Elysium: The Elder War
The Legion of the Dead
Straddling the line of civilization and barbarism, the Legio Mortuum is the Inconnu's military arm, peopled by the fierce, dedicated warriors of Kindred society. The Legio Mortuum enforce teh law of the Senex, patrol Necropolis and stand against the incursions of the nightmarish Nemeses. Exhaustively trained and powerfully armed, the vampires of this Wing's solemn ranks rate among the most efficient killers in history. Unity, loyalty and grim resolve are their great strengths, and the whole of the Inconnu stands or falls with them.
The Legio Mortuum was founded by the vampires who gathered around the original members of teh Senex, pledging their arms to the vision of the Inconnu. They were the conquering Kindred of old, pushing outwards and subjugating the disorganized, lawless vampires of the time. It was the bloody sacrifice of the Legion that led to the Inconnu's conquest of the Roman Necropolis, and arguably, every success that followed. Their formation patrols define the borders of Rome to this very night.
Countless vampires have fallen before the blades, spears and fists of the Legion, but the tribulations of the Wing never diminish. As the territory of Necropolis grows and more vampires are brought under its rule, the might Legion must grow, too, conscripting conquered enemies, Embracing from mortal soldier stock, and reaching ever outwards. At the front lines on the borders of Necropolis, the Legion faces the ever-present threat of attack from barbarian outsiders. Frequent skirmishes keep the Legion from growing complacent; the enemy is ever restless and entirely without mercy or scruple.
And peril from without is only half of the problem. Charged with policing Necropolis and enforcing the law of the Senex, the Legion Mortuum must split its attentions between teh enemy without and the Status-holding citizens of the Inconnu, ensuring that nothing threatens the order of Kindred society. in times of trouble, the Legion is granted ultimate authority to investigate, detain and destroy rebellious elements within Necropolis, just as the members are expected to destroy invading vampires from without. High-Status vampires in custody can request a hearing before the Senex, but they are the exception to the rule. For most, all avenues to recourse are brutally cut off the moment the Legion kicks in the door of a vampire's haven.
Contrary to expectation, most of the vampires of the Legion don't make a constant practice of abusing the power they have. The vast majority of the Wing is peopled by Kindred who truly believe in the superiority of civilized Necropolis, and regularly risk their existence to preserve it. They see the alternative with alarming frequency: clawed, vicious, wild creatures with gnashing teeth and rolling eyes, mad with the frenzies of the Beast and recklessly caught in permanent cycles of violence and destruction. Most soldiers believe that they are all that keep the Inconnu from collapsing into that chaos, and thus have great respect for the sanctity of law.
That said, it can be difficult for members of the Legion to maintain proper respect for Kindred who aren't soldiers. Grizzled soldiers often begin to believe that they are the only ones worthy of full citizenship, since they are the only ones who learn the value of strong accord and order in firsthand, potentially deadly conflict. The vampires in the "lower half" of Inconnu citizenry — that is to say, those who identify themselves as members of the Peregrine Collegia or the Lancea et Sanctum — tend to see the harder side of the Legion a bit more often than these vampires deserve.
For their part, Kindred on the outside tend to be just as unforgiving with the Legion. The undead soldiers are feared and respected, but they are also reviled as the dogs of the Senex and the oppressors of good, lawful vampires in the lower orders. The Legion's sense of duty is portrayed as simple bloodlust and bullying, and the Legion's call for a unified accord is interpreted as nothing more than mindless obedience. It isn't easy being a soldier of the Legion, but, they say, better the burden that is borne than the alternative.
The Legion will take any vampire who demonstrates a strong sense of discipline, a talent for physical engagement and a willingness to enforce the law. Those with a good mind for tactics and demonstrated cool-headedness in combat rise quickly within the ranks, often gaining command of a unit within a few short years. Young Kindred flock to the Legion, knowing that it provides a powerful support structure while allowing for the natural expression of violent vampire urges.
There is room for elders and ancillae in the upper ranks of the Legion, but with the numerous threats inside and out of the Inconnu bearing down on this Wing at all times, few career soldiers survive long enough to claim the positions set aside for them. Those who do manage to endure become grizzled Generals and battle-hardened Equestrians — fierce, hardy Kindred indeed — and not to be trifled with.
