As regaled to the Acolytes by Inquisitor Varl Nuhren, while cleaning up the mess caused by the warp incursion en route to Elysium
“Yeah, like I said, this shit reminds me of back on Rynn II. I ever tell you lot about that? No? Right, then; keep on working and I’ll share a bit of history with you.
Can’t remember if I told you or not, but you know Istvarnach? Inquisitor Lord Istvarnach, hero of the sector, fire-and-brimstone preacher of the Ordo Hereticus and killed in action ‘bout forty years back? Yeah, he was my Inquisitor back when I was an Acolyte like you. Anyway, I’d been working for him a good few years or so when a group of us got set on a mission to track down and destroy some relic – little thing called the Orb of the Lost. We’d tracked it through a couple of cults, saved a couple of planets, the usual, until finally we tracked it down to Rynn II. Now, you lot know Rynn II as being full of daemons and shit, but back then it was just a normal, everyday hive planet. Little smaller than Daedalus but just as fucked up.
Hn? The Orb? Eh, some Precursor or xenos artifact that brought people back from the dead. Useful, except it brought ‘em back all mind-linked together and… well… how can I put it? Y’know when the tech-priests keep a servitor’s old face skin in place but replace everything underneath with metal, and it’s all weird and wrong when you look at it? Think that, but without the metal. Just fuckin’ off.
Like I said, we’d followed the trail of this thing to a cult in the absolute underbelly of the main hive – that is, Verity, Jacques, Roth, Angela, me and a couple others I don’t rightly remember anymore. We were a helluva band. Between them, Verity and Jacques put out enough fire and psychoticness to put the fear of the Emperor into Chaos itself; Roth was our gunman and a better shot I’ve never seen. Fuckin’ silent as anything but he’d put a bullet through a half-inch hole from miles away quick as blinking. Angela was the brains of the group – she’d done most of the research and investigation, partly because that was what she did best and partly because a couple months back she’d lost her long-term partner in a mission gone bad. Me, well, you’ve seen what I do. I talk to people and kill shit.
Anyway; we made planetfall no problem and got down to the Underhive pretty handily. Istvarnach never really believed in subtlety so we had full clearance to show off our authority – let me tell you, that shit comes in damn handy when dealing with folks unwilling to talk to you. Something about fates worse than death just brings out the helpfulness in people. We got directions to the group’s main hub easy enough and got about halfway down when we started seeing weird shit.
Now, when I say weird shit, think back to Bharius a couple weeks back – pools of liquid that doesn’t look right, fire where there shouldn’t be, yeah? Kinda like that, except less of it. We found pools of toxic sludge that had been infused with Warp energies somehow and a bunch of mutated corpses. Well, to be fair, most of ‘em weren’t corpses when we arrived, but same difference, right? Fuckers stayed clear until Jacques started burning the pools and giving sermons to nothing – let me tell you right now, don’t fuckin’ work with clerics unless they’re the vow of silence types; fuckers will never shut up when they need to – and then they charged.
Course, since they only had shitting little swords and laspistols, most of ‘em didn’t even get in range before they ate shit. Couple ran through the pools and fucked ‘emselves up before they even got to us – one didn’t go so bad, looked like he’d just got vat-grown guns installed in his arms, but the other fucker’s eyes got big enough they almost fell out of the sockets. Fuckin’ hilarious. Verity got a real good firestorm off by Jacques, too, stopped the blast not even an inch before it would’ve singed his robes. Another lesson for you: don’t ever fucking piss off pyrokines. They’re all insane at the best of times and even in fireproof armour you look pretty fuckin’ flammable to them.
Anyway, we cleared up pretty easily, and then we got faced with a pair of passages. I took a bunch of guys and went off down one corridor while Verity, Jacques, Roth and Angela took the other. I thought I’d got a pretty good deal of it – found a nice little nest of heretics, stomped them out for not even a scratch in return – but then I backtracked to catch up with the others and, well, hadn’t they hit the fuckin’ motherlode.
