Money makes the world go round
Our bond was forged in flame, and to that flame we shall return.The Legion Cygniere is an old organization, long faded into myth. In the past, they safeguarded travelers through the treacherous heights of the Salt Range. But while their job may have been mundane, their end was not. And what happened after the end... is anyone's guess.
Even today, the Legion Cygniere symbolizes a sense of mystery... a mystical connection, a sense of unease as to their meteoric rise and fall. Where did they come from? How did they get ahold of so much money? And where did they go?The myth itself is rooted in two historical facts. The first was that travel through the titanic Salt Range was inherently dangerous. Besides the issues of avalanche and earthquake, many bandits and militias robbed travelers regularly. The second fact was that many people needed to complete a journey across the Range. Trade between the Salt Plains in the west and the coastal forests in the east was lucrative, and many merchants needed to make the journey through the range at all costs. And so a legend was born.
Okay, so there are these bandits, attacking me with crossbows and longswords. What could a man do? I was about to be overtaken, when all of a sudden these massive, I mean massive birds swoop down and drop fire and oil on the enemy. That's about all I remember.The Legion was founded by one being going by the name of Talon the Elder. He quickly entered the mercenary business, protecting one's person and belongings... for a small fee. It is said that they operated with ruthless efficiency, and that bandits were literally starved out of mountains. In the meantime, Talon had gotten involved in geopolitics as well. And that meant lending out his vast treasury to help finance wars and other conquests. With interest charged annually. His organization, highly disciplined and known to ride fearsome war-beasts bred on their private island, would take kings and emperors to task for not paying interest. As such, the Legion Cygniere became bank, collection agency, and private army rolled into one.
If you owe the bank a dollar, that's your problem. If you owe the bank one million dollars, that's the bank's problem.And the Legion got rich. Fast. That didn't mean that this group had no morals: on the contrary, they behaved with the altruistic principles of their creed. But that was lost on the current leadership of the Salt Range. They didn't want to pay interest continually to this creditor. But they also didn't want the military might of the Legion to crush their troops. So they devised a devious plan. Talon the Younger and his companions were invited to the imperial court for a special ceremony. They were to be honored for their contribution to national security. Those traveling from the East had their passports made, and crowns for convoy were provided by the government. Not that any member of the Legion needed the money, but the trap was set. No one had a clue.
Execute Order 66.
Alright, son, so these Cygnieres were some tough warriors. They could hit a tiny birch-leaf from a hundred meters. But they were caught unawares. At dawn, they say, guard or townsman, prince or princess, knight or peasant, all executed it perfectly. The Cygnieres were swarmed, arrested for committing treason. The official records state every single one of them was put to death. But some say, the night before, a hooded woman riding a war-swan flew like mad from the mountains towards the plains. A hooded woman who entered Talon the Younger's dwelling. And some say nine swans flew in a V, to the east, carrying forty-five riders. Fifteen men out of two thousand survived. So what happened to 'em? No one knows. Some say they fled to the Range, and became bandits themselves. Some say they stayed in our kingdom, and equipped us to crush the traitors that entrapped them. Some say they just lay low and disappeared. Whatever they did, we know for certain that the scheming state that trapped them lost, hard. They couldn't understand the ledgers they kept, and burned them. The little wealth that they carried with them was looted by the populace. Soon, they would fall to our imperial might. We remember them each year this day. It's a way of paying homage to those that fell to the Plains people.