Sword & Spoken Word
Executive Factotum, Autumnhall Dynasty
“To call Imperial law ‘byzantine’ is to understate the case, but also to misapprehend its true nature. The intent behind Imperial Law is simple, the authority it precedes from is compact, and thus efficient, and the scope of its actions is limited to the necessary. The dissemination and interpretation of that law, however, is precisely the reverse of all these things.
“The complexity of Imperial jurisprudence reflects not the complexity of the law, but the staggering scope of the work and infrastructure required to disseminate and administer it.
“Ultimately, my lord, the state is not a solution to anarchy because the state is not an actor. It is an instrumentality which responds to the will of those in a position to direct and interpret its efforts. And who influences it, and how… these things vary from time to time, from place to place, and from person to person. The state is simply another form of force, and the struggle to wield the influence of the state to one’s own ends is simply another form of force projection.
“There is no better illustration of this than to observe that some men, in some places, could and would be flayed alive for heresy, had they said what I just said. But for us, here and now, it is dinner conversation.
“You would be wise, my lord, to remember this in your dealings with the Inquisitor. Imperial law declares you equals. But which of you is the master and which the servant is very much a matter of time, of place, and of circumstance.”
An executive secretary, factotum, and lawyer of House Autumnhall, Ulrich Malmstein is a tall, grey, humorless man who seems incapable of surprise or even fear… possibly because he lacks the necessary imagination.
It is possible that he lives a rich inner life, but his admanatium barricade of humorless professional competence renders this question somewhat academic.
He refuses to guess or speculate about anything… there is a story that Jorvalds Autmunhall once asked him if the sun would rise on the following day, to which he answered “I would not presume to guess, my lord, but if you wish it, I shall prepare for the eventuality.”
This story probably isn’t true, but it does illustrate his character.