Motes in the Serpent's Eye
The White Legion Expeditionary Force
The Expeditionary Force is the colonial military force of House Altara, dedicated to exploration and exploitation of the Outlands. Its leader is a female half-dragon called Ochorro.
The “Imperial Legions” is the blanket term used to describe the military might of the Dragon Empire. The name is very evocative and emphasizes the infantry that is vital to the empire’s occupation and conquest of worlds. Unfortunately, the name also gives the impression that the Legions consist of nothing beyond such troops, which is patently untrue. The Legions are, in fact, a very diverse group of organizations, united by their allegiance to the Golden Throne and their willingness to defend the empire against all threats. Each house of the empire maintains its own specialized units and uses them primarily for its own benefit, although, like all parts of the Legions, they serve the whole empire in times of trouble.
The White Legion Expeditionary Force is an example of one such specialized unit. Formed over a half-millennium ago by the leaders of House Altara, the force serves several purposes. First and foremost, it is a rapid reaction force to defend the holdings of the white dragons across the empire. Its legionnaires are well trained and rival those of other more powerful houses in terms of their weaponry and equipment. In addition, the force has access to fast starships that allow its troops to get from one end of the domain to the other with remarkable speed. This is the key to the force’s usefulness to House Altara and its reputation throughout the empire.
The force is also a colonial military unit used in those Outlands territories held or administered by the white dragons. Indeed, it is in the Outlands that many legionnaires earned their spurs as warriors. House Altara has conquered comparatively few worlds of its own, but it is often given governorship of them because of its comparatively weak political position within the empire. The process of annexing Outlands worlds is often brutal, but the Expeditionary Force has become quite adept at crushing dissent and turning Outlanders into model imperial subjects—whether they wish to or not.
Ironically, the force has also become very familiar with a wide variety of alien cultures, which has in turn led to its third purpose: exploration. The Expeditionary Force is regularly assigned to accompany and protect imperial exploratory vessels of all sorts, including those of the Royal Exploratory Service. That last fact is a testament to the force’s professionalism and skills in this area. It is rare to see such cooperation between Qesemet- and Asamet-based organizations, especially one that’s as solidly military in its nature as the Expeditionary Force. Yet, there are few other groups within the Dragon Empire that are as adept at dealing with the unknown. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a fair number of individuals from outside Altara’s territory enlist in the White Legion in hopes of joining the Expeditionary Force. Many fail to make the grade, but enough do that it is a viable route for those hoping to spend their military service exploring the uncharted reaches of the galaxy.
Since Mezzenbone came to the throne, the force has been busier than usual. The emperor has shown a great deal of favor to House Altara, which has been a loyal member of Asamet since the beginning. The force is another reason why. Mezzenbone believes—correctly— that House Altara will pacify worlds more quickly and efficiently than any other house within the empire. Furthermore, he hopes that the force will be able to extract valuable magic or technology from these worlds before it has the chance to fall into the hands of the Insurrection or others who oppose his rule.
So far, this arrangement has worked very well. Yet, there is evidence that problems may be arising. The presence of so many from outside House Altara within the Expeditionary Force is beginning to have an effect. Where once the force’s military governors were brutal and remorseless, some now show a tendency toward conciliation and diplomacy. Many are more interested in learning from Outlanders than in subjugating them mercilessly. While this has aided the force in its efforts in some respects, it has also weakened the position of House Altara in the Outlands. No longer is it as feared as once it was, which has in turn encouraged rebellion among and sympathy for its enemies.