(600 + GE)
Personal Cipher Engaged
Subject: The Emperor be Praised!
Cipher-Lock: Sister Minerva de Liire – Ordo Famulous
Thought for the Day: “A Diamond May Be Found in Every Cess Pit…”
I am still amazed at the miracle. I should put my maelstrom-thoughts in order by focusing on chronology and more mundane events. Perhaps then I can readily relate what reports are coming to me about the Serena’s Grace.
I have been so busy these past six months helping missionary Tyrian recruit, train, and re-organize the faithful among our (now) three ships that I haven’t had much opportunity to reflect privately in writing. Suffice it to say that we have spent those months pouring time and resources into rehabilitating the two vessels salvaged from the surface of the scrapyard world known as the Throne of the Skyfather.
Our new frigate, the Star of Caedicius, is armed and capable, commanded by cousin Althea d’Oro at the suggestion of Navigator Primaris Demetria Soteris. It would seem that our Navigator saw some promise in cousin Althea, and I can’t disagree. Soteris also delegated her own trusted second, Eryx, along with his wife, to provide primary navigation services. Svenya sent his trusted (lover?) Mahesh to act as quartermaster, and probably spy. Missionary Tyrian and I have settled upon two pious young men from the crew-clans named Samuel and Jacob to elevate via Holy Rite to the rank of Priest of the Ecclesiarchy. Samuel shall act as ship’s confessor to the Star.
Likewise, our new trading vessel the Angel of Tria is fully functional. Cousin Roland has yet to decide on who shall captain her, and it is true that, as a trading vessel, less care was put into her command staff overall, but our new Choirmaster has sent our former Choirmaster Orlen Ilex to serve aboard the Angel, doubtless as an honorable form of working retirement. It is true that Darrius has been effectively acting in Orlen’s stead for a good long time now aboard the Forgehammer, and the Sovereign of the Void before her.
We brought our new vessels back to the Throne of the Sky Father just in time to relieve lady Fatima Haram of her Dynasty’s obligation to guard the world on our behalf. She seemed keen to depart once we had determined that our new vessels were capable, but came aboard for one final proposal. She noted the speed and apparent secrecy with which we refit our two new ships, and surmised (rather cleverly and correctly) that we must have a secret shipyard somewhere. She opened negotiations for her Dynasty to make clandestine use of it in their own salvage operations.
Many days of back-and-forth and close-lipped negotiations concluded with a deal, entered into by Cousin Roland and lady Fatima’s father, Ali Haram. Dynasty Haram shall pay us an annual fee for use of Port Aguirre, and a percentage of the value of every ship they rehabilitate there. They also shall permit Dynasty Aguirre to inspect every hulk they tow into the vicinity to ensure its safety before permitting it to seek docking, as Dynasty Haram’s source for their ships is the dire-rumored Processional of the Damned.
Although this caused some consternation, Dynasty Haram has assured us of their own care and caution in making use of such a resource.
We spent some days pulling hulks off the surface of the Throne of the Sky Father and casting them into orbit for the Angel and the Star to pick over and transport to Port Aguirre. Of particular note was the hindmost half of the Adeptus Sororitas light cruiser Serena’s Grace. We had first encountered this ship crushed into the conglomerate of the space hulk that we encountered in the warp, the same vessel that emerged in our wake and impacted the planet below. The ship had served honorably in the Angevin Crusade, and had received its name by being the vessel that transported the body of Saint Serena from the battlefield where she fell to the world of her theophany, Entheo. The history of this ship was intriguing enough when first encountered that Cousin Roland even considered the unprecedented and dangerous move of boarding the space hulk while it was still in the warp.
Apparently the hind-half of the Grace survived impact relatively intact. Cousin Roland and his senior retainers, along with a half-dozen murder servitors, descended to reconnoiter, notwithstanding the high likelihood of daemonic infestation.
Reports I’ve heard make that likelihood a certainty. They encountered gibbering horrors in service to the Changer of Ways, kept tangible by the will of a sorceress of great power. After defeating her and her daemons, investigation surmised that she may well have been one of the Battle Sisters of the ship, driven mad by some ancient circumstance, given longevity and power by the blessings of the dark gods. It makes me tremble to think what it must have taken to corrupt a heart so pure, but my own heart is bolstered when I learned of what cousin Roland found there, a holy relic being used by the sorceress in blasphemous rites, but still pure and powerful, the long-lost Imperial identification tags of Saint Serena the Conscripted herself!
Missionary Tyrian wears them about her neck, a fact that I found shocking but for the revelation that she had donned them in a moment of inspiration (and lacking a proper container) and once having done so, she shared in an echo of the Saint’s ancient theophany. The relic has recognized our ship’s confessor, and she swears that someday, once the Saint has finished with her, she will gladly donate the relic to the Ecclesiarchy on Entheo.
Wonder of wonders. We even now know the Saint’s original name, at least as recorded on her Guardsman’s tags: Ilyana, a name lost to history.
I will need to pray upon this development.
Cipher Lock Disengaged