Fall of the House of Ios
The House of Ios was an honoured line of chartist captains, its origins pre-dating the founding of the Calixis Sector a thousand years ago. The line’s holdings were spread across five sectors, but the vast majority of the family lived on the ocean world of Spectoris. One day in 797.M41, a scion of the House of Ios returned from an out-sector Cold Trade run with a priceless gift for his daughter Antigone—a glittering gem said to have been born in the fiery heart of the very oldest of stars. The girl had the fantastic stone mounted in a filigreed headpiece, and wore it upon her brow so that all in the palace and the surrounding islands might see her status, and bow down before her. Over the following decades, Antigone rose to become the head of her line, and her father’s island palace expanded to become a marvelous city amidst the islands. In short order, she assumed total power over the House of Ios, and her line’s coffers swelled. Then, something entirely unexpected occurred. Spectoris was ordered by the Departmento Munitorum sector command to raise a regiment for the Imperial Guard. A recruitment mission was dispatched to the islands over which the Queen of the House of Ios ruled to ascertain the fitness of its militia.
However, upon Munitorum inspection, the population of the island chain was discovered to be entirely unsuitable for induction into the Imperial Guard. The men were listless and effete and the women indolent and soft. All bore expressions of vacant distraction, and appeared disinterested in their surroundings and unresponsive to questions. The recruiting officers escalated their investigation to include the nobles of the House of Ios, and soon, disaster befell them. Upon demanding entry into the palace itself, the officers were unexpectedly attacked by the household guards claiming that they had to protect their mistress at all costs. A slaughter ensued, but before the last of the Munitorum staff was cut down, he managed to transmit a pict-log to the troop transport waiting in orbit. The transmission was intercepted by agents of the Inquisition, and retribution came three months later. An Ordo Malleus strike force led by Inquisitor Lord Dhar of the Scholariate at Arms descended upon the palace of the House of Ios. Nine Inquisitors, three dozen Acolytes, and a hundred storm troopers were inserted directly into the heart of the palace grounds by Valkyrie airborne assault carriers, supported by a wing of Vulture gunships. The corrupted servants of Antigone were ready for the assault and had fortified the palace, mounting air defences upon its delicate minarets, and daubing the entire structure with blasphemous runes. In the months since the household guards had slaughtered the Munitorum staff, they had become mutated, as if the warping power of Chaos had suffused them with dark splendor. The warriors’ hands had twisted into metrelong claws, and razor-sharp horns sprouted from their heads. They had preternatural speed and agility, and they shrieked a song of cacophonous discordance that brought men to their knees as their brains bled out from their ears. Dozens of storm troopers and Acolytes were slain in the first minutes of the assault, but Lord Dhar and his companions steeled their souls and fought through to Antigone’s throne room, and there saw just how close Spectoris was to doom.
Queen Antigone sat upon her throne, the gleaming gem mounted at her brow. From the gem shone the raw energy of the Warp, and three of Dhar’s brother-Inquisitors were struck down by ravening beams of light before they could take another step. Dhar himself fought through the Warp-energy and approached the throne, pronouncing his verdict upon the Queen of the House of Ios: she had opened her soul to the Daemon Prince of Chaos, and would die by the Inquisitor’s hand. But before Dhar could carry out his judgment, the gem doubled its infernal luminescence and the air rippled with impossible energies. Its light expanded to fill the entire dais, consuming the body of the Queen. The gem had become a gateway into the very depths of the Warp, and through it came the Daemonic servants of Slaanesh—dozens upon dozens of lithe, deadly Daemonettes. The battle that ensued raged through the night, and by its end Dhar was the only Inquisitor left standing amidst the shattered bodies of hundreds of Daemonettes. At the very last, a Greater Daemon of Slaanesh—a Keeper of Secrets— emerged from the portal, the glittering gemstone set upon its brow. Dhar would have been outmatched and slain, were it not for intervention from an unexpected quarter. A troupe of Eldar Harlequins emerged from a rippling tear in the fabric of reality, and fell upon the daemon, moving too fast for the Inquisitor Lord to follow. The blurred forms of the Harlequins darted in and out, delivering a thousand blows, each of which was too weak to slay the daemon alone, but combined slowly robbed it of its strength and speed. At last, the leader of the troupe delivered the killing blow, skewering the daemon’s gemstone with a lightning fast lunge of his power sword.
The Keeper of Secrets was transfixed upon the Harlequin’s blade. Before the Inquisitor Lord’s eyes, its form collapsed in upon itself, until the body of Antigone of Ios lay upon the wrecked dais. Their work done, the Harlequins departed, and Lord Dhar stood alone in the corpse-strewn throne room. Judgement had been delivered upon the House of Ios. In the months that followed, Lord Dhar led a campaign of retribution against the remaining holdings of the chartist captain line. None escaped his attentions, and even those who fled beyond the borders of Calixis were purged by his farranging operatives. The name of the House of Ios was stricken from all official records, and its name never spoken again.