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Dark Heresy: The Oremor Affliction IC

Game Master Rookseye

On the agri-world of Oremor, at the very fringes of the Malfian sub-sector, acolytes of the Inquisition and their allies must confront a sinister conspiracy that threatens to shake the very foundations of the Calixis sector.


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The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Swinthosa Wardja wrote:

So the Rogue Trader is not an apparent threat. But there is much to play out yet.

Too many variables left. Trying to look stoic but I'm uncomfortable. Trizo and Leprade loose on the floor, captured allies--how many more?--cannon fodder in the arena ring, two Deck players yet to be ID'ed. Taking another hit from the lho, I scowl inwardly at the menthol taste.

I flag down a passing wait-staffer. One who actually works here. Dropping several gelt-coin on his tray I ask, "Who is that fat piece of skeit over there with his snout in the food trough?"

Wardja, please attempt a Routine [+20] Inquiry test.

Feeling an even deeper sense of unease, for reasons he cannot properly explain, Wardja raises a hand to attract the attention of one of the casino's hospitality agents. The dapper young man, in the green and gold livery of the senior wait staff, turns and cuts a path through the milling crowd, bowing deferentially when he reaches one he obviously knows to be participating in the tournament.

His brief look of surprise at the rather pointed and somewhat defamatory question is quickly masked by a well-practiced look of courteous obeisance.

"Comptroller Wimarc, do you refer to his lordship, Jashar dol Geim?"


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Uriah, fortunately the test was Routine [+20], I just neglected to mention it in the prior post, so your Fate Point was worthwhile.

The upwelling of emotions and disparate, ebbing flows of the Immaterium that Uriah has learned to associate with the consciousness of Arellia, Savalo's dead mother, come back with a vengeance. It is almost as if her hoarse, lho-wracked voice screeches in his mind with an inarticulate cry of warning, before devolving into the low, subsonic growl of a duct wolf; the tenor that of a She-Wolf protecting its own.

At the same time, he senses the backlash of whatever psychic undercurrent ripples through the Pinnacle of Pearl refracted from Trizo's own witch as well. An emphatic after-echo of surprise and almost religious adulation, an ecstasy borne of revelation in the unexpected is carried to him from the heretic below. He struggles to resist the loathsome feelings it engenders within him, but he cannot help but absorb empathically some of the rapture she feels; akin to a soothsayer that knows all that is to come suddenly and impossibly knowing that something else is destined to pass.

He nearly vomits in response, gagging on his drink.

More concerned now, Tikeen rises to her feet holding one hand out to steady him.

"Mulsipher, Mulsipher?"

Forcing his eyes not to roll back into his head, Uriah tries desperately not to black out.

He has felt this presence before.


Male Human Savant Militant (Rank 4)

Would this be a WP roll to avoid passing out?


Arbite Investigator
Ahmazzi wrote:

Wardja, please attempt a Routine [+20] Inquiry test.

His brief look of surprise at the rather pointed and somewhat defamatory question is quickly masked by a well-practiced look of courteous obeisance.

"Comptroller Wimarc, do you refer to his lordship, Jashar dol Geim?"

I place a few more gelt coins on the staffer's tray.

"Yes, what do you know of him?"

Inquiry (45) + Routine Test (20) = (65)
1d100 ⇒ 91 , *sigh*


Uriah Trantor wrote:
Would this be a WP roll to avoid passing out?

Nope, no WP test necessary at this time for Uriah, he is able to remain upright. Just some description, Lorm.


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Swinthosa Wardja wrote:

I place a few more gelt coins on the staffer's tray.

"Yes, what do you know of him?"

Inquiry test unsuccessful, Wardja.

The wait-staffer looks warily at the coins offered by the Comptroller, but brings the tray close to him just the same. He still seems hesitant to speak despite the generous bribe, as if he suspects he is being tricked into saying something he shouldn't.

"Just that his lordship is a very powerful man, like yourself, Comptroller Wimarc, with very large, ah, appetites."

He looks rather nervously in the direction of the agri-business magnate, who is still gluttonously indulging in the vast selection of foods and apertifs being offered.


Male Human Outlaw

An idea crosses my mind and using the activity of taking a drink to contact Wardja.

