire gathering, using his items to draw in visitors to flush out potential relations, and killing them – or that whatever is to come will somehow drive some plot or ritual to fuel Haarlock schemes. The focus, apart from unraveling events, is to devise an exit strategy – hopefully by breaking the cypher on the map.
  • Jericus gets some intell from Deadtown
  • Auction of the lesser Items, Cromwell and Jericus on overwatch while Atellus, Tybalt and Constatine do some shopping.
  • Lunch, Atellus tries to get Bland away from Graal.’
  • Auction of the greater items, the Guilded Widow, the trap is sprung!
  • The escape from the Garden! Saving Lanus, while both Atellus and Cromwell see something…
  • The Tomb of Solomon
  • Encountering Master Nonesuch “feeding” on Vymer and Quill
  • Sneaking to the Garden for Dataslates
  • Finding Octavia Nile while looking for the Psalter
  • Meeting up with Captain Yuchun, then being chased
  • The Stand against the Children of the Kingdom
  • The survivors move one, and the map is revealed!
  • Ambushed by the Abott
  • Escape, then the show-off at the Cygnan Martyr
  • The debrief with Silan and Achiel
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The 13th Hour

The 13th Hour

Third Chapter of Tattered Fates, first adventure in the Haarlock Legacy campaign.

  • As the bells toll across Xicarph, the party knows that events on Quaddis is drawing towards the endgame. They have in their possession tickets to the celebrations at Gabrial Chase, but there are still many questions that the group needs answered. Considering that they have 13 hours until the eclipse, the group decides to split up into three groups. Atellus and Jericus will play Rogue Trader Noble and his bodyguard, Constantine and Tybalt will play Merchant Lord and Ship’s Weapons Enginseer in service of Rogue Trader Justillius, and Cromwell will accompany the Lady Melua as her bodyguard, along with the White Scholar. Each group will arrive separately, and spend the first few hours reconnoitering the great manse and attempting to establish resourceful contacts amongst the other attendants.
  • Each group arrives to a cacophony of noble processions, merchant guilds, spectacular individuals and all their collective entourages bustling for entry into the grounds of Gabriel Chase. The Lunar Gate is attended by several officials in black dress, who are meticulously studying and verifying the seal of each ticket. Subtly placed, high grade weapons servitors monitor the entrance, and despite the chaos that reigns before the gate all is quiet and orderly around the officials. Beyond the gates the broad avenue that leads to the mansion is peaceful, wide enough to accommodate each procession as it is let through the bottleneck at the Lunar Gate. The tranquility is no doubt inspired partly by the awe of the luxurious splendor of the manse.
  • After arriving, Atellus and Jericus decided to split up so that Jericus could recon the grounds. Using his solitude to an advantage, Atellus made contact with another elderly man walking on his own towards the mansion. The man, Vipus, turned out to be the head of an very powerful merchant family. Despite his official status, it became obvious that he has been ‘retired’ from actively controlling the family affairs and sent to Quaddis to “enjoy his wealth” as a reward for his long service. Old Man Vipus bears a streak of resentment, but carries himself with honor. Vipus takes kindly to Atellus, who treats him with respect due; and it turns out Vipus has spent his time on Quaddis looking into the history of the Haarlock line. Through their conversations, Atellus learns more about Erasmus Haarlock’s obsession with time. Old Man Vipus suggests that too much attention has been paid by historians upon the slaying of the other heirs, and that he believes this act of vengeance might be secondary – perhaps even peripheral – to what really drove the man after the death of his wife and child.
  • Jericus circumvented the grounds, visiting the various eco-domes and particular features of the grounds surround the Gabriel Chase mansion. Although he discovered nothing of note, he had at least familiarized himself with the lay-out and operations of the manse. Once he had linked back up with Atellus, they explored the inside of the mansion. The Theater of Clocks – and the Steel Clock in particular – drew their interest, and together they attempted to discover more about the device. They learned that the Steel Clock seemed to exist ‘out of time’, or at least protected by some powerful force field, but that it was nevertheless linked to every other clock in the theater. The stone attached to the pendulum drew their particular interest, but they weren’t able to find out anything other than its name – it is referred to as the Keystone. The two discuss some hypothesis about how the Steel Clock is controlled by the ‘blood of the Haarlocks’, but discover no further evidence as to the item’s function or purpose.
  • Tybalt and Constantine stuck together when they arrived at the manse, and made their way directly to the mansion. After some time studying the Steel Clock, they reconnoitered the inside of the mansion looking for anybody they could make contact with. After witnessing an outburst of poor composure, the two managed to establish a dialogue with a young nobleman and his entourage. The young man was Sire Tarrik Dobu, of the Fane of Dobu in Gunmetal City, Scintilla. The temperamental Tarrik revealed himself to be a rather upstanding young man who could not stand the arrogance of the other nobles who looked down on his own family’s fortune. Although without any particular knowledge of the event, Tarrik’s entourage seemed well-armed and capable of looking after themselves. The groups parted on favorable terms, and Tybalt and Constantine returned to study the Steel Clock.
  • Performing what analysis they can, Tybalt and Constantine make some startling discoveries. First of all, Tybalt confirms that there is some form of field ‘phase shift’ surrounding the Steel Clock, and that it’s mechanical properties – at least on the surface – are a dynamic movement of impossibilities. Viewing the Steel Clock with his warp sense, Constantine discovers that the Steel Clock has some form of presence in the warp, at least partially. It is not a thing of the warp, but it affects the warp (or is affected by the warp) in some way. As Constantine lets his senses drift, he feels a presence that disturbs him so greatly he drops out of the immaterium – only to catch sight of the Jackal Mask standing amongst the crowd perceiving him for a moment before vanishing.
  • Cromwell’s session (to be played), meeting his NPC.
  • After a few hours, Atellus, Jericus, Constantine and Tybalt reunite to continue their investigations. Following Septimus Dexter’s discoveries on the half-burned maps found at the cultist’s abandoned site of worship, the group discovers hidden entrances to passages that lead to corridors secreted within the walls of the manse. The group is subject to a trap early in their investigations of the corridors (which reveals advanced mechanisms that drive the lay-out of the corridors), but they defeat the ancient combat servitors that are unleashed upon them. Further investigations lead the group to discover cultists, disguised as staff, using the corridors to transport and cache assault weapons and grenades.
  • The group exits the passages just in time for the 11th hour. During the striking of the bells there is a sudden black-out that last a few short moments. During the darkness, screams of a familiar voice is heard, and when the light returns they discover Lady Melua has been killed, her body hurdled into the machinery of the Steel Clock’s complex machinery of gears, shifts and levers.
  • The group now enlists the aid of the group from Gunmetal Hive to hunt cultists within the secret passages, while they confer with Old Man Vipus and desperately search for any last-minute information about the Widower, the Steel Clock, and whatever they can do to unravel the bond. The group discovers some suggestions that removing the Keystone might be the key to the whole coming encounter.
  • Constantine’s session (to be played), disruption in the kitchens.
  • The 13th hour is struck, and during the eclipse the Tyrant Star appears and shines its unholy light down upon Quaddis. The Heron Mask makes his appearance, challenging the Widower. The Widower answers, appearing to accept the challenge and the two confront each other while cultist of the Pilgrims of Hayte attack the crowd in wanton slaughter. Atellus reacts by commanding other nobles to himself in order to organize a defense, while Jericus makes for the Keystone. Constantine, Tybalt and Cromwell are to provide covering fire, but Constantine suffers a perils of the warp attack. Time distorts around him, and he vanishes out of time while his compatriots engage the enemy. Jericus manages to retrieve the Keystone, the removal of which destroys the widower, the Steel Clock, and banishes the Tyrant Star. The Heron Mask comes under attack from the entire group, is blinded and wounded, but makes his escape.
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Carnival of Blood

Carnival of Blood

Second Chapter of Tattered Fates, first adventure in the Haarlock Legacy campaign.

