Dramatis Personae: Arch-Cardinal Verashyon

Arch-Cardinal Verashyon of the Scrutoria 


From the mind of the God-Emperor to the honourable Ecclesiarch Benedin II, his Voice-on-Terra; from the Ecclesiarch, the word passes to his sons and daughters in the Church. 

For those who will hear it, the Priesthood will reveal the Emperor's word. 
For you who will not hear it, or who hear and pervert that word; I stand charged to bring you woe.
extr. Dictat Fidem, Verashyon



As the power of the Adeptus Ministorum had grown, so had the power of the Scrutoria, the Ecclesiarchy’s police force, tasked with rooting out heresy within the faith. Arch-Cardinal Verashyon, head of the organisation, was thus a man of fearsome power and influence at the time of the War of the False Primarch. 

At Verashyon’s word, systems had burned for heresy, and his name was famed across the civilised Imperium. On the direct orders of the Ecclesiarch Benedin II, Versahyon journeyed to the battle theatre soon after Inquisitor Leong-Cassar presented the scanty evidence of the events unfolding in Segmentum Pacificus to the High Lords. There, the Arch-Cardinal enacted the High Lord's will to rally the faithful and destroy any threat to the Ecclesiarchy.



History of the Scrutoria

The founding text of the Temple the Saviour Emperor (the organisation that would later be reformed and made official as the Adeptus Ministorum, known more commonly as the Ecclesiarchy) was the recovered Lectitio Divinitatus, hallowed as the word of the Emperor, as revealed to his unknown son. As the cult grew in strength and reach it steadily accumulated additional religious texts. These included a dizzying array of histories of the God-Emperor and his creations; accounts of his words, actions and writings; the lives of saints; and the selected writings of suitably pious Adepts and philosophers of the broader Imperium. 

Within mere decades, this breadth of text led to bitter debates, arguments and recriminations within the Temple of the Saviour Emperor, along with factionalism and attempted schisms as the merits and interpretations of different texts were disputed.

The solution was the institution of Conclaves of Faith, also known as the Synodum Fidei, introduced as the Temple of the Saviour Emperor was formalised and integrated in the broader Imperium as the Adeptus Ministorum in M31. After the First Concave, where the major tenets of the faith were agreed and codified – after much debate, subterfuge and no little hidden bloodshed – they became regular events. 

While the Conclaves Major were held exclusively on Terra, under supervision of the suspicious High Lords, these were supplemented by numerous Conclaves Minoris. Intended to focus upon sector-wide events, the Conclaves Minoris were created to allow the Ministorum internal leeway to determining more mundane local issues – from the canonisation of local saints to the colour of the prayer book. In practice, however, the Conclaves Major quickly became little more than shows of good faith on the part of the Adeptus Ministorum to the Senatorum Imperialis; banal summaries of doctrine long-since resolved internally by the Ecclesiarchy during the viperish and heated Conclaves Minoris, in which the real politics of the Ecclesiarchy was conducted. 

The decisions reached during the Conclaves had to be communicated to the faithful; structures and lines of authority established – and, of course, deviation from the conclusions identified and punished. Thus the Scrutoria was established. Tasked with communicating the decisions laid down in the Conclaves to the faithful, and enforcing those decisions, they became the Ecclesiarchy’s internal police force, the arbiters of what was the true faith and what was heresy. 



[//Arch-Cardinal Verashyon and his shield-guards+]

Such an organisation required an extraordinarily hard and capable mind. By the date of the War of the False Primarch, Arch-Cardinal Verashyon had been head of the Scrutoria for two decades. With near limitless power to requisition any martial force necessary, and commandeer any personnel short of the Ecclesiarch himself to persecute those he deemed unfaithful, Verashyon was devoted, driven and fiercely intelligent.

Inquisitor Leong-Cassar's presentation of the few facts about the rumoured 'Primarch' to the High Lords raised serious concerns for Benedin II, the Ecclesiarch of the time. What would the return of a Primarch mean for the future of the Ecclesiarchy and the Ecclesiarch’s claim to be the voice of the Emperor? The Ministorum's seat on the High Lords had been hard-won, and Benedin fully intended to retain its new status. 

The Ecclesiarch's favoured advisors and those he held in close counsel were also deeply concerned about the intentions of the Inquisition – many believed that the organisation would use this as an opportunity to expand their own influence at the expense of the Ecclesiarchy: a political disaster for the Ecclesiarch's still-growing temporal ambitions. 

Into the turmoil, the Arch-Cardinal was summoned. Escorted by his personal shield guard, he would take personal command of the extensive Ecclesiarchial forces in the region, shaping a substantial portion of the strategy of the Extinction Armada.


Actions during the War of the False Primarch

One of the Ecclesiarchy's great strengths, developed during its meteorological rise to power over the preceding centuries, was its communications network. Unlike the monolithic Adeptus Administratum and the localised Adepta Munitorum, the Ecclesiarchy's nodal and regular system of sectorial bishoprics and dioceses was in near-constant use, buoyed by powerful alliances within the Adeptus Astra Telepathica and houses of the Navigators.

As a result, the Arch-Cardinal's arrival within Sector Heliopolis was highly-publicised, and he arrived to a wave of religious support from numerous systems, eager to demonstrate their faith and loyalty to the Orthodoxy in the face of this 'obvious pretender'. Chief amongst these was Aster Morgetheon, the Cardinal-Prime of the Morqub and Heliopolis diocese; who – perhaps understandably – feared for his position as the Scrutoria arrived, and was keen to demonstrate his own negative reaction to the rumours of a returned Primarch.

