The Falconcrest Mercenary Guild is a force of independent warriors which is deeply loyal to the Falconcrest Kingdom, while simultaneously acting under their own direction as a coalition of mercenary businesses which are almost completely free of governmental direction.
The Falconcrest Mercenary Guild is formed of small, independent chapters. A Falconcrest Mercenary Guild Chapter is comprised primarily of local volunteers who must be official citizens of the Falconcrest Kingdom, and whom are usually required to demonstrate some form of martial capability or proficiency.
Each chapter exists outside of the normal Falconcrest military chain of command, and is expected to be able to act efficiently and honorably without constant direction from a higher authority.
Individual Guild Chapters are further organized into a network of neighboring chapters, based on geographical proximity. These networks are each classified as a Falconcrest Mercenary Legion, and fall under the guidance of a citizen mercenary commander known as a Falconcrest Legionnaire.
Neighboring chapters of the guild which fall within the same Legion are often recruited as a single mercenary company to face threats which require the attention of greater numbers than might be provided by an individual chapter. In times of war, a Legion might be called to serve as local militia, under the guidance of a Legionnaire reporting directly to Falconcrest military command.
However, each chapter is generally expected to operate as determined by their own priorities, motivations, and planning. A chapter is permitted to author its own guild charter (to be reviewed by the local Legionnaire), is allowed to manage its internal operations, and is welcome to determine its own wages for each member. A Legionnaire’s duty is to provide order, guidance, assistance, and a degree of direction when needed, but usually only takes direct command during times of war. Nonetheless, it is a greatly coveted title, and it is well known that a mercenary may only rise to the lofty position of Legionnaire by receiving a direct appointment from The King.
As a result of the unprecedentedly low percentage of taxes collected by The Falconcrest Kingdom, a very small portion of guild funding comes directly from the kingdom. As this leaves the common people of Falconcrest in possession of a much greater portion of wealth to spend at their personal discretion, individual villages and farmsteads are often expected to provide the funding necessary for their own defense.
Because of this arrangement, the vast majority of settlements in Falconcrest look to the Mercenary Guild to provide protection from external threats such as raiders or monsters. Members of the Mercenary Guild are often deputized by a local magistrate or Sheriff in order to facilitate the enforcement of kingdom laws.
In addition, most Guild Charters for chapters of the guild include a provision for a portion of all funds to be channeled into the guild coffers as a reserve, allowing each chapter to support its local community in times of need.
Because the Mercenary Guild operates primarily using its own funds, and exists outside of the official military structure, the Kingdom of Falconcrest has wisely chosen to exert an altruistic and patronly influence over the guild.
The Falconcrest Mercenary Guild is thus treated with respect by the soldiers and officers of the Falconcrest Military. Training, assistance, and support are frequently offered to individual Legions and Chapters of the guild without expectation of compensation, and the Falconcrest Mercenary Guild has become fertile ground for the recruitment of capable men and women into prestigious organizations such as The Falconcrest Range Guard.
It is thus that the Falconcrest Mercenary Guild manages to serve as an organized kingdom militia, a local defense force, and an independent collection of non-governmental businesses operating without kingdom funds; while maintaining an impressively fierce loyalty to their communities, their kingdom, and their king.