Established during the upheavals that Arangoth has gone through during the partitioning of the nation between Arlok and the loyalists to the regent, but then the Noble Council, the Border Watch has grown from the ashes of its previous incarnation, Gerrath Weston's Border Patrol.
Jaonos Mistwinter, a noted ranger and former captain of the Royal Guard, had taken on the unofficial mantle of reorganizing the Border Patrol on a provisional basis. This was done in recognition of the Assi attempting to take lands from Arangoth without opposition and from the Ruthmarnan bandits in the north.
Where the former Border Patrol had consisted of mounted patrols, Mistwinter's experience was that of the traditional elven ranger and his recruitment of experienced rangers reflected the new direction the organization was to take. No longer a grouping of mounted patrols, it was to become far more widespread, independent and responsive to the conditions it was to operate in. This required the skills of rangers who would pass their crafts on to interested recruits.
The requirements are simple. Any that can pass the rigorous physical challenges and who learn properly the Oath of the Watchman and demonstrate an adherence to it's credos are then assigned to experienced members to train and learn on the job, picking up the skills on a master-apprentice level. Be they horsemen, mountaineers, foresters or any other member of the Watch, they learn from those who had come before them, though sometimes they would go in groups under mentors in times of stress.
It was in this growth of the Provisional Border Guard under Jaonos Mistwinter that Marcion ul-Fenduth, a member of the Noble Council based in Drache, recognized the value of the corps and would push for it's funding and recognition as the Arangothian Border Watch. Included in the charter for it by the Noble Council has been a reaffirmment of their area of jurisdiction, which starts where the city-bound Royal Guard ends theirs. In the absence of a standing Army, the Border Watch has become the de facto power as well as the place where ex-legionnaires and ex-Border Patrolmen have gone to, as well as many others. Supplies for the Watch come from the abandoned bases of both organizations.
The Arangothian Border Watch is commanded by Jaonos Mistwinter, whose experience is sufficient and whose reputation is well established enough that he was able to begin recruitment and build up a force. However, despite the upheavals around it, the Border Watch remains firmly in its mission to protect the borders and wilderness and areas without a guard force of its own. There is no standard organization of units within the Border Watch, nor are ranks particularly an issue much of the time.
Border Watch doctrine is to be adept in the fieldcraft and survival skills that a Watchman needs to move with little support from a base for long periods of time. This is the reason why rangers are so suited to work within the Border Watch. The credo of the Watch also suits the considerations of a Watchman, who is traditionally less concerned with law than with justice and what is right. Contrary to a legalistic approach of the Royal Guard in Drache or in the cities, the Border Watch instills an appreciation for basic morality over an appreciation for strict legality.
A Border Watchman is recognized by the call medallion they wear beneath their clothing, which they can produce upon being challenged. It bears the sigil of the Arangothian Border Watch on a silver background. The symbol is a mountain lion upon a rock, with the words "My honor shall remained unstained and my loyalty steadfast." engraved on the back of it in the Arangothian tongue.
Training emphasizes all of this, including the moral aspects, and specific training in weapons, their care, animal husbandry, tracking, cooking, climbing and swimming to recruits that might not know how to do so. Just as importantly, recruits are taught how to rely on each other and are given the first taste of fraternity and loyalty within the structure of a training regimen which prepares them for more specialized craft training which will ensue as they are sent to more far-flung posts.
The current bases out of which the Border Watch works from are as follows, with a brief description of their environs and their functions.
The current main post of the Border Watch, where recruits are assigned and given their first training. A good amount of meat comes through this post and into the nearby city of Drache. It is on the river Darian, a little North of Drache itself.
The Border Watch's second most active post is in the region of Bralk Lakrath and it's surrounds, bordering with Arlok's domain, where it is said that the Watch is preparing to hold off bandits that have halted their raiding seasons for the moment. The expectation of the Border Watch is to be on hand in case the bandits were to begin pillaging again. It is well known that Arlok's intensified efforts against the bandits have made Southern Arangoth far more vulnerable to such an attack.
