“In dread of the Traveler’s return we serve.”
-The Spider Bride, during a conversation with Acolytes of Red Cell
Emerging from the depths of the Red Cages, the Acolytes and Lord Melua find themselves in the gaming and arena section of Xicarph- the Promenade of Arenas. Packed with masked and costumed revelers and their entourages, all present for the Festival of Tattered Fates, the Acolytes assess their situation and evaluate their next move. With no money in their possession, Quint is able to pick the pockets of some of the revelers and this earns enough for the party to purchase a small amount of food. They also do some minor information gathering and come to the conclusion that they need to gather more funds to arm and equip themselves to complete their mission. Their information leads them to believe that the slum area of the city, known as the Collapsed Palaces, would be the cheapest (and more dangerous) place to find shelter to get some much needed rest.
On the way to the Collapsed Palaces, the party passes by a sermon being given by an Imperial Preacher and his small flock. The Preacher’s message about the Emperor is not popular with the crowd of revelers and an attempt is made on his life. The Acolytes step in to intervene on the Preacher’s behalf and for their assistance the Preacher offers them food and shelter in his sparse dwelling in the Collapsed Palaces which the party accepts. During conversation with the Preacher, Obadiah Psalter, the Acolytes learn that the Preacher once had a larger following and a small Imperial Chapel in the Collapsed Palaces, but recently most of his flock was slaughtered and his Chapel taken over by a would be preacher wearing a Heron Mask. Obadiah begs the Acolytes to help him secure back his Chapel and the following day, Mir, Uriel and Hadrian agree to help while Lysandros attempts to locate the White Scholar and Quint goes off in an attempt to increase their funds.
Obadiah leads the three Acolytes to the Chapel and upon entering, they find the Chapel has been abandoned but desecrated with the sacrifice of Obadiah’s men and the symbols of Chaos painted on the walls and floors. The party finds several interesting items left by the Heron Masked Man- several empty containers, which once held weapons and equipment, a file of documents on the lineage of several noble families, a file of documents with occult symbols and astrological data, and a painting of a large manse that Obadiah identifies as Gabriel Chase. The Heron Masked Man was gone but the chapel is guarded by a trio of Pink Horror daemons that emerge from the blood soaked floor and attack. Despite sustaining injuries from psychic attack, the party is able to banish the daemons back to the Warp. Gathering the evidence that the Heron Masked Man left, the party decides that the Chapel is too corrupted to be saved and set the place ablaze.
Quint and Lord Melua make their way back to the Promenade of Arenas to try their luck at some of the blood sports to make some much needed money for the party. Being a pistol duelist from Gunmetal City, Quint decides that his best bet is to compete in the Metallican Quick Draw completion. His winnings and side bets earn them a decent cash-purse and the two use some of the money to get a much needed shower and new clothes.
Lysandros uses some of Quint’s pick-pocketed obtained funds to hire a speeder carriage to take him to the other side of the city to the Refutation District (the location of the city’s colleges and scholarly establishments) in an effort to locate Inquisitor Karkalla’s Acolyte, the “White Scholar.” After questioning some of the local faculty, Lysandros makes contact with the White Scholar, whose name is Septimus Dexter, researching in one of the district libraries. After hearing Karkalla’s code phrase coming from a stranger, Septimus knows that ill-fate has befallen his master and Lysandros fills Septimus in on his meeting with the Inquisitor and his terrible demise at the hands of torturers. Septimus in turn fills Lysandros in on information discovered in the course of his research. He believes that the leader of the Pilgrims of Hayte is trying to destroy the planet and it has something to do with the strange celestial phenomenon that takes place during the Festival of Tattered Fates and also has something to do with a mythical creature servant of the Haarlocks known as the Widower.
A group of the Pilgrims of Hayte interrupt the meeting to attempt to take Septimus prisoner and a fight breaks out in which the enemy’s pyrokine suffers a backlash from the warp for the manifestation of his powers and is possessed by a fire-wielding daemon. The daemon starts to burn down the library and it isn’t long before the structure is aflame and many bystanders are burned to death in the warp-fire. As the daemon continues to wreak havoc in the Refutation District, Lysandros and Septimus are able to escape to the Collapsed Palaces.
