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SulNES: Intemperate Grandiosity

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by TheMeanestGuest, Jan 27, 2019.

  1. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    Though he holds the view that those who enforce laws should be distinct from those who determine laws, should his statement be demanded, Iroen Arvind approves of this proposed legislation.
     
  2. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    Curse of the Cayanist, Part One:

    His head throbs as the guard leads him by the arm through the doors of the Audencia. He would be sick, except he was already, recently. “I told you, you can’t arrest me,” grumbles the grizzled man, gut pronounced through his tunic, blue eyes sunken in a lined face, his thick beard, sideburns, and hair quickly going unkempt, little whorls of white spreading in the black. “I’m on the roll of Teccho’s company. And I’m a citizen.”

    “Oh aye,” says the guard, an uncomplicated man named Daran. “Citizen of the sea, you. Think your tongue’d fool a ‘Zethi bred, southie?”

    Now the guard is marching him faster in retaliation. Great. He catches a sign of some debate down a marbled hall, a few lesser parliamentarians late to the deliberation hurrying to squeeze into their court robes. Such pompous princes, he would laugh if there were laughter left in him. The parliamentary chamber he is marched past is all alight with faded grandeur, its cupola high above admitting fine light -

    crimson light his only cowl

    he stands beyond the fray as if not seeing it

    “No,” he says softly, the throbbing in his head increasing. Not again.

    “Already told you, sot, y’aren’t to be tortured. But comport yourself for the magistrate, or you might be.”

    “The magist…rate.” Oh, right. He had said something like that. Damn tavernkeeper, selling him like market-day fish. He’s not going back there. Which was fine, since he owed him money.

    Up and around a wide flight of stairs, the hall containing the magistrate’s suite of offices in the Audencia was nice, if a bit drafty. Damage from a bladed weapon of some sort had taken a chunk out of the thick wood of the door, still unrepaired following the coup, but aside from that, a few scorch marks, and the conspicuous absence of decoration, it is exactly the type of office one might expect a great man to occupy. A lot of hard-looking men in the hallway outside the magistrate’s offices, a lot of weapons. His anxiety intensifies.

    When he enters the office, the grey eyes of the magistrate meet his. A lord, in a fine cloak and surprisingly practical-looking breastplate. A presence. He appears to be examining a small architectural model of a tor that some pipsqueak of a bandoliered grammatarch appears to be gesticulating at. Tch. Grammatarchs. The little cowards rarely show themselves far from safety.

    “Zakkas dal Kassyraqua,” Daran announces far from enthusiastically. Zakkas sees the boy wrinkle his nose – oh he’ll have to smell much worse than that before he gets on. As for the magistrate, he’s also younger than he expected, if slightly more salted than the one playing toy soldiers. When did everyone become so young? City run by children and no wonder it’s all gone to hell.

    “Hello, Zakkas. Will you take some beer?” Zathander gestures to a chilled pitcher, freshly tapped from the parliamentary ice-house. The silver beaded with sweat. A droplet slides down.

    Zakkas’ face slackens, and a dull voice emits. “Your empty eyes grasp dominion…but you know not…all things, are unthings…” He blinks. Not again. Great Tesch, no, they’ll have him for heresy. Why is it getting worse now? “I’m sorry, I don’t know what...came over me.” he finally drifts off, insincerely.

    The soldier’s leather glove is tightly grasping him by the arm, still, in the awkward silence that follows. His other hand is near his gun, says the old part of him. But the magistrate does not loudly order him arrested for impiety, or possession, or the various other crimes he is guilty of for speaking to a magistrate with the part of him that’s broken.

    “Siadre, why don’t we continue this tomorrow?” Siadre nods. "Sounds good, my lord." The grammatarch packs up his models and goes, shooting Zakkas a nervous look as he does, which Zakkas doesn’t answer.

    “You’re a curious man, Zakkas.” says Zathander after a very unwilling Daran leaves while muttering saints’ names to himself.

    “I’m sorry, sir Magistrate, but what do you want with me?”

    The magistrate crosses a leg. “You were a cayanist of some note.”

    “No longer, though.”

    Zathander pours the glass and holds it out to him. “Please.”

    Zakkas hesitates, looking at the goblet like a poisoned chalice. But it has been too long. Far too long. The beaded water looks so cold and crisp, he can practically taste it – He sighs and plunks the goblet down on the table a few seconds later, wiping the froth from his beard with a sleeve.

    “Better?”

    The man grunts.

    "So if my men put it to your employer Teccho, he would attest to you being a simple baggage handler?"

    Zakkas takes a breath and sighs, long and slow. “Magistrate. If you want me to take my girls and leave, I will. But the College disbarred me.”

    “Do you think the writ of a Teschi magister runs to Sul?”

    “Ah.” Zakkas rises, unsteadily, grasping the pitcher off Zathander’s table, pouring himself another glass. “I think, Lord Napharneschi, I know full well just how far the College will chase a man who wrongs them.”

    “But now, Keros’ overthrow and the war has set us against most of the College. The old College may pass away entirely.”

    “Stop,” says Zakkas. “You think you’re the first to try? And that…reaction. I had. It’s because of you. You want the College gone, but I don’t. Yes, I hate the magisterium. It’s corrupt. But it serves the realm, even now.” He drains his second glass.

    “Lordlings like you, who meddle, who think they know deep things, can you even feel what the College does? What it trammels? You want to twist the strings, but the strings are a skein- and the skein covers a cauldron, and if you tear it –

    A tearing pain ripping through his temple, the hot rush of blood in his brain –

    Lilath, the Bractemenn always called him, for reasons they could never explain, Lilath, they laughed at him in their lilting tongue, at the clumsiness of his feet, the ungainliness of his song and way of life. Lilath, they whispered in hushed awe when he raked a field with desolation, pulled out death and withered a field of crimson blooms to pour the blood back into the ashen face of a dying knight.

    LILATH! Roared Kittantéi as the crimson-skinned fiends swarmed him, grasped his arms and legs and stabbed and stabbed at any entrance to the shining plate they could find, elbow thrashing as a freed buckler found Mahlen jaw. Not shouting for help, but ordering him back, for he was their shield, too important to lose-

    Crimson lightning and ashen cloud on the horizon, and the godling surrounded by a shining symbol in molten ruin hovered as his voice pervaded the smoking field of a thousand skirmishes. Space bending to magnify his might. Throbbing not with hatred, but a tone between pedantry and curiosity, and it said, he said, Mahol said -

    What is the philosophy of increase?

    Zakkas’ unfocused blue eyes resolve on Zathander’s grey, cool, contemplative ones, looking down at him as he takes a knee next to the fallen man. He helps the cayanist into a sitting position, as the throbbing vision gradually withdraws. He blinks, twice, understanding. Who this magistrate really is.

    “The seeming-touch…you’ve consorted with them,” he growls. “It’s why the visions came…the College will burn you.”

