“He that knows the future, controls the present;
He that controls the present, owns the past.”
–Maxims of the Sigilite, Cantos CXII
Of all the factions of the Calixian Inquisition, the Ocularians (literally ‘they who see’) are among the strangest and most unfathomable, even to their peers. They are united not simply by doctrine but by obsession---knowledge of the future; of predictions and omens, patterns of events, divination and destiny, and above all, in keeping their own secrets. The faction’s detractors range in their accusations from charges that the Ocularians waste their attentions on meaningless and futile attempts to predict future threats to the Imperium while blithely ignoring present dangers, to attempted witch hunts raised by hardline puritans against Ocularians they believe have courted damnation in their desire to know the unknowable.
Ocularians are a sect whose provenance, exact origins and age are shrouded in a tangle of myth, apocryphal data, and outright contradiction. Those few that know of the Ocularians in any detail consider them to be a paranoid faction of diviners and scholar-Inquisitors whose obsession with prophecy and prognostication has long skirted outright heresy. Ocularian Inquisitors and their tightly-knit coteries of Acolytes, (who feature a preponderance of Adepts and Sanctioned Psykers among their ranks) are generally regarded by the Conclave Calixis’s powers-that-be as a useful if often erratic resource. The Ocularians’ abilities and skills make them asset enough to remain tolerated despite their eccentricities and adherence to internal secrecy. This status quo does not however sit well with many of the Conclave’s puritans however, and over the centuries internecine strife has occurred on numerous occasions. The Ocularians often emerge as the victor, much to the shock of the firebrands who have challenged them.
The true nature of the Ocularians’ power, their history, and goals are more subtle and more terrible than even the most rabid Witch Hunter would dare believe.
“The inability of the human mind to correlate all of its contents is mankind’s saving grace and most potent weapon, for the truth is indeed a terrible thing to know.”
–Attributed to the Arch-Remembrancer Hasred Wedlore
The conspiracies and concerns of the Ocularians within the Calixis sector are many. According to their secret fractalciphered records, the Ocularians stood shoulder to shoulder with the sector’s founders, worked their patterns of destiny in the shadow of the man who would become Saint Drusus, oversaw the fall of the ten traitor captains, and by their own lore have long stood sentinel over the dark marches of the Hazeroth Abyss to ensure things were not disturbed there that otherwise would one day set a thousand worlds burning. Regardless of the truth or falsehood of these claims they make within their own ranks, the Ocularians continue their vigils and their machinations in the Calixis sector to this day. They take care to work as far as possible in total secrecy, their actions hidden even from their fellows in the Holy Ordos, standing outside and aloof from what the see as the petty squabbling and infighting of their peers. Given to intrigues than might last generations, long-distance interference, and seemingly random interventions that may pre-empt or nudge the course of events one way or another, much of the Ocularians influence in the sector is hidden or hard to detect simply by its disconnected and often bizarre nature. Few but the Ocularians are able to glimpse the pattern among the confusion.
The Widening Gyre
To some observers the Calixis sector might seem as a relative realm of stability in a wider Imperium riven by star-spanning wars and endless bloodshed, but the Ocularians have long known the truth of the many sins and terrible dangers that fester here, a fact that they see as central for their faction’s very cause and existence. The Parliament of Whispers has seen a steady increase in the number and potency of the threats than have risen up in Calixis over the years. They have seen a spreading, devouring stain of unknown cause that they have come to refer to as the Widening Gyre. With each day, it seems to consume more possible avenues of the future. By their divinations and esoteric researches, there is the indication of some coming darkness that threatens to engulf far more than a single sector of humanity’s domain, an event that many prophecies and shadowed visions of what is to come reflect as a total blackness in which nothing, even light survives. Conspiracies and cults, daemon visitations, and xenos infiltrations have seemed to intensify at a startling rate in the Calixis Sector over the last two centuries—perhaps as part of this threat, or simply an unhappy coincidence. The Parliament of Whispers—whose power extends across this reach of space—has been blindsided repeatedly or seen events move simply too fast for them to control. Caught off guard, the Ocularians have seen their predictions fail and their vaunted wisdom prove inadequate to the threats that have appeared like thunderbolts from a clear sky—a situation they refuse to tolerate.
In response to these failings and the growing threat, the Ocularians have recently sought to greatly strengthen their covert and martial assets in the Calixis sector. They have accelerated plans for expansion into neighbouring sectors and are actively supporting ever more drastic means to ensure they may influence events more rapidly than they have been elsewhere accustomed, bringing with it a new militancy and willingness to kill that few can guess at. The Parliament of Whispers has decided that the entire Calixis Sector is expendable, if needs be, in order to safeguard the fate of the wider Segmentum and perhaps the Imperium itself, and it is laying its plans accordingly.
