Fatum Tyrannus

XP Update: 2012.11.15

ARCHIVES OF NOTE:

  • Gaining Entry to the Estate of Gabriel Sophano: 700xp
  • Information Uncovered on the Widower: 100xp

CELL INFLUENCE RATING: 21

PRIMARY SUBJECT: TOTAL XTRACTIONS PROCESSED (XP) (+Change)

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The Estate of Gabriel Sophano

(Finishing the Fight)

(Meeting the Bride, part 2)

(The Estate of Gabriel Sophano)

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Meet the Monster

(Throwdown in the Fates Wheel)

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The Twilight Gardens

Information Gathering in the Refutation

Scythia is healed by the infernal warp power of the Biomancer/Pyrokine Gallus, saved from her near death experience. She awakes from her burns hearing beautiful hymns to the Emperor of Mankind …

Gallus. Dominatus. Gallus. Gallus Dominatus.

Only wait. They’re not. They’re to Gallus himself. The light blue hue of power covers her skin as it knits itself back together almost completely, leaving only light burn scars behind.

The acolytes share information on what Septimus Dexter, The White Scholar, told them before he was killed.

The Pilgrims of Hayte.
The Grand Conjunction.
The Festival of Tattered Fates.
The period of darkness where Quaddis is moved beyond the emperor’s light.
The involvement of the Widower.
And his last words, about the Spider Bride.

Librarium Servitors enter the room to begin cleaning up the mess, and are ordered by Cortez to begin searching for volumes on the Widower or the Spider Bride as part of their research.

Scythia remembers some Legends around the Angevin Crusade, the time of Soloman and Faustino Sophano, and the Widower, who was a monster of darkness, an assassin of unparalleled skill, that no weapon could harm and no lock could bar entry.

The servitors return with a few noteworthy volumes on the History of Xicarph. In some of the earliest tales, the Widower is mentioned in the earliest tales as an enforcer who keeps the game of power as the struggle for dominance in the new imperial realm carved from the Calyx Expanse is forged into the Calixis Sector from spilling into Xicarph.

There is nothing regarding the Spider Bride.

All pages containing anything that might be related to the most recent Sophano bloodlines have been ripped out of the geneaology book. Anything that might say how many people survived Erasmus’ eradication is gone.

There is a record of Gabriel Sophano and his estate, nephew of Faustino, the first one that was given power over Xicarph. At the center of his estate is a masterpiece grand Steel Clock.

The acolytes debate what to do next, search for the Heron Mask? … search for more cultists? Seek out the Spider Bride, both due to Dexter’s last words, and the contract from Papa Grist?

They leave to try and find the Spider Bride in the Pleasure Gardens.

Meeting the Spider Bride in the Twilight Gardens

The warband of acolytes makes their way through a district with some rich stores and many well to do estates until they find an avenue that seems to head in the direction they want to go.

The estates end and a section of marble domed pavilions and courtyards change into botanical gardens where many courtesans offer many rare pleasures. They take what you can only assume are their customers up the steps into a hazy area to the end of your vision.

Some of them come up to the party, with exquisitely made clothes and the angular faces common to Calixian nobility. They speak to you in perfect Scintillan High Gothic:

Courtesan: “Welcome to the Twilight Gardens. Can I help you?”
Wollsey: I’m sorry ladies. You can’t afford me.
Courtesan: Oh I’m sure it’s quite the opposite. What can I do for you?
Wollsey: We’re just … browsing around.
Courtesan: … Browsing … in the Twilight Gardens.
Scythia: Do you sell advice, or just y our bodies?
Courtesan: If its advice that you seek, I can take you to the one who sells it.

The courtesan near Wollsey begins to get a little “friendly”, but just a tease.

Wollsey: Who is this one who offers advice?
Courtesan: Do I need to speak her name?
Scythia: You are just at the edge of her little web, aren’t you?
Courtesan: Yes, I am.

Titus mutters something about this being a trap under his breath.

Courtesan: The Spider Bride accepts an audience with all comers, and if you can meet her price, then she shall give you what you seek.
Wollsey: And if we can’t?
Courtesan: Then you will be escorted out the way you entered.
Gallus: Probably unceremoniously.
Courtesan: Why on Quaddis would we do that? That depends upon what you seek.

Gallus inquires about the price of the courtesan herself, but when he says that she has nothing to offer, she offers that perhaps arrangements can be made with the Spider Bride.

