Our Rogue Trader has submitted his background story and here it is hope you guys enjoy it.
Sebastian von Antioch
The third child of a Trenton von Antioch, former head of the once-famed, and now in decline, von Antioch dynasty, Sebastian was never fated to lead his family. In man dynasties, a third-born child could never rise beyond serving a role upon the vessels commanded by his older siblings. In many dynasties, Sebastian would have served as a Senechal and trusted advisor to his brother Helotus or his sister Abraxia. While that would have been expected in most dynasties, in the von Antioch dynasty, nothing was further from reality. See, since the first of his ancestor’s received the holy Warrant of Trade – some say signed by the God-Emperor himself – the von Antioch line had been one known for one thing above all else, intrigue. Conspiratorial and ambitious by nature, the scions of the line spent much of their time planning, though many would call it scheming. From grand endeavors meant to enhance the already considerable assets of the name, to conspiracies meant to advance one’s own position by removing any family members ahead of one’s self. Indeed, it is said by many that more Lord Captains of the von Antioch line have perished “accidentally” than any other Rogue Trader dynasty.
For millennia, this was a way of life. It was accepted by Imperial authorities because, simply, the von Antioch dynasty had proven to be loyal and adept at performing the duties to which it had been beholden since the Warrant was first issued. However, at the turn of the 40th Millennia, this changed in the most abrupt of fashions. In what has since been referred by the family’s historians as the “Time of Tears,” the first of nearly one hundred assassinations took place – all of which are thought to have originated within the minds and black hearts of the members of the von Antioch dynasty, itself. From the then-serving Lord Captain, to children, some as young as 5 years of age, the members of the dynasty who were never meant to inherit simply removed any persons between them and what they perceived as the throne. What history has shown time and time again is that those mean to inherit power will be those most likely to use it well. Never has this been more true than in the aftermath of the Time of Tears.
As Lord Captains and their children fell, so too did the prospects for profit and gain. Those members of the dynasty cunningly vile enough to advance themselves through blood, though rarely remaining in power for long, were less adept at profiteering than they were at murder. With few exceptions, from 200.M41 until the present, the profits and assets of the dynasty declined steadily with each successive Lord Captain. Where the von Antioch line once enjoyed success in each and every endeavor it undertook, the surviving members of the dynasty, cowering in fear of the culling, watched in horror as defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory; as once dependable sources of income dried up. No endeavor, no matter how well planned and executed ever ended in profit. It was as if the Emperor himself was punishing the line for its actions – or so the more pious members of the line believed. Nonetheless, by the tail end of M41, the von Antioch dynasty was reduced to a small flotilla of vessels and a few, middling sources of income.
Sebastian was born into this time. The Time of Tears was over, not because the dynasty came to its senses, but because there were few people left to kill, and even fewer to inherit. Still fearing for his children, Trenton von Antioch, who had risen to power when his father was murdered by his uncle in an effort to take the Lord Captaincy, resolved to keep his children and his legacy safe. Sebastian’s eldest sibling, his sister, Abraxia, would take her place at their father’s side, so as to learn the trade first hand, as she would one day take her place as the head of the dynasty. His brother Helotus, always martially inclined, would serve in the Imperial Navy, to become more adept at the arts of war and to curry favor with an important branch of the Imperium’s military. Sebastian, unlike his other siblings or even his father, was a scholar – much like his mother had been. Ever inquisitive an curious, Sebastian took to history and science from an early age. As a result, and seeking to prepare his youngest son for his life by his sister’s side, Trenton von Antioch called in favors and sent Sebastian to the Schola Progenium program on Scintilla.
For the next 13 years, Sebastian drank deeply of the knowledge imparted upon him by the scholars and warrior-abbots of the schola. There, he discovered his adroitness in dealing with matters of state. He, for the first time in his short life, embraced a belied in the God-Emperor’s divinity, though he never quite took to the strictures of the Ecclesiarchy. While attending classes, he learned the sciences, mathematics, language and, perhaps most important to him, the histories of the ancient Imperium. That archaic lore and the ancient legends piqued Sebastian’s interests most. As a result of this insatiable pursuit for knowledge, upon completing the schola program, Sebastian obtained the permission of his father and the Adeptus Mechanicus upon Belacane to take his place within the crew of a small Explorator vessel bound for the deep, dark regions of the outer-galaxy, where, in his mind, he could unearth those archaic devices and prove those ancient histories true.
