Rogue Trader - Orthesian Legacy

Navigator's Log 2.01
Another Day, Another Adventure

A year has passed – an uneventful, quiet year, filled with study, leisure, and the occasional ship inspection. But the Prometheus was recently declared repaired by the Disciples of Thule. With our flagship ready to depart, we sent the Argent Blade through the warp storms to seek out more people to hire and goods to stock up with, while our motley group discussed how best to proceed. It was decided that perhaps our best course of action was to head for Ilisk, the small, dead planet near the edges of the Hecaton Rifts. That was our best lead on Caiaphus Orthesian.

When the Argent Blade returned, we met several new and interesting recruits with potential – a new leader for our psyker choir, among others.

Once we were prepped to go, I prepared by painting the auguries, which ended up involving… some spaghetti.

The psychic tunes baffled me, and though I detected a great deal of profitable possibilities in our future, I simply could not tell what the mood of the Warp was. Nevertheless, we prepared to enter the warp, pulling up the Gellar Field and starting the warp engines. However, before we were fully ready, the ship was wrenched into the warp by some unseen force. Across the ship, systems went wild, servitors ceased their tasks and began screaming, and hallucinations abounded. Our systems proved unresponsive. Navigational and piloting powers were locked. Inessa managed to decieve half of the crew into believing that, and I quote, “Everything is fine!” Despite this, chaos still ran rampant, and I think a large portion of people were having hallucinations of Khorne.

While I remained on the bridge, snapping orders and trying to restore some semblance of sanity, the rest of our group worked to find the source of the issue. Apparently our new psyker, whose name escapes me, sensed an issue with the warp drives themselves – something locked on, controlling the drives. I hear they found some sort of warp maggot, which Lumi chose to grab with her bare hands and rip from the warp engines, so furious was she that the beast was hurting the Prometheus. It’s rather cute how she treats the ship like her child.

Either way, the shaking and screaming servitors eventually ceased, causing a calm to fall over the ship. When the crew returned, it was discovered that our instruments were still down, and that we were locked in a gravity field, unable to fly or warp away. At the center of this gravity field was a construct of what appeared to be Yu’Vath origin, and around it were some dozen ships – maybe still functioning, maybe not – and an asteroid, or small moon. Shortly after some peace was reinstated, we were contacted by a group of Eldar, also apparently stuck.

“We need your help,” the messenger on the screen informed us. “We have a way to get out, but we cannot achieve it. There are two civilizations here with components that we can use to infiltrate and destroy the structure causing this gravity field, but we cannot obtain them because… the people do not trust us. Because we are Eldar.”

“Dark Eldar,” I mutter.

The main portion of the crew is instantly suspicious, against helping the xenos. The Dark Eldar had never been anything but trouble to us before, so I understand, but still. Not even a little curious? Eldar have powerful technology, and they were stuck by a simple gravity field?

After some discussion with the Dark Eldar messenger, they decided to go to these two civilizations and find these items that may help in our escape, though the crew still wasn’t particularly interested in working with the xenos. I opted to stay behind, and jumped over to the Argent Blade to visit Josephine and make sure she was okay after what happened in the warp.

Later I heard that while the group that went to the Brotherhood civilization had virtually no issues, and basically went in and out, the other group accidentally summoned a demon, nearly died, and almost killed the man they were supposed to be bargaining with.

It seems that space grants us no kindnesses in our travels.

The Dark Eldar had offered us assistance in navigation the Yu’Vath Fortress and finding the thing to blow up, but it seemed the group who had gone to the Brotherhood ship had different plans – in order to obtain help from the God-Emperor fearing monks, they had promised to launch the asteroid into the Fortress, effectively killing off the entire civilization there. Apparently these monks hold a hefty grudge.

With little argument about the ethical implications of such a maneuver, we completed it, only bothering to save two people from the asteroid first – a woman who had apparently been helpful, and the leader of the civilization who had nearly burnt to death in the demon fight. Sometimes I question the choices my crew makes, but I’m here, I’m alive, and I’m out of my family’s reach, so I can’t be too upset, I suppose.

The destruction of the construct sent out a wave of psychic energy, revealing to us the Fortress’s past, from when it was destroyed backwards. Of great importance, it showed us a time when Caiaphus Orthesian got caught here and used some artifact to escape. Then, at the very beginning of the Fortress’s existence, it was shown to have housed an impossibly powerful artifact. The name resonated in our minds: Shattersphere. It was clear that the artifact was the fully constructed version of the pieces Caiaphus had later used to escape this same gravity field.

After the vision passed, we received a message from our other ship that the Prometheus had left without a trace, or a message. Simply vanished into the warp. This upset us all, especially Lumi, and the immediate consensus was that we had to track it down.

When the Eldar contacted us again, they didn’t seem bothered by our change of plans at all. This time, instead of the messenger, the captain of the ship greeted us.

