"Ultimately, I have come to know the truth of things, as far as one man can. Through constant struggle and strife I have touched the divine, though in return, my soul has been seared and wounded by that which it so deeply craves. It seems an inevitability that in our service we pay the ultimate price, for that which we do in the name of Humanity ultimately condemns us all in the name of Mankind. Yet, we of the Holy Ordos of the Emperor’s Inquisition are a breed apart. We know what it is that must be done, and we do it, even at the cost of our own souls."
–The Ascension and Descent of Inquisitor Starkh, 334837.M41
Joshua Starkh was born on the cemetery world of Granithor. His father was a Master Mourner serving the crumbling Saint Astilenius Shrine District. Inquisitor Silas Marr arrived on the planet, in search of grave-census records linked to that ancient line of the Haarlock Legacy. He found his records, but at the same time, the attendants of Granithor’s Inner Shrine, where the great and the good are interred for all time, had become involved in some form of organized grave-robbing sponsored by rival noble lines across the sector that had been paying for the desecration of the graves of their rivals. They interfered with Marr's work and were purged. Starkh assisted his Acolyte Cells and was recruited into Marr's retinue.
For the next several years he did very little and saw Marr none, often working only on the transcribing of various genealogical records relating to the most august noble lines in the sector. He was occasionally allowed to accompany Marr's Acolytes on often tedious assignments, but in rare instances they were more exciting. He took his first life on Siren's Den, where they exposed the smuggling of Simulacra to serve as playthings to on the pleasure world. The kill belonged to the Marquis Sa’lahnk, who considered himself above Inquisitorial jurisdiction and received a mass reactive round in the mouth for it. This elevated him to the status of an Acolyte.
He served with many other fine acolytes, eventually becoming Acolyte Prime. He did not speak with Marr personally for three more years, yet the missions came in many different ways. At the Third Convocation of Elros, he saw Marr once again, though he had changed much in the decade since. The Calixian Conclave had convened with many Inquisitors to plan an operation that would crush hundreds of cults in one night, dubbed the Redemption of Hazeroth. Starkh led his cell against a cult known as the Witch-Brothers of Night on the feral world of Valos Krin. This was Starkh's first battlefield mission, leading two hundred highly professional Imperial Guardsmen from the 129th Guytoga Hussars. He developed a taste for such heroics and led over a hundred of such assaults over the next decades.
The Redemption of Hazeroth was deemed a success, but the conclave broke down into infighting afterwards. Some were concerned that the rise of so many cults in so short a time could only have been a warning to an appearance of the Tyrant Star, and in crushing the cults a chance to witness it was missed. Marr and Starkh moved on, and Starkh frequently visited Marr's residence in the Chancellery Court on Solomon, even taking up residence on the hive world himself. Later, another conclave was held, which became bogged down by the infighting between the Recongregators and Amalathians. Inquisitor Cassilda Cognos called upon Starkh to speak, to his surprise.
When he spoke on the events of the Redemption of Hazeroth, specifically the actions of one Inquisitor Lydon Tan, he inadvertently sparked a firefight between the two factions. He implored Lord Inquisitor Anton Zerbe to end the battle, but the masked man simply refused for reasons that were purely his own. The conclave ended in the deaths of three Inquisitors, including Tan, and numerous other servants, and was Starkh's first introduction to the factional divide within his organization, though it would be far from his last.
Later, Starkh was promoted to the rank of Interrogator. He was taught not by Marr, but by Inquisitor Katuwe Orne. He accompanied Orne on many missions, but it was upon the warp-addled world of Sleef that a Stranger, bearing an Inquisitorial Rosette, threatened them and escaped. This Strange eluded Starkh's cell for many missions, seemingly always one step ahead of them, as Orne withdrew from fieldwork to devote his time to deciphering the Stranger's next move.
Starkh later discovered that Orne had made contacts within the Tyrantine Cabal. They tracked him to the hive world of Baraspine, which was engulfed in anarchy. Starkh found the man atop the tallest spire, engaging in some vile sorcery, causing the sky to darken and himself to be wreathed in a corona of blackness. Starkh and the man exchanged brief words before he killed him, blowing off his head with his bolt pistol, ending the storm and breaking the madness that had overtaken the population below.
Soon after, in the midst of a mission to Hesiod's Wake, Starkh was summoned to the Tricorn Palace and Scintilla. He made his trip there with all possible haste, plagued by warp storms. He travelled to Hive Sibellus and entered the imposing Tricorn Palace, entering a grand chamber where many eyes were upon him. Inquisitor Silar Marr was there, who bid him to kneel. He was raised to the rank of Inquisitor, of the Ordo Hereticus.
Some years later after his ascension, he met Lord Inquisitor Caidin who wished to question Starkh on his pursuit of the Three Daughters, the Daemonhosts created by the radical Inquisitor Angelique De Falk during the crisis at Hive Atropos on Solomon. He had come close to them, only to be thwarted by who he was certain were Xanthites.
Throughout his career, Starkh battled many radicals, coming to hate each and every one of their creeds in various ways. This earned him many enemies, and his ultimate fate is unknown.