I'm going to try something different. I'm currently running a Warhammer 40,000 game titled Innocence Proves Nothing, following a team of green acolytes in the service of an Inquisitor. While they will be the stars of the game, I couldn't get but grow attached to Carrigan, their Inquisitor.
That being said, I am going to write a novella centered around her. The players will only make cameos in this story whenever they chat with their Inquisitor in game. I hope it helps to not only help them get to know thier employer, but also to get a feel for the Warhammer universe and of course to entertain lurkers!
I always appreciate feedback, from players or readers!
Posted on 2008-05-11 at 03:48:28.
Edited on 2008-05-11 at 06:33:56 by Admiral
Chapter 1: Tortuous Past
Chapter 2: Second Chance
Chapter 3: Run of the Mill
I put this in a separate post because I feel the light gray is easier to read, so I want the full story on light gray. Since "Innocence Proves Nothing" is a common quote in the Warhammer world and I'm sure it's probably copywrited or at least in bad taste to use, the official title of this novella will be The Ballad of Carrigan Øravík.
Posted on 2008-05-11 at 03:50:06.
Edited on 2008-07-06 at 06:08:54 by Admiral
Inquisitor Carrigan Øravík began her day like any other for the past two years. Wake up, do her usual exercise routines, grab some food, hit the shooting range and then continue her inventory. Bolt pistols were far too expensive to train with, and flamethrowers really didn’t require a lot of training. The Mechanicus Techomancer told her that her plasma pistol was in danger of backfiring… and inferno pistols do too much damage to the range. Laspistols and revolvers were so boring to shoot though! Ms. Øravík wanted some action, badly, but she knew of what dangers such a thought could bring. On the other hand, all this boring travel reminded her of her youth. A warrior in her own right, Carrigan decided she would forgo the shooting range today and instead do some sparring. Her swordsmanship needed some work, and it would help her blow off some stress. She buzzed the ship’s Magos – the highest ranking Tech-Priest and her Quartermaster.
“Bring me my swords!” she called furiously into the voxcaster. She wasn’t really in much of a hurry, but she felt a bit off her game and wanted to remind herself that she was in command.
“Brrrrzzzzztttt. Yes Milady. I have dispatched the servitor. Approximate time until delivery is 4.32 minutes,” came the almost mechanical reply. Every since Magos Dlor had undergone the rite of pure thought he was creepy to contact. Although when you remove the emotional half of your brain and replace it with a cogitator, that tends to happen.
This would be her second trip to Holy Terra. The first was 70 years ago, when she was captured as a rogue psyker and sent to Terra for her psychic sanctioning. Carrigan was born in the void, on a piece of junk ship that barely stayed together. Every day was a new repair, every night a new prayer that it would hold up until morning. Her life changed the day her ship was requisitioned by the Ordo Hereticus for spare parts. Apparently some peril of the warp had boarded their ship and destroyed the better part of their warp buffers. When the Engiseers of the Mechanicus tell an Inquisitor they need more parts – woe be to the nearest civilian (or hell, military) vessel.
Everyone aboard the space hulk except Carrigan Øravík and the ship’s astropath navigator were summarily executed by a merciful chain axe to the back of the skull. The astropath was immediately put to work for the Inquisition, a task that he would keep for a few months until his life force was drained by the demanding navigational needs of the Inquisition, while Carrigan found herself bound, starved and left essentially for dead for days.
Almost a week later the Inquisitorial ship, powered by the salvaged pieces of Carrigan’s former home, rendezvoused with the Adeptus Astra Telepathica – caretakers of the Inquisition’s Black Ships. It was here Carrigan would begin her journey to Holy Terra, where all “rogue” psykers eventually wound up, if they were lucky enough to survive meeting the Inquisition, that is. The Black Ships are truly horrible places to be if you’re an unsanctioned psyker. Clerics hate you, Arbitrators hate you, Tech-Priests hate you, other psykers hate you, even the few members of the Inquisitorial guard on board hate you. Floating prisons, they were. Prisons were all of the inmates knew they had only one very slim chance of survival – and the path would only be after a very “humbling” experience.
Carrigan watched from her void-insulated cell as the bureaucrats of the Adeptus Administratum busily jumped from cell to cell, asking each psyker questions about his or her life. At least they didn’t fume with hatred towards her – but of course Adepts hardly held any emotion at all.
Her cell reeked of death, and there was a permanent scar of misery one could detect. The anguish and grim anticipation was palpable. The entire room was black, with no windows save one small, barred window in her door. The Telepaths and Astropaths that ran the ship constantly toyed with the rogue psykers, speaking of the horros that would come once they reached Terra, of the months long torture, with no rest in between. That was the path of those to become sanctioned Imperial psykers. Of course that was the lucky minority. Most would simply be sacrificed to fuel the Golden Throne so that the Emperor may continue his immortal reign. Already had 100 psykers been selected to join the Astronomicon, the Emperor’s gift manifest that he will guide them through the horrors of the warp. The navigational beacon requires an endless supply of specially trained psykers to project their psychic signatures in coordination throughout the galaxy – Carrigan wanted so badly to serve – for it was by far the easiest of the three possible fates once she reached Terra, but she was not of that lot. Her power was far too strong. She was destined for sanctioning and service as an Imperial Psyker… if she survived.