“My name is Salaine Morne. And you,” she said, leveling her finger at the camera, “the Orthesian Dynasty, owe me a favour.”

“What’s that?” someone, maybe Inessa, asked.

“Long ago, when your ancestor… Clancy? Cognacious? Caiaphus! When Caiaphus Orthesian passed through the twin warp storms, he stopped on my Nexus of Shadows and stole something of great value from me: a piece of the Shattersphere.”

Shock rippled through the group. Feigning ignorance, Inessa asked what the Shattersphere was.

“It is of no importance. Suffice it to say that it is valuable, and meant a great deal to me. However, I will let bygones be bygones if you will assist me in taking back the Nexus of Shadows.”

After some deliberation, and realizing that we couldn’t possibly escape the Eldar ship in the Argent Blade, we decided to strike a deal – they help us find the Prometheus, and we help Salaine take back the Nexus of Shadows. She explained that if we took back the Nexus first, she’d have access to an enormous network of spies and allies to help us find our ship, and we begrudgingly agreed to her terms – Nexus first, then Prometheus. She accepted these terms, then left with an armada of ships – far more than had been around the Fortress earlier. We must not have noticed their arrival.

One small transport ship stayed behind, and Charlabelle hailed us, stating that once we had made arrangements and decided which ship to take, she would take us to Salaine’s location. Baffled, we asked what she was doing working with the Xenos, and she simply said, “Desperate times, desperate measures.”

Directly after, we were approached by a Disciple of Thule, who explained that he was responsible for the warp worm, and that his group had wanted to bring us to this Yu’Vath Fortress so he could discover clues about the Shattersphere. The artifact itself wasn’t on the Fortress, he explained, but there was a lead to another planet near the twin warp storms that has more Yu’Vath artifacts and ruins on it. This is a trail that could lead us closer to Caiaphus, and the increasingly twisted past of the Orthesian Dynasty.

We have decided to split up into two groups, each taking a ship to the two destinations, to try and cover more ground at once. I will be going to look for the Yu’Vath ruins – despite my interest in the Eldar, I do not think the Nexus will be a good place to find what I’m looking for. Besides, these Yu’Vath seem absolutely fascinating.

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The Knight-Errant of Spectoris
An incoming message from a servant of the Orthesian Dynasty.

//Incoming Astropathic Transmission//

//Source = House Janus, Coronacht Hold, Spectoris Secundus, Spectoris System, Calixis Sector, Segmentum Obscurus//

Noble Lord-Captain Cornelius Orthesian, allow me to express my great enthusiasm at the return of you and your Dynasty. I am Ophelia, of House Janus, Knight-Errant of Spectoris.

For over two-thousand years, the Knights-Errant of House Janus have served the Orthesian Dynasty, our primary duty being that of the defense of the Agri-World, Spectoris Secundus — a world long ago founded by the Lord-Captain Caiaphas Orthesian, at the close of the Angevin Crusade. Under the vigilant watch of House Janus, the Dynasty’s holdings on Spectoris Secundus have withstood the predations of the Imperium of Man for thousands of years.

Alas, it is with great regret that I admit to you that I have failed as your servant, and the protector of Spectoris.

Two years ago, Spectoris was preyed upon by a fleet of Chaos Reavers — bloodthirsty heretics who rained fire onto our world, from the skies above. Though I fought valiantly, forcing the heretics to flee, the damage had been done.

Something in the ordnance that they bombarded the planet with — vivid blue flames — has left the land barren. Vast swathes of land have been corrupted to the point that they won’t produce a single crop. An Agri-World that cannot produce crops is all but worthless.

I have failed in my duty, as Spectoris is no longer an asset to either the Imperium or to the Orthesian Dynasty.

And, despite my failure to the Dynasty, I would have the audacity to ask an immense favor of my Lord-Captain Orthesian.
The Planetary Governor of Spectoris, Governor Grimmis Vard, has publicly denounced the name of House Janus, citing our failure to defend Spectoris. I would be stripped of rank, and the Imperial Knight, Winter Sentinel, would be taken from my family’s care, transferred

The only hope for House Janus lies in the Koronus Expanse, in the service of the Orthesian Dynasty.

If you were to call upon my services, invoking your right as the bearer of the Orthesian Warrant of Trade, I could rightfully be transferred to serve in your endeavors in the Koronus Expanse. If not, the Imperial Knight would be pulled from Spectoris, and out of the service of the Orthesians.

Though it is brazen of me to request such a favor — when it is I who failed the Orthesian Dynasty by letting Spectoris be rendered useless — your only other option is to lose the advantage that an Imperial Knight provides to your Dynasty.

The choice is yours — leave me to suffer the consequences of my failure, or seize the opportunity to have the advantage of an Imperial Knight in your direct service.

— Lady Ophelia Janus

//End Transmission//

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Twisted Flesh
Nebula studies the Haemonculi tome

The writings in the arcane tome were grotesque.

