Shadows of the Imperium

A Summons

Wherein you are summoned to the Emperor's Service

One by one you have made your way down into the underhive of the massive capital spire of Hive Desoleum.  You've descended through the crowds of stinking thrall workers on their endless parade of shifts and past Ministorum processions of screaming flagellants towards levels of the hive that have not seen the light of day in thousands of years.  The lingering odor of blood and the stench of the massive press of humanity that is the manifest of the Emperor's divine will clings to your clothes as the heat of ancient machines who's function is long lost heats the air oppressively all around you.

Your mind flickers back to the cryptic message delivered by gene-coded servo-skulls as you enter the semi-abandoned hab block:  You have been called once again to the Emperor's service.  As the last of you arrive in the secure bolt hole you see the others:  The Scribe, the Assassin, the Arbitor, the Infiltrator, the Outcast.  In one corner of the dim candle lit room you see a dull glow and flickers of movement in the candlelight indicating the Tech-Chiurgeon is communing with his servo-skull.

Moments after the last of you arrives a panel in the wall slides away revealing the emaciated body of a lobotomized servitor.  Dry dust fills the air and cobwebs rip audibly as the ancient automaton takes several steps to the center of the room.  The servitor's tarnished vox unit crackles with static before a mechanical voice intones:

"Hive Desoleum holds many heresies and horrors, and you my acolytes are gathered here for but one of them.  There are increasing reports of horrible deaths within the hive's upper levels, with odd items of a possible xenos or archaeotech nature found with each corpse.  Some of nobles have related that these deaths were preceded by bouts of erratic and troublesome behavior and rumors have swirled of late that a hive noble named Lans Guljian has exhibited many of the same behaviors.  

Rejoice for you are tasked with the Emperor's Work:  to investigate the deaths and possible connections to any illicit artifacts, determine if they are potential dangers of a wider nature, and terminate their distribution.  Recover and contain any items uncovered, lest they corrupt others.

Carry the Emperor's Light with you through the hive, for there is little proper illumination to be found in this festering, ancient edifice.  Desoleum teeters on the blade's edge of damnation and one further heresy could topple the entire hive into the abyss.  May you have the honor of dying in His service."

With a hiss the servitor's flesh begins to rapidly disintegrate, falling to the floor in hissing rivulets.  After only a few moments, all that remains is a pool of sizzling gore and a pile of servitor compellers cracked with age. 

 

Comments

Heavy boot-steps and the soft jingling of manacles echo through the room as the imposing armored figure of the Arbite Gaius steps forward. He wrinkles his nose and frowns in disgust at the flesh puddle, one hand gripped resting on the haft of the maul hanging from his belt while the other makes a sweeping gesture towards the group as he begins to speak.

“I could attempt to solicit information from my contacts within the Arbites regarding the deaths of the nobles. I admit I have not heard of this Lans Guljian in my time here on Desoleum, no doubt a minor noble.”

He throws a glance towards the only female in the group

“Regardless I may be able to obtain a dossier on him as well. It seems imperative we reach him as soon as possible.”

The Arbite takes a step back surrendering the space to another, his helmeted gaze turning to each other acolyte in turn.

A Summons
 

Yusef, one of the first to arrive to the meeting, sits in the corner. He fidgets with a snap on the holster for his las pistol. Opening it with a pop, just to shut it again with a click. open pop. close click. open pop. close click. open pop. close click. This continues throughout the servitor’s message. The popping and clicking seeming to grow louder as the message plays.

He stands, seemingly unphased by the melting servitor, and looks over the others of the group. He adjusts the waistline of his worn brown pants, then tucks the hem of his shirt into them. As the Arbite finishes suggesting following leads and gathering information, he clears his throat.

The sounds starts as low rasp in the back of his throat, but quickly builds to a cacophony of gurgling phlegm and guttural grunts. The sound lasts for what seems like an eternity, but finally ends in a full blown cough. From which a glob of spittle flies from his mouth and lands unceremoniously on the remains of the servitor. The fit ends with a light sniffle.

A Summons
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