Firmel: The Bounden Regiments


In the year 1018, S.E at the age of sixteen, Her Imperial Majesty, princess Delanna Cemarlin, ascended to the Coral Throne. Greentips had struck the city of Oldern without warning, swiftly entering the palace killing the imperial family and servants. The princess was the youngest child of the Imperial House to survive. Her only hindrance to the throne came from Houses Eldgrimur and Telwren; they tried unsuccessfully to persuade her illegitimate half brother, Rheath Aevar to declare himself Emperor.

In the year 1018, S.E at the age of sixteen, Her Imperial Majesty, princess Delanna Cemarlin, ascended to the Coral Throne. Greentips had struck the city of Oldern without warning, swiftly entering the palace killing the imperial family and servants. The princess was the youngest child of the Imperial House to survive. Her only hindrance to the throne came from Houses Eldgrimur and Telwren; they tried unsuccessfully to persuade her illegitimate half brother, Rheath Aevar to declare himself Emperor. Aevar, having always been a friend and counselor to the Princess refused. With the majority of houses in the Pact of Sovereign supporting her, Empress Delanna, First of the Name, Master of the Coral Throne, was swiftly crowned. She immediately started the task of restoring her disintegrating empire; beginning with the armies.

The military had been decimated, numerous divisions and fleets losing ninety to ninety-five percent of their effective strength. Most loses were brought about by plague, others deserted. Lacking supplies and a means to pay their troops, commands saw the remnants of their ailing forces vanish in a fortnight. Others betrayed the Empire and established minor kingdoms or bandit holds. Ship captains turned corsair hoping to find refuge from the plague in Anchor Head or Scullward. Most frontier cities were required to fend for themselves; becoming strongholds of security in a landscape of decaying hamlets and brigands.

Delanna Cemarlin inherited an impoverished nation. Years of road construction by the preceding emperors had sapped the empires assets. While the collapse of trade and outlaws on the main roads made collecting tariffs and taxes impossible. The resources to raise an army and recover her splintered empire were not available. The Empress, incapable of paying to field an army, decided on lifelong conscription. The core of her new army would be the remaining veterans and the career soldiers who stayed loyal to the Coral throne. These soldiers were given the positions of officers and NCOs. To fill the rank and file, she sought the help of provincial administrator. Several imperial governors saw this as a convenient way to rid their city of errant tenants. They emptied their prisons and cleared the streets of refugees. Those who "volunteered" were criminals, petty thieves, and farmers that lost their land, and a few of royal birth (sent by their families denying them their inheritance). Others running from the law or their past were accepted into the ranks and asked no questions. The empire soon had an army of beggars, brigands, soldiers and a few aristocrats.

The first commander of the Bounden Regiments was Rheath Aevar. With his appointment as commander of the Divisions, Delanna Cemarlin removed him from the line of succession (a Bounder gives up all lands and titles). This also assigned a vital position to someone she could rely upon; in an often hostile court. After pledging fealty, Rheath Aevar was asked what insignia would denote the Bounden Regiments. His response was the sable ring on a tan field. The mark tattooed on the ring finger of the left hand of all bastard children (and some of the married couples I know). Others under his command quickly took up the sable ring. A tradition was started; all new troopers wear or have a black ring tattooed on their left hand, a symbol of loyalty and commitment, to throne and commander. At the conclusion of the ceremony the Marshal was presented with forty-two thousand conscripts and the charge of fashioning a war machine, able to secure an empire.

All recruits, noble, peasant, priest or mage are treated equal. First they are assessed for valuable skills, and then given a physical, if they pass they are sent to Fuin Tower (the Oven) in the Gap of Dust. At Fuin a recruit undergoes a two-stage training course. The first stage is pre-calculated, impersonal, torment, designed to toughen a person both physical and mentally. For this they are given to a corporal trainer who is their mother and god for three months; they will live or die by the corporal's estimation. Strenuous calisthenics and long arduous hikes in full kit harden the body. Constant mental harassment prepares a recruit to follow orders without reservation. Punishment for the least offense is severe; a transgression anything a training corporal deems fit. Standard punishments are runs in full harness, or hauling sacks of gravel in a rucksack while marching post. With the Regiment a mix of professional soldier and criminals, discipline must be unforgiving. During combat draconian measures are taken to insure all obey orders. The same procedures the Dagalyns use while employing their dog-soldiers are applied. If one member of a platoon forsakes his comrades, all are held accountable and executed. After three months of mental and physical torment, they move on to the second phase of instruction. Recruits who make it this far become Bounden troopers, the only washouts are through injury or death.