Stretching, twisting and stitching flesh. Injections of unguents and strange humours. Metamorphosis from the natural to the unnatural. Abominations of sinew and bone and ichor. Drained of blood, drenched in preservative chemicals, a perverse mockery of the living. The art of the Haemonculi was abhorrent.

Nebula was fascinated.

She had read the flesh-bound book of Haemonculi secrets, front to back, several times. In her studies of the Stryxis, she had seen bizarre and unnatural methods of crafting flesh, in the form of their vat-grown laborers — yet they paled in comparison to the aberrations of the Haemonculi Covens.

What interested her more, though, was the writing in the margins, the notes written by one Krezriel Srak — perhaps the Haemonculus who had entrusted her with the book in the first place. He — or perhaps she, as one could not tell, so twisted was its flesh — had a number of criticisms of the flesh-crafting techniques outlined in the book. Krezriel regarded it as mundane, simplistic, and juvenile.

The mark of a novice; these stitches wouldn’t hold under the strains my own creations are subjected to. They’d have to be reinforced from within, stretched over a mantle of bone, fused with additional tissues. Hardly a technique worthy of praise among the greater Covens


There were many such notes, condescending comments about better practices. Nebula was taken aback by this. This twisted art was unlike anything practiced within the Imperium, and yet Krezriel regarded it with disdain.


The reason for Krezriel’s mockery came as a shock to Nebula, when she found it.


I grow weary of such methods as this. A hack here, a stitch there — butchery better suited to the arenas of the Wych Cults.


Where is the patience? The art? We are gifted with the longevity to scheme for eons — can we not exercise such patience in our research… in our craft?


For all the mastery we claim to have over the crafting of flesh, our experience pales in comparison to that of Navis Nobilite — the Navigator’s of the Imperium. They do not cut, tear, or stitch the flesh; they do not engage in the swift butchery that we Haemonculi revel in. Their craft is a meticulous, slow process, artfully manipulating the very essence of organic life — genes.


Generation after generation, they carefully guide the evolution of their own genes, through selective breeding, careful mutation, and other methods yet unknown to me. They have created a gene so rare, so precious — the third eye.


Though it is a slow process, for their insignificant lifespans, we Haemonculi are above death — surely, we can exercise such patience.


Nebula shuddered at the thought — the Dark Eldar Haemonculi were envious of the Navis Nobilite.


Near the end of the book, however, she found an entry that made her blood chill. Those pages seemed to be outlining a technique for creating a creature that was resistant to the chaotic energies of the warp. Scrawled in a sickly green-black ink, Krezriel had written —


This technique has proven inadequate for our designs. Commissioned by the Coven of Twisted Bones, I have begun investigating an improved method. Currently sending agents to House Ilioneyse of the Navis Nobilite to uncover the secrets of their craft.


There it was — her family’s own name. How long had the Dark Eldar been watching her house?


And why did that fill her more with excitement, than with horror?

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Whispers from the Skull
Inessa hears a voice that had remained quiet for a long time

“I’m concerned about Cognatius,” said the skull, as it drifted through the air alongside Inessa, causing her to jump. “His crusade, it wears him thin.”

Inessa grabbed hold of her servo-skull, drawing it close to her body and ducking around a corner into an empty corridor. A quick glance around told her that she was alone — she worried what could happen if these words fell on any ears but her own.

Her servo-skull had spoken before — but only once — the day her brother had died. As her brother died, bleeding out from wounds inflicted by their own sister, Nadya.

Inessa couldn’t help but to think back to that day, that moment, as her brother uttered his last words —

“Almost found it….” her brother had said, voice weak, tinged with the delirium of the dying. “The tomb. The skull. I followed the skull and I almost found the tomb.” He laughed, then coughed, flecks of blood spattering his face. He groaned, “I’m not going to finish it. I’m dying here, and I’ll never find the tomb…” Suddenly, he reached out and gripped Inessa’s arm with a strength born of desperation. His eyes wide, he spoke to her, “You need to finish it… you need to finish what I started. Find the tomb. The truth lies within the Tomb of St. Cognatius. They’re going to try to stop you — the Ecclesiarchy will do anything to preserve the legacy of St. Drusus; your sister will do anything to protect the Vendigroth name — but you need to find it. Find the tomb. Follow the skull. Follow the skull and find the tomb… ”

Then he died.

Inessa had then looked up at the servo-skull, hovering over the corpse of her brother, hollow eye sockets meeting her gaze.

The skull tilted to the side, as though it were still alive, still attached to a body, and still capable of expression.

“Orthesian,” came the hollow, digitized voice of the servo-skull, before drifting off.

Follow the skull and find the tomb….


And here she was, two years later, having followed the skull, and it’s singular utterance, bringing her across the stars and into the service of an enemy to her own blood. And in all that time, the servo-skull hadn’t said another word…. Until this moment.