Titus is nervous. He watches the nobles escorted up the stairs by the courtesans, where they pass though a void shield into a beyond area where anything could be taking place. Other nobles emerge from the shield and walk back down the stairway into the streets of Xicarph. Courtesans seems to come and go up and down the stairs at will.

While Gallus, Scythia and Wollsey chat up their courtesan, Titus falls in behind one of the small parties going up the stairs and passes through the void sheild. Inside the constant light from above is dimmed into a dull twilight by the shielding. Silk pavillions and grottos, many surrounded by their own partial or full void shielding are in every direction. Before he realizes it, another courtesan has his arm and is escorting him. He quickly comes to the understanding that it would be very easy to lose ones sense of direction within this odd shifting area if unescorted. Titus rebuffs the courtesan on his arm.

Courtesan: Don’t worry. I am tasked with taking you to the Spider Bride. Are your friends going to come along too?

The rest of the warband does end up following along.

Gallus: C’mon Scythia. Join us.
Scythia: I feel plenty out of place, but alright.

[GM: C’mon Maptool, you piece of shit.]
[Angus: I can see we’re going to have a lot of fun making fun of Scythia.]
[Brian: Poor Scythia. ]
[Angus: Well, she is this haggard old nun. ]
[Brian: Way over her head. ]
[Angus: You know what happens to people in over their head. They burn fate points.]
[Brian: Ding Ding Ding. I got fireballed and tried to dodge out of the way but didnt’ dodge far enough. I drew a weapon and did an invocation, and I parried, and I dodged, and I was dead.]
[Ando: -chuckles-]
[Eric: One fireball and a few fire bolts.]
[Player conversation continues]

The courtesans disappear back into the forest as the warband finds themselves in a large structure that must sit within the Twilight Gardens, but can’t be seen from the outside. The inside is filled with columns, and is entirely dark. At the center of the structure, bathed in torchlight, is a woman in ornate red and black silk expensive clothing. She has a mask over her face that covers everything but her mouth that is made of silver and jewels. Her black hair comes out from behind the masquerade mask.

Many courtesans hover near the edge of the torchlight within the building.

Spider Bride: Welcome travellers.
Gallus: I understand you answer questions. Is this soothsaying?
Spider Bride: I know many things.
Gallus: So how does this work.
Spider Bride: The way it works is either you pay me or you do things for me.
Wollsey: What sort of things?
Spider Bride: FIrst, I will ask a question and you will tell me the answer. Why did Papa Grist send you here?"
Wollsey: To kill you obviously.
Spider Bride: I expected as much.
Gallus: (quickly interjects) That’s not the real reason we came.

[Brian: I’m just thinking to myself, I coulda been that dumbass. I’m trying to bite my toungue lest I say anything and you just come out and say it! I’m so confused about how to be an Acolyte! Aaaargh!!!!!]

Gallus: Do we only get one question?
Spider Bride: Oh, I’m not going to answer anything for you yet. I already knew that. I just wanted to see how you would answer. Why are you here then? Why have you come? Tell me, shall we get on with it?
Gallus: No. We’re here for questions and answers. We want to know why a criminal would want you dead.
Spider Bride: I’ve been … “interrupting” … his business. He’s not from Xicarph. He needs to go.
Gallus: I see.
Wollsey: We have many questions.
Gallus: How much do answers cost?
Spider Bride: For you? Answers come with deeds.
Gallus (looking around at the warband) … all of us?
Spider Bride: The time has come for a choice. Papa Grist, or me. Who will it be? Either way you will make an enemy. You need to make a choice.
Cortez: Why would we choose you over Papa Grist?
Spider Bride: I don’t know. Either you kill me or you do what I say.
Titus: There are other choices that that.
Gallus: We could leave.
Spider Bride: You could. But Papa Grist won’t wait forever. You’ll have to come back here either eventually. I’m not the only one who’s been keeping an eye on you. He will come for you, eventually.

Titus, Cortez, and Wollsey examine and count the women hovering at the edge of the torchlight. They are all obviously noblewomen, wearing scanty scandalous tight fitting clothing, and unarmed. There’s no obvious place for them to hide weaponry.

In warband cant
Gallus: I would ask questions.
Cortez: We’ll get no answers.
Gallus: Are you sure?
Cortez: If you wish to ask, go ahead, but you are only delaying the inevitable. She is correct, we will eventually have kill either her or Papa Grist.
Wollsey: I’m more concerned with her than Papa Grist.
Cortez: The question is, kill which one gets us closer to our mission?

Titus asks Gallus to ask if she knows a way into the Sophano Palace, Gabriel Sophano.

