Inquisition reporter: Suleiman the Lost

Report date: 40874.413 Imperial Standard

Report location: Infield, shuttle Emissary of Wrath 743; cogitate encode level 4714

Report Status: Heresy unresolved; external action unwarranted; maintain extermination recall watch

The Emperor protects, and we in service to the Inquisition extend his protection to all those who toil for his glory. Our team has been sent on the battle cruiser the Emperor’s Divine Wrath to the Hive World Desoleum in service to our Holy Mother the Inquisitor Bellane Volksman, may the Emperor’s grace always shine upon her. 300 billion souls toil on the Hive Desoleum in dutiful service to the Emperor’s noble plan, but there are rumours that the petty nobles of this teeming planet have been trading in Xenos artifacts, to the detriment of their souls and the souls of all who reside in Hive Desoleum. We are to determine the truth of these rumours, to identify and contain the Xenos artifacts, to bring those trading in them to justice, and if necessary to burn the planet in order to save it.

Our team are four:

  • Myself, Suleiman the Lost, voidborn seeker
  • Siri of Apple, unsanctioned psyker elevated from the feral world of Apple to the Inquisition by our Holy Mother in order to work where sanctioned psykers cannot
  • Zariel, another feral worlder elevated to the Imperial Guard and brought to our team as an assassin
  • Lazarus, a Tech-Priest assigned to the Inquisition by the Order Mechanicum. Evidently machine spirits too can harbour heresies, and they too must be burnt

The Inquisition authorizes us to destroy this planet and all its souls if the chancre has spread too deep, but our Holy Mother rewards subtlety over brutality, and so we arrived on Hive Desoleum disguised as a rich off-world merchant seeking business. Before our insertion Lazarus spread rumours that Siri of Apple was a collector of rarities, a nihilistic feral worlder with new money. As soon as we arrived on the Hive and had been shown to our Guest Mansion we arranged a party, that the local nobles could meet Siri of Apple and learn of her interest in collectibles and her disdain for imperial law.

Our briefing informed us that recently minor nobles had been dying horribly, and Xenos artifacts were implicated in these deaths. We were told to seek a petty noble called Lanz Goolajan, from a fading house (House Hessantans) who had recently begun behaving erratically. At the party we learnt he had spent all his family’s money, begun appearing unkempt in public, even visiting the deepest levels of the Hive!, and that his family was considering disowning him soon; he had in turn refused to attend the party for unspecified reasons, and refused to make business meetings of any kind with Siri of Apple despite rumours of her fabulous wealth. The condition of his heresy seeming already far gone, the following morning we made haste to his mansion to impress upon him the need for urgent business. Our cover as merchants worked here; having previously suggested we had a special interest in his silicate reserves, we presented at his gates demanding admission to talk about an urgent injection of cash into his business, before his silicate fields were sold off and broken up. His servant believed our deception and allowed us in, but at this point we were stymied. We were forced to stand in the hallway of his mansion like mendicants while his spidery-limbed servant ferried messages back and forth, and his sole bodyguard spied on us from the balcony. Such a greeting should earn a brutal penance for a heretic of this kind, but our Holy Mother demands subtlety, so we played his silver-tongued game. However, soon we heard a scream of horror, and the bodyguard ran towards his lord’s room. We followed, fearing the worst, and we found a grim sight. Lanz Goolajan was sprawled on the floor of his study, his clothes ripped and ragged, his face scored with deep cuts, both his eyes lying on the floor in a pool of blood next to a letter opener, with which he had obviously plucked them out. On his desk sat a small and malevolent-feeling dark orb, obviously some Xenos abomination, and he crouched there in his own blood and aqueous fluid, screaming incoherently at it.

It shames me to speak of my team so in a holy missive to the Emperor’s servants, but here they failed the honour of our Emperor. Zariel, who has fought Xenos on a thousand worlds, panicked at this horrid sight and involuntarily fired a shot of his laspistol at me, though it was mere reaction and he missed me; Lazarus screamed and fled to the gardens of the Mansion, calling upon the Omnissiah for mercy. I, Suleiman the Lost, who saw my entire orbital exterminated brutally by demons that crawled forth from the fabric of the warp like wasp larvae, was unfazed by the sight of a mere pair of eyeballs. I scooped them up onto a piece of paper and had Lanz’s bodyguard restrain him and transfer him to his bedroom. He went meekly, muttering about the things he could not unsee. A terrible fate awaits him, and the loss of his sight in such a gory way will soon seem to him as a sweet memory compared to that which awaits him in the loving but merciless arms of the Inquisition.

While Lazarus ran screaming about the grounds, invoking the Omnissiah for reassurance, Siri and I set about investigating the Orb. We transferred it to a case and secured it while we waited for Lazarus to return; eventually, shaken, she did, and we had her tend to the quivering heretic, little use though his flesh serves him now that his soul is to be given over to the Inquisition’s scourging. We then ordered the bodyguard to prevent him leaving while we searched the remainder of the Mansion. We uncovered several more artifacts, less deadly than that orb but no less steeped in guilt and sin for being harmless. We gathered these and returned to take the heretic, but he had died of his terrors while we searched the house. Though all of us suspected the bodyguard, there was no evidence that this weak-willed and hedonistic lordling had not simply expired of his own fears, so we burnt the body and returned to our shuttle, the Emissary of Wrath 743, to secure the Xenos artifacts and read Lanz Goolajan’s diaries. These confirmed the information I had found on a slip of paper beneath Goolajan’s desk when I searched around the orb: he had purchased his artifacts from a group of dissolute nobles who regularly gather in a bar at the very base of the Hive, called the Screaming Wheel.

