The Journeys of Marcus, Inquisitor of the Flame
Although I intend this writing to be in dedication of the Flame and to document the services provided to Arkacia in its name, I thought it would be prudent that I first tell the reader a little bit about myself.
I am Inquisitor Marcus now, but I wasn't always known by that name. I was born to a man named Tybalt and his wife thirty-three years ago in a small town named Northgor, ironically situated in the far west of Arkacia. Few who live remember it now. Perhaps that is for the best. Far from the love of the Sacred Fire, the worship of the False spread through the villagers and turned their hearts to lead. Reports began to arrive in the Citadel. Travelers disappearing in Northgor. Bodies found mangled, abandoned in ditches. Villagers consorting with foul beings. Strange men spreading plague, famine and misery to all they touch. The townsmen barred their doors against the Inquisitors. All put to the torch. Only I was left unscathed by the Flame.
When I was found in the ashes, I was brought forth to Calindua, before Grandmaster Caratas. The inner court read the stars and found that I harbored the soul of the lost Knight Marcus, finally returned to the Order. I was brought into the fold as an initiate and relearned their ways. The training seemed hard at first; my young body, unused to the weight of a blade, and my mind, unfamiliar with the ancient texts. Yet, somehow, none of it seemed new to me, simply distant and forgotten, and so I learned at a prodigious speed. At night, I was greeted by visions of past lives. What can this be other than proof that the souls of the faithful do not die?
I graduated ahead of schedule and was quickly inducted into the Inquisitors, the same men who had rescued my soul from the False Men in Northgor. What follows is an account of my investigations as Inquisitor and all of my work on behalf of the Flame, as well as the sorts of peoples and creatures I encounter on my travels.
Entry 1: Renegades
As reports began to roll into Calindua of a band of wayward Knights, I was ordered to travel south to investigate the rumours. I rode swiftly and soon found myself in the peaceful village of Mathos, where I was invited to drink with them and listen to their account. I could hardly believe what they told me; Sworn knights of the Order, killing and plundering the region like common brigands? Yet the rumours appear true. After some searching, I found a camp on the outskirts of the town. The fire was long since dead, but the smell of charred flesh lingered in the air. A burnt sacrifice? Servants of Anor these men were, that is now beyond any doubt. I must travel North to Calindua and report on my findings. May the Flame guide us.
Entry 2: Hostility in the North
The North claims no knowledge of our order. They prepare no hospitality for our Knights. Now they assault the Keeper in the streets. Perhaps the warmth of the Flame has perished in the frozen hearts of the North. The fugitive, Kolbert, has fled the city of Winterheim to escape our judgement. I leave this situation in the hands of Caratas hoping he will be able to negotiate an effective peace with the North and renewal of hospitality for our missionaries.
Entry 3: Reconstruction
The reports of renegade knights have led to a complete restructure of the Order. Caratas dictated to me a code which every knight must follow, with grave consequences should they disobey. A copy was dispatched to every Knight. I was appointed as the new High Inquisitor, a role that was left previously unfilled in past years. In my new role I preside over all investigations and prisoners, second only to Caratas himself in decisions regarding them. Promising changes to be sure, yet I worry for the future and the Flame offers me no comfort.
Entry 4: Heresy
Gustavus, once one of our greatest Templars, has denounced the Flame. Claiming Anor as no more than a trick of magic, an illusion, he seeks to claim divinity for himself. He has fled the citadel, leaving only scattered papers and a journal behind. It is evident that the False works tirelessly to corrupt even our most faithful brothers. We must all be vigilant for dark days are fast approaching.
Entry 5: Deserter
We should've seen this coming sooner: Terisha leaving. She was close with Gustavus and of course his betrayal would have such an impact on her. Yet we were blinded by our duties. She left in the middle of the night without so much as a whisper, only a note, a promise to use her newfound skill with the blade for good. An empty promise I fear. She left with her training still unfinished and far too much pride, a danger more to herself than to any foe of Anor. I pray that Anor light her travels. She knows not what she has done.
Entry 6: Vanished
The Keeper is either dead or lost, yet the Flame does not speak to us. The Order cannot go on without a leader, yet the Sacred Flame refuses to choose a new Keeper. We can only pray for his eventual return. Safe travels, Caratas, may you return soon.
Entry 7: Flight
Investigations into the heretic, Gustavus, have revealed that he had begun to experiment with unholy magic in our morgues and crypts before fleeing south. I fear that there are more of his kind dwelling within the citadel. How else could he have gained access to our hallowed dead? How else could he have hidden his twisted aberrations? They already know I suspect them. Shadowy figures lingering on the edge of my vision, unfriendly eyes that linger a little too long, hushed voices and drawn cloaks. It won't be long before I am rewarded with a dagger in the ribs for all my trouble. I will set out for the monastery at Easthearth before first light. From there I will watch and wait.