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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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#126
The Psycho

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Warp travel. It wasn't that Wyl particularly disliked Warp travel, it was just another of the various resources accessible to the Imperium, even if it did feel completely and utterly unnatural and with the plethora of dangers associated with it, but he didn't particularly enjoy it either, for the selfsame reasons. In this case, it was necessary, and that was all that really mattered to Wyl.

He had packed light, of course. He always did. A single small case and a simple rucksack held all his essentials -- in the case, his weapons, in the sack, everything else. Anything else he kept on his person.

The journey began just as any other Warp jump did, with a lurch, a sickening transition into something strange and otherworldy. It was after that things began to get interesting.

***

Sitting in a hard wooden chair at the impromptu meeting, Wyl thought about what Reeve had said before they set out.

A cover name was always difficult. At once one must have a name suitable to one's part, but not so much that it was noticable, and disassociated with one's true identity. Wyl had given it some thought in the time since Reeve had given him this task, and so he spoke.

"Cain. Salvador Cain. That'll be my name now."

On board the ship, Wyl will share any of the details present in his character sheet, with certain exceptions.

He will not discuss the details of his past before becoming a bounty hunter and he will not share in any detail the reasons for carrying his mementoes. He will also not share any details of his faith in the Emperor should either Maraxus or Zarkov ask him.

Edited by The Psycho, 27 June 2016 - 02:28 PM.

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#127
Commissar Molotov

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Astelan looks uncomfortable under Reeve's question, looking left and right as though for an escape. 

 

It is Zarkov, though, who comes to the Scribe's help. 

 

"It's not that he won't speak. He can't." 

 

He gestures at Astelan.

 

"His tongue was taken from him as payment for secrets he should not have learnt. He, of all of us, knows the consequences of a careless word. We can trust him."


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

#128
Marovian

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Reeve certainly had a point regarding the identities, they would need to live and breath them, no careless slips allowed. Being a body guard would not be too tricky he supposed, he wouldn't have to talk much.

 

"I shall take the identity of Lifeguard Soloman Redane." It sounded unfamiliar but would have to fit, become natural.

 

"The invite to the meal is a troubling one, but I believe it will be a good test. If Miss Haldane would like to decide who to take perhaps we can repspond to the invite. Byre?"



#129
Dosjetka

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Truth be told, Maraxus was glad to leave House Heldane. Their host had shown great care for his guests and that was not lost on the Witchfinder. It was more because life on the road was how he had lived for the past two decades and he was keen to revert to his old ways, as much as this was possible while under the employ of the Inquisition.

Eustasius had forgotten about the month-long travel under the Warp and was immediately more reluctant once he set his sight on the lighter that would take them into orbit. As vital as Warp travel was to the proper functioning of the Imperium, Maraxus had never grown used to this method of travel, despite having been forced to use it multiple times in the past. He had even wondered if any sane person could actually grow used to such a thing.
The man understood that without it, His armies would not be able to defend the borders of His empire that stretched across the stars and His domain would fall to the foul beasts that lurked among the stars or behind the thin curtain between reality and the Immaterium. This did nothing to reassure the man: plunging into the Warp was like jumping into a writhing sea of insanity with no guarantee that one would emerge from. He had heard the stories of ships torn apart by daemonic beasts or blown off course and re-emerging countless systems away from their original destination. Uttering a prayer to the Emperor to grant them safe passage to Arcturus, Maraxus took his place alongside his companions in the lighter.

* * * * *

Waiting for the Sirius to plunge into the Warp was almost unbearable. To calm his nerves, Maraxus went straight to his appointed room and locked the door. Stripping down to his breeches, the Witchfinder made space in the middle of the room and sat cross-legged. He placed his symbol of faith in front of him and closed his eyes, slowly reciting various psalms and litanies in a low but audible voice.
When the shuddering reached Maraxus, it turned his stomach upside down and shattered his stream of votive mantras. He slowed his rapidly increasing breathing and attempted to resume his illuminations but failed. Sweat welled from his pores and poured down his brow, neck, chest, back, and arms. He had difficulty breathing. By now, without realising it, he was screaming his prayers which were all but drowned out by the wail of the sirens.

