The Licenian Crusade

The Forgehammer

Craftworld Aletheia / Neumos / Delta 676 Asteroid Belt

(700 + GE)
(All Present)

Personal Cipher Engaged

Subject: A Great Weight Lifted
Cipher-Lock: Sister Minerva de Liire – Ordo Famulous
Thought for the Day: “Opportunity Comes from Unlikely Places”

As I sit in my new quarters aboard this massive ship of war, my belonging still in disarray, and a million small tasks left to do, I cannot help but take a moment to reflect on the great weight that has lifted from my mind and soul.

I only learned about the blasphemous xeno-technology infesting the Sovereign of the Void recently, as well as the true, depraved depths of my father’s fall into darkness, but even before then the ship had shared my father’s ill-starred reputation as a vessel cloaked in secrets and stained by the blood of the countless betrayed directly or indirectly by my father’s dark dealings. I signed on as First Officer because I believe in my heart that cousin Roland, Lord-Captain of the Aguirre Dynasty, was the last and best chance we had to turn down a different path, to elevate the Aguirre once more into the Emperor’s light. I still believe that, but a part of me feared, deep inside, that my father’s secrets, and his blood-stained ship, might corrupt Roland, tempt him down dark paths. It is fortunate, I suppose, that during his brief tenure we did not enter into any naval engagements serious enough to tempt him to use the darker powers of this xenos artifact.

Roland has finally jettisoned, however, this last remnant of the old in favor of that which is bright and new. I understand his hesitance. After all, the Sovereign of the Void has come to be synonymous in many minds with the Aguirre dynasty, but that also makes this change a positive one. Those inclined to doubt the Dynasty’s new direction have less reason to do so now that our flagship is an ancient Grand Cruiser once in service to the Adeptus Astartes.

To record how this change came about, I must needs refer once more to the xenos Eldar, to whom we were to deliver some rare artifact of their people, the sphere that was responsible for the energy cloak over the world known as the Throne of the Sky Father, as well as an ancient war machine of their people which apparently contained Eldar souls. In exchange for the service of delivering the sphere, they had promised to “cleanse” the xenos-artifact infesting the Sovereign of the Void such that it no longer thirsted for the pain and death of human sacrifice. They readily acknowledged that the cancerous tendrils of the device could not be extracted from the vessel. I admit to being hesitant to permit Eldar to have intimate and extensive access to this ship to enact this “cleansing” for I do not trust that their intentions are entirely what they admit, but the matter was made moot when the Farseer of Craftworld Aletheia offered an alternative.

The former Licenian Consul, Julius Zora, the seemingly-immortal mystery who sat at the heart of the Licenian Heresy, the man whose renegades and allied Space Marines and Eldar fought at the Battle of Licenia against the daemon-corrupted only to disappear, the man wanted for questioning by High Admiral Aldred, was (of course) aboard the Craftworld. He offered to Cousin Roland a bargain that was almost suspiciously good.

It would seem that when the Iron Templars of the long-ago Licenian Crusade washed up out of warp storms near the planet of Vitruvia, they still possessed their fleet. Later, when they pledged themselves to the Consul, that fleet was most useful in establishing the nascent rebellion. Only later, when the alliance with the Eldar was finalized, did the Consul and his rebels have an effective means of guerilla hit and run, and at that time, the remaining ships of the Consul’s marines were effectively sidelined. The navigators aboard those vessels apparently also caused problems by stealing or sabotaging some of the fleet when they went over to the Regency to join the Calyx House. The Consul had a small fleet of warp-capable ships with no navigators to steer them, and no ability to bring them into the Eldar’s webway. They’ve been little-used for centuries. The Consul offered Roland the former flagship of the Iron Templars, a “Repulsive-class Grand Cruiser carrier” named the Forgehammer, complete with the full armaments and complement of attack craft, as well as the time and port resources to transfer whatever equipment from the Sovereign as was desired, in exchange for the Sovereign of the Void, in a functional state, with the xenos-infection intact.

The Consul’s motive was fairly clear. He had ships he couldn’t use, and wanted a ship that could travel the webway of his Eldar allies that nevertheless looked human enough to serve his purposes. He claimed that now that the Regency was ended, and the Licenian subsector is brought into the Pax Imperialis, that he was going to seek the mystery of his own origins and needed a vessel to help him do so.

The offer was no doubt calculated to be too good to refuse. Nevertheless, cousin Roland had some understandable concerns. From a purely mercantile point of view, it was an amazing offer. From the point of view of our dynasty’s reputation it was an amazing offer. But Roland is a pious man, and the Consul is an unknown quantity. To what purpose would he use this vessel that is so renowned in connection to the Aguirre dynasty? Would Cousin Roland be responsible for unleashing a great danger to our Imperium by dealing with this man? Furthermore, what would be the response of the Inquisition, specifically Inquisitor Steendahl, who clearly has an ongoing interest in our own continued possession of this rare ability to access the Eldar’s dimension?

Discussion raged amongst cousin Roland’s advisors, sometimes heatedly. Svenya, unsurprisingly, wanted to keep the Sovereign, no doubt calculating his master Steendahl’s continued interest. The others leaned toward taking the deal. Cousin Roland took a side trip back to Neumos to consult with Steendahl, and apparently reached an arrangement wherein Roland would negotiate an alternate method for Steendahl to access the webway via the Eldar themselves. I am given to believe there were some collateral worries imparted when cousin Roland set foot on the base on Neumos’ moon, but the details were not imparted to me.

Upon returning to Craftworld Aletheia, cousin Roland sought to get a second ship out of the Consul to no avail, but our Navigator Primaris offered the services of navigators from her house to the Consul’s space marines, now taking the Chapter Name Iron Aegis. While the Sovereign could travel through the webway, the remaining ships could not. In exchange for brokering and negotiating a contract, the marines offered servitors and tech priests sufficient to make the Forgehammer operational despite the shortfall in crew after transferring our own crewmembers to the much larger ship. This bargain also included the expertise of Drivesmaster Stanislav, the tech-priest who apparently is familiar with the rare and unusual plasma drives that power this rare ship. I am given to believe that the deal also included a vial of the Consul’s blood, doubtless with our Magos Genetor in mind.

Upon sealing the deal, the Consul, aboard a small Eldar vessel, led us through the webway to an isolated asteroid belt around a distant star where the remaining vessels of his fleet were berthed. The Sovereign of the Void is now alongside the Forgehammer, and we are engaged in the weeks-long process of transferring our interest to the new vessel. I have done what I can to aid Missionary Tyrian in properly transferring our temple shrine to the Emperor to the new ship and consecrating it. While that went well, for some reason the ship has thus far resisted our attempts to bless and consecrate it fully. I am told that this class of Grand Cruiser does have a certain reputation of its own, but so long as the reputation does not arise from dark deeds or xenos-artifacts, I have every confidence that our faith in the Emperor will overcome it.

Our crew is slowly settling in. It would appear that Enginseer-Prime Graylock will be staying with the Sovereign of the Void, committed as she is to battling the corruption of that ship’s machine spirits. I am sure one of the Tech Priests will eventually rise to the position she vacated. Svenya has begun sweeping this massive vessel for problems, and Darrius has ensured that our Astropaths have been made comfortable. It may take a while to become used to an entirely new ship, but a part of me is looking forward to forging a new destiny for our Dynasty aboard a rare and prestigious warship. The Flamels will doubtless seethe in jealousy.

Cipher Lock Disengaged

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