Emporer's Fools

Mid level Escape

The Acolytes find themselves in the the next level of the prison complex. Striker realizes that the veil of reality is thinner here, and cautions everyone to be on their guard.

All too soon their Astropath is revealed to infested by the vicious psyhocians. The warp predators attack the party, killing their two remaining guards.

Later the group encounters another Inqusitorial team lead by Inquistor Herrod and he orders them to hand over their elements and all information gathered. After a tense conversation, uneasy truce is struck with an agreement to continue on and meet up futher along the maze.

The party finds the elevators leading to the mine works proper but are ambushed by undead corpses laying in wait under the ice sheet with covered the room’s floor. The group chooses to evade the shambling horrors and make their way down to the tunnel works.

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Elements

Continuing their journey into the prison complex, the party meets a lone Navigator named Nostromo. Nostromo was Haarlock’s Navigator and has been cursed to the stay on Mara till Haarlock’s return. He informs the Acolytes that they will need three elements to gain access to the Blind Tesseract.

A guide: Which he can be.

A talisman: They can use the Keystone for this.

A Path; For this they will need to find a Greyskin book.

He also mentions that other factions have different versions of the elements and are searching for the ones they are missing.

The Acolytes appears to be behind in a race they don’t want to lose. Taking elevators down to the midlevels they encounter one the mercenaries trapped. He offers information about his employers, in exchange for aid. Burfort is wary and is proven correct after the mercenary escapes, killing two Jansarries in the process.

Lastly the party encounters the leader of the Pilgrims of Hayte and his daemonic abomination.
The ensueing battle sees most the Janssaries killed and all the cultists killed. The fighting ends after Striker plunges his Force Sword into the heart of the Dybuk, channeling all his power he reduces the creature to cinders.

Searching the sorcerer’s corpse turns up neck chain in the shape of a spider: another version of the talisman element.

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Fire and Ice
Crash and Burn

Based on the Mirror Daemon’s information, the Acolytes are hurried aboard the warship Sigillite’s Word and sent to the ice planet of Mara. Aboard they are given their briefing: find the Blind Tesseract and stop any other party from securing Haarlock’s Legacy.

They are given free access to any equipment they wish, and warned of the lethality of the Ice station. They are also given command of ten man force of storm troopers, the senior female astropath Silinus and veteran battle psyker Samiel. Samiel warns of the warp predators located on Mara.

Exiting the warp the group finds that Mara’s blockade is already under attack and space battle involving a number of unknown parties is already well underway. The Word’s captain assures the Acolytes they will make planet fall regardless of cost.

Weathering the cross fire the Word makes it into orbit. Another ship materializes; it registers as Haarlock’s lost ship, the Spear of Destiny. The Spear of Destiny makes short work of the other ships. The Acolytes barely escape the Word, aboard their gun cutter, before frigate is destroyed. They lose Samiel in the hanger bay.

On route to the Ice station, the gun cutter is struck by a surface to air rocket. Despite Striker’s best efforts the craft crash lands, injuring and killing some of the passengers.
Salvaging what equipment they can, the survivors march towards the Ice Station.

As they are approached the courtyard, the party was ambushed by assailants manning the walls.
After an intense firefight seeing the Acolytes running through a rain of las bolts and rockets, they were able to eliminate their opposition. Inspecting the bodies indicated they had faced well armed mercenaries.

The Acolytes find an unmarked Lander on one the pads. Getting through its security they find it empty but in need a coded key to unlock the controls.

The next couple hours are spent exploring the compound and making their way through the prison/mining complex. They encounter signs of other groups and dark phenomena. One of their escorts goes made and turns on the group and has to be put down. They also encounter signs that another group has teleported in before them.

Ultimately they come upon as chamber where two forces are shooting at each other. One appears to be more mercenaries of the same troop encountered before and other appear to be cultists. An attempt to sneak up on the combatants is thwarted when Striker’s use of psykic powers attracts the attention of a warp tainted monster known as a Dybuk. Luckily the Acolytes were able to mow it down before it can get its claws on the terrified psyker. The remaining mercs escaped down one of the many tunnels and the storm troopers proceeded to hose the remaining cultists with full auto hell gun fire.

The Acolytes took the remaining time to secure the room, rest, and consider their next moves.

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Zombies, Mirrors, and Magic
Gain a Tech Priest, Lose a Turn

Sending their gathered allies as distractions, the Acolytes sneak into Haarlock’s Folly via the ventilation system. Finding themselves in the basement morgue they find Tech Priest they had not met before.

Hearing sounds of more zombies awakening in the corpse storage area the group decides to coop the priest, who happens to have keys to the tower elevators.

After making their way to the top level, Burfort throws out a precautionary grenade, revealing a group of highly mutated zombies lying in ambush.

Fighting is tense as Acolytes face corpses with overgrown muscle, psychic shrieks, chaos fire, and wicked fast talons.

Sid is cornered and barely avoids being torn apart by one brutish zombie; only luck and concentrated fire from his companions, save his hide.

