Emporer's Fools

Countdown to the 13th Hour
Tick, Tock
When we last left our heroes, they had been preparing to infiltrate the Revel of Darkness being held at the Manse of Gabriel Chase.

Entering the Great Mansion they are surrounded by a great throng of party goers. Blending into the crowd, the Acolytes began exploring the estate.

In the Grand Hallway they find the Great Hall of Clocks. Being used as a ballroom, the room was covered in clocks. At the Center was the Great Steel Clock, a massive exposed clockwork mechanism. It appeared to be out of phase with the rest to area. Despite its state, Caliden risked touching the mechanism and was overcome by a freezing pain throughout his body.

After conversing with the an elderly noble, the party deduces that the only way to stop the Widower is the stop the Steel Clock. The Steel Clock is counting down to the Grand Conjuction, and it can only be opened by Haarlock blood. The Acolytes need to get to the Keystone or destroy the Widower with overwhelming force.

Seeing a form with a Jackel Mask, duck into a side hallway the group gives chase. Entering a bar they find the room empty. After some searching they find a secret passage behind a portrait.

Within the passage, they encounter the remains of a sacrifice; it appeared that the Pilgrims had used the blood of one of the guest to open a warp portal. Luckily it had become inactive. Entering another passage they hear the Clocks ring out. Hall locks down and inverts. They are attacked by two combat servitors armed with chain pincers.

Striker thinks fast and utters a machine curse, disabling the drones long enough for the others to cut their power leads.

Entering another room they find a painting of Eramus Haarlock’s wife, whom bore a distinct resemble to the Gilded Widow of Solomon. Burfert, is intrigued by the various preserved species and takes tasting sample of the fluid. Finding it palatable (Just to him) he removed a fish like thing, and keep the bell jar.

The party found an exit behind the painting. Re entering the Hall of Clocks, the Acolytes find Lady Malau’s missing brother. He is nonresponsive, on closer inspection they appears to be bleeding, opening his shirt revealed that his heart was missing.

When the Clock finally counted down to the 13 hour, the entire sun was blocked out but and all was bathed in the red light. Madness erupts as the Pilgrims, the False Prophet, and The Widower all make themselves.

The battle did not go well for party:

Calliden eyes had been destroyed by a spell cast by the Heron Mask. And the others took critical damage from the daemon. Rameriz’s left arm was flayed by the Widow.

The Acolytes find themselves fending off mad cultists, a witch, and a Flamer of Tzcheetch, while watching the unfolding duel between the Beloved and the Widower.

The end came after the Widow dismantled the Beloved. Burfert, being the only who wasn’t dying was able to climb inside the Steel Clock and remove the Key Stone. Upon its removal the Widower exploded and only its face was left. The group barely escapes as the Clock exploded. Sid is crushed.

Before leaving, Burfert collects the Widower’s screaming face, and puts it in his jar(After downing fermented contents).

Being damaged but not totally incapacitated, Striker attempts to heal himself via his power.

In a act of utter failure he invokes Perils of the Warp and liquefies his organs, doing permanent damage to himself. Burfert is forced to drag his comrades, one at time outside as emergency services fly in. With communications back up, Septimus invoked full Inquisitorial authority to save the Acolytes.

Stabilized by EMTs the Acolytes are sedated and look forward to the appreciation of the rich and the powerful patrons of Quiddis.

Knowledge gained, a Girl Lost, a Man on Fire
"Not a good day till someone immoliates themselves"

Realizing they need faster answers Burfert suggested his back up plan, find a bar. Far from being just an excuse to refill his flask, Burfert explained that drinking holes are prime locations to hear rumors, and pump locals for information.

Going to a high end wine bar in the merchant district, the party learnt more of the Widower and its connection to the Haarlocks, the Revel of Darkness and the Steel Clock. On their way out, they noticed a Jackal Masked figure ducking into an ally way. They gave chase only to find themselves at a dead end. They were ambushed by a group of Beast House slavers.

