House Gilliam: to Carve an Empire from Ashes

The Foundations are laid on Illisk
Another Obstacle

///Ship’s Log Gormenghast Lord Captain///

Calendar: 7479XXXM41 +++ERROR SYS FRAG+++

Nones: Bombardment began on ***CLASSIFIED***. This was the first time that the Stygies Pattern Bombardment cannons were put to use as an orbital barrage against a planet, and they performed well. Despite this and the deployment of our most senior bomber squadron, the alien energy proved intractable and I am forced to return to the world.

Vespers: In conjunction with the Omnissiac Congregator Amos and the Thulian contingent I have begun exploration and the extraction of goods from ***CLASSIFIED***. The men we recruited seem to be happy to be doing their jobs. Sgt. Thellum has done a good job of coordinating the camps. The alien beam of, I don’t know what else to call it, negative warp energy continues to flow unabated, despite early efforts by myself and the command staff. Commander Aubrey is looking very unwell, like Mr. Rhann was earlier, something here, on this planet is affecting them. Commander Aubrey had an uncharacteristic outburst and moment of panic, which won’t subside. I will have Dr. Torque look at him when there is time.

Beneath the surface lie a plethora of strange xenos tunnels, with circuitry sculpted into the masonry. Their doors are made of solid stone, shaped like apertures or sphincters, but show no evidence of electrical or even mechanical engineering. How they allow egress and ingress is a mystery. The materials used in construction cannot currently be identified.

The alien energy forms one continuous line in the middle of the tunnel. It is utterly black and horrific, but in his choleric disposition Captain Aubrey fired upon the beam with a plasma weapon. The energy seemed completely unaffected, but triggered Commander Aubrey’s hysteria, although I believe the root cause to be something else. His aspect was one which I have not seen in him before.

Vespers (addendum): We are turning back. Mechanicus calculations show that the line of negative warp energy is at point eight percent. More alarmingly, the cave-in behind us caused by Mr. Rhann is only acting as a dam, not a blockade, of that energy. Soon the dam will be overwhelmed and we are right in its path. Somehow, Commander Aubrey’s ramblings predicted this. How did he know this before we obtained the data?

Compline: After entering yet another tunnel near the northwestern side of the city, eighteen of the natives have approached us, heavily armed and wearing advanced power armour, similar to that of the Astartes. How did a civilization that doesn’t even possess the rudiments of space travel construct such marvels of engineering? That is not the apex of their incongruity: one of my Tech-Priests has informed me each individual has numerous advanced augmetics and reports are conflicting as to whether they are some form of debased human or xenos.

As they requested, we have withdrawn from a room with a sort of control edifice and another aperture that we passed on the way in. They have a strong military formation, they must be used to fighting, even out here in the bleak fringes of the Expanse. Mr. Rhann is under their “fold”, so they have let him proceed to negotiate for us. We are outgunned, and they are not immediately hostile, so we will wait.

Compline (addendum): They are human, God-Emperor forgive me. Some form of weird, abstruse abhuman that I have never seen before. And what Mr. Deacon has told me is worse. When he returned in one of their ground shuttles, we used that conveyance to have a confidential discussion and I was able to see them up close. In their debased Low Gothic, they are called the Mennonites. There is a time limit on this world, and I must make my command crew and allies aware of the doom of this planet. Somehow, at Deacon’s urging, the natives have turned off that awful beam of anti-warp.

Midnight: The Enginseer Prime has cleared out ***CLASSIFIED*** Tritarii and brought it up to working condition. Both the Warp Guide and Commander Aubrey have inspected the Naval vessel the Timely Retaliation and found it in a suitable composure. I will include Cpt. A124o5uXXX +++ERROR SYS FRAG+++ and Magos Q99 in the debriefing. I have set a pace for our researchers and explorers that will triple our output, because our stay here is limited. The crew is well trained and takes my instructions smoothly, but I will never let them know the reason for our haste.

At the officers’ meeting Magos Q99 left in disgust, barely avoiding storming out, with his last words straining to maintain composure and etiquette. He is the most most emotional of any Tech-Magos I have ever met, which ironically suits him as his position of leadership puts him into diplomatic contact with other factions and powers. He foolishly believes we can fight the thing, or more likely his wounded Mechanicus pride will not let him scamper away to hide after so recently bending the knee to another unstoppable force; he is painfully aware that he would lose everything he has ever worked for if he left. I cannot say that I would feel differently if the Gormenghast or the dynasty were in similar peril. Father Aldric Castiel is another victim of overweening pride and rigid dogma. I think that he believes that we could fight Orks blindfolded and naked if we happened to be praying at the same time. He sees no other course than to stay and fight. Thankfully the rest of the command crew agrees that if we could not harm the apparatus of anti-void energy, then we stand no chance against whatever it summons.

