Imperator's Lictors

The Imperator's Lictors, better known by the nickname Mage-Finders, are the secret police of the Imperatry Templarate of Haedrasia. Working independently from all other bodies of Haedrasian government, these shadowy, often sinister individuals answer only to the Lictor Supreme, and he in turn answers only to the almighty Divhi-Imperator Haederas. While they have many tasks, so prominent was the hunting of magicians after the reformation, these fearful individuals have become best known as seekers of magic in all its forms. Zealots, chosen from amongst the most loyal, ruthless and cunning of the priesthood of Haederas, many say that in modern Haedrasia it is the Lictors who are the true strength of the Templarate, and not its legions.

Orders of the Lictors


The lictors are not a whole, unified body. While many lictors work in small cells, or totally independently, each has been inducted into and educated in an order that specializes in routing out a specific enemy of the Imperatry Templarate of Haedrasia. Lictors adhere to a 'know thy enemy' mentality in training, and often a cell of lictors will consist of members of the three major orders, each brining their own expertise to the ruthless dogging of the enemies of Haedrasia.

Order of the Mage-Finders

The largest, most famous, and most feared arm of the lictors are the mage-finders. These grim men specialize in hunting and killing those who practice magic. They are utterly ruthless, for their is no repentance and no forgiveness for the magician - his very soul is corrupted, and forfeit. Mage-finders work by a lot of alien and mysterious tests that can identify a practitioner of the black arts, and few are safe from their scrutiny or accusations. The shame of the lictors is that many mage-finders argue that the best way to seek out magicians is to study their craft. They claim that their methods are antiquated, and that innocent men suffer while clever magicians escape their purges because of their lack of knowledge in the face of a blanket ban on magical materials. Some radicals even make a secret study of magic, in order to turn the enemy's weapon against him. This leads to mage-finders spending as much time clashing amongst themselves as they do seeking out magicians and their abominable creations. The founder of the mage-finders, Si-Vornor the Northerner, was the first to turn to wielding magic against the magician.

Order of the Traitor Hunters

These lictors hunt deserters, members of the Imperator's house who stray from their great houses, and others who are called traitors. The priest who takes a coin tithed to the temple for his own pocket, the legionnaire who leaves his post, the citizen who speaks out against the Imperator all have reason to fear the traitor hunter. These lictors, unlike the mage-finders, who make their presence very much known, lurk and watch in the shadows. They keep retinues of disreputable men who owe their lives to the lictor's mercy, to infiltrate cells of traitors, or to coerce dissenters into seditious talk, so that the lictor can emerge, drag him to the closest temple, and claim a private shrine where he will show the traitor the error of his ways. Torture and mutilation, rather than execution, are the weapons of the traitor hunter, for the traitor must serve as an example to others who might follow him, not a martyr.

Order of the Interrogators

The Interrogators are the most pious and learned of the lictors, charged solely with finding and trying heretics. Those who have so severely transgressed against the will of almighty Haederas, by practising or spreading a heretical faith, speaking out against the divinity of Haderas, or especially consorting with the agents of Maldaakore. The interrogators take their roles very seriously. Often fine warriors, they see it as their role to take the field against heretics to counter their malign influence, and no more fanatical an interrogator can be found than those who march the salten marges, seeking to counter the sinister influence of the Toldaks. Were interrogator and Toldak to meet the battle would indeed be a ferocious one.

Hidden Army

The fourth order has little or no presence in the lands of Haedrasia, but rather works exclusively outside in bordering nations. These are Haedrasian half-bloods, granted the right of citizens for their service despite impure blood. Small cells of lictors are hidden in the major settlements of all of the Templarate's neighbours, disguised as simple common citizens. Should the legions ever need to march on these lands, however, the hidden army is tasked to rise up and sow chaos. Circulating false rumours to demoralize people, disrupting supply chains, sabotaging industry, and even assassinating key military and political leaders. The hidden army are never risked as spies, but kept in reserve as an insurance policy in case of war, ensuring that the legions can retain their fearful reputation by treading disorganized and demoralized enemies into the dust when they march into a land. Members of the hidden army perpetuate their number over generations, reporting indirectly to other lictors in times of need, or when their numbers must be bolstered.

Powers of the Lictors


Lictors are given almost unparalleled powers within Haedrasia. As long as it falls within the purview of his office, a lictor can interrogate and even accuse anyone he chooses, though they seldom go after fellow members of the priesthood, who tend to close ranks in the face of a lictor's investigation, and mete out punishments for improper accusations. They are above the law, with the power to invade any home, seize any property, and order any non-citizen into service. They can requisition legionnaires in the same way as a paladin, though they cannot take battlefield command, and can demand temple assets at any temple in the aid of their duty. A foreigner in a lictor's retinue is actually empowered to deliver a lictor's orders to a Haedrasian citizen, a fact that causes violent uproar when mishandled.

To allow lictors to operate wherever their work takes them across the broad and diverse lands of Haedrasia, and exercise the immense open-ended authority they are granted, the Imperator himself gives each lictor a badge of office - a fragment of bone said to be from the body of Nofus - that it is said brings down a terrible curse on anyone but its owner who carries it. Presenting this badge gives the lictor the authority to requisition a legion, or even call upon the much-feared jezails. It also gives him access to the tithes (but not total funds), relics and facilities of any temple in Haedrasia on the condition this does not contravene the orders of a higher ranking priest. The crime of forging a lictor's badge of office carries no prescribed punishment, lictors are allowed free reign to visit the most terrible punishment they can imagine upon any individual caught pretending to their office, and they are masters of terrible punishments. Still, this does little to dissuade attempts.

