The vast floating palaces, worlds unto themselves, have been orbiting the atmosphere of Venus for millenia. The movement of the Palagios is a delicate dance of celestial bodies, organised by untold masses of population typically inhabiting the underside of these structures. Every so often an abandoned loading bay or even a summer palace from centuries ago reappears from the clouds of toxic smoke, and needs to be dealt with and sent to the lower orbits to demolition.
The Venutian socialites know or care little of these hazards and the daily work that goes on to maintain their lifestyle.
To exist among this caste is a constant attempt to cling to power while forces from outside and within try to change the status quo. The circles of trust even eighteen steps removed from the Horned Ones are worth more than entire armadas of imperial gunships. Self-worth is measured by ones closeness to those in power, and length of life is determined by the favours one can pull.
But occasionally murmurations do reach the unimaginably decorated chambers of High Venus. The Great Rift, The Thorn Moons campaign, and more lately, a long-awaited visitor…
‘In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.’
Translated to: into the night we go circling around the fire to be consumed by it.
Nestled deep within the Palagio di Vitrovii, Forgemaster Aellopos and an ever-rotating cast of imported slaves work around the clock to produce some of the finest Vitroviian glass known to the Imperium.
Hailing from Mars, Forgemaster Aellopos abandoned his homeworld at the behest of ]I[redacted]I[ when upon repairing a complex glass forge, it became apparent his skill and modifications could be more useful achieving more nefarious ends. It’s unclear when the artisan plies his other trades–all that is known is that the Forgemaster has constant need for new ‘assistants’, something the house is thrilled to provide him with in exchange for his baubles, prolific in number and uncanny in their resemblance to more than a few missing Venutiaen nobles.
“Millions of souls perish each day on the vast number of Mining Worlds found across the Imperium. Their slave inhabitants as likely to be worked to death as they are to be eaten alive by the Xenos denizens of the cavernous underbellies of inhospitable worlds. For generations the House of Metals vied for these worlds and their resources with the Forge Worlds of Mars until eventually a trust was brokered. Now agents of the Cult Mechanicus have become most venerated members of Venutiae Saggiatorii, where mastery of arceo-metallurgy, spectrographic analysis and arcane chemistry is an asset to those wishing to know the worth of the ground one stands upon.
As the celebration nears Chandrani Saggiatorii Vermana returns to Venus with her cohort. Dust ridden and proud she wishes to ensure that the true cost of the assayers wealth is represented at the gathering.”
The “Guardi Arquebugieri” are a Venutian military unit of ancient pedigree.
They keep the peace in the Trade-courts and commercias of Venutian high society.
In many Trade-Courts, a “Probita” of five Arquebugieri will be stationed at the entrances, to check incoming merchants and approve their patents of commerce before they enter the Courts.
During the planetary alignment, Venus sees massive increases in activities, with House Agents, Traders and Mediators all striving to make arrangements during a very short time.
For these periods, the Guardi are on high alert, watching the Courts for malcontents and troublemakers, in addition to their normal duties.
With claims of title reaching back into time before old night, the Dux of Lacuta and family faces the destruction of its failing Forge. Through deed or word, all that’s left now is an attempt to drag the rivals of House Lacuta into the sulfur sea with them.
Four high-born warriors. Travelling for the arrival.
Piero, and his brother Mercurio. Carrying elaborate shields and adorned with family armor and weapons.
Orsa, a brutal and psychotic mercenary. Funded by the others, and family money, replacing his hands with various interchangeable weapons.
Gasparo, having been maimed in his first few weeks at the Schola Progenium, he lives on permanently as a boy in his ornate, spherical machine.
As many medals as stories they tell, they’ve never actually set foot on a battlefield.
Out of earshot, they’re known as, The Spoiled Ones.
Casa dei Curatori. The House of Curators is a long standing Venutian house in servitude to the Horned Ones. For centuries the House has made a name for itself as Appraisers, Authenticators and Restorers of all manner of artwork and relics for the great and powerful of Venus. The current Oligarch of Casa dei Curatori goes only by the name Moriarty and has accumulated quite the reputation recovering coveted or lost items for the rich and powerful. His personal entourage is made up of the Fratellanza, a company of heavily augmented mercenaries all related by blood.
A daugther of the House of Metals.
