"Damned Cities"- Part Two
“The Dark Traveler returns to plunge these stars of Calyx into an abyss that none, not even my kind can escape.”
-The Daemon in the Mirror, speaking to the Acolytes of Red Cell at Haarlock’s Folly
Still recovering from their injuries, the Acolytes answer a summons from Enforcer General Khan for a meeting at his Office to talk about recent events, including the ongoing conflict between the nobility and the Undertow as well as the assassinations of several Mandato agents who Khan believes that the Inquisition is responsible for. Khan is not interested in fairy tales about magical mirror fragments and his only concern is to his employers, the nobility, who want the situation with the Undertow resolved. The meeting ends with neither side trusting the other but the Acolytes suspect that they may have convinced Khan a little that they were not involved in the murders of his agents.
At the conclusion of their meeting, the Acolytes receive a message from the Turning Hand hotel informing them that unknown persons violated the security of their penthouse suite. The Acolytes respond and their investigation show that their room has been trashed in a thorough search and the break-in was orchestrated by a single person, or team of professionals. In addition, the psyker Praetus (who was recovering from his exposure to Haarlock’s Folly) is nowhere to be found.
The late evening proves to get more intense when the Acolytes receive a priority message from Constantine who is requesting the Acolytes’ assistance in responding to the manse of Lady Amorite. The Acolytes arrive just in time to see Lady Amorite being attacked in her bedroom by four cloaked bandaged figures. Her attempts to defend herself result only in her death and setting the place on fire, which quickly spreads to a blazing inferno due to the mansion’s old and dried out interior. The Acolytes engage their foes and the combat is deadly as the already wounded Acolytes are beset by attacks from their enemies, as well as the blazing inferno around them. Valen goes into a battle frenzy wielding the mysterious knife that was secured from the Ramsus Manse and takes on one of the cloaked figures by himself in the center of the blazing inferno. Seemingly immune to the heat and flame, Valen brings down the creature and then attacks his fellow Acolytes. Red is able to restrain Valen until he is able to regain control of himself apparently not realizing what he had done. The Acolytes get out of the burning mansion which has been reduced to a burning pile of rubble.
Hostilities between the Undertow and the nobility are escalating and recent reports state that Khan has been killed or seriously wounded in an ambush. The Acolytes ponder their next move when they receive a mysterious Inquisition coded vox-message asking for a meeting. Answering the invitation, the Acolytes meet with another team of Inquisition Agents who are operating on Sinophia. These agents give limited information, but briefly explain that they have been tasked by their master to secure pieces of the mirror fragments in order to protect society from their corrupting influence. After some convincing arguments, and a trade for their abducted teammate, Praetus, Red agrees to give this Inquisition team their only fragment. The two teams depart and soon afterward the Acolytes receive a call from Marshal Skarmen who is requesting an urgent meeting with the Acolytes and Constantine. Skarmen explains that the situation is critical and nothing else can be determined about the reason for the meeting because the city goes into complete anarchy and chaos and after a brief Arbite Emergency broadcast the entire vox-net goes out.
A supernatural storm is brewing centered on the Folly and upon arrival at the meeting location provided by Skarmen the Acolytes link up with Constantine (who gives them a mirror fragment that was found by fire control teams searching the Amorite Manse). Skarmen’s Rhino APC pulls up alongside the group and a team of Arbitrators dismount and attack the Acolytes. What follows is an intense firefight and melee battle in which the already wounded Acolytes suffer yet more injuries before they dispatch their foes. The betrayal by Skarmen’s men is only the first surprise; the second surprise is when Valen again turns on his comrades in a battle frenzy lashing again at Red with the mysterious knife.
Red and rest of the team combine their efforts to take down Valen- who appears to absorb an onslaught of damage that would kill an ordinary man. With expert marksman skill, Rasar shoots Valen’s knife-wielding arm off and free of the knife’s influence Valen has a moment of peace before his life fades. The Acolytes secure Valen’s body and his belongings and accompanied by Constantine and a few Arbitrators, they advance on Haarlock’s Folly in a mechanized assault.
Arriving at the tower, the Acolytes find Arbites fighting each other and the Tower’s defense systems are operational shooting everything that comes into the courtyard. The Acolytes and Constantine fight their way up the tower and near the top they are confronted by a daemon who offers the Acolytes a deal to save the city from the ongoing destruction if they will assist in freeing it. The daemon tells of the “Dark Traveler” that is returning to the Calixis Sector and will destroy everything. The Acolytes refuses to accept the Daemon’s offer and the daemon gives the Acolytes a taste of his power before he retreats to the top floor of the tower. While recovering from their dark encounter, the Acolytes and Constantine and joined by members of the other Inquisition Cell. They are intent on destroying the daemon and an alliance is created. Lacking the psychic power to harm the daemon, the other Inquisition Cell psyker has the power to confront the daemon.
The joint Inquisition forces confront the daemon and Skarmen in the middle of a ritual to reconstruct the broken mirror and free the daemon. There are three missing fragments that the Acolytes possess that are needed to complete the ritual. Skarmen is no longer a mere human and has been infused with the power of chaos and possesses sorcerous powers. After a fierce battle, the Inquisition psyker is able to banish the daemon. The victory is short-lived as the once allied Inquisition Cell turns on Red Cell in a surprise act of betrayal. The Acolytes are able to dispatch two of the rival Acolytes before their leader, a man named Hellos, escapes via grav-chute (with two of the mirror fragments) through a hole that was created by a missile blast from a hovering Vulture gunship piloted by one of his fellow acolytes.
With the failure of the ritual to free the daemon, the city shortly returns to a state of calm and starts rebuilding. Sur’Mayworth is appointed as the new Judiciary and Constantine takes over as the new Arbitrator Marshal. Inquisitor Sand and staff arrives a couple of days to assist in the interrogations and purging. With a celebration and much fanfare the Acolytes are rewarded by the planetary officials for their efforts at stopping the great evil and are awarded the Sinophian Blood Laurel, the highest award that can be granted from the planet. The fate of the daemon and Hellos, and the identity of the “Dark Traveler,” remains to be seen…
- GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from Fantasy Flight’s “Damned Cities” book by Alan Bligh and John French. It can be found here: