Arbiter of Progress Rank/Title in Creus | World Anvil
BUILD YOUR OWN WORLD Like what you see? Become the Master of your own Universe!

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

Arbiter of Progress

Coriann's Power workshop was a small rental in the Craft Quarter of the Etoile Capital City, a shared space that she had access to once a week, a fine tradeoff given the quality of the tooling that was present. Unfortunately, her workshop was one of many in the building, and there was always a surfeit of noise and activity as other Power engineers built and inevitably destroyed their inventions. Muffs helped during fourth season, but in the humid heat of second season they'd simply cook her head, so she was forced to endure the sweat and the noise under the dim friction-lights.   She was working on a contract assembly when an unfamiliar head poked through the workshop door. "Excuse me! Is this the du Friese workshop?"   The engineer glanced up. A noblewoman in the doorway, sharply dressed with a fitted brocade, with bright green eyes. She put her tools down and stood to present her insignia, the steel cogwheel of a Power Engineer on a chain. "Yes! Coriann du Friese, Power Engineer at your service. I have this workshop this day of the week."   The insignia presented back was a similar looking gear, but in front of the golden sun of Etoile. "Arbiter Elisa Valtyr, of the Office of Progress." Coriann's eyes widened. The Arbiter was in her workshop! What did she do? A bead of sweat rolled down the side of her face.   Valtyr continued. "I was made aware of your work at the Healer's Covenant. Did you have an example of one of those constructed hospital beds that you put together?" The Arbiter glanced around the workshop, as though expecting the bed to be folded in a corner.   Coriann's face fell. "That was a prototype only, and I never got it working in time before my assessment period at the Covenant ended. The raising and lowering worked fine, but not the bedpan or exercise parts." She thought about her invention. It had been a rickety and noisy thing, not far advanced from a mere student's project, but the orderlies had appreciated the build. "I believe the Covenant disassembled the prototype and returned it to being an ordinary bed."   The Arbiter gave a quick laugh. "Quite typical of them, of course, and you're not to blame for that. Still." Valtyr's hands were gloved in an impossibly thin and sheer silk, the only kind that could be worn comfortably in the second season's heat. She tapped on Coriann's workbench with a finger. "I am not to encourage or participate in the development of Progress; such innovation must be organic, a pure conception from the hearts and minds of the genius inventors of Etoile. Yet I will mention to you that your bed will find a willing sponsor and rapid approval, should it perform capably and reliably by the time of the next Inventor's Fair."   The engineer tilted her head. "I deeply appreciate this, honored Arbiter, but why have I been singled out? You risk Magesterial investigation for discussing this with me, I believe."   The Arbiter shook her head. "You're not paying me, are you? Suffice to say that your bed is a thing that would benefit the Principality, should it be approved." Valtyr smiled, but the smile failed to reach her eyes. "My recommendation to you is to complete your contract, find out who I learned this information from, and get yourself sponsored for a booth at the Inventor's Fair. I await your Progress." The Arbiter left as quickly as she had arrived, without waiting for a response.   Coriann sat down heavily on her stool and looked at her bench. The transmission assembly she was working on for her contract seemed little more than a distraction; her mind was racing about improvements to her bed. Perhaps a bellows, some sort of air bladder for raising and lowering? No, too maintenance heavy, and would increase cost. She set the transmission aside and pulled out her old drawings. There was work to be done, and she only had this workshop one day of the week.


The Arbiter of Progress is, theoretically, a scientist and engineer of the highest order, someone who has not only advanced the science of Etoile, but has built something that's materially contributed to progress. In practice, every Arbiter has been a Power engineer, as the majority of innovations presented at the semiannual Inventor's Fair are Powered designs.


The Academy of Etoile nominates a candidate for Arbiter every six years, who is then approved by the Princeps for the role. The paperwork is handled well ahead of time; the actual ceremony that transfers the title happens at the next Etoilean Inventor's Fair as part of the closing ceremony. The Arbiter will, as part of the closing ceremony, present their insignia to the next appointed Arbiter, and the new Arbiter of Progress will immediately approve the last invention the prior Arbiter approved - these 'double warrants' are a rare and valuable thing, considered lucky by most inventors and scientists.


The Arbiter of Progress's office is responsible for the efficient regulation and approval of virtually all new services and products in the Principality of Etoile. The Arbiter heads this office, approving inspectors and personnel, managing the approval queue, making all final sign-offs, and being the person of responsibility if any new service or product causes significant public harm. The process of approving a new innovation as a part of Progress involves experts in whatever field the innovation is a part of evaluating it for its utility, novelty, and efficiency - only something that passes all three criteria may be approved. Approvals ascend the Progress office, being signed off by an initial evaluator, a specialist-at-large, and the Arbiter, before being formally approved and the warrant issued.   In a less bureaucratic tilt, the Arbiter of Progress is also the master of ceremonies at the Etoilean Inventor's Fair, and is obligated to evaluate all things brought to the fair and given a booth. Their entourage over the multiday Fair resembles nothing so much as a rolling party and festival.


As with any office of significant power, the position of Arbiter is very well compensated (an attempt to deter bribery). The Arbiter of Progress is given wide favor in general, among any consortium interest hoping to get a new manufactory or product line approved, any researcher attempting to get funding for their new design, and the general public writ large, who see the position as a gatekeeper of great wealth and prestige. This sort of stature lends itself to easy corruption, which is why the position is single term limited.

Grounds for Removal/Dismissal

In order to ensure relatively independent decision making from the Principality, an appointed Arbiter of Progress may not be removed except by the Princeps themselves or by an inquiry by The Magistrates. In practice, however, several Arbiters have been forced from the role due to journals reporting on misdeeds. The role requires a certain level of expertise, which demands experienced candidates, which usually means that any given candidate enters the role with a batch of associations in industry and otherwise, a heady mix that favors corrupt dealings. Magistrates frequently examine the approval process for warrants in a search for bought behavior. Arbiters that are removed from the role are replaced without fanfare from within the Progress office until the next Etoilean Inventor's Fair.


The nature of Power and various accidents and pitfalls during its early development indicated the need for some sort of regulatory mechanism to maintain the public trust. Many early private deployments of power were done in ad-hoc ways without a full understanding of the principles of Power engineering, resulting in several catastrophic accidents. In response, the fledgling Power Department of The Academy of Etoile recommended that the Principality of Etoile regulate all applications of power that were capable of causing physical harm (excepting, for example, small powered toys and the like). This was bundled into a general Ministerial level push to regulate commercial activity, as the ease of trade in the new Etoile inevitably caused more incidents of hucksterism and fraud.   The establishment of a Trade Ministry in 636 came with the new position of Arbiter of Progress, reporting directly to the Minister. The title (chosen in a flair for the dramatic, distinct from the more hum-drum titles of ordinary governance) comes with the duty of approving all commercial deployments of new technology and science. In the modern era, this remains principally new applications of Power technology (though approval of new reagants and alchemic compounds is also under this purview). The Arbiter heads an office of significant size that processes all approval requests for new and novel deployments of technology and engineering.
Civic, Political
Form of Address
Honor, honored
Source of Authority
The Princeps of Etoile
Length of Term
24 seasons
Related Locations
Related Organizations

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild


Please Login in order to comment!