A somewhat tongue-in-cheek manifesto for new recruits, which should not at all be taken as things Haft would actually say…well, maybe a few of them…
First, a few things you might want to know:
Guards are meant to be invisible. If you do your job right, no one will know you are there, except your fellow guards.
Becoming a guard will not immediately grant you access to royalty or the nobility in such a way as you get to carry on conversations with ’em (Invisible, remember?). Unless the nobility in question is Lord Darrin. He is a bit of an odd duck.
Becoming a guard does entitle you to free food (Hurrah!), and you may order it from any page in the castle (They only serve bread and wine, so you may wish to supplement your caloric intake with other items of nutritional value like broccoli, which does not exist in-game.)
Being a guard means spending long hours standing on walls, sometimes with other guards and sometimes alone. Occasionally you may catch interesting glimpses of castle life in the wards below, but these can be rare. Watch duty is dull. On the plus side, we’ve got the best views in the kingdom. Enjoy the sunrise, the sunsets, and the stars. Also be aware that if you sit on the edge of the wall and dangle your feet over the ward and fall off, your injuries are not covered by health insurance. (I’m looking at you, Megren and Colin!)
Being a guard means you will largely be stuck in the Anvard area. We’ve got a job to do, and travel opportunities may be limited.
Being a guard means you will have to give a lot of reports, and you may have to give them over and over to various people.
Guards do not go off half-cocked (If you’ll pardon the modern expression), gallivant around the country having adventures, lay down their own rules, or arrest people on a whim. Laying down the law and making arrests is usually reserved for the Captain. Going off half-cocked and gallivanting around the country is reserved for knights. Remember the old saying “A warrior is free to be a hero and pull off daring do and the soldier is irresponsible if he does it.” We are not heroes, though we may at times be called on to perform heroic deeds. We are much more than brave. We are competent. One soldier doing his job properly because he is well-trained and mindful is worth a dozen untrained men who rush headlong into the fray.
So, with all these restrictions, why would anybody ever want to be a guardsman?
If you ever read The Return of the King, you probably know the answer. It wasn’t Sam’s fight with Shelob that defined his character. It was his constant care, minding the food and looking out for his master. A guardsman serves and protects, so that others may live without fear and accomplish their own goals.
Welcome to the Guard.