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IC [Wrath and Glory x Miserable Secrets] Miserable Heresies

Mengtzu

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The Necron warships were not in an interception path for your shuttle, but too close for comfort. The Deathwatch vessel tore into them, heedless as its own escorts disintegrated around it, firing drop pods full of hungry wolves into the Necrons like torpedoes.

“A distraction”, Miaoshan had called it, a small favour from the congenial Master Inquisitor Tara. She had considered your task far more grave than that of the Daughters of Russ.

“I smell a deep sickness from Avignon, of which the Necrons are but a symptom. The Sororitas and Astra Militarum commanders have impeccable reputations, neither given to spending lives that rightfully belong to the Emperor. But the war is little more than a martyr factory. The world is awash with faith, but there is no philosophy in it. The Arbites have massed their numbers in their fortress, but stay their hand, neither joining the fight nor bringing Avignon’s secrets into the light.” You remember her eyes, piercing but resolutely kind, as she sat in meditative pose within the open carapace of her armour. “That will fall to you in their stead. Learn the truth. Save that world.”

She gave you no other details to reflect on, wary of tainting your insight with her speculation. But you cannot help but wish for more data now as your shuttle careens downwards, the orbital battle fading as the canopy of sky closes over you; the artillery exchanges of the land war dropping below the horizon as you approach the capital. You have been entrusted with the fate of a world of which you have but the briefest sketch. The Relentless Mercy of the Emperor has already re-entered the Warp, your ever-compassionate but inscrutable Inquisitor can give you no answers now.

But in the place of information you have proofs of your Inquisitorial authority, a substantial wealth of Thrones, and two gifts: sealed Inquisitorial beacons, entrusted to you by Miaoshan as you boarded the shuttle. “One calls Master Inquisitor Tara for aid; the other Master Inquisitor Milianus to begin his work.” Her armour was closed then, her voice echoing as if through a sepulchre. “If the Emperor is kind you will need neither.”

At last you pull in to the starport of the cathedral-city; it is young as the Imperium counts time but self-consciously drapes itself in the echoed glory of Holy Terra’s architecture. The lush forest far below its spires gives it an aesthetic of its own, but it seems more of the citizenry prefer to gather at Cardinal Cesare’s feet to pray than wander in the paradise he has ostensibly created.

It appears Avignon is even less forewarned of your arrival than you were. The church functionary who scrambles to greet you is no-one of consequence, and clearly terrified of bungling the affair in the absence of his betters. His composure is not helped by a sudden earthquake, but when the walls cease shaking neither he nor anyone else on the hangar floor appear to pay it any more mind than the servitors; they must be common indeed.
 

Killfalcon

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One of the arrivals is an Adpeta Sororitas, clad in statuesque powerarmour that appears to be carved from polished sandstone, as though it had freshly stepped out from a cathedral alcove, inscribed with the Weeping Rose sigil of her order, marks of rank, and of course, the Fleur of the Sororitas. The Battle Sister looks momentarily concerned at the quake, and steadies her luggage with one gauntleted hand. "Does this planet quake thusly often? To think, I was looking forwards to having Firmament beneath my feet after too long a-Void."
As the shakes subsides, she makes the sign of the Aquilla and bows, slightly, to the cleric.
"Sister Superior Victoria Oath, Hospitallar of the Weeping Rose. We seek hospitality within these walls, as the Emperor has willed us here through his ineffable grace." Sister Superior Victoria Oath speaks with the studied archaicism of one who's first tongue was scripture.

"Brother cleric, if quarters can be arranged, they should be with suitable altars for the catechisms of Arms and Arsenal, especially for our most honoured Brother Astartes: we can of course provide the suitable donations. There after, I desire to perform my observances in honour of the Cardinal: mayhap, there is a Rembrancer's shrine near, or a chapel with Stations of this world's Conquest in our beloved Emperor's Name?"
 

Mengtzu

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The prospect of an Astartes boggles the poor priest, but a Sister Superior allows practiced habits to take over. Obsequious habits, but he is clearly accustomed to obeying the Adepta Sororitas.

"In the Emperor's Name it shall be as you will it, Sister Superior. We have summoned vehicles for your use that will take you to your chambers. I or any other of the Cardinal's servants can direct you to holy site worthy of your noble presence, or of course to the mighty holdings of your august Sisters." His posture is technically correct but somewhat cringing. "As for the quakes, they are frequent yes, but we all have faith the imminent victory of the Emperor's forces over the vile xenos will do away with them and all other evil works wrought by their presence."
 

