Ancient Army of the Seakings.
During the “Rage of the Seakings” the armies before the creation of the
Highkingdom mainly consisted of
citizen soldiers drafted from the cities or settlements by the aristocrats. The
only standing armies were the bodyguards of the ruling houses of the
Santerran cities who also served as police forces
within the city. Together with the noblemen they manned the only cavalry the
early Santerrans used which was most of the time
low in numbers and served only as a last resort and as protection for the
generals. The majority of the soldiers were drafted from the wealthier factions
of the citizens who had to appear with certain equipment when the noble council
called to war.
Over these centuries the Santerrans developed a very ceremonial way of warfare on their islands, which avoided needless bloodshed and was more a measure of testing the strength of both sides rather than a battle of annihilation. While land battles and city assaults were far and in between naval battles, they were however an entirely different matter and as the Santerran islands could be only controlled via the sea the early army was primarily the means to man the various Seakings’ fleets. During this age the oldest form of soldiery was born: the Enayctar.
Early Enayctar. The Enayctar were in the ancient time of Aca-Santerra citizens owning land or a workshop. They were primarily sea soldiers to man the Santerran navies, which were dominated by various types of galleys, driven mainly by rowers. As many men were needed to power such a ship and those men needed to be trained to maneuver the ship swiftly and effectively in battle the Santerrans introduced a first kind of half-professional soldiers. With every citizen obligated to serve every fourth year the Santerrans built and manned big fleets to wage wars against each other.
The army structure was just a mirror of their fleet. The Enayctar were grouped according to the ships they manned and in which line of rows they sat. As the Santerran fleet consisted of galleys ranging from two to six rower decks. Each rower deck had between 24-30 rowers depending on ship type. These groups formed the smallest units, called the “Gelgari”. A ship consisted of four to twelve such Gelgari – or rower teams - forming “Calta” which could be anything from 180 to 360 men. A nobleman and his bodyguards or companions commanded each Calta, on the sea or on land.
In a naval battle the Enayctar would either try to use the ram of their galley to sink the enemy or prepare a boarding. For the later they were trained to fight with pike, bow, sword and shield. Here the order of the Gelgari was important. The uppermost rower deck – the two first Gelgari - would consist of the most experienced and oldest soldiers. Lacking endurance and brutal strength they'd pull in their rows first and use bows and long pikes to throw the enemy off the deck of the enemy ship and fix it to their own ship with ropes and hooks. In the meantime the lower rowers would prepare for battle and board the enemy vessel with shield and sword in descending order.
On land the various Caltas of an army formed a continuous line six to twelve ranks deep. The first six lines would point their pikes towards the enemy while those behind served as replacements. When the two armies engaged each other they would get locked in a challenge of strength with each side trying to push and break the enemy formation. For this each soldiers pushed the man in front of him forward with his shield while holding the pike. When a man fell the one behind him would replace him. Sometimes the rear ranks did not even have pikes but solely pressed the men in front of them forward. This happened – as described earlier – because in naval combat most soldiers would engage with the sword and thus sometimes would not bring their pike along with them to save space in the crowded galleys.
The Enayctar was generally equipped with a pike, a short sword, a round shield and sometimes an additional dagger. The pike was up to eighteen fores long, sometimes equipped with a hook to be used to pull an enemy ship towards one's own or to pull an enemy over the railing into the water. The short sword and round shield were sufficient to dodge enemy blows, the short sword being the most effective in the confined space of a ship. The Santerrans used various types of short swords, some with a straight blade, some with an angled one for slashing. Being primarily sea soldiers the Enayctar wore only little armor, usually only a helmet, breastplate, bracelets and greaves with which they trained to swim up to five strals. “He lost his helmet” is still a well-known proverb for disgrace as the last thing a soldier would do before abandoning a ship was throwing away his iron helmet, as it was the only piece of item one could not accidentally lose in a sea battle.
Early Army of the Highkingdom. By 1649 b.S. the Santerrans began settling on the mainland and they began to face enemies more versatile in land battles than they were. In fact their enemies often had nearly exclusively fought on the continent for millennia and had become experts in this art of war. Especially with the rise of the second Empire of Korweyn the Santerrans faced an enemy who was not only more numerous but far more organized than anyone else they had encountered before. While well trained the Enayctar of old were ill equipped and simply too lightly armoured to stand a chance against the Korweynite legions clad in their “feather mails” (a Korweynite synonym for their kind of scale mail which was the standard armor of Korweynite infantry). They also had no cavalry to speak of and thus had nothing to face the Kassite horse riders in the Korweynite armies with.
