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    Default Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    The Argent Observatory
    +++Chapter One: Pursuit+++

    OOC Thread

    The Ragged Helix. An endless sea of asteroids, perched on the edge of screaming madness, where reality bleeds away into the swirling malestrom of the lower vortex. Great fortresses jut from the surfaces of massive asteroids, the personal fiefs of pirate lords. Where the lives of the foolhardy are measured in seconds, and the Dark Prince holds sway over the hearts of men. A scuffle. A cry rings out. Another life cut short, another soul sent spinning into eternity. It is a common occurence, a footnote to another passing moment, but this death rings portentous.

    Spoiler: Heidric
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    The gate was supposed to have only gone a few meters. It was a simple trick, a means to bypass thick walls and vigilant guards. Sure, the sorcerer he'd slain to claim the tome had been unhinged, but weren't they all? Prying the skin-bound book from dead fingers, Heidric had taken the man's lore for his own. He'd taken precautions, ever careful in his pursuit of power, and yet somehow, he'd ended up here.

    Wherever 'here' was. The sky burned with unnatural colours, rippling blues and purples that stained the horizon and hurt the eyes. As he gathered his bearings, Heidric heard a shout, and the sound of running feet. It sounded like it came from the next street over...

    Spoiler: Sol
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    He'd taken up his old weapons, closed up his vaults of artifacts and rare finds. The itch had started again, too strong to ignore. The itch to go forth, seeking adventure and the finer things in life. To blaze trails, and see things man had not laid eyes on for hundreds of years, if at all. His status as a man of the Dark Prince had bought him some small space, here on this forsaken chunk of rock, where all things began and ended. Sol heard the shout, and knew what it meant, but a whisper in his mind compelled him to look anyways...

    Spoiler: Elisanth
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    His battle plate creaked as he walked, needles in his flesh pumping stimulants through his system. The cry of agony reminded him of past glories, when he had been one of the best swordsmen the legion had ever seen. Or so he told himself. The battles, the battlefields, they all ran together. A lifetime of endless war, grown dull by repetition. Whoever the murderer was, he could not begrudge them their sport. Was it sport, though, or something else? Curiosity tugged at him...

    Spoiler: Amon
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    In times long past, the telling of the future had been the realm of the Temple Corvidae. The fall of the legion, and the turn to the Lord of Change, had changed all that. Amon could cast his mind along the strands of fate, following lives to their destinies, the future unfolding like the many branches of a tree before him. Black feathers rustled in the branches, light glinting off sharp beaks, and beady eyes. The ravens called, and the scent of change was in the wind. One strand ended, cut short by its intersection with a second, but where it ended many more branched off. A silver thread wove amongst them, drawing them, binding them together. Many fates becoming one. Amon heard the cry, and knew what it meant, for a thousand times a thousand futures. His eyes opened, a small piece of the plan swept clear, like a temple floor tile under the brush of a serf. Destiny was calling.

    Spoiler: Zahariel
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    Zahariel heard the shout, and knew not what it meant. His sword thrummed in his hand, and a distant ancient part of him called from his heart to take up arms against the enemies of men. People were dying, and he was an Angel of the Emperor, sent forth to save them from the Xenos. The past flooded back. They had been betrayed, the Lion taking the wrong side. Brother had fought Brother, and he had been cast down. The Emperor was a traitor, his loyal sons deluded and blinded by faith in their father. Zahariel had seen the Emperor's lies for what they were. Or had it been the other way around? It was so long ago, and history had been written by the victors. As it was. As it would be. The long war continued, the sons of the so-called traitors now just as deluded with their faith in the dark gods. But Zahariel was still a Dark Angel, and he knew the value of secrets. There was a big one here, he could feel it...

