|Groups of Note:|
“A rugged and vast beauty from orbit. C. wanted to go iceberg-diving – a popular local pastime, supposedly – with young N. and some of his more excitable colleagues. I left them to their adventures and sampled the dubious delights of the capital; a built-from-template city indistinguishable from a thousand others in the Sector. I wish I could have seen the ruins of Summerhome, but they are sadly off-limits by Ecclesiarchy decree…” – Travel diary of Lucius di Firro, 581.M41
An icy and storm-tossed world, with a pockmarking of habitable islands set in an arctic sea, Lerwick is home to a hardy population who took to Imperial occupation with much the same stoic, stubborn approach they have always faced icebergs, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Pacified and brought under Imperial control during the last days of Warmaster Ulian’s sweep across the Rimwards reaches of Subsector Secundus, the planet is hostile to the unprepared and unable to support a much larger population without substantial climate-defended structures. Its strategic location at the heart of Warp routes from the Rimwards marches back into the well-defended heartland of Subsector Primus, however, has made it a critical node in the Crusade fleet’s lines of communication, and it is fiercely defended by an interlocking fortress of orbital stations and void patrols.
The planetary capital, Farile, is a new city, prefabricated in orbit and constructed almost overnight by teams of Mechanicus-sponsored servitor and local serf workers to create an administrative and legal hub. It replaces the old heartland city of Summerhome, which was razed to the waterline in 321.M41 by orbital bombardment after the local population met a demand for their surrender and capitulation with insolent silence. The local narrative – that the Queen of Summerhome attempted again and again to open communications with the invaders, but possessed no communications technology capable of breaking through the notoriously difficult atmospheric storms – is denounced as heresy by the planetary government.
When Imperial forces began their ground campaign on Lerwick, they discovered an amphibious, approximately humanoid native species superficially resembling a bipedal seal present in large numbers on the coastlines of the habitable islands. Initial reports stated that they talked in human voices, and sang strange songs at night, luring unwary Guard to their doom on the treacherous rocks. Controversy erupted over the creatures, called “selkies” by the native population and the subject of innumerable myths and superstitions; the Ecclesiarchy swiftly denounced them as abhumans and mutants, with enthusiastic support from the Monodominant faction of the subsector’s Inquisition, and set about a holy purge supported by the Frateris Militia. The Magos Biologos of the Adeptus Mechanicus who accompanied the initial expedition, however, was unconvinced, and after conducting extensive tests declared that the “selkies” – classified Phoca Loquens – were no more than superficially intelligent but non-sentient animals, with an imitative capacity similar to the parrot or void-monkey. The purge was halted, though colonial families still view Phoca Loquens with superstitious dread, and their meat and skins fetch a high price across the subsector.