Inquisition Politics


Honored Legate Investigator,

As requested by your superior, I have endeavored to compile a succinct and straightforward brief on a subject which is anything but brief and straightforward. The history and politics of the Most Holy Inquisition is a convoluted, complex, and seemingly ever-shifting topic, where one day’s common understanding may, at the stroke of a pen, become tomorrow’s heresy. Many of the factors that underpin the various beliefs of Inquisitorial factions are inaccessible even to me, and are very much outside the purview of one of your current rank, exalted though it might be. It is my hope that you will take this document for more than it actually is – a very incomplete and truncated overview of the internal machinations of the Inquisition – and instead use the budding genius that has brought you to the attention of your honored superior to fill in some of the areas that must, perforce, be kept in confidence at this time.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to call upon me for further explanation.

Comptroller Ixiad Lore
Librarian Tertius
Outer Stacks, Calixis Conclave Library

PART I – The Broad Brush
Speaking in the broadest possible terms, it is generally accepted that there are two major schools of thought within the Inquisition as to how inquisitors are to act, and how the Holy Inquisition is to operate, both on the level of the cabal, the loftier conclave, and even on the sector level. Activities within the Holy Inquisition may be seen as a constant dance between these two schools of thought for dominance – a dance which has continued unabated for tens of thousands of years.

The first of these schools of thought is most generally referred to as the Puritans. Puritans believe in the Imperial Truth as it is portrayed and handed down to all citizens of the Imperium. The Emperor is God. The ruinous powers are unalterably evil. Mutants, heretics, and witches are never to be tolerated. The Xenos is foul and corrupting. In addition, Puritans believe in and support maintaining the status quo of the Imperium, since it is the instrument of the Emperor’s will. Those who hold power do so because the Emperor desires it. Things work the way they do because the Emperor’s hand guides them.

It may seem that such a view cannot but be the correct one, and that those who hold to Puritan beliefs would form a large and unified bloc of unshakable loyalty within the Inquisition, but this is not, in fact, the case. Even within the Puritans there are differing views regarding the nature and duty of the Holy Inquisition. I shall explore this in more detail shortly.

In contrast to the Puritans are the Radicals. The Radical movement has considerable breadth and complexity, but can be summed up with a single encompassing statement – Radicals reject some portion of the Imperial Truth. This can take a near-infinite number of forms, from those who strive to make subtle “improvements” on the functioning of the Imperium to those who actively seek to tear down what has been built and place something new in its place.

It is a commonly held belief within the Holy Inquisition that the vast majority of puritans are young inquisitors, and that radicalism seeps in as an inquisitor grows older. Needless to say this is only partially true, as inquisitors will tend to recruit and train their acolytes in their own point of view.

It is not unknown for Inquisitors to come into direct conflict over their differences in belief. Rarely Inquisitors have instigated hidden, internecine wars to purge the ranks of their enemies and settle old disputes. By common agreement these disputes are rigorously hidden from the rest of the Imperium to maintain the façade of inscrutability and mystery so vital to the workings of the Holy Inquisition.

At the time of this writing, the Holy Inquisition of the Calixis Sector is dominated by the Puritans, who hold an absolute majority in the Conclave by a narrow margin. This is the most common state of sector operations for the Holy Inquisition, and means that most decisions at the sector level are made based on primarily puritan principles. This does not mean that radical factions have no power, only that they exercise it at a lower level than that of the puritans – even a single Inquisitor can shape the fate of a planet.

There are two major factions within the larger Puritan camp, and it is largely the struggle between them that determines policy within the Calixis Conclave. They are the amaltheans and the monodominants.

The Amaltheans are the single largest faction of the Holy Inquisition, and hence the one most often portrayed in plays, holodramas, and those unconscionably dreadful printed fictions so popular with the masses. Named after the Conclave of Amalth, at which the faction was formed, the amaltheans are sworn to protect and uphold the various institutions of the Imperium. They believe that the Imperium in its current form is the work of the Emperor’s own hand and divinely given to humanity, and that the greatest achievement is to maintain it as it is. Change, innovation, and improvement are all anathema to the amalthean, and are fit only to be rooted out and exterminated.

The Monodominants believe as the Amaltheans do, but additionally believe that all which is not the Imperium must be destroyed in order for the Emperor’s will to be fulfilled. All which is not of the Imperium must be wiped away, whether it is as large as a xenos civilization, or as small as a peasant village using an incorrect catechism. For the monodominant there are many blasphemies, many heresies, and many sins, but only one sentence – death.

In addition the two major schools of thought within Puritanism there are several minor splinter groups. While these might properly be termed radicals, as they do not adhere strictly to the orthodoxy of the amaltheans or the militancy of the monodominants, I include them here because their views are closer to those of the puritan view – members of these factions often claim to be more pure than the puritans themselves.