  • The player character escape the Red Cages, only to find themselves in the middle of a macabre carnival, some festival of the rich and opulent. Tybalt, having accessed some relevant data down in Vault 13, recognizes their location as the Rose Colonnade, in the Promenade of Arenas, and so he leeds the way to the Collapsed Palaces, the only slum of sorts in the city of Xicarph. There they manage to barter a room for a shotgun and some ammo so they can rest up and make a plan.
  • Atellus, ever devout; leads the survivors in prayer as they reflect on their current situation and plan their next moves. While the party rests, some manage to pick up some information about where they are, The Collapsed Palaces (the closest thing to slums in Xicarph), and the ongoing festivities – the Festival of Tattered Fates, where various noble houses and the powers-that-be compete in staging countless entertainments, pagents, bloody diversions and spectacles.
  • The Festival of Tattered Fates, also known as the Grand Carnival of Blood or the Passing of the Black Star, is a tradition that occurs erratically every five or six decades when the stars are right. The festival is celebrated during the time that leads up to the Grand Conjunction, a planetary alignment where the sun above Xicarph is eclipsed. At the height of the Festival of Tattered Fate, when Quaddis’ sun begins to go into eclipse, there is a deathly pause known as “the Passing of the Shadow” that last a full 13 hours before total eclipse is reached. Once Xicarph is in full eclipse, known as “the Revel of Darkness”, Imperial law holds no sway and no deeds done then may afterward be punished under caddis’ rule.
  • Once the party has gotten a little rest and cleaned themselves up (as best they can), they spilt up. Cromwell and Tybalt head to the Promenade of Areas to find out a way to make some money. Their quest leads them to a gambling house known as Fate’s Wheel. This institution seems to be involved in most of Xicarph’s gambling activities. While Tybalt earns some betting money by reconsecrating worn tech-devices, Cromwell manages to set up a match. Jericus steps into the ring against a noblewoman’s champion and manages to win the party some funds.
  • During that time, the rest of the party made their way to the Refutation, looking for Septimus Dexter – “The White Scholar” (last surviving member of Inquisitor Karkalla’s acolytes). One they locate the undercover Adept, they learn a little more about their situation. The Adepts has been continuing his research, and is now even more certain than Karkalla was of the involvement of the Pilgrims of Hayte.
  • Septimus Dexter also tells the party about the Haarlock bloodline’s recent history, and why it is central to ‘the way things work’ on Quaddis. He tells the story of how Erasmus Haarlock was tragically drawn into bloody events of rights and heritage with the murder of his family – and how he returned to kill every other heir to the Rogue Trader warrant, before vanishing many years ago. Amongst many heirlooms, the Rogue Trader has a Steel Clock located at the Gabrial Chase Mansion, which strikes every hour during the Passing of Shadow – and a murderous servant known as the Widower. The latter is a feared myth in Xicarph Septimus believes the Pilgrims of Hayte are using to hide their own bloody activities.
  • The Pilgrims of Hayte are a cult of particular deviancy, and Septimus Dexter stresses that whatever they are planning, is is bound to be an extinction-level event. Furthermore, he does not believe it is a coincidence this is all happening during the Festival of the Tattered Fates. So one must assume that whatever the Heron Mask is planning, there is a substantial risk that he plans to do as part of the festival.
  • After some discussion, the player characters split into two groups. Atellus, Constantine and Jericus begin their day at the markets of the Collapsed Palaces, re-equipping themselves with arms and essential gear. Having acquired the bare essentials, they turned their attention to investigating the Mansion of Gabrial Chase. Jericus quickly discards any notion of breaking in, as the security is professional enough to make it too risky. In the meanwhile, Atellus and Constantine learn that there will be a party at the Mansion during the Passing of Shadow – and everybody who is anybody will be there to celebrate the Steel Clock as it chimes its way through the 13 hours of the Passing of Shadow.
  • Atellus learns that the heads of the Walperga Trading Consortium are in Xicarph, a merchant family whom his uncle has done business with. They’ve rented a hotel complex near the High Steps of the Pleasure Gardens, investing the majority of the family fortune just to be present for the festival. The playing characters are disappointed to learn that the family has yet to be invited to the party at the mansion (and probably won’t be), a fact that is a bitter disappointment to the head of the Walperga family as their rivals, the House of Carph, will be.
