"You ask why we must cleanse the xenos? I will tell you. The filth of the alien and the witch must be exterminated to preserve the purity of the Human race, lest we degenerate into abomination."
- — Witch Hunter Tyrus at the Conclave of Vera
Tyrus is a Witch Hunter Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus and a staunch follower of the Monodominant philosophy of the Inquisition -- a bombastic man whose bloody purges have left thousands of Heretics dead in his wake. Suspicious of all psykers, even those supposedly cleared by the Inquisition, it is Tyrus' creed to hunt down and exterminate every witch, mutant and warlock in the galaxy (including alien psykers).
If, along the way, this means eradicating those who would seek to protect such abhorrent creatures, then so be it. Tyrus is also perhaps one of the most active Inquisitors with regards to internal policing of the Inquisition, ferociously hunting down those whom he deems Heretics within the ranks of his own organisation.
The young Tyrus was orphaned when he was a mere six summers old when daemons came to his homeworld of Loressa, an isolated Agri-World in the Segmentum Obscurus. Acting insidiously through an adolescent girl, whose miraculous powers of healing had cured many people from Tyrus' village, the Daemon Prince Kholoth the Excoriator spread a plague of mutation across Loressa. This weakened the fabric of reality enough for him to force his way from the Immaterium into the girl's unprotected mind.
In its new guise, the daemon destroyed Tyrus' village and began the slaughter of its inhabitants in an orgy of mutilation. Tyrus was dragged from his home into the village's main square, where the inhabitants' corpses lay in a heaped pile. Over the next few solar hours, Kholoth tortured Tyrus, taking an eye and slicing off an ear, that he might still hear his own screams and witness the destruction of his own flesh. As the leering young girl explained precisely what horrors she would next visit upon his body, Tyrus despaired and prepared for death. Only the timely intervention of Witch Hunter Covonis, who had tracked the daemon to Loressa via the Emperor's Tarot, saved Tyrus' life.
The Tarot has guided the servants of the Emperor for ten millennia and, though the significance of its readings are often obscure to the point of becoming meaningless, its holy instruction is said to be imbued with the Emperor's own will. Such indeed seems to have been the case as Covonis, clad in a massive suit of elaborately tooled armour, intricately carved with decorative scrollwork and fluting, materialised with four, grey-armoured angels of destruction in the village square.
The daemon girl paused in her gruesome handiwork, and turned to face the Witch Hunter, a hiss of recognition escaping her possessed lips. Through a red haze, Tyrus saw the mighty figure of Covonis and his armoured brethren do battle with the daemon girl. Three of the angels of death were cut down with bolts of blue fire, before Covonis swung his blessed sword in a glittering arc and beheaded the shrieking daemon. Whirlwinds of daemonic energy howled around the combatants as the creature was banished back to the hell from whence it came, and Tyrus watched as one of the angels burned the corpse in the cleansing fire of its weapons.
Tyrus, almost blinded by pain and blood loss, staggered to the edge of the blaze, his skin blistering in the infernal heat, and spat his hatred into the flames. He cursed the daemon's name and, as an armoured gauntlet settled on his shoulder, he looked up into the stern features of Covonis and knew that there was only one path open to him now. Tyrus became Covonis' apprentice and Acolyte and journeyed back to the orbiting starship from which Covonis and the Grey Knights (as Tyrus would later know them) had teleported.
He assimilated the wonders of advanced technology and the ways of the Witch Hunter with a zeal only the truly dedicated can muster. He was gifted with cybernetic replacements for his missing eye and ear, and Covonis instructed him in the path of the Witch Hunter, the tools and methods at their disposal and, lastly, the heresy of the daemonic. Never before had Covonis known an Acolyte to master the Rites of Detestation so quickly, or one whose pious devotion matched his own.
As the Terran years of intense training passed, Tyrus grew to manhood with his hatred of daemons and those who would consort with such creatures growing stronger with each passing day. He mastered weapons, martial skills and the rites by which the daemon could be vanquished. Such was his strength of devotion to the immortal God-Emperor that his word alone could stay the hand of a daemonic creature and cause it to reel in pain at his fiery zeal and faith.
