Drusus Shrine World
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|Name:||Drusus Shrine World (Sentinel)|
An elementally poor world, dominated by bleak dust bowls and salt-deserts, it supports, thanks to the Chartist ships, a population of pilgrims who maintain the Shrine: a five thousand metre tall structure of ouslite and rockcrete located in the southern hemisphere. The Shrine is the only significant artificial structure on the planet. There, high up in the draughty reaches of weathered stone, burns the eternal flame of Drusus, ministered to by the flocks of pilgrims, most of whom come to Sentinel to die.
The standard of living is low on this bleak world and there is no system of government or order apart from the rubrics of the Imperial Creed. Outside the Shrine - "beyond the shadow" as local slang has it - life is a fringe existence, to say the least. Endless, water-less deserts of dust and calcification stretch out to the very edges of the planet. Jettison collectors and scavengers may be found in the vast salt-licks but they are transient. A well-supplied man might last twenty days in the barrens of this harsh world.
However, Sentinel is a world that draws visitors and explorers. Foremost are the pilgrims, those wishing to abase themselves at the foot of Drusus' Shrine. For many, this is an act of suicide. Voyaging to the shrine world is vastly expensive and passage is hard to procure. Even if you get there, there is no guarantee of a return ticket. The licks beneath the shrine are littered with desiccated bones and mummified remains, sometimes in a thick carpet.
It is said that in the outer bowls of Sentinel, a man may find visions and answers. This rumour has undoubtedly arisen from the mind-altering effect of the emptiness and the heat. Even so, pilgrims come to the shrine and then head off, on foot, into the bleakness, in search of illumination. Any short ride by land car or flier from the Shrine will reveal tortured bones lying in heaps at the end of long footprint trails that the wind has never erased. "Walking into silence" is what the shrine priests call this behaviour. Rumours suggest that, at the point of death, the silence speaks back to the true of heart.
10-4/6/CS/NW. 27 27
Native Flora and Fauna
Rumours make mention of a xenos race living on the shrine world. Certainly there are several species of lustrous bugs and beetles that haunt the desert, drinking dew off their armoured carapaces every dawn. The rumours talk of an ancient, insectoid race called the Whisperers, which lives, shelters and breeds in deep tunnels under the dry earth.
Far from being an animalistic species, the Whisperers - if the insane rantings of a few, surviving silence walkers can be trusted - are a complex and ancient culture, tunneling under the crust of Sentinel and only occasionally crawling to the surface. The Whisperers - so named because of the brushing sounds their giant wing cases make - are said to hold great truths and secrets about the cosmos, which may be learned by the aware and the capable. No relic or evidence of the Whisperers has ever been found.
Contact With other World
- 1: Black Industries' "Guide to the Calixis Sector", pgs. 26–27