The Alchemy of the Word

Brother Koris - Journal Entry Five

Official Journal of Brother Koris, Deathwatch Apothecary, Blood Angels Chapter
Entry Five – Watch Station Andronicus / Thunder’s Wrath

According to our plans of the facility the Librarium is three storeys high, the central area filled with cogitator banks and shelves of books, the walls lined with individual meditation cells on several levels. Brother Zariel attempts to remotely access the Librarium’s cogitator banks, and discovers that the Omega-Epsilon protocol has been activated before tens or hundreds of years ago. Brother Zariel and I ask Brother Siegmund to join us for a private discussion in one of the cells lining this corridor, where we relay our concerns about Brother Ramiel’s mental stability and vulnerability, and he agrees to assign Brother Ramiel to a rearguard position for the assault on the Librarium.

We take up position in front of the Librarium door, and in preparation for potentially confronting a servant of the Ruinous Power Which Thirsts I lead the Kill-Team in a short prayer to reaffirm our faith and resolve. Brother Siegmund opens the door, steps through and breaks left a short distance along the Librarium’s outer wall wall, I follow him and break a short distance to the right along the wall. We immediately notice a deep and unsettling bass vibration in the air and a pillar of eldritch violet fire occupying the centre of the room, with violet lightning dancing over the cogitator banks (though less than was present on the central cogitator arrays) and a weird phosphorescence radiating from the books. Brother-Lexicanium Aemilianus extends his psychic senses and tells us that there is danger present, the vibration is our perception of a psychic ward which we have now tripped, and that an unclear psychic resonance from within the pillar of fire indicates either one entity or two entities with overlapping presences.

Brother-Lexicanium Aemilianus then follows us in, breaking left to join Brother Siegmund, and Brother Zariel follows and breaks right to join me, with Brother Calibos moving up to occupy the doorway and Brother Ramiel remaining in the corridor behind us covering the lift shaft. Brother Zariel moves into the room and overturns some of the bookshelves to provide us with cover, the rest of us move up to take advantage of the makeshift barricade, and as we stand firm against the barricade Brother Zariel picks out a vague form within the pillar of fire and we begin the assault.

My initial burst of automatic bolter fire scores only a couple of glancing hits and seems merely to annoy whatever occupies the fiery pillar. In response a ghostly humanoid shape with wings, horns and tail, limned in violet flame, rushes out of the pillar impossibly fast, washes over us and dissolves into a rippling ball of purple flame, several of my Brothers dodge to the side and the rest of us stand firm and let it wash over us to no effect, the corrupt psychic assault powerless against the bastion of our faith. Brother-Lexicanium Aemilianus attempts to take a shot but his bolter jams, so he simply blasts the pillar with bolts of psychic lightning. Brother Siegmund leaves cover and moves up towards the pillar, as he does so letting off a hurried burst of automatic fire to little effect. Brother Zariel then opens up with his own burst of automatic bolter fire and scores four solid hits, at which point the flame gutters to reveal the from of former Brother-Codicier Ardashir, his armour visibly and sickeningly defaced in the same manner as the walls of his cell. Ardashir dodges aside with unnatural speed as Brother Calibos releases two bursts of cleansing flame and I unleash another burst of automatic fire, this time scoring five solid hits. Ardashir begins striding towards us, wielding a fearsome blade surrounded by a nimbus of purple lightning, and uttering heresy in an eerily doubled voice – his own speech echoed by a strange female tone. Brother-Lexicanium Aemilianus charges forth to meet him, plunges his force sword between the joints of Ardashir’s armour and channels the full force of his psychic might through the blade into Ardashir’s body. Such is his fury at seeing this corrupt remnant of a former Librarian that Ardashir is utterly destroyed in the blast of psychic energy that results, exploding in a coruscating blaze of multicoloured light that leaves only a charred suit of armour containing a small amount of ash. As the violet fire, lightning and phosphorescence around us begins to fade Brother Calibos moves up to cleanse the armour with intense gouts of flame, not relenting until the metal begins to soften and melt.

Brother-Lexicanium Aemilianus admits to us that in the moment of Ardashir’s death he was spoken to by the voice of the possessing entity. The entity apparently stated that, since Ardashir was an astropath, it has “already won”. With an attitude of awkward contrition Brother-Lexicanium Aemilianus then admits that he challenged the entity to a contest of Skull-Aquila-Throne, but the entity declined, tempted him to follow Ardashir’s example, and retorted that it offered a “better game”: to work out where it has now gone.

