Twists

Noble Born Assassin

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File X00F7N-P/TG Loaded…

Location: Scintilla, Inquisitor Tyburn Graves Estate, The Oak-Room
Author: Transcriber Salomis
Present: Interrogator Garvel, Annalist Jastilus, Transcriber Salomis

Annalist Jastilus: (H) (Hx) (H) (COUGH) Sir, we should begin.
Interrogator Garvel: Yes Annalist. The Inquisitor has instructed me to learn of the Kadis-Lethe incident.
Annalist Jastilus: … There is only one.
Interrogator Garvel: An attempt at humour Annalist? Regardless, we must start at the beginning. A short review of the family itself if you would Annalist
Annalist Jastilus: (H) ############ (Hx) Of course Inquisitor. The Kadis-Lethe family originated from a unification-by-blood of House Kadis and House Lethe approximately 1250 years ago. At the time, neither House – both of which had existed for approximately 400 years before the marriage which joined them – was considered a Great House, although both Houses were offered a level of respect above their considered weight. Supposedly, their machinations were subtle, intricate and took years to complete or be revealed. The marriage that united the Houses itself caused uneasy rumblings from rival Houses at the time but, again due to the lack of overt displays of power – which continued after the marriage – this soon faded. House Kadis-Lethe was properly from that point on, in terms of influence, holdings and size, a Great House. The new Great House behaved as we would expect most Noble families to behave, though with noticeably less scandals and shocks.
Interrogator Garvel: And this was the situation until when?
Annalist Jastilus: Oh until the incident itself sir. So eight years prior.
Interrogator Garvel: I see. Please continue.
Annalist Jastilus: House Kadis-Lethe itself was a strong noble family, but far less of a household name to the citizens of the planest they resided on-
Interrogator Garvel: They have many holdings beyond their base in Hive Sibellus?
Annalist Jastilus: Yes sir, they are spread throughout the sector. However Hive Sibellus was certainly their primary headquarters before the incident, and has been for the last several hundred years.
Interrogator Garvel: I see. And were House Kadis-Lethe formed in the Calixis Sector itself?
Annalist Jastilus: No sir, their original powerbase is the neighbouring Ixaniad Sector. The Houses joined during the military campaign of Lord Militant Angevin which formalised much of the Imperium’s control of the Calixis Sector.
Interrogator Garvel: Continue.
Annalist Jastilus: Yes sir. House Kadis-Lethe continued in their established modus-operandi, with occasional rumours and thin threads linking them to major upheavals. They had several enemies amongst other noble houses, as all do and –
Interrogator Garvel: The enemies arose how Annalist?
Annalist Jastilus: By the usual methods sir. Disagreement over territory, trade deals, contacts, information, blood, marriage, politics, slights at family gatherings, insults at weddin-
Interrogator Garvel: –Yes Annalist, I believe that is clear enough. Do go on.
Annalist Jastilus: Sir. And sometimes these enemies vanished abruptly.
Interrogator Garvel: Abruptly?
Annalist Jastilus: Overnight in some cases sir.
Interrogator Garvel: I see. Was foulplay suspected or proven?
Annalist Jastilus: Suspected – of course. Proven – never.
Interrogator Garvel: This occured after the House moved to Hive Sibellus?
Annalist Jastilus: Both before and after sir.
Interrogator Garvel: Why break with tradition.
Annalist Jastilus: Indeed sir, though with more subtlety throughout. I should restate that evidence linking House Kadis-Lethe to any of these unfortunate events was tenuous at best, and usually presented by their rivals at the time. You’re fully aware of the situation amongst the Great Houses here on Scintilla … Should I continue?
Interrogator Garvel: Do.
Annalist Jastilus: Thank you sir. This continued for sometime. House Kadis-Lethe gradually expanded their holdings to have influence throughout the Sector. This expansion – again due largely to its lack of overtness – proceded relatively unhindered and unopposed. Sometimes their machinations would come to light but appear obfuscated and, if truth be told, pale in comparison to overt displays that other houses in the Calixis sector are wont to display.
Interrogator Garvel: Understood. And how many worlds would you say they had influence on Annalist?
Annalist Jastilus: Directly, only a handful, where they have an extended family. Here they are inconspicuous and are more renowned for lavish, though not shocking, parties and romanctic intrigues than anything dangerous. Indirectly, a good fifth of the sector, with a good portion of that being near the Ixaniad Sector border.
