Prelude

Inquisitor Job sat at the bar staring at his drink, thinking “what in the name of the throne am I doing on this boring old world?… Alfa Secundus..  in this stupid, boring hive city Mondus Centurium, populated only with cabinet builders, administrators and of course those pissy nobles!” He had been chasing a band of chaos cultists, but the trail had gone cold somewhere in the vast labyrinth that was Hive Mondus Centurium. “Filthy Nurgle worshipping bunch of idiot wannabes, hope they stumbled into one of the fighting pits in their delirium and got themselves cut to pieces…. Good riddance” he thought with a smile as he took a long pull of his drink. Job look around the bar room, located somewhere in the lower east quadrants of the hive it was quite a rowdy place, frequented by workers, gangers and what looked unmistakably like smugglers. The music was loud, the air thick with the smoke of lho sticks and a rather attractive dancer was writhing suggestively around a stripper pole, making a lot of money.  “This is my kind of place, no pissy nobles around here”.

He sighed and looked at his data slate scrolling through the messages, his eyes fell on the newest message which was from de la Torres. “What does that pup want now?”he thought, as he ordered another drink.

“I am to relay to you a message from arch interrogator Cisnerro” he read. “He has had great difficulty locating you and can not seem to be able to establish contact, hence my relay of his message sir.” “What can that old fart want from me now, this has to be bad” Job thought as he downed the drink and ordered another. “He asks you to make your way to the Swamps of Axxos and investigate a warp presence and a chaos cult rumored to have fled there” the message continued. “The Swamps of Axxos is quite nearby, just outside hive Mondus Centurium. It is a quite useless and hostile area, for far too long without imperial control. Within the swamps there lives an ancient creature known only as the Hermit, he is said to have some connection to the Mechanicus of Mars. He seems to be the only one to know his way around the swamps and I said to know everything going on there. You will find the Hermit and enlist his help in finding the cultists and the warp flare. The Inquisition have another agent going into the swamps as well on a search and rescue mission; Stefan of Meteora, you meet up with him at the gate and you will assist each other in achieving your missions.” Transmission end…

Job sat  staring at the data slate sipping his drink. “He asks, never always an order… you will, he didn’t even manage basic courtesy all the way through one message relayed by someone else. Rude Bastard! I am not going to do it, the message is second hand anyway, I’ll just delete it.” Just then a messenger boy rushed in the door and headed directly over to Job’s table with a scroll with a wax seal. “I’ve got the message for you from the college, very important they said delivery immediately! job tipped the boy off “you bet! I’ve been waiting for this for some time”. He broke the seal. As he read the message a smile crept across Jobs face. “This changes everything”  He looked over his shoulder, downed the last of his drink and headed for the door. I think I’ll go to the swamps anyway!”

+++++

Stefan of Meteora sighed as he knelt before the hololith projector and the image of father Dominic Cisnerro slowly resolved in the air.

“It has been confirmed that lord Aurelius has died somewhere in the swamps of Axxos, but you will proceed there anyway. You will inherit the mission that lord Aurelius was pursuing. It seems like the navy has managed to loose one of their astrotelepaths, one Ezekiah. If it was just another astropath, it would be of no concern, but this one has turned out to be a particularly powerful psyker that they were safekeeping for some covert operation. He has been abducted and the trail of the abducters leads straight into those damnable swamps! You are to retrieve the psyker dead or alive at all costs, we cannot have such a powerful psyker running around rogue or on the hands of potential enemies. If it proves impossible to extract the psyker you must make sure that he is dead! You will not fail me in this! Seeing as you travel alone I have hired a swamp exploratory unit to help you out, they will meet you at the gate where yo leave hive city Mondus Centurium. They are instructed to follow your command in any way. We have another inquisitor operating in the area, a certain Inquisitor Job, he has been tasked to investigate a warp flare that has been detected recently and to follow andaprehend a group of chaos cultists reported to have fled into the swamps. You are to contact Job before entering the swamps and you will support each other in succeeding with your missions. A final word of advice; find the Hermit in the swamps he is your only chance to find anything, the swamps are vast, hostile and virtually unknown to us.”

Stefan of Meteora turned the hololith projector of with another sigh and went slowly to the deck of the surface crafts, as the ship silently slipped into high anchor above Alfa Secundus.

+++++

At the same time squat rogue trader Gralum the 3rd sat in the lounge scrolling through the messages from a rather large network of spies. “Information is all important yet sometimes rather hard to come by in my line of work” he said to the servant as she poured him a drink. “It’s been long since last I was here in Mondus Centurium, but with the large libraries of the administratum’s personal files on the population it is the perfect place to dig deep in information and with the right information on hand, there can be quite a lot of coin to be made” he said as he sank comfortably deeper into the couch and scrolled further down the information feed on his data slate. “Somebody in the Psykerkolegium confirmed something about treasure or archeotech in those awful swamps outside town” probably just a loose rumor, but yet again… Aaah there is my old friend Inquisitor Job, I wonder what he is doing here… looks like he has been sent on some mission in the swamps by the Inqui…”…!! gralum’s chain of thought and information was rudely interrupted as a big mutated brute kicked the door in followed by a veritable army of underhive gangers. The brute threw himself at Gralum , catching him completely unawares, and grabbed him by the throat in a vicelike grip. The gang leader stepped forward and said “this is the last warning, you owe don Mascarpone a million credits, you still haven’t paid! The price just went up, now it is two millions! You have three days, then we’ll be back and you can stop worrying if you know what I mean!”

As Gralum tried to catch his breath the gang left the room, toppling a couple of expensive vases on the way to the broken door.

“Damn, I’m in it now, should never have tried to cheat the don. Gotta make a lot of money quick! Perhaps I should tag along with Inquisitor Job, see if I can help him out and gamble on there being some seriously valuable archeotech in the swamps, at least it can be a way out if it goes wrong…”

+++

And so three more or less reluctant heroes converge on the gate to the swamps of Axxos right outside the bottom of hive Mondus Centurium

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