The Koronos Expanse, beyond the frontier of Imperial space.
In the near-lawless starbase of Footfall, High Factorum Van Schenker of House Fortuna has aquired a saviour pod containing the stasis-locked body of the Last Scion – possibly the only surviving member of House Crowmane.
The rogue trader dynasty of Crowmane was once wealthy and influential, but it appears to have suffered a catastrophic fall – in a single night all it’s offices have been destroyed by fire, all ships lost to the warp and a bounty posted by Imperial forces for any survivors.
Without genetic material from another family member the stasis field cannot be deactivated, and so what the last scion knows will remain a secret, for now.
What this means for the time being however is that House Crowmane’s assets in the Koronos Expanse are up for grabs. As fortune favours the bold, Van Schenker has wasted no time in summoning the Vengeance Rising, flagship (and only vessel for that matter) of House Fortuna.
At a meeting on Footfall, Van Schenker informed our heroes that along with the Last Scion, the saviour pod contained a journal which descibes the passage into the Achimedes Cluster, home of Crowmane’s holdings. Three worlds are described within it:
- A jungle-covered planet, rich in saurian life-forms and ripe for exploitation in the Carnivora of the Calixis sector.
- An odd star system, home to the remains of a shattered planet which has been utilised as a mining resource. Coded entries hint at the dicovery of xenos artifacts, and involvement in the Cold Trade would go some way to explaining Crowmane’s prior wealth.
- A hive world, supposedly the jewel in the crown of Crowmane’s empire; a strong source of manpower and manufacturing capability.
The Fortuna have some history with the Crowmane in the form of Van Schenker himself – the Great Grandfather of Lafyette Fortuna aquired a pair of mirrors, which were in actuality xenos artifacts. He used them to trap the soul of Van Schenker himself, and then smuggled one of the mirrors aboard a Crowmane vessel bound for the nobility of the Hive World, in order that Schenker might be able to spy upon the Crowmanes and discover the true source of their wealth and power. Having served two centuries in essentialy arcane-bonded slavery, Van Schenker wants his soul back. The original deal with the Ancestor was for him to reclaim it when the opportunity arose, which it has now done… and so our heroes set off for the Arc Cluster.
The passage through the warp is troublesome, with many terrible dreams and ghostly appearances for the crew. The most striking is of people trapped in some sort of affluent building while a huge and crimson-coloured crimson tornado tears away the exterior walls and sucks the unfortunate witnesses screaming out into the storm.
Nearing their destination, the Vengeance Rising is forced from the warp by a sudden squall. Translating back into realspace, they find themselves on the outer edges of an icy system, poorly lit by a white dwarf star. Two moons orbit a frozen planet, and near one of those moons hangs the frigate Pride of Angevin, a transport ship known to belong to House Crowmane.