You are on page 1of 48

The Callidonean Play

The Magus promised a world, but gave instead a box


of hive­metal, within which was only sand.

- Silencean linear contemplation fragment 1527

Saint Willard o' the Spear, Live'd yet three hundred


year, And watcheth o'er all ye here.

- Anglish commoner's rhyme

1
Creative Commons licensed by Reason of Principia Infecta in 2011 under the
Attribution 3.0 License. You are free to do as you will with the words found herein,
provided fair attribution is given to the author.
Principia Infecta can be found online at www.principiainfecta.com.

2
Contents
4. A Rite of Passage
6. Handouts: Declaration, Request, and Materials
10. Brythan
13. Fragments of History
15. The Hive Foundations
18. Blessings of the Machine Cult
23. Life and Lore
23. Common Lore
30. Law and Justice
33. A Selection of Legends and Prophecies
36. The Past that Builds the Present
36. Players Upon an Arcane Stage
39. The Fall of Inquisitor Quassus
41. The Long, Slow Corruption of Geffarius Cauther
43. Lesser Heretics, Rebels, and Outlaws

3
A Rite of Passage
Summaris Path, represented by the Forest, the Beast, and the
Temple in Inquisition heraldry.
It is the commencement of 816.M41, and remnant A promising interrogator or savant-militant first
detritus and pilgrim masses of the long All-Saints- toils within the Forest, seeing comparatively little,
Festival are but slowly vanishing from the grand hives knowing comparatively little. With experience and rare
of the Ministorum world of Rhame, golden yet corroded excellence, one such may be raised by formal carta to the
center of the Yeuros cluster. Within Hive Templum rank of Inquisitor Minor. This is a matter of sponsorship
Primus, a newly ascended Inquisitor and his retinue of and influence, usually orchestrated by a former master,
Throne agents prepare for a long and uncertain journey, an Inquisitor of standing in the Ordos.
the festival distant from their thoughts. Their destination But an Inquisitor Minor has not seen the Beast:
is Brythan, a world at the trailing edge of the cluster, he is only an Inquisitor by virtue of a seal upon
farthest from the hives of Rhame, last light of the parchment, and all that he might have achieved until that
Imperium before the impassable warp storms of the point is made worthless by the magnitude of that gift of
Lantac Abyss, and last of the Yeuros worlds to be power. Granted the Rosette and able to command and
brought to the God-Emperor by the Rhamean Crusade terrify all who recognize the dread sigils of the Ordos, a
so many centuries ago. Parchment Inquisitor is nonetheless neither
But to Brythan it is. Three decades past, the acknowledged nor supported by the Conclave, and will
withdrawn and aged Inquisitor Willard Quassus, long be hunted ruthlessly should he give the first sign of
the sole representative of the Yeuros Conclave of the corruption. This, at least, is the case until after the
Holy Inquisition upon that world, ceased to respond to Inquisitor Minor has initiated and led an Inquisitorial
ciphered messages sent from Rhame. Long periods of action against the Beast—the dark and hidden foes of the
quiet and Inquisitors who operate alone for decades are Imperium. Only when he shows himself worthy by his
not unusual in the sparse Ordos of the cluster, but an deeds and choices, and until the records of that action are
assessment is now overdue. This is the task placed upon presented to the Conclave libraria upon Rhame, may he
the Inquisitor Minor and his followers by the powers of move forward upon the Threefold Path.
the Conclave—though in truth it is less a task and more There remains the return to the Temple: the
a trial, a test of uncertain difficulty set by uncaring Inquisitor Minor must stand before the elders of the
elders of the Ordos. Yeuros Conclave, within their darkened inner vaults, and
Upon their arrival in the Brythanic voids, the there demonstrate a continued purity of gene and soul.
Throne agents and their new master will face hard He must prove to them beyond doubt that the Beast's
choices, drawn into intrigue and corruption upon a world corruption has left no taint, no seed. Many are those who
whose inhabitants fear the Inquisition all too little. fall—or who are made to fall, so it is whispered—at this
final hurdle.
The Threefold Path
Declaratio Caecorum
The Inquisitors of the Yeuros worlds form a sparse
Conclave by the standards of greater sectors, but their Deep beneath the baroque, spire-strewn slopes of
presence suffices—for Ministorum-dominated Rhame Templum Primus, a hive devoted to the inner workings
remains synonymous with Imperial glory even millennia of the Rhamean Ministorum, the Inquisitor Minor and
after all who fought in the Rhamean Crusade are gone to his retinue face the Declaration of the Blind in a
dust, and the God-Emperor is yet acclaimed the Lord of darkened hall. Emerged from their hidden strongholds
Man upon every Imperial world of the cluster's many for this one small scene in the larger play of Ordos
suns. But Inquisitors die, and new blood must flow, tradition, three ancient, hunched Inquisitors stand upon
albeit slowly and carefully. Thus the ossified elders of pulpits in the shadows, their faces hidden by featureless
the Yeuros Conclave, their fortress vaults hidden within white masks. A stab-light shines brightly upon the
the hives of Rhame, induct newly ascended Inquisitors Inquisitor Minor and his followers in the centre of the
Minor by what has come to be known as the Threefold hall, circling them in white amidst the blackness.
4
The three masked elders speak the few however: between boastful relinquishment, the
ceremonial words of the Declaration, a matter of a appearance of incapacity, the appearance of aimless
handful of heartbearts. The stab-light is extinguished, greed, and the degree to which he is sure of the support
plunging the hall into silence and darkness. Doors then of his mentor in the Conclave. There are tales of the
swing open upon grinding gears, and the dim light malign judgements that fell upon Parchment Inquisitors
beyond the sign for the Inquisitor Minor and his retinue who reached either too far or not far enough. Resources
to depart. The ceremony is complete, brief as it is. provided may be poisoned, either obviously or in some
Beyond this point, as he leaves the Templum Primus clever and hidden way, or simply far removed from what
upon Rhame, the Inquisitor will speak only with lesser was requested. It is left to the Inquisitor Minor and his
servants of the Conclave. All doors to the Inquisition retinue to determine whether he is being steered,
and its resources are officially sealed: even his mentor rebuked, or subtly attacked.
and former masters will not speak with the Inquisitor, or The Request delivered to the Inquisitor Minor in
at least not where others might overhear or learn of it. this case is short, to the point, and threatening in its lack
of clarity, as the traditional form demands. He is directed
The Lord-Inquisitor's Request to find Inquisitor Willard Quassus, and thereafter carry
out those actions most fitting in the eyes of the God-
Immediately following the Declaration of the Blind Emperor. Accompanying the Request are a minimum of
comes the Lord-Inquisitor's Request, a step that long ago summary materials on Quassus and the world of
moved from a subversion of the Threefold Path to an Brythan, and at that point the Inquisitor Minor is truly
age-honoured tradition. The normal form of the Request set upon the path to seek the Beast.
is a masked and anonymous missive-bearer, who may or
may not be recognizable as a part of another Inquisitor's A Theatre of the Known
retinue, a dataslate, and the seal of an obviously fictional
figure high in the Conclave's hierarchy. The true origins The form of the Threefold Path and the Lord-Inquisitor's
of the Request might be the Inquisitor Minor's mentor, a Request is well known within the Yeuros Conclave.
coven of the mentor's peers, or result from some deeper Thus few Inquisitors Minor pass the rituals without
machinations, the original Request stolen and replaced possessing foreknowledge, an opportunity to set aside
en route. resources, and a grasp of the degree to which mentors
Regardless, it is foolish in the extreme to refuse and sponsors will in fact withdraw their support. The
or ignore the Lord-Inquisitor's Request, despite the very wise mentor lets the Inquisitor Minor rise or fall by his
short litany of Inquisitors Minor who did just that and own merits, for his influence alone is rarely enough to
then went on to ascend to the Conclave on the backs of sway the judgement in the Temple. Conversely, the wise
mighty and resounding victories, their names living on Inquisitor Minor does his best to ensure that lines of
for centuries past their deaths. Few Parchment communication remain open, unofficially, for use in
Inquisitors command the strength or pre-existing level of extremis.
support to make the Threefold Path an assured formality
regardless of their initial choices. Further, in addition to
most likely originating from those who will later judge
the Inquisitor Minor on his return to Rhame, and thus
reflecting their will, the Request arrives with an
unspoken one-time connection to vast
resources—resources that will all too soon be beyond
the Inquisitor Minor's reach.
Acceptance of the Lord-Inquisitor's Request
earns the right to make an oblique, formal demand for
specific resources. The resources will be provided, more
or less as requested—up to and including a dedicated
Battlefleet voidship for transport to a specific location,
regiments of Guard troops, or an equivalent draw upon
the coffers of trade guilds beholden to the Ministorum.
There is a fine line for the Inquisitor Minor to walk,
5
+++ First Inquisitor:
He who stands is known.
+++ Second Inquisitor:
We see him not.
+++ Third Inquisitors:
It matters not. For he has not seen the Beast.
+++ All:
And thus he is nothing.
+++ First Inquisitor:
Yet something may come of nothing.
+++ Second Inquisitor:
So we offer this one chance to nothing.
+++ Third Inquisitor:
Go from us. Seek the Beast.
+++ All:
And until your return we are blind to you.

6
+++ By command of the Lord-Inquisitor, His Eminence in Red.

+++ Seek out and find Inquisitor Quassus of Hive Rhame.

+++ Thence do as the God-Emperor sees most fitting.

7
+++ Inquisitor Willard Quassus
Age is estimated as 360, and birthplace is alleged to be Hive Rhame upon the world of the same name.
Raised to Inquisitor in 488.M41, under the aegis of Inquisitor Habitasis, and into Ordo Hereticus.
Pure of gene and untouched by psyker taint. No visible augmetics as of 644.M41. Known to employ juvenat
treatments, but age places him at the outer limits of their effectiveness. Submitted few materials or action
reports to Conclave libraria, and none are recorded after 539.M41.
+++ Historia Brevis
495.M41. Inquisitor Quassus exposes and eradicates a blood-sacrifice cult upon Hyaspan.
517.M41. Defeat of a tainted raider fleet and its invasion of Brythan. Inquisitor Quassus destroys the enemy
war-chief and leads Brythanic forces to victory.
532.M41. Inquisitor Habitasis and his retinue presumed lost to the warp in banishing the necrotic space hulk
Ember of Ruin.
543.M41. Inquisitor Quassus recorded to have moved his residence to Brythan, though this may have
occurred years earlier.
552-570.M41. Astropathic queries made to the Ordos upon Rhame suggest Inquisitor Quassus is concerned
by the warpcraft of prophecy as employed by witches in mockery of sanctioned Imperial seers.
582.M41. The Thirteenth Grand Conclave upon Rhame. Inquisitor Quassus in attendance.
590.M41. Inquisitor Quassus' presence upon Brythan is designated Missio Minoris and granted a stipend
from Conclave coffers. No later record exists of the stipend being paid or otherwise drawn upon.
620.M41. Interrogator Valian, formerly of Inquisitor Quassus' retinue, raised to the rank of Inquisitor.
Records indicate that Inquisitor Quassus is the sponsor, but not in attendance.
644.M41. Last confirmed appearance of Inquisitor Quassus, validated by pict-capture within the Imperial
Governor's residence of Brythan.
667.M41. Adeptus Arbites report that Inquisitor Quassus destroyed a previously unknown sect upon Gahul.
His presence on that world in 667.M41 remains unconfirmed.
717.M41. Inquisitor Valian and his retinue confirmed dead upon Hyaspan in a purge of the Blade of
Sorrows cult. No close peers to Inquisitor Quassus remain within the Rhamean Conclave.
780.M41. Last known official communication crypt-sealed by Inquisitor Quassus is received from Brythan.
It is a simple protocol acknowledgement, similar to the prior eleven missives.

8
+++ Brythan
Designated as a Hiveworld (Lesser, Category Delta, sub-designation War). Outermost Imperial world facing
the Lantean Abyss. Temperate to cold, breathable atmosphere, possesses seas, and is mountainous. One
inhabited moon. Brought into the Lux Imperia in 294.M40, during the later Rhamean Crusade. At that time,
the world was designated Feral. Present governance categorized as tribal monarchism with internecine
internal warfare.
+++ Imperial Governor
High Ecclesiarch Mathus Ager of the Church of Brythan. Raised from the local populace.
+++ Imperial Presence
Administratum records immediately accessible to the Conclave declare an Adeptus Arbites garrison of four
regiments and minor Adeptus Astra Telepathica shrinehold (Category Delta). There are no records of
stationed Imperial Guard, Battlefleet, or Departmento Munitorium forces. No Administratum bureau majoris
exists and nor is any Administratum adept of primaris rank present.
+++ Adeptus Ministorum
The High Ecclesiarchy of Brythan underwent schism from the Rhamean Temple in 699.M41 to form the
Church of Brythan. Sanctioned as an accepted sect in 752.M41, but relations between hierarchs remain
strained. The sanctioned sect of Destinism is present upon Brythan, but the nature of relations between
Destinist and Church of Brythan Ecclesiarchs is unclear.
+++ Imperial Tithe
Brythan has not failed in its tithe since the Rhamean Crusade. The tithe has been conducted through agency
of the Ministorum since at least 400.M41, coinciding with appointment of Ecclesiarchs to the post of
Imperial Governor.
+++ Brythanic Guard
The last Founding of Imperial Guard took place between 764-772.M41. Fifty full infantry regiments were
raised and consigned to the God-Emperor's forces.
+++ Void-traffic
Three guild-fleets are granted hereditary charters to the Rhame-Gahul-Brythan warp routes. The Battlefleet
flotilla designated Steadfast Glint traversed Brythan in 801.M41, exchanged envoys with the Imperial
Governor, and confirmed the system secure.
+++ Ordos Presence
Missio Minoris under Inquisitor Willard Quassus, established 590.M41.
+++ Ordos Actions
None recorded since 517.M41.

