|Art by Juan Ochoa|
This is the first in a series of posts on a new class of superscience artifact. The Spindles are used by the leaders of the military orders of the Empire, as well as by other august personages of high rank or special portfolio (hint, PCs!). The Spindles are also found in other regions of space and in other polities beyond the Empire. A detailed description of this class of artifacts' powers, as well as Fate Accelerated Edition mechanics, will follow the origin stories.
The Spindles were already ancient when humanity took its first steps toward the stars. It was during the era of the Glorious Sun-King of Amarna, the Radiant Gatemaster, that we discovered the Spindles. The records of the encounter are preserved in the sacred archives of The Banishers of Gloom, stored deep within Krellic vaults on the machine world of Altair IV. Indelible live records lie coiled within data-scrolls etched upon the fabric of space-time itself, as well as within more fragile texts scripted upon ancient papyrus scrolls.
During the Radiant Diaspora, the Order of the Banishers of Gloom* served as the Sun-King's advance force through the Amarna Gate. The Banishers scouted among the worlds revealed through the Gate network. The Banishers had two missions for the Sun-King: they identified safe and abundant worlds for the Sun-King's subjects and allies to colonize. And they also located less hospitable worlds that were suitable places for the Lord of Amarna's enemies to be banished or entombed.
The Banishers of Gloom soon discovered that the universe was a very hostile place. Relatively few garden worlds existed. And most habitable worlds required intervention before they were truly safe for colonization. The galaxy was filled with secretive and recondite menaces such as the Anapa, as well as overt and terrible threats like the Tzitzimine, the Star Demons who endanger to every world that orbits a star - as well as preying on the darker and more distant orbits where the occasional bright light draws their kind like wolves to a stray lamb.
So the Order of the Banishers of Gloom set for themselves a third great task: to seek out and destroy all manner of inimical life forms and civilizations. The Banishers were quite successful in their efforts: one need only look at the records of the Star League's discoveries several thousand years later and see the numerous already-settled human worlds, as well as the many devastated and wrecked worlds with the last ruined relics of once prosperous alien civilizations.
One such alien world is recorded in the Banishers' archives. Its location and true name were redacted centuries ago. The world is known only as the House of Knives. When the Banishers arrived on that world, it had already been long-wrecked by nuclear war. The Banishers fought a subterranean war there against a malignant, telepathic insect race that used illusions, psychic tumors, and hell-eggs to defend their tunnels, warrens, and memory libraries against the merciless human invaders.
In spite of having abandoned most conventional military technologies in favor of their psychic powers, the aliens almost won the war. But deep beneath the burned, radioactive crust of the House of Knives, the Banishers of Gloom made a discovery. They unsealed the now-legendary Emerald Vault, and found thousands of the Spindles.
A few of the Spindles in the Emerald Vault clung unmoving to the exoskeletal limbs of the aliens' long-dead ancestors. But most of the Spindles were just floating there, spinning in mid-air around their vertical axis.
As if they had been waiting for the Banishers to arrive and liberate them.
A pact was made. Oaths of loyalty and mutual assistance were sworn. The Banishers and their new-found allies soon won the War of the House of Knives. And then the Spindles and Banishers went back through a Gate began exploring worlds together.
*In these latter times, the Company of the Banishers of Gloom traces its august lineage back to the ancient military-religious Order of the Banishers of Gloom thousands of years in the past. They claim it is the same order, one which has acted to protect humanity for thousands of years. This belief and identity is reflected in the Banishers' very language and modes of interaction with the Imperial Sovereign. Members of the order refer to the Imperial Sovereign by odd and archaic titles such as "Sun-King" and "Eagle of Amarna".