Good evening, It’s my pleasure to introduce another amazing group of models about to be created for Pilgrym. Where the the Orthodox Ministorum rules the light side of the stairs and their chapel, the darkness under the stairs belongs to the The Church of the Red Atheneum. Over to to Adam Wier of Between the Bolter and Me
As soon as The Pilgrym project was announced, I knew it was going to be something special, with all the talented people involved, and due to its setting as the birthplace of the Imperium, Terra. But I think the true ambition of the project only really began to sink in when I began reading FPOA’s narrative around the Daerwynne Palimpseste and the Green Man. After finishing reading about FPOA’s Arch Magos Biologis and the biology-focused Mechanicvm, the catch phrase from the old 54mm Inquisitor RPG came to mind. Everything you have been told is a Lie. The Pilgrym project was not simply going to retread tired tropes, it was going to be an opportunity to expand and explore exciting new elements for the setting and the hobby.
This revelation energized my brothers and I more than anything in recent memory. We needed to be involved, even if it was just to express some of our ideas. At first we thought about how some of the Inquisitors we created for last year’s Iron Sleet Invitational might fit into the narrative, but quickly realized that we were thinking too narrowly and not thinking of something that would mesh with the project. We needed to create something new. And after a furious two days of brainstorming and writing, we came up with something fitting for the shrine-world of Terra, and something to push us out of our comfort zone.
A fanatical cult dedicated to feeling the Emperor’s suffering. The Church of the Red Athenæum (more about this below). We also incorporated a headless (yes, headless) double-agent, loyal to Inquisitor Lucanus Molnár (our Ordo Mechanicum inquisitor we created for the Invitational last year), into the Church, who is determined to prevent any truly heretical deeds from occurring. Let us know what you think! We are busily gathering pieces to start the conversions to make all these ideas a reality!
The Church of the Red Athenæum
Its followers are obsessed with the physical sacrifice of the Emperor, and view the wounds inflicted to Him in his final battle with Horus as holy. To venerate the God-Emperor, and to join the cult, each member ritually mutilates themselves to emulate one of His holy wounds. In doing so, they are endeavouring to replicate and feel His pain. Ironically, since exact details of this iconic battle were never shared with the general population, what wounds they inflict in the Emperor’s name are based solely on myth and rumor. However, there are a few common selections: the removal of the left eye, removal of the larynx, or cutting the tendons of the wrists or removal of the hands. Some even go so far as having their spines severed. The higher ranking members of the Church tend to have multiple of these wounds, in an effort to get closer to His existence.
The symbol of the Church is an hourglass filled with blood, as opposed to sand. The imagery features a noticeable drop of blood dripping from the upper portion of the hourglass. It represents a commitment to the ethos that Life is Suffering.
Connection to the Pilgrym Project M42:
Every century the Church has a grand ritual known as the Red Hour, where they sacrifice one of their Sons to emulate the loss the Emperor felt when engaging in that fateful battle on Horus’ battle barge, Vengeful Spirit. While the pain of the sacrificed individual in the Red Hour is only fleeting, the pain that the Church’s followers feel at his/her loss must be continuous. The sacrifice of a random individual is not sufficient, as their loss needs to be felt by the whole congregation. Anything less would not properly emulate His pain. The suffering that the Emperor felt when engaging Horus in mortal combat was not simply the loss of his son Sanguinius, or even the loss of favored Horus, but the loss of Humanity’s manifest destiny, the end of the Great Crusade, and a glimpse at the coming eternal suffering of His children.
As the 41st millennium draws to a close, there are tremors in the Warp and unsettling omens scryed from the Emperor’s Tarot, and the Church sees it as a time for a singular sacrifice. Whispers of a special Pilgrym have been heard, whispers that say he is the key to the survival of the Emperor. These rumors have mobilized the Church to conduct a proverbial witch hunt to find this figure. This Pilgrym must be sacrificed at the altar of the Red Hour. For with this death, the death of their beloved Emperor would soon follow, and with it, an end to His current vision of the Imperium. And in this final destruction, the members of the Church of the Red Athenæum will finally achieve the ultimate representation of the pain He felt at Horus’ betrayal.
Roland Arnesen, headless mercenary:
A Urdeshi storm trooper-turned mercenary, Roland favors the use of a submachine gun-variant of the .45 caliber Urdeshi U90 assault cannon. He is immediately recognizable by the curious lack of a head. Rumor has it that he was double-crossed by an employer, who attempted to have him killed. Miraculously, he survived a 12 gauge shotgun shell to his face, although it cause irreparable damage to his skull. Instead of having reconstructive surgery, he opted for retaining his terrifying headless visage, and had his brain transplanted into a protective chamber located on his back, relinquishing his vision and hearing to an array of sensors. Roland, Headless U90 gunner. The Emperor Protects.
In the later years of the 41st millennium, Arnesen has been employed by the enigmatic Inquisitor Lucanus Molnár, in his search for technology (human or xenos) that might restore the Golden Throne.
Roland’s connection to the Pilgrym Project M42:
Molnár has long known of the existence of Church of the Red Athenæum; he has been kept informed of their actions by one of his agents stationed on holy Terra. But the galaxy is a large place, and the Church’s actions never necessitated direct interference, because despite their radical inclinations, the Church was always loyal to the Throne. In the last few years, however, troubling reports suggest that the Church is planning to mobilize in search of an enigmatic figure, a Pilgrym, whom they plan to sacrifice to the Red Hour. This Pilgrym, however, may hold the key to the restoration of the Emperor of Mankind. To prevent this eventuality, he sent his associate Roland Arnesen to assimilate into the Church the Red Athenæum. His lack of a head seeming oddly fitting to such an organization…
– Adam Wier :: of Between the Bolter and Me