The Eored

The Éored

An Éored

An Éored is normally a group of warriors with one simple purpose...war.  Essentially it is a battlefield unit made up of Fyrdmen, Hunta and Helends led by a Huscarl, who is given the rank of Heahcarl whilst he commands.  Named after it's Heahcarl, an Éored can be of any size with its disposition and structure being tailored to respond to the situation at hand.  It is also possible that several Éored may work together under a Dryhten, or Warlord, who is responsible for overall command.  Thus when the Éothéod go to war their army may be lead by a Dryhten who commands several individual Éored units, with differing skills and functions, each being lead by an experienced warrior selected from the ranks of the Huscarls.

Unless an Éored is given a very specialist role or is part of a much larger force it is typical for each unit to be self sufficient.  Therefore each Éored will often have its own scouts, hunters and healers as well as those tasked with trading for additional supplies.

Issa's Éored

The Éored that travels with the armies of the factions, under Issa Heahcarl, is unusual in that it's task is not solely military.  Whilst the Bretwalda is keen that the peoples of the world see the courage of the Éothéod, the warband must also represent their people in other arenas.  In addition to this, as they are so far away from home, the natural tenancy for self sufficiency is all the more essential.

Fortunately, the lack of a fixed formal structure allows the Éored to implement the necessary provisions without undue formality, the Heahcarl being free to create a structure that best uses the skills of those at his disposal.  Subsequently the Éored that travels with the factions has some positions uncommon to a typical unit, many of which have been taken from the structure of the Bretwalda's court.

Positions Within Issa's Éored

Heahcarl:- Appointed by the Bretwalda, the Heahcarl's role is as Military leader of the Éored and his authority can only be questioned by the Galdor or Head Hundredmen.
Galdor:- Chosen because they exemplify what it is to be Éothéod, the Galdor is present to represent the Bretwalda within the group, and is therefore often referred to as the Voice of the King.  They are usually involved in non-military decisions and on a daily basis act in a social capacity within the group, hearing the issues of other members and providing advice or solutions where necessary.
Dryhten:- Given the additional functions of this Éored and the demands this places on his time the Heahcarl has created a position to focus solely on readying the Éored for battle and, where he is unavailable, lead them on the field.
Hunta:- Responsible for the foraging of food, the Hunta is is also well placed to aid the Éored by leading scouting missions and supplying the Breowan.  This role is held by the head ranger.
Head Hundredman:- This position is held by the chief Hundredman present.  He has the ability to question the Heahcarl and the responsibility of representing the view of the other Hundredmen where necessary.  In addition to this, in their capacity as a Hundredman, they also attend to matters pertaining to the law as required.  This includes providing advice and counselling as well as organising and judging Witans, should they be necessary.
Druig:- The accountant of the Éored, the Druig is keeper and collector of the war chest and other monies.  It is also his job to retain account of the resources held.

The latter four positions above also form part of a council which is resided over by either the Heahcarl or Galdor.  The objectives of this council are to ensure that the views and interests of all the component parts of the Éored are represented and heard both on specific matters and in an open forum.  In addition to this it also allows for the resources of Issa's Éored to be effectively marshalled and used.  This council may be called only once per gathering or once per day, depending on necessity, and it normally comprises of the following participants, although the four positions referred to above may send other other representatives from their fields:

Dryhten – War leader
Hunta – Ranger
Head Hundredman – Arbiter
Druig - Accountant
A Wise One – One which deals in the spirit world
A Helend – Healer
A Bwanna-Nunda

It is the responsibility of these individuals to ensure that the views and opinions of their constituents are represented and that they are fully debriefed following the meeting.

In addition to the council, once per gathering the Éored Moot will be called.  At this the Éored (and Bwana Nunda) will meet with the Heahcarl and Galdor.  During this all decrees and information about the current situation will be given and it is a time for open questions.

Group Composition    

Regardless of other positions or roles the Éored is essentially composed of two types of soldier: Fyrdmen – The shields that form the wall, the spears cut the enemy and the bows that loose the arrow, these are primarily fighters of some description; and Helends – Primarily healers.

In addition to these are the Wise Ones who deal in arcane matters.

This is not to say that these individuals do not have other areas of expertise or roles to play, simply that as the Éored is a military unit those present fall into one of the above categories on the battlefield.  However, there are a number of other roles that the same individuals may also fill.  These are:
Breowan:- Brewer of potions, the Breowan provides an invaluable resource to those far from the comforts of home.
Hundredmen:- Typically the law man responsible for 100 families.  Several Hundredmen travel with the Éored to provide civilian justice to those away from home and to provide the Éored their shrewd wisdom.
Trader:- This role is essential in ensuring the group obtains what it needs to survive, both on and off the battlefield.
Chapman:- Craftsman in any field, such as Smithing or Leather Working.

While traditional Eoreds are normally composed of Fyrdmen and Helends from the same locality or at least Mark, Issa's Eored is instead composed of individuals from different Marks. As each of the Marks has particular strengths in certain fields, which are commonly exhibited by their populace, this has been a great asset to the warband.  Although each has sent men with a variety of skills it is also true to say that there are those from each that bring gifts most common in their region.  The Sudémark, renowned for its military might, has provided some of the toughest fyrdmen; the Vadémark, known for its great forests, has provided some of the greatest Hunta; the Nordémark, centre of commerce, law and diplomacy has sent some of the most learned.  To date it is only the Eastémark that has not been represented, for the territory has needed every man to work the field in order to provide the ravaged Sudemark with additional grain, and their great spears have been sorely missed.  