I nearly had to have Enginseer Jackson forcibly removed from the meeting before he took himself to medbay. The injuries he sustained were much worse than I was led to believe and they seemed to have caused another one of his breaks with reality. They seem to be getting worse; he was completely unhinged, babbling nonsense and greatly concerning all parties present over his health. Worse, the once stolid Commander Aubrey began to confirm and elaborate upon Mr. Rhann’s briefing with information from dreams and visions. Horrified, I considered removing him from office and placing him in medical, except that the prophetic visions he has described so far have been entirely accurate. What have I brought upon my crew?

Midnight (addendum): I am to meet with the leader of the natives to see if anything can be done. The Alif, I believe that is his title. They perhaps hold some from of protection from this thing that waits halfway across the galaxy, or at the other end of it, in the void between stars. It annihilates their enemies. The damned traitor Astartes have brought this upon us with their delving into secret knowledge with no thought for consequences. They sought some form of power from the massive native crystals built into the control edifices, but what they are is a beacon, a lighthouse of anti-warp on the shores of this benighted planet that the natives burn to bring forth their master. According to Mr. Rhann, their history shows a million strong force of Imperials striving to bring this planet to the Imperium, only to become twisted and debased at the whim of this thing. Its method of attack is unknown, but the outcome is well documented, may the God-Emperor preserve us.

It destroys its enemies by transforming them into the Mennonites.

\\\End Ship Log\\\

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3.8M40.940

Letter to Alexie Zelchev – High Factorum

To my good friend and Lord Zelchev,
Alexie Zelchev, in the advent that I am not to return from my duties on my diplomatic mission to the Kalief of the Menenites I must make recommendations for my replacement should you require any suggestion. My dutiful senior aide Samus Riek would be an ideal replacement. I have found that he has temperament, guile, and shows wise judgment in his actions. I feel that Barabus Aquinos possesses abilities in abundance and would normally advise him but his true calling is that of advisor to the position of 1st Emissary. I would highly advise that Klightus Gasson and Severine Rix remain in their current capacity as senior aides to the 1st emissary. Also I will have instructed my 1st advisor to release all notes to you should I not return from this endeavor.
That being said I wish to convey the following. I must say that it has been a privilege and a pleasure to work under you and I have learned much from the knowledge you have bestowed upon me. I am forever in your debt and wish for the best in your adventures in the future. If I would request one thing from you it would be this. Remember the time that the two of us spoke in the observation chamber? The things that are most important to not only the dynasty but the progress of man. I would ask that you never forget these words that were spoken and that you take with you the best parts of humanity. May you find peace and prosperity in your future my dear friend and may the Emperors beneficent guidance be the wind at your sails, always.
~Deacan Rhann

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3.22M40.940

+++Personal Log Deacan Rhann 3.22M40.940+++
Something wonderful and disconcerting has happened. We have meet with an Astartes from the Ice Talon’s Chapter of space marines. Seeing him has made me feel a level of exaltation I have never felt before. I felt warm, happy, at home in his presence. He represents everything that mankind should strive to become. Yet other things…emotions have sprung up in his wake, doubt being the foremost of of which I speak. I feel that his presence here has forced me to dig further into my past which is problematic enough. I have never found a need to question my past or my actions. My past is simply my past, but now all those factual events in my life seem to be clouded, fleeting from my memory. There’s a falsehood to them that shakes me. I can’t remember my birthday, my father’s name, my mother’s name. I only remember glimpses, impressions really.

There have also been…rumors. I’ve investigated these rumors and to my horror have found things about myself. Things that I have not delved into as properly as I should. My friend and colleague Dr. Torque has found that I have been genetically spliced with “something” else. Weather that is bionic or xenos in nature either implications frightens me. I have prided myself that I am just another human. My uniqueness is as quantifiable as all other humans. We are all special. We are all unique. But this implies so much more. I know there’s more to what he was saying. When I pressed him for what I was he gave me the “soft” no. It seemed he feared for my well being. I must say, I do as well. I’ve cried myself to sleep over this for the last week. My work is the only thing that has kept me sane. That and Samus…Aquinos, and the others.

