Despite everything that had been happening, the Hos Dynasty had no time to rest. The daemonic angel that had just emerged from a tear in reality itself opened its mouth, and let out a song of beauty and despair, and a horrible change began to overtake the people inside of the Medicae Deck. The loyal Bastille crew members that had aided so boldly against the Xenos began to warp and change, and left only terrible, warp-tainted spawn in their wake. To Eckhart’s horror, his precious Void Rhino familiar shared their fate, the shock of which left him reeling and caused his nigh-indomintable willpower to fail and he collapsed to the ground.
The warp phenomena didn’t end there, with the ceiling seemingly opening up to stormclouds that had not been present, and a deluge of blood pouring down and threatening to knock those gathered off their feet, and the link between Duke Morrow and Captain Hos splintering and forming another tear in existence with daemonic visions emerging assailing the mind of those few that survived. The Gyrinx, never one to back down from a threat, charged in at the daemon while Jian lit his incense, began reciting a prayer and readied his own weapons for battle. Captain Hos’s will had stood up to this point, but found that he could not approach the daemon, and instead turned his power fist and its considerable might to dealing with the warp spawn that now plagued them.
The angel never drew a weapon against them, seeming content to merely sing its wracking songs and attempt to drown the souls of all present in the warp. Duke Morrow’s claws left brilliant, burning-red marks on the angel’s skin, but it wasn’t until Jian charged in with his witch lance that the creature was undone. One ferocious assault from the missionary later, and the angel burst open in fire, and then darkness. And out of the darkness came yet more horror, as shadowy spider-like creations began to swarm all over those assembled. Jian’s armour shone like a beacon to ward them off, but Captain Hos proved vulnerable and the creatures seemed to swarm inside of his body, and when they faded the Rogue Trader was gone – his soul replaced by a daemon.
Acting quickly, Jian charged forward to try to exorcise the daemon and took a power fist to the chest for his troubles. Nonetheless he perservered and managed to slip his psychically warded amulet over the Rogue Trader’s head, never letting up in his chanting for a second. Duke Morrow, recognising the threat to his master, re-established his psychic connection and combined with Hos’s legendarily indomintable willpower, drove the daemon from the Rogue Trader… which then proceeded to attack the newly recovering Eckhart. To the disbelief of Hos, the daemon overcame Eckhart’s mind, and possessed him as well, taking the Astropath’s body and using it to flee through the very portal he had summoned. Though Hos and Jian tried to contain the Daemonic Eckhart, it eluded them and stepping through the portal, it snapped shut and the Astropath seemed lost…
Sarvus and Caine had no better fortune shepherding Bastille to his command bridge. The Eldar Autarch that had plagued them earlier was proving a nimble opponent, using his teleportation field to nimbly dodge around the confined transport car, and his powerful blster slowly whittled away at the Seneschal and Arch-Militant. Though both could have triumphed if they thought only for themselves, neither shirked their duty of protecting the Lord-Admiral, and absorbed blow after blow from the Eldar, even as it sang a mocking chant at them in Low Gothic.
The Lord Admiral calmly used his command codes to override safety proceduers on the transport car, and accelerated its speed past recommended safety limits. Meanwhile at Sarvus’s suggestion, he and Caine turned their shots to the floor and walls of the car to destroy them, and reduce the area where the elusive Eldar could safely transport himself. Just before reaching the bridge, the Eldar did appear to lose his will to fight and teleported out of the car, but not without one final riddle posed to the occupants:
Just one, I’m a few, no family too. Who am I?
Puzzled, brusied, but intact, Bastille reaches the bridge shortly before his fleet managed to crush the Sheed Cruiser that was jamming in-system transmissions. The Astropaths themselves reported a great psychic upheaval that was making astropathic communication difficult, but Hos’s warnings from Farseer Anaris proved essential in preventing confusion, and the fleet did seem to be rallying. However, communciations now came in from both the Hossian and Winterscalar fleets, who had each been informed that their Rogue Trader was betrayed and killed and on the way to seek retribution.
Arriving at the Bridge, Hos managed to talk down his fleet, but Bastille’s crew reported that Calligos Winterscale was nowhere to be found. He was last reported vanishing into a cloud of light with no trace of his presence after the fact. Though Warp Spiders were feared, Bastille ruled that out mostly out of necessity because if Winterscale was dead the war might be inevitable. Combined with Hos’s and Sarvus’s logic, they deduced the other possibility: If Fel is alive as they suspected, then perhaps the Fel Hand was responsible for the disappearance – and indeed scans revealed its teleportarium was currently active. Unfortunately the jamming extended to being unable to ascertain if it was used during the fight, it was enough of a lead that Bastille left for the Colossus to coordinate his fleet, and left Hos in charge of the Versailles to investigate what happened to Winterscale.
Though Sarvus was tempted to just destroy the Fel Hand, the Dynasty decided to board it and try to locate what had happened. Taking one Astropath, the Honour Guard, Crusadesr and Death Bastards – the only regiments present aboard the Versailles – with them to search for the crew, they boarded to find it mostly abandoned. Approaching the Engineerium, as they went to the grand entry hall of the Mechanicus’s domain, the gravity of the floor beneath them suddenly greatly increased, pinning many to the ground. Hos managed to reach a control panel, but his efforts at hacking were completely stymied by the security system. With a void shield cutting off their escape, Caine and Sarvus turned their attention to the floor. Destroying the plating, they found odd devices underneath and began vaporizing as many as they could.
A scant minute later they had disabled most of the devices, but most of the assembled Crusaders, Death Bastards and Honour Guard were dead or disabled from damage sustained by the increased gravity. The survivors reached the area created by Sarvus and Caine, but less than a dozen could be viewed as in combat shape. They turned their weapons to the door, and began blasting it down. As they did so, a Vox turned on with a message from Lady Asche – Fel’s personal seneschal. She welcomed Jequin Hos to the end of his life, and that this would be the end of his adventures…