We explore the rest of the Watch Station, roughly half the remaining areas of the facility have been desecrated and so we cleanse them with flame. We find the five gun-servitors with most of their organic components burnt away and their machine components fused into a strange sculpture, with their brains entirely shut down except for the neurological reward centres, and they too are cleansed. Most of the Watch Station’s other servitors have their brains largely intact despite their exterior modifications, and so Brother Zariel sets to work on restoring them.

Once the Omega-Epsilon protocol has run its course the violet sparks and lightning vanish from the cogitator arrays. However, when Brother Zariel inspects the cogitators afterwards he finds a strange afterimage scarred into the physical structure of the organic tissues. This afterimage appears to represent a language of some kind, which is downloaded onto a data slate for further investigation. After some study Brother-Lexicanium Aemilianus reports that the language rejects standard subject-object relations and the notion of liner time, is composed as a poem in a fractal meter, describes alternative laws of physics and logic that cannot exist in this universe, and also contains a name.

We send an astropathic communication to Inquisitor Albertine Hoffman requesting reinforcements, but are informed that she left the Shrine World of Babel Seventeen (an extensive archive containing texts of the Imperial creed) several days ago on a fast Rogue Trader ship. We then send an astropathic communication to Inquisitor Duquesne who is stationed with the Battlefleet, but are informed that he is busy in high level negotiations with another Inquisitor. We then send a brief astropathic report to Watch Fortress Erioch, and are somewhat alarmed to receive a reply from Watch Commander Mordigael asking what we are doing at Watch Station Andronicus and who sent us. Further discussion indicates that Brother-Epistolary Axineton is currently “indisposed”, we report that Brother-Codicier Ardashir has been lost in the process of dealing with a threat Malleus Majoris, and we are ordered to return to Watch Fortress Erioch to report in person to Watch Commander Mordigael. Pausing only to excise the corrupted cogitator banks and requisition enough temporary replacement cogitators from the stores of the Thunder’s Wrath to leave Watch Station Andronicus functional with a skeleton staff of EnginSeers and Chapter Serfs from the ship, we board the frigate and depart for Watch Fortress Erioch after receiving reassurances from Interrogator Salander (Inquisitor Duquesne’s second in command) that a ship is being despatched from the Battlefleet to reinforce and secure the Watch Station.

I spend the first half of the trip secluded in my cell engaged in solitary prayer and meditation while practicing a careful regimen of minimal sensory stimulation, in order to purify me of whatever Warp-taint may have touched me during the mission’s preparatory Chapter rites and during our time on the planet. As my period of seclusion is coming to an end I am visited by Brother Siegmund, who bears the unconscious form of Brother Ramiel. It appears that Brother Ramiel has so severely damaged himself with self-inflicted chainsword wounds that his Sus-An Membrane has activated and put him into a healing coma, and so I spend much of the rest of the trip tending to him in the frigate’s Apothecarium.

Meanwhile Brother-Lexicanium Aemilianus and Brother Zariel have been studying Ardashir’s personal logs. It appears that he went back through Watch Station Andronicus’ archives and discovered the Watch Station’s original use as a weapons research facility for the Deathwatch and the Ordo Xenos. Specifically, the facility was researching the techniques of sonic weaponry used by the Laer, a race of Xenos who worshipped the Ruinous Power of Lust and were wiped out by the Third Legion (prior to their Fall) during the Great Crusade ten millennia past. Brother Calibos notes that Ardashir’s defaced armour did bear some resemblance to a Traitor faction of the Third Legion known as “Noise Marines”.

Ardashir then begin correspondence with a female Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos who was also researching Laeran techniques and was looking for a “fatal sound”. At this point his notes start displaying sections written in the language found scarred into the cogitator tissue, and we speculate that the cogitator corruption may have been an artifact of the research into Laeran weaponry (from before the Omega-Epsilon protocol reset that attempted to clear the cogitators before repurposing the Watch Station as a listening post) and lying dormant since then.

Ardashir reached an arrangement whereby he would continue communicating with the Inquisitor but the Inquisitor would cease speaking to him. His later correspondence is tainted with the influence of the Ruinous Power of Lust, the Inquisitor apparently gaining his slavish loyalty and attention in a corrupt and perverted manner. The Inquisitor was in an archive where the bibliolators would not under any circumstances destroy a book. Ardashir begins conflating the Inquisitor with the entity whose name recurs in the language, his talk of this entity increases and he begins talking of “Her” emergence to walk in this universe and reshape it to “Her” liking.

We emerge from the Warp and approach Watch Fortress Erioch, as we draw close Brother-Lexicanium Aemilianus is concerned to note that he would normally expect to sense half a dozen psykers aboard the Watch Fortress but currently all of them appear to be either suppressed or absent.

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