Interrogator Garvel: A thin silk web then Annalist?
Annalist Jastilus: That is one theory sir yes.
Interrogator Garvel: And the others?
Annalist Jastilus: … Well, that they have no direct influence anywhere and are just an extended family who make money here, lose money there, and behave fairly “proper” as Great Houses go sir.
Interrogator Garvel: … Is there evidence to support that standing?
Annalist Jastilus: Sir, all evidence supports that standing. The rest, including the machinations, are speculation and rumours. House Kadis-Lethe would say its enemies spread these rumours to discredit them.
Interrogator Garvel: However Houses do not arrive to Hive Sibellus by luck Annalist.
Annalist Jastilus: No sir.
Interrogator Garvel: And so we arrive at more recent times.
Annalist Jastilus: Which are related to you sir.
Interrogator Garvel: <annoyed> Yes. Perhaps. Continue. </annoyed>
Annalist Jastilus: House Kadis-Lethe had a relationship with your master sir, Inquisitor Tyburn Graves. Graves was personally well acquainted with certain members of House Kadis-Lethe before the incident.
Interrogator Garvel: Indeed? Who in the House specifically?
Annalist Jastilus: A man known as Mordallus who worked in the Inquisitor’s retinue sometime ago.
Interrogator Garvel: Interesting. He served well?
Annalist Jastilus: Exceptionally so sir. Your master valued him greatly and was deeply saddened at his death.
Interrogator Garvel: And was it only our own renowned Inquisitor who had personal interest in House Kadis-Lethe?
Annalist Jastilus: No sir, I have dug further as you required and through some superlative efforts –if I say so myself – in information gathering, ‘slate manipulation and almost outright blackma-
Interrogator Garvel: –Annalist…
Annalist Jastilus: Apologies sir. As I was saying: no, not just your master. House Kadis-Lethe were quite well regarded amongst three or four other Inquisitors, and a large group of individual high-ranking Adeptus Arbites.
Interrogator Garvel: Specifically, how so?
Annalist Jastilus: It appears that a large part of House Kadis-Lethe influence was, shall we say, underground.
Interrogator Garvel: Criminal?
Annalist Jastilus: Not explicitly – this is Scintilla and a Hive after all sir – and, again, never provably. In speculated cases, nothing out of the ordinary that would draw the Inquisition’s attention.
Interrogator Garvel: Continue
Annalist Jastilus: Sir. House Kadis-Lethe had extremely good connections to the underhives of Scintilla and several other Hives and Hive Worlds throughout the sector. House Kadis-Lethe were extremely diligent, and useful, in passing information to the “authorities” such as ourselves and the Arbiters.
Interrogator Garvel: More so than other Noble houses?
Annalist Jastilus: … (Hx) Yes sir, in that they passed on any information at all. Specifically, House Kadis-Lethe passed on large amounts of accurate information which led to some of the most highly-publicised criminal cases over the last century. You may remember the Testensa case fifty-seven years ago?
Interrogator Garvel: Vaguely. So they were found useful by the Inquisition.
Annalist Jastilus: Certain members sir certainly. I would suggest that it was more than “useful”. They were reliable. The information they supplied was always accurate and often highly detailed.
Interrogator Garvel: … Were these motives questioned? Or taken at face-value as truly altruistic in the name of the golden-throne.
Annalist Jastilus: I am unsure sir. Many individuals, including your master, spent considerable time asking this same question. Evidence indicated they were. Ulterior motives were investigated and analysed by some of the best minds and nothing that warranted an investigation was found. Oh certainly, there were some curiosities in accounting, certain members who seemed to be getting into a lot of trouble, but nothing out of the ordinary for a Great House.
Interrogator Garvel: Fascinating. A seemingly thoroughly Imperial-loyal Noble house.
Annalist Jastilus: Sir. But operating like any other Noble house.
Interrogator Garvel: @ Of course. @ Still…
Annalist Jastilus: Yes sir. And so we arrive at the – I believe your master would say “unfortunate” – incident eight years ago.
Interrogator Garvel: Which exposed House Kadis-Lethe.
Annalist Jastilus: … (3.4)
Interrogator Garvel: Annalist?
Annalist Jastilus: As you say sir.
Interrogator Garvel: Please recount the episode here, with brevity.
