See the Galaxy They Say - Should Have Joined the Navy
Watch Fortress Erioch
Watch Fortress Erioch is a vast space bastion that lies in the outer reaches of the er The Erioch System in the untamed void between the Canis and Acheros salients. It is situated in a stellar dead zone populated by only a handful of failing, ancient stars—of which Erioch itself is one.
A brutal mass of armoured basilica, domes, and spires, the Fortress bristles with enough armament to rival a sizable battlegroup of warships, largely concealing the fact that underneath the Imperial ceramite and firepower, it is built on a ruined artefact that was old when Terra’s star was first forming.
Within it is a vast maze of echoing, dust-carpeted corridors that wander past silent chapels and armoured vaults sealed with adamantine doors. Beneath war-tattered banners of glories past, the Battle-Brothers of the Deathwatch in residence move between cells, practice ranges, armouries and briefing theatres like spectres in a dead city, their numbers swallowed by the vast and labyrinthine nature of the fortress. Within the Watch Fortress, the Deathwatch gathers to rearm, train, and report. From here, Kill-teams are dispatched on missions to every corner of the Jericho Reach, and sometimes beyond.
The Fortress contains vast command cathedrals where Watch Captains come to discuss strategy, developments within their assigned vigils, and consult with the Inquisitor of the Chamber and Master of Vigilance. Alongside the towering
Adeptus Astartes scurry the far more numerous servitors and hooded, mind-wiped serfs that keep the Fortress alive and functioning. These lobotomised or oath-bonded servants crew the Watch Fortress’s weaponry, and serve under the eyes of the Forge Master in the maintenance of its machine spirits, their
pasts shorn from them by mental conditioning. They remember nothing of their history, and know no life beyond the fortress and the demands of their duty.
The Watch Fortress could hold an entire Chapter of Adeptus Astartes with ease, but its records show that there are rarely more than a few score Deathwatch garrisoning it at any time.
Even during the grim events of the Council of the Ascension in [[756.M41]], no more than two hundred Battle-Brothers were gathered within the Fortress. As a matter of course, most of
the Deathwatch Space Marines within the Jericho Reach only spend brief periods in the Watch Fortress before leaving again to fulfil their missions or to garrison other Watch Stations
within the Reach. Indeed, some never see the Fortress during their service in the region. Instead, they spend their time on one bloody battlefield after another, or as the lone warden in Watch Stations far from their Battle-Brothers. The only exception are the guardians of the Chamber of Vigilance; a ten-strong squad of Deathwatch Space Marines. Joining them is a position of great honour, and only Battle-Brothers who have performed a feat of exemplary courage and dedication during their time of service are considered for service among these guardians.
Aside from the Deathwatch and their servants—including cloisters of Navigators and Astropaths permanently sworn to their service—Watch Fortress Erioch occasionally hosts
members of the Inquisition and their attendant cadre of throne agents, acolytes, and other minions. Most of these Inquisitors come to consult with the Chamber of Vigilance, to examine
some article recovered by the Deathwatch, or to make a request for aide in person. In the long millennia, many Inquisitors have passed through the Watch Fortress. Some stay for extended
periods, others barely a few hours. Some leave artefacts within one of the Fortress’s vaults, sealed to all but them, or those to which they entrust the cipher, key or secret of its opening. Some vaults have remained sealed in this way for millennia; the horrors or secrets within shut away even from the Deathwatch itself.
Despite the power of the Inquisition and the ancient and honoured role of the Inquisitor of the Chamber, the sole and final authority of the Watch Fortress, and thereby all the Deathwatch Marines in the Jericho Reach is the Master of Vigilance, a position held by the most senior Deathwatch Captain in the Jericho Reach. Others that have thought to act otherwise, including certain members of the Inquisition, have paid for this mistake with their lives.