“The dream comes often. I know it very well now. I stand at the doors to a great Basilica, one that exists only in my dream. Above me in the wall is a stained-glass, the Golden Throne and the Aquila spreading its wings. I weep to look up at them. Around me are more windows, every branch of the Adeptus, and below them stand the Emperor’s servants in their livery, singing praise to the eagle. The building lurches and grinds, the windows shudder as though about to splinter. The earth beneath the Basilica is subsiding. This beautiful temple is being held on the shoulders of a great mass of grey, faceless forms, who squabble and ignore their burden. The whole of them shift under the cathedral like sand. I strike with my maul, and these shapes fall silent and still for a moment. But this does not last. No matter how relentless the blows, they will not stay resolute. It comes to me that I will spend forever doing this, that they will never have strength other than that I beat into them for a moment. It is then that I wake.”
—Lord Marshal Goreman
For Arbitor Luthir Veremonn Goreman, Lord Marshal of the Calixian Great Precinct, every medal pinned to his dress uniform, every honorific and citation attached to his name, every pennant, seal, and chain hanging from the plaque atop his staff of office, all prove the same thing: that he is right in his ironclad disdain for the great mass of the Imperium’s populace.
Goreman hails from the once-grand Sorascine Canyon conurbation on Sinophia, steeped in all the many kinds of decay that that world had to offer. He was born into an extended family of butchers and flesh-thieves, descended from once proud dynasties of medicae and lay biologis adepts back when the world had been in its prime. The old family seat, with its surgical chambers and tissue molds, where generations ago the subsector’s nobility had come for medicae and juvenat treatments, or to buy exquisitely flesh-sculpted servitors, had become a charnel house. Their old family name now lost, the Gore-Men conducted a lively and ruthless trade in spare organs and tissues to any who could meet their price, and trained their young man in the brutal skills needed to ensure a constant supply of “donors.”
That was Luthir’s work, and he excelled at it until the day he was sent to subdue and bring back an offworlder who had set up house in one of the neighboring habstacks, and he never returned. The woman Luthir was to abduct was a former Enforcer from Scintilla who had left her post after a religious awakening and come to Sinophia as a wandering Confessor. Luthir slipped into the shrine during a prayer meet, shock-fork and slap-syringe at the ready, planning to spring an ambush once her small congregation had left. But as he listened from the shadows her words began to sink in, and the fire in her voice lit up his soul. At the end of the prayers, when the supplicants had gone, Luthir the Gore-Man came forward with his hands in a clumsy sign of the Aquila, hoarsely begging for his confession to be heard.
Luthir Goreman stayed at the shrine for a week, learning prayers and listening to sermons and scriptures, and to his Confessor’s stories of her Magistratum days. Of all the expressions of the God-Emperor’s will that she was able to teach to him, her experience as an enforcer was the one that resonated with him the most. He listened to her talk of stamping order into the face of disloyalty and anarchy, and reflected on the cynical, treacherous, nihilistic wastes that were the lives of his clan-family. He imagined himself in a Magistratum uniform, weapon in hand, battering the worthless human detritus into shape with the force of his arm, his will, and his faith. Within a month he had made the trek to the Horst-Kosada Hive, home the Governor’s personal enforcement militia, the so-called Wide Cohort.
Every day in the Cohort’s gold-and-black uniform was an insult to the ideals that had ignited Luthir in that little shrine in the slums. Barely trained, and treated with contempt by the cliquish nepotisim around him, Goreman watched his unit divide its time between lounging in its palatial barracks amid the spoils of its many extortion and protection rackets, and swaggering about the capital, bullying and terrorizing anyone the Cohort thought might be incurring the Governor’s displeasure, or their own. All that it taught him was that the sneering shiftlessness he had learned to despise ran all the way up through Sinophian society. It was a cruel realization, and it wasn’t long before he was looking for an escape. Once again it came from the Adeptus, but this time his salvation found him; in the form of a brutal Arbites roundup of the Wide Cohort. Another platoon’s plans to steal from an Administratum tithe-train had reached the ears of the Detectives, and like a scalpel through gangrenous flesh the Arbites were cutting into the Cohort to see how far the rot had spread. The interrogators were somewhat startled when they brought in the fresh young recruit with the fierce eyes; instead of cowering or lying, he seemed viscerally pleased by the thought of his corrupt fellows facing Imperial justice, and by the end of the interview he had almost turned the interrogation around, quizzing the Detectives on the Adeptus, its law, and its enforcement. By the time the cull was over, Goreman had gone from being a suspect to being a recruit.
This was what he had wanted. This was his calling. This was what had kept him going through the long trek to join the Wide Cohort. Now Goreman was finally part of something he could believe in, enforcing the ideals that were burned into him by the Confessor’s words. Doing the work of an Arbitrator filled Goreman with a ferocious pride. His early posting was riot-breaking on Barsapine. He then distinguished himself in punitive culls in Gunmetal City, hunting fish-poacher rigs on Spectoris, and spending many distinguished years in the honor garrison at the Lucid Palace itself before taking command of the Precinct Fortress that governed Scintilla. By now his reputation was firmly cemented in the Arbites command: his iron will, the force of his personality, and the constant, simmering anger that blunted his undeniable charisma (and, some said, took the edge off his judgment).
