- As told by Corwyn Nilius, Astropath Transcendent
Leaving the confused primitive green-skins at the top of the cliff, we manage to safely climb our way down. I pass a certain point down the cliff and my view shimmers, and suddenly I'm almost blinded. I look about and it's daylight! I see the familiar two suns of this world shining down at me.
This makes no sense -- I can't explain it at all. I quickly suspect that we've passed through some type of time bubble, but I have no way of verifying this. I'm reasonably certain that we're still on the same world at least.
We re-group at the bottom of the cliff, and Samson our missionary tells us that as he drifted down (he and Faux Shot glided down with the aid of a grav-chute) he was able to discern High Gothic writings on the spire's side, even as far away as he was. We all agree that the spire is our goal and head out.
As I walk along I'm struck with how gentle this place is compared to our landing site. I still hear the chirping of birds, and see occasional small critters. But the dark feral nature of the world that we initially landed in is gone.
Suddenly Thanius our Interrogator reveals himself (or herself? I'm still not sure). Apparently Thanius has been tailing us shortly after we landed. No idea why he/she didn't reveal himself/herself earlier!
In any case as we march closer to the spire, still off in the distance, the thick forest canopy seems to thin out and we eventually notice a stone path. Some of the crew hears giggling off to the side, and a little bit off the path we come upon a lake where we see some bathing beauties frolicking in the water.
Samson takes lead and I second him. He introduces himself to the women and explains that we're sent from the Imperium. I chime in explaining how this missionary is a holy man of the cloth, an emissary of the God-Emperor. The ladies seem impressed, up till the point that Samson slips (or was he pushed?) and falls into the water. The women giggle and run out, grabbing their towels and clothes and quickly running off in the direction of the spire.
Velnoth, our psyker-brain-in-a-jar, tries to Puppet Master one of the escaping women. But he tell us later than as his mind approached her he was able to perceive her touching a medallion around her neck and then Velnoth's mind was unable to reach her. Perhaps something similar to a null-rod?
Fauxshot gets a radio message from our starship. It's Tarron Damos, our Rogue Trader, and he informs Fauxshot that the Ork Nob in our command crew has apparently acquired an ork ship, and he's been having it following our starship for a while, all without Fauxshot knowing (or his approval). Fauxshot is furious at the news! Nathan, our voids-man, chimes in "If you were paying attention to the xenos on board our ship you'd have known this". Perhaps not the best time on Nathan's part to say I Told You So.
Fauxshot shouts him down with expletives that I've never heard from the Vostroyan officer before, or even ever before. Nathan understandably backs down as he realizes his mistake.
As this is going on, I find a small golden medallion in the grass. I deduce it's related to what stopped Velnoth's pyshic attempt earlier, and bring it to the attention of the crew. After much discussion and failed attempts to decipher the item the Dark Elf (he's still with us, unfortunately) snatches it and presses it, activating some type of psychic suppression field.
The effects are immediate, and Liander our arch-militant mentions that it has affected his psychic abilities as well. The Interrogator Thanius apparently had no idea that Liander was a psyker, and an unsanctioned one as well. He has to visibly restrain himself (herself?) once again, as his natural inclination is to give a quick death to any mutants and rogue psykers. Fortunately our missionary Samson is able to calm everyone. This will need to be addressed later however.
During all this excitement I happen to catch a glimpse of something in the sky. I see a comet, then suddenly a large explosion. I use Astral Telepathy to communicate with my specialist astropath squad still on the ship, and they inform me that we no longer have an engine. Both the plasma drive and the warp drive were ejected. Fortunately it appears that the Ork ship had "some extra bits", including an old Imperial ship's engine room, and so they're now in the process of grafting it on to our ship.
We decide we need to continue and we move onward, eventually coming upon a golden framed gate. It pushes open easily, and we enter, though we're immediately stopped by guards with halberds brandishing their weapons right at our necks. The guards' armor is made of polished steel, and it looks medieval in nature, though wrought with fine holy inscriptions. Samson speaks up in High Gothic, and once again I assist, and between the two of us we manage to calm the guards down.
A high-ranking person approaches us and tells the guards to stand down. He introduces himself as Karnius Veer. It seems that everyone here speaks a slight variant of High Gothic that has a smattering of Low Gothic thrown in. We introduce ourselves, and our Interrogator Thanius asks about the nature of the spire. Karnius confirms that it does indeed project a protective bubble that prevents non-sapient predators from entering its confines.
Fauxshot gets another radio message from our starship, telling us that 8 Tarantula Gun Emplacements are being dropped on our position, with 2 drop-pods of Ork 'Boyz soon to follow. Then it goes static. This is NOT what we need right now, and I communicate via Astral Telepathy back to my specialist squad to inform the crew aboard the starship to not interfere. Fortunately it seems the 8 Tarantulas hit the spire and they're instead mistaken for debris from the earlier explosion, and the drop-pods of Ork 'Boyz land next to our initial landing site, quite a ways away.
Karnius Veer offers to give us a tour of the city, and as we walk about we notice how well-kept and clean the place is. Not to mention opulent! Many buildings feature marble, and there is golden ornamentation everywhere. Along the way Karnius explains that they are pilgrims that have been here for many generations. The spire was built by them when they first landed, using the parts from their starships. About 500 years ago they suffered an attack from Dark Eldar, and much of the archive where they kept their knowledge was destroyed.
They realize that they've lost much of their technology, and are all too aware that they don't know how to maintain the spire anymore. It seems to keep working on its own though, and he suspects part of it may be due to its holy nature.
We give the golden medallion that I found earlier to Karnius, and he explains that these medallions are worn by the priestesses. I get interrupted by an astropathic message from my squad, and they inform me that the Ork Nob's 'Boyz have boarded our starship, there was much confusion as to whether they were under attack, and in the chaos 4 of our 5 Valkyrie aircraft have been destroyed. I wisely decide to tell Fauxshot later.
We enter the main courtyard where we see a giant statue of St Drusus, standing in front of the spire. Our missionary Samson mentions in passing that he's carrying a reliquary of St Drusus, and our guide Karnius seems quite awe-struck. Samson shows the reliquary to the man, and he shakes slightly as he picks it up, muttering that he doesn't feel worthy to hold such an esteemed item.
Samson takes the reliquary back and we continue on our journey.