“You have betrayed your god. You have defiled His temples with the unworthy and sold His divinity to beggars...”
—Parchment writ nailed to the door of Confessor Ishmael Xandus (found murdered on Sentinel 712.M41)
The Temple Tendency is the vengeful remains of a cult of the Emperor’s divinity that once held sway over the entire Imperium. The Temple Tendency does not have truck with aliens or worship infernal powers; it is composed of the faithful devoted of the Emperor, who claim to follow the heritage of those who first declared the Emperor as a god.
Once their faith was the faith of all the Imperium. Their armies and ships were as numerous as the stars, their power all but unrivalled, and below the Golden Throne none was mightier. This might was long ago lost in the cataclysm known to Imperial history as the Age of Apostasy, and they have been reduced to perpetuating their faith in the shadows, nursing their hate and contemplating their vengeance.
Millennia of subterfuge have made the Temple Tendency a deadly and thirsting shadow of the holy organization it once was. Its poisonous presence slipped into the foundling Calixis Sector during the days of its birth, where the Tendency has festered and grown slowly down the centuries. The Calixian Temple Tendency is stronger now than it has ever been, and a threat to which even the Inquisition is blind, lurking unseen like a serpent poised to sink its fangs into the sector’s heart.
Tenets, Goals, and Heretical BeliefsEdit
At the core of the Temple Tendency lies the absolute belief by its members that they are the true and pure worshipers of the God-Emperor of Mankind. Furthermore, they are convinced the Ecclesiarchy is a heresy of the highest order that has usurped the faithful and damned the souls of countless billions by perpetuating a faith that is a tainted lie. This belief, warped and poisoned by millennia, informs all they do in what they regard as the battle for the Emperor’s soul. To the Tendency, the Ecclesiarchy is a heresy and all who are part of it should be put to the flame. All those that acknowledge the authority of the heretic usurpers are also heretics and so have cast themselves to the darkness. Thus does the Tendency believe that only by the return of the Temple of the Saviour Emperor to its rightful place can the ignorantly damned billions gain repentance, and only the purging of the heretical Ecclesiarchy can save humanity.
Guided by these convictions the Temple Tendency’s activities work to further three goals for the salvation of all.
The Preservation of the True
Those who maintain the ways of the Temple of the Saviour Emperor are few in number, and preserving the faith of those few comes before the Tendency’s other goals. Those who are part of the Tendency are often linked by blood or fealty to a noble lineage that has passed allegiance to the Tendency down the generations. The sect is acutely aware that, if discovered, a single member of their faith can quickly lead to the discovery of others by way of family association or background. To counter this inherent weakness in their structure, the Tendency has evolved thorough and rigorous methods of protection, concealment, and misdirection that can baffle all but the most sophisticated and subtle of enemies.
Given the Tendency’s small size, any depletion in its ranks weakens its ability to work towards its other goals, and so the Tendency will go to the most extreme and extraordinary lengths to preserve its security and anonymity. Assassination, misdirection, planting false evidence, re-building identities, and even provoking atrocities and open warfare to distract those who might discover the Tendency are all tactics employed by it.
The Return of Might and Majesty
The Temple Tendency’s central aim is to return the control of political and military might to the hands of the pure and the true. Such a grand goal could only be truly achieved by the overthrowing of the Imperium as it currently exists. Therefore the Tendency works towards gathering military and political power to its service through the placement of its members and manipulation of the organs of Imperial power through infiltration, blackmail, and bribery. It slowly erodes, where it can, the influence of the Ministorum and the cohesion of the Adepta.
The Return of the Temple of the Saviour Emperor
Ultimately, all of the Temple Tendency’s energies are channeled to one end—the overthrow of the heretics who have suborned the Ecclesiarchy and led the Imperium astray. The protection of those who still keep the pure and true worship of the Emperor alive, the gathering of military power, and the subversion of other organizations of power are all but steps to this final goal. The Tendency knows it will have to win victories in small pieces---a soul, a city, a planet, a sector at a time, and that millennia of failure and bloodshed lie ahead. This knowledge has done nothing to blunt the potency of the Temple Tendency’s dedication to this ultimate end.
The Temple Tendency in the Calixis SectorEdit
The Temple Tendency came with the crusade that carved the sector from the godless and infested margins of the Halo Stars. In all likelihood they were refugees from some other purge. Today, who these “pilgrims” were remains largely unknown even to the Tendency’s masters. Perhaps they were senior officers in Angevin’s forces or part of the Ecclesiarchy’s army of missionaries that moved in the wake of the conquering Imperial soldiers. No matter who they were, they came to newborn Calixis and brought their heretical faith with them, infecting their successors with paranoid secrecy and fear of discovery.
