The Dreadlords of Vel Anir

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Dreadlords

General information
Military Order Cinira Anireth Anireth Royal Line[Technically], 7 Noble Houses[True] Vel Anir
Historical information
A Millenia Ago
Other information
Vel Anir

Dreadlords are the mages of Vel Anir.

They are above all and anything else the backbone of the Anirian Guard and the primary reason that the city has managed to survive for so long while other human settlements have either fallen or been forced to take in unwanteds. Dreadlords have an incredibly fierce and deadly reputation, one that is well deserved and reinforced often. Unlike the mages of Elbion or those of the Allirian College, a Dreadlord is not taught the finer points of magic. He or she is a weapon, purely and simple. Honed and crafted like a sword to protect Vel Anir at any and all cost.

Taken from their families as soon as they show signs of magical ability, Dreadlords are raised almost from childhood to be battlemages. Not only well trained users of magic, Dreadlords are also well rounded combatants in their own right. Most know how to use a sword, fight from horseback, and are taught a variety of skills to help them in battle.

Like everyone else in Vel Anir a Dreadlord eventually swears allegiance to one of the Seven Great Houses. Unlike everyone else however the Dreadlords have a choice in whom they swear to. This is usually decided through a combination of things that include; who was the Dreadlord's mentor, were they helped by one of the houses, personal politics, and of course sometimes outright coercion. Dreadlords may also swear Allegiance to the King, though this has fallen out of practice and is a rare occurrence.

Though some Dreadlords take this allegiance to heart, others do not. It is not uncommon for Dreadlords to play the infamous game of houses, and often enough through serving their masters Dreadlords are able to raise themselves into the nobility. Other times this is achieved through betrayal. Of course, any Dreadlord would be wise to remember that the Great Houses are great for a reason.

In summation; Dreadlords are incredibly powerful Battlemages, serving as the lieutenant's of the Great Houses and as the main back bone of the Anirian Military.

Overview

Purpose

Vel Anir has a long history as a Militant city, their military is well trained and their walls are strong, but in both the modern and the ancient era an army is not much without the backing of magic.

The Dreadlords fulfill this purpose for Vel Anir.

They are the magic backbone of both the Anirian Guard, and the various armies operated by the Noble Houses. As far as most people know they are the only sorcerers operating within the City.

Trained from a young age, Dreadlords are purposefully created to be as military minded as possible. Unlike Elbion, Alliria, or any other schools of magic, The Academy that teaches young Dreadlords their magic is purpose built for only the art of war. Dreadlords do not learn magic that is not useful in battle.

Dreadlords, much like everything else in Vel Anir, are geared towards war. From a young age they are brought up and taught as weapons. The process is grueling and extremely difficult, but produces perhaps the greatest warrior mages on the face of Arethil.

The purpose of Dreadlords is to be weapons of war. They conduct themselves in battle differently depending on their tutelage, but the mastery of their magic is wholly geared towards fighting. Out of the near thousand Dreadlords only a dozen or so are taught healing, and this more often than not is because they are too weak to do anything else.

No matter where a mages talents lay, whether in the conjuring of creatures or the creation of illusions, if he is born in Vel Anir he will be forged for battle.

This has been the way of things for over a thousand years.

Training

Dreadlords begin their training at an incredibly young age. The city of Vel Anir, as well as any territories it controls, undergo regular screenings by the proctors of the Dreadlord 'school' known simply as The Academy. These proctors travel throughout the lands owned by the city and test young girls and boys for any potential signs of magic. Once a sign is found that child is immediately taken and whisked away to the Academy.

Once this occurs the Child is essentially considered dead to the family, all connection is severed and to replace the childs future earning potential the family is heavily compensated. For most families it is considered a great honor and fiduciary windfall, though this is perhaps simply because speaking out against the Proctors tends to end badly.

As soon as the Child is inducted into the Academy training begins.