To adapt to such a flexible enemy and his superior forces the Santerrans had to employ new strategies and also needed more men than ever before and thus also hired non-Santerrans to fight in their formerly solely Santerran forces. After the defeat of the Murmillions in the Year of Darkness they often hired mercenaries from these lands to fight for them. Not only were the Murmillions notoriously fierce mountain warriors, taught in superior swordsmanship, their ancestors had also fought for centuries against the Korweynites and thus their descendants were often keen to pick up their arms against this archenemy.
The Murmillions. Over the centuries the Murmillions became in integral part of any Santerran army on the continent. Not only that, but the Santerrans started to train citizens who formerly served as Enayctar in Calas to fight in the same manner. What first was just the name of an occupied tribe and welcomed source of brave mercenaries became the name of a whole new troop type.
The Santerrans did not entirely replace their former army. They still needed to man their fleets and thus the Murmillions supplemented the Phalanx formations of the Enayctar. They usually fought in the first line of battle covered and supported by the pikes of the Enayctar, which they could fall back to. The Murmillions were melee fighters using any kind of hand weapon from sword, axe, and mace to their traditional weapon, the bladeaxe. They're agile enough to fight between the pikes of a phalanx or slip between it should the enemy use it. Also copying Korweynite warfare the Murmillions were often equipped with javelins to exchange with the Korweynites warriors, after which they'd engage the enemy.
Fighting in the first line had also another reason, though. While many Murmillions were eager to fight the Korweynites, they were also oftentimes not happy with the Santerran supremacy either, if not outright rebellious. So often, Santerran lords who did not trust their Murmillion mercenaries would put them in the very first line of battle. Should the Murmillions turn and rout or decline to fight, the Enayctar of the second line would cut them down for this extreme prejudice.
The Murmillion equipment consisted of several javelins, a round shield and some melee weapon, usually either bladeaxe or sword but sometimes an axe or mace. They usually wore a brigandine of studded leather or chain mail and a Murmillion helmet, with nose guard, oftentimes like a mask protecting the whole eye area. The bladeaxe is a famed weapon of the Murmillions. It is a blade formed like a falchion or sickle with a sharp cutting edge on the outside of the weapon, Where the sickle however narrows to a tip the bladeaxe broadens into something resembling the edge of an axe blade. Sometimes this tip of the weapon also ends in a triangular thorn. The qualities of this weapon are its armor piercing capabilities with the axe side while the curved blade of the other side is devastating enough to maim an unprotected body with ease.
The Frathra. The Frathra were the even more revolutionary change from their former way of fighting as for the first time the Santerrans saw a need for a effective cavalry force not only used as a protection of the noblemen on the battlefields. With the need to develop a kind of warrior that was not only capable to hold its own against the Kassites but also needed to be able to beat them the Santerrans devised an entirely new social class to finance such a costly endeavor. The aristocracy, especially on the continent, began to grant land to their mounted bodyguards so they could afford heavier equipment and also allow them to have more of it. These lands were often along the Jerrah and the landowners had the additional obligation to not only go to war with their noble overlord but also defend the land they held against any incursions. From a secluded band of bodyguards these men became an independent social class: the Frathra.
The Santerrans as the ultimate form of shock cavalry devised the Frathra. The role of the Frathra in battle was to fight the enemy cavalry and as they were formed from the most loyal members of the bodyguards they were also supposed to be the last soldiers retreating. With their armored forces they'd usually form a wedge of iron and steel with which they swept aside anything in their way. Their way of war was anything but subtle.
The equipment of the Frathra was and is extremely expensive which is why they earn land for their service. Not only is the rider clad in a full suit of banded armour, with greaves, armoured gloves and helmet, but also so is his horse. Over the centuries the Santerrans breed a very own type of warhorse, far stronger and a more enduring than anything they used in their mountainous terrain before. Some rumors even point to a daring expedition of Santerrans sailors to acquire kevlor horses from the far away living Kuglimz tribes. While these stories can be disputed they say much about the Santerran horse breed. The “Kyloss” horse is a strong and brave horse capable of carrying its own armour as well as its rider swiftly over comparable far distances. The Kyloss breed is also an extremely aggressive horse breed trained to attack other kinds of horses on battlefields. It is no overstatement to say that the primary weapon of a Frathra is his horse. For this the horse armour is specially designed. Heavy plates protect the front, neck and head of the horse, which is however not only for protection. On the sides these armour plating bends outwards and ends in razor-sharp edges meant to cut anything coming too close to the horse. Historical accounts of rampaging Kyloss horses in their armour tell of the terrifying effect these had on the smaller and usually unprotected Kassite horses which were either reluctant or denied completely to come anywhere close of a Kyloss warhorse. The razor sharp edges, while not capable to inflict any serious wounds on the horses still caused unnerving cuts on the beasts which soon after a few disastrous encounters made the Kassites hull their own horses in full or partial chain, scale or leather armour to at least get their horses close enough to the enemy unharmed to fight him.
