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    Sithian's Jewel (40K)

    Greetings Inquisitor,

    In light of your recent request for Intel regarding the mysterious “Archite”, I have accumulated the attached dossier of files for your attention. To answer your most immediate questions, Archite is the name of an Imperial Inquisitor, now deceased, who once served in the Holy Ordos. I have managed to surmise this much from Inquisitorial archives, the same place from which I have gleaned the first extract listed below. These have in fact been drawn from the database of the Confederation of Saint Josephus, an Order I believe that you yourself were once a part of. Whilst your Seal no longer provides the clearance necessary to access most sensitive documents, I have nonetheless managed to bypass these walls and acquisition all relevant information.

    The second extract also owes its origins to Inquisitorial accounts – this time, the records of the Ordo Xenos. It is the base log of an Ordo Research Team, regarding the inspection of a mysterious artefact found on the planet Innocence four centuries ago. Written by the chief researcher Katherine Sithian, it was intended to be nothing more than a procedural account, but the events that were to occur on that world have apparently marked it as an important resource for the Inquisition. As it directly references the actions of Inquisitor Archite, I thought you might find it useful.

    I remain vigilant and ready to serve,
    Rillip Judal, Ordo Xenos Operative


    EXRACT ONE:

    “Confederation Record 5H44/GA2MA.

    Last modified 999M41.

    INQUISITOR ARCHITE

    FULL NAME: Inquisitor Dylex Archite.
    CURRENT STATUS: Deceased.
    YEAR OF BIRTH: 538M41.
    YEAR OF DEATH: INFORMATION SUPPRESSED BY IMPERIAL INQUISITION. CLEARANCE INSUFFICIENT.
    HOMEWORLD: Cadia.

    YEAR OF INQUISITORIAL APPOINTMENT: 582M41
    SPONSOR OF INQUISITORIAL APPOINTMENT: Inquisitor Lord Theorl.

    INQUISITORIAL TUTORS: Inquisitor Phemestos, Inquisitor Lord Truste, Inquisitor Lord Pasa, Inquisitor Lord Theorl.

    CAREER OVERVIEW:

    Inquisitor Archite was selected as suitable for Inquisitorial training by Inquisitor Lord Theorl, Grand Master of the Confederation of Saint Josephus. Once such potential was realised, Archite spent many decades serving in the retinues of three highly renowned and respected Inquisitors of the time, for Theorl’s administrative responsibilities marked him unsuitable to train Archite fully himself. In the final years as an Interrogator, Archite was inducted in the greatest secrets of the Inquisition by Theorl, and tasked a number of vital missions on the Lord Inquisitor’s behalf. He, and his contemporaries Heraldir and Galthamor, were simultaneously conferred the rank of Inquisitor by Theorl in the year 582.M41.

    Archite was close personal friends with both Heraldir and Galthamor, and within days of their Inquisitorial initiation, all three were inducted as brothers of the Confederation of Saint Josephus also. Devout disciples of their Master’s Puritanism, the three Inquisitors swore a pact with each other and the Emperor that they would never be tempted by the path of Radicalism.

    Archite’s early career was as illustrious as one might expect of Theorl’s apprentice. Among the many exploits credited to his name, Archite has been praised for the banishment of the daemon prince Deathriver (589.M41), the exposure of the possessed Cardinal Nestine XX (600.M41) and recovery of the Armour of Saint Michael (618.M41).

    >>FURTHER INFORMATION SUPPRESSED BY IMPERIAL INQUISITION
    >>CLEARANCE INSUFFICIENT...”

    Untitled Inquisitorial record, author and original publishing date unknown.


    EXTRACT TWO:

    INQUISITORIAL ORDO RESEARCH JOURNAL
    Year: 600.M41
    Journal Location: Innocence, Ultima Segmentum
    Log Reference: 600/GN12/A1

    Day 1
    Thought for the Day: Life is a prison; death a release.

    In line with procedure, I Katherine Sithian, Confederation researcher GN12, have established this log as a formal account of our current inspection of the unidentified alien construct classified Alpha Ten.

    Not that there’s really any point. Once Archite arrives, I can tell him what I know without needing this, and the Inquisitor’s not going to give a damn about the records either. And what happens after that won’t be my problem. Still, eternal vigilance and all that jazz.