The party was easily able to best them and take one prisoner. After interrogating the suspect, they find out that Marcus Vulpa was searching for the Heron Mask, and was meeting a contact at a pottery store located in the Collapsed Palaces area. After leaving the slaver, the Acolytes are surprised by a well dressed woman pointing a needle pistol at them.

She demands the location of Vulpa, believing the Acolytes to be his allies. Burfert was able to convince her that they are searching for him to. Agreeing to join forces, she introduces herself as Lady Malua of Malfi; she was here to search of her kidnapped brother. The Acolytes do not recognize the picture she shows them.

The party staked out the derelict pottery store and was rewarded by a slaver showing up. On questioning he revealed that the Heron Mask had been sighted going to towards the Estate of Gabriel Chase. Upon searching the shop, the group found a body, hidden in a trunk, with its head cut off. Whether this was Vulpa or not, it was impossible to say.

Septimus contacted them with orders to return to the Librarium, as he had uncovered some critical information. On they way back, the Acolytes stumble upon a bloody melee. A black, shapeless mass of tendrils, with a leering white mask was tearing apart a pack of cultists and lesser daemons. The thing, with could only have been the Widower, tore up its assailants with contemptuous ease. Leaping skyward, it sent out a tendril and ensnared Lady Malua. The Acolytes could only look on as the protean horror disappeared.

When they reach the Librarium, Septimus begins laying out what he has found. Before he can go into much detail, they are interrupted by three Pilgrims of Hayte, led by a witch. The Pilgrims ‘request’ that the Acolytes hand over Septimus to them. Calliden responds with a hellgun blast towards the cultists. In the ensuing combat, the Pilgrim reveal themselves to be corrupted by daemonic energies, making them difficult to kill and instilling a sense of dread to all who see them. The witch turned out to be a pyrokine, and took much pleasure in throwing fireballs at our heroes. Unfortunately the warp is a fickle thing and the witch went to the well of power one too many times. His warp flames inverted themselves, consuming his flesh. Though Sid and Calliden were injured by the Pilgrim’s chain blades, the party prevailed.

Septimus revealed what he had found out. How much was true, the Acolytes would have to find out.

• The Pilgrims of Hayte were here to capture the Widower and use its power for something horrible • The Widower was only vulnerable during the Revel of Darkness • The Revel happens at the time of the Grand Conjunction, in 13 hours. • Only Haarlock blood can open the Steel Clock. • Lady Malua was of distant relation to bloodline of Haarlock • The Widower has gone mad and wishes to destroy itself and Quiddis. • The Widower can only be stopped with tremendous force, or finding out how it’s tied to the Steel Clock.

Having imparted his knowledge, Septimus healed Sid and Calliden to the best of his ability. He provided them with disguises, including plain white masks. They were to go to the party as a minor nobleman and his retinue.

As the Acolytes leave, Septimus prays that the Emperor grant them strength, for they were the only barrier between Quiddis and it being consumed by madness. Emperor, save us all!

A Deal, A Dame, A Death
"What do you mean I can't have my money?!'

The Acolytes escape the church. Burfert suggests that the fastest way to make money is to try gambling at the main casino.

Local residents point them to the Fate’s Wheel casino. Within Calliden finds fighting pits. He wins a large amount of cash, winning a couple of dueling contests. Burfert promptly loses half the money gambling and Calliden is resigned to reentering the arenas to make up the difference.

The party is approached by a bouncer who informs them that the owner of the establishment would like to see them. They meet the local mafia boss, Papa Grist at his office in the upper level of the Fate’s Wheel.

Papa Grist considered the Acolytes ‘to be people who get things done’ and offered them a deal. He was currently in conflict with the local courtesans, headed by a woman known as the Spider Bride. Grist would like her ‘taken care of.’ In exchange, the crime lord offered cash, weapons, and most importantly, and an invitation to the Revel of Darkness, at the Grand Estate of Gabriel Chase. He informs them that Vulpa will be there, and if they want to catch him, then they will need an invitation.

