The Red Guard and Greater Ashirai Empire naming and forms of address

The Red Guard call themselves Swordsmen or Reds, with Swordsmen (always capitalized) being the more formal term. Reds is diminutive and used by Swordsmen addressing Swordsmen. It is also used externally, but generally as an affront. At the very least it’s considered rude.

The nomenclature of the Red Guard is complex. The enlisted order of rank is Junior Swordsman, File Leader Swordsman, and Senior Swordsman. Junior Swordsmen and File Leaders are addressed by the Ashirai word for Swordsmen, Ve, placed before their name as a prefix. Junior Swordsman Pittin would be referred to as Ve Pittin, and upon being promoted to File Leader, his form of address is officially unchanged. A Senior Swordsman is called Svir, as in Svir Garin. Swordsmen omit titles for lower or equal ranked enlisted when talking informally, so Svir Garin would address File Leader Pittin as Pittin, and two junior Swordsmen would address each other by their names alone. File Leader Pittin speaking with Junior Swordsman Aryst would call him, ‘Aryst’ while Aryst would address File Leader Pittin as ‘Ve Pittin’ (He doesn’t because they’re on name basis*). This promotion is called making the Ve. File Leaders may also be called Stones. Senior Swordsmen are called by Svir by others of the same rank as well, but the less formal Head is also used. So Ve Pittin could be called Stones, and Svir Garin could be called Head. These forms of address are most common when the speaker does not know the other’s name.

The First Svir of a legion is a separate rank higher than Svir, and there is no informal means of address. A First Svir is called First Svir. Since there’s only one per legion, the presumption is that the speaker knows the appropriate name. If the speaker doesn’t, the name of the Legion, First, Second, Third, etc. may be appended as in First Svir Second Legion, but this is rarely necessary. Each city in the Ashirai empire provides one legion, so First Svir almost always provides sufficient specificity.

Red Officers are called by their titles. All officers are nobility, and therefore use an independent and complex hierarchy. Since the ruler of the Ashirai Empire is currently the Baron of Dylath-Leen and intent on keeping that title due to political reasons, the normal chain is broken. Noble sons that did not inherit the family titles, ie most Red Officers, use military ranks. Roughly, low officers are War Marshals, Higher Officers are Field Marshals, and the highest are Generals. However the Baron of Baroon is an active Red officer as are the Lords of Van and Tyr. Of note is that the Baron of Baroon is not the ruler of Baroon, a city of Lords with a King, whereas Baron Dylath-Leen rules Dylath-Leen.

In the Ashirai Empire it is common for the ruler of a city to take the name of the city. Thus Baron Dylath-Leen is the proper form of address for the ruler of that city. The Ashirai Emperor himself DOES NOT call himself Emperor Ashirak because Baron Dylath-Leen won’t let him. Baron Dylath-Leen does this to keep the latter in his place.

There is another Red rank: Al, the Swordmaster. What exactly Al means is a matter of some dispute.

*A special but enlightening case is the matter of Pittin and Aryst being on name basis. Pittin briefly tried to make Aryst call him Ve Pittin, but Aryst got him drunk and won his rank in a game of dice. The rank in this case was Pittin’s physical rank, two steel orbs (ne stones) on a plate to be worn affixed to the red cloak collar that Red Guards wear as a uniform. Aryst could have shown the rank to the paymaster and requested Pittin’s salary. If he tendered the stones, he could have drawn both his and Pittin’s salary for a year. The paymaster would then have endeavored to find out which File Leader lost their rank, and if successful, Pittin would have been demoted to Junior Swordsman. Furthermore, Pittin would be blacklisted for later promotions. On Pittin waking up, Aryst put it to him plainly, and Pittin forswore ever making the Junior Swordsmen give him his Ve again in exchange for returning his stones. A year drawing two salaries is a lot of money.

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