    The artefact was uncovered two weeks ago in the Silent Desert, surrounding the communication outpost Veridian IV on the northern-most continent of Innocence. An archaeological dig searching for evidence of the first Thantume dynasty instead uncovered a perfectly spherical crimson jewel that exhibited a disquieting aura. The dig’s head archaeologist, a particularly boring slob called Petre Solls, contacted me and three other arcanologists through the normal channels. Solls is so obviously out of his depth it’s not funny.

    The three other “experts” are predictably all men. One government agent, two freelance, and myself. None of them are as good as me, and they know it. I think I unsettle them, the labourers and archaeologists too. I really don’t care. It’s better if they leave me alone.

    I’ve contacted Archite of course. Alpha Ten needs the attention of an Inquisitor. I sent an astropathic message out ten days ago, from the nearest way-station. The reply suggests he’s close, and will be here in a fortnight or so. I guess we’ll be sitting tight until then.

    Day 2
    Thought for the Day: Only those who die for the Emperor will be remembered by Him.

    I looked a bit more at the Jewel today. It’s about a foot across, a shimmering red shade that seems to change subtly over time, but in response to what stimulus I don’t know. It doesn’t really seem to do anything, other than maintain its incessant, unsettling aura. The labourers are starting to get jumpy; Solls has called for a psyker to be brought in, to try and do something about its malign presence. They are weak, whimpering idiots, the lot of them.

    Alpha Ten is seemingly impervious to physical intrusion. One of the freelance researchers was stupid enough to try drilling in, and it simply broke the power drill. He tried smashing it with a hammer, and the jarring impact broke his arm. Solls thought these were professionals?

    No-one’s tried touching the Jewel. It’s a smart move.

    Day 4
    Thought for the Day: Heresy grows from idleness.

    Ever since I arrived, the labourers had insisted the Jewel was shrinking. Today we decided to test it. They were right – the artefact is nearly an inch smaller in diameter than what I recorded two days ago. At the rate it’s going, it’ll be less than half a foot wide when Archite arrives, small enough to slip into a robe or coat unnoticed. I trust no-one’s going to get any stupid ideas.

    The men keep carrying out more tests on the Jewel, trying to find what it’s made of and its properties. I for one am sitting tight until Archite gets here. It’s funny – they know I’ve called for help, but I don’t think any of them are expecting an Inquisitor.

    Day 6
    Thought for the Day: Never trust a mutant.

    The men are more fearful than ever. The Jewel’s aura is starting to really get to them. They’re tired – most struggle to sleep at night, lying awake in constant terror. I sympathise. I can rarely sleep anyway.

    Personally, I’m more bored than anything. Alpha Ten is just so obviously evil. It’s not exhibiting properties that I haven’t seen many times before. There’s nothing I should be doing until Archite arrives – procedure, remember? – and at times it feels like I’m just here to baby-sit a group of grown men.

    I’ve given serious thought to just going home – the other three researchers have. Archite won’t be here for another week, minimum. Trouble is, I don’t think I can trust the team not to go insane and kill each other whilst I’m away. So I guess I’m the babysitter after all until the Inquisitor finally arrives.

    Day 10
    Thought for the Day: Let your masters think for you.

    Solls’ psyker arrived at last today. The Jewel drove him insane, and within six hours of arriving at the base he committed suicide. It’s been bad for morale.

    Day 11
    Thought for the Day: The Emperor Protects.

    The men have started to whisper about leaving today. I’m surprised it’s taken them this long. No-one has actually forced them to stay, but I made it very clear to Solls that my Master will want to speak to them when he arrives. Mass desertion will complicate matters, but might be difficult to prevent.

    Still, Archite’s orders were clear, so I had to do something. The Inquisitor left me a few names and calling signals for friends he had on Innocence if I ever needed help. To their credit, they were here within hours of me sending for them. The arrival of two dozen armed men has been a clear sign that no-one leaves the camp until the boss gets here. Until then, I’m running the show.

    Day 12
    Thought for the Day: Faith and violence solve all problems.

    Base morale has been at an all time low. The Inquisitorial goons, who answer to me unconditionally, can’t understand why the labourers and archaeologists are so edgy, so morose, so frantic. They’ll understand in time.

