In Service of the Throne

Session 9
Tunnels & Twilight

The group deliver Trinket’s severed head to Damas, much to his delight. After a celebratory round of something that tastes like engine coolant, he informs them that the arrangements have been made with his contact, and that the meet is due to go down in a couple of days. In the meantime, he gifts the party with his nephew, Flinn, a scrawny lad, claiming that they might find some use for him. He’ll send word when the time is set. This gives the party some time to recover, both from their wounds and from the hangover.

However, the situation at large within Gelt Square is rapidly deteriorating. As the group make their way across the district to their lodgings, they encounter a large crowd, at least a hundred strong, outside the local Gendarme barracks. Both sides are armed, but worse, Rathos detects telltale signs of psychic energy coming from deep within the crowd. The Acolytes insinuate themselves in the crowd, following Rathos towards the source of the emanations. A hooded figure stands in the middle of the crowd. When the group intervenes, the figure unleashes a psychic firestorm, immolating a dozen rioters and inciting mass panic. The crowd surges away in all directions. Those at the front are mown down by the twitchy gendarmes.

The Acolytes manage to limp away in the confusion, and rest up at their lodgings, having added second degree burns to their already battered constitutions.

Good to his word, Damas summons the group a few days later. Along with his bodyguards, a hulking pair of ex-guardsmen Kol and Rogan, he takes them down through a series of tunnels, recently excavated and guarded by a gun servitor. The Acolytes can see the Damas takes his business very seriously. They stop at an abandoned commuter station. A small group of mutants steps into the light.

Their leader, who Damas introduces as Garba, is a hunchback, with multiple sets of eyes peering out from beneath his ragged hood. He informs the Acolytes that there will be no Twilight, until the Benefactor is appeased with a suitable offering. When asked, he responds that only blood of the pure will suffice. The Acolytes turn and look at Flinn, who bolts into the tunnel mouth. He doesn’t manage to get very far before Rowarke takes him down. They offer him a deal, either his hand or his life, and some make-shift surgery is performed. The group returns with their grizzly trophy and Garba leads them onward to meet the Benefactor.

After more dark, dingy tunnels, reeking of promethium and rot, Garba leads them out into a siding. Beside the rusted tracks is a shanty of flakboard huts, a group of a dozen or so mutants huddled around a burning promethium barrel. Past the shanty is what looks to be an old armoured locomotive, attached to two rail carriages, one a bulk liquid container. Midway along the train is a shrine erected out of flakboard and crusted with blood. Garba takes the hand and leads the observance. The Acolytes follow, bowing. With his head lowered, Rowarke notices a tell-tale blinking light beneath the carriage.

A great clanking rises from inside the train compartment. The door squeals aside and a servitor appears in the doorway. It looks dumbly at the mutants and clunks down the ramp toward the shrine. As the mutants bow and chant, Rathos takes the opportunity to slip onboard. He enters the carriage and is confronted by a drug workshop, rows of servitors linked to workbenches and vats of chemicals. Unfortunately he is spotted, and a servo-skull swoops down to attack him. The alarm is raised and the group rush onto the train, slamming the door behind them. They make quick work of the servo-skull and take a quick look around the workshop.

They find shelf upon shelf of orange crystals, much like the Twilight sample Damas gave them.
The door echoes to the clamouring of hands against the metal. There follows a lurch and the train begins to grind away. The group fights their way down the train, encountering a hooded metal figure in the red robes of the Mechanicus. Upon seeing the group it opens fire, las beams scorching the length of the cabin. Despite its best efforts, Rathos uses pulses of energy to hamper the Heretek, allowing the group to chip away until it collapses in the door of the locomotive.

In the final cabin are more workbenches, though a notable lack of Twilight. Wired into the wall of the cabin is a large cogitator terminal, which begins to beep alarmingly in the wake of the Heretek’s demise. Rathos pushes into the locomotive section and manages to uncouple the locomotive from the carriages. Rowarke and Kadis make the jump into the forward section just before it separates and the locomotive speeds off down the track. Seconds later the tunnel is engulfed in a fireball and a concussive wave buffets the locomotive, knocking it off the track.

The toppled locomotive grinds to a halt against the tunnel wall and the Acolytes dust themselves off. The passage behind them has collapsed, preventing any possible pursuit. Safe, for now, they examine the Heretek. Pulling back the robes, they expect to find evidence of flesh, even withered and grey. They find none. This is a being of pure metal. A robot.

XP (300 all, I think, please correct me on that guys)

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Session 8
Trinket

The group undertakes Damas mission to eliminate Trinket and his gang. They mount a daring raid on his hideout within the local railhead district. Kadis manages to enlist a small group of gendarmes to help in the attack. They serve as a distraction whilst the group sneaks in.