"Ask Leprade about upping the next match. Make the arena more interesting for both sides."

Then follow the money as they say.


Male Human Savant Militant (Rank 4)

I am struggling with all my will to stay conscience and not vomit. I fight to stay within myself. I know I am strong enough to do this, and I will. I take a deep breath before talking.

"The immaterium is too close right now. Something is going to pass, and it is important. I do not know what, but it coming."


Solitarium Erishkagal-77

With their various armaments and scavenged equipment stowed and made ready for travel, the trio exit the Inquisitorial arsenal, climbing the short flight of steps back into the Solitarium.

If anyone has any further actions they would like to take in the Solitarium, please do so now, and I will then move the scene forward.


Solitarium Erishkagal-77

As the trio leave the Solitarium, Vincent activates the self-destruct.


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Uriah Trantor wrote:
"The Immaterium is too close right now. Something is going to pass, and it is important. I do not know what, but it is coming."

Tikeen looks at Uriah nervously, pursing her lips. It is apparent to the acolyte that she too feels something, some ripple in the flow of the Warp that her astropathic abilities are able to sense.

She rises to her feet, the dregs of her drink forgotten, and looks down from the viewing gallery to the floor below, as if searching for answers.

"What is it?"


Solitarium Erishkagal-77

Vincent arms the self-destruct mechanism according the internalized Inquisitorial ciphers now resident in his eidetic mind, gauging and estimating the amount of time it will take for he and the others to reach the terminus of the cylindrical Inquisitorial access-shaft, and with it, the surface. Satisfied that approximately ten minutes should prove sufficient, he hesitates only for a second before keying in the proper codes.

He looks over the terminal cogitator controls making certain that nothing further need be done.

Vincent, just checking whether or not you intend to activate the two Inquisitorial astropathic emergency beacons prior to setting out. Text below from the previous post so you don't have to backtrack:

Vincent:
******>>>[ASTROPATHIC BEACON EMERGENCY ACTIVATION]

The third subdirectory comprises activation codes for astropathic emergency beacons in high orbit over Oremor. Both re-route priority encrypted messages to the Astropathic Choir of Orcut VII, one of which is explicitly meant to notify Inquisitor Ahmazzi on Scintilla of the Prisoner's escape, while the other is one encoded word, 'Righteous Dawn', designated to be broadcast sector wide.


Male Human Savant Militant (Rank 4)
Ahmazzi wrote:

The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Uriah Trantor wrote:
"The Immaterium is too close right now. Something is going to pass, and it is important. I do not know what, but it is coming."

Tikeen looks at Uriah nervously, pursing her lips. It is apparent to the acolyte that she too feels something, some ripple in the flow of the Warp that her astropathic abilities are able to sense.

She rises to her feet, the dregs of her drink forgotten, and looks down from the viewing gallery to the floor below, as if searching for answers.

"What is it?"

"I know of three psykers here, including us, and none of us are doing anything psychic at this moment. So it must be something in the immaterium causing what we are feeling."


Solitarium Erishkagal-77

Would it be possible to activate the astropathic beacons from elsewhere? Vincent will activate the beacon to Inquisitor Ahmazzi, but avoid activating the other unless absolutely necessary.


Ryuk stretches his neck muscles, a nervous gesture.

"Vincent, what is the plan?"


"For the moment, the plan is to get far away from here."


Vincent Sepheris wrote:

Solitarium Erishkagal-77

Would it be possible to activate the astropathic beacons from elsewhere? Vincent will activate the beacon to Inquisitor Ahmazzi, but avoid activating the other unless absolutely necessary.

Yes, all that is required are the appropriate ciphers/activation codes and a cogitator with an appropriate orbital uplink connection for broadcast. Similar cogitators can likely be found in the hidden guncutter you are en route to, or any Adepta/Administratum complex. Knowing this do you still wish to activate the beacon notifying Ahmazzi, or did you want to wait?


Vincent will activate the beacon to Ahmazzi now.


Arbite Investigator
Savalos Thul wrote:
"Ask Leprade about upping the next match. Make the arena more interesting for both sides."