The Border Watch in this region operates off of horseback, and in larger groups than most of the other regions. This most resembles Gerrath Weston's old Border Guards in form and indeed this is where a large majority of the veterans of his service have ended up. However, ex-army cavaliers and others also are known to staff this group. It is unlikely that they are geared to repel an invasion from Arlok, because they are equipped to deal in speed; one of the requirements for chasing and catching bandits. Weapons and armor tend to go along the lines of light lances and spears, short bows and horse bows, curved horseback-wielded swords, and leather armor.
Gathritana itself is a tiny village with a large barracks that stables many horses and other mounts, such as a small number of griffons that are the only griffons the Border Watch has. However, a series of stables at hostels in various villages serves as stopover posts for the mounted Watchmen in this region, and arrangements have been made with the recent funding to insure that a band of Watchmen have a place to stay and to stable their horses in the towns. For this reason, among others, Gathritana is considered a fairly soft post, save by the griffon riders and others who are called to all regions of Arangoth for all manner of missions. Gathritana Watchmen are known to be somewhat rakish and consider themselves casanovas. They are not the most liked of Watchmen in the community, but they are more socially adept than many of the Watchmen in the ranks for a variety of factors listed above.
Poised in the Sresar Vale, with mountains surrounding and streams running through it, the Shatral post is rugged and picturesque, beloved of the rough Watchmen who man the post there and patrol the lands. Because of the landscape, horseback patrols are impossible and so pairs of Watchmen undertake the patrols on foot, generally. Patrols are also done in small watercraft hollowed out from the trunk of a tree that carry a few Watchmen and some supplies up and down the rivers and streams that run through the region. Climbing and swimming and knowledge of living in rugged terrain are a requirement for those that would take the challenge of Shatral. Physical strength and endurance are a premium in these lands. Even the Sresar Vale itself is subject to a rough terrain and erratic weather patterns. Patrols are self-reliant and are small in number and on foot. However, some pack animals are used from time to time. Flying patrols from Gathritana often come over this area to assist in the duties of the Watchmen stationed here. It is noted that the Watchmen stationed here leave the post, if they ever do, toughened and leathery. Shatral is known to house some of the toughest and most experienced Border Watchmen, as well as the least socially capable.
The newest post of the Arangothian Border Watch, this is where the majority of newer recruits are sent. It is an intermediary and temporary post on the edge of the Elgar Forest, intended to be an intensive training conducted by experienced rangers to bring their charges into the skills and lore of the profession. Patrols are conducted on foot and in small groups. Because the Elgar forest is fairly dangerous in terms of it's inhabitants, it is considered a proper setting to give new Watchmen the indoctrination they need in the skills of fieldcraft before they are sent further up to Hoganth.
This post is the most active in the Watch, being the staging point for the planned activities taken against the Assi, and this is where sufficiently trained Watchmen as well as the most experienced Watchmen not involved in training are sent up to. The nature of the enemy dictates that the patrols are conducted the same way the Assi conduct themselves, which is to say that they move on foot. However, the hand of Jaonos Mistwinter's training shows through in that there is a blend of elven and non-Assi human rangering tactics mixed in as well. What patrols occur in this region are oriented towards gathering information and troop movements on all sides rather than actually moving against the Assi at this point.
Ranks of the Border Watch
(In the case of equal rank conflicts, seniority is considered until the grievance can be brought to a higher ranked Watchman.)
Recruit Watchman - This rank is only used in Slifrahorna and is what is assigned to the new Watchmen. Promotion occurs at the end of a training period at Slifrahorna, if the potential Watchman has survived the training regimen. Experienced persons are able to skip this stage.
Acolyte Watchman - Standard rank for a Watchman. In patrols, they are the junior partners, with an experienced Watchman.
Senior Watchman or Watchman Instructor - The former is used in the field, the latter in training posts. Most common rank in command of patrols in the Gashritana post.
Master Watchman - Highest rank out on patrols. Lower ranks can also be paired with Acolyte Watchmen for patrols.
Watchpost Commander - The commander of a regional post is assigned this rank. Below this rank, there are no limits on how far a member can rise in the ranks. Once Master Watchman is reached, there is a limited number of posts to command. Provisional posts can be established as well, so this number can change. Under a Watchpost commander are a staff to help in managing the post, what little management that might be needed. The sudden assumption of responsibility and logistics and even political considerations makes this an undesireable promotion for some Watchmen.
Border Watch Commander - Top Rank in the hierarchy, occupied currently by Jaonos Mistwinter.