"Most of the time if you see Kalriv legions, you fortify your town and you pray to every god you have. The Sunburst Legion is the only exception. Good thing they're on our side."The Sunburst Legion is a religious order and one of the legions of the Kalriv Empire. It is unique in that it is an ecclesiastical legion, dedicated to carrying out the will of Venderus and serve as an example through their words and deeds. As a result of this, they have a much more theological and religious focus than the other legions, with the class being given a much greater level of influence over them.
-Soros Avila, Captain-General of the Solathine Guard
Like most Kalriv legions, the Sunburst Legion is divided into cohorts. As the Sunburst Legion is smaller than most Kalriv legions at 3000 members, it is divided into six cohorts rather than the usual ten. The management of cohorts is also somewhat different in that in addition to the usual arrangement of a Sun Spear officer leading the cohort, there is a duality of a Sun Spear and Senior Chaplain, who delegate responsibilities out to the First Spear officers and Chaplains respectively. The Sun Spears and Senior Chaplains of each cohort in turn report to the Legate commanding the legion. Unlike other legions, the Legate of the Sunburst Legion answers directly to the , and is not subject to the , although in theory the High Solar can be overruled by the .
As both a religious order and a military legion, the Sunburst Legion enforces strict disciplinary and behavioural standards. The usual extreme discipline and rigorous training expected of a legionary is supplemented with an expectation of piety. To that end, temple sessions, sacrifices and prayers with Solar priests are mandatory, rather then lax as they are with other legions. Each legionary is expected to have a comprehensive knowledge of Solarian values and beliefs, and are expected to demonstrate them as a representative of the Sun God. Looting, burning and other battlefield vices are strictly prohibited on pain of execution, as such actions are seen to disgrace Venderus himself, considered one of the worst acts of blasphemy. Like other legions, there is a sense of elitism among the Sunburst Legion; they are the chosen warriors of Venderus and must guide and protect the 'lesser' peoples of Arikanda, along with the lower classes of the Empire. While the concept of Kalriv supremacy is not as pervasive as other legions, it is still there and does not seem like it is likely to fade away any time soon. The Sunburst Legion is the only legion that is open to non-Guardians; specifically, members of the Solar class may join as legion chaplains. By extension, this makes the legion the only legion open to female membership.
A typical chaplain of the Sunburst Legion
The Sunburst Legion has adopted a broader approach than the other Kalriv legions in that they advance the interests of Venderus beyond the usual bounds of the Kalriv Empire, to win the hearts and minds of Arikandans and Calinans and to demonstrate the justice of the Sun God.
Prior to the formation of the Kalriv Empire, the legion was known as the Sons of Venderus, and was a secular legion which answered directly to the Sun Legates of the legion, operating identically to its other legions. However, at the end of the 3rd Century TE, during the Kalriv's greatest campaigns across the Sapphire Coast and its many conquests, concerns were raised by the Solar priesthood as to the disparate influence of the Guardian warrior class, alongside the belief of a number of Solars that wholesale conquests were not the sole intention Venderus had when he instructed the Kalriv to spread his word. As the formation of the Kalriv Empire was proposed in 332 TE, this drew to a head, with the Solar priesthood insisting that safeguards be placed to protect the integrity of Venderus' visions for the Kalriv if the Overlord wanted their co-operation. To this end, a compromise was reached; the Solars would gain influence over one of the Kalriv Legions, which they were free to use outside of the military control of the state. Originally intended as a token gesture to pacify the Solars, the priesthood made the most of the opportunity, adding specialised Chaplains to the ranks of the legion to ensure it operated with Venderus' approval, and choosing to offer their services as a kind of holy military company, while still remaining nominally subject to the Overlord. For most of its operation over the last nearly 150 years, the Sunburst Legion has usually offered its services to smaller city-states and kingdoms across Arikanda to bolster their defenses and security, in exchange for material support for the Legion and the Solar priesthood. They have also offered support on a smaller scale, such as guards for caravans or nobles. In the early 460s, their operations expanded across the Calinan for the first time, with the Duchy of Solathi contracting with them to reinforce the Solathine Guard, a contract which could for the first time expand the influence of Solarity to a second continent.
Tenets of Faith
The Sunburst Legion hold to many of the older and more traditional teachings of Venderus, with a great emphasis on the god's original commandments to the Kalriv to illuminate and protect the other peoples of the world, rather than the more conquest-focused approaches that have become popular. This directs the operations of the Legion, although as with all organisations, the personal faith and beliefs of the leadership roles can affect this. The Legion generally exercise this by providing military services to anybody who is willing to pay the operating costs, plus a tithe for the Venderan religion.
The Solar priesthood is integrated into the Legion through the form of Solar Chaplains, spiritual advisers, healers and morale officers. They provide spiritual guidance to officers and legionaries, conduct rituals, ensure the Legion is operating to Solarian standards, and in some cases are even able to use divine healing to treat wounds. While usually considered noncombatants, they are equipped with shortswords and scale armour, and have been known to operate in the field.
Political Influence & Intrigue
Due to their status as an ecclesiastical legion, the Sunburst Legion is by its very nature involved in the political structure of the Empire; namely the dynamic between the military aristocracy of theand the priestly class, both of whom share equal top tier citizenship of the Empire. Whilst the legion answers to the High Solar, it is composed primarily of Guardians.