Les Mousquetaires du Roi Soleil
“On this day, I, hereby pledge allegiance tothe Sun. May his light be my guide now and forever. May I resist temptation and be fair and honest in all matters. May my sword and tabard remind me of who I am and of the responsibility I bear. May my soul be brave and my arm strong. Here I am, free of greed and hate. Here I am, standing by my brothers. All for one, and one for all!”
-Oath of the Musketeers
The Musketeers serve as the primary law-enforcement officers in Montaigne. They hunt down criminals, arbitrate legal arguments, and keep the peace. Anyone who wishes to join the Musketeers must travel to the city of Charouse to apply. New students are accepted every four months, and applicants must meet the following requirements:
- They must be at least 16 years old.
- They must never have been convicted by any Montaigne court.
- They must not have any crippling disabilities that would
interfere with their duties.
Any student who attends the school undergoes six months of training that culminate in a week-long final examination which is a mix of physical, written, and oral tests. Only 10% of all applicants pass this exam and go on to the standard three-year training program, but even those who fail manage to receive training in the following topics:
Reading and Writing: Most Montaigne commoners are illiterate, so literacy is the first thing taught at the school. This is one of the few ways a peasant can receive such education, so Musketeer basic training is worthwhile even if the student washes out.
Mathematics: The students are taught enough math to handle the economics course they take later.
Politics: As many peasants are woefully unaware of the details of their government, the Musketeers teach them the basics so they don’t embarrass the Order later on an issue of rank.
Economics: The students are taught the basics of Montaigne economics and taxes. They also learn the duties of the nobles and gentry.
Etiquette: Musketeers with common habits would humiliate the Order, so great care is taken to train the students how to behave in court. They also learn how to speak to the nobility.
Horsemanship: Lastly, the Musketeers are trained to ride. They also learn how to take care of their mount, since a well-cared-for horse might someday save their life.
The Musketeer School
Applicants who pass their final exam begin the three-year training process which will end with the Musketeer’s Oath. Fewer than half of the students who have made it this far are invited to join the ranks of the Musketeers. During their three years of training, the students rise at 5 A.M. every morning to begin a 12-hour day of work.
Fencing: Swordplay comprises the majority of their training. They study the most famous duels, learn to recognize ambushes, and are briefly introduced to the various fighting styles of Théah.
Investigation: These classes teach numerous skills such as questioning witnesses and suspects, collecting evidence, and legal procedures.
International Customs: In this class the students learn all they need to know about foreign legal systems and etiquette.
The Musketeer’s Oath
Once their training is completed, all students swear an oath of fealty that officially makes them “real” Musketeers. They dress in the civilian clothes that they first applied for membership in, and their commanding officer leads them to the monument to Bastion, who is considered the first Musketeer. The entire group has their wrists tied together with rope as a symbol of their brotherhood, and their hold their hands over a flame while they recite the oath. Should one of them flinch away from the flames, his brothers will stand by him and help him to find the strength he needs. When all are ready, they speak the Oath.
Duties of a Musketeer
A musketeer regularly performs two duties: policing and
Policing: Garrisons of musketeers can be found in all cities with more than 500 citizens. They work as the local police and are familiar with all cases in their town, both civil and penal. They have the prerogative to question or arrest suspects and reluctant witnesses, and they write the files that are presented to the judge presiding over the case. They can enter anyone’s house at any time, and although they are charged to respect the lives of all citizens, they can kill without warning if they feel threatened. However, musketeers are not supposed to be judge and jury. They gather evidence and when they testify in court, their testimony is taken very seriously.
Arbitration: Musketeers are often asked to act as arbitrators for small arguments that crop up between citizens. Questions about where a farmer’s property line lies, or who is responsible for the damage caused by a runaway horse, often fall to the musketeers to decide. Besides this, many musketeers make themselves available to the (mostly illiterate) citizens in order to read them letters, write for them, or even file any official documents that may be required of them. Because of all the small things the musketeers do for the citizens, they may be envied, but they are always respected.
A Musketeer’s Life
After joining the Musketeers, the Order becomes the student’s family and his life. It isn’t an easy life, but many have found it very rewarding in its own way.
A Musketeer needs to get approval from the school to get married. His duty might oblige him to move often and nothing is supposed to root him to a particular province. However, if permission is granted, a Musketeer’s children have access to the best schools in Montaigne.
The ranks available to Musketeers are as follows:
- Corporal (starting rank)
- Lieutenant, 2nd Class
- Lieutenant, 1st Class
Currently, Jean-Marie Rois et Reines is the Captain of the Musketeers. A new Captain can only be appointed when he steps down.
Among the most glamorous medals that are awarded to Musketeers are the Medal of Honor, the Medal of Valor, and the Medal of the Sun King (which is awarded by l’Empereur himself). Only a dozen medals exist for the Order — these awards are only given out for extremely valorous or unusual services.
Musketeers who betray their Oath and the reputation of the Order receive unforgiving punishments. Frequently, they are sentenced to death even for such small crimes as accepting a bribe. However, should the musketeer have shown great valor or promise in the past, the sentence may be commuted to a demotion or expulsion from the Order.
After 30 years of dedicated duty, a musketeer must retire. He receives the Medal of Service, and can easily find a position in the government should he desire one. Frequently, musketeers become Intendants upon retiring. The retired musketeer receives exemption from taxes, and a monthly pension for the rest of his life.