Sector Report VIII

+From the Blind Scribes of the Prosperitas Conclave+

+ Thought for the Day +
«Suffering is the path to true purity; one who has not known hardship does not know sacrifice, and He expects of all of us to be martyrs-in-waiting.»

++ Begin Data Inload
++ Pending…. ++
++The current date is 4-278.594.M41++
++ Report Begins ++

++Major Events++

++ Be aware that the detail and annotations provided in these updates is available only to the servants of the Inquisition – the full contents of these reports is Consignarus Obscurus Maximus and should not be shared beyond our ranks ++

4-071.594.M41 – Foul Treachery Afoot
Into a lull in the hostilities between House Durovera, House di Firro and House Vilas-Lobo comes chaos. In the months following the ringing in of the new year and the Candlemass celebrations, a campaign of betrayal and sabotage erupts across the Prosperitas Sector at the bidding of some unseen agent of the Archenemy. Thousands of servants of the Imperium thought loyal are unmasked as traitors and cultists in service to the Archenemy as they reveal their true origins in a series of suicide attacks on Imperial institutions, martyring themselves in the name of the Dark Gods. On Duroverum an Administratum scribe detonates an explosive inside the audit office, utterly destroying centuries of tax records and census data; on the front lines of the Prosperitas Crusade regiments thought loyal, even Militarum Tempestus stormtroopers, turn their guns on loyal troops. Worse still, Commissars – the bastions of human will – are seen turning on troops and even leading these traitors.

These betrayals are only prevented from becoming utterly devastating by Inquisition forces alerted to this by Commissar Demelza Quinn of the Officio Praefectus, who has unveiled the rot within her own branch, but unfortunately it comes too late to stop the saboteurs – with the traitors made aware they have been exposed by a botched Inquisitorial investigation.

The rot is deep, spread from within the Schola Progenium over a course of years, a festering cult of the Way of the old Archenemy Regency and its Priest Kings. The collapse in trust in the Schola and the Officio Praefectus and the Militarum Tempestus is mitigated only by Commissar Quinn’s role in exposing the rot; much of the surviving Officio Praefectus look to her in the aftermath, their ranks severely diminished by these betrayals.

In reaction, the Inquisition begins a program of screening all past and current graduates of the Schola Progenium to locate other sleeper agents of the Archenemy. In the wake of this wave of sabotage, Archenemy warships begin a series of raids along the fringes of the Prosperitas Sector and there is a notable rise in Archenemy cult activity along with the already prevalent activities of the so-called Ashen Cults.

 

4-144.594.M41 – The Waagh!…Vanishes
An Ordo Xenos strike-team dispatched to the surface of Persephon IV successfully infiltrate the central Ork fortification on Persephon IV to decapitate the Waagh! by killing its leader-beast, the creature known as ‘Gazbag’. Much to their surprise and horror, they discover the creature is not only a potent psyker but possessed by a neverborn creature of the warp. After overwhelming the team and killing a member of the Adeptus Astartes, the possessed creature performs a ritual of ruinous origin.

Imperial forces across Persephon IV report static build-up and a growing storm before, almost simultaneously, bolts of green lightning rain from the sky causing Orks to disintegrate where they stand, leaving nothing but scorch-marks of energy where they once were. The Imperium hails this as a miracle, and celebrates the deliverance of the world from the foul Greenskins; a few Orks are isolated from the storm and remain a threat to Imperial forces gathered on the world, but without the guidance of a leader-beast they are reduced to little more than feral creatures as the Imperial Guard drive them into the wildlands of the world and reclaim cities long under Greenskin occupation. Strangely, many of the Ork ‘Konskripts’ are missing too, likely struck by the same energies. Major Giancarlo Firenze is hailed by Crusade High Command as a hero before being placed on leave aboard the cruise ship St. Sanguinius, a move believed by some to be intended to remove a potential political rival in the aftermath of the fighting.

Inquisitor Duplesis of the Ordo Xenos meets with Inquisitors of the Ordo Malleus to discuss the latest revelation of an unusual…servant of the Archenemy. It is agreed upon that the lack of reports about where the Orks are is not good news at all, and prognosticators and seers are tasked immediately with locating the missing horde before it reappears.

 

4-168.594.M41 to 4-534.594.M41 – The Flame Burns
In the wake of what they decry as a ‘failure’ of the Imperium to protect the Sector from the mutual threat of the Archenemy, the Rising Flame activates several cells across the Sector, launching regional uprisings in areas of planets where they are strongest, installing ‘provisional governments’ and beginning campaigns to fight back against Imperial occupation. The Forge Worlds and their subjects, the shrine worlds of Nivalis and Agrial III, and the sector Capital of Duroverum, along with House holdings like Mazar-63 and Asteroid 24334-1, remain unaffected. The rest of the Sector experiences uprisings on a grand scale. Rising Flame forces do not initially target Imperial ‘occupation’ where there are Archenemy cults or Ashen death cults to suppress in their immediate zones of control, but eventually march into loyalist territory with irregular forces, mounting insurgencies against the Imperium.

While on most worlds these conflicts are regional, the Rising Flame score a political coup on Korimesta, where the economically blighted and heavily damaged hive world rises almost unilaterally against Imperial occupation. The ruthless rule of House Vilas-Lobo, along with fears of failing Hive safety, pushes most of the populace into open resistance with many of the native Nobility siding with the rebellious forces against the cruel taskmasters of Vilas-Lobo and their Forge Naximus allies. The uprising is swift and the world falls to the Rising Flame, with their flag being raised above the spires in open defiance of Imperial rule.