Nodding thanks as Thul hands me a drink, under my breath I mutter, "Right. Everyone stay frosty." After a moment of faux conversation, I move past the under-hiver. I hope I don't have too much of a glint in my eye--Still admiring how Astrid's marvelous foppish disguise hides the sewer-savvy Duct-Wolf. *Sniff* Hmm... The beverage is alcoholic, so I feign a sip and then sour my face in distaste, setting it on a passing tray.

Spotting Leprade once more, I approach the apostate arbitrator and bow in deference. Looking him straight in the eye and with a calm, even voice I say, "Intelligencer, how about a bit more excitement before hitting the card tables? Surely the pit-managers will produce a better match for this next round. Oh, and what say we up the ante as well?"


Solitarium Erishkagal-77

It is only a matter of a few keystrokes and the command is sent. Vincent watches intently as the message is queued for transmission to Inquisitor Ahmazzi, conscious that the countdown timer on the Solitarium's self-destruct mechanism has begun.

However, it is what is returned on the cogitator screen that gives Vincent pause.

>>>+++AUTHORIZATION CONFIRMED, VINCENT SEPHERIS+++
>>>+++TRANSMITTING SIGNAL+++
>>>... ... ...
>>>+++SIGNAL RECEIVED BY BEACON+++
>>>+++ACTIVATING ASTROPATHIC BEACON+++
>>>+++ORIENTING FOR SIGNAL RELAY+++DEFAULT DESTINATION: SCINTILLA/LACHESIS/BASTION SERPENTIS+++...
>>>***ERROR***ERROR***ERROR***
>>>+++OVERRIDE PROTOCOL VERIFIED AND ENGAGED+++
>>>+++BEACON REORIENTATION COMMENCING+++...
>>>+++BEACON REORIENTATION COMPLETED+++CORRECTED DESTINATION: OREMOR/HIGH ORBIT, ECLIPTIC/EXCORIATOR+++
>>>+++SIGNAL TRANSMISSION COMMENCING+++...
>>>+++SIGNAL TRANSMITTED+++
>>>+++SIGNAL RECEIVED+++

Vincent cannot help but stare in confusion. The return on the cogitator suggests that the message has been delivered to Inquisitor Ahmazzi, but not at an Inquisitorial holding half a sector away on Scintilla's moon, Lachesis, but instead to a voidship in orbit over Oremor...


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Swinthosa Wardja wrote:
Spotting Leprade once more, I approach the apostate arbitrator and bow in deference. Looking him straight in the eye and with a calm, even voice I say, "Intelligencer, how about a bit more excitement before hitting the card tables? Surely the pit-managers will produce a better match for this next round. Oh, and what say we up the ante as well?"

Seeing the man he knows as Odo Wimarc approaching him again, Leprade arches an eyebrow. Hearing what the Skaelan-Har comptroller has to say, he grins amiably.

"Comptroller Wimarc, I would be a most discourteous gambling partner if I did not offer you the opportunity to recoup your losses. Allow me to see what can be done."

He consults his chrono and motions for one of his traitor arbitrator bodyguards to come over, speaking quietly into the man's ear. Leprade then turns back to Wardja his true intentions unreadable behind a well-rehearsed mask of courtesy.

"I believe we can be accommodated in this regard, what would you say to three-to-one odds in your favor, while tripling the stakes? I will retain the Harvester as my champion, and will grant yours a three minute window of survival, or victory, whatever comes first?"


Arbite Investigator
Ahmazzi wrote:
"I believe we can be accommodated in this regard, what would you say to three-to-one odds in your favor, while tripling the stakes? I will retain the Harvester as my champion, and will grant yours a three minute window of survival, or victory, whatever comes first?"

I take out my lho-pack and tap it in my hand, mulling over the Intelligencer's offer. Seems he is pushing matters in his favor a bit too hard.

"I have seen Dohor's handiwork--Three minutes in the pit is a lifetime. Let me counter your bet. Grant the Harvester's opponent two minutes grace at two-to-one odds. Or I will lay even odds for one minute's span."

The wager is too small. Want to see if I can get under his skin. I light my lho and exhale.

"Would 5,000 crown gelt be too much for one of your... station to cover?"


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Watching from a distance as Wardja speaks with Leprade again, Savalos keeps his eyes open for any signs of the elusive final two players in the tournament, scanning the puffed up nobility and obscenely wealthy business magnates of Oremor with equal parts awe and disdain.

