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Pan-Iudicaeum

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The second center of operations for the Adeptus Arbites on Scintilla is the Pan-Iudicaeum in Hive Sibellus. While the Fortress of the Just makes a point of its isolation and heavy defenses, the Pan-Iudicaeum is the edifice that ensures the Arbites remain prominent in the minds of Calixis’ rulers, planted squarely and visibly in the teeming capital hive. It looms out of the slope of Sibellus in a great oval of stark, off-white rockcrete, clearly visible from the Lucid Palace (and from most other points along that skirt of the hive, since the Arbites will forcibly halt the construction of any building nearby that might obscure it). The Pan-Iudicaeum has a small garrison of fighting Arbitrators and a fair contingent of Detectives who report to the Lord Marshal on the goings-on in the Governor’s halls. It also has a fair-sized contingent of Judges, librarians, and legal savants, and is where citizens can bring petitions to be heard by the agents of the law.

A permanent queue of petitioners clutching scrolls and letters they hope to bring before a Judge spills out of the giant arched doorway of the building. Most will become disheartened and leave, sometimes after mere weeks; some, particularly the emissaries of families powerful enough to arrange it, will be part of a rotating group who takes turns keeping their place in the queue as it shuffles forward. The luckiest and most persistent will make it into the hall and up the stairs to crowd underneath a half-circle of balconies shouting their petitions up at impassive Judges and waving their scrolls over their heads. From here, most will be thrown out over some trifling error of protocol of which they were unaware. Those who manage to have their grievances taken up and handed to an Arbitor leave the building with joyful smiles, graciously allowing others in the queue to touch their clothes in the hope that their luck will rub off. They know that their plea is in safe hands, and that on some distant, shining day, their descendants will hear word on its judgment.

The endless queue has spawned a lively supporting industry---sellers of food, sleeping slabs, or tomes of scripture, or those advertising their services as scribes or advocates. Some swindlers peddle utterly spurious advice about how to move faster up the queue or tips on how to format a plea to the court, and it is not unknown for thugs to hire themselves out to help a frustrated plaintiff try to fight their way forward. The early halls of the Pan-Iudicaeum are lined with stern grey statues of long-dead Arbites of old, and a superstition has sprung up that stating one’s case to these statues has a similar effect to stating it to a real Arbitor. It is not uncommon to see citizens making tearful pleas or ferociously arguing cases back and forth under the uncaring stone gaze of an Arbitor a thousand years dead, and of course there are many self-appointed guides working the queue who will, for a handsome payment, point a petitioner to a statue sympathetic to their case.

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