Aurealogi Belsepanium > Anni Aureum

Beneath Portae on Sign of the Starry Order
Aurealogi Belsepanium > Anni Aureum > Beneath Portae on Sign of the Starry Order

On the Trail of Squig-Seed and War

[Vox-record :: signo temporis 3.300.806 M41
Cellula scriptus :: Seven Hall Manse :: Hive Voltis :: Scintilla
Savant-Archivite Torvallus of Prol]

Yes, squig-seed, which he insists can be found in the filth levels beneath the Portae Interdictus of Hive Tarsus. If he knows that already, why does he take my valuable time from validation of the Indexus Erratus? Hn? Erros Gyfund is ever demanding the most unreasonable research.

I have not the slightest idea. Do I look like a Centurist, eyes maddened by the lust to hoard? That information is irrelevant, of yesterday. Done and gone. How does it help me to know what unsavory endeavor Gyfund will undertake with his xenos material?

Look! Indexus Arbites from fifty years since the Tarsus Underhive War. Here, an impromptu dataslate of slang for hive squig. Old Toothy. The Green. Greenytooth. Legbiters. Dataslates from the Legio Portae Tarsus for the same period. A pict terminus to the Hive Tarsus Administratum cogitatis vaults - I am a plague upon their days already. Did you know that squig-hunter is not an Approved Profession, and therefore there are no squig in Hive Tarsus? Only vermin. Big, toothy, green vermin sometimes, but vermin.

Such power, the Administratum archivists of Scroll Vault Tarsus Prime, to vanish what they are told to vanish - slide a word right underneath another word. We archivists control the galaxy, would that bodyfiends like Gyfund realized their lesser role.

Here, Mortalis and Carta Permissus lists for vermin-hunters of Hive Tarsus, twice as large as for Hives Sibellus and Voltis combined. Even granting the Tarsus solution to the low-hive - seal it and place a legion atop it - that is excessive, is it not? This, look! The Learned Treatese of the Orkoid Xenos by Magos Biologis Ambiveen. Did you know that squig flesh will grow up through vents and block them solid rather than form a viable beast? Look, ritual maintenance screed-crystals, for decades, from the Spine Brethren and Reactor Priests. Do you know what a plasma coil housing looks like wrapped in squig flesh? Now I do, and I am not the better for it, I assure you!

No, far from enough! He wants squig-seed, and I will localize it for him to the very cubic meter of space, or not at all!

[Vox-record :: signo temporis 3.302.806 M41
Cellula scriptus :: Seven Hall Manse :: Hive Voltis :: Scintilla
Savant-Archivite Torvallus of Prol]

I wouldn't dream of asking that vulgar low-hiver. Grambald is Hive Voltis serf-stock, not Tarsus, and this all took place a decade before he was whelped into filth and bulkhead rust. What insight could he possibly have of the Underhive War? I will not have his coarse and ignorant anecdotes diluting my search.

But what of origins? Clearly, by the Eternal Golden Throne and my untiring labor, there were no squig vermin in the Tarsus Interdictus levels prior to the Underhive War. Not one iota, one shred, one datum. Nothing! After Inquisitor Tor crushed Vault-Lord Xercos, here the reports, there the slang. Squig in the vents, squig eating children, squig-seed sold by gang-masters in the spoil lands.

Yes, our very own vanished Inquisitor Almus Tor, who taught Inquisitor Belsepan all he knew. Look, here - from Belsepan's own librarum, Tor's view of the Underhive War, hand-scribed in Oxis Black upon silversheaf by Savant Mercus.

Of course the squid-seed came from Kulth! Obviously. But this is not a seal-vault. Are we correlators? No. Is this the Principia Compositus? No. Only the proven, recorded fact and truth do we admit to our research. Correlation is a shabby, second best approach, suited to lettered scribes of little rigor, better suited to a life behind the pict-terminal. Here, I have made an inroad into the movements of Imperial Guard between the Malfean and Golgenna subsectors, and a sketched Indexus of possible routes for squig-seed from Kulth to Scintilla in the year that Xercos the Ugly rose to Vault-Lord.

An impossible task! To find corrupt Windriders who brought squid-seed to sell to low-hivers fifty years past? Impossible! Thusly I shall discard this effort. To the fires with it, to the furnace with my notes! Thus is the rightful Pyratic way - no clutter, focus the mind.

[ Posted by Reason on March 22, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

Principia Summaris: Historia Portae Interdictus, Hive Tarsus

I. Gapped Portae Seals

Prior to the War of Vault-Lord Xercos, Xercos the Ugly as he came to be called, the hereditary Portae Guard had become corrupt and lax. Promissaries changed hands, and the vault-lords, gang masters, slavers and the Exiled Below had traffic with their betters.

Over the years, the loathed taint of underhive and outland crept back once more into Moanlith Processional levels, low servatory habs on the Tullen Flankwall, the Square of Saint Hess, and the noisesome spiral-cage bazaar. The Noble Houses of Hive Tarsus, whose edicts created the Portae Interdictus centuries before, cared not for the suffering of the least of their servants. The Tarsus Arbites, who cared greatly, had no influence upon Noble House and Portae Family.

II. Half a Hive, Laid Upon Half a Hive

The railheads of Hive Tarsus vie for space a kilometer above ground with shuttle-ports and House Mechantalis cargo plazas, all above the Portae levels. Ceramite rails arc up high over the outland ruins, upon great pylons marked with the crest of Fallen House Yonu, as if echoing Yonu disdain for the wretches below.

Beneath the manufacturing and servatory levels, below the internal Portae, great hive gates stand corroded open, or fallen to the cratered ferrocrete. Any vermin who care may enter and leave; lines of the poor and wasted line the poor paths between looming wreckage linking polluted outland to collapsed hive layers.

Tarsus proper stands atop Tarsus Interdictus, the foundation made outcast.

III. Petty Wars of Vault-Lords

Over the centuries since the Portae Interdictus sliced the hive in two, the underhive barrens birthed vault-lords of statue great and small. They warred over fresh water, over pride, over scraps of impure food. They enslaved the Exiled Below and the low-born, and built paltry armies from hive-gangs that were the only strength in the lowest habs before the Portae.

The greatest of the vault-lords occupied the Flankwall and Inner and Crush sectors of Tarsus Interdictus, whilst the weak and their followers were ousted to the fog-choked outlands of wreckage, manufactory ruins and pollution-choked waterways of the Hive Establishment era.

As the Portae Interdictus became porous with the passage of time and greed, vault-lords warred over control of the Black Paths of smuggers, deserters, narcolords and outcasts. Forbidden wealth seeped down into the underhive from above, slowly, and every glint fought over bitterly. Some vault-lords became rich, building small fortresses within the Crush sectors of Tarsus Interdictus and setting treaties with narcolords as though their equals.

IV. Xercos the Ugly

Xercos the Ugly was as none of the the vault-lords who came before. No-one knows from whence he came to Tarsus Interdictus. His first act was to seek out the most renowned of the petty vault-lords, and slay him for his title. In the years that followed, he slew many more, gathering an army of outcasts to bring harsh order to the underhive sections beneath Slope Gamma and inward to the Triple Spine.

Xercos declared himself Vault-Lord Maximus, and plotted the destruction of those vermin and refusers who yet held the crush-mazes and ducting vaults against the forays of his raiding parties. All the while, he extended his reach ever upward, corrupting the Portae Guard families Dreffus and Ibfis completely. Their taste for slaves and narcoleptics made from pollution-sinks in the Low Crush brought weapons, devices of the Mechanicum and goods from the mid-hive, further ensuring Xercos' dominance.

[ Posted by Reason on March 22, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

Making Ready: Erros Gyfund and Bothe Ume

[Vox-record, servitor auscultavus :: signo temporis 3.316.806 M41
Armorium Alpha :: Ordo Missio Fortress :: Hive Voltis :: Scintilla
Adept-Psyker (Somafocal) Erros Gyfund]

I asked a simple question, and received a monomanical thesis on the history of disrepute in Hive Tarsus. This is why I use Toll where I can; Torvallus is but one step from a librarum servitor. At the very least, the question was answered by the end, after letting the Correlators at it. Irony as it is: we need to be searching about the old Shrine of Saint Drusus in Crush Beta Radix off the Triple Spine, pushed down a way below ground level now.

No maps worth using, and that multicannon would be worse than useless in a Crush. Take a matched Hektoris-B pair, or a flamer if you're up to it. Short range precision and speed, or something that makes corner-cover useless. Overpenetrator rounds and that old Magna Vis large-cal? Your subtlety has not grown in the years I've been away.

I'm no correlator, but it feels right. You have to learn to follow your instincts, Bothe. The Emperor has a way of seeing fate to come in circles.

The Shrine was where Inquisitor Tor beheaded Xercos the Ugly for breaking his oaths to Tor and the Throne by bringing xenos filth into the underhive and using them in his war of conquest. Tovallus' Principia Summaris doesn't do the original justice; I had read the old silversheaf accounts a decade ago, and put them from my mind until this Mastican affair. Tor was livid; he and his retinue hammered the vault-lord's personal forces flat in a single day. There was little for Arbites and loyal Portae Guard to do but follow in his wake and put down the broken and fleeing.

After the old Familia Portae were purged and broken by for their crimes, the newly formed Legio Portae cleansed the Crush sectors numerous times. Scraps of orkoid vermin remains, however, in hidden sumps and unpopulated vents - and, it seems, about the old Shrine in Crush Beta Radix in recent years. Unmutated samples, or even a live beast, will be our key to entry into Narcolord Mastican's armormanse in the outlands - trade goods sufficiently unusual and local that we will be taken quite seriously.

I believe the Inquisitor had a special attachment to the Shrine in the underhive, but I do not know why. The Ecclesiarchs of the past were willing enough to abandon it beneath the imposition of the Portae Interdictus. I imagine its vaults have suffered since beneath the weight of neglect and a hundred hive levels. There are other shrines, other relics, but this must be a wrong in the eyes of the Emperor.

I never thought I would see it with my own eyes. I will ask Pater Monomus for an aquila before we leave, blessed from the fortress font. Little enough, but it is a act I can take that others would not. That is what makes us more than the beasts we hunt in Tarsus, Bothe.

[ Posted by Reason on March 22, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

Ten Days Returned from Hive Tarsus

[Data Crystallum :: Archived 3.400.806 M41
Servitor Calvaria 43-b-tef :: Seven Hall Manse Vault Medicae
Adept-Militant Bothe Ume]

Ah, I don't want to talk about the Shrine in the Crush. Took us two days to get down there, two days to get out through the Fallen Gate into the pollution-fog, and we had the squid-seed. It was just ... you know. Erros is the Emperor's own, but he has something for the old places. It gets into his head and makes him, I don't know. Makes him different. More different.

Wasn't clean, that's what it wasn't. Xenos flesh all over the aquila, half the vault was crushed in. The viles were running and snapping, and Erros is laughing. Laughing, with his hand in a maw to the shoulder, and it's trying to chew him but it can't - and he's making the skin on my hands sweat blood by furrowing his brow.

No, I don't ... no, it just wasn't right. I should have taken the flamer like he said, and burned the place clean.

