The Venenum Temple is one of the temples of the Officio Assassinorum. Venenum Assassins are trained exclusively in the use of exotic poisons and subtlety in carrying out their mission requirements. Clade Venenum's stock-in-trade was employing operatives who were the galaxy's finest tox-artisans. Through their clade's apprenticeship they manufactured killing philtres from the most base of components, which allowed them to terminate their targets and leave no metabolic trace of the toxin.
Like the other temples of the Officio Assassinorum, the Venenum Temple was originally the Venenum Clade, created some time during the Great Crusade in the late 30th Millennium. The clade was created at the behest of Malcador the Sigillite, the Regent of Terra, who was secretly the Grand Master of Assassins, and the Venenum Clade's first Director Primus, who was known only as Siress Venenum. The Venenum Clade was established in a secret location on Terra at the direction of the Grand Master of Assassins and was tasked like all of the other Assassin clades with killing those who opposed the formation of the Imperium of Man and the will of the Emperor of Mankind. The Venenum Temple is located in a secret complex known as the Orchard, comprised of an ancient house that was thousands of years old. This house was surrounded by a verdant tropical jungle that contained thousands of specimens of flora and fauna used to concoct the various exotic poisons used by Venemum operatives.
During the Horus Heresy, the Assassin Clades were given the monumental task of assassinating the Traitor Primarch Horus. Each clade threw their most gifted students into a proverbial meat-grinder, sending them in blind and half-prepared. Every strike against Horus was broken, and he shrugged off these attempted assassinations without notice. In all the history of the Council of Assassins, there had never been a target whose retirement required more than one mission to prosecute. The Horus problem eventually claimed 8 Officio Assassinorum operatives across all 6 of the primary Clades. The Sigillite demanded a solution to rid the Imperium of the Emperor's turbulent and wayward son.
The veil of secrecy preserved all that the Officio Assassinorum were. Its operatives continued to work in the shadows of the Imperium, at the margins of the Emperor's knowledge, and for good reason. They served Him in deeds that he must never know of, in order to maintain His noble purity. The deployment of an Assassin was a delicate matter and never one taken lightly. In this period, some clades had fielded two or three operatives in a single mission when the circumstances were most extreme, but then always from the same clade, and always after much deliberation.
With the approval of the Master of Assassins, the founders of each clade devised an audacious plan to provide members to the secret Imperial Execution Force, an elite unit hand-picked for the task, that contained Assassins from all 6 prime clades of the Officio Assassinorum to try and eliminate Horus upon the world of Dagonet. Deploying six Assassins at once, one from every prime clade, was unheard of. The Emperor would never sanction such an action. But Malcador reasoned that the Arch-Traitor had displayed no such qualms about violating the so-called "rules" of war. He had bombed his sworn brethren during the Istvaan III Atrocity, his own men, into obliteration. No action was beyond the pale for him. Unfortunately, the mission to Dagonet ultimately failed, much to Mankind's ill fortune.
Another notable operation that occurred within the Venemum Temple's history was the Morisha Incident. Dispatched in 563.M37, Urhua Thereaux was tasked with the assassination of the Renegade Imperial Planetary Governor Yawell of the planet Morisha on the Eastern Fringe. During transit, Thereaux's starship was caught in a Warp rift, holding the vessel in temporal stasis for some 698 standard years. Not knowing that this had occurred, Thereaux proceeded to her target, only to find Yawell long since dead and replaced by an anti-Imperial democratic committee, consisting of some 1,000 members. Faced with such an extreme task, Thereaux only succeeded in killing the committee members after spending three days poisoning all the chairs in the council's auditorium before a meeting of the full committee.
Notable Venenum Assassins
- Siress Venenmum - The founder and first Director Primus of the Venenum Clade, Siress Venenum was the namesake of the Venenum Temple. She was the foremost toxic-artisan and master of poisons of her age. She, along with the other founders of the various Assassin Temples, was present on Mount Vengeance. They swore a pact in the shadow of the Great Crusade, an oath that breathed life into the creation of the Officio Assassinorum. The newly created clades hunted down the enemies of the Emperor through stealth and subterfuge, establishing the fact that there was no safe place to hide in the galaxy from the Emperor's justice.
- Tobeld - Tobeld was a prominent pupil of Siress Venenum and the premier Assassin within the Venenum Clade during the Great Crusade and the opening days of the Horus Heresy. As such, Tobeld was assigned only targets of the highest priority. He was notable for being the last known Assassin to carry out a solo assassination mission against the Arch-Traitor Horus Lupercal. Out of a total of 8 different Assassins from all 6 prime clades, Tobeld had managed to get the closest to his target before failing his mission. This resulted in the desperate gambit by the Council of Assassins to gather an Execution Force, the likes of which had not been seen since the gathering of the Assassin Clade founders on Mount Vengeance, in an attempt to assassinate Horus upon the world of Dagonet.
- Jenniker Soalm - Jenniker Soalm, born Jenniker Kell, was a Venenum Assassin during the Great Crusade and opening days of the Horus Heresy. She was a secluse of the Clade Venenum ranked at Epsilon-dan, the senior-most rank of her order. She was dispatched with the first ever Imperial Execution Force composed of Imperial Assassins from every clade, who were attempting to assassinate the Traitor Primarch Horus upon the world of Dagonet. Ultimately, their assassination attempt failed and all the Assassins were slain by the Traitors.
- Urhua Theraux - Venenum Assassin famously renowned after the Morisha Incident. Dispatched in 563.M37 to assassinate the renegade Planetary Governor Yawell, ruler of the planet Morisha on the Eastern Fringe. During transit, the assassin's starship was caught in a Warp rift, holding the vessel in a temporal stasis for some six hundred and ninety-eight years. Not knowing that a Warp time dilatation had occurred, Theraux proceeded to her destination, only to find her original target long dead, and replaced by an anti-Imperial democratic committee, consisting of some 1,000 members. Undaunted, Urhua Theraux only succeeded in killing the entire committee members after spending three whole days poisoning all the chairs in the council's auditorium, before a meeting of the full committee.
- Echo Malensis - Now a Lord Assassin of her temple, she was so deft in the use of psychopoison that she was able to time her target's death to the second of her return to the Venenum temple's debriefing chambers.
- Codex: Assassins (3rd Edition), pg. 10
- Nemesis (Novel) by James Swallow, pp. 11, 32-33, 149-150, 153, 158, 173-174, 233, 235, 248, 270, 276, 278, 282, 291-292, 295, 301, 319, 346, 366, 393-394, 396-397
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