An expensive and ferocious band of mercenaries, the Mordena have earned equal parts respect and fear throughout Vazdimet. Few outsiders understand their true motives.
  Grand Navarch Jake Cartwright Lawrence now leads the organization after the untimely death of his father, founder Shane Lawrence. The Mordena continue to grow in prestige, influence, and number, drawing further business from The Freeholds and rising alarm from their rival factions.


The Mordena publicly split their organization into three main categories, based upon their primary focus: offense, intelligence, and public relations. Each officially reports directly to the Grand Navarch although unofficially they are largely trusted to their own operations unless coordination appears necessary or useful. There are many channels of communication linking each branch of the Mordena, both officially and unofficially, with additional monitoring from the Mordena Security Council.    

Grand Armada

The Grand Armada contains the bulk of the mercenary organization's military muscle, with the Special Forces serving as a subset tied to their respective armadas. The famed Turncoat Armada also falls here, preferring to remain largely intact due to their shared experiences within the Sparnell Armed Forces, although Turncoat ships and crews readily accept temporary reassignment to other portions of the Grand Armada to assist in training missions and exercises.  

Public Relations

Mordena Public Relations deals with public communications and statements from the Mordena, as well as negotiating treaties with Freehold planets and other entities. Public relations also serves as the first gate when reviewing potential jobs, passing any tasks of promise upward for the Grand Navarch's review.  

Security Council

Garrick Talin's reign over the Mordena Security Council has placed the organization not only in parallel with the Mordena's other branches, but also as an unofficial oversight as to their operations. As this has only served to improve the Mordena's effectiveness, particularly upon the certification of the MORTAC hivemind supercomputer for official operation, the adjustment was met with full approval of the Grand Navarch. The Security Council maintains its own assortment of Intelligence Officers in the field outside the usual chain of command, and borrows freely from the Grand Armada's forces when necessary.  

Civilian Forces

Not publicly advertised, the Mordena also have a fourth, fully civilian branch. Many of these members work supporting the daily lives and comforts of the Mordena, as well as training, education, research, childcare, and research and development efforts, although their numbers also include the Mordena's spouses and children. The bulk of these reside upon Janikk, with the rest scattered throughout the Mordena's various embassies and outposts.  

Ranks and Roles

The Mordena follow a simplified ranking structure for most of their members, adapted and simplified from the more complicated rankings of the Sparnell Armed Forces. These ranks are used within the Armada and the Special Forces.    

Public Relations

Public Relations also follows the standard rankings, although Ambassadors hold full authority within their jurisdiction regardless of rank, answering only to the Navarcha and the Minder.  


Ground Crews, also affectionately referred to as Groundies, possess more specialized training in the maintenance and engineering of the Mordena's ships and equipment. The roles follow the same rankings as the rest of the Mordena, often attracting former Space Defense Legion personnel.  

Security Council Special Ranks

While their more military-minded postings utilize the standard Mordena rankings the Security Council refers to their civilian operative team members as Intelligence Officers, led by a Senior Intelligence Officer, recognizing their contributions to the Mordena's success while maintaining the necessary separation from the command structure required for them to perform their duties. MORTAC also remains outside the official chain of command, the Minds only officially reporting to the Minder, Navarch Garrick Talin, and the Grand Navarch.

Public Agenda

The fearsome mercenary organization was known for toppling empires and disrupting trade federations, one step up from the space pirates they claimed to abhor, growing rich off the political squabbles of the Universe. They'll never take this job. The doubt returned, insistent, despite his best attempts. There's no way I can afford them. He exhaled sharply. But they're at war with the Sparnelli, and they're my only hope. He opened his eyes, squared his shoulders, and stepped smartly toward the entrance.
  Publicly, the Mordena were founded to provide professional mercenary services on par with the experience and military power of the Sparnell Confederation, Space Defense Legion, and Hydell Order, allowing the planets and citizens of The Freeholds access to training and equipment better than what they could afford to regularly maintain as a standing force by themselves. This still requires a significant investment from those who choose to hire their services but given the level of services offered for that price those who can afford them swear by them.   Due to the clout of their reputation the mercenaries can afford to remain picky about their clientele, usually vetting potential hopefuls through an intense negotiation process involving not only price but the full nature of the services to be provided, often including a full background check by the Security Council into the negotiating team and the entity they represent.


Daoff winced as the Ambassador closed the program and turned to meet his stare with her own. "This isn't a charity."   He fought his rising panic, and failed. The words came in a rush. "Please! I'll give you anything you want! Everything I have, everything I am!" He felt the tears begin to stream down his face. It didn't matter anymore. Nothing mattered but this moment. This impassive canid woman sitting in front of him held the fate of his family in her painted claws and he was not leaving until he knew they would be safe. He straightened again, rebuilding his resolve. "You're my only hope."   She turned back to her display. "Tell me something I haven't heard all day. This meeting is over."

Whispers and Rumors

Aside from their claim on their homeworld of Janikk, the true assets of the Mordena remain unknown to outsiders. Their growing fleet rarely fails to impress, their researchers constantly reviewing and reinventing their technology to incorporate their latest findings.   The fees for their services are steep, varied, and difficult to predict. One client may be quoted a monitary cost, another a trade agreement for materials or services, while a third is forced to weigh their needs against the risks in promising the organization a future favor. On rare occasions a petitioner may even be asked to pay the steepest price of all: themself, as a new recruit subject to Shane Lawrence's unspoken intentions for their specific skills.   Universally it is assumed the mercenaries, especially their leadership and highest performers, are remarkably rich as a result.  