“I’m concerned about Cognatius; his crusade, it wears him thin.” the skull repeated. “I’m concerned about Cognatius; his crusade, it wears him thin.” The way it was said… each time without variance, not in pitch nor tone nor pacing. It was a recording.


“I’m concerned with Cognatius…”


Inessa slumped to the ground, listening to the skull repeat it’s sentence, again and again.

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Running Diagnostic...

“… end diagnostics,” concluded the emotionless drone of the servitor’s voice.

Lumi frowned. That was another one.

“Servitor Penance.3141-R, repeat diagnostic: M1.r Life Sustainer; Runtime,” she ordered; she had to hear it again.

“Running diagnotstic: M1.r Life Sustainer; Runtime,” the servitor began, its cogitators whirring to life as it communicated with the machine spirit of the life support system. One by one, it listed the myriad components and functions of the M1.r Life Sustainer, reporting on its current status, as well as any past errors. Lumi listened intently, seeking for any discrepancies that could explain this anomaly.

“Total System Runtime — 62,074,938 Hours.”

That was it, again. The number she needed to hear.

The M1.r Life Sustainer had been running for 62,074,938 hours. Impossible. That would mean that, at some point between when the machine spirit of the Prometheus was first roused, in M33, and the present day, there were 8,059,245 hours that the M1.r Life Sustainer had been inactive. Nearly one thousand years.

“Cancel diagnostic,” Lumi interrupted, and the servitor ceased its monotone speaking. “New diagnostic: M1.r Life Sustainer; Downtime.”

“Running diagnostic…”

This time, Lumi wasn’t just listening for a specific piece of data — she was taking in everything that servitor Penance.3141-R was saying and adding it all together in her mind. With the aid of her Logis Implant, it was a simple matter to convert the dates listed into numerals, and total them up.

“… end diagnostics.”

It didn’t add up. According to the dates listed in the diagnostics that the servitor had just recited to her, it just couldn’t be. Over the eight millennia that the Prometheus had been online, the total time that the M1.r Life Sustainer had been offline barely added up to one year. Lumi knew, for a fact, that most of that year was during a time in which the Disciples of Thule had completely shut down all systems on the ship in order to do serious repairs.

And yet, the other diagnostic reported nearly one thousand years of inactivity.

This anomaly wasn’t isolated. Half a dozen other systems gave a similar report — nearly one thousand years of unreported inactivity.

She knew these machine spirits — she would know if they lied to her. The diagnostics were correct.

What had this ancient vessel been through?

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Pieces to the Puzzle
Cornelius contemplates the data recovered from the sealed Orthesian chest.

Sitting in his private chambers, Lord-Captain Cornelius Orthesian reviewed the contents of the dataslate one last time. This dataslate, badly damaged, was all that remained of whatever had been stored in the sealed chest they had found aboard the Light of Terra — the rest had been stolen by that traitor, Pol.

Cornelius cursed his own foolishness. The chest had been marked with the seal of the Orthesian Dynasty — why hadn’t he opened it sooner? Instead, his obsession with finding the Dread Pearl had distracted him, and now he would never know what else had been in there. Pol got away with it all, leaving behind only this damaged dataslate.

Three documents were all that could be salvaged from the dataslate — and even those were fragmented.

The first document read:

004013.131.G | 055871. 862.C | 1X37X4.R

Warp coordinates, Nebula had confirmed. The last portion of the coordinates were damaged, but Nebula and her apprentice, Reymalon, had managed to narrow it down to one of three possible locations within the Koronus Expanse — an asteroid field near the Rifts of Hecaton, a planet marked as forbidden by the Adeptus Mechanicus, and the Ork infested planet, Tusk.

Yet, would it even be worth it to pursue any of the three possible locations, when there was no indication of the actual significance of the coordinates?

The next document was a message with large portions of the information missing:

Date: //REDACTED//

To: //REDACTED//

From: Ador Corphus, Factotum, Glaeser Foundry

The order from //REDACTED// has been received from Magos //REDACTED//. Progress will begin following the initial payment, and pending the timely arrival of //REDACTED// from //REDACTED//. Given the experimental nature of the program, expect a number of potential delays. Nonetheless, the Glaeser Foundry shall do all within their power to complete the program before //REDACTED//.

On a personal note, I must express my concerns that //DATA CORRUPTED//

//DATA CORRUPTED//

//DATA CORRUPTED//

//DATA CORRUPTED//

//DATA CORRUPTED//

//DATA CORRUPTED//

Once again, this document left more questions than it answered. Inessa had done the research though, and she informed Cornelius that the Glaeser Foundry was actually a former business partner of the Orthesian Dynasty, in the early days following the Angevin Crusade. However, the only Ador Corphus she could find that had ties to the Glaeser Foundry had lived four hundred years earlier — long after the disappearance of the Orthesians.

