Dragons of the East
The Scouts Division
The elite force of the Sazaro military, they are the only ones who conduct forays into the Oleander Forest. Led by Aniko Klaven, they are wholly composed of Enlightened Mortals, God-bloods, and Dragonbloods. While all members of the military are seen as heroes, the Scouts are viewed with overwhelming awe by civilians.
The history of the Scouts goes much further back than most people within Sazaro and Temesne know, but it is standard education to Scouts wishing to be initiated into the group. When [Klaven]] and his sworn brotherhood came to rout Tyrant Dust from the region they were divided on how exactly large the force they were going to face or what the wyld tainted creatures of the area had come up with to thwart the terrestrials in their cause. That was when a wood aspect Weeping Glade an old friend of the future leader of the Dynasty had suggested a forward patrol led by himself with the help of some of the indigenous people of the region. Enlightened mortals and god-bloods that had been renown in their tribes were invited to join him plumbing into the depths of the lunar’s territory. And thus the Scouts Division was born.
Over the years the recruitment methods of The Scouts has evolved to select the best rangers, hunters and pathfinders in the region. No one applies to be a Scout, they are recruited by senior members, who are almost always Dragonblooded members of the Klaven Dynasty. Though just because one is recruited into the order does not simply mean you are a full fledged member. The initiation and trials of membership are how the masters of the Scouts have made sure over the last several hundred years that only the best, most suitable members join their illustrious ranks.
The process the exclusive group goes through to chose a member is a complicated one. First they give consideration first to children of members of the Scouts that are also members of the Dynasty, after that outcast dragonbloods interested in joining the order who have shown prowess in battle (solo and in a hunting/war party) and then everything (one) else. After receiving invitation to test to join the ranks, which much come from a senior member, they are expected to find the Scouts camp without direction within a week. And then the real testing begins…
None have witnessed the trials of The Scouts, or knows what the actual tests are, outside of The Scouts. From Weeping Glade down to the current leader of the group Aniko Klaven all agree and enforce a strict secrecy when it comes to the trials. The rationale obviously is to make sure that prospects cannot “train” to learn how to pass the tests with ease. If pressed, most scouts will agree that what trials they had were different than their cousins or brothers tests. Perhaps this is true, perhaps it is just a way to make those chosen to join the ranks do so without fear. Because one thing is true, many have died before being given the colors of The Scouts Division…and those who wear the colors are some of the proudest members of the order.
The command structure of The Scouts is unique in its implementation. Aside from the Scout Mistress (Master), there are no true senior members who use their time, rank or file as a sign of dominance over other members. Rather they work together as a cohesive unit, hunting as a unified pack or scouting and splitting all responsibility equally. The ranking of the unit works rather as “Those who are better simply do, those who are not better aid.” Orders come down from Aniko Klaven or as requests from surrounding villages or from the Dukes Army directly; The Scouts have never refused a request for aid; because they understand the dangers of The Oleander Forest may strike the Duchy at any time. Generally a single Scout (typically a young, yet proven, member of the group) is sent to first assess the threat or situation and then deal with it or request support if needed. A scout who handles a situation on his own may earn the accolades from the citizens of the Duchy or even from members of the Dukes Army, but if Aniko Klaven or other members feel that the Scout acted out of foolish hubris they are generally given a stern talking to.
One thing stands true with The Scouts though; they are rough riders and have kept the custom of the founder returning from the hunt as a sacred bonding ritual. The celebrations of the Scouts are something of envy to most of the soldiers who serve in the Dukes Army. Of course, these celebrations are largely private to only The Scouts and terrestrial blooded mates of said members. The rumors of grand feasts on rare and exotic beasts, epic ballads and stories, duels between members (always in good fun) showing off mysterious combat techniques learned from wandering Sifus or even an occasional visit from a powerful god wishing to thank The Scouts for cleansing a portion of his purview…The truth is much more solemn; members of the division that are in camp gather under a great tree in the center of the camp at sundown and offer prayer to all the members of The Scouts who have passed away on missions or serving the Dynasty. The prayer always lead by one of the returning Scouts offers food, drink and finally recounts his mission for those at the camp so that all may learn from it. Afterwards, generally drunk and with the blood of the hunt still coursing through their veins is when they can be heard gallivanting through the forest causing the ruckus the people of Sazaro speak of them about.
The primary duty of The Scout Division is of course, forward warning of encroaching entities from The Oleander Forest. Almost every story a young scout learns has to deal with Scouts working to destroy, disband or deescalate some force coming from deep within the Oleander. From beast-men, to wyld tainted barbarians and beasts a Scout always keeps an eye and ear available for signs of trespassers on the Duchy. When a Scout encounters sign a passing or approaching threat, he is expected to report to any superior he may have or, in the event one is not available, investigate further and determine the level of the danger. Wyld Beasts are always to be destroyed as they are unpredictable and dangerous, barbarians are generally scared off or given opportunity to become deep Oleander contacts for the Scouts to rely on and all beast-men are killed on sight their bodies burned as a warning to any others that may be wishing to bring misery to the people of the Duchy. Of course though, Scouts are often asked to take on other tasks (always important ones) such as surveying an area for construction, bring important messages through dangerous territory that message birds cannot deliver or sometimes courtesy checks on wandering groups through the woods (read harass bandits and other unsavory elements). The Scouts are very unpopular with bandits who believe that they lure creatures from the Oleander to attack them (which is true, but mostly to weaken both forces to make it easier for them to handle).
The colors of the Scouts are green and gold, once a Scout is given his cloak he is expected to keep it his entire life. Only replacing it when it is destroyed or beyond repair. Taking another cloak or replacing it out of vanity is generally seen as insulting to group. Also, Scouts tend to keep some sort of trophy from their first Wyld creature kill. In large battles when a contingent of Scouts are present they bear a banner with their colors as well as the crest of the Klaven Dynasty and the Old Realm symbols for Weeping Glade, he who gave the rangers of Sazaro purpose.