Imperatry Legion

The legendary might of the Imperatry Templarate of Haedrasia is founded upon the rightly feared Imperatry Legions. A single legion numbers nine thousand Haedrasian citizens, all independently commanded by ranking members of the temple. In addition a single legion is usually joined by roughly a thousand more warriors under the independent command of a Paladin. In any territory there can be anything from twenty individual legions in a relatively secure region to two hundred in warzones, making the Imperatry Legions by far the largest military power Allornus has ever seen.

Components of the Legion

The upper echelons of the Haedrasian military are the paladins, holy warriors who wield military, secular and religious power in equal measure. The greatest and most senior members of the temple of the war-divh they are extremely versatile, armed and armoured in whatever they are most skilled in the use of, chosen from the legendary Paladin's Armoury, a repository where all of the Paladins bequeath their, often legendary, arms and armour upon their deaths for use by the next generation.

The paladins are extremely skilled warriors, but even better field commanders and tacticians, as well as being devout followers of the earthly war-divh, every one of them blessed by his own hand, they shine with divine power. The hundred and twenty finest of these paladins form the Imperator's Paladins, a special force charged with defending the Imperator Haedrien and the Eternal Palace. These warriors carry terrible halberds based on the cannons and bombards of the Haedrasian artillery, that fire metal shot in great explosions of smoke and fire - as well as having blades of the finest steel men can make - and blessed by the hand of the war-divh himself. The paladins all directly serve the King of Swords, who answers directly to Imperator Haedrien. Paladins can either take command of a legion, or gather together in companies of twenty to fifty under a single, senior Paladin when a large group of them gather together. Like all of the legions, paladins wear banded mail, and are honoured with helms with a likeness of the war-divh's face fashioned on the visor, so that it appears to any enemy that he faces a thousand war-divhs when he faces an Imperatry Legion.

The lictors, colloquially better known as Magefinders, are the secret police of the temple of the war divh. They are empowered to act independently at the behest of the Lictor Supreme, or to requisition command of portions of or even entire legions to fulfil their often shadowy and mysterious agendas. While they focus upon their training as clergy rather than as warriors, many have honed their skill at arms, and with their fanatical zeal they can be hardy foes. However the greatest weapon a lictor has in his arsenal is fear, and their terrible reputation for ruthlessness, and the fact that no one is beyond the reach of their investigations makes them one of the most feared bodies on a legion by friend and foe alike. Should a lictor wish to subject you to a trial you have no choice but to comply. No lictor will ever be a member of a legion, and nor may they take the face of the Divh-Imperator even on the rare occasions they do armour themselves, but since legions are often found under the command of a lictor, or acting under one's orders they are an important part of the legion structure.

Equally shadowy of reputation are the jezails. Men who walk in plain clothes amongst the populace, who are entrusted with the ancient secrets of the Haedrasian long-rifle from which they take their name. Thanks to the scarcity of the weapons, and the extreme difficulty of their construction there are generally only two or three jezails assigned to each territory, but this is often enough. These assassins conceal themselves somewhere overlooking the battlefield, and an hour or so battle is joined, with a few extremely careful shots, they pick off key commanders in the enemy ranks, not enough to break the foe, but enough to ruin their battle plans. Jezails don’t move with the main force, or make themselves known to any but the paladins in charge, and usually travel in the guise of camp followers so as not to be targeted by enemy assassins. In extreme circumstances they may remain concealed during a battle, waiting for a specific target, but only if the need is dire, as risking a rifle falling into enemy hands is desperate indeed. If they fear capture they are ordered to dismantle the rifle and scatter it's small parts, so that it cannot be copied, but can be reassembled by Haedrasian artisans if recaptured. A jezail will never be found out of plain clothes, and is empowered to kill any citizen - but not priest - who discovers his weapon.

Legionaries for the backbone of the Imperatry force, and represent a full two thirds of a legion's number. Trained with pikes, spear-swords, shields and crossbows, and armoured in boiled leather, the legions are extremely versatile. Like paladins, all legionaries wear a likeness of Haederas's face on their helms. Thoroughly drilled in any terrain or condition in which they are expected to perform - usually that of their home territory - they are never allowed to serve in their native territory, and a legion raised in one land will be posted as far as possible from its home to sever all relationships and loyalties beyond those to the legion. A single legion may have five or six postings within a single legionnaire's tenure, and so these men become at home in diverse climates, terrains and cultures.

Legionaries are broken into sixty-strong companies who have a cenarch, served by a handful of kwanarch, with several denarch to carry the company standard and beat its drum and such, as their most elite positions. They fight as a phalanx, and can be deployed either as archers on elevated vantage points supporting a flank, or as a fighting force, usually forming either flank or a whole legion. Light legionaries are specialized legionaries who are more lightly armoured in supple padded leather armour, and often mounted. Usually they are used as a rearguard or as backup for turcopoli. Essentially a light legionnaire company offers mobile support. In a single legion there is usually one company of light legionaries for every five legionnaire companies.

Heavy legionaries are used to form solid cores to legionaries where enemy is likely to try to break lines, more heavily armoured than a standard legionnaire company, they wear banded mail, and are usually make up of the most experienced and elite chosen from amongst the legionaries. Because they form a core, the heavy legionaries usually benefit from the direct command of the legion's paladin, who is a permanent part of the unit. Every paladin must upkeep his own heavy legionnaire company, and thus in a legion there will be a single company for every paladin present. Usually these men are in the heat of any battle, where there is the greatest glory to be won.

