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[DH1e] The Damocles Contingency (RPG IC)


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The RPG Nook presents...

++ A DARK HERESY RPG ++

large.Inquisition.jpg.2ecb5607aea4e9cc76

++ THE DAMOCLES CONTINGENCY ++

"It is in the worst of times, that the true qualities of men shine through. Their light is the Emperor's Will, their strength the Emperor's Hand. Yet what kind of men can suffer in such darkness, what qualities will work in the shade, where the dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords at dawn?"

+++++++

PROLOGUE

+++++++

The World of Damocles, Hive Primus Night Cycle, 3rd Segment, 787.999.M41:

He heard it first, and looked up from his microbial containment field. Focus lenses moved from his eyes in a mechanical whirr, as he felt the dark presence pressing in under the door. Slowly, ever so slowly, he reached for the Carnifex-bore stub automatic, loaded with the expensive shells, his palms sweaty. He noticed his skin was pale, the hairs standing on end. He gripped the pistol butt hard, the cold metal felt good, reassuring.

Auto-response. Respiratory and circulatory increase, fight or flight.

The words came but his body was lumpen, heavy. It would not obey him fast enough!

Then the door flung open, and the shadow hung there, robed, cloaked in darkness and the chill air of the corridor outside fomenting into mist as it hit his heat-conditioning throughout his laboratory. The germs liked the warmth, needed the heat to grow.

He drew the pistol into both hands, adrenaline sting forcing him to ram the mammoth block of hardware at the figure.

"Throne!" He felt his teeth chatter, not at the cold, but the fear in his trembling voice. "Stay back!"

He fired, once, twice. The shells filled the lab with thunder, noise pummelling both him and the intended victim.

It rushed on , gripping him with an iron, invisible fist, and he heard the bones crack, the weapon firing again as it caught against his now disfigured digits, but the round only served to go wide, spanking off a stasis cabinet, causing to crash onto the floor and vials of chemicals spilled out, singing the air with acrid tang.

The figure gripped him, enveloped him and he screamed, loud and long, not understanding it was his last breath.

An hour later, when his body was still and tight with rigor-mortis, his automatic alarm sent the signal he'd hoped to cancel, and his experiments autoclaved in melta heat.

The ones that weren't missing.

+++++++

Ordo Hereticus Intelligence Centre 280, Eastern Fringe, Night Watch, 787.999.M41:

+ Astropathic Terminus, Sigma6.455/Skapula/303-Enceladus(CARMINE)

+ Message Reads...

+ Alert Signal Aleph Primus/Notify/Sect-Com//OrdoSepultura/-RESHUNT//OP-ORD...

+ Notify//Verdict//.

The crimson lights from his networked dataslate woke him up. Always a light sleeper, he sighed and rubbed his face as the commbead on the nightstand rattled and buzzed against the plastek of his holoterminal encoder. His real name was somewhere in the back of his mind, and as he got up and plugged back into the cogitator network, he picked up the message.

Aleph Primus.

He was on his feet in moments, and into his customary garb of mixed carapace, heavy robes and xenomesh.  He settled the visor into place, then his hood and belted on his equipment, weapons. His clothes and pouches were worn, the dust of a hard life beaten into them. His gauntleted finger was on his commbead as he strode towards the operations room, the device fast in his left ear.

+This is Verdict. Contact Voyager and have him ready in shuttle bay three. Then get me Viceroy. In that order.+

He killed the link before the automated response from the servitor-slave. He hated the metallic sound of it.

They were already one-hundred and forty-four hours behind.

Unforgiveable.

+++++++

Chaeron, Second Moon of Damocles, Low Orbit, 797.999.M41

Verdict's visor displayed the incoming comms loop, the occulus-portrait was obscured of course, but he knew who it was as soo as he heard her sharp intake of breath.

+Situation?+

+I'm here with Vendetta, we're preparing to drop.+

+Negative. The problem has...changed.+ She sounded exasperated.

+Clarify.+

+A demand has been made - an outrageous one. You can't go in. You'll need to recruit someone...invisible. Send out your people, get dregs, killers, rogues, pay them or threaten them, but you're the handler.+

+What have I done to deserve that?+

+Other than I trust you?+

He sighed. Working for her was the best and worst thing he'd ever agreed to. He closed the link, knowing exactly who to call.

