- "Eradicate Chaos? Hah! One might as well try to eradicate one's own shadow. Do not presume to enforce a simpleton's philosophy upon the Emperor's Inquisition. Bury your head if you must, but my eyes are open yet."
- — Excerpt from the sixth trial of Inquisitor Lichtenstein
To the Xanthites, the Warp and its denizens are things to be enslaved rather than denied. To them, Chaos is no less an enemy that must be fought and defeated, but one ultimately that should be tamed, bound to humanity's will and put to use in the Imperium's service. Born from the paradoxical position inherent in the role of the Inquisition, Xanthites believe it is the Inquisitor's sacrosanct freedom to understand and even wield that which is forbidden in order to better combat it.
Xanthism remains perhaps the most insidious and most ominous of all doctrines, and the Xanthite movement itself arguably the most ancient, powerful and above all most dangerous of the Inquisition's Radical factions. Indeed, to some the words "Radical" and "Xanthite" are synonymous. When a Puritan Inquisitor ponders the Xanthite, with their dark lore and darker secrets, they see an enemy a thousand times more dangerous than any twisted mutant, debased Heretic, or crazed witch -- and they are not wrong.
Xanthites by no means advocate the furthering of Chaos and its dark works, but see it as a tool that is already in use by the Imperium, not yet realised to its full potential. Warp travel, Astropaths, Navigators, Space Marine Librarians, Abhumans in the ranks of the Imperial forces; all these bear the mark of Chaos, but nevertheless further the goals of the God-Emperor, himself one of the most powerful psykers to ever have existed.
The Xanthites cite these as example that there is no question as to whether Chaos can serve Humanity, it is just a matter of to what degree. As a result, Inquisitors of this faction often use Daemon Weapons, Chaos-tainted artefacts, psyker-retainers, daemonhosts, and forbidden grimoires in their quest to understand and exploit the boundless power of the Warp. Many have achieved mastery over the psychic discipline they have trained in, and it is unusual to find a Xanthite with no psychic ability whatsoever.
Many other Inquisitors, be they Puritan or Radical, consider the Xanthites to be walking along the edge of a precipice, arrogantly tampering with powers no mortal mind can fully comprehend, and with catastrophic implications should they but slip for a moment. But despite the appalling dangers the Xanthites court, they are nevertheless one of the oldest and most heavily entrenched philosophies of the Inquisition, and their number includes not only some of the most learned and politically influential Inquisitors, but also some of the most personally powerful individuals whose true strengths and mastery of the dark arts are seldom guessed at until they are angered or directly challenged.
It is indeed a courageous or foolhardy Inquisitor that dares challenge a true Xanthite directly and unaided, let alone a cabal of their number operating together in fell purpose. Instead, those that would challenge the Xanthite creed must do so with caution. More often it is the case that several Inquisitors must make common cause to expose a Xanthite that they believe is guilty of crossing the line into outright heresy. They must bring irrefutable proof before a full Conclave of the Inquisition in order to gain justice, and even then the outcome is never certain.
The Trial of Zaranchek Xanthus
Xanthism is one of the oldest philosophies of the Inquisition. It is named after Inquisitor-Master Zaranchek Xanthus, brought to trial and eventually executed as a Heretic in the early 32nd Millennium. Xanthus was accused by a cabal of Inquisitors who had united to accuse him of Chaos worship. Although he professed his innocence strongly and with great dignity, he was eventually burnt at the stake, and many of his Acolytes and former apprentices were hunted down by the purge that followed.
Throughout his trial, Xanthus maintained that despite the many malefic relics found in his possession and the vast repository of dark lore he had amassed, he had remained pure, both in spirit and purpose. He admitted that he did on occasion utilise the forces of the Warp and the powers of Chaos to achieve his goals in the Imperium's service. By virtue of his rank and record, Xanthus' trial was held by the Great Conclave itself, and regardless of his eventual conviction, his skilled oratory, undoubted eloquence, and unwaveringly firm stance that such power could be harnessed without spiritual corruption found resonance in many who listened.
His ideas were to be picked up on by other Inquisitors in the following years, and within a standard century of his death a core of self-professed "Xanthites" had become a vocal and controversial minority within the Inquisition, and one that risked being rendered excommunicate en masse for their views.
Angelique De Falk and the Calixian Malleus
Perhaps the most famous Xanthite Inquisitor in the history of the early Calixian Conclave was Angelique De Falk, a woman whose great cunning and implacable intelligence marked her out from her days as an Acolyte of the Ordo Xenos as a rising star. De Falk, newly raised to the rosette, was one of a number of Inquisitors assigned to the fledgling Calixis Sector in the middle of the 39th Millennium in the aftermath of the Angevin Crusade.
This period, known to Calixian histories as The Great Founding, was far from an untroubled one, as war and anarchy still blighted the area. The subsequent mass colonial expeditions from the overpopulated worlds of the distant Segmentum Solar and from nearer afield in the troubled Mandragora and Gehenna regions created serious problems of their own. The newly born Calixian Conclave soon had its hands full weeding out the corrupt chaff from the good wheat in the new population of the sector and helping manage the difficult transition from High Crusade to stable civil rule.
De Falk took to her duties with bravura and won for herself considerable fame within the Conclave, smashing cult after cult, battling human Renegades and mutant uprisings. In particular, De Falk is credited with exterminating one of the last hellish nests of the Warp-worshipping Yu'vath, a xenos race that had bitterly contested the Crusade's latter stages.
It is recorded to have caused some acrimony when De Falk crossed the floor to join the Ordo Malleus, leaving her erstwhile comrades in the Ordo Xenos somewhat aggrieved to lose the famed and influential Inquisitor to what was at the time a political rival.
