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  1. "Alex?" Alexandros, Shield-Lord of the Halcyon Wardens, swung green eyes toward his companion. Pyrrhicles stood beside him, his aged features wrought into worry. Alone among the Halcyon Wardens, Pyrrhicles was not an Astartes. Instead, he was a man who had been gifted all the Imperium could offer to bring a man a step towards an Astartes. His lined face revealed Pyrrhicles was fighting a losing battle against time. Alexandros focused on the hidden depths of anxiety within his friend's eyes. Few things could inflict such a state on the veteran champion. The Primarch gathered his thoughts before he stated the horrible truth wracking his mind. "The Emperor is gone." Confusion joined anxiety as Pyrrhicles absorbed the news, comprehension far from him. "Gone?" Straightening himself in his throne, Alexandros saw the entire bridge crew's attention was upon him. "Damage report," He ordered, his voice ringing strong and clear. The task broke their reverie. As they bustled with their new task, Alexandros whispered to Pyrrhicles' ears alone, "Gone. The Emperor is no longer with us." A fearful pause blocked the half-Astartes for a moment. "He is slain?" Pyrrhicles asked, his voice a ghost of a whisper. Was he? Alexandros wondered as his eidectic memory recalled the event. After a moment, a measure of relief passed through Alexandros. "No. No, it is not his death I have sensed." That left confusion and similar relief upon Pyrrhicles' features. "Then, how is he gone?" Alexandros' lips twisted into a frown. "I... don't know." His eyes swept across the bridge of the Elpis. "First, let us deal with the disaster we can control."
  2. The Terran Conclave When the last member of the War Council arrived on the surface of the Throneworld, the long awaited event began. Around 2,000 individuals would now collectively decide the fate of, not only of the Imperium, but of the galaxy. Due to the vagaries of Warp travel, a great deal had already been discussed by earlier arrivals. As such, while Malcador attempted to present each member of the War Council with equal standing, it did not take long to deduce that it wasn’t the case. In fact, it was doubtful it could ever be the case. Malcador, while more of an administrator than a warrior, benefited greatly from his close relationship with the Emperor. The fact that he opened the conclave and managed its proceedings were both subtle signs of his authority. The Questions Should we choose a replacement Emperor? If not, should we choose a regent? If not a single regent, should we establish a permanent ruling body? Any strategic change in regards to the Great Crusade? Should a new office be created to oversee the Imperial military separate from the potential regent? Any major changes to Imperial law/structure beneath the highest political office? The Factions Malcador - Although more concerned with the Emperor's absence, he will be a vocal voice for a proper bureaucratic system to replace the current ad hoc system. He himself does not want to become a regent, preferring to be the power behind the throne. However, if he cannot find a satisfactory replacement for the Emperor, he might reluctantly support a ruling council. Otherwise, he might feel he has to become regent to protect the Emperor's vision. Regardless, he supports the Great Crusade continuing as is. Kelbor-Hal and the Mechanicum Supremacists - This faction wants nothing less than to see Mars rise in prominence in the double-headed eagle empire. Unfortunately, they understand they have no hope of replacing the Emperor with Kelbor-Hal. Instead, they seek to prevent any one individual from replacing the Emperor, desiring a ruling council with Hal assured a position. Additionally, they want to re-open forbidden technological avenues and rewrite Imperial law to more favor the Mechanicum. Lord Militant Elveen and the Human Supremacists - Although accepting the Emperor's initial authority, this body wishes to replace the Primarchs and Malcador with mortal men, to shift power away from the immortals toward themselves. A number of dissenters and potential rebels hide within this faction. They would be happy with a ruling council that could weaken or outright exclude their political opponents. Should they come away unsatisfied from the Conclave, treachery will not be far behind. The Torch-Bearers - This faction has convinced themselves the Emperor will soon return. As such, they oppose any and all changes to the Imperium. Without the Emperor's guidance, they warn, only folly can ensue. The Successors - This faction believes it is necessary to appoint a regent to lead the Imperium until the Emperor's return. Outside of this one answer, their members range everywhere in regards to the Great Crusade's strategy and changes to Imperial law. This is one of the largest factions attending the Terran Conclave. The Council-Men - Believing no one individual, even a Primarch, could hope to match the Emperor's wisdom and power, this faction advocates the distribution of power among a group. This can range from simple, dual leadership all the way to turning each and every member of the War Council into a proper ruler. Many members of the Mechanicum can be found here who don't share Hal's zeal for Martian ascendancy. The Consolidators - While they could care less about who rules the Imperium, they are greatly concerned about the aims of the Great Crusade. They fear the loss of the Emperor's might might have crippled Imperial potential. They advocate all offensive operations be temporarily frozen to concentrate on holding the Imperium together through this time of transition. The Crusaders - Opposing the Consolidators, the Crusaders believed maintaining the Great Crusade's momentum was as important as it had ever been. They feared any pause would destroy humanity's one chance to make the galaxy safe for humanity. The loss of the Emperor was not crippling, they believed, since the Imperium could call upon the Primarchs to continue leading the war effort. The Primarchs Araphel - The First-Found claimed that as the eldest of the Primarchs, it was his right to become Regent and to continue leading the Great Crusade until the Emperor's return. It is with some irony that much of his priorities overlapped with