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Benediction, originally called Talledus, was a Cardinal World of the Imperium of Man ruled by the Astra Militarum in the form of its Planetary Governor, Cardinal Morst Bolifax.

Benediction served as the capital world of both the Talledus System and the wider Veritus Sub-sector, which was of great religious and political significance to the Ecclesiarchy.

It was because of this importance to the Imperial state religion that Benediction became a target of the forces of Chaos led by the Word Bearers senior Dark Apostle Kor Phaeron in the days after the formation of the Great Rift.

At some point in the Era Indomitus, Kor Phaeron led a Chaos assault upon the Talledus System in the hopes of capturing Benediction and transforming it from a centre of worship for the God-Emperor into a dark Shrine World dedicated to the Dark Gods.

This assault was blunted during the conflict known as the Talledus War through the efforts of the Astra Militarum, the Sisters of Battle of the Order of Our Martyred Lady and the Astartes of the Salamanders Chapter as well as a phenomenon of the Psychic Awakening called the "Saints' Wall" in which the spirits of the Imperial sacred dead were summoned by the faithful to their world.

Yet the forces of Chaos have managed to claim most of the world's surface, and only the city-like Grand Honorificum cathedral complex remains under Imperial control.

History

The Talledus System lay in the centre of the Veritus Sub-sector, a region of space replete with Imperial worlds and navigable Warp routes. It was seen as a stronghold of the Ecclesiarchy, a vibrant symbol of the Imperial Creed's galaxy-spanning influence and power.

Its capital world of Benediction was entirely covered by a golden theocropolis of astonishing scale, the entirety of the planet's surface reshaped and sculpted into a mausoleum-temple to house the corpses of thousands of saints of the Imperial church.

Many faithful pilgrims of the God-Emperor would gladly have given their lives just to see the spire-mountains of Lux Eternis, to walk amidst the statues of long-dead priests and hierophants, to hear the sound of psalms echoing through the artificial valleys and stained glass towers of the Grand Honorificum.

This ambitious project was started by none other than the legendary reforming Ecclesiarch Sebastian Thor. During the 36th Millennium's Age of Apostasy, Thor led a great revolt against the depravities of his predecessor, Ecclesiarch and High Lord of Terra Goge Vandire. Thoroughly insane and murderous, Vandire had become convinced that he alone was the God-Emperor’s divine instrument and successor.

Anyone who questioned his increasingly deranged pronouncements was subject to hideous torture, then a summary execution at the hands of the Daughters of the Emperor, a sect of pious female warriors that had been swayed through religious fraud into Vandire's service.

The Talledus System suffered terribly during those dark days. Its governor, Hectus Carmine, was one of the first to openly and publicly decry the outrages of Goge Vandire. In doing so he earned the mad Ecclesiarch's fury. Carmine's homeworld of Talledus was invaded by forces loyal to Vandire, who were faced with the governor's steadfast Astra Militarum regiments and thousands of the God-Emperor's faithful who refused to acknowledge Vandire's rule.

After a fierce conflict that raged for many solar months, Carmine and hundreds of his co-conspirators were finally captured and put on trial. The deposed system governor was brutalised publicly for more than a solar month and ultimately burned alive on the steps of his palatial residence, while his populace was forced to witness. Not content with this blood price, Vandire ordered a grand purge of Heretics across the sub-sector.

On worlds such as Boras Minor, Ghreddask and Satropol across the system, the measures taken by the insane Ecclesiarch would live in infamy. Once a prosperous system famed for its splendour, Talledus itself was reduced to a shadow of its former glory.

Sebastian Thor was the leader of the Confederation of Light, an alliance of faithful souls determined to end Vandire's time as Ecclesiarch and reform the Imperial church, which had come to be known as the Reign of Blood. Thor gathered his forces -- which ultimately included several Space Marine Chapter Masters -- to Holy Terra, where they overthrew the tyrant and his loyal servants.

In the process, Thor revealed the depths of Vandire's heresy to the Daughters of the Emperor, who repaid their master's lies with the edge of a Power Sword. As Vandire's severed head struck the floor of his chamber, the terror that had enveloped the Imperium was finally ended. In the aftermath of this bloody coup, Thor -- having convinced the High Lords of Terra of the righteousness of his actions -- was chosen to become the new Ecclesiarch.