9
Brythan
Brythan of the Yeuros cluster is a chill planet of deep the queen's ruling house. Of all the hive structures of
winters and short, rain-swept summers. The seas Brythan, only Londus is great enough in stature and
surrounding its single continental land mass are stormy, population to sprawl unbroken and piled high across
waves crashing against eroding cliffs. Rolling hills and hundreds of leagues. Amongst the fanes of its many
looming mountains are the dominant landscape. This greater levels stand ancient temples of the Imperial
was a forest-green and storm-grey world of scattered Creed, schools of learning, pillars to support grand upper
feral tribes when first brought into the Imperium by landing zones, and strongholds owned by the most
Rhamean legions, but changed profoundly across the powerful Anglish noble families. In every direction from
fifteen centuries since. Under the blessings of the the outer slopes of Hive Londus stretch the populous
Machine God and other Imperial technologies, the fiefdoms of Anglish Lords, the greatest of them marked
populace and their structures grew unchecked into a by the distant shadows of lesser hive foundations, like
nascent hiveworld of billions—albeit not yet as gray clouds above the manufactory-covered hills.
populous or as scarred by manufactory toxins as the core Wealthy houses and fractious alliances amongst
Yeuros worlds. Brythanic hives are more spread and less Anglish nobility compete ruthlessly for advantage, both
developed than the truly ancient hives of Rhame; within and beyond the civilized, treacherous confines of
towering spires and piled base structures are few in the Court in Hive Londus, and all raise their own forces
number, and where they do exist they are separated from of armsmen and militia. Were the Anglish not faced with
one another by league upon league of charred war- raids and the threat of war from the clans of Callidon
wastes, industrialized farmholds, beast-tracts, and Hybernea, they would surely be at one another's
manufactory reaches, and commoner hab-block towns. throats to press claims upon land, commoner allegiance,
Nor is Brythan truly united under one rule: the and vengeance for past slights. As matters stand, not a
descendants of the ancient tribes and their conquerors all decade passes without a feud between houses heating
worship the God-Emperor and count themselves near to war, giving cause for the Queen's house to
Imperial citizens, but they stand opposed in three intervene.
distinct regions, waging war with one another
frequently. Clans of Callidon and Hybernea
The Anglish Court The moon of Hybernea and highlands of Callidon upon
Brythan are chill, mountainous, and harsh, resting under
The Anglish are proud descendants of Rhameans and deep snows for much of the year. Raised roadways cross
conquered tribes, fierce in their Imperial faith. The the vales and tunnel through mountains to link widely
commoner Anglish masses have long been ruled by separated foundational hive structures and industrial
Kings, Queens, and an ever-changing Court of Lords, a regions, and between them deep manufactory-poisoned
nobility of extended houses descended from forbearers lakes and ruin-wastes where outlaw bands and the last
who were raised up to nobility through wealth, war, or beasts roam. Even the greatest fortresses of Callidon
great deeds. The Lord or Lady at the head of each noble cannot compare with the spires of Anglish lands,
house maintains a standing army, an intricate heraldry, however, and the combined Callidonean and Hybernean
and holds sway over a single spire fortress or hive populace is barely half that of the Anglish commoner
foundation and the surrounding structures and lands. masses.
Commoners within a lord's domain must pledge loyalty, For all that commoners, nobles, and savants
service, and often harsh tithes, or face the Lord's bailiffs. alike amongst the Anglish speak of Callidonean and
In turn a Lord pledges fealty to the Anglish queen and Hybernean clansmen as painted savages, these peoples
imposes the queen's order and justice within his lands. are just as much civilized hive-dwellers. Many of the
The power of the Anglish Court is made everyday customs of the clans are broadly similar to
manifest in the majesty of Hive Londus, oldest of those of the Anglish, lacking only the pervasive
Brythan's hives and the location of the Court itself—a Rhamean influence on justice, ideals of noble conduct,
large part of the palatial hivetop fortresses inhabited by and religious matters.
10
The spires of clan hive foundations and city- Imperial servants and outposts—and of all the Adepta,
fortresses are neither as great nor as gilded as those of only the omnipresent Ministorum wields any meaningful
Hive Londus, but it is telling that Anglish Lords and influence in Callidon and upon Hybernea.
their armies have never succeeded in conquering any
reach of the moon Hybernea or the highlands of Imperial Governor
Brythan. The clans are fierce in defence of their
independence and their lands, the peoples diverse and The Imperial Governor of Brythan is not appointed by a
fractious. Each clan is centred about a lesser hivebase distant Lord-Sector, but rather raised up from the local
structure or spire-fortress, proud in its own traditions populace, drawn from amongst the scions of Anglish
and histories. The clansmen's extended families are noble houses risen to prominent positions in the
linked by a shared legacy of vows and lineages, of tales Ecclesiarchy. Youngest sons and daughters of the
both told in song and recorded in clan records. greatest lineages, otherwise destined to be excluded from
The clansmen of Hybernea and Callidon have in power, have long been encouraged to enter the Imperial
some generations bowed to Kings and Queens, in others Cult. There they are elevated to positions within the
not, but they boast no strong tradition of obedience and Anglish Court, such as confessor to an appointed office-
absolute fealty in the manner of the Anglish Court—and holder or messenger to the Queen for the Church of
nor is the position of monarch usually inherited, as is the Brythan. Those who find their way to greater influence
case for the Anglish. When a monarch does arise, that in the Court typically also rise in the ranks of the
King must rule from his own clanhold spire by the fickle Ecclesiarchy, and vice versa. Ultimately, the highest
acclaim of the clan Lords, shifting from year to year, rung upon this ladder is comprised of the favour of the
and only grudgingly acknowledged by his peers as first Queen, the acclaim of the more powerful Anglish lords,
amongst equals. Across the ages since the Rhamean and the deep red robe of a High Ecclesiarch. From
conquest, the clans have fought one another just as often amongst this select circle is the next Governor chosen,
as they united to drive off the Anglish or pagan raiders appointed by Queen and Court to orchestrate the
emerged from the warp storms of the Lantean Abyss. workings of the Imperial Tithe—an opportunity for the
For all that, the Callidonean clans have acknowledged a appointed Ecclesiarch to gain great personal wealth and
monarch amongst the clan Lords more often than not power, beyond even that offered by the highest positions
across past two centuries, these Kings and Queens in the Church of Brythan. The Governor is powerful
chosen to lead the allied clans against their foes, or indeed in Hive Londus, but remains vulnerable to the
raised up to hear great disputes between clans that can whims of the Queen and the intrigues of the Court.
have no other resolution. There is an implicit bargain in this appointment: the
Governor's position rests upon supporting the dominant
Imperial Institutions factions within the Court, as well as ensuring that the
Ministorum publicly bestows the blessings of the God-
Signs of the Imperial Adepta upon Brythan are sparse in Emperor and Ministorum upon the Queen's reign and
comparison to other hiveworlds of the Yeuros cluster. actions.
There are no Imperial Guard regiments stationed upon
Brythan, no Departmeno Munitorum infrastructure, and Adeptus Ministorum
no permanently assigned Battlefleet vessels—though
roving sub-fleets traverse the system every few decades. The Ministorum touches every aspect of life upon
Administratum presence is anaemic, a bare few Brythan; faith in the God-Emperor is tangible and
thousand sages and archivists of Imperial records buried important. Preachers and lay-tutors are present in
deep within Hive Londus. Collection of the Imperial every hab-fane, shrines and temples stand in every
Tithe is managed instead by Ministorum priests and hive foundation level. Neither noble nor commoner
clerks, coordinated through shrines and cathedrals across can rise far without proclaiming their faith in word
Brythan. and deed, obtaining the counsel of a priest, and
Those Imperial institutions that are present are gaining his blessings upon their acts. Leaders of
at their strongest within the spires of Hive Londus, men at all levels of Brythanic society are expected
where adepts and emissaries from other Yeuros worlds to be trusted members of the laity, favoured by their
pay court to the Anglish Queen. Beyond the hive's edge- confessors, spoken of well by preachers who have
walls and outer slopes are found only lesser knowledge of them. Those who are not are regarded
11
with suspicion. regardless of its status as a sanctioned sect in the greater
The Brythanic Ministorum is split into two Yeuros Ministorum.
principle sects, Destinism and the Church of Brythan, Relations between sects have become far less
each consisting of varied theological factions and hostile in recent generations, however, the heated
orthodoxies. The priesthood—and thus control over the persecutions of the past replaced with a focus upon
considerable resources of the Ecclesiarchy—is uneasily collection of the Imperial tithe and bringing to heel
divided between the adherents of the two major sects, a unruly elements amongst the commoner masses. Some
small minority of hermit priests of lesser sanctioned claim the rifts in the Brythanic Ecclesiarchy have
creeds, and the few iconoclasts in the hierarchy brave become comparatively gentile schisms over orthodoxy
enough declare themselves beholden to no sect. and scripture, argued rather than fought, but occasionally
To the eyes of the commoner masses, the great inflamed by other disagreements between the Anglish,
sects are divided over the veneration of Imperial saints Callidonean, and Hybernean peoples.
and whether places of worship are gilded in splendour, Yet memories are long, and the differences
in the manner of the grand cathedrals of the Church of between sects remain sufficiently great to spark
Brythan, or build of bare, unadorned stone after the intrigues, vitriol, riots, and rivalry between priestly
fashion of Destinist shrineholds. These are trivial factions and their followers. The nature of the
matters for scholars and theosophists, however: the Ministorum hierarchy only compounds this state of
schism between Destinism and the Church of Brythan is affairs, as it is crosses both sects and regions:
in fact a dispute over the Greater Questions of Callidonean preachers often bow before Anglish
predestination, the omnipotence of the God-Emperor, superiors, for example, but some have risen to high posts
and the nature of choice. in the cathedrals of Hive Londus itself. Anglish
While the Church of Brythan is dominant Destinists exist at all levels of the Ecclesiarchy, albeit as
throughout Anglish lands, Destinists hold sway and a minority, as do Callidonean adherents of the Church of
manage Ministorum coffers in Callidon and upon Brythan—and also charismatic priests who rebuke both
Hybernea. There, Imperial shrines are unheated stone sides, or follow lesser sanctioned sects. A Destinist may
vaults, rank amongst the ordained is largely informal, be given orders by a devotee of the Church of Brythan,
and Ecclesiarchs teach that the God-Emperor steers or vice versa, and the crucible of Ministorum politics
every choice. All that happens is foreordained, and creates strange bedfellows: Destinist and Church of
prophecies are God-Emperor-given glimpses of what is Brythan priests allied as often as they are opposed.
to come. In stark contrast, Anglish cathedrals are
baroque and splendid, every alcove set with gilded Holy Inquisition
relics, statues of Imperial saints, and engraved scenes
from Imperial history. Anglish priests and lay-tutors The Inquisition has been represented for centuries by
teach lessons based upon the scripture of the Rhamean Inquisitor Willard Quassus, known widely upon Brythan
Temple, copied wholesale and made distinct in name as Willard of the Spear. He and what little remains of his
only as the creed of the Church of Brythan. The most immediate retinue reside in Hive Londus, and have long
fervent Ecclesiarchs to follow these once-Rhamean been much withdrawn from the Holy Ordos. Past actions
teachings reject outright all Destinist theology: men and have made the Inquisitor a legend upon Brythan; as he
women must choose anew each day to serve the God- grows ever older and closer to death, sainthood is much
Emperor, the future is unknown, and every choice has discussed amongst Ecclesiarchs—and has long been
consequences. assumed as a fact by commoners.
In past centuries, bloody purges of Destinism
took place in Anglish domains and when Anglish Adeptus Arbites
legions raided Callidon and Hybernea. Some scholars
call the purges a rightful echo of the end of pagan Ald Eight regiments of Arbites troops and light armour are
Brythan, that time long past when priest-seers gathered based in a network of fortress-barracks at the core of
in sacred groves and made bloody sacrifice to dark and Hive Londus—a not insignificant military force, but one
nameless gods in order to see the future. The seers were that pales beside than the combined household armies
annihilated in the Rhamean Crusade, and there are and militia of the Lords of Londus and the surrounding
always some amongst the High Ecclesiarchs who domains. While the Adeptus Arbites are supposedly
believe that Destinism must go the same way, independent, protecting Imperial interests at their own
12
discretion, assignment of commanders by the Imperial Fragments of History
Governor and use of Ministorum funds has long ensured
that the first loyalty of Arbites troops is to the As is true of every Imperial world in the Yeuros cluster,
Ministorum. In effect, the Adeptus Arbites are used as a thousands of years of history flow beneath Brythan's
militant arm by the High Ecclesiarchy when the need present, much of it lost—either to the mists of pagan Ald
arises. More commonly, Arbites are dispatched to Brythan, or simply buried beneath the weight of
protect Ministorum resources from the depredations of diligently chronicled uprisings, schisms, wars, noble
raging hive-mobs and rebellious uprisings. More than lineages, myths, legends, and the countless details of
half of the Arbites force is scattered across Brythan at billions of lives. But some of that history remains
any given time, squads and companies assigned to known, and a fraction of it remains important to the
protect the hated tithe-assessors, or guarding the relics Brythanic peoples, tales of the past retold and kept alive
and finery of Anglish cathedrals from the venal urges of by commoner and noble alike.
a roused mob.
The End of Ald Brythan
Adeptus Astra Telepathica
The Yeuros stars were conquered in the Emperor's name
Whilst officially independent, in practice the few in the early centuries of M40, added to the Imperium in a
astropaths of Brythan act as an arm of the Ministorum crusade whose cost ultimately ruined the originating
through the offices of the Imperial Governor. The world of Rhame. But for generation after generation
astropathic enclave is set atop a thin, tall spire of Hive Rhamean Lords stood tall and gilded, and Guard legions
Londus, and the Astropath Primaris is a favoured marched to victory upon every world of the Yeuros
presence in the Anglish Court. cluster, their bronzed ranks strong and unbroken beneath
the Aquila.
Adeptus Mechanicus Brythan was the most distant and last of worlds
conquered by the Imperial forces of Rhame, far out upon
The Silencius is the dominant Mechanicus faction of the the edge of the Lantean Abyss. It was wild and forested,
Yeuros worlds, a grouping of numerous contemplative a primitive, tribal era of chanting priest-seers and horn-
orders whose members focus upon binary prayer and beast hunts, known now to scholars as the age of Ald
labours that lead to meditative unity with the will of the Brythan. The ferals massed for battle with the Rhamean
Omnissiah. The painstaking maintenance of tech- legions, but were broken by artillery, lasfire, and orbital
devices is one such path to communion with the divine; bombardment. Within a generation, they and their
to the true Silencean it matters not whether a children were brought into the Imperial light, their pagan
promethium engine, cogitator, archaeotech wonder, or ways of worship crushed and purged.
simple mechanical lever is the object of such work. All
technologies are equal in the Omnissiah's eyes, and the Fall of Rhame
eternal function of every machine is a holy goal.
Upon Brythan, all Mechanicus barring a few Guild-fleets soon came across the voids to Brythan,
emissaries from Rhame and Gahul belong to the following in the wake of Battlefleet support vessels and
Silencean Orders. These tech-adepts, tech-priests, and Crusade victory. Structures raised by the legions were
magi are little interested in politics, power, or expanding taken over by sanctioned guilders, by Administratum
the range of tech-devices available to the Brythanic adepts come to count the populace and minister the
peoples. Monkish in aspect, quiet and inscrutable, they Imperial Tithe, by quiet tech-adepts of the Silencean
diligently maintain hive machinery, void-ships, and Orders, and by Missionaria who taught the Imperial
other advanced devices, and rarely engage in meaningful Creed. Habs, cities, temples of the Rhamean
dialog with the uninitiated. The inner society and secrets Ministorum, manufactories, and ultimately the first struts
of the Silenceans remain well hidden behind the walls of of hive foundations were raised up, and wealth ran from
their manufactory enclaves and hive-core machine the heart of the Yeuros cluster to Brythan in the
temples. generations before Rhame fell into decline.
But Rhame fell in the end, exhausted and
corrupted by the staggering expense of Imperial crusade,
its final Imperial rulers cruel and ineffectual
13
tyrants who dishonoured the God-Emperor and trampled their blood undiluted by that of Rhame, and their faith in
the Ministorum. Many of the greatest hive-structures the God-Emperor more austere and practical than the
burned, the mobs rioted for years on end, and it would Rhamean creed. They rejected the Pontifs of Rhame in
be centuries before the first glimmers of Rhamean glory word and deed.
returned. Commerce across the voids dwindled, and Across these long years, some generations
much that was once gilded fell into poverty and ruin. brought only war and fleeting conquest, others a flood of
While the might of Rhame collapsed and trade and Anglish missionaries to preach the scriptures
mouldered, Bythan grew—and even prospered. Taught of the Rhamean Temple. At times there were even
the civilized ways of Rhame and the Imperial Creed, the uneasy alliances forged against pagan war-fleets,
descendants of feral tribes praised the God-Emperor and despoilers come from warp-scourged worlds in the
grew vast in number. In their masses they completed and Lantean Abyss. Even in times of comparative peace,
populated the hive foundation structures, Rhamean however, the three peoples of Brythan have stood
patterns first planned by the Silencean tech-engineers opposed to one another, scornful and wary, ever just a
who accompanied the Crusade legions. The forests were few paces from war.
felled, mountains carved into mine-pits, and the wilds
where horn-beasts once ran overtaken by industrial The yorde Invasion
farm-tracts and hab-towns.
Three hundred years ago, after the present Anglish
Passage of Centuries Queen Elyzia's grandfather became King and established
House Teuda, a vast fleet of raiders emerged from the
Generations of Brythanic peoples were born, praised the warp to invade Brythan. These were the pagan,
God-Emperor as the Lord of Mankind, and went into the bloodthirsty Nyorde of frigid worlds in the Lantean
darkness to their reward. Administratum rule gave way Abyss, known and feared but never before come in such
to a nobility of quarrelling Lords and monarchs, lineages numbers. The Nyorde laid waste to hive-tracts and
whose greatest figures warred over domains established enslaved and slew millions, offering up bloody entrails
amidst manufactory sprawls, growing pollution-wastes, to their false gods. The invaders were ultimately
and towering hive-structures. defeated by the allied armies of Anglish and Callidonean
In time the most faithful and prosperous Lords, but that victory might never have been achieved
servants of the God-Emperor upon Brythan became but for the intercession of Inquisitor Willard Quassus. So
known as the Anglish—many domains of commoners the tale is told, Quassus slew the Nyorde war-chief in
and Lords united under the rule of a single monarch, all single combat and broke the sacred spear of the
descended from the mixed blood of feral tribes and long- pagans—an act which gave them to fear and disarray.
dead Rhamean administrators. Their customs were those The Inquisitor was feted by King and clan Lords, and his
of Rhame, their faith that of the Rhamean Temple, even name proclaimed in every vault and way of Bythan's
after the light of Rhame itself had long faded. The hives.
Anglish Ministorum grew to might and influence, and
built its cathedrals to echo the glories of the Rhamean Founding of the Church of Brythan
Temple of old. When Rhame departed its age of ruin, set
upon the path to become a powerful Ministorum world, A little more than a century past, early in the turbulent
ties with the Rhamean Temple were reforged anew, and reign of the present Queen Elyzia's father, the Imperial
the High Ecclesiarchs of Brythan pledged themselves in Governor Thomar of House Crommell broke with the
humble servitude to the ascendent Pontifs of Rhame. star-spanning hierarchy of the Rhamean Temple to forge
For more than a millennium the Anglish a more independent Brythanic Ministorum. He rebuked
squabbled and warred with descendants of the ferals the Pontifs, declared himself Grand Ecclesiarch of the
who once most fiercely resisted Rhame: fiery, new Church of Brythan, and set about a reformation of
independent Hyberneans of the moon and red-haired past traditions and hierarchies.
Callidoneans of the snow-bound highlands. In their That generation was a time of great upheaval
defeat before the might of the Rhamean legions, those and political conflict within the greater Yeuros
tribes of Ald Brythan were reduced to little more than Ministorum, marked by bloody rebellion and uprisings
scattered households, but which then grew once more of outraged, fervent mobs upon many worlds. One such
across the centuries into mighty clans led by bold Lords, took place upon Brythan in the Anglish territories
14
near Callidon, only to be brutally put down by those vessels to carry a vast horde of clan-guard down from
Anglish Lords who sided with the Court and House the moon for the final battle—and to hear the
Crommell. Many lesser priests were thrown from the Callidonean bards tell the tale, the Hyberneans carried
ranks of the Brythanic Ministorum for their part in the the taint of defeat with them, their chosen tools fated to
uprisings, and the High Ecclesiarchs severed all ties with failure. The clan Lords of Callidon, united beneath the
the High Pontifs of Rhame—while nonetheless keeping heraldry of King Dunsean, defeated the Hybernean
intact most of the ancient Rhamean traditions and King's guard and forced their ignominious retreat from
scriptures. war-vales littered with the burning wreckage of
All but the most zealous of Destinists welcomed Hybernean light armour.
the birth of the Church of Brythan, as there had come to
be a widespread loathing of the influence of Rhame The Hive Foundations
amongst the priests of Callidon and Hybernea. In the
years since, Destinists from the clans have become more Rhamean standard template patterns dominate the
influential in the Brythanic Ministorum, and the older architecture of Brythanic hives, their characteristic lines
sectarian divisions, while still very much present, have and angles, pillars and squared portals found everywhere
begun to blur at the edges. in the looming spirebase foundations and upper works.
The core hive structure is formed of weighty decks of
Present Times hive-metal set above one another in layers, supported by
vast fluted pillars. These decks fill over time as
Anglish monarchs have fought many ultimately futile structures both great and small are piled and layered to
wars against the clans of Callidon and Hybernea since extend from deck below to under-deck above: grand
the age of Rhame, but two centuries have passed since fanes, cathedrals, fortress estates, close-packed habs, and
last the Anglish Lords marched to conquer. Memories maze-like districts of alleys, stairs, and lesser buildings.
are long, however. While busy tradeways cross from A hundred spans separate each deck from the foundation
Anglish border dominions into the mountainous vaults of the level immediately above, and there are
highlands, and orbital lift scows carry bulk cargo to and narrow, dizzying rifts between district edges and the
from Hybernea, there is little friendship between these walls of great structures.
peoples of Brythan. It is rare for more than a decade to Hive decks are enclosed by thick outer-walls,
elapse between disputes and raids—some of which sealed away from any view of the skies and mountains.
might be called small wars upon another, more peaceful An outer-wall is a massively armoured bulk of hive-
world. metal, many spans broad, riddled by passages and
Even as militants of the border domains stand in hidden chambers, pierced by massive gatehouses and
readiness year after year, the Anglish Lords have looked portal tunnels. New outer-walls are forged as hive decks
more to their own affairs and conflicts since the expand across the centuries, the previous outer-walls left
ascension of Queen Elyzia to the throne. The Queen has to as borders between lordly domains. Vast statues and
been headstrong, popular, and powerful throughout her ceramic tile mosaics bearing the heraldry of noble
life, the centre of a Court that is ordered according to her houses and Ministorum iconography are set into the
vision. Lords vie for the Queen's favour, and duels are outer-walls, those on the exterior weather-worn and
fought between noble scions over slights real or crumbling.
imagined. Rebellious heads have rolled in past years, The decks themselves, the outer-walls, and the
and Lords who pay too little heed to the Queen's wishes largest interior structures of Brythan's hives are forged of
are soon called to account. Rarely has an Anglish materials whose true nature is known only to the
monarch wielded such power over her unruly Silencean Orders: adamantine, cerasteel, silverplas, and
nobles—and attempting yet another conquest of others. All of these are simply "hive-metal" to the
Callidon or Hybernea is not her desire. masses. Hive-metal supports immense weight, shrugs off
Relative peace with the Anglish has not caused flame and impact, and corrodes but slowly, building up a
the clan Lords to lack for war, however. A conflict of thick, dull patina of reactants over time rather than
raids and massive void-landings waged between rotting or weakening. Columns, sheets, and joists of
Callidon and Hybernea has lasted the past decade, only hive-metal are produced as needed within sealed
recently concluded by Callidonean victory. The alchemical manufactories far from the hives, entirely
Hybereans used long-abandoned Nyorde raider controlled by the Machine Cult.
15
Still young by Imperial measures, the hive though they reach upward, each seemingly crammed into
structures of Brythan have suffered few collapses and a narrow gap overlooked by earlier architects.
crushed sub-levels, and there is little to rival the Hab-district sublevels are linked in countless
corruptions and horrors of the underhive found upon places by thin, precipitous stairways and narrow ladders.
more populous Yeuros worlds. Low decks and hive These warrens are further riddled by alley-tunnels that
cores swarm with the poor and the outcast, but even wind and twist between walls—each a maze that opens
amidst squalor and unrest the poverty districts remain out into narrow chasms where the district ends at
