Out in the fields of Terlerston grows a wild rose, the Steel Rose. The steel rose is like none other, a rose of vivid and even reflective steel-gray. But for all its beauty that rose is safe—kept safe by thorns barbed like a fisherman's hook. All admire it. To look is safe, to handle it is to cry. For once they bite the steel rose's thorns do not willingly let go; they tear and rend, and cause pain untold.
Purpose: To safeguard the emperor and his heir-designate, and those few that he favors with his protection.
Fame Level: The Steel Thorns are famous in Rozette for their fierce loyalty to the emperor, and for their unique faith-magics.
Oath: To stop those who threaten our charge, and die for our charge if necessary. To obey the Emperor. To bite like the steel rose!
Identifier: A member of the Steel Rose is easily identified by the brooch they wear, made of steel and shaped like the steel thorn. The most common dress uniform is a steel-gray tunic that reaches to mid-thigh and breeches trimmed in black, and a black sash tied around the waist.
The leader of the Steel Thorns has an equivalent rank of General, though the individual is referred to as Commander. Often the Commander of the Thorns is an adviser to the Emperor on matters of strategy and tactics.
Captains command a unit of 80 guards and report to the Commander and Emperor only. There are only 3 captains at any given time.
Sergeants command a squad of 10 Thorns and report to their Captain; they do not directly report to the Emperor unless they have rendered exceptional service. There are only 36 sergeants in the Steel Thorns.
Thorns are the lowest rank of the Steel Thorns, and there are only 360 guards in the entire guard.
Locations: The Steel Thorn headquarters is located in Dufan, adjacent to the citadel.
To be inducted into the Steel Thorns the individual must first be a trainee Soldier or Templar, and must pass tests to determine their loyalty to the Emperor. Only individuals classified as zealous in their loyalty are considered for the Thorns. Second, the trainee in question must be skilled in at least one weapon but also show potential in faith-magic through either Aighti or Eane. Third, the trainee must not be older than fifteen years of age.
Training takes a minimum of five years, ten if they are inducted near fifteen years in age. During this time all members are taught to mastery in one or two weapons of their choice, and competence in: wrestling, swordplay, archery, staff fighting, and odd weapons such as axes or maces. (The goal is overall competence with any weapon they use, and mastery with their preferred weapons.)
During this time instruction is also given by the priesthood in the faith abilities unique to the Steel Thorns. Should a trainee not gain mastery of these abilities they are mustered out to either soldiery or as a templar, as best suits them.
The Steel Thorns see themselves as a unit more elite than the military, and similar to the Templar but with a different purpose. They hold their word and the honor of the Silver Thorns in high esteem. Traitors and cowards are severely punished. The last thing they wish to do is bother the Emperor, and are taught to be quiet and unobtrusive in his presence.
The Steel Thorns commonly post two-thirds of their forces in the citadel, while the two to four squads are kept near the Emperor at all times. The remaining squads are usually on leave, or individually assigned to a noble or royal the Emperor has designated.
Common Faith-based Abilities:
If in danger a trainee may call their squad mates to them by touching the steel thorn that they wear and calling for help. The thorns of their squad mates will not only allow the squad to hear what the caller said, but also to have an idea of where they are (up to one hundred yards). The call is not audible to anyone not wearing a thorn or untrained in the Steel Thorns' ways.
The guard can fade mostly from view so that in dim locations the guard is nearly invisible. Running or aggressive movement causes the guard to reappear instantly.
Aighti's Tears (Optional / Uncommon)
Individuals that can master this skill commonly make a rank of captain, as it is in high demand during training. If a training accident occurs or someone is wounded terribly, this skill is needed. Depending on the individual, they may only have the strength to use this skill two or three times in a day.
The practitioner lays a hand upon the wounded individual, prays to Aighti to help his wounded child, and the blood instantly clots in every wound they have. However! if the hand in contact with the wounded individual isn't withdrawn quickly enough, the wounds break out afresh and cannot be stopped; when successfully withdrawn, a sizable blood-red crystal forms on the healer's palm. The crystal is just crystallized blood and has no real value.
This skill only clots the blood.
Thanks to Tarvael for the addition of this order!