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"There is something off about this place, the people here revel in laxity and debauchery. I am going to send out a formal petition for an investigation on both of these systems... I just have to make a stop first... well, maybe I'll get to it tomorrow..."

—Overheard Imperial Guard Commander

The Wicked Sisters are twin Imperial Pleasure Worlds named Iatos and Delphos that are located in the Jericho Reach. Both are markedly bizarre. Located dangerously close to the heavily contested Cellebos Warzone, the two systems they are each located in, also called Delphos and Iatos, are completely identical, and the planets themselves are nearly indistinguishable from each other except for the Imperial structures that have been built there.

Located very close to the same Warp-route, the two systems have the same number of planets that orbit identical stars and the exact same frequency of rotation.

In fact, they are so similar that the Imperium has established a vox beacon in each system, perpetually broadcasting each individual system's designation to avoid confusion between the two for voidships just dropping out of the Warp.

After the conquest of these two systems by Lord General Ovidius, there were many members of the Adeptus Administratum who opposed establishing an Imperial presence on the worlds due to their bizarre nature.

However, after seeing the verdant and beautiful terrain for themselves, they could not let such worlds go unused.

Since then, the planets have acted as the main retreat for ranking members of the Imperium from both the Acheros and Orpheus Salients of the Achilus Crusade. In practice this has left them relatively deserted of any military personnel, as time for rest and recreation is severely limited given the current state of the Achilus Crusade.

Both systems are in close proximity to the Hadex Anomaly; its glowing presence in the sky tinges every night on the planets with a sickly red glow. There are many Inquisitors operating in the Jericho Reach that believe that the influence of the Anomaly has tainted these worlds, infecting those who stay there with the subtle corruption of the Warp.

However, with many more pressing concerns bearing down from all sides in the Reach, no Inquisitor has been able to spare resources long enough to launch a full investigation.

The suspicions of these Inquisitors are even more accurate than they could imagine; underground Chaos Cults dedicated to Slaanesh have sprung up in both systems, and the subtle influence of Chaos can be felt by any who stay on the surface for an extended period of time.

In the solar decades since the worlds' reclamation they have garnered a reputation for laxity and the pleasures of the flesh, giving them the name "The Wicked Sisters" amongst Imperial citizens of the Reach.

Geography

Wicked Sisters

The Wicked Sisters as seen from planetside.

Both Iatos and Delphos are extremely verdant worlds, and contain an extensive variety of indigenous flora and fauna but no native sentient life. Imperial records indicate a previous Human presence, although no evidence of previous colonisation has been uncovered.

Geographic analysis by Adeptus Mechanicus agents has uncovered the presence of [REDACTED BY INQUISITORIAL ORDER] under all major continents on both Iatos and Delphos, but no other materials of worth to the crusade.

With the complete transformation of the Wicked Sisters after the birth of the Hadex Anomaly, any shreds of Imperial records left on the planets vanished.

The only reliable information that has been recovered from elsewhere in the Reach are simple planetary datafaxes recording the Imperial geographic analysis of the planets' original surfaces.

Although Administratum agents found it bizarre that both planets had undergone such a dramatic shift during the Jericho Reach's "Age of Shadow," they attributed it to a changing orbital pattern or other natural causes.

Only the records of the Deathwatch, who observed the Reach all through the Age of Shadow, indicate that the metamorphosis occurred in conjunction with the creation of the Hadex Anomaly, and that there may be a more sinister cause behind it.

Strange Symmetry

Since the discovery of the two identical systems there have been many attempts to ascertain the nature of these bizarre twins. Dozens of Adeptus Mechanicus installations are scattered throughout each system, each dedicated to collecting specific subsets of data.

This information is then astropathically transmitted back to a central station on Delphos for in-depth analysis with powerful and ancient cogitators that have been shipped in with the crusade.

Thus far the collected information has netted no useful clues in determining the origin of Iatos and Delphos. All analysis has shown that, besides the alterations caused by Imperial forces, the systems are completely identical.