She quickly mastered the arts of the daemonhunter and rose swiftly within the ranks of the Calixian Malleus, demonstrating a mastery of occult lore that swiftly had Inquisitors of far longer service seeking her aid and council in matters of the infernal. As time progressed, however, she demonstrated increasingly Radical Xanthite leanings. Rumours began to circulate that she was able to command dark Warp spirits at will, and that she had replaced her left eye, lost in battle with a Chaos Sorcerer, with a baleful orb torn from the skull of a half-daemon thing worshipped as a god amid the steaming jungles of Fedrid.
Her successes against malign forces, however, only grew in number and scale, as she and her Acolytes cast down the first and most terrible flowering of the Cult of Baphomael on Scintilla. By her own hand, De Falk destroyed the black beating heart of the Nightmare-Hulk Spectre of Winter, which had terrorised Imperial shipping since it was first sighted during the voyages of Solomon Haarlock.
After two centuries of service within the Calixian Conclave and a track record that arguably has never been equalled by her successors, Angelique De Falk was the leading power of the Ordo Malleus in the sector. She always refused to have the fact officially acknowledged, and she declined the appellation of "Inquisitor Lord" which her peers repeatedly offered her despite her growing sinister reputation.
During this long tenure she acted as mentor to more than a dozen Acolytes raised to the Inquisitor's rank in their own right, only ensuring a strong strain of Xanthism in the Calixian Conclave to this day. De Falk's successors, in turn, produced other legends.
These include Requis Corina, the first to battle the Pilgrims of Hayte and halt the Bloody Solstice on Malfi; the infamous witch-master Inquisitor Soldevan, who slew the psi-abomination of the Bloodmind on war-torn Malice; and the malignant Kul Harkness, perhaps the most suspected and feared of the current Calixian Xanthites. But her gravest test and the act that was to grant both glory and infamy within the Inquisition was yet to come.
The Three Daughters of Atropos
In 799.M39 the hive city of Atropos on Solomon, a citadel with a population of more than 100 million, went mad in a single night. The culmination of a nightmarish plot long in the making, this terrible night of insanity and wanton murder was the work of the Master Sorcerer Alrac the Broken. Long a foe of the Calixis Sector, born beyond the Emperor's Light, founder of a dozen cults, and author of the thrice-cursed grimoire the Liber Noctis Eternem, Alrac had come to Solomon to kill this vital Imperial world in order to pay off a dark pact struck standard centuries before with the hellish forces beyond.
As the death toll rose steadily into the tens of thousands and Atropos tore itself to shreds, violent chem-storms engulfed Solomon, and madness began to leap from ship to ship in orbit. With every drop of blood shed, Solomon tipped toward the Chaotic destruction of a full-blown Warp incursion on a planetary scale. At the centre of this whirlpool of violence, Alrac took the High Prelate's throne in the gore-spattered Cathedral of Saint Morgana at the pinnacle of the Hive Spire and began his ascension to daemonhood as the gates holding back the Warp began to shatter.
Plunging through the storm like a bolt from the heavens came Angelique De Falk's gun-cutter. It had been pure chance she had been in the outer Solomon System taking on supplies in preparation for a long journey to a distant Inquisition fortress. Ill-prepared for a major confrontation, she was accompanied only by a number of junior Acolytes in training and her personal staff. Although long past the prime of her life, De Falk's mind was sharp and her power greater than ever.
So it was that in order to save Solomon and countless Imperial lives, three of De Falk's Acolytes gave themselves up to damnation aboard her ship in hurried rituals of terrible power. The gun-cutter smashed its way into the twisted cathedral to confront Alrac at the moment of his dark apotheosis, and De Falk and three bound daemonhosts of dreadful potency confronted the ascending arch-sorcerer. The details of what occurred in the battle have never been revealed, but it is known that Alrac was torn asunder at the moment of his triumph and Atropos scoured clean. De Falk's shattered body was borne away by her last surviving sorrowful "daughter," and she was never seen again. Whether she lived or died remains a mystery.
The Golden Throne
It was revealed in the time after the end of the 13th Black Crusade on 986.999.M41 that many mechanisms of the Golden Throne have developed technological failures beyond the current ability of the Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus to repair. Because of this, it seems possible that the Emperor's body will die at some time in the near future.
Depending on the many myths and fevered predictions that have come to dominate the Imperium's "Time of Ending," this unwelcome event will either destroy or actually save the Imperium of Man, and the galaxy as a whole, from the inevitable destruction brought by Chaos.
With the discovery of the Golden Throne's deteriorating state, a dozen contingency expeditions have been launched by the Cult Mechanicus, including a Xanthite war procession of the Inquisition sent through the Exhubris Portal into the Webway. The Xanthites fought through Harlequin troupes and daemon hordes alike before reaching their intended destination. In the grave-cold oubliettes of the Haemonculi beneath the Drukhari city of Commorragh, a sinister bargain was struck.
Xanthism and the Ordo Malleus
- "And I heard the voice in the midst of the thunder
saying 'Come and See,' and I saw,
And I beheld the Children of Men bearing terrible
weapons while the
eight-fold star was trampled at their feet,
And the fourth seal shattered and the Beast did cower in new-forged chains,
The Ancient Seraphs bore witness, their wings dipped in blood, and
the lamentations were mighty as They That Can Not Die were cast down,
And the Voice in the Abyss spoke again saying 'It is Done...'"
- — The Corrinto Propheticum, declared to be an extreme moral threat and suppressed, 744.M41
Given its focus on the direct opposition of the daemon and the Warp-worshiper as an organisation, not to mention its access to occult lore and artefacts, it is perhaps unsurprising that many (but by no means all) of the Xanthite faction can be found within the ranks of the Ordo Malleus. These Malleus Xanthites form a powerful minority within the Ordo, and while most are as dedicated to the Ordo's mission as any other daemonhunter, their methods and concerns mark them out from their peers.