Back at Preacher Psalter’s home, Red revels to the Preacher his group’s identity as agents of the Inquisition and their mission to kill the Heron Masked Man and stop his plan. Psalter pledges his service to Red’s cause and one of his acolytes, Jeremiah, tells Red the history of the Festival of Tattered Fates and the Grand Conjunction. Red decides that the group needs more money to equip and arm themselves and has Jeremiah lead them back to the Promenade of Arenas where they (Red, Sister Uriel, and Hadrian) go to the biggest and most affluent arena and gambling house- the “Fates Wheel.” At the Fate’s Wheel, the group (minus Jeremiah) signs up to compete in the gladiatorial games by taking on an opposing force of five cyber gladiators. Under the watchful eyes of thousands, the show is a crowd pleaser as the battle soon gets bloody. Everyone is seriously wounded and Sister Uriel would have perished if not for luck or the grace of the Emperor to save her from a killing blow. After a slow start, Red starts to do what he does best and his chain sword begins to make short work of their opponents. Though wounded, their win gives Red’s group some decent armor and melee weapons and a little cash to spend.
Their performance in the gladiator battle attracts the attention of two henchmen of the proprietor of the establishment, a man named Papa Grist, for a business opportunity. Grist is a successful businessman in both legal and illegal activities and he is interested in eliminating a local competitor, a mysterious long-time resident of Xicarph called the Spider Bride. Grist agrees to pay the group to kill the Spider Bride and return with proof. The Acolytes accept Grist’s offer and head back to the Collapsed Palaces to link up with the rest of their party.
Meanwhile, Quint and Lord Melua go shopping for some much needed armor and equipment. They buy additional ammo and micro beads for the entire party and during their shopping they receive an unexpected visitor- Lord Melua’s older sister, Du’Landra Melua. The siblings are united and Du’Landra shares with her brother her efforts at tracking her brother since his disappearance at the House of Dust and Ash. What she found out about her brother’s abductors has her alarmed as she has found that they have ties to the Chaos cult- the Pilgrims of Hayte and a dangerous Wanted criminal from Malfi named Tobias Belasco. Lord Melua fills his sister in in the happenings since his arrival at the auction house till now and tells her about his new friends and their work with the Inquisition.
Sadly the reunion does not last long because shortly afterward while walking through the packed streets of Xicarph, Lord Melua is singled out and slain by a strange masked noble that is able to manipulate his body into all manner of deadly melee weapons. During this same attack, forces of the Heron Mask Man emerge from the crowd to attack the strange figure and capture Du’Landra. The street erupts in carnage as forces of the Heron Mask Man, the strange figure, revelers and their bodyguards and the city’s sentinels become engrossed in a massive battle. Quint and Du’Landra are able to flee from the scene to safety.
All the party, including Septimus and Lady Melua, meet back at the Collapsed Palaces to regroup and study the evidence secured from Obidiah’s now destroyed Chapel. Septimus concludes that the Melua family are distant blood relatives to the Haarlocks and also that the Heron Mask Man’s plan is to harness some type of power that will be released due to the Grand Conjunction.
After a short night’s rest, the Acolytes decide to pay a visit to the Spider Bride who resides in the pleasure gardens within the Akasen Follies. She receives them, laying on a giant web of circuitry that is tied into the network of the entire city, and the Acolytes discover that the Spider Bride knows about their agreement with Papa Grist and more- she knows their true identities and their mission on Xicarph. She offers them a counter-proposal of their deal with Grist (they only need to deliver the crime lord a box) and in return will give them information and an item that they need but do not yet know they need it. The Acolytes accept, and Spider Bride tells them that the Heron Mask Man intends to destroy this world. She also tells them that Widower is indeed real and that its power is bound in a Steel Clock (which can control and manipulate astronomical events) which is only vulnerable during the Revel of Darkness during which only “the blood may tame him if he has the will.”
They return to the Fate’s Wheel to present Papa Grist his gift. Believing the party has been successful in their mission, Grist accepts their box (which he believes contains the Spider Bride’s head) and upon opening it he is decapitated by an arachnid servitor which seizes Grist’s screaming head and scuttles away. Grist’s gambling den erupts in frenzy as his bodyguards, including his two main henchmen- a deadly psyker named Bliss and a massive bare-knuckle brawler named Crackmarrow, attack the Acolytes. Bliss attempts to unsuccessfully psychically Dominate Red while Crackmarrow lands several blows on the Legate Investigator. The rest of the party attacks back and Quint gets into range so that his Untouchable aura starts to affect Bliss’ ability to employ his psychic powers. The drain on his power causes Bliss to get desperate and he has to “Push” his abilities past safe levels to manifest them which allows his powers to go off but unfortunately causes a psychic backlash that kills several of Grist’s bodyguards and surrounding patrons and leaves Bliss a helpless catatonic on the floor. Several of the Acolytes are wounded in the blast but continue to fight and despite being bruised and battered, they are able to dispatch the enemy and flee the Fate’s Wheel before more of Grist’s security arrives.
- GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from Fantasy Flight’s “Tattered Fates” book by Alan Bligh and John French. It can be found here: