The Azorius Senate are the white-blue guild of Ravnica. They are the self-appointed law of Ravnica, the judge and jury who write the rules of Ravnica and ensure they are enforced. How much their laws are actually listened to by the other guilds or even the general populace varies depending on any number of factors, but they’re not afraid to back up their words with action.
The Azorius Senate was there at the beginning. The guild was founded by a powerful and wise lawmage by the name of Azor, and he was the one who came up with the idea of the Guilds in the first place. Azor, himself not a native of Ravnica, saw the quarreling factions of Ravnica and feared the worst; that they would eventually reduce the plane to ruin. Not seeing an end in sight, he came up with a compromise. The factions would enter into a non-aggression pact; equals in power, and keeping one another in check by threat of mutually assured destruction.
With consultation from some of the other leaders, he devised a way of guaranteeing the checks and balances; a document that would magically enforce the cease fire between the would-be guilds. Eventually the ten greatest factions entered into agreement. Each one was granted powers and purposes to keep them in balance, and sometimes to keep them busy. Some of the leaders had certain demands and requests, and eventually the document was finalized and put into power. Thus the Guilds of Ravnica were born.
Azor, and those like-minded who were attracted to him, favored meticulous control and regimented order. Seeing as how they put the rules into play in the firstplace, they took on the task of continuing such action. They organized themselves into a governing body, the Azorius Senate, which was in the position to write laws into effect that would help guide Ravnica toward a more perfect tomorrow.
Where they created the law, they also enforced it. They were not just politicians; they also acted as law enforcement, and the judicial system. Their laws would frequently fall on deaf ears however, and the Azorius would rarely get anything done without enforcement. They had a strained relationship with the Boros elite, who were similarly lawfully minded, and would often help enforce the laws when it suited them so. To ease the burden, the Senate makes the laws as obtuse and esoteric as possible, so that only they have a realistic chance of fully understanding them.
THE PERFECT SYSTEM
By the time the Decamillenial celebration was upon Ravnica, the leader of the Senate was the Grand Arbiter of the senate, Augustin IV. A decrepit old man, Augustin was nevertheless a brilliant political mind, who was renowned for his brevity in an organization that generally prided itself on verbosity. Augustin was pleased with his position, however. The system of the Guilds maintained status quo, but it didn’t really “work”. The Guilds were ever at each other’s throats, and always pushing one another’s buttons, desperately trying to find a way to one up one another.
He schemed to tear down all that was Ravnica and rebuild it of his own ideal. Structured. Orderly. To do this, he took advantage of the ambition of Szadek, allowing Szadek to destroy the Guildpact, with the intention of replacing it with a system that favored the Azorius. The pact was destroyed, but Augustin could only predict so much, and was turned upon by Szadek when Szadek broke free of Augustin’s control.
After the chaos died down, Augustin’ successor, Leonos II, was elected into power.
THE SUPREME JUDGE
In the time after the fall of the Guildpact, the Senate lay in ruins. No one within the senate had quite the impact that Augustin did, and thus no one was able to unite the differing views of how to best guide Ravnica. The Senate was in an eternal stalemate. A former senator, the sphinx Isperia, agreed to take control in a new position, the Supreme Judge, after conferring with the previous Grand Arbiter, Leonos.
Where those who had tried to gain power in the Senate through words and doctrine, Isperia had the raw power to back up her decrees, and no one in the senate came to stand against her. With her leadership, the senate was reconstructed into a functioning body again, and continued its necessary task of saving Ravnica from itself.
Her new leadership was considerably more forceful and bold than Azorius leaders in the past had been. The most significant outcome of this was a greatly increased strain with the Boros Legion. Now more commonly acting upon their decrees, there were frequent arguments between the two guilds over the issue of jurisdiction.
THE MAZE’S END; AZOR’S LEGACY
When the implicit maze came to be known to the citizenry of Ravnica, a woman named Lavinia was tasked to be the Senate’s champion. By most any standard, Lavinia was an anomaly among the Azorius, bold and forceful, and willing to break the letter of the law to protect its spirit. She had become uniquely qualified with the task of running the maze in her forceful pursuit of Jace Beleren.
Jace, fearful of who was aware of his interest in the maze, had his laboratory burned to the ground to cover his tracks. Lavinia was appointed to investigate, and through a series of mishaps, allowed Beleren to escape. So disgusted by his complete disregard for the law, she broke her jurisdiction to see him put to justice, and was able to stay hot on his trail. She used her knowledge of his exploits as leverage with Isperia to put herself into the position as the Senate’s maze runner.
The maze that was discovered was uniquely tied to the Azorius Senate in a way that no other guild matched; it was crafted by Azor himself. What very few were able to discover until it was very nearly too late was the Maze’s true purpose. What the general populace of Ravnica believed, guilded or otherwise, was that the Maze’s intent was to choose a champion; a guild more worthy than the others to guide Ravnica’s future in a world without the Guildpact. This could not be more mistaken.
Its true purpose was to see if the Guilds were worth saving at all. Azor was a meticulous planner, and he had always considered the possibility that the Guildpact might someday fail. He wanted their to be a safeguard in effect, to test if the Guilds would maintain reason to be in a world without the Guildpact, or if they had become so ruinous and corrupt that they were a plague unto Ravnica as they had been in the beginning. The maze was a test of cooperation and unity, to see if the ten guilds of Ravnica could set aside their differences and work towards the greater good of Ravnica.
The maze was guarded by an avatar in Azor’s likeness, a magical construct called the baliff. He lay in slumber at the Maze’s endpoint, the Forum of Azor, to see how the guilds would complete the task set before them. If they were worthy, he would help them craft a new Guildpact to maintain the peace. Should they fail, the Tenth District of Ravnica, which is where most of the Guilds had their centers of power in, would be wiped from the map with a spell of unequalled destruction; The Supreme Verdict.
Jace Beleren, through his mental magic, was able to bridge the maze runners’ minds together, and prevent the Supreme Verdict, and for his good deeds, was appointed to the position of Guildpact by the Bailiff. He began putting new systems into motion and planned to have a council of officials from all of the guilds help guide him in his newly appointed task. He asked Lavinia to represent the Senate, and she reluctantly agreed if only to keep her eye upon him, ever wary of one so willing to subvert the law to suit his whims.