The raid results in Kadis being critically injured, but Trinket is eliminated. The group also manages to recover an unconscious mutant that Trinket was in the process of torturing.

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Session 7
Deals by Twilight

After a period of healing, the Acolytes return to Scintilla from Quaddis. Inquisitor Lansard is waiting for them at the Semyeon estate to carry out a debriefing. They inform her of Vladimir Semyeon’s links to the Beast House and the machinations of the Pilgrims of Hayte before handing over the face of the Widower for storage or disposal.

Once the debriefing has concluded, Inquisitor Lansard hands Kadis a data-slate and informs her that she is now the inheritor of the Semyeon home under the guise of Lady Arcturus. She is to use the holding as a base of operations for the cell and must keep it secure and well-armed. To establish the cover a household and retinue needs to be maintained to which Kadis suggests that Illyeon and the pilgrims would make suitable additions. She also raises the question of Rowarke’s mental stability after his episode in transit. Lansard dismisses their concerns, stating that “What that man has survived would leave anyone a little touched.”

Lansard gives them a brief 24 hour rest before she returns with another mission briefing. The Acolytes are tasked with travelling to Clove, a minor hive world in the Hazeroth Abyss that has been suffering unprecedented rates of mutation and a spate of attacks on food stores. The group are to investigate the cause of this sudden surge in mutation, and whether it may be linked to a new drug called Twilight.

The group travels to Clove aboard The March of Drusus and meets with Lansard’s contact, Proctor-Specialist Bella Holtz of the Clove Special Division. They learn that Twilight has become a blight amongst the workers. The initial attacks on food stores mostly resulted in destruction rather than theft. Mutations have now spread to lower members of the supine classes. Policing resources are severely stretched as a large PDF contingent was committed to the Margin Crusade.

To begin their investigation she directs them to an area known as Gelt Square, a run-down trading bazaar close to the city’s railhead. Within Gelt Square Rowarke and Rathos go about ingratiating themselves with the local crime-lord Damas, and even save him when one of his Twilight stashes is attacked by a rival gang. Afterwards they strike a deal with Damas – he will provide them with a source of Twilight in return for the head of his hated rival Trinket…

XP Reward (Rowarke & Rathos 150, Kadis 50)

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Session Six
Tick Tock

The Acolytes make their preparations for the grand party. After securing suitable clothing, the group scouts the surrounds of Gabriel Chase and manage to secrete a cache of weapons. Preparations complete they attend under the guise of Lady Arcturus and her retinue.

Wandering through the crowds in the main ballroom, Kadis engages in conversation with the elderly Lord Vipus who is only to happy to furnish her with his extensive knowledge of the Haarlocks. Whilst she is engaged, Rathos and Rowarke do a little scouting. They find the entire mansion odd, but cannot quite put their finger on why. A large obsidian aquila is the first casualty of the evening, singled out for the Acolytes ire because of it’s perceived oddness.

The evening grinds on – Lord Vipus continues to bore Kadis about the Haarlocks. They endure a brief encounter with the impetuous Tarrik Doru. Rathos is briefly swallowed into the maze like structure of the building and recovers a mysterious map. His fellows join him, encountering Lady Obellia who has been seized by a group of cultists. By the time they emerge the events are drawing to a head – the Thirtieth Hour closes.

The Widower reveals himself as the ballroom is thrown into darkness. Party goers fall on each other like ravening animals. Hooded Pilgrims of Hayte emerge from the woodwork to enjoy the carnage. Heron Mask confronts The Widower in front of the Steel Clock. As the two enemies clash, Rowarke seizes the initiative. He charges through the maelstrom and unleashes a mighty swing at the huge pendulum. The blow dislodges the heartstone from its cradle and tosses him toward the churning gears. The Widower bellows in futile rage as his form is undone.

The Heron turns on the interloper, incapacitating him with a barrage of psychic energy. Rathos and Kadis join the fray – Rathos’ thigh is sliced open and Kadis is nearly strangulated. In his blind apocalyptic fury the Heron Mask leaves himself vulnerable and he is eventually cut down. As his lifeblood seeps away across the marble floor, the eclipse passes. The party has become a scene of slaughter, but one that would have been very much worse without the Acolytes’ intervention.

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Session Five
A Dark Errand

The Acolytes venture into the Akasen Follies to speak to the Spider Bride. They are ushered into a silken pavilion by delicate handmaidens and lavished with food and drink. Having survived on meagre rations for the past few weeks, Acolyte Rowarke gives in to temptation and gorges himself on fine wine and exotic fruits.