For 3 years, all Sebastian’s dreams came to fruition. Ancient human settlement were found, some possessing lost artifacts from the time before the Imperium. Sebastian marveled at the strange stellar phenomenon just as astonishingly as he gazed upon mysterious xenos constructs unlike anything he’d ever seen. This was everything he thought it could be, and more. As it turned out, it would end up being much more than not only what he could have imagined, but perhaps more than he ever wanted.
As the 4th year of the voyage came, the Explorator vessel entered an uncharted star system in the halo stars to the deep galactic east, disaster struck. Following a faint beacon signal coming from the interior of the system, the Explorators came into contact with a Gravitic Tide more powerful than any ever charted. No matter the efforts of the Tech-Priests and other crewman, the vessel’s fate was sealed. The powerful riptide effect began to cause hull breaches within minutes. Unable to bring the now-crippled vessel clear, the last of the surviving crewmen altered their course and made for a nearby moon that seemed to be marginally life-sustaining. The landing, though it felt more like a crash to Sebastian, was hard and did enough damage to the vessel to ensure that it would never leave this place. As he exited a massive fissure in the port side of the ship into the crisp air of the cold moon, Sebastian and the surviving crewmen feared that they too would never leave this place. As fate would have it, that would not be the case.
Of the crew that weren’t ripped out of the vessel as its hull was holed by the massive gravitic forces of the stellar anomaly, a full 75% were killed or wounded beyond saving by the crash landing. That left approximately 2000 surviving crew, and only a single Tech-Priest beyond the rank of menial – Enginseer Karpan. For months, the surviving crew foraged from and hunted in the surrounding area in an effort to stay alive. None of the vegetation or animal life could be properly tested and the crew would determine by trial and error what was edible and what wasn’t. In the 4th month, Sebastian took ill after consuming some form of vegetable that grew wild in a nearby valley – likely a form of bacterial infection. Nonetheless, the crew and Sebastian survived – something that the Enginseer would not do for long. It had long been determined that the explorator vessel could not be repaired, but the thought stayed close to Sebastian’s mind that the vessel had come in this direction because of a beacon. Perhaps something or someone useful could be found there.
Using what few functional ground vehicles they had at their disposal, Sebastian led the crew on scouting expeditions further and further away from the now-destroyed vessel. For months, there was little discovered – just flat tundra and a near-endless expanse of densely forested land to the south. It was not until the first “summer” – if scarcely above freezing temperatures could be called such – that the beacon was found. Coming to the crest of a distant ridge to the north of the crash site, Sebastian and 5 crewman gazed down into a formerly glaciated valley and looked upon the exposed aft-castle of an enormous vessel. The group had been to this location before, but it seems that the changing of the season had caused enough of the glacier to melt that the vessel was now visible. With so little of it exposed, it was impossible to identify the class, but based on the size, it was large. Perhaps even cruiser sized. With gold struck, Sebastian returned to the wreckage of the explorator vessel and spoke to the dying Enginseer. Their deliverance had been found. There were plans to make.
For the next year, under the direction of the Enginseer, the surviving crew – now numbering less than 1000 – with the assistance of the few remaining servitors, began to repair the ship. The ancient plasma drive was repaired first and the massive amount of heat created by the engine ensured that the glacier would not form when winter came. All the while, the dying Enginseer related all he knew to Sebastian – forbidden lores and little-known secrets, knowledge of the machine god and the spirit within all things technological. He told Sebastian of the existence of ancient and powerful xenos and human devices, from millennia long forgotten, the existence of which is kept secret such that mankind does not pity itself for all that is has lost. Through those conversations, Sebastian learned more in a few months than in more than a decade at the Schola Progenium. It made him sad and angry, yet, at the same time, it gave him drive. Drive to locate all those things, to deliver them back to mankind… and to profit by them. To this day, Sebastian has never spoken of these things he knows. And in his silence, he finds the strength to pursue those goals.