Papa Grist’s henchmen outfitted the Acolytes with better gear and weapons. Calliden picked out an old stand by, the Hell gun. Sid and Ramirez picked out well used Long Las sniper rifles. Striker grabbed a Plasma gun even though he had no idea how to use it. They grabbed some armor, grenades and close combat weapons. One of Grist’s men, a huge guard called Crackmarrow, recommended they go the Guild houses if they wanted anything more advanced.

On exiting Fate’s Wheel the Acolytes contacted Septimus and informed him of their situation. He warned them that the Spider Bride was said to be ageless and extremely dangerous, but would likely know more about the Widower.

Calliden, wanting a bolt pistol for a side arm, convince the party to go to the Guild houses. There, he also had his electoo restored and attempted to access his trust fund. Unfortunately, due to the Inquisition listing him and the others as MIA, there was a freeze on his account. With outgoing communication suspended there was no way to get the hold lifted till after the Revel of Darkness. Meanwhile Burfert went to a bar and learnt that the Widower was supposed to be an immortal guardian of the Haarlocks’ secrets on Quaddis.

As the group pass through the Twilight Gardens to the Spider Bride’s domain, the Acolytes senses are greeted by silk pavilions and fields of intoxicating flowers. As they make there way deeper, they can wisps of mist in the corner of their eye. Some seem to form into pale, graceful beauties, but disappear when one turns his head. They are some surrounded by the luminous women and asked to follow them to their mistress. They enter a well appointed house, with a lavish sitting hall, but on going through the main hall they enter a nightmarish maze with the scuttling sounds of metal spiders just on the edge of sight.

Calliden elects to stay out of Spider Brides chamber, remember what happened the last time they entered large set of double doors.

The others stand before the Spider Bride. She is crouched like her namesake at the center of metal web, both achingly alluring and frightening, the air around her is saturated with pheromones and narcotics. Metal spiders with, what look to be human heads, skitter along the walls.

The Spider Brides tells the Acolytes that she knows who they really are and what they are seeking. She tells them a little about the Heron Mask, she also says she can tell them more about the Widower and has an invitation to the Revel of Darkness. She gives the Acolytes a counter offer; deliver a gift from her to Papa Grist. Once this is done, return and she would answer all their questions.

The party realized that attacking the Spider Bride would be suicidal and accepted her task. They made a hasty exit from the gardens, relived that they had escaped with their heads attached. They returned to Fate’s Wheel with the Spider Bride’s ‘gift’.

Papa Grist was most perplexed by this turn of events, he was even more surprised when he opened the box. Upon opening, an arachnid servitor sprung out and wrapped it self around Grist’s head with a loud snip he is decapitated and the spider departs with his still screaming head.

At that point all hell broke loose, with Acolytes having a few seconds to take advantage of the shock of the Grist’s bodyguard’s and henchmen. Miraculously, they were able to take down everyone in Grist’s office without taking too much damage and break into Grist’s desk to retrieve his invitation to Gabriel Chase. The group was prepared to fight their way out of Fate’s Wheel, but found the casino filled with mist and that guards and patrons alike were being massacred by the fanged Venomous Ladies of the Spider Bride. One made her way to them and asked to come visit her mistress when they were ready for more answers.

The Acolytes heard the sirens of the approaching Promenade Sentinels. After escaping, Fate’s Wheel, the group hopped on the first taxi back to the Twilight Gardens ran as far from the bloodbath as possible.

All's Fun at the Fair
A Scholar, A Friar, A Horror

After escaping from the Red Cages, the Acolytes found themselves amongst the glittering excess of the city of Xicarph.

Calliden’s first thought, as always, was to raid his trust fund for spending money. Unfortunately, he found that his electoo had been burned with acid. The group were turned away as banks don’t usually allow people dressed in bloody rags into their branches.

Burfert’s foresight in the empty manse came through with the sale of his ‘salvaged’ valuables to an antique merchant. He immediately tried to keep the money for himself, as ‘it was his idea’. The bloody hole in Sid’s face changed his mind, and they started searching for a clinic.

They found a cheap hospice to leave Sid for treatment while they searched for Karkalla’s White Scholar. They tracked him down to the Adepts district of Xicarph. Entering the Grand Librarium, and his office, the party gave him Inquisitor Karkalla’s pass phrase.

