Why Witch Hunters? by Rob J. Hayes (author of The Heresy Within)

Why Witch Hunters?

I suppose I could just say “Why not?”, Witch Hunters are awesome after all, but my reason for creating Arbiters and the Inquisition and having them feature so prominently in the world of The Ties that Bind goes a little deeper than that.

My fascination with Witch Hunters started when I was very young and I picked up a copy of Warhammer (the tabletop miniatures game). I began delving into the lore of the universe and came across their version of Witch Hunters and fell in love with the style.

They just look so cool with the long leather coats and the tall hats and the buckles everywhere... EVERYWHERE. So many buckles. Sorry. It's not a fetish, I just like buckles.

So after falling in love with buckles Witch Hunters in the Warhammer universe I started looking at more real life incarnations of the heretic hunters and what I found only intrigued me more. Much like the Holy Crusades and the Knights Templar, the Witch Hunts were full of hypocrisy and I love that. It's no joke to say in the good ol' Middle Ages the only way to prove to a Witch Hunter that you weren't a witch was to die from the tests. Such tests included:

Drowning. If you survived you were a witch, if not your immortal soul was pronounced pure and winging its way to heaven.

Being stabbed by a silver knife through the heart. Again, surviving the assault proved you were a witch.

These were the extreme cases and not the norm but they were the ones that stuck in my head. The religious views of the Witch Hunters themselves as well often went beyond traditional beliefs into a militaristic view of their religion that were at odds with the beliefs held by the general populous. It became about what the Witch Hunter believed rather than what their particular church and faith pronounced which is again hypocritical.

But I wanted my Witch Hunters to go further into the realms of hypocrisy and fantasy so I created the Inquisition and the Arbiters. I wanted the Inquisition to be feared the world over with its Arbiters feared and despised by all at the same time as being accepted as a needed shield against the darkness. To make them both hypocritical and treated by the masses as near-unkillable death dealers I decided to give them magic.

Wielding magic to hunt down magic users who didn't conform to their organisation has the Arbiters feeling pretty hypocritical but it still wasn't enough for me so I added one more little (or large) hypocrisy; I won't ruin the surprise for anyone who hasn't read The Heresy Within yet but it's a good one.

Now with my organisation of heretic-burning zealots created I needed to give them all a unique feel, each Arbiter needed to be different. I decided some would specialise in magic, and further divide those into specialists into the separate schools of magic; Runes and Charms, Blessings and Curses, and Sorcery, and I decided some would specialise in combat with magic used mostly to augment their natural abilities.

To further the cause of uniqueness even more I decided different Arbiters would specialise in different weapons and styles. From Thanquil Darkheart who wields the more traditional rapier and pistol, to Artur and Hironous Vance carrying nothing but a book, to the harp-wielding Arbiter who has yet to feature. Each Arbiter would bring a unique set of skills to the table to deal with the heretics they hunted.

The only thing left was to make sure they still had those awesome looking coats that began my love affair so long ago. I did drop the hats though.


About the Author

Rob J. Hayes was born somewhere south of the cockney wastelands in a small town called Basingstoke. He grew up with all the usual boy toys including Lego, Star Wars figures (complete with working lightsaber action) and plenty of Transformers. Playing with these toys inspired his imagination and as soon as he was old enough he started playing withswords wooden sticks.

At the age of fourteen he started writing but, like most fourteen year old boys, everything had to be either a vampire, a werewolf, or have superpowers. Thankfully, like most fourteen year old boys, he eventually grew up... a bit.

After four years at University studying Zoology and three years working for a string of high street banks as a desk jockey/keyboard monkey Rob ran away to live on a desert island in Fiji for three months. It was there he re-discovered his love of writing and, more specifically, of writing fantasy.

Now based in Derbyshire, UK, Rob has a variety of hobbies when he’s not madly scribbling his next epic, that, unsurprisingly, are fantasy themed. He regularly plays card games based on the A Game of Thrones and the Netrunner universes and attends tournaments throughout the UK. Rob also enjoys Airsofting: the act of running around a forest with fake guns shooting (being shot by) his friends.


About the Book

The Heresy Within by Rob J. Hayes
Published November 10, 2014 by Ragnarok Publications

Thanquil Darkheart is an Arbiter of the Inquisition, a witch hunter tasked with hunting down and purging heretics. Thanquil Darkheart is also something else, expendable.

When the God-Emperor of Sarth tells Thanquil there is a traitor operating among the highest echelon of the Inquisition he knows he has no choice but to sail to the city of Chade and follow the Emperor's single lead.

The Black Thorn is a murderer, a thug, a thief and worse but he's best known for the killing of six Arbiters. These days he travels with a crew of six of the most dangerous sell-swords in the wilds.

After a job well done they find themselves on the run from the law once again but the boss has good news; a new job, the biggest any of them have ever pulled. First, however, they need to evade capture long enough to secure travel to the free city of Chade.

Jezzet Vel'urn is a Blademaster; a swords-woman of prodigious skill but she knows that for a woman like her in the wilds there are two ways out of most situations; fight or fuck. Truth is, all too often for Jezzet's liking, it comes down to a combination of the two.

Jezzet is chased half-way across the wilds by a vengeful warlord until she makes it to the free city of Chade. Instead of sanctuary, however, all she finds are guards waiting to turn her over for some quick gold.


  1. They are a necessary evil then? Wouldn't want one coming after me. Congratulations and goo luck, Rob!

  2. Ragnarok really spiffed up the cover from the old one didn't they? I read the first book and some old Warhammer Witchhunter books, the similarities are certainly there.

    1. From what I understand they spiffed up the cover and the text . . . I'm anxious to give it a read.

  3. God Emperor? So the book is about moi? :)

  4. Sounds interesting. Added to the tbr list.


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