    We’ve had to start breaking up fights between the digging team. I think they were arguing about how they planned to escape. No-one dares to check up on the Jewel anymore.

    Day 16
    Thought for the Day: Duty is its own reward.

    Archite arrived today, and not a moment too soon. I don’t think the base is quite what he was expecting. For a start, he probably anticipated more surprise or fear at the arrival of an Inquisitor. In truth, the men are too disturbed to notice.

    Archite brought a personal retinue with him. Five men and a woman, of various skills and occupations it seems. I don’t do names. They don’t really interest me. Except for the youngest man, Ryan, the translator. He seems interesting. I’ll probably end up screwing him. I know I’m not supposed to put things like that in here, but who’s going to read it anyway?

    I spoke to the Inquisitor and told him everything I know so far. Work starts again tomorrow.

    Day 17
    Thought for the Day: Praise the Golden Throne!

    Archite interviewed each of the labourers one by one to find out what they know. He’s still keeping them here though. I don’t know what he intends to do with them. I don’t think he knows himself.

    One thing’s for sure, the Inquisitor’s not buying the rest of the team’s superstition. He touched the Jewel himself today. Nothing happened, or at least I don’t think so. He smiled at me afterwards, but not entirely sincerely. It’s the first time I’ve seen him affected by the Jewel’s aura.

    Throne knows what happens next. Archite hasn’t even asked for my advice today. It’s probably for the best. At the start, this seemed to me like any other artifice of evil, but now I’m unsure of what power is hidden within the Jewel.

    Day 18
    Thought for the Day: Follow me if I advance. Kill me if I retreat. Avenge me if I die.

    Archite hasn’t asked me for anything all day. This is even more boring than before. What is his team up to?

    I tried speaking to one of them today – the thug Bryson. I wish I hadn’t. The man’s a mercenary, loyal only to himself and with no interest in Archite’s task unless he’s paid on time. I feel more worried than before. He must know how valuable the Jewel could be – he can’t be trusted.

    I went to see Nordran after, one of the soldiers from before Archite arrived. I told him I wanted a permanent guard placed outside the Jewel’s chamber at night. He looked at me as though I’d gone as mad as the original team, but he’ll do as he’s told.

    They will thank me later. They all will.

    Day 19
    Thought for the Day: Hope is pointless.

    I made time to speak to Ryan today. He’s my opening to the rest of the team. I won’t be kept out of whatever’s going on.

    Turns out most of Archite’s team are specialist psykers, selected specifically to help penetrate the depths of the Jewel. One of them is dead already. Throne, how did they keep that quiet?

    I got a chance to see Archite and his retinue at work. It’s only three or four inches wide now. The team’s made a little progress into revealing the Jewel’s secrets – a few visions, still for the most part undecipherable. None of them want to go down the same route as their former companion.

    This is wrong. I’m all for curiosity and uncovering the truth, but the Jewel is too alien for us to ever comprehend. It should be hidden not studied. I argued with Archite about this, but he wouldn’t listen – he sent me away. To him, I’m as crazy as the rest of them.

    Day 20
    Thought for the Day: The Faithful will triumph whilst heresy fails.

    I made a note of finding the rest of the old team today. I’d been so used to seeing them wandering the halls, but I didn’t even notice them disappear when Archite arrived. Turns out they’ve been imprisoned in the lower floors of the base, as far out of the way as possible. They’ve started to kill each other. Literally, killing their former team-mates. I don’t think the Inquisitor minds. If they “take care” of each other, it saves him worrying about what to do with them later.

    Ryan’s still talking to me, which is a relief. Does he pity me? I see the way he looks at the female psyker Archite brought along, and the way she looks at him. I want to kill her. I know I shouldn’t, but I genuinely want to kill her.

    Day 22
    Thought for the Day: Blessed are the gunmakers.

    We found Nordran dead today. Bryson convinced him to help steal the Jewel. They even got a few miles away from the base. We followed their tracks, and found Nordran with a bullet in his head. I don’t know if Bryson killed him, or he killed himself.

    About half a mile onwards we found the Jewel dropped in the desert. Bryson was nowhere to be seen. The Jewel was about 12 inches in diameter, almost the same size it was when I saw it the first time. That seems almost meaningful.