near to civilization. Bailiffs, militia, and other lord's men roadways or looming hive-metal walls. Even markets are
walk the low ways, the poorest appoint their own piled vertically, taller than they are broad, the commoner
watchmen and torch-carriers, and punishment falls upon crowds climbing as much as walking to view cavorting
those who fail to pledge fealty and pay their paltry tithes entertainers and goods laid out by merchant guilders.
to the assessors. Meeting squares, muster avenues, and other
comparatively open spaces are hidden within these
Roadways districts, but only those who dwell there know all of the
secret ways and places: hive maps are notoriously
Broad ceracrete roadways permit transport of goods unreliable.
across and between hive decks. Lined with sigil-posts
and statues, the roadways run alongside outer-walls and Bridgeworks, Fortresses, and Cathedrals
turn in at marshalling junctions to cut through each deck
like chasms. Steep roadway ramps and spiralling stair- Hive decks are not simply flat layers of hive-metal
pillars large enough to pass an army link each deck to bulkhead material, foundations for districts and great
those above and below. Lumbering, belching halls. They are broken by numerous enormous
promethium transports crowd the roadways night and structures: sealed river-ducts a hundred spans broad;
day, occasionally shunted aside in disarray to pass the domed cistern-lake vaulting; old outer-wall sections;
armoured caravan of a noble or wealthy guilder. A bridges over the upper works of generator temples;
millennium of promethium fumes have stained black the empty sink-pit foundations around major support pillars;
metals and statues of the roadways, and corroded a the baroque upper works of cathedrals, rich with
glistening patina upon the facing structures. gargoyles; the walls of fortresses, palaces, and noble
estates.
Fanes and Hab-Mazes The boundaries of a hive-fortress, often the
estate of a noble house, are marked by curving bulkhead
The fanes of Brythan's hives resemble the temple walls many spans thick, hung with fine banners and
patterns of Rhame: tall and foreboding, fronted by broad painted with noble heraldry. Estate walls bisect decks
steps, crouching gargoyles, and hive-metal colonnades and roadways, the only official points of entry their
that rise almost to the deck ceiling. The heraldry of lords imposing armoured gatehouses. Within these enclaves
and guilds surrounds these grand hive-halls: painted the structure of the hive is much the same as without: a
upon entry portals, embossed upon steps, and woven mix of warren-districts for servants and household
into banners hanging between fluted columns, swaying militants, open squares and long avenues, and great
in the airflow from ventilation ducts. Within the fanes Rhamean fanes where the nobility hold court. Inside
are echoing vaults set with statues, sweeping stairways these halls of influence and power, the corridors are
and curved balconies, and level upon level of corridor panelled in old, polished wood, grown in plantations
grids and narrow cells, fit for scribes and monks. beyond the hives—or perhaps cut long ago from the last
The oldest and largest fanes face open courts or of the true forests. Hidden passages run between hive-
roadways, but most are surrounded on all sides by metal bulkheads and wooden interior walls, used by
crowded districts of stacked hab-blocks and guild servants and conspirators.
warrens, lesser buildings and hive-metal supports piled Noble houses are only rivalled in their power by
atop one another until no space remains between the the High Ecclesiarchs of the Church of Brythan, and it is
deck floor and the vaults above. Some of these thus fitting that Anglish cathedrals and their domains are
commoner structures are built of hive-metal themselves, as large as the fortress estates of Hive Londus. Each
others of stone, metals, plasteen, even chem-treated spans several decks, surrounded by districts housing
wood, but all are typically narrow and tall. They look as monks, clergy, and other religious orders, its flanks and
16
upper works boasting lofty bell-towers and massive bells when a warm, terrible miasma rises from low decks and
of iron, brass, and bronze. Outlying shrines are similarly roadways.
set with towers and bells, even in the poor and filth- Besides air, the ventilation channels serve as a
strewn lower decks where priests are sent to do duty as a path heat in winter: as the rains turn to snow, plasma
penance. The bells toll dolorously at allotted hours, torches and electro-element grills burn white-hot within
marking sermons and masses, each place of worship the largest fan stations in the hive depths. This is rarely
with its own distinctive pattern. Upon high holy days, enough to render the halls and hab-warrens comfortable,
such as the Feast of the Emperor's Ascension, the bells however. Nobles and guilders warm their estates with
of Brythan's hives ring constantly from dawn to dusk. promethium-torches, electro-ovens, and other heating
devices—a luxury that many commoners can also afford
Light for their smaller hab-spaces. But when snow lies crusted
many spans deep atop the outer-walls and a profound
Light filters into the enclosed, tight-packed hive decks chill seeps through the hive-metals, the poor and the
through arrays of mirrored slits and vents in the high outcast have little recourse but to gather in unruly
outer-walls, or is provided by vast lumen-devices that crowds at the vent-ducts, swaddled in rags and layered
hang suspended upon corroded chains from the deck cloaks, to seek what little warmth is provided.
foundations above. Some greater fanes are set with stab-
lights to illuminate the heraldry of their facing, that light Provision of Power
spilling into surrounding districts, but piled hab-districts
usually bear their own lesser mirror-vents and lumen Hive gates and other large moving structures such as
devices powered by charge packs, better maintained in drawbridges and pumps typically employ oil-hydraulic
some reaches than in others—every deck has its dark machinery, massive pistons and wheel-locks sheathed by
alley-tunnels where the disreputable lurk. hive-metal guards. Power for these imposing engines, as
While commoner and noble alike have light in well as for the vast lumens that light some decks,
the upper decks, the low poverty-warrens are either ventilation fans, manufactory machine-lines, and more is
buried in darkness year-round or left dark through provided by plasma generators sealed deep within the
winter when deep snows block the mirror-vents. These hive core. These generators, hidden within Silencean
districts are lit only by the few meagre tech-devices that enclaves, serve more than just the hives: raised conduits
the wretched and the poor win for their own use, and lines of skeletal transmission towers carry much of
alongside the flames of combustibles distributed as alms their output far beyond the outer-walls. Outlying
by compassionate sisterhoods. Beast-fat candles and manufactories, mines, and hab-regions all depend upon
torches are as common as battered, inherited the nearest hive foundation in this way. Despite this
promethium fuel-lamps, and for these least amongst great breadth of the power networks that extend from
commoners even a partially functioning lumen is a rare hive core generators, shielded power conduits within the
prize indeed. hives themselves only lead to the largest interior
structures: fanes, cathedrals, fortress estates, guild
Heat and Air manufactories, and installations of the Imperial Adepta.
At the outskirts of these privileged regions there are
Ventilation tunnels and ducts sheathed in hive-metal run power-wells and conduit-taps, where servants and
through hive outer-walls, within support pillars, and commoners crowd each morning to fill the charge packs
alongside bulkheads, branching mazes of circulating air. that power lumens, element-heaters, and other lesser
Thrumming fan stations run constantly to draw in tech-devices. Power is for the privileged, and the
exterior air, circulate it between decks, and force it Machine Cult of Brythan is just as reluctant to provide
through stained purity filters. The filters at least for the unfettered use of plasma generators as it is for all
somewhat curtail the omnipresent promethium fumes, other technologies.
stench of poor districts, and alchemical pollutants that
flow from hive manufactories—but only somewhat. The Wastes and Waters
servants of noble and guilder houses maintain further
layers of filtration engines and scent-devices in order to Waste and water flow through the hives side by side
keep the halls of their masters pure, and even these within gargantuan pipes and echoing, vaulted pump
measures are not always successful in the brief summers stations, to and from reprocessing vats in the hive-core
17
Silencean enclaves, walled off and watched over by of Silencean tech-magi produce only lesser tech-patterns
tech-priests. The churning of powerful pump for the masses and their Lords, such as promethium
machineries can be felt through the hive-metal support engines, electro-heaters, charge-packs, and stubguns.
pillars on lower decks, as somewhere below arcane More potent tech-devices nonetheless circulate upon
mechanisms separate and purge the worst of the waste, Brythan, infrequently and in small numbers, brought
sending it into buried, poisoned rivers or corroded across the voids from by chartered guild-fleets, and often
pipelines that lead to the grey, polluted seas. Reclaimed accompanied by tech-adepts pledged to support these
and purified waters are pumped upward through unusual devices. The tech-magi of Brythan
branching channels to fill sealed cistern-lakes higher in disapprove—and are notoriously reluctant to indulge
the hive foundation structure. even the most powerful noble houses with compacts of
From the cistern-lakes water flows directly to support for tech-devices from other worlds—but do not
the largest structures of a hive, where lesser arrays of interfere in guild trade. Thus most Lords and influential
internal piping and pressure tanks direct it as guilders possess a few curios, weapons, and other
needed—taps and water-rooms are the sign of nobility esoteric tech-devices that were not forged upon Brythan.
or guilder wealth. Elsewhere, few structures are Wargear is favoured: potent devices such as
provided with any easy way to tap the flow from the powerblades, powered armour, and plasmaguns are
cistern-lakes. Most commoners draw their water as they considered house treasures and handed down across
draw their power, from meeting square pipe-wells, from generations.
fonts projecting from outer-walls and support pillars, or
from tanker transports crews when they pause for a Vehicles and Vessels
while at hab-warren edges. Nonetheless, shared bath
houses and small, ad-hoc piping networks are People and goods most often travel by promethium
commonplace outside the poorest districts, served by engine ground transport—the dominant tech-patterns are
their own crude cisterns and pumps, corroding and loud, heavy vehicles with six or more wheels and hard-
leaking where maintenance is lax. shelled cargo containments. Fleets of these transports are
Sewer vents are also communal for the owned by guilds and Lords, running under arcane and
commoner masses, but webs of piping and pump- often hereditary compacts of support struck with the
engines exist in wealthier professional districts so as to Machine Cult. Metalled and raised ceracrete roadways
at least allow dwellings to boast water-closets in the link the spirebases and fortress structures with outlying
same style as those of noble estates. For most regions, and cut through districts within the larger hive
commoners, however, wastes must be carried each day foundations, crowded with vehicle caravans. There is
in bedpans and seal-buckets from hab to gaping sewer space for walking travellers beside the roadways, but
pit. A pervasive industry of waste portage exists few are seen outside the hives and hab-sprawls: only the
amongst the poor to serve this need, and these near- occasional hardy pilgrim bands, starving outlaws, and
outcasts walk the alley-tunnels of the hives each farm-tract poor forced from their habs by ill luck or
morning to cry for night-soil to fill their noisome sacks harsh treatment.
and chugging promethium-engine carts. In the darkened Upon the seas, corrosion-streaked barges and
poverty districts where they dwell, there are as many stinking fish-processor vessels churn slowly between
alleys turned to open sewers as there are waste-vents, coastal hivewalls, each home to its own insular
however, and filth crusts every surface. community, and almost a town in and of itself. Despite
the size of the sea-barges, land routes still carry the
Blessings of the Machine Cult greater portion of goods for trade and travelling workers,
however. The grey oceans of Brythan are empty save for
Brythan is technology-poor in comparison to more the barges and processors: coastal waters long ago
populous hiveworlds of the Yeuros cluster. While the ceased to be a haven for the traditional small sails,
tech-priests of Brythan maintain at least a few ancient wooden hulls, and fisher boats. The last visible remnants
examples of almost every Imperial technology within of the old fleets are rotting ribs and keels left upon
their hive-core enclaves, the vast majority of those mudflats and in effluent-choked estuaries, shadowed by
devices are rarely if ever used in earnest—few outside manufactory towers and waste-discharge stations.
the Machine Cult even know of their existence. Aircraft are comparatively rare, and not
Manufactories operating under the guidance produced by any of Brythan's manufactories. The
18
Anglish Queen holds a few robust, ancient Imperial weapons put their differences aside and act in unison.
Guard flyers, while noble houses and clan lords between
them possess a handful of flyers, ranging from ugly bulk Arms and Armour
transports to ornate and gilded pleasure craft. These air-
vessels are maintained largely for prestige rather than The manufactories of Brythan turn out simple, robust
utility, and are put to little meaningful use. More wargear such as stubbers, shotguns, a range of
commonly seen are drogue transports employed by promethium flamers, fragmentation grenades, and light
wealthy guilds for sedate long distance flight and heavy flak armour. Light armoured vehicles, cannon, and
lifting, although there are still only a few score such standard template tanks are also constructed, though not
vessels in all Brythan. in the numbers appropriate to the size of Brythanic
armies: battles are slow and bloody, decided as much by
Voidships men on foot as by weight of cannon or speed of mounted
deployment.
There are no true Imperial voidships based upon The bulk of an army marching to earnest war is
Brythan: no Battlefleet detachment, no vast defence made up of militia, conscripted from the commoner
vessels, and nor any guild charter-fleets. The landing masses for the duration of hostilities and released
fields of Hive Londus and the greater clan-holds of thereafter. As many of the able-bodied as can be found
Callidon and Hybernea are instead served by slow-lift within an Anglish domain are called by marshals to the
scows that thunder upward on plasma flames, each practice squares every tenth day—and later mustered to
capable of bearing the contents of a dozen warehouses fight in the Lord's wars or march to suppress riot and
or a thousand crowded pilgrims into orbit in a single rebellion. In some domains the practice is proud and
flight. The scows ferry cargo between Brythan, crowded, in others reluctant and poor—but regardless,
Hybernea, and the meagre, skeletal orbital docks that militia are typically ill-led and poorly equipped in
service trade vessels arrived from distant Yeuros worlds. comparison to professional soldiers, trained to use little
A handful of the largest orbital lifters are crudely refitted more than breach-load rifles and shotguns. When militia
as war-vessels, set with paired macrocannon and thick must travel far to battle, they ride packed into the same
hive-metal plating in place of holds. These are owned by pattern of transport that carries meat from the beast pens,
disparate noble houses and clan Lords, potent signs of given little or no protection.
status and wealth that are rarely sent forth to fight in Effective wargear, such as automatic stubbers,
earnest—but which have nonetheless served well body armour, heavy cannon, and armoured vehicles, are
enough in Brythan's wars. Even heavily armoured scows restricted to the standing militant forces maintained by
are small, fragile, and ill-equipped in comparison to a the nobility: household guards in peace and heart of a
warp-capable frigate, however. larger army in war. A Lord's estate-guard will typically
include a few tanks and scout amour alongside a larger
Planetary Defence Installations number of Chimera-pattern transports. Large
cannon—murder-tanks and artillery—are towed behind
Beyond the absence of Battlefleet-scale vessels, Brythan promethium engine tenders or crudely mounted on
also lacks the extensive unified planetary defences standard template tank hulls. More potent Imperial
characteristic of a greater hiveworld. The orbital weaponry exists, brought across the voids by guild
docking structures are sparse and unarmed, but Hive traders, but only the trusted elite bear such rare wargear.
Londus and the largest spirebase structures in Callidon A Lord's close-guard might be equipped with a score of
are guarded by orbital-reach macrocannon, enormous hellguns, carapace armour, and a scattering of bolter,
weapons sunk deep into shielded pits. There are scores rocket, and melta weapons, for example, while the Lord
of these installations, some of which are melted ruins, himself goes to war in powered armour embossed with
lanced by the Nyorde centuries ago and never rebuilt. house heraldry, bearing a scarred powerblade from the
Others are simply abandoned, their tech-devices failed forges of Gahul, wielded by his father and father's father
or corroded to uselessness—a consequence of the before him.
history and character of the controlling noble house or Beyond the nobility, the wealthiest guilds
clan. Nonetheless, enough defence macrocannon remain maintain guard forces that approach the size of a Lord's
active to threaten lesser voidships with destruction, standing army, although these militants are typically
should the varied Lords of the domains containing these scattered throughout mercantile holdings in many
19
different regions rather than being centrally barracked. work with tools that are little more advanced than those
Some are armed as poorly militia, whilst others are of their ancestors: parchment, ink, and rattling type-
given heraldry, uniforms, and more sophisticated machinery that presses heated sigil-blocks upon sheets
weaponry—but this depends on the guilder's influence of silversheaf. The educated Lord's private librarium is
and noble indulgence. A Lord typically only permits the thus a mix of folios copied and illuminated by hand,
privilege of raising a personal guard in his domain in type-printed and metal-bound silversheaf manuscripts,
return for a pledge of military support in times of war and a few rare and prized dataslates.
and tithes or favours in times of peace.
The Adeptus Arbites barracked in Hive Londus Servitors
possess extensive armouries of light wargear, a equal
mix of ancient tech-patterns from the age of Rhame and Upon Brythan, the dominant Silencean scriptures declare
weapons manufactured upon Brythan. Enforcers are that a labour servitor exists in a state of grace, closer to
typically equipped with Rhamean-pattern carapace the Omnissiah's Will than any mere man.
armour and Brythanic shotguns, but can muster a Transformation into a servitor is the rightful and fitting
smaller number of heavier man-portable weapons if reward for a long life dedicated to sacred duties.
needed. The barracks in Hive Londus support more Servitors work alongside red-robed Silenceans in the
armoured vehicles than are found in any one Lord's hives, and many more toil hidden within Machine Cult
forces, both tanks and Chimera-pattern transports, and manufactories and mines, but all were once tech-adepts.
all Arbites deployments within the hive are fully To the Silencean eye, a servitor is a machine shrine in
mechanized—more than enough to intimidate even the and of itself, honouring both the Omnissiah and the aged
most bloody-minded mobs. tech-adept whose flesh and augmetics it incorporates,
and thus any ownership of servitors beyond the Machine
Cogitators and Data Vaults Cult is unthinkable and impermissible.
Cogitation devices of all varieties are rare on Brythan, Augmetics
even in the hives. The lesser cogitators and data vaults
commonplace on other Yeuros hiveworlds, heavy Machine augmentation of the body and mind are rare
devices slaved to key-slates and flickering pict screens, beyond the ranks of the Machine Cult, only provided by
are little seen beyond Machine Cult enclaves and the oft- monkish Silencean tech-priests under exceptional
neglected Administratum vaults set deep within Hive circumstances. A few Lords, High Ecclesiarchs and
Londus. But there, hidden away, are rank upon rank of other powerful figures bear augmetics to evade the
cogitation cells suited for scribe-labour, as well as huge consequences of crippling injury, but even these signs of
data looms capable of intricate psalm-algorithms, such favour are given reluctantly.
as ciphering and sifting tasks. Elsewhere, however,
cogitators are conspicuous by their absence; a few Communication
battle-cogitators and savant's data vaults are held by
sophisticated guild elders and Lords, but rarely used Portable vox devices are constructed in Brythan's
well. Orbital scows and a few arcane tech-installations manufactories, but vox communication itself is poor and
such as the planetary defense cannons and massive psy- fragmented: the hidden installations and Machine Cult
damper generators of the Astropathic Enclave are guided mysteries that allow for distant communication are either
by dedicated, slaved cogitators, but these are exceptions ill-kept or deliberately limited. Few commoners are
to the general rule: vehicles, devices, and installations, granted the opportunity to use a vox device for its
ranging from sea-barges to electo-heaters to hive-gates intended purpose, and few nobles would stoop to
are controlled manually, or through simple mechanical perform a task clearly fit for servants. Thus most devices
linkages. are stored, forgotten and dust-covered, and most vox-
rooms were long ago left to corrosion and darkness. The
Lexical Tools few forms of vox device that function well are only
usable within a particular hive spirebase, or only able to
The common scribes of Brythan have little or no access communicate with other devices of the same issuance.
to sophisticated Imperial lexmachinery, such as auto- These include Adeptus Arbites vox-beads, heavy
quills, memory augmetics, and librarium servitors. They voxcaster packs used by the trusted elite of a Lord's
20
household guard, and the vox-augmetics of tech-adepts with the psyker curse exist upon Brythan, and most
toiling in the darkness of hive foundation vent networks. consist of large and strange machine-halls, served by
Other devices exist, and some can even be found in the arrays of generators. These installations include the
hive markets, but they typically hear only static and heavy psy-dampers that shield the Imperial Governor's
unidentified fragments of speech at best. palace—where witches are brought to be
Both the Machine Cult and Ministorum imprisoned—and the Astropathic Enclave of Hive
maintain potent voxcaster emplacements within Hive Londus. The psy-dampers are humming, crackling
Londus and other important hive foundations, but the mysteries of the Machine Cult, arcane engines
control seals are only broken to send messages of great maintained across long centuries of silence and tradition,
import, or in times of war and uprising. These barely understood even by their Silencean keepers.
voxcasters are capable of exchanging pict sequences and
voice missives across the breadth of Brythan and Medicine
Hybernea, but only between emplacements. Lesser
shrines and outlying regions must make do with The medicae of Brythan are an uneven mix of faith-
messengers and delay in the relay of vital information. healers, mercenary surgeons, travelling bands of quick-
Thus despite prevalent vox-tech, most tongued rogues, and esteemed scholars of Rhamean
communications are delivered by means of parchment Physik—some pretending to more than one of these
missives and trusted messengers. Upon the war-fields, roles, and each class divided into many rival guilds and
runners and signal-banners are much used, while vox- brotherhoods. The poor must rely upon prayer to the
traffic is restricted to a Lord's elite and little trusted for God-Emperor, folk-remedies, and dubious tinctures
strategy in any case. For the masses, news of war and purchased in the hive foundation markets. The wealthy,
current events travels alongside rumours and tales, in contrast, are attended by respectful scholars who
carried between regions by pilgrims and transport crews, debate one another on the finer interpretations of the
spreading rapidly through each new hive foundation by folios of their trade: an array of treatises handed down
word of mouth. All that is heard upon the hive-ways and from ancient Rhame and other, farther worlds, written in
in the taverns is unreliable, changing from day to day, the dim Imperial past, and translated and mistranslated
but the mob is still easily roused by exciting falsehoods. many times over in the millennia since. The most
In contrast, proclamations issued by Lords and High revered medicae have gained the rare favour of
Ecclesiarchs are type-printed upon silversheaf, posted Silencean tech-priests and so possess effective medicines
upon every wall, and their contents declaimed in public and medical devices, including even limited juvenat
spaces by a legion of criers and paid demagogues. treatments, but only the most powerful can command
their attention. Thus whilst the poor die young, suffering
Auspex the progressive burden of alchemical pollutions, fluxes,
and poxes, the Kings and Queens of Brythan can live for
Auspex devices beyond the Machine Cult are near two centuries—if not cut down by war or treachery.
rudimentary at best, while Silencean tech-adepts make Despite these disparities, surgeons competent in
little use of the more potent auspex tech-patterns within matters of cleaning wounds, setting bones, and quick
their enclaves. Hand-held auspex devices are extremely amputations can be found in even the poorest districts.
rare, and most reside within the vaults of noble Equally, although widespread, most lesser agues are
houses—treasures rather than tools. Nonetheless, crude survivable for an adult, even one suffering the added
auspex installations and control rooms are built into burden of toxic potions mixed by rogues dressed as
orbital scows and seagoing barges, allowing for a vision medicae. All too many unfortunates are left ravaged and
of vessels and terrain at great distances. Ground vehicle crippled by disease, however: amidst the stench of
patterns lack such capabilities, however, and battles poverty districts are the eye-scarred blind, the mad, the
upon Brythan are shaped by lines of sight: in place of cancerous, and the withered. Far worse is the fate of
auspex, Lords and commanders learn to make good use those who fall prey to plague: little can be done for the
of scouts and spies. commoner masses save prayer and quarantine when a
district is touched by wasting sickness or the black
Psykana Devices cough. Times of fast-spreading plague arise every few
decades, attended by great unrest, and are terrifying for
Very few devices capable of detecting or interfering commoner and noble alike.
21
Like plague, madness is a dread fear, for
medicae are seemingly helpless in the face of it.
Rhamean Physik has little to say on the subject of
insanity, and faith-healers much, but there is little real
hope for the mad or those who must tend to them.
Madness is thought to be a curse as often as not, the
God-Emperor's hand striking down the wicked—and in
consequence the broken-minded are treated harshly by
the commoner masses. To be mad is to be cast out into
the snows to die in the highlands, or banished to the
filth-strewn ways of the poverty districts in Anglish
domains, or at best confined behind locked doors.
Respected elders who lose their minds to dementia are
sealed in small rooms, hidden away in shame or
judgement, and for an outsider to speak of their plight
openly is a great breach of manners and decency.