Look, I had to kill seven scum of twenty who'd have ambushed us with black powder and dart-throwers half a kilometer down from Porta Seventeen, right where the secondary spine strut spindles into the Crush. That was tight for a while, given they knew the overhangs and backways, but I've had worse back in the pollen fields. I nailed the last of the vault-followers through two bulkheads with a Magna Vis auger round, and she ran a hundred meters before it killed her. Scared the rest away, and bad news spreads fast. That was the last we saw of anything human until the outlands, though there were plenty of signs. Dumb lucky shot, just meant to keep them thinking, but don't tell that to Erros.

War stories. It's the rest of it sticks in a way I don't like. Pass the tranc, and ask Erros for the rest of what happened inside Tarsus Interdictus.

[Ordo action vox-record :: signo temporis 3.356.806 M41
Librarum Arcanus of Inquisitor Hrald Belsepan
Adept-Militant Bothe Ume]

Pollutants fogged up thick as you like about the hivebase beneath the verticals - like pollen flurries back in the warfields, you couldn't see ten meters in the worst of it, but it topped out a hundred meters up the hivewall. Burned too, closed in like that, a real pleasant grimy promethium scum feeling. Rebrethers or filter augmentics are how you know the players from the slaves and outcasts. The lines of Emperor-fearing underhivers with prayer-stones, coughing up blood every ten steps, they're the nobodies, no choices, no prospects.

The Fallen Gate wasn't much of a gate anymore, more like a Crush spilled out of the Shadowverts base and onto manufactory ruins. The way down into the pollution fog was a collapsed railhead platform, rail and pylon, just like we spotted it from a kilometer up with the magnigoggles. Steps are hammered in to the thing, and chains for the steep sections. It's a big mess, and about halfway down the better equipped vault-followers and narcolord vat muscle set up shop to stare at each other, stop the other side interfering in the traffic.

I don't know how we got past without having to butt heads like a beremoth with one side or other; just born lucky, I suppose. Maybe they were as sick of it as they looked by that time of day, standing guard over filth and the hated, or some quiet voice already whispered we were bad news.

From right around there, you could see Mastican's armormanse - or at least the lookout spire, sticking out above the fog. It's an old template megamover of some sort from the Hive Foundation Era, corroded down into a slump, tunneled out and sealed up tight. Now here's the way I would have had it; none of this digging around in the rust and sending in two hard cases to talk their way through soldier's work. A company of the Ordos Black Troop 1, split three ways in three Vastigans, a fourth with a pair of the Stug Compact Versions for armor support and breaching. We'd have dropped in right from the Shadowvert lift platforms twelve hundred meters over their heads, and rolled them over before they know what hit them.

For good measure, I'd wager you can depress the point defense arrays at mid-hive low enough put a couple of softening holes through something even that close to the hivebase. Captain-Designate Balx would have gone for that plan, argued the case if I'd dragged him into the planning. His suit should have lasted that extra second down on the Well - that's all it would have taken, just another second. Now he's another voice I wish I still had by my side, Emperor rest him.

But it was Erros' call, and the Blacks were scattered about in a dozen raids in all the hives, searching for these data crystals and whatever else has the Ordo Hereticus so worked up. A lot of killing still going on under the covers, and it's making the Arbites real angry. A nasty feel to the air out there in the low hive, like a few years back before the riots. I'll be happy to see this all buckled up, sealed and done sooner rather than later.

So the soldier work was all for cleanup after we were done digging for the delicates, and it was Legio Portae, rather than Protectorate we had waiting on our call. No armor support either - we were the breachers, the both of us.

[ Posted by Reason on March 22, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

The Fate of the Aquila

[Vox-record, servitor auscultavus :: signo temporis 3.316.806 M41
Circulium Aspectus Lapilli :: Ordo Missio Fortress :: Hive Voltis :: Scintilla
Adept-Militant Grambald]

Nah, now it's not arrogance, putting on the glint, if you says your going to do it, you know you can do, and then you rething go and do it. You ain't been with Inquisitor Ru-Tariy more than a year, so you wouldn't remember Gyfund from before he was flying off around the arse-end of the sector. That's just the way he is.

See them seers, poking around in the datastacks, ten levels down and past the transceptus? Pretty view from up here. Needs must, and if I'd thought to bring a las, I could take the fancy headgear off any one of 'em. That's not glint, neither, no more than Gyfund saying he and Bothe is going to knock on the door-steel of some narcolord, all polite and proper, and then put the boot in until the rether gives it up.

I've wondered what there'd be to see if you got a picter-skull to follow Gyfund around. Lot of surprised-looking corpses, like as not. Rething hard case.

This stuff? Didn't get the benediction right, the Prayer Ignius for one of those half-size plasma torches. So much for a steel arm giving me the touch with the machine spirits. Still, could have been my other rething hand half-melting, and the screaming, and the medicae. This way it's just a day or two to set things straight, and I didn't feel a thing.

Nah, nothing you'd be wanting to know about. Come on, rething leave it out. Nothing like that. Right, but Gyfund hears not the first whisper o' this from you, understand?

So Gyfund and Bothe had some old shrine on their route through Tarsus, and Gyfund has an aquila from the chapel to leave there. But the place is tainted, overrun by xenos seed, says Bothe. So Gyfund leaves the aquila, and Bothe picks it up when he's on his way out. I say he's in the right - you can't leave a blessed aquila in a place like that. It has to be done rething proper, with prelates and the incense, chanting and all the rest. Consecrated, that's the word - good and holy in the Emperor's eyes.

So Bothe says to me, when he's back and patched up for the flesh wound, he says "put it on Balx's mortis plate. It's a better place for it." That's the old Captain Balx, who bought it in that rething mess on Bitrith's Well. He's a plate up in the Vault Mortis now, reth, I mean the Honor Vault ... rething Bothe has me calling it mortis now. You should take yourself there one of these days; a ferrosteel plate for every one of us who died in the service of the Throne, great and small.

Gyfund's going to find out. He always does - he's Erros rething Gyfund. So's I talked a Tech-Adept - the one always hooked up with all the devices on sublevel 13, with the name you can't say without a voxplant - into a loan of the plasma torch in the name of the Emperor and Balx's honor, went up to the Vault and welded the aquila to Balx's honor plate. Rething nearly welded my hand to it too, but what's Gyfund going to do about it? Burn it off? Likely burn Bothe's ears off, but that's about it, I say.

Balx was alright, wish I could have done more when it rething mattered. Had his head on rightways, man of the Emperor, 'side from knowing Bothe. Going to get us all killed sooner or later, knowing Bothe.

[ Posted by Reason on March 22, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

Epistola Astropathica, For the Eyes of Inquisitor-Minor Sertel Admar

[Epistola Astropathica :: signo temporis 3.420.806 M41
Librarum Arcanus of Inquisitor-Minor Sertel Admar]


This pict-ciphered gabble of yours had better be important. I'll be damned and gutted if I'm going to explain another of your errant, off the record uses of the Choir Astropathica to Goston Tactica Oversight. Your continued presence - absent results that can be hung out bloody for all to see - is wearing the welcome even thinner than it was to begin with. Witchfinder Turquos would have your head if he could, but will settle for your ignominous return to Scintilla, and the Lord Fleet Commander is ten days from exiling all of you, authority of the Ecclesiarchy be damned.

So watch your back - and make something noteworthy happen soon, or be stowing gear for an early departure.

Lord-Captain Uttuk Var Nasevi


Choir Astropathica, Transit Irregular, Origin Irregular
Receipt Encrypted, Held by the Staff of Lord-Captain Nasevi

Inquisitor Admar,

I trust this missive reaches you and your retainers in a time of better spirit than our last meeting. You must give my regards to Master Frek, and tell him that unless he has advanced his count by two, I yet remain ahead in the Emperor's eyes.

Hrald informs me that you are the only member of his Conclave Sinister, as he is prone to call it these days, out towards the Periphery from the Golgenna Reach since the completion of my long return from Vaxanide. Might the wilder Empyrean treat you more kindly than it has I these few years.

I am afraid to say that I write to request a task of you, from my lowly position, spurred by your location at the time of your last report to the Ordo.

Signs of the Starry Order have been seen upon Scintilla. Proscribed End Times screeds have circulated in the hives, the Least Heresy of Denial has seen a sudden resurgence, and fiery Redemptionists have risen up to burn entire habs in the Lee Steps of Hive Voltis. Thousands have died, and Cardinal Secondus Rufello preaches on the Emperor's Narrow Path of Virtue from the pict-screens daily. Arbites and Ministorum resources have been strained, as you might imagine.

Remarkably, this all appears to be an accident, insofar as anything is accidental in the Materium. The original heretical crystaltomes were sourced to Black Paths of the narcolord Mastican, who laired in the outlands beneath Tarsus. The recently deceased narcolord Mastican, that is, and as I am pleased to report. The Emperor's hammer falls upon even those who work the Archenemy's will unknowingly.

After closer examination, I am now certain that the fingertips of Mastican's organization violently acquired the crystaltomes and a variety of artifacts from the transitory of Aberix Orbitus above Hive Tarsus. They had no idea of the true nature of the cargo, only that the the actions of its guardians demonstrated its value. The fingertips were duely lopped short for their error, and the taint of the Starry Order thrown to wastes and vermin, where, unfortunately, it did not remain.

The broader Ordos mission upon Scintilla continues to do the Emperor's work in cutting out this spill of the Archenemy's vile thoughts upon the Hives, you may rest assured, but that is not my primary concern in this missive.

The bloodstained cargo was destined for the Chartist vessel Beati Tineval, which departed for the Empyreal routes towards the Malfean sub before this trail was traced back from Redemptionist murders to the path of the Starry Order. You will find all I know about the vessel following this missive. It is barely more than a hulk, fused half-hulls from naval battles of the Pacification Age, its voidborn crew numerous and unorthodox, its adherence to the terms of its Charter dubious.

The Beati Tineval's designated route will cross the path of your return to the Golgenna Reach, and I ask that you employ such means as you feel best to hold and search the vessel well for signs of Starry Order heretics, artifacts and other taints.

The Emperor protects,

Adept Erros Gyfund

[ Posted by Reason on March 22, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

Corruption Within House Klave
Aurealogi Belsepanium > Anni Aureum > Corruption Within House Klave

Remnants of an Archeoexpedition

[Voxslate :: signo temporis 3.815.805 M41
Ocular Celestrum Dexter :: Ordo Missio Fortress :: Hive Voltis :: Scintilla
Master-Correlation Ambrise Larrel]

I must apologise for the last minute change of agenda. Correlator-Assignate Bartu brought this to my attention yesterday, and its significance by the Metrica Compositus exceeds that of the planned examination of echoes from the Shrine Iridius Heresy. Interrogator Randt, Adept Ume, I will forgive you an early departure; I do not believe this matter to be of as great an interest to your associates.

If I can draw your attention to the silversheaf. It is a servitor transcript of a vox record originating from an archaeodig upon the largest dust moon in the Settlement 228 system.

"Armsmen Grild and Maxentil have not returned. There are now ten of us remaining, counting House Seer Volub, who remains in a catatonic state despite our best efforts. We have excavated too deeply, or something is here in these tunnels with us, come from above. Which it is is of no matter; what is, is. I have unsealed the armatorium casks and divided their contents. We will take the lasguns and heavy stubbers, and leave the demolition charges as a trap for those who took Grild, Maxentil and the others. I have ordered the expedition, such as it remains, to make ready the undamaged suspensor platforms. We will attempt a navigation of the uncleared gamma-upper corridors and shaftways of this maze to a speculative secondary entry in the hills above the prime encampment. From there, we may have more options - to stay where we are is to be carved away to nothing, one by one."