In extreme cases, this has lead to covert warfare and strife between particular Xanthites and their brethren. These differences are put aside in most cases by the Ordo Malleus, as this notoriously insular division of the Inquisition is apt to close ranks and keep any discord or intellectual disagreement behind closed doors as far as the wider Inquisition is concerned.
This seeming tolerance for the Heretic in their ranks is the result of a number of factors, not least being that every Malleus Inquisitor has a close knowledge of the infernal and a schooling in the dark arts to some extent. As such, almost every member of the Malleus fundamentally understands -- even if they do not agree with -- the Xanthite position. There is, however, a point at which such tolerance ends, and that is the point of moral corruption.
When a Xanthite (or any other Inquisitor for that matter) strays from the quest to understand and dominate the Warp and willingly or not becomes the pawn of the Ruinous Powers -- or worse yet, succumbs to the temptation to bend the knee to the Dark Gods in return for power and the promise of immortality -- then the Ordo Malleus will turn on them with all its wrath. The Xanthite faction itself will be at the forefront of carrying out this retribution and is merciless in its pursuit.
Despite Xanthism at its roots being simply a matter of outlook on the daemonhunter's part, rather than a specific association, an important difference remains between Inquisitors who profess Xanthite beliefs and what some choose to call "True Xanthites" -- men and women who have dedicated their lives and their wills to the absolute mastery of Warpcraft in the God-Emperor's service. Xanthites of this rank and power, usually long-serving veterans of the Inquisition's war, often become sorcerers and daemon binders equal to any Chaos Arch-Magus or Warp prophet.
The names of these rare and appallingly dangerous individuals have echoed with equal parts reverence and infamy in the secret histories of the Inquisition and invest the word "Xanthite" with such import and dread. Men and women such as Mokartus, Quixos, Angelique De Falk, and Zaranchek Xanthus himself, according to the Xanthites, embraced the darkness and were willing to risk the ultimate sacrifice in order to safeguard the Imperium -- but by the judgement of others, they became monsters in their fall from grace.
Xanthism, as old a creed as it is, is far from uniform and exists with many divisions both in personal approach and in schismatic doctrine. Within the Xanthites there are those whose beliefs range much further afield from their fellows, from the suicidal fury of the Oblationists to the more recent tech-heresies of the Phaenonites. Perhaps the most extreme and outlandish Xanthite faction is known as the Horusians. This handful of infamous Radicals looks to the great catastrophe of the Horus Heresy and to the Primarch Horus, who they view as a mighty being invested with immense Chaos power, and sees an opportunity wasted rather than a monster that nearly doomed all of humanity.
They believe that if a new Horus could be created and invested with great energy from the Warp and could control that power, he would effectively be a "Second Emperor," a super-being able to unite and lead the Imperium for its betterment and greater glory, rather than enslaving it to Chaos. Despite the pogroms of the 35th Millennium, Horusian ideals have waxed and waned in popularity ever since the founding of the Inquisition.
Considered Radicals except by themselves, the Horusians are few in number but fanatical in their cause. They tend to be older Inquisitors, frustrated by the lack of answers provided by other Resurrectionist theories, and therein lies the danger. Chaos and its power can never be viewed as a quick route to success, for in that direction lies damnation.
Quite apart from the normal anti-Resurrectionist arguments, many Inquisitors view Horusians with suspicion, out of fear that their dabbling with daemonic possession and Warp intrusions endangers those around them and the Imperium in general. However, the most experienced Horusians are well versed in the perils of the Warp and Chaos and so are numbered amongst the most proficient and dedicated daemonhunters in the entire Inquisition.
Puritanical Inquisitors, especially those of the Thorian persuasion, have a particular loathing for Horusians, who they see as the direst of Heretics and their very theories enough to guarantee their place on the pyre. Even among other Radical factions, the Horusians garner little shrift and much suspicion, particularly from those who have had actual access to the proscribed histories of the Traitor Legions.
Like all such philosophies, the Horusians must tread a path along a precipice of dedicated service to the Imperium and the fulfillment of their researches. It is a path that most have trodden wisely, but not all Horusians have remained faithful and, perhaps like Moriana ten thousand standard years ago, succumbed to the lure of the Dark Powers.
Darkness Against Darkness
- "You and I are only different in that I make choices that you fear to make. I have the courage to be what the God-Emperor, the Imperium and humanity need me to be. You lack that courage and so deny your true purpose."
- — Inquisitor Mesmeron to Inquisitor Geheld
Xanthites believe that Chaos cannot be defeated in an absolute sense, for it is a reflection of humanity's inherent nature itself and therefore must endure as long as humanity does. However, those energies and powers created by its existence can and should be harnessed and even enslaved for the benefit of humanity, rather than left as an untamed hazard that preys at will upon the Imperium's lives and the souls of its people.
So rather than surrender to Chaos or hide away in fear, Xanthism holds Chaos must be marshalled and controlled, much in the same way the mute energies of the Warp already are harnessed by the Imperium to allow for interstellar travel, navigation, astrotelephathy, and in the manner that psykers are sanctioned and serve in order to benefit the human race. Some even go as far as to controversially hypothesise that this was perhaps the Emperor's plan all along.
The Xanthite path is defined by three concerns when it comes to all aspects of the Warp, its manipulation, and the power of Chaos: investigation, understanding, and application. Individual Xanthites can differ immensely in how they put this into practice, and the lengths to which they go in service of their ultimate goal of harnessing the power of Chaos and the seething energies of the Warp for mankind.
The first step of the Xanthite ethos, investigation, is a natural consequence of the Inquisitor's role and is given licence by the power and authority of the Inquisitorial Rosette. This power and the fundamental strength of character are factors without which Xanthism would not be possible.
The investigation of the malefic is also perhaps the most obvious reason that Xanthites are drawn to involvement with the Ordo Malleus -- even if it was not their first or lasting affiliation -- as the combatting of daemonic incursions and the rooting out of Chaos Cults offers the Xanthite firsthand interaction with the forces of the Warp.