As abruptly as they had erupted into their wailing, the sirens fell silent and the vibrations that coursed the ship ceased. It was then that the Witchfinder realised that he had been shouting and quickly lowered his voice, maintaining a steady flow of words for another half hour, ignoring the quiet knocks on his cabin door.

* * * * *

Eustasius knocked firmly on the cabin door. He had washed his body in cold water and oiled his mechanical limb, blessing it in the process with holy water sourced from the Shrine World where he had started his training four decades ago. Dressed in his breeches and light shirt, over which he wore a simple cream-coloured robe, he stood patiently, tall and broad, in front of the Mechanicus adepts' cabin. Now was the time to finally try and expunge the fault that hid within the circuitry of his bionic arm. Having endured its whimsical nature for too long, he realised that taking advantage of the presence of the Techpriest was a priority.

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#130
Noctus Cornix

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Time passed as the Witchfinder's knocked receded from a distant echo, an eerily quiet period with no sound or notice of response to the rap of knuckles against the metallic door. And, without so much as a shuffle from behind that door, it opened with a pressurized hiss as the automated system slid to one side, but the Tech-Priest was not there to greet Maraxus. 

 

A skull greeted the man, floating on small anti-grav systems wired into the spinal cord of iron and cables dangling from the bleached bone. It stared at the man passively, optical lenses whirring into focus upon his face. After a moment, it spoke, a disembodied voice broadcast through a linked vox unit that spoke with the same androgynous voice as the Chirurgeon that dwelled within the cabin. 

 

Facial Recognition.... Confirmed: Subject Eustasius Maraxus. Passage... Granted.. Enter. 

 

Without another word the Servoskull receded back into the dimly-lit cabin, allowing the man to enter at his whim, only for the door to seal behind him.

 

Yunxian was home... or perhaps as close to home as one could hope for over these past years of isolation. To dwell within the underhive for years, among the abandoned and unwanted.. to dwell within even the husk of an engorged freighter vessel was to be at peace... 'Home' was to those of the Mechanicum not as so static a concept of dwelling as it was to regular citizens of the Imperium. To be amidst the wonders of technology, cradled within the womb of the Omnissiah's most holy creations was to be held in the arms of the Omnissiah itself. That was home... 

 

In the seclusion of its cabin chambers, Yunxian 6-72 had removed its ragged robes and hefty overcoat, all sentiments of 'mortal' modesty discarded. It remained on the floor, bionic legs crossed with numerous cables and tubing hooked directly into exposed sockets and systems of the vessel.. Some rudimentary plugs to insert for basic machinery.. others needed to be revealed by dismantling a few plates. There was something akin to the chirurgeon's look, a withered husk that looked all but dead, motionless in a posture of serenity like an ancient priest of Terra past that followed the creed of Harmony and Enlightenment. 6-72 had wired itself to the ship, not to such a level as one might with the vaunted MUI cabling systems... It could not commune with the Mighty Vessel, but it could bask in its presence, skirt the sea of current energy, feel the rhythmic pulse of the plasma generators within the throb of its own organic heart... The Machine Spirit was ancient, docile and gentle as some great sea creature that waded beautifully through the sea of souls. This was not some ancient indomitable spirit of a mighty war vessel, but even a Freighter contained a simplistic wonder in its own right... a simple and benevolent nature that Yunxian felt some kinship to...

 

It spilled away from union with the Machine Spirit for a moment, the single eye lens fixtured to its forehead stirring from hibernation with a red glow. Naked as it was, there was no need for modesty... The corpse of withered flesh and extensive bionics bore nothing that might normally require common notions of censorship. Its sightless gaze turned to Maraxus, staring at the man with empty sockets that bore no kindness nor scorn... though perhaps there seemed to be some genuine hint of warmth in that utterly lifeless crackle on the vox-unit built into the chirurgeon's throat. 