Mordena's Secret Economics

In truth, the majority of these funds and trade goods are used to maintain and grow the organization itself, funding research, supplies, and of course the comfort and safety of the people themselves. Mordena do not earn salaries or cuts of the profit, instead receiving all they could want or need through the community. Food and housing, educational opportunities, healthcare services, and even Afterlife Planning are all provided freely by the organization and its members, either through their own resources or via agreements and trades with others.   Trade agreements are forged with the Freeholds to provide for these needs in addition to the needs of the military itself, negotiated as a fair exchange for the Mordena's protections. The Ferrik Clan of the Vardan have also contracted to provide for the Mordena's rarer needs, a long term agreement struck in exchange for teaching Kris Ferrik the highky sought Hyperjump spell.   Those requiring actual funds are free to request them, with most Embassies also managing their own expense accounts subject to the local Ambassador's approvals, but in most cases the desired items and experiences themselves can be acquired through trade or sometimes merely prestige. Most Mordena are readily apparent to the general public, and there is a certain level of stature in being known to elicit their repeat patronage.


She paused. <<Are you really taking on the whole fleet?>>   <<Yeah.>> She heard Shane laugh. <<Made a promise to the kid.>>
  Unknown to most, including the majority of the Mordena, the mercenary organization was founded on a simple statement from Shane Lawrence to his son Jake, promising he'd do what he could to ensure the boy wouldn't need to switch schools due to the Sparnell Confederation's attempted annexation of Baden. Discovering his calling in the process, a newfound drive to defend the innocent from monsters like himself and build a better universe for his son, Shane Lawrence built the Mordena from the ground up alongside the allies he made along the way, eventually growing the Mordena into a fearfully respected powerhouse.   Not that he'd share that truth with just anyone.   Today the Mordena answer to Grand Navarch Jake Lawrence, who took the reigns with his father's blessing after the necromancer's death and cosmic burnout during The Evacuation of Garnell. The elder Lawrence still provides frequent and forceful guidance, now in the role of the Minder of MORTAC, the Mordena's hivemind Afterlife Intelligence supercomputer.   Their power and influence continue to grow.  
"What inspired you to found the Mordena, anyway?" Daoff knew this question was a risk, but he hadn't discovered anything on the topic in all his research, not even rumors. Sure, there was plenty about their first job, miraculously defending the Freehold planet of Baden from an overwhelming Sparnell invasion, but the Mordena may as well have sprung up overnight for how much nothing Daoff had found trying to dig earlier into their history. Knowing how carefully the Mordena control their own narrative, a complete lack of anything is significant.   Shane laughed. "Nice try, Engineer Asul, but you haven't earned that answer. At least buy me dinner first."

The strong survive as their allies thrive.

Want to Read More?

Shane Lawrence's rise from humble janitor to the founder of the Mordena mercenaries begins with In Spite of the Inevitable, a 75k word novel exclusive to my Patreon subscribers! (First three chapters are free!)
"Dad! What's wrong?" Jake made his way to his feet, clearly worried.
  "We have to go. Now. It was a diversion. SAF lured all Baden's defenses into the open." Shane was pacing, his normally impassive face a conflict of emotions. "There's a whole armada up there now. We don't have much time."
  Razick's stomach sank. If the janitor's words were true, Baden had no chance at remaining independent. The shelter vault had its own defenses but these were largely nonviolent measures and eventually they, too, would be breached. If the Confederation didn't starve them out first.
  Razick watched as Jake's face hardened. "I don't want to run anymore, Dad. I finally have a chance at something good here. Better classes, actual friends, no more bullies..." His eyes turned pleading. "I know you can fix this. Please don't make me start all over again."
  Shane stopped pacing, looking at his son as if seeing him for the first time. "A whole armada, Jake."
  "I want to stay."
  To Razick's surprise, after studying his son for a moment Shane sank to the floor in thought, still seemingly oblivious to her presence. "Okay."

In Spite of the Inevitable, Chapter 1
Prose | Jun 22, 2021

Haunted by his past and finally beginning to adapt to civilian life as a single father, Shane Lawrence finds himself thrust back into his role as a military tactician in a desperate effort to defend his new home.

Want to Read More?

Daoff Asul's initial experiences with the enigmatic Shane Lawrence of the Mordena can be read in Blood and Water, a novelette exclusive to my Patreon subscribers! (First chapter is free!)
Daoff let out an angry snarl, his words coming easier and faster now. "No evasive answers this time. You know who I am. You spent the last several days tearing me down and I have been nothing but cooperative. Now I need to know. Who is rescuing my family? Who are you?" He pulled his lips into a sneer. "I won't answer any more of your questions until you answer mine."
  Shane sighed. "Fine." He paused. "I will let you ask one question, and I will answer it. Anything you want. No evasion, just the truth. All of it. Make it a good one."
  Daoff thought only for a moment. "How did you die?"

Blood and Water, Chapter 1
Prose | Sep 18, 2021

A father sets out to strike an impossible bargain in the hope of saving his family.

Character flag image: by Melior64


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29 Aug, 2021 19:43

This is such a great and detailed article. I love the Mordena. <3 I feel like I need to read Blood and Water again.

29 Aug, 2021 20:47

I love my scrappy mercenaries. (I need to EDIT Blood and Water again. But Shane wants first drafts of him being awesome and alive first.)

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities, and Vazdimet, its darker spacefaring future.
29 Aug, 2021 20:54


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