Mountain Guard

It may not look like it but being posted up here can change a man. It strengthens their bodies and hardens their minds, making them able to deal with more than capable of dealing with the things that live up here. - Captain Joshua Argent

Structure

Three groups make up the Mountain Guard, the Banors, Stone Wardens, Mountaineers. The Banors that rule near the mountains often fund equipment and buildings used by the guard. Along with Stone Wardens that have stationed themselves across every fortification waiting to fight anything that comes near them with unyielding determination. But the Mountaineers are considered the best of them for they are the ones who dare venture throughout the mountain watch their targets and exploring every inch of the mountains along the way.

Culture

You best get used to having things are around here as fast as you can, the soon you do the easier it will be for you to made the hard choices to survive. - Veteran Guardsmen
      The purpose of the Mountain Guard is simple, protect the borders that go into the Spine Ridge Mountains and ensure that no threats make it down to the lowlands. Which can be barbarians, beasts that live up there, or something unknown to them. All the while dealing with the harsh environment that they have to live in to ensure that their duty is done.  

Being a Member

  You have chosen a difficult road ahead of yourself, for where you are going there will be very little comfort and survival is all that matters. For life in the mountains is not an easy thing to do as it is a place where few things grow and the warmth of the sun is rarely felt. The Mountain Guard has been up in The Spine for as long as anyone can remember and it has made them stronger because of it. They say there is honor and glory to be had by going up to the mountains, but that is just complete and utter nonsense told by those who have never known hardship. Where is the honor in freezing to death, where is the glory in a battle of attrition against everything else trying to survive? The only this that is worth something up here is the duty to carry out your job so no one else has to be here. So no one has to go through having their homes razed to the ground and their loved one butchered or enslaved. It gives humility in how grateful for what you have because a small fire might as well be the only god up here in this frozen hell. But you have to be careful in how you think of things like that because a place like this can take things away from a man and leaving them as cold and jagged as the ice up here. You should stick with the men that stand beside you as they are the only ones you can count on in this place. For they are just trying to do the same thing as you are doing and with it, the bonds of brotherhood are forged to keep you going as you continue your watch into the endless landscape of ice and rock. Waiting for you foes to make their way down the mountains in search of an easy meal, but they'll have to get past you first and they will pay dearly in their blood. This is why they fear you more than the hunger that drives them down lower in search of food and resources. But it's only a matter of time until something is brave or stupid enough to try their luck and you will be waiting for them when they try.    

What People Think of You

  Unlike the Forest Guard or the Sea Guard the Mountain Guard doesn't get as much credit as it deserves since they are on the mountains more than on the actual ground they suppose to protect. Saying that they are just staying up there because they just enjoy the view up there feeling like they are literally on top of the world. No one understands why they should even be up still up there and the resources they could save by disbanding the forts and outposts for more beneficial ventures. So what they are keeping some barbarians with clubs and stone spears and that failed to die off long ago at bay, they are no match for the modern weaponry and tactics used now. But for those who truly understand what others don't is, that mountain barbarians should never be underestimated. For no one who has seen a barbarian attack can ever take it seriously, for they take everything they can carry and destroy the rest leaving nothing left. For what they lack in the discipline they make up with cunning and savagery when facing their foes. Even a skilled soldier can have trouble in dealing with them for they do not act like he does and will doing anything to win. Those primitive weapons are not a joke either, a club can cave in a breastplate and a spear no matter what it's made of can still skewer a man through. Who says they don't know how to forge metal or just steal weapons either to use on others either, a weapon is only loyal to the person who wields it no matter who they may be. The beasts that lurk on the mountains are far worse than the barbarians if they fear them as well. A Mountain Drake is large enough to eat a man whole and smash stone and a Snow Lion cares little in what it hunts both of which comes down to the mountains in search of food when it is scarce. Then there are things that most people don't know about things, such as old ruins that date back long before a man had ever set foot on the mountains, with things that should remain forgotten for all time. It's all the more reason why the Mountain Guard should still exist, for if they were to leave all the things that live on the mountains would come down in their full fury and leaving nothing behind.

Public Agenda

To defend the land from threats that come down from The Spine and make sure they are unable to.

Assets

The Mountain Guard has a series of forts, outposts, and waystations that cover The Spine that border Ardania. Its most well-known fortified strongholds are Fort Kalren, The Edge, Winter's Hold, Hearth Castle , Drake's Citadel, and the Blood Stone Gate.

History

Into the Storm

  No one ever thought of the dangers that lied in the The Spine until it came upon them. Barbarians who fled from their homes in the lowlands farther north began to populate the mountains to avoid destruction. Most of them were the defeated tribes from the Barbarian Wars who began to scatter about the mountains and making claims to their domains. Some of these tribes had made their way farther south and began raiding the northern lands of Ardania in search of food and resources to survive. Causing great destruction in their wake as the soldiers in the region were no match for such savage fighting and leading to the evacuation of any settlements that were near the mountains, displacing hundreds of people. This of course encouraged the barbarians to move into the abandoned settlements and began raids further inland. This of course did not last as the army drove them back to the mountains and put everyone they captured to the sword.   It was with this the Mountain Guard was formed to keep the mountain barbarians in check from here on out. This of course took decades as forts and outposts had yet to be made to keep an eye on them. Early recruits of the guard were not prepared to survive in such harsh conditions either as many suffered the effects of cold conditions and high altitude the higher they went up. But with experience, they learned to adapt to these harsh conditions. It taught them to be to show no mercy to their enemies as well in a place such as this it's all about survival of the fittest. The barbarians were slowly pushed back to the farthest reaches of the mountains. Often fighting with ferocity and cunning to match the barbarians in battle as they fought them on those icy slopes as the snow was covered with blood and gore. Then was truly time to begin their watch to ensure the barbarians could not invade again so easily.  

