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Snow Elf Foederati

Brave beyond measure, with an unimaginable hatred towards the forces of darkness and moved by a desire of a new, more warmth home, Snow elf younglings became attracted by the prospects of serving in the Ikarian armies and later in the armies of its successor states. They were regarded by Ikarian and Blatian commanders as an essential element of their armies, usually used either in flanking manoeuvres or holding the battleline.  


  Foederati are foreign troops fighting in the Ikarian and Blatian imperial armies. They are an evolution of the Auxilia of earlier centuries. The Auxilia were almost conscripted troops from the client kingdoms of the Ikarian Empire. But the foederati were not conscripted rather recruited via a contract with Imperial Authorities, sometimes in exchange of land or money.   The first Foedus treaty between the The Ikarian Empire and the Snow Elves was signed according to history in 458 BP. According to this treaty, the Elves would provide troops and also trade with the Ikarian Empire in exchange of protection and surveillance of Snow Elf lands by the Imperial armies during winter, when the Snow elves retreat to their cave cities. This treaty was respected and renewed a couple of times for 700 years.   As the Ikarian power declined at the end of the 4th century AP, the Foedus treaty of the Snow elves was modified. Especially due to the arrival of three Snow Elf tribes from the northern Albine Mountains called, Setainii, Andanii and Volocinii in Ikarian sources. These Snow elf tribes and their kings, who fled from Nord attacks were allowed to settle not in the frozen lands of their kin, but in Imperial territory. In exchange the male and female warriors of these tribes would serve in the Imperial army. And they did it remarkably, quickly earning the admiration of ikarian civilians, authorities and legionaries alike for their gallantry, bravery and loyalty to the Empire.   The bravest of the Snow Elves became part of the elite Palatini Guard of the Ikarian Emperors, and many died on the walls of Ikaria on that terrible day of 460 AP trying to protect their Emperor and the Empire that welcomed them and gave them a place to call home.  

After the fall of Ikaria

    After 460 AP the units of foederati troops that remained in Imperial lands faced two dilemmas. Either return to Snow elf lands and settling in some of the numerous cave cities of the Albine Mountains, or remain in Ikarian territory and defend their new homes or seek service in one of the successor states of the Ikarian Empire. Many chose to go west and serve in the armies of Bovoria, Dubris, Drusentia or the Blatian Empire. Others returned to the North but eventually came back to former Ikarian lands when the Empire of Cloudia was created.   In Cloudia these foederati were settled across the north-western borders, in towns and fortresses like Cayr Anbros, Saventia, Cayr Annerion (Which literally means the Fortress of the Elves). Snow elf foederati also served with distinction in the armies of Vedius Yvianregus, King of Dubris during his campaigns, especially as members of his personal cavalry guard. To this day, everyone has heard of the Snow elf cavalry charge at the battle of Grassy Hill that annihilate the barbarian army of king Olfa of Gleginia.   In Blati, these elves became part of the rebuilt Palatini Guard of the Blatian Emperors and housed in an special barracks in the Imperial Palace. They served bravely in the first siege of Blati in 512 AP, commanded by their prefect, Flavius Arrythyn, when they protect the Golden Gate and the Red Fortress from the barbarian assault.   In other realms, such as Drusentia or Bovoria, Snow Elf foederati were use as cavalry or light troops.  


  In the early centuries Snow elf foederati wore basically the standard weapons and armour of the snow elf infantrymen. A Long spear or halberd, a large sword or sabre, a conic helmet with plumes, a large triangular or leaf shaped shield, and a long scale armour that covered most of the body down to the ankles .  
Snow elf warrior by Callyxtus with Stable Diffusion
  Eventually, after centuries of service in the Ikarian army, many of the foederati adopted the equipment of the Ikarian soldiers, although retaining some distinctive elements. The Elves, especially during the later centuries of the Ikarian Empire adopted the round shield and darts of the Ikarian legionaries as well as chainmail and Ikarian helmets.  
Snow elf Foederati by Callyxtus with Dall-E
Snow elf Foederati in Blatian armour by Callyxtus with Dall-E

