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The Higher Call [DH] Episode III: Under the Hammer

The Higher Call Play-by-Post PBP Dark Heresy Commissar Molotov roleplay inquisition

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#51
Commissar Molotov

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Astelan, having consulted his data-slate, leads the Cell on circuitous route through the Chancellery Court. It feels, in a sense, as though you are walking through the body of the Administratum itself, that bureaucratic organ that ensures the greater Imperium continues to function - from the collection of planetary tithes to the movement of Imperial Guard regiments from warzone to warzone. 

 

After ascending, you eventually arrive on a mezzanine level high up within the Courts. You are able to look over iron balconies to see, far below, the adepts toiling ceaselessly. In the fug of incense smoke, you see vat-grown cherubs swooping and diving, parchment clutched in their hands as they travel between data-looms and cogitator-stacks. The area around you is dilapidated, seemingly abandoned. The only noteworthy feature of the area you have found yourselves within is a battered-looking door.Upon it is a small brass plate labelled 'XIII'.

 

As you approach, the door opens inward, admitting you to a dark and dusty chamber. The light is dim, but you see that the room is furnished entirely in dark wood. Row upon row of shelves from floor to ceiling hold crack-spined books, parchment rolls and yellowy, mouldering documents. A feeble fire gutters amidst a hearth in one corner, and grimy glow-globes set in recesses shed a flickering light. The door shuts behind you, instantly silencing the distant roar of the Chancellery Court. The only sound that you hear is the incessant ticking of a clock, somewhere within the chamber. 

 

A grey-faced, augmented adept in a slate-coloured robe appears silently from a side door. He keeps his gaze averted, as though afraid of making eye contact. As he deferently bows, he offers up a tarnished-looking silver tray, upon which rests a wax-sealed envelope. The seal is an increasingly familiar one - a downward-pointing dagger impaling a thorned rose. 

 

Stroud takes the envelope, tearing it open as the scribe exits the room. Tearing open the envelope, you find a parchment:

 

Loyal Acolytes,

 

You are requested and required forthwith under the authority of the God-Emperor of Mankind to submit to this writ and order and serve the most Holy Ordos of His Imperial Majesty's Inquisition. 

 

I bind you over at His requirement to the service of my esteemed colleague, Inquisitor Nahun Grist, for so long as he sees fit to the particulars of the tasks he requires you to complete. Obey him in all things as you would me, lest your lives be forfeit and shame be brought upon my name. 

 

Further knowledge of your duties should be obtained from Inquisitor Grist, from whose hands this order has been delivered to you. 

 

Go in the Light of the Golden Throne with my prayers for your safe passage, and my certain and unwavering faith that you will serve honourably in His name. 

 

AMARANTHE

Inquisitrix,

Ordo Hereticus Dalthus

 

As the Arbitrator passes the parchment around, you are left alone for the moment to explore the room and reflect upon the events. 


Edited by Commissar Molotov, 03 June 2016 - 03:46 PM.

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QUOTE (voi shet magir @ May 31 2011, 05:38 AM) 
That is an unexpectedly strong assertion from a dead person.

#52
JackDaw

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The journey to the Chancellery Courts had been quiet at least, if not comfortable, and for that small mercy Reeve had been grateful. Nursing a foul hangover all the way to the subtransit system and along the carriage journey, surrounded by dark clad and stunted scribes, had not left him in the most equitable of moods. Still, at least the relative quiet and monotony of the journey had allowed the ache in his head to abate - and it seemed that each of his companions too were lost in their own thoughts as they stood amongst the hunched and silent scribes.

 

By the time they had reached the Courts themselves the skies had cleared, as had the fugue in Reeve's head. He pulled a pair of smoked-glass optics onto his face as they approached the immense staircase rising before them and tried to mask the slight disgust that crept onto his face as they entered the crowds of supplicants, scribes and unfortunates that populated these steps. Years ago, when still a child, Reeve had come across a nest of weave-ants that had been disturbed by something or other - the curious mix of frenzied and ordered movement and the regimented look of the glistening black insects moving amongst their towering hive reminded him uncomfortably of the crowds they moved amongst now. Scribes that had sacrificed individuality for duty, citizens that were spending the greater part of their lives on these steps waiting, just waiting, to be moved a metre or two closer to a goal that had long been forgotten. Drones. That was what they had become. Better to die than become faceless and selfless, Reeve though to himself.

