The Black Cloaks
The Black Cloaks is an organization that still traces its traditions back to the old empire. In that time criminals of the Nentir Vale who were sentenced to death or a life sentence could have their sentence commuted if they enlisted for service in the Black Cloaks. Volunteers were also accepted but their membership is mostly former criminals. That tradition persists to the present day, although their numbers are much fewer.
Recruits are sent north where they train at Ironhouse Garrison. The training regiment is harsh and meant to break the recruit of their larcenous past. Many die during training. Once training is complete recruits make their vows and are full members. The Black Cloaks term of service is life. All familial ties are severed and land holdings and possessions must be given up before their oath is sworn. They are now brothers for life. Any brother that violates his oath is considered a deserter and condemned to death.
The Black Cloaks mission is to defend the civilized lands to the south of The Wall. The lands north are untamed and full of hostile creatures. When the Black Cloaks were greater in number, the empire tried to expand north of The Wall, but as the Black Cloak’s numbers waned so too did those holdings in the north.
Life for a Black Cloak isn’t easy. They often die as they range north of The Wall during routine missions, and the harsh winters can claim others. Despite being made up of former criminals they share a strong brotherhood. There are surprisingly few deserters and their members can come from all walks of life, including artisans and noblemen.
The present commander of The Black Cloaks is Lord Beldak.