A few miles south of the city center in the Holy Imperial capital city of Dam-Torsad, in a rather older quarter of the ‘new city’ district 33, sits the once expansive and awe inspiring Chapterhouse of the 17th Imperial Crusade.
The Chapterhouse provided a place for Imperial men and women of all classes to congregate, argue, train, and prepare to take part in campaigns that the Crusade were engaged in far away from Athra.
Historians argue whether the current foundations actually date back as many hundreds of years as claimed, but the majestic complex can evoke a powerful feeling of permanence and age, even compared to other distinguished places nearby. While a short, squat outline in the otherwise reaching Dam-Torsad skyline, the Chapterhouse easily takes up most of a city block.
A facility of such size and age requires extra care and attention, and the Chapterhouse had seen far to little of either. City dwellers would pass the towering spires and spines of the gilded but dilapidated hulk and rarely remember what such a place could have ever been.
In YC104, a half-mad Caldari capsuleer pilot, a convert to the Amarrian Rite, backed with Praetorian training and support, purchased the property in what can only be considered a ‘legally tenuous process’ from an unlicensed Slaver operating in Devoid.
Flush with cash, this pilot, now unnamed in records, planned to open an official home for his convert force. The plans were not finished, and a restoration on the property in progress was abandoned, leaving the Old Chapterhouse in almost a worse state than before.
Later that year, a massive restoration project began, funded by a small clique of historically-minded minor holders looking to save a bit of history. Daunted by the task they found ahead of them, they set to work bringing the facility to life again.
Under long compacted swathes of soot and sand, murals and banners of impossible age were discovered and painstakingly cared for and made new again by local artisans and interested scientists. Over the months the site became a bit of a local point of pride for a surrounding community unaccustomed to affluence or grandeur. The re-opening of the Chapterhouse was an event expected to draw an impressive crowd of intellectuals and nobility alike when the project finally concluded.
In May YC105, 4 days before opening it’s doors, the entire property was purchased outright from an apologetic holding company by Lady Mirial Basrai ur’Sarum, a notably rich (even among thier kind) capsuleer CEO who had been newly christened the Executor of the Aegis Militia Alliance, a new union of Amarrian paramilitaries.
Made up of Sarumites, Pax-receptive progressives, convert Caldari, and all manner of ideology, the Alliance had emerged to contest in the name of Imperial political factions not aligned with the rigid policies of the fast rising PIE/CVA.
The purchase was no doubt seen as a pure expression of unassailable wealth, crushing the spirits of the local community who had come together to bring such a venerable structure back to life.
Regardless, funding for the complex was at an all-time peak and the new AM Chapterhouse was carefully prepared for a magnificent reveal to the world.
The celebration was not to be. The night before the reveal, 27 hours after the formation of the Alliance, a killing blow meant to end the entire enterprise in it’s infancy was struck.
The proud Executor and her entire corporation were the victim of the famous Guiding Hand Social Club Heist/Assassination. In the wake of the affair, the Chapterhouse, it’s luxuries and expenditures now taxing on a group struggling to maintain it’s spacefleets, never had it’s glorious re-opening. The Chapterhouse rather quietly began it’s new duties.
A month later, the AM Conclave floor was flooded with thousands of an encouraging and cheering populace. The AM, a capsuleer group on it’s back heels, had managed to pick a fight with the Blood Raider Covenant, and had come out ahead, prompting a Call from the Throne that had united the Amarrian factions in purpose for the first time. Within 6 months, Amarr forces wiped the last Blood Raider bases out of the Bleak Lands, and Omir Sarikusa began his long Exile in Delve.
2 years later, the AM Chapterhouse was an established and prominent feature of the city. The Conclave floor, resplendent with the now famous mural work of ancient masters, was a place where prominent local thinkers and capsuleer leaders themselves would openly debate with different factions and each other on the conflicts raging on the borders of the Empire and the approaches taken to pacify them.
