St. Veronica Invicta
Patron of Resistance to the Alien
Veronica Invicta is a saint of the Ecclesiarchy, famous for defeating an orkish attack on Fairbanks. Her appearance is not well recorded, aside from being a woman in armor who carries a sword. In Ecclesiarchical iconography, she is depicted as a woman in early adulthood with long black hair worn unbound, carrying a sword (usually with her hands folded atop the pommel as the point rests on the ground). She is traditionally depicted in stylized armor with a white tabard faced in red, upswept spaulders, and a corselet sculpted to cup each breast. The shape of Veronica’s breastplate leads a few to suggest that she may have lived during the Age of Copper, with which anatomically styled armor is traditionally associated. Others find it more likely to be an iconographic convention designed to make her sex clear to the viewer.
Clerics disagree as to when Saint Veronica lived. Ancillary details that would help to place her in history differ among legends, such as the name of the king or lord of House Darhel during her lifetime. Most stories place her during the Age of Silver, though a minority opinion holds that she most likely lived in the Age of Copper, given how strongly orks figure into her tale.
Little is known of Veronica’s early life, a mystery that is remarkable even to those who meet her in legend. It is even possible that Veronica was not her real name (although Veronica is a reasonably common name on Nova, it is somewhat suspicious that a saint famous for defeating an alien assault should be named Bringer of Victory). She appears in Fairbanks already a grown woman, bearing the sword and armor of a knight, as well as letters patent from the king (usually Marev II Vaar, though this detail is not consistent) granting her the right to bear arms despite her claim to be a serf of an unnamed village in the disputed regions of the Vale.
Veronica claims to have received a mission from the God-Emperor himself to guard Fairbanks Cathedral (which in the stories has often, though not always, only recently been finished). She installed herself before the altar, standing for hours at a time in her armor with hands resting on a downward-pointing sword. She left her self-appointed place but rarely, always to pray or do works of charity about the town. Indeed, she was rarely seen out of armor, and always dressed in robes reminiscent of those worn by the Black Sisters when she did. As time passed, she became a familiar sight in town and at Mass.
Though remarkable for her piety and unflagging spirit of charity, Veronica is most famous for defending Fairbanks against a major orkish attack. The details of the larger campaign in which this attack is situated are difficult to ascertain; some tales call it a large but periodic invasion, while others imply that it is part of a true Waaagh!. All the tales agree that Fairbanks finds itself besieged on all sides, and that Veronica organizes the defense of the town (in some tales knights are present who might be expected to take command, but all agree that Veronica leads the defense). Various miracles are attributed to her during the defense of the town; Veronica can withstand the soul-searing gaze of ork witches, slay orks by looking at them, fling giant greenskins from the walls with her bare hands, and other such acts of holy ferocity that astonish a town used to thinking of her as a mysterious but gentle figure. Thanks to Veronica’s preternatural leadership, the town holds for a week before the orks finally force an entry.
Inspired by the saint’s righteous fury, the townsfolk of Fairbanks fight the orks in the streets, anointing the ground with greenskin blood for every inch given. At last the survivors are forced back to the center of town, and Veronica gathers them within the cathedral. Here a new siege begins, as the orks surround the townsfolk (now usually depicted as spent and wounded, despite their earlier heroic efforts in the streets). Each day for seven days Veronica singlehandedly forces the greenskins back in brutal hand to hand combat, returning to the cathedral victorious. By the seventh day, her armor is so rent and battered that she is forced to discard it. On the eighth, she resumes her solitary defense of the cathedral dressed only in her robes. Miraculously, the robes turn aside the orks’ blows as if made of steel, and Veronica holds the cathedral until the end of the week. On the twenty-first day of battle, she emerges to find that no orks remain to be slain.
Veronica’s fate after her miraculous defense of the cathedral is particularly badly recorded. Some legends say that she turned her face to the heavens on the blood-blasted courtyard and was swept to Terra in a blaze of pink light. Others say that she left Fairbanks without a word, never to be seen again. Others claim that she lived out her life as she had before, standing vigil before the altar, returning to her ancestral village as an old woman to die. No further miracles are attributed to her after the defense of the cathedral.