Chapter 1:

Prologue

The Charming Detective Agency


The Luthien Empire is young, as countries go; barely over a century old. It shaped itself in its early years by subjugation and ruthless conquering beyond its meager borders. As it reached its present strength, the Emperor Maximillian II, realizing the different laws and systems of justice that had become woven into the Empire’s fabric, embarked on an effort to reform these laws, taking the burden off the empire’s Magistrate and giving power back to its people—ordinary people, who had been judged to have upstanding moral character and strong senses of justice. This resulted in the Empire’s unique two pronged legal system, where crimes were divided into two distinct categories.

A lesser crime, by its most basic definition, was any crime that was committed that did not result in any severe physical harm to its victim. They included offenses such as theft, harassment and vandalism, among others, and were divided into three classes depending on the severity of the offense. Rather than being investigated by the Magistrate, lesser crimes were under the jurisdiction of Imperially-licensed detectives, who handled investigations, interviews and often acted as mediators between the criminal and their victim. Punishments usually involved restitution or the performance of community service. Higher class lesser crimes were usually remanded to the Imperial Police, who had a larger degree of punishment at their disposal, such as hard labor.

On the other side of the coin were greater crimes, which often resulted in severe punishment to the perpetrator—imprisonment or execution. These were the exclusive territory of the Imperial Police and the Magistrate, and were also divided into three classes depending on the severity of the offense. Murder, kidnapping, armed assault and arson were the obvious greater crimes. However, any severe bodily harm caused to a person during the commission of a lesser crime automatically brought it into greater crime jurisdiction, as well as if the victim suffered significant financial or tangible property losses. It was common during the investigation of a lesser crime to uncover evidence of a greater crime, which meant that investigations were to immediately be surrendered to the authority of the Magistrate.

The legal system of the Empire was not without its challenges. Every year or so, a particularly heinous crime would trigger the rewrite and reclassification of the many laws by the National Assembly due to public outcry. It was a constantly evolving system, and those that upheld the law had to keep on their toes—often staring down the dark side of humanity.

Yes, it was a unique system, and it had its share of triumphs. It also had its flaws.

We open the curtain over the city of Veritas in 1928, and look into the lives of a broken hearted young man, and a little girl unaware of the very truth to her existence…
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Lieze
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A.A. James
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Ana Fowl
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