Septimus informed the Acolytes of some important facts:

He had been researching why the Pilgrims may be on Quiddis, it may have had to do with the legend of something called the Widower, but he needed more time.

Due to the laws of Xicarph, no outgoing transmissions, or flights were permitted till the Festival of Tattered Fate was over. The Festival ends after the Revel of Darkness, which may come at anytime due to planetary alignment.

Two novice agents of throne, Striker and Rameriz, were meant to join Inquistor Karkalla’s team for their first mission. They were delayed so missed getting ambushed.

The Acolytes must retrieve these agents, for they will surely be targeted by the Pilgrims or the Beast House. Also, they must gather more information about the Pilgrims and the Widower.

Septimus gave the trio some adepts’ robes and allowed them use of quarters in the Librarium. He recommended that they look for ways to gain more money so as to kit themselves properly. The party quickly retrieved Sid and headed for Xicarph’s sole spaceport.

Upon arrival, they spotted a commotion. Rameriz and Striker were battling four razor wielding thugs. Two appeared to have been shot, the assassin and psyker made quick work of the remaining two. The united Acolytes regrouped and planned their next moves.

A power struggle between the veteran Burfert and the strong willed Striker immediately broke out. His command experience in the Imperial Navy, Striker argued, made him the natural leader, not some feral world dreg. Burfert responded with his trademark sarcasm and choice euphemisms for Striker’s privates. Rameriz’s dour Volg hive mentality prevente him from caring and Striker was voted down. The Acolytes decided that they were armed well enough and that trying to earn thrones to upgrade their equipment would be a waste of valuable time. Thus began their investigation.

While searching for clues at the main square, the Acolytes came across a preacher. The firebrand railed against a Heron Masked false prophet, who had stolen his flock with a honeyed tongue. Sid made the connection that this may be the same Heron mask spoken of by the dead Inquisitor. Hoping for a lead, they offer their services to the priest. The preacher was only too happy to accept the group’s help in ridding him of this villain. They traveled back to the ghettos and followed a trail leading to a run down chapel.

The party found the interior desecrated, and the congregation’s bodies dismembered. Bones and organs had been used to decorate the walls with insidious, nausea inducing glyphs. The priest was understandably stunned, so barely noticed when a pair of daemons appeared and ripped him to shreds. It was a trap!

The Acolytes were confronted by two Horrors of Tzeentch. The chaos daemons quickly overwhelmed the party. Sid broke down in hysterics, his mind unable to comprehend what he was seeing. Calliden’s usual martial prowess failed him in the face of the daemons’ sorcery. He concluded that all was lost and abandoned his compatriots.

All but two of the Acolytes were driven unconscious by the Horrors’ otherworldly screeches. Striker, using all of his psykic abilities was able to misdirect the daemons while the rest of the party was dragged out.

Luckily, it appeared that the Horrors were magically confined to the chapel. Thank the Emperor for small miracles!

Having had their first taste of what the Pilgrims of Hayte were capable of summoning, the Acolytes realized that they were going to need a bigger boat bigger guns.

Off to Paradise
Enter the Red. Exit the Dead.

Having escaped the destruction of the Burning Isle, on Solomon, the Acolytes thought they would get a nice break to sort through the rare artifacts and weapons rescued from the Haarlock auction. Instead, all the items were sent to Inquisitorial inspection and the Acolytes were sent to luxury suites, awaiting reassignment.

Xinthia was sent to the Solomon Mechanicus temple, to return the Sollox energy blade and datachip to the Cult of Sollox. She was to receive her reward from their Magos.

Burfert, Calliden, and Sid were informed that they were bound for the pleasure planet, Quaddis. A friend of Inquisitor Holmes, Inquisitor Nazauth Karkalla had gone missing. Karkalla had been following the trail of an xenos smuggling ring known as the Beast House headed by a man called Marcus Vulpa, his last known location was Quaddis.

