The Vanguard is the main branch of the Empire’s armed forces. Since the conclusion of the Second Great Elvaran War, they have been deployed throughout the empire, maintaining a strong presence in occupied cities and enforcing the law outside the capital. The Vanguard is deeply respected amongst Empire loyalists, second only to the Royal Guards. It is considered a great honour for your son to hold a position of rank within the organisation. The Vanguard force is home to 18.5% of the population, making it the largest of the Empire’s military forces. (However, it should be noted that around 10% of these are Reservists during peacetime.) The head of the organisation is currently General Liberius Ezrana, the Emperor’s most trusted military advisor, who is based in the City of Malvarron.
In 1331, following the success of the coup known formally as ‘the Vanguard Revolution’, General Malvarro declared himself Emperor of a new Empire, Malvarron, named after himself. His allies were given high-ranking positions in his court as a reward for their service. The Vanguard was involved in the bloody purge of Tarryn loyalists from the City of Revaelor, which was shortly renamed to the City of Malvarron. Anyone who refused to bend the knee to the Emperor was killed immediately, though some notable figures were publically executed at the ceremony of the Emperor’s coronation day. What followed was a bloody war which would change the continent of Elvara forever, with the Emperor and his Vanguard forces pursuing a policy of expansionism which would see the once autonomous city states of Elvara absorbed into the Malvarron Empire.
Unhappy with the Duchy’s unwavering support of the Magi during the Age of Unbearable Sorrow (1017 AE - 1330 AE), the leadership of the Vanguards started out as a political splinter group of dissenting nobles. This was somewhere around the time General Malvarro and five other lords resigned from the Duke’s Advisory Council in 1325 AE. Malvarro and the five lords, namely Cantrell, Daggorah, Halshan, Fryth and Wilwood, called themselves the Vanguard and their aim was simple, to 'protect' Revaelor from the Magi threat by any means necessary. Though the Five men who resigned accounted for just under a fifth of the council, they had strong links to the Tarryn Army. In fact, they had the support of over 65% of the military, a figure which increased to around 80% in the years which followed as anti-magi propaganda permeated the minds of many men in the armed forces. Malvarro and his five noble allies used propaganda fueled rallies to garner support of the majority of the none-magic population. When the Revaelorian City Watch tried to apprehend the leaders of the newly formed Vanguard, they fled to the heavily defensible Fortress of Stronghold. There they plotted a formal coup to oust Duke Tarryn and install a new military regime capable of dealing with the ‘magi threat.’
The main role of the Vanguard is to protect the Empire from exterior and interior threats. During times of conflict, this involves fighting on the front lines. The Vanguard are highly trained officers, proficient in Swordsmanship, Archery and Shield Work. During times of relative peace, the Vanguards perform duties directly related to maintaining peace and protecting the Empire. With law and order within the City of Malvarron headed by the and the The Crimson Blades in charge of hunting down illegal magi and rebels, the Vanguard has settled into a role of policing the occupied cities of the Empire. A strong military presence can be felt within the Dwarven City of and on the border of including the small town of Springbrook.
Before entry to the Vanguard, all new recruits are required to pass a stringent physical assessment, testing their agility and combat skills, and ability to follow orders. Recruits have one chance, and one chance only, to pass this test, making the Vanguard a highly selective organisation. Once the test is passed, they will serve an apprenticeship one of three major Vanguard Bases - Stronghold, the Elvara Fortress or within the City of Malvarron itself. Here they will continue their training, learning new skills such as the art of using long range weaponry and performing a variety of roles within their troop. Cadets have to be signed off by a captain in order to earn their standard officer colours.
Standard issue uniform for Vanguard Officers and cadets is a long royal blue cloak and tough tanned hide armour. The Empire’s colours of red and blue can be seen lining the edges of both the mantle and steel-toed leather boots. High-ranking positions tend to wear plate or chain-mail armour made from iron and steel alloys. Interestingly, the colours of the shoulder cuffs are reflective of rank, with some higher ranks also wearing customised cloaks. Promotions to higher ranks are earned with an endorsement of a captain or higher and are usually the result of exceptional conduct.
- Green Shoulders: Apprentice Cadet/Recruit-in-training
- Blue Shoulders: Standard Officer
- Red Shoulders: Lieutenant
- Purple Shoulders and Cloak: Captain
- Silver Shoulders and Cloak: Major
- Yellow Shoulders and Cloak: Colonel
- Gold Shoulders and Cloak: General
"You shouldn't be asking about tha', are you tryin' to get us both killed? Look, the unseen... they're everywhere okay. Them whats get taken, the things they do to 'em, well it's just too horrible to talk about. Leave me be and forget about it. Gods, for all I know you could be one of 'em!"It is a poorly guarded secret that a secret branch of the Vanguard exists known as the ‘Cognizant’ or the 'Unseen'. According to underground circles, they are a branch of the Vanguard charged with 'collating intelligence' on underground resistance movements. They are said to be ruthless in their endevours, and great utilisers of unethical methods of inquisition. However, little solid evidence is known about them as once the Unseen come knocking, you are never seen again...A Malvarri Commoner
"It was just after the end of the war I think, pro'ly around eighty-three, eighty-four maybe. I mean I'd been fishing these waters for at least 20 years before that, mind you, but that's when I started seeing ships off the coast of the island, bigger than any ships I've ever seen, and a whole fleet of 'em too! If I had to guess I'd say they've built a dockyard there and testin' new nautics. You can't get too close the island mind, they aint too friendly believe me."Rumours have been circulating, mostly from fishermen on the south coast concerning a Naval shipyard on with a strong military presence. This has led to the belief that the Empire is building a naval branch of the Vanguard, however this cannot be verified as the entrance to the island is heavily guarded.Marven Pike, Fisherman from Bridgeport