Verity told me what had happened later. Turns out, a bit further down their corridor, they found the main shrine of the whole damn cult. Just to get in they had to cut through two solid metres of rockcrete; inside there were three free-standing altars covered in stupid chaos crap, then at the back there was a massive pool of pure warpfire around a huge shrine to none other that fuckin’ Tzeentch himself. The cult had gone from your standard heretical loonies to Tzeentch-loving heretical loonies with a massive sweet spot for the Orb. Lucky for us they believed in keeping their relics on the shrine… except, well, there were three pretty similar-looking spheres on the shrine, and none of the four of ’em were keen on sticking around to destroy them any longer than necessary.
See, according to Angela, destroying those things in a way that’d render them unusable would take a minimum of half an hour with a fuckload of super-hot fire and at least one extremely religious nutcase. They had the fire and the nutcase no problems but figured that trying to destroy the things in that shrine would be even harder than usual. On top of that, they knew that only one was actually the Orb they were after, and they weren’t keen on wasting a couple of hours destroying all three – not while the cult was still active. The solution they hit on was to have Verity telekinetically grab the right Orb and walk it out while Jacques got started on the chanting. Lucky for them, Angela had done her studies and knew which of the three was the correct one.
Unlucky for us all, the stupid bitch wanted it for herself to bring back her lover-boy, so she told them the wrong Orb and started chanting.
By the time Jacques realised what was going on it was too late; they tried knocking her into the warpfire but evidently she’d been dealing with Chaos for some time prior as all that resulted in doing was fusing her with a Lord of Change, and pitting the other three against what was effectively an unbound daemonhost with no backup.
I’d like to say it was a victory for us, but I couldn’t rightly say that. The first thing the bitch did was summon up a horde of Horrors and it only got worse from there. Roth got a few good rounds off but was psychically crushed in short order. Verity managed to take out most of the Horrors with one good flamestorm and Jacques managed some solid hits on what used to be Angela, but they could tell it wasn’t going to be enough. Desperate times called for desperate measures. So, with Jacques preaching at full volume and surrounded by gouts of fire, Verity unleashed her most powerful assault at the daemon. Jacques vanished in the flames, then vanished again with a flash of a golden aquila; the Horrors around him were burned to ashes. But the daemon itself was still up – charred and broken, clearly weakened, but still up.
And that was about the point I came on the scene.
Not even a second after I arrived Angela – or as I should properly call the fucker now, the Scribe of the Lost – vanished back to the warp, discarding her old body to burn in the warpfire. Jacques reappeared a few seconds later in another flash of golden light, singed to almost a crisp but miraculously – unfortunately – still alive. A clear act of the God-Emperor, as he told us endlessly on the trip back to the surface. We almost gave Roth up for dead – I told him that he needed real armour and his stupid stealth suit would be the death of him one day – but someone spotted him on top of what used to be the door, where he’d been sniping from, and the Chirugeons patched him up pretty well. A couple inches shorter than he used to be, yeah, but still deadly as all hell.
Hm? Now? Shit, haven’t you been listening when I tell you who you’re working with? Verity’s Lax’s boss – an Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos, and a helluva lot calmer than she used to be. Still just as fuckin’ dangerous though. Jacques I know you’ve heard of; he’s Jacques d’Florienne, still Ordo Hereticus, and took up the void that Istvarnach left when he died. Yeah, yeah, I see you nodding – he’s damn hard to miss. Roth, shit, nobody really knows. Well – that’s a lie. Roth clearly knows. He’s still kicking, or was a couple of years ago, but damned if I know where he’s at these days… he wasn’t really enough of a people person to take up a Rosette.
We ever run into Angela again? Fuck, did we ever. Story for another time though. Last I knew, she’s still going, or was about a decade ago – she’s been pretty damn quiet if she’s still around.
So, yeah, to cut a long story short: don’t trust your allies when you’ve got your back turned to ‘em at a cultist shrine, and burn every last bit of fuckin’ Chaos you see, otherwise your adepts turn into daemonhosts and you get reamed out by your Inquisitor for not completing your mission properly."
Varl pauses, scratches his chin, and eyes off the still-biological walls.
“Keep up the good work, you lot.”
He turns on his heel and walks off towards the bridge.
It’s another twelve hours before the last of the warpflesh is gone.