The Emperor's Scale
Name: Tzarak Ironhand
Position: First Justice of the Order of Law, Member of the Office of the Violet Laurel
Old Ironhand has been in his position coming on one hundred years and he does not look like he is going to relinquish it any time soon.
The neophyte’s eyes squinted tightly as he was led into the judicial chamber. The room was circular, with large stone chairs stationed around the walls. The center was a raised dais, with a number of small braziers providing light throughout. The armored Justices led the young man to the dais. One guard unshackled the man, while the other placed the neophyte’s weapons on the ground. Once finished, the dwarves took a step back and took flanking positions at the entranceway. Without a word, armored dwarves stepped out of the shadows and seated themselves in the stone seats. Each wore the armor of a member of the Order of Law, their faces covered by the expressionless masked helmets of the Judges. A voice echoed through the chamber. “You will arm yourself.” With a nervous glance round, the youth snatched up the short sword and dagger, and left the warhammer and shield. His time with the Order had been short, and his training with the traditional weapons was incomplete. His blades had served him well in his house training, and gave him some comfort. Once armed, a dwarf rose from his seat and approached. As he closed, the youth instinctively reached for his sword. “Drawing your weapon will be seen as an admittance of guilt, and dealt with accordingly”. The reaching hand pauses, wavers, and changes into a fist. “By what right do you have to imprison me? I am Gaius, son of …” The youth’s voice faltered, as the standing dwarf reached up and removed the expressionless mask, only to reveal an equally expressionless face. “I know who you are, and who your father is, and who your grandfather was. I know that you are the second son of a lesser noble house, and became a Justice so as to not follow in your older brother’s footsteps. And, frankly, I do not care.”
What might have been the beginnings of protest began to spring from the youth’s throat, but was silenced with a glance from the steel-eyed dwarf. “Nobles play their games at the Emperor’s pleasure. Likewise do the merchants and artisans ply their trades and the common folk live out their daily lives.” He paused for a moment, and laid an armored hand on the large tome chained to his waist. “But we exercise the Emperor’s will, by maintaining his divine mandates. We are to be the paragons of his law, exemplars of his wishes. We are the light of his divine order, illuminating the people so that they do not stumble in the darkness of chaos. You are guilty of causing a flicker in that noble light.” The dwarf turned his back to the youth, and motioned with his hand. The sound of chains dragging across stone could be heard through the doors to the chamber. The youth’s eyes widened in panic as he reached for his dagger. He had no more than began to unsheathe it before the heavy blow of a dwarven hammer to his kneecap dropped him to the floor.
“Drawing your weapon is admittance of guilt. You are sentenced to be a tome bearer until such time as I feel that you have learned to adequately appreciate the heavy burden we all bear in service to the Emperor.”
With that, the dwarf returned his mask to his face and returned to his seat. As he sat, the doors to the chamber opened, allowing four dwarves to enter. Between them, they struggled with a large book attached to a chain harness. After a few more blows to suppress the remainder of the youth’s defiance, they chained him into the harness, with the book resting fully on his back. Once complete, the dwarves prodded the human into a slow crawl out of the chamber.
After the youth had crawled out of the chamber and the doors had been shut, a dwarven scribe sitting in a hidden alcove asked “First Justice, what was the lad’s crime?”
“Consumption of spirits while on duty.”, there was a short pause, before Tzarak added, “Also, singing off key in a public bath, he was such a terrible singer.”