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spacemonkeymojo
05-06-2015, 19:04
I was reading Eisenhorn and there is a point where he is going to put a mark of heresy on someone's forehead. I doubt they would put a chaos star on someone but I can't seem to find more info on this. Anyone know what this is referring to?

mightymconeshot
05-06-2015, 23:49
Probably something similar to the symbol used to brand convicted pirates. So a symbol that people would know means the person was a convicted heretic and to be wary for signs or heresy.

Born Again
06-06-2015, 13:42
Quick Google search turned up this (http://archive.4plebs.org/boards/tg/image/1366/03/1366036932622.png). I imagine there are all sorts of similar marks and seals used throughout the Imperium, similar things turn up on in-universe background pieces like Inquisitorial reports all the time.

Kravunhive
08-06-2015, 06:42
I've read the Eisenhorn trilogy but I don't remember this bit. However it strikes me as odd that the Inquisition would brand someone in such a way. Wouldn't they just execute them anyway, even if heresy was suspected? I'd have to read the passage again tbf.

Sandlemad
08-06-2015, 12:39
I've read the Eisenhorn trilogy but I don't remember this bit. However it strikes me as odd that the Inquisition would brand someone in such a way. Wouldn't they just execute them anyway, even if heresy was suspected? I'd have to read the passage again tbf.

In The Emperor's Gift there's a heretic who is branded with an aquila on the face and inducted into an inquisitor's service. I think he recanted at some point?
Presumably some captured heretics are kept alive at the inquisitor's sufferance for some purpose, maybe infiltration of cults as a double agent, maybe for occult knowledge, maybe as an expendable meat-shield. Inquisitor Krakensdottir got to the point where she had a physical relationship with the heretic in question. There's a lot of leeway, clearly.:p

TemperMaximus
12-06-2015, 20:54
I was reading Eisenhorn and there is a point where he is going to put a mark of heresy on someone's forehead.
Yes I believe it is generally referred to as a bullet entry wound.

Iron_Lord
17-06-2015, 11:48
I vaguely recall at least one pic in the 3e Big Black Book of a guy with the word "Heretic" written on his forehead. Could be something like that.

Aluinn
18-06-2015, 21:38
I believe -- well, know with some certainty, based on things like bound psykers from the old Ordo books, and several Sisters of Battle units -- that heretics are pretty frequently punished rather than killed, and that their punishment is seen as a sort of atonement (which is not to say it is ever regarded as "complete" or ever ends, until death of course).

And there is much suggestion that stuff like arco-flagellation is considered a rather extreme form of this, so branding may be used in the case of a repentant heretic, under the thinking (similar to the historical Papal Inquisition's, upon which much of this fluff is based) that even if they don't deserve to die, they should be: A) shunned, casually beaten, and constantly reminded of their crime as an ongoing penance, which marking/branding accomplishes (Medieval heretics were required by the Inquisition to always wear yellow crosses and were pretty much treated thusly -- it entailed becoming an ill-treated beggar in practice); B) constantly watched because recidivism was almost assumed; C) be able to be easily identified for future investigations of heresy, e.g. an accused heretic who was friends with one would be thought more likely to be guilty.

Mandatory pilgrimages and scheduled floggings in front of the local congregation usually accompanied this and it seems likely that such things would also happen in 40K.

So although at first glance it seems like "letting them off easy", it's really a sort of "social death" and a very extreme punishment. The historical Inquisition could be harsh and evil in subtler ways than burning people -- in fact, I'd say the most evil things they did were not executions by any means, and note that there were relatively few burnings, but an awful lot of ruining of lives and communities forever, regardless. No reason to believe 40K Inquisitors and Ministorum officials are any less inclined to that sort of thing, because they're still human and operating under a very similarly warped system of jurisprudence.

Of course there are Inquisitors like Karamazov who are known for burning first and asking questions ... well not so much asking questions at all, but we have every indication that this is considered unusual and extreme.

I would also think Chaos worshipers are dealt with far more harshly (and in that case, with some justification, because they can make portals that spew out daemons at some point), but, contrary to what we tend to see in stories (which use the most dramatic examples, because, well, drama), also think that most heresy in the Imperium is not in fact Chaos worship, nor even suspected to be Chaos worship.

And as a personal gripe, Chaos worship is more like witchcraft or paganism than heresy proper, though I know the distinction often isn't bothered with in-universe.