    “In the days of Atten, there was no distinction in the law,” says Zathander. “The elder art pulled from above, and below, and between, and the spoken word bound land, and being, and sea.”

    “And you think yourself Atten.”

    “Not even close. But I think I can restore the elder law.”

    “And what, you’ll wager your city in your gambit to restore some imaginary Sul that was? The world has suffered for men like you.”

    “A learned man lives in squalor while his two daughters languish, and the people of a once-proud city live in misery, cold, disease, poverty, and fear. But all of them, dal Kassyraqua, remember what this place once was, and what it might be again.”

    Zathander puts his hand lightly on Zakkas' forearm.

    “Now it’s my turn, you sad old man. I am the voice of all of Sul's people, you and they included, and I will break every College law if it gives you what you deserve. But I recognize, even in ignorance, that there are some laws I should never break, and I will need an honest man to advise me on which. You have shown great honesty, Zakkas. Now tell me if you can show discretion.”

    The cayanist humphs, his curse withdrawing for now.

    “I suppose you put on a decent show of it. Give me what I need, and I’ll do the same. But don’t make me cross the pale, and know that I will leave if you do.”

    “We have a deal,” says Zathander.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2019
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  3. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    I also concur with the Captain-Marshal's reservations that all final enforcement of the will of the court must pass through the state militia, and if necessary, the Parliamentary Guard. We are willing to countenance the establishment of an office of Civil-Inquisitor, who may bear arms in the service of the Curator, for the investigation and prosecution of crime and the apprehension of criminals, but any requisition of the people’s arms beyond this must be approved by the Captain-Marshal.

    OOC: There's no specific concept of "police" in Sulan law and physical security for the courts themselves and enforcement of sentences can be provided by the militia/Parliamentary Guard. Zathander is willing to allow something like a warrant officer/bounty hunter for the courts, but not a permanent standing armed force - if it's needed the Civil-Inquisitor can requisition militia support or round up a posse.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
  4. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    OOC: No orders yet, I expect orders tomorrow, but I will post these points as I process them, and sorry it's so late for everyone since it has consequences in regards to orders.

    -

    The Sunless One speaks to the courts

    To the laws proposal of the just and fair Kostyl Lipets, we cannot support a criminal court that does not invoke divine justice. The law’s well-intended demands of ”learning”, and other virtues, is far more vague than explicit virtue, and does not bring justice to those that are without learning but embody justice themselves. A man has read a thousand books and still beats his children. The only true path to common justice is an evaluation of zeal. Of course, this is a fickle matter, an outline of virtue. Long have people talked to chase the fruit. But you know as I do: those guided by a true heart do not commit crimes, and good faith brings truth of will and peace to the heart. Nowhere in the supposition is this explicit, and we know what men without faith treats that which doesn’t inhibit their power. Is there no faith in the law, the unfaithful can act carelessly and reap blood from the citizen.

    Therefore we deny the code of the courts, with sorrow in our hearts towards the good intent of the law. Understand that this is out of brazen care for the needy, and if the law shall pass, we will administer our justice as well as we can under a black sun.

    We cannot commit to a motion that denies lawful commitment. And be wary, for I know that if this passes, the citizens will know firsthand, the hungry will know of it, the poor will know of it. They are good and faithful people, you are leaving them in the night. It is the path to disorder. If you are to revise it ever so slightly, to ensure the limitations of those bound to darkness, bring in the word of faith to the courts, and the people will love you. I am a humble man, I know my place in this world, and I don't ask for gold, only patience: Say that the positions require faithful virtue to be competent enough to judge.

    (OOC translation/simplification: The courts justice system proposal has no outright requirement of the ”deep legal experience, learning, and above all, judicial character” to have anything to do with the brotherhood’s faith or faithful virtues. You may not care about the brotherhood here, but I do OOC believe that with the increased zeal of Sul’s population, you might get yourself into some trouble here. Probably it will be enough if you add "of faithful virtue" to the requirements to the individuals in question.)
     
  5. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    OOC Part 2 of pre-order stuff. Part 3 incoming.

    Karpyr will attend both Zathander's feast.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
  6. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    BROTHERHOOD VOTES and RESPONSES ---

    PUBLIC VOTES
    on the following matters are needed:

    1) To support or oppose the war declaration with Horizan
    1b) To pledge allegiance to King Hazzen VIII of Tesch and his Emissary, requesting aid for the same

    1) Good people are people of peace. But Sul is not the only place where the Brotherhood was unjustly expelled. We support the war with reservations of justice: the fight shall be on the roads, not in the cities. If Horizan starves or is sacked or any of these fair treatments are broken, we will denounce the war. And you know that wrath beckons wrath.
    1b) We abstain from this judgment. I have not met Hazzen, so I cannot judge his character. As such I cannot judge such a proposition. Let his will come to us, or he come to us himself, let him speak to the people. Such a declaration is not a good judgment when made behind curtains and doors of whispers.

    -

    2) To support or oppose a ransom for Keros' soldiers
    2b) Appoint a suitable organizer for ransoms, of whom Captain-Marshal dal Tellem is Zathander's preferred candidate.

    2 and 2b) Keros' soldiers are men of the beast. Ransom is earthly liberty bought with greed, not with good spirit. We oppose the ransom, however we will allow repentance. Repentance puts them under the jurisdiction of the Brotherhood. Let them be absolved through display of good faith. Let them work in the soup kitchens and the fields. Let them reshape wool into clothes for the needy. Let them listen to the good words of the books, the words wisdom from Zathander's just court in teachings, and the sacred proverbs of the monks. Let them return to the earth and live in good peace within our city. The Brotherhood will serve accomodations within our homes. And have they served the people for a year, they will be released to continue their service to the city.

    Do they refuse service, they turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the world, and will be treated accordingly.

    (OOC: To be very clear, this will put the soldiers under the jurisdiction of the Brotherhood, allowing the Brotherhood to pass befitting judgment.)

    -

    3) To support or oppose the repair of the Ortoran Gate - estimates are in, and a proper stone repair will cost 15 WP.
    3a) Zathander proposes a down payment of 4 WP from the State Treasury be made to start the construction, but this is the Intendant's purview for approval.

    3 and 3a) That which has fallen shall come together again. Rebuild the estates.

    -

    -

    We accept the gift of Zathander to build more accomodations for the needy. And they shall know who brought the gold to the streets. Zathander, it was Zathander who brought bread to the people. We will sermon it with full bellies and relieved smiles.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
  7. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    The streets bustled as the courts were rebuilt in writing and stone. Gates slowly rose as artisans browsed the markets for entertainment. The soup kitchens abuzz with hope for the new days. And at the corners, it still rang loud: "Leash the Beast! Leash the Beast!", perhaps one day to be true. But two new words had begun echoing: "Just zeal." Just zeal, only zeal, and only zeal of justice; that was what they heard the preachers sing. A new court to bring justice to the people; and they called for it to be just zeal. Let virtue be the foundation of the city, not books of the wealthy. Let the spirit of the good poor shine throughout the halls of court. Let law ring true to the lawful.

