|Release date||16 August 2021 (Update)|
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|Examine||All that remains of one of the Senntisten Inquisition.|
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History[edit | edit source]
As an inquisitor, Aurelius's role was to identify heretics and blasphemers within the Zarosian Empire.
During one of the long absences that Zaros would take from his empire, the Inquisition came to know about a rumour of unknown origin that whispered: "Zaros has left us, Zaros has gone". The Mahjarrat Kolton and Aurelius were tasked with investigating the rumour, its origins and putting an end to it.
Aurelius describes the system that he and Kolton would use to identify lawbreakers in the public: Kolton would dress in good garb, infiltrate the target crowd and frolic. Aurelius would bring offerings of ancient elemental magic to the statues of the city, belonging to the Inquisition, and sneak into the Shadow Realm, unseen by regular citizens. While Kolton made friends, Aurelius would listen to the crowd for signs of disloyalty.
Although their initial investigation turned out to be futile, the seed of doubt was planted in Kolton and Aurelius. Even others within the Inquisition were affected by a feeling of uneasiness. Cassius, Aurelius's former colleague, had been detained by the Inquisition and now rambled about Zaros's absence. Aurelius tried to convince him of the virtue of Zaros's designs, but he was unmoved. Cassius spoke of "the Shadow", an entity that spoke through the statues of the city and who told him that their deity had left them. Regretfully, Aurelius executed Cassius.
Although he had dismissed his old friend's words as mad ramblings, he spent some time in the Shadow Realm to confirm that his judgment about Cassius was correct. When he reached the bridge east of the Grand Cathedral, he heard a whisper. It was the voice of his daughter, who had died from sickness a few years prior, but also of his wife, his mother and his grandmother, all of whom had passed on as well. The voice told Aurelius to be vigilant; that Zaros was gone, but that he had not abandoned them. That in his absence, forces were moving to seize power and take Zaros's place. The voice then hinted at the Praetorians as the potential culprits.
Determined to learn about the Praetorians' activities, Aurelius informed Kolton about the whispering and brought him to the bridge and into the Shadow Realm. The voice warned them that the Praetorians were trying to uncover something old and dangerous that would threaten even Zaros himself. The two inquisitors decided to follow the leader of the Praetorians, the Praefectus Praetorio Sliske, although Kolton asserted that Sliske had nothing to do with the heresy.
When Sliske reached the Grand Cathedral, he entered the Shadow Realm through one of the statues, to the inquisitors' panic. They hid, but when they emerged, Sliske was nowhere to be seen. Aurelius approached the statue that Sliske used and realised that there was a deeper layer to the Shadow Realm. With all their magic, the inquisitors journeyed deeper into the realm. The statues now felt alive, and spoke old mottos that Sliske and Kolton used to repeat before a battle. Understanding this as Sliske's unwritten confession, Kolton humoured him and continued the mottos. The inquisitors felt a sensation dragging them down, and found themselves in an unknown chamber, at the centre of which was a hole in the Universe.
A strange monolith hovered in the air and at its centre was a swirling vortex from where the whispering voice came. It revealed itself to be Vos. Vos promised Aurelius everything he wanted: evidence to convict Sliske, his family's return from the dead, and more; only if he touched the monolith. He turned away from the monolith and to Kolton, who was entranced by it. In an instant, Kolton lost his sanity and fell into a stupor on the floor, drooling like an animal.
Vos turned its attention to Aurelius and promised him everything. He needed to touch the monolith and widen the hole in the world just a bit more. As Vos's enthralling aura enveloped Aurelius, Zaros intervened. With controlled fury, Zaros shut the monolith tight and Vos's aura abandoned Aurelius. Aurelius realised that they had been trespassing on Zaros's secret grounds, a place belonging only to him.
In the following days, Zaros began to restrain the power of the Inquisition. They were prohibited the use of the statues and their duties diminished. The Praetorians' reach increased and Sliske's victory was confirmed. Aurelius was stripped of his title as Inquisitor and Kolton, permanently broken, became the next sacrifice in the Mahjarrat's Ritual of Rejuvenation.