Many of the troops carry shields with the variation of the White Horse that represents the Mark they originate from.  However, there are also many that carry the device of another Mark either by design or by chance.  Reasons for one to carry the symbol of another Mark are too numerous to list but they often indicate a strong bond to that territory born from admiration for a fellow or fallen comrade, a blood tie or simply respect for the great skills of that region.  On the other hand one may carry a different horse simply because you picked up the shield from a fallen Fyrdman or bought it from a travelling trader.  As each of the horses symbolises the Éothéod, regardless of which one they carry, all bear the icon of our King and country.   

Awards and Titles

Within the Éored there are many that covert the title of Huscarl.  Indeed it is natural for any good Fyrdman, who enjoys the martial life, to wish for such an honour to bestowed upon them.  This is not only because to gain such would ensure that even on leaving the Éored they can remain in the employ of the Bretwalda as a professional soldier but also because of the great respect afforded to the title.  To be named a Huscarl not only marks one out as one of the military elite but also denotes the great honour and integrity with which you act.  However, as it is the Éothéod way that every Fyrdman show not only great prowess on the field of battle but also a deep understanding of Éothéod values and lore, only those that have proven themselves to exemplify these qualities are granted the honour of Huscarlship.

As the title of Huscarl is not easily obtained, members of the Éored may show acts of bravery and valour that, though not enough to grant them the title, are still worthy of great note.  To recognise such it has been decided to resurrect a traditional military award in the form of arm torques granted to individuals who commit acts worthy of recognition and celebration.  Such torques will thus be granted where the Heahcarl agrees that one of the Fyrd has acted in such a way as to bring honour and respect to the name of the Éothéod.  

Laws – Martial and Civilian

Martial Law

The Éored is a warband and as such is under a state of martial law, which means the Heahcarl's word is law and to disobey his orders is punishable in any manner he sees fit to choose.  However, as the Éored also functions in a civilian and diplomatic manner, although this martial law is constantly in effect, the Heahcarl will often defer to the Hundredmen where it is an issue that can be dealt with as a civilian matter   While an order remains an order, unless an individual is under instruction, they should act as a civilian, thus providing a fascia of home life.   

Below the Heahcarl the Dryhten, where one is appointed, is the ranking officer and as such his orders are to be obeyed by all but the Heahcarl himself.

The position of Hunta is slightly different in nature, as his authority rests in the areas of scouting and ranging missions.  In such situations he is to be considered the ranking officer and obeyed accordingly.

Technically outside of the above military structure is the position of Galdor.  Although usually chosen by the group the individual that holds this is endorsed by and maintained at the insistence of the Bretwalda, to provide guidance for the Heahcarl and The Éored.  The Éothéod is nothing without its King and Law, thus these elements are represented in The Éored, by the Galdor and Head Hundredman, to ensure that it does not deviate from Éothéod ways.   A Fyrdman fights for the Bretwalda and to uphold the ways of the Éothéod, the Hundredmen symbolise and administer the ways of the people, and the Galdor's role is to represent the King.  This Galdor is therefore expected to be a paragon of Honour, Integrity and Respect.  Whilst a Galdor should be courageous the role is often more ambassadorial than military as, together with the Head Hundredmen, it is their duty to balance the warlike imperative of the Éored.  Whilst the position is not one of command, it does command a great deal of respect.  The  title does not obligate individuals to obey, however, the respect due to the Galdor means that their  words are always given consideration and the Heahcarl will often seek their guidance.  The only unquestionable authority possessed by this tittle is that if they and the Head Hudredman agree they may overrule the Heahcarl's decision.  This mechanism is essentially in place to ensure that were Military requirements to cause a decision to be made that is in essence against the Éothéod nature, the Heahcarl can be reminded of where we come from.

The title of Huscarl similarly carries respect rather than rank.  As fyrdmen recognised for their exemplary behaviour these individuals should be held in high regard.  However, unless they are given leadership of a specific situation by the Heahcarl or Dryhten, at which point they would be the ranking officer, they are simply  fyrdmen which should command deference.  Amongst the Éothéod a Huscarl is marked out more than in Issa's Eored.  For in a normal Éored they would stand out as full time paid soldiers, whilst others who must provide their own arms and armour would return to their normal line of work at all other times.  However, as Issa's Éored is currently permanent in nature, all of its individuals are paid soldiers with only a few marked out as Huscarls.    

While many of the positions described above clearly do not have military rank in the majority of situations, the esteem they are held in should not be ignored.  These individuals have been given their positions as they are both valued and respected and it is therefore natural that their opinion is valued  accordingly.

Civilian Law

Although Issa's Éored is a warband and, as stated above, therefore always in a state of Martial Law it is distinctly different from the average Éored.  This distinction is due to the fact that unlike a normal Éored, which would be created temporarily in order to fulfil a need, Issa's Éored is more permanent in nature.  As such its members are living within the warband indefinitely, far from their own lands and culture.  Due to this civilian law is also in use.  This law is allowed by the Heahcarl as he recognises that with so many living together for so long civilian issues will arise, that are not purely military in nature.  It therefore echoes that of Éothéod lands and is essentially present to arbitrate differences or problems in a more civilian manner.

This Civilian Law is under the jurisdiction of and implemented by the Hundredmen present in the group.  Individuals may therefore take any disputes or complaints to the Hundredmen so that they can arbitrate between the parties.  If serious enough this process may involve a trial and punishment although, in other circumstances it may be resolved less formally.

It must, however, be stressed that this civilian law exists at the discretion of the Heahcarl and as such can be removed or superseded by martial law where the need arises.