The next day, the group wakes several hours before the next part of the auction. They have breakfast, and Solomon and Zee visit Alex in the hospital. Then they go to the viewing to see the items up for auction.
The Book Unbound – loose leaf folio, contains archaic and proscribed works, fragments of a personal journal (records of a journey beyond imperial space) – won by Magiar Marshrek; Solomon bids but drops out
The Bloody Seal – size of a human palm with the aquilla grasping keys engraved, stained with blood that will not come off – won by Solomon; Melanie, Master Nonisouch and Captain Rubio also bid
Large, ornate silver key – tarnished, inscribed with human symbols (archaic) – won by Melanie after fierce bidding
The grey skinned psalter – prayer book made of grey skin, torso sized, displayed open, it reads as a standard imperial prayer book in High Gothic on the open pages – won by Solomon; Octavia was also bidding and seemed annoyed to lose
Adeptes Astartes shoulder plate – damaged, crimson with black flamed skull, marked Chapter Unknown – won by Magiar Marshrek; Melanie dropped out of bidding
Xeno Flesh Mask – withered grey-green flesh, featureless but for a lamprey like mouth – won by Solomon
Carved statue of a bat winged cat like creature with three eyes and a tarnished copper gorget around its neck, 1 metre tall – won by Melanie; Solomon dropped out of the bidding
Portrait – fuzzy humanoid figure, velvet texture due to the paint, feels like it’s almost three dimensional, plaque reads “The Mirror of my Blood” – won by Solomon
Primitive doll in a glass jar, air in jar looks smoky, eyes give a feeling of unease – won by Octavia; Solomon and Melanie also bid
The clockwork automaton is not on display. Solomon asks around to find out why it is not on display. He is pointed towards a seated figure with a crimson crushed velvet sheet over it. He goes over and reads the: “The Most Sacred And Wondrous Oracular Device Known to Men as the Gilded Widow”.
The automaton is wheeled out when it is up for auction. It has the features of a slender young woman wearing an archaic gown of crimson and purple, open section shows clockwork. It is seated on a high back throne with a table in front, marked with occult symbols, the figure is holding a chalice in the right hand and in the left hand is holding an ivory set of the Emperor’s Tarot in a silver slip case, it is unnerving and chonometers are malfunctioning. Mourners have drifted in as the object was wheeled in. Bland steps forward. Greal leans on a crooked iron staff behind Bland. There is some commotion between the mourners and advocates. Bland says that Greal and others have insisted on a demonstration of the device. Greal removes a pulsing crimson crystal from his robes and places the heart into the chest. The figure cuts and spins the cards. It lifts it’s face and looks at the audience with coal black eyes, saying “Ask And Be Answered.”
Someone asks “What are you?” and is replied with “I am she who my father froze in her beauty and her grief; alone and weeping forever I shall sit, cursed to foretell and to know, but never act or feel, save for the void that hungers evermore within.” Another asks “Who are we?” and she replies “You are serpents of lies and self-deluded fools. You seek for much yet know little. You are those who have come to despoil the house of the dead only to join its number.” Melanie began to feel uneasy, and when the next question was asked she began moving towards the door. “What is to come?” asks a third. “The black sun burns and he comes, riding its wake. The last voyager, the herald of all woes. At its passing the eye shall be snuffed out, the carrion lords thrown down, and the hungering ones torn from the outer dark. All this I see cast amid these cold stars.” “Is Haarlock truly dead?” “The traveller and the scion both do live, one without and the other within. Blood of his blood, born of his line, flesh so frail caught in this web, death shall be their inheritance. Haarlock returns and hell follows with him!” The lights flicker, distant explosions can be heard, the floating servo-skulls drop from the air and the servitors fall to the ground.
The automaton speaks again: “Know this, the traveller has set our course and the ship cannot be turned. Thirteen hours you have, thirteen hours until his wrath drowns you all in fire and ash, sealed here in the tomb that has been prepared. Fitting punishment for you who would take from him what is his. Never do you learn the lessons of the past, doomed to repeat history’s sins. But first you will suffer, first you will be shriven! You have but one chance alone to placate the traveller. One gift will assuage his just fury: Give me the blood of the scion of Haarlock, let it flow to fill this chalice and you shall live, but if my cup remains empty the Children of the Kingdom will gnaw your flesh and darkness will bury your bones.”
Solomon takes a closer look at the portrait. In the shocked silence in the room, Nonisouch claps loudly, Solomon says “Oh crap!”. Bland stumbles out, Greal speaks and a scythe extends from his staff and he cuts Bland in half with a force. Solomon pulls out his hidden gun and tells Zee to watch their items and that he knows what he needs to do. The mourners pull out blades and set upon the attendants.
