Inquisitor Nazauth Karkalla continued the mission briefing after Inquisitor Globus Vaarak’s departure. He told the Cell that the burned book with Harvest-Prelate Manus Barahona’s initials on it had been analyzed by Inquisitorial specialists. They’d partially saved twelve pages, eleven of which described typical Ecclesiarchy business. One page, however, had observations involving Viceroy’s Chief Counselor Colm Maleth; that Maleth and Garden-Predicant Maglin were like oil & water…and Barahona had no idea why. After Maglin passed away from a sudden illness, Maleth seemed to be very tight with Garden-Predicant Talus.
Karkalla informed the Cell that the Strophes were completely trustworthy. He gave them false identity papers that could be completed with the names that would be decided on with the Strophes. The Strophes might be able to give them more information about this Joyous Choir. Then he gave them a last clarification on their mission. They were to investigate The Joyous Choir. Find out what there was to know about this “Harmony Meter” that Laurent’s associate had acquired from them, containing xeno-tech of a suspiciously similar nature to that found in the broken tarot card. Uncover any connection between the cult and Hesiod’s Wake. While doing this, keep your eyes open for any information on the matter with the High Sortileger & Scintilla’s unexpected decline in psykers. Finally, if possible, try to ascertain what might have happened to Laurent’s niece.
The Inquisitor told them he would be off-world likely following-up on the smugglers that had brought him into this investigation. He therefore gave them the name and picture of an emergency contact, Septimus Dexter, a Senior member of his retinue that remained under permanent cover on Scintilla as a professor of Vexophilogist with the Sibellan University in the Spire. When they found Dexter they were to say to him, “What can be found in the ninth stack on Prol.” If it was he, he would reply, “Emptiness”.
He told them to stop by the ship’s supply locker for what items they thought they would need on their undercover operation and then to report to the ship’s shuttle bay, where transporation was waiting for them. He left them suggesting caution, for on Scintilla corruption was a way of life.
The Cell made the picturesque descent to the Spire’s spaceport, a fraction of the overwhelming size of Hive Sibellus in relief before them. Some of the Acolytes got their first look at the legendary Lucid Palace, the seat of Lord Sector Marius Hax’s government of the Calixis Sector.
In the midst of a light rainfall, faintly smelling of gunmetal, Julia Strophes greeted them at the spaceport, gave them appropriate but nondescript cloaks to wear and told them that discussion should wait until they got somewhere warmer. She led them through part of the Spire. The corridors were ornately decorated, with no surface untouched by artifice of some variety or another. Bas-reliefs covered the walls and ceiling, while darkly sombre cracked tile mosaics covered the floor. Some of the artwork depicted recognizably Imperial figures, but the majority were worn away by the passage of time. The Cell were on full alert in this new unfamiliar territory they found themselves in & quickly noticed they were seemingly being watched by the majority of those they passed.
They finally found themselves standing in front of large metal door covered with a silver and blue pattern pierced by a single red dagger, which opened inwards at their approach. After dismissing the servants, bringing the acolytes into a richly appointed room & closing the door – she finally introduced herself and told them she would be right back with her father Laurent.
Laurent Strophes was a broad man, resembling a large stump with legs. His left arm and right eye were graceful prosthetics of adamantine and silver, clearly worth a fortune. He wore naval attire, befitting his decorated Imperial Navy retirement with honors…and kept his head shaved. Strophes spoke with a forceful ringing tone and stands with an erect posture that instantly gave his naval lineage away. His demeanor was very straightforward. He seemed genuinely honoured to be helping the Inquisition – and, after asking about his old friend Inquisitor Karkalla, got down to business.
He informed the cell that his niece, Saia, was an even-tempered girl but given to frequent melancholy. Last year she had come upon this group, this so-called ‘Joyous Choir’, and joined soon after. It seemed harmless enough. His daughter Julia had gone with Saia once or twice. Saia had continued going, saying that she finally felt that she was becoming “true”, whatever that entailed. Then one day she vanished with no traces. The Magistratum could find nothing. There was no sign of struggle in her dwelling and none of her friends knew where she’d gone. Happens every day in the Underhive, not in the spire. He’s heard since of others going quietly missing.
Laurent had set an old associate looking into the Choir’s affairs. He came up with those meters that he’d passed along to Inquisitor Karkalla. He fears that she has gone to the Emperor, but he would know for certain. He tells the acolytes that The House of Strophes was at their disposal.
An acolyte requested an audience with Laurent’s associate that had been looking into the Choir. Laurent said that, since his quiet activities, Vorlin Orday was keeping a very low profile to be on the safe side. He noted that Orday will only be willing to meet with them somewhere in the middle hive, as he has had past “difficulties” with the Magistratum. He gives them a picture of his niece and tells them that he’s fairly knowledgeable about Hive Sibellus law, as it pertains to weaponry and their task. With that, Julia suggests showing them to their rooms on the second floor.
[Trantor Severus: Karkalla tells us that Septimus Dexter will be our emergency contact and provide a passcode to confirm our/his identity. “What is in the night stack in Prol?” “Emptiness.”
1. Infiltrate Joyous Choir,
2. Find out details of harmony meter which contain xeno-tech (at Tricorn Palace),
3. Uncover any connection between the cult and Hesiod’s Wake.
4. Look for any information regarding causes of the diminished psyker harvest,
5. Lastly look out for the missing niece.
We board the shuttle and arrive at Hive Sibellus, ~8,000km in diameter. We are greeted by a young, small, red-headed woman who rushes to Intios’ arms and exclaims her pleasure to see her cousin again. We enter the spire under the watchful gaze of many crowds and armed guards. We enter a nice chamber where the servants are dismissed and she introduces herself as Julia Strophes, Laurent’s daughter, and great Uncle Thalus (whose head is empty, and used as a coat rack). There are artifacts, an intricate timepiece, Jokaero light-sculpture! Laurent’s missing niece is Saia, a melancholy girl who came across the group last year. Went with Julia at first, Julia lost interest, Saia suddenly disappeared. Magistratum found no information. An associate was sent, he returned with the Harmony Meters. We are to be subtle because we hope to identify the players before scaring them away. Julia thinks the Alabaster Court may be their HQ, but she doesn’t know where. A photo is provided. There is a worship hall in the middlehive. The higher levels of The Choir are only accessible by nobles (possibly with a bodyguard). Our cover is to be distant cousins from Fenksworld, as an uncouth off-world noble. There’s a party tomorrow night which we’ll use as an introduction to the group. Laurent will help us with Sibellus law and outfitting us.