Sunday, 6 December 2009

The Patriarch of Tanis

The Patriarch of Tanis

Ramses-pattern star freighter

Bow-to-Stern: 4.2 km
Abreast: 0.5 km
18 megatonnes
Commissioned: M37.560
Origin: Hephasteon IX

The Patriarch of Tanis is an ancient, timeworn star freighter. It was born as the Aphlexus in the long-lost shipyards of Hephasteon IV, a Naval cargo ship hauling bulk goods and supplies to the front of the Tathorian Crusade. At the conclusion of the hundred-year struggle, the hauler was repurposed by the Ecclesiarchy as a pilgrim vessel, and renamed after the Ecclesiarchal ruler of the shrine world of Tanis. Its massive cargo holds became home to teeming hordes of faithful for years on end as they braved the warp in search of redemption and salvation.

In this service, the Patriarch performed faithfully for many centuries. During the baleful years of the 11th Black Crusade, the Patriarch was rapidly pushed into duty as a ship of the line, outfitted with weapons batteries and a massive Tsar-pattern bombardment cannon. It participated in many of the great and desperate defense of the Tathor Sector, and conducted the Holy Exterminatus of Tol Dumath, but it did not survive the war unscathed. In the closing year of the Crusade, it was swept away by a colossal warp storm that ravaged the entire sector and nearly brought defeat to the Imperium. All hands were lost and the ship was not seen for another four hundred years.

In the 38th millenium, Captain Toran veBarro, master of the Sword-class frigate Hand of Righteousness, discovered the drifting hull of the Patriarch in the Koprulu Sector. He himself was the descendant of one of the pilgrims who had traveled aboard her, and he refused to let it be claimed by the warp beasts who infested it. Through a dangerous and deadly struggle that claimed the lives of most of his crew, he was able to defeat the demons, cleanse the vessel, and reclaim it for the Imperium. For his efforts in salvaging the vessel and preserving it for the Imperium, he was granted a Warrant of Trade by the Ecclesiarchy, the first to be granted in many centuries.

Under the command of the ve Barro clan, the Patriarch has traveled the breadth of the Segmentum. It has played host to Inquisitors and xenos princes, dueled with Squat raiders and Orkish pirates, and transported fabulously rare creatures and goods from across the Segmentum.

Key Components:

Jobe XI-Pattern Cogitator System
Machine Spirit

The Machine Spirit of the Patriarch is an ancient and demanding beast, wizened and battered by the vessel's long history. Its cognition circuits are perhaps the only remaining example of their particular pattern in the galaxy, and no living soul truly understands their workings. The spirits is sometimes rebellious, slow to accept commands, or resistant to change, but its toughened ancient cogitator system grants it great resilience under fire and in battle. It is unique in its incredible resistance to warp corruption and blasphemous machine code attacks.

The Tangle + Vitae-pattern Life Sustainer
Life Sustainer

Infesting the fore cargo hold of the Patriarch is a riotous jungle, an entire ecosystem erupting in the most unlikely of places. Accidentally birthed centuries ago by malfunctioning genesis engines, the Tangle, as it is known, regularly spills out into the more ordered regions of the ship. Most captain would never tolerate such a chaotic mess, and would have had the Tangle vented into space long ago. The veBarros, however, have integrated the Tangle into the life sustenance systems of the Patriarch, and as a result enjoys a quality of air and water known to very few Imperial vessels.

In the past three centuries, the Pakhor, a tribe of mercenary Kroot, have inhabited and commanded the Tangle. Brought aboard ship for a long forgotten engagement, they have integrated themselves into the Patriarch's command and security structure. Successive Rogue Traders have overlooked their tendency towards the consumption of human flesh, and the disappearance of the odd lower-deck crewman, due to the strength they have shown in battle again and again. Today, the Warshaper Pakhor Ruhl sits on the Officer's Council, and his advice is well heeded by the reigning captain, much to the dismay of the Void Bishop and the interest of the Ordo Xenos.

Lathe IV-pattern Plasma Drive
Plasma drive

Mark 108.r Void Auger
Void array

Command bridge and dynastic palace

The opulent castellum of the Patriarch is fortified with adamantium bulkheads, with only two entrances linking it to the rest of the ship. Within its adamant walls are the palatial quarters of the senior officers and members of the veBarro dynasty. Prominent members are commemorated with tapestries and small shrines within the broad halls of the castellum. At the heart of the castellum is the Patriarch's bridge, vast and well-equipped.

St. Lothar's Cathedral
Void cathedral and imperial war-shrine

Tanis Autodrome
Automotor track and machine-shrine

veBarro Promenade
Market and crew recreation deck

Shipboard adminstratum
and librarium

The Vats
Nutrition system


Archimedes-pattern sunlance

The Archimedes-pattern is a sunlance design that had been lost to the Adeptus Mechanicus for three millennia, before it was discovered on a drifting, half-eaten warp hulk by Cobus ve Barro in 38,750. The discovery was acclaimed by the Machine Cult as a wondrous miracle, and the original sunlance discovered on the hulk was installed into the Patriarch's prow as payment. The lance is deadly against enemy ships, ignoring armor and tearing directly into the heart of enemy ships. Unfortunately, the ancient weapon refuses to commune with the Patriarch's Machine Spirit. Firing and targeting must be undertaken manually, at the cost of much time and effort. Still, the weapon is a source of pride for the ve Barros and the ship's tech-priests.

Death of Tol Dumath
pattern bombardment cannon

The Death of Tol Dumath is a cannon the size of a small ship, designed specifically to destroy planetary population centres. It is sanctified by the Ecclesiarchy for its role in the destruction of the Chaos-tainted world of Tol Dumath during the 11th Black Crusade, and for this reason it falls not under the command of the Rogue Trader, but under the dominion of the Void Bishop, Paddeus Obachai, who represents the Ecclesiarch aboard the Patriarch of Tanis. A small monastery is built directly above the cannon, and ensures that it remains loaded and primed for firing at all times. A solitary Sister of Battle is assigned guardian duty over the Death of Tol Dumath at all times, remaining in meditation for years on end unless the cannon itself is threatened.

Main Batteries
Starboard and port

The twelve main cannon, missile, and plasma batteries of the Patriarch are each commanded by a hereditary family of cannon-masters, who oversee the weapons' loading, firing, targeting, and maintenance. The twelves families feud amongst one another for honor, standing, resources, and above all, the position of ship's Tacticus. The most prominent families are:
  • Haephont (Port branch) - Rulers of the largest port missile battery, the Haephont Port clan currently holds the position of Tacticus, in the person of Eqira Haephont, who seized it from the starboard branch through an arranged marriage to her infant cousin in the starboard Haephont branch and the suspicious death of the previous Tacticus.
  • Haephont (Starboard branch) - The starboard branch of the Haephont is no more. The death of their patriarch and Tacticus, Gullivan Haephont, has left the family's hereditary title to fall to their cousin, Eqira.
  • Kun - Rulers of the main starboard battery, the Kun have more often than not held the position of Tacticus. They have a reputation for cruelty above and beyond that which is expected of cannon-masters, often slaying entire weapon crews to provide an example to the rest of their serfs.
  • ve Zarrn - The ve Zarrns are masters of the ship's primary turret array. Shadowy and manipulative, the ve Zarrn family is known to have close ties with the Warshaper of the Pakhor Kroot tribe, who inhabit the fore cargo bay, and the criminal underworld of the ship.
(to be continued)

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