Umberto II was the Ecclesiarch of the Adeptus Ministorum and a High Lord of Terra during his lifetime. Under Umberto's leadership, the common faithful of the Imperium of Man rose up and took the fight back to the corrupt followers of the Ruinous Powers, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their brothers and sisters in the Imperial Guard and the Space Marines. Ancient Terran scholars ascribed the near two thousand standard years of uneasy peace between the 11th Black Crusade in 301.M39, and the Gothic War in 139.M41, largely to the legacy of Umberto’s efforts and Wars of Faith in the Segmentum Obscurus.
When Umberto II died, his body was interred on the planet of his birth, the Ecclesiarchy's Cemetery World of Certus-Minor located in the Praga Sub-sector. Grave markers, tombstones and statues of every crafted tradition, built almost one on top of the other, crowded the landscape with barely a scrap of precious earth between them. Vaults, mausolea and private crypts sprouted from the sepulchrescape, dwarfed only by the ancestral tombs and necropoli of powerful Imperial noble families. It was the Ecclesiarch’s dying wish that his body be returned there upon his death. Such a prestigious burial ground was secured at a premium by the great and good of the Imperium. Umberto II was buried with full Imperial honours and ceremony in the beautiful, baroque metropolis of the dead known as Obsequa City within his own mausoleum. Certus-Minor would in the late 41st Millennium become the battlefield where the 5th Company of the Excoriators Chapter of Space Marines and the revenant Astartes of the Legion of the Damned would stop the Khornate Cholercaust Blood Crusade from endangering Terra.
Umberto II Memorial MausoleumEdit
Certus-Minor's surface was a vision of towers, steeples and spires. Stained-glass and rockrete, dark with age, thrusted forth towards the heavens with reverent majesty. With nearly every square metre of dirt on Certus-Minor devoted to the dead, even the capital city, the center of the world's administration, was considered an extravagance. Like a tiny, ecclesiastical hive city, Obsequa City comprised basilicas and cathedrals that were built tall and tight. The narrow alleys and passages were steep and cobbled, leading up to the crowning monument -- the heart of the city in both a physical and spiritual sense -- the Umberto II Memorial Mausoleum. Nestled at the heart of the devotional architecture and adorning the metropolis like a crown was the enormous roof-dome of the sacred vault that dominated the city skyline -- the largest and tallest building in Obsequa City. A colossal archway-barbican decorated the entrance to the memorial mausoleum. The pillars of the stately sepulchre were thick and tall, and the darkness of the threshold beckoned Imperial pilgrim and cleric alike.
The funereal beauty of the Mausoleum was astounding: the intricate scrolling on the wall internments; the silver lettering adorning the floor slabs, recording the names of past pontiffs and cardinals of the Ecclesiarchy; loggia supports and fat sculpted pillars reaching up to the exquisite detail of the Mausoleum’s domed ceiling – each hand-painted illustration a depiction of Umberto II’s long and spiritually-productive life. Candles and incense burned from a thousand suspended sconces, and stern statues of Ecclesiarchs already elevated to sainthood by the Imperial Cult adorned the sepulchre space in a ring around a simple block-crypt of obsidian brick. A silver-plated elevator was used to transport clerics and Adepta Sororitas guardians deep below the sepulchre to a small complex of condition-controlled crypt chambers residing behind a thick vault door. Within, laid out for private pilgrimage and display, were the surviving remains of Umberto II, the ruling Ecclesiarch of the Adeptus Ministorum and High Lord of Terra. A circular gallery spiralled about the sepulchre’s exterior, made up of marble steps and landings, providing access to the wall-combs, vaultia and the upper stories of the Mausoleum.
Imperial mortuary lighters brought an unending supply of the Imperium's noble dead from necrofreighters down to the Certusian surface. The prestige of spending just a century in the same precious earth as Umberto II drew cadavers from light years around. Senior officers of the Imperial Guard, the Imperial Navy, members of of Hive World noble houses, powerful merchant lords, Navigators, other planetary nobility and devoted members of the Ecclesiarchy itself were all buried in Certus-Minor’s sacred topsoil. Coffins and sarcophagi were dug up for shipment back to the families following the expiration of their leases in an unending cycle of inhumation and exhumation on a planetary scale.
- Legion of the Damned (Novel) by Rob Sanders