The Green Man
Deacon's Bane Company
Historians at the University of Pappenheim can establish, for those with the patience to listen to them, that long, long ago (the dates are hazy, though some of the bolder, tenured faculty suggest as far back as five millennia) a thousand great ships of war crossed the Sea of Sulphur to land on the coast of our fair continent. These giant ships, once tugged onto land, provided the base material necessary for great siege engines and other weapons of conquest.
These well-trained invaders swept easily across the land, showing such terrible fierceness and determination that any defense that might have been mustered was quickly overwhelmed. The names of the kings and queens of that era are lost to us, as the Lovcen Horde, as they called themselves, ruthlessly culled any resistance to their rule. If our forebears had any particular name for this land of theirs, it too is lost to time, for the Lovcens renamed this land “Karst,” or “land of roots,” and their word was law.
The reign of the Lovcen Empire lasted at least two millennia before its strength finally waned. The Lovcen emperors, after centuries of trying to keep their bloodline pure, eventually took their brides from the noblest of Karst’s various native peoples, a practice that had already been adopted by the many imperial governors (who had taken to elevating their most trusted native advisors and assistants into the Lovcen peerage).
As the differences between Karst’s peoples and the Lovcen diminished, and the imperial governors began to side more with their province than with the empire at large, the sudden death of Emperor Dusan IV precipitated a civil war that left each province adrift- the Lovcen Empire having finally succumbed to the differing interests that sharply define each of Karst’s regions.
The Lovcen Empire is certainly not forgotten, though, as their provinces developed into the nation states we now know. And of the noble bloodlines begun near the dawn of the Empire, some still exist to this day. Our glorious Grand Duke, may he watch over us always, could trace his lineage back to the early years of the Province of Wimarc, for instance.
Then there is the Bishopric of Arganeau, to the north and east of Wimarc, with its capitol city Centinje. Uros was the god of the Lovcens when they arrived on these shores and the Bishop of Arganeau, appointed by the Emperor, directed the faithful in the proper worship of this exacting god. Now the Prince-Bishop continues to rule in Centinje, overseeing the training and deployment of Arganeau’s warrior monks and holy chanters. Uros is not a sharing god, though, and Wimarc’s sanction of the Cult of the Grand Duke has been a cause of tension, and even outright hostility, between the neighbor states for most of their history as independent states.
The Deacon’s Bane Company evolved out of a small band of mercenaries that made their name conducting skirmishes across the closed border into Arganeau on behalf of the Grand Duchy. Wimarc often employed sellswords in this role to help mitigate the danger of outright war. The mercenaries would rout Arganese pilgrims and settlers who would constantly test the border. The Deacon’s Bane Company, however, was not content to merely push these loyal Urosi back into Arganeau; rather, they would push deeper into the country, attacking the Urosi monasteries that were the staging grounds for the expeditionary forces. The Company would put everyone they found to the sword, raze the monastery grounds, and leave before the smoke was even high in the air. By the time the Arganese reinforcements would arrive, only the head of the monastery’s deacon, the Prince-Bishop’s holy representative at each site, would remain to greet them: impaled on a black iron spike and left facing towards Centinje, mouth agape, as if screaming out to the Bishop for help.
The Deacon’s Bane Company grew in stature and scope through the years, though it never did leave behind the ruthless efficiency of its earlier days. The Grand Duke continued to utilize their services more and more, even going so far as to hire them as the constabulary force in Pappenheim- a move which many other towns and cities in Wimarc copied. Given the importance of travel and trade in Wimarc, the Deacons, as they call themselves, also began to provide protection over key roads and byways. Deacon waystations, or “chapels,” sprung up across the nation, beating back the threat of brigands and beasts. Since each waystation ideally had to provide maximum protection with a minimum of manpower, those with an affinity for nature’s gifts were often recruited and selected to man them. Wardens were an obvious choice and, given the national importance of the role, the Deacons were given Ducal consent to conscript those with the necessary gifts.
To this day squads of Green Cloaks still make the rounds of the rural villages, searching out young boys and girls who show the a talent with the “Wilding”. Raised in the barrackstowns of the Deacon’s Bane Company, these children, alongside others their age who will also eventually take up the sword in defense of the Grand Duchy, hone their skills and learn their oath of loyalty: “To the Company, for forging me into a weapon of purpose, to the Grand Duke, for wielding me with wisdom, to the Brass Clock, for aiming me at the hearts of our enemies.”