The Shadow of the Hereticus Tenebrae
The interest of the Ocularian faction in the baleful phenomena known as the Tyrant Star predates the foundation of the Calixis sector, and over the centuries, it has amassed in secret a store of information, prophecy, and direct evidence on the subject that the Tyrantine Cabal cannot guess at—and would kill to possess. As to just what ‘Komus’ is, the Ocularians do not claim to know, at least not fully. But they have some very terrifying suspicions indeed, and for many in the faction’s ranks, it is the prime suspect as the so-called ‘widening gyre’ that threatens this area of space. To this end, the Ocularians have further focused their attentions on the Tyrantine Cabal and the secret Tenebrae Collegium in particular, and they have not liked what they have found. Formerly dismissing the Cabal as hopelessly divided by factional infighting and better suited to cleaning up after catastrophe than averting it, several of the Ocularian’s hidden masters have more recently come to see the Cabal as a risk factor in itself, a fertile breeding ground for dissention, plot, and corruption. A force that in the future could itself become as great a threat to the sector as any it attempts to counter. For the moment, the Ocularians are making inroads into the organisation’s structure and operations, and has already succeeded in having several of its hidden Inquisitors join the Cabal’s ranks whilst its more open members have made use of a few minor revelations from the Ocularian’s store of knowledge—which has led to the Cabal slavering for more. As for the Ocularian’s ultimate purpose for the Cabal, only time will tell whether they will seek to manipulate its destiny into something more fitting with the faction’s purpose or lead it unknowingly to destruction. Perhaps the Ocularians are playing with a greater fire than they know.
The Child of Midnight
Within the Ocularian faction, there are numerous smaller splinter groups varying in size and influence who have taken up their attentions and manipulations in the pursuit of a particular pattern of foreshadowing, or more rarely the fulfillment or thwarting a single prophecy. Once such splinter group is based around the elderly Inquisitor Katuwe Orne and his former Acolytes, several of whom have since risen to the rank of Inquisitor or occupied other positions of power themselves.
For nearly three centuries, Orne’s obsession has been with averting a prophecy he first learned of amid the deep vents of the warp-touched world of Sleef while battling a necrophagic witch-cult that had travelled there after foretelling of the birth of a prophesied child. This so-called ‘child of midnight’ would be a true abomination, an alpha-plus level psyker with the power to enslave millions and carve an empire of its own out of the Imperium’s bloody carcass. Orne’s vision on Sleef has led him to spend his life’s work against this dark future. The relentless path he has taken has seen thousands put to death.
His detractors argue that Orne’s actions were without just cause or recourse to saving souls for the Black Ship’s due. Now laid low by advanced age and infirmity, he has been forced to give over much of his body to augmetics in order to survive. Orne seldom strays now from his private estates in Hive Tarsus on Scintilla and can work now only though intermediaries and those few of his former servants that share in his fanatical purpose. But despite his eccentricity and infamous bile, he remains an acknowledged authority on Calixian witch-lore and the sector’s prophetic cults past and present. He is also known to keep one of the finest coteries of mystics and diviners in the Segmentum. Orne is an open proponent of the Ocularian doctrine in the Conclave and (unknown to his often deriding peers) one of the masters of the Parliament of Whispers. In secret, the hidden strength of his faction still travel from world to world at Orne’s direction, their hands dipped in blood, ensuring the child of midnight is never born.
The Legacy of Blood
A name mentioned in whispers even among the Holy Ordos is that of Inquisitor Silas Marr. Attendant on Solomon’s notorious Chancellery Court, Marr is a mysterious figure who seems to sit entirely outside of the power structure of the Calixian Inquisition, and follows no known dogma, faction or sub-Ordo. Whilst some high in the Conclave accord him the respectful title of ‘Lord,’ others refuse to even acknowledge his existence, at least publicly---some hint darkly of the nearmythical Ordo Sicarius and worse. Nor is Marr a member it would seem of the Ocularians, hidden or otherwise, but he does know them, and has long entertained an alliance of sorts with the Calixian arm of the faction. Like a spider at the heart of a vast web of agents, Marr possesses a seemingly limitless resource for information gathering whose true extent and backing remains a mystery even to the Parliament of Whispers. Marr trades facts and figures, correlations and covert murder with the Ocularians in return for the more esoteric services of their diviners, and it seems, his tolerance.
One of Marr’s key concerns in recent times, and one use to which he has extensively tasked the Ocularians to aid him, is in the matter of the bloodline of the infamous and long vanished Rogue Trader House of Haarlock. The matter of the Haarlock Legacy is a truly dark one, and already several of the Ocularians’ finest diviners have gone mad or died simply by bending their gifts toward its end. The Legacy seems to be a whirlpool that is rapidly drawing in cults and conspiracies that it touches, and it is spreading death in its wake on ancient worlds across the Calixis sector. It is an affair in which Marr himself is interfering through various cat’s-paws within the Inquisition itself, but to what end even the Ocularians do not know and await in dread to discover.