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The Holy Orders of the Emperor's Inquisition, or simply the Inquisition, are the secret police of the Imperium of man. They are charged with identifying and destroying any and all threats to the Imperium and responsible for safeguarding the souls of mankind from the temptations of Chaos and the corruption of alien influences. While the organisation is multifaceted and hierarchical in nature its core agents are known as Inquisitors.
The Inquisition is the only Imperial organisation acting autonomously to the Adeptus Terra, the governing body of the Imperium. The Inquisition is answerable only to the Emperor and only the Emperor is beyond their scrutiny. The organisation operates from Inquisitorial Fortresses scattered across numerous planets throughout the Imperium.
Their time spent in close proximity to the corrupting influence of Chaos, and other alien threats, means Inquisitors are often at risk of falling prey to the very temptations they seek to root out. The Inquisition is self-regulated and it is not uncommon for one Inquisitor to hunt down another who they believe has strayed too far from the correct path.
Inquisitors are usually associated with one of three major orders or Ordos, depending largely on their individual talents and current mandate. Every Inquisitor is trained to deal with all potential threats but it is the role of the Ordos to train agents adept at destroying specific types of abomination. In addition to the three major Ordos there are countless smaller ones. The major Ordos within the Inquisition and their mandates are:
- The Ordo Malleus - Specialise in dealing with threats from beyond. They focus on the destruction of daemons and investigating threats originating in the warp. This is one of the earliest Ordos within the inquisition.
- The Ordo Hereticus - Focus upon the threat within and seeks to root out the deprivations heresy, mutation, and errant psykers from humanity.
- The Ordo Xenos - Have been charged with the threat from without. They investigate and eliminate alien influences and plots against the Imperium.