Gallus: Do you know a way into Gabriel Sophano?
Spider Bride: Yes.
*Titus: Can you provide it to us?
Spider Bride: Yes. I have tickets to get into the palace for the Revel of Darkness.
Titus: What must we do to obtain these tickets?
Spider Bride: You must do something I want. I tire with the stuggle with Papa Grist. It bores me. I want it to be done, so I think I may give him a gift, to end things on the right note so he won’t have a problem leaving anymore.

She reaches from behind her throne and pulls out a hat box out and set it in front of her.

[Brian: Filled with spiders!]

Spider Bride: Deliver him this gift.
Wollsey: And in exchange you will answer our questions?
Spider Bride: I will answer questions and provide you with the tickets.
Titus: And if we asked Papa Grist for tickets in exchange for your head in a box, could he provide them for us?
Spider Bride: He’s a man of resources. I’m sure he has likely acquired some of his own. The choice is yours.

There is a tense silence.

Wollsey: Agreed. We’ll deliver your package.
Spider Bride: I’ll be watching.

[GM: Okay who takes the hat box?]
[Brian: I’m not touching anything you fucking lay out!!]
[Angus: I’ll take the hat box.]
[Brian: Let it be known, sister Scythia picks up no objects…]
[laughing]

The Spider Bride’s courtesans escort the warband to the edge of the gardens.

Gallus scans the hat box for signs of psychic activity, but everything is entirely normal. The warband talks about their next move, with some of the newcomers wonder if walking up to the person is a typical Inquisition tactic. As the group emerges from the last void shield, they notice a “garland” has been strung amonst the marble domes and poles of the lower Twilight Gardens where they first met the courtesans.

Tracing it back to its source, there is a man, bent over backwards in half, stuck into a spike at the top of one of the buildings, and his intestines have been used to decorate the gardens. One of the passersby mutters “The Widower’s Work!” and quickly goes about their business…

Titus watches out for people following the group as they make their way back to Papa Grist’s, and notices a Heron Mask among the crowd, never close, but never far. The warband gets back to The Fates Wheel without further incident.

Gallus and Cortez stay outside, while Titus, Wollsey and Scythia take off their armor and deliver the silver hat box to Papa Grist in his office.

Wollsey: We’ve brought you her head.
Papa Grist: Oh, joyous day, with her out the way this glorious city and all its wonders will be mine! That bitch and the new guy she has working for her has screwed me over so bad … I’m going to have my men hunt down that monster next, wherever he is.

Wollsey and Scythia slowly back up as Papa Grist takes the lid off the silver hat box, beginning to draw their weapons.

As soon as the lid comes off, an eight legged spidery robot pops out of the hat box, launches itself at Papa Grist, clamps down its thorax over his head, when it quickly closes cutting off his head with a loud clang, so that its now a spider body with Papa Grists face coming right out of the metal. His body drops do the ground instantly.

Crackmarrow (alarmed) What the fuck!?!?!? Kill these muther fuckers, they just offed Papa Grist!

(more to be transcribed)

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The Heron Mask cometh

At this point the door to the reading room burst open, and it becomes painfully clear that Titus hasn’t gone back to his watchful post outside the door. Several men in Heron Masks enter, a crumpled librarium servitor falling before them.

“Sorry for my Master’s little jest, but it’s time for the pawn on the Regicide board to be removed. Be good, give him to us and go back to the dance, little pawns!”

The Heron Masks are removed, revealing faces and skins covered with hideous symbols carved into the flesh of their faces. Fighting starts almost immediately.

Titus charges, then dodges the feeble attacks from razor blades.

A Witch with the cultists takes control of his body with “Dominate” spell as another one unleashes a Firestorm that almost kills Septimus Dexter. Wollsey guns down a cultist with a razor blade by unleashing full auto upon him. Cortez is surrounded by 3 cultists and a Dominated Titus as Scythia is charred by bolts of fire from the Pyrokine witch. Wollsey unleashes more full auto upon the witches, killing them and releasing Titus from his spell. He goes into a Holy Rage, butchering cultists around him. The last two cultists manage to get to Dexter and kill him before finally falling themselves.

Titus evicerates the witch that dominated him, and scatters the gore of his corpse in a wide area around the fallen body.

As Septimus Dexter lies dying, he manages a few last words …

“The Spider Bride … "

But unfortunately expires before the last piece of wisdom is able to part his lips.