 

Handing over his weapons to the blank faced Enforcers at the bustling entrance to the Courts had left him feeling slightly naked and vulnerable, something he didn't appreciate in the slightest. Habit made him scan every corner and shadow for potential threats and that spot in his back had begun itching again.

 

Their own little scribe seemed happy enough though, scurrying off and leading them on a seemingly endlessly twisting and random journey through identical looking corridors to wherever they were meeting this new Inquisitor. Probably just happy to be somewhere he thought of as home, the sad little wretch.  

 

Their eventual destination was as underwhelming as the steps to the Courts had been impressive - some dusty long-abandoned room in a forgotten corner of the Courts themselves. No sign of this Grist either, just some greying adept with a parchment that Reeve barely looked at when it was handed to him. Looked like they would have to wait for their new boss to bother to arrive and grace them with his presence.

 

Sinking into a chair in a corner of the room, Reeve sighed and tired to ignore the itching between his shoulders.


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#53
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Astelan

A chill ran down Astelan’s spine.  Here he was surrounded by books again.  Normally, he loved books and could spend hours or even days rummaging through the stacks for tidbits of data, admiring the illumination, or simply cataloging them.  However, this was no ordinary library.  It was a collection assembled by Inquisitor Grist.  Who knew what terrible secrets were within arm’s reach.

 

His mind flashed back to the Amelian Library.  He had followed a madman’s clue and found the hiding place of an accursed tome.  He had touched it and found it empty, but a small note had fallen out.  When he had picked up the note, it had burst into warp-cursed purple flame.  Involuntarily, he rubbed the fingers of his right hand together to verify they were still there. 

 

Acolyte Prime Stroud handed him the letter from Lady Amaranthe, which he quickly copied down into his Data-slate.  He then passed the letter on to the others.  He glanced at the transcription, and his eyes danced across the Lady’s closing.  He assumed it was her title and posting, if she followed normal Administratum procedures in such matters. 

 

Ordo Hereticus Dalthus   

 

The reference to Dalthus was unsurprising to him given where they were located, galactically speaking.  She clearly had authorization in this sector.  That alone begged a question in the Scribe’s mind.  Was there a place in the Imperium where the Lady did not have authority?  He quickly dismissed the idea as preposterous for the Inquisition knew no bounds on its authority.  Yet the thought lingered for a brief moment too long. 

 

Ordo Hereticus?  That was a term he was not familiar with.  He cocked his head and scrutinized it closer.  He let his eyes follow the curve of each letter.  If the Lady followed normal protocol, that would be her department, cell, or branch within which she served.  However, he had no idea what it could mean for the Scribe had never heard the term used before.   He added it to his mental list of research.

 

With a focused effort he kept his eyes lowered and studied his data-slate.  He feared that if he looked up, his eyes would travel to the names of unwanted texts, and soon he would be reading and cataloging them.  In an Inquisitor’s library, such a mundane activity could get your eyes removed.  He started to read through and edit his post-Vinculist activity logs.

 

“…. On the 3rd day of the operation Lt. Lemuel Hinds of the Imperial Navy, supported by Enforcers from….”

 

He needed to keep himself occupied until they were allowed to leave again.                


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#54
Easy E

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Eustasias Maraxus

The with-hunter took the offered letter with his bionic hands.  With a slight whine, they clamped onto the document.  It was still interesting to hold something, without really feeling it. 

 

Eustatius recalled when it was first fitted to him.  He had awoken in a Medicae lab, with Sister Hospitalers hovering around him.  He went to make the sign of the Aquila to them in greeting, but his arm did not respond.  With surprise he realized that it was no longer there!  Shortly thereafter he had blacked out again. 

 

When he awoke a second time, he was still in the Medicae lab, but a priest sat quietly at the end of his bed, reading a data-slate.  When he awoke, the man stood respectfully, and offered him a brief prayer of thanks. 

 

“My master would like to offer his personal thanks to you.  He knows that you suffered great hardship and loss on your latest mission.  For that, he humbly requests your pardon and forgiveness,” the Priest said.

 

Maraxus just nodded in response.  What more was there to do?  It had been is honor to send that warp-spawn witch to meet the Saints for judgement. 