The Wyzard

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Morwyn

Morwyn's guise was presently that of a middle-aged male human, in a sort of civilianized version of a commissar's equipment. Chainsword, pistol, dashing greatcoat, jaunty cap. No marks of rank or military insignia, though. The look suited him, although he didn't have a commissar's natural presence. Morwyn usually dwelled in the shadow of his companions - literally in Arkadiy's case.

"We should go unpack our things and refresh ourselves first, but we'll want to schedule meetings immediately." Morwyn didn't fully know who they should be meeting with - human social structures were unutterably complicated and contradictory, but he did understand the basic pattern: The first people they met with would be a useless smokescreen thrown up by the people in charge, who may or not be the people they needed to question. The acolytes' task would be to determine who they should actually be talking to by the second or third conference.

It was exhausting. He wanted to ask questions of his own, but his technically perfect High Gothic still lacked the accursed theological cant that the Imperials embellished every plain statement of fact with. Worshipfulness was just another decorative skull to these people, and they'd never met anything that wasn't improved by a healthy helping of both of them.

The functionary wasn't even a smokescreen, though, just whatever lackey someone had sent as a scapegoat. Morwyn briefly hated whoever had sent him, and decided to get his revenge by sending an official inquisitorial request that their greeter be commended for his promptness and diligence. I'd probably better write "by the Emperor's will" at least five times, Morwyn thought.

He scowled, asked for a dataslate, and proceeded to let the Sister handle the locals.

OOC:
Basically Morwyn wants to use inquisitorial access codes and read whatever strategic/tactical information is available. I don't think this is quite "learning a Secret" level of stuff, but it'd be nice to know, e.g., whether the earthquakes are their artillery or ours. That kind of thing.
 
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Mengtzu

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Morwyn is handed a dataslate by a dock worker who isn't sure who this greatcoated fellow is, but is completely certain that he could be shot for failing to expedite the request.

The dataslate has a large skull on it.

Morwyn quickly concludes that the humans are not so much concealing detailed and accurate information behind security regimes as they are not recording or telling it to each other in the first place, but the Inquisitorial codes do provide heightened access and at least allow him to peel back the outer layer of propaganda. The earthquakes are frequent and relatively mild, and evenly distributed around the planet. The capital is nowhere near close enough to the front lines for anyone's artillery to be causing the effect.

He also notices a news item, celebrating the rescue of Lord General Vitetius Ariax by the Adepta Sororitas when the foul xenos overran his command bunker in the ruins of Coutances. The Lord General lost an arm and many brave soldiers in the struggle, but by the grace of the Emperor and the valour of His Daughters, was returned safely to the capital.

Exceedingly large amounts of local data traffic seems to be given over to lay worship groups in the city advertising for members. The most prominent (and least needy in their communiques) is the "Mothers of Martyrs", whose leader, Mother Brene, lead a massive prayer rally in thanks to the Emperor and praise of the Sororitas and the Lord General following the Coutances incident.

OOC: You can make a Tech roll at DN3 to try to get more out of the thing. If you're really serious, a Dig action with Tech would be appropriate, but would be at DN7. This is a network capable dataslate but the network itself isn't a rich source of information. It's fantastic for propaganda.
 

The Wyzard

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Morwyn is handed a dataslate by a dock worker who isn't sure who this greatcoated fellow is, but is completely certain that he could be shot for failing to expedite the request.

The dataslate has a large skull on it.

Morwyn quickly concludes that the humans are not so much concealing detailed and accurate information behind security regimes as they are not recording or telling it to each other in the first place, but the Inquisitorial codes do provide heightened access and at least allow him to peel back the outer layer of propaganda. The earthquakes are frequent and relatively mild, and evenly distributed around the planet. The capital is nowhere near close enough to the front lines for anyone's artillery to be causing the effect.

He also notices a news item, celebrating the rescue of Lord General Vitetius Ariax by the Adepta Sororitas when the foul xenos overran his command bunker in the ruins of Coutances. The Lord General lost an arm and many brave soldiers in the struggle, but by the grace of the Emperor and the valour of His Daughters, was returned safely to the capital.