The child is taught to read, write, mathematics, and a suite of other subjects. Once they reach the age of eight a student also begins combat training. Each Dreadlord, regardless of gender, is taught the use of the Bow, Sword, and several other implements.

Of course, alongside this more standard education comes tutelage within a students magic. At first this composes of broad training. Proctors educate students in the five laws of magic, the more standard tenants of wizardry, and everything else that could be found in beginners classes in Elbion.

As the students learn however, their own gifts are tested. Once a student is found to hold a particular affinity towards a certain type of magic it becomes the central focus of their training.

When this gift is found a students time at the Academy becomes measurably darker. Training becomes more difficult, even deadly. Everything is honed in on the student specifically, Proctors constantly test, poke, and prod students in every way they can possibly think of. This period of time in the Academy goes on for years and is where most students 'break'.

Constant harassment both physical and emotional is endured during this time. Sleep deprivation is common, beatings, and even magical torture are a near day to day occurrence for students in this phase of their teaching.

The goal of all of this of course is to invoke an instinctual grasp of magic within the Student even under the most horrid of conditions.

This training is what turns a Dreadlord into a true battlemage. They are, through and through, creatures of war and death. It is said that as long as Dreadlord has a single piece of their body they are still capable of fighting. This is instilled within them in the Academy. There they are broken, rebuilt, and honed.

When a student has come far enough they 'graduate' from this phase. Once this occurs a student is brought under the tutelage of an already ranking Dreadlord. This mentorship allows the student a view into the world they will be inducted in. These mentors are paired specifically with certain students, usually decided by their abilities and personalities.

It is during this phase that most students first catch the attentions of the various Noble Houses. Generally the Houses meddle and pair certain Dreadlords with student prospects they want within their own sphere of influence.

The time of a mentorship varies from student to student, though usually this period lasts several years. When the mentorship is complete and the student finally 'graduates', they are bade to swear and oath of Allegiance to whichever Noble House they choose, including that of the King's. Originally all Dreadlords served only the King, but as the Houses grew in power this tradition shifted.

Generally speaking Students swear to whichever Noble House their Mentor originated from, though it is not required. Still, it is extremely rare for this tradition to be broken, even more so for a Student to swear to the King.

Ranks

Dreadlords, much like every other military organization, hold a very carefully held rank system.

Technically speaking Dreadlord's have only three ranks, though the second of these ranks holds four separate levels that decides seniority. These ranks are simple; Apprentice, Dreadlord, Archon.

Archon: Few Archon's exist within the ranks of the Dreadlord's, and this is mainly due to their function. These men and women are the most powerful, longest lived, and generally most cunning of all their brothers and sisters. Archon are extremely rare, and out of little more than a Thousand Dreadlord's only a handful hold this title.

In order to attain this rank a Dreadlord must meet a number of qualifications. They must be a master or their Arcane Craft(Whatever that may be), they have served for at least two decades, they have proven themselves in battle, and most importantly they must have the approval of the Majority of the Noble Houses. Though these are not the only requirement, they are the most obvious.

This position is one which is almost impossible to attain, and in order to reach it one must survive more than just the battlefield. The main reason for this is because Archon's not only wield martial power, but political as well. Becoming an Archon is one of the few ways a commoner could found a Noble House.

An Archon is a truly terrifying foe on the battlefield, in politics, and any other theater that one might face them in.

Dreadlord: The Rank of Dreadlord is held by those who graduate the Academy. This rank is of course where the infamous name originates from and is the title of the bulk of mages within Vel Anir. Though it is nearly all inclusive, the Dreadlord rank itself holds four 'levels' which denote authority, strength, and skill.

Though not technically official, it is a generally understood concept that the higher your level, the more authority you hold. One attains a higher level through various means, though generally it is through acts of Greatness, mastery of ones magics, and of course; politics.

1st Level: Dreadlord's of the first level are the highest rank of their kind. These men and women are extremely skilled, cunning, and most often; powerful. The first level is usually only reached after years of self improvement and battle, and takes quite a bit to actually attain. First level Dreadlord's are incredibly deadly foes.

