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Her Forces

Ostensibly, the Forces of Arden are one single unit, known collectively as "the Rangers of Arden."

In fact, there is more to it than that.

The Rangers of Arden

The Rangers of Arden are a military unit commanded by the Steward of Arden, a post that has been held for almost 450 years by Prince Dexter, the King's secondborn son. There are very few who remember the Steward or Stewards that might have preceded him, and all formal records were lost in a fire that consumed many of Amber's records in the year 195.

Between the year 177 and 620, no one had given orders to the Rangers except for Dexter. In 620, that changed briefly in what is turning out to be a disaster for the Rangers. During an invasion, the Steward realized that a Curse he was living under was hurting the Rangers in battle. Thinking only of his men, Dexter turned over leadership of the Rangers to Marshall Caitlin, the Lady Defender of Amber, for the duration of the battle.

Many losses were taken that day, and the Steward made a cataclysmic mistake. Fearing a follow-up to the invasion, Dexter went out into Shadow and recruited Shadows to bolster the numbers of the Rangers. Since then, the Rangers have been a disorganized, undisciplined mob that has caused much shame and anger in the Steward. Upon Dexter's request, Marshall Caitlin fielded an army of giant Shadow cat-people to help fend off a second invasion, one that struck at Arden herself. These cat-people have since been added to the Rangers.

Disappointed in his once-elite force, Dexter has left Arden to attend to other, less-important matters, such as saving his King and Father from whatever force keeps him beyond the Veil. In his absence, Galen, the Regent of Amber, has given temporary control over the Rangers to Marshall Caitlin, a decision that neither Dexter nor the Rangers will ever be able to countenance or forgive.

Dexter has arranged the Rangers after his own fashion. Secrecy is the watchword of the Rangers, and most of their inner workings are unknown outside of Arden. There are at least three branches though, since two are known and they obviously do not comprise the sum of the Rangers.

Captain Garrison Trebault's Rim Patrol

The Rim Patrol is the arm of the Rangers that has the most interaction with the outside world. The Rangers maintain secrecy by simply not letting the Rim Patrol in on any secrets.

As might be obvious by the name, the Rim Patrol is charged with guarding and patrolling the edges of Arden. They often spend their time finding children that have wandered into Arden or helping farmers who have suffered from attacks by the wildlife of Arden. As such, they are well-liked in the rural areas around Amber and many Amberite boys look up to the Rim Patrol and dream of joining when they are old enough.

Captain Trebault is a kind man who is good at managing his men and facilitating their movements around the perimeters of Arden. He spends as much time as he can with the Shadow Guardswoman known as Shadow of the Moon. Rumors abound that he has taken a more than professional interest in her, although no one suspects the feelings to be mutual. It is unknown whether the Steward is aware of these feelings, but he does station her with the Rim Patrol whenever he leaves Arden. Captain Trebault is assisted by two capable young Lieutenants and his men follow police ranks. Captain Trebault commands a 2,500 man force, although his Lieutenants have virtual autonomy due to the wide, decentralized area the Rim Patrol covers.

The Rim Patrol did not take part in the defense of the Invasion of 620, although some saw action (briefly) in the subsequent Giant-Rat War

Captain Donovan Petitgout's Pathsmen

The Pathsmen are the most well-known Rangers to the cityfolk of Arden. The Pathsmen guard the primary paths through Arden, most of which lead to the city. They levy tolls on merchants who ride through Arden, and have the authority to search cargo. In addition, they are charged with keeping safe any Amberites who venture into Arden, so long as they stay within sight of a path. They have been trained well not to venture away from the paths themselves. Due to their duties as customs agents and as the people who tell Amberites not to go into Arden, the Pathsmen are not nearly as popular as the Rim Patrol. Still, they find enough recruits each year.

Captain Petitgout is a bit of a flouncer, but tries to be a no-frills, no-nonsense sort of man, and he runs the Pathsmen that way. The Pathsmen are rarely meant to cut anyone any slack, but often do, to the Steward's everlasting frustration. Captain Petitgout has never been very strict about following all of the rules, unlike his predecessor. When the Steward leaves Arden, Shadow Guardswoman Celenara Lelandris takes up the office of Advisor to the Pathmen. Captain Petitgout is assisted by two older Commanders and his men, for some reason, follow naval ranks. All told, Captain Petitgout has 1,500 men under his command.

The Pathsmen were killed to a man in the Invasion of 620. As incompetent as the Steward considered the original Pathsmen, their replacements have been much worse. Captain Edgar Worcester was the leader of the Pathsmen until his death at the hands of invaders in 620, when he was replaced by Captain Petitgout.

Myrrau's Cats of Outer Arden

The most recent addition to the Rangers, the Cats of Outer Arden have been the most satisfying to the Steward. The Cats not only live up to the Ranger ideal, they exemplify it.

No one is quite sure how many Cats there are, in large part because the Steward has decided that no one should know and counting the Cats is problematic to say the least. The Cats are actually a sort of giant, cat-men. They are permitted to eat anyone who strays off of a path in Arden, although due to the Square-Cube Law, they cannot take advantage of this permission in Inner Arden.

The Cats are ruled by Myrrau, the dominant cat. His loyalty has been earned both by Marshall Caitlin and by Dexter, in personal combat.

Estimates vary about the size of the Rim Patrol and Pathsmen relative to the rest of the Rangers. Some say that the two branches form the majority of the Rangers, some say they are but a tiny fraction. Most people assume they make up about half of the Ranger forces. One thing is certain, none of the Rangers will say.

The other Rangers are rumored to have wild hounds at their disposal, which are said to be able to rip the heads off of bulls.

Perhaps Arden's greatest defense is simply Arden. Aside from the few maintained paths through Arden, Arden is typified by dense underbrush. It is said that the horses of the Rangers can run through the vegetation, but no other beast has ever been seen making quick progress off the paths. Many is the traveler who has had to hack his way slowly through the woods only to turn and find that his horse has been eaten by one of Arden's many man-eating plants and animals.