Log entry 314-84788
Thoughts of Acolyte Novus during the Quaddis Affair recorded on thought stone and archived in the Inquisitional Vault on Scintilla
My new found companions and I had managed to find the White Scholar that the dying Inquisitor had mentioned. Before we could usher him out and to the safehouse, four masked individuals blocked our path. Three wore fine clothing stained red at the sleeves, while the fourth wore dark voluminous robes. The robed man demanded we hand over the old man to them.
We felt no need to negotiate with the four men.
Constantine drew his weapon in a flash and ended one man's life before he could react. At almost the same time the autopistol I had found earlier was in my hand and barking hot lead into the robed man. The flurry of bullets left him reeling and his arm in ruin. Another of the assailants fell to Trantor and Magnus. I noticed the robed man pulling strands of warp to himself in an attempt to manifest some psykic power, however the wound must have sapped his strength as nothing materialized. The other remaining assailant attempted to shoot one of my companions but his shot flew wide as the fury of our attack and the quick loss of many of his companions flustered his attack. Quickly Constantine ended the wretched soul's life with a quick shot. Taking a mental count of how many shots I had left, I took quick aim and let loose with the last remaining bullet in the crude weapon. The shot hit home and the robed individual fell to the floor. Quickly we gathered what we could from their bodies and made haste to the safehouse.
I and my three companions collapsed into a deep slumber, the aches and pains of the last hours falling away to silent nightmares of what we had witnessed below. Awaking I found my head clearer. I once again tried to summon the power to heal my wounds… Alas! It worked.
I once again was able to wield my fel powers. I quickly cleaned up and donned the dark robes I had recovered from the fallen psyker. As I walked to the door of the bedroom I summoned "Deathtouch" to my hand and secured it inside my robes. It was a remarkable weapon, worth every penny I spent on it. A las rifle only barely larger than a pistol and as accurate as a long las. With "The Finger of Death", my monosword, attached to it, I was prepared for any problem I couldn't solve with other means.
As I entered the room, my companions flinched slightly, quickly realizing it was me, and not an agent of the Herron Mask. We went to work at finding the Jackal Mask, Markus Vulpus. It seems to me, more out of vengeance than an honest attempt at accomplishing the purpose we had been tasked with. We had decided to head to the main fighting arenas. Perhaps Markus would be there.
When we arrived we could not find Markus amongst the crowd. Constantine thought to try to deceive one of the local beast slavers into helping us find Markus' location. We underestimated his intelligence as he almost immediately recognized us. He alerted his four friends nearby to our presence. Once again, we found ourselves in a fight.
It is curious to see these acolytes in action. I had thought the inquisition was more subtle than they, perhaps the mysterious workings of the Inquisition are nothing more than propaganda to spread fear amonst the worlds of the Imperium.
My musing was cut off by the weapons fire from Constantine. His shot cutting down two of the men in front of him with his pistols. Magnus and Trantor couldn't accurately bring their weapons to bear and missed, due to the unexpected fire fight no doubt. Before the remaining two could react, Deathtouch was in my hand. A quick aim and the las bolt punched a hole clean through the slavers armor and chest. The Emperor is with me today! The slavers corpse fell backwards. The remaining man dropped his weapons and ran down a tunnel towards one of the fighting pits. We pursued hoping to capture this one alive.
Constantine lurched forward outpacing us by many meteres over. Magnus and I flew past Trantor. The poor Techpriest seems to have little nimbleness. Yet he makes up for it in strength of personality. Shortly Magnus started to fall behind as we rounded a corner. Ahead I could see Constantine charge through a sheet of light, beyond which I couldn't see anything. I didn't look behind me, I couldn't let Constantine get out of site, the last time it happened, we didn't see him for hours. I burst out of the darkness and came to a halt a few meters from Constantine. I could see his muscles tighten. I recognized this from the previous fights we had been in together. He was preparing to fight. His gaze was not towards me, or even the man we were chasing. I traced his sight line till I saw it. A 4-meter tall slavering beast. It's claws and fangs glistened red from fresh kills.