Investigation has been further hampered by constant Inquisitorial intrusion -- an entire Adeptus Mechanicus installation -- dedicated to geological analysis was completely shut down under strict orders from the Ordo Xenos, and all information gathered was destroyed.

Stark Contrast

Despite being identical for all intents and purposes, Delphos and Iatos have developed very differently. Since its reclamation, Delphos has maintained itself as a typical Pleasure World of the Imperium; the Ecclesiarchal presence keeping everyone strong in their faith to the Emperor.

Iatos, on the other hand, has strayed far from the Emperor's light. The damaging presence of Charsilith's Den has allowed the insidious influence of Chaos to affect the populace and turn them away from the Emperor.

Without swift Inquisitorial action, the populace of Iatos could be in danger of straying too far for the Imperium to tolerate and drastic action may have to be taken.

History

Before the Age of Shadow, both Delphos and Iatos appeared completely different to their present forms. They were arid wastelands that barely managed to sustain life, with windswept plains stretching on as far as the eye could see, broken up by hive cities dotting the horizon.

The only reason the Imperium continued to cling to the surface of these inhospitable planets was a rare metal that was mined from deep under the surface.

This jet black metal was fabled to be capable of repairing itself, seeming to almost spring to life in the holder's hands. All reference to this substance, however, has been completely stripped from Imperial records, even those in the halls of Watch Fortress Erioch.

In their prime, the Wicked Sisters -- known by their system names at the time -- were immensely wealthy thanks to their mining operations. They had a working partnership that, paired with their proximity to the Jericho Sector's capital world, ensured their power within the region.

When the Age of Shadow fell upon the Jericho Sector and plunged the worlds into anarchy, Iatos and Delphos not only stayed safe, but prospered.

The working partnership between the two systems help protect them from the bands of roving marauders that prowled the Warp, and the population's constant toil in the mines kept them too distracted to fall to the seductions of Chaos.

They began trading their rare metal with surrounding systems, supporting the various warlords that had risen from the ashes of the former Jericho Sector in exchange for food, supplies, and protection.

Deathwatch records indicate that Iatos and Delphos continued to grow in power throughout the Age of Shadow, becoming one of the most powerful forces in the entire Reach until 655.M40 and the eruption of the Warp vortex that created the Hadex Anomaly.

This marks a large gap in the records of Watch Fortress Erioch -- due to Warp disturbances from the Anomaly no reliable data was gathered for nearly a standard millennium.

The next reliable data on the systems was collected by the Deathwatch frigate Eye of Retribution in 523.M41 when it had to make an emergency drop out of the Warp while en route to the rimward edge of the Reach.

The Navigator insisted that they had dropped out on the edge of the Delphos System, but upon analysis of the planets they found no sign of life, or even civilisation.

Upon approach to Delphos they discovered, not the desert Hive World that had been there a millennium ago, but a verdant paradise covered in lush jungle. After a full survey of the planet, the Eye could not even identify any sign of Human ruins anywhere on the planet.

A stop by the Iatos System found that the same transformation had occurred there as well; where previously there had been a wasteland, there was now a garden. Although this metamorphosis concerned the Deathwatch, it was not an event that fell directly into their purview. The Eye of Retribution took note of the events and then continued on its previous mission.

With the arrival of the Achilus Crusade, the advancing forces quickly added the systems to their tally, claiming the lush planets as the glorious spoils of the crusade. Some members of the Administratum spoke out in protest to settling these worlds, contesting that the strange nature of the twin systems warranted a full investigation before proceeding.

However, with the crusade in desperate need of a good turn of events, the cries of opposition were ignored and the planets were immediately settled.

Notable Locations

Verdure Basilica

Upon the reclamation of the twin systems, the Ecclesiarchy planned to build a monolithic cathedral on both of the Pleasure Worlds to act as the centre of the Imperial religion on the planets.

They began construction first on Delphos, but the process was plagued by problems from the beginning. Machine Spirits failed, workers died, materials were faulty, and what was meant to be a simple construction dragged out for solar decades.

