Brotherhood of Saint Karl
Founded in 1678 by King Siguine I of Haense, the Brotherhood of Saint Karl (New Marian: Ve Oreonir Sant Karleo) began with the merging of the levies of the great Houses of the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska. Throughout its duration as the central military force of the Crown, the Brotherhood has been guided by its longstanding tradition of fostering unity, strength, and justice to those sworn to its ranks. Bound by oath and fraternity, the Brotherhood of Saint Karl stood among the preeminent human martial forces during some of humanity’s most trying times.
Founded under the patronage and namesake of Saint Karl Barbanov, the Brotherhood espouses the affinities of this saint: strength, courage, and for the intentions of soldiers. Saint Karl was an instrumental figure in the history of Haense, considered its founder who lived over two centuries ago. It is said that whilst in battle, Saint Karl was struck down and at the verge of death before seeking divine providence and being endowed strength to rise and lead his men to victory. At this act, he vowed to consecrate his life in the name of GOD and formed the foundation of Haeseni civilization as a testament to the blessings of the Seven Skies. In 1564, High Pontiff Theodosius I canonized Duke Karl Barbanov as the patron saint of strength. His name honored the first capital of the newly formed Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska in 1578, City of Saint Karlsburg.
The Brotherhood of Saint Karl honors the tradition and legacy of Karl Barbanov by espousing the values of the saint into those who pledge to serve the kingdom. Those called to the Crown’s service reflect the stalwart values and cultures of the Highlander people, a sense of fraternity and unity for the defense of those who wish to do harm.
- 1 The First Order (1679-1706)
- 2 The Second Order (1724-present)
- 3 Traditions
- 4 Organization
The First Order (1679-1706)
The First Order was founded on the command of King Sigmar of Haense and its first marshal was the Lord Rhys var Ruthern who led the order under both King Sigmar and King King Robert. He later passed on command to Lord Henrik Kovachev and after him Lord Sergei Stafyr until it was finally disbanded by King Robert at the early years of Arcas and merged into the Haeseni Royal Army.
Foundation of the First Order
During the of the Battle of the Three Hills, marked by the terrain upon which the conflict ensued, King Sigmar led his levy company composed of levies of the vassalage. As they advanced the stout keep that rested atop the ledge between the three hills, they were met with a barrage of archer fire, causing the formation to diverge. The king himself was separated from his main levy and forced to fallback behind the base of the southernmost hill.
With the forces now split, King Sigmar was to make his choice: charge with his remaining force or recall his forces back. Echoing the hardships of battle and strength, King Sigmar called upon the patronage of his ancestor, Saint Karl, and entrusted his plight to the saint of strength. The army chaplain, Fr. Anselm Gerhard recalled that day when the king saw the countenance of Saint Karl upon the sides of the three hills, each bearing a sword with a crow resting upon the blade. He took that as a sign of courage and strength to maintain his position and against great odds, the Haeseni troops overwhelmed the fortified southern hill. Not long after, their advance of the second hill was met with heavy fire but by midday, the keep had been driven out by King Sigmar’s charge with the colors of Haense flying triumphant along the keep’s facade.
During the procession back to Markev, the soldiers were met with great mirth at their victory. Upon the roof of the main gate, the crow that King Sigmar saw in the field of battle sat upon the crenellations of the wall and flew off as the king entered the city. When King Sigmar called his war council together at the Krepost Palace, he spoke of a charter to consecrate the levies under the patronage of the Saint who had given him a sign of victory at the battle. King Sigmar took his victory as a form of humility by God to devote Haense’s forces to Saint Karl. In close collaboration with the levies of the great houses of Haense such as Ruthern, Stafyr, Enthelor, Vanir, and Baruch, the foundation of the Brotherhood was formed as a central Haeseni force, branded to serve God, king, and kingdom.
