Battered Shield – History & Ethos
During the later years of the fall of the Earth Tribes and before the coming of the Source Comet the protectors of the lands had vanished.
According to our histories the Seven Earthtribes of old rallied together their finest warriors under the banner of a new warrior called Skagrid. It was this Skagrid that was to be the hero and his new “guard” to be the soldiers that were to come to the aid of the other tribes, to protect them and to stand against whatever foe would threaten them. Yet the Skagriagaard were not warriors who served, not ones who wore uniform or spoke words of loyalty to the King. They fought, aye, for the glory and the rush of the battle and those that wished to fall under their protection paid for it, bitterly and heavily. Food to fill the bellies, homes to be raised and roofs to be lived under were but part of what they called upon for their swords in battle. They lived well and died hard and called no being their better; even now their name strikes fear into the heart of those whose stories they have touched and fleeting hope to those that they were sworn to protect.
Thus, then, was the day of their vanishing met with a great trepidation by the peoples of Daer Akmir, for the Skagriagaard did not stand to protect just the people of the Royal Basin. Once the land had been as one and they were also sworn to the places that we now call Egaria, Rhygahrea and the Frozen North. It is said that they entered great slumber, a fact and truth that was comported in 2010 when they awoke once more at the great gathering that is Tharinos. The Earth Tribes were changing, evolving, unknowingly in preparation for the Comet to wreath them in its magic. Despite the disappearance of the Skagriagaard the threats to the world where not yet over and it fell to others to take up the mantle of defenders. The gap left was huge and the tasks of legend mighty and the Skagriagaard had been so few, it was clear that something different would be needed.
The guild is unsure where or by whom they were directly formed but the reasons behind their formulation are certainly clear; retaliation. Without the Skagriagaard smaller war bands and roving groups struck at the communities of the Earth Tribes, murdering and taking what they wanted unopposed until a large band of warriors, as if in some early pilgrimage, made their way to the remains of the Skagriagaard camp, looting it for all they could find. The Skagriagaard themselves never used shields, calling them a cowards art, but from the remnant of their camp the warriors gathered the broken skoldur of those that had fallen in battle against the Skagriagaard and added them to their arsenal. From behind these damaged shelters the first our guild descended upon their enemies and gave a name to their own future – The Battered Shield. By the time the definitions of Daer Akmir had changed the Battered Shield was already a burgeoning tribe, a Skagriagaard in their own right with Chieftains a plenty and growing respect and well earned wealth. New nations formed, new races among the humans coming forward and borders were quickly defined. People called themselves Kings and Empresses and called for other Lords to serve them and to raise banners of their own; a war unlike any other was upon the horizon. Groups that would become Guilds were already throwing their weight behind the powers that would come to pass.
Rumours of noble houses performing ancient blood rights of the Druids were strong, a Brotherhood of Crimson Soldiers were said to have given their blood to them. It was a dark time.
The Battered Shield fought on the side of what would become The Royal Basin, not for nobles or the Kings and Chieftains that lead them but for the people that would feed them, clothe them and provide them with shelter. In short those that would be to pay them in those dark times.
The Battered Shield survived and they settled, not with the blessing of the Dukes but with the blessings of the people that served them. Where communities prospered, where cities were built, where merchant caravans travelled; these were places that the Battered Shield made their homes. In those times the unity of these soldiers was of a different kind, they had become smaller bands of folk, mercenary bands that ranged across parts of the land based out of a centralised area that they called home. A global group focused in the great city and old capital of Maryat were responsible for communication between the groups and accepted contribution from each to set up the first of the guild chapter houses that would exist.
From around the early parts of 800 the wandering groups of mercenaries began to centralise around the guild houses as they opened. The chapters were strong and powerful, most of the warriors had seen action in wars with and for the Royal Basin in and around Daer Akmir as well as on the home front. Their skills were amalgamated by the Chapter Masters, gone were the Chieftains and the tribes and the training of instructors began. Secret fighting techniques that blended the abilities of dozens of different armed forces together were founded by the Guild and they began to truly settle. At the same time the Charters that governed the organisations of groups and guilds, specifically ones that governed effectively a standing army, were readdressed and ratified by the Golden Table, the Crown and other governing bodies leaving the Battered Shield with a difficult choice.
The funding that the Crown offered would have tied the guild directly to the ruling tables and effectively destroyed the individuality of the bands that served them. Equally the agreement would have made them servants to the armed forces in the same way that the dogmatic Crimson Brotherhood jumped at every order. To maintain their ethos and their solidarity with the people they chose instead to receive their funding with from the merchant houses, the civilian authorities and the minor nobles that had little support from the powers that be.
Rather than form battalions of troops the Shield was instead given directive to train the Orders’ Warriors into service in various fields of expertise; Mercenaries, Military Officers, Bodyguards and Soldiers to name but a few. The Battered shield holds positions throughout the Royal Basin within other guilds, merchant houses and the armed forces. However they are not to hold position in foreign establishments or lend our training to them.
In the twelve hundred or so years that have passed since the reformation of the guilds most of the origins of the Battered Shield, the tribe that formed them and since then the mercenary groups that protected the early days of the Royal Basin have vanished. All that remains are some passed down stories, a handful of names, some tattered and bloody tabards and of course the famous shields that hang in the Guild houses across the Basin. Each of the old outfits carried distinctive shields and when the chapters were formed together they were hung in the guilds as a symbol that the members of the guild and their spirit were still present but that they were now willing to fight as a whole, like the Skagriagaard that they had tried to emulate of long ago.
Now the mercenary warriors of the Battered Shield can be found in almost every adventuring group that operates within the Royal Basin.
Casting their lot in with every other member of every other guild that responds to the crisis’ that threatens the population of this great nation. The Earth Tribes have evolved, the Skagriagaard have returned to this land, the Source Comet is part of history and the protectors of the land still remain.