Inquisitor's Memoirs 4
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.
I had always found the notion of an office for the Inquisition to be counterintuitive. We are a secret police. We hide within the existing structures of society. We may be soldiers, diplomats, tailors or teachers, but we are Inquisitors also. We are the hidden heart of Zarosian society, yet here we have an office. A building in the middle of the market square, right opposite the Colosseum. We are so obviously placed that we cannot possibly be missed. But then perhaps that is the point. We do not want people to know who we are, but we want people to know that we exist. So, when we arrive at the headquarters we clothe ourselves in ceremonial garb, with the robes and masks to hide our identities, of course. But we make it very clear to the citizens of the Empire that we are here and always watching.
Today there were four suspected heretics that needed my attention. The first was a human called Tobed. He was a strange sort, quiet and gentle, but when he spoke he spoke only blasphemies. He whimpered that there were other gods out there whose designs were more benevolent, or more righteous. Another fool worshipping the pretender god Saradomin simply because his countenance is human. How vain a species we are.
The second was Worvim the vampyre. Worvim professed her innocence at each step of interrogation. She had been set up, she claimed, she was faithful, she screamed. We dug as deep as we could, but we uncovered no lies or heresy. Perhaps she was innocent. Only Zaros can judge her now.
Zadok was a strange creature who spoke only in gestures and pointless little dances. I could not decipher any true blasphemy from their actions and being irritating is hardly a crime. I let them go.
Yokai the necromancer was the final heretic on my list. She was a strange woman, human as far as I could tell, but with a darkness to her. She answered all of my questions with an honesty that was almost charming. She had been digging in the city graveyard again. When I asked her why, she claimed she was seeking out the monstrous creature that was sealed away there. She spoke of the dread corruption that plagued our city so long ago. A monstrous fungus that threatened to consume and infect the city, before it was fought back and sealed away beneath our dead. Nonsense of course.
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. Before me was a portrait of shattered faith. It takes something from a person: all vigour, all light, as if it tears part of their soul from them in the process.
'We are alone.' He kept whispering. 'He isn't there.'
I tried to change his mind with words from scripture, but they fell on deaf ears. 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. His broken spirit could not be beaten back into shape. In desperation, I asked him how he knew this. His answer chilled me.
'The Shadow tells me so.'