Imperial retribution is brutal; House Vilas-Lobo petitions Crusade High Command for aid and Grand Admiral Khan agrees, dispatching her flagship and the flagship of Battlefleet Prosperitas, the Iron Lady, to the system. With the earlier cult uprisings and the Rising Flame’s open defiance of Imperial rule, the Iron Lady is tasked with making an example out of the rebellious planet. Easily crushing rebellious system defence pickets and orbital defence nets, the Iron Lady settles into orbit above Korimesta and launches orbital bombardments and aircraft raids against the Korimestan Populace. In an initial statement of bombardment her Captain declares Hive Primus an example and hammers the vast megacity’s exterior with missiles, cracking the exterior shell that protects its inhabitants from the toxic Korimestan atmosphere. Toxic gasses flood into the hive and thousands die; within hours the Hive is all but uninhabitable.

The Rebel Government are desperate for aid and cry out to the leadership of the Rising Flame for support, but if it is sent it does not arrive in time; the rebels have nothing large enough to challenge the Gloriana-class Warship and so with impunity it continues its ruthless assault on the world, destroying entire hive sectors before Imperial Guard and barbaric Vilas-Lobo House Guard launch assaults on the entrenched Rebels. Korimesta burns with the fires of its doomed rebellion as pict-casts of mass executions and shattered hives are broadcast around the sector with one simple message: Betray your Oaths to the God-Emperor and Die Like These Traitors.

In the end the Rising Flame’s best hope of a world free from Imperial occupation are utterly crushed, the provisional government of the ‘liberated’ Korimesta dead or missing, the ‘free planet’ having lasted no more than a few months before the heel of Imperial oppression effortlessly stamped it out. The effect of that realisation deals a massive blow to Rising Flame morale, giving the Imperium a chance to counter-attack against its uprisings, but in areas where the Rising Flame and loyal militias were an unacknowledged but important aid against Archenemy forces, this has devastating effects. Archenemy cults recruit disaffected rebels who have lost hope in the Rising Flame and its rejection of the Archenemy. Rising Flame loyalists regroup to counter this new rising threat but are weakened significantly, and the Archenemy usurps already damaged rebellious forces on Kirkcud III, Butonia and what remains of Korimesta in service to the Dark Gods. Imperial forces charged with pacifying these worlds report foul rituals and strange beasts sighted in the night; mysterious slaughters become commonplace.

 

4-204.594.M41 to 4-359.594.M41 – The Journey of the St Sanguinius and the Ruin of House Monforte
The HMVL St Sanguinius, widely regarded as the last hope for House Monforte to recover its damaged reputation and finances, goes missing. In the shadow of various uprisings this goes unnoticed for months, until it finally appears again on the edge of the Korimesta system arriving via sublight, heavily damaged. The vessel is immediately ordered to surrender by Imperial Navy picket ships patrolling the system in the aftermath of the suppression of the Rebellion before Inquisition vessels arrive and take control of the vessel, quarantining it on the extreme reaches of the system. The official story that emerges from the passengers leaving the vessel, and the one supported by the Inquisition, is that a team of Rising Flame commandos attempted to seize control of the vessel only to be thwarted by embedded servants of the Inquisition there to intercept the hijacking. This narrative works well with the Imperial populace, who become more pliable to the presence of the Inquisition whilst retaining a healthy fear; there is a marked rise in denunciations of seditious activities in the aftermath of these events.

The majority of the crew and passengers aboard the stricken vessel are checked over for taint and, where needed, mind-wiped to forget their experiences aboard the ship, but barring a few who have been twisted irrevocably into ghoul-like mutants, they are permitted to leave the vessel, their souls preserved by the actions of the servants of the Inquisition aboard the vessel. Fittingly for the narrative that the Inquisition has supported.

House Monforte, on the other hand, is not so lucky; its head, Jules Monforte, has been killed in the hijacking and most of its wealth is tied up on the St. Sanguinius, which remains impounded by the Inquisition and is towed into space forbidden to all but its servants. In the wake of this, the House’s monopolies are challenged by House Durovera, House Vilas-Lobo and House Di Firro in a rare show of unity between the opposed Houses – unless it can pay a significant tithe, the House will be declared financially insolvent and its charters withdrawn. Over the next few months the surviving House Monforte scions scrabble to gather their resources and secure support; there is a glimmer of hope before they finally secure the funding they need, and their tithe-fleet sets out for Duroverum. It never arrives.

Months later, a free trader vessel finds the remains of the tithe fleet lost in the void, its hulls blasted open, the frozen corpses of the last scions of House Monforte free-floating in the void alongside hundreds of thousands of thronegelts worth of wealth. The site becomes a haven for opportunistic treasure hunters before Imperial Navy forces finally arrive to secure it; investigation of the wreckage shows unknown alien weaponry, with damage consistent with acid burns and claws and teeth rather than conventional weapons encountered before. The Ordo Xenos immediately quarantines the area, but official reports will claim that the House fell victim to some voidbound terror, a void kraken or some other near-mythological void-creature. But some of those who raided the site claim that the slaughter was too methodical for that, with every ship destroyed. Claims of a curse put on the House or act of vengeance abound, but are rapidly suppressed.