    Let no more punishments be unjust. Let the new books of court law bring in only people of good faith.

    "Just zeal," the preacher sang, and they murmured in answer, "just zeal."

    -

    OOC That's all before orders, which will show up later today.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
  8. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    OOC: I will be setting aside funds in the autumn season to build the Hospice of Orebhas, since my summer funds are currently spoken for.

    Official amendment to my orders - take up a collection on Karpyr's behalf from the many noble guests at Zathander's gathering to begin to assemble funds to build the hospice, with an appropriately stirring speech on how we must care for the wounded veterans who will be injured in the battles to come.
     
  9. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    Karpyr is fine with the fund delay. : )
     
  10. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    I've made a fundamental edit to the repentence of Keros' soldiers. There I've edited a few of the decisions and underlined that repentence will put the soldiers under the penal jurisdiction of the Brotherhood.

    Orders - Karpyr

    Spoiler :
    Income: 4 (0/2/0/2)
    Enterprises: 1 Bakery (+2 Winter), 2 Cayan Fonts (+1 Summer)
    Savings: 3 WP
    Assets: Karpyr House [0S/0O], 25 loyal gradi, ~250 devoted pupils
    -
    Total money this season: 5. Put into savings.

    Follow the decisions of the votes in the posts above as well as the directions presented towards the rest of the court. One important note is if Keros' soldiers are given repentence under Orebhas. If, naturally. I haven't won the vote. It's just if by some fool's luck it works out this way, I want to outline the procedure. The rest of the city court is not to be told about the procedure in question, although it's not secrecy, the Brotherhood will just act independently of the courts.

    First, there will be a week of sermons letting the citizens know that the soldiers will be run through the city, detailing the upcoming procedure, and saying; "The innocent of you may cast your stones on a rabid dog and remain innocent. Bring your justice to the Black Hound. Leash the Beast." At the beginning of the next week, by midday, the soldiers are to be Absolved.
    The procedure is as such. All of the soldiers have their hands bound, are stripped naked and forcefully blinded and castrated. Immediately after the procedure they are bound and driven through the streets. Here the citizens are allowed to throw stones at them at will. They will be driven to the river banks where they are thrown into sacks. The sack connected to a rope, they will be thrown into the river and kept there for the length of a five minute sermon by Karpyr himself. Then they're dragged back up, and the survivors are presented in a line. Karpyr will bless each of them, kiss their foreheads and let them know that they are now Toddlers, innocent and pure again.

    The forced blindness is done with a rykha, a somewhat clumsy scissor-like instrument that makes a scissor cut through the eyes and then carves a big cross across the face. It also has a finer part of it it shaped as an outwards-facing sawtooth scissor, that can be inserted places and then opened, to cause damage as it's pulled back and forth. The finer part is primarily used to cause deafness (that's the intention at least, the instrument is very clumsy and can cause all other sorts of troubles).

    Toddlers will basically remain as blind eunuchs, serving as house slaves in the Brotherhood. They will actually be treated with a degree of fairness and kindness as long as they obey (or that's the instruction at least, different monks may choose different dispositions, and these monks will probably be duly corrected by Karpyr at some point). However, they are not allowed to lie - anyone that is caught lying will be physically punished. Anyone that flees is to be forcefully deafened with a rykha and put into a dungeon for life. Such a deafening is called "being nighted".

    However, I will probably not be given the jurisdiction to have them "repent" this way. In this case, the sermons are to tell the citizens that the courts have treated the soldiers with more justice than the citizens are given by the very same courts. Sermons will exclaim the lack of justice towards the poor and unwillingness to give the Sulans what they truly deserve - compassion. With the inference, naturally, that showing compassion to the Sulans means allowing them to brutally punish the captured soldiers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
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  11. ork75

    ork75 Chieftain

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    The Intendant takes the floor

    Briefly, in response to my honorable Magistrate and Captain-Marshal, I believe their complaints are well founded. I would support the office of Chief Inquisitor, serving under the office of the Curator, and directing the efforts of the lawyers of the state. I also agree that the proposal for the Judicial Police [ooc: can’t currently access googledocs and forget what I named them] should be incorporated into the state militia, but I believe they should at least be considered a different department. I think that those who enforce the laws of our city, and handle crime and punishment, should be considered separate from the military defenders of Sul. We are not an occupying force holding power by strength of arms, and therefore, the laws we pass should be enforced by a more civilian body.

    But on to more important matters.

    I know that my honorable colleague Karpyr has good in his heart, but if we are to fear the plagues of faction and tyranny, we must fear their spectre in his words.

    Let us remember why we rose against Keros in the first place. We did so, of course, out of a sense of justice, and, yes, of faith. But why were these senses, the most important senses in man’s political being, offended?

    Friends, we all remember the crimes and abuses of that monster’s reign: the killings, the false charges, the disappearances in the night. The defiling of the holy legacy of Sul. But never, ever, EVER forget the REASON that Keros did these things. While he ground our people into dirt and broke our temples, fires, and waters, he did so in the name of FAITH. He claimed the mantle of the College, the approval and terrible power of a body only he could contact and which he ensured that only he could influence, and he used that burning fire of faith and duty (which, I remind you, he truly believed his actions were furthering!) to act in a manner reprehensibly selfish, tyrannical, and most certainly unfaithful.

    This is not to attempt to exonerate him, or defend him whatsoever. I merely wish to remind you of the reasons for which we have created this body, from documents signed in blood in dark alleys and knives lifted wet and red from chests. I wish to remind you of the principles and risks we stand to fight here, in this chamber, as the city of Sul! We will find him, we will catch him, we will try him, and he will face judgment for his crimes.

    But how could we have avoided a Keros? How can we forever prevent the return of a monster in such a form?

    Keros, as despot, ruled in the name of faith, and drew the law he claimed to execute from it. But he himself was above that law! Note that the faith and zeal which he claimed to apply was untouchable, inner, immune to outside argumentation and pressure. The law stemmed from the “divine” will of his whim and the steel and fervor of his men, and we suffered for it. How we suffered, friends, how we suffered! May we never forget...

    This suffering is why I wrote our law. With a code, with courts chaired by men with proven careers in the interpretation of letter and argument, with long experience in the application of a justice that may not always feel fair, that may leave tears and ill sentiment, but always stems from the same font and is, as a system, as an aggregate, the best way to order a society, we must not depend on the whims of a personal faith of a single man! The law I have proposed today is ultimately fair, is divinely inspired, stands to end chaos, and puts itself above a fickle claim of faith by lending a dependable structure to our political lives.

    So with this all said let us turn to the request our friend Karpyr makes of our law.

