The Magistrates Organization in Creus | World Anvil
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The Magistrates

While the streets of Ebensberg were lined with white plaster and colorful mosaic tiles, the Magistrate's Longhall was all in black. The obsidian spires of the Longhall gave off a vaguely menacing air, and the solemn shuffle of black-clad men and women walking the steps outside the building did little to lighten the mood.   Today, however, a gaggle of writers from the journals were clustered at the foot of the black granite stair, surrounding a black-clad Magistrate that was shorter than the rest.   "The youngest Magistrate in history! How does it feel, Lady Valier?"   "Do you get any guff from some of the older Magistrates in your company?"   "Do you anticipate any troubles with compliance, due to your age?"   "Is it true that House Valier called in favors to assure your passing the qualification?"   Caranda Valier bristled at the last question, taking her sidecap off with an iron glint in her eyes. "Supposing that were true and I was a willing participant in such fraud, why would I ever affirm my own guilt? If you do not believe a seventeen year old could clear the qualification, say so outright, rather than dance around the point with petty politeness and calumny."   Cara raised a finger at the offending writer, who wilted at her sharp tone. "By all means I encourage your investigations. You will find that my background played no part in my selection or qualification. Now, if the rest of you are finished, I have my duties to attend to."   One woman holding a sketchbook raised her charcoal mark. "Magistrate Valier! Allow me to capture your image for the next issue of the Principality Standard. Could you display your insignia? It would only take a moment."   Cara sighed and carefully fitted her sidecap back on. She reached into her vest and pulled out her new insignia, a miniature pendant of a mirror outlined in jet, inlaid with the Eye of Solitus with its iris of crushed pearl, on a chain of heavy black iron. The paint had been layered and finished to a polished shine; she held it up to the sunlight next to her own face. "Will this be sufficient for a portrait?"   The sketcher was already at work. "Thank you, Lady Valier. I wish you the best of luck on your first assignment."

Structure

The Magistrates are organized along the lines of a military unit, as described by its founder, Nairie Solitus, as 'soldiers' for the delivery of justice. Along these lines, the leader of the Magistrates is granted the title of Justicar-General, currently Sophia III of House Atsal. The Justicar-General oversees Magistrate-Captains, each given a region of responsiblity within the Principality of Etoile. Each Captain in turn commands a hundred-strong company of Magistrates.   Individual Magistrates are, in turn, empowered to recruit a retinue of deputies, named Marshals. A Marshal reports to the Magistrate that deputized them into their service, and uses their skillset in service to the goals of the Magistrate, whatever those goals may be. Marshals serve at the pleasure of their Magistrate and may be dismissed at any time.   Magistrates typically use the station-houses of the local guards when on official duties, and the Magistrate organization maintains no properties or structures outside the Magistrate's Longhall in Ebensberg, known locally as the 'Blackhall' for its black obsidian finish. Magistrates may hold court anywhere, but serious matters of import to the Principality as a whole are brought to the Longhall for adjudication.   Magistrates are unrestricted in their ability to conduct investigations and are not subject to the demands of any Etoilean, save their direct superiors in the organization and the First Princeps, but all Magisterial actions are a matter of public record. Magisters may be 'retired' from the organization at a stroke, should their superior or the Justicar-General deem it in the best interests of the Principality.

Culture

As per the direction of Solitus, the Magistrates are devoted to the ideal of justice in its purest form. In their telling, the state of 'justice' is that of equinamity in spite of lopsided power (that of the Principality versus the ordinary citizen justice only exists when the Principality respects the citizen at a fundamental level, and the citizen in turn freely permits the Principality to exercise its power, as long as that power respects the citizen. Therefore, while the power of the Principality and its Princeps is in theory absolute, its power is necessarily restricted by the need to maintain a justice for each citizen of Etoile.   This tradition is historically independent from the central power-structure of the Principality itself, which defines state legitimacy as emanating solely from the Princeps themselves. As such, the Magistrates and the bureaucracy of the Principality are primed to always be at odds, with their back and forth defining the laws of ordinary life. Magistrates are trained to be fiercely independent and suspicious of the power of the state, the power of wealth, and the power of status and stature. The root contradiction (that the Magistrates themselves exercise state power and are of the highest status in Etoilean society) has not gone unnoticed or uncommented.

Public Agenda

The Magistrates uphold justice across Etoile by serving in their public roles as adjudicators, inspectors, and investigators. Traveling magistrates resolve disputes, judge crimes, and ensure that the law of the Principality also applies to the officers and nobility of the Principality. In addition, they are perceived by the public as champions of the ordinary people, and strive to uphold that image in the eyes of the public through their investigative work.

Assets

The Magistrate organization owns no assets other than their Longhall in Ebensberg, and Magistrates are not paid through the organization. Instead, each Magistrate in the order is granted a commission from the Principality that comes with its own funds; the Magistrates are free to do with their funds as they please. These funds typically support the pay of the Marshals in each Magistrate's employ.

History

The Magistrates were founded by Nairie Solitus in 631 as part of a long-running discussion and debate with the First Princeps, regarding the corrupting nature of power. The First Princeps intended to be a guiding light for the people of Etoile, uniting the world politically and philosophically under the aegis of Progress. Solitus reminded him that he was mortal and that there was no guarantee that the Principality would be led with virtue in the future. Thus, the institution of the Magistrates was founded in Ebensberg, with Solitus herself defining the organization and it's mission going forward - the upholding of the principle of Progress for all, and the recognition that a universal justice, one that respects the citizen as well as the state and that pays no special favors, is strictly necessary for Progress to be possible.   The effectiveness of the Magistrates was put to the test not long after the passing of the First Princeps in 648. Several powerful nobles, subject to magisterial investigation, attempted to dissolve the organization by petition to the newly installed Princeps of 650 (who had a difficult ascension themselves, and was vulnerable to influence). The Justicar-General at the time, Olivia van der Waal, led a dramatic response, summoning the nobles for a public adjudication in the Grand Amphitheatre of Etoile and showcasing evidence for their misdeeds to a rapt audience. The reaction of the public at large was everything van der Waal expected, and the petition was quietly dropped in the face of the uproar.   Though modern times are less dramatic, the Magistrates continue in an outsize role in Etoilean society. Famous recent events involving the Magistrates include the uncovering of a murder-for-hire plot within the walls of the Mercenary's Guild, a scandalous separation of marriage between two Foremost houses and a year-long battle over division of assets, and the censuring and removal of a rogue Magistrate who was found to have taken bribes to manipulate their adjudications. To most Etoileans, the sight of a black-coated Magistrate and their retinue is welcome.

"It is easy to merely serve the self."

Founding Date
631
Type
Governmental, Inquisitorial
Alternative Names
Blackcoats
Parent Organization
Related Traditions

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