Dialogue[edit | edit source]
Works[edit | edit source]
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References[edit | edit source]
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 1), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "My name is Aurelius, but that name will not survive the ages. I am - no, was - a member of the Inquisition, the great and holy secret police of the vast and powerful Zarosian Empire."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 1), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "It was our duty to walk the Empire in secret and to uncover and remove heretics and blasphemers, for our world was poisoned by them."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 2), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "The betrayal began with a whisper. Rumours are like viruses, passing their infection on to more and more people as they go. We did not know where the rumour began, but we knew what it was saying, it whispered 'Zaros has left us, Zaros has gone'. It is true that our deity had not been seen in some time, but to think we had been abandoned was such blasphemy, we could not permit that rumour to be spread further. Kolton and I were tasked with investigating the rumour, to seek out where it had originated and resolve the problem, preferably permanently."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 2), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "As was our system, Kolton donned his finery and waded into the crowd to carouse and converse, whereas I used the statues. The statues are our eyes across the city, they belong to the Inquisition, even the Praetorians do not know how to use them properly. In solace and silence I fed the statues the offerings of sacred shadows and I slipped into the sacred realm of Zaros. [...] We are unseen in this realm [...] We hear in hushed tones and whispers, but we can hear each word that is said."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 2), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "As Kolton placed bets and made friends, I listened to the crowd. [...] I heard tiny blasphemies throughout, enough to put their names in my book, but no greater heresy."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 3), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "For though my investigation had proved fruitless, though the rumours seemed to be the whispers of only a handful of nobodies, they had found their way into my thoughts and I could not shake them. The truth was I had not seen our god for quite some time. [...] We never said anything of it of course, but I know Kolton was afflicted as was I."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 4), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "We were not alone in our doubt. It was clear that a malaise had fallen across the Inquisition. Even the ever-implacable Kharshai seemed to have lost some of the sturdiness in his stance. The Inquisition Office was unusually quiet over the next few days."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 4), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "Once completed I found myself staring at the file of one of our latest detainees, my old partner Cassius. He was changed from the fiery soldier of the church that I once knew. He was broken, partially because of the torture we'd put him through, but mostly in spirit. [...] 'We are alone.' He kept whispering. 'He isn't there.' [...] I tried to change his heart by reasoning that the Empire was functioning to perfection, so Zaros's guiding hand must be present, but he was unmoved."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 4), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "In desperation, I asked him how he knew this. His answer chilled me. 'The Shadow tells me so.'"
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 5), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "I asked Cassius what this Shadow was and he looked at me with a half smile that sent shivers down my spine. 'Don't you hear it whispering?' he said. 'The statues must hear it. They must. Because it is through them that the Shadow speaks.'"
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 5), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "Nonsense rambling. Madness. A pity, he had been a good man and a good friend. I took no joy in his execution."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 5), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "I spent some time in the Shadow Realm, walking the paths the statues showed us. I strained my ears for signs of this whispering nonsense, this 'Shadow' that Cassius had raved about even in his death throes. But there was nothing. [...] More and more I became convinced that the rumours were the nonsense chatterings of a broken mind."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 5), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "But then I reached the bridge. [...] on that day, I heard her, and it's never seemed quite the same since. Her voice was barely more than a whisper, but it was there. She sounded like my daughter, who had died from sickness a few years prior. But strangely she also sounded like my wife, my mother and my grandmother, all of whom had passed on. They whispered in one shared voice and I could not help but listen."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 5), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "They told me to be vigilant. That Zaros was gone, but he had not abandoned us. But in his absence forces were moving to take his place. To seize power and to destroy us from within. They reminded me that we were not the only secret police and that a city doesn't need two secret organisations. I had to learn what the Praetorians were doing."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 6), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "I had informed Kolton of the whispering and brought him to the bridge to discover them himself. [...] then we both heard the voice. [...] The whispering voice warned us of absent gods and all to present betrayals. It described in vague prophecy the promises of the Praetorians' crimes. As we listened, it told us of dark and sinister experiments beneath the city. The Praetorians were trying to uncover something old, something buried and something dangerous. Something that would threaten even Zaros himself. The ultimate blasphemy."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 6), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "Kolton and I agreed they had to be stopped, but we needed proof. We had to find a way to observe them, and there was only one option."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 7), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "We followed Sliske for some time, though Kolton refused to believe that his friend could possibly have anything to do with the heresy the whispering promised us."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 7), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "We followed him across the city, through the market, past the Colosseum and the Wards, finally coming to stop inside the Grand Cathedral's grounds. [...] After a few minutes, he stood and walked over to one of the statues. With horror, I saw him take out the catalyst that would propel him into the same hidden realm as us. [...] In desperation, we ducked down behind the very pew Sliske had been praying in. [...] When we emerged, Sliske had vanished, but there was a strange heaviness in the air."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 7), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "I looked closely at the statue he had been using and I felt a strange chill, as if the Shadow Realm were thicker there. Had Sliske found a way to journey deeper into this transcendant plane?"