In Marshal Skarman’s office they find a datapad with a list of all the victims and their locations, confirming he is behind the murders. Finding a hidden staircase the party interrupts Skarman’s ritual to free the Mirror Daemon.

Skarman and the Daemon prove powerful foes, attempting to dominate and confuse the Acolytes minds with their powers. Resisting the urge to fire on one another or jump out of the window, the group incinerates Skarman’s face with a plasma shot and the send the Daemon back into one of mirrors.

The Daemon recognizes that they have the last mirror fragment. It offers the group a deal, in exchange for free it and allowing it to pass back into the warp; it will answer all their questions about Eramus Haarlock, his plan, and undo the unrest in Sinophia Magna.

The group accepts this deal, figuring that having more information, and not gaining an immortal daemon as an enemy, being in their best interests.

Questioning the Mirror Daemon reveals that Eramus Haarlock wanted to turn back time and resurrect his lost family, no matter the cost and ruin it will bring to the sector. The key to the Haarlock legacy lies buried on the ice world Mara. The key is known as the Blind Tesseract, a door way to the unknown.

Oddly true to its word the Daemon leaves and the storm over the city dissipates. Leaving the tower the Acolytes notice that all the corpse zombies have collapsed, robbed of the chaos energy sustaining them.

Later, Arbiter Constantine is made head of the Arbiters on Sinophian and Cal Sur’Maywroth is made new head of the government. Each Acolyte receives a hefty sum of thrones and the Sinophian Blood Laurel, the highest commendation from the Sinophian government.

The Acolytes know where they will be sent next, the forbidden ice planet Mara. It is blockaded by the Inquisition for a reason. Horrors inhabit this place and our adventurers know they will be sent into the heart of it. The odds of survival are not so great.

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The Unvarnished Truth
A Trap sprung

Having overcome the Inquisitorial Kill team, the party receives a call from Eupheme Tassel. Meeting at her office, she confirms that the mirror shards are warp tainted and that there were two mirrors at Haarlock’s Folly. The mirrors were used by Erasmus Haarlock to trap a daemon and question it. He broke one of the mirrors into 13 fragments and they were subsequently looted and passed down through Sinophian society.

Tassel reveals that her grandfather had one of the fragments. She hands this off to the Acolytes, who decided to use it as bait.

Before they can plan their ambush, the group gets a summons from Enforcer General Khan. Unfortunately Burfort goes out of his way to antagonize the general and the Acolytes are thrown out.

Soon full civil war breaks out as the general is ambushed and the enforcers start killing civilians. Amid the chaos the Acolytes get word from Marshal Skarman to meet up with Constantine at the docks. He had been separated from his riot squad was awaiting a Rhino to pick him up. As they near the location, the group is chased by rioters and get ready for a stand off. Suddenly an Arbiter Rhino APC appears and fires on the crowd.

In a surprise move the Arbiters then open fire on the Acolytes. After disabling the Rhino and killing the Arbiters, the group discovers that they have killed more zombies. These Arbiters appear to the have been recently killed and resurrected. The only conclusion is that Marshal Skaarman is the one behind the murders. Constantine is able to the get the Rhino up and running and the group starts back towards Haarlock’s Folly. Burfort is able to convince the warring factions to send representatives to the Folly and to temporally stop shooting each other.

Heading to what looks to be the root of this mystery the party arms itself for the showdown.

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Spectres of Doubt
Enter and Exit the Spectre Cell

The following day, the Acolytes learn that the city is great turmoil following the death of the Judiciary and the Arbiters are out trying to prevent more civil unrest. The head of the Mandato: Enforcer General Xiabius Khan is demanding to see them, and they are down to two more leads. First they meet the Eupheme Tassel, Keeper of records at the clockwork court. She illuminates them on the history of the clockwork court, the folly, Sinophian history and what little she knows about the mirror fragments. She promises to research more and contact them. Using a second lead, the Acolytes drive to the old House of Amorite. Lady Amorite is said to have locked herself in her rotting manse, only gaze at a mirror which reflects her younger self. The Acolytes arrive to find the gates knocked aside and Lady Amorite cornered by another group of the risen dead. This group seems more deadly and intelligent, delaying the Acolytes; long enough for one of their number to kill Lady Amorite, steal the fragment, and escape through a window. During the fight, candles were knocked over and the dry, dusty house catches fire. The fire quickly spreads and the Acolytes are forced to retreat. Burfort attempts to track the lone zombie and discovers vehicle tracks leading to main road towards Prime sector. Unfortunately the rains washes away the rest of the trail.

Regrouping, the group is surprised to pick up an Inquisitorial request for rendezvous. Meeting at an abandoned manufactorum, the group meets another group of Inquisitorial operatives. The cell, spoken for by operative Hellos questions the Acolytes to their knowledge and involvement in the Haarlock Legacy. Sid makes a case for joining forces to solve the murders. Hellos explains that his team is a Spectre Cell and is under orders to eliminate any who know too much about the Haarlock Legacy and are thus deemed too dangerous by his masters. The Acolytes realize they are about to become victims of inter-Inquisitorial politics.

