The last in a chain of shrine worlds across the devout Drusus Marches, Veneris lacks any clear connection to the works of the divinely inspired Saint Drusus, or indeed any of the lesser saints of the Sector’s apocryphal history. As such, it should be, in terms of the great Calixian pilgrimage routes, a backwater useful only for temporary layovers after visits to the holier worlds of Maccabeus Quintus and Sentinel.
Yet despite its inauspicious history, Veneris is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the entire Sector. This is due entirely to the vast statues carved out of the mountain ranges which crisscross the planet.
Veneris is a grey, dry, desert world, with a handful of shabby towns that cower along the edges of small salty lakes, the only remnants of once vast seas. Sparsely inhabited since the days of the Angevin Crusade, Veneris was never a strategically important or wealthy world. Indeed, it only came into its own some five hundred years after the death of Saint Drusus. Inspired by the devotions of its neighbors, the inhabitants of Veneris used ancient atomic weapons to reshape dozens of the planet’s vast mountain ranges into the likenesses of great Imperial Saints such as Thor, Drusus, Vidicus and Perditar the Forgotten.
Now Veneris is renowned across the Calixis Sector and beyond for statues on a scale unheard of outside the Segmentum Solar. For a brief, three hundred year period, the planet’s inhabitants engaged in a literally colossal project to reshape their world. Using atomics, conventional explosives, and millions of devout sculptor-slaves, the Venerisians carved titanic religious images up to twenty kilometres long, using entire mountain ranges as their building blocks. The larger sculptures portray Imperial Saints prone, as if sleeping, awaiting the summons of the God Emperor. Smaller colossi test the limits of human engineering skill, depicting the Emperor himself, standing up to three kilometers high, gazing into the stars as if hungry for further conquest.
Centuries after the world-sculpting project ground to a halt amid massive dust-storms, depopulation and starvation, the planet’s lone, grimy starport now draws pilgrims by their millions, destined to travel via macro-hauler across the marble wastes, in hushed and awed silence past the colossal castoffs of the natives’ ancestors: eroded yet noble visages weighing thousands of tonnes, vast and trunkless legs of stone, and petrified hands that if living could crush a battle titan.
The world of Veneris is well known for its massive statues of the Emperor and Imperial saints so large they dwarf nearby mountains. These colossi must be maintained with constant repairs to fend off the elements. The quarry, therefore, near the planet’s southern pole is one of the most important locations on the planet.
When the quarry was infected with recidivists who believed their toil too great, the mining of stone halted and demands were sent to the local Ecclesiarchal authorities. Confessor Von Schteil rallied a force of unknowable size from the pilgrims come to Veneris to weep. He whipped his Frateris Militia into a frenzy with sermons on the heresy of sloth and fuelled the hatred for those who would allow the monuments to die rather than perform their sacred duty. Over the course of three bloody days the Fraeteris Militia killed nearly half of the workers; in one instance the Militia toppled a two kilometer high Macrostatue of St. Berevus onto the assembled rioters. Confessor Von Schteil accepted the confession of the leaders and they were put to death in front of an ocean of praying pilgrims.