And I saw a Chapel all of Gold…
(This intermission takes place after the assasination attempt by Xanatov in https://gamingtales.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/those-fated-for-the-bismark/)
The shrine chamber was plunged into the nocturnal gloom of the Malfian night. Around the central altar, a series of devotional electrocandles fought back the ever-present darkness, their unyielding arc-light illuminating the triptych showing the God-Emperor’s divine triumph over his wayward son and pawn of the Adversary, the heretic-Primarch Horus. This was a private chapel, reserved for the most senior members of the Ecclesiarchy to contemplate their holy calling beneath the God-Emperor’s eternally beneficent gaze.
The Bishop of Xothos reverently made the sign of the Aquilla, folding both hands across his chest in an imitation of the vast gilded eagle which surmounted the steps to the vast alter. He dropped to one knee, touching his rosarius – a potent force-field generator in the shape of an Imperial crux – to his lips.
A thin smile touched the corners of his mouth – he was not alone. Straightening, the Bishop nodded, satisfied that his guest had penetrated the sanctum sanctorum of the vast cathedral undetected. He spoke, his voice delicate but containing a strong core of power, “Your abilities continue to impress me, to get so far without succumbing to the myriad defences this place conceals is a rare feat. Even the Baphomael was uncharacteristically slow in announcing your arrival”.
A gruff voice issued from the circle of shadows that lay beyond the reach of the cold arc-light, “You still consult the oracle? I thought it had long since served its purpose in identifying the heir”. The Bishop nodded and slowly moved toward the circle of steps that led to the altar, “It had served ‘a’ purpose. However, I do not think I need to remind you that the Emperor’s work is never done. There is always something else, some cause for concern, ever something poised to bring ruin upon our happy day.”
The intruder moved through the shadows, tall, powerful and with the grace of a predatory felid. “Then I trust”, the voice issued from the gloom to the Bishop’s left, “that today is a happy day without cause for concern?” The Bishop nodded once, before smiling again. “You trained him well Brother. He has rapidly purged the dynasty’s remaining scions, leaving a clear path of inheritance. The one we want will fulfil our ambitions in ways which we can scarcely imagine”.
A short grunt issued from the shadows in response. “He did well, although his methods were crude. An execution from an inferno gun is hardly the kind of subtlety I taught him. Still he never had the knack for blade-work, he’s too cold, too distant. He prefers the ranged kill.” The Bishop inclined his head, making a reverential gesture at the weapon on the altar, before replying, “Perhaps it makes him feel like a god, abrogating the intimacy of the personal kill. It has always been his way to take them with the las. I wonder how it made him feel to kill so many so intimately. I wonder if he hungers for it”.
A wry chuckle drifted from the intruder, “Let us hope he does develop a taste for it brother. A weapon such as he must be effective in all circumstances. I dare say that I don’t need the powers of the Baphomael to know that he’ll need to employ all his skills and cunning to survive”. “Indeed”, answered the Bishop, “he may live to become your heir and with such tastes as he has, given the fullness of time, he may well make an excellent candidate for our 120 day reign.” A low laugh issued from the shadows, “And what role will he play brother? The giver or the receiver of wisdom?” The Bishop grinned lasciviously, “Why be forced to go one way or the other, when one can do both?” The dim night was broken by the hollow laughter of both men.