Malcador's. However, the latter viewed Araphel as Regent with no small amount of apprehension. Romulus - Long a firm advocate of all things Imperial, Romulus was one of the more conservative members of his brotherhood. He was an emphatic voice for both Regent and to continue the Great Crusade as before. Little should change, in his opinion, other than who temporarily occupied the Emperor’s throne. Absalom - A controversial figure as ever, Absalom unsurprisingly argued for Regent and placed himself squarely in that position, as the natural choice he assured the others. He promised he would lead the Imperium to new greater heights for both crusade and empire. Theoderaf - Theoderaf was primarily concerned with diverting units to find the Emperor. Until the Emperor's return, he did not care what temporarily held power, even offering himself as a regent. On the Great Crusade, the Primarch was split, believing it practical to freeze offensive operations but wishing to continue them. Alexandros - Above all else, Alexandros' primary goal is to promote stability within the Imperium. Acutely aware of the weakness lurking beneath the surface, Alexandros does not care what form that stability comes in, so long as it does come. The Ash-Blooded - One of the rare voices advocating for a brand new emperor, the Ash-Blooded defended himself by warning that the Imperium had no means of knowing when (if) the Emperor would return. As such, it should prepare itself for the long-term instead of crafting a short-term plan. He was also one of the unapologetic supporters of the Legions. He believed it that the warriors who had sacrificed so much deserved to be more than a simple arm of the Imperial war machine. Finally, he feared the widespread chaos would allow further disturbances of the ethereal variety. He pushed for additional forces to contain what he deemed the 'psyker threat' and proposed additional restrictions upon pyskers of all stripes. Tenzin - Long known for his idealism, Tenzin would soon become a quick supporter of both Council and to benefit the citizens of the Imperium. He feared the consolidation of power into one individual and believed a ruling council would be more apt to command with wisdom. In regards to the citizenship, Tenzin had always been personally disgusted by the Feral Worlds and how many planets within the Imperium had been denied a chance to advance their technology. It was this oversight he sought to fix. Koschei - Long having marked himself an idealist, Koschei was perhaps the loudest voice of change within the Imperium. While others aimed to increase their own power, Koschei lead a push to limit the ad hoc aristocracy, declaring it necessary to enact reforms for the common people to enjoy. It was this viewpoint that lead him to arguing against emperor and regent. The only acceptable alternative in his mind was a ruling council without permanent members. He was also a strong proponent to halting the Great Crusade until the New Order was properly established. It was these views that made him an ally to the Consolidators and, surprisingly, of the Human Supremacists & the Mechanicum Supremacists. Lukas - The fiery Primarch of the Obsidian Guard became one of the loudest members of the Crusaders. Any attempt to halt Crusade operations he viewed as a betrayal. To facilitate this, he proposed, the Primarchs with representatives of other Imperial Institutions, should form a council to chart the course of the Imperium. The number of Councilors should always be an odd number to avoid stalemates with abstainment prohibited. All other matters could not grab his attention, making him a key opponent against both the Martian and Human Supremacists. He would also become a strong supporter of Malcador's proposed bureaucracy. The Horned One - Already a noted defender of the forgotten members of the Imperium, the Horned One did not allow the opportunity to fight on their behalf pass him. A vocal Councilman and reformist, he fought for the abhuman population among the Imperium even as he agreed to Hal's requests for additional respect and power be granted to the Mechanicum. However, he would not countenance Hal's arguments for previously banned technological branches, fearing the dangers within. Niklaas - Never a political animal, the Lord of the Fire Keepers watched the proceedings with frustration but ultimately did not establish any stances other than declaring the importance of establishing Imperial Juris throughout the galaxy. Aato - Resentful of being pulled away from campaign, Aato refused any and all factions. Cursing the politicking before his eyes, he was a neutral force in the Terran Conclave. Azus - The Ghost of the Sands seeks to replace the Emperor with a single individual of transhuman nature. In regards to the Great Crusade, he is in favor of consolidation and cares little for Imperial law. To the surprise of Kelbor-Hal, Azus would soon become known as a friend to the Mechanicum. Morrigar - The Lord of the Fifteenth was a vitriolic opponent to investing any one individual with the power of emperor or even a shadow of it. He would become an ally of Kelbor-Hal to a degree as he supported granting the Mechanicum additional power and undoing restrictions on research. Finally, he too recommended the Great Crusade be halted to focus on the empire's interior. Chui - Believing no individual was suited to replacing the Emperor, Chui instead fell back to the traditions of his homeworld. When deprived of a great leader, a council was summoned to serve. Thus, Chui supported the Councilmen. The Jade General - More of an observer for the initial stages of the Terran Conclave, he did push his support toward a council. [?] Caelum - Strong member of the Successors, though he had no personal desire to fill the office himself. Believing the Emperor's discovery to be of higher import, he saw regency as only a temporary office. Because of his belief that a great portion of the Imperial military needed to be re-tasked to find the Emperor, he advocated the Great Crusade continue but far less aggressively than before. Gustave - The consummate doctor, Gustave cared extremely little for the Conclave and even resented being pulled away from his work. His sole interest was in Koschei's popular reforms.
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