In the aftermath, the House is declared insolvent and stripped of its charters; those who have survived its fall rapidly strip their family names of Monforte, scattering to the winds as the House becomes a non-entity. With its exclusive rights to the control of the movement of human and abhuman cargo lost, House Durovera, House Vilas-Lobo and House Di Firro challenge for that charter, each ‘granting’ the right to execute it to one of their vassals – with the exception of House Vilas-Lobo, which grants the right to House Ruttyer – a house that possesses its own fleet to defend its claim to the charter, forcing the other Houses to look to arming their vassals.

 

4-359.594.M41 – The Death of the Warmaster
Rumours escape from the St Sanguinius that Warmaster Durovera was aboard and was likely killed in the hijack attempt; the Inquisition allows these to circulate amongst the nobility for some time before finally confirming to the High Administrator of the Sector that this is true. The reaction from Terra takes several long months to return, but the news ripples outwards. Lady-Captain Autokrator Durovera officially and legally reclaims the leadership of her House and thusly the hereditary right to the Sector Governor’s throne, as recognised by the servants of Terra and the Administratum present on Duroverum. She does not, however, make any attempt to put a knife to the throat of House Di Firro or House Vilas-Lobo by accusing them of sedition against the Imperium for not recognising her rule immediately.

Neither rival House formally recognises her ascendance, nor do they openly oppose it; shortly after the announcement, Subsector Tertius Praefector Julianus Durovera chokes on his own dinner, after writing a will leaving his titles to his youngest daughter, Ykaterina, who is married into House Vilas-Lobo. The House of Jackals seizes control of the Subsector government, with Quintus (né Quinta) Clemens Montforte, Chief Warden of Lubyanka, accepting a gracious offer to marry into House Vilas-Lobo to protect his position – his wife Elaheh (one of the three daughters of Śikārī Vilas-Lobo, Head of the House) is rumoured to have delivered both an alliance with House Ruttyer, and the news from the St. Sanguinius, to her father.

House Di Firro is not so overt in its seizure of power. Avoiding entangling itself with the Subsector Governance of Subsector Secundus, it simply reinforces its control of vital space-lanes and dispatches its scions to various worlds around the sector to court support. For the most part, Lady-Captain Di Firro seems to be take a balanced stance on the disagreements with her rivals, protecting her assets without seeking to expand her power any further, and avoiding the appearance of defying the will of Terra and the right of succession of the Sector Throne.

 

4-370.594.M41 – The Unblinking Eye
The nebulae along the border of Subsector Tenebris – the astral terrain that shields the Prosperitas Sector from a clear glimpse of the Eye of Terror – swirl and part for the first time since the chaos of the Lash of the Eye. This allows the Eye’s baleful gaze to spill out onto the sector; waves of madness follow in its wake, and Imperial forces move swiftly to enforce curfews on the Imperial populace of worlds close to the Eye to prevent any witnessing but a glimpse of the warp-storm. However, with the damage to the Administratum done by earlier betrayals, warning travels slowly and many worlds have been complacent in running warp-storm drills for decades. The resulting outbreaks of madness and mutation only add to the chaos in the sector, as the Dark Gods see a resurgence after years of waning power.

What was once the warbands of the Weeping Eye and the Creeping Death re-emerge from the Eye at Kelper Prime; in the wake of the Eye’s flare, pestilence and rot spread amongst the population and the Imperial defences there loose coordination. This new united warband, the Children of Tain, deploys a barbarian horde of Eye-tribes that overwhelms the defences of the fortress world – wearied after years of continuous fighting – forcing the Imperium onto the back foot as previously valuable indigenous Rising Flame units are crushed underfoot by the tribes and Imperial lines suffer their worst breaches in the years since the first invasions were mounted there. Vermin, in their thousands, pour from the sewers beneath the cities and before the advancing hordes of the eye-tribes. Kelper Command screams out for aid over the vox-link to orbit as they are slaughtered, describing a vermin-monster amongst their midst; in the wake of this, only a cooing motherly voice is heard chuckling before vox-link is severed. Total defeat seems inevitable unless something is done to relieve the beleaguered Imperial defences of the world.

The Children of Tain send a scouting fleet back into the Polarnus Nebula but are robustly rebuked by the forces of Polarnus Station commandant Admiral Chandier, who sends the scout fleet fleeing with severe losses. The reinforced forces at Polarnus are able to hold off against subsequent probing raids thanks to the hard work of Crusade personnel, especially the work of a personal assistant to the Commandant, Lieutenant-Commander Nic Castronova, a number of internal threats to the station have been eliminated allowing the Navy to focus on the marauding bands of Archenemy reivers across the sector.

Arbites across the sector struggle to contain a ‘blood madness’ spreading across the population, as uncontrolled rage erupts where they desperately attempt to enforce the curfew and warp-storm protocols. Maddened citizens assault anything that moves; where their blood falls upon the untouched, the same rage grasps them and this sickness spreads like a frenzied plague. In its wake the cult of the so-called Red Saint – known as the Red Hand – begins a renewed assault against planets where Ashen cults have taken root. On Hellaerus, several hive-sectors burn as the Red Hand assault Imperial and Ashen alike, leaving nothing to chance in their ‘crusade’ to purge the Ashen forces from the sector. Only the sudden arrival of several squads of Adepta Sororitas prevent the madness and the Red Hand from spreading further. Ordo Malleus forces report their first sighting of the so-called ‘Red Saint’: a blood-drenched woman, armoured in a contemptuous parody of Sororitas power armour, bearing mutations of the Blood God. With the Red Saint directing Red Hand forces on Hellaerus, the battle for the planet is far from over.

