The Structure of the Divine Inquisition

By Neel Krishnaswami (


Here's a little thing I wrote up. It started out in third person, but Ariel reached up from the back of my brain and killed the third person with a flaming sword, which is good, because now my players can regard it as Dominican propaganda rather than GM-revealed Truth. Enjoy!

The Structure of the Divine Inquisition,
as related by Ariel, Malak of Judgement

[NOTE: The following is a translation into English of a report found in the files of the libraries of Destiny. The angel reports that he tried and was unable to render the human's speech into angelic, and that he therefore left the human's words out of the transcript. Why one of Dominic's Malakim explained the structure of the Inquisition to a human is unknown; Ariel apparently died in celestial combat some years ago, and Dominic himself refuses to comment.]

Pay heed, mortal, for the design of the Divine Inquisition is wisdom that few even among the angels of the Host ken. By my vow of service to the archangel Dominic, I testify that whereof I speak is true to the fullest test of my wisom.

The archangel Dominic is the angel of Judgement. It his duty, his nature and his pleasure to try and come to correct decision in the face of inadequate knowledge, intellect, and faith, and to teach the others among both the Host and mankind the means he discovers. Indeed, he and his angels have spent many a century protecting the lawgivers of your race and instructing them how best to discover the will of the Lord.

You are now wondering why this archangel, whose nature would seem better suited to the role of teacher and scholar than than that of lawyer, is head of the Divine Inquisition that guards the Host from heresy. The reason is less complex than you imagine: since his duty is to come to decision, it follows plainly that having reached a decision he must strive to act upon it, for decision not followed by action is not decision at all, but rather sloth covered with a veil of words.

Further, since no judgement but the judgement of the Lord is perfect in its wisdom, the archangel Dominic must take precautions against both erroneously convicting the innocent and foolishly permitting the wicked to escape censure. In addition to prayer to the Lord God, the basic means is to require that more than one mind come to the same conclusion.

This is why three angels of Judgement together must meet to pass even the mildest reproof that carries the full authority of the Inquisition. In Heaven, nearly all judgements require a much larger trial, with multiple angels from each choir listening to the testimony and sifting for the truth. There is a complex set of appeals and procedures, all designed to ensure that the truth will out and that judgement is neither too harsh nor too lenient.

Best of all, if ever our judgements fall deeply into error, the Lord God Himself will correct us. It is a source of joy among we servants of Dominic that we have served the Lord God well enough that He has not had cause to nullify one of our rulings in over a thousand years!

On Earth, alas, we must tread stealthily, lest we disturb the lives of man and alert the forces of Hell to our presence. Thus we come quietly, in groups of three to protect you from the caprice of angels who forget that their station is to serve. Yes, indeed -- we must judge angels, for the Lord is merciful and will not cast an angel into the outer dark unless there is no way for us to bring him back to the light of the Faith.

Always we try to keep to three angels, to remind us of the Holy Trinity -- the Ultimate Power that our judgements must serve. The three angels in a triad will of course vary according to the mission they must perform. I shall first say what is true of every triad of Judgement, and then describe the three most common types of triads, so that you will know how best to aid them in their holy work.

All triads are always headed by one of the Most Holy, the Seraphim. It is the duty of the Seraph to ensure that the triad always considers only the truth, to prevent us from coming to the erroneous conclusions that false premises inevitably lead to. Further, the Seraph must report to Dominic that the Triad obeyed all his laws as fully and wholly as they were able.

The first type of triad is the Triad of Investigation. It is the function of the Triad of Investigation to discover crimes, pursue suspects, and to name witnesses. In addition to the governing Seraph, a Triad of Investigation will normally contain an angel of motion, one of the Ofanim, to better pursue the suspects and one of the Dominations, a Kyriotate, in order to consider the several possibilities inherent in an investigation and to most easily examine the many relevant crime scenes.

Once the witnesses and suspects are named, a Triad of Enquiry is formed, which consists of a Seraph, one of the Elohim, and a Mercurian. There are few that can dissemble before the penetrating questions of a full Triad of Enquiry, and the angels of Judgement soon discover every piece of information the witness knows -- and many he does not! From this, the Triad of Enquiry will determine exactly what happened, and why.

Then the final Triad is called, the Triad of Judgement. The Triad of Judgement is always composed of one of the Most Holy, a Cherub, and a Virtue like myself. It is the duty of the Seraph to name the punishment that the laws of Heaven demand, and it is to the Malak that the final appeal for clemency is made. If the Malak feels that the judgement does not meet the standards of honor that Heaven demands, then a new triad is convened and a new sentence passed. Otherwise, it falls to the Cherub to execute the sentence, since no one can match one of the angels of divine love in the mercy and precision with which they do their duty.

After each stage, the Seraph in the triad must report to Dominic that the laws of Heaven were fully obeyed, with the best effort the triad could make. Since a Seraph can neither lie nor be lied to, this is a final check to ensure that justice is done.

This full procedure is unfortunately only rarely followed, for two reasons. There are few with hearts brave enough -- even among the innocent -- to remain where nine angels of Judgement gather. This saddens me, but less so than the thought that we might be disregarded enough to be ignored. Second, given how few we angels of judgement are, it often happens that we have lack the angels to spare to follow the whole procedure. In these cases, we do the best we are able, and we can expect a very thorough questioning from Dominic about our investigation and judgement.

[The next few pages are an abstruse exposition of the theory of divine law. They have been removed since the final paragraph summarizes the important points.]

Yes, these laws are complex, but from the perspective of the outsider, there are three salient principles. One, anyone has the right to appeal to a Triad for judgement -- even demons and dreamspawn. The judgement will be as just as we can make it, but once the appeal has been made our judgement is binding. Two, the accused always has the right to testify. This is to ensure that no one is wrongly convicted through a careful presentation of selected facts. Of course, given the exigencies of the War the testimony may be delayed, but judgement may not be rendered until the accused has made his defense. Three, anyone called upon to testify must do so -- we respect no confidences, no privilege of silence. All things are seen by the eye of God, and we will not let silence force us to condone the suffering of the innocent, either of the falsely accused or the unavenged victim.

Neel Krishnaswami


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