A second layer of padded or leather armour that covers the whole horse usually completes the horse armour. It is not unheard of that the rivaling Kyloss stallions might otherwise hurt each other before battle.
The Frathra themselves are usually clad in a full suit of banded armour. Sometimes the saddle itself is formed as a protection for the legs to spare any leg armour but otherwise the equipment is rather uniform. Their main weapons are a lance and a slashing sword, the flacta. The flacta is sometimes also referred to as an “elongated bladeaxe” because it is similar in shape and can be used in a similar way. The blade does not have the dual characteristics of a bladeaxe though and instead looks more like a blade with an angle in it. As means of protection the Frathra also wear the “Thornshield” which is like an additional layer of armour attached to their left arm. It protects the rider's left side but can be also used to actively dodge or strike an enemy. The triangular form and the point tip is what gave it its name. Commonly the thornshield is used to slash an enemy's guard out of the way to hit him with the flacta but the pointy tip of the sword can be also used to thrust the shield at someone.
The “Modern” Santerran Army. The units and tactics mentioned above were used for nearly two thousand years in varying degrees, multiple varieties and differing setup. However, by 1000 a.S. the expansion of the Highkingdom in Nybelmar had come pretty much to its halt and its resources were diverted elsewhere. Aca-Santerra had become a naval superpower whose ships were roaming the western oceans. The ships used to beat the vicious waves and currents of the High Seas demanded a great amount of experienced sailors but they also changed the way the kingdom fought its naval battles. The galleys became outdated and only used for troop transport and to patrol the coasts. The new ships were increasingly making use of artillery like catapults and ballistae as well as archers. This ultimately made the original role of the Enayctar obsolete and the navy drained the men available for an army. These ships also were sometimes underway for long periods, too long for citizens who had a home to care for. Thus the army had to revise the very structure their military was based upon.
Summarized the Modern Santerran Army can be described as follows:
The modern ships, like the Besan caravel, only needed a small detachment of sea soldiers, mainly archers, while also simple sailors could man the catapults or other artillery machines on the ship. The phase before a boarding became far more important and thus the equipment of the Enayctar changed dramatically. The main weapon of the Enayctar became now the bow with which they fired from platforms high up in the masts of the ship. Another role for them was that, as a low rank officer, to command the sailors in any role as experienced seamen.
Also the recruitment of these soldiers changed. Formerly being drafted from all citizens in a city, the modern Enayctar is usually one of a set number of families of a settlement or district who serves fulltime in the kingdom's fleet. The citizen soldier became a professional one.
With the advancement in rank on a ship also the status of the Enayctar socially has increased, putting them loosely on the same privileged position as Frathras (also Frathras would argue that the Enayctar have not such a long-lasting heritage of obedience and loyalty like them and are comparable poor in land and money).
If the Murmillion was formerly just a specific type of soldier for the Highkingdom specialized in land warfare, with the Enayctar disappearing, it became the standard name for any Santerran infantry, though despite that, actually sometimes Murmillions are also mounted, especially on light horses. Today the Murmillion bear far more varied equipment than before, the preference still being the sword and shield but now they also sometimes bear halberd and pike. Nowadays the Murmillions are part of the permanent standing forces of the various noblemen from which they oftentimes also draft their bodyguard. What was once just a mere band of mercenary soldiers is in nowadays called the most loyal and professional part of the army.
The Alians were introduced with the decline of Santerran army sizes due to the heavy demands of their navy. The Alians are local militia forces drafted by a local lord in case of an attack. In difference to the former citizen forces however it is now the lord or city that provides the armour and weaponry for the soldier. As these men are only trained once a year and only called upon when the Santerran lands themselves are in immediate danger their quality can be only called decent. They're more there to put muscles on the bone while the Murmillions are the true backbone of the Santerran army now.
Nowadays the term Frathra is more a social rank than a military one. While they still provide the heavy cavalry and are still trained for war all their lives, the Frathras spent the majority of their lives to care for their lands. As a social class they also began to become a mediator between nobility and citizens allowing for various privileges of the nobility being revoked in favour of more rights for the common people. Militarily they still ride their Kyloss horses but their equipment changed pretty much to a lighter and more individual armour for horse and rider. Now the horses only have breastplate and head protection and only sometimes a padding armour to protect other parts of the horse. The primary weapon of the Frathra now is the lance. To a plate cuirass they wear some chain mail and a normal shield. In these regards the equipment of Kassites and Frathra has become pretty much equal. One of the main reasons for cheaper equipment was that the new social role made the Frathra spend more of their income in furthering their lands and not solely for keeping up their military equipment. Despite this seeming decline they're however still a force to be reckoned with, equal to any Kassite horsemen and probably as devastating as any Santharian knight.
Information provided by Koldar Mondrakken