We needed to get out of here as soon as possible. I quickly scanned the arena for our runaway. I saw him climbing a ladder up towards the stands. With a thought I seized the muscles in his body causing him to fall to the ground. A glanced over at Constantine to see the great beast charge across the space between them with an agility it's great mass belied. Constantine expertly evaded it's attack. He drew his chain axe and knife an surged forward, carving out chunks of flesh. His arms disappeared into the beast when suddenly a gush of hissing liquid washed over him. I could see him wince, he would never scream out, so I knew the liquid was causing him immense pain. Quickly I seized control of the beast slavers mind and body. Together we walked out of the stadium the same way we came.
I could hear the stadium half in cheer and half in dismay. The various cheers and boos reverberating through the tunnel. Soon Constantine was sprinting out of the arena covered in open sores and slime. While maintaining control of the simple minded slaver, I reached out and knitted Constantines wounds together. The mess, however, I left for him to clean.
Constantine tried to get some answers from the slaver, but he was too terrified, uneducated and superstitious, he couldn't answer. With a half sigh, that no one else could have perceived, I made him approach me. Extending my hand to his head I placed my middle finger on one temple and my thumb on the other. It didn't take long to break through his feable attempts to resist. I sifted through his mind like a magazine, for it was only that complicated.
He wimpered "I don't want to die like the others."
I retrieved knowledge of his life, but was only interested in knowledge of the Jackal Mask. He had heard him say he was going to the theater district a few hours earlier. With that I released his mind, but not his body.
"You won't." I replied.
I walked down the tunnel, I felt his life extinguish as his mind and soul erupted painlessly. His suffering was over.
We continued on to the theater district where we deliberated where would be the best place to find Markus. We finally decided that the main amphitheater would be the best place to start. Apparently Markus was coming here to meet with a contact regarding the Herron Mask. Upon entering we looked once again for Markus to no avail, when we spied a shady looking individual selling wares surreptitiously. When we approached him to ask him questions he took off running. Once again, we gave chase. Trantor decided to take a short cut and was off on his own. I gave a half sideways glance with a raised eyebrow. I wonder if this techpriest knows what he's doing. Magnus got held up when he ran into a crowd leaving a theater. It was just Constantine and I. We would catch up, only to fall behind because of a vacant minded reveller wandering in our way. One such individual caused Constantine to fall over him. Constantine let out a curse, I could see him punishing the individual while trying to get to his feet. I could see the rogue, he was just within my grasp. He turned a corner, when I followed I ran into a street merchant's stand. I could hear him cursing at me and demanding reparation as I kept going. I saw him ahead, he was almost to another intersection when I saw an opportunity. The street he was headed down was the same that a nearby alley lead to. I ran through the alley with all my energy. I came out of the alley just in front of the man.
With a start he almost fell down. He drew a knife with dexterity and thrust it at me wildly.
"We just want to talk to you," I told him in earnest.
He slashed at me again. I projected into his mind "That's enough!" and took control of his body. Together we walked back towards where my companions were following. Eventually we met up with Constantine. Luckily this individual had a slightly more complicated mind and could hold a reasonable conversation. Soon Magnus arrived and a few minutes later Trantor. The man agreed to take us to his "boss" on the conditions that I stayed away from him. That was a reasonable deal in my opinion.
He led us to a guarded building and took us inside. There we saw a grisly individual that fancied himself an important person. The many muscled guards around him spoke of his paranoia and weakness. He introduced himself as Kalkula. We asked him about Markus Vulpus, which he implied he knew information about. After a few rounds of a verbal fencing match between Constantine and the man I grew bored and pulled a credit chit that the White Scholar had given me to spend on equipment. I fingered the chip obviously, which drew his attention. I slid the chip over to him at which point he verified it's contents. He offered to have one of his lackys guide us to a house in which Vulpus had entered but had yet to leave.
The guide led us through the winding streets of the district until we arrived at a building. He pointed at it and made some sort of comment, at which point he left. We cautiously approached the front door, Magnus leading the way keeping a keen eye out for a trap with Trantor following, hit utility arm twitching slightly in preparation for work I can only assume. Upon giving the all clear, Magnus also mentioned that he liked to bird watch. Constantine responded with an equally cryptic answer. The acolytes grow stranger by the minute.