  • The player characters spend the afternoon locating members of the House of Carph, finally tracking a few of their members back to the Fate’s Wheel. There the player characters find the particular figures of Carph engaged in a betting game with hat turns out to be the owner of Fate’s Wheel – Papa Grist. After some deliberation, Atellus decides to go for the direct approach. He presents himself to Papa Grist’s bodyguard and says he wants tickets to the party at the mansion. He’s heard that Papa Grist is the man who can help him, the question is what do the player characters have to do?
  • The boldness of the player characters’ approach amuses Papa Grist, who ‘suggests’ that the player characters can start by exacting vengeance on the House of Carph. Their pair of Sabre-wolves have just killed one of Papa Grist’s chrono-gladiators, and so Grist could appreciate a little pay-back if the player characters wanted to prove their worth. Jericus gets into the ring, and although he is savagely wounded by the wolves, manages to kill them both with his knives.
  • Papa Grist awards Atellus and Constantine by having a drink with them, during which time he incredulously offers the player characters tickets to the party at the mansion if they can bring him the head of the Spider Bride. He admits, laughingly; that he considers the task a ‘mission impossible’ – but for him to simply give the player characters such tickets “that’s the least that could do”.
  • While Atellus, Constantine and Jericus follow their leads, Tybalt and Cromwell undertake an investigative effort of their own. After procuring themselves some las carbines, they decide to visit one of the larger Mechanicus shrines in Xicarph. Tybalt presents himself to the shrine, introducing himself to a Techpriest by the name of Farrox. While Cromwell waits outside, Tybalt is invited in to the foyer as Farrox checks their story. Understanding that Tybalt is representing interests beyond the Mechanicus, the foreign Techpriest is politely – if cooly – shown away.
  • Cromwell leads the party of two back to Fate’s Wheel, where they continue asking around for clues as to the whereabouts of Marcus Vulpa (the Jackal Mask). Cromwell learns that another lady, a Lady Du’landra Melua, has also been asking around about this Marcus Vulpa. Tybalt recognizes the family name from one of the other survivors of the pits in the Red Cages, a young man by the name of Lar’ax Melua that they got separated from during one of the many events they experienced during their harrowing escape from the Red Cages.
  • Cromwell and Tybalt manage to uncover where Lady Melua is staying, and eventually catch up with her at a restaurant near the hanging gardens. They manage to convince her that they’ve been with her brother (although they’ve since become separated), and arrange a meeting later back at her hotel. There, they share some information, and agree to help each other uncover the truth about the Beast House operations in Xicarph – and find out why they were kidnapped here in the first place!
  • All clues to Beast House lead to Fate’s Wheel, and so Cromwell, Tybalt, and Lady Malua return to the seedy venue. They learn a little more about the ownership of Fate’s Wheel, and about the Papa Grist character. Just as they feel as if they’ve run into a dead end, unsure of how to approach Papa Grist; they are witness to the other half of their party making contact with the criminal overlord. The observe events from a distance, and make contact after the interaction with Papa Grist is over, concerned about Jericus.
  • The party manages to get Jericus back to their base of operations, administered medical attention and let him rest. By now the day was coming to an end, and as the evening passed into night Atellus and Constantine manage to learn about the Spider Bride. A near-mythical figure, she seemed to represent the true head of the Xicarph underworld, as opposed to the off-world upstart Papa Grist. She was rumored to run The Twilight Gardens, Xicarph’s most exclusive pleasure house. Furthermore, mystery had it she had run the shadows of Xicarph for as long as the city has existed.
  • While Atellus, Constantine, Septimus and Lady Melua look after Jericus, Tybalt and Cromwell go shopping for some more supplies – in particular micro-beads for the whole party. Thereafter the group splits up. Lady Melua stays behind to watch over the resting assassin, while Atellus and Septimus go searching for an ally from the Ministorum. Tybalt, Cromwell and Constantine pick up the search for Marcus Vulpa.
  • Atellus learns that Father Breen, a Ministorum priest serving the House of Hethannon; seems like a man to make contact with. House Hethannon has a small fief on Quaddis, but their reputation is that of an older bloodline of respectable, pious nobles. Further research reveals the location of House Hethannon’s holdings in Xicarph, and Atellus manages to meet with Father Breen. During that meeting, Atellus learns of a Missionary called Obadiah Psalter. Obadiah was making quite a name for himself, building a flock of followers amongst the Shattared Ramparts, but then suddenly his fortunes turned. His flock abandoned him, and Obadiah was left to start building a new parish from scratch.