Zee moves towards the door, pulling along the cart with their auction winnings. She punches one of the mourners. Melanie attempts to fight one of the mourners by the door. Solomon moves along behind Zee, towards the automaton. Greal leaps down and cuts one of the people in the front door in half, the PDF troops near the door open fire on the mourners as the mourners attack the guests. Zee dodges an attack from one of the mourners. Solomon dodges one attack but is hit by another. Greal continues to slaughter the guests, the PDF kill some of the mourners but strike Melanie accidentally in the cross fire. Solomon fires on one of the mourners, killing him.
The three hear a faint noise as if something is suddenly turning to ash without setting fire. Nonisouch is beating a mourner with his cane, and the mourner turns to ash. Solomon kills another mourner and moves closer to the automaton. Greal continues to carve his way through the crowd. He has not yet noticed Solomon. Zee picks up a knife off of one of the dead mourners and uses it to attack one of the others. A black stream of energy streams past Melanie at one of the mourners, coming from the direction of Nonisouch, disintegrating the mourner. Solomon tries to sneak up. Greal splits the pew in front of Solomon in two. One of the two remaining PDF troopers panics and fires back in the direction of the energy blast. Zee finally kills the mourner she has been working on. Nonisouch disintegrates the PDF trooper who had fired on him in panic, firing fom his cane.
Solomon tries to sneak up, and Greal attacks him. He rolls out of the way of the scythe. Two of the mourners attack Melanie, she dodges one but is hit by the other in the face. One of the mourners attacks Zee, but she shrugs it off. Solomon calls on Nonisouch to help against Greal. He dodges another attack from Greal then is missed by a second attack. Melanie continues fighting the mourners. Nonisouch fires at Greal, but his black energy is stopped by a force field that surrounds Greal from an ecclesiarchy symbol on a chain around his neck with a blinding flash. Solomon fires on Greal but his shield flares up again. An extremely bright burst of light is followed by the sound of the field overloading and shutting down. Solomon shouts that the field is down and dodges Greal’s first attack. The second attack hits him hard and he falls down, stunned. Greal fiddles with his field generator. Nonisouch fires at Greal but misses, hitting the pew and carving out a spot which allows Greal to spot Solomon, who holds his breath to try and convince the attacker that he is dead. Solomon raises his gun and fires at Greal’s head, who does not dodge the shot. Greal reaches out with a long leg and kicks Solomon 6 metres, stunning him with the force of the blow.
Melanie disengages from the mourner she is fighting , picking up one of the PDF trooper’s laz pistols, and Nonisouch disintegrates the mourner. Zee attacks the mourner she has been fighting and kills him with a strike to the head. Greal attacks Solomon in the torso, setting him on fire, and his pistol explodes, causing damage to his attacker. Zee throws her dagger at Greal, missing him, then picks up another one from a dead mourner. Greal stocks towards Nonisouch. Zee runs towards the last PDF trooper to take his rifle. Melanie takes a look around and sees Octavia standing alone. Nonisouch jumps over a pew and slams his cane into the lurching figure of Greal, and the head mourner’s shield flares up again. Zee commands the PDF trooper to give her his rifle and she takes aim at Greal. Melanie also takes aim. Nonisouch swings his cane and Greal steps aside. Greal swings at Nonisouch and the master parries with his cane. Zee fires at Greal. Melanie also fires at him, but their shots have little effect. Nonisouch attacks Greal, and waves his cane through him, causing him to explode and his equipment to fall to the ground. Melanie walks over to Nonisouch, and gets a very bad feeling in her guts. Melanie pockets the shield generator and picks up the power scythe. Zee notices the grey skinned psalter is missing from their items. Solomon tells Melanie to get him to the chalice. Solomon tries to cut himself, but his will is weak. He asks Melanie for help. Melanie gives him a throne to bite down on and cuts his wrist. As the blood flows into the chalice it seems to disappear. Solomon becomes woozy from blood loss and his wounds. Solomon patches himself up using a med kit. Melanie asks what Solomon was trying to accomplish. Solomon replies that it didn’t work the way he was expecting. The room empties of others.
Solomon tells Zee that he thinks he may be a Haarlock, and Zee tells him about the missing item, and that she is suspicious of Nonisouch. The pair agree the best course would be to ollect their weapons and to secure the rest of the items that are left in their rooms. Zee and Solomon search Bland’s body. Zee finds a compact las and gives it to Solomon, and also pockets his administratum signet ring. Solomon also picks up some gear from the pdf troopers and Zee grabs some spare ammo. Melanie gives the shield generator to Solomon.