Most consider these men and women an army unto themselves, and generally speaking they are not to be trifled with. There are only a dozen or so First Level Dreadlords.

2nd Level: Second level Dreadlord's are those who have achieved and outpaced the average. These men and women have shown that though they are perhaps not yet there, they will one day be of the First Level. Second Level Dreadlords have generally mastered at least one form of magic and are often quite skilled in another.

Though not as powerful as those of the First Level, these men and women are often still more than a match for even the most powerful mages of other lands. The Second can be found in more numbers than the first, though it is still only barely a hundred.

3rd Level: The Most common of all Dreadlord's, most students graduate to become a Third Level. These men and women are the baseline expectation, with anything less being of the Fourth. The bulk of the Dreadlord numbers, Third Level's are generally speaking deadly combatants and skilled mages, though lacking either power or the time to hone their craft.

Most never make it past the Third Level. That being said, these men and women are still extremely dangerous battlemages.

4th Level: Barely acknowledged and hardly spoken of, the Fourth Level of Dreadlords is reserved for those who have fallen below the Third. Generally speaking, these men and women are injured Dreadlord's who can no longer perform their duties in battle. On rare occasion a Fourth Level can also be a weaker student who somehow managed to graduate from the Academy.

Dreadlord's of the Fourth are often relegated as teachers, healers, advisors to minor noble houses, and other tasks ill-suited for those of higher status.

There is also rumor that Dreadlord's of the Fourth have also on very rare occasion been used as assassins.

Apprentice: This rank is given to those young men and women who pass through the first few phases of The Academy.

Students who find their gifts and complete the grueling years of tutelage graduate to become Apprentice Dreadlord's. This rank is held for many years as the Apprentice learns underneath the wing of a Mentor. Generally speaking this is the time when a student hones their own style of magic and learns how to better survive.

These young men and women are already the equal of most Anirian Guard Veterans, but through the years they will become even more deadly.

History

For as long as anyone can remember Vel Anir has been a city of war. This simple truth has stood out since the cities founding. There are dozens of stories as to why, a hundred explanations, but always it has been there.

From the beginning this martial prowess has set Vel Anir against the forces of the world. Elves, raiders from the plains, and even other Human settlements have long been at war with Vel Anir. Throughout these turbulent wars and battles the Anirians have honed their armies.

The Anirian Guard stands as one of the greatest military forces in the world, and has since nearly the beginnings of the city.

During the founding of the state however Vel Anir did not yet have Dreadlords, nor did it have a university for magic like Alliria or Elbion. Though some mages volunteered for military service, the truth was Vel Anir lacked a true arcance backbone.

This truth became more than apparent during the first Elven War.

When the first true King of Vel Anir Cinira Anireth invaded the edges of the Falwood his forces were swiftly swept aside by the power of the Elves magic. Their finely trained warriors backed up by Shamans and Elders utterly decimated the forces of Vel Anir. Within days of entering the wood, Vel Anir's forces were utterly decimated.

The Elves then pressed out from their home and scoured Anirian lands, blighting the good people of the Fortress City and setting siege to the foundling state before it could truly grow.

Eventually Ciniria Anireth managed to settle a claim of peace with the Elves. Though the details of this agreement are lost to history, the Anirians claim it was a mutual pact, while the Elves state there was naught but other capitulation.

After this defeat, Ciniria Anireth was able to see the missing link within his army. An edict was issued, one the likes of which Arethil had never seen before. Anyone and everyone with magical ability was to be drafted into military service. Whether they be peasant, merchant, or even noble.

All were called to serve.

Thus the Dreadlord's were created.

Despite protests from nearly every sector of life, the edict was followed. The people of the city gave up their sons, their daughters, their fathers and even grandmothers. Everyone with even a hint of magical talent went forth to serve the King and his army.

It was these men and women that founded the Academy. They were trained in the arts of war, pushed to flex their magical abilities, and integrated with Vel Anir's military. Within a generation these users of magic became fully a part of the Anirian Military, and Ciniria Anireth declared his edict a success.

