Ostrum Brandish

Sir Ostrum Brandish

Biographical information
36
Physical description
Human Male 5'7 Black Brown White
Political information
Enshrined Blade (Knight)
Out-of-character information
MrTophat https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/161355599139403641/

Sir Ostrum Brandish is a sworn knight of the Order of the Enshrined Blade, members of which are known for taking on numerous vows that guide, empower, and direct their conduct so that they become a paragon and epitome of the killing arts in action. They aspire to resemble the perfect ideal of what knights should be. Enshrined Blades, at their core, serve three primary functions: stalwart service, defense and contest.

Enshrined Blades are expected to perform exemplary service in duty, etiquette and valor to the realm according to and due to their extensive vows and dedications. Enshrined Blades are born and raised for this express purpose; to fulfill their sworn duty, to compliment military forces and their leaders, to single handedly overcome overwhelming odds, and to be an shining example of knightly conduct according to the values of the Order of the Enshrined Blade.

Accoutered in platemail and a master of the longsword, Ostrum is able to operate in both war and peace as a symbol of virtue and a distributor of terrible justice and violence.

Possessing an iron will, staunch heart and decades of training, Ostrum is the member of a rare knightly elite that refuses to quail before any challenge that they are assigned to or find themselves embracing. Enshrined Blades are often pledged to near impossible missions by their order. Sent out individually into the world and operating alone from other Enshrined Blades, this knightly order often finds itself serving nobility, monarchy, other knightly orders, or the church, often in the most desperate of circumstances.

Sir Brandish is awaiting instruction after completing a four year long mission with distinction and as such is an independent agent and has permission to engage in knightly purpose to better the realm and his own record of valor until he receives his next mission. Enshrined Blades hear petitions from those seeking to have one of their number assist them, although this usually comes with a substantial fee to maintain the order. For this reason, some knights believe the organization to be more akin to elite mercenaries than true servants of the realm for their method of raising funds, although those who find themselves with an Enshrined Blade as an ally feel it is worth a king's ransom to have such a force at their side.

Appearance


Ostrum wears ornate plate mail with geometric symbols upon the surface of it, which is the colour of dark burnished copper. His hair is black and often windswept, and he has a simple moustache. He has pale brown eyes, and has a piercing look about him that always seems to be ascertaining the value of people, places and things to his overall objectives. The man carries himself with vigour and confidence and can often be seen smiling to himself as he marvels at a further development or thought.

This knight, if inspected, can be seen to carry numerous weapons upon his person. A short sword and warhammer at his belt, a rondel at his hip, another short sword upon his back, and the traditional weapon of the knight, a longsword, at his back. The longsword carries a hint of magic about it, carrying with it the keenness and sharpness that requires no sharpening, yet yields to the user's own touch so that it may gripped in half swording actions without injury. The warhammer and short sword also carries magic about it, making the weapon light upon the belt, yet heavy enough for function in combat within the hand.

Skills and Abilities

Ostrum has been trained since birth to conduct himself as a paragon of knightly performance, both on and off the field of battle and war. Few survive or endure within the Enshrined Blades rigorous training and ordeals. Born and raised within the Order of the Enshrined Blade, Ostrum is a living weapon and agent of chivalry, acting as an elite fighting class that can bring victory to the most desperate of situations and survive independently to fulfil their duty in the gravest circumstances. All Enshrined Blades commit themselves to numerous vows that grant a discipline and purpose rarely seen in the realms. Some say that a god of chivalry grants an Enshrined Blade their prowess and confidence, not to mention staggering martial skill and endurance, but none can be certain.

In additional to martial skills that have been drilled and perfected for years, all Enshrined Blades receive training in rudimentary magic that allow them to serve their purpose over long operations, magic that repairs broken equipment, heals and mends wounds, protect them from the elements, navigates unknown lands, and when required, defend their souls and fighting spirit from the corruptive and offensive magic of the enemy.

The Twelve Principle Vows

These are vows to which an Enshrined Blade finds them committed towards most solemnly, and is central to their purpose and direction in service.

Wrathful Conclusion : "The wrathful shall inherit the purpose of the lost, the conclusion is mine to enact; so I go, death enacted, death assured, victory beyond defeat is mine to embody, wrath be my byword, wrath be my pledge."