We immediately visited The Screaming Wheel, which was deep in the Hive. Here we found a group of drunken and foolish noblemen bullying a worker of the Hive, who was pleading for more time to pay them for some small loan. We watched in horror as they killed this poor drudge brutally. We were angered by their actions, so we burnt them. Specifically, Lazarus unleashed her flamer upon them, and Siri used her psychic powers to hurl one through a wall, bursting his skull as if  it were one of the apples of her homeland under a hammer. While the others burnt I used my flak coat to extinguish the flames on their leader, and we held him and another for questioning. These men were not heretics, simply middle men for a trader known as Zac Haltaine. Still, they have touched tainted work. We judged them worthy of mercy, and burnt them.

Thus ends my first report on the case of heresy in the Hive Desoleum. With the Emperor’s grace, we will soon find this Haltaine and identify the depths of his evil, and the extent of his infernal allegiances. Lanz Goolajan spoke of invisible lost cities, and a great power residing therein. If we sense that this world hosts a deep evil that cannot be contained, we will call back the Emperor’s Divine Wrath, and expunge it. But first we must find the source of the heresy, and put it to the question.

We stand ready to do the Emperor’s work, or perish dying. The Emperor protects, and we serve!



So, with my partner still living overseas one would think I have been passing time by reading many many books. Sadly this isn’t true, but I have read the odd one or two of late. One was even role-playing related, though terribly embarrassing on the train… Here is a brief review of books I have read lately, role-playing related or not.

  1. The Third Reich in power, Richard Evans: Part 2 of a 3-part series, discussing the trials and tribulations of a youthful Nazi movement preparing for a catastrophic war. I get into these kind of third reich funks, and one started with this book… unfortunately I am not skilled at reading history, and have found it’s very easy to believe a really shoddy historical analysis if one is not trained. I swallowed Hitler’s Willing Executioners hook, line and sinker, and only discovered a year or two later that it was largely a crock. I believe others have done this with Iris Chang’s book on Nanjing, which includes a fake picture, just as the author of Hitler’s Willing Executioners apparently used some pretty shoddy research. So I shan’t give an opinion on this book… 
  2. The Drowned and the Saved, Primo Levi: Primo Levi’s masterpiece If this is a Man was in my wedding Amazon wishlist, and I pretty much read it twice as soon as I received it. That book was the story of his survival in Auschwitz; this is his attempt 20 years later to understand why and how it happened from a more philosophical viewpoint, and particularly to dwell on those who did it, and those who abetted them. The chapter called The Grey Area is perhaps the core of the book, because in this chapter he attempts to understand the motivations of those (Jewish and non-Jewish) who protected themselves in the camps by coming to an accommodation with the Nazis. This book is a compelling read, of course, as is everything in this topic, but it is particularly compelling because of the balance of Levi’s perspective. He refuses to judge, and also refuses to forgive, while approaching the whole question with a strong sense of sadness and compassion. I think Levi’s is a rare voice, and it’s a shame that he died soon after this book was written.
These books are totally unrelated to the entire topic of this blog of course, I have just presented them in order to defend my intellectual credibility, since I have also been reading comics, which are particularly unserious
  1. Emma, Mori Kaoru: a comic about a maid called Emma (why would I be reading this, I wonder, when my partner is still in Japan and happens to have the same name…) who is currently the object of 4 men’s desire. Emma is set in Victorian London, which seems to be a bit of an object of fascination in the whole maid culture, but it doesn’t have any of the titillatory effects one might expect of a comic about a maid being chased by an elephant-riding Indian Prince. It is more of an attempt to resurrect the well-mannered and archaic society of the time, and portrays Victorian London as the very height of genteel society, in which a man of high birth and income falls in love with his old governess’ maid and (typically of a Japanese boy) completely fails to pursue her. I’m sure it will come good in the end. Unfortunately the comic is in Japanese so I am reading it at a rate of 2 pages a week. (My efforts to read in Japanese are described here). The end will not come for a long time yet…
  2. Daemonifuge, a Warhammer 40000 comic about Ephrael Stern, a Sister of Battle, who is possessed by an ancient power and is a weapon against chaos. Warhammer may be a shit gaming system, but its world rocks, and the whole chaos-war idea is great. This comic has very broody, gothic artwork and a massive amount of slaughter. Everyone who is worth anything dies horribly, anyone who should be trustworthy has long since been tainted by chaos, and you just know that nothing good can happen. In fact, I don’t think anyone fighting chaos uses the word “good” at any point in the novel. They use words like purge, cleanse, eliminate, eradicate. There is no “good”. This is exactly what you expect in a universe beset by Chaos. I love this world but I think it is so replete with allegory that sometimes it is painful to read. Ephrael Stern is the embodiment of teenage male fear of nascent sexuality; or she is the woman every teenage boy wants to protect, simultaneously frighteningly powerful and vulnerable, needing only the guiding hand of a (slightly nerdish, but well-meaning) boy to set her on a … cough … better path. Warhammer is replete with this imagery, like a bad novel written by a nerdy teenage boy living in cold war England. It has a lot in common with Adrian Mole’s diary. And wouldn’t Adrian Mole be fascinating in a post-fantastic technological chaos-warped future? Dear diary… also, just by way of explanation, this Daemonifuge comic is doubly excellent because random words are marked in bold all through the text…