Annalist Jastilus: Sir. Approximately eight years ago House Kadis-Lethe had recently aided a group of Adeptus Arbites investigation into a particularly vicious case of ritual killings within Hive Sibellus. House Kadis-Lethe had provided some key information which resulted in the resolution of the case and the stopping of a potentially very dangerous situation. An Inquisitor, Garael, had recently been promoted to full status, had been working with the Arbites. He presented himself at the House unannounced to offer his thanks.
Interrogator Garvel: And something went awry.
Annalist Jastilus: Indeed. House Kadis-Lethe hadn’t known of his arrival and in the hallway when the door was answered was one of the young ladies – I believe her name was Odessa-
Interrogator Garvel: Do all of House Kadis-Lethe have High-Gothic and Archaic names Annalist?
Annalist Jastilus: Yes sir, it is a peculiarity of the house.
Interrogator Garvel: Noted. Please continue. The surprised lady..
Annalist Jastilus: She was directly related to the current matron of the Canopus hold. When the door was opened and the Inquisitor stepped in with his companion the reports state that Lady Odessa visibly recoiled, going almost white, before muttering apologies and fleeing from the hallway.
Interrogator Garvel: Odd behaviour indeed. And the young Inquisitor’s companion?
Annalist Jastilus: We believe she was a Null sir, working with the young Inquisitor at his master’s insistence.
Interrogator Garvel: Ah, and so.
Annalist Jastilus: Yes sir. Lady Odessa was therefore suspected to be a psyker and House Kadis-Lethe were then suspected to have covered up her powers from the Inquisition.
Interrogator Garvel: (2.3) And then?
Annalist Jastilus: The young Inquisitor was immediately called in the Adeptus Arbites with support from the Planetary Defence Force. They descended on the mansion.
Interrogator Garvel: Not a quiet resolution. Before we go on, were House Kadis-Lethe particularly lax, or open, in terms of security?
Annalist Jastilus: They were not known to be so sir no.
Interrogator Garvel: From my own experience, Houses tend to know of visitors to their headquarters a good time in advance. Encountering someone “at the door” as it were is practically unheard of.
Annalist Jastilus: Yes sir, our Master thought similarly.
Interrogator Garvel: Interesting. And what then?
Annalist Jastilus: The young Inquisitor did not have a reputation for subtlety sir and … (2.7)
Interrogator Garvel: Please do continue Annalist, I suspect we are getting to the fulcrum of the matter.
Annalist Jastilus: Indeed sir. The young lady was immediately arrested of course and I’m sorry to say did not survive long under question – a very sad affair, I believe she was to be married the following week. … Regardless, it was revealed that she was indeed a Psyker but, surprisingly, she was in strong control of her powers, as much as any sanctioned Psyker would be expected to be.
Interrogator Garvel: She would have been Sanctioned if she had been taken to a Black Ship then Annalist?
Annalist Jastilus: I believe that is the case sir, yes.
Interrogator Garvel: However she had not been presented to the Inquisition and the Black Ships.
Annalist Jastilus: No sir.
Interrogator Garvel: And so, a crime. Punishable by death.
Annalist Jastilus: Indeed sir. …
Interrogator Garvel: … Annalist?
Annalist Jastilus: Sir. The presence of Psykers within House Kadis-Lethe was suspected for some time. Granted, mostly by their enemies. However there were no known cases of daemonic possession or unusual phenomenon, all of which would be expected. I should mention that House Kadis-Lethe had been watched carefully for many decades.
Interrogator Garvel: And so?
Annalist Jastilus: And so if they did possess psykers, they trained them within the house to be strong of will and independent.
Interrogator Garvel: Whilst the House was loyal to the Emperor.
Annalist Jastilus: So it would seem sir.
Interrogator Garvel: I understand now why you find this so fascinating Annalist, and why my master suggested I acquaint myself with the background.
Annalist Jastilus: Thank you – I think – sir.
Interrogator Garvel: And so, the young noble lady was questioned and, I presume, the young Inquisitor immediately set in motion an investigation of House Kadis-Lethe itself which of course would originate at House Sibellus but extend to all of its holdings.
Annalist Jastilus: Yes sir. … However. …
Interrogator Garvel: (TSK) Annalist? Do stop pausing.
Annalist Jastilus: Sir. … Inquisitor Tyburn Graves was not on good terms, by any stretch of the word, with the young Inquisitor’s master.
Interrogator Garvel: Ah. Please expand.
