Friday Lore Post: The Three Hills City Guard

Like all large Dolovin cities, Three Hills has a city guard that is tasked with keeping peace in the city and apprehending criminals who have broken that peace. The guard in our capital, however, differs from those in other large cities in a few very notable ways.  

The city guard of Three Hills, as is the case with many such groups, originated as the personal army of a noble house. Distinct from the household guard of said house, this small force was meant to be the pillar of any armies the nobility might need to raise for future wars, to provide training to civilians drafted into military service. Historically, they would have numbered no more than fifty, though the city guard now numbers nearly a thousand. Again, they have this in common with most city guards across Dolovai. The differences begin with the fact that in the case of the Three Hills city guard, the noble house in question is House ven Sancte.  

Because the patron house of the city guard is the royal house of Dolovai, the city guard experiences somewhat less oversight than other city guards. Their captains are chosen by the head of House ven Sancte and are responsible for making reports to same, though in practice, it is believed that King Gerard interacts little with the city guard and mostly leaves this work to the queen, who, of course, makes any decisions about the city guard’s deployment in consultation with King Gerard.  

The city guard has one captain who oversees the operations of the entire group, and underneath him are four lieutenants, each of whom commands a division of roughly two hundred and fifty guardsmen. They divide the city into four zones and each lieutenant is responsible for one zone. Under each lieutenant are five sergeants who each manage a squad of fifty, with informal subdivisions within that fifty for different tasks in most cases. The city guard is responsible for patrolling the streets at night, investigating and solving crimes, imprisoning criminals and guarding the city’s four gates in order to inspect the comings and goings of citizens into and out of the capital. Training to be a city guard takes six months and is open to anyone, though they do maintain a finite number determined by their budget, and they favour Three Hills natives and especially the children of current or former guardsmen or women. 

The current captain of the city guard is Sergio son of Samuel, is a fourth-generation guardsman whose promotion to the captaincy recently was not without controversy. At only thirty-four, he is considered quite young for his position and several more senior lieutenants in the guard were overlooked in favour of his early ascent to the captaincy. Even his own father has been heard saying that his son was not ready for this position. Early in his tenure as captain, Sergio embarked on a controversial mission to “cleanse” Three Hills of its criminal element by targeting the Starlings, the city’s most active gang. He managed to turn one of the gang’s higher-ups to an informant through unknown means, and enacted a full-scale raid on Starling leadership, resulting in the death of their former leader Emelia the Bear, and the imprisonment of her co-leader, Atlus Everhard. The deaths of half of all estimated Starlings were resultant from the ensuing conflict, which lasted two weeks in Arlon 1990. Unfortunately, over two dozen city guardsmen, as well as dozens of members of other gangs who attempted to capitalize on the chaos, were also killed, and an estimated hundred civilians were also killed as collateral damage. The Starlings, notably, continue to exist under new leadership.  

Captain Sergio’s failure to curtail the Starlings’ activities did not end up being the indictment of his leadership that some had hoped it would be. There was a push from within the city guard to have him replaced, but the king chose to keep him in place with only a reprimand. Unofficially this was seen as a major betrayal of trust, as the Starlings and the city guard have historically enjoyed a comfortable relationship in which the former help the latter by keeping most crime underground. Captain Sergio seems to have redirected his attention away from gang activity to ordinary crime, which he has stated on several occasions he plans to stamp out entirely. The level of reported crime in Three Hills remains consistent under his leadership, despite arrests being up.  

The other major difference the Three Hills city guard has from other such organizations is that the order of knights is headquartered in Three Hills, and also takes on some of their patrolling duties. Knights do not have the authority to arrest citizens or investigate criminal activity in Three Hills, as they serve the kingdom rather than one city, but do frequently patrol the city as part of their own duty to keep the royal family and the kingdom safe. This causes occasional conflicts as the city guard feels their territory is being infringed upon, and knights in training are cautioned to be courteous when interacting with the city guard, who will frequently be hostile and territorial.  

Captain Sergio has stated several times that the presence of the order is what caused his mission against the Starlings to fail, and also that our presence in the city is a hindrance to the city guard’s activities generally and that we should therefore be removed and headquartered elsewhere. Because this is not an option, the order has generally ignored such goading. Speculation that Captain Sergio has associations with gang elements are purely speculative, and the fact that he came to the captaincy of the city guard around the same time that the drug-dealing gang known as the Rock Boys started to gain prominence in the city is, of course, merely a coincidence. The city guard of Three Hills are a longstanding institution in the city and one very much committed to the city running peacefully, and all knights are ordered to be respectful of that peace at all times.  

From “A Knightly Training Handbook,” by Sir Eustace the Redwood, updated 10th Daven DN 1991. 

2 thoughts on “Friday Lore Post: The Three Hills City Guard

    1. Yeah, not surprising at all. It’s kind of in the job description…though he does it a lot more, uh, vibrantly than lots of cops. Getting a captaincy at thirty-four that comes with a suspicious acrimony for a stable local gang that is hated by a new and violent gang of drug dealers…a big “hm” moment indeed.

      Thank you!


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