Thor was a bold and determined reformer. He decreed that the Daughters of the Emperor, having shown their true loyalty, would become the Chamber Militant of the Ecclesiarchy -- renamed the Sisters of Battle, they would faithfully serve the will of the God-Emperor. Having put in place measures to ensure that an event as disastrous as Vandire's Reign of Blood could not occur again, Thor departed Terra and began a grand tour of the Imperium's holy sites.

One of the first sub-sectors the new Ecclesiarch visited was Veritus, and its broken capital world of Talledus was his first port of call.

Though they had suffered greatly at the hands of the church, the survivors of Vandire's purges greeted their new Ecclesiarch reverently when he visited the ruins of Talledus. Moved by their faith, Thor ordered the construction of a grand monument to Hectus Carmine and all who had lost their lives during the Reign of Blood.

The limitless coffers of the Ecclesiarchy were opened, and upon the ashes of the past were fashioned soaring temples and mausoleum-cities of gold. Thor decreed that Talledus be renamed "Benediction" in honour of the fallen.

Over the following centuries the power and influence of the Veritus Sub-sector grew unchecked. The immense wealth generated by sacred tithes, pilgrimage tolls and the generous offerings of the God-Emperor's faithful flowed back into the vaults of the Ecclesiarchy.

In order to protect this valuable and imposing symbol of their power, Thor's successors as Ecclesiarch ensured that several fortress-sanctuaries of the Sisters of Battle were built upon Martyr's Rest and its neighbouring worlds. Entire Astra Militarum regiments were diverted to protect its borders, and the Ecclesiarchy's tithe-collectors roamed the space lanes of the Veritus Sub-sector, ensuring that the God-Emperor's due was paid in full.

The orbital dockyards at the world of Satrapol in the Talledus System were amongst the largest in the Imperium. Thousands upon thousands of vessels were packed together in cramped mooring claws, kept stationary for Terran months and sometimes even years as the Ecclesiarchy's agents methodically ensured that every tithe was collected. Those who failed to pay what was owed, or in any way roused the ire of the state church, were dealt with by the ruthlessly zealous Ghreddask Illuminators.

These crack Astra Militarum regiments did not technically answer to the Adeptus Ministorum, as the Decree Passive, passed in the aftermath of the Reign of Blood, prevented the church from maintaining such a military body ever again. Yet, such was the ferocity of their faith, the Illuminators maintained suspiciously close political ties with members of the Talledoran priesthood.

So did Talledus thrive for thousands of standard years. Even when the Great Rift tore open and Terra itself was savaged by the daemonic hordes of the Dark Gods, the Veritus Sub-sector remained untouched. The prophets of Benediction claimed that the faithful of Talledus lived under the eternal protection of the God-Emperor, a reward for all that they had once suffered.

Such predictions would prove utterly false. The Dark Gods had set their eyes upon this gleaming jewel in Humanity's crown, and their greatest mortal champions planned to see it burn in the fires of Chaos. The Talledus War would consume Benediction and all the worlds of the system, bringing a clash of rival faiths to the Veritus Sub-sector.

Notable Locations

  • Grand Honorificum - The Grand Honorificum was a massive cathedral complex that housed the bodies and other relics of many of the Imperial saints buried on Benediction. It was essentially a "theocropolis," a city that was home to millions and dedicated wholly to the practice of religious faith. Its heart was covered by a great dome, and the entire complex was protected by Void Shields and multiple layers of overlapping defensive armaments.
  • Lux Eternis - Spired mountains said to have bene carved to hold memorials and statues dedicated to many of the Imperial church's saints, long-dead priests and hierophants.
  • River Carmine - A river that marks the region where the Grand Honorificum is located. Four great brides were constructed to span this waterway. It was the seizure of one of these bridges by the Salamanders during the Talledus War that allowed the Imperial defenders to divide the attacking Chaos army in two and establish a new defensive perimeter to protect the Grand Honorificum.

Sources

  • Psychic Awakening - Faith & Fury (8th Edition), pp. 6-9, 14-17
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