Falkensburg Guard

Semper Fortis, Semper Iustis
- motto carved above the door of the Old Barracks Tower

Sic Omnia Mutatis
- graffiti painted below


As the oldest continuously existing institution in the city, it must come as no surprise that the Falkensburg Guard is a near-perfect representation of the civic character at any given time. It has been, by turns, unprofessional and thuggish shortly after its founding during the Mercenary Revolt of 412, officious and inflexible during the Bauersheim Rising and murderous during the reign of Judge Konstantin Fenner. Nonetheless, it has always retained the trait for which it was founded: blind, unquestioning obedience to at least one representative of civil authority.

Foundation

Following the quelling of the Mercenary Revolt, it was decided by the then-ruler of the area, Dowager Princess Ludmilla, that the Guard be maintained as a standing force dedicated to "the maintenance of good order and proper conduct". As unconventional as a standing body of men-at-arms was in those barbarous times, her successor, Prince Elias, was to go a step further. His decree that the Guard should swear oaths of loyalty to the City of Falkensburg, rather than to him personally as its ruler, was simultaneously the wise action of a ruler dedicated to the growth of a truly independent city and a moronic decision by a man who was not, and would never be, a sure judge of human character. The ability of the Guard to shift its allegiance among the various civic figures and power blocs with the justification that each new patron was better able than the last to properly rule the city has been directly linked to the ,among many other civic crises.

Efficacy

The Guard has something of a reputation for corruption and incompetence, both within the city and without. While it is true that, in strict numerical terms, it has been involved in more scandals, backed more dictators and allowed more dangerous criminals to escape justice, it must be remembered that the Guard has been in existence for over three centuries longer than any comparable institution. The Daily Incompetence Index developed by Captain Obermann shows the daily probability of a massive screw-up by the Guard as being 0.084, only slightly above the regional average of 0.079.

It is notable that, despite a history chequered with bribery, patronage, betrayal and at least two assassinations, the Guard has never attempted to take direct control of the city for itself. This may make it, perversely, the most politically neutral of all the civic factions.

Structure

The organisational arrangements of the Guard have, naturally enough, varied over time. Currently, the Guard consists of three Arms. The Handel Arm, once the largest and most influential, oversees the Copper Road trade, investigates cases of fraud and enforces related laws such as the Extraordinary Conveyances Act. The Personlich Arm provides night and day patrols of residential areas, and investigates (at least in theory) offences involving violence. Finally, the smaller Eigentum Arm is responsible for theft, vandalism and (since the Great Fire of 755) the Rauchgesetze.

The Three Arms of the Guard are fiercely territorial with regard to their particular jurisdictions, and cases that cross these (for example, a murder stemming from a particularly heated haggling session) have a tendency to become bogged down in bureaucratic infighting. It has been suggested by some that this is a deliberate attempt by parties unknown to ensure that their activities (involving a mixture of commerce, real estate and violence) receive minimal Guard attention.

Advisors

Finally, no discussion of the Guard's structure would be complete without mentioning the Advisors. While it was common knowledge that the Guard often took possession of the bodies of notable Commanders, it was less commonly-known that they often acquired, through official or unofficial channels, the corpses of notorious criminals. In an unknown location, under conditions of strictest secrecy, the spirits of these individuals have been bound to their mortal remains, allowing them to serve as a repository of knowledge upon which Guard Commanders and Captains may draw, when necessary. The notion that Guard members may be drawing upon the very particular expertise of Alexander Poppyseed or Iago Cruces y Riviera may be enough to deter many casual miscreants from their actions. The existence of the Advisors was only disclosed by the Guard in 1113, and access is still tightly restricted.

- the Eclecticon

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