Author: Inquisitor Van Vuygens
To: Interrogator Aristarchus
Subject: Mission Briefing
Location: Iocanthos – Segmentum Obscurus
Sector: Calixis (Scintillan Sub)
Tithe Grade: Exactus Median
Notes: ref – Ghostfire Pollen
TFTD: Ignorance is a blessing not to be disdained by the wise
Mission Details: The Inquisition offices on Scintilla have been formally issued with a request for assistance from the settlement of Stern Hope on Iocanthos, its from an old friend of mine Abbot Skae. The report, while vague, suggests suspicious disturbances, possibly psychic or warp based, occurring in the area of a new cathedral raised to honour Saint Drusus. The cathedral lies at the heart of the remote outpost and its successful completion will do much to further the Imperial faith on this troubled world, a laudable goal and one that the Holy Ordos shares.
You are requested and required to proceed to the planet Iocanthos where you will investigate the incidents and ensuring that the consecration of the cathedral goes as planned. Your principal tasks are to gather data about any phenomena encountered and, where needed, eliminate any threats that you find.
Landing close to the site of the incident is impractical due to its geographical location in a mountain range and the potential hostility of the natives. Instead you will make planet fall at Port Suffering (Iocanthos’s primary Imperial outpost) . From Port Suffering arrangements have been made for your journey to Stern Hope.
I realize that this mission falls outside of my usual province, not seemingly xeno related, but the Abbot is an old friend, and besides my gut is telling me there is something xeno involved in this affair, although no evidence supports this hypothesis. You also need to hurry Witch Finder Rykehuss is sending a cell to investigate, and you know his methodology.
Addendum 1: The Cathedral Mission
Missionary-Abbot Orland Skae successfully petitioned for the first Iocanthan cathedral to be built in the settlement Stern Hope two years ago, and since then reporst indicate that he has gathered a sizeable congregation of native converts and worthey off-world pilgrims to his cause. Skae himself, a very distant scion of Scintillan nobility, has managed to garner both off-world donations and considerable local support to his mission, so far succeeding where others have failed.
Addendum 2: Reported Phenomena
As the cathedral structure has neared completion, unusual phenomena have been evidenced both at the site and in the surrounding area. These include strange lights in the hills, animal attacks, missing persons, an upsurge in accidents and unexplained deaths. These incidents have culminated recently in more serious and obviously unnatural events such as manifestations of phantom sounds, walls weeping blood, telekinetic disturbances and otehr such phantasmagoria.
Addendum 3: Planetary Briefing
Society: Iocanthos is an anarchic pseudo-feudal society, where all power-relationships are based on violence or its threat. A war-torn and brutal worlk, the control of the planet rests with various warlord and clan factions that compete to harvest or steal the planet’s only tithed material, Ghostfire pollen, in order to turn it over to the Imperium in exchange for supplies. The most powerful warlord is currently King Vervai Skull who is currently acknowledged as Iocanthos’s de facto planetary governor. Iocanthos boasts a single fortified Administratum-controlled spaceport settlement, Port Suffering, where the tithe is collected and trans-shipped.
Founding: Iocanthos was taken by General (Saint) Drusus’s 2nd Army Group during the first great crusades through the sector. As the planet lacked any significant technology, Drusus’s forces defeated the indigenous people, known as the Ashleen, in a single week of bloody fighting. Drusus later remarked in his memoirs that the only memorable aspect of the planet was the vast fields of wild flowers which resembled “Shimmering fileds of rippling explosions, caught at that fleeting moment between beauty and destruction” [Ref. pg. 526 – Breaching the Darkness]. As ever, the general was perceptive as the Ghostfire would become central to the world’s future.
Additional Notes: In times past, Iocanthos served as a penal dumping ground for undesirables that the Scintillan authorities for various reasons didn’t wish to execute or expatriate further afield. Such exiles were given minimal supplies and allowed to thrive or falter without further interference. The current population is largely a mixture of their descendants and the native Ashleen.
Imperial Xeno-botanist Mogren Thunt was the person who discovered that the pollen of the native Ghostfire flowers contained powerful phychoactive properties and refined their use.
After being graced with a powerful vision telling her to build a temple, “Where the flowers burn”, Sister Semberle of the Adeptus Sororitas came to the world and ordered the building of the Abbey of the Dawn in one of Iocanthos’s flint mountain ranges. The Sororitas facility is forbidden to outsiders.
Ref – Ghostfire Pollen: Iocanthos’s sole tithe. It is a powerful psychoactive substance used as the base for a considerable number of combat drugs used by the Imperial Guard’s penal legions throughout the Segmentum Obscurus.
Past Inquisitorial Involvement: To the average Iocanthan, the Inquisition is merely another half-legendary power from beyond their world, and while there have been several Inquisitorial missions to Iocanthos in the past, as you are well aware, I have no need to commit those inquiries into writing as you are aware of those events.
The planet historically registeres a slightly higher per capita level of psyker birth, but not significantly so.
The Sisters of the Abbey of the Dawn regularly report any unusual heretical activity to the Conclave. Other than this, the Holy Ordos retain no standing presence on Iocanthos.
Addendum 4: A New Crop
I have dispatched a new and untried cell to your aid, alas, none other of my cadre were available and within reasonable reach of Iocanthos. They seem firm in character and capability, but only time will tell. There will be no special treatment for them, despite one among them you may recognize. I trust you will lead them in a successful investigation.