Faith and Betrayal
“Faith and Betrayal” is a Warhammer 40,000 Dark Heresy/Deathwatch RPG Campaign set approximately around the time 814.M41. It follows the exploits of Acolytes under the command of Inquisitor Sand of the Ordo Xenos and the missions of Deathwatch Kill-Team “Kronus.” Working alone, and sometimes together, both of these Inquisition units are dedicated to finding and destroying the enemies of the Imperium. “Only in Death Shall Duty End!!”
“The Soul Reaver”- Blood, Sand and Steel"(09/24/2015)
Using his connections with a Dark Eldar named Akirvas, Inquisitor Sand has discovered that acolytes Quint and Pullo were captured and sold by a Dark Eldar Archon named Salaine Morn. Through Akirvas, Sand secretly contacted Morn and a deal was brokered that in exchange for safe passage from the Dark Eldar Webway city known as the Nexus of Shadows, the imprisoned acolytes would secure a Dark Eldar ship for Morn called the Soul Reaver, which is the flagship of the most powerful Archon, and current ruler, of the Nexus of Shadows, Archon Zaergarn Kul of the Kabal of the Splintered Talon.
Of course, conducting negotiations with Xenos, especially the Dark Eldar, is highly proscribed and most in the Imperium would declare Inquisitor Sand a traitor and request his immediate execution if they knew of these relations. Regardless of the danger, the Inquisitor has went forward with the rescue attempt, though those that know of the operation suspect that there is more than just the safe return of Sand’s acolytes in play here as whispers speak of valuable information that Archon Morn will provide to Sand once she receives possession of the Soul Reaver.
Inquisitor Sand has tasked acolytes Jak, Bishop, Jez, Silvain and a young teenage girl named Luck to prosecute this mission. This group has been given orders to locate and rescue Quint and Pullo, and then secure the Soul Reaver and turn over possession of the ship to Morn. The acolytes reach their destination by being transferred from Rogue Trader Captain Melua’s ship, the Arcadia, to Archon Morn’s ship, the Aeon of Torment. Morn then takes the acolytes, in the guise of slaves, to the Nexus of Shadows where they are sold to the Wych Cult of the Withered Blade under the leadership of Succubus Anyalra.
Their lives as slaves of the Withered Blade in the Shadowspine Pits begins with torment and pain as the acolytes join other captured slaves and proceed through a number of trials that test their fighting abilities and physical and mental fortitude. Many of their fellow prisoners are killed or maimed in the process and those that survive quickly lose hope as they realize there is no escape from their predicament.
Shortly after their arrival, the acolytes make contact with Quint, Pullo, and their new acquaintances- a squat named Kelson, Magos Domos (a most surely insane tech-priest that has been a prisoner of the Dark Eldar and served in the Shadowspine Pits for over two centuries) and a fellow slave named Gunn. With the additional manpower, Quint and Domos begin working on a plan to escape the Pits that is based on the recruitment of notable slaves to join in facilitating an uprising; a plan which has little chance for success, but provides the only option of hope at the moment.
In addition to the complications of enacting the escape plan, the group must also try to stay alive in conditions that are less than optimal. The acolytes quickly find that life is a commodity that is quickly spent if one does not have the skills to survive the arena fights, or the luck to avoid being selected to participate in them. Arena fights with wyches, murder servitors, Xenos creatures from across the galaxy and fellow slaves are a constant obstacle that they endure, and so far they have managed to survive (some owe their lives to the seemingly supernatural Medicae skills of Domos the Bloodsmith).
Months pass by and the acolytes, and their allies, continue their work on solidifying alliances and planning their escape. Many that the acolytes approach are skeptical about the success of any escape plan. They are wary of a possible trap or question the resolve and dedication of the acolytes toward this endeavor and request that the acolytes perform an act to prove themselves.
In a strange twist of fate following an arena event where Quint and Gunn attempt, but fail, to turn the tables on their Dark Eldar captors, Interrogator Quint meets with a sultry ship captain named Coronnia who works for the crime bosses of the Kasballica and is heavily involved in the Cold Trade; she knows of Quint through his cover identity of Quartiz- a malifixer with ties to several criminal organizations, most notably the heretical tech-cult called the Logicians. Captain Coronnia’s meeting with Quint sets in motion events which lead to Quint’s release from the Dark Eldar and into the custody of Coronnia who has been tasked to transport him back to the Calixis Sector and turn him over to his superiors. Some of the acolytes voice discontent over this ironic turn of events that has allowed Quint to be freed while the rest of his party, including those that were purposely enslaved to rescue him, remain trapped as prisoners.
The remaining acolytes and their allies continue to fight for survival while pursuing potential alliances. Slowly their efforts begin to pay off and they are able to bring several powerful prisoners to support their cause, such as a powerful psyker named Nieja and a massive Ork Warboss named Gob ‘ard Head Green. Others await a suitable display of the acolytes resolve and power and word is put out to set up an arena bout between Jak and Succubus Anyalra’s wych champion, Hekatrix Bloodbride Unarlan. The fight is approved and many eagerly await the match up. Regardless of the outcome, the acolytes plan on beginning the slave uprising at the conclusion of the match.
