++++++++++++++++++From the data slate of Quintilla Mola++++++++++++++++++
By the time we arrive back on Scintilla it’s been eight months Imperial, and Vaarak’s instructions have reached us. The instructions are framed with reference to our discoveries at the Gilded Cathedral. We are to infiltrate the Cathedral of Illumination, pretending to be relic inspectors. We are on no account to take direct action against Ignato.
With eight months backpay even the humbly-paid feral-world Guardsman Jahr has plenty of Thrones. I am proud to record that not one of us bought anything other than equipment that will be used in service to his Divinity. Franz and I buy heavy, accurate pistols known as Carnodons (Franz buys a brace of them) and I stock up on ammo again. With a few nostalgic feelings – but why few? – I wrap my trusty old stub revolver away in oiled cloths.
By the time I have completed having measurements for a new body-glove taken and returned, the lads are drooling over Jahr’s new grenade launcher and Grimm’s fancy heavy armor. Zarkov’s robes are bulging in a new place: a targeting mechadendrite Franz has added another ridiculously over-sized gun to go with his existing autogun and hunting rifle. I read a devotional to remind myself that no matter what we are compensating for, we all work in the service of the Divine Throne.
[XP has also been spent and everyone is on the 5th Rank, which is generally the “name” rank; thus Grimm is an actual Arbitrator and Zarkov a Tech Priest. Mola is a Scholar. Most have taken skills that cover Will saves in one way or another, though not Mola who already has high Willpower.]
The Cathedral is at the summit of Hive Tarsus. Below our cutter, pilgrims wait in crowds, their sufferings under the blazing sun an offering to their faith. A pudgy archivist who introduces himself as Drook welcomes us, and provides us with data keys for access to every part of the Cathedral save the Arch-cardinal’s quarters.
As the time for Ignato to deliver a sermon is nigh I graciously agree we would be charmed to witness it. The Nave is brilliant lit by flamberges and the congregation is packed and seemingly devout. Ignato’s sermon has a sub-text of reinforcing the ecclesiarchy’s powers of intervention. I duly note all this.
Drook escorts us to luxurious quarters in the Temporal Cloister and apologizes for their humble simplicity. I wonder if he has been instructed to make a point. He explains the necessities and departs, inviting us to summon him later.
Zarkov makes a thorough security sweep and I open my data-thief. We order a meal and review our resources and duties. Then, we invite Drook back, and Grimm asks about security staff that he might need to liaise with. The true elite security – for the relics and the safety of the Arch-cardinal – is provided by Adepta Sororitas. Their chief is Palatine Oksana.
Drook guides us on our first overview inspection, up to the Sacristy. Here are collected the major relics, under guard. Jahr mutters crude admiration of the heavy armor, heavy armament and – possibly – the imagined great physique of the Sororitas guards. I have to speak sharply to him. I consider investing in a chain and collar. More importantly the records for the relic are in good order. I compliment Drook who beams, easily recovering from his earlier nervousness when a sister informed us that the sacred Femur was currently with the Arch-cardinal. Even the quick glance at the records I have already taken has shown me that Ignato has “borrowed” the relic several times of late.
I attempt to mask the sniff of corruption around this strange behavior and bid Drook goodnight. [Charm missed within 10] Back in our chambers, after the inevitable security sweep, we vote that Franz undertake a discreet scouting mission. He returns some hours later to report that the entry to the Arch-cardinal’s quarters is guarded by a pair of Automata (most probably) and a pict-stealer.
We commence our detailed provenance search the next day. We still want to allay suspicions so begin with the Rotator Cannon of St Praxides (an awe-inspiring relic, for which provenance is good) then diverting to a minor relic. The femur has been returned overnight, so that is next.
Drook’s nervousness re-surfaces and he babbles that he is already expecting us to find a fake: he has noticed tooling marks in the supposed inviolate bone.
Zarkov sets it up in the records room and scans it down to the microscopic level. [6 raises on Medicae] It’s a fake! In fact, it’s not even bone. Xenotech may have been used to fake up this material, it’s so good. He scratches his dome and tells up he may have an idea [Logic 1 raise].
The day is already over by this time so again we retire. I send Vaarak the updates. As we turn to our repast – another sybaritic exercise – Grimm plucks a note out from its place of concealment in the servitor skull. [Perception completely failed by the perceptive Mola and Zarkov.]
See me – Xavieticus
Xavieticus is the Lector and his modest cell is located in the same Cloister as our palatial quarters. We reach it by passing through a busy, smoky warren of Cloister passages. His cell is decorated with dozens of religious images and icons, I note approvingly, and his bookshelf is crammed with scholarly works, another good sign. He’s elderly and frail, and explains that he has suspicions of Ignato but won’t share them – until we help a sick comrade of his. I can see Grimm flexing his shoulders under the armor and reaching for his interrogation tools so, as reassuringly as I am able, I assent to the request. [Actually Grimm has scrutiny and Mola works off his “reading” Xavieticus as trustworthy] He directs us to Amortus, who will be needed to free his friend Caius Moy from demon possession!
We kit up and locate Amortus, a gaunt giant of a man, collect him (he’s easy to persuade) and head for the hospital wing. Xavieticus’ dying comrade Moy is duly found to be demon-possessed. We cart him to the Catechumens Cloister, which is decorated with unpleasant gibbets and occult symbols.
Amortus explains our roles and begins. Jahr restrains Moy despite the possessed wretch’s galvanic strength [Str with 3 raises] and we curse the demon out – partly! [Variety of eligible skills such as Schol Lore – Imperial Creed; half the team succeeds] As a visible entity is forced out of the old man’s body, our minds are bombarded with all manner of obscenity. Naturally I resist these perversions easily. [She lies. All succeed except for Mola. Mola takes 1 insanity point and 2 corruption points.] Then as we redouble our efforts the demon is forced back out to the Warp!
A good re-start to the team’s second season. We stuck quite firmly to the game with minimal non-game distractions. There were a lot of jokes around Jahr’s being turned on by the buff sorority gunslingers. Franz, who is now quite firmly in GMPC mode, wasn’t overly officious; so we don’t need to shoot him yet.
The superstition that if you fail a Will check it’s not worth a reroll was borne out again. I rolled a fairly low fail on the initial Will check then a much, much worse one on reroll. Luckily the penalty wasn’t geared to degree of failure.