The Conquest of Coromandel
Skarn Dominion rank
The Skarn Dominion has five primary ranks. These ranks dominate not only military service, but all of Skarn society; they form a sort of caste system, deciding one’s duties in society and affecting everyday interactions. Military service in the Dominion is mandatory for all Skarn, and as such, lower ranks may be everything from soldiers to craftsmen to farmers. Lifelong service is not required (only a period of 2 years at the age of 21), though those who no longer serve are reduced to the rank of scalc from whatever higher rank they might have held. Age is an irrelevant social construct to the Skarn; an elderly scalc who was once a Seneschal is treated no differently than a young scalc of no import.
All knowledge in Skarn society is on a need-to-know basis; it is restricted by rank, and as one climbs in rank, racial lore may be accessed and even vacations from Dominion service taken in the interest of research. Those who have ceased service and again become scalcs are not permitted to discuss or record knowledge learned during periods of service in higher ranks; both this restriction and the loss of rank serve as potent incentives for lifelong military service in the Skarn Dominion.
The five ranks of the Skarn Dominion are as follows, listed from lowest to highest:
|Scalc||Literally meaning “servant”, a scalc is either a mundane citizen or a greenhorn in the Dominion. All Skarn begin life as scalcs, so the following applies to every Skarn: they are taught the basic ways and meaning of Skarn life, especially regarding their Mishtai heritage and the ancient conflict between Skarn and Rilkan (of which the Rilkan are at fault).|
|Marshal||The second-lowest and second most common rank is the Marshal. Marshals are leaders of Units (10-50 Skarn) in the Dominion. A scalc may be promoted to Marshal rank through extraordinary service in battle or through an extraordinary act of leadership during the absence/death of his/her Marshal. Marshals are essentially elevated citizens, allowed no more knowledge than a scalc, but treated with greater honor and respect.|
|Lieutenant||The rank of Lieutenant is divided into Lieutenant Minor (leading Companies of 80-225 Skarn) and Lieutenant Major (leading Battalions of 300-1200 Skarn). It is at this rank that Skarn are allowed access to a wealth of racial lore and information about their Mishtai progenitors and incarnum. Higher-ranking Skarn often label Lieutenant as “the rank at which Skarn life truly begins”, as it denotes more freedom within Skarn society and a greater understanding of Skarn history and heritage.|
|Seneschal||Seneschal is an illustrious and greatly respected rank, as it denotes control of one of two major branches of the Skarn military. There are only ever two Seneschals, and they are the right and left hand of the Mal-Skarn. Seneschal Vorlance, Perfect of the North Wind, commands the defensive forces of the Dominion and forces in regions surrounding Skarn-Tain. Seneschal Teruska, Perfect of the South Wind, commands all offensive forces and expeditionary/conquering armies. Rarely does either leave the capital, though the latter occasionally travels to important expeditions to personally lead them (as is currently the case with the Coromandel Initiative, led from Skarn-tal).|
|Mal-Skarn||Every Skarn’s goal is perfection, and thus every Skarn strives to climb the ranks of society and one day serve Skarn-Tain as the Mal-Skarn. There is only one, and he is lord and master of the Skarn Dominion. The Mal-Skarn has no given name while serving in his post, as he is to be treated as the ideal Skarn— an ideal rather than an individual. To become Mal-Skarn, a devotee must be an undefeatable opponent, a master military strategist, and have displayed a lifetime of achievement. Once this is so, he/she may challenge the Mal-Skarn to a duel. If the devotee is victorious, the Mal-Skarn then chooses whether he shall die at his victor’s hands or retire to a quiet life of observation as a lowly scalc (referred to as “descending”). Neither choice is more honorable than the other, and the Mal-Skarn is given a new name if he chooses the latter. The ascension of a new Mal-Skarn only occurs once a lifetime, and the Dominion has seen its share of descended Mal-Skarn over the centuries.|
Interaction between ranks
All ranks may interact freely with scalcs, and there is no dishonor associated with doing so. Scalc interaction with Lieutenants, Seneschals, and the Mal-Skarn is on a “speak when spoken to” basis. Among the “higher ranks”, interaction with a Skarn one rank higher is done respectfully, and two ranks higher only when spoken to or in great emergency. A low-ranking Skarn addressing the Mal-Skarn unbidden is immediately put to death, as the Mal-Skarn is the closest thing the Skarn have to a god, and is to be the herald of the Mishtai’s return when it occurs.
It is worth noting that all of these interactions are done without gripe or worry, as the Skarn trust the ranks of the Dominion completely, and are raised to do so.