The Order of St. Tetrimon had chosen the AM as Champions of their Great Appeal to the Theology Council. While the Emperor claimed to stay his hand until a conclusion was reached, AM found itself as the prominent and visible guardians of the technically outlawed religious sect.
For two years the Towers in Haras stood, and despite attempts to siege and destroy the order in space, the Alliance manged to keep the Order, their assets, and their all-important and irreplaceable scriptural records. The AM Chapterhouse was a golden bastion of light and sound, and it gladly celebrated the prestige of being the chosen keepers of the Order.
When Amarr came for the Order there was no warning. Amarr Navy dreadnoughts quietly undocked from Emperor station in front of stunned local pilots and jumped to Haras to begin working on the AM facilities.
In Dam-Torsad, in the dead of night, an army of hundreds of soldiers and investigators marched to the Grand Doors and blew them open in a aggressive breach, searching for what the Revelations hadn’t been able to destroy in space. Paramilitary personnel inside had not been warned of the operation. 12 died, 7 were wounded in a firefight through the bowels of the massive facility. The incident was not reported by ACN.
In YC108, the Chapterhouse was a subdued place. Armed troops lined it’s walls. Basrai had been killed, along with the Order wiped out. A new leader had been named, Executor Sanders, and his direction for AM’s fleets were new; the borders of known space. As the AM began it’s rise as a space-holding Alliance in catch, their need for a foothold in Amarrian court affairs dwindled. Over time the Chapterhouse became a glorified information center for Operation Deliverance and the many Providence Alliances, and of course a museum for it’s priceless restored works.
Within two years, AM, CVA, and Providence itself would have been invaded by most of the South, and completely washed away in an unstoppable onslaught. AM personnel never returned from that campaign. Employees of the facility soon realized that there was no one paying to keep the lights on.
A long dark crept over the facility for the next long years. New City District 33 had not fared well either, and the oft-looted recesses of the Chapterhouse were now a haven for thieves and those who could find no shelter. In YC111, a controversial local constable’s body was found on the property grounds in circumstances that brought unwanted crackdown and solidified the building’s new reputation in the City.
Later that year there was a new tenant. A cadre of overwhelmingly well-funded monks hailing from Hedion arrived to take possession of the site. Their intent was simple and workable; to open a sprawling brewery facility, using the long history of the site for marketing purposes. All that money could have been more wisely utilized; a massive fire in the north concourse brought this plan to an early end, and made the Chapterhouse forever a ruined husk in the eyes of the people who lived in it’s shadow.
It’s YC120 now. The site’s had three optimistic new owners come through, remembering a lost glory and looking to make the old resplendent once again. There was another big fire in 116, and later that year a Matari company purchased the lot through a shell corp and planned to have it leveled as a statement, prompting protests and incidents of anti-slave violence.
The great dome is a cracked and caved eggshell. Entire spires have weakened and collapsed in on the courtyards. The people who work and play in this neighborhood know where the trouble is to be found, and where the bad things happen.
And that’s where I’m standing right now, flanked by a squad of engineers, being battered by a mild sandstorm. I’ve patiently sat through three meetings with city leaders. Their advice was always the same; ‘You don’t want this ruin. You don’t want it’s problems. You want this nice new site in the south bend, where things are really happening. Maybe something near the Praetorian Complex?? Let us help you find a real home.’
They don’t get this place, or why it was chosen to begin with. They don’t know what happened behind it’s walls, or what lies below it’s foundations.
It will require time. It will require money. Most of all it will require care. The moment a single brick is placed, old enemies will stir from slumber. A hundred shadows will rise to keep this torch from ever burning again. Deep in my heart I know some of them will be friends.
I take a deep breath through the sand filter, then take ahold of the written orders from Lord Crases in my pocket. No turning back now.
Hail to the Old 17th.
It’s time to rise again.
Aegis Militia Alliance