Company of the White Tree
Commander: Curmegil Rúthion, count of Parth Feren
Strength: 96 horse, 96 archer heavy infantry,
30 knights, 18 officers
Colours: Silver, gold, sable, crimson
Image: Crown and Seven Stars
Galdagor, warden of Minas Gilthoniel
Galdagor, warden of Minas Gilthoniel
Royal guard on duty
Númenórean royal guard uniform
Knight of the Fountain Court on duty
Knight of the Fountain Court on duty

Company of the White Tree

See also: Sack of Pelargir, Gondorian armed forces

Company of the White Tree, more popularly known as the royal bodyguard, was formed as the Royal troop of Nearest Guard in 1005 by king Ciryandil to act as a mounted escort, armed with spear and lance to protect the sovereign, in battle or elsewhere. The troop was composed of cadets of noble families and the highest order of gentry. The royal bodyguard accompanied Dúnadan monarchs to all foreign wars. In 1246, they became dismounted bodyguard armed with battleaxes, and admission was opened to noble sons of Gondor's allies, notably the Ehwathrumi northmen.

The Nearest guard became increasingly ceremonial unit and was too divided and demoralised to fulfill its rôle in the Kin-strife. When league forces stormed the Royal halls in Osgiliath to slay king Eldacar, most of the bodyguards fled or changed sides. Of all the soldiers present, only Serondo Dior stood firm while his colleagues melted away. While Eldacar fled to seek a safe hiding place, Serondo bought him time to escape, first remonstrating with the assassins and then fighting them to the death.

The bodyguard was reinstated some forty years later in 1491 by king Aldamir as the Company of the White Tree and organised along slightly different lines. There are two troops of six tulkarim each, making 240 men in total with officers and staff. The first troop (Roechbin Aran) is mounted on heavy warhorses with excellent handling qualities. They provide mounted escort whenever the sovereign is on the move. Otherwise they run errands, carrry dispatches and act as enforcers of sovereign's will. The first troop is composed mostly of cadets of noble families, younger members of the landed gentry and those aspiring to rise to that class.

The second troop (Ohtari) is more professional. It has six tulkarims of specialist heavy infantry and archers, drawn from veteran members of the Dagarim Aran, Ithilien Rangers and Royal Marines, but not the Royal Navy, because while members of the other services take oaths to the Winged Crown, members of the Navy take an oath to the Captain of the Ships. All ohtari are over 42 years of age on appointment. They must be corporals (methîr iaur) or above, but not commissioned. They must also have had at least 20 years' service. 80 ohtari are on duty daily, and 40 at night, guarding the houses and properties of the Dúnadan monarch.

Knights of the Fountain Court are élite of the élite, selected from the very best of the Royal Guard, swearing to give their lives in the service of the King and to be fearless in combat. They wear winged helmets made of mithril, intricately crafted heavy armour and carry the best weaponry that the armouries of the White City have to offer. Fountain Court Guard is known for its ferocious and blind loyalty to the King. Apart from protecting the person of the sovereign, they have the most holiest of tasks: Standing guard beside the White Tree and entrance to Mount Mindolluin, the only shrine of Eru Ilúvatar in Middle-earth.

New recruits to the Company are sworn in on 6. Lothron in commemoration of the Guard's bravery during the Great Raid.

PAY, EQUIPMENT AND LODGING


The royal guards normally wear an 'undress' uniform of black hose, pure white cotton shirt and flowing white overcoat with gold trimmings. When in the presence of the sovereign, or the guards are on duty at a state occasion, they wear crimson, black and silver liveries of Númenor. Royal guard surcoats are white with black and crimson trimming, bearing the design of the crown and seven stars. Current court fashion, which includes long flowing hair in ringlets, elaborate trimmings and large hats is strongly recommended.

Company of the White Tree has some of the best weaponry in Gondor available to its members. Still, men are supposed buy their own equipment, and there is constant competition for best swords and richest harnesses. Men of the first troop are trained in single and mounted combat, as gentlemen are not supposed to stand in line. Their primary weapon is long sword called anket, usually 44 to 56 inches long and used in either one or two hands. They are also trained in mounted combat with spear, lance and bow. Second troop carry spears or halberds along with sidearms as ekets (stabbing swords) or krists (long daggers).

When on duty at a state occasion, royal bodyguards are supposed to be the very image of the first Men of Núménor to settle the shores of Middle-earth. Thus they are issued the ancient armour of Númenor, along with blades and hollow-steel bows of Westernesse, all heavy with both age and dignity. Officers are distinguished by their silvered or gilded scale armour and Númenórean karma-style helmets with bright and heavy plumes.

The royal guards and their families live in tied accommodation inside the fortress of Minas Anor, paying council taxes and a portion of their salaries for rent. Some of the accommodation date back to the 5th century. Mounted bodyguards have also stalls and lodgings in Osgiliath in their old headquarters, Minas Gilthoniel.

All guardsmen are paid an annual allowance of 420 miriani (21 gold crowns) in three installments of 140 miriani, disbursed during the three Dúnadan high hallows: Erukyermë (Nínui 12), Erulaitalë (Loëndë) and Eruhantalë (Ùrui 10). In addition they are entitled to pension of 72 miriani every five years and a special donative equal of the King's age in silver coins at his birthday. When quartered in Osgiliath or Minas Anor, royal guardsmen have daily rations that include beef, as well as mutton and veal. When the King is present, they are entitled to a ration of beef from the King's table.

OFFICERS (1670)





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