 

The priest continued, “He would like to offer you partial recompense,” with that a Sister Hospitaler had wheeled in a small metal gurney.  Supported on a small stand was the metallic arm that Maraxus would become so intimately familiar with. 

 

Over the next several months of recuperation, he had spent countless hours retraining to master the use of his new bionic limbs.  Even today, if he was not careful he would accidentally tear pages from litany books, drop his dinnerware, or break a glass with poorly applied pressure.  However, he learned to perform the symbol of the Aquila first. 

 

He scanned the letter and passed it on.  The Lady Amaranthe was a member of the Ordo Hereticus.  He was familiar with them and run across there operatives in the past.  He was re-assured somewhat by the knowledge that he had been seconded into their service.   A smile touched on his lips.          


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#55
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Brye awoke early. Earlier than she had any right to, given the empty bottle of vintage amasec lying on its side near the door of her room. It had been good stuff. Hells, it had been great stuff. But drinking alcohol had always made the witch wake earlier than usual, and often with a pounding head. She remembered finding the kitchens and an indentured chef called Rumboldt. She hazily recalled eating some of the best food ever put in front of her - undoubtedly a step up from the dross she had been eating at the flop house for far too long. Some kind of specially-reared meat was used that, while it had some chew to it, the taste was sublime. 
 
Haygarth was already dressed and ready to go long before a servant had the opportunity to politely rap on the door, although her head still felt like an ogryn was squeezing it. Alas, being early also meant being potentially stuck with Stroud and the other established acolytes. She decided that she needed something to eat instead. She had yet to speak with the Acolyte Prime and knew that holding company with him while they waited for the others was always going to be all kinds of awkward. Bypassing the entry hall, she headed to a dining room and ordered herself breakfast.

A fine porcelain cup of recaf and a sweet blue juice she could not identify washed down yet more meat, thinly sliced and salted, tiny orange-yolk eggs from a local bird and a slab of heavily buttered bread. What kind of bread, she had no idea, but it had a satisfying softness to it and a malty after-taste. Not a bad breakfast at all, one that Brye was conscious of not overdoing. 
 
Returning to where Stroud and his associates were supposed to meet them, the witch stood in the shadow of the Drifter awaiting the remaining pair of cell members to join them. She tried to recall his name from the manse study - had it been something like Monday or Money? She had a feeling it was Money. Or she could just call him 'Drifter'. It seemed safer than getting his name wrong. 

 

The tube journey was something she had done before many times, both on Nova Talia as a juve and on Terra when she was sanctioned. Nothing much to remark upon here. Dead-eyed adepts crowded the car, their unwashed bodies filled the carriage with a funk that was familiar and yet totally alien to her. Her height didn't help matters. Different diets on different worlds, she supposed. She kept her back to them and her hood up, not altogether that willing to bother talking to them, even if Eustasias did. At least most of the other cell members smelt somewhat fresher.

 

Stepping off of the transport, Brye followed the Drifter and Stroud to the steps of the Chancellery and began her ascent. The scale, while impressive, paled in comparison to Terra. Almost everything in her life, she realised, was now compared to the Throneworld and not her birth world. The minor epiphany elicited a smirk. At some point she had turned to see how far they had come, only to find the robed figure of the witch hunter at her heels. She should have known he was there - he wasn't exactly the quietest of individuals - but the blood thumping in her ears from exertion and altitude had drowned out his heavy footsteps. Her brand itched while she continued onwards past the beggars and the heirs-apparent alike. The climb was long and arduous. Longer still with Eustasias dressed as a pauper-warrior directly behind her.

 

Waving off an errant servo-skull, Brye handed over her laspistol and flick spike to the enforcers who had taken Reeve's weapons. Passing through the door labelled 'XIII', Brye marvelled at the vast collection of writing that lined the walls of the room they occupied, tracing the spines of a few at head height and wondering what exactly these books had in them. She stopped exploring and returned to the group in time for the letter to be handed to her. She hadn't noticed the servant who supplied it at all.

 

Ordo Hereticus Dalthus? Did that mean that the Inquisition had a local branch in the sector and had other branches in other sectors? At first, the thought seemed bizarre to her. She thought the Inquisition was this vast, monolithic force for the good of the Imperium - pretty much exactly what some of the childhood stories stated. But then she pondered for a moment. She supposed having local branches made for more effective work, much like many other parts of the Imperium.