 

"Greeting: Welcome, Subject Eustasius Maraxus. Query: What is it that you require?" 


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#131
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Brye looked around. Who would she take along to the banquet? Technically, Reeve's character was an undesirable. A dealer of drugs. A noble lady would be better off seen without his company at a formal dinner. That, of course, ruled out Munny too what with him being the hired thug 'Salvador' to Reeve's 'Javi'. If Zarkov was being held in reserve, he couldn't go, seeing as he had no alter ego. And what of Yunxian? Thalia Haldane did not need her chirurgeon all day, every day...
 
"I think that you, the Witch Hunter and the Scribe should go as Thalia's entourage. That way we can keep things simple and not have to worry too much about remembering everyone's alias straight away. That leaves Reeve, Munny, the Tech-Priest and Zarkov to work on other matters. Two parties of four." She said to Stroud. "Working as two teams of four would cover our backs better, I suppose."


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#132
Commissar Molotov

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It seems strange to say that you have been in the warp for several hours. The ship seems to creak and groan around you disconcertingly. To think that you have to spend several more weeks of this is worrying enough. 

 

Your party is greeted by a crew member, who escorts you to the Sirius's Banquet Hall and her master. As you approach, a gilded servitor acknowledges your presence and pushes open the great double-doors. The Servitor itself is far grander than any you have seen before, and yet the metalwork seems tarnished, the skin grey and blemished with age. You find yourselves in a grand chamber, a chandelier of electro-candles casting a glittering luminescence. Works of art, including paintings, tapestries and sculptures atop pedestals line the walls. The centrepiece of the room is the banquet table, carved from some manner of amber-coloured wood, streaked with dark lines like a sabre-toothed felid's coat. Each of the table's legs end in an elaborately carved lion's foot. Around the room, there are many other, smaller tables, each adorned with dishes and decanters of their own. There are a number of guests, distributed in clusters across the room, surrounded by a satellite retinue of retainers, valets and ladies-in-waiting.


Edited by Commissar Molotov, 01 July 2016 - 06:27 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.

#133
JackDaw

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"Well, that's grand. Run along and have fun at the captains table Lady Haldane. Do try and keep in character, there's a good girl. Everyone else, names. Always the names. I'm for bed, drink, cards and possibly women. Not necessarily in that order."

 

 

*****

 

 

Reeve will be spending the first week or so of the voyage exploring the ship as much as he can - namely looking for the mess halls and illegal speakeasies that may or may not exist and attempting to inveigle himself into any black marketeering or similar that maybe taking place on the ship, while also keeping an eye and ear out for any gossip or whispers about passengers of note or their destination. More than likely, Munny will be with him, but not all the time if theres something else he wants to do.

 

He'll also be holding court in the drawing room of the quarters they've been assigned every third day or so, happy to play various card games with anyone who wants to, sharing drinks and offering advice/critique on how everyone is playing their roles and running cons in general.

Other than a slight haunted look, he will be surprisingly garrulous - though still fairly mocking and cynical - and reasonably open to talking about his past as a conman/petty criminal and in the Guard.

 

He wont divulge that he was in a Penal Legion, nor go into detail regarding any particular combat experiences or the horrors of what he may or may nor have seen. Anyone keeping a close eye on him might note that by the mid point of the third week, he has developed a slight manic edge and may be indulging in drink and minor narcotics a little more than may be healthy - this is due to insomnia caused by the warp travel, which he does not cope with well based on his experiences in the Penal Legions. If pressed, he will get defensive, evasive and potentially a little nasty.



#134
Marovian

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He had to hand it to Byre, her decision making was faultless and swift. Splitting the team would enable things to get done whilst their cover story was tested. At least if the banquet was a bad idea, they would have numbers to fall back on.