22
Brythanic Life and Lore
As for all of the populous Yeuros worlds, Brythan is a heraldry. They know well the local priests, can recount
unique tapestry of lives, its history intricate and the recent history of the Brythanic Ministorum, and
distinctive. Commoners and nobles alike are suspicious name the differences between Church of Brythan and
of outsiders, first evaluating strangers by their declared Destinist factions. The more prominent teachings of
allegiances to Lords and brotherhoods, and only later, if scripture are well known, oft-repeated in the sermons of
at all, by individual worth. Faith and the hierarchy of the preachers, and celebrated upon holy days.
Ministorum are of great importance to the Brythanic Callidonean commoners can name the greater
peoples, and the schism with the Rhamean Temple is clans, their noted enmities, and, in some detail, the
recent enough in the mind of the masses for all void- supposed roots of the oldest feuds. Anglish commoners
traffic to be thought potentially tainted by Rhamean can list High Ecclesiarchs past and present, notorious
interests. But is still possible for new arrivals at the members of the Queen's Court, and the Imperial saints
landing fields of Hive Londus to find respect and most honoured by the Church of Brythan. Most count
acceptance enough to learn of Brythan: guilders seek Willard of the Spear as a saint who yet lives and
trade opportunities, void-guilders are expected to send breathes to grant the God-Emperor's blessings upon the
emissaries to the High Ecclesiarch in his role as Imperial Queen's Court.
Governor, and commoners are just as intrigued by the Prophecy is accepted and embraced by the
exotic as they are suspicious. A handful of days is masses as a part of the faith of Brythan. Destinist priests
enough to obtain a passable, superficial grasp of teach that Ministorium-sanctioned prophecy is a form of
Brythanic culture and history, and most of the subtle and holy revelation—but that the false prophecies of witches
the taboo will reveal itself in the course of a season. must be rejected and reviled. Tales told by Callidonean
clansmen and in the Anglish border domains celebrate
Common Lore the prophecies of saints and ecclesiarchs of past
centuries, even while they condemn outcast and long-
The hive masses of Brythan have little formal education dead Lords who sought out the visions of mutants and
beyond the sermons delivered to gathered children on warlocks.
feast days, and are apprenticed to a life of trade or toil at The hive masses are superstitious in all matters,
a young age. There exist great schools and monastic believing whole-heartedly in the existence of fate-curses,
libraries of sweeping size in the great hive foundations, ghosts, and other witchcraft, in charms, omens, and luck
but these institutions issue forth a pittance of priests, turned good or bad for little reason. These are fearsome
scribes, scholars, and doctors of physik in comparison to evils that only rightful prayer can ward, and even that is
the vast size of the populace. Most commoners are no defence for those who have fallen from the God-
illiterate, or able to recognize only the runes and terms Emperor's graces. The warp, xenos breeds, and voids far
encountered in the course of their labours. They rarely distant beyond Brythan are mysteries little different from
travel from the habs and manufactories of their Lord's the abandoned ruin-wastes that are popularly supposed
domain: only in times of great upheaval do the masses haunted—they are ill things to be spoken of in whispers,
migrate in large numbers. Yet the telling of tales is and within which only evils can be can found.
second nature to the Brythanic peoples: there is a rich
common lore expressed in popular plays, in stories The Spoken Tongue
passed down across generations, in myth and
superstition, and in the embellished rumours of recent The coarse Low Gothic of Brythan is rife with ancient
events that circulate amongst taverns and hive markets. word-forms and grammars, a descendant of both Ald
Commoners know, in outline at least, the great Brythanic and the formal Low Gothic of ancient
events of history upon Brythan, and that Brythan is but a Rhamean legions. Distant echoes of High Gothic can be
small part of a boundless tapestry of worlds created by seen in both of these sources, much diluted.
the God-Emperor. They have a surprisingly detailed
knowledge of the lineage of the local Lord, his "Hold ye and listen well, for I were told aforehence by
character, his friends and foes, and the meaning of his our Lord's given man as what I be telling now.