The vox record is twelve years old, made by scion Tyreus of then-House Minor Cambellon. It came to the attention of the Ordos through a correlation between vanishment of the Cambellon archeodig expedition and Index Oblivius references to Inquisitorial action upon that dust moon three hundred years ago, during pre-Settlement surveys. Unfortunately, that history is lost to us, archived in the Fenksworld Librarum Primus until its destruction. We have uncovered no knowledge of what or who was involved in our further inquiries.

The vox record was returned, along with archeodig devices and materials, by the expedition secondus, originally intended to replace the expedition primus. They left the dust moon shortly after assessing the dig site and retrieving what little was to be found. The archeodig was a financial disaster for House Minor Cambellon. The Lords Cambellon have since entered into a birthright contract with the Yonu branch of House Klave, as yet another reluctant consolidation of Houses Minor under the Lords Klave.

I am presently petitioning the Klave Spires for access to datavaults and archives of the material recovered from the expedition primus. I would welcome, Inquisitor, your more weighty petition to the same ends. It is, as you point out, hard to assign an accurate priority in absence of greater knowledge of the archeoruins and artifacts recovered. I can be certain that there was nothing of an overtly heretical or unorthodox xenos origin, for Ordo adepts were given access to the materials soon after their return. The reports are lacking in detail, however. All we have been able to discover is the vox record, cogitators containing archeoruin maps and inventories, and some few picts of nondescript artifacts and tunnels.

Why are we discussing this today, rather than lesser heresies in the Iridius forests? Quite. House Klave is in the final stages of initiating a further, well-equipped expedition to the dust moon, seemingly with the primary goal of locating the remains of Tyreus Cambellon rather than any further archeoexcavation. The trader vessel Grim Light, presently docked at Aberix Orbitus, has been chartered for this purpose, and Klave retainers already begin to load supplies. This may have been planned for some time, awaiting the final Administratum seal upon the Cambellon-Klave-Yonu birthright contract, but I have no further insight into the motivation behind such an inordinate expense. House Klave has grown large upon profit, and I see no profit in this endeavor.

My recommendation, Inquisitor, is for a modest Ordos retinue to accompany the House Klave retainers upon their journey, with the intent of an Assessment Cardinal of the dust moon. I prioritize this as Beta level, given the time it will likely take to secure the willing cooperation of House Klave in this matter, and the immediacy of the opportunity.

[ Posted by Reason on March 25, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

Early Discoveries

[Autocodicillus of Savant Pius Missen :: signo temporis 6.900.805 M41
Chapel Silencia :: Grim Light :: Empyreal Route
Adept-Militant Tisella Ivanesta]

There you are. You can't hide from me behind shelves and old tomes. I don't know why the Lady Matulite hasn't had this is all put to the pyre and cleared for better use - she doesn't seem to value it much, judging from the dust in the vaultways.

Whilst you have been lurking away here, doing little of any good, I have accomplished something of value at least. I admit I had thought this was the Inquisitor's way of punishing me, sent aboard a Matulite sect tradeship for a half-year watch over petty merchant house intrigues and a backwater system of uncivilized seedworld settlers, but it isn't all bad. The crew are as dull and monkish a band of Dreahans as I've ever seen, prayerslates and robes, half the ship a doleful shrine, and never a leer, but Artius Klave and his House retainers know how to live. He is most charmingly decadent, with a loose tongue and a delightful taste in strong young men - his hand-picked servants and bodyguards might have little choice in what he does with them, but they're all too interested in me.

Don't look so disapproving. What reward is work without pleasure? You play at lettered ascetism, but I see you glancing when you think I won't notice.

Don't you want to know what I've learned from my latest conquest? He was very eager to please, and seems to know more than his delicate ears should have heard. The last remnants of House Cambellon have divested their holdings on Scintilla, but sit upon a great treasure in their estate on Quaddis. A microvault of archeodata, generations old and tamper-sealed with a genokey based upon House Cambellon gene patterns - but the fools cannot open it, having diluted their blood with that of commoners. This entire expedition for a single dead scion's remains - and the much-heralded birthright contract - are all to provide additional gene patterns that House Klave believes will allow the Magos Biologis to safely force the microvault.

Do you know how many scints this cost? All the equipment, the chartered vessel, the House contracts, the retainers, the armsmen, the savants? They think it is worth it, for the contents of a data crystal smaller than your eye. I might be trapped upon a vessel of Dreahan monks headed into emptiness and seedworld backwaters for six months or more, but now I have something to find out, and a stable of willing young eyes and ears in the Klave expedition to assist me. I think I shall quite enjoy the challenge.

I suppose that by simple division of labor, my chosen path leaves interrogatory dialog with the Matulites up to you - I'm sure you have the temperament necessary to establish a rapport. Please don't frown, it doesn't suit you.

[ Posted by Reason on March 25, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

Hunting Xenos Assassin's Tools in Noble Spire Vaults

[Vox-record, servitor auscultavus :: signo temporis 3.003.806 M41
Armorium Alpha :: Ordo Missio Fortress :: Hive Voltis :: Scintilla
Adept-Militant Bothe Ume]

God-Emperor, I don't know what to take up the Travodius for this one. Here, you look at what came down the pict-line ... no, start at the back - the Master of Actions always puts the worst of it at the back. The Inquisitor gave his blessing, put us out as ancillary to the Missio, got Jonus to work on what he does best, and said to use our discretion. So we're it, along with squad beta-1 and Adept Misrael for the parts that need High Gothic and formal dress.

That's his life, should have been born to it. I've never even been that high up the Hive spine, where the vaults are gold and platinum. Enough wealth and power to squash the whole hive flat in any Klave spiretop.

Flamers, yes. That's what I thought too, seeing that pict from Jonus. A lot of blood and ugly. But they'll let flamers - us with flamers - past the hard seals in the Travodius Spire on the day that the vision of Saint Drusus returns to the House Klave trancepts, flanked by all the angels of the Imperium - and not one moment earlier. So fire's out, plasma's out, and anything else that with that sort of spread.

These xenos bug-worm-teeth-things are for soft targets, that much of this seems straightforward. Finger-sized, only become aggressive with the right chemicals - a heretic assassin's weapon. They're fast, Jonus says, can leap across a room, and they'll dig their way into organs real quickly. That only works on people who panic, or go in unprepared.

Someone doesn't like House Cambellon, House Klave, or whoever it is now sealed up tight with corpses and House guards, but that's not for us to worry about right this minute. It makes you wonder how the Ordo uncovers events, though. By the Master's slate it's been, what, not more than half a day and the lightside Spire is sealed tight still. You and I, we have our sources where we know what's what, but this is a whole different level. Best be prepared for some pushback from the House guard and the seal gates, but that's what Misreal is for.

No, you think these xenos animals are going be still long enough to let you pick them off the parts of the vaultworks that didn't cost more than both our lives and this armorium besides? I'd say that multineedler's no more likely to get us in than the flamer. Let's keep it simple. Unpleasant, but simple. Full carapace, the kind with the joint seals but strip the extra shot-plates for mobility, use a hard-mask from the Arbites II model, and something like a small shock club. And a ceramite container. Yes, you heard. Read back past the xenoclassification runes and the spire map - the Correlators will want an undamaged sample for the xenoscept. I said it was unpleasant.

Of course I'm taking the Hysi. I didn't say I was going without some sort of handarm. I said we won't be using it on the xenos, since the House scions aren't going to let us anywhere near their precious manse vaults with any sort of real hardware. The Master's taking the velvet glove approach for the first look, at least, let the House feel like they're in control. We'll see how Misreal takes that when we see him on the landing deck.

Read the rest of the summaris and get the squad working on the carapace setup. Let them know they'll be crushing xenos for the God-Emperor - but bring the standard wargear as backup. We've got maybe thirty minutes, and then we're flying crosshive.

Well, you know how the higher Adepts think. We'll worry about that when the xenos are dead or in the buckets, but it can't hurt to keep a couple of the troopers back with Misreal to ensure House Cambellon and their retainers remain in place until the Master and the others arrive. They'll be wanting to ask pointed questions, I don't doubt.

[ Posted by Reason on March 25, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

False Tech-Priests of Talst Station Solis
Aurealogi Belsepanium > Anni Aureum > False Tech-Priests of Talst Station Solis

Elucidation Whilst Awaiting the Inquisitor

[Voxslate :: signo temporis 3.548.807 M41
Capsa scientia of Savant Jonus Toll
Savant Jonus Toll]

Let me explain. The preparations for action against the Talst Station Solis are the latest accomodation in the long clash over tech-heresy in the sub. Lesser tech-heresy has been endemic upon Scintilla for two hundred years, since the decades in which tech-heretics like Ryne and Puloparis wrested secrets from the Mechanicus and spread them far and wide amongst their follows and outlaw gangs. You know that any Scintillan who so desires can find vox-workers, augmentites and crude scofflaw tech-devices in the low-habs. But on other worlds, such would be cause for a pogrom of the Machine Cult, or a withdrawal of their blessings. Here, the Tech-Priests have been wrestled to a moody impass.

The Noble and Mechant Houses of course. It is their continued support, an open secret, that enables tech-heresy to flourish beyond the domains of the narcolords, smugglers and pirates they trade with. A lesser tech-heretic of skill is a valuable commodity, traded between the outlaw factions just like the tech-devices they value. Knowledge trickles back to the hives from renegade tech-adepts who serve pirate kings of the Hazeroth sub, and the Houses continue to push the Mechanicus in the degree to which tech-heresy is accepted.

I believe the present Governor to side with the Houses; it is to the benefit of the Imperial authorities here for the situation to continue. Occasionally, they will do their part to placate the Machine Temples when calls to declare Scintilla Excommunicatus become particularly loud. The riots five years back, for example, when the Arbites were charged to suppress the teaching of vox-tech principles in the scholarums and Universitas Lux Imperium, and raid the low-habs to destroy lesser tech manufactories.

So to the Station Solis in the otherwise deserted Talst system, an outpost of the Divine Astrometricum, one of the lesser and disfavored Factions Theologic of the Golgenna Tech-Priesthood. The station is massively void-shielded, dipping into the heated stream of star matter between a Sol Magna and Sol Quietus that orbit one another. The Tech-Priests of the Astrometricum occupy but the least part of the structure, much of has become wild with plants from former biologis gardens.

All of this may be false, of course. I paraphrase the information provided by the Mechanicus, as background for their claim that Astrometricum Tech-Priests are in league with the outlaw raider Qualsoon Deem, and therefore to be destroyed. The Station Solis provides a base for Deem's two pirate vessels, so we are told. I suspect it more likely that this latest demand of the Tech-Priesthood, a trade made for another few years of quietus on the matter of tech-heresy, is a partnership of convenience between Magos Ralwure the Golden here upon Scintilla and unknown Magi of the Lathes. Ralwure will clip another link in the chain of tech-heresy he has been patiently disassembling these past two decades, whilst Magi who seek a vengence against the Astrometricum will achieve it without blood on their hands.

Deem is more important to the Mechanicus for his part in conveying their secrets to the smugglers of Scintilla than for slaving Tech-Priests or slaughtering Imperial citizens in the void. The Battlefleet will be only too happy to add his skull to their long list of trophies.

Much of this is supposition upon my part, and I am no correlator. However, there must be those within the Ordo who have surmised more than I, or are possessed of a greater knowledge of the Station Solis and Qualsoon Deem than I, else the Conclave Calixis would not be involved in this matter. Preparations continue, and we shall simply have to wait for Inquisitor Nomen to divulge what it is he and Hrald Belsepan know that I do not.