 

Stroud returned to his room, and from the various items that had been acquired for the journey, he dressed as smart and as proud as a lifeguard would. One item he didn't have to worry about was he sword. It was ornate enough to go with any noble entourage, and he figured that any high born noble's guard would openly carry something as decorative as Lord Haldane's sword, designed to send a statement that their ward was always protected.

 

 

 

 

Dressed and ready to go, he joined the others. Led to the largest room he had yet encountered on the ship by a gilded yet faded servitor, Stroud had to admit he was impressed. He knew the role of a ship's captain was much more than to simply guide the ship, but this was something else. The room was huge and grand, the decorations all designed to wow and over-awe. It was incredibly impressive, even for a non-descript transport. Stroud could only begin to imagine what a similiar room would look like on a liner or a navy flagship. 

 

This room was a statement of how much the captain was in charge, how important he was and also a way for the hierachy of a planet to be recreated in miniature aboard the ship. Being on a transport was no barrier to execrising one's wealth and importance.  He suspected that the lay out of the tables, and where you were seated, was designed to say a lot more about you than merely who was served first. He easily imagined that during the journey there would be much jostling to be moved to the best tables.

 

He stood and waited for the first person to come and talk to the. Now it would be make or break for them, and it all rested on Byre's shoulder's. 



#135
The Psycho

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After the meaning, the group dispersed. Brye, Astelan, Stroud, and Maraxus went to their chambers to, Wyl assumed, prepare for the captain's dinner, Yunxian went off to do whatever Tech-Priests did in their off hours, and Reeve slipped away with little fanfare. Wyl thought he heard him say something about "practicing his sales pitch to underdeck sailors," but he couldn't be certain. That left Wyl alone with the priest, Zarkov.

 

Wyl wasn't a huge fan of priests, personally, but he had to admit Zarkov was not the worst he'd ever met.  Not a soft man exactly, but not like the blazing fanatics who ranted of fire and brimstone in the Hyaedes underhives. There was a pitcher of some sort of beverage in the room where they had met, some variety of amasec most likely, and Wyl watched the father walk over to the pitcher, take a glass, and pour himself a finger or two of the drink. He then offered the pitcher to Wyl, who accepted it and poured himself a glass.

 

Supposing he would be stuck with the father for some time before the others returned, Wyl decided to initiate a conversation with the man. It would be a way of passing the time, and it would be just as well to learn more of his companions of the cell. Clearing his throat, he spoke.

 

"So, Father, how did you come to be recruited by the Lady and the Inquisition anyways? I know a few of the others' tales already, but yours is one I have not yet heard."


"Gotta have opposites - dark and light, light and dark - in painting. It's like in life. Gotta have a little sadness once in a while so you know when the good times come. I'm waiting on the good times now."

 

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#136
Easy E

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Well, this was not what Astelan expected at all.  The scribe paused and looked around the room for a moment, and hoped he didn't look slack-jawed.  He had been in House Haldane for many months and surrounded by luxury.  However, House Haldane was much less interested in gaudy babbles and looked down right spartan and dour compared to the Captain's Table.  The smell of fine foods made his stomach grumble and his mouth water. 

 

He had always assumed starships to be cramped, oily, smelly places.  This was none of those things.  He glanced down at his robes, and suddenly wished he had something more.... becoming.   

 

He waited for Sanctioned Psyker Hagsworth.... ah.... Lady Thalia Haldaen to more forward.  He stayed respectfully to her and her Life-guard's back.  He reminded himself that he was not her equal.  He kept his eyes down, his ears open, and fine velum paper in hand, ready to write.  He tried to stay close enough to be attentive, but far enough away to be clearly subservient.  It was surprisingly easy for him to adopt such an attitude.  The habits of a lifetime in the Admin-hive were not easily forgotten.


Edited by Easy E, 08 July 2016 - 03:00 PM.

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#137
Olis

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Brye fidgeted in the sombre, black dress. Between the time the cell held their meeting and now, she had spent enough of it to craft how she would appear to the other passengers and commander of the vessel. She grabbed the fabric, likely silk by its sheen and softness, and wriggled it up as far as it would allow while the rest of it stayed put. She again cursed Thalia, the real Thalia, for being younger and slighter than herself. The dress now bunched in all the wrong places. She had to sigh.

