Saturday, September 22, 2007

"We are on a mission, my brothers. Not simply a mission for political unity, nor to obey the will of our mighty Emperor. We are on a mission against the dying of the light of the stars. And we shall take on this quest with the blessings of the Pancreator and all the Empyrean that witnesses it. And neither evils of man, alien, or the dark sultans of the Qlippoth shall stand against the light that can never fade."
-Sir Gregorious Chong-Long Li Halan of Midian, Baron of the Company of the Phoenix, before the newly knighted Company before the Emperor.

[blinking lights across the magic lantern reading screen]
New Issue of the Reeves' Town Crier: Special Report

To all the faithful and devoted throughout the Imperium, let them who have the ability and the conscious will take up their banners for the Holy See. In light of recent border incursions by the Kurgan Caliphate, Patriarch Hezekiah the Elder has issued a Crusade! Bishops are offering absolution and full pardons for all sins committed beforehand to those who will take up arms and protect the Prophet's holy institution and liberate their fellow believers from foreign heretics and pagans. The Leaguemeister has commissioned the safe keeping of barbarian spoils of technology and wealth and free distribution throughout the war efforts, most guildsmen are following in line by packing their bags and heading to the borders of Known Space. The Emperor, in pressure toward the patriarch, has only aloud Church and Hazat soldiers land in foreign planets, but for now has permitted a space naval war to take place. The Royal Houses have each sent a portion of the fleets to support the Hazat border enforcement.

Now nobles, churchmen, and freemen alike have begun to take up arms and travel in hopes of gaining new land, new souls, new riches, and salvation. Although none have made it to Kurga as of yet, that has not stopped them from leaving of their own volition. Many have also reached the Gwynneth and Leminkainen in hope of carrying the crusade against the Vuldrok as well. All eagerly await the Emperor's decision in hope, or fear, that he will change his mind and send support of his own Imperial Fleet and Phoenix Guard.

The declaration of the Patriarch came when a Hazat ship landed in Rome upon Holy Terra carrying wounded. The Dervish Officer Hadith Alfonso Domingo de Justo de la Vera Cruz, while his comrades made way for his approach, desperately carried the mortally wounded Don Alatriste de Justo de la Vera Cruz to the front steps of the Holy Basilica before kneeling, not allowing himself, a psychic, to enter such a sacred place and desecrate with his blood. This desperate, and some would say foolish, attempt for a plea seemed to spark a miracle behind close doors the rest of the Known Universe shall not know of, for all the Ethicals and Authority of the Holy See refused to speak of what happened behind those doors. What we do know is what Hadith Alfonso has revealed to onlookers.

After massive peasant rebellions inspired by Avestite fanaticals led by the Bishop Tomás de Sant'Iago, Hazat forces were forced to turn back and keep the peace while shipping Shelit off world to Vera Cruz. With Hazat forces thinned out on the frontline the Kurgans took their chance and made an all out assault on the southern continent, causing the massacre of many more peasants. With their foreign Jihad seeming to succeed, the jumpgate was opened and more Kurgan ships entered the system and a Kurgan blockade began. Over the course of the weeks the Hazat thought all was lost, for their cries fell on deaf ears through the known worlds (believed to be the usual Hazat war propaganda). Don Alatriste was one of the few who made it out of Fort Omala alive, (according to Alfonso it was in part because of the Dervishes there). Don Alatriste died sanctified by the Patriarch himself and may someday be counted among the Martyrs.

The Emperor had sent members of the Company to temper this peasant uprising, but by the time they had arrived it was too late and they had to be ferried out by Brother Battle intercepter squadrons. The Questing Knights have now been sent away from the Kurgan line to deal with other matters that the Emperor will not disclose.

It is commonly held that Bishop Tomás has disappeared. When the Town Crier came to seek an interview, all the was found in the Avestite chapel of Fort Omala was a pool of blood and mad scribblings of a man wrought with guilt. Rumors persist that for his sins has been seized by the darkness itself, while Avestite pilgrims insist he has been snatched out of life to join with the other martyrs of the Temple Avesti.

As for the Archbishop of the planet's Holy See, he is said to be taking penitence somewhere back on Pyre, but little else is known. Few can imagine the horrors his guild shall push him through.

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