The acolytes decide to go to the refectory to try and gather more information about life at the Cathedral. Druke accompanies them. They strike up a conversation with Lector Zaveticus, Lector Darwan and are briefly introduced to Medicae Galican. After some conversation, Lector Zaveticus (in charge of communications and servo skulls) quietly advises Felix he would like to talk to him about the possibility of a fake relic, and the acolytes arrange to visit him later.
In the afternoon the acolytes take a break from pretending to look at the relics. Druke catches up with them and advises that the Arch Cardinal is holding a synod and one of the topics of discussion is the validation of relics, especially those of St Drusus. The acolytes know that Drusus was supposed to have been buried intact. He is normally depicted with a bolter in one hand and a sword in another. He was probably interred on Scintilla. The acolytes are invited to join the Synod and give their opinion.
Felix and Ketch do most of the talking at the Synod, and seem to get away with it. They deflect the question of whether there can be multiple relics of a saint by raising the issue of the tri skull. They also mention that the femur of St Brannicus is missing. The Arch Cardinal looks annoyed when this is raised, and advises them it will be returned immediately following the Synod.
Good as his word, the Arch Cardinal ensures the femur is returned. Felix and Ketch examine it. It is a human femur, very old. There are a number of tiny scrapes/grooves which could have been made by a tool or implement. Only decades old, probably. Not as old as the femur. The marks are along the length, and there are impact marks on one end. Ish suggests it could be used as a key to open a secret chamber.
The acolytes then go to meet Zaveticus, who is quite concerned about a friend of his, Kaius Moye. Moye has been working as a missionary in the Hive, and he was in the Hive when he became ill. Zaveticus is concerned he may be suffering a daemonic possession. Exorcist Amortis, who resides in the hospital, should be approached about this.
The acolytes accompany Zaveticus to the hospital. There is security at the entrance to the hospital, it would not be possible to just stroll into the hospital.
Exorcist Amortis is sent for, and arrives shortly. He is a big man, with a shaved head. He looks like a soldier, wearing white robes. He has old scarring on his face, and piercing blue eyes. He is very hard line, and has no time for rich wimps. He has only just been made aware of the possession. He assigns roles to the acolytes and tells them what they need to do.
There is a specific wing of the hospital where the exorcism takes place. It looks a lot like a torture chamber. Moye is brought in my hospital workers, who leave them to it. During the exorcism of the daemon, Felix becomes aware that Leena has knowledge of the occult.
The party are successful in their exorcism of the daemon, and return to Zaveticus’ chambers to inform him of this. Moye is no longer possessed, although he does now have a large aquila branded in his forehead. Zaveticus is grateful for the acolytes’ help, and gets to the point. He monitors communications to ensure that there is no misuse of resources within the Cathedral. A number of communications have passed in and out of the Cathedral on an unofficial encrypted channel. He has been able to recover snatches of messages which hint at something sinister going on. He shows the acolytes data slate transcriptions of what has been recovered. There are 6 pieces of text:
1. secrecy is of the utmost importance, we all will suffer if leaks occur and it will be on your head.
2. understand. Place your trust in me. The matter is fully under my control. he will never see the light while I yet live. Temporary. Create an alternative method of restricting him.
3. concerns are noted. Resources are directed elsewhere. Place trust in you brother to maintain the current interdiction of our wayward brother’s…
4. complete and continues as planned. Within three months I anticipate the next stage can begin. Synod concur plan most likely to…
5. should further oversight be required
6. insist the means of entry require the purple hand. the femur is the key. Keep communications to a minimum. You know as well as I that…
This is oldish data – a few months old, but unable to ascertain the age. 6 is a direct response to 5.
Zaveticus tells the acolytes that the Cathedral once sported a wing for private prayer off the nave. It was sealed off due to instability a few hundred years ago. The nave was originally set up slightly differently. Leena goes to observe it. there is a wall right behind the altar, upon which a mural of the Emperor can be seen.
Zaveticus is able to locate a book that provides the acolytes with useful information about this.
Ish goes and looks at the kitchens immediately underneath the nave. Does not look like it would be possible to get in and go up through the ceiling.
Leena and Julia go and “volunteer” in the hospital to see if there is anything untoward there, as it would be a good place to hide someone. Leena meets Moltus K’Taan of the House of K’Taan, an important trading family. He seems quite mad but lucid – he believes the hive is built over a wellspring of daemonic energy, and that there are huge insects in the walls. The gargoyles are daemons which come alive at night, and should not be looked in the eye. He asks Leena if she has seen St Drusus, as he wanders the halls at night dispensing wisdom and the insects don’t like it. K’Taan also thinks the meat is human. The cloisters are full of ghosts and monsters, and the Arch Cardinal murdered a girl thousands of years ago and her ghost still wanders. there is also a secret room beneath the daemons in the nave.
The acolytes know the Arch Cardinal has a passageway from his chambers to the nave, but not where it is.
The acolytes attend the evening sermon in order to better view the nave and think about their tasks. There do not appear to be any gargoyles in the nave. There are some very ugly statues around though, and there is the mural of the Emperor crushing daemons.
The acolytes go into the Cathedral grounds after the sermon to try and gather their thoughts. As they are walking slowly, a robed man bumps heavily into Felix. Felix looks up and the man’s hood falls down to reveal a third eye in the middle of his forehead. Felix lets out a loud exclamation of surprise. The fake monk draws a shock maul out of his robes, and the rest of the robed men draw knives. Ish makes himself scarce, and Julia pulls out a gun. Everyone else gets behind Julia. As the bad guys advance, Julia starts shooting. The majority of the bad guys get killed. A crowd has gathered around the fight. Ketch goes to check one of the bodies, and frisks him for useful stuff. There is a sealed tube which has unfortunately been shot, but he palms it off to Felix. The Sororitas come over and shoot all cultists in the head, obliterating their heads.
Ish has taken advantage of the distraction to sneak back in to the cathedral. He sneaks through the Cardinal’s secret passage. Ketch also sneaks back in and looks at the mural. One of the daemons under the Emperor’s foot has a hollow eye, about the right size for a femur.
Back at their rooms, the acolytes look at the handwritten note that was inside the tube. It has been burned from being shot and is stained with blood. The handwriting is poor.
I regret to inform you that the situation in the blinding gulch is rapidly becoming untenable. Gang warfare is increasing exponentially. I fear it will not be long before someone uses their knowledge of my location as a bargaining chip with the magistrates. I need to relocate. Your deadlines make this very difficult. I am sending my envoy…