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After some time wandering the streets and alleyways of Sinophia Magna looking for answers, you hear the sounds of a man’s voice shouting drunkenly in the night.
Following this voice to its source is an easy matter, and by the foot of an old statue to Saint Drusus, a ragged looking middle-aged man is shouting out doom upon the city, calling its inhabitants “foul heretics” and singing jumbled snatches of Imperial Psalms.
The figure wears the torn cassock of an Imperial preacher and has been badly beaten. He has a ragged, wild appearance and one of his cheeks has been badly burned very recently. He reeks of cheap spirits and a half-empty bottle of Gorsk Gyn is clutched in his trembling hands.
It appears that most of the activity to board up the buildings is recent. Here and there anti-imperial graffiti has been plastered and statues of saints and the sign of the Aquila has been recently defaced in many places, often with a strange scratched symbol like a downward pointing, three-pronged claw.
You also notice that there are not many stars in the sky when there should be.
The shimmering mirror-door opens and you find yourselves in a broad street, lined with cracking plaster-faced walls and gambrel roofs tiled in deep reds. Twilight is falling swiftly, the air is heavy with the scent of a salt sea, and up and down the street you can hear the echoing sounds of doors being bolted and shutters banged closed. The streets are empty and for all the seeming normality of the scene a heavy weight of palpable dread seems to fill the air.
Auraxis you immediate recognize this place as Sinophia Magna on the planet of Sinophia where you faced off against the daemon in the mirror.
The streets are devoid of any activity as far as you can see from where you entered.
Auraxis tries his own codes and they unlock the dataslate and you hear your familiar voice speak.
"I leave this recording, my last testament to whomever may find it amongst my peers in the Holy Ordos… the guilt was ours, the sins were ours… hubris… came to dust… We grew arrogant, grew complacent, after we stopped Haarlock on Mara, after the... Hayte were purged at last… Gallowglass we believed ourselves invulnerable… civil war… Tyrantine Caba… within… Haarlock, it all came back to the legacy, we were so blind… never realised just what he… dead now, all dead… city burning… I… from the deep vault.. but its too late… my legs are shattered I cannot get out… all that remains is to pass judgement on myself… cannot let the worms have my mind…"
Just after the recording finishes a loud drone fills the air as one of the huge black-disk vessels begins to draw down from the skies and a mirror door opens in a ruined arch of the Tricorn Palace wreckage.
As the realization falls on you, you notice grasped in the corpse’s hand is a black containment cylinder fitted with purity seals and intricate locks and wards of the most powerful kind and a golden spider clasp. There is also a dataslate that was transmitting the feed you received on his body. It appears to be encrypted.
As you approach and take a closer look at the body you see a Inquisitor Rosette attached to the body armor and then your heart nearly stops for a moment when you realize the body is you! The hair is greyer and more wrinkles on the face but there is no denying the fact that the face of the burned man in front of you is Auraxis Aurilious!
Please make a Willpower test +10 to not freak out.
They are definitely dead nothing crazy about them other than being preserved.
Your group continues to make it's way cautiously through the streets of this desolated hive. Suddenly your dataslates pick up an encrypted signal on an Inquisitorial frequency, very faint but definite.
Assuming you will follow it.
This signal leads your group inexorably to what they recognize with shock as the blasted ruins of the Tricorn Palace, the headquarters of the Calixian Inquisition on Scintilla. The signal leads you to the overturned wreckage of a Rhino APC in the rubble of the palace and a decayed and partly burned body which appears to have died by its own hand. There is something very familiar about the body.
Do you wish to inspect further?
When your group makes it to the area where the scream came from you see an amorphous mass of rippling wet flesh the size of an armoured vehicle that floating silently above the ground right behind a young woman. You see it sweep her up in it's fat metallic tendrils tipped with pincers and pull her into it's obscene lamprey like mouth enveloping her head and decapitating her. As you look closer you can see the heads of others preserved in a semitransparent fleshy sack on the creature’s back.
Once it's done with the girl it turns toward your group and rushes toward you with it's tendrils out hungry for more heads!
Harvest Construct Init
Your group continues through the destroyed hive for a while until you come across a blasted crater. When you peer into it you see great piles of what appears to be scorched and gnawed-on skeletal remains, all missing heads. Nearby on a wall, a spiraling, vortex-like symbol has been burned as if by acid.
