The Imperial Inquisition

From shady back alleys to the expansive ballrooms of the Imperial Palace in Meltaro, the eyes and ears of the Imperial Inquisition are constantly searching for any hint of resentment or ill-will towards the Emperor or the Empire's regime. Acting as a secret police force, judge and jury, the Inquisition is mandated to do whatever they see fit to protect the Imperial Household. They answer directly to the Emperor and a handful of his most senior advisors, meaning that most of what they do is shrouded in secrecy, which is exactly what they want. Woe betide anyone who does not ensure that they know exactly who they are dealing with when planning anything underhand, lest the Eyes of the Emperor appear at their door looking for answers.

Structure

The Imperial Inquisition is overseen by the Grand Inquisitor, who is the ultimate authority within the organisation, and who answers directly to the Emperor themselves. The Grand Inquisitor is kept abreast of everything that happens within the Inquisition, and he is able to allocate all of the resources, issue new tasks or abort current missions as he sees fit. Unlike the Lodge of Imperial Hunters, there is no requirement for the Grand Inquisitor to justify their, or the Inquisition’s actions to the Congregation of Lords, instead the Grand Inquisitor gets all of their instructions and feeds al information directly to the Emperor and his immediate advisors.   Beneath the Grand Inquisitor are 13 Captain Inquisitors, one with jurisdiction over each of the 10 provinces of the Empire, one with a special jurisdiction over matters to do with the Inquisition’s activities in Nova Norgantho, one who manages activities related to the Imperial Colonies and activity to do with the Continent of Zastral and one who oversees the activities of the Inquisitor Pioneers. The Captain Inquisitors manage the business and agents under their control on behalf of the Grand Inquisitor and they are the conduit for relaying orders from the Grand Inquisitor and the Emperor to the people operating within their respective regions.   Answering to the Captain Inquisitors are a host of Inquisitors, who undertake the work on the ground and actually carry out the investigations. Inquisitors are able to operate almost entirely independently as they undergo their work, with the only requirement being to return to their regional headquarters at the end of each assignment to give a full debrief to their Provincial Captain. Inquisitors are sent to work within a specific province, or one of the two special regions, though they can be given permission to operate outside of these areas in certain cases. Inquisitors are assigned to duties on a case by case basis, and depending on these duties they can either end up working alone or within a team set up for the task at hand.   Particularly skilled Inquisitors can be given specific duties and roles within the organisation: for example with those most adept at killing becoming Inquisitor Assassins, and those who excel at wilderness survival becoming Inquisitor Pioneers  At the bottom of the hierarchy in the Imperial Inquisition are Cadet Inquisitors, who are people undergoing the rigorous training regime to become fully fledged Inquisitors and the expansive group of clerks, the Inquisitorial Administrators, who administer the activities of the Inquisition for the Grand Inquisitor and Captain Inquisitors.

Public Agenda

Whilst the publicly voiced purpose of the Imperial Inquisition is to protect the entirety of the Empire of Turelion from the dangers posed by criminal organisations and those classified as ‘undesirables’, in reality everyone know that that Inquisition have only one primary purpose, to protect the Emperor and their family and ensure that they maintain their position and powers.   To this end, the Inquisition operate across the world of Kelbonnar, gathering information on individuals of interest and identifying and neutralising people that they identify as a threat to the person of the Emperor and the Imperial System. Given that the Imperial Line has become more and more paranoid about the threat of insurrection over the passing centuries, exacerbated by the rebellion the people of the Worfal Tundra and the establishment of Nova Norgantho, the definition of ‘threats’ that the Inquisition investigate has bloated substantially. This means that Imperial Agents can be tasked with a variety of missions and objectives, from tracking down people trying to stir up rebellion in the Imperial Provinces to apprehending tight-fisted merchants for tax evasion.   A large amount of the work that the Inquisition does revolves around the two largest threats to the Empire that have been identified: Nova Norgantho and the Kelrik Pirates. A large section of the Agents at the Inquisition’s disposal are concerned with trying to destabilise the Rebel Nation, through infiltrations and other forms of espionage, or to tracking down people believed to be linked to the piratical conglomerate that plagues the Province of Pelenar.   The Inquisition do not automatically take on all public order and espionage work, with the Grand Inquisitor and their advisors setting the case work for the Imperial Agents as they feel best fulfils their overall aims. This means that the vast majority of civil peacekeeping and law and order is left to the individual Provinces to manage, though the Satraps can request that the Inquisition take on cases, though a substantial case for support has to be submitted at the same time for there to be a chance that they might get the aid they seek.

