Bog's World

Altogether elsewhere

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Jalee are the professional foot soldiers of the empire. In terms of doctrine and employment they are the descendants of the Perrenland’s pike and crossbow schiltrons. Jalee are organised on guild lines, having apprenticeships where small boys join a ‘band’ and live in barracks environment. They are fed and accommodated but not paid. Their life consists of learning the arts of combat, the skills of equipment husbandry and craft of campaigning far from their base. Journeymen fight in the pike block. In some places this is like the Perranic mail clad schiltron and in other warmer climes it may be the linen or leather cuirassed phalanx. Eventually the journeyman is allowed into the supporting arms, crossbowman, ballistae or sapper. The master craftsman are the trainers and leaders of Jalee bands.

Keeping a Jalee band is expensive. Most bands number nearly a thousand men and there may be no more than a dozen in the empire, but they form the backbone of the imperial army. All of them are financially backed by noble houses, but are run as commercial concerns. Those that have survived into the late Pax Plat are entirely self supporting but of course rely on their noble patronage for both employment and protection from the crown itself.

A Jalee warband is a closed society. The process of warfighting in the empire belongs to the ilin and the Jalee. The ilin is insulated from the populace by being mounted. The Jalee live apart. They are not tied to any community. They live communally and do not marry or even openly conduct romantic relationships whilst they are Jalee. They do not keep pets. Most warbands live a spartan life in strictly regimented barracks. Their loyalty to each other knows no bounds.

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