The War for the Emperor's Soul

Shadows Fore and Aft
Session 18



Constantis SecundusMIA. Last seen in the southern wood having suffered life threatening injuries. Body not recovered.
Helmut BlutAWOL. Escaped via unknown means after detonating the armoury and power house. Current whereabouts unknown, last seen on world of Solomon (Ref. Prophet of Aryellia).
Praetus KhanAWOL. Declared Excommunicate Traitoris by the Holy Ordos, whereabouts unknown. (Ref. Destruction of Ophiuchus Ascendent, Sophano Prime Incident, Assault on Tricron Palace, Death of Inquisitor Tyrantus, Carcosa Mandate).
Xrel – Presumed KIA after unknown Warp Event destroyed the compound.
AntellusAWOL. Escaped to Eternal Vigilance. Ship last spotted rendezvousing with Ark Dominus(Ref. Destruction of Ark Dominus) at Fenksworld. Presumed heading: Hyades Sub-Sector.
Inquisitor Abraxis – Presumed KIA based on eye witness accounts. Body not recoverd.
Interrogator SandAWOL. Escaped to Eternal Vigilance.

+++INQUISITORIAL MANDATE: Epsilon//904-A (Ref. Battle of Monrass)
+++FILED: 930.823.M41

As each warrior dies and is laid on the mighty altar of battle, with toll of bell and scratch of quill we shall count his days in death as we did in life.

Loose Ends
Sesson 17


As the amusement park came crashing down in a massive conflagration, the Acolytes became separated. Preatus was able to make contact with Antellus aboard the Eternal Vigilance, and he came down on a shuttle to extract Preatus from the crumbling hive structure. Once on board the shuttle things went quickly awry. Somebody had sabotaged the shuttle and tried to kill everyone on board. Preatus was able to regain control of the stricken craft and it became apparently that there was a full blown mutiny occurring on the Eternal Vigilance. The ships Chief Enginseer was on the bridge and was trying to countermand Antellus’s command codes. Preatus was able to regain control of parts of the ship’s Cogitator Array remotely and learned that the two mercenaries he and Antellus had double-crossed were the leaders of the mutiny.

Overriding command codes Preatus re-actived all the Servitor’s on the ship and began using them to retake the bridge before the mutineers could bring the Eternal Vigilance’s guns to bear on the shuttle. The plan worked, and the servators were able to kill the two mercenaries and allow crew still loyal to the Lord Captain to regain the ship.

After that Preatus and Antellus made contact with Inquisitor Marr to learn that he was able to rendezvous with Helmet and the prisoner Grendel. Grendel and Helmet were transferred to the Eternal Vigilance where Antellus and Preatus began interrogating mutineers and finally Grendel himself. They learned the moles on board had in fact been the mercenaries who joined Tyrantus after their escape from the Witch Finders dungeons and their subsequent ambush of his convey where they stole his personal equipment, including his suit of Power Armour.

Grendel held further information that he was taking his orders from Savant Belgrin, and that Abraxis was being held on the shine world of Orendel’s Tomb for questioning. Grendel’s orders had been to kill the Saint Ariella.

With this information the Acolytes return Grendel to Marr’s custody and made for Orendel’s Tomb to free Abraxis.

Strange Tides
Session 15


The Acolytes were able to make port at the Kellman Shipyards, a centre for illegal trade within the Hyades sub-sector. The Eternal Vigilance took on fuel and supplies and then made for Imperial space. After arriving at Fenksworld they received an astropathic message from Interrogator Sand. Inquistor Abraxis had been arrested by Witch Finder Tyrantus and taken to an unknown location. At this time is became known there was a mole on board the Eternal Vigilance. The Acolytes fed the mole misinformation, luring the Witch Finder into a trap on the world of Soloman, where Inquistor Marr lent them what aid he could.

