The wastes, containing the druj and marchbeast?, among other monsters not yet discovered, are carefully watched over by the armed forces. Most soldiers, however, act as police and peacekeeping officers in the cities. Army forces also stop rebellions and uprisings against the King (though these are very rare) and are called upon for protection on exploration missions with the Navigational Exploration Society.
The Army is closely tied with the Viramarga, on whom it relies for much of the training of new recruits, and especially of officers. It is often assumed that someone attending schooling from the Viramarga, and to a lesser extent, the Cela, will join the Army once his training is complete.
The Army is probably significantly larger than it needs to be for its tasks, citing reasons like the mystery of what may lie deep beyond in the wastes, though some consider the continual standing army to be more of a threat than anything outside might be.
The Army is based around the company as its fundamental organizing unit. A company notionally consists of roughly a hundred men — and/or women, or Pasu! It is is commanded by a Captain, a royal official with broadly defined authority and freedom to operate. The captain’s authority is in turn delegated to various lieutenants, while enlisted personnel are led by NCOs. Within a company, there is generally a fairly high degree of commonality in terms of training, equipment, dress, rank markings, organization, and often regional origin. Between different companies, these can vary much more. Uniforms can be full, highly standardized, and indeed ornate, as with the King’s Company at one extreme, and various irregular units, at the other, those regulation attire may consist of only one or two items of a designated color.
Pay and general funding for some companies is direct from royal funds. Other units are paid from local taxes in the area they’re raised and stationed. In some cases much of a company are not full-time soldiers, and are volunteering their services, or are supported in kind by their communities. Some units exist en cadre, and are made up to strength as required with reservists, or with fresh recruits.
The Army has no centralized training facility. Each company is primarily responsible for skilling-up their own enlistees, but will of course prefer to select those with a good grounding in the desired skill sets. Officers are expected to be reasonably competent to serve as such at time of obtaining their commission, though bumbling children of well-placed citizens have been known to obtain lieutenancies. In “civilized” companies, there is a fairly strong class distinction between officers and other ranks, and promotion between them is rare — but not unknown. Soldiers will often have gained experience in the tribes, city militias, and especially for officers, the Helio Corps of Cadets or Viramargan training, either in Basho or with private tutors. There is also a somewhat grandly titled Army Academy, but this is a rather small class in Serendipity that studies tactics and doctrine in rather abstract terms.
Most enlisted personnel serve their whole careers with a single companies. Sometimes officers are transferred between different companies, especially to fill specialized staff roles. Companies that levy primarily from tribal Pasu often have line officers that are “up from the ranks”, but assisted by urban staffers who have the often thankless task of pointing out the “by the book” way of doing things.
Weaponry and other kit is somewhat standardized within companies, but very little otherwise. In most cases soldiers supply their own equipment, but in recent years Naraka? has been contracted to supply some items in bulk, notably machine-woven greatcoats, and the model 19 musket, which is now the standard armament for several units, and a common sidearm in many others, as is the model 15 musket pistol.
The Advocate War has been traumatic for the Army. Loss of effective central authority, not to say lives, has led to many units either returning to barracks to regroup, or to almost entirely demobilize. Its ability to act effectively — much less in any unified way — to current chaotic political developments remains to be proven.
While most soldiers have gone home, joined mercenary companies, or assimilated themselves into the the guard force of various settlements around Loka, a number of ‘Loyalist’ companies persist, clinging to various military outposts and fortifications. Although divided, they share a common and sometimes fervent devotion to their fallen monarch, and wish to see the old order restored.