Heroes of the New Day
"Honor Among Warriors" by Titus Imperius
I write this many years after I have laid down my sword and taken up the role of governing a nation. However, Kord knows that my blade has seen its share of battles, and that, Ioun willing, I can impart some Knowledge about the way of the warrior to any who might read these pages. I do not claim to be the absolute authority on any of this, but I pray that my words may help to guide you and your fellow soldiers to victory.
Much of the book is a treatise on how to manage soldiers with civility, how to inspire them to fight for a cause that matters, and how to see them as more than just expendable resources in a war campaign. The book itself is maybe 100 pages long (rather short, as tomes go), and the language is common and accessible (and also written in Common). It also has an undertone of socialist ideology that transcends the military, frequently seeming to suggest that class distinctions ought not to exist. It contains the following passages:
War is the great equalizer. All men are equal in battle and death. It matters not how royal the blood… it spills just the same under enemy attack.
If you are a commander, you will have to send boys to their death. This is neither threat nor prophesy: it is a fact. If you have treated them justly, however, they will not begrudge you this. This is little consolation to their families and loved ones, nor to you, through the many pained nights after their deaths when their faces may haunt your dreams. Know this: soldiers die. This is a fact of every war. The difference is how they were allowed to live before they died. Did you avoid their dirty tents as you dined in splendor, or did you eat with them and share in their stories of the homes they longed to return to. Did they fight in squallor without shoes or armor while you sat atop your destrier clad in golden regalia… or did you do your best to see that they had the tools they needed to succeed? Did you command their deaths from a safe distance, or did you join the charge? Many officers turn to heavy drinking to drown their sorrows, but if you treat your men properly, you can share a pint with the memories of men whose spirits will respect you. You cannot change war, but you can change how we treat those willing to wage it.
Army management is about relationships, and this applies to your enemies as well. If the commander of the enemy forces rules with fear, then removing the source of that fear or belittling it will weaken their forces. If the enemy uses large beasts of battle, know that there must be handlers who manage them and move them to fight. A warbeast without a handler is a foe to any near it, and you can disrupt many assaults with a few well-placed arrows.
Undead are an abomination, of that I needn’t remind you. But undead forces on the battlefield can easily send armies fleeing in terror. Be wary of necromancers who can cause fallen soldiers to rise up against their former battle brothers. Many clerics will know simple rituals to protect your men’s bodies should they fall, and you should consult with your men about this. No one wants to walk after death, and often your men will willingly submit to these rituals if the facts are explained. Different faiths have different types of rituals, and some are more severe than others. The simplest involve charms that prevent necrotic power from touching the body from which they are hung. Others simple prevent a body from ever rising again after death. I am wary of this one, though I know that most soldiers cannot afford resurrection, nor will the gods necessarily allow it. This is yet another of the impossible choices you will need to make while commanding troops.
If singular combat is possible, it is often more desirable than open warfare between armies. While many foes may cheat in a battle of commanders, the option to slay an enemy’s commander (or his greatest warrior) presents the opportunity to win a battle for the morale of both armies.
Back to BOOKS