An ancient and scheming Daemonic entity known in the dark myths of Iocanthos as Tsyiak, the Crow Father and the Dancer at the Threshold once controlled a powerful cult before they, and his earthly vessel in the form of the cult's leader, were all destroyed by Saint Drusus during the early crusades to conquer Iocanthos. Knowledge of this event was completely repressed and even among the natives it has faded into half-remembered myth. The Daemon, however, has not forgotten, and since then it has clawed and scratched at the barriers of reality seeking to revenge itself and to walk Iocanthos once more to work its evils and has worked on a plot to unleash itself on the material world.
To this end, Tsyiak has whispered corruption into the mind of a good-intentioned but flawed Imperial missionary---Orland Skae. Manipulating Skae’s pride and blind faith, the Daemon has slowly twisted his mind and brought him completely under its thrall. Betrayal, lies, murder and despair are meat and drink to the Daemon, and it has been secretly orchestrating events from the shadows to use Skae to enact a ritual sacrifice and unleash the Daemon.
The Daemon has duped Skae into founding a new cathedral in Stern Hope in the wilderness on the very site of Tsyiak’s ancient defeat, with the missionary’s gathered congregation ready to be betrayed and sacrifice when the time is right. But to fully and firmly take a grip on mortal flesh, Tsyiak needs the body and soul of a powerful psyker to consume and possess, so the Daemon has conspired to bring a descendant of the hated Drusus to fulfil this role: Aristarchus the Seer.
The Daemon’s plan has been to cloud Aristarchus’s mind through the gift of a corrupted Emperor’s Tarot deck, which will slowly bring him under Tsyiak’s thrall. Once all is prepared and the time is right, the ritual to incarnate the Dancer at the Threshold will begin and the people of Stern Hope will be betrayed to destruction. Tsyiak has even gone so far as to begin appearing to Skae in visions as Saint Drusus himself, claiming that the preparations and Aristarchus’s coming will allow him (the saint) to be reincarnated in mortal form---a lie that he will also tell Aristarchus when the time is right, duping him into becoming a willing sacrifice.