While traveling to Quaddis, the Acolytes were attacked by slavers, hidden amongst the crew of their transport. They successfully killed their initial assailants but were poisoned by unknown beasts with venom tipped tails. The toxins rendered the Acolytes unconscious.

The Acolytes awoke to a far from promising situation. They found themselves in a pit surrounded by razor wire and facing iron gates. They were physically fine, but were wearing only rags, and missing their hard won gear. Burford ranted and raged about losing his fine mesh vest and precious glass knife. The group began formulating a plan. Working with a few other captives, Calliden was able to climb out of the pit.

Just as he crawled out, one of the gratings opened. Skinless beasts struggled to get loose and devour the captives. Luckily, the grating got stuck and only one animal escaped to feast on the nearest wailing captive. Burford and Sid tried to fend off the beast with bones and shards of glass. Meanwhile Calliden caught sight of a Heron masked figure who signaled him towards a pig masked slaver sitting at a console. Calliden successfully throttled the slaver and lowered a ladder in to the pit. Both remaining Acolytes escaped just in time as the grating fully withdrew, allowing a host of beasts to fill the pit.

They interrogated the slaver and tossed him into the pit when he refused to answer all their questions. The Acolytes did learn that they were in the Red Cages, beneath the capitol city Xicarph on Quaddis, and that they had been kidnapped by the Beast House. They made their way through the nightmarish, industrial maze of the under works.

They found a note from the Heron Masked man, along with a knife of the highest quality. Knowing a good weapon, Sid took up the knife.

They came upon a rent, leading to what appeared to be an abandoned home of some lost nobleman. Burfert instinctively pocketed anything of value, much to the protest of his teammates. He later payed for his thieving ways when he tried to remove a demonic looking idol, which instantly tried to possess him. Obviously the dead body and the bowl of blood in front of it weren’t clues enough.

Sid, being the stealthiest, scouted ahead and led the group to a dark cargo bay. While hiding behind the cargo containers, the Acolytes spied on a Jackal Masked figure yelling at his lackeys about being tricked by the Heron Mask. The Acolytes deduced that the Jackal Mask was Marcus Vulpa. He ordered that the Heron Mask be found, he also mentioned that an Inquisitor was in the medical pod behind him. After watching Vulpa exit via a central cargo elevator the group snuck into the medical pod, and killed the lone torturer inside. They found Inquisitor Karkalla mutilated and near death.

Sid was so disturbed, he soiled himself and ran out of the pod.

Karkalla recognized the Acolytes as fellow agents of the Inquisition. He revealed that he and his companions were on the trail of Vulpa and the Beast House, when his retinue were ambushed by the Pilgrims of Hayte. The Pilgrims of Hayte are a known apocalyptic, chaos cult and appear to be using the Beast House to unknown ends. Karkalla ordered the Acolytes to stop whatever dark plans the Pilgrims had for Quiddis. With his dying breath, the Inquisitor stated that one of his companions still may yet live. His operative would be undercover as an adept, known as Septimus Dexter, the White Scholar. Armed with this one lead, the Acolytes looked to escape.

Despite the number of slavers, the group chose to charge for the elevator. Burfert noticed that one of the bastards had his expensive mesh vest. He made to get it back till Sid got his nose blown off by a shotgun blast; realizing that they were on the losing end of a gun fight, the Acolytes dashed into the elevator. As they ascend, one of the slavers tossed a frag grenade into the elevator cage! With a quick hand, Burford threw it back before it had a chance to paint the walls with their innards.

As the elevator passed through levels of the Red Cages, the group steeled themselves for combat. Not knowing what horrors would come at them next, they readied their weapons as the top of elevator opened up.

The Acolytes were assaulted by bright daylight, sounds of large crowds, the smell of perfumes, and the blaring carnival music. Standing with mouths agape at the scene before them, the Acolytes took in the fine marble, onyx, and gold opulence around them. A silver masked woman, covered in silks and jewels called up to them, “Have you come from a revel? Looks deliciously bloody!” With a flourish she and her escorts disappeared into the costumed crowd.

Bloody with no allies or resources, the Acolytes entered the Festival of the Tattered Fates, hoping they were not fate’s fools.


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