It is in the second step, understanding, where many subtle dangers lie. When a Xanthite Inquisitor or his Acolytes encounter malign forces, they prefer not simply to purge its presence, but also to learn and capture what they can from it. Chaos Cults and Warp-incursions, their nature, powers, and weapons are studied with a view to investing this knowledge into the Xanthites themselves where possible, destroying knowledge and artefacts only when completely necessary.
Once these dark materials and lore are gathered and often paid for in blood, they must be then studied and measured, a project that can be as treacherous and lethal as the fight to acquire them in the first place. To aid them in this task, many Xanthites value building a strong and tightly knit organisation of trusted Acolytes and agents who share their vision and possess skills of use both on the battlefield and in the librarium.
Some Xanthite Inquisitors go much further than this, skirting the edge of true heresy by creating sects of their own or manipulating existing Chaos Cults to aid them in the unravelling of ancient mysteries and the deciphering of arcane lore.
- "To slay a Xanthite, you must first become one..."
- — Proverb of the Ordo Malleus
The Xanthites are a diverse group and one whose individual members are continuously subject to the pull of their own obsessive drive to master the Warp, enslave the dark powers that threaten mankind, and turn them back on themselves. These obsessions may manifest in a myriad of ways, from the never-ending quest to expand their own knowledge and power, to the hunting down and destruction of Chaos Cults and the appropriation of their dark secrets for the Xanthite's own use.
Some Xanthites, particularly those who chose to conceal their Radical tendencies, conduct the business of the Inquisition with diligence and zeal, but always with an eye toward their own hidden agendas; they do not shirk from using covert murder to achieve their ends. Other Xanthites care little if they are known as such, confident enough in the rightness of their position to follow it heedless of the opprobrium of their peers, while others have attained such levels of infamy that the fear of their name precedes them even in the Conclave.
Regardless of their methods and goals, conspiracy and secrecy are ever the Xanthite's watchwords where needed, and lies are always a favoured weapon -- just as with the daemons they seek to bind.
Hayte, Suspicion, and the Rising Tide
The number of daemonic encounters and the spread of Chaos Cults within the Calixis Sector has increased at fearful rate over the last standard century, a fact that has not been lost on the Ordo Malleus or its Xanthite constituents. Given this rise in baleful activity, many of the most senior members and their trusted allies have come together in secret council on Maccabeus Quintus to discuss and debate this phenomenon and its possible causes and potential eventual outcomes.
The conclusions of this council, which is believed to have met several times over the last three standard years, have not been made available to the wider Ordos, or even to the Conclave Calixis, and despite their vehement protests, the Tyrantine Cabal has been shut out as well. Some see this development, which has caused considerable acrimony, as an indication that the Ordo Malleus suspects some part of the Calixian Inquisition itself in the matter. No public charges have been made to this effect, and the Calixian Malleus refuses to be drawn into debate.
Since then, it has been observed that several prominent Puritan members of the Ordo Malleus have become decidedly more distant to their colleagues. At the same time, known Xanthites and other Inquisitors with long-standing ties to the Malleus, along with their independent Acolytes and Throne Agents, have become vastly more active to those trying to track their movements -- far from an easy task at the best of times.
These roving groups of Radical Xanthites have been observed travelling to hotspots of daemonic activity as they flare up, often re-visiting the sites of older atrocities searching for wisdom in their ashes, appearing and disappearing suddenly, without recourse to wider Imperial authority, and occasionally riding roughshod over the activities of other Inquisitors. This has only worsened relations between the Xanthites and the rest of the Conclave.
One example includes an incident on Carver's Gate, when the warband of the militant daemonhunter Justinius Vorr clashed with the forces of the Witch Hunter Compt Pryce while pursing a secret cult of the Pilgrims of Hayte in the deep flood vaults of Bane City. Incidents such as these have done little to ingratiate the Xanthites with their Calixian brethren.
Matters have worsened recently following the notorious Xanthite Inquisitors Harkness and Golgol's activities on Landunder, which disrupted a covert operation of the Tyrantine Cabal. Their actions resulted in the death of Inquisitor Slake, a former pupil of the senior Spectarian Lady Olianthe Rathbone. Only the direct and unexpected intervention of the Puritan Inquisitor Lord-Malleus Ionfel, avowing that the two Xanthites were on the Ordo's work, prevented Rathbone and her allies from declaring Harkness and Golgol Excommunicate Traitoris and sparking open conflict.
Deep resentment still simmers over the matter, and Rathbone is known to have privately sworn her vengeance. Given Harkness' past, this merely adds one more name to a long list of personal enemies, a list that up until now was believed to have included Ionfel himself.
Even now, many of the Xanthites of the Calixian Conclave seem to be moving in an unprecedentedly concerted, overt manner, and many other Inquisitorial factions harbour deep suspicion and fear about what this unknown pattern portends.
The Seven Devils of Dread Calyx
Of all the dark lore that rests in the secure vaults of the Calixian Malleus, some of the most contentious and strange deals with the myth of the so-called Seven Devils of Dread Calyx, an ancient legend that still forms the obsession of many Xanthites to the present time.
The region was first named in the writings of the legendary Rogue Trader Solomon Haarlock, whose thirteen voyages out past the edge of Imperial space in the late 36th Millennium would define the Calyx Expanse as a realm rich in "Souls, Plunder, Wealth and Things Best Left Undisturbed." Three Terran millennia later, the Angevin Crusade would forge this region into the Imperium's Calixis Sector.
Haarlock's writings spoke of the Seven Devils as beings of dark power, fiends who haunted this area of space, some as savage predatory beasts, some walking amid the cold stars and others worshipped as fickle gods by those mortals who fell inside their domains. These seven, Haarlock claimed, were connected together by a dark and terrible web of fate, and if all were brought forth at once, a key would be turned that would extinguish the stars themselves.