+++++++

Chapter One: A Murder of Acolytes

Chapter Two: The Crucible

+++++++

Edited by Mazer Rackham
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Posted (edited)

+ CHAPTER ONE: A MURDER OF ACOLYTES +

Encoded Communication to Caleb Augustus Falke, Arbitrator. Praefectus HQ, Valon Urr, 787.999.M41:

From: Chief justice, Praefector Absolom Drake.

Thought for the day: The Emperor's Will, is Justice all seeing.

+ By my authority you are to cease operations immediately, and go to Spaceport terminus, Silo 9B-4. You will await contact from agent CODE ID 'Voyager' who will provide transport. Do not ask questions, simply obey.

+ Task: Acquire personnel:

  • Reynard 'De Carabas'
  • Tech-Sentry Bardas
  • Jericus Nicios
  • Other targets will present as disclosed.

+ Ave Imperator +

Edited by Mazer Rackham
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Posted (edited)

Garvek "Stimms" Halsome:

When the door closed, the light above was your only measure of time, as it lowered for night cycle, and the monotony of the feeding hatch opening and closing with nutrient paste and water. The bare essentials, keeping you alive. You can't really smell yourself anymore, and conning yourself has been the next best pastime to keep your mind active. Perhaps it was three days? No, four.

You couldn't con them. Throne knows you tried, this time to fake suicide by attempting to hang yourself, but they called your bluff.

No-one came. You had to put your sleeping cot back on the ground, just to be able to lie down and think. The deck plates are covered with small nodules to make sitting or sleeping there painful after a while.

Maybe that's why they left your belt around your trousers, to save them the bother of a trial. You can't hear their bloody boots outside the door. The only contact with anything reminding you of outside is the mild breeze of recycled air dropping down the chute beyond your food hatch. No-one has spoken to you - not even the Stormtroopers proudly bearing the seal of the Inquisition who threw you in here.

Now, the heaviest of millstones now lies metaphorically around your neck, and you don't even have Wide-eyes to help you.

You couldn't con any them. You tried.

No, your mind wanders, five days, fifteen meals meant five days. The meagre pale bulb in the bulkhead above your head flutters, the buzzing sound at first so subtle, so small now noticeable by it's absence. The room plunges into arterial red, and the locks on the solid, featureless bulkhead door begin to grind open.

+Stand back.+

The vox comes from everywhere, thunder in your ears, only to die to silence as thick plasteel swings back on crushing hinges, to reveal a single hooded figure, her cloak not enough to hide her feminine shape, who steps into the room with exacting poise and grace. Weapons peak out from under the rich blue garment clasped at her throat. She pulls her hood back, and you see the face from a squalid room on the moon of Horon, but it is...

Exactly that face.

It is complete with every nick and scar, which you know should have long healed.

"Hello," she says, quite warmly. "Do you remember me, Garvek?"

Edited by Mazer Rackham
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Garvek stares at the woman for a moment, then screws up his eyes for a moment real hard, like he's really trying focus. Then his face goes blank/

"Not a clue. Sorry."

He snorts a second later, unable to help himself.

"Well of course I grox-fething..."

He shakes his head.

 

"What I really want to know, is where on drought-forsaken Terra did the clothes come from? And the bolt pistol? Didn't have them tucked beneath those rags and blankets did you?"

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She smiles, her face making the mask of humour, but you have the impression the meat and bone behind the skin doesn't really move.

Her eyes glimmer when she reaches under her cloak, a snap of a buckle makes it your ears. She tosses you a pair of heavy manacles, the ratchets wide open, awaiting a pair of hands.

"Put those on, Garvek." Her tone is firm, a far cry from the frightened, breathless girl you helped before.

"We're going for the longest walk of your life."

Her smile becomes real as she steps forward, sounding heavier than her size and gear have a right to be.

"And you should never ask a lady what's under her bedclothes...unless you can charm a peek."

She gestures at the cuffs, eyebrows raised.

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Reynard wandered thoughtfully around the cell he had been unceremoniously dumped in, examining it from every angle. Small. Poorly lit. One door, barred steel. No picters or vox equipment. A table. Two chairs. Several unpleasant looking dark red-brown stains in the corner.