[ Posted by Reason on March 23, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

The Next Footfall, Planned and Unknown

[Descriptum vocis :: signo temporis 4.913.807 M41
Station Solis :: Talst System
Inquisitor-Minor Eossus Nomen]

The vaultways of great Talst Station Solis remain wreathed in smoke, and promethium fumes curl beneath the ceramite grate floorplates - a rendition in minature of the star-matter streaming past the station exterior. It will be days before voidmen and bulk servitors of the Macrocannon's Herald have burned the last mutant vegetation from the Sol Minor axis. Until such time, my immediate retinue and the naval security assigned to my needs are confined to the Sol Major axis or forced into clumsy rebreather masks where necessity bids.

Fleet Captain-Elect Yunthin has instructed Lord-Captain Refediath of the Herald to fortify the Station Solis to host a strike squadron, lay void-mines upon the approaches, and lie in ambush for the reaver Qualsoom Deem. The wastes and stockpiles of piracy foul the station bays and outer vaultways. Rotted or mummified slave corpses and grudge-fight losses caste aside litter the observator domes yet, but of living void-reavers, there is no sign. The Lord-Captains are frustrated and privately scornful of the Ordo's role in this action, as might be expected of the prideful, but I have come to believe that the slaughter of a notorious reaver was never the causa primus in this action.

As indicated in the data-rolls provided to the Ordo by Magos Ralwure of the Scintillan Machine Cult, there were indeed Tech-Priests within the otherwise deserted Station Solis. A mere dozen resided within the unspoiled Circulus Centrum, free from the choking outgrowth of vegetation from the biocubes, and sealed from the reaver-despoiled Sol Major axis bays. At the center are great, strange tech-devices exposed to the void and the passage of star-matter. It was through these careful gaps in the Station Solis void-shields that our modified assault shuttles made peaceful access, the black-armored Battlefleet boarding teams unneeded - at least at first.

The remains of the Station Solis Tech-Priests are locked within the medicae vaults here in the Sol Major axis, and I have ordered the Circulus Centrum sealed with rockcrete and ceramite on the authority of the God-Emperor himself. I know not what else might be within, but I will not have it open to meddlesome Battlefleet personnel. I instructed Adepts Ve and Twoth to remove the man-portable cogitator engines, datavaults and silversheaf tome racks prior to the sealing now underway. These tech-devices and stacks of lingua machinae dialog are secured within our temporary quarters, under analysis by Savants Toll, Regedus and Polquete, the latter a Collator Machinae secured from the Fleet Captain-Elect's staff.

From the first we boarded the Station Solis, the actions and speech of the Tech-Priests who greeted us was strange and unnatural - even to those unschooled in the search for such signs. I had suspected their activities to be the true target of whomever Magos Ralwure acted for; perhaps tech-heresy, or some struggle of power and legitimacy within the Mechanicus. Perhaps this was the case, perhaps not, but the truth of that will have to wait. With Battlefleet vessels behind me, three dozen hellguns within sight, and the God-Emperor's rightful will and purpose in my voice, I pushed the Tech-Priests for compliance - in search of further insight, or so was my intent. Something in my demands set them to alarm and action, however - I know not what at this time. The ensuing battle upon the inner docking ways and cargo ascent was one-sided, but they scrabbled and fought to the last, in an unplanned and ragged manner, as of the mad or the condemned.

Fleet Captain-Elect Yunthin issued his Carta declaring the Station Solis Tech-Priests in league with void-reavers, their lives and the Station itself forfeit. This was as much to assuage the restless Magi Enginarum as for any other reason. The violent end of the Tech-Priests only confirms their guilt and rightful nature of their deaths by hellgun and powerblade in Battlefleet eyes. That is all they shall know, but there is more here, much more.

I have been calling these creatures Tech-Priests, but that is not the case. Abominations against the God-Emperor is more the truth of it. Within their metal shells was no flesh at all - machines in the form of men, cogitator-implants and volitors of a hundred varieties clustered together in place of brains. I almost want not to believe it; the cursed men of iron, disguised as the God-Emperor's servants, performing work as though Mechanicus Tech-Priests. From where did they come? What was their purpose here? What knowledge of this had the hidden Magi who spoke through Magos Ralwure the Golden?

There are too many questions, but much of worth for the Savants to analyze. In anticipation of an answer, any answer, I have seconded the frigate Berethic Depths of Captain-Errant Halspar to the service of the Ordo. It will remain here with the Macrocannon's Herald until such time as a destination becomes apparent - a return to Scintilla with questions of worth for Magos Ralwure, or onwards to follow the trail of these abominations that pretend to be Mechanicus.

[ Posted by Reason on March 23, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

Machine Coven of the Lathes
Aurealogi Belsepanium > Anni Aureum > Machine Coven of the Lathes

Kind Words From the Dead

[Adnotamentum vocis :: signo temporis 6.045.813 M41
Savant Jonus Toll]

I was surprised to find this fragment amongst more personal records in what remains of Hrald Belsepan's datavaults. Grambald, for all his diligent maintenance of the low-habber's exterior, would have appreciated the degree to which the Inquisitor valued his words.

[Vox record, servitor notatus :: signo temporis 4.611.804 M41
Spatium Retundo 3 :: Ordo Missio Fortress :: Hive Voltis :: Scintilla
Adept-Militant Grambald]

So we's out of the data temple and down in them metal sheaf trees and vox spires again, and the air's got a rething angry feel to it, like blood in your mouth. I look back and sure as reth, there's glowing shapes that hurt behind the eye, all over the armor sheathing on the towers where the prayer picts used to be, and I thought "well, that's that - we naffed up the sneaking around but good."

Bothe, he breaks out a fresh rotary mag, looks at the Inquisitor and says "A lot more than you thought. That's going to take about what? A regiment, with armor support?" Hard as voidburn that one, once the barrels are hot.

Says the Inquisitor, "We'll have a legion from the Magos if that's what it takes, but let's start with orbital bombardment now that they've shown their hand. We can find the source of their heresy in the wreckage."

Now it took rething more than turning one data temple into a crater to deal with the rething Machine Coven - guns in the face, blades on metal and half the tech guard from Nordus Manufactory by the time all was said and done - but that's all yer need to know about the Inquisitor. Comes the time, "let's start with orbital bombardment."

[ Posted by Reason on March 23, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

In Building a Principia of the Ordo Action Upon Hesh

[Voxslate :: signo temporis 3.317.806 M41
Capsa scientia of Savant Jonus Toll
Savant Jonus Toll]

Hesh, you say? Yes, the Principia of that Ordos action still languishes unfinished. Our good Inquisitor Belsepan requests we do well by posterity, but Inquisitors yet to be are undemanding in comparison to those presently within these hive-fortress walls.

In my defense, slow exchanges with Tech-Adept Rudenos of the Nordus Manufactory Slab are necessary to fill the many gaps in our librarum, and our knowledge of the secrets of the Mechanicus. This conversation has taken years, and continues yet; I have become more proficient in Binary Calixis-I and more familiar with the fortress Astropaths than I had ever intended.

I have recommended that Hrald add Rudenos to his Black Index; he has been nothing but helpful, at risk to himself, a true servant of the Throne. Besides, I have see the hints he will rise to the Gravitas Priesthood - and after that, who knows? How much would you give to have a Magos of Hesh in your debt?

No, you'd get more of a taste of Hesh from Grambald, or perhaps Ume if you're careful. Both participated in the destruction of the Machine Covens.

If you insist, though please recall that my knowledge is secondhand; I have only seen the forges of Hesh in pict-captures. That can hardly compare.

It is far older than the other Lathe worlds; once a repository world, a destination for cogitator pilgrims of the Mechanicus, Tech-Priests bearing datavaults and sacred information. Think of it as a shrineworld, if you like. The Mechanicus honor the Emperor by another name, and in their own strange ways.

No, it is a forge world now, and for a thousand years so. Old data temples still exist at the surface, where the hive levels thin out. Across most of Hesh, the Repository Era is a strata beneath kilometers of manufactory, alchemical mill and tech-forge, structures piled high and the lowest levels thinly populated.

Tech-Adept Rudenos has told me of archaeodata caverns, metal abysses of ancient sacred datacrystals, the resting places of ancient machine spirits, and sinkways that lead deep from the present data temples to infotombs of vast and labyrithine extent.

But I step ahead of myself. Hesh is a world of strata, you must understand. Dead and dormant archeodata below, and ages of alchemy and the forge laid down atop. Above the smoking mills of the present float the manufactory slabs, spired cities of industry and worship, twenty kilometers or more in breadth. The Gravitas Priesthood tend the spirits of suspensor shrines, hundreds in each manufactory slab, and oversee the passage of menials to and from the surface in great cable-lifts and suspensor discs.

Heresy and the mark of the Archenemy upon Hesh comes from below, from the archeodata strata. It has come before, many times, and the Magos Gravitas have quashed it. The Mechanicus are proud and secretive; I believe they would have defeated the Machine Covens alone had the Ordos not become involved, and hidden all signs of the war it required, just as they have before. The Archenemy is corruption and rust to the Tech-Adepts, and they look upon its foul work as you would look upon the rotting of your own flesh. It is a horror to them.

If I understand correctly, all the Materium is potentially a temple in the eyes of the Tech-Priests of Mars. The system of the Lathes is a sacred place for its conjunctions and gravity phases, a natural forge-shrine for the mysteries of suspensor fields. Tech-Adept Rudenos believes the Consideration of Gravity, the associations of Magos Gravitas, to form an unbroken line of archeotheology far into the past - to the seeding of Hesh and beyond.

Yes, I know where you stand on theology. Faith is blind that does not consider.

It is instructional that the great Mechanicus, even those of an ancient respository shrineworld, are in many ways as ignorant of the past as we are. Librarums burn, datacrystals are lost, machine spirits fade and die. The grand portrait remains, but the details smudge.

I digress; I have been thinking of how best to explain the Machine Covens. Translating some concepts from the Binary machine languages is surprisingly challenging.

Let me start with what I term "hereticals." A heretical is somewhat like an idea, somewhat like the bones of a dead machine spirit. It is tainted, waiting to be thought again, or remade into a new machine. No, I make an analogy by talking of bones. A piece of a spirit, a vital impulse, split from the main at death or dormancy, touched by the Empyrean or formed of forbidden concepts.

The lowest strata of Hesh, wormed with infotombs and the remains of datavaults, hide the hereticals of the Repository Era. Here and there in the dark, dead thousands of years, tainted things wait.

Rudenos has hinted over the years of a great heresy of the ancient data temples, but will not speak of it; this is taboo upon Hesh, known amongst the Gravitas Priesthood but never spoken. I have been forced to speculate on a thin gruel of fragments and myth, but I believe it to be a archaic variety of Transcendancy.

I don't think you want to know. It is more theology, albeit heretical. Are you sure? Very well.

The Transcendant heretic refutes the Omnissiah, the Emperor as Machine God honored by the Mechanicus. Some declare the Omnissiah corrupt or blinded, some see Him as lost far from the Imperium, while others deny His very existence. Heresy enough for you, yes? That is but the first page, however. All Transcendants see a path to become the Omnissiah, summon the Omnissiah or create the Omnissiah. These paths vary in their details, but the spiral of heresy and power hunger inevitably leads to warp-craft - and the warp-craft of corrupted Magos is accomplished upon a very great scale, while the Archenemy savors success.

