Once, we were all refugees.
Whatever tyranny or danger we had faced, we had survived to see another mark, another day-cycle, another season, another year. We swore vengeance, we swore memory, we swore our hearts and hands to survive and to fight.
We, who have survived, we See you.
We know your path and your challenge, even if we do not yet know you, for we have been on that trail, alone. We have known that trudging back from the battle, wondering what will be at the end of that road, and questioning the virtue of every tortured step.
We say to you: the time is done for walking alone.
You have sought a haven, a refuge, a place of rest and healing.
We welcome you among us: stand behind our shields, and we will raise our hands together to defend you.
You have sought a cause that has meaning, that has value beyond mere gold and mortality.
We welcome you among us: stand beside us and together let us raise our hands to protect those who need it, and bring judgment or release to those who need that.
You have sought a shield-mate, an ally to stand beside you, to help you on your path.
We welcome you among us: stand before us, and swear your hand to ours, and receive ours in return.
You have sought a lesson, a tool, armor, arms, or aid.
We welcome you among us: stand with us, and our strength and wisdom together shall be greater than the sum of all we had alone.
Remember that the amicae were formed first from those who survived, and who would remain free. They bound themselves to one another in freedom, and they watched and guarded each other at need,for the good of all.
From the bones and ash of the long wars, we remain. In the days after the citadel fell, many were lost. Some remained in the City, amid the chaos, others left to prepare a place of greater safety, for Xiphos, too had been lost. In the stuggles of the barons, the alliance pushed back, guarding their liberties fiercely. When the Overlord returned, it was first thought that the excesses would be curbed, and the liberty of citizens restored to what it had been, and perhaps more. Though the City had always owned flaws, the Citizens had their rights, and at least in that City, there was truth. It is not evil to recognize that the Truth is not always lovely, whatever some partisans have always said.
The hopes of many were in vain: the third brigade has greater reach to police orthodox thought as well as action, and cull those who look or think or speak in any way which diverges from the mold. It was no longer enough to guard only each other, and remain away from the walls: those who did not care for the changes were no longer free even to leave.
And so, and so. We who knew the City deeply... carried word of the secret ways, and hope of liberty. Some chose that path, some did not: the road of freedom is not an easy one, and can only be walked by those who have chosen it for themselves. Those who left, some of them sought Haven.
And so, and so. The Amicae grew.
The codes are older than the Vigiles, handed down over centuries. The spear and shield of the Vigiles, the walls and wards which guard us are the prizes of many victories, given freely for the good of all Amicae. War has changed, as the land has been changed. The old Gates and rings of stone have been rebuilt, and the art of bending time to the will or mortals has been brought into the Pattern. The very warp of the world is meddled with. The flow of magic is changed: much is taken, and little returned. The weavings of the powerful shake the pattern of every mortal soul and society.
Those who remember, and those who learn know that it was not only the war of the gods which broke the moon, and threw the seas into turmoil.
And so, and so. It becomes ever more rare to find a place of haven, or of liberty. Yet even our own refuge is not held for the wishing of it, but by the strong arm of those Amicae who are also Vigiles. Yet without the other Amicae, there would be no purpose nor support for that arm.
We are become many, and the word of our existence spreads. The shadows which have cloaked our shield and our purpose begin to fall away: it is good.