    He requests something simple, apparently benign: merely that the judges of the criminal courts be required to be men of faith. In support of this proposal, he notes that “deep judicial learning and character” is an impossible quality to verify.

    Let me first defend the existing language, and explain why we may in fact verify these qualities.

    We have, in our city and in our society, schools and associations devoted to education in the matters and application of justice. These institutions, in my view, are more than capable of producing men who are qualified, wholly and completely, to take positions in our new courts. And if a degree or certification is believed to be insufficient on its own grounds, it is a simple matter to investigate the character of such lettered men by speaking to their professors, their relations, their friends, their enemies, and the people who fill their lives.

    Of course, these schools are inaccessible to those without wealth or connections. I recognize this, and so does the code. I remind you all today that I myself have no degree in laws, but I bring before you a code that, besides a few points of contention, seems to be acceptable. Furthermore, I am recognized in two communities: that of merchants and economy, and that of the poor of this city, oppressed as the rest of us under Keros and oppressed as well by the grindstone of poverty. It was there, without accreditation, that I built my reputation as an arbiter. And I beg you, try to find a single case in which I committed injustice. One time that I cheated a man from a fortune that was rightfully, with full weight of evidence, his. Find me a time, a single time, on which I denied justice to a child, a family, a sparring pair of clans. You will not, because I myself am a man with a verifiable background in judicial reasoning, the making of justice, and the composure of a man of the law. I know there are many others like this — robbed of a title by virtue of birth, but all the same accomplished and gifted adjudicators who are as qualified to chair a bench and decide a case.

    But faith... faith is not like judicial character. A man can act like he has it, and play the part of the pious, but retain a heart blacker than blood-soaked soot. We see this, among other examples, with Keros. He ruled in the name of faith and virtue, but we all know the true stain of his crimes. On the other hand, there are men (and I know many) who are so busy by the trials of the material life and the responsibilities of leading families and dependents that they cannot engage in the demonstration of faith. They cannot grace the steps of a temple for want of time away from the shovel, hammer, or stall, and they cannot grace a donation box with a clink of coin for want of the sustenance they need to live and work another day. But are such men not faithful?! Foregoing all in favor of the holy responsibility they owe to their relations? And what of those who choose to practice in a different manner? I grew up in the North, and I will say that, while we know the same religion, while we know the same duties and guidelines, our temples look nothing like those of Sul. Are we less faithful just for praying on our knees, with hands grasped tight behind us, and expressing our belief in a different manner?

    Given that we cannot confirm whether a man is merely pretending to be faithful or truly acting on the good word, we must then ask how this proposed clause would in fact be evaluated.

    Perhaps we could let the College, that arbiter of morality, decide our judges. But not only would that further remove our justice from our own people, but they already have their voice with their designated spot on the appropriate board.

    Perhaps we would merely let the popular will show us, and leaders of faith of Sul would tell our men of laws who would or would not pass muster.

    At this point I wish to tell you a story. It is a simple tale, of nothing more than what transpired as I walked with my men to this chamber this very morning.

    As we passed through a market we passed by a group of preachers and a few followers, those of the Brotherhood our friend Karpyr shepherds. Their cries to leash the beast have comforted me these past months, filling me each day with new fervor as I seek to arrange the laws which will guide us forward. I know that they hunger for justice, and I strive to sate this appetite.

    But this morning, as we passed, they chanted a different refrain. “Just zeal,” they cried to us, called to us. And so I turned, and they saw me, and they fell upon our party.

    At first it was merely louder, then they seethed with anger, and in the end my men and I fled with pebbles bouncing from the armor of my gradi.

    I will note that the market had emptied well before that time, and the worshippers and their leaders were the last standing in that corner of the square. Where had stood hundreds, at my reckoning, stood only a dozen or two. Where had stood Sul, in her vibrance and her brilliance, stood only her self-proclaimed faithful and two dressed in the image of their chief, Karpyr.

    I do not wish to levy accusations of assault or assassination against members of this court. As I have said, Karpyr is a good and dedicated man. But I wish to relay this tale.

    I ask you, now, who would say who is faithful? Would it be some person, some organization, who would tell us what to think of a man in terms of a quality we have established as impossible to evaluate?

    Or, perhaps, would we see the situation we already see happening. A situation in which a self-proclaimed prophet and an indisputable swayer of men does not like what he sees in the votes of others. So he attempts to force the vote and to sway the law in his favor, by manufacturing public support in the name of HIS faith and letting this fester around the city. He threatens the Judiciary that problems may ensue should they not respect his will, and proceeds to rally his followers against government although no others have shared in his concern. He claims the mantle of sole interpreter of insubstantial faith, and then claims that a man of justice and religion has not sufficiently reflected these qualities in a law code based on them.

    In other words, despite the piety displayed in the law code, it lacks the mark of Karpyr’s particular faith. And this, gentleman is what he proposes. Not that we should respect religion and the good in our laws, but rather that his lonesome opinion on what is right by the heavens shall rule.

    And we have already seen what he does when he does not get his way in his regard. If my troubles on the way to this chamber today are not enough evidence, have you not heard the rumors of what he presides over in the runs? I am loathe to lend strength to words of base speculation, but we cannot ignore how sustained these tales have become.

    What would happen if we were to add this clause?

    The demonstrations against me and my policies, and for “zeal”, may cease, but should a judge ever fall into disfavor, we would see the Brotherhood motivate demonstrations across the city. Any trangressor could be termed insufficientpy faithful, a condemnation likely backed by “popular demonstrations”. And then, in order to remain coherent and proper, this judge would have to be sacked despite doing nothing but his duty, just not the duty which Karpyr wants.

    In other words, Karpyr’s proposal would give him a sufficiently soft veto power on any judge, and set a precedent for applying such clauses to any legislation. We would bend to a fragment of Sulan society, and surrender control of our destiny to the voices of a fervent few.

    Is this not, in essence, what Keros did? Give himself the corrupt and final say in all matters, sanctioned by a veneer of religion and empowerment?

    I hope in my heart of hearts that Karpyr did not intend and does not intend all this as evil. I merely ask that he and his flock respect the laws the way that they are designed, and recognizes that they as written the best way to manage justice in Sul.

    But, if he did...

    If he seeks to become a traitor, a tyrant, and a Keros, let him say it plain. It would be the honorable, faithful thing to do.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
    Angst likes this.
  12. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    Karpyr's fierce visage smiles to the court, then he sighs resignedly.

    "Friends. It saddens me that the Intendant would call me a devil like Keros. And I think it demonstrates my qualms when a man who prides himself on reading doesn't know how to listen.

    So Keros called himself faithful. You all know that. And you know as well, whether all false faiths are virtuous. The Intendant decries our order for its faith, after it was driven out as dogs by the Beast. And the Intendant calls this faith, not vice. Does he tear apart all books if he finds a falsehood in one? If this is this the virtue of good judgment that he principles, I find it ever so true that we need the concession of faith.

