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Queensguard

Small group of elite warriors fanatically loyal to the reigning monarch. The group exists to forward the wishes of the monarch in the realm and they command a great deal of power, particularly away from the capital. They also have a remit to work for the good of the realm in all they do. This has caused problems when their two main reasons for existance have clashed. During these periods, members of the order have had to work hard to strike a balance, and have been responsible for curbing some of the more dangerous excesses of their rulers over the years.

To a man, those chosen for the Guard are accomplished combatants, but that isn't enough. Typically they also display the strong independant steak and fierce intellect required to operate independantly of the monarch. Generally they are proven heros who have demonstrated they have the good of the realm at heart. Since most new recruits are brought before the monarch by existing members, this has meant the Queensguard has managed to maintain a good-aligned stance even during the darker of the rules.

The history of the Queensguard is patchy. During the Golden Age, they were respected diplomats and ambassadors who travelled the land upholding law in the courts and helping hold back the continual orc attacks. They worked in court as advisors to the monarch. They worked with the Knights of the Light as much as the monarch, and many paladins were members of the Guard.

This changed during the Dark Times. As an elite, well connected, respected order the Queensguard represented the single largest threat to Iustus next to the Knights of the Light. It was wiped out to a man when Lord Iustus seized power from the monarch and eradicated the Knights. During this time, a warped and twised version of the role of the Guard in the realm was largely filled by Iustus' secret police, the Dark Stars.

After the fall of Iustus, the new king Prosum Laurus recommissioned the order. He chose the brightest and best warriors in the land, those gifted with a noble heart and a strong desire to do good, to form his new guard. They were to carry the light of his rule to the lands and free them from the darkness that had gripped it. Sadly Laurus died shortly after the order was ready and under his son Harlod, they had to operate closer to the capital to prevent him losing the entire kingdom to the various factions operating in court. Still, they managed to push out slowly and many of the darker areas were freed from tyranny. Since the coronation of Queen Gabrielle Laurus and the initiation of stability in court, the Guard have been able to operate further afield and slowly return to their duties from before Iustus.

Today the Queensguard has reclaimed much of its reputation. The populous sees them as the major victim of the Dark Times, more so than the paladins who wielded much more power at the end of the Golden Age and are considered by some to be responsible for the death of the old king and the horrors that followed. Due to being wiped out and many very public decrees stating hiding former members to be a capital offence, the Guard's reputation has never been tarnished in this way and most of the law abiding commonfolk are relieved to see them back.

In court the members of the Queensguard tread a dangerous path. Their position gives them the ear of the Queen which in turn gives them a great deal of political power. This often breeds resentment in the nobles of the court who are constantly jokying for positions of influence. That these warriors are chosen soley by the Queen for loyalty and skill, rather than by noble birth only manages to infuriate them more. That said, for every antagonist in court there is at least one loyal subject who recognises and values the worth of the Queensguard in maintaining the realm.

There is no hierarchy within the Queensguard. Members will defer to their more experienced comrades out of respect, but not necessity. The only member with any additional rank is the Queen herself who is in charge of every aspect of the Guard. Whilst the Guard must follow the laws of the land, that is secondary to working for the good of the land and its ruler and ultimately they answer to nobody but the Queen.

The symbol of the Queensguard is a burning torch ringed by a crown. Some members wear it openly. Others do not, preferring to travel incognito.

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