Justice of the Emperor

You cannot rule a realm well and keep your hands clean. Someone would always try to go against you, and then it is a matter of lesser evil. How is killing a thousand men on the battlefield better than killing one in his bed? One day, my son, you will need their services too.
— Emperor Jaymond the Wise
The Justice of the Emperor was known to people within the Human Empire as enforcers of imperial law and order, prosecuting those who went against either in the name of the emperor. However, there was more than that. In secret from the public, the members of the organisation were trained and equipped to kill or capture mages. Sworn directly to the emperor, chosen from among the most loyal subjects, they were indeed tasked to guard the order — from the mages who could easily destroy it.  

History

In emperor's service

The background to the Justice of the Emperor begins with the notorious assassin group called Dead Eye. One day, an invitation to the imperial palace in Haxcross was sent to the leader of the group. While the assassins were suspicious of it at first, it was made clear in the letter that Emperor Jaymond knows about all their dirty deeds, so the invitation was accepted.   By that time, a number of problems had already manifested themselves concerning the Dead Eye. They only worked as one big group and one target at a time. Due to no legal standings, they had to hide from the guard and to carefully devise their plans, which made the time of contract execution all the longer. And the most worried by those problems were not even the assassins themselves but the emperor who was secretly paying for most of the contracts executed by the Dead Eye.   The details of the negotiations between the emperor and the leader of the Dead Eye are unclear. Nevertheless, in 815 AE a first mention of the Justice of the Emperor appears as they hunted down and executed a criminal who killed one of the imperial officers. Since then, they remained an ever-present threat to those who would wrong the emperor.   The members of the group were granted privileges and authority, but they never retired from their former occupation. In fact, it was quite the opposite. The entire goal of creating the organisation was to make it easier for assassins to do their job. They now had a right to move all across the country without being questioned much by the guard and to question, apprehend and even execute people. They had an organised system of selection and training, and personal loyalty to the emperor was one of the criteria for entering the organisation.   For decades, the organisation had loyally served the emperor, rarely failing him. For the public, they were no executioners but investigators and heralds of his will. Little known was the fact that Eyes of Justice, a formal title given to the members of the organisation, often sentenced people on their own judgement rather than following orders.   And, of course, they never stopped doing what the organisation's founders were famous for. Eyes of Justice perfected the art of killing mages to the point where they even managed to take some into custody. Each imperial regiment had at least one group of three Eyes of Justice overseeing it, ready to kill any mage that would turn rogue.   The Justice of the Emperor played a key role in the War of Revocation. After the war began, they killed some of the imperial mages, mainly the ones from powerful noble families, and organised the slaughter of said families' leaders during the rebels' meeting. Judging by the nature of the event, some historians even suggest that the assassins possessed one of the sacred treasures of the empire, the legendary Orb of Magic Negation.   However, the ever-growing role the organisation was playing in the empire had its consequences. The assassins became too closely tied with politics and power and too loyal to the emperor, which all led to their fall after the emperor's death.  

Age of Change

My liege, I swear to you an oath of loyalty as you are the prince most worthy to wear the crown as the Emperor of All Humans.
— By different people to all three of the emperor's sons
The imperial order died the same day the emperor did even though the latter had three sons to inherit him. The personal qualities of the first two sons made them rather unsightly for the imperial crown while the third one was still too young, and the country fell apart. Every noble and officer thought he knew what ruler is the best for the realm, and many nobles were still dreaming of the old times when they had so much more power.   The Justice of the Emperor was no exception. In the starting war, they mainly fought on the sides of the first and third sons of the emperor, and those young princes had no restraint of their father. After a massive chain of bloody murders on all sides involved, some of the captured assassins were tortured into talking about everything. The Eyes' true nature became known to all involved.   Sons of many noble families were killed in more than 40 years that the organisation was active, and thus the repercussions were immense. Most of the Eyes of Justice disappeared during the ensuing hunt. Some of them took cover in courts of the very same nobles that haunted them, in exchange for their services as assassins.   The same fate caught up with the Eyes of Justice serving in the newly-conquered provinces of empire on the Great Plains located on the west side of the Krisna. Although those provinces revolted too, forming a group of small countries called the Free Duchies, the news of such importance still crossed the river. The organisation seemed to be gone forever with every last man dead or in hiding.   The Justice of the Emperor, however, reminded of itself in 17 AC (873 AE) when they managed to kill the commander of invading army of wood elves, a very powerful mage. Out of thirty-three participating assassins, only fourteen survived the ambush.   In gratitude for their deed, the remnants were offered the protection by the Order of the Shield, knightly order dedicated to protecting the realms of humans from non-humans. Nowadays, the organisation is gaining strength once again, committed to safeguarding the order on the former imperial lands and waiting for the true emperor's heir to return.

Structure

So you are unwilling to talk even for solid gold? How inconvenient of you. How about some copper, then?
— An Apprentice Eye of Justice questioning an important witness
Every Eye of Justice, or Hand of Justice as general public calls them for rather active actions, has coins of metal with a red eye painted on them. Those coins serve to indicate their ranks and, in imperial times, to reward people who would help an Eye.   Every Eye starts his way in the organisation as an Apprentice. After a three years long training which includes civilian education, he receives copper coins and is appointed to serve under one of the masters. In the imperial times, they had the authority to take command over individual lances, which the coins were to provide for, and question commoners. Only young men are accepted into training.   The number of Masters is strictly limited. Every Master has exactly two Apprentices serving under him, forming a basic unit in the organisation. Once a Master dies, one of the Apprentices takes his place, not necessarily the one previously serving under the deceased Master. Their coins are made out of silver. The authority of a Master allowed them to issue orders to any banner and to question anyone except for the dukes and generals of the Imperial Army.   For every five Masters, one of them becomes a Captain. Captain's coins are made out of gold, and they had the authority to mobilise a company and to question anyone they wanted to.   All the Captains answered to an unnamed man who was believed to be the initial founder of the Dead Eye. He held no rank and could order any Eye to do anything, believed to answer directly to the emperor. It is also rumoured that he had a secret group of his own, but none of them was ever known to be caught or killed.

Public Agenda

The emperor might be dead, and the empire is no more, but our ancestors' oaths remain the same.
— Motto of a new Justice of the Emperor
Initially, the organisation's only goal was to maintain the emperor's order on his land. The ways to do that varied from legal ones to much less so, but the goal was the same. Even the organisation's demise and rebirth could not, it seems, change its stance. The only difference was that now the Justice of the Emperor has to protect the order from external threats as well. However, there is much scepticism about them nowadays.   The first question a sceptic would ask in a conversation about the organisation would be the following: "And what did they do when they went off the grid?". The answer about "doing nothing serious" barely satisfies most people, and the exact goals of a nowadays organisation are unclear too. It regained much in terms of numbers, but where does it get so much money from? Maybe, they indeed have something to do with those suspicious deaths which everyone likes to blame on unanswering Justice of the Emperor? And are they genuinely fighting for order and not just personal needs?


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