    For yes - does this man, priding himself on good stewardship, know of the concept of concession? I asked for the addition of three words to a code, and he answered with a thousand. He looks for a devil, rages towards a pond and breathes fire. He looks to a soup kitchen and calls it a fester. I said three words and he yells a thousand, naming me the Beast.

    This man of the people, he mocks the meek under him, those who serve the peasants in his name. And he blames me for the ill will of citizens. Again, I question whether his books leave him without the ability to understand the good judgment of the innocent, the meek, the people. He gets yelled at, brings his anger to the court, threatens a blind priest and calls it justice.

    I asked for a simple amendment of three words, words that secure virtue the Intendant fails to display, while he denounces the monks who feed the poor for him.

    Myself, I will turn the other cheek. Unjust threats are just that. I am but a man in rags. And I trust in the judgment of this court, even if I were not to trust the Intendant. I know that those of books aren't. And I have soup to serve to the poor. Would he Intendant care for his people, he can join me in the kitchen.

    Blessed be the Intendant and you all, if you choose to be."

    Karpyr bowed as the crowd mumbled.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
  13. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    The Magistrate Speaks

    Gentlemen, and friends. May I remind you that I am the only member of this Judiciary to possess a degree of laws. While I am loath to intervene in the city's domestic matters, I feel bound both by the qualifications the Intendant extols, and my duty as Lord of Sul, to pronounce upon this dispute. I regret to begin with a reprimand, but my good judges, we must not bandy about personal slights in these hallowed halls of state. To fall against each other like dogs, when in our hearts we hold the same goal of justice both earthly and divine, would justify the aspersions against the mob cast by Magister Keros and his ilk to denounce all enlightened, republican government.

    We must prove him wrong.

    We must prove the superior morality and wisdom of the people of Sul.

    And so, we must perform the action for which the magister lacked the faculty: Compromise.

    I propose that the requirement for those to be judges of our city's lower courts be described as such: "Men of established learning, civic and religious virtue." Ultimately, let I remind you gentlemen, we are this city's supreme Judiciary. We Stratti are the final arbiters of both civic and religious virtue. And if a judge comes forth who shows a lack of virtue, of either the earthly or divine nature, we Judges retain the privilege of dismissal.

    As such, let me propose the following clause: That any petty judge accused of a breach or moral propriety by a Strattos of Sul be subject to a vote of censure by this Judiciary, to be followed by a reprimand, a fine, or dismissal as the gravity of the accusation requires.

    We speak in generalities, when the truth of the matter is plain: No judge who is unacceptable to the Intendancy will stand. No judge who is unacceptable to the Brotherhood will stand. We shall find men in possession of the qualifications, both secular and religious, who are acceptable to all factions, and who possess the virtues in all areas that are required to serve our city. I do not believe any judge of Sul will fail to present himself at the shrines on the festival days, nor will he find himself unlettered and unwritten. We shall seek all these things in our city's future judges.

    And we cannot argue about the qualities of men we do not know. I do not doubt that all our city's judges will staff our administration with their own trusted associates.

    And as I trust you, my fellow Judges, I trust them.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
  14. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    Spoiler Arvind's To-Do List :
    Delegate to the Steward the day-to-day management of the restoration of Semmerul and my properties in and around Sul proper. This shall be a slow, but consistently-maintained process of repair, constituting not more than a quarter of my resources. Where I do take direct involvement will be in the installation of the looted and recaptured friezes and carved wood panels in my house. I would like to hope that I have at least something of a vision of what my family's home once was, and what it shall be again.

    Amer, Ananda, Kaleba. These are my nephew and two nieces, my middle brother's trio of bastards. They have been living with Azver's surviving mistresses. I will see to it that they are provided with an education, and guidance to see that they might make better of themselves than whores, gamblers, cheats and liars like their parents. If they need it, perhaps I can provide shelter for them as well, perhaps even in Semmerul as it is restored. I will look particularly into Amer and his legitimization- hopefully he is a boy more in the mold of Orben or myself than his father, for if I fail to produce issue of my own, it is he who will bear the responsibility of carrying on my father's name.

    I will maintain mailed correspondence with the Castellan of my Manor at Tellem, keeping up to date with affairs on the Glamman Marches. I have been absent for some time, but my post in the north is not abandoned.



    Determine who I can trust among the City's Guard. Iroen Geventuri has made himself stand out to me, and I will continue to identify others whom I might place into a hierarchy. I will continue to drill and organize the Guard, who will form the professional corps of Sul's defense, responsible for and immediate matters of municipal protection and order-keeping. Building up competence, duty and public trust is paramount- corruption will be met with execution. The guard will also run regular patrols through Eeler's Run, making our presence known through soft power, before we need to drop truncheons into some mobster skulls.

    I will also organize biweekly drills and monthly exercises for the city militia. The militia shall be the larger force, armed only in times of emergency, and provided with a cereal stipend in exchange for their commitment to periodic drilling and training.

    From my own funds, I will invest in the construction and refurbishing of guard barracks and weaponry. I will also invest to ensure that appropriate gear is made available for the militia, though this receives lesser priority.


    The expedition to the northern Port of Horizan, it seems, shall be led by myself. I will petition the judiciary for funds, but be prepared to front what I can from the income and production of my own properties. It is due to my upcoming absence that I have had particular interest in establishing a hierarchy in the city's guard, so that I might leave a force to ensure the security of Sul in our absence. I will leave what portion of the guard behind as I deem necessary to retain order, and bring the rest, along with a contingent of city militia, paid in lump sum for this unusual and extraordinary service of several months outside of the city. Promises shall also be made of plunder, should we be successful in our expedition.

    Dispatch probes to the Port of Horizan immediately, long before our army has mustered and arrived, to seek out weaknesses and potential betrayers among the city's defenders. We can offer petty monetary rewards for treachery, as well as promises of protection of the traitor's property by my own retinue and the better-trained portions of the Sulian Guard.

    When our army arrives- a force largely of drilled, but still peasant militia, with a small corps of trained city guards and a smaller yet collection of retinues from the lords and parliament of Sul, we shall prepare a ram for the gates and ladders for the walls, and regard what intelligence we have gleaned of the city's defenses. If we can take the city by treachery, we will nonetheless make the preparations of a standard assault (a siege of a port, without a sufficient fleet of our own, would be a fool's errand) to distract from our true intentions. Alternatively, we might undermine vulnerable portions of wall, outright tunnel in to a collaborator's house, or land a small force at night to get a force into the Port. A ruse, should I maintain an agent in the city, would be to spear a sleeping Eel, should the whereabouts of one be found, to create a similar disturbance prior to our attack.