In the second phase the recruits are taught the maintenances and function of their equipment. For close quarters engagement they are drilled in short or broadsword, for targets of opportunity a composite or crossbow. Wilderness survival and horsemanship are practiced till they become second nature. Troopers are prepared to follow or give orders, act independently, and deal with magic and its practitioners when necessary. It's during this stage troopers are instructed in their secondary task for garrison life.

All troopers will have two responsibilities, one in the field, the other during encampment. "Every trooper struggles, all troopers labor." Is the unofficial motto of the regimental ordinance commanders. Talent is never wasted, if a trooper has a background as a blacksmith or aptitude with numbers, suitable work will be found for them as craftsmen or engineer. By the completion of training they will be capable of working as a unit, pitch camp, build a catapult, if naught else they can dig ditches. This combination of discipline, instruction, and physical hardship creates soldiers of outstanding quality and high morale, able to survive in multiple environments and overcome a numerically superior enemy.

The Bounden Regiments were formed into six divisions (now ten), roughly six thousand strong. Each division has five regiments made up of ten platoons. These platoons are broken into ten squads of ten troopers. A field marshal is placed in overall command, reporting directly to the Imperial throne. The marshal's staff includes a High General of Infantry as second in command and Chief of Staff, next the Horse Commander, who is the First Tactical Advisor on deployment of troops. The final general staff member is the Ordinance Commander; they're responsible for the divisions during training and in garrison. Additionally there are three field commanders per division (majors), an Infantry, cavalry, and sub-ordinance commander who is responsible for maintenance and supply. Each regiment has one colonel with a hundred-sixty officers and NCOs. Each line officer (lieutenant) has three NCOs and commands a ten-man platoon. The First Sergeant is in back keeping stragglers moving, and is second in command. The Signaler corporal, with Gear pipes, calls the commands for the platoon and the Corporal Trainer, who relays orders and starts the troopers advancing, remain up front. Specialists such as engineers, mages, and medics make up the balance of NCOs and officers.

The regiments are composed of light Calvary or heavy infantry (dragoons) when afoot; designed to respond and deploy swiftly to any threat in the Empire. A division on the move is a self-contained unit able to cover easily, thirty to forty miles a day. Carrying all it needs for a weeks travel or two days battle. In the field the regiments set up a quad-bastion or encampment. All quad-bastions are constructed the same; a dry moat and palisade with fire hardened steaks enclosing the campsite. An administrative tent is in the center, surrounded by four sets of barracks and stables, with blacksmith, commissary, and a canteen. The ordinance commanders supervise the building of defensive positions, placement of tents, and the organizing of foraging parties. If near a city or trading post, they will oversee the ordering and purchase of supplies. In a short time a grassy knoll, or meadow, is transformed into a walled village able to survive a fortnight on short rations.

The Bounden Regiments were charged with driving out the goblins, protecting the trade routes, and restoring the empires borders. Once trained and equipped Rheath Aevar sent his divisions north to fight the tribes of Oleta. The Regiments swiftly routed the goblins, driving them back into the ruined city of Yourling. After a six-month siege by the 3rd (Goblin Grinders) and 19th (Highlander) regiments occupied the city. The Oleta tribes were then steadily pushed through Yourling Pass in four tedious years of battle; by 1024 the empire was free from their torment.

The majority of frontier cities welcomed the return of imperial rule. They opened their gates and welcomed the Regiments with ale and victuals, rejoicing at the Empires return. As more of the realm was pacified four regiments were add to the existing six. Two of these, the 15th (Wallbreechers) and the 21st (Short Stack) regiments consisted of dwarven troopers. These regiments later achieved fame at the battle of Wolfdene, were the 15th established their name. Not all territories embraced the return of the imperial rule. The provinces of Wolfdene and Elder had to be taken by force. The ruling houses Eldgrimur and Telwren were confidant that together, they could resist the armies of a faltering empire. In a series of campaigns lasting seventy years the armies of Wolfdene were decisively routed at the battle of red snow ridge. The Empire's borders were stabilized in 1194; the goals of the Bounden Regiments were accomplished.

With the boundaries of the Empire re-established and the build-up of a regular army; the Bounden Regiments role hasn't changed just expanded. Today they are used as shock troops and skirmishers for the Regulars, patrolling and containing the elves of the Resemar Forrest in the east, and in the west they are the first line of defense against the dwarfs of the Twin Mountains and wild-elves of Dust. Troopers additionally garrison a string of towers in Yourling Pass preventing goblin-raiding parties from entering the Empire. Regiments have and are prepared to respond swiftly to external or internal crises within days.

Annalist, Bounden Regiments
Ketill Gregen
1210, Second Era