Mirrors and Reflections
“Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground, long heath, brown furze, anything. The wills above be done! But I would fain die a dry death.”
“O war! Thou son of hell, whom angry heavens do make their minister, throw in the frozen bosoms
of our part. Hot coals of vengeance! Let no soldier fly. He that is truly dedicated to war hath no self-love, nor he that loves himself, hath not essentially but by circumstance the name of valour.”
Dormaguez is a tough and brutal shadow and it has long breed equally tough and brutal men. Serving within the regular military of Dormaguez is mandatory for all able men and women from age 16 to 26. At the time of discharge, distinguished soldiers are offered entry into the Blasted Legions, the elite soldiers of Dormageuz. A surprising number of Dormaguez soliders choose career military life with the Blasted Legions over civilian life. A large portion of those who decline service within the Blasted Legions go on to fight under the banner of Amber, either as guardsman, wardens, or sailors. No matter where they serve, they do so at the front. Dormaguez has a history of providing Amber with the backbone of it’s military rank and file; a history the people of the Blasted Coast are fiercely proud of.
The Blasted Legions are known to be among the oldest, largest, and strongest conventional land forces of the Golden Kingdoms. Each Army and Legion has a Ceremonial Banner which it has held since before the time of Oberon. A Banner is so revered by those who serve under it that an Army’s Banner is always held aloft by a Bannerbarer. The Legion Banners are even more revered; loss of a Legion’s Banner would lead to the disbanding of that Legion. The practice of elevating a soldier to the Legions when a member dies has lead the Legions to be called the Immortals. The practice of always holding the line, even against impossible odds, has lead the Legions to be called the Unbroken. Often it is the blood of the Unbroken which protects Amber and her allies in times of need. The military ranks used by the Legions are unique among the other Golden Circle kingdoms. the titles seem to follow a harsh religious theme, though the only deity for the soldiers of the Blasted Legions is warfare itself. The ranks are as follows:
Knight: the lowest rank which makes up the bulk of an Army.
Paladin: the title for knights who are being prepared for advancement. Numbers vary.
Scrutator: the field leaders and lowest ranking officers. 100 Knights under each Scrutator.
Exemplar: the generals and strategists of the Armies. 100 Scrutators under each Exemplar.
Paragon: the grand-general of a Legion of Armies. 10 Exemplars under each Paragon.
Hierarch: the commander-in-chief and ultimate leader of the Legions. 10 Paragons under the Hierarch.
There are 10 Legions, each with 10 Armies. The Legions are numbered I-XI, skipping III, since the Third Legion was disbanded after a particularly bloody civil war some millennia ago.
The Hierarch, and thusly the entirety of the Blasted Legions, ultimately answer only to the Sovereign of Dormaguez.
The Corpse-King of Dormaguez
“Ambition should be made of sterner stuff…”
After the Renee’s failed rebellion the Regent of Dormaguez, Samael Canderous of Highrock, looked proudly over the Shadows the army of Dormaguez had conquered. The vast inter-shadow empire, he reasoned, could no longer be ruled by an absentee Queen. Hierarch Kirahe Virago opposed him, and was put to the rack and executed. In a grand ceremony Canderous received the Silver Coronet, the crown which has signified the sovereignty of Dormageuz since the dawn of Amber, from a new puppet Hierarch and declared himself King Sovereign of Dormaguez.
A horrible plague, called the Rotting Vile erupted within the Blasted Legions not long after the King’s coronation. Nearly every man, from the lowest Knight to the Paragon Council caught the disease. Rumors declared the plague to be some necromechanical scourge; Tenebrae’s fury unleashed upon it’s captors. The affliction turned it’s victims skin black, covered them with oozing pustules, and reduced them to nothing more than walking skeletons, all the while inflicting intense pain and rendering the sick unable to walk, sleep, or function in any way. Those who died quickly were lucky, though most lived for years with the affliction before finally succumbing to the peace of death. Those of the Blasted Legions lay either dead or infirm, rendering the Unbroken effectively disbanded. The Banners of the Legions, save for that of the Fourth and Fifth Legions, all lay in the mud and dirt where ever they fell, as none had the strength to lift them.
When Schala returned to Amber, she went to Castle Dormaguez and easily dispatched the plague-ridden monarch on the throne. She left the body and all the symbols of office, including the Silver Coronet, on the dead man and declared Samael Canderous the Last King of Dormaguez. The body still lies there, undisturbed, years later, on what is now called the Corpse-Throne. Strangely, the disease which destroyed Dormaguez disappeared after the death of King Canderous. Though those who survived the plague are still wracked with pain, no new cases of the disease have not been reported.