“Magic is a sickness that brings death, destruction, and sorrow. For too long have we treated the symptoms. The time has come to burn out the fever.” -Saint Rhialla
In 120 AW a young mage named Rhialla was born in the highlands of Doloth. She studied under an old wizard who had taken up residence near her village and showed an aptitude for the old forms that had once been taught in the Wizards’ Colleges and had been passed down in scrolls and from teacher to student. When she came of age she left her village to make her fortune as a hedge wizard, but what she saw in the world beyond horrified her. Mages clashed over petty fiefdoms, and the people suffered at their hands. She came to believe that magic was a curse on the land, not a blessing, and that she had a duty to use her magic powers to attempt to purge magic from the land entirely.
The Inquisition began as a relatively informal organization. Rhialla gathered to her a group of like-minded wizards and warriors, and through a network of sympathetic informants they tracked down and detained or destroyed magic-users who had grown too powerful and were harming the people around them. Soon, new branches were popping up everywhere Rhialla went, with retired soldiers and adventurers flocking to build their own chapter-houses and common people lending whatever money and support they could spare. In the course of half a decade, Rhialla went from an uncertain young wizardess to the head of an organization that spanned the nations of humanity.
As the Inquisition grew, Rhialla had more time to focus on her research. Working together with dwarven inventors she created collars that could drain mages of their power, rendering them harmless. She delved into the theory of magic, looking to find a way to forever cut it off at the source or at least keep human beings from being born with the gift. The Orcish invasion pulled her away from her studies, however. She saw the devastation that it was causing, and established a peace envoy to negotiate with the leader of the horde, Mazon Skycaller. The envoy was slaughtered to a man, and while Rhialla was elevated to sainthood, a protracted battle for leadership led to the elevatior of Barnabus Cuthbert III, leader of the Old Doloth Chapter House, as High Inquisitor.
“Bloody Barnabus”, as he quickly came to be called, was far more brutal in his methods than Rhialla. He thought the orcs to be none of the Inquisition’s concern (and some say harbored resentment toward Garrick and was happy to see it burn). Rather, he turned their attention to the hunting and killing of magic-users. He considered live capture a waste of time, and issued decrees sentencing any caught practicing magic to death, with a generous reward for the head of a proven magic-user. This provoked a wave of vigilante justice as neighbors settled grudges under the guise of witch hunts. Barnabus, meanwhile, turned his attention to the gnomish people, who had a natural gift for magic. He led raids on gnomish villages, wantonly slaughtering civilians and driving the survivors into hiding. He was forced into an early retirement when Aust Amastacia came to power.
Amastacia set about attempting to rehabilitate the Inquisition’s image. He rescinded the kill-on-sight orders issued by Barnabus, and issued a personal apology to the surviving gnomes for the actions of the Inquisition. In partnership with the Dwarven Union he built The Ark, a massive prison ship intended to humanely house the magic-users captured by the Inquisition until they could be cured. While the Inquisition has come a long way towards being seen as a friend of the people, it is hard for many to forget the blood that once stained their white robes.