We entered the house with care. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, just a seemingly empty house. We found our way to a bedroom. Upon opening the door, a grisly discovery assaulted our senses. A human body lay on the bed with every inch of its skin flayed off, leaving only muscle and fat beneath. The body was missing an arm and not clothing could be found. Blood was splattered all about the room. Even though the body was missing skin, we could not find a trace of where the skin had gone. We looked for clues as to the identity of the individual but could find none. Magnus noticed that there were footprints in the dust and blood on the ground. Apparently two sets of different prints, one large and set that was slender and slight, were in the room, both approached the bed but only one left. However, it seems the prints that left, were made by the same size foot that would have been left by the corpse on the bed, had it had skin and boots on. It looks as though Markus Vulpus is a dead end.
We left the house, and paused in the street. My companions exchanged additional cryptic remarks, supposedly some form of cryptic launguage they have developed between themselves. I noticed several glances that they made across the street.
"Someone's watching us or the house" they finally tell me. We decided to approach the individual to question him. As soon as we got close he started off down an alley. When he saw us continue down the alley he took off running. We follow him down a maze of streets. Trantor fell behind and we lost sight of him. Magnus got held up by more revellers that had left the back entrance to what I can only assume was a bar. Constantine was almost out of sight as I kept getting held up as well. Finally I lost sight of him completely. After searching around I found him with the man passed out and half-naked on the ground with a broken nose and bruised jaw. Constantine was going through the mans belongings when I approached. I took one knee beside the man and reached into his body and reduced the swelling in his brain.
"What are you doing?!" Constantine said alarmed.
"We can't ask him questions if he's unconcious," I spoke into Constantines mind. With a nod I assume he agreed. Soon Trantor and Magnus arrive on the scenee. The man began to stir and lept to his feet. Before he could start running I seized control of his body.
"We have some things to discuss," I project into his mind. As I stepped aside the man's terrified eyes passed to Constantine approaching from behind me.
"Who do you work for?" Constantine asked calmly.
The man refused to speak. "This would be a whole lot easier with an excruciator," Trantor piped in.
"That can be arranged," I responded inside Trantors head. With that I reached into the man's body and activated all of his pain receptors simultaneously. I kept my control over his body and clenched his mouth so he couldn't scream aloud. After a few seconds I released his nerves and his jaw. I could sense Trantor's uneasiness about what he had just witnessed. Once again Constantine asked him the question.
Between sobs he confessed "Kalkula had me watch the house."
Constantine continued, "Who came out of the house after Vulpa entered?"
"N-n-no one did… p-please let me go," he stammered.
"Someone left, we saw the footprints, who was it?" Constantine answered back.
"I swear, no one left! Please don't kill me!" the man pleaded, almost histerical now.
"Fine, tell Kalkula we let you live out of professional courtesy only, we don't appreciate being spied on." Constantine warned the man. With that I let go of my grasp on the man. He stumbled as he frantically ran away looking back to make sure we weren't going to kill him.
"Well, looks like we're back at a square one, perhaps the White Scholar could give us some insight on where we could go to get information on what the Herron Mask is up to, since it seems Vulpus is a dead end." I state in my companions minds. We all agreed and we headed back to the safe house.
After a discussion that probably should have taken place before we had left the first time, the White Scholar informed us of the events that were unfolding and the Conjunction that was about to happen. He also mentioned that there are two sources of reliable information in Xicarph, but each will cost more than just credits. Papa Grist, a smuggler, or businessman, possibly one in the same can be found running his gambling house, The Fate's Wheel. He trades in everything, including information. The other source is the Spider Bride. A mysterious, ancient figure who seems to know more about Xicarph than anyone, almost as if she lived here for generations. After arguing the point, we decided that we would see both, but we would see Papa Grist first.
After we checked our heavier weapons at the door, we entered the room. We noticed many noblemen and their guards in the Fate's Wheel, as well as a small "fighting arena" within the Fate's Wheel itself. It appears private matches were held here as well. We noticed an individual in the corner that seemed to be the center of attention. Before we could approach, however, a beast of a man stepped in our way.