Many base and repulsive creatures of the Warp were destroyed by Tyrus and his master, until a fateful battle during a royal audience on the world of Epsilon Regalis. The Emperor's Tarot had led Covonis and Tyrus to the palaces of Regalis' great and mighty in search of deviancy. The monarchy of Epsilon Regalis protested their innocence, but Covonis was adamant; they would face the Trial of Holy Seal.
Into the palms of each member of the royal family, Covonis placed a featureless wax tablet and heated an Inquisitorial seal. When the seal glowed with heat, Covonis explained, he would press it into the wax upon each of their palms. Those whose flesh was burned would know the full wrath of the Inquisition, while those whose skin remained unblemished would have their innocence displayed for all to see. As Covonis pressed the seal into the first outstretched hand, the features of the king's daughter split apart into the leering face of a daemon. Worse, it was a daemon Covonis knew; Kholoth the Excoriator.
In an instant the daemon was free and dealt a mortal blow to the venerable Witch Hunter. As he fell, the last vestiges of humanity were cast from the faces of the captives and the daemons were free. Tyrus quickly swept up Covonis' Power Knife and set about himself with terrible fury and righteous anger, his heart burning with vengeance. The lesser thrall daemons in Kholoth's service were no match for Tyrus, and at last he and Kholoth stood face to face, the sole figures left standing in the gore-spattered audience chamber.
The two enemies fought a duel that had been five solar decades in the making, and almost killed the Witch Hunter's apprentice. Bellowing words of holy purity that the daemon is forbidden to withstand, Tyrus fought with the strength of the Emperor. The bitter foes traded blows, each grievous enough to fell a lesser being. Sheer force of will kept Tyrus standing and, as he grappled with the daemon, sermons of piety and devotion spilling from his lips, he punched Covonis' weapon through the daemon's chest, dragging out its still-beating heart, and crushed it in his gauntleted fist.
The daemon grinned as it died, spouting blasphemous oaths that promised the Witch Hunter that they would meet again and that it had already watched him die a thousand times. Suspecting the corruption of the royal family extended to the planet's population, Tyrus launched a bloody purge of the surrounding cities that saw tens of thousands burned at the stake to ensure the purity of Epsilon Regalis.
Tyrus took his master's suit of Artificer Armour as his own and repaired the damage which the daemon had wrought on its holy fabric. Covonis' masters elevated Tyrus to the status of Witch Hunter and granted him the full remit of an Imperial Inquisitor. If his experiences with Covonis had taught him anything, it was that there was only room for one species in the galaxy and that was Humanity.
His purges of aliens, Heretics and warlocks have become famous even amongst other Puritan Inquisitors. A fierce Monodominant, Tyrus' quest to exterminate heresy, witchcraft and alien influence has carried him from one side of the galaxy to the other, his rousing orations fanning the flames of zeal and faith on every planet he purges. After the Gland War on Dantis III against the Tyranids, Tyrus recruited Sergeant Stone as an Acolyte, an Astra Militarum Veteran who was one of only three survivors of a bionically altered company of the Lostok 23rd. Stone's aggressiveness and devotion to duty made him an ideal member of Tyrus' retinue.
During the Treachery of Hanuchek, Tyrus joined forces with Devotee Malicant, a disciple of the Redemptionist faith spawned on Necromunda, who led his fanatical army on a holy crusade. The battle to destroy Hanuchek all but annihilated Malicant's followers and, at its conclusion, the Redemptionist gladly accompanied Tyrus in his purges.
In pursuit of the (in his eyes) Heretic Inquisitor Lichtenstein, Tyrus journeyed to the world of Karis Cephalon, where he recruited the Security Enforcer Barbaretta. Her help in investigating the mutant uprisings, which Tyrus believed might have been sponsored by Emissary Fabian, was invaluable, and she has proven to be a worthy addition to the Witch Hunter's retinue of Acolytes.
Tyrus continues to pursue the unholy, purge the unclean and smite the unworthy. It is his sacred task to bring the fire of the Emperor to those who need it most and destroy those who would see its light dimmed. Tyrus' reliance on methods first used thousands of Terran years ago is reassuring to many people, who see the guilt or innocence of his subjects determined by the will of the Emperor Himself.