The primary application of this vow is in the constant assurance and dedication to commit terrible acts of wrath to those who conclude a life an Enshrined Blade is charged with protecting. An Enshrined Blade is expected to wage war upon those who would slay their charge, using all manner of violence at their disposal, and all resources available to enact punishment to those who committed the deed. It is an assurance that there will be grave, long term consequences for those who would end the lives of their charges. This vow serves two central purposes. First, to ensure that the Enshrined Blade themselves do not fail their charges and do everything in their power, including self sacrifice, to ensure that their charge remains alive. Secondly, to ensure that the reputation of the Enshrined Blades is maintained, that those who are bestowed their protection are delivered justice in the event of their death.

The vow of wrathful conclusion permits an Enshrined Blade to commit any and all acts required to deliver wrath upon their charge's enemies or killers. Some Enshrined Blades have gone on year long guerilla wars upon those who have ended the lives of their charges, others have gone on suicide missions to deliver as much damage as possible, while some have hired mercenary armies to wage campaigns long after their charge has died. The vow of Wrathful Conclusion is not one taken lightly, and is typically the reason why the order of the Enshrined Blades are sought out. Either they preserve the life of their charges, or they enact justice and terrible violence in their stead should events turn foul.

All other vows become secondary once the vow of wrathful of conclusion is in effect, although to cast such things aside is only expected when absolutely required. For example, war crimes are accepted, yet not encouraged. For this reason, Enshrined Blades are treated with some hesitancy for their brutal methods should their charges be killed.

Meritorious Charity : "The goodliness of deeds guard against corruption in the realm, we act for the betterment of the meek, of the needy, of the upstanding in their efforts to prevail against the challenges before them. Meritorious in deed towards those in need of our charity, we go and better others in their efforts."

Acting as a force for good to those who are less fortunate and desperate for assistance, an Enshrined Blade is expected to uplift those around them with their example and efforts. Be with acts of charity with their finances, gestures of kindness to the downtrodden, and actions to relieve the misery of the oppressed, Enshrined Blades are expected to be receptive and compassionate to the needs of the down trodden. This includes raising such issues with those they serve, and acting according to their sense of fairness towards their own people. Peasants should be provided the means and protection to live their lives, merchants should be allowed to work their trade, sickness and disease should be treated, poverty uplifted and abolished, and justice served for the meek.

Unfailing Resolve : "Once committed, I go without delay; I strive to heed the call the action with a full heart and a quickness in my reaction, no doubt do I harbour as to the merit of my cause, I am replenished by my own unfailing resolve."

An Enshrined Blade, once committed to a task, does not bear doubt within their heart. They may deliberate over what is best to be done in a situation, but they will not waver in their dedication to the side they have been pledged. This vow frees an Enshrined Blade from the usual worries or fears that might claim a soldier, and allows them to become figures of unending valour, for they will not shirk from their duties, even in the face of certain death. To an Enshrined Blade, the Vow of Unfailing Resolve is their duty to live up to the expectation that they are part of a rare, elite organization of knights, and cannot do anything than to fulfil their duty. This vow has left some to find the Enshrined Blades brittle and inflexible in the face of changing circumstances, but others praise their dedication to a cause once it has been committed towards.

Assured Zeal : "Let others look to me for the quickness in step to advance the cause, never let my heart be saddened by another moment to continue the fight, let me be joyful in my work, let me be assured in my zeal."

An Enshrined Blade can be expected to carry out their orders without hesitancy, without fear, without second guessing the virtue of what they do once an order has been given, providing it complies with their own knightly code. This vow has extensive training and forging of the fighting spirit, so that no matter what beast stands before them, an Enshrined Blade is eager and full of fire to vanquish their foe. This has cost the lives of many an Enshrined Blade, but frees them from the notion of fear, dread, or supernatural terror. Instead of feeling this base emotions, they are conditioned to feel an exhilaration, an energy to fight onwards despite themselves, to rise up to the challenge, to see their enemies defeated and their comrades served by their good example. This can allow one of the order to fight beyond their wounds, to commit great deeds of courage and valour when all is against them. It can also assist them to remain full hearted during lengthy campaigns and sieges.

Providence to the Innocent : "The innocent are worthy of providence, and so, I work to cherish their existence."

This vow ensures that the needs of the innocent are provided for. Justice to the meek, representation for the virtuous, consideration of the common people of the land that have no part in the terrible deeds that go on around them. An Enshrined Blade is expected to provide their attentions to the needs of the innocent.

