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Salvia

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Salvia is a heretical cult that was active on Alecto by M42, although its cultists claim that Salvia's origins date back thousands of years before the world was claimed by the Imperium.[1a]

Overview

The members of Salvia believe that they originally worshipped shadowed serpents cast by flames, but this changed when the first Imperial settlers arrived on Alecto. From them, the Cult learned of the Emperor and they began to worship Him in the form of a serpent. The Salvia cultists claim that they helped the first Imperial settlers on Alecto to survive on their world, only to become a forbidden religion once the Imperium took firm control of the planet.[1a]

By M42, the Cult practiced in secret for fear of being hunted by the Ministorum, firmly believing that they are not practicing Heresy, but merely worshiping the Emperor as a serpent. They still fear the wrath of the Ministorum, however, and are careful of inducting members into the Cult. This is done by one Cultist slowly introducing the teachings of Salvia to potential members.[1b]

If interest is shown, these potential members are then brought to the Cult's ceremonies. These are now done in arranged meetings, with a small number of Cultists, in darkened rooms that contain an iron bowl filled with flames. These flames go on to cast thick black shadows which resemble a hundred snakes bound together, that slither around the perimeter of the room. During this time, the Cultists where robes and blank, empty-faced masks, to hide their identities from outsiders and each other as well. They then form a circle around the iron bowl, which causes its flames to rise higher and afterwards the Cultists join hands and bow their heads. As they do so, the Cultists repeatedly chant "The serpent rises" and "Praise be, for the serpent rises". Those who take part in the ceremonies, report that they become invigorated as the flames warm their souls, while they worship the Emperor.[1b] Recently, though, the Cult has learned that a stern faced religious man has begun asking around about the existence of Salvia. Whether this person is a real threat to the Cult, via being a member of the Ministorum or Inquisition, is not known yet.[1c]

Known members

Trivia

The exact nature of Salvia is unknown. Its members believe to be loyal worshippers of the Emperor, and they abhor mutants as well as disorder.[1b] Indeed, it is not unknown for some cultures to worship the Emperor in strange forms, yet to be still loyal.

However, Salvia's rituals and the cult's name could suggest that it is a Chaos Cult, like the Serpent Cult of Molech.[2] In addition, it could be a Genestealer Cult: There exist rumours that Alecto has been infiltrated by Genestealers.[1e] Notably, one Salvia member, Agusto Zidarov, has a large scar whose origin he cannot remember,[1c] possibly due to a Genestealer's Kiss. In this case, the cult's alleged backstory of it being thousands of years old may be a lie, or it may be an older organisation that has been suborned.

Source