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Amberley Vail

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"Some Inquisitors believe the Emperor’s work is best done by charging around the place like a grox in a ceramic emporium, leaving a trail of carnage and destruction in their wake, while others prefer not to let the enemies of all that’s good and holy get clean away by making it blindingly obvious they’re coming for them."
- Amberley Vail, Inquisitor, Ordo Xenos.

This page contains spoilers for: Ciaphas Cain (Novel Series)

Amberley Vail is an active Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos in the year 999.M41 and lives until at least 025.M42. In addition to her labors on behalf of the Imperium, she worked many times with the famous Commissar Ciaphas Cain, and edited Cain's private memoirs, the Cain Archive. Cain makes frequent mention of her and the two seem to have had a romantic relationship.[Needs Citation]



Cain and Vail first met in 931.M41 on Gravalax, where the Valhallan 597th Imperial Guard regiment had been deployed to deal with civil unrest and the risk of the planet seceding to the Tau Empire.[Needs Citation]

Coincidentally, the two had nearly crossed paths in the early 920's, after Cain discovered a genestealer infestation on Keffia. Vail was detailed to lead a Deathwatch team to oversee the final cleansing of the planet, but was delayed in her previous assignment on the space hulk Dolorous Tidings, and by the time she arrived on Keffia, Cain and his unit, the 12th Valhallan Field Artillery, were already en route to Perlia.[Needs Citation]

On Gravalax, Vail disguised herself as a traveling singer hired as entertainment for the Governor's party. After escaping the tunnels of the planet during a more in-depth investigation, she enlisted Cain to dig further into the planet's tunnels (and found out that Cain's aide Jurgen was a blank). The troop found a genestealer cult and eliminated its Patriarch.[Needs Citation]

Simia Orichalcae

Vail did not participate directly in Cain's actions on Simia Orichalcae, but after he informed her of the presence of a Necron Tomb on the world (which he had hopefully destroyed, or at the very least buried, by blowing up a promethium refinery), she placed the planet under Inquisitorial quarantine, and swore Cain and the few troopers who had seen the Tomb to total silence.[Needs Citation]



During the 13th Black Crusade, Perlia was invaded again, this time by the Chaos fleet of Warmaster Varan, seeking to recover the Shadowlight. Vail sent orders for Cain to protect the Mechanicus shrine, or, failing that, to get the Shadowlight off-world and away from the Chaos forces. Cain managed to do the former for a while, until a Necron army appeared out of nowhere and annihilated the Chaos forces. Cain and the Imperial defenders were able to evacuate, but the Shadowlight was lost to the Necrons.[Needs Citation]

Afterwards she had the empty shrine swept by a Deathwatch team and debriefed Cain in private. Although he had technically failed to keep the Shadowlight safe, she conceded that at least it had not been lost to Chaos (a tolerant understanding for which Cain was profoundly grateful).[Needs Citation]


Like most Inquisitors, Vail travels with a small retinue of discreet assistants, bodyguards, and other "useful" persons:

  • Rakel - a nervous and excitable female psyker whom Cain describes as "almost completely round the bend" and having "a voice like fingernails on a blackboard." It was Rakel's extreme physical and mental reaction to Jurgen that prompted Amberley to suspect him of being a blank.[Needs Citation]
  • Caractacus Mott - a savant with numerous bionic augmentations who frequently suffers logorrhea on any number of subjects, often at inopportune moments. Nevertheless, Cain seems to enjoy Mott's company, and Mott will at times help him cheat in gambling houses[1a][3a].
  • Orelius - a Rogue Trader who captains the Lucre Foedis, a ship comparable to an Imperial Cruiser.[Needs Citation]
  • Pelton - a.k.a. "Flicker". Hired Gun.[Needs Citation]
  • Simeon - former Imperial Guard Commissar, turned Penal Legionary.[3b]
  • Pontius - Pilot.[Needs Citation]
  • Zemelda Cleat - Acolyte, former fast food seller recruited on Periremunda.[Needs Citation]
  • Gunner Ferik Jurgen - Valhallan Guardsman, Commissar Cain's adjutant. Although Jurgen never leaves Cain's side, and thus usually stays attached to the Valhallan 597th, Vail frequently co-opts his (and Cain's) services to make use of his incredibly rare attributes as a blank. Cain ruefully reflects that, despite his close relationship with Vail and his undoubted usefulness to her on occasion, he has no illusions about the fact that she considers Jurgen the more valuable asset.[Needs Citation]

Other Associates


Like many Inquisitors, Vail is proficient with a wide variety of technology and weaponry, and uses whatever is necessary to accomplish her mission. Some of her special tools include a suit of custom-made Power Armour (similar to those worn by Adepta Sororitas), equipped with a heavy bolter and power fist. For more discreet work, she often wears a ring with a digital needler hidden inside.[Needs Citation]

She has her own warp-capable yacht, the Externus Exterminatus but often travels aboard the Lucre Foedis. She is fond of high-powered ground and grav vehicles, like her customised D'Lorien Raptor.[Needs Citation]

Character and Quirks

Amberley appears to be unusually unaffected by her experiences and knowledge, able to face the universe with a smile and a quip, only occasionally allowing the strain to show to her closest allies. To most who meet her, she appears as a cheerful, slightly whimsical young woman about as far from the normal appearance of an Inquisitor as it is possible to be (which is of course the point).[Needs Citation]

Cain notes that she takes particular enjoyment in disguising both her appearance and her personality, so much that he wonders if she doesn't do so just for the fun of it. At various times in her career, she has played a cabaret singer, a vapid aristocratic scion, and even a Corporal of the Valhallan 597th.[Needs Citation]

She is especially fond of Hegantha and Callium blooms.[Needs Citation]

Voice Portrayals

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