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The Dark Army

Trigger warning: this article got several mentions of violence in many forms.
Uh oh... The Dark Army is coming! This really gonna hurt !!!!
— A random peasant before getting slashed.
The Dark Army (Темная Армия/Черная Армия) is a paramilitary organization from Moskova which is feared by most of the Kingdom's inhabitants and well known for its brutality and use of terror over people, implying the commitment of several kinds of crimes.   It got its headquarters in Ulán Shang Kov and got presence through many cities of the country, but its area of biggest influence is the region nearby the capital. Its period of activity goes from 1359 to 1367.   It is the government's repressive apparatus against people considered "suspicious " during the novel and is described as easily recognizable due the distinctive look. In Seeking for the Lost Northern Stars it is mentioned for the first time in chapter 5. Despite its short time being active (less than 10 years) and its fast rising, growth and fall, this organization got a severe impact in Moskova's collective mind (in a negative way).


The Dark Army got a very distinctive looking. Its members always ride back or brown horses and they wear black or dark colored clothes, covered by a hooded coat of the same color and some animal's (mainly wolf) fur. Their clothing code helps to maintain the anonymity of its members.   Their most characteristic weapon is the double edged axe, but they also carry swords and some ranged weapons as arrows and bows.
Dark Army Soldier I by Gege16 made on HeroForge
Dark Army soldier II by Gege16 made using Hero Forge


  All the members from the Dark Army got the obligation of following a strict customary code which affects not only the behavior inside the military organization but also the application of morality in their job.
  • All members from the Dark Army have to give up loyalty towards their families and their own cities and pledge unconditional respect and loyalty to the Tsar, the prince and the Monarchy itself. This blind loyalty made them get the nickname "Tsar's Dogs".
  • No soldier from the Dark Army is allowed to disobey, disagree or argue against a superior as a cadet, the sergeant or the Royalty. They must follow and apply their ideology and orders even if they go against the soldier's convictions. The Tsar's and the Prince's word is sacred.

Not following this code can have severe consequences for the members involved, from mocking and other light or even comedic punishments like getting a cake smashed in their faces to very rough punishments and deaths. Some of them are the same torture methods that they apply to their enemies, for example flagellation, being obligated to eat rotten food, mud or even live worms, starving, drowning in water or vodka, getting hit with a staff on their heads.


The Dark Army began as a personal guard that Tsar Ivar created for himself as a protection against any conspirator from the court and any person that could be suspicious of wanting to harm or defame him. As in an absolute monarchies the monarch is the incarnation of the divine, they have to be protected. Ivar also has a pretty paranoid personality, which made him suspect of almost everyone so one of the his early actions as after becoming Tsar in 1358 was creating his own bodyguard. The Dark Army was allowed to detention and imprisoning and it hired around 50 people for its first line. This first line received a special training by himself, which was more accurated for an army than to a bodyguard.   Later, as more people got hired into this organization and people from the early conquered areas (Ivar began an expansory politic a lot larguer than predecessor's one) tended to riot against the Imperial power, the Monarchy began to consider to expand the scale of this group of soldiers. Just one year after his personal guard's foundation, the Dark Army was founded as a patrol police with the task of repressing any insurgency and basically anything that could bother him. For doing this, the Dark Army applied methods as kidnapping, killing and public humiliation. The organization began to grow in power and wealth.     Then Ivar went further away with the Dark Army and tried to integrate it to conquest campaigns since their fast, fearsome and violent attacks could give his forces a faster victory against other tribes. Many of the frequently hired members are prisoners from the conquered cultures, towns and cities whom have no option other than following its guidelines for preventing becoming their victims or getting into jail, even if it is bad from theirselves.   However,the moment of the greatest involvement of the Dark Army and the territorial expansion context started when Mikhai became part of the royalty and an influential figure into it. Mikhai Varizoniev Rankash became Ivar's apprentice already knowing violent fight tactics due his gangster past and he got preferential training by Ivar, which increased those skills. As he always was thirty of wealth and power, he started to get a closer relationship with the Dark Army, and his hostile attitudes towards other ethnicities, specially Kozzakhi (in that case, he's openly r*cist towards them) began to infiltrate in the Army's corps, which ended leading them to get more involved in conquering campaigns and start to commit hate crimes on the streets. When he was considered old enough for it, Mikhai started to join such campaigns with the Tsar and the Army.   The most famous-or better said, infamous- raid of the Dark Army against civil population was in 1362, when the city of Nodvragoda got subdued for reintegrating it to the kingdom, after many years of an autonomous and Republican government. During this assault, which happened in a night of Bloody Moon during Nodvragoda's Summer Festival, Ivar's official troops alongside the Dark Army burned down the city. The most atrocities were committed by the police group as they kidnapped, tortured and killed many civilians with the regent and the prince's supervision.   In 1365 Mikhai was named its sergeant, making the organization like an extension of his person, as he got a lot of control over it. Mikhai made compulsory carrying and using battle axes and then this weapon became another symbol of this group.

The Army's dogs (demons)

  Also know as "the beasts" and "wolf-dogs" them are the dogs that Ivar uses for intimidating and punishing people or even chasing them in very far places without getting noticed. Them are considered like a "third hand" of Ivar and got depicted in several paintings that are hanging off the walls of many rooms of the royal palace. The most remarkable depiction of them is the one featured in the painting Ivar got in the Mirror's Chamber.   They are dark gray with a pretty deteriorated aspect overall and got threatening and bright yellow eyes. They are considered a part of the Dark Army. However, they are not actual animals. They are shapeshifting demons controlled by the Emperor. They also can pass as human members of the Dark Army.


Destroying markets, kidnappings, drowning, impaling, burning, beating, beheading, obligating to eat gross stuff, humiliation, mocking, involving into illegal market and killing among others.



The flag depicts a black background with yellow silhouettes resembling a solar eclipse, which represents the dark of the  night and their fast attacks, as eclipses are usually quick events; one of the towers of Ulán Shang Kov's Kremlin, symbolising the central power, and the battle axes behind it.

Word and action

1359 - 1367

Military, Paramilitary/Militia
Alternative Names
Tsar's Dogs, Dark Devils, Temnaya Armiya,
Training Level
Parent Organization
Related Ranks & Titles
Related Ethnicities

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Cover image: Dark Army's flag by Gege16
Character flag image: Dark Army's flag by Gege16

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