The Emperor’s Serpents
Whilst the Emperor will turn to the Imperial Inquisition to keep tabs on persons of interest and sniff out any signs of dissent or rebellion, when it is established that the best course of action would be to have someone removed all together from existence, the Emperor and their court will turn to a subsection of the Inquisition, the Inquisitorial Bureau to dispatch one of their specially trained killers, the Inquisitor Assassins. Most who become the target of an Inquisitor Assassin never know that they were the subject of such an order and they are killed before the tiniest inkling enters their minds that they have drawn the ire of the Imperial person and court so badly for their lives to be at risk. Those that do find out, however, will experience the terror of finding out that there is no where they can hide once one of the Emperor’s Serpents has been unleashed upon them.
It is unknown how many Inquisitor Assassins there are, or where they are based. As the Assassins are part of a command structure separate from the rest of the Inquisition, even other members of the Inquisition are generally unaware when an Inquisitor Assassin is operating in their jurisdiction, unless the Assassin chooses to make their presence known to them.
As standard all Assassins will be equipped with items to help them gain access to wherever their targets might be hiding or residing; lock-picks, pitons, grappling hooks etc. Beyond that, Assassins are able to take equipment and supplies with them to suit the mission at hand, and all of them are proficient in the use of disguises if need be.
Inquisitor Assassins are trained in all manner of weapons, but most will end up specialising in one or two weapons specifically. What these weapons are will vary from Assassin to Assassin, as they are encouraged to utilise what they are most proficient in, to increase the odds of their missions being a success. In general though, the use of pole-arms or two-handed weapons is discouraged, but not unknown, as their size makes them far harder to conceal. Wounds left on their victims also indicate that the use of poison, applied either to blades, projectiles or into consumables is commonplace amongst Inquisitor Assassins and the use of Samaban Venom is especially common.
In order to maintain the secrecy surrounding the Emperor's most dangerous and devious instrument, Inquisitor Assassins do not answer to the Captain Inquisitors of a particular province of the Empire, but instead receive their instructions through the Inquisitorial Bureau, a sub-section of the Inquisition that answers only to the head of the Inquisition, the Grand Inquisitor.
It is rare for Inquisitor Assassins to be seen before they strike, or to tackle a target head on. Instead they prefer to lie in wait to ambush their prey, generally waiting until they have passed so that they can attack in the flank or rear. These attacks are normally lightning quick, with the Assassin aiming to be making their escape, or ideally already be hidden again by the time their attack has been registered. It is not uncommon for Inquisitor Assassins to wait in their ambush spots for days until their target passes. When it is not possible to establish a coherent or reliable pattern of movements, Assassins will track their targets and will generally choose to strike at night, preferring to kill their targets in enclosed spaces such as bedrooms, which they are perfectly trained to gain access to.
When a Cadet Inquisitor undertakes their trials to be initiated as a full Inquisitor, there are always eyes watching out for Cadets who display an exemplary talent for stealth and killing. When suitable Cadets are identified, they are assigned to the Inquisitorial Bureau, where they undertake extreme training to become Assassins. Inquisitor Assassins have to undergo much more ferocious and arduous training in martial arts, stealth and survival skills than any normal Inquisitor has to and the additional training is so tough that 75% of Cadets are thought to die trying to complete it. Those that do survive, however, are ruthless killers capable of appearing out of the darkness and disappearing before their target has even registered their blade piercing their side.
If needed, Assassins are able to call on support from any Inquisitorial safe-house that they are near, but it tends to be rare that an Assassin will do this as they prefer to act alone or with other Assassins if the mission calls for it.