  • Constantine led the investigation into Beast House information by visiting the Twilight Gardens, getting an impression of their potential mark (as it is the home of the Spider Bride), while looking for any clues of connections with the inter-system slavers. His investigation was supported by Tybalt and Cromwell, who were following up the inquiry on datanets and amongst local thugs-for-hire. They learn that Beast House activities has been on the rise in resent decades, and mostly connected with Papa Grist’s fortunes. The Spider Bride’s network runs deeper into the noble houses, but seems to stay clear of such brutal crime. At the same time, the ladies of the Twilight Garden seem to be far more than mere Companions.
  • The next day Constantine, Tybalt and Cromwell make contact with an informant who gives them details to a meet Marcus Vulpa is expected at. A former pottery store nearby, in approximately an hour-and-a-half. The team gathers and goes to investigate, and Cromwell finds a footlocker with the skinned bodyparts of a man. The only other item of curiosity in the abandoned store is a grandfather clock standing in the basement. Nobody else ever shows up to the house, and the team eventually leaves to follow up on Atellus’s lead.
  • While the rest of the team are conducting their investigations, Lady Melua gently wakes Jericus to tell him that she’s been contacted by a small group of men who claim to know the whereabouts of her brother. They want to meet her and negotiate terms for a reunion. The whole deal seems sketchy, but Lady Melua is desperate. She can’t ignore any lead – no matter how risky. Jericus decides to assist the Lady, staking out the meet and establishing overwatch. During this action Jericus manages to overhear the group – who turn out to be Beast House slavers – complaining over the disappearance of Marcus Vulpa. Nobody knows where he has been for the past two days, and it is causing some disturbance amongst the slavers.
  • The meeting goes sour, as expected; and three slavers attempt to kidnap Lady Melua. During the chase – as Jericus finally catches up to the group – they all come under attack by some inhuman force. A chaotic shifting form of brutality that Jericus never fully manages to get a good look at takes the slavers (as well as Lady Melua’s bodyguards) apart in a bloody mess. Immeiately aware that he is outmatched, Jericus tries to escape with the Lady but quickly finds himself cornered against a locked gate. Just as the entity finishes off with the others and starts towards them, Jericus and the Lade are rescued through the gate by a pair of elegant and apparently lethal ladies.
  • Jericus follows the ladies, dragging a panicked Lady Melua along. The flight takes them through several strange parts of town, and ends at the Twilight Gardens. Lady Melua is quietly led away by the Venomous Ladies to tend to her wounds, and Jericus is taken to none other than the Spider Bride. The dialogue Jericus has with the Spider Bride is quite revealing, and Jericus learns is that she’s been watching him and his group ever since they arrived on Quaddis. Until the recent attack, she has been content with watching; but now that she has had to intervene directly she feels it’s time to introduce herself. Jericus is subtly mesmerized by her manner, and finds himself sympathizing with her role as a servant of the Emperor whose lot it is to keep the underworld of Quaddis in check and balance.
  • The Spider Bride reveals that she’s been following events as they unfold, and explains that the Widower is at the heart of it all The Widower is the entity from which she helped Jericus and Lady Melua escape. The myth of the Widower is indeed real, a brutal servant of the Haarlock bloodline that has been driven mad by the resentment and anger for its enslavement to a master that has been missing for centuries. It seems to seek the manner of its release, and in doing so might bring about the destruction of Quaddis. This seems likely to be central to the Heron Mask’s plan, a madman who walks in the shadow of the ruinous powers. The Spider Bride marks him as responsible for the kidnappings, and believes that his selection criteria of victims was based on studies of fate, bloodlines, and dark, mysterious circumstance that somehow seems to link the kidnapped to the fate of the Haarlock line and the Widower. “If the Heron Masks seeks to destroy the world, the means to do so lies with the release of the Widower. The Widower cannot be destroyed by any normal means, but his heart is tied to Steel Clock, and the Steel Clock is tied to the Passing of the Black Star – and all are tied to the Haarlock line. What remains to be seen is how your fate ties in to these circumstances, and what influence you can exert on this gathering of forces.