Upon his eightieth year, Cinria Anireth broke his treaty with the Elders of the Falwood and began the Second Elven War.

It was during this conflict that the mages of Vel Anir earned the title of Dreadlords.

This second conflict was brutal, dark, and nearly lead to the burning of Fal'Addas itself. The armies of Vel Anir swept forward from the city and at their head stood the Dreadlord's. During this conflict the mages proved themselves, going toe to toe with the great Elven Sorcerer's and overwhelming them through their sheer audacious war-magics.

The conflict ended when Ciniria Anireth died. The old King passed away on his eighty sixth year, and with him went the desire for further war. After a brutal siege and much death within the Falwood, the Great Houses of Vel Anir agreed to a...somewhat amicable peace with the Elves and withdrew.

Now proven in a baptism of blood and fire the system which brought about the birth of the Dreadlord's cemented itself within Anirian Society.

Of course, as the centuries passed things became more and more twisted. Originally simply a part of the military the Dreadlord's managed to wrangle themselves out of the traditional hierarchy. Their importance and their power positioned them outside of the military command structure, and their strength made them important tools for the Noble Houses as they clamored for more power.

After centuries of service to the King and many wars, the Dreadlord's were eventually wrested away from the Monarch of Vel Anir. Much like everything else in the city, the Dreadlord's were swept up in the power struggle between the Royal Family and the Seven Great Houses.

Though through this time there was very nearly several bloody coups, the Archons of the Dreadlord's eventually capitulated with promises of power and position. They like everyone else put their Loyalty with the Noble Houses, though of course still officially served the King.

As loyalty was sworn to the Houses, and more corruption flowed through the ranks, the system whereby Dreadlords were found began to shifted. Though not openly acknowledged and unknown by most peasants and even Rich Merchants, the Nobility now no longer send their own mages to the Dreadlords, instead keeping them and training them as weapons for themselves. Once in a while a noble child might be sent to the Dreadlords, but only if their potential is limited.

Despite this, the Dreadlord's are still an incredible powerful and feared group. They are mages trained for war, men and women who thrive upon the battlefield and surge forward as death itself.

Lore

"They came during my one hundred forty seventh year.

I was young then of course, but I had fought in the first war fifty years before. I had only just joined with the Nal'eiheem, the Forest Guard in your language.

The first time the Anirians came it was a joke. They had mages, men and women with some training, but nothing like they brought the second time. During the first war they knew nothing. We were better trained, more skilled, our Elders cut half their army to ribbons with their magic alone. I remember watching as a third of their army was buried among the forest, ripped apart by the very trees.

It was not a battle, but a slaughter.


The Elf swallowed hard as I watched him. I could tell this was a subject he didn't want to talk about. For us humans the war was four generations ago, by great grandfather couldn't even remember it, but this man? This man had seen it with his own eyes.

It took you fifty years. Fifty years to betray your word.

We were all surprised, shocked even, when the scouts reported that an army was marching North of the Falwood. We thought it was a joke, a parade maybe. We didn't think that you would be so foolish you see, but then...then it happened.

As we mustered reports started to come in. One after another the scouts came back, even some of the wardens. When they spoke...the way they looked. There was an emptiness to their eyes, a hollowness. They spoke of fire, the earth moving and the Falwood tearing itself apart piece by piece.

Your army marched, and before it marched a great wall of flame. You burned our homes, reduced the Falwood to ash and left nothing in your wake.

Nobody understood at first. We thought it was your machines of war, the technology you were so fond of.

There was a great rush to the front as our army met yours. I was with them during the first attack, standing upon the highest perch and peering down. I saw them then. Soldiers in armor of jet-black, no swords in their hands, but instead...fire.

They burned the Falwood, and when we attacked...they did the same to us.

We were foolish. We were arrogant, and it cost us."

~Alluin Wyntres, First Ranger of the Falwood on the Second Elven War

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