THE HISTORY OF THE FOLERAN ARMY
click here to return to the About section
In the dark, pre-heresy days of Folera, the military power was focused in the hands of individual warlords. These individuals would have the power and resources necessary to gain an army of a certain size which they would then use, in combination with intrigue, to increase their status, much like today.
During the pre-dawn of the kallisteriate system, this anarchic system of rule began to coalesce. Warlords would ally themselves with one another, and more and more these alliances would last longer and longer, eventually coming to near-permanent status as it became harder for progeny to break some alliances than it was for them to simply maintain them.
Eventually this web of alliances evolved into what became known as the age of Orders. Orders got their start in permanent alliances between groups of warlords. To increase the effectiveness of their soldiers, alliance members would often pool their resources and their soldiers. This caused military cultures to evolve that encompassed the whole alliance, rather than just the individual warlords.
These units, originally composed of allied members became the different warrior orders. In it, all warriors would take an oath to the order, rather than their warlords, who themselves became officers in the new order hierarchy. While this did create a more stable and powerful military system, it did not, however address deeper political fissures. Order command, title holding, and land ownership among order officers caused internal rifts, occasionally resulting in the splitting of one order into two, and similar turmoil.
After the Heresy was concluded, and with the re-establishment of contact with (and some degree of control by) the Imperium, Folera began to undergo a series of changes. In order to being enough internal control to allow for external control, the Imperium heavily supported the mostly weak and ineffectual role of the king. The king, in turn, handed out resources, and split his growing power among those that he favored. As individuals and groups began to vie for royal power, the kallisteriate system began to emerge.
The Rise of the Kallisteriate
The kallisteriate system was a boon to order warlords. Rather than needing to compete to stand out from the others, one could now achieve power by getting it granted from above which, especially at the time, was a far easier path to power. As well, the burgeoning feudal system offered solutions to many of the other political problems that went unresolved through the orders.
As such, a vast majority of the warlords slowly pulled out of the orders, along with their private armies, and entered the kallisteriate ring. The orders were, however, too well entrenched, and by now too full of warriors that had come from the peasantry without allegiance to a specific warlord, to simply disappear. Many of the orders founded during this time still exist today, although entry into them is usually requisite in one having been a soldier elsewhere in the Foleran Army first.
Tithe troops in the new Folera were drawn from a confusing mix of order and personal army units. Their lack of coordination outside of their groups made for poor soldiers, and the nobility of the kallisteriate was understandably unwilling to offer ether high quality, or high numbers from their personal reserves. To correct this problem (among other reasons), a man known only as Governor Gaias began what would become known as the "Oak Tree" period.
This period was one of the few times when the power of the beltista was completely supplanted by that of the Imperial governor. What makes this period unique was it's unusal length, spanning over several generations of Imperial governors. It was during this time that there were wide-ranging, sweeping reforms of the Foleran military system.
To begin with, the governors founded the Foleran Army. This was a group of soldiers that was demanded from the kallistas (the demands being so high that it became common practice for kallistas to composite some to most of their forces by making similar demands from further down, and so forth), that, for their tenure, was under the sole direction and authority of the governor. In order to be even somewhat acceptable to the kallisteriate, who feared that they would be required to send their own forces in to support another private army that would be used against them, the Foleran Army was a professional service in which soldiers were required for only a period of two years. After this time, the old troops would be allowed to return to their lords and order masters, or they could opt to stay in the army.
The Reformation of the Army
This new centralized fighting force, with standardized equipment, training, and leadership, became a much more effective fighting force which could be sent by the Imperium as a proper tithe army. Most importantly, it gave Folerans another venue of advancement outside of the kallisteriate or guild system. In order to balance against the power of the kallistas, nobility of ANY rank was allowed to become officers. As well, wealthy, non-noble classes were allowed to participate. This strengthened the Foleran middle class, and gave the opportunity for social advancement. This opportunity was also to a degree given to the under class, who found they could make a decent living out of a career in the Foleran Army.
With the Acorn Rebellion lead by king Kappos the Great, the governors were returned to their former role, and the king was once again in charge. It was decided early on that it would be unwise to disband the still somewhat fledgling Foleran Army, as it was seen as a way to reduce the power of the kallisteriate, while at the same time preventing another period of direct Imperial rule.
The Army was, however, reorganized. In traditional Foleran fashion, rank was once again given to those who the king favored. This client-patron system trickled all the way down the army where those of higher rank had complete discretion on promotions and appointments. Given the centralized structure, the Army was able to retain its professional status, rather than completely devolving into a mass weave of private armies.
As well, it was during this period that the Foleran Army was divided up into the branches of the Royal Marines, The Foleran Defense Force, and the Foleran 1st, the latter of which was the name given to the tithe armies that were to be sent off of Folera to fight elsewhere. This name is somewhat of a misnomer, as it implies a single regiment. The regimental system, however, is weak, which caused problems with other Imperial commanders' force organizations.
It is commonly believed that non-Foleran officers would simply lump their semi-organized Foleran forces into a single unit and, understandably, label it the Foleran 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. Thus, given the relatively spread out fashion of elements of the Foleran Off-World Army, most soldiers would claim to be from the Foleran 1st. Alternately, it is believed that the name comes from a tradition based on the odd force structuring of the planet's armies. Because the army used to be reformed every year, and the planet's tithes would be paid in this army, whatever would be put into the tithe army would be the Foleran First Army, and any extra forces would be formed into the Foleran Second Army, etc. Because the planet would be constantly sending the Imperium a new army, and that new army always was called the Foleran First Army, eventually the name "Foleran First" became a permanent institution that comprised of the entire Foleran off-world army system. Whatever the cause, the name Foleran First stuck to the OWA and eventually became it's official designation.
In time, the Foleran Army was able to increase its status as a legitimately independent organization which was technically subservient to the king and nominally subservient to the Imperial governor. Despite early efforts, however, the force did not simply get rolled into the king's private army.
One of the things that this created was a growing pool of veteran soldiers who decided to stay on after every re-forming of the Foleran Army. To handle this, the Army created the King's Guard. These soldiers are the elite of the army, who are given special training and weapons. Not only are they the best soldiers, but because it is one of the few Foleran institutions that relies completely on merit for advancement (the client-patron system of the rest of the army is very highly suppressed), it is the pinnacle of a truly independent, professional army.
As well, as nobody has firm control or ownership of the Foleran Army, it is the only apolitical military institution on Folera. While it does not get involved in the struggle for power, on rare occasions, the Army has instigated a coup to bring down a king.
After the Torfan incident, the Imperium took steps to take more direct control of the Foleran First and reorganize it as best it could. Groups of the OWA were reorganized into army groups, and all levels were implanted with commissars and other members of the ministorum. This caused a push-back by royal authorities including a re-organization to retrieve troops abandoned after their term of service was up and implanting royal chaplains into units in order to provide a counterbalancing royalist propoganda presence.
As it stands currently, the balance of military force consists primarily of private armies held by members of every level of the kallisteriate, old order troops (who work primarily in planetary defense, and are sometimes heavily integrated with the Foleran Army), and the Foleran Army proper.