"The Kingdom is Law. The Law is Sacred."
Numbering roughly 20,000 in strength, the men and women of the Royal Guard form the backbone of security and law within the Kingdom of Fastheld, especially within the heartland territories that fall under the direct control of the Royal Crown.
Essentially the fourth incarnation of the Emperor's Blades, the Royal Guard is composed of Nobles (usually Barons and Baronesses) and Freelanders alike, with even a few Wildlanders to be found among the ranks.
With a rich history that sings of duty and unwavering loyalty to the crown, those who serve within the Royal Guard are often well trained, well equipped, and well paid. Morale and discipline are usually quite high, having only dipped to critical levels during times of economic and political unrest, rather than amidst any national conflict.
Usually equipped in a standard uniform consisting of a steel chainmail hauberk, a pair of leather leggings, a pair of steel cuisses, leather boots with steel sabatons, a steel open barbute helm, a kite shield, and a black velvet tabard emblazoned with the Ivory Steelwood of the Royal Guard, the Royal Guard is split into five divisions:
- The Royal Guard (Core)
- The Royal Prison Service
- The Aegis Guard
- The Royal Foresters
- The Royal Engineers
While most are trained in combat with swords, bows, and polearms, it is not unusual to see men and women of the Royal Guard equipped with blunt weapons, axes, and even two-handed weapons on occasion, depending on personal preference and what is required to get the job done.
However, in adherence with Royal Law, some weapons will only ever be found in the hands of officers of a Noble bloodline, lest the Royal Guard be accused of double-standards. Variations in uniform are also common depending on the division in question. For example, the Royal Foresters are known to adopt leather armor in place of the standard uniform of steel chainmail, due to the nature of their work.
The Royal Guard Core is the most common division of the Royal Guard within Fastheld, found maintaining the law in townships under direct Royal Crown supervisions, and along every road and highway within Fastheld. These are the officers that patrol the roads, perform sentry duty at watchtowers and keeps, maintain garrisons and forts, and keep the peace across the Kingdom.
The Royal Prison Service is a smaller sub-group of the Royal Guard Core, assigned to the various Royal Prisons across the Kingdom, and tasked with the processing of prisoners and supervised labor.
The Aegis Guard is the sub-division of the Royal Guard Core who maintain sentry upon the Aegis Wall. These officers are known to be somewhat more rugged than their "mainland" counterparts, due to the endurance required to keep sentry for hours on end upon a bulwark six-hundred feet above the ground.
The Royal Foresters are the archers and rangers of the Royal Guard, though most often tasked with maintaining the various forests of the Kingdom, and tracking down poachers.
Finally, the Royal Engineers are a division of the Royal Guard tasked with the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges highways, buildings, aqueducts, and a number of other projects that the Royal Crown is expected to carry out from time to time for the betterment of the Kingdom.
The Royal Navy is not considered a part of the Royal Guard per se, but remains her water-based counterpart.
In structure, the Royal Guard is commanded by the Blademaster, who resides at the Hall of Blades within the Royal Palace. Each District of Fastheld is overseen by a local Captain who commands the main garrison for each region of the Kingdom. From there, the Royal Guard is broken down into "squads" of men and women, consisting of one Marshal and a number of assigned Guardsmen.
Unlike the previous assignments of "Heavy Cavalry" and "Light Infantry" of the Emperor's Blades, the Royal Guards remains a much more flexible force, able to change and adapt to whatever assignment is required of it, rather than depending on specialized units. It is the backbone of law and order within the Kingdom, and though it is not an 'army', and though the term 'soldier' is not quite fitting, they are close to a standing military as Fastheld needs.
In terms of jurisdiction, the Royal Guard is also able to move through any territory, and any township, without question, as all Noble Houses are deemed to be in alliance with the Royal Crown, and the reach of the law knows no political bounds.
It should also be noted that the Imperial Cult - though much smaller - is regarded as a "sister organization" to the Royal Guard, specializing in matters of faith (such as the moral and dedication of the population, and the maintenance and security of chapels and churches) and Light and Shadow. To that end, each Ordinator is essentially an honorary-Guardsman, though not empowered to take the law into their own hands unless it deals with a matter of Light and/or Shadow.
- Note: The Royal Guard is an NPC organization. You character may have served in the Royal Guard at some point, but must have retired after a minimum of two years of service.
- If your character served within the previous year, they would have served with the Imperial Watch as an Officer. If they served earlier than that, they would have served in the Emperor's Blades as a Guardian (for Freelanders) or a Bladesman (for Nobles).
- It should also be noted that the Emperor's Blades were a male only organization, with no females being permitted into the ranks. They were broken into four divisions: Heavy Infantry, Light Infantry, Cavalry, and Archers.