A Placeholder for the first part of our adventure on Quaddis, chronicling our arrival and the escape from the Beast House
Having narrowly survived the cataclysmic events of Solomon, Inquisitor Graves required time to reflect on the revelation that Erasmus Haarlock may still be alive and pursue leads with other Acolyte cells to determine the next move. As a result of this unexpected free time, and the competence displayed on the previous mission, he intrusted his cell of Acolytes with choosing their next mission themselves, offering it as a chance to demonstrate their judgment and intuition. It was decided by the band that Octavia Nile had clearly been working her own agenda on Solomon, and had escaped with a potentially blasphemous tome that needed to be recovered. As well, tracking her down would give the Acolytes a chance to interrogate her as to her knowledge of Haarlock and his dread legacy.
Before embarking on this plan, they first insisted on the most elaborate and elegant cover story ever conceived. Arbitrator Wolfe would step into the role of a wealthy merchant out to purchase rare pieces of pottery and ceramics from around the Scarus Sector. Guardsman Skive received training in the crafting and manufacture of pottery, while Acolyte Nixios committed to memory every fact of information about the history of pottery in the Sector’s two millennium history. Eighteen opted out of learning any “new” skills, deciding that any merchant worth his clay would have a highly trained bodyguard on hand, and merely proceded to hone his combat skills. Tragically the experiences on Solomon left Cutter too physically and mentally broken to continue at the time, and he would remain behind to recover his mind and body. With three weeks of intense training and preparation under their belt, the group made ready to depart for Scintilla to begin their cover story. It was not to be.
None of the Acolytes was sure what happened next, but when they awoke they found themselves in a clay pit, the ground soiled with blood and littered with bodies. Stripped of equipment and bereft of knowledge, at least a dozen other such people awoke to find themselves in a similar situation. The cage they were in had a number of thick, iron gates of different sizes, and walls far too large for a man to climb. Scrambling to arm themselves with sharpened pieces of bone and other sundries gathered from the fallen, the group became aware of an observer far off in the distance clad in a Heron Mask. While distracted by this site, one of the gates slowly began to raise itself, revealing a steep drop into pitch blackness. Despite warnings, one of their prisoners made for this new gap and dove to what he had hoped would be freedom. Eighteen refused to accept containment, and using Wolfe as a springboard managed to vault his way out of the pit to discover a control chamber along the upper levels, along with a guard who had been murdered with a wicked looking knife.
The man who had previously escaped down the hatch suddenly emerged, scrambling desperately to escape a mad, transparent beast behind him that had leapt up into the arena following him. Nixios put his freakish strength to work, attempting to force the iron gate down with raw muscle, while Wolfe, Skive and Drake – a fellow native of Dusk set to dispatching the creature. The three of them combined brought it down with the crude tools available to them, and Skive lent his strength to Nixios’, managing to keep the gate down a certain amount. Eighteen had successfully decyphered the control panel, and managed to lower a ladder allowing the group to escape. Wolfe took charge of the situation, attempting to organise a calm, measured evacuation rather than the mad chaos that he feared would result. Tragically mad chaos did result, as with a sudden surge the gate held by Skive and Nixios shot up, sending Nixios sprawling to the ground and Skive left clinging to the gate.
As beasts poured into the arena, the previously calm prisoners screamed and panicked, fighting each other to get to the only means of escape. Nixios, Drake and Wolfe managed to force their way to the ladder and escape, but apart from them only Styrine,a ganger of Fenksworld, and Victis Bast a noble from Malfi were the only others to make it to the top. With the beasts laying into the survivors, Skive had still to make an escape. Once the initial carnage was over, the creatuers appeared lost and confused, and Nixios realised that they seemed drawn to noise rather than movement. The Acolytes proceeded to make distracting and overlapping noise to cover Skive’s approach to the ladder, which succeeded with only one of the creatures attacking the Guardsman, but promptly failing.
The complex they were in was vast, and no clear exit could be found. For hours the new group wandered the corridors, encountering a number of strange Xenos creatures, a bizarre meat processing plant, a terrifying Genestealer that nearly infected the group, razor birds that attacked in the dark and the ever present threat of whomever their strange captors were. Finally, they found their way to a Warehouse, that they suspected would either be able to lead them outside, or at the very least allow them a chance to arm and resupply themselves. During their journeys they had found enough foul-smelling clothing to disguise themselves as workers of the facility, but they all needed to be free. Eighteen ghosted into the Warehouse, and eliminated all of the guards that he could remove without drawing attention to himself. As he contemplated how to deal with the ones in the light, he found a man in a Jackal Mask emerge from a crate, furious at the actions of the “Heron Mask” from earlier, and demanded that he be brought into line.
Seeing this man make his exit on a service elevator, and with no more cover from which to eliminate guards, Eighteen returned to the group to plan their next action. Seeing no method but a frontal assault to gain access to that elevator, the group made their desperate assault. Initially successful, when the guards noticed the intruders the fight turned deadly with Styrine taking a sniper bullet to the chest which may have been survivable except for Nixios making a fatal error in Medicae treatment, and Drake attempting to charge the container only to be cut down by the defenders inside. Once the outside was secured, the Acolytes invaded the inner sanctum and dispatched the gruesome torture doctor and his Servitors to discover the prisoner they were working over was none other than Inquisitor Karkalla who had been captured and tortured to what most looking at him thought should have been death.
Clinging to life through sheer willpower alone, he informed the Acolytes that they were on Quaddis, and prisoners of The Beast House. He and his Acolytes had been investigating their activities here when the Heron Mask had captured and tortured him, seemingly for sport. The Heron Mask represented a dangerous Chaos Cult – the Pilgrims of Hayte – and he made the Acolytes swear an oath to reveal whatever dark secret was brewing in Quaddis and stop it. Once he received the word of the Acolytes, he succumbed to his brutal injuries and died.
The Acolytes raided the Warehouse swiftly, aware that their intrusion would not go unnoticed forever. Discovering a few mementos of theirs in storage, as well as a number of Thrones and rare metal items that could be traded, they made their way to the elevator to escape and see what Quaddis had to offer. En route to the top, they became faintly aware of a steadily increasing noise during their ascent, and Nixios detected dozens, and then hundreds of life signs waiting for them at the top. Steeling themselves for their last stand, they found themselves instead in the middle of an elaborate costume party, as wealthy nobles danced intricate waltzes underneath a force-shielded dome that held back the endless void.
They had just caught their first glimpes of Quaddis…