Puzzling.

The final document intrigued Cornelius the most, perhaps just due to their recent brush with the Eldar at the Dread Pearl, but perhaps there was more to it than just that. The document appeared to be a personal log belonging to an Inquisitor, of the Ordo Xenos, Inquisitor Staven Arcturos.

Date: 902.467.M40

Subject: Concerning Farseer Naiara

This is third time we have crossed paths with the enigmatic Farseer, and I fear it may be the last. Captain Roth, ever faithful to the Imperium of Man, insists that he won’t hold back his macrocannons if the Whispering Blade is ever in his sights again.

But the message she left — I struggle to comprehend. It had the sound of a riddle, but the weight of a dire warning.

Would that I could master their art, to have the truth unfurled before me, as she does.

The mind of the Farseer is utterly inhuman in its depth and complexity. Without mercy or moral feeling, her consciousness stands upon the edge of spiritual destruction. That she does not fall must be a result of constraints and balances that only an Eldar could understand. To a mere Human it is yet another reminder that we are but children in comparison to that ancient and powerful race.

I am but a child — yet I feel I am on the precipice, so close to something greater.

Caiaphas would scoff at my interests in foresight, feign indignation that one of my station should seek such an intimate understanding of the Xenos, but he recognized its importance. Without it, after all, he would never have begun his crusade for the Shattersphere.

When one truly understands fate as it is, myriad branching paths, then one can truly see that duty is cleaving to a particular fate, and glory is the accomplishment of duty’s ends. I believe that Caiaphas understands this principle, but fears to do so openly.

Here I go on about Caiaphas, yet I don’t even know that he still lives. More than two-score years have passed, and neither myself nor my contacts among Xenos Hybris have found even the slightest trace of the Blessed Vanguard.

I care not what Captain Roth says — I would like to encounter Naiara again.

Inquisitor Staven Arcturos, records suggested, had last been seen embarking on the Blessed Vanguard, the flagship of the Orthesian Dynasty, not two years before their disappearance. And yet, the date on this log — nearly one thousand years later.

The Inquisitor mentions Captain Roth — no doubt Captain Drakken Roth, captain of the Light of Terra, God-Emperor bless his soul. The Light of Terra disappeared in 471.M40, four years following this log. From the sound of it, the Inquisitor had been travelling aboard the Light of Terra. What was his fate? Had he still been aboard the grand cruiser when it suffered the damage that had left it drifting for a millennium? Was a remnant of his seed to be found among the degenerate crewmembers that remained aboard that ancient vessel?

And who was this Eldar farseer?

Cornelius didn’t like it. Everything seemed to tie together, yet none of it made sense.

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Test for Recordings

THIS IS A TEST!!! If you can her this please message me on Facebook.

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Navigator's Log 10
The First End

As the warp storm drew back around the planet, a battle was exploding in the sky. Two dozen ships, at least – Rogue Trader, Eldar, and Dark Eldar – clashed in brutal, take-no-prisoners combat. Initially, Cornelius was prepared to leap into battle, weapons blazing, prepared to chase down Pol – who was apparently on the Agent Blade, protected by at least six Dark Eldar ships – at any cost. With some effort, I managed to talk him down, explaining that our ship was running on its last leg and that if we took much more damage we would be completely out of commission. He begrudgingly agreed to power up our ship’s speed boost and skirt the edge of the battle, to intercept the Argent Blade on the other side.

At first, we had ordered the Vengeful Falcon to get outside of the warp storm, but we chose to have it follow us – skirting the battle would be tricky, and we decided covering fire would be critical.

Close by, Sun Li was on-track to ram an Eldar Ship. In a sort of unspoken agreement, the Rogue Traders were no longer fighting each other. The Eldar were a bigger threat. We had to pass Sun Li’s skirmish on our way, so Inessa shot at the Eldar ship a few times. With fairly little trouble, we got about half the way around.

Suddenly, without warning, Djanko Scourge’s warp drives exploded, shearing a hole in the fabric of spacetime, opening a gash into the warp. Windows slammed down on the starboard side of our vessel, protecting the crew from the horrors, while I screamed directions at whoever was piloting, trying to get us away from the shredded edges of reality. We were on the very edge of the blast radius, and miraculously were able to avoid being sucked into the warp. Sun Li and several others were not so lucky.

Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately, as we were chasing them – the Argent Blade, which was also on the outer edge of the blast radius, managed to avoid being sucked in. We curved around the edge of the hole and it came into our line of vision. I could sense immediately that they were preparing for an emergency warp. We had seconds to decide our course of action. There was a mention of t-boning them and shoving them into the warp ahead of us, but since they were already preparing to warp anyway, I had a better plan.

“We follow them into the Warp,” I told the captain. “I can follow them. Following’s easier than plotting a path. Hypothetically.”

“Are you sure?”

