Inquirers

The Guild of Inquirers

(Unofficially known as the Guild of Inquisitors & Divulgers, and not, may we make clear, Torturers!)

Guildmaster: Nathaniel Goodchild

The objective of the Guild is to promote research into and understanding of medieval methods of investigation & punishment, as carried out by those known, crudely, as Torturers (and, by association, Executioners). This objective is to be tempered within the Society (as a recreational group) so that the pleasure of the Society’s membership be NOT impaired by macabre japes, etc, particularly at the expense of non-consenting members. The rule of GOOD TASTE, as accepted within the Society, shall be obeyed implicitly!

Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES shall this interest group be used to exert ANY pressure that may be deemed as religious, racial or political intolerance. For example, Bishops accused of not saying their prayers before retiring are as likely to be subject to inquiry as witches who stand accused of not dancing naked on the heath at Full Moon. Not because they are Bishops or witches, but because they commit heresy AGAINST THEIR OWN (persona-purported) FAITH. Distinction must always be drawn between the beliefs, politics & racial origins of MEMBER & PERSONA. Consequent to these matters, all accusations to be brought before the Inquisition must be discussed between interested MUNDANE parties first (unless arising out of Court!). No claim to hold the Office of Inquisitor (Torturer, etc) shall be made under ANY CIRCUMSTANCE outside the Society, excepting as part of a public display. We do not wish to convey a worse image of Medieval Societies than the general public already have, even if that is largely due to the rubber sword brigade!!

A particular interest of the Guild shall be that of accusations of Political, Religious, and Political Intolerance, as well as infringements against tradition (in that the Grim WILL vote in their Sheriff in his/her absence, etc, etc, etc…). Whilst the services of the Guild may be solicited by people of the Far Isles (a process much aided by Charitable Donations (q.v.), etc) in the seeking and divulging of Truth, it remains the prerogative of the Reigning Monarch to dispense sentence for crimes committed within these lands. The fact that Failure (q.v.) may occur is entirely beside the point.

N.B. Under no circumstance may the Society or the Guild countenance the dispensing of actual pain to any person. Cold custard or strawberry mousse are another matter entirely… Lady Jane’s syllabub is EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN (heresy & blasphemy against ALL faiths!).

The Declared MEDIEVAL objectives of the Guild are:

  1. To further the cause of Truth by undertaking the examination and testing of persons consigned to the care of the Guild.
  2. To further the cause of Law by undertaking the excruciation of felons committed by the Court to the care of the Guild.
  3. To further the cause of Justice, in the seeking of heartfelt contrition and true repentance in those committed to the care of the Guild.
  4. To ensure that any information divulged unto the Guild, by clients or otherwise, shall be disclosed to the relevant parties, that the relevant action be undertaken.
  5. To ensure that the populace of the Far Isles be kept subdued by the threat of seizure & subsequent examination.
  6. To undertake the development & consumer testing of new & revolutionary appliances & implements of excruciation.

The Guild shall assign one master, assisted by one apprentice, to serve the Court of the reigning monarch, which post within the Court shall be called Court Inquisitor. The duties of said Inquisitor shall be the examination of parties to any disputes within the Far Isles, and the excruciation of persons condemned by the Court, and consigned to their care. The Court Inquisitor shall carry Royal Warrant to seize and put to test any person accused of any crime before the Court. The results of examination shall be placed before the Court at the earliest opportunity. At court, the Court Inquisitor shall WEAR their mask/hood & gloves, carrying their other marques of Office, also including a pair of manacles for the binding of clients, and wearing (if such is their preference) any other “working garb” of the professional inquisitor.

The Lord High Executioner shall be given the honorary rank of Master Inquisitor, if they do not hold the rank in their own right. They may not simultaneously hold the post of Court Inquisitor.

All Masters & Grand Masters within the Guild shall carry a Warrant of the Guild, which shall be treated as laissez-faire by the populace, in the execution of their Guild duties. Furthermore, warrants for the arrest and examination of persons within the Far Isles shall be issued by the Sheriff or Constable, on behalf of the Court.


Rules of Advancement

There shall be four levels of attainment within the Guild.

Apprentice

An Apprentice shall be able to ask at least three questions to which the answer may be YES or NO, and shall know which end of a branding iron gets hot.

Journeyman

A Journeyman shall be able to repeatedly ask three questions to which the answer shall be YES or NO-OUCH-YES, and shall be able to describe in graphic detail two of the following:

  • The use of the hot iron in trial by ordeal.
  • Strappado.
  • The scold’s bridle.
  • Thumbscrew or pilliwinks.
  • The ducking stool.
  • Pincetto.