    Archite carried the Jewel back to base, the grimace on his face showing a burden that had nothing to do with its weight. At its return, the wailing from the lower floors was impossible to ignore.

    Day 23
    Thought for the Day: Foreign travel narrows the mind wonderfully.

    Ryan seemed upset today. The bitch-psyker is dead. Good.

    Day 25
    Thought for the Day: Blind faith is the best kind of faith.

    The surviving archaeologists and labourers have rebelled. They stormed out their prison and attacked the guards that I’d first brought in to keep them from leaving. It was a slaughter. All of the original team is dead now. We lost half a dozen others too, including Ryan. A shame. I liked Ryan.

    Day 27
    Thought for the Day: Your life matters not to the Emperor – only how you choose to sacrifice it.

    Archite’s started to let me back into the team again. I think it’s a sign of how desperate he is. He revealed today that he’s a psyker himself. It’s a genuine shock. Has he read my mind? Have I thought anything that might anger him?

    Of the six people that the Inquisitor brought himself, only two are left now. It’s just them, me and nine of the soldiers I brought in. There should be more than that left. Maybe some of the soldiers deserted. Maybe they’ve been killing each other. No-one seems to have noticed either way.

    The two psykers are exhausted. They want to leave. I want to leave. Archite is determined now though, and he’s no intention of giving in. He’s as good as imprisoning me here. I guess I know how the labourers felt when I imprisoned them weeks ago.

    Day 29
    Thought for the Day: Fear not the End Times.

    This will be my last record here. Archite…he looked into the Jewel. I still don’t know what’s happened to him. He might be dead. I don’t know.

    The psykers – Leon and Mothec – they refused to use their powers to probe further into the Jewel. They’d seen what happened to those who had tried before them. Archite was furious. He didn’t listen to me, or them. Before we could stop him, he’d let his hands touch the Jewel and poured his powers into it. Once he began, we didn’t want to drag him away for risk of killing him, but he refused to listen to us as we asked him to return.

    Things seemed fine to start with. He got further than the others. Then things started to change. Leon and Mothec had seen it happen before, they knew the warning signs. They screamed at Archite to return. But the Inquisitor was too far gone. He started to bellow in harsh foreign dialects. His eyes widened further and further, as though staring into infinity. His heartbeat – or at least a heartbeat – reverberated deafeningly around the room. I sounded the alarm. Neither of the psykers wanted to see Archite go the same way as the others. They laid their hands upon the Jewel too, trying to force Archite out; sacrificing themselves to save him.

    Then Archite…he laughed. He laughed as his friends started to scream in terror. As I cowered against wall, the soldiers came in, responding to the alarm. I never even learned their names…

    Leon and Mothec were blasted away from the Jewel. Fire started to dance around its surface, soon embracing Archite too. And still he laughed, even as the flames threatened to kill him.

    The soldiers were frozen in horror. So was I. But I knew I couldn’t do nothing and let the Inquisitor die. I rushed forward to try and pull him away. Leon and Mothec rose except…they weren’t Leon and Mothec any more. They tried to stop me. They tried to kill me. The soldiers stepped in to stop them. They gave up their lives to save me.

    In the end it was just me and Archite, the Inquisitor still ablaze and fixed to the Jewel. I screamed as I tried to drag him away, the fire burning my arms. With all my might I forced him back and thank the Throne my strength was enough. As his hands were separated from the Jewel, the fire extinguished immediately, curing our burns as well.

    Archite wasn’t moving. He wasn’t breathing. I tried to resuscitate him, but nothing could wake him. I got to the base’s comms station and signalled Archite’s ship in orbit, telling them that the Inquisitor needed them. They’ll be here soon. I don’t want to be around when they come.

    I don’t know what will happen to the Jewel. Maybe a new team will try the same as us. I want to stop that from happening, but nor do I want to be around to find out. Flight is my only option now.

    Sweet merciful Emperor on His Golden Throne. Forgive us for what we did here.

    Innocence Base Log Reference 600/GN12/A1, recorded by Inquisitorial Agent Katherine Sithian, 600.M41.
    Last edited by Sabbad; 02-10-2008 at 19:31.
    MY FICTION:
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    Perfect World - A Norse Champion of Chaos, fighting for his vision of utopia.
    Sithian's Jewel - A horror story told through Inquisitorial reports.

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