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The Varangian Guard

Here's an organization in Parsantium, based on a historical (Byzantine) one. I've kept the name the same but am open to suggestions:

The Varangian Guard are Corandias the Lion-Blooded’s elite bodyguard (or Hetaireia). Originally northern mercenaries from Urskovia, the Guards have served the Basileus of Parsantium for a century, going back to the time of Corandias the Stubborn and the Great Crusade.

The name Varangian comes from a old northern word relating to sharers in an oath - it is thought it originally referred to traders on the Urskovian rivers, bound together by an oath to co-operate and share profits.

Urskovians had served in the Parsantine army in previous centuries, but in the year of the Great Crusade, Corandias XVI was sent 2,000 warriors by Tsar Vladin of Urskovia to help him take Parsantium from the humanoid hordes. After the city was in his hands, the Basileus made these troops his Imperial bodyguard. Also called the Axe-bearing Guard, from the enormous two-handed axes they carried, the Varangian Guard took part in many great battles with hobgoblin and orc raiders in the years following.

The Varangian Guard is the best-paid military forces in the lands of the former Batiaran Empire - so well paid that membership had to be purchased. After the Crusade, mercenaries came from Urskovia and other lands to the north and west of Parsantium to spend time in the Varangian Guard with the aim of returning home wealthy.

Now, the Guard are renowned for their loyalty to the Basileus, an unusual thing in a society as riddled with intrigue as Parsantium, but they regard their duty to protect the Imperial Person as a pledge and ancestral tradition which they keep inviolate. It is said they will not listen to the slightest word about treachery.

They are barracked in the Great Palace and their uniform consists of red silk tunics, blue cloaks, and gilded axes. Their normal armament features large, single-bitted axes, man-high and terrifying in battle. Being northmen, the Guard are typically blond-haired.



The duties of the Varangians, in addition to safeguarding the person of the Basileus and his family, include accompanying the Basileus to festivals and celebrations, accompanying the Imperial family to temple services at the Holy Basilica of Pelor, serving as door guards in the palace, and acting to provide crowd control when the Basileus was present. The Varangian Guard have important ceremonial duties during the crowning of a new Basileus, during religious festivals, as well as serving roles during Imperial weddings, the coronation of Empresses, and at the funerals of deceased rulers.

Any comments?

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