Rogue Trader - Orthesian Legacy
A zealous missionary and Red Consecrator of the Blood Tears.
Early Years and First Blood
Born on the fortress world of Loretta, Mordengrave Skorn was sent, at a young age, to study with the Blood Tears. An ascetic group of warrior monks, the Blood Tears carried on the legacy of Genevieve Almace, a missionary of great renown, whose last crusade was launched from Loretta, itself. Cloistered in their temple-monastery, Skorn’s youth was spent in rigorous study of the Imperial Creed, the tenets of the Blood Tears, and intensive combat training.
He was barely a man when he took his first life — locked in battle with a blood-crazed cultist of Khorne, Skorn was disarmed, and so wrestled the heretic’s own chainsword away from her, then used it to strike her down. The young warrior decided to keep that heretic’s blade, wielding it alongside the sanctified blade he’d received in his training with the Blood Tears.
The Crusades of the Blood Tears
Skorn spent two decades crusading with the Blood Tears, hunting down heretics and foul xenos, and delivering to them the wrath of the God-Emperor. These crusades took the young warrior to several worlds throughout the Calixis Sector and the Koronus Expanse, from defending small frontier colonies from the rampaging Orks of ‘Undred ‘Undred Teef, to assaulting the unclean bastion of Chaos on Serenity’s Lament. Empowered by their faith in the God-Emperor, and channeling His wrath through their own rage, the Blood Tears were a force to be reckoned with. Skorn became convinced that, for so long as he fought for the God-Emperor, he could not fall.
There were two defining moments, for Skorn, on these crusades. The first was on the hive world of Morticelcius, and the other was aboard the Rogue Trader Vessel, Voyage of Glory.
Morticelcius and the Streets of Blood
The Blood Tears were only supposed to be on the great Hive World of Morticelcius for a few days, while the transport they traveled on restocked and refueled. However, Only one day into their stay, they were approached by the Planetary Governor, Lady Aethelpyre. There had been several grisly murders found throughout the lower tiers of the hive city, and she believed it to be connected to a Chaos cult, devoted to Khorne. The Blood Tears were all too eager to come to the aid of the hive city, refusing to pass up this opportunity to root out heresy.
The roots of this cult went deep, however. For the better part of a year, Skorn and the Blood Tears scoured the immense city for heretics, bathing the streets in their blood. It seemed that, just as they’d cleared out one cell of heretics, another would take its place. All the while, Lady Aethelpyre urged the Blood Tears onward. Eventually, she insisted that the only course of action would be to purge the lower tiers of the city, choking the streets with gases.
At this point, the leader of Skorn’s group, Brother Anchallian, confronted Aethelpyre, exposing her for what she really was — a Daemon of Tzeentch. This Daemon had spent decades posing as the Planetary Governor, all a part of her devious plot. In truth, the Daemon had a rivalry with the Cult of Khorne that infested the city, as the chaos gods Khorne and Tzeentch were bitter enemies. It was nothing but a feud between daemons, but the Blood Tears were made into brutal tools of butchery.
Aethelpyre was cut down where she stood, and Anchallian banished the Daemon back to the warp. The Inquisitors of the Ordo Malleus were called, and within a few years, the hive world Morticelcius was bathed in the fires of the Exterminatus.
From this event, Skorn learned one valuable lesson — the Daemons of the Warp are devious, and even the most devout of the God-Emperor’s servants can be unwittingly drawn into their machinations. Even the Blood Tears could be a weapon in the hands of a Daemon.
Madness on the Voyage of Glory
Several years after Morticelcius, the Blood Tears found themselves traveling on board the Voyage of Glory, a vessel belonging to Rogue Trader Heinrich Kester. En route to the planet Ritammeron, of the Foundling Worlds, the Voyage of Glory crossed paths with a mysterious xenos construct, drifting through the void. A crew was sent in, salvaging a variety of strange xenos artifacts. A tech-priest, onboard the vessel, claimed that the artifacts were likely remnants of the ancient Yu’Vath.
Shortly thereafter, things went awry. As the Voyage of Glory travelled through the Warp, a plague of madness fell upon the crew. For three weeks, the narrow corridors of the vessel rang with the cries of the insane, shouting about spectral beings that haunt them, bizarre horrors that lurked within the shadows, whispers from the void, and making utterances of blasphemous prophecy. Through their faith, the Blood Tears were protected from the madness. No small percentage of the crew had to be culled.
When the Voyage of Glory finally left the Warp, two days from Ritammeron, the plague of madness subsided. They arrived at the feudal world, and Kester and his crew set about trading with the natives, while the Skorn and the Blood Tears worked to convert the populace to the Imperial Creed. For several weeks, all was going well, with the natives being quite receptive to the teachings of the Blood Tears.
