The Daen Rangers
The Ranger Order was founded during the early days of the Awakening Era of Allorn History. As Talea and the Avatars of the Gods marched through the south of Daen, several groups of Altalar began to organize themselves into independent heralds, who would move ahead of the armies to announce the arrival of the Allorn Empress, and convince the locals to join the fledgling empire before her arrival. While the success of their missions are varied, what is known is that the leader of these heralds, Ceá’llë, was given recognition by Empress Talea to become a vanguard scouting unit for future expansionary effort of the Allorn Empire. This scouting purpose would be put to use during the Flight of Reason, when the early Rangers provided scouting reports on the movements of the Dewamenet Empire, ultimately leading the Avatars and Talea to defeat and subjugate the Asha race. In the Consolidation Era, the Ranger Order grew into its own, and most practices of the Rangers originate from this era. Using the wilderness to their advantage, Ranger outposts were set up along the borders of the Allorn Empire, while other accompanied Altalar slave vessels to chart the wider world of Aloria. A notable Ranger outpost was set up on Ulvaän, which would be the origins of the Regalian Rangers many centuries later.
Despite the benefits of the Rangers early on in Allorn history, the following Eras would see the Rangers pushed to the wayside. As the Grandening Era began, the Rangers began to grow wary of the degradation of the Faith of Estel, with the rise of various cults leading many in the Ranger Order to begin working with the resistance movements, such as the Ciellonians– the proto-Cielothar. By the time of the Blossoming, the Rangers were the only organization safeguarding the Estel temples, which had now grown dormant and unused for decades. This continued into the Mage Wars, when the Rangers fully severed contact from the Altalar urban centers to focus more on safeguarding the natural world from further destruction at the hands of Archmages and cults.
The final chapter of the Daen Rangers occurred around the Cataclysm with the arrival of the Va'sil Trees and Grul-Yanar, who started to punish the Altalar for their negligence, and warning of catastrophe to come. The Rangers were one of the few groups to pay heed to these warnings, and started to slowly patrol the borders of the Allorn Empire once more for signs of decay. As a result, the Rangers would be some of the first to hear about the tearing of the Veil over Drowda, prompting the Fifth Void Invasion. Scouts began to carry the news into the Daen interior but were unable to fully save the empire from its collapse, both externally and internally. While the Demons of the Void struck from the north, various Void cults began to attack the Va'sil groves and murder the remaining Estellian priests in their long-neglected Temples, leading to scores of Rangers falling to protect these places of worship in vain.
Soon after this untold destruction, the Wildering struck the failing Allorn Empire, destroying urban centers and swallowing them up in nature. For the Rangers, this was a sign of divine judgment from Estel, and they began to consolidate their remaining numbers around the Cielothar settlements that were spared from the destruction. For the next three hundred years, the Ranger Order worked alongside the Plains Nelfin, acting much as they had before by providing border patrols for the nature-caring societies.
The Regalian Rangers
The Regalian Rangers started as a Daen Ranger outpost on Ulvaän or Solleria in the modern-day. In their early days, the Regalian Rangers were identical in their practices as their Daen counterparts and would scout the Regalian Empire for future slave raids, often coming into contact with the more militarized Ailor tribes, who slowly began to form minor states to safeguard their numbers. Over the years, however, reduced contact with the Allorn mainland left the Regalian Rangers quasi-independent, which eventually became full independence by the time of the Mage Wars, when the entirety of Solleria lost contact with the heartland. A small band of Daen Rangers would migrate to join up with the Rangers of Solleria, and bring with them ill tidings of the chaos that the Cataclysm had spread. With the Cataclysm and the formation of the Regalian Empire shortly thereafter, the Rangers of Solleria fell in with their Solvaan brethren by joining the new Ailor state, after which the tactics of the Rangers began to be adopted by the Regalians for their expansionary wars across the Archipelago.
During these expansions, the Altalar focus of the Ranger Order was slowly eroded, and soon the Ranger headquarters migrated to Anglia, where prospective members would train in scouting and tracking for the benefit of the Regalian Army. And much like in the ancient past, Rangers would set up forward outposts in the Regalian colonies to provide much-needed intelligence on the world around them. This remains the main objective of the Regalian Rangers today, where they continue to serve as a vanguard unit on the furthest borders of the Regalian Empire.