 

Brye headed over to the hearth. She felt comfortable there and took a moment to consider matters. While she leant on the mantle, she looked at the rest of the cell. The fire beside her grew slightly more lively.

 

"I don't think we're going to get to meet Inquisitor Grist personally."


Edited by Olis, 05 June 2016 - 05:34 PM.

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#56
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Reeve rolled his head to face the witch, eyes still hidden behind the smoked glass optics. It must be his imagination, or just a trick of the light in these unused rooms, but the fire she stood in front of seemed to be a little more excitable.

 

"What makes you say that Mamzel? I'm sure Stroud here has met the boss Lady more times than he can remember."



#57
Commissar Molotov

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Stroud tightens his jaw at the Penal Legionnaire's comment. Reeve was a bastard of the finest degree; a razor-sharp mind and a keen understanding of how to get under peoples' skin. Not surprising, perhaps, for a man who could slip into whatever mask he desired for the moment. He knew none of them were exactly on first-name terms with the Lady Amaranthe. 

 

The Arbitrator ignored Reeve's comment, instead looking at the others around the room - at Astelan, already at work scribing details; at the Witch-Hunter who seemed appreciative of the pomp and pageantry of the Inquistion; at Zarkov, who was studying the room intently. At Brye, who'd been investigating the shelves. 

 

"Is there anything here to tell us what we're dealing with?" 


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QUOTE (voi shet magir @ May 31 2011, 05:38 AM) 
That is an unexpectedly strong assertion from a dead person.

#58
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As they all entered the chamber, Wyl kept to the edges of the group, preferring to stay out of the eyes of his comrades. There they were awaited by an adept, his eyes never leaving the floor, who presented Stroud with an envelope sealed by the same icon Wyl, and, he suspected, many if not all of the others, bore. After the Prime had read it, the letter began to find its way through the group, eventually arriving with Wyl. Reading it quickly, he made note of a few details. Hereticus, of course, was no surprise. The inner working of the Imperial Inquisition was hardly common knowledge, but here and there in underhive holes-in-the-wall and the lho-dens where info-brokers could be found, things were whispered, as they always are. The High Gothic word was one that was most commonly associated with the Inquisition, and the one that the people that were found in those sorts of establishments had most reason to be wary of, and not without good reason. They were supposedly the branch of the Inquisition that dealt with the people of the Imperium most commonly, and one of the three most powerful divisions within its greater hierarchy. More than that, Wyl did not know, and of the other two he had heard only names, and sometimes less. But Hereticus was most definitely a word of power, and one to be feared, and now Wyl was in its employ. He marveled at that fact.

 

The other thing Wyl noted was the fact that the letter implied that Grist would deliver it to them personally. Looking around the musty room, Wyl saw no such Inquisitor present. Intriguing.

 

In the dim shadows of the room, the psyker Haygarth spoke, showing that she had come to the same conclusion Wyl had. Reeve, the man with the shifting smile, then asked a question, to which Wyl took the opportunity to respond.

 

"It's obvious, don't you think? The letter said that Grist would deliver it personally. 'From his hands...' And he's hardly here now, is he? So what are the chances of him arriving late? You strike me as a gambling sort, Reeve. How much would you be willing to bet that he's going to show up now?"


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#59
Commissar Molotov

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There is a moment of silence, your words hanging heavily in the air. 

 

The fire continues to gutter in its hearth. The clock continues to tick, insistently. 


THCsig_zpsr7llkfne.jpg
 
QUOTE (voi shet magir @ May 31 2011, 05:38 AM) 
That is an unexpectedly strong assertion from a dead person.

#60
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Maraxus gave a genuine grin, "How do you not know we haven't met the Inquisitor all ready?"



#61
Olis

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Brye inclined her head at the witch hunter's comment, gesturing with her hands in a half-shrug, half-conciliatory gesture towards him. If they had actually met the Inquisitor already, he was most adept at remaining disguised. 


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#62
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Reeve tried not to grin too openly at Stroud's reaction and the stab of satisfaction it produced. He'd stop needling the man eventually. Probably.

 

Anyway, now the old guy had finally spoken up, and yes his voice was exactly as sandy and gravely as expected. it was a good question though, one that made everyone pause for a second. The fanatic followed it with a even better question. Now everyone would be questioning exactly what they could and couldn't believe and would doubt their own eyes. This, this was the kind of thing he lived for though. Lies, deceit, deception. It was like coming home.