 

Previously unmoving after Brye had been fully clothed, the servitor approached once again. The witch had learned by now not to move - briefly and not too gently, the servitor adjusted the dress to sit right once again. This time, Brye would leave it alone. She looked in the mirror again, checking her carefully prepared appearance. Mimicking the current fashion on Hyades, her hair had curls in it for now - a necessity, nothing less. Rouge sat lightly on her cheeks, carmine paint - rich enough to be practically black from depth of shade - coloured her lips, and a silver necklace inlaid with small Topaz stones accentuated her neck. All of this courtesy of the withered, skeletal servitor.

 

Brye marvelled at the complexity of tasks that had been programmed into the thing, it seemed that this particular specimen was not strictly monotask. The witch regarded the strangely loyal drone, listening to it breathe. It's head was mostly covered in bionics, but the eyes were still flesh. Although they were understandably vacant, there was a lingering hint of resignation that Brye had to tell herself she was imagining. They say that eyes were windows to the soul. Brye wasn't sure who "they" were but it seemed like a fairly universal phrase. A pang of empathy welled up, only to be quashed when the memory of who servitors used to be dawned upon her. Criminals. Radicals. Scum. 

 

And yet she would not let the thing remain neglected. She would talk with Yunxian after the dinner, see if the tech-head could improve it's condition. A noble lady expected the best, even from her lowest minions. Minions? She raised an eyebrow and smirked. Maybe she was letting her assumed character do more thinking than she was prepared for! 

 

Refocusing back on the mirror, Brye practiced her idea of how a noble held herself. Chin up, slight pout, feigned disinterest. Good. Just like the dowagers she stole from back on Nova Talia when she was a juve. When she left her cabin, Brye noticed that the others had already assembled, barring Stroud who shortly joined them. The witch shared a look between them when they were greeted by the crewmember. This was it. Time to prove her worth. 

 

Walking to the Banquet Hall, a mercifully short journey, Brye took the opportunity to glance at Stoud/Redane, noting his gait and his left hand resting on the pommel of his sword as he walked. So relaxed and yet so... professional. She wouldn't have to worry about Stroud keeping up appearances. With Astelan/Oliander and Eustasias/Confessor following behind, Brye stayed in character and strode onwards through the grand double-doors, barely even glancing at the gilded servitor as she passed.

 

Inside the Hall, it took a great effort for the witch not to marvel at the decorations. Not quite as refined as the Haldane Household but leagues above what she was used to, nonetheless. The crystal decanters alone would have been entirely worth stealing in her previous life. The murmur of high-borns and their people softly droned away, punctuated with laughter and various exclamations.

 

Over there, a group of off world merchants competed for the attention of a demure beauty. It wasn't the girl that caught Brye's attention, though - her minder was staring directly at Stroud. Time to wander. Toward the Captain, evident not least by his raucous laugh, stood another group of four led by a rakish man dressed in Naval garb. Equally eclectic and equally outside of the social circles that had developed already on the Sirius. A courteous, if stiff nod garnered one in kind. The Captain himself looked over to where the rake had inclined his head. 

 

"Ah! Lady Haldane! Join us!" 

 

Feigned disinterest. Chin up...  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#138
Commissar Molotov

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Wyl Munny and Father Zarkov: 
 
"When I served in the Imperial Guard, I saw many monsters. But perhaps the worst was a Commissar. Golsken Hresk was his name. Beneath the brim of his cap, his eyes were like chips of ice. He took sadistic pleasure in enforcing order."
 
The Priest swirls the liquor around in its glass. 
 
"All the way through the campaign, I fought as hard as the soldiers next to me. And with faith in their hearts and a prayer on their lips, they went to their deaths willingly. But somewhere along the line, as I was holding a Guardsman's insides in his stomach, I realised I couldn't do it any more. I couldn't force them to fight. Hresk ordered me to give a sermon to a platoon of shell-shocked conscripts encouraging them to spend their lives fruitlessly. And when I refused, I was put in front of a firing squad." 
 