Haarlock's writings, filled with allegory and symbolism, have continued to strike a cord with the Ordo Malleus, particularly those of the Xanthite persuasion, and still echo through the sector's histories. Those who have sought out the truth behind the legends are known to have discovered much of value in them, as well as great peril.
Today, the greatest authority on the myth of the Seven Devils and the malefic lore that surrounds them is Inquisitor Emeritus Andros Bray, Keeper-General of the Ember Archive at the fortress-asteroid of the Bastion Orpheus in the Maccabeus System. The aged Bray, a fiery proponent of the Xanthite ethos in his younger days and reputedly the longest-living servant of the Calixian Conclave, has long since retired from the field.
However, he will happily expound on the subject to anyone with the clearance to plumb the Ember Archives' depths. He also makes it a point to show any would-be seekers a shrine he keeps to those Inquisitors and their Acolytes lost or vanished on the quest to uncover the Seven's secrets. Among the memorials and reliquaries is the empty tomb of Morell Orpheus, the famed daemonhunter and onetime master of the Calixian Ordo Malleus, after which the bastion is named.
The Bray Lexicon
Andros Bray, in his long consideration of the legend of the Seven Devils, has formed his own list that he believes offer the strongest clues as to the nature of the entities involved.
Compiled from concordances and evidence ranging from recovered Chaos Cult relics, local folklore and divinatory prophecy, to the records of entities encountered at various times by the Inquisition. They are as follows:
- The Voice of the Flame: The daemon Balphomael, Lord of the Dark Fire, Scintilla / various.
- The Dweller in the Depths: The Sightless Gaze, autochthonic entity, nature unknown, Spectoris.
- The False Prince: Tychak Crowfather, spiteful, pre-Angevin Crusade indigenous deity of the Ashleen, incarnate form slain by Saint Drusus, Iocanthos.
- The Treader in the Dust: The Radiant King, legendary avatar of madness, Malfi / various.
- The Eater of the Dead: Mord'dagan, supernatural beast of legend, godhead of the Saynay cannibal cult, Dusk.
- The Empty Hunger: Astral entity/aetheric residue of extinct xenoform, attributed cause of lethal psychic phenomena, Drusus Shrine World / Sacris.
- The Night Traveller: Nature unknown, also known as the kin-slayer, one that returns from where none has before and whose predicted coming will herald the End of Days.
Acolytes of the Xanthites
Xanthite Inquisitors favour building interlocking circles and cells of trusted Acolytes and Throne Agents who can be relied upon for their loyalty, dedication, and strength of will in the face of the onrushing and insidious threat of Chaos.
As their activities often take them in the forefront of direct battle against very powerful and implacable enemies -- including Chaos Cultists, daemonkind and those corrupted by Warp taint -- the Acolytes of the Xanthite are expected to be self-reliant and martially-inclined, and even the most bookish savant will be required to know how to defend himself and stand on the firing line when needed.
The most singular characteristic of the Xanthite Acolyte and Throne Agent is their likelihood of possessing a deep knowledge of the arcane and usually forbidden daemon lore. These Acolytes use occult artefacts and even daemonically-infused weapons far more than their peers in the Inquisition. This knowledge is hoarded by the Xanthite Inquisitor, who chooses to teach his more trusted Acolytes in order to empower them to defend themselves. A chosen few within each Xanthite's retinue may even be practising Sorcerers, just as their master may be in turn.
To many Inquisitors, this would be the most deviant of heresies and grounds for immediate destruction. This is not true in the Xanthite's service, but to imagine that these occult Acolytes are given free rein is also incorrect. The trust a Xanthite Inquisitor grants his servants comes at a price beyond the danger of destruction by those of another Inquisitorial faction. Xanthites are often better placed than most to know when one of their own has fallen to corruption, and react accordingly with crushing finality.
Xanthites and the other Inquisitorial Factions
- "You accuse me of being a madman. What right have you to judge what is sane and what is not? I have fought with the shadows on the edge of your vision. I have seen the faces that laugh at you in your nightmares. I have felt the foetid breath that issues from the mouth of hell itself. I have heard the silent voices that make your spine tingle with dread. I have entered the realms between worlds where there is no time or place. I have clashed with creatures the sight of which would sear your soul to the core. I have bested horrors that chill with a gaze and tempt unreasoning terror. I have faced death eye-to-eye and blade to blade. I have stared into the eyes of insanity and met their all-consuming stare. I have done all this for you; for your protection and the guarantee of a future for Mankind. And yet you accuse me of being a madman, you, who have never had your sanity tested so sorely. What right have you to call me heretic and blasphemer, who have not heard the whisper of dark gods in your ear? You are weak. Vulnerable. Human in your frailty. I am strong, yet you still judge me for my sins, you who art most sinful to the heart. Only the insane have the strength enough to prosper; only those that prosper truly judge what is sane."
- — Inquisitor Felroth Gelt
The Xanthites are an old, powerful, and heavily entrenched faction of the Inquisition, shielded both by their own tightly-knit organisations and the wider secrecy and fear that attends their reputation. The influence that many Xanthites wield within the Inquisition's structure -- and particular within the Ordo Malleus -- makes them by far the most politically potent of the Radical factions.
Despite the sinister suspicions many Puritans have of their membership's activities, Xanthites are the most tolerated Radical faction, if only grudgingly so, by the majority of their peers. Exceptions exist, of course, on both side of this divide, and many Puritans, particularly of the Ordo Hereticus, will never find common cause with a self-professed or even suspected Xanthite without the direst need. Conversely, some Xanthites take perverse pleasure in outraging their more rigid-minded colleagues at Conclave.
In terms of their relations with the other Radical factions, the Xanthites often maintain a measure of distance and disdain, ranging into outright antagonism toward such excommunicate splinter groups as the Phaenonites. The Xanthites' own obsessions seldom leave room to give more than passing attention to the political infighting and squabbles of the other Radical factions -- except where it directly affects their interests or seeks to challenge them.
