The Juniss are as old as the Serpent King. They have retained their standing as the King’s personal protectors with the sole right to bear arms in his presence as a unit.
The unit is small, barely 500 strong. All its leaders, without exception, are high-noble born. Service is much sought after; recognition of service opens up all doors within the Serpent Kingdom.
The other ranks and non-commissioned officers of the unit are recruited widely. But the Juniss only accepts the best of recruits from all walks of life, and therefore screening is very tight and often brutal, sometimes fatal. All who pass the Recruit acceptance phase then partake in the Initial Recruit Training.
The training is extremely rigorous and very demanding. Not just the martial arts are taught, but also the best arts of life are taught so that all who pass are more than capable of dealing with any manner of threat – open or otherwise.
Of the many who join the annual intake barely 5% make it the acceptance stage. From this select group, there are the final tests or Courses. Only 1% make it through. Then, and only then, are they accepted into the unit where they receive a badge – an enamel floral design which is the symbol of an opening flower. It represents the sign of awakening or growing awareness.
Ranks within the Juniss are basic and few:
- Corlvyra – Head of the unit. Usually titled noble. Deals primarily with the King, his Court of Councillors and everyone else wanting access to the ruler. Leaves the daily routine and training to his deputies (the Alvyras).
- Alvyra – Leader of one of the five Hundreds (Centuries). Very capable field commanders. Responsible for the daily training and administration of the Juniss as a whole Cer. The senior Alvyra is deputy to the Corlvyra, and is known as Alvyra-mouhr.
- Valvyra – Leader of Twenty (Scoritae). There are five in each Hundred. The senior ranked Valvyra also carries the title of Valvyra-muohr (Deputy)
- Ensign – Junior leader of five (or Hand). Lowest commissioned rank.
Favoured weapons used – the long spear or heavy pike, the battle axe, the battle sword (a simple functional fighting sword, unlike their more usual ceremonial curved blades), the lasso, the bow and crossbow, and the chains (a variety of blade or bludgeon weapons attached to chains). They are also trained in the arts of Water fighting, an unarmed systems common to the River kingdoms.
Each Century is also trained in mounted and maritime duties.
This involved and detailed training makes the Juniss a formidable force to deal with. Certainly amongst their known neighbours, they are widely regarded and respected as worthy foes, not to be trifled with. Their past record attests to this. Numerous times, they have almost been wiped out fulfilling their role of protecting their ruler. But they always seem to bounce back from extinction.
Recruiting is widespread throughout the kingdom but strictly confined to citizens of the realm. No outsiders.
Turnover is low because service in the Juniss practically guarantees a life of both privilege and opportunities. But discipline is also strict and often brutal.
© 2017 L. Tafa