Providence to the Just : "The just are worthy of providence, and so, I work to reinforce their presence."

Just as the vow of Providence to the Innocent provides for the innocent, this vow provides for the just. To assist and help those who would attempt to bring justice for their realm, their superiors, themselves, for others, this is a call to action to assist those who would try to bring justice in the realm. Assisting police officers, fellow knights, the ruling class, and those who at their core, seek justice. It is a way of keeping sympathy for others seeking justice and retribution in the world.

Out of all of the vows that an Enshrined Blade take, these two work often operate in conflict. It is up to to an individual Enshrined Blade to find what vow serves their overall purpose to stalwart service, defense and contest. This can lead to day long arguments between fellow knights, or a trial by combat to see which vow prevails.

Merciful Deliverance : "Let me be an instrument to provide merciful deliverance to all those who call out for aid, let me end the suffering of those I find, friend or foe, be it in conquering life's struggle or mastering death's release."

An Enshrined Blade is expected to provide relief to those beset by overwhelming odds, to be the force which provides deliverance to those who struggle for a good cause. It also means that they must be willing to end the lives of their allies who's suffering who cannot be assisted with healing magics, and to end the lives of vanquished foes. It is a mercy to deliver someone from a villainous life, and a mercy to act in the stead of those who struggle against the evils of the world in their struggle.

Delivering Mercy : "There is violence without end, there is violence without quarter, let me find the strength to know when I should deliver mercy instead of that endless violence that is expected of me. May my victorious not only be ones of slaying, let there be victories of the heart there too."

A knight should know when to stay their blade, and when to offer quarter, and offer terms of surrender. This vow tempers an Enshrined Blade's love for combat with a measure of understanding towards their opponent, knowing that many fight simply because they have found themselves on the wrong side of a battlefield. A knight in single combat may respect another's courage and valiance, and offer them mercy when it is expected to take a life. It is one of the few vows which compel the knight to stay their hand in combat, although the Enshrined Blade is expected to be victorious in their pursuit of combat. One is expected to be able to allow a foe to live and fight another day if they ask for honourable quarter after a noble duel, or if the circumstances of victory to utter completion would besmirch the honour of the knight and their order.

The Emboldened Blade : "All vows satisfied I go do my terrible work, all power within me to this cause, may my will be unbreakable, my cause be carried out, I am emboldened now that all vows do align, let me strike true and conquer what opposes my might!"

A vow which describes the perfect unity of all fighting spirit and art, this vow allows a knight to be free of the internal conflict they may experience when trying to have all their vows contesting for attention. When an Enshrined Blade is required to perform a great deed of valour, this vow comes into play, freeing the knight of their doubts, fears, worries and considerations, freeing them to act with the killing arts with the knowledge that they have performed their duty in accordance to their own code.

The Dreaded Wrath Of Vows Rendered Buried : "Should I bury my vows as a corpse, may I find a fate worse than death as a companion, should I find myself fail to resemble the wrath I am demanded to embody, may my bones be rendered an example of all that I despised in honour. Should I fail, another shall ensure my deeds are done correctly, should I encounter the fallen, I shall carry out what they fail to enact. The Knightly do not forget their purpose, or else be undone in their forgetfulness."

The vow which ensures that Enshrined Blades remain true to their code of conduct, in particular of Wrathful Conclusion, Enshrined Blades carry with them that the knowledge of betraying, ignoring or shirking their vows and the duties they carry is a fatal charge. Should an Enshrined Blade encounter another of their order who has clearly betrayed their vows, they shall not hesitate to bring about their end. This can also apply to other knightly orders, agents acting as a corrective measure to ensure a task is performed in the proper fashion before doling out instruction and punishment. Merciful Enshrined Blades may take the fallen knight back to their order, others may simply execute them. Enshrined Blades are sometimes sent to rectify the deeds of fallen knights, although this is rarely another Enshrined Blade. Enshrined Blades are typically summoned to Hallowed Castigation to explain themselves, and should they refuse, then this vow applies in full force.

Hallowed Castigation : "May I be judged by those Enshrined. May I offer report of my deeds, may I justify my actions, and in so doing, secure my own providence, and the honour of my order. May I hear the judgements of others and know it may weigh against me, may I hear the judgements of my order and know total absolution or damnation."