In an abandoned amusement park the Acolytes sprung their trap on the Witch Finder. The Acolytes had prepared their chosen battleground well, having rigged much of the park with explosive traps, but the Witch Finder game in with ample firepower of his own. A whole platoon of storm troopers, himself, Interrogator Grendal, and four Sisters of Battle. The ensuing battle saw the almost complete destruction of the park at the Witch Finder brought more troops to bear against the entrenched Acolytes. The Skipper, a new dreadnought body, tried to destroy his tormentor Preatus but ultimately the Tech Priest prevailed when he destroyed the Skipper’s head a blast from his meltagun. Helmut fared equally well, managing to beat Interrogator Grendel in single combat and take him alive for questioning. Constintus met the enemy head on, taking on Tyrantus and his body guard of battle sisters. The lone guardsmen made his last stand in the house of mirrors, felling Tyrantus before being over come by the Adepta Sororitas. He was last seen blazing away with his assault cannon as the entire structure collapsed down around him, burying him and the sisters under tonnes of ruble, allowing the remaining Acolytes to escape with Grendel.

Session 14


After the incident at the House of Dust and Ash, Helmut returned to Inquisitor Marr for a debriefing. Marr seemed to take the news of everything in stride, until he heard of the Gilded Widow. He motioned for Helmut to leave his office. Helmut slipped back into Marr’s private chambers to find out what was going on. Inside he saw Marr gently weeping over the picture of a young woman. Remembering some of the Gilded Widow’s cryptic messages, Helmut surmised that the Gilded Widow was actually Inquisitor Marr’s long lost daughter. He left a message for Marr and two days later was contacted by the old man.

The two spoke for some time, and in the end Helmut felt Marr could be trusted. Marr offered the remains of the House of Dust and Ash to Helmut and entrusted care of the recovered items from auction to him.

After that, following clues give to them by the Gilded Widow, the Acolytes returned to the Eternal Vigilance and made for the coreward border of the Calixes sector. Beyond there lay another sub-sector that had fallen into decay after being isolated by a massive warp-storm for two centuries. They made port at Fenksworld to take on supplies. While there, Helmut managed to deftly dispose of a corrupt banking cartel’s board of directors and ensure that the new board that was elected was sympathetic to him and his causes.

It took two weeks to bring on new crew and additional supplies, plus make some simple repairs to the Eternal Vigilance. Antellus told his navigator’s to head coreward, beyond the boarders of Imperial controlled space into what was once the Hyades sub-sector. They encountered nothing during the eight week journey to the coordinates given to them by the Gilded Widow. When they emerged from the warp they found they were in a nebula, and scans revealed they were near an unusual energy signature. Following it they encountered what could only have been an Eldar Warpgate, large enough to move capital ships through. Using the Eldar stone, Xrel entered a trans and made telepathic contact, although the effort was extremely taxing.

Several days later a sleek Eldar battle cruiser emerged and ordered the Eternal Vigilance to stand down. Antellus complied, and himself, Preatus, Helmut and Xrel went across the Eldar vessel. The Acolytes made their first contact with the enigmatic Eldar, and it went well, all things considered. They returned the soul stone and in return a Farseer sat with them and counseled them on what they saw on Pilgrim’s Pause. They were assured that Preatus found on Pilgrim’s Pause, it was no gate to the Webway, and the creature he saw on the otherside could never enter the Webway nor the warp. The Farseer seemed sympathetic to their cause, and hinted that further cooperation between the two parties might be beneficial in the future.

The House of Dust and Ash
Session 13 - Unlucky for Some


The Acolytes quickly realized that something was amiss at the House of Dust and Ash. Beyond the strange array of guests for the auction, and the strange disappearances there was the matter that communications were being jammed by what appeared to be military grade hardware plus several void shield generators were found around the site. Praetus and Helmut went about scouting the the crematorium complex. They found the shrouded tomb of the Haarlock line, and the disturbing murals on locked side passages.

During the first night there, Preatus had a near encounter with one guest, a gentleman by the name of Master Nonesuch, who clearly was something more then human when he collapsed his body and slipped between a door frame into another guests room, only to emerge some minutes licking his lips.

