Hive Sibellus

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Hive Sibellus is the oldest city on Scintilla, almost certainly predating
Angevin’s invasions. Its immense, eight thousand kilometre-wide
bulk dominates the coastal plains and lowlands of the northern
temperate landmass. Where its enormous, multi-layered skirts touch
the coast itself—in a five hundred kilometre belt—they spill out
over the black granite cliffs like shelves or glacial ridges. Sibellus has
twice the population of its “twin” Hive Tarsus.
Like almost all Imperial hives, Hive Sibellus is composed of an
extraordinary conglomeration of architectural forms. Countless
generations have added their own embellishments and every
available surface is crammed with gargoyles, frescoes, columns
and mosaics. The hive spire is a jumble of glittering wonders,
while the middle hive—and even the underhive—is composed
of long-fallen statues and temples to wealth and power. The
middle hivers live in rickety tenements built inside the shells
of great mansions and basilicas, and trudge to work each day
through avenues formed by fallen statues. The underhivers live in
buried hovels built into the eyes of great stone heads or clustered
around the broken columns of fallen temples.
The sprawl of the hive is at its most spectacular along the rugged
coastline. The hive looms—indeed, spills—over towering black
granite cliffs, which are lashed by ferocious seas during the stormy
season. The Lucid Palace, a city in its own right, stands on a massive
column of rock rising from the sea just off the coast, connected to
the hive by a single, cyclopean, stone processional bridge, as well
as by countless smaller rope bridges and a fleet of ferries which
transport strong-stomached passengers across the debris-strewn
waters. Hundreds of rickety elevators scale the cliffs and the rock
column on which the palace stands, and the hovels of ferrymen and
fishermen cling to the rock face like barnacles. The bulk of Hive
Sibellus itself rises up many times the height of the cliffs, casting a
permanent shadow over the headland and the waters.

Hive Society
Hive Sibellus is Scintilla’s power centre and every noble house on the
planet seeks to have its own estate on the hive spire. These estates
form an extraordinary riot of architectural styles, from stern fortresses
to gilded pleasure palaces. The spire is constantly growing, the new
estates built on the remains of the old, and so a noble house must
constantly strive to embellish its own estates to keep up.
Antiquity is everything in Hive Sibellus. A family draws prestige
from the number of ancestral generations it can trace and even the
newest estates look like age-weathered bastions of tradition. Hive
Sibellus’s nobles are intensely competitive and demonstrate their
superiority through the magnificence of their estates as well as the
antiquities they collect, from artefacts excavated from the deserts and
jungles of Scintilla to works of art from across the Imperium. Most
estates conceal a high-security gallery or museum, which sometimes
holds extremely valuable and illegal items, like xenos artefacts or
even dangerous proscribed texts.
The streets of the hive spire are constantly busy. Hive Sibellus’
noble fashions are spectacular, impractical and perpetually changing,
and the nobles travel the streets of the spire accompanied by large
retinues of servants whose primary role is to look impressive. The
streets in the spire are very safe thanks to the large private armies
that guard every estate and the efforts of the Magistratum to man
checkpoints, which regulate the people coming in and out of the
hive spire. Violence in the spire, apart from trials by combat and
sanctioned duels, is rare—the crime that most nobles fret about is
burglary, since their collections or artworks and relics are so important
to them. Tales of impossibly skilled cat burglars are a staple of Hive
Sibellus’ folklore and many of those tales are true, since there are a
great many things worth stealing in the spire of Hive Sibellus.
Hive Sibellus’s middle hive is dominated by manufactories devoted
to heavy production and the enormous blocks of cheap, warren-like
housing for the factoria workers. The traditions of the hive spire filter
down to the middle hive, with many hivers collecting curious objects
to beautify their meagre homes, aping the extraordinary fashions of
the spire nobles or even keeping crudely stuffed dead relatives. The
middle hive’s factories and tenement blocks are built among layers of
compressed mansions and statuary, making it a confusing and dark
place of collapsed finery.
Somewhere deep amongst the fragments of vast statues and
toppled remains of great temple-mansions, the middle hive
becomes the underhive. Composed of countless compressed layers
of the city above, Hive Sibellus’ vast underhive is impossible to
navigate and prone to frequent collapse. Underhive settlements
huddle in the few stable areas, separated from one another by
endless deadly warrens where hive-quakes and cave-ins are a
constant threat. Many settlements are completely isolated, their
inhabitants hunting underhive vermin to survive and having no
idea that there is a hive city above them at all. It is not unknown
for nobles of the spire to sponsor heavily-armed expeditions into
the underhive to dig up coveted artefacts from Scintilla’s past or to
explore the tombs of a family’s distant ancestors.

