Silent Bastion Chapter one: Blood on the walls

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Silent Bastion
Chapter 1: Blood on the walls.


Link to OOC

The gunship baring the acolytes slid over the undulating landscape that made up hive Tarsus slipped beneath them. The pilot, inquisitorial seal on his helmet wore the uniform or a storm trooper and hadn't spoken since they had taken off almost an hour ago. Inquisitor Darius was pulling out all the stops for this mission, gone was caution, gone was secrecy, gone his usual detached methods of handling his acolytes. He had sent each three things. A date, a time, a location.

The pilot when he had seen you had informed you that the inquisitor would brief you personally and certainly as the sound of the engines changed in pitch and you began your vertical decent though the thick clouds of smog towards the only part of the hive not covered in spires and the homes of the wealthy, the space port, you can make out two of his Sororotas bodyguard waiting.

"Thirty seconds to toutchdown." the pilot calls back. "I'm not going to turn off the engines, my orders are to drop you off and clear the pad. Guess Darius Wants your meeting to be private."

The engines send dust flying from the pad, scorched black from centuries of use, the legs extending and the craft bumping softly as it touched down.

"Right go."

Prom this angle you see the sorototas are flanking a door, a door you presumably must enter.

Inquisitor Darius stands almost as tall an the fabled Astartes, his face little more than a mass of scars and burns. His armor, emblazoned with the emperor's aquila and the seal of the inquisition has been torn and repairs countless times and bares the scars as proudly as it's insignia. Darius is no stranger to the sword, or to what heretics are capable of.

He sits waiting for you in a dimly lit room his fingers resting on the top of the table as his distinctive red hair hang so low as to almost cover his eyes. He doesn't rise to greet you, merely motions you to take your seats.

"My agents..." he begins. "You have come swiftly and without knowing what I need of you, I am glad but what I am about to tell you concerns me greatly. The Abbey of Dawn on Iocanthos..."

His grey eyes looked to Xae alert for the subtlest movement or expression. "I have reason to believe it has been attacked, the last word I received from it was a distress call and they have not replied to anything since."

He paused to turn his gaze to the others, a gaze that seemed to piece the mind and soul. A gaze that made you feel guilty for every slight transgression, every deviant thought. "I don't need to tell you what an attack against the Inquisition's forces means. I am sending you there to make contact with the abbey, and if there have been moves made against them, to find those responsible."

His eyes once again swept room "Once you land at Port Surrering you will be met by one on my senior informants, report to him and obey him as you would me. He will relay your findings and my directives. Before you leave, Xea, is there anything you can tell me that could help explain what has happened."

The young woman suppressed a growl, her teeth grinding with the grit of ivory on ivory. Her face remained a stiff mask, however, but for the flare of righteous fury in unlucky orange eyes. How dare someone commit such a trespass? To attack an abbey of the Sororitas was a vile act, something only the most debased heretics could even dream of in their foul, unclean little minds. The Abbey of the Dawn had not been home to Xae, but it had been her rebirthing, the cocoon that allowed her transcendence into her true calling as Daughter of the Emperor. This was more than just sacrilegious and disgusting.

This was personal.

"I am not certain, Inquisitor," she began, struggling to maintain the inflection of her Progenium education in the face of her anger. "Iocanthos is feudal. A bunch of warlord dogs rutting over Ghostfire for dominance. It is possible that the Vervai, or another army, believed the Abbey might support one over the other."

She had heard of a man- a prophet, if he was to be believed. Seth the Voice. A man whose word stirred the hearts of those on Iocanthos, and bid them lend their bodies and their lives to the will of the Vai who perhaps threatened King Skull more than any other. It was insipid logic, but Xae could almost see how the narrow-minded gangers and mercenaries of her homeworld might think that an Abbey of the Sisterhood might give aid to someone claiming to be mouthpiece of the Emperor.

