Inquisitor's Memoirs 1
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.
It begins, as all great stories do, with betrayal. We are all capable of it, from the holiest saint to the greatest sinner, we all have knives at each other's backs. So it was with the Inquisition and the Praetorians, so it will be again. 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. 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. Heresy is a disease that spreads from soul to soul, infecting them, turning good people into sinners - and worse. Like all the worst infections, sometimes the only solution is to excise the diseased flesh, amputating the corruption to save the whole. We did good work.
But we were not the only secret eyes within the city. We were focused on protecting the faith, while the Praetorians' interests lay elsewhere. Where we sought out false prophets and vile heretics, they sought out dissenters and separatists. As you might appreciate, in an Empire governed and overseen by our irrefutably real and physically present god, the two responsibilities would often overlap. The problem with being secret police is that we do not know about one another - at least until it is too late. At that point, it can lead to great tragedy indeed.
Such a tragedy befell the Mahjarrat Kolton, when he was betrayed by one he called friend.
Kolton was a Tribunus, yes - a soldier in the grand Zarosian Army. But he was also one of us. He was a member of the Inquisition, faithful and devoted to the one true god, Zaros. He fought the war on the battlefield against the heathens and he fought the true war - the deeper war - here in this very city. The war for the souls of Senntisten. A secret war, but a just one. As a Mahjarrat, he had all the privileges that came to his people, but he never lost faith or allowed himself to fall into the decadence of the elite classes. Indeed, his greatest flaw was that he trusted too much and too deeply, in all the wrong people.
The Prefectus Praetorio is a creature of many faces and he shows different ones to different people. Many look the same, but the intention and the loyalties behind those masks are as fluid as the rivers along the aqueduct and infinitely more treacherous. To Kolton, he wore the mask of friendship, of brotherhood. But all of Sliske's faces are masks.