But if a particular morsel of occult lore is tangled up in the machinations of others, their fellow Inquisitors can find a Xanthite's presence to be an unexpected and usually unwelcome factor in their proceedings. This general indifference is returned as antipathy on the parts of many other Radical factions. To the likes of inveterate intriguers such as the Recongregators and Istvaanians, the Xanthites represent a powerful and dangerous element of extreme unpredictability capable of upsetting their plans almost at will, while to the Libricar and other Puritan extremist groups, the Xanthite is the enemy within.
Xanthites Within the Calixis Sector
The areas controlled by the Xanthites are less apparent than those of many of the other factions. By their nature, Xanthite Inquisitors have learnt to tread lightly among the ranks of the Calixian Conclave and seldom mix with others of Ordo or Cabal. More a loose confederation of individuals, the faction structures itself around the master-student model, with Xanthites usually only operating in pairs or alone.
On the fringe and where the gaze of Imperial authorities grows dim, members of the faction are most commonly found, seeking out those that hide from the Emperor's light in such shadows. Of course, it is believed that many Xanthites also operate quietly deep within the heart of the sector, in the depths of hives, and in the grand edifices of the Adeptus Ministorum where corruption is wont to fester.
Xanthites are primarily concerned with the garnering of forbidden lore and schooling themselves in its use. They are also, despite the views of most Inquisitors, some of the most zealous opponents of the Ruinous Powers. Of particular interest to the Xanthites are fallen Inquisitors and corrupted Acolytes, who they seek out not for retribution and punishment but to better learn how to tread the path of Chaos untouched. However, by its very essence, Chaos is an unpredictable and dangerous power to harness, and many who seek out such fallen agents of the Throne end up joining their ranks.
This, of course, does not stop the Xanthites from their pursuit of proscribed texts and forbidden lore, which they consider paramount to their cause. In recent times, the Xanthites have been gathering lore on the nature of the Tyrant Star and how its terrible power might be harnessed for the Imperium.
Whenever Xanthites meet, they exchange small pieces of such information, slowly building up an extensive amount of data on the so-called "threat" rivalled only by the Amalathians in its breadth and accuracy. In fact, it is probably only a matter of time before they learn of the Amalathians' secret, and when they do, they will doubtless be far less conservative with such knowledge.
Records of Xanthite Inquisitors are sketchy at best, many being surrounded in myth and rumour as much as actual fact. Ordo Malleus Inquisitor Felroth Gelt is a good example of this. A bold Monodominant and a Puritan, it is said that he was once ranked high in the Conclave and was the favoured of Lord Inquisitor Caidin.
However, sometime during his third century of life, after years of struggle and bloody conflict with the Emperor's foes, he became disillusioned. The strict tenets of his faction and the hollow victories over his enemies began to lose all of their meaning.
During his time suppressing the Rebellion of the False on Kasha he first met Inquisitor Draven and witnessed the true power of Chaos turned upon the Emperor's foes. Over the next few decades Gelt and Draven travelled together, until Felroth's eyes were finally opened to the teaching of the Xanthites. Now Gelt travels the sector and beyond, seeking out the tools with which to fight the Imperium's foes, his aging frame invigorated by the power of the Warp.
Of course, whether or not Felroth Gelt truly exists is unclear, and only the oldest and highest ranking members of the Conclave would know for sure. His story could equally be a cautionary tale about the perils of Chaos or a message to potential Xanthites about the true path to man's salvation. In either case, from time to time rumours surface of Gelt's activities, causing a stir among both the Xanthites and their enemies.
The Xanthites have many secrets. Each member of the faction is a repository of lore unto himself, and they are known to venture further into the dark nature of Chaos than any other arm of the Inquisition. Within the Calixis Sector, this delving translates into an unparalleled knowledge of Warp cults, witches, and daemonic incursions. More than once has a member of the faction flawlessly infiltrated a cult, draining its knowledge and power before smashing it beneath the hammer of the Inquisition.
Perhaps most interesting of the faction's secrets, however, is the Aleph-hosts. It is rumoured among the Xanthites that some of their number have found a way to bind several powerful daemonic intelligences into multiple hosts, each of equal power and bound so that all must be killed for the Aleph-host to be destroyed.
This hellish act requires a long and complex ritual, the formulae of which has been the object of many quests by Xanthite Inquisitors. Dark rumours hint that the ritual can also be configured so that a greater being of both Materium and Immaterium may be created in a single physical host. True or not, it is a rumour that persists and which many Xanthites are eager to pursue, if for no other reason than to keep the knowledge from the hands of their foes or those within the Imperium who would destroy it.
- Ahmazzi - Ahmazzi is the Spectarians' sole Ordo Malleus Inquisitor. He is a grizzled and ancient veteran, close on three hundred standard years old, whose career has taken him from Titan to the very edges of the Imperium, hunting down daemons and the corrupt humans who summon them. Now all but decrepit, he has come to the Calixis Sector to, as he puts it, "bask in the radiance of the Tyrant Star and learn its secrets." A long career has left Ahmazzi intensely cynical and pessimistic. He has come to believe that the Emperor is dead, Chaos cannot be stopped and the human race is doomed. The Imperium, Ahmazzi believes, is a grotesque symptom of the fact that the human race is currently living through its inevitable and drawn-out extinction. He has dabbled with Radicalism in his career, even being declared Excommunicate by Puritan colleagues for seeking out daemonic knowledge but no one in the Cabal other than Zerbe knows this. Ahmazzi has no friends and does not particularly care what people think of him, angrily refusing to tell any stories of his astonishing daemonhunting career, although an Acolyte who displays great courage in the face of a Daemonic foe might win Ahmazzi's grudging respect. Ahmazzi was a martially-minded Inquisitor in his prime and secretly would love nothing better than to mount up on his mobile war pulpit, don his armour and take up his Daemonhammer to ride into battle once more against a horde of daemonic foes. He believes that the Tyrant Star may be the harbinger of man's inevitable doom and he wants to be at ground zero to witness the great day when it happens.