“I won’t have any idea where we’ll be going, but I can ensure that we don’t lose them.”

“That’s all I want. Do it.”

There was no further discussion. I began preparing for an emergency warp, while the captain tried to swing us up next to the Argent Blade so that we’d be side by side. The maneuver was not as deft as he had hoped, and we slammed into them broadside. Reaching out with my mind, in a mere few seconds, I managed to get our crew to sync our warp drive with theirs and together, we shot into unreality.

We slammed into the warp storm at full speed. Heart pounding and senses on fire, I instantly plotted the least damaging course and took us through.

Once things had stabilized a bit, we realized that two Eldar ships and the Vendigroth flagship had followed us, as well. The captain hailed Nadya and, without allowing her a chance to speak, essentially said, “We’ve had our difference in the past and I’m willing to work that out but right now we need to deal with the foul xenos. Don’t shoot at the Argent Blade. It’s ours. But if you could take out the ship on our starboard, that would be fantastic.”

He hung up on her without letting her respond. A few minutes later, she fired on the Argent Blade.

Infuriated but unable to do anything, the captain ordered that we take out the one Eldar ship we could – the one on port. Our entire starboard side, unfortunately, was still connected with the Argent’s.

One good hit caused the Eldar ship to bail. Suddenly, Lumi yelled that there was a ship ahead – an Imperial ship with a familiar signature. Shock and confusion rippled through us all. What Imperial ship that we would recognize would be in the warp, coming towards us?

The captain ordered a tricky drift maneuver, trying to push the Argent Blade around so it would hit the other ship first, and take the brunt of the ram. With a little skill and a lot of luck, it worked. We drifted. The other ship appeared out of the warp clouds, twice the size of ours and just as glorious as I remembered it – The Light of Terra. A ripple of shock went through those of us who knew, and then, suddenly, impact.

Nadya veered off, and the other Eldar ship vanished as well, peeling away into the warp. There was a massive, screeching crunch as we turned into a triple-ship sandwich. As a shudder the size of an earthquake rocked the ship, I saw it – a way to pull all three of us out of the warp.

We dropped into normal space as the final shock waves dissipated. A glance out the window proved my worst suspicions – The Light of Terra was falling to pieces, its bruised and battered form finally crumbling. As we watched, incredibly relieved and grateful, shocked that our friend had just been sacrificed for the success of our mission, he hailed us. Cornelius greeted him with jubilation, thanking him, but his voice held that edge. We all knew. The final voyage of The Light of Terra was over.

He didn’t seem bothered. All he had for us was a message: a message from the Rifts of Hekator, where he had apparently found the original great flagship of the Orthesian Dynasty. He told us that the key to clearing the Orthesian family name was out there, with the ship and the Orthesian captain – Cornelius’ great-great-someodd grandfather, who, miraculously, is apparently still alive after two thousand years.

Then again, we keep finding these random two-thousand-year-old men connected to the Orthesian family, so I’m not even sure why I’m surprised anymore.

Oh, god. I hope Cornelius doesn’t live that long.

With that message, his final gift to us, he drifted away – finally at peace.

We immediately boarded the Argent Blade with several boarding crews, ready for a fight. There wasn’t much of one. The crew was skeletal – bare basics required to run. In the bridge, we found the box, but much to our fury, Pol had escaped. We saved his sorry life, and for what? Was he nothing more than a sleeper agent, sent to ruin us? Enraged, I silently vowed vengeance. I will suffer no such betrayals to my fami… my Dynasty.

Within the box, we found a shattered disc. We were disappointed, but with some effort, we will likely be able to reassemble the device and get something off it. Not a lot, but something is better than nothing.

A check of the stars around us told us we were near our mining planet. Fortuitously, this is where we had ordered the Vengeful Falcon to go as we had entered the warp. In all likely hood, they would be here soon, and we could rendezvous. After some discussion, we decided to remain at the planet for a while to make repairs to our ship and allow our crew and ourselves some time to rest and relax. It was determined that it would likely take a year to repair both ships fully, and that was deemed acceptable.

I am ready for a break. We all are.

During this time, I intend to study the book the Eldar Humunculous gave me, and maybe start a lab where I can experiment with these genetic mutation techniques. I am more than ready to face whatever adventures we will embark on next, and at this point, I have finally realized – I was right to leave my family. I could have apologized. I could have mended my ways. But I didn’t, and now I’m here.

And quite frankly, I have never been happier.

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Navigator's Log 09
Discoveries and Heresy

After spending a few days on the planet, collecting everything we could and redesigning our arboretum, we came to a general agreement that it was time to go. Every Rogue Trader except our one ally – Bastille – had arrived. Feckward, we presumed, was taking as many villages as he could, collecting slaves. Nadya kept her distance, bombing the planet, sending out psyker transmissions declaring it to be heretical and that we were all… well, terrible people for even touching it. She should have tried landing. She would have shut up about heresy the instant she breathed that air.

