1. The Guardianship
    1. Position Details
    2. The Guardians is a Thorineese military group for especially talented and civic-minded citizens. The main idea is that guardians are given intense training in areas that they show promise, in exchange for a commitment to use those skills on behalf of the nation for a certain length of time. Unlike city guards or soldiers, guardians are expected to show a significant amount of initiative, take risks, and "sail for the crown" without excessive direction. Those that do well, usually receive high honors in the ducal or imperial courts.

      The position of guardian is a prestigious one, and it is available only to those citizens of the kingdom who show significant natural potential above and beyond that of the ordinary person. All people applying for the guardianship, regardless of birth rank, must know how to read, show an aptitude for creative and purposeful thought, handle themselves well under pressure, and must have a natural talent in their chosen field. They must also be charismatic enough to set an example for the people they will be protecting.

      The application process begins on January 1st every year in Maceda, and goes on for two weeks, during which time the applicants are put through a number of tests of intelligence, physical abilities, leadership and teamwork skills and so on. In addition, applicants who show the most promise are tested in their chosen profession by tribunals of the nation's "guardianship" alumni. The twelve most talented applicants from each region are invited to enter the guardianship program.

      Once an applicant accepts the position, they are plunged into a 24-month training program. The first year of which is a skill improvement course, in which they study under some of the nation's best teachers. For some of the more complex skills, students are even sent to other countries for their tutoring. One especially promising mage was even sent to the Orlene in the West region to study with Myrandil of Blackstar.

      The second phase of training is a one-year study of national law, military policy and political issues. It includes travel to the major cities in each of the six duchys, and to many strategic or significant locations that are not within city boundaries. Each student is also specifically taught about the duchy to which he is being assigned. At the end of the two years, students are returned to Maceda and are given four weeks in which to travel to their new homes. This four week period, in addition to travel time, is a combination of duty leave and a chance to handle any personal business before the time of service begins.

    3. Terms of Service
    4. Those citizens who choose to join the guardians are given training in their chosen profession from the best tutors available. In most cases, this training is with national experts and is sufficient to place the students in the second rank. In some cases, however, applicants have advanced several ranks in the first year. In any case, the tutors provided are such that the applicant will learn at the maximum possible rate, to increase their value as guardians.

      When the two-year period of training is complete, the students begin a four-year term of service to the nation. Those guardians not specifically assigned to duty with the crown are assigned to a duchy. Generally, the guardians remain with a single duchy for the duration of their term, although they are occasionally transferred or traded by the Dukes, for various reasons.

      In any case, the location of service and the duties performed are not the choice of the guardians. They are servants of the nation, and must do as they are ordered. For 60 of the 72 in each year, instructions come from the Duke. The other twelve report directly to the king. Their duties take the form of routine work when nothing is going on, and mean special missions when situations arise.

      Groups of guardians from a given area are given the use of a single house at the start of their time of service, and are expected to use that as their base of operations for the remainder of their time. They are provided with food, special uniforms for ceremonial occasions, and normal equipment on an as-needed basis. In addition, they are paid a salary of at least 50 sp.'s a week for personal expenses and entertainment.

      The guardianship does not officially provide any days off, as the job requires the person to be on call at all times. However, the usual workweek is 40-60 hours with at least one day off. The duke may occasionally grant a few days of leave, if he feels that a particular person has earned it.

      At various times over the four-year period, the duke must have his guardians evaluated, for possible field training. This evaluation comes at least once every three months, and results in onsite tutoring and advancement. A guardian may petition for earlier evaluation if he feels he is ready. The granting of such a petition is at the discretion of the Duke, however.

      The most important term of the guardianship contract is that the position is non-revocable for the five years from the date on which the guardian completes his skills training. Like military service, the duties and status may vary over time, and many liberties may be granted for good service. Under it all, however, is the fact that a guardian must remain in that position until his time of service is up. Attempting to leave early is considered military desertion and is handled with no leniency.