- De Marche - In the middle of the ninth century of the 41st Millennium, Inquisitor De Marche deployed alongside the Fire Claws Space Marine Chapter in the investigation of the Space Hulk codified Captor of Sin, that had recently entered the Stygies System in the Segmentum Obscurus. The Hulk was controlled by a Chaos Space Marines warband, led by a Chaos Champion of Tzeentch, known as the Excoriator. Realising they were doomed, the Renegades made their stand in the cavern-sized engine room where furious battle was joined and Librarian Decario and De Marche fought the Excoriator. At the height of the battle, De Marche was grievously wounded. Decario managed to strike back with his Power Fist, ripping away the Chaos Champion's sword arm from its socket in a welter of blood. Struck to the ground, in his desperation, Decario reached for the nearest weapon and struck at the Champion. The Excoriator's head was chopped from his shoulders and Decario realised he had picked up the Daemon Sword, killing the Champion with his own Chaotic weapon. Decario was filled with a sense of utter purpose as he wielded the Chaos sword and instinctively felt that this was a weapon that could be turned against the Forces of Chaos. The wounded De Marche cautioned the Librarian to put the weapon down, that only he was trained in the use of such artefacts. The Librarian handed the Inquisitor the weapon and the Space Marines returned to their ship, leaving behind Adeptus Mechanicus survey teams to search the Hulk for any archaeotech. De Marche explained that he also believed that such weapons could be used to fight Chaos and should not be destroyed out of hand as was standard Imperial policy. With the aid of Decario, he was able to convince the Fire Claws' Chapter Master of this and, under De Marche's guidance, the Fire Claws embarked on a Crusade to explore the worlds around the Eye of Terror and uncover more such Chaotic relics. Over the decades that followed, many such artefacts were discovered and the Fire Claws Chapter became known instead as the Relictors. However, it was only a matter of time before others discovered the Relictors' practice of using Chaotic weapons in battle. A cell of Puritan Inquisitors backed up by the fleets of no less than four Chapters of Space Marines and an Emperor-class Battleship descended upon the Relictors' fortress-monastery orbiting their homeworld of Neutra and demanded they hand over De Marche and all recovered Chaos weaponry or be destroyed. Faced with destruction, the Chapter had no option but to obey. As penance for dealing with heretical weaponry, the Chapter was despatched on a century-long Penitent Crusade against all the foes of the Emperor to atone for their impurity. De Marche was taken by the Inquisition and executed by the Ordo Hereticus as a Heretic.
- Gregor Eisenhorn - Eisenhorn was once one of the most zealous and hardline Puritan Inquisitors, but his numerous exploits, including his despatching of the "Renegade" Quixos several centuries ago, have changed him into a more pragmatic man. He has a long-standing pact with the daemonic entity known as Cherubael, and in recent times has been known to associate with all manner of mercenaries, bounty hunters, gunslingers and ne'er-do-wells. Now several centuries old, his early work still keeps him in good stead with following generations of Puritan Inquisitors, and his experience and authority gain him much respect. However, there is a growing opinion amongst the more Puritan factions that he himself has now become as much of a threat as Quixos once was.
- Felroth Gelt - Felroth Gelt is a Renegade Inquisitor who has been branded a Radical and a Heretic by the Tricon Palace of Scintilla. A former Monodominant Puritan, Gelt hounded the enemies of the Imperium across the Calixis Sector for more than three centuries. Gelt was a bold and courageous man, and quickly earned the favour of Lord Inquisitor Caidin, under whose mentorship Gelt flourished. He explored Death Worlds, sailed on warships of the Imperial Navy, commanded a personal regiment of Stormtroopers in the field, and kept a series of captive psykers for his personal use. He became well known for having encountered a wide variety of foes, from mutants to beasts, to stranger things like the daemon of Kinog and the Kantressian Foulmind. Each victory, however, came at a price: the lives of his Acolytes and a gradual wearing down of his once-firm adherence to the Monodominant Creed. Each success seemed empty, devoid of true importance. Gelt bent his attention to transcribing his journals into a tome that would guide younger Inquisitors and Acolytes, imparting some of his own hard-won lessons of survival. All that changed upon the cursed world of Kasha. Gelt had travelled there to assist with the suppression of the Rebellion of the False, an uprising triggered by a macabre heretical cult. It was during this turmoil that he first met Inquisitor Draven, a dark and driven man who reminded Gelt of his younger self. But where Gelt had been steadfast to the Puritan path, Draven chose to seek out any advantage he could find. Gelt then bore witness to the fruit of Draven's labours: the power of Chaos turned against the Emperor's foes. Enthralled, Gelt accompanied Draven on further expeditions throughout Imperial space and beyond. Having been enlightened by the teachings of the Xanthites, Gelt's aged frame is now revitalized by the power of the Warp. Since coming to the Xanthite doctrine, Gelt abandoned his journals, his Acolytes, and every other aspect of his former life. He chose instead to dedicate himself to seeking out more tools to turn against the enemies of Mankind, and subsequently vanished from known space. Gelt has not been heard from since, and his absence has led some members of the Inquisition to conclude that, in fact, he never existed at all; the journals and notes left behind must be fabrications designed as a distraction or a trap for the unwary. Those same rumours declare that only Lord Inquisitor Zerbe of the Calixis Sector knows the truth.