Intended to be scary, cramped, to make you feel like you might as well already be in your coffin, that you would never escape it. Intended to make you desperate, willing to do anything to get out, to break you down.

To make you pliable.

Reynard smiled to himself and sat on the chair facing the door, leaning back comfortably with his feet on the table. He wasn't worried. Not yet.

If the Arbitrator - or, more likely, whoever the Arbitrator was working for - had wanted him dead, they'd have done it hours ago, back when the big meatbag had first got the drop on him in that bar. However, if they wanted him 'pliable', that meant they needed something from him. That, in turn, meant that he had something to barter with… and making deals was his speciality.

He did wonder who 'they' were, though. An Arbitrator implied the authorities, though admittedly that wasn't guaranteed… he'd met enough bent lawmen over the years. This one had seemed like a pretty upstanding citizen, though, so… Local government? Unlikely. Could it be related to that last job on Boranis IX…? No, he'd kept that business quiet, the few witnesses dealt with before he'd left. Hmm. Someone bigger, then? Someone with Sector-wide pull… or even further…

Reynard froze mentally, though he didn't let it show in his facial expression or his body language. Could it be…? He still wasn't worried. Well… perhaps a little more worried than he had been… but if he was right, who wouldn't be? He could still make the situation work for him. He just had to think through all the angles…

***
 

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Reynard:

The door clanks, the locks being opened. The armoured door peels away, creaking and squealing a rut into the plascrete. What you initially take to be Two Arbites officers enter, and bring in two plastek crates. They do not disturb you, or even look in your direction - it is as though they don't care they're in a room with a dangerous criminal. Maybe they are just ignorant?  Stupid?

Or perhaps, they really don't know about your business. Maybe they don't have a thing on you. The door is open, wide, lodged. It wouldn't take much to just launch across the table, let them grab your overcoat, slip out of it...

Another man comes in, and this one is as different to the storm troopers around him as you are to an arbitrator. He is diminutive, shoulders hunched over, and his lean face bears the mark of the kin of Mundus Planus, or Nakaris. He looks roughly your age, but his neatly tied dark hair carries thumbs of grey at the temples, and his China blue eyes make him feel older. Infinitely so.

His face is austere, hard, and his long coat and armoured bodyglove do not deceive you. He is impossibly fit, and the single, curved sword at his hip matches his lean, neat figure.

His swarthy face splits in a passing smile. "Ah, Mister Reynard. I am glad you are here."

More plastek boxes are carried in, and the other men leave. He pulls the top off one of the crates and fetches out a large sheaf of papers bound in a rich vellum folder. On the jacket, you see the script and print.

His Imperial Majesty's Exaectoris And Tithes.

He sits.

"I am Vigilance," he continues, inscrutable smile still plastered on his chin, but not his eyes. "These are Tax Returns you have failed to file."

He places spectacles on his face and draws out a stylus.

"Shall we begin?"

The door slams shut.

Edited by Mazer Rackham
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Reynard nodded sagely, sitting up on his chair in an eager, respectful manner.

"Well, sir…," he offered thoughtfully, "...if your mother did insist on giving you such a dull name, she can hardly blame anyone else for you ending up as a taxman…?"

He barely kept his face straight. The man himself was impressive enough, but his opening gambit was laughable. Taxes! The real Proctors of the Exaectoris concerned themselves with the tithes of planets, not individual men… not to mention that the average tax collector was a far bigger thief than Reynard had ever been!

The move was played far too theatrically as well, with all the rigamarole of the troopers and the boxes and the stacks of vellum and paper. Hardly convincing.

He paused, considering. If they wished to start so obliquely, he would speak plainly.

"If you really know what I owe the state, old boy, you also know that I have no means to pay it back. Probably never will. Therefore by the law I should now either be dead already, or at least on my way to live out the rest of my days in the closest penal colony."

He smiled in a friendly, open manner.

"But I am not. That means you want something I have. Why not save us both some time and tell me what it is? Then I'll decide whether I'd prefer that or the colony. Or the noose?"

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"Oh," he replies, looking exceptionally pleased. "That is the first time anyone admitted their liability. You just saved us both five days' work!"

