Creed and Credulity
Many witnessed Morgetheon's sermon condemning Volnoscere as a heretic.Few would have foreseen the Arch-Cardinal then rising to lead the Heliopolean Ecclesiarchy, and hailing the Primarch as the rightful ruler of the Imperium.None would be envious of his eventual fate at the hands of the Pentarchy...
|[//Imperial Hymnals MCMXXX – For we believe in the God-Emperor atop his Church +]|
Forces of the Ecclesiarchy
During the War of the False Primarch, the men and women of Sectors Heliopolis and Morqub would rise up to support both the primacy of the High Lords of Terra and the Returned Primarch with equal fervour. Massively diverse, believing hundreds of subtly – or massively – different creeds, the planetary Cults of the Ecclesiarchy were often united only in believing of the primacy of the God-Emperor. For the massed warriors of the Imperial Cult, the Emperor was a shared object of devotion; and it is thus all the more tragic that so many died in the name of whether one of his sons or the High Lords would be invested with the authority to exert His will in the future Imperium of Man.
Aster Morgetheon, the Cardinal-Prime
|[//Pictured on Sanctram early in the War, Morgetheon brandishes suspiciously clean 'trophy helms' of known Partisan Chapters to increase recruitment rates for the Orthodox resistance.+]|
Better crippled in body than corrupt in mind.
"Tell me what you know."
The words dribbled out of Richephanes' mouth. Generations of inbreeding had misshapen his face and he struggled to get words out and keep food in.
Richephanes was Cardinal Morgetheon's Confessor – a position he had attained through his father's 'generous donations' to the coffers of the Ecclesiarchy's regional trove. Officially, Richephanes attended to the sins of the Cardinal personally and granted him the God-Emperor's Absolution; but his lowly rank hid Richephanes' true power. His pedigree may have left him distorted in form, but it had granted him excellent connections...
It had not been easy. His men had hunted for scraps of knowledge for months before finally having success with the wretched thing before him. It had once been Bishop Nothhelm, a man who had spoken in favour of this ‘lost Primarch’. Richephanes had to admire his faith though, for he had so far withstood the worst of Richephanes’ tools.
Nothhelm screamed as Richephanes tightened the excrutiator once more.“M-mercy!" it pleaded, brokenly, "I'll tell you everything. What do you want to know?”
Richephanes smiled a wet, sinister smile.
"Tell me about him."
Forces of the Ecclesiarchy
|[//The Cardinal world of Sanctram sits in the rimwards and spinwards (galactic north) reaches of Heliopolis. Morgant in the heart of the Abraxas Sector. +]|
|[//Militias took many forms, from fresh-faced innocents to the hardened fanatics above+]|
|[//Vanguard veteran Árpoly of the Iron Guard's 1st Company; alongside Veteran-sergeant Magor and Battle-brother Jakab of the 4th.+]|
My Lord Arch-Cardinal,
Direct worship of the rumoured ‘lost Primarch’ continues to spread. While worship of the sainted Primarchs is obviously a key part of the faith, I worry what the impact of a returned Primarch would be, whether real or not. It risks the faithful seeing him as a more direct line to the Holy Emperor than even his holiness the Ecclesiarch himself. This could emerge as a threat to the authority of the Church itself.
Although the Church would often seek to stand above the petty squabbles of the Astartes, in my view this is different. I petition for further forces to be diverted to Sector Heliopolis, I am ashamed to say that this is not a task I can complete with the forces on hand.
Tempestus Iconolates and the Black Deacons
The Tempestus Iconolates were the Ecclesiarchy's answer to the Astra Militarum's Stormtrooper corps. Just as the Frateris Templar were modelled on the original tenets of the Solar Auxilia, the Tempestus Iconolates were Ecclesiarch Benedin II's elite Tempestus Scions.
I am deeply disappointed to hear of your request for more forces. Your failure has been noticed. Nevertheless, Inquisitor Enoch has recently convinced the High Lords to deploy substantial forces to deal with this threat. Confessor Militant Castozoff somewhat jumped the gun in declaring a war of faith, but his gathering of forces locally has proven fortuitous. The sector has frequently been a hotbed of schism and this might be an opportunity to bring those inclined to challenge the authority of the Church Hierarchy to heal.
There is concern that the Inquisition are using this appointment to improve their standing and expand their influence. I therefore will be travelling to the sector with this ‘Extinction Armada’ in order to command our own forces and check the ambitions of Inquisitor Enoch. Their remit must not be allowed to permit them oversight of the Scrutoria. We speak with the direct authority of the Emperor and none should be allowed to forget that.
