Law and Order in Akko

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Travelers from other cities in the Known Worlds may expect a town guard in Akko, chartered, perhaps, by the city fathers, or paid by the Lord of the city. If not a town guard, they might expect noble armsmen to patrol the streets as part of their regular duties.

Neither of those things happens in the city on the Mount. Akko proper - the so-called 'Old City' - is relatively small, and has been the province of the Brother Battle for countless centuries. In contrast, the Foregate and Pilgrim's Landing have never officially been part of the city, and so they have always governed themselves.

Divisions of the Lordship of Akko

The Lordship of Akko has five formal divisions with informal subdivisions beneath that. The Old City is the city proper; during the Fall, the city fathers gave the Keys of Akko to Saint Malcolm, and the chapter of the Monastery of the Rock has served as the city council for Akko ever since. The rest of the urban area of the city is called the 'suburb' or just the Foregate, as it is outside the Old City's walls. The oldest part of the suburb is the Foregate, which stretches southward out from the Old City; Pilgrim's Landing, which was once an enormous starport, constitutes the suburb to the north.

Besides the Old City, the Lordship is formally divided into four 'bailiwicks', each governed by a Quarter-Castellan as a deputy of the Lord of Akko. Each of those bailiwicks except the East contains a portion of the suburb as well as rural or unincorporated land; the Quarter-Castellan rules over the rural land as feudal lord, while the suburban territories are governed by a series of municipal corporations, each controlling a traditional ward or district.

The rural land of the southern and western bailiwicks are called the Southern Approaches or Western Approaches, respectively, and the Quarter-Castellans are sometimes called the 'Lord of the Southern Approaches' or 'Lord of the Western Approaches' in addition to their other titles. The Western Approaches contain the overwhelming majority of Akko's rural tenants, but the Quarter-Castellan of the West also controls the smallest part of the city suburb. The Quarter-Castellan of the North governs the badlands of Pilgrim's Landing instead of rural vassals, while the Lord Warden of the Port - the Quarter-Castellan of the East - is instead responsible for the city's maritime affairs.

Local Governance

The city of Akko is informally divided into districts or wards, each of which handles its own law and order. The City proper - the Old City - is run by the Brother Battle, who patrol its streets, investigate crimes and ultimately bring wrongdoers before magistrates appointed by the Chancery of the Holy City. The various wards of the Foregate, however, are instead administered by a local municipal corporation or association, now dominated by the Merchant League, that in turn hires a local night watch to patrol the district. Generally, Reeve magistrates approved by the Chancery are appointed to handle local cases in the wards, though as a practical matter their appointments are made either by the burghers of the ward or by the appropriate Quarter-Castellan.

While the local association of each ward is somewhat traditional, the wards and districts of the Foregate fall within the broad jurisdictions of one of the city's four Quarter-Castellans. The wards of the Foregate proper are the responsibility of the South, while the districts in Pilgrim's Landing are in the bailiwick of the North. West Goat is within the West's area, while the Lord Warden of the Ports exercises jurisdiction over Quayside.

The Quarter-Castellans do not exercise a great deal of control over the internal affairs of the ward, but they do have several responsibilities where governance is concerned. First, they are the chief judge of the Castellan Courts, which serve both as a court of appeal for the municipal magistrates and as the superior court for the unincorporated areas of their bailiwick and for cases involving the nobility that arise inside one of the wards.


Akko - and indeed the entire Crusader State - rest their legal system on a set of customary laws called the Assizes of Akko, as well as on specific statutes promulgated by the various Lords and Guardians over the centuries. Statutes are usually issued only on significant matters of land or title, like the Statute of Counts or the Statute of Amity, and so the common law - the precedents and decisions of the many courts that have sat since the Fall - rule in most instances. While some Second Republic laws have been incorporated into the Assizes by precedent, the regulations themselves have not had formal effect since the Statute of 4140, declaring the Curia and Guardian the font of law within 'all faithful Landes subject to his Arms & Reache'.

