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Author MessageThe Azure Devils
Dînadan
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Post: #1
The Azure DevilsDînadan 08-19-2015

Zharr-Naggrund is one of, if not the, greatest cities in the world, a great hollowed out mountain thronging with millions of souls and like all cities maintaining order is a paramount concern.  Countless slaves toil within its forges, workshops and farms and many Dawi Zharr call its halls home and as such it is a veritable powder keg waiting to be lit and like every city crime is rife.

Many races keep order through an organised system in the form of a city watch and the Dawi Zharr are no different.  While many city watches are little better than legitimised thugs, the city watch of Zharr-Naggrund is a well trained and rigidly structured unit with strictly enforced edicts known as the Azure Devils.

The Azure Devils draw their number from the orphans and clanless dwarfs of Dawi Zharr society along with those disowned for some minor dishonour great enough to warrant being ejected from their clan but not enough to be exiled to the Infernal Guard.  They are trained rigorously in their precinct house, a blue glazed brick ziggurat on the south-east corner of the sixth level of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund and constantly patrol the halls and streets of the city.

The Azure Devils are so named for their uniform - blue robes and a silver mask fashioned into the face of a learing, horned daemon.  They carry broad tower shields and wicked iron cudgles tipped with runes of pain.  When called in to settle a disput in one of the cities many taverns or aid in suppressing a slave revolt they wade in, smashing limbs and cracking skulls for they wish to cripple, not kill, for against their fellow Dawi Zharr they are forbidden to spill blood and against slaves they will not kill for if they were to do so the slave's owner would demand repayment.  As their rank increases, their robes grow darker and their masks more ornate and their Lord Captain wears robes of midnight blue and a mask so realistic that many swear it is the bound face of an actual daemon.

Like all Dawi Zharr, the Azure Devils are cruel and sadistic and take perverse pleasure in torturing confessions from their prisoners.  Being clanless, they owe loyalty to no Sorcerer-Prophet or Overlord, but to the Cult of Hashut itself and not even the High-Priest is above their perview if sufficient charges can be proved.  To the lowest Dawi, arrest by the Azure Devils means rotting in a dank gaol until the necessary bail can be paid by their kin, while the elite of Dawi Zharr society are imprisoned in luxury apartments for the duration of their sentence.  Regardless of station or of innocence or guilt, the Azure Devils levy steep charges against those they imprision to pay for board and lodge and as such rent can leave poorer families destitute for even short stretches, many are disowned and thus often pledge themselves to the Azure Devils to avoid becoming outcasts.

Gaols can be found throughout the city, but the most famous is the Iron Tower which sits perched on a small island in the centre of the River Ruin a quarter mile south of the great ziggurat.  It is to here that the most heinous of prisoners are exiled and it can only be accessed via a cable car between the tower's highest spire and the lowest level of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund for the waters immediately around the tower are so toxic that it roils and boils and ships traversing the River Ruin to and from the docks within Mongol Zharr-Naggrund give the isle a wide birth lest the tumultuous waters sink them.

Another noticable tool are the Lockhouses that can be found throughout the city, blue stoned boxes that stand on street corners and outside each vault and hall.  These Lockhouses are makeshift gaols that the Azure Devils can lock perpetrators in while awaiting prison wagons or reinforcements and each contains a brass speaking tube that connects to the nearest Watch House so that citizens can report crimes and patrolling Devils can call for reinforcements.

Although their primary duties lie within Zharr-Naggrund, the Azure Devils can be found throughout the Dawi Zharr Empire, pursuing criminals that try to flee justice, escorting criminals from the other cities and fortresses either to Zharr-Naggrund for sentencing or to the Black Fortress to join the ranks of the Infernal Guard or investigating sedition in the other settlements.  

The Azure Devils are relentless in their pursuit of justice and will not stop until they have their Dawi.  Of course, whether said Dawi is genuinely guilty or in reality a sacrifice on the alter of the State is another matter entirely...


While serving as both constabulary, gaolor and executioner, the Azure Devils are neither judge nor jury.; that duty falls to the courts.  No one, centralised judicial system could ever hope to operate over the entirety of Zharr-Naggrund and instead the city is divided into numerous districts.  Every twelve years, lots are cast by an arbiter appointed by the High-Priest of the Cult of Hashut to decide which district each Citizen will be appointed to.  From those, further lots are cast to determine the Reeve, the Dawi who is to preside as Chief Judge of that district, and it falls to him in turn to appoint the judges for each trial.  Each district being independent means that the exact allocation varies between each; some appoint judges on a case by case basis while others prefer to appoint them for all trials over a set period such as a day or week, and others appoint them to preside over specific areas such as theft or murder.

Regardless of how they do it, every trial is presided over by not one, as is the way in the mannish realms, but three judges and while serving in this capacity, the chosen Dawi is awarded the title of Tribune and thus in turn the trials of the Dawi Zharr are often called Tribunals.  While serving as a Tribune, a Dawi Zharr sets aside his hat and dons a soot-stained white cowl in the manner of the priests of the Cremetoria, signifying their role as a warders of death.

Any Dawi who is a Citizen of Zharr-Naggrund can be called upon to serve on a tribunal, and it is regarded as a great honour to serve the Empire in such a fashion and as such, corruption is endemic with the Chief Judges inundated with 'gifts' and 'tribute' by those appointed to their district.  To limit this corruption, three millennia ago, it was decreed by High-Priest Zoloman the Just that no Dawi could be appointed to a district that his clan held property in and it is now common for them to be appointed to a district on the far side of the city to their clan's hold.