Vigilance quietly puts down his stylus, and removes his glasses. He sighs in the manner common to those in the throes of mystical fate, looking into the middle distance, slowly shaking his head. He stands without groaning or grunting and the corners of his mouth pinch in a grimace.

"I must admit, you have beaten my flimsy ploy Mister Reynard. You are a very clever man."

He looks around the room, checks his chrono. A flash of amusement crosses his face at a joke you weren't told. He reaches to his waist and fetches out a pair of heavy manacles and throws them at you, where they thump against your chest.

"Put them on, and walk in front of me," Vigilance instructs, in that same, near-friendly manner. He steps to the side of the door, and knocks once, only to have it open immediately. His hand rests loosely on the long grip of his sword. "I will tell you where to go."

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Stimms

 

Stimms spends about half a minute staring at those manacles, trying to think and see if there's a way to close them without locking them, and knowing that she knows exactly what he's trying to do.

Then he shrugs, and places his wrists inside.

"Figuratively, right? I mean, I was guard. It's have t'be a helluva walk to beat sone of those slogs. Not gonna make me dress up in full kit are ya?"

 

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Stimms:

She laughs, but not in mockery, and her whole façade cracks, her face assuming a natural look this time.

"Figuratively, yes. I still owe you for Horon, believe it or not. Just a stroll in your combat boots."

The manacles auto-ratchet down and a green light blinks on.

"Come on." She reaches for your hands, and helps you to your feet before gently pulling you into the corridor, which you can see is a featureless cellblock, but you have no doubt it's high security. She points, and walks beside you in silence.

The corridor is long, the deck beneath your feet seemingly endless, the only suggestion you're moving at all are the pale numbers etched on the doors you pass, dwindling smoothly as you take up your old marching pace.

In the distance, a door which is lit all around the jamb with a red light strip, beckons.

On the centre of the door, past the glow, you can just discern the sigil of the all-seeing eye.

Suddenly, what she said begins to make sense.

You are marching towards an Interrogation Room of the Inquisition.

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Garvek twitches involuntarily when the facade seems to slip. He can't be sure it was any such thing.

He didn't know when it was that wretched lass cowering in that buffoon of a rebel general's hovel, did he? Not a clue. Not even with that blueblood officer guide, at least not until the agent was as a good as creaming it in his ear.

Feth, he didn't even know if it really was a she, or if that even mattered. What mattered was that he knew when he was outmatched, and here he was. Completely and utterly outmatched.

Imagine the life you could live when you could take a face at will. Of course, Inquisition being Inquisition, it would all be squandered on some thronebound dutiful grox-manure. Like walking into an ork-infested jungle in order to assassinate a buffoon of a rebel general in a squalid hut that was about to be blown to bits courtesy of the Imperial Navy anyway.

Either way, Garvek shrugged and at a carefully measured pace proceeded. Until he where they were headed.

His shoulders slumped.

"Aww, fething grox-:cuss:."

Edited by Beren
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Reynard:

The Hiver nodded, taking up the cuffs and putting them on without a word. No logic in arguing, plus he suspected the difference they made to his chances of escape were minimal anyway.

Still. Progress was progress. If this 'Vigilance' wasn't going to tell him what he and his friends wanted, at least he might convey Reynard to someone that would? Fine by him. Always best to make your deal with the man or woman at the top.

With a shrug, he stepped towards the door and a corridor beyond. He paused at the threshold.

"Left or right?"
 

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Why am I walking in to the Arbites Precinct? thought Kerr Restal.

Because I Said So!

Well I can't argue!

 

At lease he would be inside. Kerr Restal walked up the big wide steps and knocked on the Gates. His movements were tracked by a pair of automated turrets.

"What do you want Citizen?" asked a bored voice through a microphone set into the gate.

"I am Kerr Restal and I have been sent to see Arbitrator Falk, sir" said Kerr Restal.

"Follow the green line to Processing, do not deviate from the course, deviation proves guilt!" said the voice.

 

Kerr Restal followed the green line very carefully to a room. Inside were a pair of Arbitrators with a Cyber Mastiff, he relinquished his weaponry and he was further disarmed by a search. His property was then removed.