Church law does have binding power in the Crusader State, however. Because the Guardian is - at least in theory - vested with his power by the Apocalyptic See, one of the requirements of the Assizes is that 'any constable, marshall, justiciar or free man of the Realme must seize & hold any man that has blasphemed or wronged the Church Universal, and bind him over & keep him tight safe until he can be put before a Bishop or Court Clerical.' Over the centuries, this relationship has expanded, so that there are also civil penalties for ecclesiastic crime. While in most cases the civil penalties are less severe, in some cases they are more so, usually by prescribing death, something the Church is often wary of imposing. There is a complex relationship where a Church court may decline to take someone accused so they face a lesser punishment than the Church might prescribe, or will acquit a penitent on merciful grounds but commit them to the civil law for 'Caesar's punishment.' In the worst cases, a penitent may face both the ecclesiastic and secular punishment; in such cases, the secular punishment is almost always death.

Law Enforcement

Some populous, urban worlds have police forces that would not be terribly unfamiliar to residents of Old Urth in the centuries just before the jumpgate was discovered. These constabularies, descendants in many cases of Second Republic institutions, have a near-exclusive monopoly on police power, patrolling their precincts, arresting wrongdoers and binding them over to local courts. In contrast, in many rural areas - including rural lordships on Yathrib - the armsmen of the local lord act directly as a police force, responding to the cries of citizens in need and keeping accused prisoners in custody until the lord can hear the matter.

The city and suburbs of Akko, however, use neither system. Instead, the various wards and districts of the city are government by municipal corporations of the leading citizens of the ward, and the corporations are responsible for law enforcement within their district. Law enforcement tends to take very different forms during the day and night.

Hue and Cry

During the day, there are generally no district watchmen or guards who patrol the districts. Instead, if someone is wronged or sees a crime committed or a fire start, they raise a 'hue and cry', and all nearby citizens are bound by law to stop the perpetrator and bear him to a magistrate. When a crime is discovered and no perpetrator is immediately found, the wronged party generally investigates, though if there is no wronged party (like the murder of a transient) or if the wronged party is a charity case the local magistrate may ask someone to look into the matter or the Church, the local corporation, or some other charitable organization may take up the cause. Once a perpetrator is found, the wronged party will demand the person come to court, and raise the hue and cry if they seek to flee.

The hue and cry is inappropriate for disputes over nuisances, trade or property; in such cases, the wronged party 'cries clamour', demanding that the offender cease what they are doing until the matter can be heard by a magistrate. If the offender does not cease - whether or not they are in the wrong - they will be fined, and the person who cries clamour maliciously also risks penalties.

As a practical matter, the first responders to a hue and cry in a market are usually so-called 'market guards', privately employed sentries who watch over the wares of a particular merchant. Given the absence of a generalized police force market guards are a necessity for merchants selling valuable goods or for those who maintain warehouses, and these market guards sometimes develop into a de facto police force. However, they also become armed men to back up market disputes, and so when a feud between two merchants turns ugly the market guards may contribute to the breach of peace rather than prevent it.

Night Watches

The hue and cry system is remarkably ineffective at preventing crimes done under cover of darkness or stopping fires that begin at night before they engulf a section of the city. As a consequence, every municipal corporation is required by the Chancery to establish a night watch that patrols each district looking for wrongdoing and fires. Districts have several different approaches to night watches; in some districts, the night watches are composed of market guards employed by merchant members of the municipal guild, while in other districts the night watch are citizen volunteers or a paid, professional force. The night watch usually has jail of some sort to hold wrongdoers until they can be brought to a magistrate in the morning.

Customs Guards, Foresters, and Other Constables

Some offenses, like poaching or the evasion of customs duties, are not personal offenses but crimes against the state. Dedicated constabularies do exist to prosecute such offenses, usually at the direction of a Quarter-Castellan, like the Lord Warden's Customs Guards (whose Landguards and Waterguards have powers along all of Akko's coastlines) or the Riverwardens or Foresters' Companies maintained by the Quarter-Castellans of the South and West. The Quarter-Castellan of the North has a Company of Watch-Wardens who patrol the badlands of Pilgrims' Landing, keeping an eye out for problems that may threaten the city, smugglers, or invaders headed south.