Then the madness returned. This time, the plague of madness did not originate with the crew of the Voyage of Glory, but with the people of Ritammeron. The local lord, Carcalon Brein, had invited Lord-Captain Kester, as well as some of the senior members of the crew, and of the Blood Tears, to a banquet. As a gift, Lord-Captain Kester offered to Carcalon a trinket, one of the salvaged Yu’Vath artifacts. Within a few minutes of receiving this gift, the local lord began to mutter strange words, quickly turning to ravings. Within a few minutes more, half of the natives in the room, and even some of the crew of the Voyage of Glory, were spiraling into madness. Skorn and the Blood Tears, again, were protected by God-Emperor’s light, but they could hear it; they could all hear it. Whispers.
Violence erupted, as the madness spread from the Carcaron’s keep, down into the surrounding village. Skorn and his fellow Blood Tears found themselves having to defend themselves, as crazed individuals took up arms against them. Skorn found himself face to face with Lord Carcaron, the madman assaulting him with crazed fury. Skorn was nearly bested, but the local lord was slain by another, his own wife, Lady Rosalyn Brein, shoving a dinner knife through the back of Carcaron’s neck. Of the locals, Lady Rosalyn Brein was the only one to not fall prey to the whispering madness, herself having already found strength in her new faith in the God-Emperor. She could not bear to watch her husband taken by madness, and so ended the man’s life, herself.
A ravening horde of the insane gathered outside the keep, and those who still held their minds intact were forced to fight their way out. Skorn kept Lady Rosalyn close to his side, as they waded through the masses of raving madmen. Drenched in the blood of the insane, they finally made it to their shuttle, and escaped that world, now drowning in nightmarish insanity.
In the aftermath, it was determined that the cause of the insanity had to have been the Yu’Vath artifact, for no sooner had it arrived than had the madness spread. The Blood Tears did not tarry long with the Voyage of Glory, after that.
A Peaceful Interlude
Skorn returned to Loretta, for a time, having married the widow of Lord Carcalon Brein. Skorn and Rosalyn had three children together, one boy and two girls. The boy, Gelden, was of a keen mind, and was training to be a scribe. Of the two girls, Jeness and Mina, Jeness was tithed to the Adeptus Mechanicus, whilst Mina followed in her father’s footsteps, to study with the Blood Tears. Life had become peaceful, as Skorn and his family were content.
The Hunt for the Banner
Peace would not last forever. The call to crusade came, once again. This time, the Blood Tears had heard word that the Banner of Wrath, once carried into battle by Genevieve Almace, had been found, within the Koronus Expanse. Taking up arms, once again, Mordengrave Skorn set off on a new crusade.
This time, he brought his family, save for Jeness, who had already begun her tutelage on the Lathe Worlds. Rosalyn and the two children would not accompany him into the field of battle, of course — they would remain safely on the ship. Mina was certainly eager to join the fight, but was yet too young to go into battle. Had the crusade gone on long enough, though, Mina would have come of age to fight alongside her father.
The crusade ended in disaster. The Blood Tears had tracked the Banner of Wrath to Ghoroth, a planet near the Alenic Depths, which was overrun with heretics and daemons. The Blood Tears charged fearlessly into battle, crashing into the enemy forces with the might and glory of the God-Emperor’s Faithful. For a time, it looked as though the battle was going in their favor.
A distress call came out, from the ship on which the Blood Tears travelled. Whilst the warrior monks did battle on the planet’s surface, daemons had warped into the ship as it sat in orbit. They were rampaging through the voidship’s winding corridors, drenching the walls with blood.
Hearing this call, Skorn could not keep himself from frantically returning to the ship. He fought his way back to the shuttle, taking with him a platoon of the Blood Tears, and returned to save the ship from the daemons. Cutting down daemon after daemon, Skorn made his way to where he knew his family would be hiding, desperate to save them at any cost. He arrived to see a towering Herald of Khorne standing before his family, his daughter Mina bravely brandishing a chainsword.
With a roar, Skorn leapt at the daemon, both of his chainswords tearing into its warped flesh. The Herald of Khorne met him in battle, the terrifying daemon a greater foe than any that Skorn had before faced. Fighting to protect his family, though, Skorn would not back down.
The Daemon was far greater than he, however, and managed to pin the warrior down. Skorn screamed in pain and rage as the Daemon tore his arm from his socket, hurling it across the room in a spray of blood. Dismembered, and unable to fight, Mordengrave Skorn watched in agony, as the Herald of Khorne slew first Mina, then his son Gelden, and finally his wife, Rosalyn.
As if it knew the pain it would bring him, the daemon chose not to slay Skorn, leaving him to live with all that he had lost.
A Weapon Against Chaos
Having lost everything, Mordengrave Skorn was born anew that day. While serving with the Blood Tears had brought him purpose, in the past, he had new purpose added onto that. He would become a weapon against Daemonkind. An unstoppable force for the God-Emperor.
Yet, he knew now that he needed to bring more than just his faith and his rage to the battlefield. He needed to understand his enemy. As he had learned from the daemon of Morticelcius, Aethelpyre, the forces of Chaos would not hesitate to use the God-Emperor’s faithful as a weapon. Why then, should one of the God-Emperor’s faithful hesitate to use the forces of Chaos as a weapon?