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|Vangan Guard |
Symbol of the Vangan Guard representing their history as horsemen
|Colors||Blue, Black, White|
|Tsar of Velikoslavia||Tsar Alexis V|
The Vangan Guard is an elite military unit of the Grand Army of Velikoslavia and is responsible specifically for the security of the Imperial Family of Velikoslavia. The unit is unique in that it originally came from the Skagish clan known as Clan Stenmær, who were originally the personal warriors of Dagan I who was invited to rule Kurven Slav in 954. Future Grand Princes, in return for their pledge and to continually train strong Skagish warriors, granted the members of the Vagan Guard land and titles throughout their realms where they were permitted to live with their Skagish customs. Those selected for service in the Guard are picked from promising Skagish boys and receive training from the age of ten.
Recruitment, Training, and Service
Recruitment in the Guard is unlike any other military unit currently in Velikoslavia. Boys are initially selected from certain youth from the town of Volstengrav and other cities at ten years of age. The Vangan are solely responsible for choosing boys based on their own criteria to send to Saint Dumont for training. Little is known about the selection process but it is believed boys must pass a certain ritual. Historian Analxos Kyrias claimed that the Stenmær force boys to survive in the wilds for days and fight in hand to hand combat with the other boys but this has never been confirmed by anyone else and the selection process is kept secret. Selected boys are then sent to the capital where they are enrolled in Ice Point, which has a special section of the school for training of Guardsmen. The school is a year round boarding facility where, per agreement with the Clan and parents, the boys begin to earn an income and be enrolled as paid soldiers. This income is sent directly back to the Clan for the boy's parents to utilize and as payment for the family, according to tradition. Training and education continues until 16 when boys are sent to official combat training where they spend three years in rigorous combat training in being a modern soldier and combining it with ancient Clan tradition. Those who remain in the program until 19 years of age officially graduate as full soldiers of the Guard. They are then issued a special sword, created by techniques still unknown to all except the smiths who make them, and accepted as full members.
Vangan Guardsmen, unlike other branches, may choose to serve in the Guard for life. There are always roles that can be filled in logistics and some older guardsmen may even become officers in the regular military. After ten years of service, all guardsmen are automatically awarded a single grant title of knighthood. This is the only military unit that has received such an honor. The primary duty of the guard is to protect and defend the Imperial Family and all of their residences and branches. A secondary duty is possible deployment on the field of combat. Historically, guardsmen were deployed solely in defense of the realm, as it was considered defending the ruler. However, guardsmen can be deployed in offensive operations, though their numbers are small so this rarely happens. Guardsmen can also join the special forces of the Grand Velikoslavian Armed Forces. An older guardsmen may also retire after the age of 35 and be given a grant of land and an estate, though these are normally middle class houses built on choice land rather than noble estates. All guardsmen receive traditional Skagish funerals upon death and are buried in their own lands.