For Whom the Bell Tolls
The Basque sector is in turmoil.
The Living Saint Jhander Xho has led a crusade to retake the Reach for the Imperium, and an entire generation of men and women have been conscripted into the Imperial war machine; but the crusade has stalled on holy Coriolanus, and rumours of a massive invasion at the Cadian Gate have the worlds of the Basque sector bracing to lose yet more manpower.
Shocking raids and massacres on the agri-worlds of the sector have left the populace starving. The Ecclesiarchy is riven with division, the Arbites struggling to enforce the laws of the Imperium. The gangs of the underhives of Druon are heading to all out war, and the noble houses only stop fighting amongst themselves long enough to undermine the authority of the sector governor.
The Brigade of Borrowed Time, an Imperial penal legion, is en route to the Damascene Reach, intended to join the crusading forces there. Stopping briefly in orbit above Tokugawa, the enigmatic Interrogator Agincourt enlists the dangerous legionnaire Jacques LeLapin de Sanglant to travel to a monastery on the planet and requisition a pair of holy books.
Jacq travelled to the Miyamakuri monastery, a remote shrine high in the Tokugawan mountains. Arriving in the midst of a blizzard, he introduced himself to the monks as Rabbit, joining other pilgrims trapped by the storm. Jacq, Brother Severard and Sparrow are fed by the monks and given a place to rest, hoping to wait out the storm.
Awoken in the night by screams, they discover that the monks have been killed, the fires extinguished and the temperature dropping rapidly. They soon find themselves fighting against the bodies of the former monks, and fell creatures from beyond the veil – including the deadly and terrifying Carillonian.
Managing to acquire the books Agincourt sought, along with ancient Tokugawan blades and a letter Sparrow was seeking, Jacques and his companions burned the ancient monastery to the ground and escape the illusive daemon.
In recognition of their courage and fortitude in facing down the terrors of Miyamakuri monastery, Sparrow convinced her master Inquisitor Adothar, called the Pale Lord, to spare the pair and take them into his service.
The Widening Gyre
After interrogation by Adothar, Jacques and Severard are separated. Jacques is sent to Druon to join a cell of acolytes investigation the shipment of a xenos drug named Idyll.
Guardsman Drake Chromwell, a former member of the Commissariat enforcement unit, was the oldest and longest serving member of the Druon cell. A careful man, clever and dependable, Drake often felt responsible for the safety of the others in the group.
Young and reckless, the teenage con artist Dreg seemed ill-suited to the rigours of the Inquisition. The scrawny young man would find himself butting heads with most of the other members of the group, who often found themselves questioning why the Pale Lord had seen fit to bind him to his service.
Tauron Stormset was an arbite, enlisted by Adothar to add legal clout to the cell’s investigations. Raised on the strongly religious world of Rügen, Tauron saw every issue in shades of black and white. Everything had a punishment and Tauron was the man to dole them out.
Joining the party late was the naval psyker Wilfred Reik. A difficult man to get along with, the witch often seemed to have little idea of where he was or what he and his companions were hoping to achieve – but he was able to draw deeply upon the warp, in ways that would disquiet the rest of the group and wreak havoc upon their enemies.
The cell track the last known shipment to an abandoned warehouse in the lower hive, but quickly realise they aren’t the first to arrive. The drug den’s defences had been dismantled, and all that was left of the dealer was his corpse – a corpse that would soon to be more dangerous than any of them could have expected.
The corpse is surrounded by translucent transfusion sacs – the drug idyll. They quickly ascertain that though one of the crates in the room contains most of the idyll, enough is missing that their investigation need to continue.
Oddly fat for such a skinny underhiver, the acolytes are shocked when a close examination of the body causes it to explode into a swarm of crawling carrion daemons.
Surviving the sudden ambush, the acolytes search the room. Dreg finds a child’s doll, which he keeps for himself; Jacques taking one of the Idyll sacs “for research”; and Drake locating a stash of money, which he quickly hides from his comrades.
The acolytes eventually stumble upon a pict-recording showing the murderer fleeing the scene of the crime – the group follows hot on his trail.
Unfortunately, the trail ends with the murderers body, surrounded by the young desperado Sabine and her gang. A tense confrontation ensues, but Sabine and Dreg eventually talk down both sides. A small bribe is enough for Sabine to tell the group what she knows – that his man was killed by an unfashionably cloaked figure named Gagne. The murdered man – Goplan Srinivasan – seemed to be expecting Gagne – but he certainly wasn’t expecting to be attacked by him.
Sabine confirms that both the mysterious Gagne took something from the corpse before disappearing, but that he wasn’t the only one – a low-life scum named Giuseppe looted the corpse before she and her gang could get down to do it themselves. One of her gangers describes the sac of brown flakes that Giuseppe took – the group immediately recognises it as Idyll.
Sabine believes Giuseppe would be taking whatever he looted to the Float – a black market that moves about Druon’s under hive. When Tauron gives her his prized Amasec, she is happy to give directions to its current location – but refuses to provide more aid.
The markets prove to be a trial for the untested acolytes. Trouble is only avoided when Drake purchases a tailored highborn style suit, using the thrones he had concealed from his comrades – but they had no chance to interrogate him, as the trail led them straight to Eduardo Simion, Giuseppe’s employer and major figure in the Druon underhive.
The acolytes confront Simion in the sewers below the Float – an encounter that quickly turns violent. Taurus and Jacques tear through the thugs, but Simion manages to escape deeper into the cavernous tunnels. Giuseppe is able to give the group another piece of evidence – he overheard Gagne and Srinivasan talking about where the Idyll was to be delivered before Srinivasan was to be killed – to a man named Kensington, at the Terraceton Suites.
The acolytes are split about what to do next – Dreg is certain they should hunt down Simion, while Tauron and Jacques want to get to the Terraceton Suites and hopefully intercept the shipment. Eventually, Dreg storms off, determined to track down the gang leader, with Drake following, trying to convince him to turn back; Reik, Tauron and Jacq travel uphive.
It doesn’t take long for Dreg to give Drake the slip – but Simion has disappeared. Greg wanders the streets and alleys of the under hive, eventually coming to blows with a group of hivers. Out numbered and outfought, he soon finds himself tossed from a roof to the streets below.