He was rewarded with a few choice punches and kicks when he inquired about getting a receipt for his property. Getting up off of the floor when he was allowed to, Kerr Restal was directed to sit at a table in the middle of another room and wait for Arbitrator Falk. The heavy door was then locked shut as the Enforcers left.

Kerr Restal waited, he looked in the large mirrored wall and admired his reflection. He then watched the door as he performed Y'ga.

Edited by Machine God
typo
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Posted (edited)

Reynard:

Vigilance doesn't answer, he stretches his right arm out, and so begins the dance.

The winking of the green light on your manacles matches your pace, languid, unhurried. Vigilance doesn't spur you on, taking all the time in the world, just a gentle tap on either right or left shoulder to keep you on course.

Your small cell is far behind, and your realise the familiarity of the Arbites cells are gone as you descend black plascrete stairs. The well is deep, and the light dims to crimson bulbs as you are swallowed. You count the levels, knees beginning to feel the strain. fourteen flights of stairs to delve seven levels.

There is no obvious security. Each level carries the basic vox and picter augurs, but you pass through no checkpoints, no augur-arches.

There is a sole corridor at the base of the stairwell, and it cants down by a few degrees, the air now much colder. The grey plascrete and dull plasteel of long rows of cells launch out in front you. In the thirty minutes it has taken to reach this place, your escort has not spoken, but now he softly clears his throat, an act of courtesy.

"There is only one direction now, Mister Reynard," he says, voice level, and devoid of any faux-bonhomie. "Forward."

The corridor terminates in a sturdy obstruction, a bold blaze of red light, and the bright symbol of the highest authority, the deadliest of masters.

The Inquisition.

Perhaps five days' Tax Returns wouldn't have been so bad.

You hear Vigilance's sword scrape free, a mirror polish blade drops over your right shoulder, and your reflection peers up at you. When Vigilance speaks, his voice is cold, hard and clear as the edge by your neck.

"Smooth now. Many apologies, but if you take one pace back, it will be your last."

Edited by Mazer Rackham
Better dramatic prose.
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Bardas

Another day in the Hive and to so little avail, he had been at one of the low markets at the southern edge, a place with as much a bustle as the market plaza here but filled with a different sort of folk. People who had seen the outside sky, traders from other hives and smaller settlements, caravans arriving and prepare for journeys away.

He had sought information on the defilers, but the coin spent to loosen lips and jog memories brought little, scarcely more then he already knew. The way had brought him here, to Hive Primus, but while all roads might lead to Mars, none seemed to depart it again.

Walking back trough the market plaza to the spot that he had taken shelter in, a place that was now his small temple within this mountain, he sensed a small gathering ahead. Word had gotten round that he fixed ailing machines, their spirits and their bodies. Time to earn back some coin, replenish what was spent, tomorrows venture was to be to the cattle market three levels down.

Sitting in his spot, sheltered from the internal atmospheric and soothed by the gentle hum of the power conduit junction above he examined the first of the offered trinkets, a grade three self filtering rebreather helmet with coms, a useful tool for any that ventured outside, or up the spire or down into the underhive. Having found the fault it was but a simple prayer and surgery to fix it. The relived owner hurried away and Bardas supply of coin in better health.

He was about to take what the fifth applicant of the evening offered when she ran away, and the others waiting also scattered. It seems trouble had found him.

Edited by Trokair
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Falk

The shadows of three figures fell across Bardas. Short, wiry, skin like chalk from self inflicted chemical burns, none more than 13 solar years of age - juves of the Husks.

The tallest of them spoke with a confidence not supported by he meagre armament but perhaps by the reputation of his gang, "word is out you are working our patch without payin' tribute..."

Whatever threat was coming next is cut off by the distinctive sound of a shotgun being chambered nearby as all eyes turned to the newcomer, shrouded in a weather-worn flak coat carrying a shotgun low at his side. "The action sticks, I hear you are the man down here for that", the voice is surprisingly light for such a large figure and conveys no intent of threat or intimidation as the gun is proffered to Bardas. His posture, the calculating look in his eyes, this was trouble.

Behind him the juves had backed away, their expressions difficult to read but Bardas couldn't help but think the familiar shakedown of petty thugs would be preferable to whatever ill winds had brought in this outsider.

