Following on from Part One, this section follows Goge Vandire's rise to High Lord.
THE AGE OF APOSTASY
It is the 35th millennium.
Since the Emperor’s accession to the Golden Throne, the Ecclesiarchy has ruled the Imperium in His name. With vast fleets of warships, and the might of the ruthless Frateris Templar, none could stand before them.
Or so it seemed.
For three millenia, their power and reach went unquestioned and unchallenged, until in the dying days of the 34th millennium, the combined might of the Adeptus Astartes, the Adeptus Mechanicum, and the Administratum were finally able to check power that had gone unchecked for too long.
For six hundred years the Ecclesiarchy languished, powerless on Terra, under the ever-vigilant eye of the Adminstratum. It was not until Benedin IV brought the Ecclesiarchy to the third richest planet in the Imperium, the Cardinal world of Ophelia VIII that they were able to reclaim their former glory. Once again the tithe fleets went forth into the galaxy, carrying the Emperor’s Word.
It is a time of civil unrest, of toil and strife, of fanatical zealots, of brave heroes and bloodthirsty tyrants. It is a time of cold-hearted slaughter; a time when the Imperium was brought to its knees by those who had turned their backs on the Emperor’s light.
This is the Age of Apostasy.
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE EMPEROR
001M36 – 015M36
The Coward’s Weapon
001M36 – 007M36
“So what is it that has nurtured us through these difficult years?” the Master of the Administratum asked the packed Grand Hall. The various guests and their families seated on the two thousand tables waited in silence for his next words. Dozens of servo-skulls hovered around the old man; some with cameras, others with microphones, some even had scrolls and quills to record his words.
“It is the will and divine guidance of the Emperor. His protection and benevolence has guided and guarded us for the last thousand years. With his support we have weathered the storm of war, we have overcome countless attacks, and we have survived many domestic threats...” he pointedly yet these words hang, ensuring that everyone knew he spoke of the Ecclesiarchy.
“But it is not just the Emperor we must thank, none of his wishes could have been enacted, none of his guidance could have been followed were it not for you my children. The Emperor may protect, but it is the Administratum that provides!” The huge hall erupted in thunderous applause, tens of thousands of Adepts, Prefects, and Masters stood and roared their approval. The lavish meals and fine wines on the tables were forgotten as the guests acknowledged the speech made by their Master.
It was the first time in hundreds of years that so many members of the Administratum had gathered together in such a way, and it was for one reason, celebration. It was the turn of a new millennium. The festivities and revelry on Terra had lasted for weeks, a mix of religious services and simple parties.
Tonight tens of thousands of the Administratum finest had gathered together in celebration. Just to be invited to such an event was a huge honour. The honour was even greater for those sat at the top table with the Master. The highest ranking Adepts and Prefects from all over the Imperium sat with him on the huge table. One man stood out from the others. He was far younger than the old men in their fine robes, he had no visible augmentation that so many of the others including the Master displayed, and he was far larger than any of those sat around him, he was a head taller than the others and it was clear that his bulk was muscle not fat. He would have looked more at home in the Imperial Guard or some Inquisitors’ warband then in these polite, restrained settings.
Next to him was a beautiful young woman with raven hair and pale skin. It was clear she was in the final stages of pregnancy, it was also clear from the way they acted that the two were married. She had a look of bemused happiness on her face, almost as if she couldn’t believe that she was in such a position for this momentous event.
The Master was now raising his hands for silence,
“Thank you!” he said “Thank you all, it has been your ceaseless effort and devotion that has allowed the Imperium to function and survive.” He paused as the applause died down and quiet returned to hall.
“I would now like to welcome the first of our speakers for tonight. One of the youngest men ever to hold the rank of Prefect, a man who turned down a position in the Senatorium Imperialis to take up our noble cause, a man who has been reviewing my security details with some interest...” there as a burst of polite laughter, “Goge Vandire.” He said, gesturing to the large young man.
Goge stood slowly, acknowledging the applause with a gentle incline of head. He nodded pointedly to a man in the crowd, who had jet black skin and shockingly white hair, wearing matching blood red and green robes of a junior Prefect.
As he reached the rostrum he paled visibly, the Master ignored this as he sat down, taking it to be simple nerves. Suddenly Goge gripped the wood firmly as sweat broke out on his forehead; only those closest could see that something was not right. Goge swayed alarmingly and then began to convulse rapidly. His grip on the rostrum increased. The Master stood to help him, and he thrashed wildly striking the old man in the jaw, and knocking him over. To those far from the table it appeared he had just struck the Master, there was suddenly uproar in the hall. The Goge begin to vomit, and spasm, his wife rushed to him and tried to hold him still screaming for help. The man he had nodded to forced his way to the table, his face showing his concern.
“Goge!” he bellowed “Apothecaries! Do something!”
With a final heave of vomit and one last massive spasm Goge went limp in his wife’s arms.