Her gauntlets curled in her lap, knuckles cracking. This left a bad taste in her mouth, the kind that only blood could wash out. She was eager to punish whoever had been foolish enough to strike at the Sisters of Battle.
The inquisitor's eyes never moved from her as she spoke. You could never tell how much he could tell from a single look or how deeply into your could his gaze could pierce, but when Xae fell silent the right side of his lips curled into a smile. There was no joy in the expression, only an indication he was not disappointed with what he detected in her.

"There is something else." he was now addressing the entire table. "Three days before their final astropath message I sent a request for the Ebon Chalice. I cannot believe it is coincidence the addey was attacked while I was waiting for a reply."

The Ebon Chalice was a mission of Sororitas based on Holy Terra itself and assigned to the Addey of Dawn and comprised by far the best the imperium had to offer in the Calixis sector. "I already have another team investigating if the transmition was intercepted, you will go straight to the abbey. Seth the Voice's men in the area have been persuaded to hold the perimeter to make sure no one else comes in or gets out. I've told then you're on your way."

He stood and looked over his acolytes, Payne, the tip of the spear, Remy, the lightning strike, Xae, the unbreakable wall, and Kaine, the underhanded jab. "If there is anything you need to know before you leave ask it now, we will not get a chance the speak directly until you return."
Payne felt a familiar burning in his veins, It wasn't the frenzon like it normally was, It was Hate, pure, undiluted, hatred.

There were few who would attack a soritas enclave with a hope of winning, fewer still who would have such timing. He ran a list of suspected factions on a data slate. Dark Eldar were a possibility, unlikely as it seemed, they had a penchant for taking human slaves. Heretic forces of one of the many ruinous powers were more likely, but he'd need more evidence to support either claim.

"I'd like a full forensic report inquisitor, or lacking that the facilites to make one for myself."

Even the smallest shred of evidence could point to the perpitrators, and then the executions could begin.
Darius answers immediately. "You will be the first team I can trust with this investigation arriving on the scene. Three hours after their distress call a group of the Port suffering Militia were tent into the Addey. "

He pressed a button and a shaky image appeared showing the cavernous entrance to the abbey the doors open and bobbing up and down and the vox carrier walked towards them. The men ahead of him were dressed in simple unarmored uniforms and holding las weapons of varying pattern and size. As he got closer the image became less clear, less distinct eventually fading into a cloud a green dancing fog.

As soon as they entered the Addey their vox channel went dead. So far none of them have returned and I have ordered no more groups be sent until your arrival. If any forensic work is done it will be you who does it Payne. I'm sure I can trust in your experience to find out what happened. That recorder might contain images that were never sent back to the perimeter, finding it may help your investigation."

He then turns his eyes to the rest of the group prompting them to speak if they had anything to add.
Remy listened closely to the inquisitor's words. His heart was filled with disgust at what he was hearing. A smug look upon his face. He was always on a kinda high with himself. No enemy was above him, and he would always finish on top. After hearing what the inquisitor and payne had to say, he left the smirk upon his face. The only thing he hungered for was death, destruction, and the blood of the enemy upon his sweet lips. He was a sadisitic type of man, he never really liked to show it, always keeping it in the dark. But he was almost quivering with anticipation of the on coming battles that were sure to come. There was always someone out there with the will to die from his blade. He quickly cleaned up his look and looked up to his great inquisitor. " Sir, if I may ask, when we get there. What exactly are we going to be looking for? Do you have any prior information that would be important to our cause here? Pardon my words, but anything would help right now. ", he looked from the inquisitor to his companions, looking for some kind of approval of his words. He had never been good in situations like this, never really felt comfortable with someone of such authority standing in front of him. He was more used to filth groveling at his feet, blood pouring from they're orifices. The thought brought a smile to his face, he then rested his head upon his hand and began to think more on this matter.
Darius pressed another button and the image disappeared once again plunging the room into semi darkness. "Iocanthos is a lawless planet, what really goes on beyond the walls of Port Suffering is difficult to tell at the best of times. Still we have no reports of any warlords in the area. The men holding the perimeter were the other side of Port Suffering when they were contacted. Still if any warlord was going to make a move at Port Suffering the Addey as a base for the Emperor's forces is a logical target. If that is the case then they have made a very bad mistake. Not only will every other warlord try to take the Port from then but they've made themselves enemies of the Imperium."