Though feared and invested with great authority, the courts and Azure Devils are only permitted to intervene in crimes committed in the neutral areas between the numerous holdings, the slave mills, factories and other areas under the control of the state and in matters appointed to them by the High Council such as disputes between clans.  In 'internal' affairs each clan is authorised to deal with matters as they see fit and are left to police themselves provided that it does not interfere with the running of the city or with the affairs of the other clans.  This 'kin-policing' tends to be even more brutal than that of the Azure Devils and more often than not is entirely up to the whims of the Sorcerer-Prophet at the head of the clan or his appointed representative as to how each case is dealt with.


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This post was last modified: 09-30-2015 12:30 PM by Dînadan.

08-19-2015 09:18 AM
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Admiral
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Post: #2
RE: The Azure DevilsAdmiral 09-24-2015

The initial reaction is an instinctive one: Would a true police force really suit the Dawi Zharr? The issue lies not so much in the blue uniforms, even though real world police dress in blue (colourfulness has existed with CDs since 4th edition, and blue-glazed bricks were luxury building materials in ancient Mesopotamia), but rather in orderdly law enforcement.

On the one hand, kin policing and lack of a monopoly of violence would seem to better reflect the historical basis of Chaos Dwarfs, namely ancient Mesopotamia, and make for more malevolence in the streets of Mingol Zharr-Naggrund and other settlements. Kin policing, and more specifically armed patrolling by Sorcerer-Prophets' warriors or street guards would perhaps also better reflect the fractured nature of Zharr-Naggrund into territories lorded over by Sorcerer-Prophets ruling with an iron fist over their subjects, in their territory alone. Thus leaving space for official policing forces' callous disregard for all but the most gross of crimes commited across the street in another lord's territory, or against another lord's subjects.

On the other hand, all the previous mentioned aspects would probably exist anyway in Zharr-Naggrund, and the Azure Devils would as such effectively act as the Temple's tool to dampen the worst excesses of this kin and guard policing, and keep the risks for blood feuding under as tight control as is possible in this gargantuan city of cities (probably only Skavenblight could rival or surpass Zharr-Naggrund in size). After all, minimizing deaths among Chaos Dwarfs is part and parcel of their enigmatic nature and imperial policy, as is evident in the institution of the Infernal Guard, which contrary to their original Dwarfen nature imprisons shamed Dawi Zharr into long servitude as heavily armoured slave warriors, as opposed to uncorrupted Dwarfs' allowance to let shamed individuals run amok stark naked and seek out their own deaths for the sake of honour.

Also, the existence of actual police forces is a kind of mark of advanced societies, and Chaos Dwarfs certainly are advanced. And since the numbers of Azure Devils patrolling the streets would be low compared to the total population, and thinly spread throughout the titanic ziggurat city with its teeming millions of damned souls, order and law enforcement couldn't ever be perfect or cover all quarters of the city, even though the police force itself is brutally efficient and evil to the core.

Finally, there are lots of little nice details, like the recruitment from orphans or clanless ones, the Daemon masks, the avoidance of excessive killing of lowly slaves for economic reasons, the cruelty and the separate treatments for commoners and elite Dawi Zharr. So, I like it! Cheers!

However, would you be interested in adding sections detailing the existence of kin and guard policing as an ever-present layer under the official Temple's Azure Devils? Also, some lines about the Azure Devil's dealing with the judiciary system (probably i.e. one or more Sorcerer-Prophets or trained delegates of such priestly lords, lording it over a court concerning the crimes or victimhood of their subjects, or whatever you fancy) would be sweet, as would some mention of shamed criminals exiled into the infamous Infernal Guard. Only if you want to and as long as it follows your vision of Chaos Dwarfs, of course. Otherwise I'll have to write some story piece on it. Wink


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This post was last modified: 09-24-2015 12:50 PM by Admiral.

09-24-2015 11:34 AM
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Dînadan
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Post: #3
RE: The Azure DevilsDînadan 09-24-2015

Thanks Admiral, some nice suggestions there; I'll work on incorporating them when I have chance Happy


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09-24-2015 12:32 PM
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Dînadan
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RE: The Azure DevilsDînadan 09-25-2015

Added a short bit on the court system and kin-policing.


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09-25-2015 05:04 PM
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Post: #5
RE: The Azure DevilsThe_Penguin 09-27-2015

I really liked that bit, thank you! Cheers!

Since I always like a bit of "order" in cd society, I can believe that such an organization could actually exist. Without it I can hardly imagine how the society could survive if everybody is allowed to do what they wish by the law of the strongest. I may actually use your idea, in one onpf my terrain projects and/or custom figures, if you don't mind. ) Tongue

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09-27-2015 12:29 PM
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Dînadan
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Post: #6
RE: The Azure DevilsDînadan 09-27-2015

Thanks Penguin, feel free to draw inspiration for your own projects Happy


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09-27-2015 12:44 PM
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Abecedar
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Post: #7
RE: The Azure DevilsAbecedar 09-27-2015

I refrained from asking if the Boss azure devil in one of the "Blue Boxes" was called the doctor.
It is good. As a system of control, I can easily imagine it.


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This post was last modified: 09-27-2015 09:41 PM by Abecedar.

09-27-2015 09:40 PM
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Dînadan
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Post: #8
RE: The Azure DevilsDînadan 09-28-2015

Abecedar Wrote:
I refrained from asking if the Boss azure devil in one of the "Blue Boxes" was called the doctor.
It is good. As a system of control, I can easily imagine it.


Lol, and thanks Happy


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09-28-2015 04:30 AM
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