The Legions trace their history back to the Second Empire, and their first emperor, Kalan. He was a born leader, and a military genius. His vision was of all kandar united under one ruler, an end to centuries of anarchy. His chosen instruments were the Legions.
During the Wars of Reunification, as historians later called them, neither the highly individualistic kandar knights of the local rulers, or the disorganised rabbles of the many petty warlords were any match for Kalan’s highly disciplined troops. After seventeen years, all kandar cities were in Kalan’s hands. He proclaimed himself Kalan XI of the Kandar Empire. (Kalan X was the last emperor before the Times of Darkness). During his reign, order was enforced by the legions, who mercilessly crushed any rebellions.
When the second empire finally disintegrated, the legions were officially disbanded, but most of the soldiers joined the armies of the newly independent city states, which now numbered more than twenty. Most of the traditions of the legions were retained by these new armies. When the kandar world was re-united in the Third Empire, the legions were reformed along similar lines to those of the second empire, except that now one or two legions contained human soldiers as well as kandar.
The Role of the Legions
The legions are the standing armies of the kandar cities. Their primary duty is to defend their city or cities against external and internal threats, as directed by the Tharn or Sarkan. In peacetime they spent a lot of time patrolling the roads that connect isolated cities, especially in sparsely populated areas where banditry is a serious problem. They also patrol the borders of civilised lands, with occasional clashes with human or vordral tribes that raid isolated outposts.
Likewise the legions patrol navigable rivers and sea routes; some Legions have significant naval forces including seagoing warships, and other Legions operate a variety of river patrol craft.
The legions have a role in maintaining civil order with the cities, although they only come into play when there are large-scale insurrections or riots that need to be put down.
In times of war, either against zughru, emerging human nations, or more commonly clashes between rival kandar powers, the Legions will be the principle front-line troops. Other forces, from knights to seconded guild militias will frequently be expected to fight alongside them. Non-legion forces tend to have their own parallel command structures, which can affect the coherence of forces in battle; very few knights are prepared to tolerate being ordered around by a legion officer.
The Eight Legions
The First Legion
Based in the imperial capital of Vohrleyn, the First Legion is one of four that defend the rump of the Great Kandar Empire. They’re tasked with defending the capital itself, along with the eastern frontiers, mostly lawless wilderness infested with vordral. The legion has some naval forces, although without any major sea-lanes to defend, it’s mostly made up of small coastal patrol boats.
The Second Legion
The second of the the Empire’s four legions, the Second Legion finds itself guarding the northern border against the Konaic Empire. The border region is bleak and mountainous, and armies of construction workers busy themselves fortifying it as much as possible.
The Third Legion
Based in the city of Selnin, the third Legion is one of two legions that now belongs to the Konaic Empire. It’s suffered extensive purges following the pro-Karmork coup in that city, with many officers murdered and replaced by those loyal to Sarkan Vorsath, many of who previously served in the Seventh Legion. A few officers and men fled south ahead of the purges; some of these now serve in the First Legion.
The Fourth Legion
Another of the Great Empire’s legions, the Fourth is dispersed around several cities in the heartlands of the empire, keeping the roads, rivers and coasts open for trade and communications. Although the legion publicly shows absolute loyalty to the Empire, there are some that suggest that they’re a major element in Clan Alkurvil’s plans to retake the imperial throne. The legion has the empire’s largest naval forces, not just small coastal patrol vessels but the empire’s only heavily armed capital warships.
The Fifth Legion
The Fifth Legion is now divided between the city states of Filgeth and Calbeyn. To all intents and purposes, the Fifth is now two separate organisations, each commanded by their own Urileyr but the title “Fifth Legion” is still officially used. The Fifth was the first legion to accept humans into it’s ranks, in Calbeyn. The Calbeyn forces are now fully integrated with some mixed kandar and human units, and even makes kandar soldiers serve under human commanders. The Filgeth forces haven’t gone this far, and the limited numbers of human troops form their own units.
The Sixth Legion
The last of the Great Empire’s legions, the Sixth is based in the second city of the empire, Keylin, and ostensibly guards the western frontiers. In practice most of their work is patrolling roads and rivers.
The Seventh Legion
Based in Karmork, the Seventh are the Konaic Empire’s most loyal troops. They have a richly deserved reputation for ruthlessness and brutality, acquired during many campaigns suppressing internal dissent, most notably during the Consolidation of Selnin. This legion includes substantial naval forces.
The Eight Legion
Based in Ravenah, the Eight Legion forms the armed forces of Narylar. It’s role in defending Kalyr’s premier maritime nation means that it’s as much a navy as it is an army, fielding a sizeable but varied fleet of warships. Like the Fifth, the Eight Legion accepts humans into it’s ranks, although the forces aren’t fully integrated like those in Calbeyn.
Except for the Fifth and Eight legions, which now accept humans, most legions only recruit kandar into their ranks. In theory recruitment is open to all that meet the required standards of physical fitness and mental stability, but in practice family connections tend to have an influence. Almost all Legionnaires are recruited from the Freemen; it’s very rare for a member of any noble clan to join up. Nobles wanting a martial career are expected to become knights, not legionnaires.
The legion is generally a lifetime career; someone that joins as a youth can expect to serve until retirement in middle age.
- A Vorkeyr (Fair Rank) is the common grunt, with nobody under his direct command.
- A Kasirleyr (Good Rank) commands a patrol of 10-20 men, assisted by two or more Nir-Kasireyrs
- A Tavinoleyr (Great Rank) commands a Tavinol of 150-250 men, assisted by two or more Nir-Tavonoleyrs
- The Urileyr (Superb Rank) commands a full legion. The size of a legion now varies, from the 1000 men of the two halves of the Fifth Legion, to nearly five times that number in the two Karmork legions. He is assisted by two or more Nir-Urileyrs.
The Vureleyr is the supreme military leader, commanding multiple legions. This rank only exists in the Great Kandar Empire and the Konaic Empire
Legion Training and Weaponry
There are a lot of specialised forces within the legions, each of which has their own specialised weapons. All recruits are trained with the Narvork sword, used with a shield in formation, but beyond that every soldier receives training in whatever weapons are necessary for whatever force they’re assigned to. An individual Vorkeyr might be trained in the klunark (a long polearm), or the fearsome flamelance.