The Libricar – a small and relatively powerless, if notorious, faction of the Holy Inquisition, the Libricars are similar to other Puritan factions in that they believe the Imperium to be divinely ordained by the Emperor Himself. Unlike the Amaltheans, however, the Libricar believe that the Emperor’s divine plan has been marred by corruption, incompetence, recidivism, deviancy, and revolutionary thinking. Most notable among the Libricar beliefs however is their focus that it is the corridors of power within the Imperium that are most in need of cleansing – including the Holy Inquisition itself.

The Thorians – an old and venerable faction which rose from the ashes of the Age of Apostacy, the Thorians believe that the will of the Emperor periodically manifests in the hearts of true servants of the Imperium in times of great need, and that these avatars then vanquish the foes of man. The goal of the Thorians is to seek out those individuals who are being “moved” by the Emperor’s own will in order to aid and understand them.

The Seculos Attendous – a faction often seen as teetering on the brink of true radicalism, the Seculos Attendous is generally supportive of the Amalthean idea of stability with one exception – they believe the Adeptus Ministorum has come to exercise inappropriate influence on the governing of the Imperium. They seek to eliminate or limit the Ecclesiarchy’s power in the Administratum, the Munitorum, the Mechanicus, and even the Inquisition.

Unlike the Puritans, there is no single thread that unifies radical factions within the Holy Inquisition – radicals are defined primarily by what they are not. Any philosophy which strays from the beliefs of the puritans is considered to be radical to a greater or lesser extent

In this section I will deal with radical factions within the Holy Inquisition which are considered to be heterodox, but not per se heretical. These factions are treated with suspicion by the more dominant puritans but are allowed to operate more or less openly within the Calixis Conclave, either because their views are sufficiently close to orthodoxy to be considered merely misguided, or because insufficient political will has been mustered to actively persecute them.

The Recongregators – by far the largest single radical faction to operate openly within the Holy Inquisition, the Recongregators stray from orthodoxy in that they believe that the Emperor’s divine plan for humanity has, in some way, been subverted by the rulers of the Imperium. Recongregators argue that the current Imperium is stagnant and decaying, robbed of its ability to survive by calcification from within. They believe that change is needed to sweep away the old structures of power within the Imperium so that new, stronger, more vibrant and energetic ones can rise in their place.

The Istvaanians – a powerful, but secretive movement within the Inquisition, the Istvaanians seldom operate openly or allow their true motives to be known. Rare is the Inquisitor who openly announces allegiance to the Istvaanians. Nevertheless, it is generally acknowledged that the Istvaanians are the second-largest faction among the radicals. Istvaanians believe that only through conflict, strife, and struggle can the Imperium remain strong. It is in times of disaster that humanity achieves its true potential: unbending, decisive, and valiant. While the weak are burned away in the flames of history. Istvaanians seek to foster conflict as a means to keep the Imperium unified and powerful.

The Occularians – a minor faction in the Calixis sector (though more powerful elsewhere) the Occularians are concerned not with a particular creed or philosophy, but rather with a self-appointed task – divination of the future. Occularians concern themselves primarily with the long view of predicting upcoming dangers to tie Imperium and of guiding the Imperium towards stability and strength. Many Occularians are psykers, and the vast majority are more often scholars than warriors. On the whole their goals seem to be similar to the amaltheans, and they could easily be considered a puritan faction were it not for the fact that their eclectic and sometimes unorthodox methods have drawn attention from the monodominants and the Ecclesiarcy, making it necessary for the amaltheans to distance themselves.

It is with considerable sadness and regret that I must now turn my attention to that most shameful of subjects – heresy within the ranks of the Holy Inquisition. Throughout the ages there have periodically arisen Inquisitors who have fallen from the Emperor’s light, and have embraced ideas and ideals which are anathema. Such individuals are surely damned for their transgressions, and rightly so, for despite their claims they act against the very will of the Emperor, and do great evil in his name.

Such individuals do not operate openly, of course, save when forced into the light of the Emperor’s judgement by the efforts of diligent and brave souls such as yourself, your fellow acolytes, and your master. These heretics often begin their careers as Radicals, or even Puritans, but at some point their views are twisted by evil and they lose sight of, or shut their eyes to, the Emperor’s light.

As distasteful as it must be for you to read such, I here offer the briefest accounts of factions deemed heretical, but which are known to have existed, or believed to currently exist, within the Calixis Conclave.

Xanthites – there are some who believe that the warp and its denizens are things to be enslaved in the service of the Imperium rather than denied. These fools believe that the Ruinous Powers can be fought, tamed, and harnessed in the service of the Emperor! Such blasphemy! Horrible. Simply horrible.

Oblationists – an offshoot of the Xanthites, the Oblationsts at least understand that the power of the Warp is corrupting without exception. However, in their arrogance they believe that even if they damn themselves by accepting the power offered by the warp, this is a fair sacrifice because they can turn that power to the good of the Imperium, saving many souls in exchange for their own. Hubris!