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The White Scholar

The group decides to start searching in the Blackstone Xenaum , which turns out to be a Museum of sorts, dedicated to showing artifacts “highlighting the uncleanliness and wickedness” of xenos civilizations exterminated during the Angevin Crusade.

Someone there mentions that they think they saw an elderly scholar dressed in white in the Chancel Athenaum.

The group manages to find this scholar, and gives him the pass phrase given to them by Karkalla before he died. He takes them to a back reading room where knowledge can be shared in private. Titus keeps watch as the discussion starts, but them Septimus Dexter asks for him to be brought into the room so that each and every one of the people can officially record the oaths they took to Karkalla.

After the records are made, carried off to some unknown destination by Servo Skulls, the White Scholar shares what he knows.

The Beast House is nothing but an unwitting pawn in whatever is going on.

He suspects, but can not prove, that the Pilgrims of Hayte are involved in what’s going on. Scythia shares that the Pilgrims are a Violent and Spiteful Chaos Cult that was infamously associated with an attrocity on Malfi some time ago.

The myth of the Widower is somehow involved. The Widower, as it turns out, is rumored to be an assassin of unparalelled ability, linked to the Sophano blood line.

How are the Sophanos involved on this planet? They used to be its rulers.

What is going on? This is the Grand Conjunction, an eclipse of the sun that happens at an irregular interval every 50 to 60 years. The Festival of Tattered Fates celebrates this, culminating in the Revel of Darkness mentioned by Master Nonesuch. At this time of the eclipse of the Sun all astropathic communication is cut off and the planet “moves beyond the Light of the Emperor” for a couple to a few minutes. At this time, anything at all is considered fair game, although family vendetta and offworld Imperial Authorities might beg to differ at a later date.

The White Scholar offers to do some further research on some things when …

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Another Ziggurat!

The rest of the journey to the Refutation district is tense. Titus keeps a careful eye on the surroundings, being especially mindful for potential followers. He is now extremely worried about the presence of the Maggot Men on the planet. What he sees instead are a couple brief glimpses of a man in a Heron Mask peering at them and following them at a distance.

Before getting to the Refutation, the glimpses cease. Some information on the Maggot Men is shard with Wollsey and Scythia, who is very interested in its implications with the scrawled messages from her father, “The Worms that Walk Will Come For Us All”

A few noteworthy structures stand apart from the others amongst the colleges and cathedral like data vaults in the district.

The Bibliotheca Antiquita is a tall round building with columns inset into the external superstructure. The silver dome on top is of the highest craftsmanship but dull with tarnish, matching in disrepair the dirt and grime visible on the masonry of the rest of the rotunda.

The front of the Blackstone Xenaeum is dominated visually by a broad flight of steps constructed from black marble identical to that of the two story portico of the main structure. A graceful low dome covers the central mass, while flanking it to either side are two circular one story wings. The entire building is created from the same black marble as the front steps.

The Chancel Athenaeum is a series of ten white marble halls connected in the middle by a large covered colonnade.

Lastly, in a central location is a drab, grey ziggurat of the Locus Prefecta, devoid of activity and life, as depressing to look at from the outside as those that continue on an endless mission of nothingness on the inside.

Scythia enters the Ziggurat, hoping to investigate it as she has others in her quest for knowledge about her fathers mad writings. Inside are many empty disused offices and a few very drunken Adepts. Tasked with cataloging and analyzing the development of the Colonies on the planet of Xicarph in preparation for its offical entrace into the Imperium of Man, they end up with nothing to do. The nothingness has driven the Adepts mad, for there are no colonies, no industry, nothing that the fief owners don’t want, and so the meaningless reports are all the same. No new developments. Nothing to report.

The Locus Prefecta, Alswin Du’Landra, considers the continued funding of the position a sick joke, and in his case his assignment to the post a punishment for daring to share analysis that the ammount of men, material and industry poured into the Margin Crusade has extreme abnormalities in the sheer lack of any evidence of successes, or any returning reports of any nature. He gives them a bottle to drink, and carries on with what he was doing.

The Adpet also shares this tidbit of knowledge, it is now 172.818.M41, some 170 days after the acolytes were captured.

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Excellent! How Wonderful!

After resting in the everpresent light of midday, the acolytes look up into the jeweled dome overhead and realize for the first time that the sun of Quaddis is circling the brass circular structure hanging far overhead.

Gallia, Gallus, and Dorn have left early on some unknown errand with a promise to meet up later.

Wollsey, Scythia, Cortez and Titus decide to follow up on the idea that the White Scholar may be in the Refutation district, where colleges and various librariums and such are located. Not having enough money to spend on being brought the 15 kilometers in Servitor Pedicabs, the only other option is to walk there.