 

Reeve slipped his optics down his face enough to look at the group over the tops of them and flashed a quick grin.

 

"I do enjoy the occasional flutter, aye. Course, there's no point making the bet unless you're sure the game is in your favour."



#63
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Eustasius Maraxus

 

Eustasius was a patient man.  All those years growing up in the Schola and Synod schools had taught him that patience was a virtue.  It was something that the Drill Abbots had beat into him.  He turned to the bookshelves and looked at the titles.  Some were familiar while others held no meaning for him.  His interest was peaked when he ran across a few theological works some he had read, but many were new to him.    

 

The chained books made his eyes tingle when he looked at them.  He wanted to take the unnatural tomes and throw them into the crackling flames immediately.  However, Eustasius was a disciplined man.  He was a great believe in consequences and he did not like the potential consequences for him if he destroyed one of the Inquisitor’s books. 

 

He also moved to the fireplace, and reached out his human hand.  He felt its warmth tickle his skin, and it was a feeling he missed on his left side.  There, everything he touched was cold.  Sometimes, the lack of feeling in his left side had uses though, when unpleasant things had to be done.  He enjoyed the feeling for a few more seconds as the clock ticked loudly by…once…twice…. three times.

 

He turned and stationed himself where he could see the doorway they entered, and the one the grayed scribe had used.  His eyes flicked between the two with the rhythm of the ticking clock. 

 

“Tell me Reeves, was it your pension for gambling or one of your other skills that landed you here with us?”  The witch-finder was careful to use a playful tone hinged on a smile.             


Edited by Easy E, 05 June 2016 - 03:26 PM.


#64
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Reeve let his grin spread wider, spread his hands in a gesture of openness.

 

"Well, looking around, I'd hazard that maybe it was just my charm and good looks that the boss Lady wanted." He winked at the witch, still standing by the twitching fire, and waved a hand lazily at the bookshelves lining the room. "And anyways, I'm fairly sure assaying the details of this fine collection of academia is more within your remit than mine."

 

Pushing his optics back over his eyes and letting the grin fall away, Reeve reclined as far as he could in the chair, resting his head on the stiffly cushioned back. Closing his eyes, he gave every pretence of relaxing like a feline while his thoughts raced. So it seemed like the Inquisition, or at least their new bosses, liked to play games. That was fine, he could play along with the best of them. And depending on how you looked at it, the wording of that letter was kinda clever...

 

"You know, we could always just ask that little grey scribe fellow. I mean, it was his hands that gave us the letter after all...."



#65
Olis

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Brye watched as Reeve made a flippant remark and then winked at her. She looked away and sighed. Great. Have a pretty face and all the snakes think you're a prize. Plenty of the nicer dolts did too. That's fine, she thought. Let him waste his time - she was plenty capable in defanging him if he got too close, no problem. She turned her back on the group and used an iron poker - replete with skulls and gothic whorls - on the fire. Again the hearth brightened a small degree as the flames briefly had fresher fuel than charcoal and embers.


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#66
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Eustasias chuckled dutifully, "I'm sure Father Zarkov can tell you the tale of General Samsonov, and where his faith in good-looks got him."  He was momentarily distracted from the doorways as he watched Brye stoke the fire.  It brightened a bit as she poked at it.  

 

His eyes quickly went back to scanning the doorways methodically, his back turned to one of the towering cases of books.  He willed his body to stay loose, but the ticking clock was setting his nerves on edge and it felt like each tick was imperceptibly sapping his senses.  He began to focus on his breathing to stay loose.  If he tensed his muscles too much, it could cause his bionics to seize for the shortest of moments.  However, that short moment was all it might take to end his duty to the Throne.    

 

"Tech-priest, does your order have any parables about the value of good-looks?" Maraxus was pretty sure he knew the answer to that question.       