On that note, I’m thrilled with how well my idea for the synthesized paradise in the arboretum worked. Now I can spend a moment in paradise whenever I’m feeling under the weather. It’s not perfect, of course, but it’s close enough.

Before leaving, we took our fleet of shuttles and skipped across several islands, convincing the villagers to leave. All told, we picked up about 700 – not many, but enough that my conscience is eased when I remember how many Feckward probably took as slaves. He’s a cruel man.

When we reached the seventh village, it was empty. Only a few remained. They explained to us that everyone had gone down into the vaults. Despite our rush to leave, we were curious, and investigated.

What we discovered was beyond description. Rows upon rows of storage units, filled with empty Eldar Soul Stones. Each stone was suspended delicately between two tiny clamps – one on the tip and one on the bottom curve of the tear. They glowed with a soft blue light, and I could see why the people considered them holy. They sat among the rows, watching us nervously with wide, innocent eyes.

Inessa did not have to tell us – this room was a fortune for the taking.

With a few twisted concepts from their culture and religion, Inessa convinced them that we had to take the stones – that the God-Emperor was taking them to a new paradise. They began to help us pack the storage units up into the shuttles.

Above the vault was a room with a webway gate. Rather than assisting with the menial labour, I went to examine it. Having been so struck by the previous one, I was more cautious, which proved a faulty tactic. The psykic energies lashed out with visions and brutally knocked me unconscious.

I was later told that many efforts were taken to revive me, including the following: the Captain “booped” me on the nose and shook my head around.

Yikes.

What did finally revive me was Inessa force-feeding me some Haze, which she picked at random from my drug pouch. I suppose I should be grateful it wasn’t Barrage, but her absolute lack of discretion still has me shocked. However, it did make me wake up, which was fine, except I was completely delirious from the Haze and the aftereffects of the psykic forces. Their next brilliant thought was to feed me some of the fruit native to the planet – the fruit with miraculous healing power. It brought me back to the present, though my functionality was… questionable. I spent some time lying one the grass staring at the clouds. It was relaxing.

After a time, however, the webway gate activated. Uncontrollably curious about the Eldar and whatever was about to happen, I dragged myself upright and to the gate, where the captain, Lumi, Inessa, and Jesse were already standing. Jesse let me lean on her, thankfully, or I may have collapsed.

From the gate emerged an Eldar priest of some sort, engulfed in light. He said a lot of floofy stuff, but the main point was that we were desecrating their maiden world and that they were going to draw the warp storm back around the planet. Our options were to either haul ass out of there, or stick around and get turned into bones… or something. The gist was that the Eldar would destroy us if we stuck around. Frankly, I wasn’t surprised, or even upset. If someone dropped into my paradise and sullied it I’d destroy them, too. I suppose, in a manner of speaking, I respect the Eldar. I respect their ability to create such incredible maiden worlds, certainly, and their dedication to protecting them.

As the Eldar stepped back into the gate, something… shifted. Awoke. We picked up the pace, loading the stones as quickly as we could. Through the forest echoed the march of thousands of wraithbone warriors, awoken at last by the Eldar to protect their world.

When we ran back outside, our shuttle had left. Shocked, the captain radioed it. They claimed they had received a coded transmission ordering them to return to The Prometheus. Cornelius was furious and ordered them to return, which they did, with some reluctance. It took them about ten minutes to get back.

We formed a defensive line between our people and the approaching army. I let out a sort of psykic yell and opened my warp eye on the soldiers, stunning many, while the Kroot and crew fired on them. They were slightly deterred. One managed to shoot the captain, however, and he vomited and passed out, which would have been amusing in any other circumstance. Unfortunately, the wraithbone warriors didn’t leave much time for laughing. Exhausted and unable to bring myself to open my eye again, I tossed an arc of three grenades into their ranks, throwing them into disarray and giving us a little extra time. We managed to save thirty of the villagers and about a quarter of the stones.

Lumi, at some point, somehow, managed to pick up psykic transmissions from our own psykers, muttering that they were in the shadows – that they were loose, that they were taking over the ship. Something like that. All communications from the Prometheus were shut down. The ship was completely dark.

We flew up to the Vengeful Falcon to unload and prepare for whatever was aboard our flagship. We boarded and began moving straight to the bridge. On the way, we were accosted by a creature that slipped from the shadows. It attacked Lumi, but her servitor blocked the blow, taking the damage for her. I whipped my mirror swords out and plunged them through the thing’s chest. They hit solid, and the creature faded into shadow. From what I could remember, it appeared to be some sort of Eldar – a creature that had fused itself with shadows, to the point that it could slip in and out of them at will.

Our immediate realization was that we needed to flood the ship with light, as soon as we could.