Edited by A.T.
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He knelt alone in his tiny, barren cell, clad only in the roughspun attire of a mendicant. His gambeson, flak-and-chain hauberk and scarred and dented helm were folded and stacked in the corner next to his modest cot. Hessian the other criminals in the 801st had called him, in honor of the jute garments he wore under his armor. That force of convicts were long gone now, off to make war on a far flung battlefield beyond the God-Emperor's light. His recent transfer to the 1st Damocles Penal Legion had come as somewhat of a surprise, but more surprisingly it had lasted only seven days. He had scarcely had time to knock in the teeth of any of the other inmates as per the ritual he had come to know as a newcomer before being accepted by the general population. Or driving them away in fear – either suited him really. He never truly integrated, merely existed amongst them, a fish in the wrong pond. Now he was somewhere else, another stone cell, but this was somehow different. He had been brought here shackled, though the shackles were unnecessary – he would never have attempted to flee. His service to the God-Emperor and the Guard was all-consuming, and unending. 

He rubbed his eyes and thought back upon the myriad battlefields he had fought upon over the past decade. The number of times he had cheated death, the number of times he had held the line, the number of foes he had laid low with his axe and lasgun. He never tired of killing the godless scum who had turned their backs upon the God-Emperor, nor those who had never been born into His Light. They were all filth to be exterminated and he was that mechanism, he was the hand of inevitability.

This transfer was decidedly curious. He sensed he was underground, deep underground. The place had the feel of a crypt. For the life of him he could not fathom what fell purpose had brought him here, but he reminded himself that it was not his place to question the Will of God. However, he could not shake the nagging suspicion he held for his new captors. All were grim-faced men, all hardened killers, all utterly ruthless. Each had worn a crimson uniform emblazoned with the familiar Imperial Death's Head, but also a curious device shaped like the handle of an arming sword, except with three horizontal crossbars across the central column. He had never seen its like before, and in spite of himself it filled him with no shortage of dread.

This was no ordinary prison. This was a place men did not return from. This was a place which devoured their souls. 

 

Edited by Necronaut
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Reynard:

He felt a literal shudder, almost imperceptible, move through him at the sight of the Inquisitorial symbol. The deadly little man with the sword behind him probably thought it was fear. Maybe it was, a little. The dangers of the situation were obvious.

But mostly it was a tremor of excitement. He had been right! The shadowy, all powerful Inquisition! An organisation spoken of in fearful whispers by the criminal underside of the Imperium, an organisation with unlimited wealth and influence that stretched across the galaxy. They didn't want him dead, which meant they intended to use him. That gave him an opportunity. He would find a way to use them instead.

It was a gamble, certainly. Almost certain death on one hand, power beyond imagination on the other. But his whole life thus far had been a series of chances taken, some gloriously successful, others barely escaped with his skin intact. Reynard liked gambling, enjoyed the thrill of it… and he was good at it.

He nearly snorted out a laugh when 'Vigilance' spoke. As if he would take a step back from such an opportunity! He had to steel himself just to keep his pace forward down to a steady walk!
 

Edited by Lysimachus
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The Penitent:

The cell door swings open gracefully - in the throes of your vespers and indulgences you did not hear the bolts draw back.

The subtle hum of powered armour greets you, and the scent of votive candles, of holy incense, as a tall shadow drops over you, kneeling on the painful floor in obeisance to your Lord.

When you look up, your gaze travels across holy icons set deep into ebony warplate, the fleur-de-lys relief thickly engrailed with devotional text.

Her hair barely stirs where it drops to her chin in an impeccable white-shock bob cut, and her face is that of an angel. The spiked rows of abutments strips across her powerplant vents draw your eye upward, to the faint glow, almost imperceptible, of a metallic halo.

Her hands are empty, no restraints are offered to you. Maybe she knows that you wear such chains in your heart.

Her hand instead clasp prayer beads which drop from the surplus at her waist, a crimson spill of colour against the sable. She offers a shallow bow.

"Greetings," she says, her voice soft as snowfall in winter, "I am Valkyrie. Rise, lost pilgrim. Follow."

She leaves, and the warmth of her presence recedes, leaving behind it a sudden, aching need, dull grey plasteel, and lifeless ferrocrete.