#67
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As always, Yunxian remained a silent observer within the chamber, standing behind the group like some loyal servitor, the jagged machine-like movements of its limping gate only adding to such a thought. The Chirurgeon remained close to Stroud, or rather as close as the Arbite would allow. He was the Acolyte Prime, a rank that meant little to one of the Adeptus Mechacius but 6-72 recognized its nature as one of authority over its work.. and for that it would follow his command, so long as they did nothing to breach protocol of the Mechanicum's protocols or its own Hippocratic oath. For the time it had merely chosen to observe the situation, documenting small notations to records, making the smallest, minute and utterly arbitrary calculations and measurements of the fellow acolytes. It was mundane work, but it was soothing, a relaxing sense of warmth that tickled the nervous system. It was... happy, if such an emotion could even be prescribed to the creature. 

 

That brief state of binary bliss was cut short as it registered a question being asked of it, the Tech-Priest's head snapping with an almost unsettling immediacy towards the Witch-Finder, staring at the man wordlessly for a moment through that corvian billed mask, the single glowing optic lens on its forehead whirring into focus. What voice it spoke with was that same, utterly artificial and androgynous voice like a servitor, the words contorted into something of a growl  by vox static.

 

"Parable: A simplistic story used to illustrate moral or spiritual lessons. Observation: The Adeptus Mechanicus maintains record and adjustments to protocols following such notations of ethics or oneness with the Omnissiah. Parables would be, then, ineffectual. "

 

"Notation:  The Creed prosrcibed by the Biologis, Disertation 3-24-387 dictates that physical appearance is an arbitrary aesthetic used by humans to attract others in which to conduct mating rituals. As such, physical appeal has developed into an integral and meaningless facet of human ecosystem and necessary for social communion.

 

Ever the social butterfly, dear Yunxian was...


Edited by Noctus Cornix, 06 June 2016 - 11:37 PM.


#68
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Eustasius smiled at the Tech-priest's response, "Well, let's hope good-looks isn't meaningless for poor Reeves' sake."  



#69
Commissar Molotov

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The conversation comes to an uneasy halt, the words hanging heavily within the air of Chamber XIII like the many dust motes. The clock ticks, ticks again, and then there is a grinding sound. One of the many bookshelves swings away, making room for a rather bizarre procession to enter.

 

Two servitors, gene-bred lobotomised muscle, shoulder their way through. Between them, they carry a sedan chair with a tattered silk roof. The chair is lowered before you, the servitors detaching their carrying rigs and standing impassively against the wall. Their faces are blank and expressionless.

 

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The old man occupying the chair wears faded clothes of brown and grey that might once have been elegant. Age seems to have stripped their lustre, tarnishing the golden traceries and buttons. His palsied hands rest in his lap, the translucent skin stretched tight against swollen knuckles. His face is deeply lined, with a blade-thin nose, a sharp chin and long, stringy hair. His eyes, though, shine with a sharp intelligence and an incredibly strong will. 

 

Behind the chair stands a gaunt young woman, wearing a stiff-backed dress and a severely boned corset. Her head is entirely shaven, and a tattoo in strange lettering marks her scalp. She seems to take the measure of each of you, and finds you wanting. Her face, whilst emotionless, seems to be fixed with a sneer, and you find yourselves immediately and unaccountably disliking her. 

 

Brye:

Spoiler

 

The man rights himself within the chair and speaks, at last, in a voice that sounds like crackling parchment. 

 

"I am Grist, and it seems that you are... mine." He succumbs to a wracking fit of coughing. The woman bends down to dab his lips with a silken handkerchief. When she removes the cloth, you see spots of blood. Whatever you have expected from your first meeting with an Inquisitor, this is not it. 

 

"Doubtless you are wondering why I have summoned you from your other duties. Word has reached me of your exploits against the Vinculists within this hive. You have done good work in the past, and you will continue to do so, I believe, in the future. So I went to the length of asking your mistress for a favour." His eyes fix upon each of you in turn. "Regrettably, it has transpired that all of my servants are otherwise engaged in matters I cannot afford to withdraw them from. An unexpected matter has arisen that I must tend to, and for that, I have chosen you. You are to observe a singular event in the history of the sector, and you shall be my eyes and ears, taking the measure of the men and women who participate." 

 

The Inquisitor makes to stand, his shaking hands gripping a gnarled wooden cane. Almost immediately, his companion is at his elbow, supporting his weight seemingly effortlessly. Her face, again, seems to bear no recognition of the effort involved. Once he is upright, Grist continues.