I’ve spoken to the captain about such matters. We got drunk together. At least I got drunk…I think he was drunk. I’ve been doing that a lot more lately too, getting drunk. He didn’t really want to address the situation. I think he may be as confused as I am. Maybe he’s not. Maybe he knows what he’s going to do and that’s why he was drinking so much. I don’t know. At this point all I can do is trust in the creator. That I have purpose and continue to do my work for the good of mankind. I will continue to speak with the Gormenghast, ease the suffering of the common man, and bring the light of reason to all who will hear it.
~ Deacan Rhann 1st Emissary to the Gilliam Dynasty

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Davian Black Log 1

+++Davian Black Log 231+++
Davian black ii.1
Got this bounty once, this fine little thing named Miss V. Spit fire and all, red hair, big soft tittles make you want to roll over and ball for buttermilk. I’d been tracking her down on this gutter hole of a planet named Footfall for 2 weeks. Seemed to know when I was coming. Every joint I rolled into it’d end up she’d just been there not but a day ago. When I finally found her she was in this rat hive of a bar named The Loove. About a tub of piss later we was singing war songs and trading shots of rot gut. She was a doll, perfect lips, big green eyes, perfect soft titties that make you …oh I said that already. Well, come sun up we didn’t want to stop. She knew why I was there and once the fun stopped it’d be business as usual. So we didn’t stop. We drank that place clean till sun up, had a couple tussles in the sack, if you know what I mean, then passed out stone drunk till about the witching hour.
When I woke up she was gone. I expected as much, hell part of me was glad I gave her the out. It’d be a damn shame to bring her in after all the fun we’d just had. I’ve run into her a couple times since then, hell once I waxed some hard ass wanna-be for trying to mark on her. Every time I found her, same kind of deal, drink, party, fug, rinse, repeat. I figure one day I’ll make good on her mark. Reel her in, collect a couple coins for the trouble, but the way I look at it, I’d pay that much in throne a night for her company anyway so square’s square.
So there’s a lesson to be learned in there somewhere kid.

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Davian Black Log 2

+++Davian Black Log 107+++
Davian black ii.1
A long time back now, throne, we’re talking a couple decades now, I was work’n against the Crimson Alliance at the time and I guess they didn’t take too kindly to me getting rid of one of their backers. Ian Merbline was the name of the guy I think. Hell, he had like 5 names but I’m pretty sure it was Merbline. Anyways, I burst through the window of this high-rise palisade guns a blazing. I gotta hand it to him, his body guards were sharp. They managed to take every bullet I sent his way. They wasn’t nothing but chunks of bloody meat when I was done but he was still standing in the end.
He grabs his daughter and son and pulls’em close, begging me for their lives. Of course the whole time he’s begging he’s holding these powder faced brats in front of him blocking my shot. It’s like he’d had practice at it. Before I get another second the door behind him explodes open and in comes rushing a fist of servitors toting that heavy silverware.
I guess I could have shot through those little rat kids of his but something about that didn’t sit quite right with me. So I dropped a Laceration mine at their feet and jump right back out that damn window.
Funny thing is that son of a bitch lived through it some how. How’s that for luck? Pissed in my morning caf that’s for sure. I had to fight all the way back up through that damn hab block killing every step of the way before I finally caught up to him. Kids….what a bitch.

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Davian Black Log 3

+++Davian Black Log 102+++
Davian black ii.1
I had this high profile protection gig on Solace a couple months back. Prettiest man I ever saw sends me a vid begging for the life of his daughter. Turns out this fancy pants’ed cuffed-sleeved priss got all in a twist cause his whore of a daughter decided to lube up some other dame’s man. Well, it turns out this other dame happens to have arms as thick as a krootox. This poor darling had a jaw like a couple of roped bricks. So she shows up while I’m swimming in the glitter trail left by all these fancy men. Before they see it coming this Cindarella is on them and tosses her boy toys aside like rag dolls.
So this giant ape of a woman is bull charging me, big’ole bee hive flapping in the wind and the first thing I think is to skin my smoke wagons and get to work. But it ends up that pistols are illegal in the municipality of New Venezia and I don’t like to paste skirts, even the fugly ones. So this meat fisted behemoth dives at the only thing in the way of the Captain Fancy Pant’s whore daughter, that’s me if you don’t follow, and I gave her all five fingers into that rocrete jaw of hers.
Now let me premise this by saying I ain’t no limp wristed socialite. I kill folks. I’ve grown up in the pits, I’ve broken and bloodied the toughest gene spliced freaks they could throw against me. When I clocked that dame I would have broken ceramite plate. She just looks at me, eyes all beady, too close set, and back hands me 5 feet into a wall. Cracked the back of my helmet with the impact. I don’t know what the hell she was on but it must have been some watered down Z or maybe some accelera. Right before she crushed the little whore’s head I jumped on her back and took her overboard with me. We had it out for a couple seconds before I pull back and give her what’s fore.
It was a doozy of a hit, cracked the armored knuckles of my glove and send a couple three teeth of her’s in the air to boot. Sent cow-girl reeling. Now you might think this next move to be low, but you weren’t the ones grappling with her neither. I followed up that haymaker with a full-bore kick right to her nethers. That’s when I found out that this skit wasn’t no skirt. She had man parts. I also realized that she wasn’t on no watered down Z, either. She was on Frenzon, and that kick made him awful sore at me. And that, kid, is why lady folk aren’t to be trusted.
-