"What do you want?" He asked. "We have business with Papa Grist." Constantine responded.
I noticed a gaunt individual in the corner who seemed to be psychic. I relaxed my gaze slightly as I have learned to do in the past in order to perceive the flow of the warp. I only look at it through my peripheral vision, for if I try to gaze directly, without the training that the Navigators go through, unspeakable and terrible things can happen, least of which is death. The warp flow around him was chaotic, indicating a rogue psyker. He possessed a significant knowledge of power, but his power was much weaker than mine. Not unusual, as only the most advanced Psykers at the Scholastica Psykana possessed higher power than I. I sensed him attempting to glean information about me as well. I let him get all the information he needed and noticed his face pale ever so slightly.
Eventually the Grox Brained brute let us past to see Papa Grist. "Crackmarrow tells me you have business with me, odd since I am unaware of such bussiness," said Papa Grist.
"We seek information, regarding the Herron Mask, the Jackal Mask…"
"Markus Vulpus you mean," interrupted Papa Grist.
"Yes, we wish to contact these men to discuss business." Constantine continued.
"Hopefully not the same business you have with me?" Grist replied with a smile.
"Of course not." said Constantine.
"I have the information you seek, but before I give it to you, I request a favor."
"What kind of favor" Constantine asked hesitantly.
"I have a competitor that I would like removed. If you do this for my I will tell you everything you need, in addition, I can get you an invitation to Gabriel Chase."
"Who is your competitor and what is Gabriel Chase?" Constantine asked.
"Gabriel Chase is the palace at the center of Xicarph. It is where all the nobility goes during the Conjunction for safety and entertainment. The greatest party in Xicarph happens there, but only those invited may enjoy it." Papa Grist said with a sly smile.
He leaned forward with a stern look on his face. "My competitor is tough, but you look as though you could succeed at the task. I need you to end this vile creature. My deeds pale in comparison to her evil. If you can kill the Spider Bride for me, you would be doing not only me, but all of Xicarph a great service. She can be found in the Twilight Gardens, beware though, she's treacherous and will lie to you, do not talk to her for long or she will trick you."
Trantor rolled his eyes as he stood in the corner. "Ah, the classic, each side wants to kill the other. I've seen this before, agree to both and kill each one to collect both bounties." Trantor blurted before he realized he had said it out loud.
Grist narrowed his eyes at Trantor, "You wouldn't be threatening my life in my own establishment would you? That would be very unwise." Crackmarrow stepped forward and cracked his knuckles as he stared down at the dimunitive tech-prist. Trantor stands barely over one meter. I must admit, he's the smallest techpriest I've ever seen, although he has the spirit of a giant.
"No… no… I was just joking." Trantor said with a feeble mechanical laugh that resembled static more than laughter.
"Good… I would hate to have to end this arrangement prematurely with your death." Grist said as he eyed each of us.
"Don't worry Papa Grist, we will take care of the Spider Bitch." Constantine said cheerfully. With that we all turned to walk out. Constantine gave Trantor a sharp jab, causing the tech-priest to glance up at him with a smile.
After a brief walk we entered what must have been the twilight gardens, for every step we took, the light became dimmer, until it was as though it were twilight under a fading sun. All around revellers were laughing, almost histerically, most assuredly enjoying some form of chem. Not long after we walked down one of the avenues a dark pale beauty approached us.
"You have business with my mistress?" she asked. before we could answer she turned and said "follow me."
She led us through the streets and eventually we found ourselves walking down a vast tunnel system. Just beyond our vision things were skittering and moving along the walls and ceilings, but when we turned to look, nothing was there. Along the way we saw more of the pale, lithe, women. At some point we were led into a chamber with a strangely alluring woman, laying at the center of a weblike latice of some kind.
"Ah, my acolytes, welcome. I know why you are here, please listen to me despite the warning you received." she said, the words oozing from between her lips like honey.
All of us… even I flinched at the mention of my companions true identities, all except Trantor. He seemed to be using, as only one can guess, his poker face. If someone with a rebreather built into their face could have one.
"We were told that you had information that we were interested in. We would like to make a deal in order to obtain such information." Constantine said confidently.
