Pontifex Conrad’s attempt to create a theocratic empire was not the only one. Almost a hundred years before the reign of Augustus Soldafon, a six-year-old boy appeared on the throne of the emperor. His regent was the pontifex Inus, a mad fanatic who was feared even by other clergymen of Emrys.
The era of his reign is called the synod of bonfires. Priests in the Church of the One God fought for power, accusing each other of heresy, and Inus willingly burned anyone for the slightest suspicion, more and more plunging into madness. In the end, he completely lost his mind and denounced himself for witchcraft, and sentenced himself to be burned.
But shortly before this insane act, he founded the order of witch hunters, whose duty was to search for and destroy any heretics and sorcerers in the lands of the empire. The order was assembled from fighters, monks and magicians, approved by the church clergy.
The new head of the church, who replaced Inus, declared most of the actions of the insane pontifex illegal. The newly formed order also fell into disgrace. Several squads of highly trained witch and monster hunters fled the empire to avoid judgment. Once in the territories of the free baronies, they did what they knew how – hunting monsters for a reward. Although they were still called “witch hunters”, they did not persecute real witches, nor did they persecute heretics. Outside the empire, other laws were in effect and no one forbade witchcraft. As well as belief in other gods.
When the fame of hunters fighting monsters spread enough, adventurers began to come to them, wishing to join their brotherhood. Imperial culture of hunters mixed with local culture. The Brotherhood soon ceased to honor Emrys as a single god, and after a few years their connection with the empire and its god was completely forgotten.
What the pontifex Inus would say, having learned that for the last three decades even the witches themselves have been accepted into the order of “witch hunters” founded by him, we will never know. But he would hardly appreciate such irony.