Hardened Warriors

  Being in a place such as the mountains can have quite the effect on a person especially if they have been up there for some time. The colored no longer bothers them and they become stronger as they survive in the harsh conditions. This has made it easier for them to fight in such places without feeling weaker than those who have not. Their discipline has also been affected by it as it takes teamwork to survive up there as the mountains can often turn on you in an instant. Creating an effective fighting force that knows when to fight and when to retreat when the need arises. Not being able to break as easily and can fight with the skill of several men can make any skilled fighter hesitate when facing them. While the Stone Wardens are quite the fierce fighters when defending their areas the Mountaineers are the real deal when they are in battle. As they fight with an aggressive stance that could make a barbarian fight on the defensive as it is their way to overwhelm their opponents and never give them the chance to recover. Even some beasts have been known to retreat with this form of fighting as they are not used to dealing with this sort of thing. Making the Mountain Guard known for its give no ground to the enemy policy as it is difficult to deal with them when they press on their attacks. But this has caused their casualty and wounded rates to be higher than most other military groups in the Kingdom of Ardania considering they are facing things larger than them.  

Wardens of Ice and Stone

  To be honest their not that much up on the mountains but ice and snow, so it is easy to spot things if you are looking. This is why the forts and outposts that exist up there are important to maintain them no matter the cost. Many of these forts have strategic value to them as well as they hold areas that allow for travel across the mountains and strategic areas that ensure the survival of the troops stationed there. Allowing them to have an easier time in dealing with any threats that might come near them. It also allows them to withstand any harsh storms that might come upon them without them all freezing to death. This of course is usually how the troops stationed on the higher levels of mountains deal with most of the time, the ones stationed on the lower levels have an easier time as the weather is much more comfortable to deal with and storms come down only during the autumn and winter seasons.

Disbandment

The Mountain Guard was disbanded after the fall of the Kingdom of Ardania after the War of the Raptors with the Vatian Empire storming many of their holdings and wiping them out.
DISBANDED/DISSOLVED

Forged From Ice

702 BCA - 1528 CA

Type
Military, Army Division
Alternative Names
Snow Watchers
Demonym
Guardsmen
Location
Controlled Territories
Related Ethnicities

Adapted Defenses

  The forts and outposts that cover the mountains are something of a marvel in their own right as each one is unique in its own way due to where they were built. This allows them to use their environment to their advantage when the need arrives. Surrounded by cliffs, have some walkways above them with archers to fire upon the enemy. Have secret tunnels around the fort, use them to flank the enemy or get past them undetected. This has made many of the Mountains Guard’s fortifications impenetrable and has never been taken. Allowing to hold out for a while if the need arises until reinforcements can arrive.  

Sound the Alarm

  The thing about being stationed up in the mountains is that things can quite unexpectedly often for the worse. Which is why the Mountain Guard has set up a series of alarm system and traps all across the mountains to deal with things that should not be there. For alarms, they can be clanging metal to signal torches to warn of an impending attack. As for traps they are more creative to deal with all sorts of things. These can range from icicles stakes to man-made avalanches. This is why anything smart enough tends to stay away from these places like this or suffer consequences with their trespassing.  

Ingenious Builders

  Due to them being in a harsh environment the Mountain Guard had to be a little creative when dealing with the problems that came with cold temperatures that were constantly affecting their equipment and their other assets. These of course were handled by using science and improvisation to become successful. Such as creating ice to be used as defenses when it was thick enough or creating lifts to travel up and down the mountains a lot faster. But one of their greatest achievements was the creation of Cold Iron, a metal that can withstand the cold! As most metals used have trouble withstanding the cold temperatures this has allowed for better equipment to survive on the mountains. It is used in all sorts of things such as machine parts and armor to make things easier for the troops stationed there. Of course, the only drawback to it is that it is a delicacy to Mountain Drakes that seem to like the taste of it and are hard to get rid of.  

Use What You Have

  Resources can be tough to come by up in the mountains which is why the Mountain Guard uses what it has wisely and whatever they do find on the mountain make sure it lasts as long as possible. The guard survives on supplies given to them from the funding they receive from the kingdom that comes to them once in a while. But depending on where troops are stationed at it may take longer for it to arrive than expected as things can change quite quickly on the mountain. Which is why resources are strictly controlled to ensure it is given out equally to everyone. But for those who run out of it, they simply have to go out into the unforgiving cold in search of food or start taking more drastic measures for their survival.


Cover image: Mountain Fort by Joakim Olofsson

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