"Is that truly the reason you came? If so then what information do you seek? I have the answers, but you must form the correct questions." she said honily.
Constantine paused briefly, "We wish to know where to find the Herron Mask? Do you know anything about the Widower? Does it exist?"
An eerie sound issued forth from the being that could only be a laugh.
"There is always truth in myths, be it a tiny fragment or whole truth. Yet you still have to ask the correct questions. Prehaps you should think about it more. Find Obidiah Psalter and listen to him. He is a servant of the Emperor and you may learn something that will help you. Before you visit him, I would ask a favor of you. Please deliver this gift to Papa Grist." she motions to one of her pale beauties. From out of the shadows a lithe figure approaches holding a medium sized chrome box. "Deliver this gift to Grist and make sure only he opens it, and when you return with your questions formed, I will answer all that you desire."
"Why do you wish him dead?" Constantine asked defiantly.
"Your intuition serves you well. Yes, I wish him dead because he wishes it upon me."
Her answer was one that none of us could argue with. "Are you able to get us into Gabriel Chase?" Constantine asked.
"Oh yes, don't worry, I will give you everything Papa Grist promised you and more, if you perform well." she smiled seductively.
We exchanged knowing glances, either way we were going to get into a fight, and we realized we had a better chance at killing Grist than this enigmatic being. We agreed to her terms and handed the box to Trantor.
"Why do I have to carry it," he complained. "Because you're the demolition expert." we respond. With that we headed back to the Fate's Wheel.
We checked our weapons like we had previously and entered the Fate's Wheel. Everything appeared normal except for the silver hatbox Trantor was carrying. We approached Papa Grist. He looked up.
"You're back already? Did you kill her? So many have failed before you I can't believe you have already destroyed the vile creature."
"You underestimate our abilities Papa Grist, we have indeed killed her and we brought back her head as proof in this box." Constantine said sharply. With that Constantine motions Trantor to give the box to Grist. Trantor stepped forward and gingerly slid the box onto the table in from of Grist. Papa Grist considered the box and Trantor. "You come closer, right here when I open this." Trantor hesitated and looked at Constantine who motioned for him to go ahead. Trantor eased in to get a look at the box, only half a metter from Grist's face. Assured of his safety, Grist opened the box.
From inside, an arachnid-like servitor wrapped its legs around Grist's head and in a flash and a sickening wet snap, Grist's head was free from it's fleshy anchor. A nearby noblewoman screamed in terror. Everyone lept to their feet in horror and surprise. We could see this wasn't going to end nicely. Magnus and Trantor drew their weapons. Magnus fired several shots at Crackmarrow striking him in the leg. A laser on one of Trantors arms let off a crack like a miniature whip and struck him in the chest. Another arm drew a chain knife and Trantor fired a pistol off from his "meat" hand that struck him in the other leg. I turned to find the gaunt figure across the room. I attempted to seize control of his muscles as well as the muscles of Crackmarrow and three other guards. The three guards fell to the ground causing their weapons to discharge. Crackmarrow and the Pskyer were harder to affect, much more resistant than the other dregs in the place. With the shots fired off, the rest of the room erupted into in-fighting and more precisely attacks against us. Crackmarrow hardly phased from the previous weapon hits, drew his two-handed hammer and swung it to strike Trantor like a tent stake. However the previous wounds to his legs prevented him from landing a devastating blow as he struck the table next to Trantor. I felt the Psyker attempting to affect me with warp energies, but I swept the attempt aside like a gnat. A man with an autogun unleashed a flurry of bullets at point blank range with a grin on his face. Before they could reach me I stopped them with my mind in mid air. All six bullets hung in the air spinning lazily. I tried to warn Constantine but two autoguns let loose on him. One barrage struck a devastating blow to him. He managed to dodge out of the way of five of the bullets, but the five others struck home, and that was just from the one of the attacks. The other also struck him. Even wounded and against all odds, Constantine managed to dodge even more bullets, but alas he couldn't dodge them all. The bullets knocked him to the side, but he spun around and drew both his guns. He fired one at each, both shots took the men's heads off. He continued his spin and rolled to the ground behind cover badly wounded.