23
O'er all yon way, where be spires and walls, was naught and comfort to the wretched.
but beasts and green. A long ways and gone, it be, but Fashions are very different for the two genders.
'twere as I say. Ye and ye, fathers of ye fathers were Men favour close-cut garb that leaves the arms and legs
abroad thence, naked as babes and fierce as all free to move, such as leggings and belted tabards, whilst
Callidon. 'Twere a time o' spears and blood, afore the all but the poorest of women cover a bodice or under-
preachers came o'er the voids to teach." shift in flowing layers of dress cloth, or baroquely
structured and voluminous garments that include many
Differences between the dialects of Callidon, Hybernea, varieties of skirt, gown, dress, and cloak. Clothing for
and Anglish domains are very noticeable, even to the masses is milled, pressed, and sewn from flax-weave
outsiders. Ald Brythanic words and forms of speech are and leather—produced amidst mud, slaughterhouse
used more often by Callidoneans and Hyberneans, and blood, tanning lakes, and churning machinery upon vast
the speech of more isolated clans is at times near- farm-manufactories beyond the hives. Artificial fabrics
incomprehensible to the Anglish. Accents and dialects from other Imperial worlds are comparatively rare, and
also vary in characteristic ways between hive are used for wargear rather than in the clothier mills.
foundations, clans, and hab-towns; within Hive Londus Commoners hand down their plain, resilient clothing:
even the inhabitants of different decks and noble simple leggings; long overshirts; boots and cloth
domains can be distinguished by their habits of speech. overshoes; waist-ties and thick belts; heavy cloaks;
Most Brythanic commoners are able to quickly guess at bodices and dresses. Items are patched and reused until
a traveller's place of origin from his words alone, or the very day they fall apart.
mark him as an outsider from across the voids. The nobility and the wealthy also wear garb
fashioned of flax and leather, but of a quality far superior
Dress and Appearance to that produced by the massed mills and leather-works.
Lords and guilders commission baroque, colourful, and
Brythanic gene-lineages are pale, and the high-born fine-spun raiment, and appoint clothiers to their retinues
enhance that appearance through powder-cosmetics and in order to follow ever-changing fashions: each garment
dyes. The Anglish are most often dark-haired and dark must be designed and sewn to order by a master
eyed, whilst Callidoneans and Hyberneans tend to red craftsman, approved, and carefully considered as to its
hair. Skinbrands and pattern-ink in blue and black are appropriate use. The wardrobes of the high-born are
common amongst the clans of the cold mountain habs extensive, designed to illustrate their heraldry and
and the hive foundations of the moon, but considered power: it is unthinkable for a noble of means to appear
barbaric by the Anglish—as are the full, wild beards and in the same garment twice in a season, or worse, wear
braided hair worn by Callidonean men. The Anglish clothes originally fashioned for another.
nobility and guilder class cut their hair close, after the A Lord's retainers, from soldiers and bodyguards
timeless fashion of Rhamean statuary, styles modelled to bailiffs and table-servants, prominently bear the
upon the tonsures of monks and saints, or the carefully House crest and colours. Designs are painted upon
tousled hair of Imperial heroes of the distant past. armour, dyed upon tabards and overshirts, sewn onto
The Anglish hive poor also crop their hair, but leather, inked upon pennon-scrolls, or outlined in metal
to sell for a few tokens to roving agents of the recycling filigree—and each of these signifies something of the
processors and weaveries. Old justice-brands and marks rank and duties of the retainer. In any gathering of Lords
of banishment upon the face and neck are not it is immediately obvious to which House each servant
uncommon in the worst poverty districts. Many of the and guard is pledged.
poor cannot maintain water-rights and communal Other figures in Brithanic society are equally
conduits sufficient to bathe regularly, and the stench of distinct: sages, savants, and travelling confessors wear
their hive decks is a horror in and of itself. Disease is heavy robes dyed in the distinct colours of their
commonplace: disfiguring skin infections and profession. Doctors of Rhamean Physik wear black
inflammations, lungs damaged from decades of gowns and occasionally a formal mask. Many other
breathing promethium fumes, and the varied poxes and respected professions are marked by traditional forms of
fluxes that rage in warmer seasons. By comparison the dress, their use jealously guarded by guilds and
poorest of Bythan fare better in Callidon and Hybernea, brotherhoods. Little mercy is shown to rogues who dress
where clan Lords and merchant guilders are measured in above their station, or adopt the clothing of the other
their generosity by the degree to which they give alms gender, or who pretend to a profession or a Lord's
24
service. A man is valued first and foremost by the Lord designs, complex knots, jewels, and spires, and the
or leader to whom he pledges, and his garb marks that markings of the clan are given a weight equal to a
pledge: to dress falsely in Brythan's hives is to broadcast noble's heraldry: lineage is ever lineage within the clan,
a vile lie, and is apt to cause far greater anger than it does not stand alone.
merely speaking falsely. Nonetheless, tales and popular
plays are replete with spies, deceptions, and the use of Observance of the Imperial Creed
forbidden clothing—it is a taboo that attracts as much
attention and fascination as it does condemnation. The formal year-calend of Brythan is maintained by the
Real jewels are prized and worn by all who can Ecclesiarchy. It is replete with feasts, Saint's days and
afford them, in broaches, necklaces, and ostentatious minor observances on which toil is suspended and the
rings. Filigrees of precious metals are also sign of masses throng the shrines and cathedrals to receive the
wealth and noble status, woven into clothing or the hair; God-Emperor's blessings. No part of Brythanic society is
silver and platinum are Anglish metals whilst the clans exempt from frequent observance of the Imperial Creed,
of Callidon and Hybernea favour gold. Skilled jewellers and suspicion quickly falls upon anyone not seen at
are rarely without a noble patron, and walk in the circles mass, or who otherwise participate poorly in religious
of wealth and privilege. Flowers are equally prized ritual. The populace ever believes that witches, the
amongst the nobility and guild houses, however: rare cursed, and heretical Rhamists are hidden in plain sight
flowers of strange appearance and strong scents are amongst their numbers.
grown in sealed estate gardens, and grace the hair of Even between the many holy days commoners
noblewomen in all seasons. come forth to pray each seven-day, gathering beneath
Amongst the masses, there is perhaps an even pulpits and arrayed in standing pews to watch rituals
greater desire for ornamentation. Commoner smiths and that might last for half the day. Preachers chant
apprentices, who will never so much as glimpse the teachings of the Imperial Creed in stilted High Gothic,
treasures worn by the Lords of Brythan, fashion intricate lay-whisperers deliver their own version of the
mock jewellery of metal shards laced around glass and traditional sermons in Low Gothic, and acolytes walk
rock crystal, and trade their wares in the hive markets. In the vaults bearing censers. The high born and noted line
warm seasons, however, the prized glass jewels and to kneel before the Aquila and be blessed by the
buffed brass worn by women throughout the Anglish officiating priest. Guilders and professionals discuss
domains give way to twists of white weed-flowers from business, and hammer out the details of compacts.
the farm tracts, brought to the hives by the pressed Commoners gossip, barter goods and favours brought
bale—caravans of promethium transports packed with out for the occasion, and even engage in disputes
little else. between factions. Minor sins are confessed and penance
given in closed side-rooms. Seven-day mass is noisy and
Heraldry disarrayed, even in the professional districts where the
populace dress finely for worship.
Heraldry makes visible the ties of fealty that bind In the poorest hive districts, where many shrines
Brythanic society. Every Lord and lineage of wealth stand empty for lack of appointed ecclesiarchs, and
possesses a distinct crest and coat of arms, rendered in beyond the hive foundations in the sprawling farm-
precise colours. A Lord's heraldry marks estate walls, tracts, worship is led by a host of travelling preachers.
flies upon banners, decorates amour and the uniforms of They journey from ward to ward in order to hold mass in
retainers—it marks the boundaries of the Lord's domain squares, disused storage vaults, and cleared fields, and
and all who pledge to the Lord's service. The lore of some even risk the ruin-wastes to minister to outlaw
heraldry is as baroque as the crests; a savant of noble bands. It is a position that attracts the fervent, the fiery,
tradition might spend a lifetime in learning and not and the independent—those who cause trouble in the
encompass even a majority of his craft. Each distinct Ministorum hierarchy, or who lean towards Destinist
flourish, icon, and choice of colour upon a crest has teachings, for example.
meaning, often subtle and tied to obscure historical Nobles, High Ecclesiarchs, and wealthy guilders
events in a Lord's lineage. The horned beasts of Ald attend cathedral masses infrequently, amidst great pomp
Brythan, fortifications, and flowers are common and ceremony on feast days—and at other times when it
emblems in the heraldry of Anglish Lords. In Callidon matters to show themselves to their supporters. Sections
and Hybernea, emblems typically include abstract of a cathedral vault are cordoned off for household
25
retinues and the wealthy seat themselves upon boasting stages circled by many levels of fenced stands
palanquins raised above the masses. But more usually, that barely manage to contain an often intoxicated,
these worthies attend private shrines, or worship in their riotous audience. The more educated of nobles and guild
own bedchambers in the presence of a confessor elders gain status from their patronage of popular
appointed to the household. playwrights, and the very best of players are even
brought to the Anglish Court to be lauded in person by
Distractions and Pastimes the Queen for their works.
Other activities amongst the poor are more
Nobles, wealthy guilders, and their trusted retainers have rough and ready. Bands of youths and manufactory
access to sealed park environments within the largest workers in poorer districts regularly gather in alleys and
estates, where they can hunt and idle as though upon an stair-avenues for games and mock-wars that leave blood
unspoiled world. Target-shooting with ancient and broken bones in their wake: hunt the horn-beast,
weaponry, a talent for beast-training, a knowledge of the carry-ball, run-the-roadway, and many others. Keeping
great plays and playwrights of past centuries, the ability score is less important than the rush of participation, and
to hold theosophical debate, and a mastery of games are the larger games are but one step short of a rampaging
considered signs of culture in such circles—but for mob—especially when the mood of the district is ugly.
every cultured noble, there is another focused on the Anglish fighting circles are just as violent,
crude machinations of treachery, intrigues of households though usually more controlled. Brawls between burly
and court, minor acts of war, and preparation for battle. men—either professional fighters or simply commoner
The masses make do with simpler pursuits. rivals—are organized by backers ranging from outlaw
Intoxicating distillates are cheap and universally bands to wealthy guilders with an interest in wager
available: manufactory workers gather in taverns and profits. The combatants pummel each other bloody
eateries to talk of rumours and drink themselves into whilst an unruly crowd cheers and growls: many a hive-
oblivion on a regular basis. The same is true in the farm- way and square has its flooring marked for prize fights
habs, and the scribe districts, and even the cathedral and grudge matches, and the most popular locations
cells of monks and acolytes. Beyond the taverns, even rarely go more than a few days between events. Gouged
the waters drawn from cisterns and pump networks are eyes and other crippling injuries are commonplace—and
usually mixed with some form of ferment for drinking a fight usually continues, hemmed in by the surrounding
purposes—to mask the taste of pipe-slime and waste mob, until one participant is beaten near to death.
leakage in the poverty districts, but as a matter of course
elsewhere as well. Commoners are frequently The Unruly Mob
intoxicated to the point of swaying belligerence, whether
they are working within churning alchemical plants, Mobs of the young, the outlawed, and the disaffected
amongst the marketplace crowds, or travelling the regularly rise up in the hives to rage at the authorities or
roadways. battle one another. It takes little to rouse the masses: the
Plays and players are universally popular: mere rumour of shortages, the perfidy of a Lord's
Callidonean bards and bawdy Anglish playwrights are representatives, witchcraft, or rank injustice are
celebrated, as are travelling player troupes, rhymers, sufficient to light the fires. For many commoners, the
singers, and religious orders whose members perform march of the mob is little different from the brutally
traditional mummeries on festival days. Brythanic physical games they play on hive roadways. It is a
mummeries are formalized religious plays that depict release for frustrations and a break in the monotony of
historical and scriptural events—their bloody, toil, welcomed by many, but the raging mob still leaves
tumultuous scenes of ruin, war, and battle are popular dead and broken bodies in the hive-ways—outsiders,
with the masses. Other plays are disorganized tales, outlaws, rival factions, hated bailiffs, or those suspected
some traditional, some constantly reinvented, that by of unorthodoxy. Only the most persistent demagogues
turns delve into romance, crude comedy, treachery, and rabble-rousers are judged and punished for rousing
deceit, and tragedy. Taverns are frequently cleared to the mob to destruction and murder. The masses return to
form impromptu playhouses, and roving players perform their manufactories and their habs, bloodied, sullen, or
for coins and crowds upon the broader hive avenues. triumphant, to await the next time of unrest.
Established playhouses are sponsored by noble patrons, Lasting or more directed uprisings are less
and some in Hive Londus are grand affairs indeed, common and the participants dealt with harshly, but
26
even great noble households and militant commanders promethium caravan journeying between domains will
live in fear of the mob. Armies raised by Lords are never pay respects at each Lord's estate, for example, or at the
large enough to control the roused masses in full riot, very least send trusted emissaries bearing the appropriate
and the anger of crowds cannot be reasoned with. In the gifts and petition for free travel. A professional coming
long history of Brythan there are many examples of the to practice his trade would announce himself with florid
high-born chased down to be torn apart or burned alive letters of respect delivered to the regional high magister
in their estates during times of great unrest. Mass and brotherhood elders. Pilgrim bands visit each
murder and great destruction are inevitable in any cathedral and greater shrine upon their slow progression,
massive uprising, taking place while a Lord's men and there signing the way-books and making themselves
hurriedly raised levies gather in sufficient force to break known to Ministorum representatives. Manufactory
the mobs that fill hiveways and squares—but whatever workers crowding into a tavern at shift end call to the
force is necessary will be used, the leaders later rounded keeper such that he sees their allegiance and accepts
up and sent to the Queen's Justice, and harsh collective their presence, and then pass a few coins to call a table
punishments imposed upon the unruly districts. their own.
These same customs apply to petitioners come
The ature of Lords and Appointed before the Lord of their domain, but are conducted in a
Servants ceremonial and codified fashion. There is the attendance
of law-wrights, formal speeches given and returned, an
Lords and appointees to positions of power are expected offer of relinquishment of weapons, a traditional request
to be venal—corrupt to a modest degree, but without to be shielded by the Lord's justice, and a renewed
becoming rapacious. A leader of men uses his position pledge of fealty. Gifts of worth are required for the
to dip into flows of coinage and favour, establish a petitioner be taken seriously—as all noble coffers are
network of patronage, and improve his own position bottomless. In turn the Anglish Lords are themselves
upon the backs of the commoner masses. Many a trusted subordinates when they come to the Queen's Court, and
servant is intentionally appointed to a position in which play much the same role as petitioners to their own
he can slyly amass wealth, so as to make him a better households.
prospect for compact-marriage or alliance, and thus a Outsiders are not exempt from the customs of
more valuable bargaining chip for his Lord. Only those greeting and petition; if anything, these traditions are
who become too greedy or obstructive are sanctioned for expected to be upheld even more exactingly, and greater
it, such as when oppressive tithes rouse rebellion, or a offense is caused by a failure to follow the correct steps.
miserly attitude towards maintenance finally leads to the Representatives from far Rhame arriving at the landing
destruction of valued properties. fields of Hive Londus will certainly be expected to
engage law-wrights and present themselves to the High
Customs of Petition Ecclesiarch and Imperial Governor—and possibly to the
Anglish Court—in order to declare their business and
Many Brythanic customs will be unfamiliar to an make their petitions. Failing to do this will arouse
outsider of the Imperial class—and that ignorance can suspicion and anger amongst the powers of Hive
cause great offense. The most important of these Londus, the degree of which depends upon the exact
traditions relate to establishing new relationships, and circumstances: an Inquisitor arriving with a full legion of
are founded upon the need for an emissary to Imperial Guard raised upon Rhame is a far different
demonstrate his worthy fealty to a trusted Lord or matter from a small band of Throne agents disguised as
organization. It is beyond the bounds of courtesy to void-guilders.
simply approach an individual or organization directly,
and this is true at all levels of Brythanic society that Avians, Beasts, Foliage, and Victuals
stand above the teeming poverty districts. There must
be, at the very least, letters of introduction, a meeting Between the hives and foundation structures stretch
arranged through a mutual contact, and some exchange mountainous barrens, ruin-wastes, raised roadways, strip
of gifts intended to demonstrate trust and means. mines, and watchtower spires—and league after league
Thus it is customary for a new arrival of any of manufactory-farms, hab-towns, glass-plantations, and
means to present himself to the local nobility and the beast pens. Few truly wild beasts and little untouched
representatives of interested organizations. A guilder foliage remains of what was once wilderness. Sickly
27
herds of mutated horn-beasts and thin, feral predators corners of the hives and spoiled food as a mash. The
haunt the less poisoned mountain wastes of Callidon, resulting brews are foul but serve their purpose: to dull
sheltering in valleys where the last woods stand, the the senses for a while in order to blot out the ugly
trees twisted and leaves discoloured. But the vast realities of a life of hardship and servitude.
majority of the once-proud beasts of Ald Brythan are The seas are as ravaged by spillage as the lands,
now bred relentlessly for their meat and leather in the and the remaining eels and spined fish breeds are
beast tracts, penned into cages and stacked into league harvested rapaciously by floating processor hulks.
after league of stinking avenues, patrolled by beast- Eventually only chem-soaked wastes will exist between
tenders and slaughtermen. The noble horn-beast of the Brythanic hives, and little will be left of life in the
Brythanic heraldry is no more, save for a few pure-gene oceans. Food will come from across the voids or be spun
animals kept within the sealed parks of noble fortress- from corpse starch and vat-motes in recycling
estates. The few remaining breeds of untainted beast and processories overseen by the Adeptus Mechanicus. But
tree can also be found in these carefully cultivated and for now the masses feed upon chem-treated meat, fish,
well-guarded enclaves, each a faux-wildland where and farm-tract produce.
Lords and their companions hunt or while away the
hours. Institutions of Learning, Libraries, and
The flocks of migratory avians that once Record Vaults
crowded Brythan's skies have suffered just as greatly as
the horn-beasts and their brethren, hunted almost to Across the centuries, and under the guidance of
extinction across past centuries. The last now largely successive High Ecclesiarchs, grand schools of learning
populate breeding pens, fed upon growth-alchemies, were established in select monasteries of Callidon and
packed into cruelly small enclosures, and conveyed to the greatest of Anglish cathedral wards. Caem's Bridge,
the flensing machines in screeching masses. Yet some built about the core water-conduits of Hive Londus, and
wild and draggle-feathered avians still gather around the a coastal monastery blessed by Saint Andrius in Callidon
outer walls and upper works of hive foundations, out of are the oldest and best known. Their ancient libraries are
reach of the hungry poor. They hop and crawk, feeding rich with illuminated works of the Imperial creed,
upon waste and the pollution-moss that grows around transcriptions of renowned plays, chronicles of
alchemical flues. Generations of their droppings crust Brythanic history, and other tomes of import.
the statues and buttresses of the hive exteriors. Theosophists, scribe-monks, savants, logicians, scholars
The soils of Brythan long ago gave up their of Rhamean Physik, law-wrights, and apprentices of
nutrients, or were poisoned by mine waste and hive many more esoteric professions are educated within
effluent, and must be alchemically treated with each these halls—each grand school is an important hub in
sowing in order for anything of worth to grow—white the Brythanic network of professional brotherhoods and
weed-flowers are amongst the few breeds to yet thrive guilds.
despite the toxins. Manufactory farms turn out breeds of The schools are far from being enclaves of quiet
tasteless fruits gene-altered to survive growth and learned speech, however. Students, scribes, and
compounds, but the original lineages of tart berries and monks are just as unruly and intoxicated as the common
juice-fruits still grow in sealed hive-parks so as to grace masses, given to riot, dissent, and outright battles against
noble dining tables. The same is true of tubers and seed manufactory mobs. Many a demagogue to cry out
grasses: the food of the masses is poor fare, tainted and against harsh tithes and noble injustice had his origin
chem-laced to preserve it against rot, but the nobility amongst the student hordes. The grand schools are
and the wealthy eat well. Pies, bland stews, and thin unpopular with the Lords of surrounding domains for
gruel for the poverty districts are the common fare, but these and other similar reasons, but their charters are
Lords eat from long tables laden with the elegant and protected, declared inviolate by the Ministorum. Every
unusual creations of master cooks. few years the worst of troublemakers are sent to the
Produce shipped to the hive foundations from Lord's justice as an example, and little more is done.
the vast farm-tracts ferments poorly, but nonetheless Few formal institutions of tutelage exist upon
vast quantities of intoxicant distillates are manufactured Brythan beyond the grand schools and a scattering of
in merchant guild alchemical plants. The poor fortress priories that might one day join their ranks. The
industriously produce their own crude intoxicants, commoner masses apprentice young to learn a trade and
making use of rusted containers hidden away in dark little else, whilst noble scions are educated in scripts,
28
theosophy, and the finer arts by priests and aged savants to earnest uprising and war between noble domains.
pledged to the Lord's household. The student hordes and Tithes assessed by Lords over and above that claimed by
ranked monks of the grand schools are numerous, but the Ministorum and greater Imperium are also a common
account for only a tiny fraction of the greater cause for unrest, ruinous as they are in many Anglish
populace—and their learning and culture insular as a domains. A commoner is bowed beneath his Lord's
consequence. demands, and between that and the Imperial tithe can
But this is not to say that the grand schools hold keep little for his own purse. Lesser guilders and
the only record vaults or libraries in the Brythanic hives. travelling merchants fare just as poorly, but to protest is
Numericists and seneschals pledged to noble houses to be hunted by the sheriff's men, or beaten by a bailiff
meticulously record transactions and transportation, and and then dragged before a magister to be further fined.
the archives of past years and generations are consigned Nonetheless, it is rare for a season to pass
to warehouses of mouldering parchment. Lords maintain without tithe-riots taking place somewhere upon
modest collections of religious tomes and works of art, Brythan. Rabble rousers of the hive depths or outlaws
gathered over the generations. The Ministorum holds come to the manufactory-farms seize upon the fear of
sway over vast tithe-vaults, filled with the decaying bad coins and harsh tithes to raise up the mob, assault
records of centuries, and watched over by aged scribes. the Lord's men, and set fire to noble properties. These
Further, the Administratum and Adeptus Mechanicus, demagogues and their closest supporters can roil a
both of which are isolated clades upon Brythan, have domain for seasons or even years, but they are inevitably
diligently recorded noteworthy events, omens, battles, murdered by the Lord's men in the end—or by the
and noble lineages since the age of Rhame. Their machineries of the Queen's justice should they raise too
historical records, stored in data vaults and cogitator great a following.
cores, are in some senses far more complete and
organized than those of the grand schools, but they lack Witches and Witchfinders
context. These archives are hidden away in the depths of
Hive Londus and Machine Cult enclaves elsewhere upon Sanctioned psykers beyond the Adeptus Astra
Brythan, largely unknown to scholars. Telepathica are rare indeed, as no sanctioning occurs
upon Brythan. Such "chained witches" are found only in
Coinage and Tithes the households of the greatest Lords, brought into
slavery from across the voids for a ruinous price, and
The coinage of Brythan is made up of measured weights constantly watched lest they taint the faithful. In the
of precious metals, issued at the behest of Lords and Anglish Queen's court, for example, a maddened psyker
monarchs. The most common Anglish coins are of silver is kept almost as a beast within a null-cage as a curio and
alloy minted during the long rule of House Teuda, demonstration of wealth. Another, more sane, is set to
stamped with beast horns, Aquila, and the profile of a guard the Queen's household against the witchcraft and
Teuda King. In Callidon, each clan Lord places his own fate-curses that are imagined to writhe through the air
stamp upon the coinage, melting down all he can gather when evil is abroad.
to recast it in a new form. The use of jewellery such as Minor psykers arise amongst the hive masses
torcs and broaches as currency is commonplace in some constantly; commoners are taught by their priests to fear
clans, as coin-ingots are seen as an Anglish imposition. the signs of the witch, the cursed, and the mutant, for
The exchange of great wealth, such as takes place they are beyond the God-Emperor's blessing.
between guilds and Lords, is largely accomplished by Accusations of witchery are often made against outcasts
trade in land-rights or carefully appraised gems. Little and the unloved—or as a part of other feuds. Church of
use is made of promissory notes or venture-shares, Brythan and Destinist ecclesiarchs employ witchfinders
common upon other populous Yeuros worlds, and these to capture the accused and witch-magisters to issue
concepts are viewed with some suspicion. judgement. Witchfinders are often mercenary militants,
Over the generations many a Lord has paid a bounty for each accused brought before the
adulterated coinage with base metals so as to increase Ministorum, while witch-magisters are appointed from