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 8), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "It took all the magic at our disposal to bring us deeper into the Shadow Realm, deeper than I had ever been."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 8), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "'It's an old motto,' he said. 'Sliske and I would psyche ourselves up for a battle by repeating those words as a mantra. It makes sense that he would use them as part of all this.' His expression was as unreadable as the stony features of any Mahjarrat, but I understood the sorrow it must be hiding. Sliske was his friend, and this phrase was like a signature on a confession, proving that Sliske was up to something - here, at this most sacred of places."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 8), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "As the mask's face fell away from the statue, we felt a sensation dragging us down. When it had finished, we found ourselves in a room we had never seen, staring into a hole in the Universe."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 9), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "The chamber was dominated by a single structure, a strange monolith hovering in the air. At the centre of the monolith there seemed to be a swirling vortex of some kind and from it came the whispering voice."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 9), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "'What are you?' I found myself whimpering, desperate to comprehend the incomprehensible. 'Vos,' it said, as though this were a sufficient answer."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 9), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "It promised me everything I wanted: the evidence needed to convict Sliske, the chance to get my family back, everything I'd ever dreamed... if I would only touch the monolith. It was intoxicating. But I am an Inquisitor, and we do not give in to simple temptation. I steeled myself and turned away, and my gaze fell upon Kolton. His eyes were wide in equal parts wonder and horror and I felt the monolith reaching out to him, using the Shadow Realm as arms. In a flash, I saw the last vestige of sanity torn from his mind and he fell into a stupor on the floor, drooling like an animal."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 9), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "As I felt the whispering voice reach out to me, promising me everything, I found myself less and less able to deny it. Its needs were so simple, all I had to do were to touch the monolith and to open that crack in the world just a fraction more. I just had to let more of it in. It was so reasonable. So simple. How could I deny it that when it promised me everything in return? Fortunately, Zaros intervened."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 9), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "The fury of a god is the stuff of legend. [...] Zaros's rage was so perfectly controlled - so locked away - that it became a heavy weight pushing me down. [...] With a snap, the monolith closed tight. It had barely opened - the difference between closed and open was imperceptible. But now that compulsive feeling was gone, and only the rage of a god bore down on me. I knew now that this was a sacred place. A place belonging only to Zaros. A place where he could enact his divine will without interference or distraction. In our blind curiosity, we had trespassed upon this ground."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 9), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "In the days to come, Zaros began to restrain the power and reach of the Inquisition. We were denied the use of the statues and we were far more restricted in our duties. The Praetorians picked up the slack and as we diminished, their flame grew brighter. Each time I saw Sliske, I saw that maddening grin - that jester's smile that belied a cold, cruel and calculating mind. He had destroyed us with a whisper, and I had been such a fool."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 9), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "Poor Kolton never regained control of his mind. It made him the perfect sacrifice for that cruel Mahjarrat ritual. [...] It will not surprise you to learn that I was stripped of my title as Inquisitor."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 1), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "I write these words not for posterity, nor fame, but simply because I have no one left to talk to. My life was one of secrecy and silence and so it is fitting that it should end in the same way. Still, I feel that urge to leave something behind, a small reminder to the world that I existed. So, I write these memoirs of the events that would lead to my end."
- ^ Inquisitor's Memoirs (page 9), written by Aurelius, RuneScape. "Now, I find myself now alone and mostly forgotten, as it should be. The only problem is I keep hearing the whispering voice calling to me. Even now as I write this I hear that beautiful song, urging me to find it again. This time, though, there is no god to stop me. Its asks so little and its song is so beautiful."