In an unusual (for them) display of excellent tactical thinking, the Acolytes prevail against the highly trained and equipped Spectre cell. Striker uses all this psyker potential to uncover the hidden sniper before she can pop Calliden’s head like a balloon. Burfort and Sid barely avoid getting split by the cell’s force sword wielding psyker. The fight ends when the remaining two operative attempt to flee via a grapnel hook through the sky light. Sid takes his one plasma gun shot and incinerates the pair. Taking their victory as a sign that the Emperor favors their path, the Acolytes loot the weapons of their worthy advisories. If not for their master’s orders the two groups may have been allies, at least their weapons may still shed blood in his holy service.

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Profit and Loss
Imposters!!

As the Acolytes continued investigating over next days, they made new contacts and learnt that the victims did have a common thread:

Of the nobility, Viscount Sur,Seculo was the most recent victim, while investigating his mansion the group finds that the security footage is blank for the time of the attack and a hidden viewing area where there used to lay a hand frame holding a broken mirror fragment, the cloth has the same warp signature as was found at Bal Grey’s.

The leaders of the Undertow make contact while the party investigates the murder of a drunkard whom was rumored to the have a ‘seeing glass’ which he never let go. From the one surviving witness, they learn that unholy terror ripped apart the bar and all its patrons. The Undertow’s Rag court explains that 3 of their number have been murdered and blame rest with the Mandato, war will break out soon. Burfort convinces the crime lords to hold their wrath while the investigation continues. He also uses this opportunity to unload his drug cache for a very large profit. After meeting with the Undertow, the group meets with the noble lord Margrave Cal Sur’Maywroth. He comes off as a rather shifty fellow, being next in line to rule the council if the Judiciary dies. Burfort sells him the wine and the group is swimming in credits once more.

The group learns that they have been summoned to stand before the planets rulers, the Quorum at the Clockwork Court. Marshal Skarmen arranges for a morning meeting. Arriving at the outer halls they are delayed by guards who seem to think they have already arrived. Marshal Skarmen walks out, arguing loudly with a court official. He shouts that the Acolytes are the honored guests that were invited!

Then all hell breaks loose. The Acolytes enter to find the room massacred and imposters executing guards and council members. On closer inspection the imposters turn out to be living corpses, and are highly resistance to the party’s efforts to shoot them down. By sheer luck Sid finds that each zombie is wearing an incendiary belt, and orders everyone to aim for those.

Afterwards the Acolytes find that they are too late, the Judiciary had been executed and his mirror fragment taken.

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Smuggler's Rain
Welcome to Sinophia

When we last left our heroes they had effectively saved the paradise planet of Quiddis. All members had been severely injured in both body and mind. Luckily the nobles of Quiddis had access to the best medical care money could buy. This was lavished on the Acolytes, all receiving high grade augmentics, and access to rejuv tanks.

After spending some time relaxing, and re-equipping the group received instructions to travel to the former hub world of Sinophia. A series of gruesome murders threatens to unleash a Civil war between the corrupt nobility and the criminal Undertow. The Acolytes were to meet up with the local Arbites forces and uncover the cause these crimes.

Being gifted free transport and the Guncutter: Equalizer; the acolytes set off.
Reasoning that a trade starved planet like Sinophia would be ripe for profiteering, Burfert convinces the group into pooling their money to buy a large quantities of rare Quiddis vintage wine(for the nobles) and high grade obscura(for the lower classes)

Amid a heavy storm they touch down at the star port and are met by a harangued looking adept. Apparently the Acolytes were not expected so no transport had been arranged for them. Taking a water transport the group witnesses a firefight on the canal between a shipping vessel and some hijackers.

Choosing to avoid the confrontation, the group soon found themselves a Haarlock’s Folly, where the Arbiters had stationed themselves.

The party meets Arbiter Fihad Constantine, adjunct to Marshal Skarmen. From their interactions with Constantine the Acolytes learn:

The murder victims have all been torn apart as by an animal.
No recording or witnesses to the murders have been found.
No connection between the victims has been determined as they have been from different social strata.
The group is allowed to exam a recent victim in the morgue.
A fresh murder occurred as they arrived and the scene was secured for them to investigate.
Striker was stuck a feeling of oppression and darkness from the Folly rendering it unsuitable as a base of operations.

Taking a loaned ground car, the Acolytes investigated the scene and followed that the body had been torn to pieces and signs of gun fire. The victim, Bal Grey, had been a mid level criminal and had not gone down with out a fight. Outside the group found what looked like a corpse riddled with shotgun impacts. Inside Striker found a cloth with a fading emanation of the warp.
During their investigation, Rameriz noticed a lone figure watching from a roof top. A chase across the slum rooftop ensued, ending when Rameriz shot the legs out from under the runner with a well placed long las beam.
Unfortunately, the tight lipped prisoner turned out to be an operative of the Sinophian secret police, the Mandato, so had to be returned.

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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.

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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!

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