The Black Envelopment Tradition / Ritual in Creus | World Anvil
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The Black Envelopment

The bear hug that Cara received was not unexpected, but still welcome, and she returned it fondly. "Thanie! How have you been?"   The apprentice pulled back from the hug, giving the full-fledged Magistrate quick pecks on both cheeks, before responding. "Haideri still says I'm not ready, but I've been doing all sorts of stuff recently, I think it's only a matter of a short time now. How about you? All in black now! Magistrate Caranda Valier, the Rapier of Justice of the Principality!" Thanie made fencing thrusts with an imaginary foil in her hand. "And off to your first assignments in the Stagonids, too, what a plum assignment!"   "You are as excitable as always, Thanie." Cara shook her head as they sat at the cafe table. "And the assignment comes with my having to bring Marshal Toreo with me. Ebensberg says he'll help me be successful as a magistrate, but I don't see it - the man is a lout! He means well, but he is simply far too carefree for my tastes."   Thanie gave a cat's wide grin. "And you're telling me his two day stubble and rippled biceps are just not to your taste, then, Cara?"   A sigh. "About as much as Haideri's widow's peak is to your taste, I suppose, Thanie." The waitress at the cafe had just delivered their desserts; Cara took a bite of cake. "I'm surprised you haven't asked me anything about the Envelopment. If you'll be doing yours within a year, I would expect some curiosity."   "No-ope!" The apprentice dug into her slice with gusto. "I figure it's secret for a reason, so a surprise would be fine. It's not like it's dangerous at all, right? And they dress you up like a doll all in black for your trouble." Thanie paused, giving Cara's uniform a once-over. "They really got you fitted perfectly, too."   "It's not just about the uniform at the end, there's the whole trial before it, but I suppose you're right." Cara put her spoon down, reflecting on her own Envelopment. "Perhaps the mysteriousness of the ceremony is part of the mental priming."   Thanie pointed her spoon at the magistrate. "Or it can just be fun. You know. Maybe the long-time Magistrates just want to have some fun with the whole process, too."   Cara shook her head. "If they're having fun, then the element of solemnity would be ruined. It is a serious investiture of state power."   "Did you seriously just say that they shouldn't be having fun? That is so like you, Cara." Thanie stretched her arms. "We'll have to compare caps once I make full Magistrate, myself."


The Magistrates, like all early Etoilean organizations, operated on a mostly ad-hoc basis for their first few years before specific traditions had time to take root. At their founding in 631, they had a mandate to uphold the virtues and philosophies of the Principality of Etoile, the First Princeps, and Nairie Solitus, but no specific bylaws or regulations on how to go about doing this - the early Magistrates were simply entrusted to uphold Progress and universal justice through their own virtue and understanding.   While the system did work with that initial class of handpicked exemplars of society, questions began to arise as to the system's scalability and lack of formal standards - would every Magistrate be trusted to train various successors? Who would be empowered to decide whether a given candidate 'passed muster'? Upon the passing of the First Princeps in 650 and Justicar-General Olivia van der Waal's actions to defend the existence of her order, it was agreed upon that a formal system needed to be put in place to ensure the continuation of the highest virtue standards for all future Magistrates. The Black Envelopment was conceived as the final ritual in the training process of a new Magistrate, a symbolic granting of the power of the Principality as invested in a single person.


Under the current system, most Magistrate candidates are handpicked at the age of eight for unusual intelligence, then undergo a grueling academic program at the Longhall at Ebensberg (coupled with the occasional term at The Academy of Etoile for specific subject matter expertise). Satisfactory completion of this program ends with the apprenticing of the candidate to a working Magistrate in the field for at least two years. The final test of a candidate is a week-long gauntlet intended to push the candidate to their physical and mental limits, in order to test their personal strength of character. Success in this final trial entitles the candidate to undergo the Black Envelopment, formally becoming a Magistrate of Etoile.    The candidate is instructed to wear their finest garb to their Envelopment (it should be noted here that Magistrate candidates are explicitly forbidden from wearing black, at any time during their candidacy), before entering the presentation room at the Longhall in Ebensberg. There, before a panel of Magistrate-Captains, a series of secret oaths are sworn by the candidate, one at a time, with each oath sworn resulting in a piece of clothing being forcibly removed (the candidate must stay still, facing forward, as pieces of their garb are stripped). Once in undergarments, the final oath of the candidate declares that they take on the burden of Justice with no hidden reservations, and that they will uphold the Progress of the Principality not through the power of the office, but through their own personal strength and ability.    The affirmation of the final oath is the moment the candidate becomes a full Magistrate. At this point, the new Magistrate is garbed in the fitted clothing of the order - jet black breeches, heavy black leather boots, a black dress shirt with fitted black waistcoat, a precisely tailored heavy overcoat in black leather and silk, and a sidecap, placed on their head by the Justicar-General. Once fully garbed in the dress uniform of the order, their insignia and personal weapon are presented to them, the Eye of Solitus, the insignia of the order, coupled with a specially commissioned weapon of the highest quality, suited to the martial tastes of the new Magistrate (typically a sword, though other weapons are not uncommon). The new Magistrate is then sent forth, down the front steps of the Longhall, on their way to their first formal assignment post.

Components and tools

While the Envelopment itself is relatively simple, the new Magistrate's formal dress uniform is an expensive affair, requiring long hours of fitting and work by a skilled couturier, with their weapon being custom-crafted by the exclusively-contracted weaponsmith of the Magistrates. While the uniform is granted to the Magistrate without fee or expense, they are expected to maintain their uniform to the highest standards, as well as replacing clothing as it wears out, on their own dime. Most Magistrates only wear the full dress uniform for formal occasions, simply wearing looser and cheaper black clothing when out and about.


Other than the candidate undergoing Envelopment, their fellow Magistrates are necessary in order to administer the various oaths and facilitate the presentation of insignia and arms. While not required by any internal bylaws, custom dictates that the Justicar-General themselves participate in the Envelopment ceremony for all new Magistrates.


Unlike classes at The Academy of Etoile, Magistrates do not 'graduate' on a fixed schedule, and the decision to have them undergo final trial and Envelopment occurs during their apprenticeship, when the master Magistrate deems them ready. Each Envelopment is thus a unique, scheduled affair for the new Magistrate in question.
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