The archives of Inquisitor Hector Grammun, collected from a variety of sources. Anything not covered by the texts contained within will be answered by one of my acolytes.
Dramatis Personae: Rogue Trader Gant Magnus
"It looks to me like they’re burning, lads! Grab your weapons and prepare to board!"
The ill-fated Bravitovich Consilium Rebellion wracked the distant Vagus Sector in the late years of the third century of M41, when six pirate captains captured the sector capitol. They assassinated the planetary governor and declared the planet independent from the Imperium and themselves rules of the new sovereign state. Their petty efforts lasted only three years (during which war raged across the planet as order dissolved due to lack of Imperial organizations) before an Imperial Navy Fleet blew the pirate captains’ blockade out of orbit. Some historians are amazed as to how efficiently the rogues were destroyed; the official stance is simply that the Imperial Navy acted with His will behind their efforts.
The truth is, of course, not so pretty. One of the pirate captains was a grand deal more pragmatic than his peers; he saw their world falling into civil war and knew the Imperial Navy could not be far away. He secretly approached the Inquisition with a deal: grant him a Pardon, and he would give them inside information that would later prove vital to destroying the rebels. That captain was Viktor Magnus.
Viktor Magnus was granted official sanction as a privateer after the destruction of his former peers, and his bloodline granted legitimacy with a Warrant of Trade. His frigate, the Cobra-class destroyer Fortune’s Hand, has been captained by his descendants ever since. Despite the role Viktor served in helping the Navy in their efforts, those who serve in the Battlefleets have never fully trusted the Magnus line. Few criminals look to kindly upon them, either, seeing the Magnus line and all who serve it as sell-outs and lapdogs. Viktor’s descendants do have one important ally, however; the Inquisition.
The servants of the Holy Ordos have never forgotten the service rendered to them by the captain of Fortune’s Hand, and often charter the ship to provide transport for Inquisitors, Acolytes, and dangerous cargo. The vessel can be trusted with tasks too unconventional for Naval ships or other Rogue Traders, but demand more loyalty than a true criminal could ever guarantee. Whispers are common among the crew that the Inquisition has moles aboard the ship and furnish it with sanctioned technology.
Gant Magnus is the current captain of Fortune’s Hand and holds the bloodline’s Warrant of Trade. He is a man of ambition who enjoys toeing the line between legality and crime. The life of a privateer suits him well, and he’s bloodthirsty in the pursuit of those the Inquisition tells him to destroy, often leading boarding parties with a savage grin on his face. Those who meet him find him a charming man, though disarmingly discontent with Imperial Creed or authority. He’s a shrewd businessman, eager to grow his fortune and fleet, and often takes to retrofitting the ships he attacks and captaining them with those he trusts most. So far, his fleet has grown to include two vessels, the Loki-class Word of Drusus and Claymore-class Call for Retribution.
The captain seems to relish conflict with xenos pirates, seemingly reveling in the chance to prove his mettle against enemies that frighten any sensible voidsman. He takes to his task with no hatred, only a sense of warrior’s honor and the desire to assert his dominance over any foe. Only one enemy sets his blood boiling, the infamous reaver Blood-Eye Jericho. Gant once had a contract to kill Jericho, but rushed into the engagement and was ambushed by the reaver’s allies in hiding. While the Fortune’s Hand survived the battle, Jericho escaped and has since returned to his vile ways. Gant keeps an ear to the ground in every port about sightings of the reaver and has an agreement with a number of Inquisitors to report rumors of his whereabouts.
Magnus Gant is a strong ally of the Inquisition, capable of ferrying Acolytes, Inquisitors, and cargo wherever needed on short notice. His growing fleet can also serve as valuable muscle for any Inquisitor who makes it worth his while. Gant is a steadfast ally of the Inquisition, trusted with things few others outside the Holy Ordos would. His lack of conformity with the Ecclesiarchy puts off a number of Puritans, but his value cannot be understated.
Dramatis Personae: Sophia Stubjack
"Which is better? Well, that depends on what you want. I’ve got guns that’ll shoots lots of tiny bullets, and guns that’ll shoot one really big bullet. How much? I think we’ll talk about that in the next room…"
Sophia Stubjack (original surname unknown) is a minor renegade, wanted by the Adeptus Mechanicus. She was a lowly Enginseer from Gunmetal City on Scintilla, but decided she had a better shot at making a decent fortune going rogue. She’s been a travelling merchant ever since, peddling illegal guns to anyone who can track her down. The Mechanicus doesn’t consider her important enough to track down, and the Arbites have never been able to find her. This is in no small part to the Inquisition’s meddling; she provides easy access to weapons for Acolytes in the field with plausible deniability.