He abruptly goes still, blood freezing in his veins, Duct Wolf instincts growling for his attention, before his gaze finally falls upon a lone figure that the throng unconsciously keeps their distance from, so much so that it appears that they are parting like a sea before him. The man approaching through the crowd walks with his head lowered, hidden beneath a black tricorn cap of maulchups leather, the traditional dress headgear of Oremor's ancient constabulary, eventually incorporated by the Arbites when they arrived on world. The cap is adorned with a long, arcing feather of indigo, the plume bobbing as he walks. A coal-black greatcoat, edged in heliotrope trim with circular golden buttons is draped over his brawny frame, while long black hair spills over his upraised collar. The closer the figure gets, the more Savalos feels the tugging and slipping of reality around him. He notices the fluted glass of a well-to-do woman slowly begin to refill with amasec, while a decorative plant to one side of the man abruptly wilts, another comes to flower. Sounds all around the acolyte seem to distort for a moment, the various conversations and other noises drowned out by the implacable footfalls of the figure as he draws nearer.

Stopping only a few paces in front of Savalos the figure raises his head to reveal a gaunt face, once dark complected, now pale. Shadowy circles ring the man's eyes, no longer their familiar brown, but instead a deep cerulean hue, hypnotic in their intensity. Beneath the well-tailored greatcloak the figure wears the bristly black furs of a duct-wolf like a mantle, one pale hand rising to grip them with pinched fingers, like a lost, desperate man clinging to a piece of flotsam in a tempest. When he speaks, his familiar voice seems strained, echoing in Savalo's ears from all around, although he speaks in barely a whisper.

"Savalos. If I ever was your brother, hear me out. For now, I am myself. I have to come to play my part in this game. Help me save her. It is all I have left."

Juan Rico regards Savalos with intense, tear-rimmed eyes of burning cobalt.


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Swinthosa Wardja wrote:

"I have seen Dohor's handiwork--Three minutes in the pit is a lifetime. Let me counter your bet. Grant the Harvester's opponent two minutes grace at two-to-one odds. Or I will lay even odds for one minute's span."

The wager is too small. Want to see if I can get under his skin. I light my lho and exhale.

"Would 5,000 crown gelt be too much for one of your... station to cover?"

The Intelligencer frowns at the implied insult. Wardja refrains from showing his pleasure at seeing Leprade's friendly facade slip ever so slightly, maintaining his cover only barely.

"Two minutes at two-to-one, then, upon the condition that if all three of your 'champions' perish before the first minute has passed, you cede triple the stakes."

Leprade grins like a serpent.

"Or, is that too rich for your blood, Comptroller?"


Arbite Investigator

Nudged him a little. But stay stoic, Swinthosa.

"Acceptable, my honorable Arbite. I leave you in peace to enjoy the combat."

I bow lower than before and gradually circulate to the other side of the pit so I can view the gladiators and Leprade at the same time. As my guards move with me I signal the surveillance team to follow Leprade's man should he move off into the crowd.


Male Human Outlaw

I look my damned brother in the eyes.

"Knew you would be here."

Damn fool look what you got yourself into.

"Told you I would when I carried her in my arms."

She's Wolf Kissed.

Who's furs are you wearing Johnnie? I know there not yours. Tell me how to kill the Daemon. Tell me how to save whats left of your soul.

"What do you need from me? What do I need to know?"

Damn Hitchhiker is sizing me up behind those eyes. Hope I remember everything the Old Man and K'lei-eth taught me. Going to need it. Not going to be lucky a second time.


Somewhere Dark

Kaltos grips his iron staff in tightly clenched fists as a barely perceptible tremor fills the cell.

Closing his eyes he speaks a benediction to the Omnissiah as his moving prison is set into motion once again.


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Savalos Thul wrote:

"What do you need from me? What do I need to know?"

Johnnie, the Changeling, whoever or whatever it is that stands before Savalos answers the acolyte's questions out of sequence, gleaming blue eyes downcast, with only a few curt words.

"Nothing, my friend."

"Just play the hand that you are dealt, and I will do the same."

Savalos turns to watch as the eighth player in the tournament walks past him, making his way toward his place at the table.


Male Human Outlaw
Ahmazzi wrote:

The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

"Nothing, my friend."

