“...And I heard the voice in the midst of the thunder saying ‘Comeand See,’ and I saw,
And I beheld the Children of Men bearing terrible weapons while the eight-fold star was trampled at their feet,
And the fourth seal shattered and the Beast did cower in new-forged chains,
The Ancient Seraphs bore witness, their wings dipped in blood, and the lamentations were mighty as They That Can Not Die werecast down,
And the Voice in the Abyss spoke again saying ‘It is Done’..."
–The Corrinto Propheticum, declared to be an extreme moral threat and suppressed, 744.M41
The Xanthites are a powerful Radical faction who take their name from the great Inquisitor Zaranchek Xanthus, reputed to have had a dangerous and unhealthy amount of knowledge of the warp and its uses. The Xanthites believe that Chaos is but a reflection of mankind, mirroring its whims, desires, and emotions. Therefore, with the right knowledge, mankind may use its power. In the simplest terms, they believe that only the power of Chaos can fight Chaos and that humans must embrace this power or perish by it. Within the Calixis Sector, Xanthites are more spoken of than seen, though rumors continually persist of powerful Inquisitors and Imperial officials who follow their ideals.
Xanthite Domains Edit
The areas controlled by the Xanthites are less apparent than those of many of the other factions. By their nature, Xanthite Inquisitors have learnt to tread lightly among the ranks of the Conclave and seldom mix with others of Ordo or Cabal. More a loose confederation of individuals, the faction structures itself around the master-student model, with Xanthites usually only operating in pairs or alone. On the fringe and where the gaze of Imperial authorities grows dim, members of the faction are most commonly found, seeking out those that hide from the Emperor’s light in such shadows. Of course, it is believed that many Xanthites also operate quietly deep within the heart of the sector, in the depths of hives, and in the grand edifices of the Ministorum where corruption is wont to fester.
Xanthite Operations Edit
Xanthites are primarily concerned with the garnering of forbidden lore and schooling themselves in its use. They are also, despite the views of most Inquisitors, some of the most zealous opponents to the Ruinous Powers. Of particular interest to the Xanthites are fallen Inquisitors and corrupted acolytes, who they seek out not for retribution and punishment but to better learn how to treaits very essence, Chaos is an unpredictable and dangerous power to harness, and many who seek out such fallen agents of the Throne end up joining their ranks.
This, of course, does not stop the Xanthites from their pursuit of proscribed texts and forbidden lore, which they consider paramount to their cause. In recent times, the Xanthites have been gathering lore on the nature of the Tyrant Star and how its terrible power might be harnessed for the Imperium. Whenever Xanthites meet, they exchange small pieces of such information, slowly building up an extensive amount of data on the so-called “threat” rivalled only by the Amalathians in its breadth and accuracy. In fact, it is probably only a matter of time before they learn of the Amalathians’ secret, and when they do, they will doubtless be far less conservative with such knowledge.
On occasion, the Xanthites are known to employ Imperial Diviners to foretell the future.
Xanthite Inquisitors Edit
Records of Xanthite Inquisitors are sketchy at best, many being surrounded in myth and rumor as much as actual fact. Ordo Malleus Inquisitor Felroth Gelt is a good example of this. A bold Monodominant and a Puritan, it is said that he was once ranked high in the Conclave and the favored of Lord Inquisitor Caidin. However, sometime during his third century of life, after years of struggle and bloody conflict with the Emperor’s foes, he became disillusioned. The strict tenets of his faction and the hollow victories over his enemies began to lose all of their meaning.
During his time suppressing the Rebellion of the False on Kasha he first met Inquisitor Draven and witnessed the true power of Chaos turned upon the Emperor’s foes. Over the next few decades Gelt and Draven travelled together, until Felroth’s eyes were finally opened to the teaching of the Xanthites. Now Gelt travels the sector and beyond, seeking out the tools with which to fight the Imperium’s foes, his aging frame invigorated by the power of the warp. Of course, whether or not Felroth Gelt truly exists is unclear, and only the oldest and highest ranking members of the Conclave would know for sure. His story could equally be a cautionary tale about the perils of Chaos or a message to potential Xanthites about the true path to man’s salvation. In either case, from time to time rumors surface of Gelt’s activities, causing a stir among both the Xanthites and their enemies.
Xanthite Forsaken PriestsEdit
The Xanthite goal is to master and dominate the powers of the Warp and of Chaos and bind them into mankind’s service, a deadly pursuit that requires women and men of unfailing will and vision to accomplish. To this end the Xanthites seek out and draw clerics whose faith has been sorely tried or whose own creeds have strayed far from the Ministorum’s narrow path into their service, the better to slowly mould and shape to their own ends and to embrace the darkly visionary Xanthite ethos. Raised up in forbidden knowledge, these Forsaken Priests serve the Xanthite cause as trusted Acolytes, exorcists, and daemon-binders whose faith in the God-Emperor, though no less fervent than before, has changed as through a mirror darkly.
