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Scintilla---ancient, vast, powerful, corrupt. The capital of the Calixis Sector embraces moral decay with the same zeal that other more wholesome worlds cleave to martial honor or faultless piety. Indeed, corruption is so inherent to the culture of Scintilla’s mighty hives that they might literally cease to function without it. Strange then that a sect such as the Joyous Choir would arise on such a world…

Barely five years old, the Joyous Choir is a growing cult. The Ecclesiarchy approves of the “Choir” as it actively promotes a relatively benign version of the Imperial Creed, though not as yet formally accepted. The Joyous Choir believes, naively enough, that the Emperor wants all of His subjects to be happy. They hold that it is their duty to seek to be as contented as possible with their lives, ever striving towards being at perfect harmony with their place in the Imperium. They refer to their philosophy as the state of being “True”, embracing the notion that the “Truer” they are, the more likely that the Emperor will smile on them and that good luck will surely follow.

This quaint viewpoint is not so different from a thousand other variants of the Imperial Creed---what’s interesting is that members of the sect have undeniably prospered. Membership in the Joyous Choir has become a fad among the younger members of the noble houses of Scintilla and it’s swiftly catching on among the middle-hivers as well. Cynics declare that the Joyous Choir is nothing more than the newest fad, sure to be gone within a few seasons. These skeptics point out an obvious reason why the cult’s members are prospering: all of the rich young nobles with money to burn are bankrolling the differing projects and schemes of their fellow Choir members---nothing at all mystical about that. The Inquisition would normally be inclined to agree with the detractors, however, evidence has recently been discovered that is not so easily dismissed.

While the low-ranking members of the Joyous Choir truly believe that they are working for a legitimate faith, the Choir is in fact a lucrative front for a group of black market merchants who deal in a particularly dangerous commodity: psykers. The Joyous Choir employs individuals known as Counsellors who specialize in assisting adherents to their cult in becoming True. Counsellors employ a wide variety of methods in assisting their charges’ quest, including workshops, group discussions, individual therapy sessions and stimulant additives---all of which can cost a great deal of Imperial thrones. Cult members that prove their devotion are invited to participate in more “intensive” sessions. Counsellors at all tiers of the Choir’s organization employ small hand-held devices that they refer to as “harmony meters” which assist in determining how “out of balance” a cult member is and what may help them to become True. While the majority of the harmony meters do nothing more than trace energy patterns through the body, a small portion actually detect levels of psychic activity which the cult’s practices can subtlety stimulate and potentially enhance. When a member of the Joyous Choir becomes “ripe” they simply disappear...

OriginsEdit

Caros Shoal was once a shady merchant possessed of both undeniable charisma and a dubious reputation. Shoal first made his mark on Scintilla by the acquiring and selling of exquisite pieces of broken masonry supposedly extracted from the most antiquated portions of the shattered underhive of Hive Sibellus. These pieces of history gave him a cachet amongst the history-obsessed nobility of the hive, and he rose to prominence in what passes for polite society on Scintilla. Alas, his fame undid him, for as his celebrity increased, so too did the questions regarding the authenticity of a number of his greatest “finds”. When it was undeniably established that virtually all of his pieces of masonry were actually forgeries, Shoal swiftly made excuses, declaring that he too had been deceived along with his clients, blaming the crime upon his unnamed supplier. He repaid a minor portion of their funds to his most wrathful clients then fled with the Magistratum right behind.

Shoal wandered for a time, trying his hand at various swindles until a man who called himself Theodosia approached him. Theodosia offered Shoal a most unusual bargain; he claimed to represent a group of investors that wanted access to a certain commodity. The group felt that Shoal was the right man to leverage their way into Scintilla’s upper society. In exchange for settling his debts and smoothing over his past difficulties with the law, Shoal would help set up an organization that would help facilitate his new patron’s request. Shoal quickly agreed and, over a relatively short amount of time, the former merchant recreated himself as a preacher, correctly guessing that he could more easily sway Imperial society with the power of faith. Thus the Joyous Choir was born.

Shoal started small at first, focusing on the downtrodden citizens of the hive and building up a loyal cadre of followers. Theodosia and his backers supplied what sums Shoal needed for his initial set-up, however, the Choir’s spiraling success soon rendered ongoing monetary assistance unnecessary. Shoal’s brilliant scheme to quietly bankroll his cult members into prominence has worked perfectly. In just five years, Shoal’s little cult has slowly but surely gained eminence---the moment it caught on with the bored young scions of the nobility, Shoal knew that the Joyous Choir had truly arrived at last. Theodosia has occasionally assisted Shoal over the years, coming and going with some frequency, usually with “cargo” in tow. In time, Shoal discovered that the group Theodosia fronts for was known as the Serrated Query, however, he knows nothing more about his patrons than this: that the fiercest underhive scum that he had ever hired went as pale as alkali dust when they heard Theodosia whisper but a hint of their actual employer’s name. That, and the riches that the Choir have brought him, means that he asks few questions, merely delivering psykers as asked.

Shoal is starting to get very worried though as his personal history tells him that great success always seems to draw the “wrong” sort of attention. Sadly for poor Caros, his instincts haven’t failed him. Not only is the Inquisition very interested in his new cult, but also followers of Slaanesh, the Chaos god of illicit pleasures, have begun to infiltrate his congregation, drawn in by the rumors that the upper echelons of the Joyous Choir are involved in all sorts of delicious and illegal activities---which of course, they are. In addition to the business of supplying psykers, Shoal and his most trusted followers are active in moving a drug for the Serrated Query, a potent narcotic called farcosia. This highly addictive drug causes a powerful high to its users, who report that they can see “the threads that hold the galaxy together” when under the drug’s influence. Shoal’s ongoing anxieties have finally prompted him to begin seriously looking into the background of his mysterious patrons. So far, all he has discovered is that Theodosia appears to operate from the eternally moving desert city of Ambulon, whence the farcosia comes…

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