Stubjack has limited access to any advanced weaponry; plasma and melta are beyond her ability to produce. However, most other patterns of firearm are well known to her, and accessible at discount prices. She’s happy to undercut the market standard due to a desire to “stick it to those righteous rust-heads with a monopoly on all this.”
The arms dealer has been seen all over Scintilla - Hive Tarsus, Hive Sibellus, Ambulon, and Gunmetal City all host her regularly enough for her to be a known name - and she has a warm reputation. No gang claims her, and she keeps no allies other than a mute servitor that stands guard with her at all times. Some believe she has access to a void-capable aircraft, though this has never been proven.
On the Categorization of the Witch
From a document prepared by Witch Hunter Herman Hexen, given to the members of his retinue and all of his acolytes. Many others have adopted it as a basic reference document.
To combat the witch, one must first understand it. Psychic abilities are granted by a genetic mutation, allowing an individual to tap into the fabric of the Warp through force of will. Such action is dangerous to one’s soul and sanity, and allows the risk of daemonic possession in extreme cases.
The potency of psykers is not uniform; their genetics determine their power. Those with these abilities are capable of roughly gauging another’s power, but those without have little warning as to just what they are dealing with. Many are limited by their lack of training or weak genetics, and can only manifest simple tricks. A dangerous few are capable of much more. I have seen battle tanks thrown through the air like a child’s toys, and the minds of men shattered like brittle sticks.
Those psykers used in the Imperium of Man are not so fragile. The Black Ships travel long routes across the stars, collecting those with the mutation from every world. These men and women are then tested for their willpower and faith. Those found wanting are never seen again.
For those whose souls are found to be worthy, their journey reaches Holy Terra. Here, one of two fates awaits them:
- Those of weaker psychic power and faith are exposed to the light of the God-Emperor. This incredible deific power burns away their eyes and shackles them to His will. Known as Soul-Binding, these psykers train as Astropaths, and form the backbone of communication between worlds. Astropathic Choirs are found on almost every civilized world, their powers passing information far beyond the range of any vox-caster.
- Those of greater potential endure further tests and trials, designed to weed out all corruption. These tests are not uniform, and many die or suffer intense trauma. However, the process strengthens their defenses against the Warp. These Sanctioned Psykers go on to serve the Imperial Guard, the Inquisition, and a number of other organizations. Those attached to the Guard are known specifically as Primaris Psykers, and are schooled in manifestations of war.
Astropaths have a limited suite of abilities - largely focused on communication, divination, and telekinesis - while Sanctioned Psykers are free to pursue a range of powers, often more dangerous and overt. Astropaths are the weaker of the two, and often consolidate the power of their Choir to project their messages through the void. Sanctioned Psykers are more powerful, but risk more. No psyker is ever truly safe; even the greatest of Astropaths and Sanctionites risk a messy end from Warp overbleed or even the ghastly fate of Daemonic possession should their will ever falter.
A tragic number of psykers slip through the net of the Black Ships, however. Many of these rogues adopt lives of crime to help them through their desperate struggle to survive. Others turn to the worship of the Ruinous Powers or membership in horrific cults to gain mastery of their dark abilities. Without the protection offered by Soul-Binding or Sanctioning, these creatures are ticking time bombs; any one of them could tear open a portal into the Warp on accident and unleash hell on a planet with any use of their powers. All rogue psykers need to be brought to the Black Ships or slain, lest they damn billions.
There exist a variety of psykers that live lives beyond the grace of the God-Emperor.
- Many are simple Wyrds, and are of little threat. They possess only one small power, often using it to make a little money as a street thief or thug. As they can never grow in power, it’s best to put them to the sword.
- The vast majority fall into the broad category of Rogue Psyker, though many just call them Witches. These forsaken souls have all of the power of a full-fledged psyker, but none of the protection. They have the full range of potential and abilities, and are extremely dangerous. Subdue and escort to the Black Ships if possible, kill otherwise; they cannot be allowed to run amok.
- There exists an oddity that defies the natural order; Sorcerers. These forsaken souls lack the psyker gene, but use unhallowed rituals or vile geometries to channel the powers of the Warp. A Sorcerer’s soul is forever tainted; he must burn.