Xanthite Secrets Edit
The Xanthites have many secrets. Each member of the faction is a repository of lore unto himself, and they are known to venture further into the dark nature of Chaos than any other arm of the Inquisition. Within the Calixis Sector, this delving translates into an unparalleled knowledge of warp cults, witches, and daemonic incursions. More than once has a member of the faction flawlessly infiltrated a cult, draining its knowledge and power before smashing it beneath the hammer of the Inquisition.
Perhaps most interesting of the faction’s secrets, however, is the Aleph-hosts. It is rumored among the Xanthites that some of their number have found a way to bind several powerful daemonic intelligences into multiple hosts, each of equal power and bound so that all must be killed for the Aleph-host to be destroyed. This hellish act requires a long and complex ritual, the formulae of which has been the object of many quests by Xanthite Inquisitors. Dark rumors hint that the ritual can also be configured so that a greater being of both materium and immaterium may be created in a single physical host. True or not, it is a rumor that persists and which many Xanthites are eager to pursue, if for no other reason than to keep the knowledge from the hands of their foes or those within the Imperium who would destroy it.
Angelique De Falk and the Calixian Malleus Edit
Perhaps the most famous Xanthite Inquisitor in the history of the early Calixian Conclave was Angelique De Falk, a woman whose great cunning and implacable intelligence marked her out from her days as an Acolyte of the Ordo Xenos as a rising star. De Falk, newly raised to the rosette, was one of a number of Inquisitors assigned to the fledgling Calixis Sector in the middle of the 39th millennium in the aftermath of the Angevin Crusade. This period, known to Calixian histories as The Great Founding, was far from an untroubled one, as war and anarchy still blighted the area. The subsequent mass colonial expeditions from the overpopulated worlds of the distant Segmentum Solar and from nearer afield in the troubled Mandragora and Gehenna regions created serious problems of their own. The newly born Calixian Conclave soon had its hands full weeding out the corrupt chaff from the good wheat in the new population and helping manage the difficult transition from High Crusade to stable civil rule. De Falk took to her duties with bravura and won for herself considerable fame within the Conclave, smashing cult after cult, battling human renegades and mutant uprisings. In particular, De Falk is credited with exterminating one of the last hellish nests of the warp-worshiping Yu’vath, a xenos race that had bitterly contested the Crusade’s latter stages. It is recorded to have caused some acrimony when De Falk crossed the floor to join the Ordo Malleus, leaving her erstwhile comrades in the Ordo Xenos somewhat aggrieved to lose the famed and influential Inquisitor to what was at the time a political rival.
She quickly mastered the arts of the daemonhunter and rose swiftly with the ranks of the Calixian Malleus, demonstrating a mastery of occult lore that swiftly had Inquisitors of far longer service seeking her aid and council in matters of the infernal. As time progressed, however, she demonstrated increasingly Radical Xanthite leanings. Rumors began to circulate that she was able to command dark warp spirits at will, and that she had replaced her left eye, lost in battle with a Chaos Magus, with a baleful orb torn from the skull of a half-daemon thing worshiped as a god amid the steaming jungles of Fedrid. Her successes against malign forces, however, only grew in number and scale, as she and her Acolytes cast down the first and most terrible flowering of the Cult of Balphomael on Scintilla. By her own hand, De Falk destroyed the black beating heart of the Nightmare-Hulk Spectre of Winter, which had terrorized Imperial shipping since it was first sighted during the voyages of Solomon Haarlock.
After two centuries of service within the Calixian Conclave and a track record that arguably has never been equaled by her successors, Angelique De Falk was the leading power of the Ordo Malleus in the sector. She always refused to have the fact officially acknowledged, and she declined the appellation of ‘Lord’ which her peers repeatedly offered her despite her growingly sinister reputation. During this long tenure she acted as mentor to more than a dozen Acolytes raised to the Inquisitor’s rank in their own right, only ensuring a strong strain of Xanthism in the Calixian Conclave to this day. De Falk’s successors, in turn, produced other legends. These include Requis Corina, the first to battle the Pilgrims of Hayte and halt the Bloody Solstice on Malfi; the infamous witch-master Inquisitor Soldevan, who slew the psi-abomination of the Bloodmind on war-torn Malice; and the malignant Kul Harkness, perhaps the most suspected and feared of the current Calixian Xanthites. But her gravest test and the act that was to grant both glory and infamy within the Inquisition was yet to come.