He gives another joyless smile and looks over at Remy, possibly the youngest and most eager of his acolytes. "If a warlord is behind this you are to kill him and let the emperor punish him as he sees fit. Other than what I have shown you, we was no leads. It is up to your skill to uncover and punish the culprits."
"Sounds almost like home." Kane chuckled to himself as he ran a small whetstone over his knife, a normal steel number from his home planet of Karnja. He always trusted it better than anyother thing, let alone anything a priest touched. "No doubt before the killing it will be a nice bit of torture to put out a confession... And then a brutal death." He accented that last bit with a hard swick of the whetstone against the knife's edge. He would enjoy that.

"Lets see if the Angels of the Emperor are worth the name." He said it light heartedly, a kind of jest, though a jab none the less. It was almost a little tireing how much he asserted his distrust of the clergy, aparently some wrongship that his mind caught hold of and blew out of proportion.
Xae's hackles rose at Kane's ignorant- if not outright heretical- remark. Was he a fool, to speak so in not only the presence of an Inquisitor, but of one who belonged to the sisterhood he so boldly defamed? Had Xae no respect for the sanctity of the Inquisiton, she would have executed him then and there for his impudence.

Instead, she would wait.

Still, her eyes lingered on his face as she addressed her fellow acolytes. "I was born in Port Suffering, and trained at the Abbey of the Dawn. I can give background data on anything you might need to know."
Payne added in an entry to cover some local warlord
"From the Arbites reports, these warlords care only about the ghostfire crop, that being said I wouldn't find it surprising that any of them had fallen to chaos to gain some power over their fellows."
He added a few notes to the data slate, a cold hatred punctuating each keystroke, then turned to face Xae.
"So, my first question, What can you tell me about any of the local warlords? I'm almost certain that your sisters would have kept records on them, military projections and the like, should one of savages decide he was too good to submit to The Emperor's rule."

He held off any further questions to give her time to answer the first.
"Ghostfire is only a means to an end for them. Those who control the highest percentage of the crop control Iocanthos," the Sororitas informed Payne, her attention drawn to the Arbites. "We did keep an eye on the warlords. King Skull is Vervai- the most powerful warlord at present, and official planetary governor. His army is vast, numbering in the millions. They travel across the continent in a fleet of vehicles, seeking every blossom they can eke out of Iocanthos's soil. I also know of Vai Seth and his Army of the Voice. He is not like the other princes; he is no warrior, and he cares for spreading the Emperor's Creed more than for the Ghostfire crop. He would not harm the Abbey."

She considered carefully. "There is a smaller warlord whose camp is in the Badlands, not far from the Abbey's spire. Vai Krell. He is powerful, but not so powerful as the Vervai, nor so persuasive as Seth the Voice."
"For all their rivalry the warlords are efficient, they gather the pollen with more zeal than could be done otherwise and it is vital to keeping the sector running. Xae, I am relying on you to navigate the subtleties of Iocanthos' customs and rivalries. Any one of the warlords may have been responsible or wish to blame another to eliminate their competition. You will need to tell the lies from the truth. You know the planet and the abbey better than any other. The rest of you your skills and aptitude is what brought you to me, use them and you cannot fail."

He stood and dismissed his acolytes as the door opened and the two sister's entered, an arvus lander visible where the gunship had been.

"You will be taken to the Scillian Night that is waiting in orbit. She is taking weapons and supplies to be traded for ghostfire pollen in Port Suffering and is the fastest way to Iocanthos. I have already made the arrangements."