There are other heresies peculiar to the Mechanicus that cause great revulsion to attend the Transcendants; perversions of machine spirits and the holy rituals of Magos associations that I do not fully understand. Tech-Adept Rudenos would never explain these matters to me, an outsider.

Never speak of Transcendancy with Tech-Adepts; it will not go well.

[Voxslate :: signo temporis 3.318.806 M41
Capsa scientia of Savant Jonus Toll
Savant Jonus Toll]

What can I say? My drafts are more tidy, barely, but you're not a reader. I am trying to condense the essence of it, gleaned and correlated from many sources.

You know how the Covens became visible, in reaching out into the rest of the sub. There was the matter of the Navigator's Spire and the theft of the Navatrix Aurum that led Mirel Terice, Emperor rest her, and thence the Inquisitor back to Hesh - and the Suppression Purge thereafter. You know of the obvious consequences and heresies, but this Principia attempts to catalogue all that was not shared by the Magos Gravitas, that the Ordos might understand first causes and need for further action.

Yes, the Magos were most reluctant. They are proud beyond measure, and it is a horror to them for any outsider to have seen corruption of their sacred duties upon Hesh. It is fortunate that some few individuals and minor Factions Theologic understand that removal of that stain will come through cooperation with the Ordos, not the angry maintenance of the Iron Wall.

The Repository Era strata of Hesh, the infotombs, the buried dataspires, the silver etchwalls, the machine spirit seed vaults, are a sacred trust of the Tech-Priests. You might view it as a saint's relic, of vast extent, kept in state by Cathedra Ecclesiarchs. The Machine Cults' purpose is to gather all that is known in service of the Emperor as God Machine, and the archeodata of Hesh is held in waiting to join that ultimate goal.

As I said, the strata are empty of industry. There might be feral menials or wild, broken servitors and errant machine spirits here and there, lost from the lowest manufacturies and alchemical mills, but Tech-Adepts descend below the forge levels but rarely.

Tech-Adept Rudenos has provided me with some insight into the sacred tasks that lead Tech-Priests into the Repository Era labyrinths. Consecrations of deep nodeways and forge foundation struts must be remade on certain conjunctions of the Lathes. Processionals made through the the Datavault Ultimus some kilometers under the the servitor halls beneath the flight of the Nordus Manufactory Slab propriates angry suspensor machine spirits. Cleansers hunt down ferals that might disrupt the operation of the forges.

Of more interest to me are some the ancient customs by which Tech-Adepts are initiated into the Consideration of Gravity. Some ceremonies take place within the present data temples, where the forge strata are thinnest. Questing to retrieve acheotech suspensors from the deep Repository Era and Early Forge strata is viewed with favor, as are those who demonstrate devotion to the Machine God by returning such lost devices to operation in the manufactory slabs.

I believe it is in this way that Covens of Transcendancy return to the Hesh forges again and again. Initiates, their augmentics, or the devices they maintain are corrupted by a heretical from the depths. The corruption spreads from machine to machine, from adept to adept, perhaps warp-tainted from the very start, or perhaps the Archenemy is only invoked later, once the heresy has spread far enough to delve more forbidden archeodata from the infotombs.

It may never be known how the Covens most recently purged came to be. Angry, Transcendant machine spirits dominating the Tech-Priests who served them, perhaps, empowered by the Archenemy to work their corruption. Bothe Ume described Tech-Adepts dragged by their augmentics into battle, crying for help, menials fused screaming into the machines they tended, and the machine spirits of cogitators and vault seals turning against the Nordus Tech-Guard.

[ Posted by Reason on March 23, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

Secrets of the Well
Aurealogi Belsepanium > Anni Aureum > Secrets of the Well

A Gathering at the Spirebase Retreat of Inquisitor-Minor Ru-Tariy

[Tabula vocis ex machina scriptus :: signo temporis 3.938.804 M41
Librarum Arcanus of Inquisitor Hrald Belsepan
Inquisitor-Minor Lammis Ru-Tariy]

It was most gracious of you all to attend. To your health.

I am sure you are pondering my choice of centerpiece. It is a catalogued disassembly of a servitor scheduled for maintenance rituals, taken from Tech-Adepts of the fortress adjunct facilities on midspine level 210. Biology is to the left, electromechanics to the right. Notice the knife scarring here and here, and the inactive low-hive electrotat; there would no doubt be an Arbites Sibellus offender brand were that flesh incorporated into this servitor.

As you might know, the biology of most servitors employed by the Scintillan Conclave was once owned by blasphemers and Denialists, or other undesirables and lesser heretics netted by Arbites and Ministorum adepts. They are herded aboard Merchant House Klave lift-shuttles once each year and sent to the innermost world, Bitrith's Well, for processing.

Bitrith's Well is a molten, scorched, airless waste, touched by the sun's fingers. The processing facilities are buried somewhere within or beneath the ruins of a pre-Imperial fortress of massive extent. The condemned are herded into the fortress seal gates, and servitors come forth to fill the lift-shuttles for the return to Scintilla. No Klave shuttle crew sees those who process heretics into the tools of the Ordos, and nor have they in living memory.

My intent in inviting you here, Inquisitors-minor, worthy Adepts, is merely to share this fine jelliq, come to me all the way from Fenksworld, and offer some entirely hypothetical observations.

For example, hypothetically, if one were to research how and when the Ordos and Mechanicum laid down the compacts and manufactory to create servitors for the Scintillan Conclave, one would find only the shreds indicative of an old deletion order. Hypothetically, one might find oneself the recipient of sudden and unwelcome attention from greater Inquisitorial powers for reasons that remain unclear.

Equally, if, hypothetically, a curious Inquisitor was to smuggle adepts into the fortress of Bitrith's Well, he might well gain reports of a hellish place wherein the least of blasphemers are tormented beyond endurance in rituals that bear a passing resemblance to those of the Archenemy. Hypothetically, hints of a certain vanished Inquisitor-General of formerly high favor might be uncovered, she who was driven to insanity by her loathing of heresy some three hundred years ago.

This is all complete speculation, I hasten to add, and nothing of worth to be repeated to others.

From those Ordo actions we have shared across the years, I am given to think that you all believe it is better to seek forgiveness than permission. Hypothetically, if one was inclined to place resources towards a bold act of arms and invasion for the betterment of the Ordo, one might imagine that the Seven Hall Manse of Inquisitor Hrald Belsepan would be a place to muster ten days from now.

[ Posted by Reason on March 22, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

The Burning Well: Ten Minutes Ante Bellum

[Voxslate :: Klave Shield Suit Solis 23-14 :: signo temporis 3.980.804 M41
Bitrith's Well :: Scintilla System
Adept-Militant Grambald]

This rething well ain't what I had in mind when Hrald rething Belsepan gathers up the faithful to talk about bold actions that'll have us all rething burned if we naff it up. We empty out the armory. Off to the rething Well we go with them oily up-hive rethers from House Klave. Into the rething ceramite boiler suits. Out the rething landers and onto nothing to see until the Inquisitor gives the rething word.

Reth me. Rething Captain-Designate Balx and Bothe up there already making it look easy. Rethers.

Can't rething see my rething feet in this thing. What Tech-Adept set out this naffed-up torture suit? Rething hot as a mid-spire steam vent in here.

How the reth am I supposed to break heads and las holes in the sinners when there's nothing to breath out there, no-one knows where the reth the heretics are, and the rething pict-viewer in front of my rething face is all steamed?

[ Posted by Reason on March 22, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

Tainted, Dying Encantos III
Aurealogi Belsepanium > Anni Aureum > Tainted, Dying Encantos III

Directives to the Adepts-Errant

[Indexus Primus Planetae :: Encantos III :: signo temporis 6.000.792 M41]

It is a dying world, mere decades from its end. Magos Besul the Platinum fortold its end in binary tree cogitation-auguries, and the Adeptus Mechanicum began their Eschatologus for the hives of Encantos fifty years ago. The Machine Temples dimmed year by year, servitors and adepts slowly placed into stasis for transit to other assignments.

Without the blessings of the Mechanicum, the hives could not be sustained. Their great workings slowed, the generators shut down, the air pumps stilled one by one. Their inner ways, depths and vaults fell into blackness and fetid air. A torpor of doom forseen fell across Encantos, and hive-dwellers worked with slow and steady will to turn down the lumens for the very last time.

Mortis preachers rose to prominence amongst hive Ecclesiarchs, teaching of the welcome end in which all dutiful servants would meet the God-Emperor. Manufactories and scholarums were abandoned for slow processionals and veiled services in vast, quiet vaults. The populace dwindled with birth forbiddance laws enacted by Lord-Governor Hase Rashald, the voluntary cull-suicides in mortis masses, and barrenness-inducers in the water supplied to the low-hive masses under the inviolate terms of ancient serf contracts.

Like mighty trees of great age, the hives died at the core first, the lesser masses of Imperial faithful migrating with their shrines and death-worship to the wall-habs and wind spaces.

The last of the noble families of names and Administratum decrees of Immaculate Ancestry stretching back to Encantos Ante-Cubilis wear black in their spires and mountaintop manses, mourning the end of their lines. The God-Emperor has spoken through the seers and auguries, and the end of time for Encantos III is near.

In its calm passage to death, just as at its height, Encantos III is defined by the passage of water. The hives brace their cooling bones upon mountain ranges that break an endless desert of red and orange rock. The mountains themselves stand in the shadow of great truecrete struts that once supported atmosphere processors to turn Encantos III from a void-world to a center of the Imperial Creed. But all water lies far beneath the surface in caverns and acquifers, tapped by the deep roots of the hive structures.

The adiamant water valves, a hundred meters tall apiece, still pump in outer hive walls, driving the waters up through mighty aquaways to Imperial shrines, noble baths, and deserted uphive concourses. From there, the waters fall down used in a thousand, thousand conduits of silversteel, ever more polluted and refiltered with each hive level. Upon the conduits are inscribed the water contracts of Encantos III, as first spoken by Saint Fadi the Kind and forced upon the nobles of the Civitas Encantos by Imperial decree.

[Epistola Astropathica :: signo temporis 4.234.810 M41
Crypta Datum Peculiaris :: Inquisitor-Minor Om Quall]

Lady Yisebele, my Adepts,

A world of tired, blackened, languid souls, resigned to their end in the delerium of the fated. This is your destination, for it is where I expect you to find the claws of our Archenemy sunk deepest into the holy Imperial Creed, seeping the poisonous whispers of the True Eophite.

Your commencement is to be the Imperial Aquatemplum of Hive Alasam, a fallen wonder of Encantos. Seek out the Magister Mortis Tamam in that echoing hive, upon your descent from the void, and he will instruct you futher.

Inquisitor Om Quall

[ Posted by Reason on March 22, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

The Magister Mortis, Upon the Wind Space Processional

[Memoria mechanicus :: servitor calvaria 244ophis :: signo temporis 5.325.810 M41
Tesella Ventus 103 :: Hive Alasam :: Encantos III
Magister Mortis Sefe Tamam]

They labor slow, Mistress, for they have the rest of their lives, until the end. In the Old Tongue, they would say "enshalleth," it is the will of the Lord of All, the God-Emperor who has decreed the end of Hive Alasam. But look, they have raised the vaultworks of a Cathedra Vitae Antidus from bones drawn up from ossuaria in the hive cores, here in this wind space, so that the sacred air of Encantos will ever touch this monument of lives past.