Assets

Because of their importance to the Imperial regime, the Inquisition are afforded access to the best technology and the finest experts to help them conducting their investigations. This means that Imperial Agents of all levels have access to a large expense account; from which to issue bribes, buy information and other such needs; they have access to the finest horses, ships and Firewings, with each Provincial Headquarter having access to their own fleets; as well as access to the best weapons they could wish for, including Blackpowder Weaponry as well as weapons of the more traditional sort.   In terms of property, the Inquisition have a wide range of buildings in each province at their disposal. There is a Provincial Headquarters in each province, all of which are located within the respective Provincial Capitals, and there is a network of Inquisitorial safe-houses across the provinces, where Imperial Agents can rest, re-supply and receive reports from the field and from their Provincial Headquarters. Whilst the Provincial Headquarters are grand buildings, designed to obviously show that the Imperial Inquisition are an active and well supported institution, Inquisition safe-houses are all inconspicuous buildings, that often have a front business running out of them to maintain the illusion that they are normal places of work and residence. In general, only members of the Inquisition will know where a safe house is in a town or settlement, and no one member of the Inquisition knows all of their locations.   In addition, each Provincial Headquarter has access to a large base of resources to run their operations, maintain their headquarters and safe houses and perhaps most importantly, feed and pay their staff. Despite the underhand, dangerous and violent work that they undertake, the Imperial Inquisition pay those that they accept into their ranks incredibly well, making it a tempting possibility for many wishing to earn a good living. However, as many members of the Inquisition find out the hard way, the Grand Inquisitor and the Captain Inquisitors have no qualms about sending someone in to arrest, interrogate or assassinate people they know. Many find that they are picked specifically for such operations, in order for them to show their loyalty to their Emperor and paymaster over their friends and kin.

History

The Imperial Inquisition was born from the turbulent period between 174AIF and 176AIF, known in the Imperial Annals as the Triplet’s Interregnum. Despite his fastidiousness when it came to overseeing the Imperial accounts, as well as his miserliness when it came to releasing funds from the Imperial Treasury, when Emperor Borial I died in 174AIF, he left no indication as to who was to succeed him. This was not for lack of an heir, as Borial had three sons, triplets in fact, Tamen, Kelbon and Mallenar, and his negligence in planning for the succession resulted in the relationship between the three brothers rapidly deteriorating. Even though the birth records for the twins indicated that Tamen was the oldest, only by a matter of minutes, each of the brothers felt that they were best placed to rule and all three of them quickly began to build up their support bases amongst the court and Provincial nobility. Though attempts at diplomacy were made, the once loving brothers became so consumed by the desire to take the throne for themselves that they all readily accepted that they would have to step over their siblings’ bodies to do so.   War swiftly broke out and raged across Kelbonnar for three years until eventually, the youngest of the three brothers, Mallenar was the last one standing and ascended to the throne of his father. His success was largely put down to the fact that as luck would have it, he was the only one at his father’s bedside in the Imperial Capital Meltaro when he died, and that he was able to quickly take control of not only the capital and the Imperial Province, Turelion , but also of the vast Imperial Treasury, which had grown fat and bloated under his father’s watchful eye. Mallenar’s journey to the throne was not easy though, his brothers attempted to have him assassinated and the multiple attempts on his life, several of which were only a hair’s breadth from success, deeply scarred him.   When the Triplet’s Interregnum was finally brought to an end and Mallenar was crowned in 176AIF, his near misses in the war continued to haunt him, as did the knowledge that many of the people surrounding him in the court, or operating the Provinces for him, including several Satraps had sided with one of his brothers. To ease his own worries he established the Imperial Inquisition in 177AIF, with the aim of assessing where the true allegiances of his court and retainers lay, and to weed out those who were judged to be likely to foment discontent and rebellion against him in the name of one of his dead brothers.   Though all of the supporters of Tamen and Kelbon, whether identified or not are all long dead, the Imperial Inquisition has since its founding continued to operate in the shadows to hunt and destroy those who would threaten the Imperial establishment and the peace Turelion has brought to the world of Kelbonnar. Over their history the Imperial Agents have nipped countless uprisings in the bud, imprisoned millions thought to be a threat and murdered hundreds of thousands more deemed to be beyond redemption, all in the name of the Emperor. In recent years, they have taken on a key role in combatting the Rebel Nation, Nova Norgantho, as well as the menace of Pelenar Province, the Kelrik Pirates .

Ever Watchful

Founding Date
177AIF
Type
Government, Secret Service
Alternative Names
The Emperor’s Eyes, Mallenars, Turelion’s Spies
Demonym
Imperial Agents
Parent Organization
Location
Related Ranks & Titles
Controlled Territories
Specialist Units within the Inquisitions:   Inquisitor Assassins   Inquisitor Pioneers


Cover image: by Chris Pyrah

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