The Acolytes of Inquisitor Lansard are convened within the spires of Hive Sibellus. They are tasked with investigating a disturbing artefact found in the possession of Vladimir Semyeon, the recently deceased head of a noble house in decline. The item in question is a data-slate containing a snuff film.
The film depicts a young woman being ritually murdered by a slab-like man with an aquilla tattoo on the back of his neck. They discover that Vladimir had been spending a lot of time away from their home on Scintilla, and had been seen speaking to a ship’s captain identified as Fortius Bellar of the pilgrim ship The Guiding Hand. The Semyeon’s loyal retainer Smythe suggests that Vladimir may have been supervising the sale of various assets, including a villa in Xicarph. Other evidence included a rather sinister silver mask.
The girl in the vid is identified as being a working girl from the Kervorkian district, as Acolyte Rowarke happens to recognise the rose tattoo on her face. The Acolytes travel to the district and uncover that a priest working at a local mission with connections to the Semyeons had been “saving” prostitutes and sending them on pilgrimages. With the assistance of a local underworld figure sick of having his girls stolen, the group sets up a sting operation to catch Brother Joseph with his robes down.
Caught in a compromising position by servants of the Inquisition, Brother Joseph reveals a cryptic connection to Quaddis and something called ‘The Feast of Flesh’. Before being handed over to the tender mercies of the Explicators.