Clearly, it didn't work.  
 
"I am faithful, of course. But the Emperor Himself isn't going to descend from his Golden Throne and save us. We have to do it for ourselves."
 
 
Brye, Artemis, and Astelan:
 
You are welcomed with courtesy by Captain Sarvus Thornhallow, an exuberant man of expansive waist and character. He is gregarious and welcoming to his new guests, asking after your health and well-being, particularly with warp travel.  
 
"Our Navigator has passed word that this journey has been a difficult one," he admits. "Throne alone knows that what he can see in the Immaterium, but he believes the warp itself is unsettled." He is sensitive to your conditions, offering you food to try to ease your discomfort.
 
The Captain is keen to talk about the Sirius and its history and purpose. He is no Rogue Trader; rather, he operates under a trader's charter. The greater holds of the vessel are, it turns out, full of bodies. His vessel conveys those who can afford to have their bodies transported to the mortuary-world of Vigil. It is a noble pursuit - if not particularly glamorous - and the nobles within the chamber nod and murmur appreciatively at his efforts. 
 
"But with the news of the Sunder Auction, a diversion is not out of the question. Besides, there are those across the sector who wish to pay tribute on Arcturus."
 
 
Reeve:
After some time spent exploring the Sirius, you find yourself among open market spaces, where crew members come to relax, trade and drink. Here, the ceilings of the chambers are lost amidst shadow, mist and tangles of steel wire and heavy cablings. The chamber is given over to a huge open market. The roar of voices echoes across the room as thousands of individuals push past one another in a huge crowd, surveying the good offered at stalls and haphazard shop fronts. A tangle of freestanding structures erected from scrap metal and flakboard are built atop one another, rising almost to the ceiling. Gantries, ladders, and rope bridges connect the many entrances and plaforms. 

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

#139
The Psycho

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"We've all seen war, father. You can't avoid it in His empire. Ever since the days He walked, in those ancient days of the Great Crusade, we've fought His wars."

 

Munny stared as his drink.

 

"I grew up in a good home, the youngest of six brothers. My mother died when giving birth to me: I never knew her. My father was a good man, a pious man, devoted equally to the Emperor and his sons. He knew his duty to the Imperium, and he worked hard because of that, and after a time, he was rewarded for that. All of his sons eligible to join the Guard were granted commissions, and sent to different Scholams of the Militarum, and eventually to one of a thousand different fronts in the Imperium.

 

"I was a weak child. Bedridden for most of my young life, my father was always busy. We weren't a great family or a wealthy one, like the Haldanes, so we had no household staff, no servitors or anything like that. My brothers raised me. They talked to me, taught me, played regicide with me. They were the only family or friends I had. When they were taken away, I was alone. It was only me and my father from then on, and he was busy.

 

"In a way, it was a blessing of sorts. With no one to take care of me, I was forced to go out and face the world. It made me grow up and become a man. The details are unimportant, but I regained my health and strength, and eventually enlisted in the Guard, under an assumed name. If they had known my real name, the one I got from my father, they would have sent me off to those same Scholams that my brothers went to, and given me a position of leadership. I am many things, but I'm not a leader, and I wanted to begin my service to the Emperor as soon as I could -- the lesson of duty was one that my father had always impressed very strongly upon his sons. That's how my story began, at any rate.

 

"You are a man of faith, Father Zarkov. I am a man of duty, my duty to the Emperor. It's a burden we must all bear. Part of that is to protect his Imperium, and to protect the men and women who make it. As you said, it's ours to save ourselves."


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#140
Marovian

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The captain was a huge and looming presence at the table, in every way. From his figure Stroud guessed that transpoting bodies around for years on end didn't require much physical effort, and it certainly seemed that it left plety of time for eating and drinking. 

