The Licenian Crusade

The Herald and the Harbinger

Throne of the Sky Father

(600 + GE)
(All Present)

Personal Cipher Engaged

Subject: The Throne of the Sky Father
Cipher-Lock: Sister Minerva de Liire – Ordo Famulous
Thought for the Day: “Fate is the Manifestation of the Emperor’s Will”

We spent most of a week surveying the system containing the planet known, in our records, as the “Throne of the Sky Father.” The intense energies enveloping that world scored the sides of the Sovereign of the Void during our arrival in the system, and further experiments demonstrated that this envelope of atmospheric energy could effectively pulverize asteroids and other objects that got too close, but that the energies did not appear to actively seek out orbiting objects. Our Master of the Vox, in cooperation with our Master of Etherics, ascertained that the energies flux, ebb, and flow in somewhat predictable patterns, increasing the chances of a small landing craft slipping through one of the infrequent gaps in the shroud to make its way to the planetary surface.

Those among my cousin’s most trusted retainers who are more versed in such lore determined that these energies, while mysterious to our instruments, were not untamed products of the Immaterium, and that the planet was not, in fact, a daemon world wracked by chaos. Master of the Vox Darrius consulted with the mutant witches and received from them a vision of apocalyptic doom awaiting the planet, but nothing of immediate use to us. Cousin Roland and most of his senior retainers boarded a shuttle with our Master Helmsman and departed to risk a landing leaving me on the bridge and Svenya to root out some troubles that had arisen in the lower decks.

They appeared to slip successfully through the shroud, but two days passed with no word. I presumed they were looking for the Eldar artifact that the Farseer had requested. After two days, however, a larger danger loomed large upon our augur arrays. The immense space hulk that we had previously encountered slipped out of the warp at the very location where the Sovereign of the Void had done some days before. As the Sovereign and the planet itself had moved on somewhat, this hurtling mass of human and alien ships was on a somewhat oblique course that would nevertheless bring it to impact upon the planet’s surface in some five days. I summoned Svenya to the bridge. Upon seeing the situation he, with admirable resolve, took a second landing craft along with some guards and a Tech-Priest, to brave the energy fields himself and bring word of the looming danger to Cousin Roland and his party. Within hours of his departure, the instruments registered a massive explosion at the origin point of the shroud, and the energies vanished from the planet below. Subsequent vox communication revealed the following details of Cousin Roland’s expedition.

It would appear that they flew low over a blasted landscape devoid of oceans, forests, or other ostentatious displays of life. The landscape was dotted by the wreckage of ancient ships, most of which were rusted, useless hulks, but some of which still seemed to have power and automated defenses. The ships they flew over were of Eldar, Human, Stryxix, and Rak’Gol design, although there were doubtless more elsewhere on the world. As they approached the fountainhead of the energy shroud, they saw more and more evidence of former Eldar civilization, although most everything but foundations had been stripped by regular sheet-lightning energies that ravage the surface. They also saw sporadic, sparsely populated human tribes.

As they approached the fountainhead, an immense pillar of blue light erupting from what appeared to be a former Eldar metropolis, they saw a significant gathering of humans, somewhat more than 500, led by a man in red robes bearing a staff with the iconography of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica. He was clearly neither a tech-priest nor an astropath, and had likely scavenged both objects. He and his followers did, however, appear to be expecting Cousin Roland, who emerged to much ostentation. It would appear that this “High Priest” named Marduk had foreseen the arrival of the “Herald” of the “Harbinger” of his people’s judgement. Some telepathic interrogation by Darrius and subsequent conversation revealed that the people of the planet live in savage tribal groups, all warring and competing for limited resources, but that the High Priest of the Sky Father and his Acolytes are accorded great respect by all tribes, and most tribes have an embedded acolyte in their midst to guide them spiritually. These five hundred represented six tribes who had heard Marduk’s call and had traveled for more than a week to be there when the “Herald” arrived. Roland made claim to the Herald position and carefully ascertained that they believed that he could judge them worthy, and thus accord them escape from the planet that was their prison before those who were not worthy were wiped out by the Sky Father’s Harbinger of doom.

At this point, of course, the space hulk had not yet appeared, and so the notion that this doom might be literal was not yet known to the shore party. They left the cultists to contemplate their warped faith while they traveled on foot toward the fountain head. They arrived at the only intact edifice of ancient Eldar civilization and discovered the broken webway portal machinery that was responsible for the shroud. Their tampering caused the machinery to explode and drop the shroud just as Svenya was arriving.

What followed was four days of frantic activity. Missionary Tyrian marshaled multiple landing craft to bring Marduk’s acolytes all across the planet giving every tribe a last chance to accept the salvation offered by the “Sky Father” (whom she properly renamed the “Emperor” in the eyes of these primitives). Those who accepted their word were ushered aboard the Sovereign of the Void, where each tribe was taken in by a different ship-clan for crew-integration. Marduk and his acolytes, psykers all, were kept separate with the intention of eventually handing them over to the Scholastia Psykana or the Inquisition. Darrius and a small team excavated the Eldar ruins as best he could and discovered a massive wraithbone statue containing the souls of a score of ancient Eldar. He convinced them to permit him to bring their statue-vessel aboard for eventual delivery to their people.

Cousin Roland and I monitored the progress of the space hulk, devoutly refusing to permit its constant Vox pleas to enter our ears. Eventually, however, our Master of Etherics noticed that the immense crystalline mass, which Svenya theorized was the remains of an ancient Yu’vath capitol ship, was flaking off small crystal shards at a constant rate. Roland and Svenya, rightfully fearing some sort of alien contamination of the system, opted to open fire upon the space hulk with our new nova cannon, obliterating the crystalline ship and breaking the hulk into multiple smaller pieces. When these pieces did, eventually, strike the planet, the damage was therefore far less devastating than it otherwise might have been, although it and the climate changes from the loss of the shroud most likely have ensured the death of all life remaining. The salvage, however, remains there for future claim.

Something about these crystalline shards, however, jolted some realization in Svenya’s mind that prompted him to counsel the quarantine of an artifact brought up from the planet by Roland’s shore party, as well as Marduk and his acolytes. I am not entirely sure why other than that he fears that their minds have been tainted by Yu’vath influence. I bow, of course, to his inquisitorial discretion, although I wonder what difficulties may arise should a psyker as powerful as Marduk realize that his isolation is not so much an opportunity for meditation and reflection as it is an imprisonment. They are currently in the care of Missionary Tyrian, who is the only one aside from Roland, Svenya, and myself permitted to interact with Marduk and his followers.

Cipher Lock Disengaged.

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