Alongside these major assaults there are many hundreds of matching uprisings of the forces of the Dark Gods, but the worst has yet to come…

 

4-387.594.M41 – The Toll War Begins
House conflicts emerge as the sector draws ever-closer to civil war. Lady-Captain Autokrator Durovera flexes her muscles as Sector Governor and appoints House Ghast, a little-known vassal of House Durovera, the official grantees of the sector charter on live transport of human cargo. This draws protest from House Vilas-Lobo and House Di Firro, but no immediate response from House Ruttyer, who are the most powerful claimants to the position (having been sponsored by Vilas-Lobo). It emerges that a large number of vessels previously gained from House Majid’s fleet have been granted to House Ghast, with many viewing this as the beginning of a Proxy War between the allied and vassal houses of the rivals. However, before House Ghast can make good on their claim, they foolishly accept an invitation from House Ruttyer to strike up an agreement on how the Charter can be divided. This proves to be a trap; the family are slaughtered by the angry and vengeful Ruttyers, who claim bluntly to be the only House capable of fulfilling the Charter. They capture several of the Ghast vessels in the process.

In response, the Lady-Captain Autokrator passes a judgement to place a toll on all House Ruttyer vessels entering systems controlled by her House. House Vilas-Lobo imposes similar tolls on vessels loyal to House Durovera and its vassals, leading to an escalation of tolls and tariffs being placed on any vessel trying to move any resource across the sector. Imperial Navy vessels attempt to ensure this does not affect Crusade resources and transportation, but backlogs caused by vessels being impounded at jump points and inefficient customs enforcement slows traffic across the sector.

In reaction to the tolls, House Ruttyer deploys several heavily modified fast ships as blockade runners, their efficient mastery of void-travel meaning they know all the best routes around the customs forces in every system. But this only serves to escalate things until violence erupts at the jump point at Gaudium, when customs vessels fire on and manage to destroy a Ruttyer blockade runner. Shortly afterwards, the Commander of the Gaudium System Defence fleet goes missing until her decapitated head is returned to Governor Catal Antoni in a standard waste disposal box. The threat is clear, and Gaudium relaxes its customs regime to allow vessels to pass through without tolls. In response, House Durovera dispatches its own vessels to enforce the regime, leading to angry exchanges between Governor Antoni and the Sector Governor.

This is just the prelude, as refusal to pay tolls and observe the new customs regimes of worlds results in multiple skirmishes between customs ships and trade vessels, a thousand small proxy wars for control of vital trade points erupt as the Great Houses all begin to make plays for control of the trade routes through their vassals.

 

4-431.594.M41 – The Martyrdom of Olethros Secunda
The Third Battle of Henlock burns brightly as the Machine War grinds onwards; however, the long-exiled remnants of the Priest-Kings of the Regency that once ruled the Prosperitas Sector have not been idle. With foul prayers to their gods on their lips, hundreds of regimented fanatical mortal servants of the Dark Gods pour onto the surface of Henlock, locking Imperial forces into a bloody conflict there.

But with Imperial forces in Subsector Secundus locked into the fighting at Henlock, other planets are more vulnerable to Archenemy raids. Out of the Rimward Marches comes a new foe, the Divine Emissaries of the Heavenly Serpent march forth, proud and devoted to the Dark Prince, their ‘Serpent God’, they herald their arrival to the Olethros system, when they send foul ‘Missionaries’ to deliver an offer of peace in exchange for compliance to the populace. Understandably, this produces rare unity of purpose between the Mechanicus and the otherwise rebellious followers of Saint Gearwright (cit.ref. ‘Unsanctioned Saints’) that have resisted their rule for what is now several years of civil conflict. These foul Missionaries are burned at the stake, and Governor Kojo zu Septimian sends out desperate astropathic broadcasts for aid as Archmagos-Overseer Zahn-Hesh reluctantly approves arming the populace of the oceanic world for the fighting they are expecting to come.

Crusade Forces are unable to lend aid, but aid does come; the Rogue Trader Lady-Captain Khadija Majid arrives in sector aboard her vessel the Torchbearer, accompanied by a small number of escorts including her niece Amira Majid’s ship the Fort Briggs. An experienced and devout servant of the God-Emperor, the Lady-Captain rallies the system defence fleet for the coming battle.

When the Divine Emissaries’ fleet emerges from the warp, the defenders of Olethros Secunda see how truly doomed they are – even with the aid of the Lady-Captain’s flagship the Archenemy fleet outnumbers and outguns the defenders. It does not emerge close to the planet rather taking weeks to approach the world, savouring the panic its arrival creates amongst the populace, bombarding the planet with heretical vox-dirges devoted to their Serpent God and discordant music. Unbowed and proud, Lady-Captain Majid orders the transfer of her flag to the Fort Briggs and hands her warrant of trade and thusly her title to her niece, along with the Torchbearer, charging Amira with the survival of the House and the evacuation of as many civilian lives as possible from the world.