Trials and Ordeals
Tyrus is a great believer in many of the more arcane and religious trials and ordeals employed to judge the guilt or innocence of those he investigates. One of the more popular of these is the Trial by Balance, in which a droplet of the accused person's blood is placed on a set of finely-tuned scales opposite the same amount of water blessed by a member of the Ecclesiarchy. If the blood proves to be heavier, it is believed that this is because it is weighed down by the guilt of the donor's crimes and they are condemned.
The Ordeal of the Blade is another, which Tyrus most famously employed on the Sarcaphon of Gladrinus VI. A heavy, razor-sharp sword is gripped in the fists of the potential Heretic, which they must hold above their head while the Inquisitor lists the accusations levelled against them in order of severity.
If they can complete this feat without dropping the blade or its keen edge drawing blood, they have proved their innocence of the charges. If blood is spilt or the sword slips, the last spoken accusation and those remaining to be levelled are true. Miraculously, Sarcaphon Hydrupasta successfully endured the Ordeal for three and a half solar hours while Tyrus listed nearly 1,000 charges against him.
There are many other types of trial and ordeal. In Trial by Holy Seal, the accused has a wax tablet placed upon their outstretched palm and a hot seal is applied to it. If the skin beneath the wax is burnt this is an indication of guilt. If it is unharmed this is an indication of the Emperor's blessing. Other times, Tyrus has ordered those he is investigating to drink a jug of blessed water. If the accused cannot do so without choking or gagging, they are presumed guilty, having been unable to imbibe the holiness of the Emperor.
Tyrus has also been known to use the Imperial Tarot, a divination process believed to be guided by the Emperor Himself, to determine innocence or guilt literally on the turn of a card. Many are comforted by Tyrus' use of such traditional methods and his staunch belief that it is the God-Emperor who makes these judgements, not himself.
- Devotee Malicant - Malicant's ancestors were from the home of the Redemptionist movement, the Hive World of Necromunda. Centuries ago they left their world on a Redemptionist crusade, finally founding a Temple of the Redemption on Ghastri IV. Brought up from birth to believe in the strict observances of the Redemption, raised by the fiery priests and zealots of the order in the Temple, Malicant is a ferociously devout individual. It is no surprise then that he caught the eye of Witch Hunter Tyrus when Malicant's crusade joined forces with the Inquisitor during the Treachery of Hanuchek. Since then, he has accompanied Tyrus across the galaxy, always spurred on by the Inquisitor's rousing speeches.
- Security Enforcer Barbaretta - Barbaretta was a Sergeant with the Karis Cephalon Special Security Agents until she was assigned to work with Witch Hunter Tyrus during an investigation of Karis Cephalon's mutant slave labour trade. Loyal and headstrong, Barbaretta has an unbending faith in the Imperium and the Inquisition. Many times she has used her skills to track down and capture an enemy wanted for interrogation, and is perfectly able to carry out the brutal questioning herself.
- Sergeant Stone - When the Forge World of Dantis III was invaded by Tyranids, Astra Militarum regiments from the nearby world of Lostok were drafted to combat the menace. The surface of Dantis III was heavily polluted and the infestation of deadly Tyranid organisms made fighting outside the factory-complexes almost impossible. A few companies of the Lostok 23rd were cybernetically modified by the Tech-priests to fight in this hellish warzone, incorporating many organs and drug-secreting glands that enabled them to survive unprotected, as well as boosting their combat abilities and aggressiveness. Only three of these so-called "Gland Warriors" are believed to have survived the conflict, and Sergeant Stone was one of them. After the successful defence of Dantis III, Sergeant Stone was amongst those taken by the Inquisition for debriefing and study, later ending up in the retinue of Inquisitor Tyrus.
- Artificer Armour
- Power Fist
- Power Knife
- Bolt Pistol with Inferno shells
- Bionic Eye with range finder and bio-scanner
- Bionic Ear
- Codex: Inquisition (6th Edition), pg. 53
- The Inquisition (Background Book), pg. 85
- White Dwarf 260 (UK), "Witch Hunter - The Trials of Witch Hunter Tyrus" by Graham McNeill, pp. 8-9