Fighting style

  The fighting style of the Snow elf foederati depends on what role they perform in the battlefield. Usually in the wealthier and most powerful Blatian realms they fight as heavy infantry or cavalry. While fighting on foot their main role is to either flank and envelop the enemy or holding the line, throwing as many darts and javelins to the enemy and forming a shield wall. The noblemen of these units, inspired by their elven ethos and the tails of their ancestors usually like to have single combat duels with the champions of the enemy armies (specially the barbarian ones). What they would usually do is to place them in front of the shield wall, call their name and sometimes taunt the enemy trying to force the enemy champions to accept the duel.   If they are used as cavalry their main role is flanking the enemy and attacking him from behind or to fight the enemy cavalry and try to rout it.  


  This type of soldiers is usually rewarded for the service with land. Usually, the snow elves are settled in frontier regions or near castles. Most of them live in town exclusively inhabited by fellow snow elf foederati. They're not professional troops, but expect a high degree of discipline and skills from them. Despite this, the Blatian empire (and some petty Blatian Kingdoms) pays them 12 silver coins each month for their service.  
A hoard of Ikarian coins by ITV
  This was the payment established in the first Foedus in 458 BP. But in reality, officers are paid a bit more, around 18-20 silver coins a month and 1 gold coin each year. This money doesn't come directly from the Imperial Treasure but rather from the Private Treasure of the Emperor. So, the so called Master of the Sacred Treasury is the responsible of the payment of the foederati and that is also the reason why the Snow elf foederati are so loyal to the Emperor.  

Organization and Hierarchy

  The organization and hierarchy of the Snow elves may change from realm to realm, we'll focus on the Blatian Empire which offers the best example.   Foederati are not organized into legions like the professional Blatian troops. They are separated and distinct units from the legions but they usually fight side by side with them. There is no specific number of soldiers in a foederati unit, their officers are usually fellow snow elves and their commanders could be either their snow elf petty kings or a Blatian human, usually of Senatorial Rank.   As they are usually settled in the frontier, their superior commander is the Duke of that specific province. He in turn would answer to the Eparch, the governor of the province, and he in turn, in military matters would answer to the Master of Soldiers and to the Emperor.   The members of the Palatini Guard are directly under the command of the Emperor or the Commander of the "Army in presence of the Emperor", stationed near Blati which is usually the Master of Soldiers.

Assimilation into Ikarian/Blatian society

  After centuries of living in Imperial territory, these elves have adopted many customs and the fashion of their Ikarian/ Blatian neighbours. Most of them learned to speak Ikarian and Blatian very quickly and even adopted many aspects of the Ikarian Religion (Many wealthy officers of foederati units became donors of important temples and churches across the Empire). These soldiers also married local Blatian women or men when they couldn't find any suitable elven partner. Their half elf or full-blooded elf offspring would be, according to the law, Ikarian or Blatian citizens and also they would inherit the profession of their parents, so the Empire would not run out of brave elf or half elf recruits.   Over the course of almost 400 years, due to the amount of their countrymen serving in the Ikarian armies, Ikarian cultural influence, as well as objects, art and weapons was absorbed by the Snow elves to such degree that when Ikaria fell in 460 AP, the Snow elves began to see themselves as the avengers of the fallen Empire in the north. So great was the influence of the Ikarian humans that some consider the realm of the Snow elves to be a sort of Semi-Ikarian Kingdom, culturally speaking.


  Many of the glorious deeds of the Snow elf foederati had inspired lots of songs and epic poems among both Blatians andSnow Elves .   Bards usually travel to the cave cities of the realm of the Snow elves to sing about the glorious victories of their kin. And this in turn inspires the youngsters to emulate the deeds of their fellow countrymen and join the Imperial armies. Many of these songs portray the Blatians and the Snow elf soldiers as great heroes and defenders of light against the darkness and evil represented by the Barbarians.   Sometimes these young elves indeed achieve the glory and prestige that these poems talk about but sadly others only find dead. But even in dead, they are regarded as heroes and martyrs in the war against the forces of darkness and defenders of civilization.

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Cover image: Snow elf warrior by Callyxtus with Stable Diffusion


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29 Mar, 2023 00:02

Every time I see Snow Elf, I think of the Snow Elves in the Skyrim vampire expansion now.