Inured to sacrifice by the routine ritual tithe of the Glorious Ten Thousand to the Mechanicus and bolstered by their fanatical faith in an unsanctioned Saint, many able-bodied Oltherans volunteer to stand and fight, to delay the oncoming tide long enough for their kin to flee. Knowing that evacuating before the Archenemy fleet arrives will only spur them to assault sooner, Khadija Majid delays the evacuation until the last minute, before ordering it as the foul hoard descends upon their prey-world.

In an event that will be remembered by historians as the Glorious Martyrdom of Olethros Secunda, every single member of the Olethros System Defence Fleet sell their lives alongside Khadija Majid to delay and entrap the Archenemy fleet away from the orbital escape path of the evacuation vessels. When the Divine Emissaries arrive on the surface, they are met by fanatical servants of the Imperial Cult and the Skitariius Garrisons side-by-side on every Island they reach. Towards the end, in the defence of the last escape vessel, it is said by the refugees that even the Skitarii marched forth wearing blessings of Saint Gearwright on their armoured hides. Every Oltheran survivor of the massacre pledges to not let the memory of their doomed colony fade.

Olethros is plundered by the Archenemy, and Missionaries of Divine Emissaries become a threat to numerous worlds in the subsector. The Serpent Cult has arisen; long thought exterminated by the Ordo Malleus, its foul forces preach the loving embrace of their God.

Across the sector, statues of the God Emperor, but most of all statues in makeshift shrines to the little-known Saint Gearwright, cry tears of purest water, as blue as the seas of Olethros where it pools.

 

4-472.594.M41 – The Holz Protocol and the establishment of Crusade Control Zones
Admiral Ridea Holz and elements Battlegroup Hesperidus appear from beneath the galactic plane of the sector, emerging from the warp around several vital points of the ongoing Toll War and enforcing ceasefires at gunpoint if necessary. Simultaneously, Crusade forces strike at Kydosia and drive off forces in orbit there, as well as at Kuatis. Agreed by Grand Admiral Khan and Crusade High Command, the Holz Protocol lays the ground for the seizure of essential resources in the case of civil conflict. Despite the protest of the Nobility, the Military imposes martial law on Persephon IV, Kydos and Kuatis, installing military governors in the place of conventional noble governance of these worlds. These regions, along with numerous points on the Prosperitas trade routes, are declared ‘Crusade Control Zones’ – placing them under military law to ensure the continued persecution of the Holy Crusade to reclaim the Sector.

With the anchor-point of Polarnus Station established, the Crusade is able to commit more forces to the ongoing fronts, which enables it to slowly bring stability to Subsector Primus and Subsector Tertius. Many Imperial citizens are coming to view the Crusade as the last shining hope of the Sector. But with squabbling nobility unwilling to permit a legal challenge to their power in the form of a newly appointed Warmaster it is under threat of being frustrated by Sector Politics. Moral is otherwise good, with new regiments being raised on worlds brought into compliance by Crusade forces as efforts begin to rebuild Persephone IV under Crusade governance.

Imperial Navy vessels spread out across the sector, reigning in pirates and reivers who threaten the worlds of the Prosperitas Sector, though they will come to be challenged by the resurgence of another power of the sector…

 

4-524.594.M41 – Holy Crusade and the Million Pyres
Rumours have been swirling for months that holy sanction has been obtained to strip Cardinal-Emissarius Grulge of his title and excommunicate him from the Ecclesiarchy. While such a paper exists and has been presented, with the Ecclesiarchy’s signature, before a conclave of Grulge’s rivals on Agrial, it is by no means enough to break the power base of the Cardinal-Emissarius. From newly-liberated Nivalis, several Hosts of Fidelis Militia march forth, carried upon a ragtag fleet of vessels. The wild and angry Cardinal-Emissarius decries politically minded fools who have lost sight of the true purpose of the Crusade and the sacred mission of the Imperium to reclaim the Sector. Adopting the example of Saint Gearwright and declaring them a Living Saint (against legal convention) and a sign from the God-Emperor that He wishes for the Crusade to continue, these fanatical forces throw themselves into battle alongside Crusade forces on many worlds, especially at Kelper Prime – where several waves of howling Penitent Engines and Arco-Flagellants smash into the Children of Tain followers advancing on the Imperial holdouts on the world. The Fidelis Militia’s first wave is reinforced by vessels carrying devoted servants from recently-pacified Butonia to the fighting, denying the Archenemy the vital strongpoint.

This act causes enough of a pause in the proceedings against the Cardinal-Emissarius for him to strike against his foes on Agrial. Whole libraries burn as waves of fanatics loyal to the Cardinal-Emissarius descend upon the shrine-world. Priests unwilling to repent of their actions against the Cardinal-Emissarius are taken to the stake, as the army of fanatics rampages around the planet. On hundreds of worlds, Redemptionist cults supported by Fidelis Militia ignore Arbites warnings and descend on areas where the rot of heresy as taken root. Without any weapons of mass destruction available to them, they burn and slaughter indiscriminately, suspected Psykers are slaughtered in their hundreds, but perhaps most of all, these ‘purges’ target Ashen Cults with a form of fanatical efficiency.