  • The Spider Bride reveals that she has, like the Heron Mask, been protecting the group from retaliatory strikes by the Beast House, Enforces, or any other unwanted interference. She believes that the survivors of the Red Cages must play out there role here, and is annoyed by the unexpected involvement of Papa Grist. The Spider Bride knows that he has asked the group to kill her, and she is feeling weary of such petty rivalry. She offers Jericus a case, explaining that whats in the case will give Papa Grist a whole new perspective, and end his needless paranoia. If Jericus will deliver the gift, and help end his pointless feud; the Spider Bride will honor Papa Grist’s promise to provide the group with invitations to the ball at the Great Mansion of Gabriel Chase.
  • As Jericus leaves the Spider Bride, he takes a last look at her and gets the impression of an ancient fear, a tragic, timeless despair that washes over her as she whispers “In dread of the traveler’s return we serve”.
  • Once released from the Twilight Gardens, Jericus leads the slightly drugged Lady Melua back to their base of operations, and lets her rest under the vigil of Septimus Dextter. Jericus has also learned that the group is the only survivors of the Red Cages, and so Lar’ax Melua is lost to his sister. However, Jericus decides to wait before he reveals this to the Lady. After getting a few hours of rest himself, Jericus makes contact with the rest of the team and catches up with them as they return to the Shattered Ramparts looking for the street preacher, Obadiah Psalter.
  • Once they have updated each other, the combined party has no problems finding the firebrand preacher, and when they do they catch him on his soapbox, right in fiery rhetoric: “Listen not to the voice of the false prophet; he is a liar, a liar I tell you! He will betray you when the black night comes! Trust him not, whether he wears a pleasing face or it be covered by the Heron mask! Shun him in the Emperor’s name, and you will be saved”.
  • The party makes contact with Obadiah, and manages to convince him of their pious intentions. Obadiah admits that he worked together with the Heron Mask, believing him to be a gifted preacher of the Emperor’s will. Together, they had been successful and raised quite a parish, but in time Obadiah noticed divergences from the Imperial Creed. Once these difference came to a head, and Obadiah confronted the False Prophet, he learned to his shame that he was too late. The Heron Mask had turned the flock against the faithful preacher, and they drove him out in favor of their “Beloved”. Obadiah desires vengeance, but does not have the manpower to confront his old flock – but he does know where they gather and worship.
  • The group decides to deliver the Spider Bride’s ‘gift’ to Papa Grist before investigating the Heron Mask’s place of worship, and the crime lord makes the mistake of letting them get close. The ‘gift’ turns out to be a trap, an Archeotech device that launches at Papa Grist, wraps itself around his head, and severs it at the neck. The device then makes its own escape, the severed head carried away by mechanical legs – giving it the appearance of some horrific spider-servitor. The group engage the bodyguards, and manage to all but kill Bliss and Crackmarrow before they make their escape in the shock of events. The carnival works in the group’s favor, making them impossible to track.
  • Once clear, the group makes their way deeper into the Shattared Ramparts, following Obadiah’s description. They find the old chapel abandoned, although it’s holy icons are all fouled in heretical graffiti. During investigations of the grounds the group triggers a ritualistic device that summons three lesser daemons. The group is baptized in fire, fear and disbelief raging in their first encounter with the denizens of the warp – but eventually they persevere and dispel the creatures through willpower and team work. In the ruins they make further discovery of near-empty crates that has housed weapons and other stores – and they gather what paperwork they find amongst the stash for the White Scholar to investigate.
  • After delivering the papers to the White Scholar, the group pays a visit to the Spider Bride, who lives up to her word and awards the group with 7 of the invitations they seek. She gives them warning that they are on their own, and wishes them well – they go to confront whatever it is that is passing between the Widower and the Pilgrims of Hayte.
  • The White Scholar discovers a map that reveals some hidden passages in the walls of a circular building, beyond that he hasn’t been able to work out the meaning from all the mysterious documents, astrological charts, and random charts of noble bloodlines that make up the bulk of the damaged documentation. During these discussions, the bells begin to toll. The Passing of Shadow has begun!
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The Red Cages

