At each promotion, including that from recruit to private, a guardsman is assigned a name that his peers and superiors have deemed fitting of his particular skills. These names are nearly always two words, and the 'Guard Name' is place after the 'Personal Name.'
Some naming examples:
Seeranis of Sapphos Hold became Seeranis Wellshot on receiving Private rank, based on the fact that instructors often commented 'Well shot!' during his archer practices. However, upon promotion to Guardsman, he was redubbed Wordweaver, on the basis of the fact that no twelve Turn old should be able to convince a Corporal into rescinding his explusion from the guard based on words alone.
Harana Trueblade received her name at birth in honor of her deceased father, the former General Alekto Trueblade.
Irahze Truthseeker will let nothing stop her from getting the full story, regardless of whether or not she must use her abilities as a HAD.
Dryad Fleetmask was redubbed Skywise upon her impression of the White Lake wyvern Ghost. This change of name did not coincide with a promotion, surprisingly, but with a change in Corps; from commanding footsoldiers to the Wyvern Corps.
Gigyas Icethought was redubbed Icethought upon his death.
Though the Guard is not limited to men, the vast majority of Guard members are male. The average age for Guard acceptance is four, though children as young as two and old as ten can be accepted. Children younger than six usually are part of the "Orphan Brigade", and they are usually tasked with hauling water and helping with chores. Children older than seven at first lesson will rarely catch up with the others, and will remain at 'private' rank for their entire lives.
Acceptable recruits must be healthy. Anything that may cause them to be disqualified from candidacy will result in result in disqualification from the Guard. In fact, the standards for the Guard are even stricter than candidacy. Any form of deformity is a sign of weakness, and will not be tolerated. There is a preference for boys with pretty faces, and notably hideous boys may be banned from parades or assemblies, for the sake of the Guard.
Male recruits are much more common than female recruits. This is because females that fit the qualifications are often considered for candidacy. However, females related to Staren Guard members may take part in unofficial training (which is basic combat training with less beating).
Some teenage and adult Staren recruits do exist, but they are mostly foot soldiers. These foot soldiers are prohibited from wearing the traditional uniform and are perhaps the only recruits seen as entirely expendable. Teenage Staren recruits are mostly failed candidates, whose lack of experience puts them at a severe disadvantage when one considers how long the average members have been at practice.
Wyverns were first discovered by the Guard, and have subsequently remained almost entirely in their control. Any person who manages to obtain a Greater Wyvern should expect to be closely watched by guardsmen for the rest of their lives, if not simply recruited outright.
There is a corps in the guard dedicated to wyvern riders, and due to the unfortunate fact that the majority of their members are privates and recruits, being failed dragon candidates who wormed their way into wyvernriding, they may be subject to some mockery. Fortunately, the can expect a reasonable defense to be rallied by their corporal, Dryad Skywise. If she can be persuaded.
While it is also reasonable and possible for a true guard member, eg a Guardsman or a Corporal, to impress wyvern, the majority of them will avoid the situation, based in no small part on prejudice against dragonriders. This prejudice will no doubt ease, however, since General Lovewell recently impressed a Greater Seraphim Wyvern.
Some Helpful Reminders
- Though many have varying opinions of Lovewell, general opinion is that if you disrespect him, you will be punched.
- The Staren Guard is HIGHLY disciplined. They are human and do have tempers, but they are more in control of them. Even guardsmen with notoriously over-emotional reputations, such as Wordweaver, are known for their ability to 'tun on guard mode' and become nothing short of perfectly controlled automatons.
- Guardsmen stationed in the Weyr should be prepared for constant and unyielding harassment. They aren't wanted there. However, guardsmen in the Holds may expect considerable respect.
- Understand that a Guard member has probably killed a man before.
- Guard officers are only available for purchase from the marks shop. They cannot be created freely. One must have a 'Dude Looks Like A Lady' pendant in their player inventory.
- Oddly enough, there are plenty of Guardsmen that laugh at those that they protect. Fear of the North, fear of the seas… The Guard is known to bend these to their advantage, all while laughing.
- While the vast majority of Weyrfolk and Holders outside of Yeskith have no idea how to swim, guardsmen all do.
- Most cannot stand riders, because the Weyr has disallowed major Staren access to the Weyr for years under the admittedly flimsy excuse that, in an attempt to keep the Guard's ranks healthy, they could not allow "their protectors" to run the risk of submitting the dragonlust from an unexpected flight.
- And there's the fact that riders tend to use their dragons as an excuse for being better.
- Lovewell has been General since Alekto Trueblade stepped down eighteen years ago. Lovewell was thirty-six at the time.