The next morning arrives, Aristarchus makes sure they are all up and ready to go. Alicia is the only person with drive, so she drives the flatbed. They drive through the wastelands all day. There is not much to see here. It is a site of many battles and destroyed settlements. Aristarchus makes small talk along the way. He first looks at Cheryl, it is obvious she is a Sister of Battle. He does not inquire about her skills.
He next looks to Shawn. Shawn is also very recognizably an Imperial Psyker, just like Aristarchus. Aristarchus just has to make a psyniscience test to see how powerful Shawn is. So again, Aristarchus does not inquire of Shawn's skills.
James is next in line. James' rifle is strapped across his back. Aristarchus asks James how good he is with it. Everyone says almost simultaneously that he is a crack shot. Aristarchus points out the shale crows. They are a carrion feeder of sorts. They will also attack weakened living things. Their main feature is that they have no eyes. It appears as if the shale crows are staring at them, even without eyes. James lines up his shot and actually takes out 2 with one shot. Aristarchus is very impressed.
Next up is AJ. AJ is in his early twenties and sometimes just doesn't know what to do, partly because this is only the second pen and paper he has ever been in. After everyone pointing out what he can and cannot do, AJ did a couple of sleight-of-hand tricks.
Finally Aristarchus turns to Alicia. She is driving and not wanting to distract her from this task, points out that driving is a most valuable skill.
As night starts to fall, they are still in the wastelands. There is no moon at night and there is a higher chance for attack by bandits at night. So they pull off the road for the night. This will also allow for Alicia to get some rest. Aristarchus starts a fire and suggests that everyone except Alicia take turns as look outs for the night.
While AJ is on look out duty, he notices what appears to be a person walking towards the camp. AJ doesn't know what to do. He yells at it first. It doesn't respond. Right as it gets to the edge of the fire light it stops. AJ tries yelling again, still no response. AJ wakes everyone up one at a time. The others try talking to it with no response. Finally James or Shawn wake up Aristarchus. Aristarchus tells it go away. It does not respond. So Aristarchus shoots it. The body crumples. Immediately everyone notices the smell of rotting flesh. Going over to check the body, it looks like it has been dead for a long time. The smell is coming from it. Shawn and Aristarchus both check it for any sign of warp and find nothing. After a short discussion on what it could mean, they all go back to sleep with AJ still on guard duty.
The rest of the night passes with no problems. At dawn they pack up and start out on the road again. About noon, the group arrives in the mountains. Cheryl and Shawn noticed the figure standing up on the ridge first. When they pointed it out, the figure vanished. It was standing with the sun behind it so its vanishing was more of a blink effect. Aristarchus immediately suggested that they should all go check it out. After a short climb, which no one had a problem with, they arrived on the ridge. There on the ground burnt into the rock was a picture of a hawk clutching a skull. Aristarchus immediately dropped to his knees, made the sign of the aquila and whispered "Throne". Cheryl recognized the symbol from her studies on St. Drusus. It was the emblem of Drusus' army. When someone touched the symbol it was still hot.
After seeing the symbol, they got back in the truck and continued down the path. It was dusk when they arrived in Stern Hope. They were greeted at the door by Brother Severus and shown where to park. Brother Lamark then met them and apologized for Abbot Skae not being able to meet them himself because he was attending to a sick girl. Lamark took them to the local inn/cantina. Aristarchus was tired and went to his room. The others had time to look around.
James and Cheryl both tried to find the Abbot with no luck. Shawn stayed at the inn and talked to the locals. Alicia went around and talked to the guards. AJ went up to the cathedral and checked it out.
What they all learned was that a lot of strange occurrences were going on, which they already knew. No one really knew what happened to the people that disappeared. Some bodies were found up on the cliff where the lights have been seen. A local leader by the name of Esha Raine is highly respected by the locals. The warlord Kos'ke has aligned himself with Esha and with the Abbot and protects Stern Hope from other warlords.
AJ was the first to see the interior of the giant cathedral. The altar is in the middle, with rooms on the back wall behind it. Enough pews to hold the town are in two sections with a large walkway between the two leading to the altar. Above the altar is a large rotunda with a mural painted on it. The mural is of St. Drusus crushing a shadowy figure under his boot and holding aloft a sword. In the background you can see crows circling. After a bit of talking and exploring everyone heads to bed.
In the morning, everyone wakes up and has breakfast in the dining area of the inn. Aristarchus shows up after everyone has ate, he looks extremely tired. When asked about being tired, he shrugs it off and just says he hasn't been sleeping well but there are more important things going on. Aristarchus leads the group to the abbey and Abbot Skae. They are greeted at the door by Brother Lamark, who lets them know the sick girl is going to be fine. He then leads the PCs into one of the lecture halls where Abbot Skae and Brother Severus are. Skae again gives them the run down on what is going on, the lights, bleeding walls and disappearances. He also discusses with them how this was all funded, basically he comes from rich nobility. He allowed for questions from the PCs and let them have Brother Lamark as a guide for the day. They asked a few questions of Abbot Skae and he answered them with no hesitation.
Once they got away from Skae, they asked Lamark to take them to the sick girl from last night. He took them directly to the girl. They asked her a few questions and Shawn tried to sense for the warp. It turned out that the sickness was of the warp but it was fading fast.
After talking to the girl and her mom, they asked Lamark to take them up to the ridge where the lights were seen and the bodies were found. Lamark grabs some water bottles, his lasgun and a walking stick. It takes them a few hours to get there and on the way they are attacked by a local animal. During the attack, shale crows circle above them. Once the animal is killed, in rather short order, the body is noticed to have been dead for quite some time. Just like the corpse that approached their campsite on the way to Stern Hope. It was also missing its eyes. At the top of the ridge, Lamark shows them where the bodies were found, now just a smoldering pile from being burned. Shawn finds no real trace of the warp, here.
They arrive back in town in the evening. Shawn and James go to locate Aristarchus and ask him to divine tomorrow and the consecration. Aristarchus gets a sense of foreboding about everything tomorrow. They all go back to their rooms and sleep.
Addendum: James called me after the session and had something he wanted to do during the night. I will add it here as it chronologically goes here.
After everyone drifted to sleep, James sneaks off and heads back to the ridge. He tries to contact Tzeentch to make a deal with him. After several unsuccessful attempts, something comes up behind him and talks. It is a daemon of Malal. He makes a deal with James, if James will get him the soul of the Dancer and his followers, then he, the watcher of destruction, will provide James with information that will help protect the innocents. James agrees to this deal and his left calf is branded with the symbol of Malal. James barely makes it back to his room before AJ wakes up. James gets zero rest for the night.
AJ is the first to wake up, he set an alarm to wake up early. He is up before dawn and is getting up around the same time as the native Ashleen people. He asks what they are doing and they respond, "Getting everything ready for Esha Raine and Kos'ke's arrival."
The others get up later and have breakfast. During breakfast a loud horn is heard, it marked the arrival of Esha Raine and Kos'ke in town. Alicia, AJ and Cheryl went outside to see them come in. They are riding bipedal animals known as dustdogs. Esha goes straight to the priory, while Kos'ke and his men head around to the warrior's camp. The players hear, for the first time, one of Esha's titles, "death singer".
Alicia goes around to the warrior's camp to get a better look at Kos'ke and his men. The rest just eat breakfast and head to the temple. That ended the night.