Exceedingly large amounts of local data traffic seems to be given over to lay worship groups in the city advertising for members. The most prominent (and least needy in their communiques) is the "Mothers of Martyrs", whose leader, Mother Brene, lead a massive prayer rally in thanks to the Emperor and praise of the Sororitas and the Lord General following the Coutances incident.

OOC: You can make a Tech roll at DN3 to try to get more out of the thing. If you're really serious, a Dig action with Tech would be appropriate, but would be at DN7. This is a network capable dataslate but the network itself isn't a rich source of information. It's fantastic for propaganda.
Morwyn looked at the dataslate. He wondered if he could just keep it? When he had said "someone give me a dataslate" he had used the correct terminology for "give as a gift" rather than the word for "loan temporarily," but that might be seen as a turn of phrase rather than a literal command to provide him with a dataslate for his continuing use.

He decided to just keep it and wave his Inquisition ID at anyone who objected, or give them some of the money-tokens, or something.

OOC:
Yeah, I'm going to go for the lower diff, which I might succeed at. I probably don't need to adjust any skills after all because Victoria is going to be the smart one. So yay.

http://orokos.com/roll/660861

5d6x4: 4 [5d6x4=1, 1, 5, 6, 4]

5, 4, and 6 is four successes. I don't think I can shift any because shifting an exalted icon would leave me at only two successes? Oh well. I'm not oging to dig.


Morwyn shows the surface of the slate to his companions, and points at the name of Lord General Vitetius Ariax. "This sold- This Hero of the Imperium and the brave Sisters who rescued him will know something. If the Emperor wills it. He is a starting point." Morwyn pauses, "In the zealous pursuit of our duties. Which are sacred and blessed. Hopefully."

OOC:
EDIT: Oh wait fuck, that wrath die came up a one. I think we said it was always going to be the first die?

Something has gone awry, I suspect!

I'll look things up in the book when I get back from lunch.
 
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Mengtzu

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OOC: The complication is going to be that the Lord General is already speaking to the Arbites today, so will be unavailable unless you want to throw your weight around with them. Which maybe you do!


Morwyn's use of his brand new human possession does reveal some basic logistics data about scale of shipments. Obviously there is an enormous amount of material going to the front to supply the Astra Militarum, and the Sororitas are well supplied through centuries old arrangements. But the Arbites fortress has been steadily ramping up their requisitions and must either have many people to feed right now or are massively stockpiling. None of this accords well with the general tightness of supplies, though it may be the reason much of the propaganda he is seeing is encouraging faithful compliance with the many emergency duties and taxes levied by the Cardinal's bureaucracy.
 

ANT Pogo

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Arkadiy rode out the shaking of this world seemingly impassively, a task made easier for the helm that hid his brutal visage from the outside world. Inside the helmet, though, he gritted his teeth so hard that the implanted replacements for the ones an Eldar weapon took from him creaked and groaned in his skull.

Not that Arkadiy was concerned about the earthquake itself, per se. If the cathedral crashed down around his head, it'd either kill him outright, or it wouldn't. If it did, there was nothing he could do about that, and in fact it would go some way towards solving his problems. If it didn't, though, and merely left him crippled and pinned under colossal chunks of masonry which even his power-armor-augmented muscles couldn't shift, it would take an agonizingly long time for him to die. His Astartes physique would ensure that. Arkadiy wasn't sure whether he feared or relished the idea.

His left hand, gauntleted in the glacier-white Astartes armor, flexed on the hilt of the power sword that Chapter Master Vadim had given him when he left to join the Inquisitor, sheathed and silent at his side. It had once belonged to one of the ancient, honored warriors of the Chapter, Master Vadim said. Though it apparently hadn't done that worthy much good...nor anyone else, for that matter, since the warrior was slain wielding it, and none of his Chapter mates had seen fit to take up the sword themselves in the intervening centuries. And now this obviously ill-omened weapon was his, undoubtedly handed off to him to free the Chapter from the burden of keeping it around. Much like he had been handed off to Miaoshan. And...

...he blinked behind the eye-lenses of his helm, aware that one of the Cardinal's servants was staring up at his towering form with expectant awe, several idling ground vehicles behind. If the youth had been an enemy in battle rather than a liveried peon, Arkadiy would already be dead. He sighed inwardly...this kind of behavior was exactly WHY Master Vadim had been so eager to pawn him off on the Inquisitorius when Miaoshan had come calling on the Fell Frost.