When they arrived on Terra, Carrigan was treated to the sights and sounds of mankind’s homeworld, at least as viewed by a psyker being escorted to the sounds of agony from thousands of psykers being slaughtered to fuel the Emperor’s life support system. Funny that some pious individuals are so fanatical in their service to the Emperor they would willingly subject themselves to this experience simply to catch a glance at the Golden Throne before being burned in the perpetual furnaces that provide the Emperor with life. Carrigan did not yet understand at that time, but she was promised that after her sanctioning she would beg for the chance to return to Terra and lay eyes on the glory of the Emperor.
Lucky for her, she would be spared the sight. She knew a psyker growing up who was shown the throne as part of his sanctioning. His body was horribly misshapen since then – to the point he was executed by an Inquisitorial acolyte for suspicion of being a mutant while en route to the ship for which he would serve as astropath. Carrigan, though, would not set eyes on the Golden Throne, or the Astronomicon.
Her future was to be much more grim.
She was escorted down a dank hallway, with the screams of men and woman competing with the buzzing and sparking of electricity. Surely she would suffer under the electric whip as well. Countless days and weeks of torture went by, as promised. Her daily routine became shocks of electric whips, constant restraints, and the live flaying of “heretical” skin so that a new, purified skin could grow. Her body was battered, yes, but the worst part was the mental torture. Telepaths dove into her mind and lent her images and pictures of what would come from toying with daemons in the warp. Biomancers took the shapes of forbidden beasts most members of the Imperium couldn’t fathom. Telekinetiscists battered her body with unseen forces, to unconsciousness. She heard voices of horrible origins.
“Skulls for the skull throne…”
“ Grandfather will protect you from these people…”
“Untold pleasures can be yours.”
“I will show you the Black Library…”
When she awoke and the pain had fully subsided, the first slurred voice she heard was one of a greasy administrator, a meaningless cog in the overall workings of the Emperor. He spoke with an air of pompousness, no doubt bitter than his lot in life is to deal with “witches” all day. “She has failed. Destroy her. Her mind will be useless after sanctioning, and she is not even strong enough to fuel His throne.”
A lone man. tall and imposing, bearing a psyker’s staff and a pyromancy medallion carried her to a completely white room and began to incant the forbidden lores and runes. Carrigan felt her body begin to burn… but there was no fire. She was aflame, her skin burning in the flameless fire, as was the room around her. Even the other psyker showed signs of pain. She had heard rumors on the black ship of pyromancers able to burn people’s souls away… but those were just rumors, right?
Then she felt the fire in her own soul… the warp which she had communed with from her birth was gone. Constantly she was able to draw upon energy from the immaterium to heal her wounds, or shield her existence from others, and even affect the minds of those who opposed her. It was silent. She no longer felt connected to it. Months had gone by since she was able to manifest any of her psychic powers, under threat of punishment worse than sanctioning. It was strange, she felt empty. What was worse is the fire had stopped. She was still alive? Yes, she could move a bit. What was going on?
The pyromancer lay collapsed on the floor, his skin still burned and even melted in some areas. Had he killed himself? The restraints were light, easy to escape from. It appears most people here are not alive long enough to fight and mount an escape. Carrigan walked towards the fallen psyker. As she approached his skin seemed to become a pale blue. Odd she thought.
The door swung open fiercely and powerfully as two large men wearing the symbol of the Adeptus Arbites slammed her to the floor and with the swift use of a stun baton, knocked her unconscious…
Seven decades ago, Witch-hunter Rykehuss was living on Holy Terra serving a two month term as Inquisitorial representative to the High Lords of Terra. He was a brave and fierce man, noted for being one of the Inquisition’s Strong Arms- someone who descends onto planets and sets up witchcraft trials at which thousands of rogue psykers and cultists are put to death or rounded up on the Black Ships – and at which tens of thousands of innocents are executed for heresy. Not all Inquisitors have this mindset, but the Ordo Hereticus knows that if citizens of the Imperium witness the actions of someone like Witch-hunter Rykehuss – they will remain loyal for as long as the story remains among the stories passed down through the generations.