Magnus and Trantor again attacked Crackmarrow. Taking multiple hits Crackmarrow continued to swing his weapon desperately, but striking nothing more than air. I reached out with my mind, I made the bullets leave Constantine's flesh and tried to knit his flesh back together. Again the autogunner fired at me. This time I reacted too slowly and one of the eight bullets struck me in the shoulder. The other seven hanging lazily beside the previous six. I notice the Psyker looking at me with a smile on his face. Sensing the window of opportunity he struck. I could sense the warp energy pulling towards him, but it didn't feel right. His face suddenly turned from elation to pure horror as a rift opened behind him. I turned away as the clawed hand of a daemon reaches through the hole and grasps him around his torso pulling him towards the rift. His screams gurgled out as his body bent and snapped unnaturally as it was forced through the small rift, before it finally closed leaving nothing left of the man.
More men attacked, shooting at us. The loud reports of their handcannons drowning out the chaos swirling around us momentarily as their payload was ejected. The shot at Magnus strayed wide, barely earning his attention as he continued to attack Crackmarrow. Another shot hit Trantor almost knocking him over. One of the two shots at Constantine grazed him, adding insult to the injuries I was unable to heal before getting shot. Constantine returned fire with his pistols at the attackers, striking them dead.
It seemed for every one we killed, two more replaced him. Trantor fired once more with the las on his arm, the blast was more than Crackmarrow could take, he fell and crushed a table under his massive weight before he died. Magnus turned his gun on the unnamed assailants with hand cannons, wounding one. Neither Magnus nor Trantor are use to wielding weapons of such calibre, they're use to larger faire. I can feel the wet blood seeping through my clothing beneath my robes, I turned my attention to my shoulder, and pulled the tissue together. I looked up at the man with the autogun in front of me, he looked concerned as we both knew he had only one more chance to kill me. I grinned imperceptibly to myself from under my hood and stepped back, facing him. The bullets which had previously been floating fell to the ground like miniature gambling dice. I could see the concern turn to desperation as he realized I was too far away to fire as accurately before and he knew I could stop many more than just one bullet. He fired again, expending what was left of his ammo. The impotent bullets stopped once again in the air as most of the shots missed completely. He frantically released the magazine on his gun and grabbed for another. Constantine fired both of his weapons into the poor soul that grazed him, ending his life in a spatter of gore and blood.
Magnus and Trantor openned up into the crowd of people that was forming to attack us. Several more individuals fell to their withering fire. A little disappointed at not being able to destroy the rogue psyker myself, I turned my attention to my wounded compatriots. "Take cover fools!" I projected into their minds as I extended my mind to both Magnus and Trantor. Channeling my power I made their bodies whole again as if they had never been harmed. More individuals fired at us. Several attackers, clearly frustrated by any attempts to attack me, turned their attention on Magnus. Five rapid shots sounded out as the five men attempted to end the fight. Magnus grinned as he didn't have to move an inch as all the bullets struck the wall behind him, completely missing him. Constantine took another hit, making him even more angry. More fools fell to his guns.
Trantor contemplated briely on taking cover behind a chair, deciding otherwise he turned a table over and took cover behind it while firing off more shots at the attackers. Magnus emboldened by his luck stood firmly with his pisols blazing. I look at Constantine, "I got you", I project to him while healing the majority of his wounds. The same five attackers fired at magnus, missing once again. The rest continued to fire at us, adding more bullets to the ground at my feet. Constantine, Magnus, and Trantor chewed through the crowd of attackers.
The fire fight became an exchange of fire from behind cover. I became bored with the whole affair, and knowing no "innocents" were still around I lifted myself into the air so that all may see me. Instantly everyone fired at me, only to meet the same results as before.
My companions kept firing from cover killing a few more attackers. I dredged up an image from my nightmares, the nightmares a dare not speak of, the nightmares that tell of the future of the Calixis sector. I pulled the image forth and formed a hideous visage as I pulled my hood back. A dozen men fell unconscious right away. Many others ran screaming from the building, and others still sat huddled, rocking back and forth, holding their heads.
"That was pretty nasty Novus," Trantor said to me laughing, "good thing we conquered fear a while ago."