    Spoiler: Paline
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    The galaxy would burn. Fire and fury, the likes of which the universe had never seen, smouldered within the warrior. Born to kill, born to serve, born to win, born to rule. Only, things hadn't been so good, recently. The Vortex was a hard place, and while Paline was a hard person right back at it, wallowing in the dregs of society wasn't exactly the greatest time in the world. If nothing else, the shout was an opportunity, the cry of the dead meant a body ripe for looting. She heard the runner, taking off with whatever they'd been able to nab, which meant that the body was close. Maybe it would have some good stuff left on it, something the opportune murderer had overlooked in their haste to get away. Maybe she could get there first, before the carrion hordes descended. Maybe, if she was quick enough, and good enough, this one would be the big one.

    One way to find out.


    They converged, a disparate group, on the scene of the crime. A lone figure, sprawled in the dirty streets, a knife in their guts. Blood pooled between ragged cobbles, the cracks between the stones drinking deep of flowing life. Buildings loomed above, dark and silent, sentinels keeping a brooding vigil over the spark snuffed out. The body was wearing a cloak, a laspistol fallen to the ground nearby. The three astartes could hear laboured breathing, even from the edge of the square. The fallen man was yet clinging to life, though he would not be for long.
    Last edited by Destro_Yersul; 2019-03-29 at 03:06 AM.
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Paline sprinted down the side streets, fists aglow with Blessed Fire as she made a beeline for the latest victim. Maybe this one would have a strummer she could secret away? She paused at the edge of the scene, grasped the edges of her cloak, charred the fabric slightly, and sank away from view. For a few seconds she recovered and waited to see if she'd need to finish the job.
    It seemed calm enough, at least, and so she crept forward. A few feet, then a pause, followed by a few more, hand always on her flamer and eyes darting around for danger. Were those other people, drawn here by the death? Did she need to be concerned? She finished her journey to the body and gave it a quick once over.

    Spoiler: Stealth
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    Just for funsies: (1d100)[13] vs 52 or 82 (42 Agility, 10 Synskin, 30 Chameleoline Cloak).
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Amon Ram comes striding in, the thud-thud-thud of his boots hitting the ground as he moves.

    Normally, the death of some common street scum would be of no interest. But this street scum was apparently important to the Lord of Change, and thus his interest was piqued. And so, he makes his way over toward the mortally wounded figure. His demeanor shows that he has no concern for the others gathered.

    And so he stops, his blue and yellow striped power armor displaying an imposing figure over a wounded wretch.

    The metallic voice of his helmet's comm-speaker erupts, directed at the man at his feet.

    "You seem to have moments to live. Say what you will to explain what occurred."
    Last edited by Janwin; 2019-03-29 at 10:16 AM.

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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    After he emerges from the door to nowhere Heidric will peer up at the sky with a broad grin. You could never be too certain who might be watching. Even if he hadn't emerged where he was supposed to be someone clearly wanted him to be here, where ever here was.

    At the shout he'll clutch his umbrella under his arm and will wander over towards the wounded man. He'll nod in a friendly way to the other bystanders. Even Astartes were not completely unknown in his line of work, and you should always try to be polite. 'Excuse me. I seem to be lost. Does anyone know what planet this is?' Heidric is short even for a human. He will try to assess the man's wound if only to judge how much time he had left.

    Spoiler: ooc
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    Long shot Common Lore (Calixis) test to know where this is
    Vs. Int 42
    (1d100)[46]


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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    The next arrival was tall and thin - a man by all appearances some way past middle age, his hair grey as his eyes, his skin hard-worn by a life in the open, his body once muscled and lean, now running to fat - but his movements were sure, and the coiled groxwhip at his belt was razor sharp.

    Even here in the Helix, it wasn't common to see an Astartes, and considerably rarer to encounter a friendly one, so he hung back - until Haline arrived, at which point some questions were worth finding out about.

    "Which planet?" He asked, his voice low. "How'd you come to ask that? Is there a portal around here?"
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    Elisanth Foras stalked forwards, his body wracked with near-imperceptible twitches from whatever withdrawal he was going through at the time. He first looked down at the dying man, and then at the Thousand Son - the only one he deemed worthy of addressing.

    "Why bother asking him, sorcerer? Has your omophagea atrophied so in the passing of years?"

