Urizen military concerns
The Urizen contribute only a single army to the Imperial Military, but they have a history of providing important arcane assistance in wars against the Empire's magically capable enemies. This history began even before they joined the Empire, with several notable Urizen magicians providing pivotal assistance to the Empire in the war against Alderei the Fair and the Volodny sorcerers. This earned them the hatred and enmity of the Volondy, but it created a precedent for future conflicts. When the Imperial Armies march to war against a foe that uses magic, the Urizen magicians work to provide what support they can.
In theory each Urizen Spire maintains its own defences, but it is common for spires to collaborate to construct a spire in such a way that it can protect all its neighbours. These military spires – called citadels – are built at strategically important points and are usually heavily fortified. They attract individuals of a martial bent from all over the nation, drawn by the opportunities to practice their skills and hone their fighting Arete.
Citadels are often constructed on Urizen's borders, where they can guard important passes, but there are dangers throughout the mountains of Urizen. Brigands and bands of indigenous orcs threaten civilisation and the many powerful magical auras that afflict the region create problems of their own. A key advantage of the Heliopticon is that it allows for the transmission of messages between spires without the need to traverse the dangerous valleys and passes that lie between them.
Swords, spears and glaives are the favourite weapons; axes, maces and flails are considered to be heavy and ungainly weapons by many. Urizen masters teach their students to see a weapon as a tool to control the space around them, they prefer longer weapons with which they can keep an enemy at a distance. The Urizen disdain wrestling and pugilism. This is partly a result of their desire to keep people outside their personal space but fighting without a weapon is seen as ineffectual and barbaric – a waste of effort and energy that is the very opposite of the Net of the Heavens and a higher mind. “Animals fight with their hands” is a common rebuke for Urizen children caught fighting.
Although most Urizen view skill with ritual magic as a sign of fitness to govern, ultimately it is excellence they respect. Arete is about skill, precision and effectiveness with one’s chosen art; a skilled warrior receives more acclaim than a careless mage. Those who train themselves to fight without using magic are unlikely to be considered for high office but they can still gain the respect of their peers. To do so requires more than just skill at fighting however; to demonstrate Arete as a warrior requires an individual to show a mastery of all aspects of warfare.
Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.
Those Urizen warriors who strive to achieve this ideal call themselves sentinels. They combine study of strategy, tactics and the mastery of weapons and armour with knowledge of history, magic, religion and philosophy. They study not only the practical arts of fighting, but also the theories of how and why people fight, what it means to be a warrior, and the ethics of violence and killing. A few possess some magical ability, but just as often they are dedicated fighters who leave the practice of magic to their charges and allies.
Urizen fields one Imperial army; the Citadel Guard. The Urizen also have a great deal of interest in the position of Warmage, appointed by the Imperial Conclave by declaration of candidacy, to serve as a de facto general, albeit one without command of an army.
One of the oldest continuously active armies in the Empire, the Citadel Guard (unsurprisingly) incorporates a large number of magicians, battle-magicians and sentinels trained to fight alongside them. In addition to the skilled and well-equipped combat magicians there are also diviners who use the magic of Day and Night to gather intelligence about the magical capabilities of their enemies; scouts and disciplined raiders who focus on denying those resources to the enemy; and potent ritualists who can channel the magic of the Empire to bring down [curse|curses]] and enchantments on the territory where the army campaigns. The army possesses the unique Cyclic magic quality that shifts in a specific cycle granting special opportunities that change with the seasons.
The first Urizen General leads the Citadel Guard, and is appointed (or re-appointed) at the Summer solstice each year.
Urizen is neither a populous nation, nor one that is especially martial in nature. In recent years, following the Druj invasion of Zenith, Urizen has struggled to support the Citadel Guard, especially when the orcs of the Mallum pushed into Morrow. As of the start of the Spring Equinoc 383YE, the army is stable once again but any significant loss of prosperous land is likely to renew the risk of the army disbanding.