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Davian Black Log 4

+++Davian Black Log 69+++
Davian black ii.1
You may have heard they put me under right after syndicate wars. That was the rumor anyway. Damn near did, too. My network took a hit, lost a lot of contacts, materials, manpower. Bloodied me up and took me out of commission for a while. But worst of all those no good slaught sucking sons of bitches took something personal of mine…. They shouldn’t a done that.
After I got back on my feet Jason fixed up the Faux. I beat the street for a bit. Drummed up some info on this patsy that was claiming he put me in the shallows. Some merchant with ties to the Crimson Alliance. His name was Reid, fat little bastard, tiny eyes, long nose, running his mouth claiming he was the one who put me out of the game. I can’t believe some people bought it.. That round assed softy was all lace and oils, ain’t never had to bleed for nothing in his life. You dedicate your life to a reputation and all it takes is for some pudgy little shit head to start running his mouth. People disappoint the hell out of me sometimes.
So word hit the street that I wasn’t as dead as he was claiming. I guess that must have spooked him something awful cause he went and holed himself up in this “impregnable fortress called the spire, a wing in some Ramsilies class star fort at the neck of the expanse.
There was this one guy way back when who said if you hide behind walls you’re gonna get worked over. I don’t quite take his meaning. I don’t know about all that. I’ve hid behind plenty of walls in my time and it usually worked out for me just fine. But I guess he was right about it this time cause I fly the Faux right up to the front door of this spire. He must have had over a hundred men waiting for me.
Most didn’t last too long. I brought out some of my special toys for this one. Sure it may have set me back a couple of Woolon but it was worth it to see their faces. All these stiff lipped pansy weights screaming for their lives as their skin sloughed off. Tell you what. A man see’s his buddy melt into goo he’s gotta ask himself some serious questions about the nature of his company. I tell you what the lot of them must have loved their wives something fierce the way they drop arms and yellow tailed it come when I turned that corner.
I must have earned me bout 30 stripes before I made it to Reid’s chamber. Haha! It gets me laugh’n every time I think about it. Man oh man you’d never see a bigger puddle of piss in the hole verse. This sob story of a man, whining and crying about how it ain’t fair, how he had nothing to do with it, he was just using the hype to pad his rep. He offered me Throne, Woolon, gold, his daughters, hell even the whores he had in his chamber.
Don’t get me wrong; I could’ve used the play. I think I was bleeding from about every hole in my body and if my count’s right they added a couple to the total. Nothing makes a fight worth it then a shot of whiskey and some trim at the end of a long day. But this time I wasn’t looking to play around. He had bits of precious that was my personals. Took his stubby fat fingers three different tries till he finally put in the right code to open his vault. There it was, sitting all pretty waiting to come home to papa. I grabbed it, made sure it was all in one piece, packed it away and walked right out the door. Why didn’t I kill him? Dead men tell no tales…which makes sense to me I guess.

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Davian Black Log 5

+++Davian Black Log 338+++
Davian black ii.1
So I ran me up a bounty a cycle back or so. Some kind of son of a bitch or another who thought he’d be safe, packed away behind all these stiff lipped flakers. There had to be at least ten of them when I walked in the room. They were hard eyed, weapons trained on me, waiting to see what I was gonna do. So I said to him I said, “Times up Lieutenant, I’m here to collect.”
And you know what he does, this fidgety little prick couldn’t pull the ears off a grot. He looks around all wide-eyed and yells, “It’s the Black Bounty, Kill him and you’ll be famous!” and all manner of fire comes my way.
Now I wanna ask you something. If someone says, “Kill him and you’ll be famous.” Why you gonna stick around and pull the trigger? Wouldn’t you think that if a guy is so famous that killing him makes you famous, you’re a little out of your league?
-

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Davian Black Log 6

+++Davian Black Log 342+++
Davian black ii.1
Deck Officer, “You will find here aboard the Gormenghast a panoply of vigorous and
venerable ship systems thundering beneath your very feet on every deck.
From our unflagging, unflappable plasma drives to the sibilant thrumming of
the grav lift system we’re utilizing at this moment, I feel full confidence
that no ship you have ever set foot on can even begin to approach the
incomparable beauty – and efficiency – of the mighty Gormenghast. I ask you Mr. Black, have you ever seen her equal?”

2 minutes later

Davian Black, “……You don’t fuck with a kroot in the forest…”
-

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