The Tribunal of the High Office of the Scarlet Inquisition commonly known as simply The Inquisition is a militant, government sanctioned faction within The Divine Church of the Holy Light.
Founded in 195 CY the organization quickly gained immense power, following attempts by King Eustace to find a way to subvert the authority of the Church, as he feared its power was becoming so immense that it threatened the rule of the Empire.
The King contacted Archbishop Canterbury offering to officially sanction members of his clergy into positions where they can enforce religious law in exchange for several conditions, including that the Church officially sanctify the royal bloodline as being divine. After negotiating with Archbishop Canterbury for sometime the agreement was finalized and the Inquisition was formed. The majority of the original Inquisitors were members of a precursor order called The Agents of the Cardinals Cross. Which investigated members of the Church accused of breaking their Holy tenants. Though their authority was limited to internal discipline and at most recommending ex-communication.
Led by The Office of The High Overseer the Inquisition has been tantamount in enforcing religious law and often acting as their own police force throughout The Empire. Many of the crimes they originally investigated included Herecy, Blasphemy, Witchcraft, Bigamy and Sodomy.
Though the High Overseer is often appointed by the King himself, the Inquisition has often come into conflict with the royal family as they are the only authority which has the power to prosecute a member of the royal bloodline for any reason. As nobles are not exempt from religious prosecution, despite the fact it is extremely uncommon for it to occur. This power has been used to shape policy throughout the empire such as in 243 CY when The High Overseer himself threatened King Agowai II with being labeled a heretic if he continued to attempt to reform laws which would make hunting or killing uncivilized species, such as Trolls or Harpies a crime.
In 250 CY The Inquisition began a crackdown on blasphemy, targeting mostly shamans and druids. Though many humans were part of this purge, especially barbarian tribes who were forcibly converted and assimilate into the Empire, the purge seemed to be a primarily racial one, targeting mostly Elves and other races.
In 300 CY The High Overseer ordered a total ban on magic and for the purge and execution of all mages declaring them Heretics. Though Witchcraft had been outlawed by the church for sometime and mages were forbidden to be baptized, it was still legal in most parts of the empire. This new ruling led to The Mage Council forming their own city and was the cause of the subsequent Mage Wars. It wasn't until several years later when the High Overseer would rescind that ruling after the creation of The White City.
Throughout the first half of the 400s. The Inquisition would play an important part in The New Crusades that occurred throughout the early part of the century.
In 446 CY The Great Plague Occurred and the Inquisition was tasked with finding the cause of it, along with disposing of the infected. During this time, areas infected with the plague had sometimes up to two thirds of their population die. In total the casualties have been estimated to be between 35-45 million people.
Due to being in such close proximity to the infected, its estimated that 85% of all Inquisitors died during the plague. Desperate to replenish their numbers the High Overseer began to allow women to join the ranks of the Inquisition along with allowing other races to join its ranks. The Archbishop also began to allow non-humans to join the church and for the first time in history offered them baptisms.
447 The Society of the Blind Eye is Formed
Inquisitors are given permission to work with complete impunity and have the authority to prosecute civilians for religious crimes and sentence guilty parties at their discretion. Some of these sentences may include:
- Fines to be paid to the Church
- Seizure of Property
- Financial Recompense
- Public Humiliation
- Service to the Church
- Prison Time
With this extended authority, Inquisitors have become fanatical in their efforts to cleanse the realm of those they see impure.
- The Grand Archbishop
- Arch Deacon