The Harbinger of Glory was docked at Port Wander, the Sword-class Frigate a majestic sight, even shackled to the docking arms of the station.
The crew, eager to briefly quit their haunted ship, were busy in the docks area loading supplies, under the watchful eyes of the Lady Captain Aurora Black, and her trusted council of the Confessor Sigmund Severius, the Magos “Big” Bertha, and Talon Kyridas, a skilled stubjack and tactician.
Receiving a vox recording from a man identifying himself as Orbest Dray, a loyal servant of the Black dynasty, they set off to a rendezvous with him. Arriving at the “Court of the Dead”, the largest of the Gilt Processionals, Port Wanders vast and teeming markets, they learned from Orbest of a matter that promised GREAT GLORY. The Treasure of the Righteous Path.
The Righteous Path, as related by Sigmund Serverius, who had heard this tale during his upbringing, was a warship that had taken part in the Angevin Crusade. After scourging a particularly heretical world, the Captain loaded the vessel up with treasure, stripping out gun decks, non-essential systems and marooning thousands of crew on the smashed world, and then disappeared.
As Orbest produced a gene-sealed cask, the cask clicked open, detecting Aurora Black and revealing a black stone – a mnemolith. At this point a raven swooped down and tried to snatch the stone – Magos Bertha’s gun snapped up into her hand and she sent a round flying past Sigmund’s head as he dived for the bird.
The screaming that began at the sudden gunfire was overshadowed as gunfire erupted from all sides as a group of men sent rounds flying over the explorers heads. The bird, struggling with the heavy stone, dropped it into the crowd, and one of the armed men rushed forward to grab it.
While the Lady-Captain drew her weapons while shouting orders, and Talon Kyridas dived for cover, and Sigmund drew upon the Emperors will and charged into combat, Magos Bertha, perhaps confused by the situation, gunned down two screaming shoppers, her explosive mass-reactive rounds making a bloody mess of their unarmoured chests. It took a precious moments for the crowds in the market to clear, and several more people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time took autogun shots, bolter fire and were trampled in the rush.
A bloody firefight and melee ensued. Sigmund took electric slaps to the face from the thugs shock gloves with courage and resolve while his deft strikes with his chainsword ripped his attacker’s ear off in turn. Talon exchanged fire with two assailants, his cover keeping him safe, and keeping their heads down before, due to being empowered by the Righteous Fury of the Emperor, he left one a smoking, twitching body (and thoroughly wrecking a shop-stall as well). Magos Bertha finally decided to stop shooting civilians, and sent a perfect volley into one of the armsmen – her first two hits wrecking his chest armour, her third blowing his arm clean off, and her final hit turning his head into a fine red mist. The Captain gave orders, taking shots with her myriad weapons.
His earless attacker running in fear, Sigmund stepped up to another, opening his chest with his sword, spraying blood that coated Sigmund and the ground. The man tried to flee but slipped on the floor slick with his own blood. Aurora charged another attacker, her power sword glowing – but as she struck, the power field failed. Despite this, the man saw that the tide had turned and dropped to his knees, begging for mercy.
The Explorers took a few moments to process what had just happened, when they were shaken from their reverie by cries of “Make way for the Arbites!”. A gruff man, introducing himself as Arbitrator-Sergeant Targos, attempted to interrogate the Lady-Captain as to the disturbance. Not really satisfied with their evasive answers, he asked if they would accompany him to the Precinct Complex – the answer – “No”.
Back on the ship, the Captain showed the psyker, Roland Holz, the mnemolith, causing him to receive a vision of the location of the Righteous Path. But how to get there?
Sigmund decided to repeat the efforts of Orbest Dray by carousing in the drinking dens on the gilt processionals, looking for void-farers who may have encountered this world. Big Bertha headed to the foremost shrine of the Adeptus Mechanicus to see if there auger arrays and probes had information. Aurora and Talon attempted to make their way through the Central Bastion, to ask the Imperial Navy for charts and maps.
Big Bertha, perhaps atoning somewhat for her brutal executions of civilians, easily convinced the local Magi to send her astrographic information, a minor use of the Black Dynasty’s substantial wealth.
Meanwhile, Sebastian gained nothing but a reputation as a drinker, while Aurora and Talon were unceremoniously thrown out of the the high security area they had managed to find their way into.
Soon enough, the great ship was ready to depart – but the departure came with a chilling message: their attackers were part of the crew of the Fell Hand, a vessel owned by Hadarak Fel, and word was that Hadarak Fel left the station several hours ago, telling all who would listen that he would be the one to claim the treasure of the Righteous Path.
Over several days of travel, the crew made their way to the Maw, gateway to the Koronus Expanse. Despite the warnings of the creepy and weird Navigator, Anar D’Nast, the Lady-Captain gave the order to jump into the warp storms and make their way to the Koronus Expanse. The ship was buffeted and hammered by warp energy, leaving much of the crew nauseous and unrested. Are these fell dreams harbingers of glory… or destruction?!