 

Taking his seat at the table, he had to be admit to himself he was nervous. As a bodyguard, his cover meant he could have little impact on the meal ahead, it all rested on Byre's shoulders. He hoped she was up to the task. Stroud would have little to say unless directly engaged by another guest, and even then his opinion would have to be measured and reserved. As a bodyguard, he could not be flamboyant on opionated.

 

The food being bought out was luxurious, and had he not spent so many weeks at the Haldane's Stroud would have been over-awed by the sheer scale of it all. Even with all those weeks behind him, he could sill appreciate that what they were being served was more than most people would ever get to experience.

 

The captain was talking on and on about the role of his ship, extolling the virtues of his daily work. Stroud was listening and trying to take in what small points were relevant. At the same time he scanned the assembled nobles. Who was on their way to the auction? Who were simpy genuine rich people on their way to spend thier money? He found it hard to believe that everyone here was exactly who they purpoerted to be. If the inquisition saw fit to send undercover agents to the auction, then Stroud would bet everything he had that others had doen the same. But who?


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#141
Commissar Molotov

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Zarkov and Munny:

The Priest nods. "Well said, Mr Munny."  He nods again, as though to absorb the information he has been given. "As age overtakes me, I begin to wonder about the things we do to ourselves, and to one another. Faith is the most powerful weapon in the Imperium's arsenal. But it is a blunt weapon. A weapon that, in the hands of dangerous men, can do dangerous things." 

 

Zarkov stands, taking a few moments to explore the furniture within the stateroom. It isn't long before he returns, bringing back a polished board and a small box of carved figures. 

 

"So..." a smile. "Regicide?" 

 

 

Brye, Stroud, Astelan:

 

Once the Captain mentions the Sunder Dynasty, it is as though a firecracker has been thrown into the room. A nobleman by the name of Lord Gaben takes great delight in supernatural stories of warp-wraiths, of the tortured spirit of Ezekiel Sunder drifting through the warp. His wives and moan at the grisly details, but the lord simply laughs. Their attendants - mutants, as is the custom of Arphistans - stare mutely as they are surrounded by their betters. 

 

Lord Gaben also takes delight in announcing he is attending the Sunders' auction. The conversation turns to the items said to be on offer at the auction. The Sunders owned many holdings across the sector, and rumours talk of the wealth of kings being on offer. 

 

"And you, Lady Haldane?" Captain Thornhallow asks Brye. "What are your plans on Arcturus?" 


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

#142
Dosjetka

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The door hissed open and waiting for Eustasius was a leering servo-skull, hovering at the same height as his own head. While half the skull was covered in all sorts of optical lenses, wires, and other instruments that the Witchfinder could not identify, the other half was pure bone. The soft hum seemed to be the only sound emanating from the Techpriest's dimly-lit cabin. As the servo-skull acknowledged his presence and retreated into some dark corner, Maraxus stepped into the room, door hissing shut behind him as soon as he was a safe distance away.

 

The sight of Yunxian sitting cross-legged on the floor like some abandoned husk of human flesh and metal was unsettling and felt uncharacteristic for a member of the Martian Tech-cult. How could such a state of decay be acceptable for the Mechanicus' exacting standards and eternal quest for perfection? He noticed a single optical lens' glow increase in intensity as he approached, which Maraxus assumed meant that he had woken the Techpriest up or disturbed it in the middle of some sort of meditation.

 

The Witchfinder made a short, respectful bow towards the sitting figure before greeting it.

 

"Apologies for the unannounced interruption, scion of Mars. I require help with something that is beyond my knowledge. My metallic arm is having issues and I would appreciate you looking into what could be causing these... seizures."

 

Pulling back the sleeve of his pale robe, he revealed the bionic limb to the Techpriest.


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#143
Olis

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As Lord Gaben simpered and postured and regaled, Brye, more than once, rolled her eyes. Little Thalia found this oaf insufferable. Or that was what she told herself. The last time she did it, one of the wives scowled having clearly caught the witch maligning her beloved. Other nobles, near and not-so-near, blustered or laughed much in the way they always did. She'd seen plenty on her birthworld and yet more so on Terra. 