The Daen Rangers only allow Nelfin into their ranks. While they do allow Kathar and Isldar to join, Kathar in particular are treated with extreme caution, and Isldar are typically seen as suspect due to their association with the Dragons. The Regalian Rangers accept any applicants of any people but hold much of the same general wariness of the Daen Rangers.
The Commander of the Ranger Order (there is one for the Regalian Rangers, and one for the Daen Rangers) is the individual trusted to coordinate the tasks and objectives of the Order. They tend to be the strategic strength of the Order, serving as the nexus point for any information gained by the Order and dispersing it as necessary. They also serve as a Grandmaster or General of their respective armed forces.
The Captains of the Ranger Order are a select few, though there is never a fixed number of them. These are the frontline commanders that tend to lead groups of Rangers into battle in the military, or otherwise organize missions of their own when not called upon in service. Captains tend to be older and battle-tested, and usually have secondary responsibilities that lie outside the Order itself.
The bulk of the Order is simply Rangers, who graduate after several years of training. Unlike many Schools, there is no fixed time it takes to become a fully-fledged Ranger, and indeed, there are no honors or titles to be associated with being a Ranger at all. But they all tend to be marked by their exceptional martial strength and their dedication to the Code of Va'sil Oak.
These are simply warriors that are in training to become Rangers, often taken from the ranks of the military, or as wayward youths. Recruits are taken in based on a series of painful and exhausting physical tests, meant to test the determination of a youth or promising young warrior. The few that go through these tests without dropping or being seriously injured are taken in as Recruits.
Code of Va'sil Oak
The Code of Va'sil Oak is, by its nature, opposed to the idea of a rigid code of ethics. Instead, the values of the Code of Va'sil Oak are loosely based on the ideals of Vigilance, Nature, Freedom, and Strength, but how one goes about representing these ideals is rarely forced. This is part of why Rangers hold no formal honneurs because dealing with a Ranger means dealing with someone committed enough to give their lives for Humanity or for Nelfindom, but also one independent enough to prove difficult to understand, especially if the Ranger in question is not kindly and empathetic.
The idea of constant vigilance is paramount to a Ranger. Any follower of the Code of Va'sil Oak must always be ready to fight or respond swiftly to a threat to their ideals, and as such may never truly be at complete peace. A Ranger must always be ready to oppose overwhelming tyranny and oppression of the weak. Whether it be a terrifying beast or a corrupt politician; a Ranger must be ready to deal with both. To keep one’s mouth shut or remain still in the face of tyranny or incompetence, when their word or actions may affect great change, is severely frowned upon. Even if serving tyrannical leaders, they must strive to steer those around them against despotic ends.
Guardian of Nature
The Rangers of the Code of Va'sil Oak consider the protection of nature to be vital to the flourishing of all life. Therefore, Rangers must always strive to protect nature; from tending small gardens to opposing the careless destruction of forest walls. In ways great and small, a Ranger must strive to protect nature. This is strictly not a religious stance; all Rangers are expected to treat all religions somewhat evenly. The duty of upholding nature comes from both a pragmatic and moral philosophy.
For Honorable Service
To seek the limits of one’s capacity for glory and action. To rest on one’s laurels is a grand crime among Rangers, and thus no Ranger ever truly retires. A Ranger always seeks competition, duty, expansion, mentorship, and exploration whenever possible, to ensure they are always ready to serve and die for their ideals or at least pass on their ways through those they instruct. A Ranger considers comfort and their own lives to be worth sacrificing for the notion of freedom and hope for all living things. As grim as that dedication may seem, Rangers hold kindness and a lack of cruelty in high regard, and those without such control are frowned upon. In seeking to expand their own strength and power, some Rangers will consume herbs and potions meant to push themselves to their physical limitations, although such acts are typically seen as a rare necessity, and frequent or open use of their talents (however gained) is frowned upon.
