Heresy of the Highest

Up to this point
The story so far

Prologue
The Acolytes investigate the demonic influence at Stern Hope where they meet Archtourus who they find is a powerful psyker and seer for their inquisitor. They find that the temple at Stern Hope was built on the ancient battle site where Tsyiak, a demon called the crow father, was slain by Saint Drusus. Soon after it becomes evident the abbot of the temple was corrupted by the demon and that Archtourus is to be used as a link to the warp for the demon to transcend into the abbots body. During a battle with the possessed Abbot, Archtourus is killed and the demon banished back to the warp. The inquisitor lands planet side to find his seer dead, the temple in need of extermination, and the Acolytes in possession of a demonic book. None too pleased with the Acolytes the inquisitor sent them to raid the House of Thrungg.

I: Death From Above
The Acolytes are thrown right into the action of an Inquisitorial assault on planet Scintilla. They are part of an attack on the Scintillan estate of Bulagor Thrungg, an idle noble who has fallen into corruption and amassed a fearsome collection of forbidden artifacts and writings. Along with special forces seconded from the Army of the Scintillan Protectorate, the Acolytes storm the estate, deal with Thrungg and his lackeys, and discover upon Thrungg the left hand of a Daemon Prince. This clue leads them to the secluded Haematite Cathedral.

II: The Haematite Cathedral
The Acolytes land on Barsapine and meet the priest Judas who is their only contact and arroused much suspicion. He provides them with passage to the Haematite Cathedral in a truck that appears to be programed to abandon them there. Their explorations reveal both the history of the Hekate Dynasty who lived there, and the existence of a malign force known as the Dei-Phage that influenced three Rogue Traders to become degenerate villains. After exorcising the three malevolent psychic echoes, the Acolytes come into possession of their warrant of trade and a key that allows entrance into the lower reaches of the cathedral.

III: The Macharian Peace
The Acolytes discover the truth about the Haematite Cathedral – that it is, in fact, the upper torso of an Imperial Titan known as the Pax Macharia. The Dei-Phage summons lesser daemons to stop the Acolytes as they explore the workings of the Titan, including its plasma reactor and the chamber where its machine-spirit is stored in ancient cogitators. They communicate with the machine-spirit and learn of the Black Sepulcher, a device designed to decode evidence of corruption at the heart of the Inquisition. The Titan has been kept dormant by the Dei-Phage, which was summoned to keep it silent about a terrible secret it knows.

IV: Behold A Decaying Angel
At the heart of the capital of Barsapine is a holy shrine, built to prevent the Black Sepulchre from completing its task. The encryption of the evidence is a geometric cipher whose key is the stars themselves in motion. To this end the Pax Macharia breaks free of the mountainside and travels to the outskirts of the nearest city, Kephistron Altis, so it can free the Black Sepulcher by destroying the Golden Cathedral to look upon stars and decipher the ancient code. The Dei-Phage manifests and battles the Acolytes across the cathedral’s rooftops, and with its defeat the Pax Macharia reachs the city.
Once the Black Sepulcher has performed its operations, it can reveal the holo-recording that serves as damning proof of a massive conspiracy. This recording tells of the founding of a conspiracy, the Maledictor’s Hand, and its head… the Acolytes inquisitor himself. Alas, the decrepit Black Sepulcher self-destructs, forever destroying the only proof the Acolytes have.

V: The Fall From Grace
Judas brings to bare as many local arbitrators as he can in order to get rid of the meddling Acolytes once and for all. During this confrontation outside the Black Sepulcher the Acolytes make the mistake of letting everyone know they had just recorded proof of their inquisitor’s conspiracy. At first mention of this Judas activates an EMP and fries most of the electronics within 30 meters. The Acolytes charge Judas and eventually are taken into custody along with Judas who is taken on suspicion. Once placed in cells the acolytes find they are not alone. A mutant scum who is sick and malnourished tries to befriend them. They are offered a way out by the mutant who claims he know the tunnels in the sewers beneath the city and claims that if they can subdue the arbitrator guarding their cell he can lead them to a entrance into said tunnels. They learn his name is Slarty and agree with his plan.

VI: The Hunters Become The Hunted
Once escaped the Acolytes fight their way free of the prison. Through the chaos they make their way into the sewers and to Slarty’s home. There the mutant activates his vox and they learn they are wanted district wide and that the city is in revolt with mutants everywhere. The mutant offers to get them to the space port if they will take him and any other of his kind along. The Acolytes agree and fight their way to the space port and surface to find the port ablaze, with smoke choking the air. Mutants and imperial citizens clash in a fight for their lives.
The Acolytes make a run for the first silhouette of a ship through the fire and smoke of the space port only to find its open cargo hold under attack from other mutants that have arrived before. The Acolytes stand frozen as imperial citizens are slaughtered and the tech-priests try and hold their ground. They Acolytes leave the mutants to do their damage and move to close the cargo bay doors as the ship begins to lift from the spaceport. With the doors closed they activate the cargo elevator. During the last throws of the fight in the cargo hold the Acolytes board the elevator with Slarty and leave the chaos behind.

VII: A Chance At Redemption
The cargo elevator doors open to a massive hull full of armed imperial citizens. They Acolytes are separated and held against their will as Slarty and the remaining mutants are killed. The ship they are aboard makes the jump into warp space to escape the rising chaos around the planet. During the warp transit the Acolytes are questioned and held in separate quarters. Within minutes of the ship leaving warp space the Acolytes are summoned to the bridge where they learn the captain has been hailed by an Inquisitorial ship and told to relinquish the Acolytes.
The Acolytes board the Inquisitorial ship and find that the Inquisitor aboard suspects their Inquisitor of heresy and that they will help her hunt him down. Inquisitor Claudia informs the Acolytes of a rogue trader ship that has gone dark and how she plans to place them in control of such an asset.

VIII: The Emperor’s Bounty
While traveling aboard the Inquisitors ship the Acolytes get some rest and resupply. Upon leaving the warp they find the Emperor’s Bounty floating in the void among a starship graveyard. Assuming the ship was there scavenging space hulks and somehow ran into trouble the Acolytes are told they must clear the ship prior to Claudia sending any repair crews on board. Once aboard they find that the ship has been taken over by the navigator who was under the control of a halo device that allowed him to animate the corpses of the ships crew. The Acolytes purge the ship of the halo device and the cleanup and repair process begin.

IX: The Dark Star’s Embrace
After a month of ship repairs the Acolytes are confident enough to make the jump into warp space and begin to pursue their old rogue inquisitor. They power up the ship and get clear of the debris field where it had lied in wait for someone to bring it back to life, and power up the warp drive. At first the transition seems to be going smooth but soon warning alarms blare and the Acolytes are forced to make and unplanned exit from the warp. Upon exit they find their plasma drive and warp drive down and they are locked into distant orbit around what appears to be a black star. They pick up signs of habitats on a moon orbiting close to their position and take their gun cutter down to investigate.

The find that not only are people stranded here on the moon, but also there are people stranded on a space hulk that seem to be at odds with the habitat on the moon. The Acolytes keep their cool and negotiate with both parties in secret. Through negotiations they obtain a vortex torpedo and cover fire for their attempt to destroy a vital power station on this alien black star in hopes it will free everyone in the system of its grasp. With a little ingenuity the Acolytes achieve their goal and manage to ferry a large amount of crew from both the moon and the space hulk onto their ship before making a hasty exit from the system to avoid being caught up in the vortex torpedo’s growing hole to the warp.

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