Subject: OH-018 – Ablutionist Creed
Threat Level: Minoris
On the Imperial hive world of Hegemon Prime, located between the spinward edge of the Bastion sub-sector and the southern tip of the Gaspari Empire, there exists a divergent creed that has begun to mutate, tainting the teachings of the proper Cult of the Empire with heretical notions of personal agency and a skewed perspective of the divine.
The Hegemon system was directly in the path of the Chaos incursions known as the Rhythmar Apostasy in the late 38th millennium, where the 110 billion residents there suffered under the yoke of Warp-worshipers for a brief but bloody period. Less than 150 years after the back of the enemy was broken thanks to the ++++ of the ++++ chapter and the population cleansed, the planet suffered cataclysmic flooding.
The great floods brought with them plague and misery unprecedented, even by the depredations of the heretics, and as a result numerous Chaos cults surfaced among the citizenry. The necessary purges that followed, taking over twenty-one months to complete, were every bit the threat that the plagues themselves had been.
As a result there is now extant a “Cult of the Emperor Immaculate,” a veneration of the Master of Mankind as a force of purity and, above all, cleanliness. These “Ablutionists” take quite literally the ancient adage that cleanliness is next to godliness.
Priests of the order wear white, and foster a prominent “sin eater” tradition, wherein ritual cleansings and indulgences are sold, with mutants and other undesirables (especially a local breed of water-breathing mutation known as “Ghilliar”) donning the darkling of their betters.
Note: “Darkling” refers both to the mutant and to the resultant dirt and oils from ritual cleansings, cooked down (partially to reclaim clean water) into a thick, pungent makeup.
Many especially wealthy penitents, to whom this sub-cult is especially attractive because it equates wealth directly to spiritual standing, keep a small army of these darklings on retainer, paying them in room and board, regular work, and most importantly a kind of legitimizing protection.
The local Arbites, for their part, can really only stringently enforce “Mindeevs,” or Minimizing Deviancy Protocols, acting in a sense as an immigration force – over the centuries, suffering a fruitful raid against one’s household stables has built up a powerful stigma. Now the largest and most influential households have both a rigorously self-policed stable of legal darklings and a clandestine shadow court of non-Mindeev scavvies overseen but unscrupulous Ablutionist priests in charge of the families’ worst secrets. In several cases, the ruling members of these shadow courts are mutated or disgraced scions of the family line.
Ablutionist priests are easy to identify from their broad hats, long white gloves, and wood-and-canvas parasols which are only ever used a single time before being discarded.
While most of their actual dogma falls within Ecclesiarchy guidelines for localization of the Imperial Creed (and thereby have managed to narrowly evade actual church sanction), their sedition lies in the side-effects of their message; they maintain a kind of personal empowerment, whereby a person who maintains a sufficiently “hygienic” spiritual life attains an elevated status, on par with sainthood, without actually having to accomplish any great contribution to the larger Imperium. Though concrete connections have been difficult to evidence, the Ordo has begun collating connections between these divergent beliefs and numerous uprisings and cult riots in the major hives of the planet.