Enshalleth, Mistress. The wind and waters of Encantos are eternal and holy, as taught Saint Fadi. It is we servants of the God-Emperor who must fade into the dark, and complete our final labors so our souls will join the eternal processional. A billion have set forth bearing lumens and the black shroud, their bones honored by the silence of the hive cores. The Faithful here in the hive shell, we millions, labor to set the final statues, hang the tapestries of remembrance, to close the great door with honor that we might follow to the processional. It is a vital, sorrowful task for the elders who remember the glories of Imperial Alasam - but such a momument to faith we shall leave!

The Cathedra Vitae will be our lasting work, the labor of the youngest left amongst we massed Faithful here in the Wall of Sunrise, and in the Mountain Domes beyond the templum spires and noble obelisks. It falls to Magisters such as myself to guide the Faithful, and ensure that our steps match those set down in the Eschatologus Imperia. The habwardens must organize the workers, the men must descend into the undermountain cavern-vaults and ossuaries to retrieve and honor past lives. Water must be brought from the rightful aquaways, by the Saint's Laws, and in accordance with the teachings of the prophets who forsaw the Saint. There must be food from the Vault Houses, and Administratum records kept for all these matters. The medicae mortis must be supplied with whitestone from the rockcuttings downhive, at the high base where macrostatues of the Erasumic Prophets watch the Alasam Gate - for it is the basis of the mortis tablets. Without the tablets, we could not keep to the Eschatologus, nor give the ill and the frail the honor of stepping through the door ahead of us.

To guide these few Faithful in their last years is my trial, Mistress, given by the God-Emperor that I may show my worth - as I believe the unsettlement of these past two years, the False Hopes and visionaries, the signs and ill portents, are a trial now placed upon your shoulders.

Ours is a deep and honest history, Mistress, and an end we will make with grace as the God-Emperor wills. The great Eschatologus, cast in silver at the Alasam Gate, is two-thirds written these decades past, and the Tech-Priests of the pump levels commend us for our conformance to the Imperial auguries. We respect the old shrines and templum, we have made those in the darkened hive depths holy ossuaries, but Aquila and altar now reside in the Cathedra we build in the God-Emperor's name.

[ Posted by Reason on March 22, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

Beasts of Unclean Fire

[Chartus ex servitor scriptus :: adaphelus-12r :: signo temporis 5.327.810 M41
Castrum Arbites 12 (abandoned) :: Hive Alasam :: Encantos III]

Y: Lady Anya Yisebele, Ordo Primus
D: Tech-Adept Eriz, Ordo Secondus by Compact
T: Magister Mortis Tamam
M: Preacher Mufeed

D: The scriptor-skull is attentive, the runes set. Ink flows and the quill-dendrites are supple. All is in readiness, Mistress.

Y: Bring them in.

M: Praise Saint Fadi and the divine Emperor, that the Ecclesiarchy Solae has sent you Mistress. Praise be!

T: Get up, you forget yourself! Show dignity before faushi, before anyone not of the blood of the Saint, no matter their rank. Get up and tell her what you told me when the Mestra blew strong last year - when I swore you to silence.

M: Tauda! The holy waters, the eternal silver of the Saint, blessed in the Emperor's name, it is become corrupted. I, myself, with my own eyes saw a beast of the Unclean Fire breach the Saint's silver conduits in the Water Templum, fall from the water within to scream at the bones of the blessed.

T: And you ran in fear from your charge as Priest-Ossuarist.

M: I am but a man, Magister, a holy servant - what can I do but warn when the Prophet Aben-Ubade's words become true? The beasts of fire below swim within the holy water, and thence carried upon the wind before the end! This is the Testing Time, that the holy Emperor brings upon us in our end years.

T: So you told them all, despite my charge upon you, didn't you? How else do the False Hopeful preach their deceitful whisters of this to the Quietened and the faithful, and send their forbidden young through ducts and past the vault seals to steal adiamante conduit-fragments from the Water Templum ossuary?

Y: Be silent, Magister. Preacher, describe to me this beast, in plain and simple terms.

[ Posted by Reason on March 22, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

Carta Imprimus of the Encantos III Assessment

[Epistola Astropathica :: signo temporis 4.234.810 M41
Crypta Datum Peculiaris :: Inquisitor-Minor Om Quall]

My Lord, Inquisitor Quall,

This world of Encantos III lies under a taint, subtle and blown in the winds. Adept Gelcreth felt it from the deserted orbitus docks, was greatly disturbed and would come no further to the desert hive-tombs. He remains yet upon the Lord-Captain's vessel, reading the tarot and consulting with the Astrometrix-Elect on the pattern of star portents.

The taint here is not in the unorthodoxy of the Encantite veneration of Prophets and Saint Fadi, nor in their heathen element-worship. Nor is in their outlaws and false-speakers, the struggles of the Hopeful to escape Emperor-blessed Imperial auguries and the adiamante tracks of the Eschatologus. There will always be the ignorant and desperate who kick and scream at what is fated by the God-Emperor, and we have seen no obvious marks of Eophism in their struggles against what is ordained.

The Hopeful are merely the most obvious symptom of a spiritually troubled world. There are many sects as False Hopes, ranging from the tolerated Faithless, who have merely lost sight of the eternal processional, to the outlaws who bear children in the dark hive depths, and steal the Faithful from their Magister-assigned tasks. Is there heresy there? Undoubtably: those who place the Saint above the Emperor, and the old Prophets above the Saint. Those who believe in the Unclean Fire at the heart of the world, and old prophecies of the end times. Those who simply deny the legitimacy of the Eschatologus, or the Imperial auguries that confirm it.

There are Denialists upon every world of the Imperium, I sometimes believe. I am fated to lose some part of my skin to each, and I confess that I do not look forward to discovering which flesh the Denialists of this world will steal from me. But are these least heresies the source of the taint, the malaise we all feel? There is a palpable oppression here, a weight that works upon us, and I cannot believe these commonplace blasphemers and their unorthodoxies could be the source of it.

Upon our second day in the highwall wind spaces of Hive Alasam, cultists of the Solae Hopeful rose from the inner ossuary darkness. They overwhelmed the sparse honor guard about our transport-orbitus and flew in desperation to the high void docks. The wall-hab conclave of Magisters Mortis were furious, but these cultists were poor heretics indeed. They harmed no-one, offered no fight, and had no clear goals past the glimmering rumor of a voidship above. They were families of the old bearing little more than bundled rags and scroll-slates, easily gathered from the empty processionals and dock-vaults by the Lord-Captain's security troop.

Magister Mortis Tamam illuminated my questions regarding his frustration: the Hopeful reject their Emperor-given duties and gifts by rejecting the Eschatologus. They cannot be punished, for they have already inflicted the worst of all punishments upon themselves. They certainly cannot be given the quietus drugs and their deathmark in the grand tome of the Eschatologus, for that is an honor for these Faithful. The Hopeful remain in the Lord-Captain's cells, until such time as I can spare Adept Dramen to usefully process them.

The events and reports that led you to assign us here were similarly barren of immediate portent, though, as for the Hopeful, redolent of the taint upon Encantos. The adiamante waterworks and aquaconduits are holy to the hivedwellers, and any rumor of damage or impurity that might stain their eternal nature swells the Hopeful Denialists, Prophecites and those who believe in the Saint's return to protect them from the Unclean Fire. A single priest saw what he took to be a daemon in the Aquatemplum, in his ignorance, and the Prophecite Hopeful have plagued the wall-habs since that time a year ago.

With the efforts of Adepts Drame and Oltagin, and the knowledge of the Tech-Adept seconded to my service by the Lord-Captain, I have been able to establish this "daemon" as either servitor or member of a forgotten clade of aquaconduit menial. Adept Oltagin, while within an aquasuit constructed by the Lord-Captain's Tech-Adept, was assaulted by two specimens within the greater waterway beneath the Aquatemplum ossuary pits. He had the presence to retrieve the corpses; their implants and aqua-agumentics match the fanciful descriptions provided by the priest. These menials are as perturbed as the rest of the small remainder of the hive population.

I have tasked my companions to take rebreather and lumen into the dark hive core in search of the more active Hopefuls, and the leaders and least-heretics behind recent unrest - and also any sign of overt heresy, Eophite devices or warp-craft. Further, to descend the hivewall and initiate contact with the Tech-Priests who oversee the Eschatologus from hivebase Machine Cult vaults, and assay their state. As for myself, I will return to the orbitus docks and the Lord-Captain's vessel; I have come to feel that the path to the answer upon Encantos is to be found in Adept Gelcreth's prognostications.

Your eternal servant,

Lady Anya Yisebele

[ Posted by Reason on March 22, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

The Black Root of True Eophism
Aurealogi Belsepanium > Anni Aureum > The Black Root of True Eophism

Seventh of the Third Year-Sept, Honored in Completion

[Epistola Astropathica :: signo temporis 4.026.809 M41
Crypta Datum Peculiaris :: Inquisitor-Minor Om Quall]

Sectmaster Ninth,

Seventh of the third year-sept has attained her Completion in service to the God-Emperor who protects all. Extinguish her electrocandle in the shrine of Dame Mortis, and commend her birthname to the datatome vaults, that the Emperor will know her. Speak the prayers I know you have been holding for all this time.

As witness to Completion, I hereby swear upon the fates I hold that Seventh kept secret name, sect and Mysterii Necis. She is truth and Complete in the Emperor's hands, and I do not mourn her.

All Indagatori Mortis of the third year-sept of the compact are now Complete, initiated to the deep Mysterium. I am honored by the years in which I have been permitted to share their quests for the Aperito Mortis. As the compact requires, I will return to Dreah to raise the third blessed obelus - but after I have concluded the holy duties of Ordo and Imperium on the world of Sozomen's death.

May you find the face of Dame Mortis,

Inquisitor Om Quall

[ Posted by Reason on March 22, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

A True Accounting of the Emperor's Hammer Fallen Upon Eophism

[Tabula vocis :: Transcriptor-Designate O-Exys-I-34 :: signo temporis 4.028.809 M41
Shrine of the Bronze Aquila :: Orbitus Brul (Abandoned) :: Sozomen's Last Stand
Inquisitor-Minor Om Quall]

Seventh is in your hands now, divine Emperor of all Mankind. She confided in me her doubts as the years passed and the gate to death still eluded her, but I believe that adversity only strengthened the core of her faith. Treat her spirit well, for she has served supremely. I will miss her wisdom and her gunblades in our struggle against the Archenemy. Forgive me my lies of convenience to the Sectmasters of Dame Mortis, for they would not understand the form of strength Seventh found, and the continuation of our compact strengthens the Ordo.

God-Emperor, give your blessings upon this small end brought to centuries of hidden and subtle heresy. Guide us as your instrument of chastening, and we will do our duty by the Golden Throne once more.

Hurr. These bones tire, and even kneeling becomes a holy penance. Well, let me to work. Events will not record themselves, and I have but a short while before Indagatori Tenth and the adepts of Tech-Priest K'tal ready the void-sail and orbitus lazarray for transport to the outer bodies.

Scriptor, attend. Attend me, closer.

I, Om Quall, declare this a true accounting. The final working of this mechanism of heresy was revealed to us aboard the aerial harvest-wing Lux Templum. The despised True Eophites that spawn from Sozomen's Last Stand hide their perversion of Imperial Creed in the harvest tech-works: in corrupted central shrines of the great flying wings; in the depths of refinery tower-stacks; in hidden vaults of the harvester docks. For every hundred Emperor-fearing harvestman, working honestly to thresh the swarming ifiid from the skies, there is one True Eophite, lurking like the poison in the Granter's Supper.

