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    House of Glass
    Chapter One: Gathering Storms

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    For three months, nobody had told them where they were going. They were told when to get off, and which ship to get on next, as they wound their way away from Landunder on voidship after voidship. They were treated with respect, deference even, but whenever they asked about their destination, the crew would shut their mouths and shake their heads. Perhaps even they didn't know. "Scintilla" was the answer they finally got, from the steward of the ship that broke from the warp above the sector capital on the last day of their journey.

    "Just got the word, this is where you get off." He told them, standing and looking out at the world hanging below. They were in the starboard viewing room, waiting for the ship to recieve orbit priority from the central shipping authority. "They'll have a shuttle up for you in an hour or two. I wouldn't want to keep them waiting, if I were you."

    An hour later, one frantic hour spent grabbing their equipment and rushing for the shuttlebays, they were met by a woman in a jet-black flight uniform. The sleeve, where normally there would have been an Imperial Navy patch, or something to signify the ship she belonged to, was blank. She wore fine black gloves and stood ramrod straight, watching as they carried their things over towards her shuttle. This was a sleek black affair, nothing like the clunky Arvus and even a step above the navy Aquila. It bore no markings, and the narrow viewing slit on the front end had barely enough space for the pilot to look out of. From inside, there would be no way for the passengers to see where they were going. Fortunately, they found, the inside was well set out. The seats had been upholstered with actual leather, the metal decking painted, the storage compartments all with working hinges and latches. This was a vehicle that was carefully maintained. When it took off, the engines were a dull roar in the background, the noise dulled by thick armour plating and noice-cancelling technology to the point where, for the first time on a shuttle, they could hear each other speak. The flight was comfortable, and not overly long. Only once did the pilot speak to them over the shuttle's comm system, asking them to check under the seats. Here they found equipment, things that they had ordered but not yet recieved, and an odd little device with the Imperial Aquila on one side, and the sigil of the Inquisition on the other.

    Soon, the shuttle had landed, the engines powering down. As they stepped out, they caught a whiff of salty polluted air as the massive gates at the far end of the landing bay rumbled shut with a clang. There were no windows, no stray cables, none of the usual shuffling about of servitors and personnel they had come to associate with landing ports. The floors were marble, the pillars along the walls more reminiscint of a cathedral than a shuttle bay. Yet the cavernous space was filled with shuttles, each apparently stamped from the same unmarked black mould that theirs had come from. It was quiet too, which was odd, only the buzz of the lumen-strips above breaking the silence. The pilot departed without another word, walking quickly away from them towards a door in one wall. They were not left alone, however. A bald adept was approaching, accompanied by a pair of servo skulls. He stopped a short distance away, checked his dataslate, and looked up to smile at them.

    "Hello, hello. Glad to see you've all arrived. Don't suppose they told you much about this before you got here? Typical, of course. Please, follow me."

    The skulls buzzed at them, one one of the sort that kept notes, its auto-quill clicking away as the adept talked, a roll of paper steadily extending further downwards from its jaw as the text scrolled along. The other was a combat skull, its eye sockets fitted with targetting arrays and the muzzle of a large-calibre pistol protruding from its mouth.

    "Bit short notice, all this," the adept told them as they walked. He was leading them through a veritable maze of passages, each with many branching paths or closed doors along its side. The closed doors featured stamped metal numbers, but no other indication of what was behind them. "You're some of the last to get in, we're not expecting too many more. Only three month's notice, there weren't too many who could make it, and Lord Caiden of course declined to attend. The Lady Valle will tell you everything, it's not really my place to explain."

    Finally they reached their destination, and the adept ushered them into a small waiting room, filled with chairs and a low table. They were not the only ones there. Three others were in the room. There was a pair of men sitting together, one wearing a heavy flakcloth greatcoat and a wide-brimmed hat, off which hung a number of purity seals. He was smoking a lho stick, the hand he was holding it in covered in a black glove. His other hand was bare, and rested on the butt of a holstered revolver. Many other guns were placed in holsters about his person, their grips facing outwards for easy access. Annie spotted the grip of a small holdout poking out above the top of one heavily reinforced boot. The man he was with wore black Ecclesiarchy robes and carried a whiplike scoriada at his waist. Opposite that was a chainsword, and on the chair next to him was a flamer, its pilot light presently unlit. His hair was grey, his hairline receding, and he wore a pendant of an Inquisitorial I, with a skull halfway up it. An Interrogator. The third person in the room was a woman. Opposite the door they had come in were a set of double doors, made from hardwood and undoubtedly worth a fortune. They were, presently, closed, and the acolytes got the distinct impression that the people already in the room were waiting for them to be opened.
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    Default Re: House of Glass (Dark Heresy IC)

    Phaella checked her data slate to see if the summons to this meeting included a list of participants. Finding none, she decided not to wait around. In principle, common decorum allowed her to wait for others to come to her - her station all but demanded it, but on the other hand these other two were unknown factors.

