Cold as the Depths
Czar, Noble Council, and the Guilds
The government of Ilyssa’s Landing is a complex system, one dominated by the will of the Czar, who is chosen by the previous Czar, and whose will is carried out by the power of the city Watch, and by the ever present threat of a return visit of the Entity. The Czar leads in the name of the Entity for the rest of their life, or until they step down or are replaced. Only twice before has the Entity been forced to replace a Czar gone insane with power and corruption. With each time time the Entity rose, the government underwent a massive shift.
At the top of the governmental food chain stands the Czar, the ruler of the city and commander of the city’s military, constables, and mage order. By the laws of Landing the Czar has control over every aspect of the city, but by tradition over sees the defenses of the city and its relations with foreign countries. Currently the Czar is a man by the name Adrian Darkfire; who has worked hard to increase the power of the City Watch and Magistrates. And since these agencies answer only to him, he’s increased his own power.
Beneath the office of the Czar is the Noble Council, or Parliament. The Council consists of one seat per District of the city, so currently there are eight seats on the Noble Council. The members of the Council are the advisers to the Czar, but have no real direct control over him. Their duties are to insure the smooth operation and daily governing of their districts. A noble with a seat on the the Council can find themselves removed from power by the Czar should they fail to uphold these duties. But by the same token so long as the Czar receives his share, then the the Nobles can generally run their districts as they please.
The final branch of government is the Guild Masters. Long given no official position in the city, they were able to step forward with the help of the Entity when a corrupted Parliament and Czar threatened to drag the city down. The League of Guilds consists of five representatives. These men and women are the Masters of the four largest and most powerful guilds in the city, as well as a Grand Master who belongs to no guild directly, but is seen as a leader to all the guilds. The guilds organize themselves by a system of patronage, where smaller guilds receive a measure of investment, protection and security in exchange for paying tithe and respect to larger and more powerful guilds.
Law and Rank
Within the city, there is one law. “Don’t Be Bad for Business.” It is generally accepted that severe crimes like murder, extortion, and arson are bad for business. But the murder of a rival, done with taste and class and no obvious evidence left might go unpunished, and maybe even quietly applauded. But a well planned arson on a rival’s business that becomes uncontrolled and burns down neighboring buildings will be investigated to the bitter end, and the perpetrator punished harshly.
While not a law, the city uses a unified ranking system. The guilds, city watch, and several other organizations all use a knot-work and mental pin system to represent rank. The knot-work, a series of loops and braided cords, is always worn over the left shoulder with a pin depicting which organization and seniority in the center. While the number of loops tends to be a matter of design and appearance, a single braid represents an apprentice, two a journeyman, and three a master. The pins themselves are a simple affair of a single decorative copper, silver, or golden pin which announce a person’s seniority in their rank and associated guild.
How this law is interpreted is called a Tradition, and is seen as a generally accepted way of seeing what is bad for business and what is not. The various Traditions of the city are unwritten and often unspoken but are considered generally understood. The more forgiving districts are often those who deal with foreign nations and merchants, while those districts which deal with just natives tend to hold more stringent views.
“Don’t Be Bad for Business”. Its the one and only real law of the city. It is known by anyone who enters the city, and it is a law that can be ruthlessly enforced. And enforcement of this law rests in the hands of three groups. The City Watch, the Magistrates, and the Royal Guard. Under the control of the Czar and his Captains, these three groups maintain the city’s peace. Members of these groups are clearly identified by their brightly colored turbans. The City Watch wears red turbans, the Magistrates are known for wearing a dark purple colored turban and the final group, the Royal Guard, wears black turbans.
The City Watch
In every section of the city at least one fortified building, sometimes the largest in the district, housing the local city watch. These guards regularly patrol the district looking for anyone violating the law, or generally causing a disruption within the city. While the only written law is well known and documented, the watch has been charged with a general order of maintaining the peace and enforcing the law as they see fit. From breaking up bar brawls, to hunting down murderers, they are the first line of defense. A regular patrol consists of a group of constables lead by a sergeant, with a single Magistrate following.
While the city watches takes prisoners and enforces Landing’s law, is is the Magistrates who determine what is a violation of the law. These clerics and mages belong to the Order of the Storm, and receive extensive training to give them the knowledge base necessary to make the call as to what violates the law and what does not. The Magistrates are marked by their dark blue turbans, which are enchanted to prevent corruption of their wearers.
Witchwarden Tower Home to the Arcanist Guild, and the Order of the Storm
The Royal Guard
The Wearers of Black, known as such for their black turbans, are the most feared group in the city. Never numbering more then fifteen members, the Guard are a law onto themselves. Granted the power to interpret the law as they see fit, and to execute any punishment they see fit at the scene, they answer only to the Czar and are known for their harsh sentences for even the least offense.