The Three Daughters of Atropos Edit
In 799.M39 the hive city of Atropos on Solomon, a citadel with a population of more than 100 million, went mad in a single night. The culmination of a nightmarish plot long in the making, this terrible night of insanity and wanton murder was the work of the Master Sorcerer Alrac the Broken. Long a foe of the Calixis Sector, born beyond the Emperor’s Light, founder of a dozen cults, and author of the thrice-cursed grimoire the Liber Noctis Eternem, Alrac had come to Solomon to kill this vital Imperial world in order to pay off a dark pact struck centuries before with the hellish forces beyond. As the death toll rose steadily into the tens of thousands and Atropos tore itself to shreds, violent chem-storms engulfed Solomon, and madness began to leap from ship to ship in orbit. With every drop of blood shed, Solomon tipped toward the Chaotic destruction of a full-blown warp incursion on a planetary scale. At the center of this whirlpool of violence, Alrac took the high-prelate’s throne in the gore-spattered Cathedral of Saint Morgana at the pinnacle of the Hive Spire and began his ascension to daemonhood as the gates holding back the warp began to shatter.
Plunging through the storm like a bolt from the heavens came Angelique De Falk’s gun-cutter. It had been pure chance she had been in the outer Solomon system taking on supplies in preparation for a long journey to a distant Inquisition fortress. Ill-prepared for a major confrontation, she was accompanied only by a number of junior Acolytes in training and her personal staff. Although long past the prime of her life, De Falk’s mind was sharp and her power greater than ever. So it was that in order to save Solomon and countless Imperial lives, three of De Falk’s Acolytes gave themselves up to damnation aboard her ship in hurried rituals of terrible power. The gun-cutter smashed its way into the twisted cathedral to confront Alrac at the moment of his dark apotheosis, and De Falk and three bound daemonhosts of dreadful potency confronted the ascending arch-sorcerer. The details of what occurred in the battle have never been revealed, but it is known that Alrac was torn asunder at the moment of his triumph and Atropos scoured clean. De Falk’s shattered body was borne away by her last surviving sorrowful ‘daughter,’ and she was never seen again. Whether she lived or died remains a mystery.
“To slay a Xanthite, you must first become one...”
–Proverb of the Ordo Malleus
The Xanthites are a diverse group and one whose individual members are continuously subject to the pull of their own obsessive drive to master the warp, enslave the dark powers that threaten mankind, and turn them back on themselves. These obsessions may manifest in a myriad of ways, from the never-ending quest to expand their own knowledge and power, to the hunting down and destruction of Chaos cults and the appropriation of their dark secrets for the Xanthite’s own. Some Xanthites, particularly those who chose to conceal their Radical tendencies, conduct their business of the Holy Inquisition with diligence and zeal, but always with an eye toward their own hidden agendas; they do not shirk from using covert murder to achieve their ends. Other Xanthites care little if they are known as such, confident enough in the rightness of their position to follow it heedless of the opprobrium of their peers, while others have attained such levels of infamy that the fear of their name precedes them even in the Conclave. Regardless of their methods and goals, conspiracy and secrecy are ever the Xanthite’s watchwords where needed, and lies are always a favored weapon---just as with the daemons they seek to bind.
Hayte, Suspicion, and the Rising Tide
The number of demonic encounters and the spread of Chaos cults within the Calixis Sector has increased at fearful rate over the last century, a fact that has not been lost on the Ordo Malleus or its Xanthite constituents. Given this rise in baleful activity, many of the most senior members and their trusted allies have come together in secret council on Maccabeus Quintus to discuss and debate this phenomenon and its possible causes and potential eventual outcomes. The conclusions of this council, which is believed to have met several times over the last three years, have not been made available to the wider Holy Ordos, or even to the Conclave Calixis, and despite their vehement protests the Tyrantine Cabal has been shut out as well. Some see this development, which has caused considerable acrimony, as an indication that the Ordo Malleus suspects some part of the Calixian Inquisition itself in the matter. No public charges have been made to this effect, and the Calixian Malleus refuses to be drawn into debate.
Since then, it has been observed that several prominent Puritan members of the Ordo Malleus have become decidedly more distant to their colleagues. At the same time, known Xanthites and other Inquisitors with long-standing ties to the Malleus, along with their independent Acolytes and agents, have become vastly more active to those trying to track their movements---far from an easy task at the best of times. These roving groups of Radical Xanthites have been observed travelling to hotspots of daemonic activity as they flare up, often re-visiting the sites of older atrocities searching for wisdom in their ashes, appearing and disappearing suddenly, without recourse to wider Imperial authority, and occasionally riding roughshod over the activities of other Inquisitors. This has only worsened relations between the Xanthites and the rest of the Conclave. One example includes an incident on Carver’s Gate, when the warband of the militant daemonhunter Justinius Vorr clashed with the forces of the Witch Hunter Compt Pryce while pursing a secret cult of the Pilgrims of Hayte in the deep flood vaults of Bane City.