Notable Locations
Hive Sibellus’ most extraordinary single landmark is the Lucid
Palace, which houses the magnificent court of Sector Governor
Marius Hax. The Lucid Palace, and the vast column rising from
the waves on which it sits, is thought to be much older than Hive
Sibellus or indeed, anything on Scintilla. The palace resembles a
vast flower of stone, its granite petals overlapping to form its huge
dome and the many archways used as entrances. The palace is
draped with hundreds of banners representing the institutions of
Scintilla and its noble houses, and having a banner fluttering from
the palace dome is an honour that some will murder for.
Another spectacular landmark is the Bastion Porphyr. This
slender tower of purple-black stone is the tallest point in
Hive Sibellus and the headquarters for Scintilla’s astropaths.
Scintilla’s Astropathic Choir consists of about half a dozen
astropaths, the largest concentration of these powerful psykers
in the Calixis Sector, led by Senior Astropath Xiao. These
astropaths are the only means for contacting other sectors and
without them the Calixis Sector would be cut off from the
rest of the Imperium. Anyone who wishes to use them to send
a message must personally climb the apparently endless spiral
staircase up the tower and make their request personally to
Senior Astropath Xiao. Each astropath has a different method
of visualising and sending messages, and they spend their
lives amid the draughty belfries of the Bastion performing
intensive mental exercises and studying the tomes of symbolic
code. Aside from a few servitors to assist them, no one lives in
the Bastion other than the astropaths.

Inquisitional Holdings
The other most notable landmark in the hive is the Tricorn,
the palace of the Inquisition. A dark and austere trio of linked
towers at the northern end of the hive sprawl, the palace is the
headquarters of the High Council of the Calixian Conclave, which
is to say that it is the administrative seat of the Inquisition in the
sector. Since earliest times, the Inquisition has often convened
and empowered a conclave of its members for each sector of the
Imperium. Each sector conclave is ruled by a Lord Inquisitor of
unimpeachable merit, selected and appointed by the High Lords
of the Inquisition on Terra. For the past two hundred years,
the Lord Inquisitor of the Calixian Conclave has been Aegult
Caidin. Though respectful of the Lord Sector, Caidin answers to
no one except the distant High Lords. From the Tricorn Palace,
he supervises and directs the general policies and activities of the
Inquisitors under his command, as well as individual specialist
cabals of Inquisitors sent upon “special circumstance” missions.
The Lord Inquisitor is seldom seen in public. It is said that
he keeps his true likeness secret, even from close aides and
allies, so as to be free to operate unmolested and unrecognised.
His true age is not known.
Lord Inquisitor Caidin chairs the High Council of the Calixian
Conclave, a ruling body of seventy senior Inquistors drawn from
all three Ordos, which orchestrates and monitors the Inquisition’s
work throughout the sector territories. Estimates suggest that over
eight thousand Inquisitorial personnel toil in the officio of the
Tricorn, from lowly scribes to archivists, from savants to specialist
Tech-Adepts. A small but potent army of Inquisitorial troops is
garrisoned at the Tricorn and dedicated starships of the Inquisition
are permanently stationed at high anchor above Scintilla for rapid
response deployment. It is also suggested, but unconfirmed, that
the Tricorn possesses its own astrotelepathic choir. In times of
great crisis, the Officio of the High Council Calixis can call upon
the help of any Imperial Adeptus it requires.
The general multitudes shun the Tricorn, regarding it as a
place of fear, peril and downright evil, though largely this
is because the average citizen has no real grasp of the work
and duties of the conclave. Nevertheless, to be seized by the
Inquisition and carried to the Tricorn for questioning is a grim
fate that few ever return from.

Hive Sibellus

Rejoice For You Are True Pieanator