The Journeyman shall make themselves aware of the mode of use and design of various tools of testing, and also the correct use of salt, strong vinegar and various herbal recipes to prevent failure of examination or excruciations. Questions WILL be asked.

The Journeyman shall equip themself with a black half/full head mask & gloves of leather or fabric, and shall be entitled to wear them about their Guild duties, including assisting Masters or Grandmasters of the Guild. Said marques of office shall be CARRIED at Court.

Master

A Master shall be able to repeatedly ask three questions to which the answer shall be YES or AAARGH, and shall be able to munch contentedly on their lunch while describing two of the following:

  • Flagellation.
  • The use of hot irons & the gimlet.
  • The pincers (hot or cold)
  • Bone scraping
  • Half-boot.
  • Slow strangulation.
  • Allowin’s necklace.
  • ALL of the above.

Moreover, the Master shall have held discourse (preferably in writing) upon some aspect of medieval examination, trial, investigation, etc, to the satisfaction of the Masters within the Guild, entering into such detail that the candidate shall show their ability (in theory) to use the techniques discussed.

The Master shall equip themself with a black whip, or cat-o-nine-tails, a small flask of vinegar, and a small pouch of salt. They shall be entitled to use these about their Guild duties, which shall be the examination of clients such as the Court shall see fit to consign to the Guild, and the assistance of the Grandmasters of the Guild. Said marques of office shall be CARRIED at Court.

Grandmaster

A Grandmaster shall be able to ask three mutually contradictory questions, the answer to each of which shall be AAARGHYESYESYESYES (or similar), and shall be able to recite, whilst at table, in appetite-killing & graphic detail, any of the aforementioned excruciations, whilst showing evident relish. Moreover, they shall be able to detail the construction of any & all instruments of examination that they purport to use.

The Grandmaster shall be able to hold discourse on numerous subjects relating to medieval examination methods, and will have published at least three articles relating to this within the Society publications, which shall demonstrate an understanding and ability to use those techniques described.

The Grandmaster shall equip themself with such instruments of examination as they feel necessary & feel able to use with confidence in the exercise of their Guild duties. No further marques of rank will be required or awarded, but existing marques shall be CARRIED at Court.


Glossary of terms

Bribe
A Charitable donation to the Guild in support of the furtherance of the cause of Truth. Certain Truths are only tenable in the presence of Charitable Donations to the Guild Coffer.

Coffer, Guild
Private income to the Guild members, made by public spirited members of the populace, via Charitable Donations, in support of Truth, and subject to Guild Rates.

Charitable Donation
A Bribe.

Client
A person consigned to the keeping of the Guild for the purposes of examination or excruciation.

Condemned Person
A person found guilty of a crime within the Far Isles, by the Court.

Counterdiction
Evidence divulged from two (or more) Clients which is contradictory.

Court, The
The Court of the Reigning Monarch of the Far Isles, or the Petty Courts authorised by the Monarch.

Currency
Any negotiable deeds, bonds, cash, or other valuables (including overseas slave bonds & gold fillings) acceptable to the Guild as Charitable Donations (subject to liquidation rates, etc). Note that the Grim Groat is not negotiable currency, except in bottles and small casks (quinze), upon which a liquidation rate of one slurp per Groat will be levied by the Head of the Guild (31 slurps to the Groat, by present reckoning).

Demisee
A Client condemned to death by excruciation.

Divergence
Evidence divulged from a Client which differs markedly from the truth being sought.

Divulging
Discovery & presentation of evidence by the examination of a Client.

Examination
The questioning under torture of a Client, as part of the process of Divulging evidence.

Excruciation
The inflicting of pain upon a condemned person at the instruction of the Court.

Failure
A client who meets an untimely demise under examination or excruciation.

Falsehood
Evidence Divulged from a Client, which contradicts the truth being sought.

Ordeal, Trial By
The testing of a Client, before witnesses of the Court, that guilt or innocence be established by the intercession (or otherwise) by the Client’s god or gods.

Oubliesse
A sentence, whereby a Client is held at the Court’s pleasure, knowing that excruciation is inevitable, and will be eventually demanded at a time unknown to the Client. Interesting torment…

Rate, Guild
Percentage of income to the Guild Coffer, representing private income of the Master of the Guild, retained from Charitable Donations. Currently 15%.

Test, Put To
Examine a Client.

Torment
The inflicting of mental anguish upon a Client by various means (e.g. Oubliesse)

Torture
The inflicting of bodily pain upon a person, by physical means.

Torturer
Crude term for an Inquisitor, the use of which is to be discouraged…