We had a few more skirmishes with them on our way to the bridge, but we handled them easily. The bridge, when we arrived, was in absolute disarray. Apparently Pol had stolen a genetically locked box we had found in the cargo holds of the Light of Terra. The captain ordered Lumi to calm the machines, and me to turn on the lights. However, I overheard a report that three invaders had been seen heading towards my quarters. I abandoned the captain’s orders and ran to my rooms. A shadow Eldar attempted to stop me on the way, but adrenaline carried me straight through until I slammed into my room.

Within, two large, deformed creatures were standing with a regular-sized man. Of course, I use the term ‘man’ loosely; he was Eldar, and he was… mutated. He seemed unconcerned by my presence, flipping idly through a book of my family’s heretical research. I briefly considered attacking, but the two others were much larger and would have almost certainly overpowered me. Besides, the man and his interest in the research intrigued me.

I do not remember much of the conversation, due largely to shock. However, he insulted my family’s research – called it rudimentary. Uninterested in dying, I immediately pointed out that none of the research was my own; it was my ancestors’. He didn’t seem to care. He said that I had potential, but that I didn’t have the correct sources, or basics, or something. It all had to do with genetics – my ancestors had been studying the genetic manipulation tactics that the Stryxis used. He claimed he could give me something much more powerful – a platform on which to launch my own research. Perhaps a way to manipulate my own genetics. To recreate myself into something ever more powerful.

He gave me a book, and before I had time to ask questions, he stepped created a portal and left through it. The two others gave me baleful glances before lumbering through, as well.

Shocked and baffled, I was frozen for a moment where I stood. Then I realized what I was holding: possibly the most heretical material I had ever possessed. The thought of it sent a thrill through me. I knew, however, that the captain might be less thrilled, and I locked it and the notebook he had been perusing when I arrived away in the drawer where I keep all my family’s research. I then returned to the bridge.

By that time, the captain had returned order. He was irritated with me for leaving, but there wasn’t much time to explain. Eldar ships were popping into the area, a dozen of them, and a giant space battle was brewing above us.

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Navigator's Log 08
The Eldar Maiden World

We touched our shuttle down on an island and disembarked. Up close, it becomes even more obvious that this world is incredibly beautiful and healthy. My mind feels sharper when I breath the pure, untarnished air. Out of curiosity, we try the fruit from the trees, and it makes us feel younger, stronger, more clear-minded.

As we explore, Lumi discovers a small, glittering stone on the ground. After a minute of further investigation, we discover them everywhere – lying around like chocolate in a candy shop. They seem strangely familiar, and after spending a little while studying them and trying to recall where I’d seen something like this before, i remember.

Eldar soul stones.

Inessa is examining one closely. “These would fetch a really good price,” she says. “And there are hundreds of them.”

“They’re soul stones.” I shudder and drop the handful I’d gathered. “The souls of dead Eldar are contained within them.”

Nobody else seems terribly bothered.

As we tramp deeper into the forest, we get reports here and there of other Rogue Traders arriving. I don’t pay much attention, preferring to explore and examine the curious wildlife and foliage. Not to mention, there are Eldar structures and ruins everywhere, built of the familiar wraithbone material.

A ways in, I discover something strange: a fire pit. A fairly recent one. I call over the others and as a group, we decide that we should find whoever created it. It doesn’t take long to discover a small village, perhaps two hundred people. Baffled and curious, we approach with some caution. Somebody points out a piece of fabric with the symbol of the first Rogue Trader to ever exist. These people must be descendants of that ship, which was lost thousands of years ago.

The people welcome us with open arms. They’re all decked out with the Eldar soul stones. They’re strung on their clothes like beads, or in their hair or around their necks. They’re friendly and their language is understandable, for the most part.

There are a lot of interesting, amazing things, such as this young girl I discover: a child named Tibbs, with a birthmark on her forehead reminiscent of a Navigator’s eye. She spoke to me of the light of the God-Emperor, and that she could feel his “light,” but that it was far away. And how could this be paradise when it’s so far from the God-Emperor. She asks me to take her with when we leave, to take her closer to the light. I agree, interested in her potential.

We sit down to dinner with them, and explain where we came from. We omit certain things, like the fact that we’re probably going to take as much of their planet as possible in order to make money off of it.

When they hear that we’re just visiting, however, they instantly become cold. Their leader insists that we leave immediately, for if we are unwilling to accept paradise as the god-emperor has given it to us, we don’t deserve it.

After a short time, ships began to descend into the atmosphere. Feckward. Blitz. The other Rogue Traders had arrived. After some discussion, it was decided that we should take as much as we can and get out, so as to avoid direct conflict with the other dynasties. I suggested we create a controlled environment in our arboretum where we may grow and breed the life from the planet, as a source of ongoing profit.

We begin the process tomorrow. As it was my idea, I hope it goes well. The fruit is amazing, and the creatures will fetch great prices as exotic pets.

Thus far we have avoided any severe conflict with the other Rogue Traders. I hope this continues.

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