Seat of Power
Military Traditions and Tactics
Modern Tribal military tactics are mostly adopted from the natives of Kanay, who practiced horse archery. When Kanay was invaded in the Second Era, the Bhadrani infantry forces suffered heavy casualties. The Bhadrani generals copied the tactics of the Kanay and even adopted their feudal recruitment structure, exchanging their ordered battalions with ad hoc cavalry and archer units from individual regions.
Free Riders and Land Riders
In Kanay, any farmer can leave his feudal master and become a “Free Rider” if he owns two horses, a bow and light armor. Feudal lords often grant Free Riders land to encourage them to be permanent soldiers, or “Land Riders”. The Bhadrani religion reconciled this practice with their traditional beliefs by equating the Free Rider to the “People of Merit” from the book of Ihraba. Free Riders are the theoretical basis for the middle class. Merchants, scholars, and other such people who do not wish to be tied down will become ordained as Free Riders, although if they do not engage in combat, they are referred to as “Empty Saddles”.
Free Riders are the most important component of any Bhadrani army. Armed with the recurve bow and riding swift horses, they can shoot down and outrun infantry and heavy cavalry, and then charge in with their flails to kill or capture the survivors. Armies composed entirely of Free Riders have the ability to travel sixty miles in a single day, while ordinary armies can only march ten. This gives them unparalleled strategic mobility, and their foes find that they have no choice but to fortify every settlement or train horse archers of their own.
Free Riders are often judged based on their individual merit as warriors, and they often compete in tournaments to entertain the public and keep their skills sharp. The best warriors have mastered the flail, bow, horse and martial arts equally. Specialists are often looked down upon if they are lacking in one of these areas, although horsemanship is by far the most important skill.
Membership in the Horseman’s Lodge is considered vital for true Free Rider warriors, which officially distinguishes them from the noncombatant Empty Saddles. Ordainment in this organization is restricted to those who have completed “the Proving”, a quinquennial tournament where warriors are tested to ensure they are still fit for battle, and to induct new members. A tattoo of an animal (one of ten, corresponding to the tournament number in the fifty year cycle) is applied to proven warriors.
Below is an image of a typical Free Rider. Their dress and armor are a synthesis of traditional Kanay and Bhadrani Imperial styles.
To fill the ranks of Bhadrani armies, the peasant footmen are often called upon to aid in battle. Most peasants are decently skilled with the bow, and so they operate primarily as archers. Those who cannot afford or use a bow bring whatever weapons they can muster, including clubs and farm implements. Because they are not paid for their service, footmen are only expected to fight in between planting and harvesting seasons, and would likely revolt if kept on campaign for too long.
Below is a peasant footman in warm season garb.
The Warrior Maidens are a traditional force from the Second Era. Bhadrani jurists were debating over the place women would serve in society, as traditional views had come under challenge from two recent events: the legendary female warrior Inerva, and the recently established Ihraban sect of female scholars. A consensus was reached that some women are bound to have the souls of men born into them by accident, causing them to rise above and beyond their contemporaries. These women were forbidden to marry or raise their own children for fear of improper role-modeling, but they were allowed to serve as warriors for the Bhadrani Temple.
While they often adopt the Free Rider military ethos, Warrior Maidens are more likely than others to practice innovative combat styles.