Eventually the construction was finished, and the Verdure Basilica stood as a monument to the Emperor's will, resplendent amongst the towering forest in which it was built. The basilica now acts as the spiritual heart of Delphos, keeping the population pure in the Emperor's light.

The main section of the building is constructed from a grey and green speckled stone, its towering walls blending in with the forest around it. Vine-like plants grow over every facet of the structure, up its columns and buttresses, and covering most of the ornate windows.

If a Kill-team operating on Delphos is going to meet with a member of the Administratum or the Ecclesiarchy, it would likely be within the walls of the Verdure Basilica.

The towering building is the centralised meeting place for people from all across the planet. There is a constant flow of citizens and off-worlders milling throughout the grounds, each talking in quiet whispers to each other. For a Kill-team who would prefer to stay out of the sight of the public, the cathedral has multiple wings that stretch out into the forest.

These dark and often abandoned areas would work perfectly for a quiet, low profile meeting with an important contact.

Charsilith's Den

While the Ecclesiarchy constructed the basilica on Delphos to act as the centre for all Imperial culture on the planet, the people of Iatos had no centralised location in which to congregate.

Charsilith's Den rose up to fill this void on the planet. Since then it has become a giant complex of excess and debauchery, a powerful influence on the entire planet that is -- unbeknownst to most of the planet's inhabitants -- driving Iatos closer and closer to the embrace of the Ruinous Powers.

Initially Charsilith's Den was no more than a small establishment in which the artists and Administratum members of the Pleasure World could come to gamble and unwind. But with no central location in which to congregate, more and more people began spending their nights there, and it started to expand rapidly.

As the Den grew, and other buildings were erected around it, the area began to resemble more of a tiny hive city than a single building. Many people began spending their entire days wrapped in the pleasures that the Den offers, being gently corrupted by temptation.

The Den is a dark, imposing presence that can easily be seen on the approach to the planet. It is a jumble of rockcrete and adamantium buildings, clustered in the middle of a huge, cleared section of forest. Between the different buildings are small, cramped streets filled with people intent on gambling or darker deals.

The chaotic and quick expansion of the complex has led to these dark streets being nearly labyrinthine in layout, perfect for secret meetings and illicit activities.

The debauchery hidden deep within the walls of Charsilith's Den has been a perfect vessel for the Ruinous Powers to extend their influence, especially Slaanesh. Multiple Chaos Cults secretly operate deep inside the walls of the Den, spreading their influence far beyond to the rest of the planet.

Many Inquisitors have investigated the establishment, suspecting the corruption within, but mysteriously no action has ever been taken to shut down or destroy it.

Whether the Inquisitor and their retinue meet a mysterious fate, a more pressing matter materialises in the area, or they broker a secretive deal with a member of the Administratum, inevitably each Inquisitor ceases his investigation of the Den.

The difference between Iatos and Delphos is noticeable. Anyone who spends much time at either can see the effect that the presence of the basilica and the Den have had on the two planets -- one desperately fighting off the malign influence of Chaos, the other giving into the siren call of the Ruinous Powers.

Gollard Mountains

While the Gollard Mountains are a geographic feature, they are present on both Delphos and Iatos. Named by Lord General Ovidius, they (confusingly) both share the same name. Whether he did so out of humour or lack of creativity, no one will ever know.

The mountains are made up of a jet-black rock that shimmers in the light of the sun. The range sticks out in stark contrast to the lush greenery of the rest of the planet, cutting a swath across the main continent like a dark scar. Weather has not worn down the peaks, which are pointed with sharp, jagged edges as if they had just been created yesterday.

Anyone trying to navigate the mountain range on foot would have a difficult time. The sheer rock faces are steep and slick, and the endless peaks leave very few landmarks to guide the way. This has prompted a number of Imperial nobles to build their extravagant properties on the peaks of the Gollard Mountains.

These giant structures are only accessible via a flying craft, allowing the nobles to enjoy solitude and privacy away from prying eyes.

Sources

  • Deathwatch: The Jericho Reach (RPG), pp. 13-15
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