He descended into though and said no more, leaving through a door deeper into the spaceport followed by the sororitas neither of whom acknowledged the acolytes, though beneath their helmets it was hard to tell.

The lander although make to transport entire squads and small vehicles was dirty and cramped as it thundered through the thick greasy clouds of the hive world. Isolated from the pilot or indeed anything other than the armored walls and a dim red light set above the access ramp. It was hard to notice that a small object fluttered down from Xae's luggage onto the dirty floor, a card of the emperor's tarrot. How it got there there was no way to tell, the inquisitor perhaps it had it been there longer. It was old and worn but the words written in high gothic were clear.


The Eye​
Part 2

Iocanthos, a wasteland of arid desert with no hives of manufactoria to break the horizon. Armies numbering million sweep the surface and clash in too many battle to name all over the small white flower unique to the planet. They say the ghostfire only grows on recent battlefields and glows with a silvery light at night but all thats known if all attempts to cultivate it have failed and it's pollen is used in the manufacture of the most potent frenzon in the sector, perhaps the entire Imperium and it is for this reason so many turn their eyes towards the small planet with only on determinant settlement.

Port Suffering, the only permanent settlement on Iocanthos and the de-facto capitol is the first sight most have of the planet. Surrounded by large walls the city's militia are an untrained but potent force on the defense. Every building in the city is of a standard design, unpacked and assembled with no variation and to look odly familiar to most Imperial citizens, the spacport itself is little more than rockcrete slabs, blackened and cracked from thousands of engines and it and ot's warehouses take up most of the space in the walls and are surrounded by a strong fence.

After an uneventful journey aboard the Scillian Night, two weeks isolated from the crew and the bulk of the ship, only broken by an alarm three days before arriving as Iocanthos. The steward who brought you your meals, corpse starch, what was presumably water and a bottle of amisec passed off as nothing out of the ordinary.

Your descent from orbit is in one of the ship's own craft. A poorly maintained and rickety craft already full of crates and boxesserued by frayed straps it is amazing then had four harnesses free to fit the acolytes in. But as luck would have it it touches down after a long and rocky ride and the ramp descends revealing the blasted pads and blazing sunshine.

The steward who had been your only contact aboard the ship, locked in your own section and forbidden to leave by the captain greets you with the condescending smile that seems to be the only expression his face ever bares.

"Here we are." he says in an oily tone. "Your friend is an Adept who goes by Grion, I have been told he's waiting for you at his home just opposite the refectories, I've been told one of you knows where that is." he smiles again and turns to go as workers begin to approach the lander along with a bureaucrat to check over the cargo and haggle with the steward over handling fees and the cost to look the other way in case of unregistered cargo leaving the acolytes free to leave.
Remy was the first to leave the ship, and he quickly hated the idea. The sunlight seemed to burn straight into his retinas. The air was foul, and the charred ground didn't add to the 'pleasantness' of the scenery. He shook his head in disgust as the group recieved dozens of horrible looks from the men around the port. Absolutely disgusting, he thought to himself. He hated the fact that he had to come here, but loved the fact that he was doing something for the dear inquisitor. It was better than rummaging around back in gunmetal city. This place, was a rats ass compared to home though, and it definetely showed it. A fight suddenly broke out not ten feet away, and Remy laughed as one man kicked another in his jaw, making him spit teeth and pieces of his own tounge. It was a horrid scene, and it made his skin crawl...With pleasure.

Remy turned to the rest as they also slowly made their way off the ship. He knew they were just as cramped as him, and he knew they didn't like it. The ride was cramped and humid. The scent of that cramped little storage room was horrid, surely it hadn't been cleaned. At all. He washed the unfortunate thoughts away and turned back to his current task, " Well. Shall we get going ladies and gentleman, im sure the inquisitor would be a little pissed if he saw us standing around here. ", he then turned to start walking, and realized he had no idea where he was going. He rarely left gunmetal city, let alone the planet. But, thats why he was with a team and not by himself he thought. So, he simply turned back to the group, with a nervous hand rubbing the back of his head, " Where exactly does this Adept live? " He said with a guilty smirk upon his face.
[bg=grey]"No!" spat a voice, scratchy and nasal. "These are Halgard Pattern autoguns, which means an accrual rate of 5.7. That's a nine throne base tax. You were told about this before. Item seven on your sub charter."