Annalist Jastilus: Sir. They were renowned for their fighting and drastic differences in view point. I understand – but please realise this is hearsay and an Annalist is not privy to internal workings – that they almost came to blows and their Acolytes may have at some point.
Interrogator Garvel: Can you expand on these differences Annalist?
Annalist Jastilus: (SWALLOW) Inquisitor Tyburn Graves is considered a moderate Inquisitor sir, or at least one who has not vocally declared for a specific ideal. The young Inquisitor’s master is known for his black and white views.
Interrogator Garvel: <quietly> Do you judge an Inquisitor Annalist? </quietly>
Annalist Jastilus: (SWALLOW) No sir! I offer no judgement on the most effective method of service to the God-Emperor! Indeed, both must surely be in their own manner for the Emperor to allow them to rise to their holy ordained rank.
Interrogator Garvel: Well said. And so, the investigation into House Kadis-Lethe?
Annalist Jastilus: Here is where it gets “tricky” sir. And convoluted. The immediate action at the headquarters in Hive Sibellus proceeded as we would expect, though with some delays.
Interrogator Garvel: Delays?
Annalist Jastilus: The response from the PDF was not as immediate as the young Inquisitor desired sir, and communications in the area experienced some difficulties. I believe that there were problems at the spaceport as well.
Interrogator Garvel: How curious. Slowing down the Inquisition’s judgement Annalist?
Annalist Jastilus: (SHARP H) Perhaps sir, yes. Or perhaps a coincidence.
Interrogator Garvel: Of course, though there do seem to be a lot of those with this Great House. After the Scintilla holdings were seized for investigation, how did things proceed with the rest of the Sector and greater Imperium?
Annalist Jastilus: Slowly sir. Very slowly in some cases. In almost every way, the investigation, judgement and execution slowed. Transports failed, Astropathic links were tied up, ships were suddenly uncontactable or out of service.
Interrogator Garvel: A curious coincidence. And what was the result?
Annalist Jastilus: Ultimately the actual acquisition and freezing of House Kadis-Lethe funds became extremely difficult.
Interrogator Garvel: More slowings?
Annalist Jastilus: Yes sir. The trails and links between accounts and holdings were tenuous and highly convoluted. With trails spanning Sectors. Astropathic links take much time to resolve and there were leagues of Administratum staff delving into the files involved in House Kadis-Lethe.
Interrogator Garvel: And the final result Annalist?
Annalist Jastilus: The Calixis Sector holdings were eventually seized, although I understand far less was found and taken that was expected. Certain members of the investigating Administratum vocally declared that there was treachery, and large parts of holdings had changed hands, and records had been doctored. The Ixaniad Sector holdings – the core of the family – were completely untouched.
Interrogator Garvel: And what is the current status of House Kadis-Lethe within the Calixis sector Annalist?
Annalist Jastilus: Officially, almost non-existant. Unofficially as I mentioned, some old mansions, and several large wealth funds – which were suspected to be linked to the family – remain in the hands of specific individuals.
Interrogator Garvel: Are many family members still around?
Annalist Jastilus: Sir, again, officially, perhaps a few dozen. Unofficially, perhaps many more. However most of the family we understand have returned to the Ixaniad Sector. Either at the time or over the last several years.
Interrogator Garvel: And so I have the full picture, what occured in the wake of the raid on Hive Sibellus?
Annalist Jastilus: Sir, much as you would expect. There were scandals and outcries amongst the resident Great Houses. Beyond the noble Houses, even in the mid-hive, the name of Kadis-Lethe was not widely known – as I said sir, they largely operated in the background.
Interrogator Garvel: Thank you Annalist. This sounds all a little too clean cut-and-dry. There is more.
Annalist Jastilus: … (H) Yes sir. To some high-up members of the Arbiters, and Inquisitors including our own – Tyburn Graves – the Calixis Sector, and Scintilla specifically, had been weakened, losing a strong tool in the fight against Heresy and Corruption within. House Kadis-Lethe had provided invaluable knowledge and had never provably – even with the best minds investigating them – done anything that did not fall in line with the Emperor’s will.
Interrogator Garvel: Annalist, they harboured a known psyker.
Annalist Jastilus: … Sir. Yes. However I believe the mitigating circumstances, their extraordinary level of control over them, and their increasingly obvious usefulness to the Arbites and Inquisition, were a factor.
Interrogator Garvel: (TSK) (H) Annalist, are you saying that the Inquisition knowingly allowed a noble house to harbour Psykers due to the “usefulness” in providing a few facts about underscum mutants?