One Trooper’s Tale
“I did my tour on Tranch, with the Siculi 3rd Mechanized. My squad mostly worked a Hellhound - an APC rigged up with a long-range flamer - and did a lot of urban combat. We did a lot of breaching. I worked the flamer on both - in the ‘Hound and on foot, I mean - and we were pretty damn good at it. Small structures were easy to clear out from the road, but when we had to go house to house, I was always on point. Scotty - we called him Scotty with the Shottie, which must sound pretty daft - he’d blow off the lock, and then I filled the room with promethium. We did multiple times a day, almost every day of the week, for just shy of two years. You never went inside, and you never checked first. We had to have burned down a hundred empty houses. I know we burnt innocent people.
You come to hate the twists - mutants, sorry - real quick. They aren’t human anymore, and haven’t been for a long while. Vicious bastards. They’re crafty and mean, like animals. They got Kaige with a tripwire that blew his face full of buckshot when he opened a cellar door. Trips got bumrushed by a suicide bomber - a kid with a grenade in each hand, if you can believe that - and had the poor luck to take a long time to bleed out. Hue snapped under the pressure and ran off into the night; the poor bastard has to be dead now. Throne, I miss him.
The command Chimera took an improvised landmine to the underbelly and turned it into a smoking fireball. Killed a commissar, one of our astropaths, and three officers. A lot of folks got dragged into alleyways or fell into pit traps. Towards the end of my time, the boys with the 29th Artillery stopped caring whether or not they were hitting territory with our men still in it. Plenty of jumpy rookies blew away their pals on accident. One Naval bombardment wiped out a friendly cargo convoy due to shady intel.
We had a few friends out there. 13th Recon saved our asses more than a few times, though we never actually saw them. There were some lovely cogboys attached to us and they seemed to love the ‘Hound the same way we did, said we did her proud. They kept her in one piece, and she kept us in one piece.
Everyone else could go rot for all I care. The 1st Line Infantry were there, the damned Firsters, and they lived up to the stories. Every fight was a last stand with them. Every single one of them was suicidal, couldn’t wait to be a martyr. You know how I feel about the 29th already. There were two or three regiments of Maccabeans. Creepy bastards; it’s all prayers and devotions with them. They never take the masks off. The Penal Legions were the real bastards, though. Command had them all dosed out on Ghostfire pollen. They didn’t get armor. Most of them forgot how to use their lasguns and just used them as clubs, or used knives and their own teeth. They raped and looted and burned and died… I don’t think they’re any different than the mutants. Shoot each and every one of ‘em. Animals.
Tranch is a fucking mess. If my word meant anything - and it doesn’t, nobody in charge ever gives a shit what the grunts think - they’d purge the planet from orbit, wait until it stopped glowing, and bring in a new batch of settlers.The whole place just needs a hard reset. Sure, the papers say we’ve won it, but the damn planet still has plenty of angry mutants. All the war did was piss off the normal people and kill a lot of good Guardsmen.
After the war? Shit, that one’s easy. My assigned retirement was Scintilla. The pension was enough to scrape by on. I lived on an algae farm until I was fifteen, and was a career soldier until I had to get out. I didn’t have any skills they need here. I was shaken up pretty bad by everything, and spent a year not really doing much. I went to church a lot - praying to not sprout a mutation; no joke - and eventually fell in with the Redemptionists.
I love and fear the Emperor as much as anyone should, but I’m no zealot. I just sort of fit, y’know? They handed me a flamer and said “kill mutants.” I can’t think of a job I can do better.
Anyway, they pissed off some gang and got slaughtered a few months after I joined in. I was still new enough that I wasn’t on the books, so no twist kicked in my door and shot me. I’ve mostly done nothing since.
I can hold a gun and follow orders, if that’s what you’re looking for. I don’t break too easy. You’re the type of person that’s seen some horrible shit, I’m sure. I’ve looked some of the worst out there in the eye and stuck a bayonet in its gut. If you can use me, I’m happy to oblige. My old ruck is still packed with the essentials; I could be gone tonight.”
-Trooper Mara Nell (formerly of the Siculi 2nd Mechanized Infantry) to Interrogator Brandt, Ordo Hereticus
"One genestealer sneaks into a load of ore taken aboard a cargo carrier visiting a lonely moon. That voidship travels to a hive world to drop off the ore for processing. When a dock worker opens the cargo container, the genestealer strikes.