    His voice was deep and mellifluous, and completely at odds with his appearance. Taking another step towards the dying man, he placed his hand on the pommel of his combat knife.

    "It has been some time since I last tasted the thoughts of a dying man."

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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Amon Ram looks over to the other Astartes and comments, "Sometimes you do not get all the information necessary from your omophagea. You get some, but not all. The Lord of Change believes this man is important, and thus it is worthwhile to try and get all the information I can out of him."

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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    "Your lord too, hmm?" Sol asked. He didn't feel the need to reveal his own allegiance just yet but... interesting.
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Quote Originally Posted by LeSwordfish View Post
    "Which planet?" He asked, his voice low. "How'd you come to ask that? Is there a portal around here?"
    'Well not anymore. Those things are seemingly more tricky to use then I expected. If there's a reason for me to be here I suppose there's always a chance that someone will open another one if they really need to talk to me.' Heidric doesn't seem particularly worried about being here.

    He'll roll his eyes slightly at the twitchy marine's rudeness but will avoid commenting on it. 'If you really have to eat someone feel free, and I would be most interested in observing, but the process does seem rather final. I could try dealing with his wounds first so we can ask him what happened. You can always eat him later.'

    Heidric will try and stabilise the man so he can be questioned properly.

    Spoiler: ooc
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    Medicae vs. Int 42
    (1d100)[82]


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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Another Astartes steps out of the shadows. Tall, even for a Marine, his dead-black armor seems well maintained and his weapons well taken care of. The pauldrons on his shoulders bear the livery of an Assault Sergeant of the Dark Angels Legion, displayed proudly. A hood covers his face, only the red of his helmet's eyes visible.

    "Lord of Change," eh? Such superstition ill-befits a Space Marine. Yet you are not wrong. Omnopagea or not, one gets more answers from the living than the dead. You there, small man. You are well-mannered. Are you a medic or doctor? He points at Heidric.

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    'A little of both actually. I'm no Tech Priest, but I like to dabble.'

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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Paline darted in first, getting a good look at the body. The knife sticking out of him was a fairly standard combat knife, human sized, the sort of thing that could be found just about anywhere cheap as anything. The cloak was nothing special, but the clothing underneath it was nice, if it hadn't been bled all over. Looked like decent quality, maybe some sort of uniform, maybe just an affectation. Apart from the laspistol, the man had a knife of his own on his belt, a pendant necklace made out of some kind of coin, and a very old brass chrono. She spotted a lump in the cloak, and made to see what it was, but the man's hand shot up and grasped her wrist, his eyes wide.

    He stared at the small group assembled around him, his breath coming in shallow gasps. Heidric stepped in to see to his injuries, and saw that there wasn't much he could do. At most, the man had a minute or two of life left before blood loss killed him, and he'd likely spend the better part of that unconscious. Best to get what answers they could, while they could.

    "The key..." he gasped at Amon. "They took the key. They'll try to reach... but they don't know..." He screwed up his eyes, teeth clenched against the pain.
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Zahariel leans over the dying man. The key to what? Who are "they?" What are they trying to reach, and why will they fail? Speak, and I may grant you final vengeance against those who struck you down. His voice is stern, but not harsh. He rests his hand lightly on the hilt of his sword as he mentions vengeance.

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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Sol instead stood again, peering into the streets around them, looking for any sign of who could have done this.
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    Elisanth stood stiffly, impatiently waiting for the man to expire.

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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Paline didn't even wait for the man to die, shifting the body around as she set to work on stripping the body as she made her presence formally known. More to herself than anyone else she muttered "No point in leaving this behind..." Almost as an after thought she looked up and seemingly just now noticed the others, hastily adding "Don't we all stand out gathered around a dead body. If no one needs any of this then there's no point in letting it gather blood."
    Unless stopped she stuffs everything in a bag otherwise covered by her cloak. She could probably pass as just another guttersnipe if it wasn't for the clashing prizes she's gotten from others, standing up as she tried to figure out which direction the killer possibly went and almost ignoring the dying man. She muttered while thinking out loud "This place is lousy when it comes to finding people anyway... Probably a better idea to find some place they'd pawn off their prize..."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Destro_Yersul View Post
    "The key..." he gasped at Amon. "They took the key. They'll try to reach... but they don't know..." He screwed up his eyes, teeth clenched against the pain.
    Heidric tuts at the sight of the man's wounds. Oh well. 'What don't they know?' Which seemed the crux of it to him.