Incidents such as these have done little to ingratiate the Xanthites with their Calixian brethren. Matters have worsened recently following the notorious Xanthite Inquisitors Harkness and Golgol’s activities on Landunder, which disrupted a covert operation of the Tyrantine Cabal. Their actions resulted in the death of Inquisitor Slake, a former pupil of the senior Spectarian Lady Olianthe Rathbone. Only the direct and unexpected intervention of the Puritan Lord-Malleus Ionfel, avowing that the two Xanthites were on the Ordo’s work, prevented Rathbone and her allies from declaring Harkness and Golgol Excommunicate Traitoris and sparking open conflict. Deep resentment still simmers over the matter, and Rathbone is known to have privately sworn her vengeance. Given Harkness’s past, this merely adds one more name to a long list of personal enemies, a list that up until now was believed to have included Ionfel himself.
Even now, many of the Xanthites of the Calixian Conclave seem to be moving in an unprecedentedly concerted, overt manner, and many other Inquisitorial factions harbor with deep suspicion and fear about what this unknown pattern portends.
The Seven Devils of Dread Calyx Edit
Of all the dark lore that rests in the secure vaults of the Calixian Malleus, some of the most contentious and strange deals with the myth of the so-called Seven Devils of Dread Calyx, an ancient legend that still forms the obsession of many Xanthites to the present time. The region was first named in the writings of the legendary Rogue Trader Solomon Haarlock, whose thirteen voyages out past the edge of Imperial space in the late 36th millennium would define the Calyx Expanse as a realm rich in “Souls, Plunder, Wealth and Things Best Left Undisturbed.” Three millennia later, the Angevin Crusade would forge this region into the Calixis Sector. Haarlock’s writings spoke of the seven devils as beings of dark power, fiends who haunted this area of space, some as savage predatory beasts, some walking amid the cold stars and others worshiped as fickle gods by those mortals who fell inside their domains. These seven, Haarlock claimed, were connected together by a dark and terrible web of fate, and if all were brought forth at once, a key would be turned that would extinguish the stars themselves. Haarlock’s writings, filled with allegory and symbolism, have continued to strike a cord with the Ordo Malleus, particularly those of the Xanthite persuasion, and still echo through the sector’s histories. Those who have sought out the truth behind the legends are known to have discovered much of value in them, as well as great peril.
Today, the greatest authority on the myth of the seven devils and the malefic lore that surrounds them is Inquisitor Emeritus Andros Bray, Keeper-General of the Ember Archive at the fortress-asteroid of the Bastion Orpheus in the Maccabeus system. The aged Bray, a fiery proponent of the Xanthite ethos in his younger days and reputedly the longest-living servant of the Calixian Conclave, has long since retired from the field. However, he will happily expound on the subject to anyone the clearance to plumb the Ember Archives’ depths. He also makes it a point to show any would be seekers a shrine he keeps to those Inquisitors and their Acolytes lost or vanished on the quest to uncover the seven’s secrets. Among the memorials and reliquaries is the empty tomb of Morell Orpheus, the famed daemonhunter and onetime master of the Calixian Malleus, after which the bastion is named.
Andros Bray, in his long consideration of the legend of the seven devils, has formed his own list that he believes offer the strongest clues as to the nature of the entities involved. Compiled from concordances and evidence ranging from recovered cult relics, local folklore and divinatory prophecy, to the records of entities encountered at various times by the Inquisition.
They are as follows:
- The Voice of the Flame: The daemon Balphomael, lord of the dark fire, Scintilla/various.
- The Dweller in the Depths: The Sightless Gaze, autochthonic entity, nature unknown, Spectoris.
- The False Prince: Tychak Crowfather, spiteful, pre-crusade indigenous deity of the Ashleen, incarnate form slain by Saint Drusus, Iocanthos.
- The Treader in the Dust: The Radiant King, legendary avatar of madness, Malfi/various.
- The Eater of the Dead: Mord’dagan, supernatural beast of legend, godhead of the Saynay cannibal cult, Dusk.
- The Empty Hunger: Astral entity/aetheric residue of extinct xenoform, attributed cause of lethal psychic phenomena, Drusus Shrine World/Sacris.
- The Night Traveller: Nature unknown, also known as the kin-slayer, one that returns from where none has before and whose predicted coming will herald the End of Days.