Surviving the assault on Agrial, the Order of His Sanguine Tears retreats to Duroverum where the Lady-Captain Autokrator welcomes them with open arms, the Sororitas forces serving to reinforce her position alongside Astartes from the Void Hounds Chapter. From Duroverum, Canoness Asenath Dinah produces the writ of excommunication against Grulge to be witnessed before the Sector Court. But it has little effect beyond the Capital; between devastating offences from the Archenemy and the decentralisation of power due to the House conflict and the Toll War, little central authority remains. In this new era of strife many worlds are now largely cut off from central governance, with no clear leadership presenting itself to them.

Grulge is a powerful and dangerous man and likely will not stop until he has successfully purged any opposition to him from the Sector. With the power he has amassed he has, by the end of this initial ‘Crusade’, set himself up as a warlord at the head of a ‘Holy State’ beyond the reach of the Imperium, drawing as many worlds as he can under the grasp of his forces.

Yet the Conclave are cautious about moving against him. Aware that the Cardinal-Emissarius is not only a power-hungry man, but a suspected member of a proscribed sect of the Imperial Cult (the Temple of the Saviour Emperor) and an opponent to the reforms of Sebastian Thor, the Inquisitors hesitate to undermine the leadership of his forces. On many worlds the fanatical Fidelis Militia are the only defence standing between Imperial citizens and the predations of the Archenemy or the mad Ashen Cults.

 

4-582.594.M41 – A New Master for the Conclave
In reaction to reports sent to the Inquisition’s Holy Conclave on Terra by agents operating in the sector, Terra imposes its authority over the Inquisitors of the Prosperitas Sector by dispatching the venerable Lord-Inquisitor Hektor Aetós of the Ordo Malleus. Lord-Inquisitor Aetós is a monodominant puritan who suffers no straying from the word of the Imperial Creed. Powerful and relentless, the Lord-Inquisitor is not one to be trifled with and several Inquisitors with more openly radical agendas learn quickly to bite their tongue around him. Despite his monodominant leanings, the Lord-Inquisitor orders the unsealing of ancient tomes belonging to the Ordo Malleus, and the immediate recall of all Exorcists in service to the Inquisition to study them under his strict tutelage. These tomes contain ancient rites to combat daemons, something the Lord-Inquisitor judges necessary. The armoury vaults of the Inquisitions fortress are unsealed, and the Lord-Inquisitor sanctions the use of ancient and terrible weapons against the encroaching Archenemy and the Ashen cults. The Lord-Inquisitor brings with him his own force of so-called ‘Crusaders’ members of an ancient warrior-order of the Ecclesiarchy bound to his direct service and makes available to his fellow Inquisitors a number of suits of sacred power armour.

The message from the Lord-Inquisitor to all servants of the Inquisition is simple enough, ‘obey the creed, follow its practices, do not err into forbidden things, and you shall be armed to face this threat – break these tenets, and you will be viewed as a heretic and a traitor, and destroyed alongside them’. Privately, many members of the Inquisition bristle at the imposition of power by a member of such a conservative faction, but it cannot be denied that the assets unsealed by the Lord-Inquisitor are not valuable to them, in the strife following the Archenemy’s resurgence. The Lord-Inquisitor does not seek to interfere in ongoing operations of the Ordo Hereticus and Ordo Xenos but largely seizes control of Ordo Malleus operations taking a special interest in the Ashen threat, surrounding himself with Inquisitors of all stripes who have more information to provide him.

What this means for the future cannot be told, as the Sector collectively regroups as Inquisitorial warbands strike out into areas where law has begun to collapse seeking out the ancient enemies of humanity – bloodied, but unbroken, they stand between the candle and the flame, so that the Inquisition might continue its great endeavour.


++ Intercepted Transmissions++

One of the rising flame vox-casts known as the Spark of Truth has been intercepted in the wake of the recent events in the Sector. It is presented here for the further interest of all agents, and should be taken only as falsehood spread by these rebellious fools.

594 Emergency Episode


++Judgements of the Conclave++

By the writ of the Holy Conclave of the Inquisition in the Prosperitas Sector the following judgements are to be recognised by all parties;

 

  • The former scion of House Majid, now known as Erydia Faris is not now, nor will ever be, recognised as a servant of the Holy Ordos. Until such a time as she is judged guilty of Imperial crimes for her actions against her House, no action shall be taken against her. Should she or any members of her crew claim service to the Inquisition, then this should be reported immediately to the Conclave.

 

  • The former Interrogator Charon Constantius Jensch, now known by his adoptive name Charon Di Firro, has been judged guilty of the crime of Sorcery by this Conclave and branded upon his skin a binding brand to deny the Archenemy purchase upon his flesh. In light of these crimes a sentence of Death has been placed upon him, suspended in service to the Inquisition until such a time as he has redeemed himself in martyrdom. Under the terms of the Sword of Damocles the Conclave charges all its servants with ensuring his purity, and any lapses of judgement or demonstrable signs of corruption or criminal acts are to be reported immediately to the Conclave for judgement.

 

  • It is the judgement of the Prosperitas Conclave on the fate of Inquisitor Rilke Haslinger who stood accused of heinous acts and crimes against the Imperium, that the Inquisitor is innocent of acts unbecoming of an Inquisitor at the direction and judgement of Lord-Inquisitor Aetós, who cast the deciding vote in a divided Conclave. Inquisitor Haslinger extends her thanks to the Lord-Inquisitor for seeing reason.