    The two who'd just come in, however, carrying their own bags and looking like they'd been rushed here straight from their flight, were almost certainly commoners. Regardless, she approached these two first, thus letting the other two know her name and station well in advance.

    Good afternoon, gentlefolk, I take it you've also been summoned by the Lady Valle? I'm Lady Phaella d'Windermere, from Malfi - pleased to make your acquaintance. She extended her hand, looking - perhaps unsuccesfully - to strike a cordial tone with the lower classes. Don't worry about the titles, Lady Phaella will do.

    Phaella is a striking figure, supremely confident despite her youth, expensively groomed, dressed in the slightly pompous manner of the Malfian nobility - a lock of pink hair deliberately, jauntily protruding under her white powdered wig. There is an overt absense of weaponry about her person, sending a signal of both trust in her host and a lack of threat to the other guests.

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    Default Re: House of Glass (Dark Heresy IC)

    One of the people arriving was a shorter woman, fairly slim but with an athletic look to her, stares at the offered hand before giving a tired shake of her head. The shoulder length curly brown locks on her head only covered half of it, with the other half shaved clean for the MIU ports implanted in her skull. The redness from her continually rubbing at the new implants had finally faded after she'd gotten herself to stop that nervous tick, allowing the pink scar tissue time to rest and continue to heal. Normally she'd be wearing her robes over her white armored bodyglove, but for the purposes of the meeting, she felt that it was more polite not to hide under such. Along a similar chain of thought, she wore her weapons openly. A Civitas Laspistol on her right hip, a Puritan-14 on her left, and a very well taken care of Vanaheim sits in its sling on her back beneath a shield seeming to be made of stained glass.

    She'd be a pretty woman if she tried, but the Saboteur did not, and she looked even more tired than usual. Her companions will likely have noted that her sleeping is usually interrupted by nightmares even though she kept such worries to herself. Perhaps that was why she had decided to stay armed despite the security of their passage.

    Once in the room and after she shakes her head at the offered hand, she sets down her heavy pack and leans against a wall to wait. "Always with the waiting..." She mutters grimly as she looks down at the device they had been given.

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    Phaella, completely unfazed by the deliberate rudeness, simply turns to the other newcomer, again extending her hand, smiling a dazzling smile as she says pleased to meet you, sir - is your friend mute, mayhap?

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    The next person into the room was Joss Falkenrath. The feudal worlder was tall, dressed in a mesh combat cloak. The hilt of a longsword protruded from a gap in the fabric. Strapped across his back was an honest to goodness longbow and a quiver full of arrows. Tucked into his boot was a heavily engraved knife, a lage purity seal stuck to the hilt. Held in one hand was an impressive looking halberd, a blackwing halberd, obsidian like blades forming impossibly sharp feathers. Shaggy black hair fell down past his ears, framing a face with large cat-like eyes. A scarf, heavily embroiadered with a hunting scene, including a stag and songbirds, wrapped around his lower face, obscuring his expression.

    The assassin looked Lady Phaella up and down, measuring her, calculating. Behind the scarf he frowned, but it showed in those exotic eyes. Another noble. Wonderful. And she was unarmed? or only apparently unarmed? She could be dangerous indeed, either way.

    He took the extended hand and shook it, roughly. "Hello." He rasps.
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    Well, it seems conversations with these two animals shall be decidedly one sided affairs. No matter, I'm sure they're useful in their way, or they most certainly wouldn't be here, Phaella thinks to herself. Out loud she says: And is there a name to go along with ... all this, she indicates the profusion of weapons and other accountrements, or shall I simply call you 'wildman'?

    This last joke is accompanied with her most practised, bright smile.

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    There was a sharp cackle of laughter and another woman entered the room. She was not tall but was wirily built and every bit as wild as Joss, with her hair short-cropped and uncontrolled. Her clothes were scruffy and patched - a waistcoat, shirt, and the lower half of a body glove, worn over massive, heavy boots. All of the skin visible on her arms and neck was tattooed, scarred, or both - twin rings of bolt shells around her wrists, and a pair of revolvers on her chest were the most notable. In contrast to Phaella, she was ostentatiously armed - a massive bolt pistol had pride of place on one hip, a revolver on the other. A light stubber was cinched tight on her back on a strap, and she appeared to have been delayed by shoving a tiny hold-out pistol deeper into her boot. "Wildman! That's a good..."