This vow is a method of judging Enshrined Blades for their purpose. Due to the high standards one of this order must hold themselves to, there are extensive trials and bureaucracy by the Enshrined Blades to determine if a knight acted properly during their campaigns and actions. Hallowed Castigation is a method of ensuring the mighty are kept to their own standards and corrected, if not utterly destroyed for their failures. This vow ensures that a knight remembers that they are to be judged at the end of their missions, and that others may offer information as to their worthiness.

An Enshrined Blade who has been summoned to justify themselves in Hallowed Castigation has scant time to do so, and it is only in exceptional circumstances that they are allowed to continue without judgement. It is a form of peer review, and assuring those who request the aid of Enshrined Blades that they are committed towards delivering what they promise from each and every field operative.

Lexicon : "May my words be guided true, may I learn and learn again how to communicate in a violent world, may I know how to speak without falsehood, may I always be outspoken when required by my oaths, may I learn from the words and wisdom of others."

The vow of Lexicon ensures that an Enshrined Blade has a respect for the educated, and their own education. They should be able to speak to common and noble alike, and to be able to learn the languages and ways of those around them. They should speak true and what is upon their mind without falsehood, and to learn and respect the methods of others.

The Compass Of Conduct

North

Uninvited Balk - Those who balk at the bold strategies that an Enshrined Blade suggest, enact and require are to be proven wrong by action. One cannot reason with the unfaithful until they have seen a demonstration of prowess. An Enshrined Blade should expect the regular soldier or knight to find tasks that Enshrined Blades expect to succeed at impossible.

Resolute Bark - An Enshrined Blade should not be afraid to put the quailing masses in their place with an authority bark to remove cowardice. One cannot reason with fear, it must be quashed out, and one must appeal to the courage that is possible within men's hearts. Drive out fear with your own display of power and might, and show the weak that there can be endless strength in it's place.

Patient Deference - One must be able to allow one's charges to speak, and to guide the course of action. An Enshrined Blade is there to support the mission that they have been assigned, and should not speak beyond their station, for others may fear that they seek to supplant them. An Enshrined Blade is an instrument wielded for the good of their charges, they are not to become warlords. One should be patient with those they are charged with, hearing their concerns, and offering deference to their wishes should it be required. An Enshrined Blade who acts completely independently is at risk of acting against the purpose to which they were assigned.

Loyal Wrath - In applying terrible violence, one must be loyal to one's charges, and not just a blunt instrument of destruction. One's anger and fury must be controlled and directed in an appropriate fashion. Although it is not required that there is permission granted by one's charge, one must not become a rabid dog, striking out at any interloper. One's wrath should be loyal to the cause given, not to one's own sense of satisfaction. This can guide one during enacting of the vow of Wrathful Conclusion.


Loyal Vengeance - In applying vengeance in the name of one's charge, or their fallen comrades, one must not betray their cause or one's own vows to the Order. The one which the Enshrined Blade has been assigned must be served, in death and in life, and so if one is to act in a vengeful fashion one must not be blinded by the brutal actions that are demanded. One can act in vengeance without fury, one can act with loyalty in applying justice to those who have been wronged. There must be a terrible reckoning, but one that does not bring shame to those who have fallen or been wronged.

East

Clamorous Decree - An Enshrined Blade should be able to issue challenges and meet them with a glad heart. They should also be able to state the purpose of their charges, and enact great feats of bravery, prowess and skill in their name. The cause must be etched upon their hearts, and the knight should be able to state loudly on and off the field of combat that the cause is worthy for others to follow. And, for the foe to stand against the right of the argument on the field of battle.

Ordered Council - One should be able to act within the war council and in the quieter moments of the charge's life so that they may offer advice, guidance and wisdom to the group. There may be many other people involved in the success of the mission given, and so an Enshrined Blade should be able to perform admirably during times of peace and in war concerning gathered councils. This also means that there should be order to these proceedings. This could mean organizing disparate forces to adhere to a war council, or ensuring that corruption does not bely the council of those in charge.

Swift Rebuttal - Should there be dissention in the ranks of civilians or soldiers, it should be swiftly rebuked, or at least, responded to. To allow dissent to take the hearts and minds of the people of a cause is to invite calumny to the overall task given to an Enshrined Blade. This can range to answering the concerns of the people quickly, to calm fears, or to bring down an iron fist to those who would defy martial law. The response to doubt of a cause should be swift and certain.

