The Clockwork Court
Beneath a dome of brass-latticed crystal at the centre of the Judiciary’s palace is the Clockwork Court—a gracefully stepped open pavilion eighty paces in breadth. The Quorum, (Sinophia’s elective council of nobles) meets here every ten years to select the world’s ruler, as well as for one weeklong session each month to debate, bicker, conduct spiteful politicking, and wrangle over courses of action seldom resolved. It is also here that the Judiciary, Sinophia’s Planetary Governor (although truthfully little more than a figurehead) receives rare emissaries and petitioners.
To enter into the Clockwork Court, one must pass through one of the four grand entrance passages from the Judiciary’s hall and loop through a maze of archive vaults, private chambers, meeting rooms, galleries, and cogitator stations. Many of these are now dusty and disused, and some areas are tellingly stripped of their former finery and equipment. One thing that Sinophia’s decay has not changed, however, is the paranoid and thorough security demanded by its nobility. At each point, visitors are watched by armed guards and deathly still men with optical augmetics and high collared flak-robes.
Those who enter the court are waited on by clockwork creatures fashioned in the form of angels and heroes from Imperial history. There are thirty-seven ‘servants’ in the court. When not attending to visitors, they stand all but motionless, silently watching those who enter, following them with jewelled eyes. Legendary on Sinophia, these are no mere servitors, for they contain no flesh. Each is a wonder of glittering brass, charged copper, and brushed steel, their movements pulsing with soft clicks and whirs. The floor of the court is transparent and reveals the vast whirling mechanism beneath that powers and controls the servants. The workings of the court’s mechanism are a mystery, and it has run without fail since the world’s foundation. Some whisper that the Clockwork Court controls some ancient secret—a legacy of the Rogue Trader Teresa Sinos.