- Ceá’llë's Grotto is a cave clearing in Daen. While the land itself has often been in turmoil, the secluded clearing is very difficult to pass into due to the varying ledges and winding paths it takes to pass through. As such, even now, it is a place removed from the troubles of the outside world, though its location is a closely guarded secret. There, Daen Rangers are taught in seclusion and quiet to perfect their craft.
- Grunwald Lodge is a grand building in the Northwest of Anglia, itself surrounded by a small forest. The Lodge is one of the older buildings in Anglia and is rumored to have once housed a Dragon temple deep below it, though these rumors are unfounded and refuted by the Commander of the Regalian Rangers often. Regalian Rangers are trained and housed here, though they often travel throughout Anglia to settle local problems.
Both Ranger Orders operated without the knowledge of the other for centuries, but Regalian expansion into Daendroc would lead to a meeting between both groups. As Daen logging companies moved further into the subcontinent’s interior, they began to run into the border patrols of the Avanthar, and by extension the Daen Rangers. As aggression on both sides escalated, the Regalian Rangers were deployed further inland to safeguard the logging companies. In what would become the Ranger Crisis, both the Daen and Regalian Rangers fought against each other alongside the border while the Nelfin and Regalian battled in larger-scale movements. Eventually, however, the conflict would end with the Rangers Treaty, and both the Daen and Regalian Rangers went their separate ways.
Despite the conflict, a minority of both groups desired greater communication between each other and began to migrate between Regalia and Daendroc to exchange ideas and history lost following the Mage Wars. While some progress was made to reconcile both groups, it was ultimately fruitless as further wars between the Regalians and Nelfin led to the Daen Rangers becoming progressively more defensive, focused on securing their borders against Regalian expansionism. This communication line would finally be severed with the rebirth of the Second Allorn Empire, after which the border between the Regalians and Atalar was heavily patrolled. Since then, very little news had been heard about the Daen Rangers. Many believe that they were eradicated by Allorn forces, as some border Ceilothar villages were reportedly converted into military outposts. Some believe that they retreated further inland to the forest interiors, where they continue to harass Allorn encroachment. In either case, very few Daen Rangers have been seen outside of Daendroc in recent times, though some have also opted to journey to Regalia in order to gather more intelligence about the current geopolitical scenario that exists around them
The Regalian Rangers have problems of their own in the present day. While those who train in Grunwald Lodge (the Anglian Headquarters of the Regalian Rangers) tend to be close-knit and fiercely loyal to each other, they are also marked by a strong independent streak that borders on outright stubbornness. Some Rangers focus their efforts on safeguarding the natural world from future destruction at the hands of Mages and cults, some prioritize strengthening the Regalian Crown in the hopes it can oppose future calamity, and some believe that Rangers who hold such lofty goals are wasting their time when they ought to focus on their martial training and earning some coin along the way. Further still, religious divides within the Regalian Rangers are deep. A contingent of Dragon Worshippers has gained prominence over the last few years, though most tend to remain pure Unionists, or simply unaffiliated with any ideology that is not of their own making. The Regalian Rangers hold no honors recognized on their training alone, and in fact, are often shunned in comparison.
- Rangers have no set religion, being one of the few organizations to purposely view most Religions equally (though they have a common distaste and mistrust for Void Worshippers). With that said, many Rangers tend to serve or work with established religious organizations, such as Dragon Worshippers and Unionist sects, even while never being fully among them.
- It has been rumored that other Ranger Chapters have and currently exist, although no proof has been made publicly available. This has not stopped fanciful stories of Dwarven Rangers keeping vigil over the underground tunnels beneath Ellador, or Sihai Ranger-Monks that travel the world in search of dangers.
- It is theorized that the earliest Rangers in the Allorn Empire were purposely kept distant from a seat of power to ensure a counterbalancing force to unchecked tyranny from the Crown, but this has rarely come to pass over recorded history. Similarly, there are rumors the first Regalian Rangers were themselves descended from a line of ancient Ailor-Altalar peoples that splintered from the Allorn Empire and fled to the Northeast, but these rumors are unproven.