Rykehuss awoke expecting a normal day – if running one twelfth of the entire Imperium of Man can ever be normal. The Adeptus Terra did take fine care of him, and he quietly gave thanks to the Inquisition that they do rotate their representative. Every other Adeptus in the Imperium simply assigns their highest ranking member to serve on Terra, but the Inquisition lacks the structure of other Adepti. A loose structure of Lord Inquisitors simply rotate qualified Inquisitors for tours of various lengths at the highest office in the galaxy. Rykehuss was enjoying it, and although he was a fighter rather than a talker, it was very empowering to learn the knowledge of the other High Lords. The Fabricator General of Mars, the highest ranking member of the Adeptus Mechanicus was a bit too strange for his taste though – sort of like a regular cogboy, except instead of replacing half of his brain with a computer, this guy simply plugged himself into one of the Martian hives’ central cogitaters. He would definitely miss the Lord Commander Militant of the Imperial Guard though. He spent his youth as a commissar only to climb the ranks. Now an old man, he imparted much wisdom to Rykehuss (no young man himself) on the nature of sacrifice and slaughter. There are no “innocents” put to death, for if one is put to death in the name of the Emperor, than he has served his purpose in life.
Today Rykehuss would be given a gift by the Emperor himself. On his way to the High Lords’ chamber, he was stopped by an Adeptus Terra paige, who quickly begged forgiveness for the intrusion. The young lad informed the Inquisitor that there had been a “mishap” during the execution of a failed sanctionite. Mishaps involving psykers were usually dealt with swiftly by the capable hands of the Adepta Terra, so there was doubtfully any danger. Rykehuss figured there was probably some new and dangerous psyker experiment that he would have to sign off on as a member of the Ordo Hereticus – using the title of High Lord would be simply out of place for such a minor occurrence. He would go immediately.
Imperial scientists were busy at work when he arrived. A young woman’s body was strapped nude and battered to a laboratory work bench, with various needles and gauges attached to her flesh. Her hair was long and flowing, a very bright and drawing copper color. The color clashed a bit with her bluish skin tone and completely jet black eyes: an exotice combination unique (without cosmetic procedures of course) to voidborn females. Rykehuss burst through the door and demanded information as to what the nature of this mishap was and why it required his presence. The scientist of the Adeptus Terra was a bit jumpy in his response, but nonetheless he made the sign of the Aquilla, the Imperial double headed eagle - palms facing his chest with interlocking thumbs - and pressed it against his body… the customary Imperial salute.
“Milord… this is incredible. This has not happened in centuries! Certainly not in any of our lifetimes. It appears this void born woman carried a recessive version of the Pariah gene. They are rare and usually show no signs of manifestation, especially in psykers. Typically Pariah’s are either expressed fully as blanks, or simply live as carries and pass the gene on to their progeny…”
Witch-hunter Rykehuss listened with patience seldom found in his temperament. He was a warrior, not a scholar, and even as an Inquisitor he knew what he was hearing was forbidden lore. Hell, if he was a common man he would be executed. Rykehuss had assuredly executed legions of citizens for much less. But not only was he an Inquisitor, he was for the moment a High Lord. The rules no longer applied to him – he WAS the rules. The scholar eagerly continued, noticing he was speaking to honestly open ears.
“This Blank was born as a psyker, but also a carrier of the recessive gene. The proper use of Holocaust , (Holocaust… Rykehuss had heard that name before. Where was it?...) something which only the finest of psykers are able to accomplish, destroys outright (Aha! That Daemonhost he had slaughtered some thirty years prior had claimed to be able to use that. Ha ha! Daemonhosts tolerate heavy bolters the same way anyone does… not well!) the souls of those targeted. (Man she is good looking for a void girl… this guy is a lot less irritating about sharing information than the cogboy leader…)
“Are you listening Milord? When our executioner attempted to affect her soul, it appears to have activated the recessive Pariah gene. This specimen is no longer a psyker, Milord. She is 100% psychically blank. She is an Untouchable now. The odds of this occurring are roughly nine hundred trillion to 1. It has only happened four times before in our records, and never to a void born human. The Emperor has surely smiled and bestowed great fate upon this one… Shall I rouse her and give her the good news? The Culexus Temple is always looking for new Untouchables to train as assassins.”
Witch-hunter Rykehuss thought to himself for a minute. His tour as High Lord was almost complete, and then he would return to rounding up and destroying rogue psykers. A Blank would definitely be of use. All the Inquisitors of legend had Blanks on their team. Yes, he would consider this woman a parting gift from Holy Terra.
Untouchables, or Blanks as they are affectionately known, are humans born with the Pariah gene. This genetic “defect” is highly disputed, but the end result is a negative void signature. Blanks project a psychic dead zone nearby, and some say they are completely soulless. The Culexus branch of the Officio Assassinorum recruits and trains Untouchables from birth as Daemonhunters. The field projected by an Untouchable causes anything from severe discomfort to debilitating pain, depending on the (negative) strength of the Blank’s warp presence. If this woman was any of a fighter, she would be a powerful force against Chaos indeed. Even if she was not, having her around would definitely be of benefit when dealing with unsanctioned psykers.