At the close of that year, with hopes high and spirits at their peak, the old Enginseer finally succumbed to his injuries. There was much work to do and without the direction of the priest of mars, the crew began to retreat into melancholy. Sebastian would not let this occur. He was certainly cognizant of the situation – without the Tech-Priest, the odds of successfully repairing the vessel would be low, but remaining at work would keep the crew focused. Sebastian knew all too well what occurred when man had too much free time. Whether successful or not, keeping the crew busy was, at this point, far more important than rapidly repairing vessel. If the opposite became true, there would be few of them left to escape this planet anyway.
While the crew worked, Sebastian skulked about the ship looking for spare parts. While hoping against hope that the crew could repair the vessel, Sebastian would tend to a secondary plan. With no astropaths remaining with the crew, there only way to communicate would be via vox. In this case, a wide-band vox signal, much like the beacon that brought Sebastian here in the first place. Within days, communications were brought up and for the first time, Sebastian entered the bridge. Stunned to near silence, Sebastian panned his view around the mysterious construct that seemed to be as much a living thing as a construct of control. Magnificent did not quite describe it, though mysterious certainly did. Pushing his awe aside, Sebastian activated the vox and recorded a simple distress message giving the planet’s and their own location, then set it to repeat. In hindsight, many years later and even to this day, Sebastian would rue the day he pushed aside his awe on the bridge. The clues were obvious. He should have seen it. More than anything, he should not have sent that distress message.
Within a week of sending the vox distress, they came. At first, they probed form extremely high altitude – watching and striking at any outlying groups of crew. Within days, it was a full assault. The Dark Eldar struck like lightening. Emerging from a bulkhead and closing the distance on unsuspecting groups of crew so fast that some bodies were found eviscerated with their tools, rather than weapons, still in hand. Within days, half the crew was dead or missing – likely taken by the vile xenos as prisoners or worse. Nonetheless, Sebastian and the survivors outnumbered the xenos considerably, and the confined spaces within the ship made for choke points that served as defensible positions. Numerous were said choke points around the most densely filled parts of the ship – particularly around sensitive systems. This allowed the crew to continue repairs while the remainder continued to fight off the invaders. For weeks, then months, Sebastian fought the xenos, who would come like the wind, murder, and then leave even more quickly than they arrived. Each time, taking lives and prisoners. But the work continued all the while.
On the day of deliverance, nearly 3 years after arriving on this planet, the power pathways leading to the turret system came back online. On that day, the xenos were driven back. They paid for their degradations upon Sebastian and the crew. They were sent screaming back into the void. That night, Sebastian led the crew in prayer. On that say, for the first time in his life, he felt the presence of that greater power than the abbots used to whisper about back at the Schola.
Within a few short months, the vessel was repaired. Through those last days on this world, Sebastian investigated the whole of the massive voidship. He dug through and reviewed counless scrolls, papers and dataslates in an effort to identify the origin of this vessel. It was an ancient Conquest-class Star Galleon. An old and curious vessel that was neither warship nor transport, yet seemed to be able to serve the role of both. This particular vessel, it seemed, was designed with both comfort and exploration in mind – two pursuits Sebastian very much looked forward to after having spent the last 3 years on this world. Other than the strange and curious bridge, which almost seemed alive, the remaining menials and mechanics among the crew often marveled at the design of the vessel’s plasma drive. It was tiny in comparison to most, yet dwarfed its less-stunning cousins in power output. While Sebastian, armed with the knowledge provided to him in schola and by the fallen Enginseer, presumed this vessel was of strange archeotech design – perhaps a relic of a time when technological advancement was mankind’s primary purpose – Sebastian could never determine its origins. This, too, would be a life’s goal.
Leaving the strange world, Sebastian was almost saddened. In some strange way, it had become home. Or perhaps more like the forge in which Sebastian’s thirst was smelted. Just prior to translating into the warp, Sebastian named the vessel “The Unquenchable Thirst.” A name which matched the innermost make up of its captain.
Edited by Asajev, 01 November 2013 - 12:42 PM.