The Brother Battle also have a special role in city law enforcement. While officially they only patrol the Old City, the various districts will often call them in for help when serious crimes occur elsewhere that the districts cannot handle; additionally, their aid is sometimes requested when troublesome matters involving Crusaders arise. The traditional charter of the Brothers as protectors of pilgrims as well as their sterling reputation make them well-suited to render such assistance.


In the city and its suburbs, local magistrates staff municipal courts that handle all cases between freemen. These magistrates are almost always members of the Reeves' Guild, which easily absorbed the Worshipful Company of Judges - Akko's local magistrates' guild - upon recontact. Nominally, the Chancery has to approve any judge of a local court, but as a practical matter the Chancellor leaves the question of qualifications to the Reeves' Guild.

Actual appointments are officially made by the Quarter-Castellans, as the municipal courts are subordinate to the Castellan Courts as described above. In many districts, the appointment power rests by long tradition with the municipal corporation, however, and it can become a source of political tension if the Quarter-Castellan tries to appoint her own candidate.

In unincorporated areas, there are special local forestry or water courts that handle issues on the River Moss or in the city forests. Their magistrates are sometimes Reeves or sometimes nobles, though when a knight is or other lord is appointed to lead such a court they always have a Reeve advisor.

Smugglers caught 'on coast or sea' are tried in the Lord Warden's Court, but - to the frustration of the Chancery and the Lord Warden - cases of smuggling, customs evasion or other tax failures are tried in municipal courts when the perpetrator is arrested on land more than a cable's length (around 600 feet) from low tide. Particularly when the person accused of smuggling is a member of the municipal guild, fines from such cases sometimes tend to be a tiny fraction of the profit from smuggling in some districts. This can be a powerful incentive for guilds to control a district, as it allows them to in some cases essentially just ignore city taxes by only minutely punishing members of their guild caught for tax evasion. The starport at Pilgrim's Landing is a particular problem with this, though by custom if evidence of smuggling is found before a ship is unloaded those cases go directly to the Castellan Court.

Wards & Districts

The wards and districts of Akko have traditional rather than fixed boundaries, which can cause issues in disputed or bordering parts of the city. Often, the municipal charter granted by the Chancery gives the municipal corporation the power to retain some market taxes, giving teeth to the dispute, while by the same token two districts may squabble over who should investigate a crime or problem.

Old City

Corporation: Monastery Chapter (Brother Battle) -- Chancery

The Old City - the true City of Akko - is not really a district, and instead of a municipal corporation it is governed by the chapter of the Brother Battle monastery on the Mount of Apples. Brother Battle patrol the streets and investigate crimes, and the Chancellor directly appoints the magistrates who handle cases. With no Castellan Courts, the Court of Chancery is the court of appeal and then Curia Custodes itself.

Market Ward

Corporation: Worshipful Company of Marketers (Charioteers) -- Southern Bailiwick

The Market Ward's chief attraction is the Spice Market, the de facto Agora of Yathrib, and its governing body is the Worshipful Company of Marketers, a Charioteer-dominated association of the merchants who sell in the Spice Market. The Market Ward's night watch is provided by market guards on rotating duty, and many merchants pay for market guards on duty even when it is not their turn to patrol the ward. The Market Ward is part of the southern bailiwick but traditionally chooses its own magistrates.

Copper District

Corporation: Lay Canons of St. Paulus-outside-the-Walls (Merchant League) -- Southern Bailiwick

The Copper District is the traditional heart of Akko's middle class, centered around the ancient church of St. Paulus-outside-the-Walls. The Lay Canons - a collection of wealthy and important merchants - are the district's governing body, and they pay for a professional night watch that calls itself the Copper Guard. The Copper District is in the southern bailiwick and has always chosen its own magistrates.

