House Gilliam: to Carve an Empire from Ashes
To understand Davian Loch one needs to understand the one responsible for the man he has become today. That man is known to most as Artemis Weskler. In certain circles Mr. Weskler is also known as the Black Hand or Hand to the Black, the one responsible for the upkeep and armament of the Legendary Bounty Hunter, The Black Merc or Bounty depending on the planet you hail from. Since the death of this legendary bounty hunter the Black Hand has retired from the spotlight and taken up the mantle of Artemis Weskler, master arms and artificer. Artemis is a quite aged man at this time but none could truly know the truth behind this seemingly mild man save for two people, Davian and you because I’m telling you now.
Artemis Black, The Black Hand, and the Black Bounty are all one in the same. They are all characters played by a very old and very trained individual. His true name died with his beloved lord inquisitor Count Manfried Zarkov of the Xenos Hereticus during a mission to save the planet of BLANK. At the time Artemis was a temple trained vindicare assassin and when all was said and done the blessed inquisitor lord and his entire retinue had been slain. With the dust settled, the planet saved, and the passing of his dear friend Artemis found himself in a unique position, he had no master. He spent many years wondering the system finding himself. Fortune would have it that he was lead back to the very planet that had caused him so much pain. He would arrive at BLANK again and here he would begin the legend of his new personas.
It is in this system the Black Bounty was born. Artemis would continue his crusade against the forces of the truly deviant by taking the bounty of those wicked enough to receive his attention. For those poor souls that had gained what was called, “The Black Mark” little could be done. Entire armies were hired to stand in the way of this deadly Bounty Hunter, The Black Bounty, but every attempt to avoid the Black Mark was in vain. Once one had gotten the mark, it was only a matter of time before they would be brought to justice, or at least the justice that had paid for the services of the peerless mercenary, weather it by at the end of a gun or captured and brought back in the flesh.
But the skills of a temple trained assassin come with a hefty price. As time progressed The Black Bounty found that his clientele were not always the most noble of people, despite their intentions. Contracts would withdraw; clients would refuse payment, competition, even for such a master of death would push in. In short, it could no longer be done alone. So he created the persona of the Black Hand, the business face of the Black Bounty. Through this persona and a few rare trustworthy individuals the Black Hand created a network of arms suppliers, inventors, researchers, and archeologists to support his cause. Within a few short years The Black Hand was able to put his operation in full swing relying on only a few individually selected savants to fuel his business. That business being, The Hand of the Black Bounty, or affectionately know as “The Black Hand”.
A great deal of funds went into the dig site that unearthed his deceased Inquisitor Lord’s ship and an even greater amount went into its arcane restoration. Bullets, custom weaponry, vehicles, spy networks, all the resources that an inquisitor would require were paid for by the bounty’s provided by the Black Bounty. It was hard, but two things were achieved. The agents of chaos were constantly removed before they could become a threat and Artemis had carved out a legend that even reached the ears of the nobility of BLANK for systems around.
Things went on like this for some decades, as Artemis was the product of the inquisition’s finest work. Age did little to slow him and when it did rejuvenation treatments kept his edge. It was only after a close brush with death did Artemis give any thought to the empire he had created. All the groundwork he had done, the brilliant inventions he had devised would go unused or worse, looted by the very forces he had striven so hard to undue. This would not be the case. On the very next mission the Black Bounty was declared, “KIA” though oddly enough he still succeeded on his mission. The Black Hand collected the final payment and officially closed the business. Unofficially he continued his master artificer works while looking for a suitable candidate to pick up the reins. As it happens he found one.
One day in the under hive’s of Footfall a “boy” of no more then 21 stumbled upon him exiting a bar. The “boy: was beaten, shot, stabbed, and bleeding, to death. But the son of a bitch had strength and the look of fire in his eyes. He might be dying but whoever it was that did this to him wasn’t going to be far behind by his reckoning. It reminded him of him in his younger days not so many hundreds of years ago. After a not so polite conversation, the craggy faced Artemis took the boy in saving him from the roving gangers that stalked him through the broken streets. Word later was that a massive purge had begun. The Amaranthine syndicate was in a civil war and from it spawned the Crimson Alliance.
Artemis did his homework as always. He checked the back-story of this “boy” and found him to be quite a conundrum. Born on BLANK the “boy” had been trained and participated in the 131st infantry division and upon special commendation joined the ranks of the arbiters before being “killed in the line of duty”. This Davian was a son of a bitch, angry, full of spite, piss and vinegar, but he was good, damn good. Artemis was so thoroughly impressed with Dalian’s advanced skill set that he decided not to shoot him for knowing too much, a threat that Artemis gave daily, and trained him in the ways of the temple. Davian took to it like a fish in water, a starving man to bread, an ork to war, you get the point.
Davian showed potential that Artemis had never seen, indeed his physical prowess was far beyond even his in his prime and Davian had not even completed his training yet. The boy did lack a certain charisma and held no love for reading but there was something that he possessed that Artemis prized beyond all others, loyalty. Davian was loyal, as loyal to him as he had been to his long lost master. After many years Dalian’s training came to an end. Artemis looked upon him with pride and had taken him in as a son and the reverse was true. The cycle had finally been completed and it was time for the Black Bounty to return.
As with all things in the universe life has a way of revealing the tragedy in all things. Davian had a string of successful bounties with a certain client. This client had dealt with Davian directly and had requested on multiple occasions to meet the Black Hand in person. Young, naive, and full of pride Davian consented to the client’s request despite the code, to be specific rule #3. Only too late did Davian realize what he had done. The client was a Xenos, a foul psychic alien of untold origin. Surprised by the foul monster Artemis tried to draw upon it but his great age had stolen the best of his speed long ago and in the split second that played between the two of them it took from him what it had come for.
Stunned, shocked by the act that had played out before him Davian filled the hideous xenos scum before him with bullets but even as he did so it vanished before his eyes, activating some archaic form of cloaking field. It was gone, Davian had failed to kill it but worse beyond all else his adopted father, the only person he truly cared about in his entire life was a vegetable, psychically scarred, stripped of the ability to function. It was the darkest time in Dalian’s life, and that is saying something. So distraught was he that he watched on helplessly as The Black Hand’s networks and organizations fell apart. He drunk himself into a stupor night and night again as he fruitlessly searched for a psyker that could undue the damage that had been done.
In the end the same answer came up again and again. Pull the plug; end the man’s life for a life not living was no life at all. Davian had kill countless men, hundreds, maybe 1000’s, but this was not any man. It was Artemis Black, the man who had saved his life, trained him to be more then he ever could be, loved him as a son, gave him a path, and now he was to put an end to this man’s life.
It was more then he could bear. Davian never pulled the plug. Breaking the downward spiral he had set himself on he gathered all that he could, contacted his allies and set the word out. The Black Bounty was back; he was alive, and ready to go to war for those with the means to hire him. As to his father, Artemis is still with him. Kept alive with life sustainers and archaic devices. Davian takes jobs from system to system ever vigilant for a means to correct his wrong and bring back to him that, which means most. To cure his father of the psychic plague that afflicts him. To kill the xenos psyker filth that took his adopted father away from him. And lastly to make a shit load of gelt in the process.