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Bardas

As the youths retreated Bardas' hooded gaze followed the patter of their feet. From what he had gathered when he first arrived the market plaza and surrounding area where contested by multiple gangs, but that it was a stalemate between them, and unlike the underhive the rule of law on top of that kept the area fairly safe. So far he had been mostly trouble free here, had something changed, or were the youths just hoping to pick on an easy target, unsanctioned by their bosses.

Turning back to the newcomer Bards took the offered weapon, leaning over it, head bowed, as he held it in his lap he carefully examined it, running his hands over the cold barrel, worn stock, finding every knock, notch and scratch. Next he removed the shells, lining them up on the floor next to him before proceeding to partially dissemble the shotgun.

At this point he raised his head, the face covered by darkness from his garments, to look at the customer while his hands worked on the gun as if by themselves. Mere moments later he silently proffered the shotgun, grip first, to its owner, while gathering up the shells in his other hand, ready to return them as well once his efforts had been inspected.  

Edited by Trokair
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The Wanderer:

Suddenly there was a brown-out and then a loss of power entirely, Kerr Restal came out of his trance. He waited for the voice.

Try the door. Walk in my name.

Kerr Restal padded silently over to the door, turning the handle he found out that it was unlocked. Quickly he slipped through the door and closed it behind him.

Kerr Restal did as he had been told.

He walked the corridors where he thought it was safe, he hid from sight as the power was restored and he moved downwards through old stairwells and power conduits.

After many hours of wandering deeper and going where he chose, he came to a dead end corridor.

Set into the far wall was the indentation of a door. Kerr Restal cleared away the cobwebs that clung to the portal and revealed a device set in to the door at about chest height.

A skull with a stylised I on its forehead.

Kerr Restal sat down in front of the door, performing Y'ga he chose to enter a trance in the form of the Patient Rat.

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Falk

The newcomer took back the shotgun, inspecting the work. By his movements Bardas could tell that he was familiar with the weapon but no tech adept... but his inspection pattern was also unorthodox. One of the bolts had been loosened enough to sound an audible scrape as the weapon was chambered but not in any way that would impede its function, an improbable but not impossible malfunction given the clear care that had gone into the weapons maintenance.

Apparently satisfied the newcomer fished around in their pocket for thrones as he continued , "you make light work of this kind of thing", and shrugs, "loosen or tighten, oil or weld, it's never easy to find the right manual for these things."

For a moment he stops peering into his pocket to fix Bardas in an appraising gaze, his intention difficult to read but in a moment of realisation the tech-priest could almost admire the slight of hand - the casual inspection and shogun held aside seemed innocent enough but the chamber had been left open and positioned with precision should a shell rather than a coin be pulled forth. But the man pulled his hand away as if able to sense Bardas' gaze through the mask as he lowered his voice in a more conspiratorial tone "a talkative cherub said I would find you down here but I had to be sure it was you. I'll be needing you to come with me".

Thrones were placed down with an audiable clank, alongside the ID chit of an arbitrator.

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Bardas

Tilting his head slightly, an inquisitive gesture, before reaching out to scoop up the scattered coins, the ID chit likewise disappeared from the ground.

Interesting he mused, the approach of subterfuge indicated something, but what was not clear. Had his search drawn unwanted attention? If it was the authorities, a noble house or underhive lord then brute force one way or another would have been applied. So something lesser that had to rely on guile as substitute for strength, or maybe ‘they’ did not dare incur the ire of others.

An arbitrator was guarantee that the man was not beholden to someone else, but on the balance less likely than local a local lawkeeper, for the Arbiters did not answer to lords of this world, but to lords of the galaxy.

Standing in one swift movement he shrugged as if to ask why should he.   

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Falk

"Well", reading Bardas' cues as if he had spoken them, "I can't say that I asked why, it wasn't really that kind of request. But it was implied that you arrive in one piece and I figured that would be a whole lot easier if I just asked."

"If your concern is that someone is searching for you that you'd rather not succeed I can at least offer some assurance that it probably isn't related to my being here", sparing a glance at a chrono he gestured to the hand that held the ID as his voice took on the slightest hint of joviality, "also i'm going to need that back, knew a guy once whos grandchild got the paperwork back on the replacement".

The passing seconds were beginning to draw untanted attention.

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