    The woman seemed sensible. 'I'm sure there's a market around here somewhere. In the meantime, does he have anything to identify him or his allegiances?'

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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    The streets around them were empty, the worn stones giving no clues as to which direction the assailants might have run. The fallen man locked eyes with Zahariel, staring into the shadows beneath the Dark Angel's hood.

    "Hector. My... my thrice-damned Mate. Vengeance. Yes." He coughed, struggling for each word. "He found out... the Observatory. They'll take... the Doom. Need to be quick... to catch them." Heidric could tell he was fading fast. They might get one or two more answers from him, at most.

    Paline, meanwhile, busied herself pocketing his assorted belongings; the laspistol was especially fine, now that she got a closer look at it. He had a number of valuable-looking rings on his hands, as well. She extracted the bulge from his cloak, the one that had initially caused him to grab her wrist, and found it to be a bundle of papers, wrapped in oilskin. They were loose, held together by string, and covered in thin, spidery writing.
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    To the others, 'He's lost too much blood. I'd give it a few minutes at most.'

    To the man, 'The Doom. So you have a ship? Which at least means there's a way out of here. Any chance there's someone who would appreciate knowing who stabbed you?'

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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    "Where is your mate going? Where is your vessel berthed? Speak, that we might find him swiftly and deliver vengeance."

    The Thousand Son's voice passes through the speaker on his helmet in a tinny intonation.

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    Elisanth looked at the other Astartes. "We should take him with us. Even dead, he could still have... uses."

    He shook his head. The Doom. Did none of these mortals even have a pittance of imagination when naming their ships?
    Last edited by Morovir; 2019-04-01 at 03:18 PM.

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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    "Janus II. That's.. the observatory is there..." The man raised a hand weakly, and pointed. "The Writhing Doom. We berthed in Tiberius' fief."

    His hand fell back down, and with a last rattling breath, the life in his eyes went out. Tiberius was one of the Helix's pirate lords, his fief extending to include most of this rock, as well as a few others in the area. The nearest shipyard, if it could be called that, belonged to him. Like most, he charged a tribute to access the yard.
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    She snuffed her gauntlets as she removed the more fragile goods, rings and pistols going into her bag. She paused when she got to the bulge and, upon opening it, held it out to the group. She said "The Lord of Change was never something I followed. One of you scholarly types want to examine these?" She frowned at mention of fiefs and, again more to herself, she muttered "Definitely the greater prize. Left behind the things that'd get me that strummer... Just not ready to deal with a lord."
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Zahariel nods to the dead man. You have proved useful, and so your vengeance will be wrought.

    He takes the proffered papers and examines them, holding them so Amon can see too. Care to read as well, Sorcerer? From your armor, you are one of the Thousand Sons. The men of your Legion have always excelled at scholarship, in my experience.
    Last edited by PotatoGolem; 2019-04-01 at 09:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morovir View Post
    Elisanth looked at the other Astartes. "We should take him with us. Even dead, he could still have... uses."
    Heidric assumes that he wants to eat the man. 'Do as you will of course. I expect the killer wanted the murder committed somewhere out of the way. Bringing the body back to him might be amusing. Or we get accused of having killed him ourselves, but with three Astartes here I don't expect they'll present much of a threat to us either way.'

    He'll grin up at Amon, 'A son of Magnus. I thought I recognised the iconography. How very impressive.' He'll move round to read the papers himself.

    Spoiler
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    Common Lore (Calixis) on Janus II
    vs. Int 42
    (1d100)[18]



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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Zahariel lowers the papers slightly so the human doesn't have to stand on tiptoes. My apologies, mortal. I did not realize you were a scholar of such matters.