 

"Doubtless you know something of the Rogue Traders, the pirate princes that ply their trade beyond the borders of the Imperium. They are a capricious breed, beholden to none but the Emperor Himself and freed from Imperial law by ancient right. The Trader Ezekiel Sunder, the last scion of his benighted dynasty, has been declared dead by the Administratum."

 

Knowledge of the Sunder Dynasty:

Spoiler

 

 

"As is right and proper, the estate of a house without an heir will be auctioned off under the aegis of the Administratum. As soon as I became aware that the auction would be taking place, I used my contacts here, within the Chancellery Courts, to delay the date. The sale will take place thirty days hence, at Sunder's estate on the planet of Arcturus. The Sunders travelled far from the light of the Emperor and grew rich on their conquests, collecting many strange objects. Now these spoils are there for the taking - it is possible to pay for the wonders of the void with mere coin. All kinds of heretics, conspirators and criminals will be drawn by the stench of Ezekiel Sunder's carrion feast.

 

As my agents, you will attend the auction under a false identity, gathering intelligence about those who will be there, discerning their desires and their true nature. Unless you discover a heretic whose destruction warrants breaking your cover or a threat too dire to ignore, you need do nothing else but listen, observe and learn everything you can." 

 

Grist glances at the clock within the chamber, as though it held some sort of significance.

 

"I will not mislead you. I am sending you to a pit of vipers. Many in attendance would do you harm simply because you might be a rival. Indeed, such people would certainly kill you if they knew your allegiance to the Ordos.  Your skill and your judgement will determine your success. You have not failed your mistress in the past, and I trust you will offer me the same measure of worth. Do this for me, and you will find me a grateful master, however temporary. Such debts I do not forget. "


Edited by Commissar Molotov, 07 June 2016 - 09:14 AM.

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QUOTE (voi shet magir @ May 31 2011, 05:38 AM) 
That is an unexpectedly strong assertion from a dead person.

#70
Marovian

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This was Grist? Stroud had not really known what to expect, but he had certainly expected to meet an imposing character, and this person in front of them seemed a mere old man. It was only because he knew that he was an Inquisitor that made Stroud wary.

 

The woman with him was a differerent prospect entirely. Her appearance was stern enough, but her icy calm radiated out from her. Stroud didn't doubt that she already held a grudge against all of them. She looked like she woud happily, and very calmly, kill them all.

 

He listened as the inquisitor spoke. The mission seemed simple enough go, observe, report, try not to die horribly. It was the very simplicity of it that concerned him the most. The problem with simple was that it made people lazy, and careless. And with a new team that needed to bed in, careless could get you dead.

 

As Grist described the pit of vipers to him, he inwardly flinched. Grist felt this auction so important that he had gone to the lengths of requesting them to help, but he made it sound like all they had to do was to sit at the back and take notes. As he had already learned, nothing was ever simple when the inquisiton was involved.

 

"My lord inquisitor, we are honoured by your choice of us." It seemed wise to play along, espeially with the shaven woman staring intently. "Are our identities to be assigned to us, or do you wish us to fashion our own? Our group is rather.... disparate."

 

He wondered if anyone else would speak up.



#71
Commissar Molotov

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"I understand you have been residing at the household of Amos Haldane?" Grist nods, almost to himself. "It would be a trivial matter to disguise yourselves as scions of the Haldanes.

 

A private auction of this kind will gather attention from many quarters. Collectors, the idle rich, those interested in xenos-lore and arcana and willing to flirt with forbidden subjects. There will be agents from wealthy combines and emissaries from commercial interests around the sector. There may be other Rogue Traders, keen to pick at the bones of their fallen kin, or officials from other Imperial organisations, Ecclesiasts and so forth. To say nothing of those who hide their true nature behind a false face."


Edited by Commissar Molotov, 08 June 2016 - 08:28 AM.

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QUOTE (voi shet magir @ May 31 2011, 05:38 AM) 
That is an unexpectedly strong assertion from a dead person.

#72
Olis

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Brye paled and almost hyperventilated at the sight of Grist's assistant, feeling her own heart palpitate and a prickling, shivery sensation wash over her. She tried to lean against the mantle for support but, disorientated and shocked, her hand missed. Saving herself from certain humiliation, the witch opted to roll with the fall and connected her shoulder to the wall next to the hearth and slid down until she sat with her back braced.