At the showing of the Gilded Widow Preatus and Helmut managed to kill the High Mourner as the 13 hour count down began and the Mourners started massacring the guests. Preatus and Helmut eventually hunted down Haarlock’s other descendant and kill him and offer his blood to the Gilded Widow, allowing the two of them to flee the House of Dust. They rendezvoused with the other Acolytes after Inquisitor Marr’s troops were deployed to the island and began rounding up any witnesses. The Acolytes managed to save most of the Artifacts from destruction.

Dirty Dozen
Session 12


Following the leads in Alistare’s ledger, the Acolytes ended up going to the world of Solomon, seat of the Adepta Munatorium in the Calixes sector. They were following the lead on a Rogue Trader named Ezekiel Sunder. The the surprise of the Acolytes found an Inquisitor named Silas Marr waiting for them. He had been using the cover of Ezekiel Sunder to infiltrate various groups and individuals trafficking in forbidden xeno tech. He assumed the aforementioned players were Acolytes who had been sent at his request for reinforcements.

Inquisitor Marr told them of a famous Rogue Trader named Haarlock who’s family were among the first to map the Calixes Sector. Haarlock disappeared almost two centuries ago, and is presumed dead. A number of artifacts from his final estate are going to auction on Solomon at a vast tomb complex and crematorium called The House of Dust and Ash. Dark rumors had always surrounded the Haarlock’s, and Marr knows that the many artifacts up for auction is going to draw in a unsavory characters from across the sector and beyond.

For whatever his reasons, Marr wants to use outside help to infiltrate the House of Dust and Ash and pose as potential bidders, collecting information the buyers and the items themselves, to discern if there is anything that possess a threat. It is a fact finding mission, nothing more.

The Acolytes set off on a sky ship soon there after called the Cygnar Martyr. It’s crew and captain where mainly ex-guardsmen. On the sky ship traveled several other groups, including a scholarly gentlemen, a supposed Eccesiarchy preacher, and a young woman who was in the business of discretely moving cargo, and a pair men who Helmet supposed to be hired killers. Each had their retinues of bodyguards and advisers. Helmet discovered the preacher was a tainted by chaos, and so he chose to dispose of him and his assistants. The woman feared that Antellus was planning to bid against her on an item she held to be of particular interest, so she had one of her men attempt to poison him in his sleep. But Xrel always was a light sleeper, and he cut the would-be assassin into pieces before he even crossed the threshold of the cabin’s door.

Not long after Wreckers attacked, which is what the locals called the pirates who operated in the area. But they had little to fear. Between Xrel’s fearful aura and a lucky shot with a krak grenade, the wrecker’s plunged into the water long before they were able to bring their superior numbers to bear. Soon after the Cygnar Martyr docked at a sky hook station and the passengers departed, the woman and her companion into the care of the local PDF troopers. The captain warned Constintus that something was wrong, the ships were hired to bring people to the island, but not back. He was grateful for their help in bringing down the Wreckers so quickly, so he pledged to stay docked as long as he could. And so the Acolytes set foot on soft ashen soil of the burning Isle, and set out toward Deadtown, which was at the foot of the volcano where the House of Dust and Ash sat.

Acolytes, Interupted
Session 11


In the two years the Acolytes were separated, Constintus and Helmut had been establishing themselves on the world of Malfi and were continuing the second part of their mission, to track down the Eldar and have them confirm the presence of a Warp Gate on Pilgrim’s Pause. When contact was established with Preatus and Antellus they quickly made contact with a local dealer in xeno tech named Alistair. He was a wealthy man who brokered deals between suppliers of xeno artifacts and buyers. When the Acolytes ambushed his motorcade and took him prisoner, he seemed surprisingly unshaken, given how easily the Acolytes had dispatched his security teams and that Helmut had actually been in his vehicle the whole time.