    The command of the assault is presumed to be mine, though I will not resist if Van dal Esier, Zathander Napharneschi or another prominent figure seeks a role of similar command. When we are in the city, I will move forward with a vanguard to secure the infrastructure of the Ports themselves, and the property of any traitors to whom I have made promises. The rest of the city shall be free for looting by the militias. Once the Port has been secured to the approval of the Drakkanthron, the bulk of our army might, save for a force of our more trained guards and a trusty lieutenant or two, to supervise and maintain a presence in the occupied city. If this for whatever reason becomes untenable, or we are commanded out of the city to replaced by the Drakkanthron's own garrison, we shall withdraw.



    Regarding the inner politics of Sul: Zathander Napharneschi, I trust. I trust him to be true to himself at the very least. The man is a burning tor of ambition, which he hides to limited effect. But I do not read him to be a treacherous man, at least so long as my cooperation is of use to him. I will attend his events and make myself familiar with his social circles, the circles of the new elite of Sul. I am not fond of such things, but if these functions are prerequisite to the maintenance and restoration of my House in Sul, then so be it. I shall also be convivial with Van dal Esier, but should situations arise, I know where my allegiance lies.
     
  15. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    Responding to Zathander -

    "Thank you, my friend. That is all I ask. Just zeal."
     
  16. ork75

    ork75 Chieftain

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    The Magistrate proposes a wise compromise. The next draft of the code will reflect it.

    OOC: Moscow doesn’t believe in tears, and also doesn’t believe in places where I can pull out a laptop and connect to wifi, apparently. I will update the law code document as soon as I can.
     
  17. bombshoo

    bombshoo Never mind...

    Joined:
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    Orders

    Spoiler :
    We’ve taken our place on the council, but we’re deeply tied into the politics of Sul yet. This is fine. Actually more than fine. We’re building up our reputation and we’re doing our own thing. First and foremost give a security upgrade and give the city the money we promised. After that we’re a little more free.

    We’re going to have a small get-together of judges in our penthouse apartment above the eelery. The other judges will likely be horrified by the stench of the dock and what it takes to get there (if they come). But this is to make a point. They need security to come? Great. It’s ugly to look at? Awesome.

    We’ve invited our attractive, young and charismatic bookkeeper, Jycee to the get-together. She’s there for a reason. Her children used to play in the trash on the street until we allowed them use of our yard, but we can’t provide for everyone. We want the plight of Eeler’s Run known. Atten’s apartment is nice and pretty insulated, so the party should go off without a hitch once it’s actually started but the problems of the area should be noticable. Our judges need to know that /good/ people live here. The fact she’s attractive and charismatic is why we picked her.

    Try and make contact to the mercenary teams in Horizon via third party connections to give us an opening there. Open a gate, stop guarding the harbor, anything. We have a lot of connections, so let’s try and use them. If it comes down to it Atten will go himself to make contact. This is extremely risky, but he’s not beyond doing it and he can probably extricate himself anyways. He’s trained for this.

    Padwik is eeling again for the first time in two years. He’s a legendary eeler and it’s supposed to be a good season. If the Horizon event does not go well, Padwik is back in charge.

    Extra income should go into the general fund for eeler's and fishermen care and whatnot. Leave us 3 WP
     
  18. ork75

    ork75 Chieftain

    Joined:
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    Spoiler Summary of Memos from the Office of Kostyl Lipets, Summer, 1884 :
    Current Wealth: 11

    Spending:
    -5 for the loan [-6 for the loan, but +1 for the sale of goods]
    -1 for 100 Gradi, hired from Yak Obel (Kostyl's homelands)
    -2 for a Grammatarch, for the year. Story forthcoming. Asial Sieren, a Practor who (when possible) is interested in a relatively novel and arcane form of grammatarchy which focuses on self-sustaining magic, logic systems, and connected input sources. But, naturally, a practor, and therefore qualified as an engineer.

    3 saved.
    1. The contract with Arvind and Zathander shall be followed. I reprint it here for convenience. The 10 men called for in the contract will be the most capable accountants and subordinates from the L&P building in Sul.
      Spoiler Contract :

      The banking house of Lipets & Pont and affiliated businesses (hereafter abbreviated L&P) shall provide the City of Sul
      1. [6 EP] of funding for a coming expedition against Horizan
      2. Cloth from L&P warehouses, [1 EP] worth at a discounted rate
        1. to be paid from the State Treasury to L&P
      In exchange, should the expedition succeed:
      1. L&P shall send a party of "Auditors at Arms" to accompany the expedition and provide consult on the quartermastering of the force
        1. If this is not desired, they shall merely act as due diligence for this contract on the part of L&P
        2. Regardless, these men shall pay their own way with regards to supplies, so as to not burden the fighting forces of Sul
      2. L&P shall be paid a cut of the spoils of war, considered to be composed of the following enumerated goods, rights, and establishments
        1. Or alternatively paid in cash and movables should the following terms go unfulfilled
      3. Damage to the city of Horizan shall be kept to a minimum
        1. should this condition be violated during the chaos of victory, the share of spoils paid to L&P shall increase in proportion with the degree to which further terms of this contract cannot be fulfilled
          1. this penalty will apply only to those commanders and troops directly under control of the Captain-Marshal and the Magistrate, although it is encouraged that other commanders are pressured to follow suit
      4. Any trade goods seized from warehouses and abandoned mercantile establishments (i.e. warehouses, customs houses, financial centers) will be turned over to L&P
        1. Only in cases where the owners have fled or otherwise forfeited their property through strong opposition to the campaign
      5. Banking houses and warehouses abandoned by their owners, or otherwise sold to the city of Sul during the victory, shall be transferred to L&P
        1. The L&P staff accompanying the campaign shall handle final negotiations, to ensure the fairness of the proceedings and the satisfaction of all involved parties
      6. Captives of the mercantile, common, or collegial classes taken during the siege shall be transferred to the control of L&P for negotiations
      Should the expedition fail:
      1. L&P shall expect repayment from the State Treasury of Sul in the amount of [4 EP]
        1. L&P intends to show their confidence and pride in this new project, and so will relinquish any right to pursue further repayment
      Signed:

      Kostyl Lipets

      Goods and establishments whose owners have fled shall be offered the opportunity to repossess their goods, provided they have good evidence that they are indeed theirs, for a small fee (if we seized the entire city intact, and every single resident fled, then everyone bought everything back, I'd want to end up with 6EP) and a contract of incorporation into L&P. This process shall be administered by the 10 agents who are to be sent with the expedition: these will be from the staff of company agents, rather than company Gradi. Those who do not buy their companies back will forfeit them, and these establishments shall be incorporated into L&P. Shipping businesses and chartering houses (to which merchant ships are contracted) are the highest priority assets to acquire: we want to monopolize not only banking in Horizan, not only warehousing, but also shipping on the river between Horizan and Sul to the extent we are able. They shall be staffed by those Horizantans who agree to join L&P, managed by the agents sent with the campaign, but all new positions shall be staffed by new hires who decide to come from Yak Obel and the other cities of the north (see points below). Goods that are not claimed shall be sold on the market, or shipped upriver to Sul, whichever is more profitable.

