Into that Vast Expanse

Septima's Letter to Brutus, Part 2

Heresy cleansed on Vaporius

(continued from Septima’s Letter to Brutus, Part 1)

Today I came closer to the dangers of the Warp than I ever dared to fear, Brother. But with the grace of the Emperor and the guidance of our genetic destiny, I have lived to tell the tale.

The heretical priest-king of the Vaporius city-state led us to the Drusan monastery, but the reliquaries proved empty of the holy scripture we sought. I believe the priest-king knew this all along, for his amusement was palpable. Indeed, the monastery fairly reeked of incense and corruption, and as we left the building I thought I could feel the presence of his unsanctioned and heretical psychic powers.

But treachery will always be paid in kind. Leading us to the compound where he insisted the writings must have been moved, I detected another psychic push from the man. I do not know his intent, but it could not have been what came to pass. Before our eyes, a rent in the Warp appeared and a demon emerged to claim the heretic as its own, drawn by the power of his mind.

The demon disappeared as quickly as it came, its unspeakable desires satisfied. Drawing the townspeople into a mob (and with the aid of the Drusan warrior-missionary Cadis) we marched on the priest-king’s compound with intent to root out the corruption within and retrieve the scriptures. But the man’s heresy proved deeper than we could have imagined, for we found the gates guarded by a member of the Traitor Legions themselves!

The foul Traitor—neither man nor woman, with the exposed and unclean parts of each—attempted to treat with us, but I am proud to say that Lord-Captain Raethos was not swayed for a moment. He led the townspeople in an assault on the corrupted Marine and its minions, and in time we drove it into retreat.

Our wounds in the battle against the Traitor were grievous, and so we requested aid and reinforcements from The Bottom Line. By the time we were able to pursue further, many of the corrupted minions within the heretical compound had destroyed themselves in a literal orgy of blood. Cadis and I cleansed their bodily remains, but their souls will remain forever spoiled.

At the heart of the compound we encountered an anti-aircraft tower whose very beams of construction had been infiltrated by the tendrils of a hideous subterranean demon, made invisible by dark magics in a twisted consecration of human flesh. With the reinforcements from our ship it was easily demolished, revealing a substructure beneath the compound. There we battled the beast itself, a foul abomination of tentacles, eyes, and teeth. The powers of my Eye proved remarkably deleterious to its Warp-born substance, a capability our family would do well to refine.

Although we discovered the holy Drusan scriptures in that underground lair, they did not accompany the warp-route map that we had hoped. Indeed, it seems that the Traitor had been expecting our arrival and knew of the map’s absence, pre-warned in a letter by an individual identified only as “M”. The Traitor itself manage to escape judgment via a teleportarium with an unknown exit configuration.

Although the basest corruption was cleansed from that city-state, we still suspected its lingering effects in the hearts and minds of the remaining townsfolk. How could we trust that their souls would remain pure after such prolonged exposure to the twists of Chaos? The Lord-Captain’s tenderness caused only a moment’s hesitation before he gave the order for the city to be razed from orbit.

I can only hope that this encounter leaves no lingering mark on my soul. Somewhere in the course of the day’s events, I began to feel the latent power of my Eye awakening. Such developments are always welcome, of course, but this one did not seem to arrive with any genetic manifestation or change, only a lingering feeling of dread.

We go next to Port Wander, where I will deliver this letter to you by the usual channels. After that we plan to seek the map in Orn. Be safe, Brother, and await my next sending.

Yours in His light,

Sabina Mariana

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