 

After that, she had a hard time concentrating on what the venerable Inquisitor was saying, she heard him use the name Sunder - one which she had heard of in tales intended to scare her as a child - and more or less caught what the mission was but Brye knew her value now lay in standing up again. Whatever this was, whoever the assistant was, the witch needed to endure. This was the Inquisition in the flesh and she did not want to be found wanting. Before Grist finished speaking, Brye was upright again although she felt like some sort of pox had a hold of her. The poker lay where she left it.

 

Still struggling to breathe normally, Brye listened to Stroud take the lead. The Inquisitor made it sound easy. Impersonate the Haldanes. No problem. She ran a hand over her clammy forehead, through her hair and attempted to appear cool and collected. How much of that had the Inquisitor noticed, she wondered. All of it, probably.


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#73
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Astelan hadn’t known what he expected, but a man who looked like one of the eldest scribes from his data-hive row was not it.  Astelan had been in the Inquisition long enough to know that there were many ways to fight the enemies of the Imperium.  The armies and ships of the God-Emperor were just the most obvious and blunt examples.  He had learned that keen observation, data-analysis, and the power of the quill were equally powerful weapons.  He could only assume that Grist was adept at wielding both. 

 

As he documented the man’s words on his data-slate, Astelan once again wondered about the wages of service in the Inquisition.  They had left Grist a quivering, physical wreck.  In his 6 months he had seen the servants of the Inquisition injured, beaten, tortured, imprisoned, exiled, and even killed.  For even for the highest in the service of the Holy Ordos, the price of the Higher Call was steep. 

 

As Grist detailed the assignment, he Scribe’s mood did not improve.  His brush with the Grey-skinned tome, the Vinculist’s wicked implants, and their drugs made of human essence; he had seen quite enough heresy for one scribe’s lifetime.  To add in the fact that everyone there would kill them in a heartbeat if they knew who they were, and things seemed to be even worse. 

 

As Inquisitor Grist and Prime Acolyte Stroud discussed covers, he recalled the roles they played with the True.  Lt. Lemuel Hinds had posed as a noble while Stroud himself disguised himself as a lowly servant.  Who would pose as the Scion of House Haldane in this mission?  Astelan couldn’t help suppress a frown as his mind immediately summoned an image of Reeves as the scion of House Haldane.     



#74
Noctus Cornix

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There were several things that 6-72 observed about the Inquisitor, hanging on his every word and recording it to be saved for storage. Eyes observed his physical appearance, three eyes... The first upon its brow, the other two whirring lenses of X that seemed to hover closer to the Inquisitor for a better look. It examined the man, discerning his age and medical condition as best as possible. His activity despite apparent age and structural instability was a remarkable feat without any apparent surgical or bionic enhancements. It was not an uncommon trait for those of great willpower, but that did not diminish the grandeur of the Inquisitor's disposition. 

 

The Acolye, the woman was only offered a cursory glance, finding nothing unique of her but only a lingering.. discomfort. A dissatisfaction perhaps? With no apparent reason to claim at the time, Yunxian simply dismissed the female for the far more intriguing subjects. The servitors. Though fit only for manual labor these constructs were of most exquisite design, fine craftsmanship in both mechanical and surgical design. For the first time the Tech-Priest moved out of singular interest, stepping towards the servitors, Servo-skull X hovering in for its own curious look as they scanned the servants with great interest. 

 

"Observation: Servitors musculature and bone structure does not meet to standard construct of natural growth. Hypothesis: Musculature was vat-grown? Addendum: Gene-bred slaves?"

 

The Tech Priest turned now, mask directed towards the Inquisitor. 

 

"Query: Where did these Servitors receive reclamation process?... Notation: Access to artificial organ template construct would be..... advantageous."



#75
Commissar Molotov

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"A keen eye indeed, Chirurgeon." Grist acknowledges Yunxian, one of his hands making a sign that she will recognise as the cog-wheel. "At my age, and in my condition, I do need assistance to carry out my duties to the Throne. The Mechanicus granted me this boon in a gesture of friendship and in recognition of favours returned." He coughs, again.

 

"With that said, I tend to prefer those with greater wit and intelligence." He looks to you all.  "Now, are there any further questions before you return to your lodgings?"


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QUOTE (voi shet magir @ May 31 2011, 05:38 AM) 
That is an unexpectedly strong assertion from a dead person.





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