The great hall was aligned with Inquisitorial Stormtroopers clad in ornate carapace armour; so clad, they appeared to be nothing more than statues, were it not for the occasional lifting of their chests that showed the intake of breath. The very walls were adorned with gilded skulls, as was typical of most contemporary Imperial architecture; from them hung many banners with numerous symbols. Largest of these was a red one with which the symbol of the Inquisition was emblazoned upon it in golden silk. At the foot of it was a throne, within its immense confines stood sat a man in terminator armour; surrounded by several other men and women. Some were garishly dressed, some were austere in their aesthetics; others simply wore whatever they deemed fashionable, others were clad in gilded power armour. Some carried themselves as though they had a divinely ordained mission, others carried themselves as though they were trying to blend in. Regardless of how they adorned or carried themselves, all of these individuals had one thing in common; they were all Inquisitors of the Emperor’s Holy Ordos…and Charidis was one of them. If anything, he was the one who had this conclave called together; what revelations he had required to be revealed in light of all that he had recently underwent, presenting all he knew before Inquisitor Lord Vothor and his peers. Clutching a simple brown sack and a small servo-skull, the young Inquisitor strode forth; the Terminator armour-clad Vothor rose his Daemonhammer high, gesturing that the Inquisitors around him be silent. Afterwards, the Lord Inquisitor spoke, his voice bellowed through the vox amplifier installed in his armour.
“All who serve his Divine Majesty’s Holy Inquisition, witness before you the testament of Charidis Oberon, who has called this conclave together. Step forward and bring your case before us.” Placing his hammer aside, Vothor then made the sign of the Aquila. “The Emperor protects.”
The entire Conclave joined the Inquisitor Lord in his declaration of faith, Charidis included. He stepped forward, his heart pounding with each footfall; to be surrounded by so many of his peers at such an early stage in his career, the young Inquisitor was nervous to say the least. To have so many scrutinising eyes upon him, each pair honed towards gazing into a man’s soul, scrying the truth from falsehoods. He breathed deep, knowing full well that he held the truth within his very hand and as well as his soul. Vothor once more boomed.
“Do you, Charidis Oberon, swear by Him on Terra that the words you speak before this Conclave are those of truth and not of deception?”
Charidis took another deep breath before speaking.
“In nomine Imperator, I speak only truth before my brothers and sisters of the Holy Ordos.”
“Do you swear by Him on Terra that the words you speak before this Conclave convey his will and not Heresy?”
“In nomine Imperator, my words serve the will of Him on Terra. If my words be of deception and Heresy, then my fellow Inquisitors shall smite me in the Emperor’s name.”
The Inquisitor Lord then took his seat, some followed suit while others remained on their feet. The young Inquisitor was one of the latter, for there was no seat for the one who brings forth a testimony. If he cannot stand throughout the whole thing, then his soul is assumed to be weighed down by lies. Though such a thing never made any sense to Charidis, he knew it would be important to do so. Vothor then began again.
“Then speak Inquisitor Oberon, may all that you say be recorded so that all will know of this day. May the Emperor hear your testimony, which we will judge in his stead.”
Swiftly, the Inquisitor spoke his words; Vothor’s own savants began to swiftly scribble everything he said.
“Lord Vothor, fellow servants of the Holy Ordos, I come before you to convey a travesty within our Order. One of our own has fallen into the grip of the Ruinous Powers, his soul is damned in the eyes of Him on Terra.”
The Inquisitor Lord raised his withered eyebrow, the others murmured among themselves. Others looked upon Charidis with intrigue, some with disbelief or indifference…but only one looked upon him with scorn. It was a face he knew all too well; Sedaris’ skin was pale in comparison to his own dusky complexion, his brown eyes were considerable lighter too. His short brown hair was somewhat flamboyant, whilst Charidis’ own ebony hair was woven into a queue at the back with the front half shaved. Sedaris was educated by the Schola Progenium; direct contrast compared to Charidis’ own Feral world origins…something that the bastard was keen to remind his peer of. A sneer was present on his face, yet the young Inquisitor didn’t care. Vothor once more spoke.
“These are serious accusations you bring before us Inquisitor Oberon; who among us do you lay these charges of Heresy against?”
Charidis sighed, it was more than apparent that he was reluctant to speak of such a matter.
“I lay these accusations upon my former mentor, Inquisitor Hamish Madoli, for violating our sacred mandate. His soul has been tainted by the dark powers, pursuing their agenda not that of the Emperor.”
The next bout of murmuring was considerably louder, more intrigue had become apparent amongst the gathered Inquisitors. The Inquisitor Lord rose a hefty, metallic hand to silence the Conclave. He turned his steely gaze onto Charidis.
“You accuse your mentor of such a crime, yet he is not here to defend himself against your accusations?”
The Inquisitor simply cocked his head to the side.
“I myself wish such a thing were not so, were it not for Madoli I would not be here…and so is he.”
Loosening his grip on the sack he carried, Charidis hurled it before the Inquisitor Lord’s feet. From its confines rolled out an object that left a trail of blood. Its blonde hair and agonised expressions were all too familiar to the conclave. It was the severed head of Hamish Madoli.