Goreman took command of Scintilla at a troubled time, when the Precinct Superior was being targeted by a violent outlaw insurgency from without and vicious schisms and feuds from within. Goreman’s response was to denounce the same root cause for both: a backslide into moral laziness and foppish intellectual degeneracy, and a show of strength was the only cure. With the support of then Lord Marshal Kheth, Goreman purged his Precinct from bottom to top, personally drawing up the cull lists and overseeing the denunciations before each consignment of demoted Arbites was marched away to the penal transports. The longer it dragged on the more controversial the purge became. Goreman, the accusations went, was now forgetting about ending the internal tribulations of the Precinct and using the purge as a blunt instrument to rid his Precinct of anyone whose idea of the law did not exactly match his own. The persecution of the Praetors’ Chamber in Hive Tarsus seemed especially egregious. Faced with the assassination of two senior Judges there, Goreman asserted that the Chamber had brought it on themselves with their degenerate focus on book-study at the expense of martial action. The token effort at tracking the assassins was matched by the wholesale reassignment of the Judicial contingent to front-line duties on the Tarsine docks.
When Kheth was replaced as Lord Marshal by Jhemek-Naad, a Judge from the Scarus Precinct Fortress, Goreman was forced into a more moderate role. His new commander had no time for the entrenched Calixian bias against the Judiciary, and actively worked to re-establish libraries, exegetic academies, and fully-constituted legal trials throughout her command. Goreman was one of her most outspoken opponents for years, his private tirades against her becoming the stuff of minor legend within his command, but he had no choice but to follow orders, and as years passed he seemed to accustom himself to the new regime and spoke little of it. After complications to a deep-regen juvenat treatment on his hundred and eighth birthday he spent six months convalescing on Quaddis and seemed a changed, more mellow man when he returned.
That lasted for another six years, until Jhemek-Naad departed to make a second pilgrimage to Earth, accompanying a casket full of legal relics recovered from Valon Urr. Arbitor Vey Orloph, commander of the Pendulum High Precinct, was brevetted to fill in the command while the Grand Precinct formally appointed a successor, but within two years of the temporary commander being sworn in the succession was sinking into controversy. Orloph’s immediate objective seemed to be to roll back the work of his predecessor in rooting out the Great Precinct’s prejudices and rebalancing its organization, and the operations of the Precinct began to stall as commanders sympathetic to Jhemek-Naad’s agenda effectively withdrew their obedience to their new superior. News of the gridlock convinced an exasperated Great Precinct command to promote Goreman to the Lord Marshal’s post with a simple charter: get the damned organization working again. Goreman took office in a curt, abbreviated version of the full ordination ceremony and within a day was prowling the upper levels of the Fortress of the Just, barking orders and demanding reports.
Every time Goreman looks out upon the mass of Imperial citizenry he sees exactly the same thing he remembered from Sinophia: dissipated, lazy, disobedient wastrels slouching through aimless and worthless lives. To him, the Imperial Adeptus is the one worthy creation of human society, to serve in it the one worthy ambition. The Adeptus, under the guidance of the Immortal Emperor, shows the rest of humanity what they could be had they the discipline, the faith, and the strength. Those outside the Adeptus are contemptible, and should think themselves lucky they are allowed to toil to support it; those who disobey or disrespect the Adeptus, or even court ambitions outside it, are beneath contempt.
Goreman’s vigor for his job is not born out of a positive inspiration to bring order but by his smoldering hatred of those who disrupt it. This makes him relentless in keeping his grip on disobedience and sedition, but some in the senior ranks are starting to think that his savagery in dishing out punishment is corroding the rigid adherence to the Lex Imperialis to which the Arbites swear themselves. Too willing to cut corners, the whispers say, too soft on Abstractionism and unorthodox free-agent behavior like the Divisio Immoralis. The laws and traditions of the Arbites have been crystal-clear for ten millennia, they say---what manner of Arbitor, let alone an Arbitor General, refuses to trust them and bypasses them in this way? Lord Marshal Orloph has found himself at the center of this dissatisfaction, somewhat against his will; he considers himself dutiful and bound by the Grand Precinct’s decision. If another high-ranked Arbitor appears more willing to encourage these whisper campaigns they may be able to gather support among the broader commands and the Grand Precinct may find themselves with another schism on their hands.
Luthir Goreman is of average height and lean of build, which surprises people who have seen the portraits and statues portraying him as a muscular giant. His complexion is pale, his eyes and hair grey, and his features broad, stern and handsome. He wears a black and gold Arbitrator dress uniform for most of his duties, with his rank pins and medals arranged on a separate banner that is carried to formal occasions by an adjutant. He always has a small purity seal pinned to his left lape, copying a verse of Imperial scripture onto a new parchment each morning and having a garrison preacher bless and attach the seal at his private morning prayers.