Wars Against the Vaeyl
The first engagement of the Brotherhood with the Vaeyl occurred in 1681, when an expeditionary force led by Lord Marshal Rhys trekked through the Yatl Wastelands in the far south. Roughly 500 brothers traversed toward the south after reports of the Vaeyl Order’s activity were made known to the court of King Sigmar. Upon their arrival, the Brotherhood was met with a powerful blizzard that claimed the lives of almost a third of their regiment.
When the soldiers arrived, they established a fortification at Nekristadt, where they were joined with Imperial knights. The combined human garrison swiftly began defenses in anticipation of the Vaeyl Order’s impending advance. A lone Red Vaeyl soldier approached the gate of Nekristadt and offered peace in exchange for the human forces to surrender. However, the Brotherhood and the Imperial knights declined as they drew their swords and executed the emissary.
Soon thereafter, Red Vaeyl soldiers began to scale the northern wall of Nekristadt. Haeseni archers attempted to keep them at bay as the battle consumed the entirety of the night. As day broke, the Red Vaeyl Order suddenly breached the main gate, ushering in hundreds of the enemy forces into the courtyard. The Brotherhood and the Imperial Knights were reinforced by a regiment of Imperial troops led by the Grand Marshal Ser Roland and were able to outflank and overrun the Vaeyl Order’s formation towards the lake. In the aftermath of the battle, the Brotherhood was tasked by the Imperial Grand Marshal to establish a permanent settlement and fortification to counter succeeding invasions from beyond the southern wall.
In 1691, after successful campaigns against the Red Vaeyl Order, Commandant Rhys var Ruthern led the Brotherhood of Saint Karl in concluding the final stages of what amounted to a decade-long conflict. The Siege of Last Hope solidified the Brotherhood of Saint Karl as the preeminent bulwark against the threat that had loomed over the entire continent of Atlas for over half a century. As the Brotherhood trekked toward the south to advance into another excursion to repel the Vaeyl Order’s presence from Atlas, the Brotherhood had experienced great success. Before the battle, Ferdinand Karl offered a prayer on behalf of the men in which before donning their helmets, they saw a Crow perched atop a stone, a sign that the Kingdom of Haense would emerge victorious over the bases of the Vaeyl at Last Hope.
Third Atlas Coalition War
Merge into the Haeseni Royal Army
After years of slow decline with numbers of brothers serving in the Brotherhood after the end of the Vaeyl Wars and the migration from Atlas to the continent of Arcas the Brotherhoods' use was by many in the Royal Court seemed as over. Within the Kingdom reforms had been made and the newly established city of Reza was by the Lord Marshal Sergei Stafyr in need of an official standing army rather then that of a military order.
In 1706 the Brotherhood was officially disbanded by decree from King Robert I of Haense and the men serving under the Brotherhood was reorganized into the Haeseni Royal Army. Only a few months later Lord Sergei tried to kill his own son but ended up being shot to death with a crossbow bolt by Hans the Small. After his death the title of Lord Marshal was passed to Lord Otto Kortrevich.
The Second Order (1724-present)
The Second Order was founded by order of King Andrew III of Haense after the disastrous defeats that the Haeseni Royal Army had suffered during the War of Two Emperors. Its first Marshal was Lord Otto Kortrevich who was later replaced by its current Marshal Lord Wilheim Barclay due to the absence of Lord Kortrevich. The revitalization of the Brotherhood saw some early success in the Three Months' War and also the Lorrainian Revolt
Three Months' War
During the short lived reign of Emperor John VII the Brotherhood under command by Lord Wilheim Barclay saw minor success in handling dwarven agression on Haeseni land. At the first month of the war the dwarven legion gained some early foothold by securing important crossroads and raiding Imperial supply lines. The soldiers of the Pax Orenia struggled to maintain a solid front and many merchants and travellers were killed by dwarven raiding parties, including Haensemen.
After the initial dwarven success the Brotherhood had consolidated its forces in Reza and started to increase patrols of Haeseni roads and securing them from dwarven aggression, they even took to attacking dwarven border forts and succesfully managed to route the Dwarven Legion and the Phoenix Band during a minor skirmish. Recording one of the new noted victories for the Pax Orenia during the war before it ended with the abdication of the Emperor and the beginning of The Troubles leading to the start of the Johannian Era.
