“In time, duty makes sinners of us all.”
~Inquisitor Guinevere Strudd, last recorded words
In over forty thousand years of Human civilisation, there has never been an organisation like the Inquisition – even the ancient Terran legends from which it draws its name pale in comparison to the grim reality. Born in the darkest days of the Imperium, by command of the God-Emperor himself and the hand of the Sigilite, His closest ally, the very name of the Inquisition inspires dread reverence amongst trillions of souls. It is a testament to the task with which they have been charged that they are endowed with a nigh-limitless authority, second only to the God-Emperor and those who rule in His stead. For the Inquisition keeps drawn the tenuous line between Humanity and annihilation – whether from those within the species who undermine the Imperium’s absolute order, from the innumerate alien threats that prey upon Humanity, or from the nightmares that lurk in the realm beyond reality.
With license to seize, excruciate and dispose of any Imperial citizen, and even condemn entire planetary populations to death with a single terrible proclamation, and with precious few to whom they can be held accountable for their actions, even a single Inquisitor is a fearsome operative. But while Inquisitors and their Agents exist outside of the normal Imperial hierarchy, beholden only to their peers and superiors, they are nevertheless bound by the practical restrictions of their office. While an Inquisitor can capture and execute whomever they wish if they have even the slightest inkling of heresy, such a fouled reputation will soon earn them many enemies and precious few allies. And though an Inquisitor may raise mighty armies in the Emperor’s name, such a cumbersome and bombastic retinue will drive many of their foes back into the shadows… for a time. Thus, to serve the Inquisition is to balance near-total power with the limitations of one’s situation: to cultivate allies whilst pursuing heretics, to understand the machinations of surrounding peers and potentates that one might play (or, at least, survive) the long political game, and to gather as much knowledge as is possible, or seemly, so that when one strikes it is with devastating precision.