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ON THE LIFE OF MANFRED BARCLAY


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ON THE LIFE OF MANFRED BARCLAY

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A depiction of Manfred Barclay during his tenure as Lord Marshal.

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PREAMBLE

 

Lord Manfred Karl Barclay was and is one of the key figures in Haeseni military and political history, with the Duke's service to the state shaping up many of the practices and traditions of the military as we know it. With the Duke's recent retirement and abdication from public life, it is necessary to protect the legacy of one of the important commanders of Haeseni history and thus this text on the man's life and achievements shall commence, so that our future generations may read about him, and our future commanders may learn from him.

 

- Osvald Anton 

 

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THE BEGINNINGS OF MANFRED BARCLAY

 

 

Manfred Karl was born in the County of Reinmar to Count Erwin Barclay and Countess-Consort Kamila Irena Barclay (Born Alimar) in 1752. The young Manfred would not live a coveted childhood within the family as from his birth to his late childhood years would be characterised by rigorous training imposed on the youth by his father Erwin and the erupting series of political instability such as the ongoing Rubern war. Manfred would begin his training on the fundamentals of riding beginning from age 5. At the age of 7, he would start to train with the sword and the shield to prepare his service in the HRA. When he was not practicing his bodily functions to get ready for soldiership, he was educated on political matters by his cousins, Osvald and Conrad. Manfred, in his early teen years completed his training along with his cousin Karolina, and would enlist in the HRA as an initiate. 

 

During his youth, Manfred's guardians and friends described him as an outgoing child, who was physically adept, but enjoyed strategy and wargames. He would enjoy falconry, trying to emulate Erik Kortrevich's falconing legacy, but he was also described as a detached child, who would often act independently when not regulated. He was prone to bouts of anger, followed by a long period of calm and collected thought, perhaps showing that he was prone to a build-up of slights and emotions.

 

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YOUNG MANFRED

 

Manfred Barclay enlisted in the Haeseni Royal Army at the age of fifteen, in 1767 as an initiate, completing his training by the time the Scyfling Invasion of Hanseti-Ruska kicked off. Manfred was among the King's retinue when King Sigismund II marched as Bralt the Boar's fleet sailed in the Haeseni shores. As a young soldier, Manfred's father, Erwin did not separate his son from his soldiers, and the boy would get an equal treatment within the hierarchy of the Haeseni Royal Army. He would be soon promoted to a footman along with his brother Brandt, and it is around this time, when Manfred was a footman that he would see the first wars of his tenure.

 

Manfred would describe the 'rank and file' years of his life as the "bloodiest" part of his life. Unlike the future Inferi war, the young Manfred would lament men slaying other men but felt that "it was his duty to protect the king and his sworn brothers" within the battlefield. After the initial incursion of Bralt the Boar to the Northlands of Valwyck, Manfred had became a man of the cavalry brigade to help his father lift the Siege of Valwyck, in which his cousin, Karolina would perish. With his first time experiencing a bloody battle, and witnessing the death of Karolina, Manfred would develop a bleak view on warfare, and this would shape his policy of  'proportional warfare' later on in his career.

 

Between watching the maps for the next Scyfling incursion and his private life, Manfred would train and attend Brotherhood exercises rigorously, a regimented lifestyle that he had became accustomed to in his youth. This attendance and diligence would catch the attention of his officers, and most notably, the King personally.  However, a promotion was delayed by the Marshal, Erwin Barclay. Erwin Barclay was particularly suspicious about claims of biased appointments, and wished to wait until it was unrealistic to everyone that Manfred was nepotistically elevated.

 

The expected promotion came in 1769, and Manfred was promoted to the rank of Sergeant within the Haeseni Royal Army. His first battle wherein he was responsible with the lives of fellow soldiers would be the first incursion on Metterden, when the Haeseni forces defeat Luvir Ironrain. Manfred would thereafter be assigned under the Chapter of the Destrier as a cavalry officer, a specialisation he held since childhood and early service.

 

Manfred's greatest success came in during the Siege of Metterden once more, a soil he fought over a few years over. This time, Manfred came back as an officer of the HRA and was placed as the head of the Cavalry, with Sergeant Osvald and Sergeant Stefan Otto as the subsidiary officers. While the infantry under Erwin held the castle and defended it from the siege, Manfred's brigade would employ hit and run tactics, horse archery and pyrotechnics. His greatest success in this battle was to rout archers who were stationed in front of Metterden in a mountain, threathening to disrupt any possible retreat or infantry manoeuvres. The cavalry brigade would then be disabled by the sudden appearance of Scyfling pikemen, though Ser Marcus Erdhart and King Sigismund himself would hold the line for the cavalry to retreat.

 

In the subsequent battles such as the naval warfare and the latter siege of Vasiland, Manfred would fight, but he would fill a background role and perform as an infantryman, while the Lord Marshal and King Sigismund presided over the battles, along with Margrave Brandon Vanir. 

 

With the conclusion of the Siege of Reza, Manfred would find himself as an accomplished and decorated officer of the HRA, and would be bestowed the rank of Captain by the Lord Marshal. He would get large public support in his promotion.

The Battle of Stamford Bridge, 1066

A depiction of a battle during the Scyfling War. 

 

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MARSHAL

 

As Erwin Barclay grew old and started to think about a successor to the title of Marshal, many heads turned towards Ser Demetrius Ruthern and Captain Manfred Barclay, with people making bets over who would succeed Erwin's legacy. Erwin was largely apolitical in this, and delegated extensively to the Royal Government to make a decision, taking an advisory capacity. While Ser Ruthern was the de-facto successor to Erwin initially, he would suffer a joint injury, which prevented him from effectively swinging a sword. The wound further distracted the knight in terms of thinking greatly, and he decided to retire to his residence in Metterden. As a result, Manfred was proclaimed Marshal by the royal government in 1776, ending the late-Erwin period of uncertainty. 