Nevertheless, he cooperated grudgingly with the Acolytes (who were posing as a xeno-tech syndicate) and led them to his warehouse where most of his goods passed through. He dismissed the on-site security and led them to his office where he showed him his current stock, some sort of pistol like weapon, a smooth amber gem which seemed to reflect the light strangely, and a broken, scarab like device. The Acolytes were interested in Eldar technology, and so questioned Alistair regarding where the shipments came from. His got his ledger out of the safe and handed it to the Acolytes. At this time they began examining the good. Xrel picked up the amber gem and without warning disappeared.

The gem was actually an Eldar Soulstone, and the spirit within had made contact with Zrel’s mind (as he was a psyker). A few moments later Xrel reappaered, and told the Acolytes this was an Eldar artifact and that he was in contact with it the consciousness within. Preatus went to examine the mechanical beetle, but as soon as he touched it a spark lept between him and it, and it suddenly sprung to life and skittered away. Both Alistair and the Acolytes were startled but the sudden development, and Alistair lost his temple and told the “amateurs” to get out and return his property. Suddenly the beetle lept out from behind some furniture and scuttled up Preatus’ back, where it began boring into his back. Preatus felt the creature interfacing with the strange nano-machines in his blood, and he felt it taking control of his central nervous system.

The Witch Finder
Session 10


The Acolytes tried to escape but security within the palace was fast and effecient. It was just a few short minutes before Storm Troopers and other agents were hunting for the Acolytes, and a brutal though swift firefight ensued. Praetus took the opprotuntiy to use the newly found powers granted to him by the Void Dragon and sprouted a pair of mechanical bat-like wings. He flew high above the crowd and sailed out of the sealed off Library. Soon after Storm Troopers, seeing they were loosing containment, blew up the main entrance to the library while teams moved in from other positions. Only Praetus and Antellus made it out, by they were confronted by dozens of security personel and were quickly subdued. Constintus, Xrel, and Helmet found an old abandoned passageway as they dodged patrols in the burning, smoking library. It eventually wound down a little used passage in the Palace that led down to an old boat landing. It was sealed with a heavy blast door, and Helmut prayed to the Saint Ayrlia to guide them. He was granted a vision of the code that woudl open the door. They made it out, just before Grendal found them. On the long abandoned dock they found a vessel with some fuel in the sheltered cove.

Contintus, Xrel, and Helmut went out into the stinking, polluted sea and skirted the coast until they found a small settlement. From there they made it into the Hive and Constintus took his family on his wife’s yaught.

During this time Praetus and Antellus were being interogated by Grendel and Witch Finder Tyrantus. For three months they endured physical and psychological torture, but neither revealed any information. Eventually Antellus was abel to engineer his own escape. He found and freed Praetus and togther (with help of men loayl to Sand), they fled the Tricorn Palace. Before they fled Scintillia in search of their comrades, they ambushed a convey carrying the personal effects of the Witch Finder. They recovered their confiscated gear, as well as a number of items that belonged to the Witch Finder, including his suit of Power Armour. They then fled Scintillia.

Two years passed before the Acolytes were reunited on the world of Malfi.

Burning the Books
Session 9


The Ark Dominus and the Acolytes each had their missions. The Ark was to emerge from the warp near Scintillia’s cordon zone where it would be challanged by waiting warships. The Ark would be asked to stand down, an order Ravensburg would refuse. Then when the shooting started the Acolytes would launch their small shuttle and make for Scintillia. Unknown to the Acolytes, Abraxis had called in favours and fleet commander allowed both the Ark Dominus to escape in to the warp (and fake it’s destruction by a Gellar Field mishap) and the Acolytes to land on Scintillia using a pre-approved flight plan and transponder codes.

The Acolytes returned to Hive Sillibus and, for Contintus (and Praetus, though he didn’t remember it) they returned to where they first met, the Corscala District. It hadn’t much improved since the Acolytes were there, but the same shadow of fear and daspere no longer hung over the populace. They were able to make contact with Interrogator Sand, Constintus’ and Praetus original recruiter. After showing him the seal Abraxis had given them, Sand agreed to help. They planned their mission and got the supplies they would need.

