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Structure of the Black Legion
The leader of The Black Legion is Commander Carridian, a high level militant mage, who is well versed in politics and has kept the Legion's reputation honorable and neutral. The Commander now spends most of his time taking care of the administration of the Legion.
There are three main divisions within the Legion and each is headed by a captain that reports to Commander Carridian. These three Captains are responsible for the training of the Legionnaires and assigning missions that the Legion has accepted.
Each Captain has one or more subordinates who are the leaders of 'squads' of Journeymen (see Journeymen below), these squads are the core unit of The Black Legion mercenaries. Unlike other military organizations, a Legion squad is actually an adventurer party, and as such are powerhouses of magic and steel. Each squad has a unique name and is usually composed members from each of the divisions.
The Black Legion has grown and prospered to the point where it only will accept new members that can pass rigorous entrance requirements. Those that pass are called Initiates and spend up to one year training under the Captains.
An Initiate will be taught the basics of their class, learn the basics of Battle Cant (a method of battlefield communication using hand symbols and code words), and perform duties for the basic upkeep and operation of the guild (kitchen duty, scribing, weapons maintenance, etc.).
Once training is completed Initiates can graduate and become Novices. Novices are given Black Legion identification medallions, and must complete two years of service with the Legion or pay 3,000gp to buy out their contract. While serving the Legion, any member may be called upon to perform duties for the Legion, voluntarily take Legion contracts, or pursue their own commissions. After the service is completed or the contract is bought out, Novices are free to leave the Legion or petition to become Journeymen.
Becoming a Journeymen is very nearly a lifetime commitment, and requires a Captain as sponsor and a simple majority vote of acceptance from the current members. Journeymen swear blood oaths of loyalty and are given The Mark, a magical tattoo, which is a variation of the Mark spell. The Mark cannot be detected by normal means (detect magic, etc.), but other Black Legion brothers will instantly be able to see The Mark. The Mark can be used as a focus for a locate object spell, or a special spell can be cast that will instantly detect if a Marked Journeyman is dead or alive. (Old Empire Legionnaires used to receive an actual brand, but that practice was discontinued when The Legion of the Rose became The Black Legion. This was revived in its current form over a hundred years ago by Commander Vultain after an entire squad of the Legion was replaced by Doppelgangers and caused havoc with the guild and its reputation.)
Every Legionnaire has access to basic room and board, libraries, infirmary, classes and training. Banking and messenger services are also available at minimal fees. Legal expenses and ransoms are covered by the Legion where warranted.
Specific benefits include:
Tale of the Black Legion
Long ago, the Danrae Empire conquered the Angharad clans in the lands of Eradain. The Legion of the Rose occupied the city of Medrius (see Map detail 3-2-1, lower left side) as one of the southern most outposts of the Empire in Eradain. Decades after the Legion first came to Medrius, forces of corruption and decadence within the Danrae Empire, fermenting for centuries, spilled out into a civil war of succession. Quickly the civil war was followed by uprisings in other captured territories which had long chafed under the yoke of the Empire. By this time, many of the Legion Aries had established families in Medrius and the Legion had come to be grudgingly respected by the local Angharad people due to the wise and just Rulership of the Legion's Commander/Governors. In the wake of the chaos caused by the civil war within the Empire, bureaucrats within the Empire, already skimming funds for years began wholesale embezzlement of monies and supplies meant to support the Legions stationed in foreign territories.
For over a year the Legion of the Rose hung on in Medrius with no pay or re-supply, in the face of hostile Angharad clansmen, grown bold with the news of the Empire's internal conflicts. Finally after months with no word from home, or any response to the Legion Commanders many requests for support, a messenger arrived with orders that the Legion of the Rose immediately quit the city of Medrius and march for Danrae. Though the hardiness and discipline of the Legion was legendary, the Commander was not going to march through mountain passes with winter approaching and no guarantee of supplies available along the way. The Commander penned a note for the messenger to take back indicating that the Legion would take the pay of a local Angharad clan ally in an upcoming conflict and use the funds to finance the march home.
In the spring, as the Legion of the Rose made ready to leave the place it had called home for so long, the Commanders message was returned with a reply that any Legion Aries taking pay from any source other than the Empire would be branded traitors or 'black legions'. The Commander of the Legion of the Rose, infuriated by the hardships they were expected to endure, invoked an ancient military code of actions that soldiers may take when betrayed by their superiors. In a unanimous vote among the Legion Aries they officially broke ties with the Empire. Instead of being shamed by the title Black Legion, they took it as their new name in an act of rebellious pride.
The Black Legion, now a mercenary company was hired by the Angharad clan they had long been allied with. The Black Legion survived for many years during the Shattering of the Empire and the dark age that followed until the Plague of Shadow struck the lands during a time called The Cold Years. Hordes of shadow creatures lay siege to Medrius, and The Black Legion mercenaries stood side by side with a band of local legendary heroes defending the city. During final battle of the Plague of Shadow the Legion was decimated, only one quarter survived and the Commander of The Black Legion lay dead. The remaining survivors of the Legion once again voted as had become tradition within the leader of the cadre of heroes that had fought with them as their new Commander.
From that time till now The Black Legion has slowly evolved into a war college and guild or brotherhood of adventurers more than just a military force. Although still officially a mercenary company, and bound by the codes of the Mercenary's Guild, The Black Legion members now pursue their own goals as much as hiring out their services.