By Paul Monteleoni

Details of the Imperial Legions

The Lord High Imperial Marshal is Duke Henry Mountbatten the Valorous, who is at once the Captain of the Phoenix Guard, the Grand Warmaster of the Imperial Legions and the First Lord of the Imperial Navy. As such, he wields an immense degree of personal power. If one of Alexiusí officers was in a position to depose him, it would be Duke Henry. This immense concentration of personal power in one unrelated by blood to the Emperor enrages all of the Darians, both those loyal to Alexius who fear for the safety of the realm, and those loyal to Alvarex who fume at the Emperorís ingratitude towards his family. Duke Henryís loyalty to the Emperor, however, is already the stuff of legends, as is his martial prowess. The Phoenix Guard is the Emperorís honor guard of elite knights, and rival only the Adepti Templi as an organized fighting force. The Phoenix Guard reports directly to Duke Henry, who is officially a member of their number. They are technically the Emperorís bodyguard, but they have been deployed on many occasions to annihilate the enemies of the Emperor.

The Imperial Legions are the Empireís primary fighting arm, the Phoenix Guard and the Questing Knights notwithstanding. Unlike noble house armies, the Imperial Legions are composed entirely of men-at-arms commanded by an officer corps made up entirely of nobles. These men-at-arms go through a centralized and well-run training program, and the best are almost comparable in skill to Hazat men-at-arms. They are extremely powerful, however, because of the high degree of organization instituted in the Imperial Legions. The Legions regularly field large numbers of troops with more coordination than feudal armies. This seems likely to balance out the fact that the Imperial Legions have a lower incidence of nobles than house armies, but nobody is really sure since the Imperial Legions havenít seen a great deal of action since being organized. Despite their superior organization, training, and logistical support, however, the Imperial Legions are simply undermanned. The true military might of the Empire still comes from the Royal Houses that have pledged loyalty to Alexius, and they are still organized by a feudal chain of command. If the Empire ever truly went to war, then, the vast majority of its troops (who would still fall under the overall supervision of Duke Henry the Valorous) would be the usual feudal armies. The Imperial Navy is divided into seven Fleets , each helmed by a High Admiral.

Theoretically, First and Second Fleets guard Byzantium Secundus and Tethys, while the Third and Fourth guard Stigmata and al-Malik space. The Fifth ranges roughly through Hawkwood and Hazat space, the Sixth guards the Li Halan and Decados worlds, and the Seventh orbits the Decados worlds, ostensibly to guard against the Vau. In reality, most Imperial ships are to be found either on garrison duty on Tethys, Byzantium Secundus, Stigmata and Nowhere or ferrying between them. The Imperial Navy is not huge, consisting largely of the Hawkwood fleet Alexius commanded and captured Hazat, Li Halan and Decados ships, but it is increasing in size constantly, as the Empire is investing vast resources into building new warships, churning out such craft at a faster rate than even the Hazat or al-Malik.