As the Acolytes stepped from the ship the bureaucrat who had boarded the vessel began his joust with the oily steward. It was like a cockroach battling a weasel. Hunched over, the Adminstratum man glared beneath the shadow of his hood, infuriated by the steward's smirk. "Your inventory was uploaded to Server Sigma Twelve. I cross-referenced it through the Bethalay filter. You've been dodging the freight surcharge."

He opened his robe slightly and from his chest a servo-powered platform lowered. It was a series of prosthetic struts supporting a heavy, leatherbound book and data slate. The device was mounted with an autoquill and the feather twitched back and forth as the minutes of the exchange were recorded.

"But you forget the monthly credit for early delivery," the steward countered with patronising grace, propping one elbow on the nearest cargo crate.

"That was repealed in the last update!" snapped the Adept. "You were informed of this in the charter!" He pushed the autoquill aside and turned a few pages of the book, bringing up a prosthetic magnifier which laser-targeted a subsection of the text. His other hand swept across the cargo hold. "I will be charging an administration fee! Your captain will hear of this."

"But fees were waived under Agreement N-Five."

"Only in the third quarter."

"It is the third quarter."

"There's been an adjustment for daylight savings. You're twelve hours out. The legislative index has now been changed."

As the steward sighed and admitted defeat, Administratum Adept Vailon Krayborn shot a glance over his shoulder and eyed the group of Acolytes who were moving down the boarding ramp. His data-slate recorded the basic details of the newcomers, ready for transmission to the customs department (or Elijah Kintosh, since he was the only person who made up the "customs department" on Iocanthos). Vailon didn't like the look of this human cargo. It seemed... unquantifiable. And one of them was a Sororitas. They were always a bureaucratic nightmare.

"And you have passengers," Vailon muttered. "That'll be another surcharge for manifest variation."

His bionic foot tapped on the cargo hold floor as he waited for the steward to pay up.

"The passengers were included in the updated manifest filed just before we left Sciintilla." the man flustered, "We'll barely make a profit with the tax on ghostfire as it is."

"All documents must be files at least a week before departure, another requirement added in the charter. There will be fees to track down and correct your incorrectly filled manifest." Vailon interjected and the steward knowing further argument would only cause more charges to be added sighed laying a stack of papers on the nearest crate and began counting out the fees as post personnel, dressed in cheep coveralls began unloading rudely shoving the acolytes still in the lander out of the way.

With the engines off and the argument between steward and adept over there a a new sound in the air, yells and shouting as well as the occasional loud bang. To Payne and Xae it was the unmistakable sounds of a riot. Across the dock in front of a large fence that separated it from the rest of the city stood a line of men wearing the sane uniforms as those from the recording, presumably Port Suffering militia and bown the wide street a large crowd was gathered, large enough to easily overwhelm the guards and possible tear down the fence, and from the odd caught shout it was clear what they wanted, the load of weapons being unpacked.
Kain chuckled as he watched someone get chewed out by an adept. No doubt this one was infected with a little meme virus or whatever that made them addicts to data. "Always fun." He pulled out one of his personal drug, the lo stick, from his pouch, a large emblem on it like that of the Emperor in full glory, and lit the stick on a mounted brazer before placing it in his mouth. "So, where to now?"

His only responce to the sounds of riots ahead was to unclasp his coat, letting a hint of a gun hang open, just right of the lo stick pouch. Riots were common on Karnja, not all traces of Chaos were dead there yet.