The Lionsgolds operated armies and could afford them because they were wealthy, but they needed to maintain them. Standing soldiers up and down was a lengthy and laborious process and ate the wealth of the family doing so. Equally, keeping a standing army of the size that a ruling house would want was just as expensive. The solution to paying that kind of money was to get them to fight, which seemed beyond the capability of the Kingdom in those days as there just weren’t enough enemies. The solution to this problem spoke a lot about the control and governance that the Lionsgold of that time wanted and the traditions that it wanted to carry on, not to mention what we have today.
The formation of the standing army was created with the training coming from the newly founded and heavily Lionsgold Influenced Crimson Order, as is now, which incorporates the two guilds of the Order and the Silent Company. The loyalty to the family is clearly apparent in the words of the Guild which were laid down by a Lionsgold dominated council even before its foundation, the opening of which reads:
“Here do I swear by word and blood loyalty and service to the Crowns and the Line of Gold”
From the Guilds came the best trained soldiers and leadership, and it is clear that the family wanted to retain as much control over that as they possibly could.
Troops, traditionally, had come from peasant stock, but with the guilds gaining traction they were more than your average smallfolk; they were being given parity with the lesser aristocracy and a promise of later rank and the privilege that came with it. This right and ability was laid, through Oaths sworn to the Gillieabad, firmly at the feet of the Lionsgold, champions of the common folk and the people, and that was good. The Leadership, however, was driven through the assembled ranks of those that already carried noble birth. This was entirely made possible by the concepts of wealth.
The Lionsgold funded these guilds and demanded that the officers pay for the privilege of advanced training. They were learning not just how to fight but also receiving an education to boot. This opened the door to the children of rich merchants, along with other wealthy worthies, to make their way into these positions and eventually into the courts and pockets of the Lionsgold. Historically, we would say that this was all planned for and prepared at the highest levels, even down to marriages considered and pushed for, before the targeted individuals had even signed up for any roles.
The Standing Army created by the Lionsgold has evolved into the military service that we know today and that includes the Army, Navy and Dirigic fleet, although the latter formed much later and falls under the jurisdiction, ostensibly, of the North family. This military machine fell under the remit of the governance of the Crown and effectively was owned by the country and paid for by the public purse. Regardless, they were under the command of the Lionsgold family, and that was how it remained through political power and through the sworn Oaths until, well, now basically.
With their main army paid for by tax and their coffers being swollen by their new allegiances with the growing Merchant Houses, the Lionsgold moved to ensure that there would be a greater army available at a moments summons which would cost them nothing and weaken their enemies. The need to train and maintain an army of followers from your fiefs was issued to each noble, so that a fighting force could be dredged up at any given moment. This was a costly affair for most of the aristocracy but with their own wealth it was barely a scratch for the Lionsgold.
Whatever we have come to believe about the dispersal of control of the armed forces that defend us, it seems factual to say that The Lionsgold will always be in control. Their wealth, political power, and the Oaths of the Guilds give them almost unilateral leadership in any given situation. Popularity and spin play a huge role in this, along with the family being willing to give away what they can afford at the appropriate times rather than fairly paying what they can to help their people. However, recent affairs have really changed this age old truth to a degree that the Lionsgold family may never have the same pomp and power that they once enjoyed ever again. The spell seems to be finally broken.
In 2012 Quintus Alexander Tiberius Lionsgold came to power as the head of the Lionsgold family and also the King of the Royal basin. During his reign, he broke the majority of the Oaths that the Lionsgolds had given to the people and that age-old hold over the armed forces no longer holds true. He allowed the Torakaylins to gain a stranglehold on political power, and lost control of several major cities alongside battalions of troops that eventually allied themselves with Roderick Dasmamacus who seized power after the end of the Shadow War. At this moment in time the political power of the Lionsgolds has been almost extinguished save for what is occurring in the current civil war. Quintus’ reign was disastrous and only the action of Earl Aloysius Lionsgold and that portion of the family gave them any real credence.
The Nobility that serve the country are bound, each to raise armies of differing size and marry them to a Great House would the need arise. However with the assertion of where the power has been for so many years let us look at how the people of the Basin really took to battle. The courts were and remain skilled diplomats and had, during the heyday of the Lionsgolds, huge amounts of money to throw at things. However, war eventually became their weakness. The Royal Basin were the only aggressive nation on the continent of Daer Akmir when it came to Empire building, which meant that they had the strongest armed forces. That said, all of Daer Akmir were embroiled in dealing with the encroachment of various supernatural and villainous beings that were intent on using the resources of this, mystically, undefended Duchy for their own ends.
So the Lionsgolds of those first days trained for war and they took Rhygahrea from its people and called it Harthalia. Once that was done, they marched to war with the Iskarani over the edges of the Desert and the Koren Pass. This could have gone on for years and it is possible that the Basin could have extended its control over all of Daer Akmir but the Lionsgolds soon discovered that holding these areas meant that they had to upkeep quite a lot of army which started to become expensive. They weren’t used to managing an Empire and, coupled with massive growth at home and diminishing trading opportunities, they realised that they would have to either bail out the nation or expand further.
The Lionsgold understood that such expansion would mean that they could plunder more and eventually dominate the continent. Everything that historians have uncovered points to the fact that this was the choice they intended to make, but then the heart of the Basin was attacked. Sarkith’s Daemons returned to the world alongside the Kaytaarr and Arkithane and all of the other terrors that surfaced. After that, they just never stopped coming. Defence of the Royal Basin became the core duty of the Armed Forces with most of the enemies coming to challenge them from inside its borders. The people of this land became adept at fighting, against all odds and with every weapon that they could find to hand.
It seemed an impossible task but the expertise of the guildsfolk, blended with the armies, was the key factor in victory. Such was the ability, and more importantly the reputation, of the Basanic forces that the other nations started asking for help against identical types of threat, and the Basin, with the largest and most effective army, were forced to react rather than let other nations be overrun. The voices of the Guilds were keenest in sending help to other nations, as they had not been born at the time of Empire building, calling for their leadership to step up funding for their training programs, especially the Colleges and the Churches with the rise of magic.
This led to truly titanic amounts of money being spent and the coffers of the Royal Basin being emptied to the extent that the Lionsgold purses had to open and they were forced to spend. That was one thing that they were unprepared to do.
The Orsai Bank
The appearance of the Orsai Bank was a shock to the ruling nobles of what was, by then, the Six Duchies of the Royal Basin. Where they got in contact with them and what they promised is lost to history but the Lionsgolds approached the Orsai Bank and they took out a loan on behalf of the Royal Basin in a decision that was taken without any consultation beforehand. Only recently with the direct edict of the Deity Terref has her Priesthood uncovered how devastating the power of the Orsai Bank has become and how much of a folly the ancient Lionsgolds committed.
Ever since the initial borrowing the loan has, realistically, done nothing but increase and become a burden to each and every succession thereafter. It could be claimed that the Orsai Bank OWN The Royal Basin although no monarch has ever admitted to that and it is denied by the Golden Table. From the harvestable knowledge, all that is known is that there is an unspecified and outstanding loan that is paid off each month. The amount seems high but not untenable. The major consideration is whether action should be taken against the instigating family: Should the Lionsgolds’ wealth belong to the Crown and the Land? Did they abscond with that money and remain independently, extremely, wealthy but no longer wealthy enough to pay off the debts of the nation?
More informaion follows in Other Monarchs and the Fall of The Lionsgolds.