"Just play the hand that you are dealt, and I will do the same."

Strangely enough I understand the request. It echoes K'lei-eth's warning about weaving possible futures.

I wet my throat with some drink. Nothing alcoholic, as I whisper into my microbead. Letting the glass cover my mouth. Not knowing who saw what. I have to protect whats left of the mission before it all goes to frag.

"Stand down. Play the game til the last card is played."

Now the question is... Where's Sunshine?


Vincent Sepheris wrote:
"For the moment, the plan is to get far away from here."

"I like the plan," says Ryuk with a grin, apparently he has developed a sense of humor.


Arbite Investigator

Weaving through the crowd reminds me too much of the Velveti Pavilliosk back home. Smile-girls with face-paint not quite thick enough to cover the crows-feet around the eyes. The plastic smiles of the staff, hiding boredom or resentment or both. And all the patrons. Look at them shuffling about like some sort of blasphemous risen dead. The dull, vacuous expressions--numbed to the point of stupefication. More extreme thrills are needed from narcotics, gambling, or sex. How much gelt-coin has been thrown away? How many lives ruined? Skeit! I feel the old desires pulling at me, tickling me at the back of my brain. But my sense of duty is stronger. I serve a different master now.

I hear Thul's conversation over the vox. Seems another player is ID'ed.

Savalos Thul wrote:
"Stand down. Play the game til the last card is played."

Although this was the plan all along, I wonder what additional insight the Ganger has. Seems he has preternatural gifts. No wonder Ahmazzi selected him.

From my new arena vantage point, I can't help but feel remorse for whoever my money is riding on. Thul's message further precludes overt assistance to any acolytes in the pit. Who is next to be disemboweled by the Harvester's blade?

Throne help them... Dammit, Throne help them.


Somewhere Dark

Kaltos hears a dull thud as his cell is arrested by a collision with some other object in space, followed by a second thud, and a reorientation of his floating prison on its axis.

His hands tighten around his metallic staff in preparation for whatever may come, and he steps backward, away from the door to see what manner of threat awaits him.

With a hiss of pneumatic servos, the door slides slowly open, and a wash of rank, humid air enters the cell from without. The holding area that is revealed has curving, roughly pentagonal walls that rise to form a dome-like roof comprised of interlocking bars. The floor immediately outside his own prison is filthy, uneven grillwork, and despite the darkness of the much larger chamber, he can still make out a pair of figures slouched against the far wall, backlit by the actinic amber panel lights of an open door similar in shape to the one he even now looks through.


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Inquisitorial Access Shaft

Vincent leans against the gun-barrel smooth shaft wall, wiping the dust-caked sweat from his brow and coughing into one hand to clear his throat. Although the bodysuit is light and breathes well in the increasing humidity of the tunnel, he is unaccustomed to the added weight of the armor he now bears. The tech-priest, Launce, follows close behind, one of his utility mechadendrites waving overhead with a lamp-pack to light their way. Ryuk brings up the rear, the strange crystalline blade found in the armory clasped tightly in one hand since they renewed their ascent to the surface.

Vincent glances at the chrono he liberated and sees that barely five minutes have passed since he keyed the self-destruct mechanism for the Solitarium, although it already seems like much longer. They are making good time, having reached roughly the halfway point to the terminus of the steep shaft. He is about to shoulder his rifle again so that they might press on when the sound of horrific, gloating laughter, drawn up from depths of the shaft as if through some cancerous, chancre-filled throat, reverberates around him. It is followed by the still faint, gagging stench of something impossibly foul reaching his nose, like the dying breath of something monstrous and diseased being exhaled from below.

Ryuk, as the rearguard, please attempt an Awareness test.


Awareness 1d100 ⇒ 45

Ryuk is Hrothgar.

"What is that stench?!"


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Inquisitorial Access Shaft

Ordinary [+10] Awareness test is successful, Ryuk.

Ryuk inhales the vile, all-too-familiar stench of rot that was so long his constant companion in the septcell. The overflowing Oubliette is disgorging its long-festering contents like expelled vomitus.

He can hear the barest whispers of many, many clawed appendages scuttling upon the metal far behind them. With it comes an infantile mewling, and an occasional high-pitched cackling, filled with disturbing mirth.


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Savalos and Wardja find it almost impossible to take their eyes off of Juan Rico and the ever-present specter of the thing he carries inside him as he crosses the Pinnacle of Pearl toward the central tournament table. Patrons and staff of the Gran Pallazzar grant him a wide berth without even being cognizant of their innate aversion, but bizarrely, the curiosity of his unimpeded passage draws even less notice than the act of their moving.

Wardja, Sav, Scrutiny tests please.


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Routine [+20] Scrutiny test, Uriah (for the higher vantage point).

"You know him."

Tikeen does not phrase it as a question to Uriah, more a pointed statement of fact.


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Inquisitorial Access Shaft

"Time to go."

Vincent practically shouts to his companions as he breaks out into a run.


Male Human Savant Militant (Rank 4)

Scrutiny(40+20) = 1d100 ⇒ 75
Failed by 15. (here I go again)


Male Human Outlaw

Scrutiny Test (1d100=41)

Watching the crowd part like a wave against a rock. I realize if anyone is paying attention they will realize that He stopped at me. Damn I've been marked! I try to disappear into the crowd and mingle within it. Hopefully roving eyes didn't get a good look at me, and my face will be lost amid dozens.

I will be so happy when I can finally buy Scrutiny.


Arbite Investigator
Ahmazzi wrote:
Wardja, Sav, Scrutiny tests please.

Scrutiny 40, rolling, 1d100 ⇒ 94

Good grief. Juan Rico is *really* holding Wardja's attention.


Ryuk runs to catch up with Vincent.


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Inquisitorial Access Shaft

There are few things more draining than running uphill, particularly given the steep grade of the secret Inquisitorial access shaft, but given the rapidly approaching alternative, Vincent, Ryuk, and Launce have little trouble finding motivation to hasten their departure.

As they near the terminus, they see that the massive cylindrical shaft abruptly ends in a convex adamantine blast door, huge hinges on either side. There is no obvious means to open the portal, and Vincent, at the head of the runners, can just make out a thin vertical seam running down the middle of the bulge. A thin blanket of misted steam percolates around the doors, hinting at unseen machinery or some mechanism for opening the huge hatchway.

There is a dull WHUMP immediately followed by a hissing explosion that echoes from the depths of the shaft, and Vincent allows himself a brief moment of satisfaction as he hears the horrific shrieking surprise of whatever horrid daemons pursue them. Ryuk runs all the faster as the wash of the blast wave's hot air, suffused with the smell of ordinance and a reeking stench that is something else entirely, nearly throws him off his feet.

As Vincent draws nearer to the massive hatch, he can see catwalks and gantries clinging to each half door, with fading, yellow-stenciled Gothic numbers and letters bearing some meaning or designation that is not immediately clear to him. Of more practical importance, however, is the narrow, reinforced man-door at ground level seemingly squeezed in along the far right edge of the huge blast doors. A short rockcrete stair of perhaps ten steps leads to the rust-flecked door, and hopefully, escape from Ylesium claustrum.

A hideous chorus of cackling, infantile voices begins again from the depths, leaving little doubt that the destruction of the Solitarium was not enough to forestall whatever tide of evil is being vomited up from below.

What will you do next?


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

All three Scrutiny tests are unsuccessful

Uriah watches as Johnnie, or the thing that he has become, strides purposefully toward the main table in the Pinnacle of Pearl, the voidborn's mind roiling with a tumult of emotions. Some, like his own, are conflicting feelings of regret, friendship, fear, and animosity. Others, those belonging to the She-Wolf, are born of hatred and loathing, still resident in the vestiges of her psyche that he has inherited.

Uriah can still sense the exultant surprise radiating from Trizo's foul witch, an ecstatic psychic radiation that is as confusing as his own emotions. On the one hand, there is an almost overpowering impression of a jaded being possessed of almost complete prescience, savoring an occurrence that is entirely unexpected. But beneath this simmers a twisted, alien anxiety that all might not turn out as expected. This is mirrored in the faces Trizo and Leprade, the former staring contemptuously at Juan Rico---or is it the Changeling---with a severe look normally reserved for disobedient hounds, while the latter just looks utterly unnerved, his cold confidence shaken by the daemon's surprise arrival, so much so that his jaw hangs slack for a moment as Johnnie passes with a meter of him on his way to the table.

