“The sky is so lovely tonight,” she said, pulling closer to me with a smile. I looked up, to see the massive, swirling shape of Ira hanging menacingly in the sky, like a giant face scowling down at them as they strolled along the sidewalk.
I smiled down at her. “Yes, it is, but not nearly as lovely as you, my dear.”
She blushed and looked away. “Oh, stop it, you’re embarrassing–“
The shound of shattering glass disrupted our flirtatious moment, and I released her waist, instictively reaching for a tool on my belt. SHe knew what this meant and out of the corner of my eye I saw her vanish into the darkness.
I rounded the corner, pulling my weapon from its holster and scanning the street. My eyes flickered as a targeting system crossed my field of view, and the darkness lightened as my eyes automatically adjusted to the darkness. There it was–a man slinking through a broken window.
“Hey!” I gave chase as he vanished into the building, and with a great leap I bounded to the sill, slipping inside and landing on the soft carpeted floor. The perp, however, was a few steps ahead of me, and he toppled a bookcase as he dashed through the opposite doorway. I scaled it and dove for his figure as it retreated, but my hands grabbed only air–a projection! In my distraction the perp had gone up the stairs. Clever.
Finding my footing, I took the staircase three at a time and ended up on a quiet landing. Slowly, I moved down the carpeted hallway toward the door at the end. I tried to make no noise at all.
From the doorway, two shots rang out, hitting me and knocking me backward down the stairs. Tumbling end over end, I landed in a heap at the bottom.
The perp crept down the stairs after me, carrying something in his arms. I could feel the warm blood pulsing over my face as I laid there, gasping for breath. He reached the door, not saying a word as he opened it–
And fell backward as he was immobilized by an unseen force. Thrown from ceiling to wall, he dropped whatever he had been stealing as he was violently forced across the room to land in a beaten pile in the corner.
I stood up, pulling the bullets from my neck and chest with a grimace as my wife walked through the doorway She slapped a restraint on the limp thief’s form. “You okay, honey?”
I smiled. “Always.”
To Serve and Protect
Each Guild has their own group of enforcers that provide muscle whenever needed. The Span as a whole, however, relies on the might and force of a dedicated group of militarized lawkeepers: The Noble Order of Valiance Eternal.
Members of this guild are feared and respected by those whom they encounter, for several reasons. First, the Knights’ training at the frozen Mizu Stronghold is unbearably harsh, which hardens the Guild members against many kinds of physical force. Second, that the Guild has never lost a war in its history. And third, that the powers of a Knight are devastatingly effective and breaching the other Guilds’ defenses.
The Mizu Stronghold Training Center
Beyond the ice walls of the Mizu Stronghold on a frozen moon of Ira, a massive fortification exists with environmental test chambers for training. Recruits who enter and put through strenuous and often painful training exercises in all sorts of environments to hon their skills and push them to their absolute limits. These training exercises can be deadly–is it well known that at each Graduation, the names of those who died that year are read out. It is estimated that nearly half of the Stronghold’s candidates do not graduate; they either drop out or perish.
With such a foreboding record, it is therefore surprising that the Stronghold entertains so many applications. Some enter for the thrill, or as the ultimate challenge, while others have an overwhelming sense of duty. A large portion, however, join with a single goal: to have a better life.
Mizu candidates, upon entry, meet with a coordinator who provides them with an entirely new identity for their time within. They are divested of all of their belongings and money. They then sign a binding agreement not to discuss their outside lives while within. As such, all people entering the fortress do so as equals in all things. Those who graduate from the academy are considered to be nobility and are afforded honors and respect, regardless of their lives beforehand. This is a very attractive proposition for children born on very poor colonies in the Span.
The Structure of the Knights
The Knights are a militaristic order, structured with a reliance on direct chains of command. Individual knights have commanding officers they report to, all the way up to the Knight Captain. It is inevitable, of course, that the Knights and the Judex be entwined in each others’ affairs–the Knights being the enforcers of the Judex’ will after all.
This chain of command does not mean that all of the Knights’ work is always above-table. It is very common for Knights to take odd jobs in their off-hours, working for corporations or even wealthy private citizens who need a problem done right.
Knight Captain Cierra Edgemoor maintains a circle of Commanders, who each maintain different guild duties. A few of these are:
Name: Peace Officers
Leader: Commander Eppinberg
The social arm of the Knights, Peace Officers are tasked with resolving inter-guild disputes and carrying out rulings involving personal disagreements. They are also the “face” of the guild, interacting with communities in a positive way.
Leader: Commander Tomasson
The most powerful and physically threatening of the Knights join this unit, whose sole purpose is to enforce the laws of the Span with a disgusting amount of force. They rarely deal with local squabbles, instead being sent where needed to manage threats which require a distinct lack of mercy.
Leader: Commander Winters
This faction, as their name suggests, investigates crimes locally. They are among the most common members of this Guild encountered by the general populous.
Leader: Commander Hare
The Span has its fair share of fugitives. Tracers are the retrieval arm of the Guild, entering dangerous territories and situations to extract people with minimal civilian impact.