Since that time, the Tendency has made great efforts to solidify its position with near infinite patience. Its two main goals have been supporting and protecting high–born families of the faithful and building its shadow priesthood to hold them together with the far distant dream of using Calixis to further its true goals of a restoration of the faith. Over the centuries. the Tendency has weathered the storms of history, surviving plagues, wars, reversals of fortune, and unforeseen disasters and gaining ground and influence with measured precision and intent, until today its position in the shadowed hierarchies of the Calixis Sector is stronger than it has ever been.
The old ways of the Temple of the Saviour Emperor and the priesthood which exists to keep them alive live in the shadow of the Ecclesiarchy. The priests minister to an exclusive number of highly–placed families and hide almost in plain sight among the masses of the faithful. Although the Temple Tendency is strong and highly placed, it is geared more to survival and secrecy than open rebellion. It might be argued that it is troubled both by complacency in its current state and the fear of showing itself openly. It has also lost contact with any branch of the sect outside of the sector—a fact that the hidden Pontifices who command the sect have long concealed from their followers.
Lineages of the True and Pure
The Tendency has chiefly survived through the efforts of its hidden priesthood and the powerful noble families that secretly cling to its creed. The majority of the Tendency’s scattered congregation is made up of families who have passed their hidden faith down by word of mouth and who have a strict code of silence. Most families are well-established and thought of as being either part of the local elite or, in a few cases, powerful and influential clans with sector–wide influence. In secret, these families maintain their worship and have formed a symbiotic relationship with the sect’s priesthood, providing the Temple Tendency with resources and influence, while benefiting from its secret network and alliance. These families seldom know each other, being tied together instead only through the Shade Priests who come and go to minister to them in secret.
The Shade Priests
The Inquisition’s archives call them the Vandiran Apostates or Shade Priests, but to the faithful they are the “True.” These individuals move through the Calixis Sector like ghosts from family to family bearing messages, coordinating the actions of the sect, and performing religious ceremonies. They are the key to the workings of the Tendency---the means by which the organization is administered and bound together.
Outwardly, Shade Priests may appear to be merchants, traders, pilgrims, or practitioners of other roaming professions, allowing them to move throughout the sector unheeded. Beneath their appearance and mastered methods of deception, the priests are fanatics, often educated from infancy in the ways of the Temple of the Saviour Emperor and meticulously trained in the field craft that allows them to move and disappear like ghosts within the teeming masses of the sector. Most are drawn from the illegitimate children of noble families who are part of the Tendency, but perhaps the most dangerous are those whom the Tendency has taken from within the Imperium and converted to its faith. There are perhaps hundreds of such priests at large within the sector, and not even their masters know their full spread or extent.
Hidden beneath the manses of powerful Tendency members or concealed in the bowels of trading vessels are the Chantries of the Temple of the Saviour Emperor. These are the sacred places where members worship the Emperor as was once done throughout the Imperium in ages long past. Surfaces covered in gilt glimmer in the light of candles and crystal lamps, while from all around the Emperor looks down, His gaze frozen in precious metal. The Chantry represents not only a place of true and pure worship to the Tendency but also a reminder of what once was, and which the cult prays, will be again. Huge wealth is poured into the construction of these hidden places, and to keep them hidden and safe. Each chantry is guarded by cloisters of mute Chantry Guards, a long distant echo of the lost elite of the Frateris Templars. These devoted warriors have the finest muscle grafting, weapons, and training lavished on them, and they will guard their Chantry with their dying breath.
The Hidden Pontifices
The Pontifices are the ruling elite of the Tendency. In them the ancient authority of the first men to proclaim the Emperor as a God is preserved. While the noble families are the bedrock of the Tendency and the Shade Priests the web that holds it together, the Pontifices are its guiding hand. There are no more than a handful in the Calixis Sector, each watching over a subsector and answering only to the High Priest of the True, Deacon Priam.
Each Pontifex also leads a double life, usually having a position of some importance within the organizations of the Imperium from where he can exert influence or be privy to useful information. Some may be members of the Administratum or planetary government, while others are members of the Ecclesiarchy itself, working to undo the very organization that they are part of.
Vengeance and Loathing
Of all arms of the Ecclesiarchy, the Temple Tendency nurtures a special malice towards the Sisters of the Adepta Sororitas. The holy sisters were once called the Brides of the Emperor and served as Goge Vandire’s personal shock troops and bodyguards in the last bloody decades before the Reformation re-forged the Ecclesiarchy. Consisting of many Orders, each following a different calling, the Adepta Sororitas have been the pure heart of the Ecclesiarchy for over five millennia. Most famed of the holy Sisters are the Battle Sisters, the military arm of the Ecclesiarchy and Chamber Militant of the Ordo Hereticus; they are manifestations of the Emperor’s judgment.
No matter what their Order, all sisters of the Adepta Sororitas are despised by the Temple Tendency. To this day, the Tendency will take any opportunity to revenge themselves on the sisterhood, even acting with uncharacteristic recklessness to inflict harm and suffering upon them. The poisoning of the Sister Famulous adviser to Lord Sector Hax two years ago and the “accidental” unleashing of reprogrammed arco-flagellants on a Sister Hospitaller medical facility on Tranch are but the most recent manifestations of the Temple Tendency’s vendetta against the Adepta Sororitas.