Prudent Rebuttal - Sometimes a swift rebuttal is not appropriate for the station of the individual or power of the group cannot be quashed with reason, might, bravery or example. This requires a more prudent touch. One can win the trust of others through good example, and offer a rebuttal to fears or doubts by good example. It is up to an Enshrined Blade to enact this principle when they believe that a display of instant force or harsh discourse could backfire against the operative. There is a time and place to be swift, there is a time and place to be patient and respond in the proper fashion. One should be firm, yet there is timing in all responses, no matter how powerful or tempered.

Rebuttal of Pathos - It is to be understood that the common citizen and indeed the common soldier has room in their heart for sorrow and despair. One cannot expect everyone to have gone through the same training, and indeed that is why the Enshrined Blade is so exceptional that they are required in a campaign or effort. There should be understanding in the Enshrined Blade's heart that there will be emotions that they do not understand, and should give allowances to. Fear, uncertainty, doubt, these things can be driven out by example and courage, but there should be room to allow others to grieve, to offer their doubts and give allowances for their humanity. Otherwise there would be fear of people speaking their minds, or to simply dissert for a lack of being understood by their comrades and superiors. This includes one's charge.


West

Inciting Slander - Should one discover that the weapon of slander has been used against one's charge or oneself, it is to be responded to as if one were assailed by a weapon. One should wrench the weapon from them, repudiate the charges, and see that the slander is exposed to the light of day so that it may be purified. Honour can easily become corrupted by the slander of others, and the truth shall be known, yet not all are entitled to the full facts of the matter. One cannot be expected to answer a call for full information at all times, yet one cannot be expected to stand the indignity of slander against their good name. One must act with assurance and decisiveness against slander, both against those who would speak it and those who would suffer it.

Violent Whispers - There can be a great and terrible violence in the words that groups whisper about themselves. Weapons that were never considered to be drawn against allies can be sharpened in the presence of violent whispers. This is a difficult thing to overcome, yet, one must be vigilant to their effect and the nature of their origin. If it requires that an ostentacious display of loyalty or prowess be demonstrated to defeat the notion that there are violent whispers against oneself or one's charge, it should be done. Violent whispers are difficult to detect, yet, one should always be aware that that they may emerge wherever people gather with discontent or grudges.

Bloodied Respect - There is sometimes to be said about a display of might to earn the respect of some. This can be a difficult thing to manage, but if applied correctly, can solve a great deal of issues. Duels are the honourable fashion of this, a simple strike to the face another. There is also another application of this, that in combat one can form bonds and understanding from the blood that parties shed together. Sometimes the cure for distrust between many is to fight as one. One can earn the respect by committing oneself to violence, one can quell the dissent of the complaining with an expectation that there is violence ready to be enacted. One must apply this carefully, as not to seem a tyrant, but one should not appear weak, as to invite weakness into one's forces.


Vague Fame - An Enshrined Blade should seek a vague fame about themselves. This is to mean, that the cause is the thing that should receive fame, not the deeds of the individual knight. Many who seek glory for themselves seek to advance their own careers and themselves alone. An Enshrined Blade is an instrument to the cause they serve and the charge they protect. One should act for the betterment of the cause, not one's own legacy. While an Enshrined Blade remembers their accomplishments, and report it to their superiors and during Hallowed Castigation do they give credence to their own efforts, an Enshrined Blade should seek to elevate other's, and not seek approval from anyone. An Enshrined Blade knows their own prowess, and seeks no glory except in the success of their charge's task. It is better the bards sing the songs of others, so that heroes can be born, instead of the Enshrined Blades being looked to as permanent and essential figures in a greater organization they are there to support and reinforce.

South

Igniting Hope - As a member of the elite, an Enshrined Blade should understand that through their will, might, training and discipline, they can ignite hope in the hearts of those near and afar with their deeds. While they do not seek glory for themselves, they might turn the tide of a war through a rallying cry, or a crushing blow against the enemy. An Enshrined Blade who ignites hope in those who may quail in fear does the realm good and their charges well by giving them forces beyond their number. While one cannot expect everyone to fight the monstrous, they can rally behind great deeds and be driven beyond their own expectations. An Enshrined Blade can become a symbol that there can be hope in the face of overwhelming odds, that victory is not impossible, and there their charge's cause is attainable.