      The other significant term is that once somebody has joined the guardianship, they are required to make their whereabouts known for the remainder of their lives. This is because of the special "reserve duty" clause, which allows the king to recall former guardians for matters of vital national security. Although this is rare, it does come up and failure to appear when summoned may also be considered military desertion.

    5. Duties
    6. The duties of a particular guardian vary significantly from person to person, and depend largely on their aptitude, skills and position. Some typical duties include militia training, security analysis, research assistant and specialized guard. The special duties include everything from dealing with darkfolk to diplomatic missions and rescue operations.

      Special duties are at the request of the Duke, or an appointed representative, and take precedence over any and all other duties, plans or standing orders. While on special duty, members of the guardianship are sometimes awarded the rank of "special officer," which gives them the right to lead enlisted military personnel on the mission.

    7. Rewards
    8. As mentioned above, members of the guardianship are given room, board, equipment and a salary of 50 sp.'s a week. In addition, they may receive letters of commendation, medals, promotion, national recognition, and other forms of notice. Bonuses, raises, and other forms of material award usually accompany such awards.

      Guardians are also given "second rights" to anything found while on duty. This means that the guardian may claim any ownerless treasures or money, unless the Duke or King lay claim to it. (Generally, this only happens for excessively valuable or important finds.)

      On some occasions, guardians have been awarded national titles, land and other high honors. In fact, some of the most prosperous knights of the realm began as guardians, and were awarded land and title for their outstanding service.

      In addition, after the period of service is over, former guardians are entitled to wear a special ornament at official functions. They are often offered positions within the national government or are asked to become tutors and tribunal members for finding and training the next generation of guardians.

    9. Advancement

Guardians start off their term of service as "guardians." This is an honorable position in and of itself, and gives much prestige to those who hold it. While it is not required, most citizens use the expression "guardian" as a title, just as "Sir" or "Lord" would be.

Beyond the rank of guardian, there are four levels of advancement:

Generally, a Lead Guardian is paid a wage of at least 100 silver per week and is given his own room within the house. Leave is still at the will of his superiors, but a one-week minimum is traditional. In addition he is given a special insignia for his dress and work uniforms. The title of a Lead Guardian remains the same—guardian.

A Senior Guardian will be at least the fifth rank in his chosen field, and will generally have been promoted to Lead Guardian at some point, though this is not mandatory. There are any number of Senior Guardians reporting to the Duke at any one time, but normally there will not be more than one or two per town—except in the main city of the Duchy.

A Senior Guardian is normally paid at least 1000 silver a month, plus a housing allowance of up to 500 additional silver a month. In addition, a senior guardian is granted 30 days of leave per year. A senior guardian is given a modified version of both the dress and work uniforms. He is also given a title of "Junior Officer" in his majesty’s military, so that he can get the help of the military, if needed. The title of "guardian" remains the same, however.

A Master Guardian is in charge of overseeing all guardian activities for the region, as well as coordinating any activities with guardians of other regions, or working on joint ventures will the military or city guard.

They are paid at least 2500 silver a month, plus the use of a house on ducal property. They are further awarded the registered title of "Sir" and the military title of "Group Commander." They are also issued a special uniform, which is worthy of their rank.

To reach this position, someone must have reached the ninth rank in their field, as well as providing superior service in the role of Master Guardian.

An Imperial Guardian is paid at least 5000 silver a month, plus grant of a property. They are awarded the registered title of "Lord" and the military title of "Field Commander."

Among the Imperial Guardians, it is possible for one of them to be given special recognition. This recognition comes in the form of the title "Lord Guardian of the Realm" which sets him as the highest ranking Guardian in the nation of Thorin. This rank provides no additional pay or benefits, but is used as a formal title during introductions, and when the Guardian has left the service, is kept in modified form.

    1. Problems

If there are problems with guardians, such as failures on missions, formal complaints by townsfolk, or attempts at desertion, the Duke has the right to act as he sees fit. He may decide on the level of guilt himself, may appoint a military court marshal, or may ask one of his judges to pronounce sentence. Punishment may take many forms, including: bad work details, removal of rights, removal from all duties, removal from the guardianship or even jailing, banishment or death.