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Kalian Seal

We fear not death; death comes for all. We fear not dishonor; dishonor is the opinions of others. There is one thing we fear: we fear defeat.
– Seal of Port Nora
  A seal is the elite guard of a city-state or feudal province. Each province in the Kalian League has at least one seal. The guard are chosen from the young men of the province. The best are not chosen, the bravest are chosen. They are trained to not fear death and wear no armor. When a Gate Seal comes, do not try to fight. Run.



How many did Nora send against my host? Three hundred? That is a small number... [expletives] what did you say? They aren't wearing any armor? Take that back, please! [sob] There's only one formation in this world that's brave enough to not wear armor. [sounds of crashing weapons and retreat]
– Revolting Duke, upon sighting a seal
  At first, seals were born out of private armies used to maintain peace within a certain region. Their sizes varied, but the feudal armies were divided into seals and reserves, with the best and bravest of the army put into a seal. A sealmaster, typically the second-in-command to the gate's elders themselves, commanded alongside his two lieutenants.   Under the lieutenants, there were the Seal Knights. Typically nobility, they used their positions inside the seal to hedge against any changes in power. Depending on the size of the gate, there were five to twenty seal knights in the formation, who were generally better-equipped than the lowest rank, the Seal Guards.   The Seal Guards provided the backbone of the seal's fighting power. Numbering from about one hundred to three hundred depending on the size of the province, they were trained from childhood, some would say brainwashed, into pure obedience of the orders of Seal Knights and the Sealmaster. They had a reputation as a formidable fighting force, although often poorly equipped, they could deal devastating blows to any revolt.


The seal members were generally poorly equipped, although Nora's tactical prowess extended in terms of equipment. To have such a small budget for these well-trained warriors pained her. She, however, improvised, and tested all of the warriors in her most loyal gate, the gate of Port Nora. The tests included agility, bravery, strength, and command instinct.   After determining who was best at what, she then equipped most of the warriors with rope nets and crossbows to attack their opponent from a distance. A smaller group, the best and bravest, could be given spears, to attack the enemy, as well as flechettes, which could be dropped on enemy targets, and greek fire, which could be dropped onto the kava that housed the enemy.


The Hausi have the sense of honor, where you don't attack the enemy when they can't defend themselves. We have none of their restraint.
– Seal Lieutenant, Port Nora
  The seal does not care whether the enemy is alive or dead, or whether their wives are safe, or whether their children are safe. Instead, the seal only cares about effectiveness. Sealmasters are known to literally wipe entire resisting villages off the map, with their single-mindedness of keeping peace. They have one job, and they're good at it.  
We give ourselves the glory of victory, and we give our enemies every chance they deserve to die for their country.
– Sealmaster of Port Nora
  However, there are a few rules of engagement that they do abide by. They do not attack loyalists on their own side that may be embedded in the enemy, and they try not to attack children if possible.   Besides that, their tactics generally build on their excellent knowledge of the terrain, their brute adaptability, and their disregard for morals. Assassination, being a form of engagement that costs less lives, is widely practiced, along with ambushes. Intelligence was extremely valued, and informants sometimes were granted an automatic increase in rank in the gate.


For gate and glory we'll end your lives.
– Sealmaster of Port Nora, in a letter to rebels
  Early on, during the first seals, the Kalian Command had just entered the Bronze Age. At this point, the units drew from both the nobility of the gates as well as the peasants. According to the governing, legalist philosophy of the time, everyone, especially the nobility, needed to have a "worth" such that they maintained their rank: if the noble "lost his worth", then he was removed to a lower rank.   Therefore, nobility were almost compelled to be well-trained, and serve in the military, as far as through the barbarian wars. However, being nobility, they were granted officer ranks, and could therefore dispatch themselves to less war-torn areas (to preserve their lives).   After the eastern border was pacified and there was no longer a need for such a strong army, the legalist doctrine was applied to hunting "bandits" (a title given to anyone who stepped afoul of the government). However, after Commander Nora was convinced that such a doctrine held the nation on the brink of war, she softened her stance.   Later, seals became under the rule of the national government. Command began to be granted regardless of nobility, after students took a rigorous test on command. The test later became the basis of the quadrennial wargames that the seals undertook. This continued for many decades, into and past the iron age.   Past the unification of the Kalian League into the United Gates Under Heaven, a pan-Zentland republic, the gates were disbanded and reformed into the Kalian Wing of the Heaven's Gate Army. Due to the devastating effectiveness of early gunpowder compounded with the fall of the Dome of Light, only one seal remained: the original Seal of Port Nora, now used ceremonially in a manner similar to the Swiss Guard.

Historical loyalties

A single arrow can stop a militiaman. Perhaps two or three will stop a knight. It takes ten to stop a Guard of the Seal. For an Sealmaster, you can shoot them all day long and they'll still come charging down your ranks. They sell their lives dearly: for every one we kill, twenty of ours are slain.
– Commander Olivia, writing in her journal
  The Kalian League [Kalia] and later the United Gates Under Heaven were the groups that this group was fiercely loyal to. Once, when the Seal of Linsent was trapped and surrounded by a massive force of rebels, they refused to surrender and fought on to the death. It is said that it takes more than ten arrows to the head or chest to stop a Seal Guard, and more against a Knight.

~7,000 years ago
Variable: the Seal of Port Nora is kept ceremonially
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