The Penitent, also known as the Merciful and the Benefic, were a faction within the governing body of the Witness' precursor species, known as the Consensus. They believed that the ultimate purpose of existence was to eliminate suffering, and that anyone who did not act to do so was complicit in perpetuating it. By the time the Veil had been discovered and the Traveler had fled their species' homeworld, the Penitent had become the sole remaining faction in the Consensus, having destroyed the other two factions, the Nihilists and Solipsists. They would subsequently go on to use the Veil and its Darkness to bind the consciousnesses of their entire species together, merging themselves into the entity that would become known as the Witness.

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