 

The problem that Manfred faced would be that he was at odds with an army, which was half-modernised after the initiative of King Sigismund. While Erwin and Wilheim, his predecessors presided over a 'Brotherhood' in practice and name, with a 'warrior lodge' culture, Manfred would find himself with a professional institution, with the framework of a honour-bound warrior clan. Lord Erwin left Manfred with a strong core of the rank and file, yet a weak officer corps, who were nearly as old as Erwin, and about to retire. Manfred would lead the army to be a more professional institution while keeping the Brotherhood tradition. Erwin's personal initiative, in inducting the initiates through a ritualistic hunt was institutionalised, with an officer being assigned full-time to train the initiates. The army also began to recruit more widely than Highlandic peoples, though this can be attributed to the construction of Karosgrad attracting people of different origins. Erwin's Marshalship was mostly characterised by a top-down rule of the Marshal in all institutions, though Manfred would take a more delegating approach, assigning officers to specific parts of the HRA, a reform which Erwin attempted to implement to ensure future success, even though he preferred to take the reins. The delegating approach allowed officers such as Fyodor Erdhart, Brandt Barclay, Jackson Porter and Friedrich Barclay to rise, as they were assigned to specific posts.

 

Manfred further had a vision of documentation within the HRA, and would record and report detailed actions of the HRA military to the Aulic Government to display why their promotion had been warranted, following the Erwinian tradition of discourse with the government regarding military affairs. 

 

Marshal Manfred proved himself mostly on the battlefields, as a seasoned veteran of both the Scyfling and the Inferi war. Based on his experiences within the previous war, as it had been said, Manfred grew a bleak view of warfare, and was determined to conduct a 'proportional warfare' in which warfare would be pursued based on the objectives and ethics, instead of completely obliterating the enemy. This policy in the battlefield would mostly be inspired by King Sigismund's policy of reintegration of the Scyfling traitors in Haense during the war. Manfred would choose to employ 'bite and hold' tactics in his warfare, in which waves of soldiers would seek to capture objectives after storms of projectiles, and hold them without aggressively pushing the enemy. Manfred preferred to use cavalry as a separate group from the infantry, instead of a diversionary support force which harassed the enemy, and his conduct in the Scyfling and Inferi war has showed that often cavalrymen and infantryman would seek out different objectives in realtime.

 

Overall, Manfred would revitalise the officer corps, while maintaining the rank and file with recruitment and training. His tenure's hallmark was institutionalising Brotherhood traditions left from the previous iterations of it.

 

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THE RED DUKE OF THE INFERI WAR

 

As demonic forces landed near the southern coast of The Korvassa, Manfred was serving as Marshal, near the middle of his tenure. News would strike Hanseti-Ruska about the Inferi forces being able to conquer their way around the deserts and the plains of Korvassa through their overwhelming armies. With the rulers of the era recognising the threat, an alliance was formed dubbed the 'Firewatch Alliance', in which Manfred was the Commander-in-Chief for the Hanseti-Ruskan forces. 

 

The Firewatch alliance was an international affair, with the commanders of each army subgroups being assigned to their own militaries. Decisions sometimes would be taken upon meetings between the authorities, and sometimes individual actions through the initiatives of the commanders. Manfred would command various battles within the Inferni war, both in a collective and individual capacity, defending the integrity of the Hanseti-Ruskan monarchy and it's people. While fighting the war, Manfred introduced new desert-orientated gear to help the soldiers recuperate from the desert heat in the south. He would further take initiative to build various encampments and fortifications, such as the Fort on the Old Reza border during the Inferni war to gain a logistical advantage in defense. He would lose a hand in the war, and had to live with a metal replacement for the rest of his life.

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Artist's interpretation of the Inferni War.

 

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RETIREMENT

 

As Manfred grew older, and his body weakened, he recognised the toll that the years took on him. While he planned his retirement and entered discussion with the Aulic Government and Koeng Heinrik on his succession, he started to delegate more and more of his duties to his officers, until the government could determine a clear successor to the aging marshal. After some deliberation, Koeng Heinrik decided on one clear successor. Friedrich Barclay was to be the next marshal, based on the youth's merit in leading within the officer corps beside his peers. With that, the Duke of Reinmar resigned from his long watch over Hanseti-Ruska, to be awarded the medal of the 'Ashen Fox' on his father, and to be colloquially called 'The Red Duke'.

 

Manfred Barclay now resides within Reinmar, and engages with very little public activity. He is a cabbage farmer, and takes very high pride in his cabbage-growing skills that he had developed in his life. He privately lamented that perhaps this hobby stirred from his desire for calm and peace after seeing many, many decades of bloodshed. 

Edited by MadOne
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"Rest In Peace, mi Lord Marshal." Comments Sergey Kovachev from the Seven Skies.

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Lorenz Barclay peered down at the cabbage farmer Manfred Barclay trying to figure out his secret to grow such a good and delicious cabbage. Thinking that one day, he will obtain that secret and start his own cabbage farm.

 

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Albrecht playfully salutes his uncle Sir Manfred as he trots past the cabbage fields in Reinmar on his steed.

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Manfred Barclay would place the biography down upon a nearby cart with a proud smile, the former Marshal and Duke then proceeded to return to farming todays yield of cabbages.

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