Remember, it is better for a world to burn than a heretic to go free.
|[//Iconolate First-Class Seòras of the Tempestus Iconolates, Chalcean Battle-Monastery.+]|
Early battles of the Ecclesiarchy
It would not be regional Ecclesiarchy forces that ordered the first conflict of the War in Heliopolis; but those under Arch-Cardinal Verashyon, in the name of Ecclesiarch Benedin II.
This first major formal deployment of the Ecclesiarchy forces was headed by Confessor Castozoff on his homeworld of Morgant, a world that had supposedly vacillated in its devotion to the High Lords in favour of supporting the 'Primarch'. This was in the very early stages of the War, as the Extinction Armada continued to translate in-Sector.
|[//Arch-Confessor Castozoff leads forces on Morgant.+]|
Castozoff had been promoted to Confessor Militant shortly before the hostilities of the War of the False Primarch broke out. Sensing an opportunity upon learning of the heresy, he was the first senior Ecclesiarch to declare a war of faith, rapidly gathering a huge force, mostly comprised of poorly-armed penitents.
Ajudging the Confessor to be capable, Verashyon granted a portion of his forces to the effort, and personally petitioned the Pentarchy for further support. A massive symbolic strike would be launched upon Morgant, demonstrating the Arch-Cardinal's utter ruthlessness and making it clear to the surrounding Subsector of the meaning of faith.
Deployed into the Corewards Reaches of Morqub, rather than concentrating on what might be regarded as targets of military value, Castozoff focussed upon what he called 'targets of religious significance', usually wealthy worlds where the priesthood had a history of questioning Ecclesiarchial tithes.
Atrocity on Morgant
'and while the hand of the pious will emerge unscathed, the hand of the heretic will inevitably burn and be unable to stand the flame.'
Those who failed the test would be turned over to the mercy of the Flesh Eaters.
In the wash of the ascending drop ships were left four thousand heretics, as the army of the faithful carried onward.
Castozoff’s Sanctramite force was predominantly poorly armed penitents, but several battle choirs of Tempestus Iconolates, the Ecclesiarchy’s new weapon against the faithless and the heretic, accompanied the rag-tag force. They appeared to have a different agenda however, as they separated from Castozoff’s fleet after Morgant and were never seen as a single force until later in the war.
In the following months, several isolated incidents occurred throughout the sector, such as the bones of St Kateyik being stolen from Ulea, Asha’s planetary governor crashing his ship in a fatal sub-orbital disaster, or the mysterious immolation of the Cathedral of the Eternal Resplendent Glory on Jio. The body of Bishop Nothhelm, who was alleged to have seen the false Primarch himself, was never found in the ruins of his cathedral. Pict recordings show a squad of Iconolates, later identified as Battle Choir Theta, operating around the cathedral shortly before the inferno.
Originally thought unrelated, memno-records later recovered indicate that the battle choirs were all operating under spymaster Richephanes’ orders. Although his goals were not always obvious, it was clear that he was seeking information about the ‘lost Primarch’. Whether this intelligence was used for the benefit of the wider Extinction Armada, or Richephanes’ position within the Ecclesiarchy is, however, unclear.
That millions of innocents died in these actions mattered little to the Iconolates, for each member of the battle choir had spent months in pre-emptive penance.
A second notable early engagement was at Hever, a world of great prosperity ruled over by a theocracy based in the shrine complex at Bolynet. Forces led by Exquisitor Vorbis deployed in a surprise shock assault, penitent fanatics slaughtering virtually the entirety of the senior clergy and using charges of heresy to levy crippling tithes on the planet.
While previously run as a theocracy, Hever had been known as a model of good government in the sector, its people preserving a modicum of freedom, and areas of the planet remaining protected from heavy industry. Under its new masters, however, great Cathedrals clad in shining metal rose rapidly into the skies as the wealth of its population rapidly drained away into the coffers of the Ecclesiarcy, along with their freedoms.
The world proved a valuable source of resource and staging post for the Ecclesiarcy forces in the Extinction Fleets as they deployed into the sector – but it is also notable as one of the first places to rise up against the Orthodoxy when the False Primarch's forces made their move in the third part of the war.
|[//Battle-Choir operation on Hever+]|
The Nature of Volnoscere
|[//Iconolate of the Tempestus Scions, Chalcean Battle-Monastery.+]|
I have returned, bearing no truth. I bear nothing but the certainty of purpose necessary for the survival of the individual amidst a universe hostile to it in almost every way.