The Eophites captured by my Indagatori in the refinery base decks of Tolgen's Flame gave up their kin under Interrogator Drin's touch. They were lesser heretics, ignorant and far distant from the rotten heart of the Eophite creed, captivated only by their own cupidity and selfish desire. Branded, chained, and placed to work in the waste pits, these fallen at least have been returned to the Imperial fold, for which we may give thanks.

We ascended by Arbite ornithopters from Tolgen's Flame to the Lux Templum, a month in harvest amongst the high cloudscape swarms. The ifiid of the high atmosphere are a more fearsome proposition than the thin flying strands that flock the refinery towns, and Arbitrator Rulteth's craft was forced from our formation before the Lux Templum even came upon the auspex. The heretics of the harvest-wing surmised our purpose from the first, and opened fire from heavy bolter emplacements upon the lower wing surface and within the ornithopter dock. The Emperor protects, for a river of thick-bodied ifiid burst about the wing, soaking up their fire whilst we were at our most vulnerable.

Tenth took two Indagatori through the upper hatches, leaping from their ornithopter to cut entrance through bronze and ceramite with their power blades. Seventh, I, and an Arbite squad under Sergent Byre affected entrance through the ornithopter dock. Metal shield panels set about the heretic bolter positions were no match for the gunblade marksmanship of the Indagatori Mortis, and the remaining Aribites ornithopters were voxed in once the way had been made clear.

Signs of the Eophite were everywhere within the harvest-wing's decks and cramped work spaces. The Circle of Seven Parts, the tailed worship mats, the three-headed post. I doubt one in ten of these heretics knew the true purpose or meaning of any of these hated materials, however, and no True Eophite survived the action. The cost: nine Arbite officers and Seventh, the longest serving of my Indagatori. I commend all to the Emperor's mercy, for they served well. Further, I wish it noted that the Adeptus Arbites of Tolgen's Flame responded with excellence to the heresy in their midst, once given the means and direction to do so.

The last resistance of the heretic harvest crew was broken in the central, crystal-floored shrine of the Lux Templum. Their defense suggested Guard or PDF Legio Sozumen training, buying time whilst the shrine Pater accomplished some work of destruction. It was here that Seventh found her death, bringing the blessing of Dame Mortis to what I am certain was a True Eophite, caught in the act of severing the next link in the chain.

That next link is long, and has brought us to the old orbital structures, abandoned at the same time as the hive spineworks, many centuries ago. The void-sails and their powering lazarrays remain ready, however, for the Tech-Priesthood is diligent and respectful of resting, entombed machine spirits.

The Arbites and my Indagatori recovered only burned scrolls and smashed dataslates from the Lux Templum shrine, but Savants Emvil and Tornissius have deciphered much from this deliberate wreckage that is new to the Ordo. The Eophite heresy is ancient indeed, I have learned, for its seed came here from the Segmentum Solar soon after the Angevinian Crusade. The True Eophites hold holy one - and only one - of the haired stars that swoop about Sol Sozomen, for a palace was built upon that body in the void by the First Eophite Ta Gestu. From that palace is their despicable "truth" carried to the Brothers of Eophe, and from that foundation is a sect of heresy constructed.

We go soon, by void-sail and armed well, to that one haired star amongst many determined by Tornissius. There we will purge the root of Eophite heresy from the system of Sozomen's Last Stand.

Scriptor, there is no more for now. Leave me.

[ Posted by Reason on March 22, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

The Silence of Griddish
Aurealogi Belsepanium > Anni Aureum > The Silence of Griddish

A Sharing of Knowledge, After the Fact

[tabula anima sub 6 :: servitor transcriptus 23.1.b :: signo temporis 4.261.805 M41
Transceptus Capitis :: Ordo Missio Fortress :: Hive Voltis :: Scintilla]

Continuance, tabula sub 5.
G: Adept-Militant Grambald
R: Inquisitor Lammis Ru-Tariy

G: He was a good man, and let's forget the rest. But reth, we're not here so's I can catch up on your happenstance this past year. Where was I?

R: Captain-Designate E, the "rething bastard."

G: Rething bastard. See that? See my hand? Servos twitchin' like they want a jug of tranc every time I think about him. That's why I let you distract me with yer tall stories.

[R shrugs]

G: Them Ordo Mallus mindwipes act so naffing high and mighty. Glorified servitors like her here [B gestures towards Transcription Unit 23.1.b] if you ask me, just less flash and metal polish. Oh, he'd stick macro-cannon up the arse of anyone who'd blew us to plasma, but he'd take his rething time about it, make good and sure he had something to revenge.

[R drinks from a flask, guestures for G to continue]

G: Reth, sorry. So the great and glorious Black 2 and rething bastard E was our ticket to Griddish, thanks to strings pulled somewhere. You's ridden Mallus ships, so you know where the glint falls. It's a tomb for the living - no tranc, no cards, no dice, no women can do more than make the blank face. Long weeks in Master Frek's needleship, middle of Hold 3, nothing to do but listen to Frek pray the same prayer under the aquila and Ume and Ve tell the same rething stories over and over. Reth, I was there for half of them, and they still can't get it naffing right!

[G motions for the flask, takes it, sniffs it, passes it back]

G: Shoulda known it wasn't the good stuff. All this time in the void, Admar - sorry, "Inquisitor Sertel Admar" to the likes of me - was holed up with the mindwipes and Jonus Toll in the Black 2 datastacks, trying to make a catch of the thin line that dragged us to Griddish. Something to prove, both those two. One of these years they'll figure out you don' have to plan it out quite so rething much, and the last place yer going to find the answers to what's about to bite yer arse is in a dataslate.

R: Your "thin line" would be the last Astropathic communications from Griddish prior to the silence, regarding a xenos strain taking root in the beremoth herds. They were ambiguous, yes.

G: That's the sort of word Toll'd use. Probably used it a lot, not that I saw. Why not just send a transport and some poor guard rethers to poke at the beasts and see which end was which, that's what Ume and I said. But no, someone knew something, and there we were on Black 2 - and it was burning Admar something hard to not be the one who knew. "I feel it's important" says Hrald, by way of one of that message servitor we all hate the look of, and you know how that is.

R: Indeed.

G: Here's what burned me. Every day, sharp at the same time, like the crack-slap in sub H of the old hab, there's be rething bastard Captain-Designate E at the hold watch station. Looked at the needleship like it was a wart on his face for the count of thirty, and back again to the bridge.

R: It begins to sound like a pact of mutual admiration.

[G glares at R]

[tabula anima sub 33 :: servitor transcriptus 23.1.b :: signo temporis 4.262.805 M41
Transceptus Capitis :: Ordo Missio Fortress :: Hive Voltis :: Scintilla]

Continuance, tabula sub 5.
B: Adept-Militant Bothe Ume
R: Inquisitor Lammis Ru-Tariy

B: Now - you know the Master isn't like that. Frek's the Emperor's own when he isn't at the control pulpit, holy as an Ecclesiarch, makes the rest of us look like war-muscle warmed right from the vats. I've never heard him tell anyone where he learned to pilot. No, no war stories, just like last time.

R: The Emperor protects.

B: That he does, and glad I am of it when the Master is piloting.

[B makes the sign of the aquila]

I wouldn't say scrapping and lasfire flying make me feel comfortable and homey, back in the bunkers and pollen fields, but it's a step up from being strapped in the Thin and Narrow, upside-down and flying sideways, waiting for the other boot to drop.

R: Shooting back is powerful medicine.

[B nods sagely]

B: I'll have to learn to work those pin-guns on the needleship one of these days. It can't be much harder than raking flak at the Vervai's servitor drones from a moving Hydra. I haven't talked Ve and Frek into it yet, though - they say I wreck every vehicle I touch.

[R laughs]

R: There's a certain truth to that - I've heard the stories. The Arbites Leman Russ in the mid-level hab riots two years ago? The stride-tank on Heth?

[B laughs harshly]

B: Heth. It was Hesh, after Mirel went blind into the war-fields. [B pauses] Did I ever tell you how much I loathe the Mechanicus?

[Pause of 14.6 seconds]

R: The Mechanicus, then, let us pick up there.

[B sighs]

B: The lance strikes on Griddish that Ve's auspex work picked on the way in from where Black 2 left us. That was Magos Kergan's vessel. An explorator sphere, old as old, and no doubt just as rotten. I'll tell you this: I'm glad I didn't have to go face to face with the Magos and tell him the God-Emperor's will.

[Pause of 3.2 seconds]

They look like wet squus, you know, washed up on the beach below the ghostfire line on the dunes - poisonous, slimy. Except the tentacles are made of metal. The ship was just like that, spiny and wrapped about with tentacles. Docking was like being eaten by a giant squus, flex-arms twenty times the size of the Thin and Narrow shoving us in.

R: No other Imperial vessels at all?

B: Eaten, for all we knew. Griddish never sees much beyond trader deephulls for the slaughter season. Not a scrap of orbital docking, or so Ve said, and it wasn't slaughter season. Just us and the Mechanicus squus; the Mallus ship that brought us was long gone by the time Magos Kergan was telling Inquisitor Admar that we were "quite mistaken" about the lance strikes. "Quite mistaken" - just like that.

[Pause of 1.7 seonds]

B: There's another thing: squus can't lie through their shiny, metal vox-plant, and they don't come packing armored regiments of tech guard. Mechanicus redcloaks don't know what the truth tastes like anymore, and there's the God-Emperor's own number of them. I'll take the squus any day. So I watched the needleship with Frek and Jonus, while the Inquisitor and the others went inside to lay down the Imperial law.

[ Posted by Reason on March 24, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

Warpcraft Spilled From Noble Hive Spires
Aurealogi Belsepanium > Anni Aureum > Warpcraft Spilled From Noble Hive Spires

Vile Echoes of the Pancreator's Dark Mass

[Transcriptus vocis peculiaris :: signo temporis 3.412.799 M41
Indexarum Hereticae :: Ordo Missio Fortress :: Hive Voltis :: Scintilla
Master-Indexus Folm Wardeque]

Ah, hmm. Pancreatrix, the, Pancreas of Saint Tineval, Miracles of. Ah! Pancreator, Adorants of. No, a moment. Ah! Pancreator, Order of. There, the Principia Summaris crystal for this entry, and there, the data thief socket. You are, ah, fortunate indeed. Too little archaodata is so, ah, convenienced by the tech priests of our period.

Though. Hmm.

I ponder that these Adorants might not be one and the same. Hmm. A persistant heresy if so. Look, ah, it is under the seal of the great Inquisitor Pethimen, Emperor bless his soul, and the purity seal of Master Ambulon from the Third Reindexing Period. Ah, and I but lately recall an Index Secundus for all the coinings and, ah, nomenclature of Inquisitor Pethimen's savants. Hmm. From the first half of his Procession Through the Heresies only.

Of course, hmm, you may peruse it all. Ah! It is my pleasure. Least-Archivist Rustish will attend your needs and questions. Once he is under the blinding crown, ah, simply tap these two levers to engage his attentions once more. Ah, the order is important. The Emperor protects, hmm?

[Indexus Hereticae :: Order of the Pancreator :: signo temporis 8.000.410 M41]

Whereasby such foemen I assigned Hereticus, and contenanced by thyse ways I numbereth hence, praise thee Empyror and Throne.