Arcade District

Corporation: The Honorable Company (Scravers) -- Southern Bailiwick

The Arcade District is the criminal heart of the Foregate, one of its oldest wards and a narrow warren of streets and alleys. Its corporate association is the Honorable Company, once called the Honorable Company of Tailors and Seamstresses, but in 4780 a suit by the Clothier's Guild accusing the Honorable Company of being a front for rampant criminality forced them to drop their name. They retained the corporate charter, however, and are today entirely dominated by the Scravers' Guild, who voluntarily provide a night watch in the Arcade District. The ward is part of the southern bailiwick, and two years ago the Quarter-Castellan of the South provoked a great deal of outrage when he appointed Reeve magistrates over the requests of the Honorable Company, who had their own Ivankov candidates. The new magistrates (called informally "the New Men") have hired their own bailiffs with the support of the last Quarter-Castellan and have been enforcing laws the Honorable Company would rather see let lie.


Corporation: Cattlemen's Association of Akko (Muster) -- Southern Bailiwick

The Stockyards district includes Voortrekar Square, which is actually where the guildhall of the Cattlemen's Association sits. Recently, though, the increase in offworld travelers - many of whom fill inns and boardinghouses near Voortrekar - have caused a movement among the Worshipful Company of Innkeepers, a local guild, to seek to supplant the Cattlemen as the municipal corporation. They are presently seeking sponsorship by one of the major guilds of the League. The Innkeepers maintain a paid night's watch, while the Cattlemen's Association relies on rotating volunteer stockmen. The Stockyards have their own Cattlemen's Court, which in addition to criminal matters hears all disputes between herdsmen of any stripe.

East Goat

Corporation: Venerable Company of Smiths and Ironmongers (Engineers) -- Southern Bailiwick

A solidly middle and upper middle class district just east of the Spice Market, East Goat is named after Goat Street, long the route that goat-herders would take into the city before the Stockyards will built to the south. Its civic association is the local blacksmith's guild, which has a loose affiliation with the Engineers, though the smiths are not Engineers themselves. They pay a professional night watch, hiring the same Copper Guard that patrols the Copper District to the south, but East Goat cases are heard by a different magistrate long chosen by the Venerable Company.

West Goat

Corporation: The Western Association (None) -- Western Bailiwick

West Goat is the most affluent suburb of the city, crossing from fine town manors into almost semi-rural estates, and its municipal corporation - the Western Association - is notable for being unaffiliated with any trade and indeed including some old knightly families amongst its membership, which is almost country club-like. Even the true nobility who live in West Goat visit the Association Club, though they of hold themselves above the practical affairs of the district. The Association is not affiliated with any Guild, though perhaps the Reeves hold the most influence. Most of the magistrates of the city live in West Goat, and they hear cases as needed, while law enforcement is provided by the hired guards of West Goat's wealthy residences. Thieves and troublemakers of any sort are not well-tolerated, and particularly nettlesome individuals never make it through the night.


Corporation: Ancient and Worshipful Company of Chandlers (Scravers/Charioteers) -- Eastern Bailiwick

The Quayside district is the maritime heart of Akko, stretching down along Chandler Way to the square where the Drag meets the New Pier. The Ancient and Worshipful Company is nominally comprised of ship's chandlers - merchants who specialize in outfitting seagoing vessels - but by old tradition 'Revered Mariners' - current and retired sea captains - are also honorary members of the company. A fierce battle is being waged over control of the Ancient and Worshipful Company between the Charioteers and the Scravers, who have been buying captains and chandlers whenever they can. The Quayside district does not pay for its own night's watch; instead, it is patrolled by the quay patrols of the Waterguards, though sea captains also send out shore patrols to look after their crews. Smuggling cases are usually brought directly to the Lord Warden's Court at the lighthouse, but other cases are tried 'by custom of the sea' by the captain of seamen involved or by magistrates hired and paid by the Ancient and Worshipful Company.