Returning from off charts exploration mission to secure family interests and alliences during the Conclave. Isabella is tasked to secure a continuation of the current balance of power.
Isabella is equipped with a grav-gun for close encounters, and her hovercraft is fitted with a heavy bolter. She wears a metal mask of an unknown type of steel.
Once the prized envoy of her family, she forged the Iron bond between Alicrus and Venutiae di Vitrovii. Her reward for such a prize was decades of lonely travel between public appearances where again and again she must wear the fake smile of the dutiful daughter. When her patience ran out the family turned to narcotics to keep her dulled. Decades rapidly became centuries as the Beauty of Alicrus became the Crone without knowing it. A pact was made with dark whispers, freedom from her haze and in return a last trip to Venus with a gift for the Gorgon.
The war-witches of Venus live on. House Monstrare breed them in secret, to continue their ways – sacrificial rituals of divination.
A masked hunting party will descend into the hive-slums below. Led by a servant who identifies victims who will not be missed. The witch’s prophecies are recorded by a blinded and virtue-herb purified scribe. And well-armed young scions of the House stand ready to dispatch her if she succumbs to the perils of the warp.
The Holy Ordos have long suspected. The House believes the risk is justified.
Prophecy is information.
Information is power.
Power for the Monstrare is all.
I decided to explore the wonderful Venusian background in ‘Epic’ scale. Thanks to the plethora of amazing Adeptus Titanicus kits, this scale presents fresh ground for converters and is gradually spawning a fertile ‘Inq6’ movement. I was drawn to the set of excellent resources Toni had compiled for the House of Water – the Venutiae di Cythera. The talk of holy sewage reclamation machines is hilariously 40K. I reasoned that giant gatherer-tankers would patrol the wastes and these would need protecting by the indentured Knight households, who themselves would take on the trappings of oceans that are, by now, a thing of myth.
Location: Locanda Ai Sussurri (Hinn of Wispers), Neutral Zone
Content: Intercepted conversation
Mistress Mavel: “My dearest! You are so thoughtful, as always! As you might suppose, we have a special role for you when our guests will arrive. So much anticipation! This ‘Transit’ is really a happening. I deeply hope the Light of the Emperor will shine on our little business during the celebration! I never truly understood his secondary brain (so silent!), but I’m sure Magos Larii has everything settled.”
Baron Hydeslope: “The events shall unfold when our Morning Aster will begin Her passing: soon.”
The Octyvraine, sister to the House of Water, returns with gifts from Neptune in abundance – but her years on Triton are not without a cost and the mutation now ravages a once youthful guise. Her Emissary Lotann, a traveller of many realms, seeks power in the Venutian court. He appears at once ancient and youthful, un-marked by time and not to be trusted. The entourage concludes with Lorildo Stock, a hired gun from the moon of Grylor. Lorildo is a demon hunter and mutant keeper by trade, he joins the envoy with a somewhat larger fiend in tow…
The history of House Goltz stretches far back in the imperial records, only fragments still exists about its founding, traced back to the turbulent time following the Horus Heresy and one John Goltzius Goltz laying claim to one of the largest Aurum deposits ever discovered in the galaxy.
The Goltz family has been interlinked with House Saggiatorii of Venus for millennia, their wealth and influence only eclipsed by the Saggiatorii family themselves.
The two families are dependent on each other but there has always been a quiet power struggle between them, the Goltz have made it an art to outshine the Saggiatorii at every given occasion but has always remained in their looming shadow.
An example of this is when the 87th Arch-Baron was granted an entire spire (current family headquarters) of the immense Palagio Saggiatore. The Baron immediately gave orders to cover it in gold, much to the agitation of the Saggiatoriis.
The current Arch-Baron, Maldoroy Vavarion Goltz (commonly known simply as The Gold Baron) has, if the rumours are true, taken further steps against the rival house. Acquiring certain information utilising questionable methods. The Baron now also has his most powerful weapon yet, the rarest thing gold can buy, the key to every door- a corrupt Inquisitor.
In the shadow of the Gold Barons plans, the rumours surrounding the Baroness flourish, her whose visage has remained hidden for decades beneath a rebreather mask due to a “rare affliction”. Some say she is horribly disfigured while others claim that she has been replaced entirely.
That concludes part II, stay tuned for the final part of the WIP trilogy!!