“I swear to defend the High King and his people, to bring the crown’s peace to his lands, and to keep my honor until I go the way of all flesh. By what ties me to the Saints, I swear.”
-Oath of the Free Legion
The Free Legion is a mercenary organization with a special status within Ackenzal. Technically, the Free Legion is still pledged to the service of the High King since it was once the First Legion, the soldiers who served directly under the command of Ackenzal’s monarch. When the High King killed his family and exiled himself after the Second Starfall, the First Legion was without leadership, and the sudden grab to the throne among the powerful houses of Ackenzal resulted in mass chaos and warfare within the continent. Many lords vied for the allegiance of the First Legion, it being the best armed and most well-trained military force. The First Legion, while unoathed, began performing actions independent of any lord, such as the defense of Jin Valtori and the seizure of a brigand stronghold in Vesterine. The Marcher Lord refused to sully the memory of the High King by contributing to the chaos within the realm. He reorganized the First Legion into the Free Legion, and with the military might of the Legion he aided the reformers who wished to turn Ackenzal into a constitutional monarchy.
Since then, the Free Legion has become a independent military force within Ackenzal that the Crown-Elect, parliament, and various dukes and minor nobles employ to maintain peace within the continent’s borders. Unlike many other mercenaries the Legion is bound by a code of conduct, and though a Legionnaire can never attain a knighthood in the service of the Legion, many still find the code of conduct as satisfying as the chivalry practiced by the nobles. They are pledged to maintain the peace of the realm, and to serve the High King and the Legion until their death.
The Free Legion accepts recruits from all walks of life. Many are the youngest sons of noblemen who, while trained at arms, would never of the chance to attain honor or land. Since the Free Legion offers amnesty, many criminals join to escape prison or the noose. Women, who cannot find military employment elsewhere in Ackenzal, are accepted into the Legion as soldiers of equal standing (ostensibly) with the men. Many slavebred were sold into the Legion and have since become full members, being able to earn their freedom in service of the Legion. Some claim that runaway slaves used to join the Free Legion, and though this was once a point of contention it is no longer an issue.