his own wealth at the expense of guilders and amongst the elders f the ecclesiarchy. As is true of the
commoners—the tales call all such nobles black of Lord's justice, the guilt of a witch is presumed by
heart, foul and dishonest, and the mere rumour of bad acclaim and it is the responsibility of interested parties
coin is more than enough to rouse the mob, or even lead bring testimony to sway a witch-magister one way or
29
another. If the accused has few supporters, as is often weak, and this is often the prelude to forcing a treaty,
the case, then a judgement of guilt is a foregone tribute, and the transfer of land-rights. Wars are often
conclusion. decided by the acts of a Lord's vanguard—or their
Witchfinders and witch-magisters are celebrated weakness. Militia and levies forced to battle are
local figures in some regions and hated oppressors in worthless alone, and will melt away when sent
others. Some are corrupt to the core, using their position unsupported against trained soldiers or light armour.
to harvest bribes and favours, whilst others are forthright They look to their Lord and his men for leadership and
and holy. Depending on a witch-magister's temperament morale, and their true role is to die in assaults beneath
and the nature of accusations, an accused witch may be the cannon, pin the foe to a position by holding
burned upon the pyre or sent to the stronghold of the structures, and buy time for a Lord's more capable
High Ecclesiarch in Hive Londus to await the Imperial soldiers to strike hard where needed.
tithe. Most of those imprisoned are not in fact psykers, By preference, battles are fought where noble
and their fate is to be rejected by the Black Ships, left to leaders can view large sections of the field from a
rot and die in dark prison depths. Nonetheless, few real commanding position, where massed and uncertain
nascent psykers manage to slip through the nets of levies will not become disarrayed amidst a maze of
superstition, accusation, and Ministorum agents. structures, and where cannon can fire directly in support
of assaulting soldiers. Ceracrete roadways, spires on the
Mutation hive outskirts, Callidonean vales, and ruin-wastes are all
preferable to a crowded hive-deck and its layered
Mutation is present amongst the poor, the outcast, and structures. But even these battles are fought at stubgun
the lowers of indentured workers in the beast pens ranges, dominated by deafening cannonfire: explosions
beyond the hives, but is not as commonplace as upon and fyceline smoke; the rush of often terrified and ill-
other Yeuros hive worlds. In Callidon and Hybernea, equipped levies; clouds of ceracrete dust; the abrupt
mutants are often cast out into the snows at birth, and in move of armour from one ambush point to the next.
Anglish lands a mutant is at best doomed to a life of Heavy cannon open fire point blank into opposing
hardship and pain. Many witchfinders and commoners formations and reduce enemy-held structures to bloody
see little difference between the mutant and the hive-metal shards. The Lord's trusted soldiers
witch—corruption without is taken as evidence of manoeuvre to find the killing blow whilst militia die all
corruption within. around them, sacrificed to hold the battlefield steady as
the Lord commands. The carnage is great, and made
War greater in the rout of a broken army: commoner levies
and militia are often slain mercilessly if they cannot
By the standards of the Imperial Guard, war is fought escape the chaos of a lost battle. Only nobles and
poorly upon Brythan. Lords and their scions lead and noteworthy retainers are taken captive—for ransom or
strategize, but few are the equal of a formally trained leverage in later negotiations.
commander. A Lord's forces raised for any significant Brutal as it is, war between Lords is rarely
campaign are largely conscripted levies and poor quality fought to the bitter end. Destructive raids and pitched
hive militia; only the core vanguard and the Lord's battles are demonstrations of power, used to force
close-guard are professional, well-equipped soldiers. concession, tribute, or binding compacts from a rival.
This, combined with the comparative lack of vox and The greatest of Brythanic wars, where armies numbered
auspex devices, makes an unruly disaster of any battle in the tens of millions, took place when the Anglish
fought through close-packed hive structures. Opposing Lords sought to conquer Callidon, and amongst those
armies typically march and counter-march through hive same Lords whilst they stood divided over a monarch's
levels and outskirts, scout companies and mechanized ascension. The hive foundations are scarred and ravaged
outriders skirmishing whilst noble commanders vie with where such hard fought battles once took place, entire
one another to force an engagement upon a favourable districts in the border domains left as ruin-wastes even
battlefield. centuries later.
A Lord's objectives in war are typically to lay
waste and loot the wealth of an opponent's domain, or to Law and Justice
remove the best troops of his opponent. In achieving
either of these ends he proves the opposing household The law of Brythan is the will of a millennium of Lords
30
and Kings, codified, ossified, half-forgotten, and argued crimes are governed by the Queen's Justice. These
over incessantly by law-wrights of the grand schools. It events are often accompanied by unrest—the spread of
is the balance between noble supremacy and the cries for rumours, mobs baying for blood, and an ugly mood in
justice from the masses. Every new generation of high the populace. A Lord's magisters gather to assess each
nobles seek to make their mark, or overturn the such crime in solemn ceremony, and turn over those
inconvenient traditional laws of the past, and are declared guilty to executioners pledged to the Queen's
opposed by the Ecclesiarchy, by guilds, by monarchs, or household. As for the Lord's Justice, there is little
the Imperial class. Each struggle over law and power pretence to fairness or a search for truth, for all that law-
stretches over interminable years, and its details are wrights will stand to argue and magisters nod at each
recorded diligently in tomes, data-vaults, and archives, new revelation. There is little doubt of the ultimate
making up a large part of the chronicles of Brythanic verdict when the poor rise up and throng the roadways to
society. demand that the guilty be punished—someone will be
thrown to the canids in order to appease the mob.
Anglish Justice The Queen's Justice exists to enforce an
important symbolism: that it is the right of the Queen
There are two bodies of Anglish law, the Lord's Justice alone to execute and torment those who violate the
and the Queen's Justice. The Lord's Justice is established bonds of fealty that bind the Anglish domains. No other
separately by the ruling nobles of each Anglish domain. may make that judgement, for all have sworn to the
Lords appoint bailiffs, sheriffs, and magisters from Queen, who is seated upon her throne by the divine will
amongst the commoner masses in order to write and of the God-Emperor. The guilty are shorn, paraded for
distribute laws, resolve disputes, hunt down the accused, the masses upon open promethium transports, sometimes
and collect fines. Most Anglish Lords wish to be viewed electro-whipped and branded, and ultimately beheaded
as harsh but fair, but there is typically little investigation by executioners in a public ceremony, watched over by
of crimes: guilt is presumed by popular hearsay and it all who still pledge themselves loyal.
falls to interested parties to gather testimony or evidence
to sway a magister one way or another. Little other than Callidonean and Hybernean Justice
the threat of unrest and the roused mob restrains the
Lord's appointed men from corruption: a magister or Justice in Callidon and upon Hybernea varies from clan
high sheriff can grow fat and wealthy upon the backs of to clan, at least in the matter of wrongs committed
the innocent and guilty alike for so long as he otherwise against a fellow clanmember. Some clans favour the
maintains both tithes and peace in a Lord's domain. Destinist tradition of trial by ordeal, overseen by
Punishments dealt out to those who offend the representatives of the Ministorum and conducted before
Lord's justice include harsh fines to fill noble coffers, the Aquila, in which both the accuser and accused are
wealth confiscated and passed to victims, electro- charged to walk across steam-vents or pull hot wires
branding, and banishment. There are no formal prisons from a brazier. Other clan nobles appoint harsh
beyond the sheriffs' temporary holding cells, and the disputemen, quick to banish troublemakers and
choice of punishment is invariably a balance between confiscate property in their Lord's name. As a
the Lord's or magister's need for coin and the influence consequence only the weak or the greatly wronged seek
of those who wish to see justice done—or wish to claim formal justice from the nobility or Ministorum; most
the offender's wealth for themselves. Criminals who are disputes are resolved in other ways, such as by formal
visibly marked and banished become outlaws, the lowest feud, agreement between factions within a clan, or the
of the low in Brythanic society. To be outcast is to have intervention of respected elders. Individuals and groups
no recourse to justice, and newly-made outlaws are often who fail to resolve their grievances may leave a clan to
murdered or beaten by the allies of their join one of its traditional foes, a final and telling rebuke
victims—should they fail to escape or find allies of their of their Lord's worth. This matters little, of course,
own. Outlaws frequently band together in squalid, unless the exiles were prominent in the clan, or leave in
fortified poverty wards of the lowest decks or flee the great numbers.
hive foundations to join the ragged bands that haunt the Wrongs committed between clans are a different
ruin-wastes and farm-tracts. matter. These crimes against tradition and morality are
Murder of the high-born, treachery amongst recorded by clanspeakers and accounted for when Lords,
nobles, treason, incitement to uprising, and other grand emissaries, or their households gather to trade and treat.
31
An accused clan will lose the respect and cooperation of amongst their masses, but the upper hierarchy of the
allies should its nobles fail to pay recompense for the Church of Brythan is no longer fervently opposed to the
offenses of its members. Lords haggle with one another Rhamean Temple. The schism is a lifetime past, and the
in these matters, as for all agreements, and the criminal High Ecclesiarchs of Brythan are now strong in their
unruliness of their followers is merely one bargaining independence.
token amongst many—but this tends to lead a Lord's However it is discovered and declared, heresy
attention to the worst factions within his clan. A ultimately leads to death upon the pyre or at the hands of
Callidonean or Hybernean who causes great trouble for the mob. Few accused of heresy have the resources and
his Lord in this manner will face harsh sanction: at the influence to appeal to a Lord or persuade Ecclesiarchs to
very least banishment, and at worst a crippling or honestly and fairly review a claim of innocence. When
summary execution at the hands of disputemen. heresy is punished officially, it is usually servants of the
Ministorum who carry out the sentence of death. This
Blasphemy, Unorthodoxy, and Heresy task often falls to witchfinders, men well used to meting
out harsh punishment in the course of their duties. In
Accusations of common blasphemy and Anglish domains, heretics may instead be remitted to the
unorthodoxy—meaning a failure to worship as directed Queen's Justice, but this is usually only the case for
by priests—are commonly treated as offenses committed those who led covens and seduced others to their
against the most influential local Ecclesiarch. Trial and cause—wherein a public burning and regal
punishment varies greatly according to the status of the condemnation of heresy serves to strengthen the position
offender, the views of Ministorum representatives, and of the Queen's house.
the character of the Lord of the domain. Commoners
might be electro-branded for blasphemy, but a wealthy Justice for Outsiders
professional such as a doctor of physik or law-wright
would be fined for the very same act, and perhaps Outsiders from beyond Brythan have no recourse to
offered the chance to avoid any punishment in return for justice unless they are acknowledged guests of a Lord,
a suitably public penance. an honour only extended to visiting plenipotentiaries or
A wide range of sins are considered chartered void-traders. A guest is expected to respect a
unorthodoxy. Some are no more than laziness or Lord's writ of law and word in exchange for the
disobedience: lax seven-day attendance at the cathedral protections of the Lord's justice. Lesser outsiders are
or shrine, failure to make penance when so directed, or subject to neither protections nor laws, and are typically
failure to observe the rituals of a declared holy day. viewed with suspicion by commoners and Lord's men
More serious unorthodoxy involves worship of the God- alike. Efforts may be made to cast them forth from a
Emperor in ways that are neither sanctioned nor taught Lord's domain, or assault them—and no punishment will
by the Church of Brythan or Destinist priests. The result from the murder of an outsider who has no Lord or
common folk—and a good many lesser priests—are like powerful master to call upon, as he is little better than a
as not to call out any unorthodoxy of ritual as Rhamist, banished outlaw in the hierarchy of Brythanic society.
belonging to the loathed Rhamean Temple, regardless of
its true nature. Justice and Disputes Amongst Lords
Heresy, by comparison, encompasses the
worship of false Gods, giving succour to witches, Lords are not subject to the laws they make, and hold
disputing the Imperial Creed, denying the God-Emperor, absolute authority over their domains. Disputes between
and other religious perversions. Treacherous uprisings Lords are generally left to run their course until such
against a Lord or King might also be declared heresy if time as they threaten the authority of a monarch or the
the ecclesiarchy are supportive, as it is by the God- stability of neighbouring domains. Breach of agreement
Emperor's will that rulers are given command over or land-right without seeming good cause or callous
lesser men. Some unorthodoxy may also be declared oppression that causes widespread upheaval may bring
heresy, depending on circumstances. Rhamist forms of censure by the Queen for an Anglish Lord, or cause an
worship are formally heretical, for example, but this is alliance of peers to force banishment upon a hated clan
political scripture dating to the schism and formation of Lord in Callidon or Hybernea. These matters are rarely
the Church of Brythan. Hive commoners are varyingly straightforward or rapidly resolved, however. An
hostile towards the Rhamists popularly supposed to hide Anglish Lord who goes before the Queen to claim
32
justice will have the apparent support of many other Old Men of the Woods into submission. To hear the
Lords should the Queen find his cause worthy—but he bards tell it, no King of Brythan shall ever be as great as
will lose their respect, for he has shown himself weak he who was the first in Callidon. At the very end of his
enough to need the Court. Lordly disputes have in past life, in the depths of his mountain fortress, the King lay
generations involved kidnapping of hostages, under an ague upon his deathbed, but lingered long
mobilization of soldiers and commoners, raids and enough for the clan Lords to assemble. When the King
pitched battles, attempts to intervene or mediate by other finally succumbed, a ghostly and terrible horn-beast
nobles or High Ecclesiarchs, complex treaties made and appeared within the greathall above the bedchamber. It
broken, and years of argumentation by law-wrights or lowed and a chill wind from nowhere froze the very
savants of noble tradition. marrow of the assembled Lords, stopped the hearts of
Despite the constant friction between the aged savants, and turned young hair white. None were
interests of Lords, there is a horror of noble treachery the same thereafter, and the throne of Callidon stood
and murder of the high-born at all levels of Brythanic empty for centuries thereafter.
society. This happens a handful of times in each
generation, by an assassin's weapon or by the hand of a The Cursed Legion of Rhame
Lord himself, and invariably leads to great unrest
amongst the populace. A Lord who sheds noble blood In the shadowed taverns of Hive Londus poverty
beyond the hue and cry of the battlefield risks damnation districts, by flickering promethium candle and half-
and the wrath of the God-Emperor—for Lords, Kings, broken lumen, tales are told of a cursed, dead
and Queens are set in their place by the God-Emperor to legion—the Imperial Guard of Rhame who became lost
watch over the faithful. Even the most black-hearted and in the forests and mists of Ald Brythan, and who yet
vile of Lords have been banished rather than executed in march to find their way home. Many reasons are given
past centuries, and the alliances that finally forced that for the legion's fate: a witch cursed them, their Lord
outcome were slow and reluctant to form. The names spoke blasphemy against the God-Emperor, or they fled
and deeds of infamous banished Lords and nobles live their own disloyalty. In times of war, their boots are
on in the tales told by commoners, ever more reviled and heard in the hive depths, and some poor souls catch a
their acts ever more embellished as the generations pass. glimpse of spectral ranks in marching through hive
bulkheads. Or so it is said.
A Selection of Legends and Prophecies
The Ciphered Prophecies of Cauther
The legends of Brythan are everywhere: in the taverns,
told to children, in the sermons of travelling preachers, Geffarius Cauther was a playwright, chronicler, and
recounted in the playhouses, and embellished by emissary to a long-past Anglish King; he journeyed far
chroniclers for each new generation. The commoner across the voids to other worlds of the Yeuros cluster at
masses believe every word, savants pretending to the behest of his Lord. It is his plays rather than his
sophistication decry the details, and playwrights and chronicles that prospered across the centuries, however.
ecclesiarchs continually rework and restore the oldest They are still performed by travelling players and
myths. The most popular legends are told in a score of reinvented by living playwrights. It is widely supposed
ways—every Lord's domain has similar local myths, amongst the commoner masses that Cauther had the gift
supposed prophets, hidden peoples, shades, curses, and of prophecy, and placed ciphered signs, omens, and
prophecies. Certain spectral themes recur over and portents within his works—a belief that may explain
again, and a suspicious Inquisitorial mind might see the why his plays are yet transcribed, performed, and
past workings of the warp hidden behind these popular. Few scholars share these views, however, and
commoners' tales. the chronicles of Cauther remain little known. Those
folios that remain intact are buried within noble
The First King of Callidon collections and the libraries of the grand schools.
The first King of Callidon was a mythic figure of the The Ald Stone
early Rhamean age, his clan-name and mighty deeds
varying with the teller of the tale: taming the seas, Massive stones were set upright millennia past, deep in
slaying a thousand in battle in a single day, wrestling the the age of Ald Brythan, but little now remains of the
33
great circles and rows. Some solitary standing stones lie figure who swore to serve the God-Emperor and drew
deep beneath the hives in darkness, while others loom together the domains to forge the first Anglish Court. A
amidst manufactory-farm fields. The Ald Stone in an well-defined cycle of tales exists, recorded in countless
Anglish Lord's border domain is larger than most, a vast tomes and chronicles, studied by scholars and retold by
rough-hewn monolith worn by the passage of years. The playwrights—but who can truly know who ruled before
prophecy of an ecclesiarch now long dead states that the the Rhameans came to teach literacy and raise the first
Stone must never be moved, else great harm will fall hive structures? Nonetheless, Anglish heraldry,
upon the cathedrals of Brythan. Some tales claim the chronicles, and traditional plays are rife with references
stone rests atop the remains of a potent witch-queen who to the quests and conflicts of King Althar's Court, and
fought against Rhame in the ending of Ald near every Anglish commoner can recount an outline of
Brythan—and the weight of it is all that holds her shade this legend.
in death. The end of the cycle tells of how the King,
betrayed by witchcraft and mortally wounded, descended
The Shade of Catenbary Cathedral into the depths of his tomb with the last of his retinue
and remaining loyal Lords. There they fell into a deep
It has long been said that a dark apparition stalks the sleep, both alive and dead, to await a time when the
higher walkways and choral alcoves of the great God-Emperor will call them to rise and take up arms—a
cathedral of Catenbary in Hive Londus, glimpsed only time when Brythan stands upon the very brink of
by the doomed and the ill-fated, or upon the eve of destruction.
disaster. Some chronicles list its appearances, and name Many great structures in the Anglish domains
it as the cursed soul of the High Ecclesiarch Stapellus, are popularly believed to be built atop the tomb of King
torn apart by the mob risen against the rule of an Althar. One such is the Abbey Spire at Glastbarie, a
unpopular King. Playwrights have instead called the Ministorum stronghold that looms over nearby farm-
Shade a treacherous Lord who slew his kin and knelt tracts, raised roadways, and a series of great artificial
before the Aquila with blood upon his hands—thence hills that were constructed in ancient times for unknown
cursed by the God-Emperor and all the saints to a chill, reasons. Similarly, the coastal fortress of Tinafel in an
spectral vigil upon the borders of fate and death. outflung domain is supposed to have once hosted the
Court of King Althar, and some say the tomb lies
Thomus of Eiladon beneath its deepest foundations, where hive-metals give
way to crumbling stone and passages sealed by
A prophet who lived centuries past, Thomus was spirited crushfalls.
away from the hive structures of Callidon's highlands to
a hidden realm ruled by haloed servants of the God- The Ragged Corvids of Hive Londus
Emperor. Upon his return he was a much changed man,
and for the rest of his life set forth prophecies in the One of the few remaining flocks of draggled black
form of plays and rhymes. These have made their way corvids in all Brythan haunts the upper works of Hive
into many works and chronicles in the generations since, Londus, diminishing in number with each new winter
and whatever truth lies beneath the legend is long snow. A prophecy recorded by the chronicler and
buried. The bards of Callidon credit Thomas with many playwright Cauther, of unknown origin even in his
a true prophecy, some of which scholars claim to be lifetime centuries ago, states that the Ministorum will
more ancient or taken from other sources—but crumble, the Anglish Court fall, and the very hive itself
nonetheless, the tale of Thomas the Rhymewright is well be destroyed should the corvids vanish. Commoners of
known in the clanholds. The greatest of his prophecies, the poverty districts believe that Queen Elyzia the
at once much derided and much desired, is of a time Glorious sends favoured Lords and militants to climb the
when 'All Brythan shall be as One in Union Beneath a outer hive-wall buttresses in order to watch over these
Single Crown, and May It Be a Crown of Callidon.' avians.
The Tomb of King Althar The Water Beast of ayess
Anglish commoners suppose the great King Althar to The lakes of Callidon are deep and narrow, less poisoned
have ruled the later age of Ald Brythan, a legendary than the remaining open waters in Anglish domains.
34
Tales are told of a vast beast that lurks within the Nayess mourned by all within a domain—for it is a grave omen,
lake, a creature that rises from the depths when Callidon believed to precede many ill-fortuned years. Ghosts and
is unsettled, foaming the waters but never clearly seen. fate-curses are drawn to such terrible events, and many a
Saint Calomus of Hybernea set great ward-stones about tale tells of Lords past and the terrifying apparitions that
the lake a millennia past, when ties between Callidon marked their deaths. When a noble dies young, shades
and the Hybernean moon were closer. Ever since that are said to walk the battleways of the household fortress-
long-past warding there are rumours and whispers of estate. Chained and moaning, they are Lords who fell
what is seen within the morning lake-mists, growing before their time, dead of treachery, unlucky accident, or
whenever there is unrest among the populace. the black cough. Forever condemned to a restless death,
Callidonean hierarchs are regularly petitioned to circle they can do nothing but look upon what might have
the Nayess, stopping in each nearby shrinehold to call been, their spectral presence placing a burden of
upon the God-Emperor, that He might protect Callidon misfortune upon the living.
from whatever taint lurks within the lake's depths.
The Witch of Aven Underdeck
The Faithful of the Drowned Land
Beware the witch! The witch is cursed by the God-
So the legend is told, long ago a doom fell upon a Emperor for her very nature, and all touched by her are
spirebase and its peoples. Witches cursed the very land likewise unhallowed. A time past, before the House of
to fall beneath the stormy seas, and down were carried Teuda rose to rule the Anglish Court, a dire witch
all the faithful and their works. Those who took shelter haunted the underdeck districts of Aven. She lurked
within shrines and cathedrals were protected by the amidst the waste processors and ruin-wards, spinning a
God-Emperor from this curse, however. They live on to poisonous fate-curse: many children of Hive Londus and
this day, and on holy days ring great bells within the beasts of the breeding pens beyond were born misshapen
sunken towers. Those who listen to the static of dead or witch-marked, and the mob rose up in fearful hue and
vox networks and those who crew processor vessels far cry upon the roadways. Three witchfinders led men into
from land can sometimes hear the distant tolling of lowest Aven in search of the Witch of Aven, but she
prayer-bells—or so it is claimed. Older tales told in boiled their eyes in their heads and stopped their hearts
Callidon name the lost spirebase, calling it Lar Esse, and within their chests. Only by the intercession of the High
tell of a Lord Trevalius who escaped the fall. His Ecclesiarch did the God-Emperor strike down the Witch,
descendants are many and hidden, so it is said, and form for upon his most earnest prayers all Aven underdeck
a secret order who come and go from the hive took light and burned for a winter. Only the faithful and
foundation beneath the seas, where dwell the most the righteous escaped a terrible death by fire, and the
faithful and blessed peoples of all Brythan. Witch was no more.
The Hollowed Men The Black Canid of the Wastes
Many tales tell of things that were once men and now Commoners in the beast-pens and manufactory sprawls
only look like men, emptied of souls and whose bodies between hive foundations tell of a great canid of glowing
roam the wastes or hide in the dark hive ruin-districts to eyes that haunts the wastes and ruin-districts, and some
tear apart the weak and the outcast. Callidonean bards claim it to tear open beast-pens and feed gluttonously
speak of canid-men, wild and ragged, who steal children upon the terrified animals within. Some foul witchcraft
for witches. In Anglish lands, the tales are of brutal keeps it alive, hidden, and able to elude any hunter—or
ferals who have forgotten how to speak. The outcasts of perhaps there is a breed of such supernatural beasts, a
Brythan are forsaken indeed and live harsh, short lives, remnant of Ald Byrthan that loathes the spread of
but the myths of the Hollowed speak of witchcraft above mankind. It is universally agreed that to glimpse the
and beyond the changes that starvation and poisons of black canid in the distance is an omen of death,
the wastes can wreck upon a man. catastrophe, or defeat, as the beast is a manifest curse,
called forth by evil souls to harm the works of the
The Chained Lords faithful.
The untimely death of a Lord or one of his lineage is
35
The Past that Builds the Present
Players Upon an Arcane Stage twisting flesh with power.
Over time the blackened hearts of the Ancient
Beneath the noise and bustle of Brythanic society lies a Ones awoke currents of rudimentary awareness and
tumultuous secret history of seer-prophecy and blood savage lusts in the near warp, and the Horned God of
sacrifice, a living continuation of the age of Ald Ald Brythan took form as a bestial entity of blood and
Brythan—a corruption of the warp that was never fully patterns, its essence the myriad fears, hatreds, and lusts
purged from this world. of the Brythanic peoples, channelled through Kingship
and ritual death.
The Horned God of Ald Brythan
The Ancient Ones
