"You eluded me in Port Suffering. Your trail was faint through the wastelands, but I caught wind of your passing at Misk. You stayed out of sight, but your comrades let slip your destination before I gave them the justice of my boltgun. Finally, I find you here. You have run as far as you can, Vai Los, but you shall elude me no longer. Justice belongs to the God-Emperor, but your death shall be mine."
—Stavlar Darius, Suffering Marshal
Iocanthos is a harsh and brutal world, known for its chief export of Ghostfire, a crop used to make combat drugs. Many lawless criminals and scoundrels make use of the vast stretches of untamed wild and the feuding warlords to evade prosecution and cheat the fate they so rightfully deserve. Indeed, it is fairly common for more skilled fugitives to flee to Iocanthos with whatever resources they can manage in an attempt to build a new powerbase. It takes a stalwart and resourceful agent to track down this sort of criminal---a man whose dedication to the Imperium and its laws drives him on, alone, for as long as it takes to catch those who would jeopardies the harvest of Ghostfire. This can often take months, and a Suffering Marshal must remain true to his purpose for the duration. For this reason, only those Arbitrators with specific qualities are chosen for the arduous duty of Suffering Marshal---those steadfast in their love of the law, those who have shown an aptitude for the hunt, a cunning mind, and a ready willingness to adapt to any situation or environment. It is these sorts of men and women who are chosen by their superiors to hunt down and mete out justice to dangerous gang leaders on Iocanthos.
Stationed at the small Precinct house on Iocanthos, Suffering Marshals are a necessary deviation from typical Adeptus Arbites practice. The world's unique crop and the tentative stability created by King Skull make larger military actions questionable. While King Skull (and many other Vai) respect the authority of the Suffering Marshals, it would be politically unwise to move in force to take a quarry who threatens the Ghostfire tithe. To this end, Judge Porvin created the Suffering Marshals to be roving agents throughout the outskirts of Port Suffering and beyond. Granted wide jurisdiction through the whole of the planet, Suffering Marshals are free from the usual bureaucracy and oversight of the traditional Adeptus Arbites. This gives Suffering Marshals a great deal of personal discretion in so far as how they go about their duties, a necessity of their work, but one that many more traditional Arbites consider to be dangerous. Given too much operational leeway, these traditionalists fear, a Suffering Marshal will become a law unto himself, a violent predator, and a disgrace to the reputation of the Adeptus Arbites. In order to avoid this outcome, the Precinct Marshals only nominate the most steadfastly loyal members of the Imperium of Mankind to the Iocanthos post of Suffering Marshal, often pulling from those Arbitrators who have served an Inquisitor and are accustomed to acting with such authority.
While each Marshal is called upon sooner or later to track down specific fugitives and deliver the righteous punishment of his Arbites, it is also their duty to know intimately the frontiers in which these criminals will eventually try to hide. They are free to travel the planet, with massive banners to signal their position and to the locals. Called "Flags" by many, local settlements and tribes will flock to the Marshal for judgment in tribal affairs. In this way, these solitary agents of the Adeptus Arbites become experts of the customs, environments, and populations of dozens of frontier outposts and locales, and are adept at learning new customs quickly. When they are not actively hunting a quarry, it is their prerogative to familiarize themselves with the stretches of Iocanthos.
In many such places Suffering Marshals are welcome operatives of a distant Adeptus Terra, known and trusted by local tribal chiefs and leaders. In others, they are considered as good as the criminals they hunt---violent vigilantes or harsh agents of an unwanted, tyrannical Imperium. Regardless of their reputation, it is the duty of each Suffering Marshal to cultivate contacts and personal resources. It is these contacts on which the Suffering Marshal must rely for information of the goings on in the surrounding area, for even men and women as well-travelled as a Suffering Marshal cannot possibly know all the secrets of an entire world.
Suffering Marshals become adept at making contacts in new locations and quickly ferreting out dissenters. While it is an Inquisitor's duty to root out heresy and treason, it is also his duty to apprehend those who perpetrate such vile crimes against humanity. To this extent, a Suffering Marshal's craft is often coterminous with that of the Inquisition. An Inquisitor on the hunt for a dangerous heretic in an unfamiliar region (such as the Koronus Expanse or Jericho Reach) would do well to acquire the services of such an Arbitrator, for their knowledge and ability to develop contacts quickly will surely point the way to the whereabouts of their quarry.
Already tasked with apprehending dangerous criminals, a Suffering Marshal is the perfect operative to act with his master's proxy, should an Inquisitor wish to keep his hunt quiet and leave his own presence hidden from his prey. As it is a Suffering Marshal's duty to put to death those who have already been pronounced guilty by the Arbites courts, they are notoriously unconcerned with evidence gathering procedure. Their talents and training lie largely within the scope of tracking their prey, driving them to ground, and overcoming them in violent confrontation. For this reason, Suffering Marshals tend to be straightforward, inelegant individuals, often considered violent and thuggish by the already blunt-minded Arbites and especially so by the more technical Adepts. This is also likely the result of the theatre of operation in which they exist---a harsh frontier populated by hard-bitten Imperial citizens and malcontents. In such an unforgiving environment and among such no-nonsense people, elegance and pretension are merely signs of weakness, not sophistication. Suffering Marshals are experts at confronting their quarry man-to-man, and more often than not a Suffering Marshal's grit will be put to the test on the wrong end of a bolt-pistol, though the fugitive able to come out the better for such an exchange is rare indeed.
Alternate Career RankEdit
The most common means of becoming a Suffering Marshal is through service to the Holy Ordos of the Inquisition. Those Calixian Arbitrators who show great promise in this area are usually given a temporary promotion to the rank of Suffering Marshal and provided a quarry whose capture is the test by which their worthiness will be measured. They are delivered to the Precinct in Port Suffering, and expected to return with their target. In rare circumstances, a criminal will so vex an Arbitrator that their capture and prosecution becomes his sole purpose, consuming his every thought and deed. In cases such as this, an Arbitrator may request special dispensation to pursue their prey. These sorts only rarely become true Suffering Marshals, though their experience and accommodation lead them to similar skills and circumstances.
While only an Arbitrator would be considered for the assignment to Iocanthos and the rank of a true Suffering Marshal, the Holy Ordos have been known to send their Acolytes along with a Suffering Marshal for training. These agents are jokingly called "suffering fools" but they none-the-less gain the same skills and training as a Suffering Marshal, if not the title.
Required Careers: Arbitrator, Assassin, Guardsman, or Scum
Alternate Rank: Rank 5 or higher (3,000 XP)
Requirements: Tracking and Shadowing Skills