Inquisitor Rykehuss cleared his throat to sound official. He pointed to a pair of scientists at the other end of the laboratory, and bellowed for them to come and bear as witnesses to his official Inquisitorial requisition and High Lord declaration. “I shall take this Blank with me as an acolyte in the name of the Ordo Hereticus. She shall be a great asset in my duties to the Emperor. Rouse the young lady and inform her of her new duties. I must return to the other High Lords. Assign her a custodian for the remaining week of my term on Holy Terra and allow her to witness Holy Terra’s beauty firsthand. It is likely she will never return here. Let her enjoy it while she is here, and it equally likely Holy Terra will not have the presence of such a fate-touched woman walk upon her ever again. I will not allow the birthplace of Mankind to suffer such a fate.”
He made the sign of the Aquila and turned to leave. As he reached the door, Witch-hunter Rykehuss paused and spoke without turning around, “What is her name?”
“Carrigan Øravík, Milord.”
“Carrigan, we need you down in 13.”
The intercom echoed through the acolyte’s living quarters. Rykehuss must be “interrogating” another psyker and wants to flex some muscle. Of course that meant Carrigan would be flexing her muscle for him while he bellowed litanies of hate, protection, and cleansing.
The fiery woman, now five years into her training under the Witch-Hunter, couldn’t help but to feel a bit used. When she was first rescued and recruited, Carrigan found herself always learning, always jumping into missions, and always hitting the shooting range. She knew she was a damn fine fighter, more agile than men half her age, and able to hold her own in melee combat. With a whip in her hand Carrigan could either bring a victim to his knees in pain or simply end it mercifully with a flick of her wrist. But the Emperor teaches mercy to be a weakness – so Rykehuss would punish her fiercely whenever her kills did not suffer an excruciating amount of correction before being brutally sent to the Emperor for afterlife sorting. But even those days were long gone. Carrigan’s blankness often rendered her incapable of working with others – something the parapsykerology research, control and censorship department of the Adeptus Administratum has yet to explain to the general public. When Carri was around, others felt an odd sense of futility in their lives as if they were instantly cut off from the Emperor’s guiding light of the Astronomicon and left alone to defend themselves against the perils of the Warp. The few (very few) psykers Rykehuss employed in his retinue literally could not tolerate Carrigan and the debilitating pain being near her caused them to suffer. Thus, Carrigan more often than not worked alone.
And the more she found herself alone to search her inner darkness, the stronger that inner darkness became.
This time was undoubtedly no different. Some poor sap had either been caught performing psychic witchcraft – or accused of doing so – and sentenced by Judge, Jury and Executioner Rykehuss to the only punishment ever wrought upon unsanctioned psykers: purification. The aura of evil (or so it was called by a few unenlightened in the Imperium) surrounding the Inquisitrix-in-training was Rykehuss’s new favorite means of rehabilitation. Maturity, by Imperium standards, was thrust upon Carrigan the second she was abducted onto the Black Ships. Maturity, by Inquisitorial standards, was thrust upon her five years ago. But maturity in dealing with her blankness was only recently discovered in the form of amplification. That fateful day when her Pariah gene was activated and she murdered that pyromancer… that was nothing compared to what she could do now after learning to hone and sculpt her deadly antivoid abilities. The more Carri learned to harness the Untouchable within her, the less time in the field she saw, and the more time she spend bringing the fury of the Emperor’s righteous cause down on the scum of the universe. A pity… to be wasting her blessed abilities as a warrior on child’s play tortures – Carrigan resented her master for making her into nothing more than a tool.
And the more she resented him and learned the true meaning of hatred, the stronger her inner hatred became. Her hatred fueled her blankness, making her stronger and more deadly to psykers. A vicious inward spiral firing off inside her, quietly began to meld young Carrigan into what she would one day become, creating a potent combination of power and protection on levels past where warp-sensitive men succumb to demonic possession.
The door to the interrogation room was already open, though light was nowhere to be found. Rykehuss preferred the unclean not see the just punishments headed their way. The chamber had already been cleared out in anticipation of her arrival, except for her charge.
His screams began even as Carrigan walked through the door and made her way to the equipment rack where her whip was stored. Her aura was especially strong that day. Lucky guy…
Posted on 2008-05-11 at 05:57:50.
Edited on 2008-07-06 at 06:00:02 by Admiral
I went ahead and moved your post from the game thread to this one. I hope this little experiment works. I enjoy writing about Cari, and she will play an (admittedly) minor role in the game once it starts.
I suppose they'd probably get promoted to desk jobs, if they're unfit/unwilling to carry out field work. That's what happens to a few of the characters in the Eisenhorn novels (which I just finished ).
And the others could get burnt as heretics...which you know is a kind of retirement.