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Appendix A - The Magpies’ Code

Updated: Jan 5

The Dagger and Bird Tattoo by Romain Surreau

Written by Kepler Winkelman, Eva Herzog, Gabriel Michaels, Renwick Gibbons, and Lilia Warwick ratified in 500 A.R.M. in West Haven

Agreed to by every man, woman, or child bearing the Dagger and Bird upon their left shoulder.


Introduction

The Magpies are a criminal order, but we are an organisation with a purpose. Our role in society is the fair redistribution of wealth from the haves to the have-nots. It’s the way of the world that some have much and can turn what they have into goods to sell and gain more wealth. On the other hand, some have nothing and, therefore, can make nothing of what they don’t have, so they remain destitute. Therefore, our moral obligation is to redirect the disproportionate flow of having such that those with nothing, gain a path to a brighter future.


Nature of the Code

This Code seeks to regulate the conduct of thieves, burglars, swindlers, con artists, and smugglers. It aims to ensure mutually beneficial opportunities for collaboration, deign the proper flow of wealth reallocation from rich to poor, and minimise the suffering. When one takes the oath to uphold this Code before Aeg, they may reap its rewards, and they are then to its rulings as decided by the local judicator, a Guild Leader. Upon initiation to the Code, the initiate will show their dedication to it by taking the Dagger and Bird tattoo on their left shoulder to become a full member. All past Indiscretions are forgotten at the point of becoming a full member.


Induction under the Code

To become a full member of the Magpies, one must first prove worthy. Joined members gain access to guild networks, resources, protection under the Code, and the support of the local guild.


An initiate must work under a full guild member as an apprentice to learn the trade for a period no shorter than 12 months and no longer than 36 months. After this time, if the initiate can’t pass the criteria for full membership, they are dismissed and must seek a new mentor.


To complete the initiation, the initiate needs one full member who can nominate them for membership. They must then complete a caper of notoriety.


A full member of the guild must be present to verify the act, and the local guild leader will judge if the level of infamy regarding the show is sufficient. If authorities identify the perpetrator as the culprit within one month, the initiate fails the test. A guild leader may reject any membership application.


Punishments and Fines under the Code

The local guild leader judges indiscretions and all rulings are final. Indiscretions comprise four levels of Code violation.

  1. Minor indiscretions

    1. Fine: The local equivalent of one month’s wages for a commoner to be given to the guild leader for distribution among the poor. 10% stays with the guild.

    2. If the misdeed can be rectified, the perpetrator must make all reasonable efforts.

    3. If the deed can’t be rectified, the fine is doubled, and the additional funds are given to the aggrieved party.

    4. All payments must be made within thirty days of the final ruling.

  2. Indiscretion

    1. Fine: The local equivalent of one year’s wages for a commoner to be given to the guild leader for distribution among the poor. 10% stays with the guild.

    2. If the misdeed can be rectified, the perpetrator must make all reasonable efforts.

    3. If the deed can’t be rectified, the fine is doubled, and the additional funds are given to the aggrieved party.

    4. All payments must be made within ninety days of the final ruling.

  3. Major Indiscretion

    1. Stripped of membership.

    2. All property is forfeited to the guild to be redistributed to the poor. 10% stays with the guild.

  4. Egregious Indiscretion

    1. Death to be carried out immediately after the final ruling.

    2. All property is forfeited to the guild to be redistributed to the poor. 10% stays with the guild.


Definitions

Caper: A deed where something of value is procured from another without the original owner’s consent, and something of equal importance wasn’t exchanged.

Initiate: A junior member of the guild, working as an apprentice under a full member.

Full member: A person beholden to The Magpies’ Code and bares the Dagger and Bird upon their left shoulder.

Guild Leader: A person elected by the local thieves as the leader of the local guild.

Indiscretion: An act that directly or indirectly breaks The Magpies’ Code.


The Code

  1. Wealth must flow down. 10% of every share from any activity that is considered a caper under the Code must be given to the guild.

    1. Failing to give the guild its due is an Indiscretion.

  2. The guild leader is to see that half of all funds received by the guild from its members are distributed among the poor of the local area.