    Upon seeing Phaella, she paused, and gave the noble a long evaluating look. "Huh. Wig an' all, eh? Crikey, this place's even worse'n I thought."
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    Again, Phaella meets the newcomer with both friendliess - even if slightly tainted by a small, most likely unconscious tone of condecension - and politeness:

    Well, mode of dress is situational, wouldn't you agree. Summoned by one of the highest ranking members of the inquisition in this sector, I don't intend to show up looking like an urchin. Then, of course, there is the question of who I represent in this. Finally, there is the question of simple fashion, something I admit I engage in slightly less hesitantly than many of my peers.

    Lady Phaella d'Windermere,
    again, she extends her hand, pleased to meet you. And you might be?

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    "Annie Lee." Annie said, not accepting the proffered hand. "Urchin."

    She turned to Joss and Mouse. "So the highest 'f authorities, aye? Lord Inquisitor 'imself? This ain't about Titus muckin' about with souls, this is a big deal."
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    Charmed, miss Lee, Phaella responds before finally approaching the two last people in the room, once more introducing herself and asking politely to their names and backgrounds.

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    "It's Joss." The assassin growls out. "Not 'wildman'" He clearly wasn't amused by the joke.

    He looks to Annie. "Could it be about RA? I think that would be serious enough to call such a meeting."
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    "Rogue 'Quisiter? P'raps. They took us seriously, then?" Annie seemed frankly surprised by this development. "We might 'ave to talk ter them about it. Standin' up in front've all them important people..." There was a worrying glint in her eye.
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    The answer came from the man in the hat. "That's what it's about, alright. Your Lady Valle's gone done and called a conclave." Annie recognised the accent: he was a Metallican, as well. "Apologies. As the lady points out, I ain't introduced myself. I'm Tychon, an' this here is Father, ah, Interrogator Drake. We're here representing Inquisitor Al-Subaii, though I think we ain't sticking around long." He coughed.
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    Default Re: House of Glass (Dark Heresy IC)

    Quote Originally Posted by Artemis97 View Post
    "It's Joss." The assassin growls out. "Not 'wildman'" He clearly wasn't amused by the joke.[/COLOR]"
    Oh, I meant no disrespect. There truly is something slightly bestial about you, but - in the best way. Nice to meet you, Joss. You three know each other. Would I be correct to assume you're part of the personal retinue of one of the inquisitors involved?

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    "We're acolytes for Inquisitor Valle." Joss explains. "We're the reason we're all here, I think." They had discovered RA's identity afterall.
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    I am here at the request of Inquisitor Stone. I've yet to receive any briefing, so I have don't quite know what to expect yet.
    Last edited by Kaptin Keen; 2016-11-05 at 02:42 AM.

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    "Don't reckon we'll have long to wait," Tychon said, with a nod towards the door.

    Footsteps could be heard from the other side, heavy and clanking. Soon the door opened, and the impassive deathmask of Inquisitor Valle greeted the acolytes. "Good," she said, the synthesized voice sounding just a little off, as always. "You have arrived. Enter." The mask vanished back behind the door as the Inquisitor stomped away.

    Interrogator Drake stood, picking up his flamer and tucking the weapon under one arm. Tychon stood with him. "Time to go hear tell what the big guns have to say," the gunslinger said. "Ladies first, course."
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    Annie had seemed far more interested by the other, rather less powdered acolytes, and had nodded a greeting to the other gunslinger, before the knock on the door. After Valle had left, Annie made a bow of staggering obsequiousness and indicated for Phaella to lead them out of the room.

    "Al'Subaai's Ordo Xenos, en't he?" She asked Mouse, en route. "Maybe this **** ain't our fault after all. Nothin' ter do with xenos."
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    With a wide, ironic smile at Annie's display, Phaella gladly sweeps in front, taking the opportunity to also introduce herself to Valle.
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    Joss follows the ladies into the next room and posts himself by the door, feeling a bit more comfortable with his back to the wall and out of the social limelight.
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    Mouse starts to walk forward into the room when beckoned, but she pauses for a moment and gestures for the other women to go before her out of courtesy. Such niceties were almost always lost upon the Adept, but she understood the gesture was meant to be respectful. Regardless of her desire to be left to her own devices, allowing others to go before you was at least a polite thing to do.

    Besides, if it were a trap Annie and the new Lady might be able to buy her a bit of extra time by being between her and whatever or whomever lay in wait on the other side of the door.

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    Tychon shrugged. "Ordo Xenos ain't never stopped us from running up against crazy men."

    The room behind the door was an office, but it was a rather transient sort, devoid of character imparted by the occupant. It had a desk, a shelf, an assortment of gently humming machines and a single overhead lamp that didn't quite illuminate the corners. Inquisitor Valle was standing, absent the reinforced chair required to bear her weight, while another man had taken the seat behind the desk. There were other chairs, obviously meant for them, and dragged out from some corner of wherever they were that didn't include cushions. Tychon elected to stand as well, taking up station beside the door.