The Red Cages

First Chapter of Tattered Fates, first adventure in the Haarlock Legacy campaign.

  • The player characters have all been kidnapped, only to awake and find themselves in a gladiatorial pit together with a number of other kidnapped individuals. A man in a Jackal mask looks down upon them, and unleashes a wave of furious Spindle-maws by opening gates to the pit.
  • Just as the situation seems to become utterly desperate, a man in a Heron mask appears and lowers a ladder into the pit. The player characters and several other survivors manage to fight their way out of the pit, although many more are slain. The man with the Heron mask is gone.
  • The player characters spend days navigating the dark undercity of Xicarph, known as the Red Cages, looking for an escape. Their party is split, and other survivors of the pit become separated as well (including a strong individual by the name of Lar’ax Melua). The player characters’ journey leads them to Vault 13 where they all meet up again and, after a battle with several Beast House slavers, discover the mutilated remains of Inquisitor Nazauth Karkalla.
  • The player character manage to stabilize the Inquisitor long enough to learn that he is on Quaddis investigating the Beast House, only to have discovered that they were in turn being controlled by something even more sinister. The Jackal mask, Marcus Vulpa, is a head slaver of the Beast House, but he is being controlled by a mean and corrupt individual known only as the Heron mask. The Inquisitor has the player characters swear before the Emperor that that will finish the Inquisitor’s work, uncover the Heron mask’s plans, stop them and kill the heretic himself. The Inquisitor stresses that the world will die unless the player characters stop him!
  • The player characters also learn that they have all been selected and brought to Quaddis due to some dark omen, some bloody prophecy, that has to do with the Haarlock bloodline. The Inquisitor isn’t able to tell them more, but refers them to the only survivor of his entourage – the White Scholar.

“Seek out the White Scholar, one of mine, escaped the attack I think, he will help you, ask him… ask him what can be found in the ninth stack on Prol. He will answer ‘emptiness’ if it is he…”

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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