A King of Ald Brythan lived well for the ordained years
of his short reign, and at its conclusion was sacrificed to The warp-bloated Ancient Ones lived for an age in their
the beast-gods: the Horned One, the Dark Canid, and hidden places, grown into forms pleasing to the Horned
others. Kingship in that feral era was both a great honour God—but then came the legions of Rhame, and Ald
and great burden, for a monarch stood at the head of his Brythan burned. The lesser orders of priest-seers were
tribe, a figurehead of success or failure in war and the destroyed, the forest altars despoiled, and tribal
hunt. But most importantly, a King had to die well and berserkers crushed by disciplined lasfire. The Horned
in the traditional manner, so that priest-seers could God writhed and seethed in near-mindlessness, for Kings
divine the future from his entrails. were slain at the wrong time and in the wrong way, and
So it was for countless generations, and so it the warp about Brythan roiled. But the Horned God was
would have continued—but the taint of the Ruinous not destroyed, and neither were all of the Ancient Ones.
Powers seeps from the Empyrean to fall upon all worlds Even burned and driven mad by the Horned God's
of mankind. A malign, barely aware warp-eddy swirled turmoil they survived, scratching and squirming in their
about Ald Brythan in those millennia before the age of deep lairs beneath the sacred places—and so the touch of
Rhame, summoned and sustained by heathen rituals and the warp upon Ald Brythan never truly died.
suffering. The priest-seers who sacrificed Kings and In time Brythan prospered beneath the rule of
made offerings to totem beast-gods were in time Rhame, and prospered further after Rhame fell into
seduced into worshipping the warp itself, their decline. Vast hive structures spread and grew tall, and
corruptions of flesh and mind cloaked behind the the populace expanded to a million Imperial souls for
bloodstained mask of tradition. They still gathered at the each former village of a few hundred ferals. The dreams
sacred places, there to sacrifice each generation's tribal and harsh desires of new multitudes seeped down into
King upon the altar of the Horned One, read the signs, the hidden places where the Ancient Ones lay, and in
and assure the tribes of future victories. The warp- turn, witches, dreamers, and Ministorum seers were
touched amongst the priesthood channelled the power of touched by the madness that scratches in buried caverns,
each King's rule, released in the rituals of death and half-remembering events they had never seen.
blood, feeding it into the writhing currents of the The warp will have its way, and cares not for the
warp—all but a portion that they kept for themselves. passage of ages: secretive and hidden orders arose from
Empowered and twisted, the inner circle of elder dreams of kingship, priest-seers, and blood. Over and
priest-seers became bloated, deathless Ancient Ones, again the growing hives of Brythan gave rise to heretical
their terrifying forms hidden away in the deep caves and sects whose initiates aided the rise of Lords, mystery
darkest forests, and their existence kept secret from all cults that sought wisdom in the history of noble lineages,
but the most trusted and power-hungry initiates. For and seer covens that worked to align the deaths of Kings
long centuries these Ancient Ones fed upon the power of and Queens—to set a noble death in its rightful time and
feral belief, controlled their brethren, and divined true place, and yet barely knowing why they did so.
glimpses of the future from the entrails of Kings. Their
hungers guided tribes to war and murder, and their
warpcraft seeped into berserkers upon the battlefield,
36
The Brotherhood of the Unsheathed Blade guarantee his place beside the sleeping King Althar,
blessed by the God-Emperor to rise up in defence of the
Inevitably, the most gifted, corrupt, and unfortunate realm when disaster threatens.
visionaries learned the truth: first through warp- The inner circle of the Brotherhood guides its
revelation, and then by descending beneath the old servants, both knowing and unknowing, in rituals of
sacred places to behold the Ancient Ones. Scarred and foresight that attempt to divine the true wishes of the
maddened, the survivors brought old truths and old ways Ancient Ones. They read the signs of the warp to
to their secret orders. Some were slain in revulsion, but determine when Lords must die, and in what manner, but
the lore of Ald Brythan spread nonetheless—and the seer talents are uncertain and the answers unclear in
Ancient Ones were served by initiates once more. comparison to the age before Rhame. The omens align
Since that time, the revived cult of Ald Brythan perhaps once in a generation, but at such times the
has undergone many convulsions and betrayals. It was Brotherhood's elders stand to gain the favour of the warp
always diffuse and hidden, but frequently divided into and the attention of the Horned God—as the true power
warring factions of very different character and goals. of Ald Brythan awakens. In between these seasons of
Many of these lineages were extinguished in the portent and murder, the Brotherhood acts to protect and
upheaval and warpcraft that attended the bloody Nyorde empower noble lineages. At the same time it expands its
invasion, however, and the inner circle of the cult own influence: placing ignorant agents into noble
became more unified. The forbearers of those survivors Houses, nurturing the rise of mystery cults, and steering
and victors named themselves the Brotherhood of the the disputes of Lords in accordance with prophecy.
Unsheathed Blade: many of the cult's ignorant loyalists
are assassins and soldiers, and their lore is of the blade Inquisitor Willard Quassus
that ends a noble life balanced against the blade that
defends a Lord who must live longer yet. Inquisitor Quassus was drawn to Brythan by his
The Brotherhood lurks at the centre of a web of conviction that a taint of blood-sacrifice corrupted all of
heretics and agents, none of whom know more than the pre-Rhamean cultures of the Yeuros worlds—and
fragments of the true nature of their masters and that this taint persisted, a common foundation beneath
advisors. It is the origin and guiding hand for many diverse contemporary heresies. Quassus believed that the
long-standing mystery cults and persistent heresies: seer barbaric Nyorde from beyond Imperial borders only
orders, corrupted soldiers' brotherhoods, unsanctioned unwittingly served the ends of the Ruinous Powers: their
Destinist sects, assassin covens, commoner fraternities bloodthirsty gods were puppets of the warp, and the
that teach the legends of King Althar, and savant lodges raiders were called to pillage Brythan by some form of
whose members seek after arcane wisdom. The lingering, sympathetic warpcraft. To the Inquisitor's
existence of the Brotherhood and the cult of Ald Brythan eyes, Brythan was never fully civilized by the God-
before it is hinted at in many a myth, tale, and Emperor's Guard, the legions of Rhame, and its old ways
prophecy—the common thread of hidden peoples who were not all put to the torch.
hold arcane wisdom, revere Kings, and possess a After the heathen, tainted Nyorde were defeated,
connection to the old ways of an age before Rhame. But Inquisitor Quassus established a modest mission and
few indeed link these myths to any real group, and fewer made Brythan his base of operations. He became a
still hold any true lore of the Ancient Ones and the favourite of Queen Elyzia's grandfather, father, and then
surviving warpcraft of Ald Brythan. the Queen herself—for he was a power in residence
The Brotherhood's leaders and elder initiates whose very presence bolstered the legitimacy of House
seek personal power, the blessings of the Horned God, Teuda's claim upon the throne. Over time the defeat of
and true foreknowledge—and know full well that they the Nyorde passed from being a recent scar to become a
are damned in Imperial eyes. Some are warp-gifted, bloody, renowned episode of Brythan's past amongst the
twisted in flesh and mind, set upon the same path of commoners. They told ever more embellished tales in
corruption that formed the Ancient Ones. Yet the which the war-priest Williard of the Spear came from a
outskirts of the Brotherhood are steeped in the Imperial far world to put the fear of the God-Emperor into
creed, in holy Destinism, and in Brythanic loyalty to Nyorde berserkers, and slowly but surely the Inquisitor
noble blood: the Brotherhood's agents believe became a saint in their eyes.
themselves rightful and holy. Even the assassins who Willard Quassus did not rest upon his laurels,
ritually murder a Lord do so understanding that they however. Signs uncovered across his career hinted at a
37
waiting horror—a darkness that would one day rise to playwrights—and the Inquisitor shared those interests in
drown the Yeuros worlds in blood and warpcraft, the stage, penmanship, and the acts of players. Marlow
undoing all that was won in the Rhamean crusade so was received well, and it was understood that his
long ago. These omens and suppositions Quassus kept to loyalties were divided: he served both Queen and
himself, encrypted in journals and cogitation cores, Inquisitor. His was a common and traditional position
never shared with the Ordos or even beyond the inner created in any alliance between Brythanic Lords, a
circle of his retinue, as he was not a man given to trust. trusted bridge-servant pledged to two powers, highly
As the decades turned into centuries, Quassus sought out placed but never so highly placed as to be a true threat to
the truth of his suspicions upon worlds throughout the either party.
Yeuros voids, but increasingly within the hives and Thus Marlow stood one step below the trusted
buried heathen ruins of Brythan. As age claimed his inner circle of Throne agents loyal to Quassus, not privy
vigor despite potent juvenat treatments he left Brythan to deep secrets or cipher keys, but as the years passed he
ever less often, unwilling to let the years slip away in became increasingly responsibility for running the outer
Empyreal travel between the stars. reaches of the Inquisitor's organization upon Brythan.
The Brotherhood of the Unsheathed Blade
became known to Quassus by the shape of its careful Jhonus Dee, Queen's Seer
absence—so many hints and similar, futile
interrogations of petty heretics and lesser witches who Prior to the ascension of Queen Elyzia of the House of
knew next to nothing. He gnawed at the outskirts of the Teuda, Jhonus Dee was a scholar and theosophist of the
Brotherhood for two hundred years, silently quashing a grand school of Caem's Bridge. He was persecuted by
dozen varied unorthodoxies and slaying a score of Anglish ecclesiarchs for his lectures upon Destinism and
potent witches who eluded and slew witchfinders. The use of seer tools in casting auguries for Lords of the
Inquisitor built his theories, seeing in his mind's eye a Anglish Court—this was a century past, when to preach
cult of endless subtle layers, with tendrils in the halls of the tenets of Destinism in Hive Londus was a grave risk
Lords, and some form of warp-taint or daemon at its for one who stood outside the priesthood. His noble
centre. The culmination of his life's work would be its defenders rescued him from the tender mercies of the
unmasking and destruction. The clues, theories, and Ministorum, and in the years since Dee has walked a
interrogation transcripts filled entire data-vaults, a web narrow path between the favour of the Queen and the
of lies and complications to shroud the hidden truth, a enmity of cathedral hierarchs.
greater tapestry than any one mind could hold at once. During his long life, Dee gathered an imposing
Across these decades of toil, Inquisitor Quassus private collection of historical tomes, chronicles, and
faded from the Yeuros Conclave. In the past century the esoteric works on prophecy and Destinist theosophy. He
only signs seen by the Ordos of his continued existence believed hidden ciphers and omens to be recorded in
were slim, ciphered missives of acknowledgement to the noted plays and chronicles, perhaps intentionally placed
issuance of major cartae. Thirty years ago even those by one who was slyly aware of secrets and greater
ceased. powers, or perhaps a work of the God-Emperor and the
saints, wherein the writer was merely an unwitting tool
Caesopher Marlow of the divine. Dee's goal was an understanding of the
fundaments of holy augury, universal truths he felt were
Fifty years past, Inquisitor Quassus and the chill, regal obscured by the superstitions of chroniclers and
Queen Elyzia shared an oblique conversation in which misguided Ministorum dogma.
both revealed to the other that they believed a hidden
force, some malign assembly, had long acted with great Sisterhood of the Caldera
subtlety to oppose their respective agendas. One
outcome of this conversation was the induction of the The great, steaming caldera of Din Edin in Callidon was
Queen's agent Caesopher Marlow into the Inquisitor's a sacred place of Ald Byrthan, its mountainous walls
retinue. honeycombed by tunnels even then. In its heated depths
Marlow was a consummate spy and emissary, lurked the twisted, bloated form of an Ancient One,
well versed in Brythanic society high and low. He was a slumbering amidst dreams of blood and sacrifice,
veteran of Court intrigue, and a figure of note in the sustained by the warp in a state that was neither truly
Hive Londus society of playhouses and alive nor truly dead. It was perhaps inevitable that
38
Destinist seers would be drawn to the caldera and formal High Gothic at a grand function in the Queen's
corrupted by what lay within. The Sisterhood of Holy Court. This was not the first time, but it was the first
Fates was already an old and sanctioned seer order when time that Dee said anything to catch the Inquisitor's
its stern matriarchs ordered their charges to journey interest. Later, the two spoke at length in Dee's spire
from the hivebases to the looming fortress of Din Edin. quarters, and Quassus spent some hours within Dee's
There they toiled at the bidding of their masters in the collection of rare works, perusing early transcriptions of
cult of Ald Brythan, most entirely ignorant of the the works of Cauther, and fragmentary chronicles of the
heresies and warpcraft they aided. Callidonean Kings.
During fierce wars between Anglish Lords and By chance, a simple reference, a filigree of
the clans of Callidon many centuries ago, Din Edin was information hinted at innocently by Jhonus Dee,
conquered by the Anglish King Eduard, retaken by the completed a large part of the web of hints and obscure
clans, and then scoured upon the order of Lord Robath references that Quassus had toiled to build for so long.
of Bruch, a legendary figure soon to be acclaimed King Patterns suddenly aligned, many pointing to the caldera
of Callidon. Much was written of these wars by bards of Din Edin and the seer cults that had long occupied
and chroniclers, but little of the Scouring of Din Edin. that reach of Callidon. Inquisitor Quassus returned to the
Obscure tomes referenced by the prolific Geffarius Strathvedum, his residence and base of operations in
Cauther speak of witchcraft seen upon the battlefield, Hive Londus, and hastened to gather his retinue and
and ill-thought prophecies decried by clan Lords. The most capable militants.
Sisterhood and other servants of the cult of Ald Brythan
were cut down without mercy, and the halls of Din Edin A True Augury
cleansed in promethium fire.
Yet the forces of Lord Robath did not venture Dee knew not what had caused the interest of so great a
deeply enough and in great enough force to destroy the figure as Willard of the Spear, and could only guess at
true source of corruption: the Ancient One remained. which of his remarks or collected tomes brought such
The Sisterhood returned soon enough to Din Edin, for triumph to the aged Inquisitor. He was uneasy—the
those slain were merely servants and apprentices of the attention of Imperial hierarchs proved dangerous in the
true seers. Never again did it grow to its former size and past, and Dee had become more cautious in his later
influence, however. Instead the Sisterhood of Holy Fates years.
ultimately became a part of the hidden inner circle of the Thus in the dead of night, Jhonus Dee took forth
Brotherhood of the Unsheathed Blade, tutors to witches his seer tools and forged an augury partly of the Ald
who evaded Ministorum hunters, and wardens for the Ways, learned from scraps and hints within old tomes,
Ancient One in the deep tunnels. and partly of Imperial tradition: reading the entrails of a
freshly slain beast whilst muttering phrases of Ald
The Fall of Inquisitor Quassus Brythanic, the ritual conducted by the light of thrice-
blessed candles and beneath the Aquila. It was an
Elders of the Brotherhood of the Unsheathed Blade were inadvertent warpcraft, made by a man determined to use
long aware of the threat posed by Inquisitor Quassus, as all the lore at his disposal in a matter of importance. By
he appeared as a powerful signifier within their auguries. his actions Dee pressed a careless thumb upon the
For so long as witch-seers of the Sisterhood of Holy strands of fate, one augury to disrupt those taking place
Fates caught glimpses of the true future, the elsewhere in Brythan—and the Brotherhood of the
Brotherhood could place itself beyond the Inquisitor's Unsheathed Blade was made blind for a day in the
growing web of understanding—if not beyond his matter of Willard Quassus.
suspicions. The warp is a fickle mistress, however, and What Dee saw disturbed him greatly: death,
the strands of fate finally fell into line in the winter of downfall, and the seeds of great ruin were marked by the
784.M41. coiling of the beast's entrails and spill of its blood. That
troubled night passed without sleep, for to share a dire
A Chance Disclosure augury with the powerful is deeply unwise—and doubly
so if conducted using unsanctioned techniques. By
Whilst chem-greyed snows lay heavy upon the upper morning, Dee resolved to tell no-one, and kept to
structures and spire balconies of Hive Londus, Inquisitor himself in the months and years that followed, wary of
Quassus and Jhonus Dee chanced to meet and talk in what had been revealed.
39
Departure and Loss The Passage of Years
Upon the same morning as Jhonus Dee's troubled For years Marlow toiled to continue the work of the
resolution, Caesopher Marlow and his bodyguards Inquisition upon Brythan. He sought to find those who
watched the Inquisitor's force ascend from the Hive defeated the Inquisitor, to restore Quassus to sanity, and
Londus landing fields, meltwater from plasma jets on to follow the commands of his Queen in keeping the
thick ice flowing about their boots. Marlow did not Inquisitor's incapacity hidden. Willard of the Spear was
know his master's destination, but by the Throne agents' a power and a myth that supported the Teuda throne—he
demeanour expected a triumphant return and great must be known to be alive and potent, or dead and raised
breakthrough in the Inquisitor's secret work—and to sainthood, but nothing in between.
perhaps even explanations and an induction into the Expecting further assault, Marlow made a trap
inner circle of Quassus' retinue. But the Inquisitor did of the Strathvedum and laid many more subtle ambushes
not return. Only the God-Emperor and the dead know in throughout the organization he inherited. But no such
certain surety what happened within the depths of Din assault ever occurred. Over and over, Marlow traced the
Edin: the fortress of the Sisterhood was scoured once last sane days of Willard Quassus, seeking some insight.
more, this time by a heavily armed company in search of He alienated and later reconciled with Jhonus Dee, but
heresy, warp-taint, and captives to interrogate. They met Dee never told Marlow of the augury he forged upon the
their match in what lay hidden in Din Edin's tunnels, night prior to the Inquisitor's disappearance.
however, and it consumed them utterly. Lacking the Inquisitor's cipher keys, Marlow
could neither read nor formally respond to missives from
Aftermath the Yeuros Conclave. Nor could he open the data vaults
that once resided in the Strathvedum to learn what he
The days turned to months, and Marlow had nothing to needed to know. In the early years, Marlow maintained
tell his Queen but the continuing fact of the Inquisitor's the fervent hope that Quassus would return to sanity. He
vanishment. He had control of the Strathvedum and the did not contact the Inquisition openly because that would
loyalty of much of Quassus' remaining organization, but not have been the Inquisitor's wish, and to do so would
neither the ciphers to the datavaults nor the knowledge in any case violate the Queen's orders.
that truly mattered at that time. Still, he searched and he What Marlow could do was take up the
prepared—for a foe that could defeat Willard of the Inquisitor's toil, insofar as he was able: to maintain and
Spear was a foe he did not wish to meet in an open and put to use the Inquisitorial agents and retainers he alone
fairly matched conflict. now commanded. As the years turned, Marlow and his
As winter warmed to first-melt and past, the servants defeated witches and lesser heretics in the
Inquisitor was found. Manufactory workers of an edge- manner of the Inquisitor—and with increasing
wall installation a hundred leagues from Din Edin confidence.
discovered Willard Quassus at the outer vents, comatose A decade passed, and Marlow allowed many of
and his powered armour rent. Their masters and the the traps he had forged to lapse. He came to believe that
Lord of the clan were soon enough involved, for the a hidden foe of Queen, Ministorum, and Imperium had
armour was a sign of wealth and privilege. Caesopher indeed been defeated by Quassus in the winter of
Marlow journeyed to Callidon in haste bearing letters 784.M41, for how else to explain years of silence instead
from Queen Elyzia: resources were transferred, gifts of the vengeful assault he had long feared?
made, and nobles sworn to secrecy. The Inquisitor was
borne back to Hive Londus, where the most renowned Strange Prophecies
scholars of Rhamean Physik could tend to him.
Willard Quassus lived, though that outcome was The Inquisitor, aged and frail, began to take corvid-quill
uncertain for months. In time he woke from his fugue, to parchment. His mind remained lost, his mannerisms
but his soul was lost—he did not respond to those and speech the disarrayed nonsense of the asylum, but he
around him. He sometimes spoke, but in strange tones penned fragments of plays. Scribed out of order,
and with jumbled words that bore no relation to the strangely styled, and each couplet discarded to the floor
questions asked of him. There was seemingly nothing upon completion—but plays nonetheless. Even now,
left of the sharp mind and will of the Inquisitor. Marlow well recalls the eve upon which he realized that
the fragments formed true prophecies when arranged,
40
lightly cloaked in fiction and the verse of the Brythanic day when the last play was completed, the King he
stage. What warpcraft was this? served lay within his tomb, and the arcane had a stronger
Marlow began to fear what might come from far hold upon Cauther than the mundane. The former
worlds at the orders of the Yeuros Conclave, and playwright vanished from the hives of men, initiated into
prepared for the worst. Still, his loyalties remained what would later become the Brotherhood of the
sound: whether the scribed prophecies were curse of the Unsheathed Blade—and thereafter the warp sustained
warp or blessing of the God-Emperor, Marlow would his life long past its natural limits.
stand between Quassus and any Inquisitor to declare him
unholy. Willard of the Spear would be a saint when his Shadowed Centuries
body finally succumbed to age, and his hidden victory
would not be sullied by those who knew nothing of his With the passage of decades Cauther was once again a
deeds. trusted retainer—but in service to an inner circle of
The prophetic plays grew, line by line, to more heretics who wielded true and potent warpcraft. He knew
than a dozen in number—but none even close to well the cost of leadership, and in his wisdom made
completion after a decade of scribed words. The himself an indispensible seneschal rather than a would-
arrangement of couplets was itself a puzzle, and most of be ruler. When Lords fight, it is the servant of talent and
the prophecies contained within their verse remained means who prospers regardless of the outcome.
obscure. On the basis of his interpretation, Marlow Immersed in the true lore of the cult of Ald
believes the prophecies may refer to events that will Brythan, Cauther came to understand that the Lords and
soon come to pass. His soul has been weighed by this Kings who once held his loyalty were little more than
for years, for many verses speak of the death of Kings, urns of flesh, their only purpose to hold secure some
the treacherous murder of Lords, and of blood, war, and measure of the mystic, churning power provided by the
massacre. These are matters of horror for any loyal warp. The True Nobility of seers and savants stood in
servant of the Anglish Court. the shadows, both foreseeing and forging the death of
By the time of Marlow's reconciliation with Kings—and in doing so they harnessed this power. The
Jhonus Dee, he firmly believed that the God-Emperor Hidden Court was all but empty, however, and had been
worked through Willard Quassus, and that the hive so for long centuries since the age of Rhame. The Ald
masses were indeed correct in hailing Willard of the Ways were lost, and the populace of Brythan swelled
Spear a saint of the Imperial creed. But upon the matter aimlessly, unguided by true wisdom. Even the witch-
of the prophecies he remains divided. They are seers of the Sisterhood of the Holy Fates cast auguries
incomplete, the arrangement of couplets Marlow's alone, weak in comparison to those of the distant past, and the
and his interpretations plagued by uncertainty. To his rightful future was rarely glimpsed.
eyes it is better that these works remain hidden, even Nonetheless, elders initiates taught Geffarius
from Queen Elyzia. Despite the present age of greater Cauther that the Hidden Court could be reclaimed, that
unity between Destinism and the Church of Brythan, for new True Nobles could rise to power, and that worship
Quassus to become a Destinist icon would most likely of the Horned God could be returned to its rightful place.
deny him the formal blessings of sainthood. The inner circle of the cult of Ald Brythan would ascend
As the years passed, Marlow remained a man to arcane supremacy, able to view the threads of fate laid
weighed and conflicted, burdened deeply by his two out in a single shining array, and so rule Brythan for an
loyalties, fearing what might come, and bearing a secret age. So it was taught, but frailties and lusts betrayed the
too great for his soul. heretics ever and again, and the fate of most was to be
destroyed by their peers, by the monstrous Ancient Ones
The Long, Slow Corruption of whom they served, or by the warp made manifest.
Geffarius Cauther The years of Cauther's service flowed like water,
past the hidden battles and wars of assassination, and
A long time ago, the playwright Geffarius Cauther led past the death of many a master. He penned legends and
an extraordinary life: servant to an Anglish King, esoteric lore that commoner fraternities and Destinist
emissary across the voids, and chronicler known to the cults would teach one another for lifetimes to come. He
masses. Across those years, Cauther's interests in the carefully set seeds that blossomed into seer cults and
cults and myths of monarchy led him ever deeper into soldier's brotherhoods, ready to act unknowingly to the
the outskirts of the cult of Ald Brythan. There came a benefit of the inner circle—for these were his talents.
41
Cauther survived the blood-soaked upheavals flames. But Cauther survived, albeit twisted yet further
that accompanied the Nyorde invasion, when the warp from the man he once was.
turned against its wielders, and the Horned God briefly The innermost Brotherhood lay near annihilated
roared. Of the varied factions of the cult of Ald Brythan by Willard of the Spear and the warp's blind, focused
it was the Brotherhood of the Unsheathed Blade that fury—but within a bare few years it lived again. The
continued past that war, the others extinguished, hunted many covens, fraternities, and mystery cults used as
down, and their lore forgotten or burned. In the decades tools by the Brotherhood elders stood largely untouched.
that followed other threats arose, and at times Geffarius The seeds carefully sown in past decades would yet
Cauther matched wits with Willard Quassus and willful grow. Geffarius Cauther and three witch-seers of the
servants of the Teuda Kings whose actions disrupted the Sisterhood of the Holy Fates yet lived: once returned to
foretold path—though they knew it not. Their small sanity and crawled from the caldera caves, what
victories were often as not in fact Cauther's victories, remained of the Brotherhood of the Unsheathed Blade
bones thrown to distract and confuse the beasts. For so was his to command.
long as some true foresight of the acts of Quassus and
Brythanic monarchs could be glimpsed by warp-tainted A Time of Quiet and Directed Fear
seers, the insightful plots of Geffarius Cauther would
ever prevail. Inquisitor Quassus vanished as a signifier in the auguries