Domos informs the acolytes that the Nexus of Shadow is built on an ancient human construct from the Dark Age of Technology called the Gaelan Sphere. Though it is unknown how the Sphere got positioned in the Webway, Domos and Kelson find that the Sphere’s machine spirit is still clinging to life deep in the Sphere and they are able to use it to manipulate limited parts of the construct, such as opening doors and turning gravity fields on and off.
On the day of the titanic battle between the massively strong Jak and the quick and skilled Unarlan the stands are packed. The moment the match begins Jak realizes that he is outclassed- the wych is too fast and easily evades Jak’s powerful but sluggish strikes while delivering precision strikes of her own that artfully and playfully cut away at her opponent. Unfortunately for Unarlan, the hekatrix makes a slight misstep andJak seizes the opportunity to deal a savage blow that stuns the wych and then proceeds to savagely tear apart her body with his bare hands and fling the pieces into the stands. A roar of approval, shock and anger comes from the crowd, which soon finds themselves fighting for their own lives as savage beasts and Xenos creatures enter the stands courtesy of Domos and Kelson’s manipulation of the Sphere’s machine spirit. The slave uprising has begun…
Quint didn’t know what to expect as the shuttle screamed downward through the upper atmosphere over what looked like an inhospitable world covered in snow and ice. A chance look at a thermostat in the pilot’s cabin displayed a non-survivable outside temperature of -210 degrees Celsius. Despite the professional, and personal, relationship Quint thought he shared with Coronnia, the Reeve-Captain of the Tormented Bliss would not disclose the name of the planet, or even the sub-sector they were in. She deflected all inquires aside with a sexually playful look at Quint and a comment about how it was a secret and better for both of them not to speak about it.
The shuttle descended closer to the planet’s surface and its low-flying route over treacherous mountain ranges revealed a desolate and unforgiving landscape. The shuttle’s interior heat was on maximum but still the planet’s cold could be felt and Quint shivered a little before Coronnia’s body moved to rest comfortably against his- close enough to share body heat, but not so close that it would be taken as an expression of affection by the crewmembers present.
The shuttle’s machine spirits suddenly blurted out a series of alarms and the pilot and co-pilot frantically started working dials and chattering on the vox. “Defense batteries are tracking us Captain. I’m sending the authenticate codes as we speak.” The alarms quieted down and a sudden descent brought the shuttle in a valley where up ahead almost concealed by the surrounding snow and ice-covered mountains two structures could be seen. The shuttle was clearly going toward the structures- immense blue white-colored bastions hidden in the middle of nowhere.
…That was two hours ago. Quint was now in one of those structures, which he had since learned was part of a hidden Logician base called the Spa. Upon arrival, he had been received by armed men and women, thoroughly searched and scanned, subjected to a thorough medical exam and now found himself unarmed, but wearing very comfortable clothes sitting at a table with good food and amasec in a simple room that was bare of any decorations. Nearby two men wearing gray-colored adept robes stood and watched Quint from a respectable distance while a third brought more amasec and food for Quint and the man across from him.
Stignus Tai looked at Quint with a friendly expression as he took another sip from his glass of amasec, his finely-crafted augmetic right eye was laced with minute lines of gold and its golden pupil seemed to sparkle. The Logician agent was Quartiz’ principle point of contact for his work with the heretical tech-cult and while Quint had never personally seen the man commit acts of violence, he had heard many stories from credible sources that the man was not one to trifle with.
So far the conversation with Stignus had been a pleasant affair, and the two sounded like old friends as they shared jokes and friendly banter while Quint relayed the events that took place on the planet of Faldon Kise where Quint located, but failed to retrieve, the exterminatus weapon that the Logicians were seeking. Quint talked about the strange agent of unknown allegiance named Lotus, who died detonating the exterminatus weapon, the Genestealer Cult, and his subsequent capture by the Dark Eldar and later release. At the end of Quint’s report Stignus sat in silence for a long moment sipping amasec. Quint busied himself with eating and drinking, not wanting to interrupt his handler’s thoughts.
“So,” Stignus broke the silence, “the exterminatus weapon has been expended and Lotus is dead.” It seemed more a statement than a question and Quint simply nodded his head in response. “Most unfortunate,” Stignus continued, his tone had changed, but Quint was not sure how to read the new inflection. “Quartiz, there were many operations counting on the success of recovering that weapon. I’m afraid this information is going to upset our superiors.”
Quint countered with the presence of the Genestealers, the civil uprising going on in the city, and the agents from various organizations dogging his every move. All this Stignus received in silence but appeared to be listening.
“I believe that your mission was compromised by a variety of obstacles, some of which indeed appear to be out of your control. Unfortunately, those we answer to will not be so easily appeased. You have valuable skills and talents, and I would like to continue to put those to good use, but I think that we will have to introduce some insurance- insurance to ensure that you have the best interests of the organization in mind when performing your work.
Quint looked at Stignus trying to hide the confusion that he was experiencing regarding the meaning of Stignus’ words. He started to open his mouth to make an inquiry but he suddenly felt woozy and unsteady. He gripped the table for support. His amasec glass fell from his hand and shattered on the floor. His vision was starting to blur as Stignus’ voice continued in the background, “Quartiz this is certainly not personal as I rather enjoy your company, but loyalty must be assured.”
Just before his bionic eyes ceased to function, Quint was dimly aware of three more figures entering the room. His grip on the table finally faltered and he fell to the floor. As he lost consciousness he heard Stignus talking to someone else, “Magos Caerivus, update me when you are finished.”