    1. Failing to distribute the wealth is a Major Indiscretion.

  3. No Member or Initiate or Guild Leader shall commit a caper against another Member, Initiate or Guild Leader of the Magpies.

    1. Committing a caper against a Magpie is a Minor Indiscretion.

  4. A Magpies’ word is their bond. Once a Magpies’ word is given, they must complete whatever was agreed as per their exact agreement.

    1. Failure to deliver on one’s word is a Minor Indiscretion.

  5. Magpies don’t trade in blood. A Magpie is expected to keep the human cost of their caper to a minimum. Doing physical harm to another should be avoided. It’s terrible for business. Killing in self-defence or in defence of another is permitted, but it must be proven necessary for the continued survival of the person in question.

    1. Killing in self-defence or in defence of another is a Minor Indiscretion.

    2. Killing in cold blood is a Major Indiscretion.

    3. Partaking in slavery or human trafficking is an Egregious Indiscretion.

  6. Failure to pay a fine as laid out by the Code automatically graduates the Indiscretion level of the offence to the next level.

    1. A Minor Indiscretion becomes an Indiscretion.

    2. An Indiscretion becomes a Major Indiscretion.

    3. A Major Indiscretion becomes an Egregious Indiscretion

  7. All participants in a caper are entitled to a share of the bounty equal to their contribution. The shares are to be decided and agreed upon upfront during the planning. If the plan changes and one member or the job does more work than anticipated, the other members are expected to accommodate the change in good faith. The local guild leader will decide on the shares if a disagreement can’t be resolved.

    1. Failing to award a fair share is a Minor Indiscretion.

  8. Initiates are entitled to Half Shares. While they are learning, half their share is paid for their training and goes to their master.

    1. Failing to award an Initiate their Half Share is a Minor Indiscretion.

  9. Helping those in need. The Magpies are a service to society. If someone is in trouble, a member of the Magpies that is aware and able is expected to help, especially if the victim is of meagre means.

    1. Failing to help the poor when the Magpie was able and aware is a Minor Indiscretion.

    2. If failure to help results in that person’s death or serious physical harm, including incarceration, it is a Major Indiscretion.

    3. A Magpie isn’t obligated to help any who trade in blood or has made an attempt on said Magpie’s life.

  10. Once per year, all Magpies of the local guild must gather to elect a Guild Leader. The guild leader must be nominated by at least two other members and carry the day with a majority vote. With a tie, there must be a re-vote. If there is a tie three times running, the leadership for the year is to be shared.

  11. The Guild Leader must ensure the fair distribution of wealth in the local area and look out for members. If a member can’t make enough money to live at a reasonable level, the guild must take care of their essential needs—food, water and shelter.

  12. The Guild Leader is compensated for their efforts with 5% of the monthly income of the guild.

    1. A guild leader who takes more than their due is considered to have committed an Egregious Indiscretion.

  13. Any member may call a guild leader to trial by initiating Defiance. All local members are expected to attend the trial if a guild leader is officially Defied. The accuser may present evidence of the guild leader’s abuse of the Code, and the guild leader will be entitled to one month to muster a defence. Once the evidence and counter-evidence have been provided, the assembled members will vote and determine if the Defiance is Legitimate by the majority vote.

    1. Any guild leader found guilty of abusing the Code is held to have committed an Egregious Indiscretion

Any breach of the Code which doesn’t have specific repercussions associated with it is to be assumed to be an Indiscretion.


The Oath

By Aeg, I solemnly swear to uphold The Magpies’ Code in all my dealings and subject myself to its rulings as laid out by the duly elected judicator. I won’t deal in blood or knowingly bring an innocent person to harm. I’ll do all within my power to see that riches are fairly distributed in society and that those who are of meagre means can live. I swear to uphold and enforce the Code upon all that take the Dagger and Bird. I won’t abide a false Magpie, and I’ll always help a fellow Magpie in exchange for my fair share, should they ask me. All these words are true, or may Aeg send rats and buzzards to feast on my entrails.


 

This is the Magpies' Code as used by Jaques Smit in his world Ayrul

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