- Soldevan - Soldevan was a handsome man with skin the colour of ebony and a taste in imposing military dress uniforms that only enhance his air of strength and authority. Soldevan was originally an Interrogator in the employ of Witch Finder Rykehuss but never believed in his master's extreme methods, and quickly broke with Rykehuss after attaining the Inquisitorial Seal. Soldevan believes that knowledge, not wanton destruction, is the key to protecting humanity from the threats it faces. Soldevan's beliefs run deeper than he would ever admit. He believes that the Warp is an immense source of power and that an Inquisitor is a man of sufficient intelligence and willpower to harness it. Soldevan wants to open up a pathway to the Warp and seek out the consciousnesses that dwell there hoping to bargain with them for the power he needs to combat the enemies of mankind. Soldevan has got quite close to his goal and has several forbidden tomes in his possession that, with the right sacrifices and rituals, will summon forth powerful daemons for him to negotiate with. He is always seeking more knowledge or artefacts of the Warp, either captured during the Cabal's operations or purchased at extortionate prices from unscrupulous dealers in forbidden relics. Somewhere during this process Soldevan has lost his sanity and replaced it with absolute conviction that the Warp holds the secrets of humanity's survival. He believes that the Tyrant Star represents a vital conduit to secrets of the Warp.
- Lichtenstein - Inquisitor Lichtenstein is a dangerous Radical thought by almost all of his colleagues to be utterly insane. He has been declared Excommunicate Traitoris, and is actively being pursued by one of the galaxy's most noted Witch Hunters, Tyrus. It was Lichtenstein's single-minded obsession with the artefact codified as the Librarium Heresius that freed the Daemon Prince Phara'gueottla from its prison on Karis Cephalon. Since then, his fate has been inextricably linked with that of the daemon, Tyrus and another Inquisitor; an ex-daemonhost called Kessel. These three clashed on Karis over a manifestation of the Daemon Prince on the barren world of Paganus Reach, and again at Cephalon Spaceport where Lichtenstein managed to break Kessel free from Tyrus' custody. In return, Kessel arranged for Lichtenstein's safe passage to Equinox, a world where, under the false name of Thravian Flast, the dangerously obsessed Inquisitor searches tirelessly for the true location of the Librarium Heresius. Lichtenstein is an old, old man, but the sheer strength of will behind his steely features shocks all who meet his gaze. There is a touch of madness in his grey, staring eyes; Lichtenstein is on a quest to save Mankind from enslavement at the hands of an ancient mechanical race who worship death-- the Necrons. Since no one believed him, he had vowed to do it by himself. He knows that within the Librarium Heresius is a powerful weapon, proof against these ancient killing machines. Lichtenstein will do anything, including the harnessing and utilisation of Chaos –- the nemesis of the ancient xenos threat –- to locate and command this ancient artefact.
- Natius Osrinn - Osrinn is a devious man, but also a man of action. He despises the waiting game, preferring to move as soon as he judges the moment precipitous. Osrinn depends heavily on his retinue of trusted Acolytes and rarely takes the field alone, though he often teleports directly into the heart of the action. A former student of Inquisitor Van Nuygens, the man now known as Natius Osrinn began as a trusted and diligent Acolyte. Osrinn was chosen for his quick wits and aggressive nature from among the lower-hive scum of Solomon, and over time proved his worth to Inquisitor Van Nuygens many times during a career that spanned five standard decades of service. Eventually, Osrinn was promoted to the rank of Interrogator and thence to a full Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos. However, not long after his ascension, Osrinn's interests shifted, focusing more and more upon sorcery and the arcane. In time, his allegiance shifted away from his mentor and his Ordo, and eventually, he disappeared, claiming "special circumstances." The Tricorn Palace on Scintilla received several reports indicating glimpses of the enigmatic Inquisitor Osrinn, including several that claimed he had been seen assisting Space Marines of the Relictors Chapter. Other reports indicate that Osrinn wandered far into the reaches of the Segmentum Obscurus, all the way out to Belial IV and back before he re-appeared in the Calixis Sector in 803.M41. Osrinn's return caused a stir in the Tricorn, for he bore with him ancient Terminator Armour of unknown origin and a sword that was unmistakably a Daemon Weapon. Refusing to account for his actions, Osrinn avoided a summons from the Tricorn and struck out alone into the Halo Stars. Some say he has gathered around him a group of unusual Acolytes: mutants, aliens, rogue psyker-witches, and even a daemonhost of incredible power. What he intends to do with such an assorted retinue is still a matter for conjecture.
- Helynna Valeria- Inquisitor Helynna Valeria has always believed that the work of the Ordo Xenos, and the wider Inquisition, should be guided by the spirit and intent of the lore: to use the weapons of the enemy against the enemy. This she considers true no matter the source, and can require using Warp-tainted weapons against daemons, or xenos archeotech against hostile alien races. For Valeria there are no lines that cannot be crossed, no edict that cannot be transgressed. The Emperor bade the Inquisition defend Mankind from both its own destiny and a hostile galaxy -- a task so important that Valeria demands that no methodology, however extreme, should be considered forbidden. In pursuit of this goal, Valeria became a collector of the archaic and arcane, of bibelots and fragments of technological lore, of ancient and alien technologies to be pressed into fresh use. She has spent many decades exploring the ruins of far-flung worlds, poring over age-crumbled documents on alien races in the Psamathean Libraries, treating with Aeldari, Ulumeathi, Draxians, Hrud and a hundred more in order to expand Humanity's store of knowledge.
- Codex: Cult Mechanicus (7th Edition), pp. 18-21
- Codex: Inquisition (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 36, 44-47.
- Dark Heresy: Ascension (RPG), pg. 163
- Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 275, 319, 321
- Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (2nd Edition) (RPG), pg. 316
- Dark Heresy: Disciples of the Dark Gods (RPG), pp. 177-178
- Dark Heresy: The Radical's Handbook (RPG), pp. 92-97, 231, 235
- Inquisitor - The Thorians (Sourcebook) by Gav Thorpe, pg. 7
- White Dwarf 295 (UK), "Chapter Approved: Extremis Diabolus"