Guide to the Reign
The Art of War
As We have stated in earlier missives, We are placing a renewed emphasis on fealty during Our reign, specifically practical fealty; a chain that leads from the Crown to each of the warriors on the field of war in An Tir. To better understand this concept, We refer you to a separate article in this 'Guide' specifically addressing the concept of subfeudation.
We will require that all fighters on the war field fighting in An Tir be in fealty to, or under contract to, the Crown, either directly or indirectly. To clarify this statement; whenever a fighter steps onto the war field they must be aligned under someone's banner, and be able to trace a line of fealty or contract to the King. Only Crown vassals may field an army, and so a fighter will be required to make an alliance to someone who is somewhere in a chain that ultimately leads back to the King. As in Our separate article, We encourage those who feel they have a reason to swear directly, to approach Us directly. This would be practical for units that would like to create a contract with the Crown, such as independent companies and out-of-kingdom units.
As We have discussed, fealty is a reciprocal arrangement between two parties and as individual as they are. Fealty is designed to formalize and define the relationship between those two parties. It is a relationship of mutual responsibility, and, because faith in the bond of one's word given is so very important, it holds a liege as accountable to his/her vassals as they are to him or her.
All fighters not connected in a chain will be required to have a sponsor who is connected to the chain and is willing to sponsor them. This sponsorship does not have to be a permanent relationship, but will have the added benefit of assuring that standards of safety and chivalry are met. The sponsor will be answerable for the actions of the fighter to the extent that if someone under their immediate command fails in their chivalric duty, the sponsor may be held responsible if appropriate action is not taken. Whereas this may sound like a daunting proposition, it is important to realize that we are all obligated to do our part in the successful integration of newcomers. It is not too much of a stretch to remember when we were all new and somebody somewhere helped us get into our first suit of armor. It is also important that Crown vassals understand and appreciate the responsibility that having vassals entails.
The reasons for this new structure, as suggested above manifold: the successful integration of newcomers; improving education; and to promote the formation of warbands ,which We believe will begin the process of establishing a standing army in this kingdom. It is also our intention to establish incentives for these warbands. One of the units might win the honor of carrying the kingdoms banner into battle; We may establish a permanent roster of those who serve as part of the standing army, possibly some unique heraldry specific to the warbands. We currently have plans to implement a new Grant level award that would be awarded to commanders who have shown excellence in the field of war for this kingdom. There would also be many benefits to this structure, including improved safety and chivalry on the field. There will be more commanders gaining experience in the art of war, and a better Kingdom presence on the battlefield in other kingdoms.
There are some who may have concerns about the nature of fealty and these individuals should feel welcome to approach Us with their thoughts. For the context of what We believe fealty to be, We suggest taking a look at Our other article. Our belief is that a fealty oath is a contract: giving your word you'll do something. It does not require that you place someone above yourself, it does not have to have religious connotations unless the two individuals wish it to. Nor does it permit you to absolve yourself of responsibility for your own actions.
It is to this end that We entreat Our Crown vassals and their vassals in turn to seek out those of Our subjects who will be well served by this. Remember that any Crown vassal my raise an army, not just those that fight. We have the confidence that if one of Our direct vassals chooses to exercise their martial rights, that they will take care to ensure their sponsored fighters meet all the standards of safety and honor, and seek out the appropriate marshals to ensure that this is so. It is not required that the leader of the army be on the field or present at the event. They do however still represent that unit to the Crown.
It is not necessary that the link a fighter forms be permanent, though it could become so eventually. This is up to the individuals in question. People take their oaths very seriously and rightly so: it would not behoove them to extend their word beyond that which they can live up to. However it is not necessary for a fighter who does not have an existing link to swear to a peer. They may enter into sponsorship or contract with anyone who is linked to a chain, that is willing to sponsor them for whatever terms are agreed upon.
This plan is put into effect with newcomers in mind, but will affect more than just these people. Someone from out of kingdom who is experienced but relatively unknown to their local group, may have to 'break the ice' so to speak, in order to find their way onto the war field. With established people making extra efforts to welcome new people, experienced or not, we will all benefit by bringing new fighters onto the field in a safe and responsible manner. As with other ideas that have been raised and adopted successfully, there will be some time for adjustments, but the possible rewards will be well worth the effort.
This plan may eventually have far reaching effects as the premise filters through other areas of the Society. Newcomers can feel guided and supported, and those of us who have been heard to say that we're losing the "old ways" and mourn the perceived loss of dearly held ideals will be able to more directly affect the direction this kingdom takes by providing the best example they have to offer. We are all in part responsible for those new to the kingdom, and We charge you to uphold their best interests and the good of An Tir as foremost in your minds.
We close in the sincere hope that the people of An Tir will take up this challenge with a noble effort.
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