Princes of Middelburg

Last Wednesday we looked at the Prince who ruled over the execution of the law. This week we’re look at the Prince who control the might and power of Alfresia.

This week’s Prince is the Field Marshal.

This one man controls the entirety of the nation’s military. The Navy, the Marines, the Infantry, the Cavalry, the Artillery and the Provost; all six branches of Alfresia’s military reports directly to the Field Marshal. Nearly every coup, rebellion and revolution has been won or lost depending on which side the Field Marshal fought. In terms of armed personnel, there is no one more powerful than the Field Marshal and he knows this well. It takes a brave, or stupid, man to get on the wrong side of the Marshal.

The military title of “Field Marshal” is an ancient one and stems from Alfresia’s imperial days. When Alfresia was a vassal of the Heavenly Empire of Man, its military consisted mostly of the Imperial Legions drafted from the local populace. The Legions were the Emperor’s way of keeping its territories safe as well as a show of force to its vassals. The Legions were loyal only to the Imperial Throne and so kept the nobles in line. In those days the Marshal was merely the stable master of the Legion and every Legion outpost had one. A civilian rank, the Marshal was little more than a servant to the Legion.

As the years rolled by and the Legion became a more modern fighting force, the Marshal was brought out of the stables to care for the horses out on the field, ensuring that the Legion could be a mobile force. This necessitated that the Marshal be able to command Legionnaires if and when necessary. Thus the rank of Field Marshal was created, if only to be equal to a Lieutenant. It would take many more years for the Field Marshal to become the title of the commander of a Legion Cavalry Regiment.

By the time Alfresia, as part of Fresland, left the Empire, the rank of Field Marshal was given to the commander of the entire army. While mainland Fresland was happy with this, it did not sit well with the Alfresians. As an island, and a long skinny one at that, Alfresia has a greater need of a navy than an army. It is far quicker for men to travel around the island by boat than overland. Thus, in short order, the Field Marshal had control over the navy as well. “One army, one man” was a common idiom of the day. Such power in one man’s hands ought to have been feared, but as with most other titles, the title of Field Marshal was taken by the Archduke of Alfresia, to add to his already cast collection.

It was only in recent times, after Alfresia became a republic, that the problem came to light. Giving one man sole control of the entire military may not have been the brightest thing to do, but it was done and the Field Marshals over the years have resisted all efforts to reduce their power, even going so far as to threaten a coup or revolt. As it stands, there is a tense stand off between the political and military spheres of the nations, each vying for greater power while trying to reduce their opponents’.

Next week we’ll look at, perhaps, the most straightforward of the Princes: the man who rules Alfresia.

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