      For those who cannot pay even a small fee (either in cash or in movable goods, or debt), the agents should run a small appeals operation. However, they should try to ensure that, with the might of Sulan armies behind them, the fee (and relevant debt structures) are respected.

      These company agents should also strive to make a list/register of the number of accountants, businesses, stocks, banks, etc., of the city. This will be useful when operations get optimized during the coming months.

      Lettered men, academics, grammatarchs and College prisoners, and legal professionals should be held in good conditions (seized or abandoned, and fed off of captured stockpiles) for the time being. L&P agents should strive to be visible in their efforts to defend the rights, honor, and good treatment of these prisoners. Agents should attempt to recruit these men into either the newly acquired businesses in Horizan, or prepare them for legal roles in Sul or Horizan.

      Additionally, the agents should attempt to begin to impose the Sulan law code in Horizan. At this point in time, this will mostly be informing the legal authorities of the new civil codes and attempting to train them. And, more to the point, the agents should attempt to identify the best candidates for the Sulan Judicidial Review Board and Legal Accreditation Board. I'll explain in a document that I'll send you at some point why, but they should be looking for capable lawyers and arbiters who will be willing to respect favors and respect those who will have helped them rise to new positions.

      Agents should overall conduct themselves with the utmost respect to the residents of Horizan, and in cases where possible, should attempt to limit the damage to the city through both the rigors of campaigning and the actual seizure of the city (and associated looting, etc.). They should, in short, try to make L&P seem like saviors, just masters, and upstanding citizens with the interest of Horizantans in mind.
    2. We've heard rumors from the Magistrate of a planned bank robbery. This cannot stand, but the specific layout of L&P makes this somewhat easier to deal with. Kostyl Lipets's holdings, barring the warehouses, are all part of the same building as his house: it used to be a long rowhouse, but then it was bought out and the upper stories were merged into the same structure. The 100 new gradi will be employed in guarding this grand banking house, assisted by the magics of the grammatarch.

      Priorities should be establishing a perimeter to stop any attempted actions by a mob, from which the gradi pickets can fall back, and establishing defense patrols and protocols within the actual building.

      Just want to remind you that many of the staff of the building, and of L&P, are drawn from Lipets' ethnic group. If would-be robbers attempt to infiltrate this ethnic minority, remember that.

      The grammatarch should, for the time being, employ himself in strengthening the inner vault, strengthening and fireproofing the paper storage vaults, and strengthening the outer walls.

      Should an attack occur, the gradi should defend the building with any means necessary, but should not provoke violence. They're professionals, not hacks, and should act like that. If an attack is defeated, they should not pursue, but rather stay to defend. Any prisoners taken will be interrogated and held for processing from the law system, once it gets more going.

      A flag signal should be established with the Parliamentary Guard, to call them in the event of an emergency

      Due to the personal threat posed to Lipets by Karpyr, he should at all the rare times he leaves receive a hefty escort from his gradi, to the order of 20 men. This includes to the banquet, although if they must stand to the sideline, then so they shall.
    3. The scouts sent for lawyers, bankers, and recruits to hire should continue their efforts, especially as they go further out and encounter their home territories in the birch forests around Yak Obel. As jobs open up in Horizan and potentially with the new legal system, perhaps new hires can be found.
    4. A messenger, incognito, should send word to the College of the threat of Karpyr. He should report the risk, and also repudiate the actions of Keros. If the College appears to be satisfied with their new role in Sul's laws, and also worried about the fanatic, perhaps we should request some help in management. Further plans would be best suited by a qualified Cayanist, known only to and entrusted to the secret command of the Magistrate and the Intendant. The College should be impressed upon to send any response incognito as well, preferably to L&P representatives in Horizan so as to avoid prying eyes.
    5. Intendant duties: 4 EP of state funds will be sent for the reconstruction of the gate. If the L&P-hired grammatarch has time to spare, he should also cut his teeth on his project, as a sort of test for future work.
    6. As the city is still damaged, if there is spare cloth in the warehouses and those with leaky roofs need shelter from summer rains, L&P should use this cloth to make beds, blankets, and tents for those in need. If these things are not needed, cloth suitable for use as bandages and clothes for the poor and injured and sick of the city should be distributed to hospitals and charitable orders that are NOT the Brotherhood. This aid should be distributed freely.
    7. Almost forgot: copies of the new law code should be read out in front of the Judiciary building, and distributed throughout the city by Judges and the work crews from the project at the gate.


    Oh, and the Intendant will attend Zathander's ball.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
  19. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    I, Iroen Arvind Irvanat dal Tellem, also consider the L&P proposal acceptable, and sign.
     
  20. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    Location:
    In the desert
    Curse of the Cayanist, Part Two:

    - Over forty years ago -

    The tidal roar of the Fugue Sea was his earliest memory. Mother had looked after him, since Father lived far away in his high tower and frowned whenever he saw him. Adaïs was his mother’s name. She was known for her singing – in the day she sang to the sheep and the goats who followed her like Heose’s host, and at night to the worms of the magister’s serery, that they would spin their silk beneath the moonlight. That she would make the magister spin as well was hardly unpredictable.

    “Life and death and life is the oldest story and the only story,” she told little Zakkas as they walked by the seashore, one chubby hand in hers, the other dragging a small stick behind him in the wet sand. They watched the waves crash down and retreat, bubbling seafoam left behind among the kelp as the flows trickled back down to the ocean. “The push and the pull, of each generation of women and men, and all living things, rising, and fading.”

    At the time he did not think it special, or know to call it cayanics, but his mother taught him the core of the Ability back then. To spread his awareness outwards and feel the life essence in all things, to realize that the fundament of life is differentials of stored energy. She showed him the uncountable number of living things too small for human eyes to see, floating in the ocean, drifting on the air, crawling on the skin. That death is not instantaneous, but rather a gradual unwinding of a being into smaller, still-living components. The bound-up energy in each of these components, and the natural magic of the world, as scavengers devour the dead, and are devoured, and how much is lost in each step of life-transfer.

    To understand, first, always, and then to use. She showed him how to pull the power from the decaying life matter on the beach and put it into something else, kelp and jellyfish carcasses crumbling to dust as the algae across the bay bloomed with shimmering silver light under the stars. They laughed with delight together, and in wonder. That this level of power from a mere child was exceptional went unremarked upon. That the Ability could just as soon be turned to darker purposes, as well.

    Accomplished cayanists differ as to whether the Ability is influenced by blood, or whether a certain mindset, experience, or education is the key. Most agree, however, that much like learning any trade, it is best to begin in childhood. He was, as children often are, happy without knowing he was happy, firm in the idolatry of his parents in their two worlds.