The dock worker comes to a short while later, somewhat disoriented and with a headache. He remembers nothing and figures he’s working too hard. He deserves a break; he takes his paycheck to the brothel and spends it well. The whores he inadvertently infects sleeps with dozens more men by the end of the week, who then carry it on to unwitting spouses and other whores.
One genestealer has infected hundreds in just a single month through this progression. The threat is exponential. Within a year, the genestealer will have a sizable cult. Within a few years, the genestealer will act as a beacon for the Hive Mind. The fleet comes soon after.
The population of the world will become biomass to feed the Hive Fleet’s hunger. The crews of battleships will die fighting in orbit. The infantry of the Imperial Guard will die fighting on the ground. The glorious Astartes will lose some of their blessed number fighting the greatest of the beasts. If the tide cannot be turned, then the planet itself will die, purged of life via Exterminatus.
This is why we cannot show mercy in the face of the xenos. Those we spare die because of our folly. If we kill a thousand innocents, it is in the name of the billions we save by catching the monster. If we hold back, one could get through.
One is all it takes.”
-the opening of The Luxury of Mercy, Inquisitor Alfred Helme’s memoirs. Helme dedicated his career to fighting the Tyranid threat, and died by using his own coordinates to aim an orbital strike that bought precious time for the people of Magellan III to evacuate as the Hive Fleet closed in on the capital.
Requests are open
The storms appear to have abated, and we are now open for inquiries once again.
Chaos Artefacts: The Stone Blade
From the personal studies of former Inquisitor Karos Baeror, Ordo Hereticus. Baeror, an avowed Xanthite, was denounced following an investigation that found him guilty of practicing sorcery. Rather than face judgment, Baeror fled, and has yet to be captured. The man maintained an extensive archive of heretical and forbidden lore that could be potentially useful to those who combat the forces of Chaos.
Chaos is not a unified foe.
It is all too easy to lump together those who have forsaken the Imperial Creed as one big mess of heretical rabble. While they share a common foe in the Imperium of Mankind, those who embrace the Chaos are just as easily prone to in-fighting. Rivalries exist among the four major Dark Gods, and even those who worship the same power among the pantheon frequently clash over ideological differences or selfish desire for power. Stranger still are those who pledge themselves any number of lesser powers and individual daemons. There are even fragmentary references (angry secessionists and mad sorcerers are notoriously poor record keepers) to powers of Chaos that oppose from within.
It is from any one of these motivations that the artefact known as the Stone Blade could have arisen from. Many warlords have hunted for it in vain. Legends speak of a weapon - most often a sword, but some speak of an axe or even a polearm - that has the power to permanently destroy a soul and sever the victim from the Warp. For a layman, this has little difference from a mundane weapon; dead is dead, after all, and who cares where the soul goes? Those learned in such things believe that souls whoosh off into the Warp and are devoured by fell creatures or simply dissolve into the maelstrom of the Immaterium. However, this blade could do so much more.
If the Stone Blade functions as described, then it could be used to for a very, very interesting purpose. Daemons, traditionally, cannot be slain; injure them enough and they lose their connection to reality, vanishing back into the Warp into they can escape back into realspace to make a mess of things again. However, if the artefact functions as described, then a daemon could be permanently slain. If this is true, mankind can gain an incredible new tool against the Enemy Beyond! I have just the target in mind.
Few have not heard of the folly of Inquisitor Hyrion Vergolt, he who thought his will stronger than that of a daemon. The foul creature that now inhabits his twisted body is known as Aphoro, the Thrice-Slain. Inquisitor Brandis Maddock has driven his sword deep into the monster’s chest once, a coordinated artillery bombardment ended the creature on another occasion, and the famed psyker Akadia Wrax burned out her mind casting the daemon back into the Warp nearly a decade ago. Each time, the daemonhost has risen again to continue its destruction.
My contacts have located the Stone Blade on a Space Hulk drifting through the outskirts of the system. I go to retrieve it in a week’s time. They describe an ancient, ruined blade, carved of crude stone. If the legends are true, then the device can be awakened from its current inert state with the sacrifice of a powerful soul. Once awakened, the blade becomes molten, but the hilt remains safe to the touch.
Rumors persist of an Eldar grave on a small, ruined world in the furthest reaches of the sector. If the translated myth fragments I’ve found are true, then this is the final resting place of the famed corsair, Umrael, and his ten most loyal brethren. I believe those soulstones could be the power source I need to awaken the Stone Blade.