Current Conspiracies and PlotsEdit
At any one time in the Calixis Sector, members of the Temple Tendency may be pursuing a number of schemes for the furtherment of their outlawed faith: the corruption of an individual mission to spread the Ministorum Creed, the assassination of a perceived threat, or the obtaining of illegal arms and equipment. Its most abiding concerns however, are maintaining the faith and the shield of secrecy that hides it. The Temple Tendency is also hampered somewhat in that it must always operate under a paradox that further complicates matters—while it hates and despises the Imperium as it is currently manifested, it cannot afford to see it fall to outside forces, for that too would be a betrayal of the Emperor. The Tendency is as firm in its hatred of the witch, the alien, and the tainted as the most hardline Puritan and its faithful act accordingly.
Currently, the Holy Ordos are ignorant of the Temple Tendency’s entrenched presence in the Calixis Sector. This is a state that has been maintained by the sect at the cost of the lives of several Inquisitorial Acolytes and numerous cell members. This ignorance on the part of the Calixian Conclave is in part due to the fact that the sector is young in terms of the Imperium and the fact that the Tendency is often found tied to places where the Temple of the Saviour Emperor was once powerful---an age long passed by the time Calixis was born. This fact has hidden the Temple Tendency, and while the Inquisition is aware of certain incidents, it does not suspect a single heresy or group to be behind them, much less that the heresy is the Temple Tendency.
The Assassination Cells
The Temple Tendency has a long history of venting its hate of the Ecclesiarchy in episodes of spiteful bloodletting. In the last half century, however, High Priest of the True Priam, the sect’s Calixian leader, has charged his flock with supporting and enacting the murder of members of the Ecclesiarchy with greater vigor than his predecessors. The assassination cells formed by this edict are made up of members of the secret faith and are often of diverse profession and appearance.
Trained to move amongst the Imperium without notice, the members of a cell may appear to be aides to a merchant, pilgrims, or other innocuous travellers. The members of a Tendency assassination cell usually work together for years, selecting and executing their own targets. Many kill opportunistically, slaying a lone preacher or missionary and thus making the most any given advantage. Others are more selective and aim to strike at key members of the Ministorum presence in the sector. Indeed, the poisoning of the previous Sororitas adviser to Lord Sector Hax was one such assassination that was the result of careful planning by a Tendency assassination cell.
The assassination cells are allowed and encouraged to roam free, killing and working against members of the Ecclesiarchy at will so long as they maintain their veil of secrecy. These activities, however, are only to hone them for their real tasks. Their true duty is revealed to them when they receive a name or a series of objectives by the word of a Shade Priest at the behest of one of the sect’s Pontifices.
The Infiltration of the Red Redemption
The Temple Tendency has recently set its sights on the Red Redemption. Redemptionists are an ultra militant sect of the Imperial Creed that sees humanity as saturated with sin and who can only be redeemed by fire and blood. Followers of the Redemptionist creed are militant to a frenzied degree, and groups of different sizes are found across the Calixis Sector, varying from small Underhive gangs to the huge army of Seth the Voice on Iocanthos. Redemptionists see heretics all around them, yet are often blind to those that stand amongst them. The Temple Tendency began its infiltration of the Redemption a few years ago, starting by funding the Redemption and then infiltrating members into the Redemption’s local leadership. So far it has not managed to penetrate the Redemption enough to exert any real influence over the sect, but should its plans progress unimpeded, it will eventually have gained control over a fanatical army of followers to use as unwitting cannon fodder in a war yet to come.
The Manipulation of the Lucid Court
The Temple Tendency’s chief achievement in the Calixis Sector is the extent to which it can influence the sector’s governance. The Temple Tendency has caused the dismissal of officials so that it could substitute its own pawns and thereby influence the balance of power in the sector. To this end, it has taken advantage of aspects of Lord Sector Hax’s character to bring about a political situation that favors its schemes, not least of all his innate paranoia and dislike of outside interference to his rule. This goal has been achieved by the placement of trusted followers of the Temple of the Saviour Emperor within the inner circle of Lord Hax’s court, a thing that has taken centuries of positioning and bribery to achieve.
Chief amongst these secret heretics is Lord Verence, who coordinates the manipulation of Hax and his court fellows with the delicate and invisible hand of a master. Others work in ignorance for the sect, believing instead that their petty corruptions fuel noble vendettas or simple greed, not realizing their paymasters’ true natures. Ultimately the sect wishes to push Hax into ever more tyrannical actions, turning his suspicion and wroth against rival noble families, competing powers, and troublesome members of the Adepta, all in the furtherance of its own long-term power, and perhaps even provoke a carefully managed sector civil war.