"Lead on," he rumbled laconically through his helm's vox-grille.
 
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Mengtzu

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Arkadiy's presence both inspires awe and complicates matters greatly due to his sheer size. Thankfully for the hangar staff a vehicle is found in the extra moments created by Morwyn's enagement with the datapad, a commandeered Astra Militarum staff personnel carrier built to provide adequate recognition of the occupants' station while also transporting some general's favoured Ogryn. Less exotic vehicles serve for those of your retinue accompanying you to your lodgings.

Even from an armoured vehicle, the piety of the people is obvious. It seems odd that they have leisure to gather for prayer in such varied ways and places and in such great numbers; in an active warzone one would expect prayers to occur at their stations in their third consecutive shift. But it is not clear what the cathedral city does that requires the population it has; perhaps prayer is what they have to offer the war effort.

At your destination, your staff are informed that of course these vehicles and their drivers will remain available to you for the duration of your stay.

Your lodgings are styled after an Ecclesiarchy Presbytery and blend in to the self-conciously sacred architecture of the houses of worship and bureaucracy around them; nonetheless the complex is clearly tailored to the tastes of the secular within. Your arrival into its grand lobby silences an argument between two women who differ in their level of finery but not their confidence in their own authority; the more lavishly dressed one hisses "Lord Senator Cassiosius Macos will not be pleased that you have taken rooms from him for his lessers!" in what she imagines are tones too low to be audible to your party and retreats before she is obliged to offer any courtesies.

The more dignified of the two, likely pleased to be rid of her opponent, greets you with practiced grace, and reveals herself to be "Chamberlain Dyluna, at your Excellencies' utmost service" before escorting you to your chambers.

The Lord Senator does not seem to have been the only one deprived of board for your convenience. A significant shifting of the population of Astra Militarum staff enjoying Dyluna's hospitality seems to have been triggered by the abrupt need for vacancies at the top of the lodging hierarchy, especially with the complicating factors of an Astartes and a Sister Superior; but the officers are managing their affairs with efficiency, good humour, and perfect salutes directed mostly at Arkadiy. The evacuation of the Lord Senator's lavish goods and overdressed servants from the territory he has lost to you is not proceeding so smoothly, but is grudgingly done before it can inconvenience you; again the overdressed woman seemingly in charge of that side of the affair retreats before she might be obliged to offer you any acknowledgement at all.

Dyluna gives you and your retinue a tour of your chambers; they are in fact perfect, the logistical challenge your arrival inflicted on the Chamberlain handled flawlessly. Each of you has the facilities and luxury (or pointed lack thereof) necessary for your station, and you are informed that any necessary changes to your personal requirements or taste will be done as soon as you ask. When she retreats to offer you a measure of privacy, you are able to quickly establish the chambers have not been re-bugged and meet minimal Inquisition security requirements.

The cleric from the shuttle bay and some other functionaries are stationed close by for convenience, but not so close that they are any threat to your privacy.

You now have your base from which to launch your investigation.

OOC:
Dyluna is very good at her job, which may mean I'm fiating "Your Excellenices" as an appropriate honorific for your very diverse trio :)
 
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The Wyzard

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Morwyn

"It is not actually necessary to displace the Lord Senator or any other important personage from their lodgings - my needs are very modest, and I will spend little enough time in my chambers anyway. Any suite with a sturdy door, datanet access, and two separate sleeping chambers will suffice for me. I thank you for your courteous attention, though."

Once unpacked, he sent a message to the Lord General's staff informing them he would be visiting to meet with the General soon, and then gave some money-tokens to Merichanda.* He typed out a message for her on the dataslate and showed it to her, blocking the screen with his body against any other viewers. "I don't trust the debuggers, or anyone else on this unfortunate world. Take this money and go shopping. Skip out on the chauffeurs, return to the hotel by your own means in different clothing. Capture a pict of anyone visiting our rooms, even if it's just a cleaning-servitor. Don't engage. As a further note, which will hopefully not be relevant in the near future, Necrons are Very Bad News. Do not attempt to fight them unless you are cornered and have no other choice."


*Berserker-chan.
 
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