Morgetheon had assembled an army of the faithful on the Ecclesiarchical stronghold of Sanctram, the command of which he hurriedly surrendered to the nearby Iron Guard; then studiedly neutral in events. This would later prove fateful, as Sanctram would become a key system over which the two factions fought – and Morgetheon's actions had unwittingly reinforced the Partisans with millions of fighting men. Verashyon's wrath was unleashed in full on the planet; and later, on Morgetheon himself. 

[//Interfaith warfare on Sanctram+]

The resulting war was costly for the Extinction Armada under Verashyon's command, and worse; open war between Ecclesiarchical forces fatally undermined confidence in the Adeptus Ministorum, prompting the  uprising of the Followers of the True Son across Heliopolis, whose forces proved a balm to the Partisans' efforts.

Perhaps more insidiously, rival factions within the orthodox Ecclesiarchy, such as the Intersuae, used this opportunity to build a rebellion against the Scrutoria's brutal regime forced upon the loyal systems of Lark's Opus and Icathus, forcing the Arch-Cardinal to divide his forces to suppress this threat.


Prominent associates

Verashyon of course brought his own coterie, but he was also met with representatives of thousands of local priesthoods who armed him and his forces with vital intelligence on the Sector's disposition, providing the Extinction Armada with a key advantage over the disparate forces of the nascent Partisans and sympathisers. 

Exquisitor Vorbis of the Scrutoria

[//Exquisitor Vorbis of the Scrutoria+/]


Vorbis strode into the church, slamming the standard he carried into a crack between the flagstones. It quivered, standing upright, the bones of the skeleton clacking together gently. With his other hand he gestured to the skull-headed eagle above the altar. The electro-mace he was gripping emphasised the gesture. Bursting to life as he thumbed the activation, the weapon threw electric blue light over the faces of the shocked worshippers.

“Who is responsible for this?” he rasped. The priest moved towards him, arms spread wide, but his words of explanation died in his throat as the mace slammed into the side of his head and he crumpled.

Vorbis raised the mace again, bringing it down on the priest’s head with a burst of light and electric crack. His head exploded, splattering the age-worn stones with gore.

Turning to the congregation, his rasping voice bore down on them as the froze. “This,” he gestured to the Caputmori-eagle again, “is heresy.” He gestured again to the priest “This is the fate of all heretics. Remove it.”

He began to stride away when one of the congregation found their voice. A thin voice, growing stronger, chased him. “What gives you the right to make such pronouncements!? He is the Emperor’s Son!”

Vorbis paused and turned, raising his standard so that the symbol on the cracked parchment was visible to all.

“I am Exquistor Vorbis of the Scrutoria. My word caries the authority of the Ecclesiarchy, the Ecclesiarch and through him, the Emperor. To stand against me is to stand against His will.”

Typical of the underlings of Verashyon was Exquisitor Vorbis, a field agent of the Scrutoria. Vorbis was instrumental in executing the Arch-Cardinal's will on Morgant, in what would become infamous as the Atrocity of Morgant. His actions, enacted by the Flesh Eaters and Charnel Guard alongside the Ecclesiarchy's own host on Morgant have long been treated as a major contributing factor to the Marines Saturnine and Argent Heralds joining the war on the part of the Partisans. 

On the face of things, driving two Chapters into the arms of the Partisans would seem to be counter-productive; but Verashyon reasoned that what they lost in two vacillating Chapters, they gained in fear and control over the populations of two sectors. Further, hardening the battlelines would provide the Orthodoxy with clarity on which systems were sympathetic to the Partisans, and which could be reasonably  allowed the wherewithal to supply their own garrison and look to their own immediate defence. 

It proved a masterful gamble that provided a great deal of stability within Sector Heliopolis, ensuring that the crusading Extinction Fleets could meaningfully operate in support of the Pentarchy's own fleets, freeing up the Astartes for the crucial battles against False Primarch's gathering forces in Sector Morqub.


Shield Guard Lumilya


Lumilya had been the sole survivor of the witch hunter trials on Agara III presided over by Judge Traggat. Just a teenager, she survived the purity trials, including having metal spikes hammered into her skull. 

Interrogator (as she then was) Luffendor had watched the trials and, impressed by the demeanour of the young girl recommended to her Ecclesiarchy contacts that they took in the now-orphaned child. 

Her proven purity, loyalty to the church and undoubted talents with a blade brought her to the attention of Arch-Cardinal Verashyon who appointed her his personal shield-guard. She returned her elevation with unquestioning devotion, seeing him as the will of the God-Emperor incarnate. It was a devotion the arch-Cardinal repeatedly came to value as she foiled multiple attempts on his life as he fought to impose his version of Orthodoxy.


Shield Guard Agatea


One of the first products of the Schola of the Cardinals Crimson based on Ophelia VII, Agatea had been inducted into the Shield Guard of the Cardinal to strengthen the bonds between the rising forces of the Scrutoria and the Cardinals Crimson. It was to prove a fruitful alliance, with the Cardinals Crimson supplying the core of the elite forces deployed by the Scrutoria against wayward parishes. Agatea’s hammer had proven its worth in such endeavours many times, the ambitions of at least one Deacon coming to a swift end upon the application of its face to their heretical head.


+Thought for the day+ Wrath is the last thing in man to grow old.