The Spider Bride offers them a simple deal. She will answer any questions they have in return for delivering a package to a rival known as Papa Grist. She tells them that the package will mean his end. Somewhat gingerly the Acolytes accept the offer and are handed a silver canister.

On their way back through the streets they encounter what appears to be a murder scene. Blood and tattered cloth are scattered across an alleyway. Several adepts are picking their way around the scene whilst promenade sentinels stand guard. Curiosity getting the best of them, the Acolytes move closer in order to get a better look. Acolyte Rowarke notices a severed arm lodged on a balcony several feet away while Acolyte Doptera begins to harass the sentinels. Using Doptera as a distraction Rowarke dislodges the arm and the group manages to make off with it.

Once back at their lodgings they give the package to Septimus to examine. He succeeds in opening the canister to reveal a sinister mechanical spider. The Acolytes decide they have seen enough and continue with their mission. They move on to the Fortune’s Wheel, where they hatch a plan to gain access to Grist. Posing as an aspiring pit fighter and his agent, Rowarke and Doptera attempt to set up a meeting. Once Rowarke has proven himself capable in the arena, they are allowed upstairs to meet with Grist. They offer him the canister and after being mind probed by his pet psyker, he accepts the gift.

The mechanical spider leaps out of the box and decapitates Grist. His bodyguard panics and flees, while the pet psyker giggles. Rowarke dispenses with him. Their task completed, they return to the Spder Bride.

Her answers are cryptic, but what is to be expected of such a being. Once a servant of the Haarlocks, the Widower will serve no longer, and his freedom will bring with it the death of this world. He intents to strike during the Thirteenth Hour as his fate is linked to that of the Steel Clock found within the mansion of Gabriel Chase. With that she hands them a gilded invitation to the revel.

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Session Four
The White Scholar

Having concluded their business with the Semyeon estate, the Acolytes being to dig into the circumstances surrounding their abduction. Following the guidance of Inquisitor Karakalla, they seek out his last surviving Acolyte, Septimus Dexter – The White Scholar. Making their way to the Refutation District, Acolyte Doptera begins to question local adepts. They eventually locate him within the Chancel Aethenum, amongst a stack of books.

Initial attempts at subterfuge are unsuccessful, and Doptera discovers that Dexter is not merely a meek adept when she insults Inquisitor Karakalla. However Dexter knows that he is alone and vulnerable and therefore agrees to work with them and just in time, as they are confronted by sinister masked figures.

The masked figures issue a demand to hand over the scholar, but the Acolytes refuse. Using Kadis as a distraction, the group’s psyker, Rathos Malin, attempts to flank them. A fight ensues with Kadis and Rowarke engaging two of the masked figures in hand-to-hand combat. The other assailant is revealed as a witch as he starts to hurl bolts of energy at the Acolytes and summons force a swirling vortex, creating a maelstrom of books and furniture.

Rathos engages the witch and shoots him several times before gravity suddenly reverses and the two groups begin to float towards the domed ceiling. He grabs onto a bookcase, but his comrades only manage to do his with his assistance. The witch uses his powers to remain floating, whilst he continues to dislodge the Acolytes with more bolts. The witch is eventually slain by Acolyte Rowarke’s handcannon despite clinging to a statue almost twenty metres from the ground.

Once the phenomena has abated and Acolyte Rowarke retrieved from his precarious position, Septimus agrees to follow the Acolytes and sets himself up at their lodgings for the moment. Once there, he informs the Acolytes about a semi-mythical figure with knowledge of the Haarlocks, said to reside within the Akasen Follies. He calls her the Spider Bride.

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Session Two
The Red Cages

After embarking on their journey aboard The Guiding Hand, something awful befalls the Acolytes. They awaken to find themselves within a blood soaked fighting ring as sport for ravening creatures. With some ingenuity and the help from a mysterious masked benefactor they make good their escape from the pit, heroically rescuing six others. They follow the trail left by their benefactor, little knowing that they would be entering the nightmare labyrinth of the Red Cages beneath Xicarph.

Leading their band of survivors, the Acolytes take the fight to the slavers. After many long hours in the dark tunnels and metal caverns, they succeed in finding the heart of the slaver’s operation. Though they are too late to stop the slaver’s leader from departing, they launch an assault. Using a small measure of stealth, combined with zeal, psychic powers and the aid of a decrepit power-lifter the Acolytes overcome the slavers and find the dying Inquisitor Karakalla. He warns them not to trust their masked benefactor, and makes them swear that they will stop whatever evil he may yet be planning.

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Session One
Favour for a Friend

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.

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