From the Journals of Philosophus Gaius Quates
I began my new post today at the estate of the Baronet Rashid Hasan al-Malik. My notes on this post were vague, other than that I would be acting as the Baronet’s confessor (and possibly technical advisor?) Brother Cave had been responsible for the drafting of my orders, and mid-writing he seemed to have been distracted by some of the more interesting properties and applications of minerals found on Luna. While quite fascinating, they provided limited details on my new post.
I assume as an al-Malik he will possess some degree of technological acumen, although there may still be some finer points on which I could advise him. However, his spiritual guidance may become an issue. I had hoped that rumors of al-Malik excess were just that: rumors and idle gossip, nothing more. My hopes were quickly dashed when he put on displays of conspicuous consumption which shook all thoughts from my mind. The Amaltheans have a word for a moment such as that, but it escapes me. I will have to ask Sister Alianna to explain it to me when I remember. Despite his remarkable… appetites, the Baronet seems to lack actual malice, which provides me with some small comfort and hope.
After brief introductions, I was led to understand that the Baronet was of the Order of the Questing Knights, and we would be accompanying him as his entourage as he performed his Knightly duties. Apart from myself and Alex, the Baronet would be joined by a small entourage. His half-sister Mariya Silwind was a Charioteer and pilot, and would be handling our traveling arrangements. Miss Silwind and the Baronet share an interesting relationship dynamic. At moments clearly master and servant, at other times the ribbing familiarity of lifelong companions. The subtleties are lost on me, and I assume it is just another inscrutable aspect of al-Malik social custom that I am not privy to. I am not familiar with Charioteer custom either, and I’m unsure how properly to refer to her. Captain? I’m certain she’ll correct me if it is of importance.
The Baronet’s bodyguard and I assume security adviser was a retired Ukari Sergeant, Frenk Thlowyn. I forgot to ask whether he was a Sergeant in the Muster, or some Noble’s personal army. More questions to ask later. He appears to be focused and professional so far, with a keen eye for detail.
The last member of the Baronet’s entourage was Sister Alianna, a novitiate and theurge of Sanctuary Aeon. This was a delightful surprise. In many ways, the Amaltheans are the best of us, if a bit naive and overly idealistic in some matters. And a theurge! Being able to observe the workings of one of the Blessed will truly be a gift. I hope that she will not mind my questions or find them overly intrusive, but this is a fascinating opportunity. She sadly had no knowledge of the secrets of P-physics that the Amaltheans keep. I suppose hoping for more was a bit avaricious on my part, and I should remember to perform a penance later. The Sanctuary has probably taught her much, but I will need to fill in the gaps that they inevitably leave, those involving the Apocrypha and other works. Her presence gives me hope for the coming journey.
Shortly after our arrival and introductions, Rashid received a package with several pieces of paper. The papers instructed him as a Questing Knight to deliver the package to the Gargoyle on Nowhere, and also included permissions to pass through Stigmata.
Along the way, the object was examined, and Frenk gleaned some information on the nature of the object. It appeared to have some higher dimensional properties, but I did not completely follow the vague terms and euphemisms that Frenk employed. There was also an incident where Mariya was somehow harmed by the object while investigating it. I am uncertain of the nature of her injuries or their direct cause, but it does demonstrate that the Artifact is not one to be taken lightly.
At Stigmata we encountered a pilgrimage to Nowhere, and joined them on their travels to Nowhere. The planet was desolate, a desert world where I was told something horrible had come to pass to transform it to its current state from its former Garden world glory. I was not given a straight answer as to the cause of this transformation and terraforming disaster, but I have suspicions that I would have liked to have tested had we not left Nowhere so precipitously.
There was an incident outside one of the cities where masses of the sick and poor, begging for aid. The Sister went to them to assist, and she was able to help some, but her ministrations drew much attention, and the crush of bodies almost caused a panic. She was insistent that she stay and aid those in need, but with the caravan departing, Frenk subdued her and carried her off to rejoin the pilgrimage on its way to the Gargoyle.
After this our journey was marked by another queer episode. Over the dunes shambled men, or at least creatures shaped like men. Creatures with teeth dripping with ichor and glowing eyes. The creatures were dispatched by the combined efforts of our group and the pilgrims. After it was determined that the threat had been neutralized, we studied the bodies of the horrors. It was Lia that made the discovery that their faces were marked with Qlippothic signs and sigils, and what those signified. Enemies of the Pancreator did not wish us success on our journey.
The Gargoyle was majestic to behold, although I must admit that I am hard pressed to remember details of it due to the events that transpired next. Rashid stepped forward with the Artifact, and it partly pulled him forward before the Artifact flew from his hand. As he had stepped forward the Artifact changed configurations and geometries, and after it left his hand it flew to the Gargoyle seeming to merge with it. While that occurred several of my other travelling companions had bizarre effects afflict them. Perhaps (at least in the case of Lia) Stigma? There was also a bright flash of light, and once the light faded we were no longer in front of the same Gargoyle. The sun had also changed to a different color, and Frenk and Lia pointed out that the newly formed grass surrounding the Gargoyle appeared to be landscaped. In the distance, there appeared to be a glint of light off of a building. It was towards those buildings that we next traveled.