    The man behind the desk appeared middle-aged, with a few day's worth of stubble and short hair that was going grey at the temples. He had a narrow, angular sort of face and deep set eyes that made him look like he was permanently suspicious of everything. In one hand he had a lit cigar, the smoke curling up towards the ceiling.

    "Good afternoon," he said. "I am Lord Inquisitor Argus Stone. I've been speaking with Lady Valle, who of course you already know." He waved a hand at Valle as he spoke, some of the ash from his cigar dropping to land on the floor. Valle inclined her head, servos in her neck whirring as she did so.

    "She's quite intent on proceeding with the charges against Inquisitor Arcturos. You, naturally, feature heavily in her accumulated evidence file. You also worked with the Inquisitor during your mission on Landunder, if I have it right? I'd like to hear your impressions of him. Please, keep it concise. Our time is valuable. Oh, and don't worry, Phaella, I'll get to the reason you're here in a moment."

    Behind the Acolytes, Interrogator Drake cleared his throat politely. Valle turned her head to look at him. "Lord Inquisitor," she said.

    Stone nodded. "Go ahead, Interrogator."

    "Apologies, my Lord," Tauron said. "Our business here is short, and I wanted to get it out of the way as fast as possible." He turned to Valle, his voice strong and clear. His former occupation as a preacher was obvious, and going off the tone he used for presenting a rather formal speech, his more fiery sermons must have been something to behold. "Inquisitor Al-Subaii sends his regards, and regrets that he is presently unable to attend the conclave of Inquisitors. He wishes to make it known that under more normal circumstances he would have made every effort to attend, but his current condition precludes the attempt. He will follow the proceedings with interest, and sincerely hopes that the conclave will come to the proper decision."

    His speech finished, the Interrogator bowed and left the office. Tychon followed after him.

    With the pair gone, Stone fixed his attention back on the acolytes. "Your turn."
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    At the mention of her name, Phaella nods - some might consider it a small bow - politely acknowledging her mention, without rudely interupting.

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    "He was... nice." Joss begins. "Professional."
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    Phaella gives a small cough, and remarks to Joss ... that sounded like a brush-off to me, under her breath.

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    "Proper fancy-like." Annie said. "Knew about food an' the paintings."
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    Phaella inclines her head slightly towards Annie - who has exhibited the greatest tendency towards verbal communication - and whispers I believe he's waiting for your impressions on Inquisitor Arcturos?

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    Mouse will take a seat, arranging it into the middle as she frowns and thinks over her experiences. Unlike the others, she was obviously considering her answer a little more deeply. After she sits down, she sets the device she'd picked up next to her and her pack and puts her hands in her lap to look at the one who asked the question. "The Inquisitor was...keen. Very much so. I believe from the moment he'd stepped into Landunder he knew precisely what was going on, where, and how. He'd had several agents already in place, including in the Arbites to grant him access to their evidence records without their knowledge, and a well known magistrate in his pocket to impress upon the locals the importance of legalities. He used the Magistrate to such an extent with us and was thus able to either discover or confirm that we were indeed working within the employ of the Inquisition." Mouse admits with a frown as she pulls out one of her dataslates and leans over to offer it to her Mistress.

    "My full report of the events is on there, Inquisitor Valle, and while it has some suppositions in it, I firmly believe that it is likely that Inquisitor Remus Arcturos knew full well of our arrival and was able to not only be the one to initiate contact on his own terms, but to manipulate and guide us to work for his agenda instead of our own. Indeed, it wasn't until after the incursion of a warp entity, its destruction, and the immolation of everything I could find that was used in a ritual for it that we even realized that he might be the suspect we were looking for."
    After that she pauses for a moment, looking unsure and uncomfortable, but continuing.

    "He was perfectly polite and cordial, even open to an extent that someone in your line of work might be, but truthfully all I can think of is that he seemed far too comfortable. Being around him is like being around a bright light you can't help but stare at. It is right in front of you, but blinding. For all the time we were around him, I was incapable of fathoming many, if any of the mechinations he was a part of."


    Once more, she pauses. "My apologies, I know you said concise, but a proper impression cannot be smelted down into just a single phrase."

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    Default Re: House of Glass (Dark Heresy IC)

    Miss Mouse, if you don't mind - am I to understand from what you say that Remus Arcturos was the one responsible for summoning this warp entity you mentioned?

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Titan in the Playground
     
    LeSwordfish's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Oxford, UK
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: House of Glass (Dark Heresy IC)

    "Oh, the magistrate was workin' with 'Im?" Anne said quietly. "Should've shot the bugger like I wanted, then."
    - Avatar by LCP -

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