    But the unorthodox practices of the Kassyrene hillfolk, half-tribal as they were, had never sat well with the Teschi who colonized the island. It was a conflict long since resolved with both massacres and assimilation, such that the hillfolk were now ‘mostly’ Teschi themselves, but nevertheless it occasionally resurfaced in vicious bursts of communal violence. Zakkas’ mother had the protection of the magister, her particular gifts being very profitable to both the local College and to the magister himself – but this only intensified the resentment of the townspeople.

    Perhaps the incident could have been avoided if the magister had been more discreet, or if his mistress had accepted his protection and lived closer to the College, rather than remaining in her isolated cottage among the coastal hills she so loved. Perhaps many things could have been different. But they were not.

    As befitting the illegitimate child of a personage as notable as the magister, Zakkas had the right to attend lessons in the scholastic grammar school once he reached the age of seven. And this he did, until he was twelve. The lessons terminated in mid-afternoon, following which the boy purchased necessities for his mother and carried them on the long journey home.

    He knew when he was still miles away that something was wrong as a bleating sheep he knew to be one of theirs ran down the path and past him. He did not go after it – he dropped his goods and broke into a sprint. The boy felt, of course, the swinging corpse long before he saw it, though he begged to be wrong. He should not have looked at the bloated, blotchy, swollen face, its beauty marred and ruined by the terrible witch’s branding the townspeople had done to it before the asphyxiation of her hanging. But he did look. He screamed, and he sobbed, clutching her hem. And then, he began to think.

    It was not difficult for a cayanist of skill to feel that people from the nearby village were responsible – the little crumbs and infinitesimal scattered life-forms left behind by those living in a town were very different from those of the hillside. He had smelled this mélange before. Tearing at the sleeves of his collegial uniform in anguish, he knew exactly which village to target for his reprisal. As he gathered power about himself in a malign cloud, the hill moss turned black in his wake.

    They were a small fishing village, half-transient, with a small cayan font to purify the tidewater led by a zealous preacher from the mainland. The sun had just set, and the boats were in, pulled up on the sand, the new pier only half-finished. With a gnash of his teeth, the twelve-year-old Zakkas pulled the life from all the living things on the bayside. Fish floated up, clams cracked, seabirds plummeted. And among the kitchen gardens and houseplants of the fisherfolk, vines grew. As Zakkas screamed in rage and exertion, the plants twisted and thickened, writhing around legs and arms, shattering bones. Innocent and guilty alike died in their beds and on their thresholds, slain by their plants.

    The cayan brother came out of his home, robe partially undone and staff in hand, pointing towards the malign cayanist on the hillside, withering the strangling vines around him to generate a column of superheated air (not quite ignition-caliber, the boy observed with contempt) that whipped his face with razor-like winds, knocking him back onto the hillside, pinning him down. Either he is weak or means to capture me, Zakkas thought. But he will die either way.

    His arms were pinned by the cayan brother’s wind-spell. But a true cayanist does not need gestures or focuses. He felt the tiny seeds of pollen in the chinks of the floorboards of the shabby clapboard walls of a cottage near his enemy. He leeched the life out of a fisherman running up the hillside with a harpoon, making him collapse with sudden exhaustion, and poured it into one of the tiny grains. A tree burst into life, growing sideways from the wall of a nearby shack, its tip formed into a sharpened wooden stake that grew and grew until it pierced through the brother’s neck as he focused on his spell. His enemy choked and gurgled his last as his carotid gushed hot blood onto his chest, bubbling and boiling as Zakkas pulled power from the brother’s blood to continue slaughtering the villagers.

    Zakkas ensured that anyone in the village who had seen him was dead or fleeing. Then, bruised and bleeding, he slowly stumbled about fifty paces up the hillside, and collapsed unconscious.

    It would have been difficult for a cayan disturbance of such magnitude anywhere on Kassyra to not attract the attention of a sensitive cayanos, which the magister was. As such, he was able to get to the scene before anyone else. Within two hours he had rode out with his most trusted followers and assessed the situation, finding by turns Adaïs’ body, the cayanically destroyed village, and Zakkas’ unconscious body at the center of it all.

    The magister was now placed in what Emissariat circles would refer to as “a delicate situation.” His lover had just been lynched and his bastard had gone on a rampage to avenge her. But one does not become a magister for lack of ability to maneuver. And his role was relatively simple: Clean it up. Pull down the hanged corpse, burn the body with all necessary ritual. Let the official record state that the witch cursed the townspeople and was punished accordingly, then get the boy who was actually responsible far, far, out of sight. Finally, ensure that anyone who knows the truth never speaks of it again.

    When Zakkas awakened, he was in his father’s tor. Or more accurately, below it. As the rivulets of blood from his back trickled into the well-mortared grate below Zakkas’ chained feet, the magister holding the cat o’ nine-tails made it clear to his son, in a voice laden with grief and duty in equal measure, that he was saving his life.

    Understandably, Zakkas did not see that way at the time. His father told him something else: That he was nothing but a killer, and if he was to atone, he would ply his trade in the service of the College for the rest of his days. Also understandably, the boy’s evolving response to this admonition would come to define him.

    Smuggled onto a ship the following night, he would never see his father, or his homeland, again. Only the eponym, dal Kassyraqua, defiantly taken in his mother’s dialect, and the scars on his back, would remind him of who he had been, who he had loved, and who he had hated.


    ---

    “…of canon law, Zakkas?”

    “What,” said Zakkas. He must have dozed off. Napping on horseback was a skill he had acquired from long days riding with Teccho’s baggage trains.

    Zathander glanced sideways from his courser, favoring him with a knowing smile. That’s right. He was in the Magistrate’s company now. With his guards, and that boy grammatarch Siadre, who looked like he was either getting sick or scared of that warhorse he could barely control. Where were they going again? Right. To war, somewhere. Like always. Horizan – that place.

    “I was saying, how strong is your understanding of canon law?”

    Napharneschi had made a habit of asking unexpected questions like this. The last one had been about wheel axles, as if Zakkas made his living maintaining supply trains and didn’t just guard them.

    “…I was always more of a practical cayanist, my lord.”

    “Well of course, I wouldn’t have hired you otherwise.”

    Zathander pauses for a moment. “Let me rephrase my question. You’ve dealt with magisters in your career, haven’t you?”

    “…yes?” responds Zakkas warily.

    “So, what do you think it takes?”

    “To be a magister?”

    “Yes.”

    Zakkas dal Kassyraqua considers the question. And then sighs.

    “Well, my lord. You have to be a ruthless bastard, who acts like he owns the world, and thinks that he knows better than everyone else.” He finally favors the handsome magistrate with a weary stare and a pained grimace from a developing saddle sore. “Does that answer your question?”

    Zathander Napharneschi smiles again. “Why yes, Zakkas. I very much think it does.”
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019

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