 

The Rake held his tongue. It was intriguing that he, more than anyone else, appeared to be listening to... what? Not the stories exactly. No. He seemed to be listening to the people themselves. Gauging them. Gauging their words, their content. A crow amongst pigeons, was the favoured phrase of her youth. The room itself, hosting quite a few people, was beginning to feel close. 

 

Brye theatrically demurred at the question from the Captain, raising her hand and opening her mouth as if to speak. She allowed herself to titter over a smile, keeping up the fa├žade even as she dreaded how unlike her it sounded. It skirted close to sounding fake. So be it. Improvise. The witch dropped the smile in a heartbeat. 

 

"I do hope, Captain, that you're only being nosy." She sniffed and sipped her wine. Her words came out a lot colder than she had intended. When the conversation did not continue and glances were shared, Brye continued on, meeting the Captain's eyes. "But. Who am I to deny my gracious host an answer to his perfectly innocent question." Another sip. Chin still raised. She was acutely aware of her signature palatal click making a return. "I will be attending the auction. For what, though, you shall have to wait and see." 

 

With little left in her glass, Brye beckoned over a servitor for a refill. It tasted like a fairly expensive vintage, the way it glided over her tongue belied its age, the clarity of the liquid and the depth of its hue spoke volumes of the value. Lord Gaben tried to speak but the witch overrode him, earning more baleful looks from his menagerie of wives.

 

"Although, it could be fair to say that most people here will likely dabble in the auction, right?" The Rake watched intently while Gaben and Thornhallow merely tolerated the moment. Brye looked to her bodyman, hoping for a smile or a nod, something along the lines of him putting up with her.

 

She again looked at the Thornhallow, dipping her chin for the first time. "Forgive me, Captain. The warp and the wine affect me so. I become so... ill-humoured..." She deployed a sweet smile. If that didn't pass her off as an arrogant brat, she wasn't sure what would. 


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#144
Easy E

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Astelan tried his best to observe everyone BUT Lord Gaben while still ACTING like he was paying attention to Lord Gaben.  This was made doubly hard because the Scribe was purposefully keeping his gaze towards the ground.  He was relying on periphery vision and the occasional sidelong glance.  Not the best way to observe something, but he had to make due.      

 

In the privacy of his quarters, he would note down Lord Gaben's words and actions, but at the moment he was more interested in the folks who were not full of boast and bluster.  Even though his fingers itched to put his words to parchment, he decided it would be indiscreet to openly record them now.  instead, he waited with eyes cast down, and auto-quills pressed to vellum parchment.      



#145
Noctus Cornix

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In silent repose, the adept of the Martian cult remained, the single optic lens buried into its forehead slowly rotating as it focused on the limb of wiring and metal. Such a parody of life, the sweet, somber grace of the play machine now danced to the tune of life's great spark it would never truly embrace. To seek the union of the flesh and metal was the will of the Omnissiah, but what is it that man must be replaced or remade? This was, perhaps, the chief question that plagued many who walked the path of oneness with the Machine God. 

 

The proximity of the bionic limb made the weathered loadstone tied to the priest's neck quiver just slightly, enough for it to notice the movement of its necklace. Withered fingers of shriveled skin and metallic digits lifted in a slow trace across the limb as soon as it came into proximity, examining the joints and surface mechanisms that could be seen without dismantling the limb entirely. 

 

"Observation: Rudimentary adjustments required. Maintenance poor but diligent. Hypothesis: Possible nervous system realignment required. Potential faulting in manipulator circuitry. Conclusion: Process can be completed without surplus resources or outside assistance."

 

There was a brief pause after this, something that seemed to hang in the air like a cloying mist with the anticipation.

 

"Addendum..."

 

"Query: A service is requested of Subject: Maraxus in exchange for repairs..." 

 







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