Like much of the rest of the Imperium, the Calixis Sector is touched by the green-plague: Orks. Whilst Calixis has, so far, been fortunate to have avoided a full scale invasion, there are pockets of feral Orks infesting the deep wilds of certain feral worlds such as Ganf Magna as well as their more “advanced” cousins who have appeared to threaten numerous outposts and colonies.
Orks are the focus of the Vitrian Covenant, more of an unofficial crusade than a cult, formed with the imperative of destroying these hated aliens. Vitrian was a confessor who fought alongside the Heronoris 88th in the 4th Epocanus Crusade. Just before the final defense of Spire City against the Obsidian Tooth Orks, Vitrian gave a speech to the soldiers, declaring a promise that, if the Emperor gave them victory, he would not to rest until all Orks had been purged from Calixis. Against the odds, the Orks were repelled and destroyed, thus the Covenant was forged. Though Vitrian was killed during the battle, the survivors went on to spread the word. Many men and women who had had their lives destroyed by Orks joined, all united in ending the alien menace within the sector.
The cult works on two levels. The first are those who tell the story of the Battle of the Spire, and how the Emperor sent to them a message of their final triumph in that victory. These members also seek out war zones where Orks are being fought to take an active roll in the destruction of the xenos.
The second are those who move behind the scenes, using the cult’s finances to help fund enterprises and campaigns that lead to the destruction of Orks. These cultists also engage in political maneuvering to get more Imperial resources diverted to eradicate the Orks and try and gain support to launch new military campaigns into known Ork territory.
As a martial cult, the Vitrian Covenant honors the holy days of warrior saints, including Drusus, especially those that won great battles against the greenskins. They have also been known to stage great symbolic Ork sacrifices during the Feast of the Emperor’s Ascension. On more civilized worlds, this is usually the burning of effigies or the killing of criminals painted green, though in some places actual Orks are used (though they are usually battlefield dead).
The membership of the cult varies widely, though most have had some part of their life affected by Orks. This could be as traumatic as the loss of a loved one or as trivial as having the supply of your favorite cheese interrupted by an Ork raid on Imperial shipping. Whatever the case, all cult members passionately hate Orks. The cult’s symbol is a flaming spire, commemorating the formation of the Covenant.
The cult undertakes the dual purpose of spreading the faith beyond the edges of the Imperium and combating the orks. For this reason the Covenant are mostly found on the edges of the Calixis Sector, supporting armies or helping missionaries to settle new and wild frontier worlds. Their fanatical hatred of the greenskins has also seen them travel around the sector using their influence and skills to drum up support for the Margin Crusade, a venture which they view as a vital part of both bringing the Imperial Creed to the lawless void and also curtailing the spread of xeno from their worlds within the Halo Stars. Of course the fact that the Covenant is not wholly aware of the truth behind the crusade has not stopped the Sector Synod from using them to raise troops and resources for it.
Obsidian Tooth Skull
The Obsidian Tooth Skull is a relic of the Vitiran Covenant and the miraculous victory of the Heronoris 88th against the greenskin hordes in defense of the world of Epocanus. Said to be the skull of the chieftain Badzak Groxrender, leader of the Obsidian Tooth Clan, it is reputed to have been taken in battle by Saint Vitrian himself before his untimely demise. An ancient, yellowed skull, pitted and cracked, the relic radiates a sense of defiance and anger, as if the ork is still raging against his foes even in death. To the faithful however the skull is an icon of victory over the alien and a beacon of the God- Emperor’s might to overcome even the most fearsome of his limitless foes.
For many years the Obsidian Tooth Skull resided in the Imperial chapel on Dreah, where members of the Covenant would come to praise the saint. Close to century ago however Dreah was raided by xenos pirates, many outlying settlements sacked and the chapel burnt to the ground. Even now Vitrian’s disciples search the stars for the Skull, hoping to return to it the hands of the faithful.
The Obsidian Tooth Skull is a large ork skull, weighting close to 20kg and difficult for all but the very strong to carry with one hand. Those that bear the skull however and possess Pure Faith can call upon its blessing by holding it aloft and incanting the Vitiran’s Prayer for the Forsaken (a secret chant know only to the faithful of the Covenant and said to mirror the saint’s final words). Invoking the blessing is a Full Action. Once the blessing has been invoked, the faithful and any of his allies that can both see and hear him (without the aid of technology) will be filled with the wrath of the saint and gain the Hatred (ork) Talent and become immune to Fear caused by orks, or any creature of effect of orkiod origin (i.e. ork psychic powers, the presence of a squiggoth etc). In addition to this effect as long as the faithful holds the skull and keeps it in sight, all allies within 20 meters who can both see and hear him may re-roll damage against greenskins as the whispers of the saint guide their blows and shots. The skull’s blessing lasts for the duration the encounter, however its power is fickle and as such it can only be used once per game session.