You hear the sound of a woman screaming in the distance!
As you traverse the destroyed landscape you come to the conclusion this was definitely an Imperial City with fallen statuary, broken Aquilas and so on. It appears to have been destroyed by bombardment and firestorm, but not so long ago, as attested to by still smouldering fires.
After some time you realize this is Hive Sibellus. One thing that is rather disturbing in the waste-scape is the absence of bodies. With this much destruction you would expect to see some bodies.
As you pass through the flickering cold light of the mirrordoor you are greeted immediately by warm and cloying air, reeking of burnt plastek and a greasy unpleasantness like overcooked fat.
All around you, and for as far as the eye can see, are the broken ruins and tangled wreckage of a once mighty hive city. The skeletal remains of soaring spires and lofty buttresses jutting like blackened carcass bones, their bases clogged with mountains of rubble and fallen masonry. A soft fall of grey snow is settling, blanketing everything from a turbulent, storm laden sky. As it falls and powders on your clothes, you realize it is not snow at all, but cinder ash.
An immense dark shape appears through the boiling clouds and the blasted city around you vibrates to a deep discordant drone, breaking what you now realize was an utter, deathly silence. The cyclopean shape in the sky resolves to a obsidian-like disk, slowly revolving and flickering with a baleful crimson glow at its center; a vessel of some kind perhaps more than kilometer across and utterly alien.
As the dark vessel passes through the sky it is joined by another and another, and their progress casts a pall of deeper darkness over the dead city.
The mirrordoor closes behind you.
In short order, the air at the far end of the corridor ripples and a featureless female form, glistening like oil on water appears, moving forward like lighting, a shimmering grey blade in her hand. The lady stands her ground, shielding her daughter and dies in futile bravery, crimson blossoming across her dress. The girl turns and runs, making it perhaps as far as the your group before the assassin claims her life mid-step.
The assassin fades again from view and from nowhere there is an immense howl of rage, more felt than heard; its passing is enough to dim the light and steal the breath from your lungs. A mirror-door appears in front of you as time seems to speed up. The shapes of naval armsmen and servitors flow around them, moving at blurring speed, as a lean and indistinct figure in a long flowing cloak moves with glacial slowness between them, its shoulders slumped as it cradles the girl’s body in its arms and staggers towards the mirror-door unseeing.
"I deny this, I deny this, I deny this." The whispered words seem to hang in the thinning air.
Assuming everyone follows suit...
The mirror door opens on to a wide domed corridor, decorated opulently in polished white marble and hung with drapes of deep blue velvet. Along one side of the corridor are a series of wide crystal-glass windows overlooking the void of space. Hung majestically against the black, illuminated in the turbulent light of a boiling white star, is a mighty fleet of vessels at gravity anchor, many Imperial in design others strange and unique to the eye. At the centre of this fleet is a mighty Battleship, decked out in ivory and brass, dwarfi ng all the other vessels around it, its armoured prow mounted with the heraldic arms of a great golden spider.
The door behind you vanishes.
Without warning the livid tracery of weapons fire and explosions bloom in the void as allies become treacherous enemies and the ships try to get underway and scatter before sudden onslaught from their neighbors.
Alarm claxons sound and a door behind them opens. Rushing through it, and through you as if they were not there, comes a stern-looking but beautiful young woman in a bustled dove-grey gown and a high collar of black filigree lace, leading by the hand a raven-haired young girl in her early teens dressed in white, clearly her daughter by the resemblance in their faces. Beside them whirs a silver-plated servo skull which suddenly crashes to the ground and is still, cutting off their conversation and stopping them in their tracks as brass shutters roll down over the crystal windows and cut of the view of the fiery battle outside.
"The gears turn, the doors open, the confi guration is set; soon the dead star rises over the place of his last mortal footfall, and in the light of that black eclipse he will walk again with earthly flesh."
After the machine speaks you hear the familiar machine voice of Herrod behind you.
"Thank you acolytes for getting me this far. Now I have what I need to finish my task. There is but only one outcome for you and that is to be disposed of as no one else must know of this place."
His blades extend from his arm and he moves toward the three of you!
Please roll init!