 


++Current Affairs++

++ Be aware that this information, while available to those beyond the Inquisition – is provided only to your clearance level and should not be discussed with Citizens. The penalty for perversion of ignorance is one hundred lashes at a public corporal square. Repeat infractions will result in execution ++

  • With the threat presented by the apostate Cardinal-Emissarius Grulge who is currently beyond the immediate reach of justice. Lord-Inquisitor Aetós and Inquisitor Zahid have written missives supporting a request for aid from Canoness Dinah the Order of His Sanguine Tears, addressed to any available forces loyal to the Imperial Cult.

 

  • It is believed that the Divine Disciples of the Holy Serpent have dispatched numerous ‘missionaries’ of their heretic cult to the noble houses of Subsector Secondus, seeking to undermine the will of the subsector and turn it to their control.

 

  • The Governor of Macharion CDXI Halina Chenau has sent numerous reports of strange voxnet downages and electromagnetic interference spreading across the planet. Similar phenomena have been reported on Gaudium, Ferraeus and Henlock. It is currently unknown what the source of these phenomena are.

 

  • Numerous worlds close to the border of Subsector Tenebris and the ongoing war at Kelper Prime have suffered the depredations of void-reavers alligned to the Children of Tain. This has been made heralded by outbreaks of disease amongst local populations owing to vermin escaping off of vessels docked on them. Fortunately, thanks to the forces at Polarnus station being in good shape, the Imperial Navy is able to prevent these attacks being any more devastating.

 

  • A popular rhyme has started to arise despite suppression by the Ordo Malleus;Mother, our friend, so dear
    Throughout our lives, you’re always near.
    A Tender Hand to Guide the Way
    You’re the only comfort I’ll know this day.

 

  • There have been limited comms coming out of Mawson’s Wake until recently, leading some to worry that the world has potentially fallen to some threat from within, or indeed has revolted against the Imperium, but the planet is too distant for investigations to be mounted now.

 

  • The Red Hand continues to be an almost virulent threat to the Imperium; the followers of the Blood God normally burn themselves out, but the Red Hand seems persistent. Formed around a central core of traitor soldiers, it spreads via a form of warp-born madness that is transmitted through blood. The true meaning of the name is made clear in numerous observed ‘conversion ceremonies’, where a handprint of tainted blood is placed on the skin of an unwilling victim. It is believed that the source of the taint is from the Cult’s foul patron, the Red Saint.

 

  • For the first time in centuries, Shavastii voidships are sighted in Imperial space. The immense vessels are circular in design, forming a ring-like shape with a vast open space in the middle of it from which blasts of energy are emitted. They avoid combat, but numerous small skirmishes with Imperial ships end in horrific damage to Imperial vessels due to the unique plasma technology employed by the xenos. Several mercenary vessels believed to be associated with the arachnid Weavers are sighted alongside them, as well as vessels from the Rising Flame.

 

  • On Henlock there are rumours of sudden raids upon Imperial positions delivered by small teams of Archenemy soldiers, these are devastating and ruthless, as the Archenemy hit with more force then is expected of the mortal hordes. Some soldiers report banners bearing a single lidless eye being raised above Archenemy controlled areas.

 

  • Ongoing conflict continues to rage between the Honourable Consortium of Bounty Hunters Guilds, the legally contracted chartered Bounty Hunters of the Sector, and the League of Elite Bounty Hunters who have broken away from them. Intercene violence erupts regularly between multiple factions vying for contracts in the increasingly lawless Prosperitas Sector.

 


++Rumours++

++ Be aware that the veracity of this information has not be ascertained and carries with it a class-2 warning of unreliability [class-2.information is gathered via un-enhanced interrogation or state surveillance]++

  • There are rumours that Astartes of the Void Hounds have remained aloof of Crusade Forces, with no commanders having approached them for aid during their suppression operations on Duroverum. Now Duroverum is returned to House Durovera control, the grim Astartes have not been redirected elsewhere, though rumours keep on emerging that their scout-craft have been sighted when rumours of other Astartes spring up.

 

  • As noted above, there have been repeated rumours of sightings of Astartes vessels in conflict areas with the Archenemy along the borders of the Rimward Marches. Some speak of warriors of fell provenance, others of avenging angels delivering them from the Archenemy.

 

  • Many worlds have reported sightings of pale-looking creatures in the night, or in dark places (cit.ref Ordo Xenos – Ishari) – the Ordo Xenos believe this to be signs that the recently-discovered Ishari offshoot of the Eldar race are becoming active again.

 

  • Rumours have spread across Merewald of a Fortune Teller who foretells doom for the settlements they arrive at, and that shortly after the settlements they visit are found stripped of all life.

 

  • The Mechanicus forces besieging Henlock have split their strategic cogitator banks into three – one controlled by Forge Naximus, one by Ferraeus, one by Castellum. Supposedly, it is to provide redundancy, error-checking, and parallel processing – but there are rumours that the setup allows the Forges to keep secrets from the others. Ferraeus held the world before the Archenemy invasion, and resents the de facto leadership of the Naximan forces who currently have the most forces deployed to the world. Rumour amongst the Imperial forces on the planet suggest the Castellum contingent deployed to the world are increasingly agitated at feeling kept in the dark by the other two forges.

 

  • There are rumours of a new cold-trade Auction House emerging in the sector; the so-called Belicus and Daughters has come out of nowhere with some rather potent relics.