Although the Legion makes it easy for Kindred to join, regardless of clan or mortal background, close attention is paid to the record of one's service. Those who have questionable ties (most especially to certain elements within the Peregrine Collegia) and those who have demonstrated a dangerous disregard for authority are often turned away. The ones who remain must swear an oath of service and loyalty that is binding unto Find Death, detailing their willingness to subsume themselves to the ranks of the Legion and the needs of the Inconnu. All new recruits are expected to follow orders without question or hesitation, under threat of severe corporal punishment. imprisonment and destruction await habitual disobedience — and the Legion makes no effort to hide those possibilities from applicants.
The constant threat of battle and the hardcore, militaristic training of the Legion make for simple, straight-fordward philosophy: the enemeies of the Inconnu are an ever-present menace. They must be found, ferreted out, confronted and destroyed. Anything that doesn't help you get the job done is potentially dangerous, because it distracts from the job.
Strength in Numbers
The members of the Legion Mortuum understand the value of concerted action. Whenever possible, they present a unified front, relying on formation tactics and the overlapping strengths of its Kindred to fortify and make up for one another's weak spots. The ideal vision of the Legion is a wall of Kindred, standing shoulder to shoulder, hard as iron and moving with one fearsome, deadly will.
This ideal is not just applied to military endeavors. In general, individualism and departure from the accepted norm are met with ill favor in the Legion. Likewise, unpredictable behavior is frowned upon. Glory hounds and troublemakers are not the sort of Kindred you can trust to hold their end in battle, so they aren't the kind that Legion soldiers trust anywhere else. The perfect soldier is one who is humble, strong, reliable and merciless.
Woe to the Vanquished
The soldiers of the Legio Mortuum believe that a vampire (or a coterie or a nation) who falls in combat is stripped of all rights. If he is honorable, he dies on a blade in glorious battle. Thus, if he fails to do so, he is without honor — and deserving of any suffering that follows. Enslavement, humiliation and destruction of a fallen foe are perfectly acceptable to the Legion, no matter what the circumstances. An enemy who loses out to the soldiers of the Legion becomes a resource to be exploited — or discarded — as the Legion sees fit.
Likewise, a soldier who falls in battle and allows himself to survive as a slave to the enemy is not to be afforded any mercy. Cowards and incompetents are an embarrassment to their former compatriots, best forgotten as soon as possible.
Rituals and Observances
Almost all of the rituals of the Legion Mortuum underscore the spirit of unity and cooperation that defines the Wing. Many of the coordinated displays of the Wing involve choreographed gestures and marches demonstrating the single-minded operation of the Legion and the physical harmony of its soldiers.
Initiation and Promotion: Initiation into the Legion is a grueling, painful affair. Every member practices the formations and tactics of the Wing incessantly, and must demonstrate a working knowledge of its systems before he can expect to be promoted into active service and serve in battle.
Those who graduate initiation are adopted into one of the standing units of the Legion and allowed to append it to his official designation. A ceremony is arranged to accept new members; they stand at attention before the assembled Kindred of their new unit, and a list of their accomplishments is red to the soldiers gathered there. At the end of the reading, the new soldier is branded with the mark of his Legion. It is, of course, expected that he will take the pain of the brand with valor, displaying his strength and fortitude to all. A vampire who quails or flees before the heated steel is not likely to enjoy a prosperous career with the Legion. Regardless, there is no applause or open celebration — not at the ceremony. Later, when the official reading is complete and the ranks have left the field of honor, they are free to rejoice in raucous fashion — and they often do.
Promotion within the ranks is handled similarly. Any soldier who distinguishes himself is singled out and stands before his compatriots while a superior makes an official declaration of his success, and appends an honorary descriptor (such as "valorous" or "merciless") to his official title. It is possible for an entire unit to gain honor in this fashion.
Inconnu Victa: Every year, on the anniversary of the founding of the Inconnu, the whole of the Legion commemorates the victory of their predecessors and remembers the fallen among them. Solemn ceremonies and sacrifices are conducted, and each unit salutes those who have met their Final Deaths in service to civilized Rome.
The ideal of the Legion dictates that the fallen predecessors are honored with combat, so most units push outwards on this night, hunting down uncivilized Kindred to destroy. Duty demands that most refrain, though, to ensure the continued protection of the citizenry and prevent a nigh of complete lawlessness on the part of the other Wings.
THE SENEX - the axles and the oil of the undead
THE AUGURS – the seers stare into the sun
THE LEGION – the phalanx of civilization
THE STRANGERS – cousins and step-sons eating our food
THE SANCTIFIED – sheep who would dare to defy the shepherd