“Among the many institutions that keep the Bulrin Empire strong, it is Tern Street that is truly the most illustrious. The operatives of this unsung defense, known as “runners”, have protected the empire from threats within and without its borders. More elite than the police force and more adaptable than the Bulrin army, the Tern Street runners are the clandestine hand of the Emperor and his dukes. The runners, though mainly covert, are seen as heroes by those they have served and as liquidators to those they have faced. Either through subterfuge, information or strength of steel, the runners are a force to be reckoned with.

There was once a time when the runners were thought to be mercenaries hired to keep the population quiet, but this idea mostly stems from their detractors. The runners are so much more than secret police though; they are spies, assassins, bodyguards, occultists and soldiers of fortune, among many other types. This most vital of institutions alone could be all that has defended the empire from countless threats outside the public eye, from cultists to foreign spies, from terrorists to monsters.

Tern Street itself is based in the Golus province of Bulrin, in the city of Northgate. The headquarters themselves are a small, modest building in the southern quarter of the city, close to the city hall. The name quite simply comes from the location of the headquarters, Tern Street. The headquarters is set up in an old, musky house. Made to look inconspicuous quite deliberately from the outside, but still containing everything needed. This headquarters is where the administration staff work and where the office of the current chief, Martin Eracy, is located. There are two other minor, secondary headquarters within Northgate, one close to the Croft Asylum and another close to the city gate in the eastern quarter. Tern Street is an empire-wide institution though, so offices are located elsewhere too, from Highgard to Ontarfeld. These smaller offices are known as “Annexes”.

Tern Street owes full allegiance to whoever occupies the position of Emperor and also to the Duke of Golus. This allegiance stems right back from the institutions creation, not from some forced edict. Approximately 900 years ago now. Oh yes, Tern Street is rather old! As the story goes, the head of the militia in Northgate just so happened to be a childhood friend of the emperor of the time, Ulrich Bulrin. He was the second Emperor of the Bulrin empire, Conrads son. Ulrich saw the huge numbers of Dust cultists and all manner of horrendous events that the army and militia simply were unable to keep in check. The empire was in peril. Ulrich decided to create a force solely dedicated to eliminating these threats and went to his childhood friend, Adrian Von Tern, the then-chief of the militia, to lead this force. Tern accepted wholeheartedly, relinquishing his position as head of the militia to another capable individual, Madam Francisca, and became the first Chief of the Runners. Madam Francisca is also notable in that she turned Bulrins militia force into the police force we know today. However, the runners did have a base of operations, but over time Terns own home fulfilled this purpose. The street his house lay upon at the time was called South road.

The runners at the time were little more than trained watchmen and militia. They had some “special” training in identifying and stamping out Dust users, but little more. However, they proved effective and over time the problems plaguing the empire began to diminish. Ulrich was thrilled by the progress of the runners and Terns leadership, and in thanks renamed South road to Tern Street. To honor Adrian Von Tern. From then on, the runners became the Tern Street runners and they have advanced greatly over time. They are now exceedingly well equipped and have some of the finest training in the empire. The runners were founded in Ulrich Bulrins time, so they have protected the empire for roughly 920 years, from when Ulrich was 36 years old. It was the relationship and respect between the Emperor and the chief of the runners that created the runners dedication to the emperor and this has remained as an institutional tradition ever since.

The runners were founded with two aims in mind. Firstly they were to act as an extra elite defense against unusual threats within and without the empire. Secondly, they were to deal with cases and threats that the police and military cannot, either due to potential collateral damage or cases of diplomatic sensitivity. There is much confusion inside and outside the empire as to what exactly the Tern Street runners do. In truth, there is no single answer to that. Although their original role was to strike down that which the police and army cannot, this has hugely expanded and the runners now fulfill many different roles. The primary role they fill though, is to protect the public and weed out threats to public safety, such as terrorists or asylum escapees. They also act as detectives, sent to solve major crimes and crimes that involve anything supernatural. Runners are also often called upon to act as bodyguards for important persons such as politicians and have even guarded the Emperor himself in the past. The runners can also support the police in their investigations, lending specialist knowledge.

Another major role the runners fill is that of espionage, they can be called upon to spy on and gather information on Bulrins rivals and enemies, such as the merchant city of Hauteclaire and the Kingdom of Riefe. Another, fairly uncommon role the runners have been known to fill to test new technology created by the great scientific minds of the empire. In order to fulfill these roles, runners are given “missions” that they must complete. A mission could involve protecting a leading scientist or slaying a particular cultist. The majority of these missions are given to a runner by the Bulrin government, through Tern Streets offices. Tern Street is known to accept missions from other sources too, acting as private detectives of sorts. Lets say a wealthy landowner may want a deadly creature expelled from his fields for example. He would go to Tern Street and pay a runner and the institution to solve his monster problem. So, although Tern Street is a government institution, it is also a private contractor in a sense. Tern Street has even been known to take missions from outside of the empire, however runners will never do anything that will harm or threaten the empire or any of its interests or assets.

