Many years ago, Lady Captain Kieran Locke and Lord Admiral Aleksandr Blackthorne met on a remote station named Footfall, in the Koronus Expanse. Both were familiar with the other. Blackthorne is the culmination of all any Rogue Trader could ever hope for. Rich beyond all measure, powerful, quasi immortal, and with more than enough ambition left to fill a thousand life times. Locke was young, ambitious to expand her family’s influence which was already vast (though not to the extent of Blackthorne). She was extremely capable with excellent relations with the Adeptus Mechanicus. Her grandfather, the previous holder of the warrant, had pursued his spiritual and intellectual heart and departed the work of the dynasty to pursue a life as a Magos with the Adeptus Mechanicus and was even given charge of an incredibly rare, and powerful vessel, Vulcan’s Forge. The Forge is a Mechanicus Ark and is the centerpiece of the exploration fleet which it is a part. With the departure of her grandfather, Kieran Locke assumed the warrant.
When the two met, they spent a measure of time feeling out the competition. Winterscale and others had a deep grip on the area, and both of these canny players were relatively new to the Koronus Expanse. Each wanted a piece of the pie, and the profits it would bring.
When they departed Footfall, neither thought they would meet face to face again, and yet they seemed destined to come together. Their next meeting took place on Port Wander, seemingly a random encounter. This time however, the pair spent “social” time together.
That spelled the end of their friendly competition, as they fell madly in love and were soon wed.
After 10 years of marriage, Locke bore a son named Severus. There was much rejoicing.
The lad was given every consideration and training. He was given forbidden genetic treatments. He met and interacted with Xenos. He spoke several of their languages, at least their trade tongues. He was Locke’s only child (though Blackthorne has hundreds of children) and she lavished him with every advantage she could muster.
Powerful people have powerful enemies and Locke was very powerful. At some point in the past, the Stellan Dynasty of Rogue Traders had faired rather poorly in an interaction with one of Locke’s forbearers. And of course, Stellan held a grudge. Add to this, that he was continually thwarted in his attempts to get revenge, and one could almost predict that something dire, desperate, and extreme would take place. And it did.
Harak Stellan arranged to kidnap young Severus, and rather than kill him, or ransom him, he hid him. The galaxy is a big place, and if you have the kind of wealth a Rogue Trader can access, you can get what you want, when you want it. In this case, he wanted Severus hidden. And he was.
Kieran Locke knew who took her son, and she did everything she could to track him down. Blackthorne was also engaged in this search, though he was distracted by old habits and more than one assassination attempt by one of his elder children.
For two years, Kieran tracked her son, and finally on the remote station of Footfall, where she first met her husband, she thought she was closing in. What she discovered was a trap. One which found her outgunned, outnumbered, out maneuvered. Ultimately she was captured. Her captor was an Inquisitor who was a staunch ally of Stellan. He turned over Kieran and walked away once he pronounced her a heretic.
Stellan and his men violated her in her way they could. They tortured her. They flayed the flesh from her bones, grew it back and re-visited the torture, the rape, and the flaying again and again. Finally Stellan murdered her. He had recorded the entire event. Months of it.
This was his undoing.
An agent of Blackthorne had long been a factor in the Stellan merchant fleet. When he was able to get on board the Sovereign Venture, which was the flag ship of the Stellan Dynasty, he was able to meet another spy, who had a certain recording for sale. It did not take long for it to find its way to Blackthorne. Once he knew his wife was dead, and who was responsible, he declared war. A mercantile war. A military war. A psychic war. A war of assassins.
Stellan had allies in the inquisition, and for that reason alone, the war against Stellan took 18 years. When it was done, Stellan was broken. And then he was desperate. He resolved to take what was left of his fleet, and meet Blackthorne at his station in Aguisa and do battle.
The stage is set. Harak Stellan must die. You will be a part of this. You have been a part of it. No one escapes clean. No one will be remembered, unless they win. But you will win. Ambition knows no bounds, and Aleksandr Blackthorne has promised fabulous rewards to those who aid his cause. Aid him you have, Aid him you will.
In the grim darkness of the future, there is only war. (and a tidy profit to be had, if you can only live to collect it)