 


++List of Wanted Individuals ++

Be Aware: This list is drawn from Arbites and Bounty Hunter Guild records. Unlicensed pursuit of any of these individuals by someone not an Arbiter of the Lex Imperialis, or a deputised and sanctioned representative [Cit.Ref Enforcer or Bounty Hunter], is strictly prohibited.

The Honourable Consortium of Bounty Hunter Guilds kindly reminds citizens that unsanctioned bounty hunters are criminals, and subject to the harshest penalties by Guild Law.

The law is for sanctioned professionals. Taking the law into your own hands is against the law.

The Honourable Consortium of Bounty Hunter Guilds would like to remind all Hunters that it will still continue not to honour any bounties on any individual operating under the name Klaus Hendrickson until further notice…

++Active Bounties++
The following bounties remain active for collection.

Erydia Farris [Updated Posting] [Wanted: Alive]
Private Bounty

It seems the formal charges against Erydia Farris (formerly Majid) have been logged with the Arbites office of prosecution so there’s a narrowing window on this one before the full weight of the law is brought down on this renegade noble. Despite the untimely death of Lady-Captain Khadija Majid, Lady-Captain Amira Majid has guaranteed payment with full payment of it and the Guild’s fee. Captain Farris commands a vessel called the Plentiful Bounty and is therefore well protected. Given the expenses the bounty placed on her head command, however, you’ll be more than compensated for the heavy ordinance expenses you’ll need to outlay for this mark.

 

Mika Vossk [New Bounty Posted] [Wanted: Dead]
For the Crimes of: Illegally Operating without Guild Warrant, Acceptance of Bounties from Proscribed Organisations, Smearing the Good Name of the Consortium of Bounty Hunter Guilds

Current head of the illegally operating League of Elite Bounty Hunters, with whom this Consortium is currently engaged in Guild War with. Anyone wanting to bring her down will be greatly rewarded with S-rank certification and access to high-grade exclusive bounties. She operates out of a warp-cutter known as the Crimson Nova and is understood to be offering prices on the Guild-tats of any member of this Consortium. Bring her down, Hunters.

 

Cadmium Redd [Remains at Large] [Wanted: Alive for Genetic Certification]
For the Crimes of: Disrupting the Peace, Production of Seditious Material (Audio), Inciting Rebellion, Engaging in Rebellion, Rage Against the Machine, and being a member of a Proscribed Organisation (Rising Flame).

As a matter of pride, keeping in mind our holy chartered duty as a Guild to bring justice to Imperium’s foes where traditional approaches fail, the Guild has agreed to match Redd’s bounty. With the Rising Flame on the rampage, she’s playing about every planet that’ll have her; problem is we’re no longer sure which one is the real one and which one is a flash-cloned-flesh-mask-wearing body double neuro-syncing to her act. Which is why we need a living Cadium Redd to genetically certify her for transport to Duroverum for execution. Come on Hunters, bring her down.

 

Yrtalien Princeps [Remains at Large [Wanted: Dead w. Extreme Prejudice]
For the Crimes of: Heresy, Membership of a Heretical Cult, Seduction of Innocent Citizens, Seduction of Imperial Officials, Corruption in a Position of Authority, Defiance of Imperial Conventions, Surviving his own Execution.

A surprising return to the bounty boards given he’s dead but that’s this snake for you. Now believed to be linked to the Serpent Cult and recent Archenemy activity, Princeps is a high-priority target with a lot of money riding on his head from a LOT of confidential targets. Take this mark down and you’re going to make a lot of private parties happy that the man that caused them embarrassment is down. Don’t even let him open his mouth, put a round through his head.

 

Administrator Second Class Jareth Quill & Adept Aemme Weaver [Remain at Large] [Wanted: Alive (Aemme) Alive or Dead (Jareth)]
For the Crimes of: Eloping without Adeptus Astra Telepathica Permission, Absconding with Adeptus Astra Telepathica Property, Financial Crimes against the Houses of the Prosperitas Sector, Bringing Shame on an Imperial Office and evading arrest.

This pair are really dragging out the hunt; the fact that one of them is a Psyker and the other knows exactly where the pulse of the Sector is makes them a hard mark, but if you can deliver Quill’s head and Weaver alive and well to the Black Guardians then they’re going to be very helpful, and they only negotiate privately for most contracts on rogue psykers.

 

Sharre Ajax of the Rising Flame [Remains At Large] [Wanted: Alive or Dead]
For the Crimes of: Arch-Heresy, Recidivism, Membership of a Proscribed Organisation (Rising Flame), Incitement of Terrorism, Resistance against the Imperium amongst many other acts.

We have no had eyes on Ajax since he slipped his chains but we’ve certainly had his voice on record and confirmed as genuine. With the faltering of the Flame’s uprising against the Imperium there’s a good chance he’s gone to ground, and that’s where we work best. The Imperium has given the Guild everything they have on this mark, so if you’re up for a dangerous hunt here’s the one for you, and he commands a high price.


++ Analysis ++

Any Servants of the Conclave wishing to submit reports and commentary supporting/analysing any of the above information are invited to do so in order to ensure the Conclave is provided with the most accurate commentary on recent events.

OOC: If you wish to submit analysis/commentary please submit it to the writing team email: writingteam.deathuntodarkness@gmail.com