Akadia’s sacrifice will not be forgotten.
Karos Baeror is still at large, and may well have secured the artefact already. Such a powerful weapon in the hands of one mad heretic is a grave threat to sector security, even if his intentions are good. There have been several unconfirmed sightings of what could be Aphoro the Thrice-Slain as of late.
Dramatis Personae: Inquisitor Votum
"We live, blind to the wonders that surround us. Mankind has conquered the stars and survived more turmoil than mortal minds can fathom. The God-Emperor gave us all this with His first coming; who can imagine the glory that will accompany His second?"
-Inquisitor Votum, in a personal record
Little is known of the man who would become Inquisitor Votum. All records that would speak to his life before his service in the Ordo Hereticus have either been destroyed or conveniently lost. He says nothing about this or most other topics, approaching mute in his dealings with others. What can be pieced together is scarce: Inquisitor Votum evidently spent time as a member of the notorious Moritat death cult, and can be connected to the unsolved murders of no less than six rogue psykers and two major Chaos cult leaders. At some point, an unknown Inquisitor (records have been classified by higher authority than even I can breach) took Votum into his retinue. Votum served alongside this individual for nearly twenty years before he was presented before an inspection committee for signs of heretical taint. It can be assumed that the Inquisitor he served was excommunicated and executed; all of his other acolytes would share the same fate.
Instead, he was found pure. The Inquisitorial nonetheless subjected him to extensive mind-cleansing. Votum left the process as something scarcely human, with nothing remaining other than his skills as a assassin and his utter faith in the Emperor. He would adopt his current name of his own choice and was elevated to the rank of full Inquisitor despite many complaints.
Inquisitor Votum has few allies and fewer friends; the controversy that surrounds his past does him little good. Even those that might find a skilled witch-hunter and assassin a valuable asset struggle with his inhuman demeanor. Votum is a null, one of the rare individuals who carry the Pariah gene and cannot be touched by the Warp. This makes him an incredible destroyer of psykers, as their powers cannot injure him, at the cost of most humans finding him intolerable for any period of time. He seems content to work alone or alongside a small cadre of similarly-trained mute assassins, with dozens of rogue psykers and wyrds laid low by their blades.
Votum’s already incredible reflexes are augmented by chemical injections and glandular implants that pump stimulants into his system. He wields a unique blade, said by some to have been crafted and sanctified on Holy Terra itself, alongside a Needle Pistol that can fire any number of devastating toxins.
On the rare occasion that he finds himself accompanied by others (I once had a cell of my acolytes serve alongside Inquisitor Votum in a hunt for Karos Baeror), they find the assassin to be an oddly optimistic individual. When he does speak, it is almost always a hopeful religious platitude. Inquisitor Votum is a quiet but powerful voice within the Thorian faction, firm in his belief that the God-Emperor will rise again to lead mankind through their darkest days. While he has no sympathy for the enemies of humanity, the Inquisitor is surprisingly gentle and willing to aid the weak. Those who can tolerate his utterly unnerving presence find him a staunch ally and fearsome swordsman.
++Thought for the day: Be a boon to your brothers and a bane to your enemies.++
The Saint Silexia Prophecies
From Oddities of the Outer Reach, a report from Kyros Ulroar, one of my Acolytes currently doing intelligence work with the Deathwatch in the Jericho Reach.
A young girl with silver hair showed up on the Hive World of Beseritor, in Fordex Hive. She prophesized numerous events in the Jericho Reach (the fall of Jerober to Tyranids, the Uprising on Ries, the Widening Gaze of the Great Eye) and the Ecclesiarchy took her in. She told Watch Captain Mathias, his group of Deathwatch Marines, and a gathered assembly of Inquisitors from the Ordo Hereticus and Ordo Malleus the following:
“Dreams of the darkness stir him from slumber; his ancient battle with the Master of Man once rekindled. He of the Black must steel his reserve and prepare his gaze of stone for the coming days. When the empty star rises, the soulless will walk once more on their ancient lands. Only one possessed of the Blood of She Who Has Fallen can stem the tide of darkness the Ancients will bring. His life must be given for man to return from the edge of night.”
Silexia never again spoke of the incident, claiming it to be the will of the Emperor. She undertook a pilgrimage to the Shrine World of Eleusis, twenty years to the day of the delivery of her prophesy; her ship never exited the Warp. Saint Silexia was canonized, and many await her return someday, claiming that she will emerge when she is needed most.