Turcopoli, or turcs are the legion's scouts, and despite the fame of the Haedrasian horses for speed and agility, they are the only part of a legion that will always be mounted. Armed with lances or long spears and crossbows, and extremely proficient with the meteor hammer, a turc company generally used to seize strategic locations and gather intelligence. Aside from having to be self reliant and be able to exhibit initiative in the absence of the chain of command, they are also one of the proudest of all the members of a legion. In addition to the face of Haederas they are also famous for their streaming and often ornate flags where the rest of the legions use simple banners, and for the twin strips of fabric they wear on poles on their backs, giving the appearance that they are winged, leading to legends of their flying into battle amongst those who have fought the legions. Turcopoli pride themselves on their masterfully trained horses, and their shows in which they make their highly disciplines steeds 'dance', are common and popular during religions and state festivals as a show of the courtesy and art of the legions.

Sappers and artillerists are specialists not specifically attached to any legion, but each territory will usually have a permanent handful of companies of such engineers. However they are not warriors, and while they are much respected amongst the soldiers, for their job is an important, skilled and dangerous one, they are not extended the rights and privileges of the legionaries. This also means that if there is unexpected fighting and dying to be done, and glory to be earned, the legionaries will be quick to swoop in and take it from the engineers.

Tactica Legion

Before a battle turcopoli will scout the enemy numbers, positions and such without actually engaging, and will ride around behind an army and try to disrupt and steal its supplies or sack its encampment while it's on the march (often whether ordered to or not), while jezails will target individuals of moderate importance, such as company captains in order to disrupt and weaken the enemy, without making them rethink engaging altogether.

When battle is joined individual legions deploy together, with their heavy legionnaire companies at their centres and two long flanks of standard legionnaire companies in phalanx. The extreme flanks are protected by the light legionnaire companies in looser formation, either mounted or unmounted, who move forward to disrupt any threat trying to get behind the arrayed legions, and protect the gaps where one legion meets another. Some standard legionnaire companies are kept in reserve to occupy elevated positions and act as archers, but their crossbows have limited range, and are normally more useful when fired into advancing enemies, then abandoned in favour of pikes or lances. Turcopoli remain behind the battle lines, and ride to the places where the fighting is heaviest, where they use their superior speed to target the enemy's flanks or rear once they are engaged with legionaries. Heavy legionnaire companies are usually deployed where the fighting is fiercest, and thus usually hold key objectives, contain commanders and generally try to persuade the enemy to focus the brunt of their attention on breaking them first - which invariably proves virtually impossible.

Command and Requisition

There are two basic bodies to any legion, the legion proper made up by the turcs, regulars and the light and heavy legionnaire companies, and the specialists, embodied by the paladins, lictors and jezails. Each territory ruler - usually a primate - is granted a number of legions designated by the King of Swords. None of these may be native. He must then produce as many legions as he is granted to be sent elsewhere (except in conflicted regions such as the Black Ice Bay). Each legion consists of one hundred companies of legionaries, twenty of light legionaries and thirty of turcopoli. He is also granted one company of artillerists but may request those of his neighbours in times of need, and a group of two to six jezails who do not operate under his command and will only come forward during wartime, remaining hidden in the populace until needed. Even the lightest territory has roughly twenty legions, those on the Maldrak boarder can have over a hundred at any given time.

Paladins inherit hereditary titles and must assemble one company of heavy legionaries and establish a fortress. At any time they can seize command of a single legion detachment in the name of the King of Swords. Any number of paladins can gather under whoever they deem to be the most senior to form a larger army, and usually do. A territory ruler cannot command an army himself, only direct the civic roles of the military, and must find a paladin to be his primary commander. Lictors can fill the same role as paladins if they feel the need, but are never allowed to band together into armies or requisition artillerists - in spirit at least they are never allowed to invade enemy territory, only to maintain the peace in conquered territories.

Famous Legions

By far the most famous of the warriors of Haedrasia are the Imperator's Paladins. These implacable warriors, blessed by the very touch of the war-divh are nigh unbeatable, and their weapons are legendary combinations of the finest that metalworking, technology and divine magic can possibly achieve. They command legionaries armed with the finest in Haedrasian technology - the repeating crossbow - making for a doubly fearsome foe. Thanks to these stalwart warriors the Eternal Palace has only ever been breached once, and thanks to them it likely never shall be again.

Second only to the Imperator's Paladins is the legendary, or perhaps infamous Bloody Legion stationed in the salt flats on the Drak border. While in truth there are three full legions that carry this moniker, they are thought of as a single collective, and no general would ever try to separate them, or expect these hardened, savage men to ever function with any other legion. These ruthless warriors are more beasts than men, and wear trophies of their slain enemies adorning their armour, their weapons, and mounted on their banners, and lacquer their armour in deep red, as if their number to a man are soaked in the blood of their enemies.

One of the legions of the southern Ghanish States is known for its turcs. Known as the Griffon Legion, the turcs acquire actual griffon and ikar feathers purchased at great expense from the traders along the Ralstaan border with which to adorn their backs, wearing feathered wings and plumes. Thought of as arrogant even amongst the other turcopoli, they pride themselves as being the finest at the horse dance, and have often been disciplined for going on glory runs behind enemy lines, even against direct orders.

In the far north many legions are more spiritually inclined than those who see more action, perhaps because they spend more time at drills and prayer, or perhaps because they must steel their hearts against the One True Faith. Here is to be found the Leather Legion. Known for self-flagellation to toughen themselves in place of the constant conflict other legions have, they are extremely learned and staunchly devout, and favourite agents of the Lictor Supreme himself.