The Longest Journey
Apostles of Saint Asceline
Popular depiction of Saint Asceline guiding the Stern Voice.
Faction type: Imperial Sanctioned Cult
Allegiance: The Imperium, Ecclesiarchy
Organization, Operations and Practises:
Saint Asceline stands as one of the most venerated saints amongst those that brave the dreaded “Maw”, for she is the saint for those who travel into the dark unknown. To her one prays for salvation from the warp, for the safety of passage and courage to face the darkness between the stars. Indeed, it is said that on a follower’s behalf she will intercede with the Emperor himself, so that he will aid the passage of the pious soul through the darkness of the Immaterium. The saint Asceline urges her followers to seek the unknown for the glory of the Emperor, and blesses those who piously seeks to extend his divine realm.
Formed in veneration of the Saint Asceline the so called “Apostles” are not as much one unified organization as a loosely connected cult with a broad and diverse following. While the cult has no formal hierarchy one can still speak of a certain order amongst the adherents, mainly based on their ability to fulfil the cults central mission. At its core stands a broad adherence amongst the missionaries of the Missionaria Galaxia, many of whom has taken to the veneration of Saint Asceline and see her as a patron of their mission to bring light to the far darkness. Some Rouge Trader has also taken up worship of blessed Asceline, in particular after Lathimon’s famous voyage, and many amongst them see it as their duty to aid their poorer fellows in reaching the far unknown. Finally there are those of the faithful masses who, whether out of pious fervour to do good or in need of a second chance, sets out to serve Saint Asceline by braving the darkness between the void. While not nearly as large a group as the following of more mainstream saints, such as Saint Drusus, Asceline’s lay followers are still many and their drive to colonize distant worlds has made them a notable force in places like Port Wander, Footfall or hive Tarsus on Scintilla.
While scattered and unorganized the faith in Saint Asceline still holds some semblance of coherency, mainly due to the hard work of the many missionaries which preach her teachings. No unified codex of her teachings exists, but most turn to the Apocrypha Apios Orphenos which details both the tales of her miracles and contains several alleged speeches and sermons she held later in life. Central to the worship of Asceline is to travel to and claim distant worlds for the Imperium, as well as facilitating such activities for the humble masses. Beyond this Ascelinites usually hold libations in her honour upon newly found worlds and ask her protection when traversing the Sea of Souls. Furthermore, while not explicitly called for by the Saint herself many of her followers also practise vows of poverty, least anything hold them back from travelling into the darkness. Finally a procession in her honour is usually held, preferably on a newly found world, on the three hundred day of the year. This is done in memory of her miraculous return to Malfi.
The tale of Saint Asceline’s miraculous deeds comes in several different forms, and at least four major hagiographies exists at present, none of which agree on all counts. All accounts do however agree that Saint Asceline preformed her miracles during the days of the Angevin Crusade in the third century of the thirty-ninth millennium. As a Palatine of the Order of the Opening Eye, one of the Order Famulous, Sister Kalendra Asceline had served nearly a decade in consolidating newly conquered worlds of the Calyx Expanse, breeding a loyal nobility for the new sector. During the phase known as the Golgenna Consolidation (353-358 M.39) however her mission was redeployed to the retinues of the Rouge Traders scouting ahead for the crusade, as a moral support oft sorely needed in the dreaded Calyx Expanse. Sister Palatine Asceline herself was attached to the retinue of Ephranin Toba, a pious man known for his drive to spread the faith amongst the heathens of Calyx.
Several legends and parables detail the great and pious deeds of Toba and Saint Asceline, but her true miracle did not occur before late in the year 355. Toba’s minor fleet has entered the Tranch system to survey its viability as a colony when the horrors of demon-worshiping xenoes fell upon them. No two texts agree upon what these foul beings were, though the Apocrypha Apios Orphenos name them as the Bale Childer. The Toba flagship, “Stern Voice”, was the only vessel to escape the ambush, heavily damaged and holed across several decks. With the Captain Ephranin breathing his last in a pool of infected blood and the Navigator’s quarters obliterated by a horrid lance of dark matter, Sister Asceline rallied the broken crew and commanded them to translate on course for Malfi. As thousand prayed and wept in fear it is said that Asceline remained on the shattered bridge for three weeks, taking neither food nor water, and upon hearing her hymns the Emperor himself guided the forlorn vessel through the horrors of unreality back to Malfi. Several popular tales speaks of how Asceline kept demons at bay as the Gellar field stuttered, though the truth of such stories are difficult to ascertain.
What is certain however is that, by the Emperor’s grace, the “Stern Voice” made it back to Malfi to bring word of the terrible xeno menace of Adrantis. Asceline went on to see the crusade completed before her natural death in 387 M.39, and she was canonized by the Synod Calixis near one and a half century later. Her cult, though popular amongst some missionaries, would perhaps have remained fairly obscure had it not been for the famous voyages of Purity Lathimon which charted the Koronus Passage. Lathimon was himself a dedicated Ascelinite and spent much of what he won beyond the Maw on promoting the faith, sponsoring several of the early colonies in the Koronus Expanse. Since his time the cult has only prospered and grown, never finding a shortage of those willing to seek a new life no matter the odds.
Adherents of note:
Gregory Sorsky, Missionary and an Apostle of Asceline.
Aisha de Winter, declared adherent to Saint Asceline.
Holdings of Note:
Contracts and agreements:
As part of the retinue of Missionary Gregory Sorsky the de Winter dynasty took aboard a sizable group of Ascelinite pilgrims seeking passage to distant worlds in the darkness of the expanse. Numbering nearly twelve hundred they have been spread throughout the crew.
Stance towards the De Winter Dynasty: