The bibliocathedra’s main door swung open with a heavy clang as ancient oak smashed upon the ferrocrete walls. A unit of storm troopers entered, carbines raised. In the glimmering candlelight they were followed by a man ordained in golden armour. Weapons were drawn on them by those occupying the reading room, with the exception of a hooded man sitting at a large table, an empty chair to one side. Upon the table’s surface sat a reading lamp, a scroll, three millennia old tomes and an ornately inlaid bolt pistol.
“You are under arrest, Inquisitor; your retinue will lower their weapons and be processed alongside you.” boomed the golden man, his armour glinting.
“Do not consider me an idiot Lord Pelagius.” Replied the hooded man, his eyes fixed on his accuser. “I know of your order and its ongoing war against the XXth. Knowledge, facts and errors are what the Ordo Scriptorum deal in. I need to speak to you of the events on the Daylight Wall. But make no mistake, we are not under arrest, my men did their duty protecting the Throne World. I am here today at the behest of the Inquisitorial Representative, from the Council of Terra.”
The golden lord walked to the table unafraid of the weapons trained on him, the bolt pistol on the table was the only weapon present that gave him slight pause. The last words Inson spoke were the real weapon here. Pelagius lowered himself into the chair opposite the hooded man, it creaked under his armoured bulk. “We will speak, Inquisitor Inson, and then I will decide on your fate. We will speak alone.” Turning in his chair, Pelagius looked at the squad leader “Sergeant, take your squad outside. I trust Inquisitor Inson’s retinue will join you?” snarled Pelagius, dripping with unveiled threat.
“Clayre will you wait outside? I will not be long. Eduard take the others and head for the shuttle, shortly we’ll be leaving Terra.” With an almost undetectable dip of his head, Inquisitor Lord Pelagius motioned to the squad leader that this would be acceptable.
As the doors closed, all the candles around the room blinked out, darkness descended though the library. Only the reading lamp on the table stayed just bright enough to illuminate the faces of the two men sitting opposite each other. Inson spoke quietly and intensely, “You knew what was coming Inquisitor Lord Pelagius. Your war with the XXth Legion has come to Terra. You may have smited the beast, and for that I applaud you, but daemons have defiled the holy soil of Terra.” As Pelagius began to speak, Inson raised his bionic hand, indicating he had not finished.
“This is not a discussion Lord Inquisitor. I said I wanted to speak to you. You will listen and then I hope repent the sin of arrogance at your next communion. Knowledge is power and you suppressed knowledge that could have prevented this desecration. You knew an Alpha Legionnaire was on Terra. You were waiting for him at a very specific location. Yet the Adeptus Custodes were not informed of this breach in security. The Alpha Legion made a mockery of the adamantium ring guarding the Sol Sector. The God Emperor was in terrible danger yet no authority on Terra, except you, knew of this plot. Had it not been for the sacrifice of Centurion Grigor you would have faced a god of war alone. Could you have won? You gambled with the whole Imperium. This time you were lucky but alas the Bell of Lost Souls tolled it’s tune of ruination at the loss of the Sentinel.”
Watching for a reaction in his adversary’s demeanour, Inson’s quiet voice continued to fill the shadows, “You also knew of this so called Pilgrym. After the events on the templum steps I captured a demented fortune teller, this wyrd was robbing my wounded astropath. The wretch told me of the pilgrym and what might have occurred had the Alpha Legion, or the deluded hereteks, gotten hold of the child. Of course the wretch spoke in riddles and had no real knowledge of what he was babbling. I gave him the Emperor’s Mercy, as I see you have given to every pilgrim upon those steps that day, my sources tell me only the powerful and duplicitous have survived the cull. For this we are in absolute agreement; for daemons stalked Terra and none must know.” With his right hand Inson indicated to his intricately detailed bolt pistol. “Did you know I killed three of those hell blasted creatures of warp and wood?”
Through gritted teeth Lord Inquisitor Pelagius replied, “I did not, I thought the Mechanicus were the bulkward against the Crataegus Hereteks. My sources tell me the Custodes have requested the Wolves of Fenris find and hunt down the Hereteks.”
“I know of this, I have used the last three months to examine the event and its precursor and repercussions,” interrupted Inquisitor Inson. “The Lords Dragon have mustered a contingent too, though none of my research has indicated either of these forces know where to look.”
“That aside, I feel no safer knowing that the Pilgrym has fallen into the hands of The Black Lord. What harm will Lazarus use the Pilgrym for? Those of the Ordo Opscuros tell my agents he is a Thorian. Other agents of my Ordo tell me he has close ties with Inquisitorix Kovettell, a known Horusian. Mark my words Pelagius, this is not the last you have heard of Inquisitor Lazarus and this thrice dammed Pilgrym child.”
At these words Inquisitor Pelagius shifted uncomfortably in his chair. Inson realised his words were finally penetrating the artificer armour.
“Inquisitor Lord Ker-slate has asked me to lend you these heretical tomes. They hold information pertinent to your future investigations. This one tells of the end times and the warp gods conquering the galaxy with a golem puppet of immense power. The second came from the Ordo Cronos, they tell us of hope and a Pilgrym leading a crusade from Terra after the Golden Throne fails. The other tells you of the XXth Legion and their internal conflict. Use them wisely, brother, for all are true yet filled with lies.”
Pelagius looked at the ancient tomes with a mix of awe and loathing. The Ordo Scriptorum had penetrated his network and the Inquisitorial Representative was condoning his next actions. Still he wanted to reach across the table and strangle this sanctimonious bastard, but instead calmly replied, “Thank you Inquisitor Inson, these will be mighty weapons in the Sigillites ongoing war.”
“Indeed. Now it is time for me to bid you farewell. My time on Terra is at an end, in a few moments I will leave this bibliocathedra and make my way to the Eternity Gate, Inquisitor Lord Ker-slate has given me orders to leave holy Terra and return to the Dalthus Sector. It is time for the Ordo Scriptorum to do its duty at the front line amongst the stars.” Inson then looked directly into Pelagius’ hard eyes, “Perhaps we will be able to warn the God Emperor when his domain is next under threat,” his voice edged with menace.
Picking up the scroll on the table in front of him, Inquisitor Inson leaned across and handed it to Pelagius. “Lord Ker-slate has granted me safe passage; you have no right to my body or soul.” Pelagius briefly read the contents of the parchment and handed it back to the cloaked Inquisitor. With a whir of servos and a grimace of pain, Inson raised himself from his chair, his crude bionic leg grating on the stone floor. Slowly picking his bolt pistol from the table and slipping it into its holster, he then clipped the reading lamp to his belt. Inson limped awkwardly and slowly round the table and past the lonely golden figure. Inson walked the length of the library and light flooded the reading room as the doors swung open. Making his way out of the library into the antechamber the same light spilled onto him refreshing him to the tasks that lay ahead. Inson knew that this was his last play in the battle for the Emperor’s soul.
He had done his part.
For others of the Most Holy Orders of the Emperor’s Inquisition, their parts in this shameful conflict were just beginning… Sadly they would be fighting each other.