Annalist Jastilus: (SWALLOW) No sir!
Interrogator Garvel: Good, no more talk of that.
Annalist Jastilus: (SWALLOW) No sir. However I will restate that up to the incident with Lady Odessa, nothing had ever formally come to light.
Interrogator Garvel: Understood. And so we arrive at the present day.
Annalist Jastilus: Yes sir. Your master asked me to brief you on this entire situation and background and answer all your questions.
Interrogator Garvel: I wonder. He suspects that the whole thing may have been a ruse to weaken himself and his contacts? A ruse from his nemesis, enacted by the young Inquisitor?
Annalist Jastilus: This was speculated on sir yes but as far as I am aware, it is just that – speculation. Nothing more surfaced. One more thing sir I was instructed to tell you…
Interrogator Garvel: Yes?
Annalist Jastilus: Inquisitor Graves also indicated that I should inform you that one of the young House Kadis-Lethe nobles, still resident in the Calixis Sector, is now a new, and untested, Acolyte in his service.
Interrogator Garvel: … Thank you Annalist. I believe that is all.
- Interrogator Garvel leaves room


“Yeah, no, it happened quickly. BLAM! Like that.”
“Yeh? Whatdyado? Next onesonme bytheway.”
“I’m not sure you need a next.”
“Yeh yeh, get back to the story.”
“All I’m saying is, it happened fast. No-one knew what to do, and I’d been working for them for a long time. One of the oldest.”
“Good folk yer?”
“Compared to some of the other Nobles? Yes, good employers.”
“Mmmhmm. So, door kicked in, scared young lassee, whatshername?”
“That would be Lady Odessa.”
“Reet, ‘er. And they dragged her off withnaryaword.”
“Yes, but not quietly.”
“Oh? Didnay here that part.”
“No.”
“….. And..?”
“And what?”
“This is the bit whereyoutellme what ‘appened.”
“Is it? I could swear this is the bit where you buy me another drink.”
“Yeh? Thoughtyousaid I didnay need one.”
“No, but I do. Make it a stiff one.”
“Yeh yeh”
……… …….
“Get lost on the way to the bar?”
“Shh Imerenow arentI?”
“More importantly, so is my drink.”
“Yeh whatever, now wherewerewe? Reet, the noitwasntquiet part.”
“Yeah.”
“Oh dontdothis again.”
“Sorry. So as I said, it wasn’t quiet. Within an hour of the first encounter in the hallway with the Inquisitor, there were Arbites all-over and Lady Odessa was being physically manhandled out of the House.”
“Puttupa fight did she?”
“Her, and her betrothed.”
“I didnay know she wasgetting hitched. She was a looker yer?”
“Yes, Lady Odessa was certainly pretty.”
“Lotsa peopleafterer. Remember youtellinme aboutthat one, stalkerlike.”
“Yes, he wasn’t pleasant. It took us a while to find out who he was, a Noble, rival house, of all things.”
“Yer? Not nice. Still, seemssshefoundsomeone nice intheen?”
“Yes, a noble called Severus, I didn’t know him well.”
“Reet.”
“I don’t think I can ever forget the scene. An Arbiter had viciously knocked Lady Odessa down with the butt of his gun.. She had blood pouring from her nose as she collapsed back. This man, Severus, took her kerchief and pressed it to the wound – tenderest thing I ever saw – then Blam! He twisted, spun and knocked the Arbiter down hard. Fast as lightning, I barely saw it and the Arbiter sure as hell didn’t. The surprised dazed look on his face… Almost priceless… You’ve gone quiet.”
“Yeh lisning. Bet that didnay gowellforem though.”
“No.. Severus was beaten almost unconscious and Lady Odessa was dragged away by her hair, screaming for Severus over and over as she was forced out of the door and the House. The sound of it slamming behind the Arbites as Severus pulled his way across the floor towards the door…”
“Sounds trajic yer.”
“Yes. It was.”
….
“Now yerve gonne quiet.”
“Thinking. It’s been a while since I’ve told that story….. Damn what am I doing, trust an old man to dwell on the past. Talk about better times; get me another of these.”
“Heys I gotthelastones!”
“Right, your lady is always saying how you should be more consistent.”
- Overheard in a Hive Sibellus bar, mid-hive.


Twists

Context Malefic Frore