Runners are always well equipped for and knowledgeable of the job at hand. This is primarily due to their extensive training of concepts such as criminology, combat, science and leadership, among other things. This does allow runners to be able to tackle any kind of work, from detective work to bounty hunting. The individuals who make up the runners can come from any and all walks of life. They can come from upper class backgrounds, farming families, police officers, miners or countless other persons. The reasons that an individual may join are almost as diverse as those who join, however, I’ve deduced a few common reasons. The most common reason is for money. That old chestnut! It seems obvious really, runners are paid handsomely and are given free healthcare as well, a good reason for any to join. Another, more noble, reason people join is a true desire to protect their nation, the runners are an excellent way to do this, second only to joining the army. Another reason could be to develop oneself, both physically and mentally, as well as to gain contacts. Others join to get or mete out justice, while others still even seek to get revenge for some past slight by joining the runners.

Joining is, in fact, fairly simple for such a complex institution. There are three methods: firstly, you must simply fill out an application form picked up from Tern Street itself or an annex, secondly it is common for a police officer who performs exceedingly well to be invited to join the runners and thirdly it can be quite easy to join if one knows a runner or is related to one. When one join, the hard work begins. When one joins, they start out as a recruit until they complete their demanding training. Once this is complete, they become a runner proper, a 4th degree runner or “Tenderfoot”. As they complete their duties satisfactorily they can be promoted to 3rd degree runners known as “Operatives”. Succeed further and you could become a 2nd degree runner or “Virtuoso”. Truly exceed and you can become a 1st degree runner or “Ace”. Each rank grants higher pay, more benefits, respect and extra training. The reasons for a promotion can vary, but the primary factor is through simple merit. One must truly earn a promotion. There is a rank above a 1st degree runner that is simply reserved for the chief of the runners.

There have been a number of famous, renowned or even legendary runners in the past. The empire put these heroes on pedestals, to be sure. They are regarded as such because of their abilities, reputation, great deeds or their positions. Perhaps it would be wise to speak of such unique individuals. The first and seemingly most obvious individual would be Adrian Von Tern himself, whose great leadership held the early runners together and gained them the reputation for getting the job done. Terns family seal was taken and adjusted to become the Tern Street runners insignia: an outspread raven with eyes on its wings contained within a shield shape. Another great runner was known as Baphory the Jaw, a Julmurn runner (a notably rare occurrence) who was known for having a secondary lower jaw outside of his actual jawline. This was due to Dust mutation, which Julmurns are known for, that occurred at some point in his past. It wasn’t his unique appearance that gained him reverence though. He is famous because of a single deed, a truly heroic and selfless act that shocked the other runners who know him. Baphory single-handedly rescued a number of Bulrin prisoners of war from Riefe during the War of Perspectives. However, upon their escape, they were spotted and pursued. These same prisoners had mocked and insulted Baphory when he came to rescue them simply because he was a Julmurn, a race usually known for being savages. Despite this, upon realizing that the pursuers had muskets and would soon be able to fire upon the escapees, Baphory told the escapees to keep running and turned to face the pursuers alone. He charged them, cutting down many but ultimately being brought down, sacrificing himself to save those who had mocked him. Presumably those same prisoners told Baphorys story back at him, out of shame. He has been remembered since for this selfless act, representing wholeheartedly what the runners exist for: protecting others.

And lastly, another legendary runner was Karl Von Postrach. He was a runner who specialized in bounty hunting, espionage and assassination. He was a cold and distant man, very direct in personality. They say he was from an unknown mountain village in the Ontarfeld province. Hailing from the time of Emperor Patrick Bulrin, Karl was a highly feared asset to Bulrin. Silent and deadly, he could eliminate anyone, anywhere, at any time if desired. He was so feared, in fact, that both the Bulrin and Riefan people called him the “Shadow of Bulrin”. His abilities were truly legendary, easily belittling any other runner of the time in unrelenting skill, particularly at assassination. It is even said that others have taken up his mantle, there are even rumors of an apprentice or line of apprentices.

These runners are more have left their mark on the empire and Tern Street itself, just as Tern Street has left its mark on Primea. I daresay that there would be Bulrin empire to this day if it were not for these cryptic defenders. I wonder where the future will take them…”

From the memoirs of Hermann Maestra.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. jmgajda says:

    That was fabulously detailed! I’m curious if this is part of a larger story or a stand alone.

    I was curious about the Tern Street runners insignia; did you actually sketch that out? It would be interesting to see it if you did.

    I was also curious if all runners are male or if there are female runners as well?

    Thanks for sharing your writing!

    🙂

    • Osharlequin says:

      Thank you very much my friend! It is part of a larger world that i am in the process of designing. Mostly for fun, but stories may follow!

      I have sketched it out, but i seem to have misplaced the drawing somewhere. I will redo it at some point. 🙂

      Runners can be male or female. In fact, they don’t even have to be Human. 🙂

      Thank you for your time!

      The Oldschool Harlequin

  2. Osharlequin says:

    Reblogged this on WorldofHarley and commented:

    Daetrolos: The Tern Street Runners

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s