The Lotharingian Revolt or by some called the Lorraine War began when the Duchy of Lorraine and the Duchy of Adria came to clash with one another over seemingly border disuptes but also due to historical differences and animosity from the Dukes' War. The Kingdom of Haense was a staunch ally to Adria due to the marriage between the Duke of Adria, Adrian I, Holy Orenian Emperor and Princess Mariya Angelika of Reza.
The Brotherhood got involved in the conflict after a Adrian farmer had been assaulted and robbed by Lotharingian soldiers. The Duke of Adria called King Andrew III of Haense for support to retaliate and the Brotherhood rallied approximately 1200 men and marched them to the bordering duchies where they linked up with Adrian soldiers. After a saints' hour without any fighting the potential skirmish was called off and the men marched back to Reza.
Later that month Kaedreni soldiers had halted two Haeseni nobles in the Principality of Rubern another of Haense's allies and according to the reports from the two nobles the men were there to try and attack Ruberni citizens. The attack on Haeseni nobility and the attempted assault on Ruberni citizens pushed Richard I of Rubern to rally the banners of the Black Army of Rubern and called Haense for aid, rallying the Brotherhood. Once Adria heard that Haense was rallying for a potential assault on Ves they obligated their alliance and soon to marched towards Ves alongside Rubern and Haense.
Once in Ves the Brotherhood formed up in front of the outer pallisades whist the High Lords along the Imperial Arch-Chancellor went to negotiate with the Kaedreni. It was quickly discovered that dissidents within the Kaedreni soldiery had tried to pressure King Adrian I of Kaedrin to join the conflict on Lorraine's side by causing conflict with the Ruberni, Adrians and Haeseni. The Lotharingian military official, Lewis of Lorraine who was present in the city was arrested by Kaedreni loyalists and handed over to the Ruberni and Haeseni before being brought to Reza where he was executed.
The aftermath of the Vesnian stand-off was bloody. The Lotharingian castle was seized by the Adrian forces and torn down and the remaining men fled to Guise where they took refuge within a fort and took to banditing the Imperial roads. The Brotherhood took party in plenty of skirmishes in this short time against the Lotharingian rebels. The Imperial troops with the Brotherhood in it were put in command to Otto Tuvyic Barbanov who after a few attempts to breach the fort with minor casualties on both sides, consructed a siege camp. Once finished the Lotharingian men instead of fighting either surrendered or fled. Ending the revolt.
Since the Brotherhood of Saint Karl is devoted to the saint that bears its name, it is typical for the chaplain or an officer to be delegated the task to lead in prayer prior to battle. The Brotherhood is heavily rooted in the Church of the Canon, and as such, maintains staunch traditions of faith. Prayer is begun in New Marian, beginning with the phrase Iv Joveo Maan ag Koeng before beginning the intentions. Soldiers typically light three candles surrounding a figurine of Saint Karl Barbanov to represent three petitions: strength, courage, and prudence.
Followed by prayer, the Brotherhood marches together to the tomb of kings and offers a moment to honor the liege lords of the realm. The tradition concludes with a final petition to Exalted Siegmund to lead the devoted Highlandic warriors to victory with the insight and arm of the Seven Skies’ Exalted.
Oath of Saint Karl
The Oath of Saint Karl is taken by every brother that swears into the Brotherhood after passing through the rank of Initiate. Once sworn he is considered a Brother of Saint Karl and the extended arm of the King of Haense. Usually taken in the Tomb of Kings in front of the deceased Haeseni monarchs in the presence of his Commander, Sergeant and fellow Brothers.
‘To my left I see my fellow brothers, to the right I see the same.
For all in the world, we fight for the peace of this land.
Through God, he gave us stewardship of the realm.
Through stewardship, we gained the knowledge of diligence and prudence.