I. Beandthey throw forth stout faith asundthough thee and I. Yth most sturdy, but of false strength aforethought, as thee youngyst mummer fain strives.

II. Beandthey gathereth by darkend vault, but of false secrecy and neath pennon of noble acts Impyrial, yth to gathereth envy and admyration afore.

III. Beandthey two and two, fools without and kyngs within. Yet they art buildeth the wall twixt low in greed, yth and by a knave may climeth from Impyrial lyght hence to darkness.

IV. Beandthey clothed as holy priest upon Ambrival, almsmen and tutor upon Wersy, guard of the Impyrium and Empyror upon Calvax Secondus. Within holy shrines doth the better part of fools gathereth, a mockery cast by kyngs and yth fain cry for the hammer.

V. Beandthey keepeth most secret a place of kyngs, asundthough a vault of Preceptors, yth within to cast out Empyror and Impyrium from hearts and pennons.

VI. Beandthey art kyngs do call Materium born of Empyrean, yth which kyngs calleth Pancreator, and seek by craft to cry forth Echoes of birth.

VII. Beandthey keepeth hidden tomes and scrypt of silver to speaketh of a Pancreator and forbydden words, yth by which thee knoweth Hereticus in thee heart.

VIII. Beandthey pull short the holy barrier with the Empyrean through craft, and set about fools for to cast down holy works in secret, yth to hear Echoes.

IX. Beandthey fain a road for daemons, yth to cry for the hammer.

[ Posted by Reason on March 25, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

The Pancreator's Warpsong

[Memoria mechanicus :: servitor calvaria b-i-12t :: signo temporis 3.261.801 M41
Gilded Reception :: Seven Hall Manse :: Hive Voltis :: Scintilla
Inquisitor-Minor Conestus Jonquad]

Thank you, but this is not a social occasion. Your "shabby, elusive little heretic" of the Wintersun Feasts two years past has come to light once more, and I have need of your knowledge with regard to the Pancreator cult.

You are aware of the disturbance reported a day ago by the Lux Astropathica? Whatever the source, it left a warp-taint in the Trall spires. The second Black company took one of the vat-cloistered as pointer and a brace of weapon servitors to what turned out to be a Manse Communis of unfavored House Trall scions. There, they found the signs and waste of an Empyric intrusion. There was a single survivor within, too maddened into quietude to respond to the standard panapoly of interrogative techniques. There will no doubt be others who fled.

Yes, I am choleric. Spire Arbites have the entire level sealed. The Manse, corpses and body fragments will be plasma-burned once all has been picted and the artifacts catalogued by the Missio savants. I am far more concerned with the possibility that Empyric entities have been loosed within Hive Voltis, as are my Mallus associates. Mark my words when I say that the gilted of House Trall will suffer duly and willingly for the heretical acts of their blood.

The truth and tale will out, and we must hope that past will illuminate the immediate future.

Let me show you this pict, here, third in the dataslate. Do you recognize the runes and patterning of the vox-player? Yes, I thought so. Savant Aramateus died of a violent brain flux whilst listening to the vox records within, and three of my other trusted dataseers are restrained within the Missio fortress medicae vaults for psychic examination. I destroyed the servitor-transcript and servitor that made it in blessed plasma. Have you ever heard a servitor trying to scream?

There is a taint upon the vox-noise here, of which I heard but the slightest muted fragment. It was screaming and voices, whispers from the throat of the Archenemy, and it needles my soul yet despite the blessings and pray-seals of the good Pater Monomus.

I will have the head of he who made this, to set within the sustaining vat and torment forth every last secret that will let us banish this form of taint forever from the Emperor's sight. This I swear upon the Throne and the echoes in my head.

Now, tell me of this heretic, his career as vox-artisan of the sordid and forbidden, sought after by the degenerate of the spire Houses. Tell me of the Pancreator vermin who nurtured his curse upon the Wintersun Feasting.

[ Posted by Reason on March 25, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

Hunting Scion Trall of House Minor Castigan

[Manse vox-record :: signo temporis 3.269.801 M41
Armorium :: Seven Hall Manse :: Hive Voltis :: Scintilla
Adept-Militant Grambald]

What's the straight on this one, then? Another rething high-caste with the brainworms from the warp? Give it here - can't las holes in the rether if I don't know what he looks like.

Le'see, just you and me on this one, down into the underhive and find this latest rething scum. Suppose the Inquisitor don't think so much of this sinner, or reth, maybe he thinks we're the silver now after that last bloody throw down.

So's his own blood came running to the Ministorum, or so this says - naffed up his playing around at warp-craft. And they burned out his manse themselves. Industrious rethers. Two chips says the eye of the Inquisitor's on them, and we're just cleaning up spilled tranc. Glint on top o' that says this is all more from the Trall Spire melt. Like when you burns the corner hab just to watch and see who runs - make the rething sinners hiding away to jump up and think they're next for the ax.

Didn't I say that Ministorum bronze should just clear out all the fancy halls in the hive spires? All the killing and the cutting in the low habs and black levels, 's honest and Emperor-fearing, that is. Bloods might be scum and rething filth of the hive, but they don't keep servants chained up to chant over, cut and whatever else it says on this rething dataslate.

Now there's a question. How's Trall rething Castigan, lately Hereticus, know where the low habs and understruts even are, never you mind avoiding having his rething arse cut ten ways for his fancy augmetics. Way I think it is, we're off to shove a ready barrel into the ear of some spire-climbing low-hiver with a shiny new secret.

It's been years since I went down Barsk's way, but he still owes me a pile and glint from times ago. Won't he just be screwed up in the face to see debt walking in the door. You play high-market vat muscle, just about right for a Blood done good, and I'll do the talking.

Nah, really, I'll do the talking this time. You're just all trouble every rething time we go below.

[ Posted by Reason on March 25, 2008 | Permanent Link ]

Cultrix-Pancreator, Witch of the Gunmetal Undervaults

[Manse vox-record :: signo temporis 3.626.804 M41
Cenatio Viridis :: Seven Hall Manse :: Hive Voltis :: Scintilla
Adept-Militant Grambald]

So there I was, scratch-taped to some crumbled tribrace the wrong way up at the lowest end of the vertway crush, right where it came out at the undervault top, and looking like some glint hanging from the cathedra dome. Had a hanger brace for the long-las, rething waiting for the cutting to start way down below. Drip, drip, drip from all the hive filthwater that flows downaways.

Rething mess it was, like all the big vertways down to the undervault in Gunmetal - and all the rething maniacs in that hole. Reth me, every time him on high sends me there, it's rething mess, blood and scum. The gangers in Gunmetal, reth, every bleeder below the Highroads, they're all glitzed up on trancspike or too drenned to talk the straights, armed up like the gun-manufactories emptied out on them.

Rething right. It took me two days - two days! - to get down through the core crush, and that was the empty vert 'neath the Via Alchemica ward lows. The sputterdump up top leaks enough fyceline-green to keep even the crazy rethers away or dead. Reth, even the begger-children have rebreathers flesh-sutured in around there. You rething try the crush-spidering in a Klave sealsuit, done up like one of them high-fine spire dishes and ready for the cookers. Ditched it soon as I could, and it still took me about as long as Inquisitor Jonquad was willing to wait.

Reth, and that beremoth-faced bleeder from the army drew the crossway vent position halfway up the undervault bulkwall. Lucky rether was in like a thin sharp in a day, down the spine secondus Mechanicus lifters with the Inquisitor, and just ten markers of easy walking and climbing. Passing rething comments on the vox-link the whole time, when I could hear with the crush and all. Rether.

Now this was all a way after the burning and the screaming with the warpcraft in the Voltis spires, and after the macrorail terminus heretic scum Bothe and I turned up when cleaning loose ends. Real rething helpful we were, and Inquisitor Jonquad took me all the way to Gunmetal to help him drop the God-Emperor's own hammer on the Pancreator tainted. Would've taken Bothe too, but for that last metalface sinner with the autoblade. Real mess Bothe was after that one fell down, but still nothing left for the Arbites to work over - point of rething pride, there.

So's the Inquisitor'd got wind that some sinning heretic witch was being waited on by undervault Pancreator scum - has Gunmetal sewed up neat like a fingerglove, that one. Arbites bowing and scraping, glintspeakers on every deck, scints for the word. One thing led to another by way of grabbing a few sinners from the blackways and then up to that braincutting room in the Mechanicus spire. Now there's something to make a heretic scream and mess the vault floor - and he'd just but watched what happened the first rether to be put in the slot.

The rest of the scum, they was down there painting the bulkwalls like twists, banging on metal and chanting the bad names. Right beneath where I was taped up, they had the fires and some kind of big red plastent on top of a crushfall. Jonquad wanted the sinning right out and happening under our noses, the head Cultrix of all the heretics, spire and undervault, out in the open so as to point the Emperor's finger at them's most needing the hammer. Me and the beremoth being the hammer, with Jonquad and the rest to ...

Nah, Bothe was sitting this one out, I said. He was halfway stuck in some glow-vat while the medicae grew back the half of his arm got cut to blood and ribbons. Told him he shoulda' got the silver like me, touch of the Machine Spirits, makes everything work better - but you know what he's like about the Mechanicus. Now Jonquad, he had a bunch more army rethers from the Castrum Altus barracks where Gunmetal runs into the mountains. They was all down in the crushfall base and rot, the plan being to push the main sinners onto the open anvil, the better to hammer them rething flat and bloody.

Yeah, the rething plan. That went out the window pretty rething fast.

[Adnotamentum vocis :: signo temporis 3.668.804 M41
Archivist-Assignate Renna Hal]

Ah, the Interrogatus. It is the reason the Ordo maintains the Vexing Spire in Gunmetal City, and that under the strict and ancient terms of a Compact with the Magos of the Lathes. I am given to understand that the device is a sacred trust for the Mechanicus, a holy artifact of ages past with few parallels in the Golgenna Reach.

The Interrogatus occupies perhaps ten levels of the Spire, above the Machine Temple, and the Compact allows the Ordo to the sealed third level via the mid-spire landing platform. The device is swift and sublime in its operation; the Vault of Processing, and indeed the entire third level, are berefit of the Tech-Adepts and servitors who would swarm to tend any other device of such size. A single Tech-Priest accompanies Ordos retinues to the central chambers of the Interrogatus, to ensure that the correct rituals and terms are met. What lies within the other levels, I could not say, no more than I could divine the interior of the Machine Cult cube-temple that floats above the Heroes Processional.

The purpose of the device is information. A heretic is placed within the Euus Aperture and swallowed by the Interrogatus. The mechanisms of the device extract the living brain, which is cored and pierced by communicatory dentrites, set floating behind crystal in the Aspectus Vault. By terms of the Compact, an Inquisitor may ask no more than five questions of the Interrogatus prior to the death of the heretic's brain. The guiding Tech-Priest codifies each question into the wall-broad expanse of golden wires and rune keys that form the Lexicon Interrogatus, and an answer is provided through the same means by the holy mechanism.

The Interrogatus - much like the Moral Threat Seers of Magos Vermio - has never been well used by the Scintillan Conclave. By temperament, Inquisitors are inclined to trust loyal interrogators of study upbringing in the Scholarum Progenitum, and methods that leave a heretic broken and alive for further questioning. I cannot say I fault that point of view.

[ Posted by Reason on March 26, 2008 | Permanent Link ]