++++++++++++++From the data slate of Quintilla Mola++++++++++++++
Lord Vaarak has sent us a response and judging by the Imperium date-stamp he is now on Sibelus. He urges us to return to Scintilla as soon as we may to resume the hunt for Ignato; but also to investigate tales of miraculous events such as a statue in honor of our living deity speaking to the masses.
The fast Valkyrie gunship Vaarak has sent sets us down near the towering Illuminated Cathedral and as the ramp opens we see a hostile-looking Arbitrator leading some local Magistratum enforcers, guns levelled. He yells:
“What is your business?! On threat of your life!”
Grimm tries to convey our authority [fails Command on reroll] but unbelievably the fools open up. [Dodge required all round; Grimm and Zarkov miss] Grimm is hit by a shotgun round before Jahr’s menacing voice and heavy stubber [Intimidate on reroll] halt the firing. Zarkov patches Grimm up effectively [Medicae on reroll] as the Arbitrator, Br Eschervin, brings us up to date.
It seems fires have broken out in some area of the Cathedral, notably the hospital wing. The sisterhood are keeping order. The Nave entrance doors are barred and barricaded against wild pilgrims. Initially it seems we may have to break in, but we are patched through to Sr Oksana and she allows us entry.
Our job is to search, but this is an immense task, requiring a fully trained Magistratum wing to conduct. We have only two elements in our favor:
- The sisterhood are holding the place secure, so anywhere they are, Ignato can’t be; and
- Br Amortus the Exorcist is still alive and ready to help us, at least with information.
Amortus helps us clear up the wild rumors that had concerned Vaarak. True, pilgrims have been whipped into frenzy, but there are no miraculous events. What seems to be happening is the aftermath of Ignato’s planted heresies.
Amortus also explains that the hospital wing has been given up as a lost cause and fire-fighting is now simply prevening the fire spreading.
We soon have the hidden wing searched and scratched off our checklist. The question is where else to search?
- Archives: this is my own preference, being known territory. I re-locate the history of the Cathedral’s construction and look carefully through it for alternative hiding places and secret entrances, without success.
- Ignato’s quarters: Franz checks these while I am engaged as described, and scratches them off the list.
- Hospital: Based on my suspicion that a daemon-enhanced Ignato might be hiding under the hospital wing we brace the smoke and flame wreathed cauldron and make it through, [Toughness all round: Jahr and Franz fail] but to no avail.
- Catachumens cloister: We search the grim, gloomy area but to no avail. From here it is a relatively short path out to the Garden of Repose.
- Garden of repose: Grimm shoots out a plasteel window and eyes it. Trees prevent us seeing much but it is certainly a likely spot, not currently being guarded at all by the sisterhood. We make our way out there, opening out into woodland formation.
The trees form a pleasant backdrop to a partly artificial lake, beside which sits a figure waiting. It’s the fake Ignato, who we know as Vraine. He stands, and sloughs off the Ignato disguise, which grotesquely enough appears to be Ignato’s actual skin! Vraine’s true features are quite sharp and thin. His eyes burn like a true fanatical heretic as he rants at us: daemonic style winglets sprout from his back.
Battle layout: Wooded lakeside. The range is around 30m.
Round 1: Franz aims and fires his hunting rifle, its accuracy allowing extra damage had it hit: but Vraine deflects the shot somehow! Zarkov has his bolter out quickly and it does penetrate whatever Vraine’s defence is, though not for much damage. Jahr open us with the heavy stubber [5 raises so 6 hit] and one of his rounds penetrates, wounding Vraine savagely in the body. Grimm follows this up with a head shot. But Vraine uses a Psyker ability and his wounds begin closing rapidly! Mola flashes into cover, within easy range of Vraine.
Round 2: Franz again strikes accurately and this time the round penetrates [2d10+6], and Vraine is reeling! Zarkov quick-draws his lazgun and shoots Vraine’s arm off! As he dies, the psyker heretic raves about how the real Ignato will wreak havoc! It seems that Ignato is still out there, minus his skin!
Mola loots the smoldering corpse and retrieves an icon and a staff. Zarkov performs a microscopic exam on the icon and determines that it is this that allows shots to be deflected. [Uses a WP check, which would make it a great reward, except: the GM immediately yoinks it. Ah well, heavy armor it is then.]
We vox in to the Cathedral to brief Oksana. While Grimm is bagging evidence (or fetching a pail) and Jahr is making his report (apparently in the deluded hope that Oksana will notice him), an explosion near the Synod summit of the Cathedral interrupts him: Ignato, complete with daemonic wings, bursts out an flies off at great pace!
Lord Vaarak is less than entirely satisfied. We return to Sibelus, and hand over the skin and Vraine’s remains and gear. Then we wait.
Several days later, we are paid, rested, re-equipped (yes, more weaponry, but also a couple of Stimms) and ready. And once again, we are called into service in our divine Emperor’s name!