Lyceum of the Sword
History and Overview
The Lyceum of the Sword, often called simply the “Lyceum,” is the preeminent institution of martial instruction among the Many Worlds. It was founded by three legendary heroes of the Starling War; Cyk Aetol of the Calid Circle, Lady Gwen of the Sovereignty of Riavan, and Sheylar Takri of the Khezeratt of the Sun and Stars. After the war ended they journeyed to where many of their comrades in arms had perished and vowed to build a monument in their honor. There, on a world in the Calid Circle so devastated that the name has been forgotten, they began to teach others the arts of war and battle. Those students, and the generations to follow, would serve as living tributes to the fallen.
The Lyceum is organized into cadres of students who all begin their training on the same day. Each cadre, typically numbering approximately two-hundred, is overseen by a Master who will be with them for the majority of their three year basic instruction. Multiple cadres may train together for some classes but other than such occasions, the cadres do not interact with each other.
The Lyceum does not have subdivisions within it, such as specific colleges or academies. Rather, it is run by a group of Masters who answer to the Provost Master and the Grandmaster that runs the entire school. Each Master generally has one specialty, though some rare exceptions have two. These specialties run the gamut of knowledge regarding martial training and include such things as; Dueling, Siege Warfare, Small Group Battle, Army Logistics, Grand Strategy, and many more. Each student undergoes a basic series of classes with their cadre for the first year and then works with their supervising Master to develop an individual curriculum to suit their talents and ambitions. Once they graduate, a Student is called a Tribute and becomes highly prized in combat and war.
There are three ways for a student to gain admittance to the Lyceum. All three require the applicant to undergo testing for approval as the number of new students is far fewer than those that wish to attend. The criteria applicant are judged by remain a topic of speculation and rumor as some who have done poorly in tests of martial prowess have been accepted and some who are already exceptional combatants have been rejected.
The first method to become a student is to directly pay the enormous cost of tuition. The cost covers the entirety of three years and must be paid in full at the time of application. This route is rarely used as the expense is prohibitive to all but the most wealthy. Sometimes rich individuals who do not have an ongoing contract with the school will use this method to pay for the training of a valued underling.
The second method is to be sponsored through one of the ongoing contracts the Lyceum maintains with various Nations, Guilds, Aristocratic Families, and the like. These long standing arrangements allow these organizations to submit certain numbers of applicants for consideration every training cycle.
Lastly, each Master of the Lyceum is permitted a limited amount of direct sponsorship. They may select a candidate for testing, though the candidate must still pass on their own merits. Direct sponsorship is particularly noteworthy in the lack of any cost to the student if they are accepted.
After the three years of initial training a Student becomes a Tribute and usually departs to put their skills to use. Some remain, instead, and pursue even more advanced and specialized training in their discipline. If their request to do so is granted, and any additional tuition is paid, then the Tribute proceeds under the guidance of the relevant Master(s). This additional tutelage may last anywhere between one and eight years, but the average duration is two. Most Masters have a history of this sort of advanced training.
The Lyceum is located on a nameless world ravaged by the Starling War centuries ago. The surface is cracked open by continent long fissures that glow red with the heat of magma waiting to erupt. The oceans have mostly vanished, with just a single Sea of the Forgotten for sailing, navigation, and water combat training. Here and there are sharp mountain ranges with dirty snow, desert reaches, and even some more temperate and pleasantly tropical climate pockets. Overall it is a rugged and difficult place to eke out existence and serves well as a varied training ground for the best warriors in the Many Worlds.
People of Note
While most Masters see only a small fraction of all the students at the Lyceum, some have gained a measure of fame within, and without, the school.
The Grandmaster of the Lyceum oversees the Provost Master, the teaching Masters, and the school as a whole. They are little seen outside of school grounds and leave most interactions with the outside universe to the Provost Master’s office. The current Grandmaster, Alexis Tharrian, is a former Vresh soldier and hero of the Sovereignty of Riavan. Ten years ago they left the Sovereignty under mysterious circumstances and five years later reemerged as the Grandmaster of the Lyceum. Alexis is very quiet and reserved, known for their habit of speaking the fewest number of words possible to convey their thoughts.
The Provost Master
The Provost Master is the Master chosen to be responsible for the many organizational, logistical, and political challenges that are part and parcel of running an institution such as the Lyceum. She, and other Masters she designates from time to time, negotiate ongoing contracts, arrange supplies and transport, schedule cadre training sessions, and countless other necessary tasks. The current Provost Master is Ka’am Morea, a Larelti from the Hotanga Alliance, who has served in her position for over twenty-five years with no signs of slowing down. Her teaching specialty is Large Scale Military Logistics and she still teaches the occasional advanced class or individual as time allows.
Master Eurentius Christofano
A rare double specialist in Dueling and Small Unit Tactics, Christofano cuts a striking presence whenever he is encountered. A former general of the Republic of Illara, the Eldani Master chose to withdraw from the politics and grand concerns of the Republic and, instead, focus on the individual. He is a popular teacher at the Lyceum though some students have occasionally remarked that his commitment to the Dictum of Neutrality seemed strained.
The Dictum of Neutrality
A few years after the Lyceum of the Sword was established, a pair of rival Tristar Hegemony corporations sent students to the school. They subsequently attacked each other during a training session and one of them died. Accusations and counter-accusations flowed from the corporations while students began to factionalize and prepare to to kill each other. Tensions escalated sharply until, finally, the Grandmaster of the time called all students into a central hall to hear the reading of what is now known as the Dictum of Neutrality.
The foremost law of the Lyceum, the Dictum requires two things. First, that students must keep all affiliations and loyalties out of their training. Failure to do so will result in expulsion and forfeiture of any tuition. The second requirement is that the school will remain neutral in all matters of greater politics and conflict. It will not allow Masters, or enrolled students, to serve as mercenaries for hire, nor will the Lyceum refuse to train someone on the basis of external pressures. It is therefore not unheard of for Tributes to find themselves on both sides of a battle after graduating and returning home.