The Redtail Revolution
Warden. That name holds a special significance to the Ronar, to whom the Wardens swear their lives and service. Part political bureaucracy and part professional army, the Wardens stand as the one true unifying force of humanity. Organized in the wake of the Ursan Empire’s invasion of the Upper Valley five centuries ago, the Wardens have always held the survival of Ronar society above all else. Membership transcends ties of loyalty to birthplace and blood – all are expected to put aside their own petty factionalism for the greater good of the Valley and its people.
As both an army and a political body, the Wardens stand unique in Goldarvarr. Membership in the Wardens has always been, and always will be, purely voluntary. Further, anybody can join, from the greatest warlord to the meekest peasant. However, a longstanding tradition of the Wardens is that of an extreme meritocracy – all recruits, regardless of their standing before joining, enter the organization as grunts – known as Vigils. Only by demonstrating leadership savvy and political know-how can a person hope to climb the proverbial ranks. Barring extreme circumstances, the process of promotion is rigorous and trying one, and it is monitored at every level for corruption.
While the initial Wardens were a rigid hierarchy, the transition to peacetime with the Ursan have caused them to relax their structuring somewhat. The Wardens as a whole are ruled by the Warden Moot – a council of twenty-five men and women selected from the ranks of the officers of each major Ronar city. The Moot, in turn, elects a Warden-General, who acts as both an executive officer for the Moot’s decisions and the commander-in-chief of the Wardens as a whole in times of war.
Directly under the Moot are the Warden-Commanders, one of which is appointed to each of the five major cities. They act as governors, administrating the cities in the Warden’s name and executing the Moot’s will where necessary. They, in turn, are given executive power over their charges in matters not concerning the Moot. They legislate local laws, administer justice, and see to the other critical legal functions expected of a local ruler.
The Wardens stand unique among the governments of Goldarvarr in how they fuse political and military power. While a draft has never been(and likely never will be) a practice of the Wardens, only its members are given the power to vote in local referendums and the opportunity to hold political office. This stands in contrast to the authoritarian monarchy of the Ironclad, the liberal democracies of the Free Cities or the Arconac Republic, or the magocracy of the elven kingdoms – in all concerned, only the Free Cities maintain a constant, professional army, and none of them tie military service to political empowerment.