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    The papers were a collection of notes and journal entries, all scrawled by the same hand. The notes clearly belonged to the dead man, referencing various passages from the other pages. He wrote of how he'd come across the original journal, written by someone he referred to as The Archivist, in the Library of Knowing on Fenksworld. He had had started to copy it, before being interrupted by one of the Inquisition's occassional attempts to shut down the library. Agents of the Inquisition had infiltrated the library and made off with several volumes as "evidence," the journal amongst them. The captain had fled, taking his notes with him, turning his ship away from the normal routes and making for the Koronus Expanse. Along the way he continued to study what he had copied, fragments of journal entries that revolved around something called the Argent Observatory.

    The Observatory was said to be a place of great power, where the future might be made known to those with the power to grasp it, and take it unto their own hands. It tracked the movement of celestial objects in time and space, even following the dreaded Tyrant Star. The Archivist described a key needed to access it, and warned of terrible guardians that stood watch over its secrets. The captain had bent his efforts to finding this key, hunting throughout the Expanse for rumours, and eventually turning to divination and sorcery in his quest for answers. He'd narrowed the location of the Observatory to Janus II, based on the Archivist's description of a verdant world, far from the Adrantis nebula, linked by warp routes to the desert world where cities walk the wastes, and the world scoured by fire. The key was described as a silver cylinder, inscribed about with runic markings and with a handle on one end. Unfortunately, information on how to use the key, or how to circumvent the guardians, was missing. The Archivist made mention of other entries on the subject, but they were not among the captain's copied fragments.

    Spoiler: Heidric Only
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    Heidric recognised the name Janus II. It was a lesser world in the Markayn Marches, past Fedrid and Klybo out on the very fringes of the sector. Most of the planet was covered in thick jungle interspersed with high mountain ranges. It had been colonised back when the sector was founded and, as far as he knew, never been found to have much of interest on it. The impassibility of much of the terrain meant that all of the cities were clustered along the coastline, and long distance travel took place either by air or sea. The tithe was predominantly agriculture, the areas that had been reclaimed from jungle proving excellent for cultivation of food crops, and mining. Exports were luxury goods, exotic foodstuffs, and clothing made from local wildlife.
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    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Amon nods to Zahariel, "I am indeed."

    He reads over the papers as well, and though it could not be seen through the helmet of his power armor, curiosity was certainly on his face.

    "It seems we should head to this man's vessel and prevent this key from falling into the wrong hands." By that, you can assume, he means any hands other than his. He turns to Elisanth. "Now may be the time to gather what we can by our omophagea. Knowing what tribute this man paid and what secrets his vessel may have that we should be aware of may assist us should we choose to pursue his attacker."

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

    Join Date
    Jul 2016

    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    Elisanth bent down, unsheathing his combat knife, and delicately but swiftly flayed the skin from the dead man's face. Hanging the face from his belt, he cracked open the skull and removed the brain. Unsealing his helmet, presenting his visage to the world, he took a deep bite out of the brain. Chewing slowly, he closed his eyes as the memories of the dead man began to pour into his mind.

    Abruptly, his eyes reopened, and he grinned, proffering the brain to the other two Astartes.

    "Who wants to go next?"

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2017

    Default Re: Black Crusade 2E: The Argent Observatory (IC)

    This Observatory might be useful to know about if it was real and not just some rumour. Even if it was less impressive then it sounded, he could use this group to get out of here. He still didn't know precisely where he was but the state of the sky here gave him a general idea.

    To the Dark Angel, 'Well perhaps not in the sense the Sorcerer is, but I'm professionally curious as it were.'

    'For the record, I have heard of Janus II. It sounds like a dull place, but it would conceivably be just the planet to hide something powerful without the Inquisition getting word of it.'

    Heidric will watch Elisanth eat with curiosity, 'You have to wonder if doing that can be replicated. I don't know if I would ever use it myself but it's nice to have options.'

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