Xenos Hybris – found mainly within the Ordo Xenos, followers of Xenos Hybris believe that humanity can benefit from extensive study of the Xenos races, that mankind can learn from both the mistakes of Xenos races and their achievements, and that humanity would do well to ally itself with Xenos races in order to survive.

Polypsykana – this faction believes that it is humanity’s ultimate destiny to evolve into a race of psychics, and that this horrid transformation should be facilitated and guided. They frequently work against those of the Ordo Hereticus who pursue rogue psykers.

To relate more on this matter of heresy within our beloved Holy Inquisition is more than I can bear. I caution you to beware such dangerous heresies. They exist! As you walk the path of the Emperor’s duty you must be ever vigilant, not only for the foes of the Emperor who stand before you, but for those who may be lurking in shadows as they claim to guard your back.

The focus and objectives of the Holy Inquisition in the Calixis Sector are determined at many levels, and the factions mentioned previously are always active to a greater or lesser degree in influencing all of them.

At the lofty height of power is the Segmentum Obscura Conclave. Located in Tessera Sector at the Inquisition stronghold of Nemesis Tessera, it is here that the Lord High Inquisitor for the Segmentum oversees the working of the organization within the Segmentum Obscura, issues orders, disperses resources, and presides over the High Council made up of the Lords Inquisitors of the various sectors of the Segmentum Obscura. While the politics of the Segmentum Conclave is beyond the purvue of this brief summary, the Segmentum Conclave is strongly Amalthean in its rulings, with most Monodomianant efforts focused on activities in and around the Occularis Terribus.

Within the Calixis Sector, matters are overseen by the Sector Conclave, headed by the Lord Inquisitor advised by the three Ordo Masters who in turn act as conduits for the concerns and issues of the three major Ordos. At the moment the Calixis Conclave is blessedly devoid of major in-fighting, thanks to the Lord Inquisitor’s strict policy of neutrality. Of the three Ordo Masters, two are Amalthean, and one is Monodominant. While it is impossible to gain a completely accurate understanding of the break-down of the Conclave as a whole, the following is a reasonably close approximation:

 PURITAN: 71%
 Amalthean: 43%
 Monodominant: 20%
 Other: 9%
 RADICAL: 26%
 Recongregator: 19%
 Istvaanian: 6%
 Occularian: 1%

There is considerable politicking between Inquisitors so inclined within the Conclave. Powerful individuals are able to trade powerful favors, and those who have a broad reach may often find items or information that may be of no use or interest to them, but are potentially extremely valuable as commodities to trade to others in exchange for favors. Coalitions and informal associations form and dissolve constantly as a result of favors owed or agreements made. An example may be illustrative

At the beginning of the War of Brass there was considerable competition among many Inquisitors for who would be appointed to head the punitive expedition to the Bloodfall system. At stake was the prestige and power of commanding an Inquisitorial fleet. Each of the Ordos put forth a candidate, and considerable debate and maneuvering went on between supporters of each. The Ordo Hereticus candidate seemed favored to win, having called in favors from many among the Inquisitors of all three Ordos. The Ordo Malleus candidate was able to slow the process to buy time, however, claiming legal and traditional jurisdiction over matters of chaos incursion. But ultimately it was the Ordo Xenos candidate who commanded the fleet, despite there being no known Xenos connection to the uprisings on Bloodfall, after presenting the Lord Inquisitor with a very large shipment of Xenos artifacts to take to the Segmentum Conclave, and simultaneously revealing the existence of a network of spies and informers in the Lord Inquisitor’s staff.

Perhaps the single most important factor to understand about politics within the Inquisition is that almost all of it is based around furthering the goals of individual Inquisitors, or at most a small cabal of Inquisitors, rather than the Inquisition as a whole. While there are some Inquisitors sufficiently secretive or intolerant that they refuse to cooperate with others, even hardliner Monodominants may be convinced to assist a Recongregator if a sufficiently large or desirable offering is made, or if the project furthers the Monodominant’s own goals.

Additionally, the vast majority of political maneuvering within the Inquisition is done informally in the field or through correspondence. Only for the most serious of concerns, matters threatening the sector as a whole or the conclave as a whole, will formal sessions of the conclave be called, and even then a good many inquisitors may fail to appear at the appointed time, either because they do not receive notice or because they simply choose to ignore it.

As you begin your sojourn deeper into the intricacies of the Holy Inquisition, you must consider each step that you take with care. A single misstep can lead to disaster. Should you choose to ally yourself with others, understand that their friends will likely become your friends, and their enemies yours as well. Such entanglements are difficult to avoid, and may have consequences lasting decades or centuries. Make no decision rashly or in haste, for the connections you do make will tint the remainder of your service to the Holy Inquisition and may lead to unexpected pitfalls if not considered with discretion, deliberation, and cogitation.

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