Disguises in place, fake identify papers at the ready, and gear in tow, the Acolytes descended into the heart of the Inquisition for the Calixes Sector. They were challanged, but the effort they put into their disguises and cover story held. Soon they made their way to the narthex of the main library and Praetus began the long and ardious task of falsifying all the refernces to Pilgrim’s Pause they could find. It took many hours, but in the end they thought they had sufficiently altered all written records to make finding Pilgrim’s Pause exceedningly difficult. The next step was for Praetus to access the remote Cogitation Station and access the Inquisitoral Database to do the same. This didn’t take as long, although the system encryption and security was good. But Pilgrim’s Pause was not classified as a strategically important world, in fact there were very few references to it to begin with it. It’s records were not classified in any way. Praetus deleted and altered all the references he could find. But curiousity got the better of him and he dug a little further. Trying to find the truth of his own past and missing five years, he searched for any records of himself. The Inquisition had files on Praetus, but they were classified Dark Omega, and Praetus had alerted the security of the Tricorn Palace.

The Keepers of the Dead
Session 8


After the crippled Ark Dominus broke from the warp, Abraxis and Ravensburg immediately went above discerning their position. The warp storms had thrown the vessel far off course, and the damaged vessel would need time to repair before she was warp worthy again. The ships auger arrays had discerned several small settlements on the world below. Each was surrounded by large arrays of worked stones of even spacing. The Acolytes were elected to take a lander down to the surface and do further recon work.

The Acolytes made planet fall several kilometers outside one of the settlements, located on a large, rocky isle whose basalt cliffs rose high from the crashing sea. Their pilot touched down behind small forest, and then immediately returned to a low orbit to avoid detection by any ground forces. No form of electromagnetic signal was being broadcast, leading the Acolytes to believe the the society was possessed of only low technology, perhaps even pre-black powder.

Their foray out of the forest revealed the large stone assemblies to be grave sites, and after reading some of the weather worn inscriptions Antellus was able to discern that they must be on the world of Pilgrim’s Pause, an ancient Cemetery World where the war dead from Lord Militant Angevin’s Crusade were interred. Xrel felt they were surrounded by psychic emanations, and alerted the Acolytes that they were being watched. Praetus then decided to dig up one of the graves, reasoning that those interred there must be alive, perhaps suspended in some form of stasis.

Suddenly alarms at the settlement sounded, and a great sigh went up from all around Praetus. Spot lights began scouring the surrounding area, and servo skulls were sent to hunt out the tresspassers. Praetus had raised the ire of the Caretakers of this plot, and Father Ishmael, who kept the Templum in this settlement, was displeased as this act. But not so great as the dead themselves, who rose up and took Praetus in their arms and bore him away. The Acolytes confronted Ishmael, and Contintus pleaded for Praetus’ release. But Ishmael said the matter was between Preatus and the dead, and would be settled by dawn the next day. The Acolytes were given sanctuary while Praetus met his fate.

Praetus was hauled by hands that possessed a strength far beyond that of any living man. Incorporeal fingers stripped him of all his possessions but his simple robes. He was taken down into a Mausoleum and locked inside. Looking about he found a lantern that still had some oil. Using his Lumin gift he lit lantern and looked for a way out. The way which he was brought down was sealed with a heavy stone slab, the only other exit was a tunnel behind a curtain that led deeper down. Shallow shelves had been carved out of the bare stone on either side of the tunnel, and each shelf contained the remains of someone. Some of the bones were so ancient as to be little more then dust. He went further down still, until the stone underfoot became crunching sand, and a distant wind could be heard. Still he pushed past the cob webs and the hanging, dusty fabrics that blew in a growing breeze. Somehow the worked stone became worn metal, and the sand below was rust red. Praetus was no longer in a tomb, or instead in a tomb of a different sort. He was in an armoured carrier, it’s passenger compartment blown open by what appeared to be a direct hit from an anti-tank weapon. The skeletal crew were still buckled in their seats. Outside he saw a storm raged, blowing sand concealing indistinct shapes.

