February 17, 2011
Later in the night, Zero and Hextes discovered Mordrin sneaking out in the night. After arguing, the Cell followed him and heard him report to the Inquisitor. They couldn’t figure out much from one side of the conversation, but they now know that they are being reported on. Mordrin caught them out, and they had a discussion about his relationship to the group.
In the morning they left via truck to head to Stern Hope. All around, they saw the local carrion birds, Shale Crows, circling and following them. En route, they encountered a suspicious rock fall that had flattened another vehicle. Aristarchus led them off the path, but they encountered an archeological dig site that no one had ever heard of before. In a clearing covered with bones, at the center of the site was a twenty foot tall black obelisk covered in vaguely glowing runes. Searching around, the Cell found a document, a bastard sword, and a semi-functional Xenos pistol. Reading the document, the Cell learned that the obelisk was a psychic beacon of Eldar origin, and was some kind of warning signal. They felt the impossibility of the obelisk’s location so close to Port Suffering sank in, and the Cell felt worms of doubt and confusion grip their souls.
At the camp in the night, the first watch of Cecil and Thak discovered a human figure approaching the camp. When it didn’t respond to their shouts, they fired on it. When Solanus Zero got up close, it was clear that it was an Ashleen warrior hat had been long dead. Thak crushed its head in with a hammer for good measure, and sent its soul to the Emperor with prayer. Aristarchus has been sleeping fitfully through the whole event and couldn’t be woken. In the morning, the body was gone.
Getting closer to Stern Hope, the Cell saw a strange figure on a ridge above them. Aristarchus felt psychic emanations and could tell something terrible had happened in the location before, and ordered the Cell to investigate. Silvanus “Sil” Geiss has to be dragged up the hill, despite boasting about his Climbing skills. At the top, the Cell discovered a pictograph of a bird grasping a skull, burned deep into the rock, and still incredibly hot to the touch. None of them could identify it, but Aristarchus was clearly disturbed and would speak no more of it.
Upon reaching Stern Hope, the cell encountered Brother Severus, the settlement’s Intercessor, at the front gate. They were greeted by Brother Lamark, the Abbot’s right hand man. The abbot was busy, so the Cell explored the town before bunking down in the Crying Clota, the local ramshackle bar. Some inspired cooking by Thak sent them along to sleep with full stomachs.
In the morning they had a meeting with Abbot Skae. He informed them about the region and the troubles at the cathedral. Of particular interest, he told them that inside the Cathedral they had been hearing strange sounds in some particular places, and that they had discovered stripped corpses in the hills above the town. Amid some disruption and intrigue inside the Cell, Zero managed to determine via psyniscience that the disruptions in the Cathedral were linked to the hills above town.
Trying to leave a message for Aristarchus, they were told that he was in deep meetings with Abbot Skae. Brother Lamark led the Cell up into the hills to investigate. They didn’t find much, but Thak noticed that they were being stalked by a creature. As soon as he noticed, a Hexalid erupted out of the rocks and charged directly towards them. Moving quickly and staying in cover, it was a tough target to hit. Its fearsome aspect caused shock to many of the party members, including Brother Lamark, but the party got several shots in on it. When it got close enough, Silvanus “Sil” Geiss drew his Greatsword and put an enormous chop through the creature’s knee. However, in return he took a significant wound and was losing blood from his right arm. Sil managed to muster all of his energy and put a final chop into the creature before it rent him limb from limb, and in an enormous fountain of blood it collapsed on the rocky hill. Nearby, the party found its lair, full of bones and scraps.
Hextes mustered all his energies to try and perform first aid on Sil, but it proved detrimental to Sil’s health. Though reluctant, Sil consented to psychic healing from Zero. It went off fine, and Sil could feel some of his torn muscles knit back together. Returning to town, they did some minor investigations and waited for Sil to be strong enough to handle further psychic healing. They recovered rumors about the local Ashleen and an individual called Seth the Voice, a local warlord who had been attempting to raid Stern Hope, believing that it was against the Emperor’s will. Resting for the night, and receiving healing in the morning, Sil was mostly at full strength, although he felt some lingering twinges and endured a bad night of nightmares as he dreamt of the Hexalid eating his face off.
As the Cell left the bar, they found that the Ashleen had arrived. Led by Warchief Kos’Ke and accompanied by their holy woman, Esha Raine, they proceeded towards the Cathedral. Aristarchus met up with the team and got a game plan together. Of primary interest, the Cell thinks that something is wrong with the local Ashleen. Aristarchus agrees that something suspicious is going on. In preparation for the morning services, the Cell managed to convince some of the local guardsmen to man the guns on the walls.
Inside the Cathedral, the Acolytes were given a place of honor near the front next to Warchief Kos’Ke. During the service, however, the sounds gunfire erupted from outside. Abbot Skae looked to them and declared, “The sacrament of the Imperium is Blood.” The Cell rushed outside.
A smoke belching truck had been driven into the gates and crushed both them and one of the watchtowers. Nearly thirty local Ashleen, all wearing yellow armbands that label them as servants of Seth the Voice, began running wild in camp. Looking around, the Cell sees several immediate events.
The Leader of the Voicers is shouting commands from near the gate.
A group of several Voicers is rushing and carrying a large box straight towards the Cathedral.
The smoke and fire has driven several of the enormous Dustdogs in the Warrior’s Camp to stampede.
Several Voicers carryings firebombs are heading towards the Manufactorium and Geratoria.
A group of Voicers in the thick of madness are whirling their swords through the tents and one of the refugees has gathered a group of children but is unable to get out of the path of destruction.
Through the haze and smoke, the Cell can hear one strident Voicer worshipping the Emperor and asking for his intercession as they do his will.
The party has split into two groups. One will head to confront the Leader, hoping that taking him out will slow them down. The second will head to try and save the Manufactorium and Geratoria. The Cell hopes that Warchief Kos’Ke is truly an ally and will be able to stop the bomb from destroying the Cathedral.
It is time for the Acolytes to fight for the glory of the Emperor!