When he took quill in hand, Cauther was closest of the witch-seers following the scouring of Din Edin.
to the man he once was. But that humanity had slowly Only the long fate-shadow of his past and final deeds
eroded under the touch of the warp, decade by decade. remained. Cauther came to believe him dead, and signs
The madness and bestial corruption of the Ancient Ones to the contrary the lies of an Anglish Queen who wished
seeped into the Brotherhood's rituals, and could not be the populace to think Willard of the Spear yet lived to
withstood forever. bless her rule. But Cauther was not idle: in the same way
as Caesopher Marlow, and at the very same time, he
Ascendant in Disaster expected further assault. Traps were laid, and innocents
sacrificed to empower auguries cast by the three witch-
When Quassus and his retinue fell upon Din Edin in the seers.
winter of 784.M41, the inner circle of the Brotherhood The expected attack never came, and the most
were within the seer fortress or the caldera tunnels significant auguries showed no doom of violence and
below. Blinded to their fate by the fickle warp, they died flames, no vengeful Imperial force in preparation. Yet
at the hands of the Inquisition. Seers who stood at a the charred-dead seers had not foreseen their fate in Din
nexus of ritual power, who held the threads of fate that Edin's vaults, and so Cauther spent long years in his
linked the deaths of Kings past and deaths of Kings to preparations for survival. By his plans and orders, the
come, were burned alive in promethium flames. Long- remnant Brotherhood became even more a hidden and
standing rituals of power were disrupted, and the subtle power. Its most knowing agents were silenced and
Horned God churned and coiled within the warp. An its strongest ties allowed to lapse until only the essential
Empyreal power of madness and fury came foaming core remained. Unfettered, a range of lesser heretical
upward from the Ancient One in Din Edin's depths, and cults and sects used by the Brotherhood became careless
the warring souls within the caldera wall fortress were and unguided, ultimately attracting the attention of
charred in witch-lightning, or dissolved as the warp Caesopher Marlow or Ministorum witchfinders. Their
briefly melted through to the material world. Few destruction was no great loss.
survived, and near all who did were left drooling husks,
soon to freeze to death. Visions of Kingly Death and Treachery
While the steaming powered armour of
Inquisitor Quassus stumbled from the lower tunnel vents With the passing of another decade, a new concern arose
and into the ruin-wastes beyond, Geffarius Cauther for the remnant Brotherhood of the Unsheathed Blade.
crawled to the shelter of caverns in the high caldera. Omens became suddenly evident and even the weakest
There he ranted and suffered visions, driven insane for a auguries glimmered with the future echoes of noble
time. The inhuman urges and fractured memories of the murder. Two Kings of Callidon must die in treachery
Ancient One had flowed through his mind, burning it and vengeance, and by the time and place of the spilling
just as his flesh had been touched by the Inquisitor's of their lifeblood the warp would awaken once again.
42
Empyreal fires would flow and coil, and those who scarred the populace of Brythan.
correctly laid the rituals of Ald Brythan would be
empowered by the Horned God—raised to a new Crethix Denialists
Hidden Court as members of the True Nobility. Such a
golden arrangement of fate, a blessing of the warp, Denialism takes innumerable forms, the one
would not arise again for centuries—and woe upon the commonality being denial of the God-Emperor's
corpses of the Brotherhood's elders, who missed this divinity, or that He exists at all. Denialism appears
shining moment by such a short span of time. throughout the Yeuros worlds, and is usually a matter of
As the opening years of the 9th century M41 a few rabble-rousers and the fools who follow them,
came and went, Cauther and his attendant witch-seers though denialist communes are at times founded in
directed all of their efforts toward understanding and remote regions—and later destroyed by Ministorum or
orchestrating what was foreseen. The form of the stage Inquisition forces. Small groups of determined men and
and the players upon it were laid out a hundred times women who deny the Imperial creed are found in any
over, and in as many different ways. It was a puzzle set large rebellion, however, and individuals who quietly
in darkness, with only a bare few pieces illuminated by forsake the faith of their communities are perhaps not as
true foresight. Yet still the toil progressed, and agents, rare as ecclesiarchs would like to believe.
spies, and other unknowing servants were put in place Crethix Denialism is an entirely different beast,
within the clan fortresses and noble halls of Callidon's however. It is an organized heresy that originated on
hive structures. The witch-seers and their acolytes crept Gahul in a past century, carried throughout the Yeuros
back into the deserted and battle-scarred caldera fortress cluster by zealous adherents. The book of this faith is the
of Din Edin, there to set in motion sorcerous rituals that Crethix Folio, named for a city of Gahul in which a
would span the years, rouse the Ancient One to full denialist cathedral is supposed to have once
wakefulness, and bind fate-threads to the churning of the stood—empty of all expression of the Imperial creed,
warp. but a holy place of worship nonetheless. Crethix was
While Caesopher Marlow struck in ignorance at destroyed utterly in the aftermath of the first large
the discarded fringes of the old Brotherhood, and the denialist uprising upon Gahul, and no-one now knows
populace of Brythan lived, prayed, and died unknowing, what once stood in place of the present worn ruins.
Geffarius Cauther and the three witch-seers of the The Crethix scripts are fierce in their
Sisterhood of the Holy Fates toiled upon a path to denunciation of Rhame and Ministorum, a revolutionary
ascension. tract in all but name that calls for the overthrow of the
religious order that shackles mankind. Denialist
Lesser Heretics, Rebels, and Outlaws missionaries and pilgrims risk death and worse at the
hands of the Inquisition to carry carefully copied folios
Numerous long-standing heresies and rebellious from world to world. They preach a faith of reliance and
teachings exist amidst the populace of Brythan, and their equality that rests upon the strong heart of the
suppression is a constant concern within Ministorum individual—not upon a lie created by cruel Lords and
conclaves and the meeting halls of Lords. Across the fat, priestly hierarchs that is used to cage men and steal
generations heretics and the disloyal have been culled by their freedoms. The Crethix scripts recognize no God but
the mob, by Lord's men charged with seeking out the distant, uncaring demiurge that gave form to the
unorthodoxy, by witchfinders, and by the galaxy.
Inquisition—but still heresy, unorthodoxy, and disorder Crethix denialists organize themselves as
seems to spring forth anew with each passing year. congregations of a few dozen members led by a handful
When the Brotherhood of the Unsheathed Blade of preachers, tutors, and missionaries. Each leader serves
first moves against a newly arrived Inquisitor, the in two or three congregations, but no one person knows
cultists will act through outlaws and lesser heretics the full extent of a Crethix community, or how to find
manipulated into becoming spies and assassins with no more than a few congregations. Despite this defensive
true knowledge of who stands behind their orders. The segregation, missives can be passed from congregation
Brotherhood retains ways and means to influence the to congregation throughout the community, allowing the
heresies that it long nurtured or used—even the Red denialists to coordinate—such as in the event of an
Ring, spawned of Nyorde corruptions that harmed the uprising or riot.
cult of Ald Brythan just as greatly as the invasion The broader populace of Brythan knows of
43
denialism and treats common denialists harshly—or King Althar's Men
thinks such beliefs a form of madness. Isolated denialists
who persist in speaking freely may well be confined as The greatest warriors and wise men of King Althar's
insane, but branding, banishment, or death at the hands court are said to slumber in their deeply buried, hidden
of an angry mob are equally plausible fates. Denialists tombs until the God-Emperor calls them forth to defend
of greater standing, such as those who assemble covens Brythan in its years of greatest need. This, at least, is the
or preach from the Crethix scripts, are more often commoner's tale of the King, and the way in which
dragged before ecclesiarchs to be formally charged with playwrights tell the story of the King's end. But other,
heresy—whilst the pyre stands ready for the torch. more esoteric lore speaks of stranger truths: of men
made immortal by the God-Emperor's blessing, who bide
The Communion their time in the shadows as the generations pass, and
who guard secrets far greater than that of life eternal.
Scattered hereteks haunt the ruin-wards and hidden gaps This lore is passed down through a mystery cult
of disrepair in the hive foundations, led by renegade of lodges whose initiates call themselves King Althar's
tech-adepts cast out and condemned by their Silencean men, and conduct their meetings as though they were an
brethren. The more organized of these groups absent Lord's inner circle of retainers. A lodge is divided
collaborate with void-guilders to run a black trade in into subtle ranks of ascending privilege and named
tech-devices—this much at least is well known amongst positions of power: sheriff, librarian elect, magister,
the restless and the outcast of Brythan. master of close-guard, and others. To lesser initiates, the
Deeper secrets are kept amongst hereteks, cult appears as a secret society of connections and
however, such as the existence of a mystery cult known Imperial faith—a way for the influential to forge
as the Communion, after ancient prayer scripts compacts away from prying eyes, and for ambitious
collectively known as the Communion of Ab-Harzed. commoners to attain influence far above their standing in
The scripts place the holy technologies of Mankind in a the hierarchy of Brythanic society. Only after years of
hierarchy of worth, but name the forbidden arts of the proven trust is the deeper lore revealed.
Anima Mori as the greatest technology of all, a once- King Althar's men have long sought influential
glittering spire that the Adeptus Mechanicus must initiates: lodges are typically a mix of Lord's men, lesser
regain. noble scions, guilders, and a few forceful commoners.
Ab-Harzed taught that the dead are not gone, but The currency of the lodge is favour, and many mundane
rather stand waiting for the lost technologies of conspiracies of trade and power are hatched within its
resurrection to be rebuilt. In the fullness of time, all will ritual gatherings. A lodge has no permanent home, and
be restored to life and thus shown the glory of the its folios of lore and ritual items are scattered amongst
Omnissiah. The tech-rituals of the Communion are the households of trusted members for safekeeping.
largely mystical in nature, as the hereteks undertake few Lodges keep ancient swords, spears, and pieces of rusted
of the disturbing practices normally attributed to magi of armour, scraps of written revelations, and other items
the Anima Mori—such as plundering the secrets of dead said to have come from King Althar's Court in the
flesh or perverting the sacred servitor tech-patterns. The ancient times—but none are authentic.
greatest of the Communion's endeavours are instead In truth, the mystery cult of King Althar is
knowledge-quests: sending forth emissaries in search of largely a creation of Geffarius Cauther, though that arch-
heretekal information hidden upon other Yeuros worlds. heretic weaved with older threads: myths of Kingship
Few return, however. and warp-borne secrets from the age of the Ancient
Silencean tech-magi know of the Communion Ones. The innermost initiates of King Althar's men,
and would gladly destroy it as an abomination. They are those who knowingly seek after secrets of the King's
neither an aggressive nor a militant order by nature, Court, in the end read only the words of Cauther, and
however. Equally, they are secretive and would never follow paths that the heretic created long
seek aid from the other powers of Brythan, or from the ago—deliberate dead ends and false lore with the
Mechanicus of other worlds. Quiet victories have been appearance of ancient wisdom.
attained, and nests of tech-heresy burned out, but the Across the centuries, King Althar's men proved
tendrils of the Communion have successfully survived to be useful puppets, spies, and distractions, especially
long centuries of these half-hearted persecutions. the lodges established in Hive Londus. The cult of Ald
Brythan created many of the first lodges and agents later
44
acted as tutors, claiming divinely-given revelation—but Thus the old lore of the Red Ring was scattered
providing no true lore. Over time some of King Althar's and burned. Where the Red Ring arises now, it is but a
men nevertheless uncovered fragments of heathen shadow of what it was: small murder-cults born of
warpcraft, a paltry few of the secrets of Ald Brythan that whispered secrets, hidden idols, and half-glimpsed
Cauther had deliberately obscured. Such initiates soon dreams. But even the most ignorant cultists of the Red
vanish; believed by their fellows to have discovered the Ring can give rise to true warpcraft. A fight to the death
final mysteries and joined the King's Court, they are in and bloodthirsty heretics shouting beneath a twisted
fact spirited away to be murdered or inducted into the Nyorde idol can rouse a connection to the Ancient
Brotherhood of the Unsheathed Blade, depending upon Ones—and to echoes of the Horned God in the warp. At
their reaction to the truths of the Horned God. its very worst, the warp might touch upon those within
the fighting circle, creating berserkers akin to the feral
The Red Ring warriors of Brythan who died beneath Ramean lasfire.
Their bodies bloat with power, their minds break, and
The Red Ring is a remnant Nyorde corruption: one of they slay all they can reach.
the myriad ways in which the Nyorde sacrificed to their
bloody-handed gods of the warp was by having Rhamists
prisoners and slaves beat each other to death in fighting
rings. Yet bare-handed fighting in rings and pits—for a Rhamists are supporters of the Rhamean Temple, fiery
purse, a woman, or to settle grudges—was a tradition zealots and men of deep faith who view the Church of
upon Brythan for long generations before the Nyorde Brythan as a grand heresy, and the Anglish Court and all
descended from the voids. It remains so: many a tavern its nobles as heretics. To their eyes the Church imperils
and hive-square regularly sees the flooring cleared and the souls of the masses by its false teachings and
crowds gather to shout and wager as men fight bare- acceptance of Destinism.
fisted. Rhamists are known and largely despised by the
In sharp contrast to the public fighting circles broader populace. In some Anglish domains even the
found on every hive-deck, the Red Ring is secretive rumour of uncovered Rhamism is enough to rouse a
indeed. It is a cult formed of isolated groups of trusted vengeful mob, and to hear commoners speak on the
initiates, led by shadowy patrons, who conduct brutal matter, Rhamist heretics are secretly working to cast
fights to the death behind closed doors. When the time is down the rightful Lords of Brythan such that Rhame can
right for sacrifice, a false prospect is brought into the rule once more. This is in fact far from true: while some
Ring for initiation—but is instead set upon, beaten few highly placed Rhamists are indeed agents of the
bloody, and torn limb from limb. The leaders of some Rhamean Ministorum, the vast majority see themselves
circles believe that by shedding blood they call upon as torch-bearers trapped in a long and terrible darkness.
nameless powers of Ald Brythan or the blessings of the Yes, they would gladly cast down the Lords who pray
God-Emperor, while others chant fragments of Nyorde falsely if they could, but restoring the Temple is a far cry
rituals and impale those beaten senseless in the Ring from restoring the rule of Rhame's legions. Rhamists
upon the spikes of carved idols. wish for Brythanic rulers who support the rightful and
The Red Ring spread in secret for a century holy Rhamean Temple, and to whom they can therefore
following the Nyorde invasion, but that first unified pledge loyalty—but that subtlety is lost on the mob.
incarnation of the cult was destroyed by Willard of the The iconography of the Rhamean Temple is
Spear. The idols were cast down, the leaders slain, and similar to that of the Church of Brythan, but immediately
the hidden fighting circles demolished. Lesser initiates recognizable in its differences. Rhamists hide their
of the cult were thugs and outcasts with a taste for shrines well, and religious materials are kept behind
murder, violent men who followed the Red Ring for all false partitions and in secret rooms, for discovery can
the same reasons as they ran with mobs through the hive only bring persecution. It is often the case that small
ways. Leaderless, their heresy was easily expunged, and wards or habs are largely Rhamist, the better to hide
thousands of the tainted and the suspect alike went to their avoidance of cathedral worship and observance of
their deaths upon the pyre. To the Inquisitor's eyes the holy days. After a century of often bloody purges,
Ring was a remnant blood cult of the sort he had come Rhamists have become secretive, cautious, and hostile
to despise—unruly and corrupt, the heretics calling upon towards the authorities of Brythan's hives.
the warp with little true knowledge of what they did.
45
True Cipherists patterns that causes ripples in the warp. Like the original
Cipherists, they are unprepared for where this will
The construction of ciphers and elegant mystery- inevitably lead. Their eventual fate is violent madness,
problems has long been a tradition amongst students and and their souls will be destroyed by the swirling warp-
scholars of the grand schools, a pastime shared by presence of the Horned God as it is drawn to their
Administratum clerks within the Hive Londus vaults, ignorant rituals.
monks better known for their illuminated manuscripts, A number of True Cipherists are respected
and a few less worldly noble scions. Many parchment scholars within the grand schools, or have some
folios within the Grand Librarium of Caem's Bridge connection to the Anglish Court through patronage or
contain later marginalia of this nature: cipher-notes and family. They will be useful eyes and ears for the
pictographic crypt-seals left there by both present Brotherhood of the Unsheathed Blade when the time
students and scholars now long dead. Further, the works comes for Geffarius Cauther to pay closer attention to
of many scholars, playwrights, and chroniclers are said events in Hive Londus.
to conceal arcane messages—and the most renowned of
these figures are popularly supposed to have penned and Wastemen
hidden away ciphered works that contain opinions or
secret lore best kept from a wider audience. Every generation has its wastemen, the outlaws and
Much of this is simply the intricate foolishness outcasts that gather at the edges of society, their ranks
peculiar to scholars of algebraic and universal laws, but sometimes greatly swelled by a failed uprising or new
these activities nonetheless conceal a dangerous mystery declaration of unorthodoxy. Banished outlaws with
cult: the True Cipherists. The original Cipherists were an electro-branded faces and ragged survivors of rebellion
inner circle of Caem's Bridge Destinists who used haunt the poison-tracts, and make their camps in the
cipher-psalms in divination and warpcraft, stirring the ruin-wastes between beast-farms and crumbling,
warp by means of pattern and ritual. They destroyed outlying habs. Some outcast bands include mutants or
themselves long centuries past: scholars and priests who harbour those accused of warpcraft, terrified and on the
touched upon warpcraft, they reached too far and were run from witchfinders, but most are more than willing to
consumed by forces they did not comprehend. slay any rivals who are visibly cursed. It is a harsh life,
Nonetheless a legacy was left, and since that and only the ruthless and the determined survive for
time True Cipherists have arisen time and again amongst long. The weak starve, grow sick, or simply vanish.
scholars who stumbled from the game of devising and Wastemen steal by night from habs, farm-tracts,
breaking crypt-seals to a more serious endeavour, lured and remote raised roadways, and so raise fear amongst
on by the promise of hidden knowledge. They progress commoners—who tell tales of the Hollow Men and
in this gradual heresy by discovering fragments of the spectral beasts that stalk the wastes. The boldest of
original Cipherist mysteries within tomes and wastemen raid warehouses and processories upon the
dataslates—all of which are encoded in layers of outskirts of noble domains, leaving their mark to ensure
increasing complexity, requiring ever greater knowledge that the Lord's men know who defies the law of the
of Cipherist lore to comprehend. domain. Attracting too much attention risks an earnest
The present True Cipherist cult is a diffuse hunt, however, or for local bailiffs and commoner fears
brotherhood of scholars and educated professionals, to raise militia enough for an effective sweep of the ruin-
scattered across Hive Londus and connected by a shared wastes. Large bands of wastemen tend to be short-lived,
history of study in the grand schools. Their beliefs and soon slain and scattered by military force—or torn apart
goals vary widely; some seek the universal cipher, a key by internal divisions. Heretics, mutants, and outlaws of
that will unlock natural laws and make all things different stripes hate one another just as greatly as they
possible. Others believe that the secrets of true hate those who cast them out.
divination, the God-Emperor's ascension, or life eternal Shadowy figures in need of ruthless, expendable
were once known—and are now hidden, ciphered in servants often turn to the wastemen. A few stacks of
ancient works somewhere within Caem's Bridge. All silver and a cargo-hull of food can buy loyalty for a
True Cipherists see hidden messages where there are short time, and there will be little enough to link dead or
none, and secret meanings in simple arrangements of captured wastemen to their patron. Given a promethium
chance. Some are harmless fools, chasing an illusion, transport, a mob of harsh wastemen could easily make
but the inner circle have stumbled upon a sorcery of their way into the heart of a hive structure to carry out a
46
mission of assault, theft, or murder. witch to forgiveness and rightful service of the God-
Emperor—and who supply silver to help the falsely
The Witch Houses accused find new lives, or even pay for the murder of
corrupt witchfinders.
Many loosely organized bands of outlaws or rebellious
commoners are marked as "witch houses" by Church of Caesopher Marlow and the Lesser Heresies
Brythan ecclesiarches, for they regularly strike at the
holy work of witchfinders. Where these Ministorum Caesopher Marlow's view of the lesser heresies
agents are corrupt, hated, and grow wealthy through prevalent upon Brythan is a product of his loyalties to
false accusation and confiscation, the witch houses may Inquisitor Quassus and the Anglish Queen. Many
be little more than the early, vengeful rumblings of a heretics are also outlaws or would-be rebels, their
commoner uprising. But more organized witch houses activities the potential seeds of rebellion against the
also exist, hidden in plain sight amongst the commoner Emperor-blessed rule of the Anglish Court—and thus
masses, and whose members work to spirit away nascent Denialists, Rhamists, and witch-house outlaws have
psykers accused of warpcraft and innocents falsely cast suffered greatly from Marlow's attentions over the years.
as witches. By reporting these victories to Queen Elyzia, Marlow
The organized, formal witch houses may be led maintains his position and influence, which in turn
by outcasts, and may work with outlaw bands, but they allows him to protect the fallen Inquisitor Quassus.
are managed at a distance by the Adeptus Astra Denied access to the crypt-sealed archives of
Telepathica. Five centuries of Astropaths Primaris have Inquisitor Quassus, Marlow is less aware of other, more
despised the crude Ministorum management of the sinister heresies. He knows of and understands the roots
psyker tithe: more psykers are slain or perish after years of the Red Ring: that much he learned from the
of suffering and neglect in cramped holding cells than Inquisitor directly, and Marlow's agents have destroyed
are turned over to the God-Emperor's rightful servants. lesser echoes of the Nyorde fighting circles. In contrast,
Agents of the Astropathica lightly guide the witch Marlow knows nothing of the true nature of the witch
houses, and the ultimate destination for rescued psykers houses, for all that he has sent their leaders to the witch-
is the Astropathic Enclave of Hive Londus, where they magisters. Willard Quassus long knew the witch houses
are held until such time as they can be secretly delivered to be an Astropathic conspiracy, and approved of
to the Black Ships. Not all survive the tutoring and psy- it—which did not stop him from destroying their agents
machine restraints, but it is a kinder fate than to be taken when they stepped beyond their bounds or caused unrest.
by a witchfinder. Only in the last hours prior to his assault upon Din Edin
Whether these actions of the Astropath Primaris did the aged Inquisitor suspect there might be other
are a form of rebellion against the will of the High fingers in the pie.
Ecclesiarch and Imperial Governor is a matter for law- Caesopher Marlow and his allies have also
wrights to argue. There would be repercussions and touched upon other less evident heresies. Fifteen years
political upheaval amongst the Imperial class should the past, he uncovered three True Cipherists and some of
conspiracy come to light. their works—but only after the scholars lost their sanity
The Astropathica are not the only group who in the midst of pattern rituals. Marlow believes they
influence and use the witch houses, however. Through were driven mad by some mind-poison that long ago
warpcraft and divination, the Brotherhood of the seeped into the archives of Caem's Bridge, lurking there
Unsheathed Blade long ago learned of the organized to ensnare those who put words and parchment above
rescue and passage of psykers. Their own agents steer faith. There were pyres made of certain old tomes and
the witch houses to send some of the most promising folios, and sections of the Grand Librarium were cleared
psykers to other destinations—into Callidon, for for a number of years, their contents put under lock and
example, where they might become sacrifices to be key in the crypts below. Since that time, Marlow has
consumed by an Ancient One, or made into servants of cultivated relations with magisters of the grand schools
the Sisterhood of the Holy Fates. To the fractious local and made agents of some few lesser scholars—but to no
leaders of the witch houses there is no difference end, for he is looking for a taint, not a cult, and the
between agents of the Brotherhood and agents of the remaining Cipherists are aware of Marlow's interest and
Astropathica. Both come from nowhere and profess to suspicions.
be servants of the Imperium, guides to lead an accused Insofar as the Communion is concerned,
47
Inquisitor Quassus had little interest in the prosecution
of tech-heresy, and Marlow is cut of the same cloth. He
believes hereteks guilty only of offenses against the
strange customs of the Silencius, an outcast fringe of no
more importance than the few outlaws who hide in every
poverty ward. Quassus may have known much more, but
Marlow is unaware of the extent and true nature of the
Communion.
As to the lodges of King Althar's men: six years
ago Marlow uncovered one such in the manufactory
domain of Essax, adjoining the outskirts of Hive
Londus. The then Lord Essax, Roberthe Devray, stood
in mixed favour with the Queen as a result of past
ambitions and intrigues within the Anglish Court. The
Lord himself and many of his trusted men were initiates
of a lodge that spanned his domain and the Court's outer
retinue, but Devray had become careless and arrogant.
Servants whispered and rumours spread—enough for
Caesopher Marlow to be encouraged by the Queen to
discover what he might. Folios of lore uncovered by
Marlow's agents and the interrogations of lodge
members were enough to see Devray removed as Lord
and confined within a residence of exile upon the cold
Anglish coastal wastes—but not accused of anything
more than unorthodoxy. Servants and trustees went to
the pyre in his place.
Thus Marlow and a number of his agents have a
modest outsider's knowledge of the lore and goals of
King Althar's men, but no real grasp of the scope of the
cult: to their eyes, this was a treasonous Lord who led
his followers astray in both faith and loyalties. Should
Marlow uncover other, similar lodges in Hive Londus,
however, his opinions would quickly change.

48