The trio heads towards security after securing their auction winnings, but are quickly lost. Three quarters of an hour pass before they find their way. They open the door and see a void shield blocking their way. Solomon decrees “I hate being an Inquisitor!” Zee retorts that he is not an inquisitor and asks how hard he was hit in the head. Her comments deceive Melanie. Solomon storms off in the direction of their rooms.
Solomon realizes that the automaton required sacrifice and that the reason the blood was disappearing in the chalice was that he had to give all of his blood to it. He writes out a will leaving his things to Zee. Solomon and Melanie use the mono-knives to open the chests holding the weapons they had won the day before. Melanie gives the pulse rifle to Zee.
11.5hrs remaining . . .
Solomon asks Zee and Melanie if they remember what the automaton had said about a scion needing to fill the cup to stop the events happening. He says he thinks he is that scion. Zee asks why he thinks that, and he pulls out the portrait and shows them. It is still out of focus but they can recognize Solomon’s features. He says that if the cup is not filled, then the children of the kingdom will rise. Solomon mentions that he and Zee saw reference to the children of the kingdom on Haarlock’s tomb. Solomon says that he thinks that it may require all of his blood to fill the cup. Zee asks if there are any other options, and Solomon says there isn’t, that they are trapped in the void field and that if the volcano erupts it will fill the field. “I don’t want to die, but I don’t see any other choice.” Zee gives him a hug. Melanie grabs a bottle of amasec. The trio head back towards the Garden of Lost Souls, which takes about half an hour.
11hrs remaining . . .
Melanie hears explosions and what she thinks is plasma fire in the distance, echoing faintly. They make their way into the Garden and see a scorched area with the legs of a servitor near by. Solomon hears two reactivated servitors moving around the room. Solomon gives the shield generator to Melanie (with instruction that it be given to Zee when he is gone) so she can charge in with the power scythe and try to clear the path for Solomon to get to the automaton. Zee takes up position beside Solomon with the pulse rifle at the ready. From what Melanie can tell, the damaged servitor had self destructed. She sees that there is one servitor to each side of the door, each armed with a plasma cannon through a slightly open door. Melanie cries out “For House Navarre!” and slams into the door. Melanie holds her breath and waits to see if the servitors noticed her. When all remains still, she charges in at one of the servitors with the scythe in hand. She carves the servitor in two. As it’s fuel canister is broken, it explodes, but the field generator protects her. The other servitor fires at her and the field again protects her. Some of the floor beneath her turns to glass. Melanie realizes she can’t reach the servitor, and instead moves out the door out of its line of sight. Zee and Solomon move further down the hall out of the way. Melanie hears the servitor stomping after her. Melanie charges at the servitor when it comes into view. The servitor steps back and Melanie swipes at it with the scythe. It opens fire and again the shield protects her. The servitor is destroyed by the backlash.
Melanie calls all clear, and the other two enter the room, Solomon walking with great determination. He hands his gear over to Zee. Melanie stands with Solomon as he bleeds himself into the cup. Zee keeps watch with gun at the ready to ensure he is not interrupted. Solomon collapses against the automaton he had chained himself to as he passes. The automaton raises the chalice and drinks from it, and the gold casing explodes outward, revealing a woman within. She raises into the air with a crimson glow. The remaining two hear the sounds of the void shield falling, and the sound of another field turning on beneath them. She hovers in the air saying nothing. Melanie makes a move to collect Solomon’s corpse, but Zee stops her. Melanie asks if they can take the body, and the crimson light flares. Zee says that Solomon’s family has lain here for a millennia, and it is his proper place. The pair make it to the security office to collect their things and collect the items in their rooms. As they reach the exit, they see Alex levelling his sniper rifle at Zee and calling for her execution on behalf of the holy ordos. He fires at her, and she dodges the shot with her shotgun at the ready. Melanie fires a burst with overcharge from her plasma pistol. Zee fires but misses. Alex fires at her again and she rolls out of the line of fire. Melanie fires again and Alex dodges out of the way. Zee fires at him again and finally hits. Heavily wounded, Alex retreats. The pair choose not to fire after him and head towards the ship that is still waiting. Melanie gets on the ship and stops at the top of the boarding plank, pointing her gun at Zee and demands to know what is going on. Zee tells Melanie that the three of them were there on Inquisition orders to stop heretical items from ending up in the hands of those who would use them against humanity. She asks if they could please get everything onto the boat and leave before the island explodes. Melanie says that they will toss the items overboard into the sea of acid, and Zee says that’s fine, but they must keep the guns. Melanie thinks hard about what to do. Melanie tells Zee to get on board. Zee takes a look at the portrait, and it is a clear image of Solomon. Melanie returns the shield generator to Zee as per Solomon’s final request. Once in private chambers, Zee tells Melanie everything about their investigation as she knows she will not be returning to the inquisition.