Occasionally a matter will surface that a lictor will freely admit not to know how to approach or a potential crime will surface that he does not know how to try. In such cases, the lictor will call a conclave, even if he is junior, to sit in council and try to come to a universal consensus on how to proceed. Usually involving three or more lictors, these conclaves are also the only bodies allowed to sit in judgement over a senior priest or fellow paladin or lictor, and must always come to a unanimous decision. Once a lictor has been summoned to such a conclave he must suspend all other activities until the matter at hand is solved, which routinely takes months or even years. If no consensus can be reached lictors will either wait until old age take a senior dissenter, or appeal to the Imperator himself to settle the dispute. Of course, the Imperator speaks with the voice of the War-Divh, and none can countermand or question him. In fact, to even seem to doubt his decision could be considered an act of both heresy and high treason.

Organization


Despite having an ultimate leader, the lictors do not traditionally have a formal organisation beneath the Lictor Supreme because, at the most fundamental level, each lictor must be free to exercise his own judgement and methods without being hampered by corruptible bureaucracy. Every lictor embodies the whole of his order, and is granted the same powers by virtue of their mandate, with the Lictor Supreme acting as a sort of fail-safe to pull rogue lictors into line more than a governing authority. Lictors are selected with extreme care by a panel of some of the most important templars in Haedrasia, thus the word of a lictor is absolute and beyond reproach, except by other lictors. This means that a part of a lictor's duty is to carefully police his fellows. At one time an organization of traitor hunters was established to try to manage the lictors on behalf of the Lictor Supreme, but its members, nearly to a man, were themselves tried for traitorous behaviour, with varying degrees of success, and the entirety of the lictors became embroiled in internal conflicts. Despite the lack of a formal organisational structure, lictors tend to operate in a handful of common structures, as well as completely individually.

  • Individuals - The vast majority of lictors work alone, with their own non-lictor retinues to do the heavy lifting.
  • Conclaves - Prominent and particularly admired lictors often call together like-minded groups of their fellows for short periods of time to work together in groups called conclaves. Once a conclave is formed it cannot, by law, disband until it fulfils the mandate for which it was formed.
  • Sects - Sometimes a group lictors share a philosophy so closely that they will operate as a unit for most of their careers, until they inevitably differ over some facet or another and are forced to fracture. Because they are numerically strong sects can often bully less influential or respected individual lictors.
  • Factions - Sometimes less scrupulous lictors will attach themselves to certain factions, such as the Great Houses or a specific legion, giving them access to the assets of a much larger body. Assets they were intended to be beholden to the temple for.

Heirarchy

Apart from the Lictor Supreme there is no formal hierarchy to the lictors, they fall clearly into a rank within a legion, and in the temple, but have no formalized comparative rank amongst one another. Authority is largely governed by reputation, unless a less respected lictor can assemble a conclave around himself to oppose an elder or more respected fellow. While seniority means little, most lictors are intelligent enough to value the experience of elder, more seasoned members of their order.

Retinue

Lictors tend to reserve their attentions and efforts for pressing temple business, meaning that when the need menial work done or specific services the lictor will normally have retinues of henchmen that he has deemed most useful. These will usually include some imposing muscle, but might also include sages who specialize in certain topics, temple acolytes to offer prayers and assist in rituals that only those ordained in the Imperatry Temple can perform, torturers, exorcists, or sometimes those poor souls who the lictor has found wanting but spared. No man could be more zealous to the war divhi's cause than those who have tasted his rare mercy. Especially useful retainers often become permanent accompaniment for a lictor, or are so inspired by the loyalty and unflinching piety of the lictor that they join the priesthood as missionaries. However few lictors really value their retinue highly, and recommendations from a lictor are rare indeed, because by their very nature their standards are impossibly high.

Notable Lictors


The current Lictor Supreme is the former King of Swords, Philip of Borast, a man whose background is with the Imperator's Paladins and not the lictors. Many consider him a poor choice and an obstacle to the activities of the lictors, as he has proven willing to wield his authority against other lictors on countless occasions. As a result he is likely one of the worst-informed men to hold the post in generations, as no lictor wants to risk his autonomy by visiting the Lictor Supreme's throne. The mage-finder Daromendus is an outcast, one of the most hated outlaws in all of Haedrasia, this radical began studying the magecraft stolen from his victims, and was known for making accusations against his peers and persecuting templars as much as subjects and citizens. Reports of Daromendus still acting as a lictor despite his excommunication circulate in the western lands. Parnos Enoch is one of the best known and most respected elder lictors in the Order of Interrogators, and many expected him to become Lictor Supreme. However the old man would no more consider countermanding the decisions of the Imperator than he would conceive of questioning his need to breathe. The tenacious and feared mage-finder Malius Solomon is one of the most hard-line of his brethren in generations. Malius has even destroyed ancient Haedrasian scriptures because they contained ancient magic, and refuses to learn to read so that the materials with which he deals cannot tempt him. Aulis Jonahn and Demetralus are the paramount traitor hunters of their age. Both men work in tandem, or occasionally separately, to purge every inch of treason and deception from the great houses, for which they are some of the most hated men in Haedrasia. Drusus Ansgar, meanwhile, has made it his avowed quest to drive the Cabal of Blood from southern Haedrasia, and is known for making men rich for even the slightest lead on a cabal agent. The man known as Silus the Ghan hunts heretics in the lands around Khalavas, where he once served as tyrant. A specialist in mystic-killing, he claims that he has learned to positively detect initiates of the secrets of the dreamspace merely by smell. Finally the eminent Lucanus of Polwa is the pre-eminent mage-finder of the Three Cities region, has opened channels of discussion with one of the mage clans of the Kelorn lands, claiming that the goal to rid the world of magic is actually one that the lictors and the Manku share.