About 10 kilometers into the journey the group sees a small noble entourage walking briskly and purposfully towards Titus. The leader of the group is a figure dressed in a Midnight Blue cloak, decorated on the edges by golden angular symbols. In his right hand he uses a cane to help walk, made of Ebony with a Brass skull like top. His mask is bone white with sunken features.

Titus recognizes the item just before the figure speaks in a charming and delighted voice.

“Excellent, Excellent, how WONDERFUL it is to see familar faces!”

Titus and Cortez freeze in astonishment.

“I should have KNOWN that you would be here too after running into Femerous. Is Lord Sunder here too? Are you enjoying yourselves? Are you enjoying the festivities? I can’t tell you how much my friends and I await with anticipation the Revel of Darkness. Such a rare opportunity to MAKE new friends!”

“You know, you just simply MUST let me have you for dinner sometime!”

Titus finally manages to find a voice, declining the polite invitation.

Master Nonesuch politely introduces himself to the new faces of Wollsey and Scythia, then goes on his way, in the opposite direction that the group is going.

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The Great City of Xicarph
172.818.M41::Xicarph::Quaddis::Calixis

The scene of Xicarph is one of unending revel. All around street vendors hawk their wares, from food, drugs, and hand weapons to medical care. Nobles indulge themselves with their entourages while other quickly go to and from where they wish to go.

After wandering some to the east and finding themselves in a cemetery and mausoleum district of the city, they return back to somewhere near where they emerged from the elevator.

Penniless after their emergence from the undercity, newcomer Wollsey sells some of their excess equipment taken from the slain slavers and scrapes together some 40 gelt. This is taken to a local gambling establishment where Titus is sent into a blood pit for sport. He isn’t much to look at, so a nobody is sent up against him while Wollsey makes 3 separate bets with his 40 thrones. Titus wins handily. The second fight, which Titus does not wish to fight, is against a cyborg gladiator, whom he dispatches with one righteous swing.

This show of skill catches the attention of the proprietor the establishment, the Fates Wheel, a fat bastard named Papa Grist. He reeks of stink and sweat, a rotund beast of an underworld figure obviously originally from Malfi. Papa Grist has a problem that he would like these skilled newcomers to solve for him. He has been making a killing on Xicarph, up until recently when “local competition” has been started to put a squeeze on him.

The proposition is this: 200 Gelt a piece for killing the rival leader, a woman known as “The Spider Bride”

The acolytes decide to think about it for a bit.

When they come back a bit later, Papa Grist ups the ante before they give him their answer. He raises his offer to 1000 Gelt per person, and he will offer up some advances or loans of equipment. The group readily accepts, taking a few pairs of low quality hardened bodygloves, some pistols, a chainsword, and micro beads.

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The Elevator

The stiff control of the elevator engages with a clunk, sending it ascending slowly upwards into a lightless enclosed shaft. A sound, not unlike the thunder on the rolling plains of Iocanthos, becomes steadily louder until the roof above you splits open.

The elevator shaft floods with hard, brilliant daylight as the platform breaks the surface and judders to a halt. A wave of sound assaults you and the clean, sweet air is intoxicating as you stare helplessly dumbfounded for a moment at the scene that surrounds you. Cheers and laughter, screams of delight and danger, music played by instrument and vox. Overhead, a bright blue sky shimmers and sparkles like an oversized jewel, lined with dark ridges that spread out and down to the horizon from a single brass sphere high overhead like the rays of a golden star.

The platform has deposited you on a raised marble dais, one of many that grace an ornate high-sized plaza decorated in lofty and opulent fashion. Statues and billowing silk pavilions line wide paved walkways that are thronged with hundreds of people in a riot of costume and color.

The people walk and sway, rush and revel, seemingly without purpose or reason; some cheer and laugh, while others seem to cling fearfully to each other and hurry on to unguessed at destinations.

Beside your platform, an ethereal-looking noblewoman clad in a blue gown of shimmersilk and an immaculate pearl mask sweeps through the crowd, her midnight-robed attendants clearing her way with iron staves, while ivory skinned cherubim swoop about her, filling the air with narcotic vapors from their silver censers. She pauses to look up at you and says,
“I say, what fun, is it a revel you are from? What delightful costumes, so decadent, so visceral. Tell me, will there be blood, can you promise me blood?”

Before you can answer, a great bell tolls and the woman turns away, and she and her retinue are swallowed up by the thronging crowd.

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