“Just where do you think you are, Rogue Trader? This is MY domain- and if you utter another word in my presence I swear to the Emperor that you will not make it from this deck alive! I care not what you thought of Mr. Feckward- but unlike you, at least he had the care to conduct his business in a civilized fashion. Therefore I decree that you shall have 15 minutes to leave this place, and I warn you, sir… never return to Footfall again.”
-Tanthus Moross, Liege of Footfall
Upon arrival at Damaris the crew Explorers quickly set to the task of repairing and resupplying the Emperor’s Bounty. In Damaris they found a world well-suited to the task, with both plentiful resources and equipment as well an impressive orbital station (the Bulwark) with facilities more than adequate to tend to the wounded ship. Explorator Grax was able to secure a repair contract with Senior Tech-Priest Hadron Shard, an ancient and irritable member of the Order who showed extreme impatience at Grax’s attempts to engage in casual conversation.
Meanwhile, the Explorers soon learned that another Rogue Trader was present at Damaris, the Lady Elizabeth Orleans of the frigate Starweaver. Lady Orleans offered her greetings to her fellow Rogue Trader Lucius Vorgen, and then invited him and any guests he saw fit to a private dinner aboard the Starweaver.
Lucius attended with the following guests in his retinue:
Explorator Fabian Grax
Colonel Emil Rook of the Zaythian Regiment
Also in attendance were two of the Bounty’s junior officers who had distinguished themselves during the search for the Dread Pearl.
The dinner began on a somewhat tense note, as the crew of the Starweaver viewed the crew of the Emperor’s Bounty with some suspicion. However, as he spoke with Orleans, Vorgen realized that with all the success his House had been having lately, Orleans was probably just worried that he was trying to muscle in on her holdings at Damaris. Once those concerns were put to rest, Vorgen recognized a kindred spirit in Orleans, who expressed her belief that a Rogue Trader’s first duty should be to humanity as a whole, not just personal profit. Vorgen also learned another reason for Orleans’ intial wariness: Hadarak Fel and Krawkin Feckward had both passed through Damaris just days before the Bounty arrived. Needless to say, Orleans had found both individuals to be unsavory to the extreme. Feckward had even gone so far as to try and sell off several hundred slaves in his possession, but he had been curtly seen off by Orleans.
The rest of the evening went off without incident, except that Vorgen had so much amasec that he had to lean on Lorayne’s shoulder all the way back to his quarters.
The Emperor’s Bounty spent a full 3 weeks at Damaris. The crew was able to get in some much-needed shore leave. There were two other notable events. First was the acquisition of 1,000 surplus Damaris PDF lasguns; standard-issue, but still new in the box. This significantly upgraded the quality of the 1st Zaythian aboard the Bounty. Second was an extremely terse message received from Magos Toronus addressed to Explorator Grax.
Vorgen had already been considereing heading back through the Maw to purchase some high-quality equipment at the Lathes in The Calixis Sector, so the message from the Magos sealed the matter. The first leg of the journey through the Maw would be Footfall, and Navigator Tenebra set a course. The journey went off without a hitch until the last leg, when, unbeknownst to the crew, a hostile warp entity possessed one of the lower-deck crewmen. After several murders Vorgen and Grax were able to corner the possessed crewman inside his quarters, but only after the loss of an entire team of armsmen. When Vorgen, Grax, and Lorayne finally faced the crewman, they were horrified as the possession took hold and the daemon revealed itself. A full blast of plasma rifle fire from Grax seemed to have no effect, while Vorgen’s power sword seemed unable to find any flesh to cleave in to. Virtually all the other armsmen in attendance either ran away screaming or doubled-over in shock and terror and vomit; even Lorayne could only stand petrified with her eyes as large as saucers. The foul daemon slashed at Grax, its blow miraculously blocked by Grax’s refractor field. His voice a clarion shout above the utter chaos, Vorgen exhorted his men to redouble their efforts to slay the monster. At first it seemed that no one paid him any heed, but someone did. As the daemon raised its claw for another strike, four bolter rounds impacted on the daemon’s head and torso, rending it utterly as Lorayne screamed in righteous anger. Yet before the daemon died, it looked upon Grax with its one remaining eye and swore that when they met again, it would devour Grax’s soul…
Finally, the Emperor’s Bounty arrived at Footfall. After the unpleasantness of their last stay, Vorgen intended to stay here only long enough to unload the Eldar artefacts seized at the Dread Pearl. Yet when he heard that Feckward was currently docked at the station- and was in the processing of selling several hundred “pure examples of human gene-stock from the lost Dread Pearl,” it rose his ire. When Feckward rejected and mocked Vorgen’s offer to purchase his entire stock (to repatriate them with the remainder of their people on Quppa-Psi-12) he was infuriated.
In a brash display, Vorgen led a company of armsmen straight into the slave quarter where Feckward was conducting business. Vorgen found Feckward leaning back in a plush chair with his feet jauntily resting on a piece of furniture while human lives traded hands. Vorgen demanded that Feckward cease his actions; Feckward declared astonishment at Vorgen’s display of force, and stated that Vorgen had no right to make demands of him in any case. What happened next is not entirely clear, but most of the witnesses agree that a shot rang out, and Vorgen and Feckward both drew their both pistols, both fired, and both were able to dodge the shots of the other. However, Feckward could not dodge Vorgen’s trusty companion Lorayne, who once again found her target, reducing Feckward to a bloody lower torso and little else.
Shortly afterwards a large group of Footfall armsmen arrived to secure the scene. After frowning in disapproval at the carnage, the Liege of Footfall himself, Tanthus Moross, confronted Vorgen. Moross chided Vorgen for his lack of discretion and demanded that he leave immediately and never return again. Vorgen and his crew had but a few scant minutes to lead all the rescued slaves back to the Emperor’s Bounty and leave port. Even as they were undocking, several of the other ships present started to circle the Bounty like sharks, their captains transmitting taunts over the vox. Fortunately, Explorator Grax was able to coax the machine-spirit of the Bounty to engage a silent running pattern. This enabled the ship to get clear of Footfall before any of the opposition got up the nerve to attack. Once the ship was safely away Vorgen approached Lorayne and presented her a gift he had acquired on Footfall from a xeno-trader: a Crux Beam Gun. Lorayne thanked him for the magnificent present.
The Emperor’s Bounty was now headed into the Maw proper, and a course was plotted to one of the known Stations of Passage, The Hermitage. In a pique of curiousity Vorgen decided to investigate the station, finding it much to his liking. After meeting with Brother Cornelius, Vorgen is now evaluating the Hermitage as an alternative to Footfall for ships traveling through the Maw. Of course, Vorgen will have to secure the station from other Rogue Traders who are accustomed to using it as a neutral meeting place for their own illicit dealings… such men and women may take umbrage at having to pay for something they previously enjoyed for free.