The City of Ghosts
Law and Order in Corvis
Corvis prides itself on being a bastion of law and order; a city where anyone can take a walk in the middle of the night with no fear. Unfortunately, the politicians who propagate this view are delusional, probably due to their bodyguards and gated homes. Corvis is a rough town, and it has cut more than a few tough folks down to size.
The City Watch
Locked in a constant battle with the criminal element is the city Watch; an elite group of guardsmen. The Watchmen are guards, constables, detectives, and on occasion even judge and executioner. Not every body that’s found in the harbor come morning was put there on account of a criminal dispute — sometimes it’s a criminal justice. Only a fool or a powerful criminal will voluntarily cross the Watch.
Criminals at large sometimes earn the dubious privilege of wanted posters with their likeness posted around the city. Depending on the crime, the city may offer a reward to any citizen who catches the fugitive. Often the offender’s corpse will be good enough to collect the reward. A skilled bounty hunter can make a decent living in Corvis.
When the Watch apprehends a criminal, justice is swift and harsh — it’s too expensive to keep prisoners behind bars for long. Trials are conducted as quickly as possible, and the penalties are usually physical punishment (including hard labor), fines, or both. The more serious the crime, the faster the courts hear the cases. Prisoners have few rights and are generally considered guilty unless proven innocent. Perpetrators of minor crimes don’t get a trial at all. The Watch captain on duty at the time issues a summary judgement, and punishment (such as a night in the stocks) is carried out without the court’s involvement.
While the judges within the courts are powerful men, the ultimate power within Corvis is held by the city council. This group of twelve Magistrates, led by the Mayor, has the power to create new laws on a whim. They are restricted only by a vaguely written city charter.