Saturday
Nov172018

The Travesty of Arkelos II

The Loeria Sector is largely pacified.

On the onetime waystation world of Arkelos II, the remaining elements of the Dominion Grand Army 235th Frontier Division engage in routine peacekeeping and maintenance, keeping the simple farmers, tradesmen and clerics of the Arkelan Plains settlement in order. Their standing orders: Hold position in the event the prophecies prove true — that the mytho-historical Great Commander one day returns along the long-dormant Merouz warp lines. He won't want to find a mess.

The physical centerpiece of the central settlement is its ancient Temple of Kurú. The townspeople pay it little mind; the mild-mannered sacrist goes about his own business, keeping up the Temple's sacred Chronicle, worshiping his ancient god in an easygoing descendant of the time-honored ways.

But for all its seeming pastoral setting, all is not well on Arkelos II.

Though only the sacrist himself knows it, the Temple’s Chronicle records that in ages past, Arkelos II was riven by the Ancient Schism. Dissident Adepts of Kurú, clinging to alternative interpretations of the nature of the godhead, invoked the Merouz energy itself in a bloody attempt to cleanse the faith. Many died in apostasy, proscribed from the Great Journey. Only the determined efforts of the Arkelan Adeptus Optimates order — coupled with the arrival of brutal concentrations of Imperial Dominion Divisions as the Boötes War escalated — tamped down this terrible conflict.

But the apostate Adepts did not forget. The Chronicle, to their minds, has never told their side of the story accurately.

Now, out of the Kirin Highlands, their successors — the Ansar Kurú — have come to correct the historical record. Their objective is the Temple Chronicle itself, the Archivum Secretum. Specifically, they seek to adjust the language of the fourth passage, 12th stanza of the third book. Only their High Adept may do this, by accessing the Sacred Terminal. And the Ansar Kurú will kill every man, woman and child in the Arkelos settlement, if necessary, to achieve this goal.

Simply destroying the Archivum is not an option for either side; it is said the world would end immediately. Regardless, both the perpetrators of such an act and the faithful who allowed it to happen would be forever barred from the Great Journey.

The Ansar Kurú weapons are ancient and primitive. But the Ansar Kurú far outnumber the remnants of the 235th Division, whose heavy weaponry sections and most of its infantry cohorts were recalled offworld years ago. The Imperial Governor of Arkelos fields a skeleton force, using mainly small arms, to do something Dominion divisions rarely have been asked to do: Defend a Temple of Kurú.

From its own faithful.

ANALYSIS 

The Ansar Kurú do not wish to attack their own Temple regardless of its defilement by the presence of armed infidels. The Grand Army units, for their part, have little stomach for an intervention in a sectarian disagreement they neither share nor understand. And the sacrist knows, in any case, that the stricture against soldiers and weapons in the "Place of Peace" has not been broken since ancient times - and then, things did not end well.

In this scenario, the only outcome that can possibly cleanse any faction of the fight is death. Much death.

Although he will not discuss the matter, local legends hold that Sacrist Jakar is himself an Adeptus Optimates. If this is correct, he may possess vast and devastating control of Merouz energy fields. What powers the High Adept of the Ansar Kurú may command is unknown.