Mastering Boldness - All knights seek to be bold in their action, yet one must temper it with good timing and the proper application of resources. Many an Enshrined Blade has overcommitted themselves to the fight instead of applying forces to the task. An Enshrined Blade cannot be everywhere at once. So it is that one should master one's boldness, to not overreach or extend beyond the reach of one's allied forces. Great deeds are to be accomplished, but one must think of the overall strategy before one commits to these singular deeds. If one can enable others to join you in your efforts, this is a good thing, but if one is continually having to sally out single handed, it leaves one's charge weak when you are eventually done with your mission.

Conquering Readiness - One should be ready at any moment to respond for the good of one's charge and the realm. There can be no time for luxuries or idleness, at any moment there could be a need for one's sword, wisdom, skill or leadership. One should be vigilant at all times for the lapses in others. One should conquer the idea of being ready and being at ease, one should be always ready without it being a difficult mindset to adopt. If one thinks of one's charge and nothing else, one is serving the cause correctly and without fault.


Endless Rebuke - If one is able to rebuke the enemy or dissenting ally once, then it can be done again and again until the point is made true. If a display of might is required once, it should not be a burden to do so again. One should be ready to answer the call to duty time and time again, although one should be aware on how to maintain oneself to allow this. One should not grow tired of the fight. Remember the training one has received, and how to maintain the fire of virtue within one's heart, and the fight shall never seem an arduous chore to be endured, but a blessing to be received and rejoiced within. Where there is a task, there is an opportunity to prove oneself true and capable to the task.

Personality


Vigorous, passionate, full of confidence and eagerness, Ostrum has embraced the only life he has ever known. Some Enshrined Blades fulfil their duty with a sour disposition and a scornful sense of justice, but Ostrum carries out his orders with a gusto and bravado that serves to embolden not only himself, but those around him. Ostrum lacks humility, a common trait in Enshrined Blades due to their elite nature and proficiency, but has compassion and time for those who lack his skills in the knightly arts. He is verbose, and often speaks aloud the process of his thinking via his vows.

Ostrum loves a challenge, and will only become more cheerful the more desperate a situation may appear to be. He has been known as the "Lion of the Vale" during his previous assignment, where he gladly engaged with the most frightful of creatures with a gusto that carried the day as his charge watched from afar in safety.

Biography & Lore

Born into the trade of the woodsman, Ostrum was never meant at first to be part of any knightly order, let alone an elite one such as the Enshrined Blades. But fate would have him be summoned at the age of ten, the earliest one might be drawn into the services of the Enshrined Blades for training. Ostrum showed no special skills or talents, except the knowledge of how to navigate a wood and to avoid the beasts of the forest, and was drawn as one of many, much as livestock might be bought in lots of dozens. The local baron had agreed to provide the Enshrined Blades with fresh faces for training once every five years, those who were the fittest and healthiest. So it was that Ostrum found himself leaving his lumber cutting father and doting mother to join the extensive and often fatal training regimen of the little known elite force.

There were many tears that day. Yet his father knew from first hand experience the strength and power of the Enshrined Blade, he himself seeing the Baron's land being rescued by a valiant Enshrined Blade, ten years before Ostrum's own birth. Ostrum had been told stories as to how three wyverns had been slain single handedly by a single knight, Sir Yerren Pallborn, an Enshrined Blade who was sworn to ensure the Baron's hold of his fiefdom was complete and without contest. The strength of that one knight had become legend, so much so that few believed it.

His father's words to him before he left: "Become one of their number, and go beyond what you could imagine son, it will be extraordinarily difficult, but you will become extraordinary in the process."

His mother's imparted words speaking, "Don't forget that they don't accept weakness. Master yourself, learn all you can, apply yourself, yet, remember that you were once just a boy in the forest, with your family, with a simple life ahead of him. You've been chosen for this life by fate. Don't disappoint."

Words that Ostrum would never forget. It would drive him on. Keep him alive when all would fail him.

Inducted into service, training and rigorous discipline and education, Ostrum soon found himself part of the youngest cadets into the knightly order. There they received a knightly education, both with weapon, word, wisdom and worldly matters. But such things were not given without expectation. Drills were expected to be run through countless times with success being the end product, those who could not live up the the demands were ejected. Literacy and education were demanded, and the slow witted and stupid were ejected. At first the original fifty or so recruits became forty, and then thirty, until there were but twenty youths who proved themselves capable of adopting the life required of them.

Life was hard. And it only became harder.

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