He crawled out into the maelstrom and pushed forward, knowing something truly awful lay ahead. All around him were half-buried vehicles, or skeletal remains impaled on ten foot high metal spikes. The wind seem to carry half-heard whispers and cries, just as it carried sand into his servos and vox-grill ventilator. Uncaring, he plodded on through this ancient battlefield and its forgotten atrocities. Who knows how long he marched, how long the voices whispered their half-heard secrets? But eventually the wind slacked, and Praetus emerged into the eye of a storm that must have been thousands of kilometers across. He stood before a mountain that loomed up and over him, the epicentre of the storm. The billowing clouds turned bruise black as they circled the summit, green lighting forking down. Praetus knew then where he was. He stood on Mars, at the foot on Mons Olympus.

Suddenly the storm intensified as it roared around the summit, the sickly green lightning stabbing down again and again. The air was filled with a near constant booming that drowned out the roar of the wind around him. The earth shook, and Praetus was filled with exhilarated dread at what was coming next. There was a flash, and then another, and a great heaving of the earth and knocked Praetus to his knees. The summit of Mons Olympus swelled and exploded, sending a rolling curtain of pale green light down the summit and over Praetus. He felt the light going through him, into him, traveling down his spine until it filled him. Something emerged from the crater, something darker still then the void, something older and more terrible then he could have imagined. With awe and fear he knew he stood before a being that had seen the birth of stars and the death of galaxies. It spoke to him in a voice that none of his race had heard in eons, and Praetus felt the voice taking him apart and rebuilding him in an image more suitable to its designs.

Knowledge passed between them, and ancient secrets long buried and forgotten. Praetus knew this thing that had been worshiped as a god. It had no name of its own, although some among mankind had called it The Dragon of Mars, or Void Dragon. It was lord of all technology, and had sent it’s dreams into the minds of those who were receptive. It knew it’s imprisonment was a temporary affair, what is a few million years to something timeless? So it whispered its whishes, and orchestrated the construction of an empire dedicated to it. But mostly it waited, dormant, waiting to assume dominance once more over the galaxy.

Praetus was found wandering the next morning in a semi-delirious state. When he regained his sense he eventually told the other Acolytes of what he’d experienced, and showed them the red stone that was in his pocket that had come from Mars. They found the mausoleum and the tunnel. Following it, they heard the roar ahead and felt the sand under their feet as they wound their way down. But it didn’t lead to Mars, but instead to the cliff base where the sea crashed against the rocks. Still, the possibility of a gateway leading to the heart of the Imperium was too great a risk so they returned to the Ark Dominus and told Abraxis what they had found.

For many hours Abraxis, the Acolytes, and Ravensburg spoke. The need to keep Arylia safe seemed very great, and this world was isolated and located in something of a warp dead zone. Also the dead who were interred on this world did not take kindly to intruders. It was decided, with consent from Father Ishmael and his peers in other communities, that Arylia would stay here. But the risk of someone finding the world was too great, so the Acolytes were given two missions from Abraxis. First they were to return to Scintillia, infiltrate the Tricorn Palace in Hive Sillibus, and destroy all records they could find of Pilgrim’s Pause. Second they were to track down the elusive Eldar, for Abraxis knew the aliens had the power to move very quickly through the warp using stable gates called Webway Portals. If anyone could explain what Praetus found it would be them. It was decided the Ark Dominus would also remain in orbit around Pilgrim’s Pause, her captain and crew dedicated to the task of acting as protector’s to Arylia. Abraxis was going to stay behind to oversee Arylia’s defences.

With their plans settled Arylia was sent down the planet and the Ark Dominus returned to the warp to set their plans in motion.


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