Tikeen, shaking the sleeve of Uriah's robe, repeats her question, and you realize that the look upon your face is likely not so far removed from that of the Intelligencer.

She speaks quietly, all good humor gone from her voice, almost whispering to Uriah, "He is the source of what I am feeling---what---what is he?"

Wardja can't help it. He backs away from Rico as he passes him like all the others, the one-time arbitrator, one-time acolyte unnerving him in a way that little else in his very eventful life has. Memories of Baraspine return to his mind, unbidden, a flesh-parlor in Kephistron-Altis, his home city, and the dying Razored-Wing cultist high on Lacksoul herb who kept screeching at him over and over again, 'Changeling! Changeling!' Images flash through his mind of the crumbling dome of the Haematite Cathedral and the long-dead, now mocking faces of all those he has sent to their deaths in the name of the Emperor. The desire to imbibe becomes almost overwhelming in its urgency of a sudden, the only thing forestalling him from doing so is the utter certainty that whatever he drinks would taste of ashes.

Savalos feels the new scar on his face twitch uncomfortably as he watches Johnnie walk past, hoping against hope that the others will follow his lead and remain calm. Knowing, somehow, that some part of his friend still remains.

So distracted are all the players by Rico's arrival, that another figure goes unnoticed. Only when Savalos' gaze returns to the playing table does he discern that someone already sits there in the ninth seat, clad in a long crimson robe, hood drawn close over their almost entirely hidden face. From across the room, Thul can only see the hint of sallow, bronze-hued skin, a wrinkled and liver-spotted chin and mouth with parched, chapped lips. A long, wispy white beard, flecked with steel gray droops to the level of the felt table. He plays at a game of Solitaire with the Emperor's Tarot, elderly hands turning over each placard with a practiced, almost obsessively delicate precision.

When Rico and the Changeling take their own seat across from him, the man places a final card and raises his head just enough to look upon the daemonhost with hollow, empty, and emotionless eyes.


Male Human Savant Militant (Rank 4)

Tearing my gaze away from the Changeling, I look at Tikeen and answer quietly:

"A daemonhost."

Thinking how far Rico fell, and how we are going to destroy it. Will we find Quincus, and if we do what condition will she be?

I look at Tikeen and try to soothe her and say:

"We cannot do anything about it, try to keep calm. You do not want that creatures attention. It is possible that he is why I am here, but right now, let us observe, and see how it plays out."


The Gran Pallazzar Casino, The Pinnacle of Pearl

Despite Uriah's dire explanation, Tikeen impressively manages to maintain her equanimity relatively well, her only outward reaction an indrawn gasp of air. Watching as Rico makes his way to the table, she speaks quietly to Uriah as the crowd slowly coalesces back into place, the once-parted sea of humanity returning to its former state.

Without so much as looking at Uriah, she says, "You are not part of the Astropathic Choir are you? I must also confess I have my doubts that your name is Mulsipher Mol. I apologize for my forthrightness, but you are a poor liar, and I have honed my powers of perception on some of the best in the Expanse."

She finally looks at you again as the daemonhost takes it place at the table.

"So, who are you truly?"


Male Human Outlaw

Do I recognize the 9th player? By the distance it can be any Old Man with a white beard... I am looking at how he handles the cards, and the cards themselves. Is it "His" deck, or a house deck he is shuffling?


Male Human Savant Militant (Rank 4)

"Are you sure you wasnt to know? Some things are better not known. You are connected to the immaterium like I am. The shadows that are there can wreck havoc. There are things happening on this world that I wish I did not know. So I repeat, do you want to know? For now the name you know me as is good enough. If the situation changes, I will tell you my birthname. I will tell you more then, also. But once learned, it cannot be unlearned. May The Emperor protect us and give us strength."


Unduz II, Oremor 7th Legion Penal Claustrum, Designate Ylesium, Inquisitorial Access Shaft

As he reaches the yawning blast doors, Vincent turns right down the short corridor. Taking the steps two at a time, he reaches the top of the stairs and slams into the rusted door at a full run.


Sense Presence 1d10 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13

Ryuk pauses for a moment as he tries to gain a sense of the area.

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