Through diligence, we may conquer all without fault.
And if I should falter in my course, send me never to the skies above.
If I should succeed, bestow unto me His blessings, forevermore.
For, now I march into a valley through which there is no path.
And the stones cascade behind me, to seal my retreat.
Though in this valley, I find my Brothers;
Now I am named Guardian of My Homeland.
Should I falter, my shield shall turn to ash;
But I shall not falter.’
The current formation of the Brotherhood is organized into three Chapters all serving different purposes from light infantry, cavalry and the elite forces of the Black Cross consisting of the finest warriors the Kingdom produce.
The Brotherhood is led by the Lord Marshal (New Marian: Hauchmarsal) who serves as the supreme commander of all Haeseni forces during times of war and sits on the Aulic Council as the ruling Monarch's chief advisor on military matters. Under the Lord Marshal serves Commanders (New Marian: Kommandant) who direcly commands his own Chapter.
All chapters are divided into squads with Sergeants (New Marian: Serzhant) who directly commands their own groups of soldiers in combat. The Brotherhood is known for giving a lot of responsibility to their Sergeants in order to ensure that a sense of equality amongst the ranks are maintained. The enlisted men are divided into four different ranks based on your experience and abilities.
The lowest rank in the Brotherhood is the Initiate (New Marian: Naumaan) who is a soldier who has not yet sworn his oath and is forced to undergo heavy training in order to be granted his oath. Once your oath has been sworn you're introduced to the Brotherhood as a Footman (New Marian: Nausangkruv) and would now be considered a Brother of Saint Karl. Based on your experience you may later be promoted to Armsman (New Marian: Oxtzen) who can lead smaller patrols and hold trainings and then finally you can be promoted to the rank of Armiger (New Marian: Brustya) and there you serve as the highest form of rank other then an officer, granted a lot of respect by your Brothers and allowed a fair amount of individual responsibility.
Chapter of the Crow
The Chapter of the Crow serves as the body of infantry of the Brotherhood and with that also is the main bulk of the Haeseni forces. With aproximately 5000 enlisted in its ranks the Crow has seen most action during the Second formation of the Brotherhood and has distinguished itself in combat against theUnder-Realm of Urguan and Lorraine.
The Chapter takes pride and honours the Ruskan heritage by acknowledging the usage of light infantry and the mobility it provides. The uniform comprising of a set of brown leather armour with varying degrees of plate based on your rank. The men are usually armed with a spear, a kite shield and an arming sword and are trained in infantry combat and archery in order to serve in all manners of combat.
The Chapter is currently commanded by His Highness, Prince Otto Sigmar of Barbanov.
Chapter of the Destrier
The Chapter of the Destrier is the cavalry of the Brotherhood. With approximately 800 men the cavalry has served since the formation of the 2nd Brotherhood.
Taking inspiration from the legacy of the Haeseni cavalry led by the House of Kovachev historically the Destrier fights on horseback. Every Brother in the destrier are given a set of black leather and plate armour, together with a spear, kite shield and an arming sword they ride primarily as scouts or on flanking missions. All brothers of the Destrier are trained in cavalry warfare and are also taught the basics of horse archery in order to efficently maneuver on flanking missions and encircle potential enemies.
The Chapter of the Destrier is currently commanded by Count Erich of Nenzing.
Chapter of the Black Cross
The Chapter of the Black Cross is the elite force of the Brotherhood. Serving primarily of Knights and the strongest warriors of Haense the Black Cross is generally commanded as a seperate entity under the direct command of the King and the Knight Paramount of Haense with the Lord Marshal having an oversight into its operations only.
The Chapter of the Black Cross takes it legacy to the Hansetian roots of the Kingdom and serves as heavy elite infantry with dark plate sets of armour, each soldier responsible of maintaining his own individual set of armour. The Chapter is handpicked by the Knight Paramount and ruling Monarch and are most oftenly also a Knight in the knightly Order of the Crow.
The current commander is Ser Nikolaus Kortrevich.