Exodite Quarter

Corporation: Guild of St. Maya's (Reeves) -- Northern Bailiwick

The Exodite Quarter is the spiritual heart of the Exodite movement, the wealthy refugees from Revelation who now fill many of the upper middle class of Revelation. The centerpiece of the quarter is the Church of St. Maya, still under construction, and the wealthy merchants that support the church are also the quarter's civic association, dominated by Reeve bankers. The corporation does not pay a night's watch; instead, every adult male member of the community is expected to patrol the quarter a certain number of nights a year, and they are required to train with cudgels and staffs towards that purpose. The Quarter also chooses its own magistrates, not through the Guild of St. Maya but through the Inn of St. Horace, an ancient legal body from the Holy City now constituted in exile in Akko.

Cathedral Quarter

Corporation: Cathedral Chapter of the Basilica of the Revelation (Swords of Lextius) -- Church

The Cathedral Quarter was once largely abandoned slumland before the huge influx of the exodus arrived, when the great hangar in its center was converted into Exodus Cathedral, the home-away-from-home for the Archbishop of the Holy City. With the land deeded to church control by the Statute of Exodus in 4944, the area is administered directly by the canons of the Cathedral, though as a practical matter civic administration is left to the Swords of Lextius, whose armsmen and retainers serve both as a dayguard and night's watch. The Swords - being noble - also serve as judges of the civil law, ruling on and handing down sentences in brief, impromptu courts as judge, jury and - if needed - executioner.

Camp Aleph & Camp Beth

Corporation: None (Muster) -- Chancery/Northern Bailiwick

The two largest refugee camps are teeming shantytowns of temporary housing that has decayed as a few years' internment has turned to generations. Walled in to prevent refugees from leaving except with authorized passes, the camps have no civic government of their own; instead, the Muster have a contract to maintain law and order inside the camps, which they do only at a distance. Prior to recontact, the camps were run by Chancery soldiers, mostly from Vale families, and that has given rise to animosity on the part of the larger refugee community towards the Vale. Crimes committed in the camps are officially tried by Chancery magistrates, though in truth a variety of more or less civilized forms of unauthorized justice occur within the depths of the camps.

Tower District

Corporation: Starmen's Hall and Company (Charioteers) -- Northern Bailiwick

Up until recontact, the Tower District - the reclaimed area of tarmac around one of the old control towers of Pilgrim's Landing that has remained in service as a commercial starport and skyport - was a rather shabby part of town with little business. The Starmen's Hall, established as a place for traveling spacers to rest and find work, had few members, and was mostly famous for its once-a-year Spacers' Ball where copious amounts of moonshine were served. Now, the Tower District is a bustling spaceport, and the Starmen's Hall has hired Muster guards to patrol the district at all times and offworld Reeve magistrates expert in void law to hear many disputes, including disputes that occur in space itself.

High Road

Corporation: Mercers' Hall of the High Road (Reeves) -- Northern Bailiwick

North of the camps the Pilgrim Road rises into an elevated skyway that runs over the tarmac, up and around the Roadward Tower, one of the northern fortifications of the city. Long directly ruled by the Quarter-Castellan of the North, the High Road district has recently been given a municipal charter through the machinations of the Reeves, who set up a Mercer's Hall to band together the merchants around the Roadward Tower into a loose association. Though the community of High Road still only scrapes at the middle class, it is trying to give itself a veneer of respectability by hiring a night's watch and organizing civic affairs, though the Quarter-Castellan still directly appoints its magistrates.

Low Road

Corporation: New Company of Redeemers and Scrapmongers (Scravers) -- Northern Bailiwick

Not long after High Road was recognized its shabbier underside was recognized as well - Low Road, the slum town beneath the high Pilgrim's Road. Notably, the Scravers have organized a scrap market there, trying to rival the much more established community of scrappers in Crow's Landing and perhaps steal some of the business from that market, which is more dominated by onworld interests. The New Company the Scravers formed is controlled mostly by the Harrison family, though the other Scraver families play a part, and they patrol the Low Road district on a regular basis. Most interestingly, the court in Low Road long predates the community - it is the Scrappers' Court, chosen largely by the redeemers who work the badlands. Once, it was located in Crow's Landing, but relocated south during the Betrayal.