Urizen military concerns Revision as of 21:36, 17 May 2018 by Felix (Update)
Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.
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.
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 men and women 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.
Some sentinels choose to focus their fighting skills, devoting their life to the goal of mastering a single weapon. Sentinels who choose this path are less likely to learn magic, as the time required makes it harder to master their chosen weapon.
The alternative is to seek to develop equal skill with all weapons of war. This approach stresses flexibility, the idea that the ultimate warrior is one who can adapt themselves to any need. Sentinels who choose this path are much more likely to learn healing or combat magic, viewing magic as one of many weapons they can wield as circumstances require. These individuals tend to prepare the weapons and armour for each battle, depending on who they are fighting and in particular on who their allies are – specializing in supporting or complementing their allies approach to the battle.
Sentinels strive to be mindful of the Net of the Heavens. To be effective requires a warrior to identify the perfect moment for a strike. Prolonged engagements are wasteful and to be avoided where possible; the ideal strategy commits troops only at the pivotal moment when they can transform the outcome. Sentinels are far from pacifists; they actively seek out battle, the better to master their skills and demonstrate their Arete. The best generals are those who can achieve victory without wasted lives or effort.
When fighting alongside other nations, sentinels often prefer to stay in reserve, avoiding the front lines of a battle – they observe the unfolding conflict and quickly decide where their particular skills can make the most difference to the outcome, then employ those skills with ruthless effectiveness before moving on to another crisis point. This often means engaging at the point where fighting is most fierce, bringing relief to beleaguered allies who are about to be overrun.
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
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.
This army (unsurprisingly) incorporates a large number of magicians, battle-magicians and sentinels trained to fight alongside them. Their prowess with battlefield magic is unparalleled. The use of the unmade trove has granted the army advanced understanding of certain potent techniques unknown outside of Urizen. 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 curses and enchantments on the territory where the army campaigns.
The first Urizen General leads the Citadel Guard, and is appointed (or re-appointed) at the Summer solstice each year.