The Ranger Corps is an organization established during King Herbert's reign of Araluen. They are an elite paramilitary organization, tasked with foreign and domestic intelligence gathering, law enforcement within Araluen's borders, and special operations.
The Ranger Corps was originally founded during King Herbert's reign, 150 years before the events of The Ruins of Gorlan. There are 50 rangers, one for each Fief. Later exceptions to this rule include Redmont Fief, which briefly had two Rangers, and Gorlan Fief, which does not have a Ranger at all.
During the reign of King Oswald, a number of ambitious barons started to take over Araluen, as the king's mind was old and compromised. They had Prince Duncan sent to a far corner of Araluen and began to get rid of the loyal and potentially dangerous rangers, such as Pritchard. These Rangers were banished and replaced with unqualified noblemen who gained entrance to the Corps by paying a pension, resulting in the corruption of the Ranger Corps. Around this time, Crowley and Halt first meet; both were Pritchard's pupils and taught as rangers should be. Together, they decided to revitalize the Ranger Corps and bring an end to the barons' schemes.
To minimize enemy knowledge about them, the Corps shrouds itself in a wealth of mystery and misinformation. This proves to be effective when the Temujai are shown to know little about the Rangers, referring to them as "Atabi".
Although Rangers are traditionally men, this is changed when Princess Madelyn becomes the first female Ranger.
- Main article: Ranger Gear
A Ranger's most essential article of clothing is the mottled green and grey camouflage cloak. Made of tightly woven wool, it offers protection from the weather, and the color makes it easier to remain unseen in the forests of Araluen.
The cloak has a heavy, deep cowl which, when pulled over the head leaves the Ranger's face in deep shadow. This hides the Ranger's face and allows him to scan his surroundings without being too noticeable. This cloak also helped start the rumor that Rangers studied witchcraft because, when a ranger reveals himself after being camouflaged, they seem to conjure themselves out of nowhere, as stated by various individuals.
Most Rangers wear a long sleeved, green linen shirt covered by a brown leather tunic that also aids in concealment and helps the Rangers to carry all of their tools and weapons.
They wear light-weight, soft-soled, brown leather boots, which allow them to move silently but also aid in riding.They never polish their boots (nor their buckles), as the glint of reflected sun can give their position away.
They usually have a leather gauntlet on their non-dominant forearm to protect them from the strings of their own bows when firing.
On their belt they wear a double-scabbard with their throwing and saxe knives placed next to each other. They carry a quiver of 24 arrows on their back (with extras in their pack) as well as a longbow. Apprentices often use recurve bows.
Around their necks they wear a metal oak leaf on a chain, bronze for apprentices, silver for fully-fledged Rangers, and gold for retired Rangers. Although this is usually hidden beneath the shirt, for the same reason they do not polish their boots.
- Main article: Ranger Gear
Rangers are best known for their longbows that they carry and the twenty-four arrows in their quiver - this, combined with the fabled accuracy of Rangers, gave rise to the saying "a Ranger carries the lives of twenty-four men in his quiver." They of course carry extra arrows in their saddlebag. Rangers are extremely accurate with their longbows and can shoot rapidly with accuracy. A Ranger's main tasks include special reconnaissance, intelligence, assassination, national law enforcement, situational intervention, and special operations. They also wield a throwing knife, a heavy bladed saxe knife, and strikers. From the time of the A New Beginning onwards, Rangers included a sling and lead bullets among their arsenal.
List of Ranger GearEdit
- Recurve Bow (for the apprentice or a special mission)
- Ranger Saxe Knife (main knife)
- Throwing Knife (secondary knife)
- Arrows (24)
- Medical Pack
- Book And Quill
- Leather Jerkin
- Soft pad leather boots
- Arm Guard
- Grinder (sharpen blades)
- Stealth - Rangers are incredibly stealthy and many believe that they practice the dark arts, though this is not true. They achieve their far-famed stealth through years of rigorous training and camouflage cloaks.
- Archery - All Rangers are accomplished archers, having a standard of shooting that is achieved only by few, their skills far outmatch that of the Genovesians, who are known for their use of crossbows in assassination. As Pritchard, Crowley's and Halt's mentor, said, "An ordinary archer practices until he gets it right. A Ranger practices until he never gets it wrong."
- Tactical Thinking - All Rangers are taught to be tacticians as they are often called into situations which involve the need for tactical thinking.
- Knife Throwing - All Rangers use knives, placed on their belts in a special double-scabbard, containing a useful saxe knife and throwing knife.
- Double Knife Defense - The double knife defense involves the Rangers using their two knives to defend themselves against swordsmen. It does not appear to be used often.
- Horse Riding - It is necessary that all Rangers are proficient horse riders and every one of them owns a horse specially trained for their line of work.
- Fitness - Being a Ranger is a physically demanding task, requiring high levels of fitness and training.
- Tracking- All rangers are able to track across all types of terrain.
- Unarmed Combat- Ranger's are expected to excel in combat, with or without a weapon.
- Cooking- All Rangers have to take an instructional course in cooking, so all can at least cook halfway decently.
- Sewing- Most Rangers can sew, in case there is a rip in the cloak.
- Couriers Code- This is not only a Ranger skill but also a Couriers skill
TrainingEditMain Article: Ranger TrainingOccasionally, one of the older and more experienced rangers take themselves an apprentice when they see someone with the potential to fulfill the demanding role of a ranger. The apprentices taken are usually around fifteen but may be taken at a younger age. For five years they are trained and regularly assessed at the annual Ranger Gathering by a number of rangers who are delegated that task. They are first assessed a number of months after first being taken on as an apprentice and if they pass are given their bronze oak leaf. In The Ruins of Gorlan however, Halt gives Will his oak leaf early and without the assessment because of apprentice's skill and the fact that he won't be assessed properly for a while due to the war .
Over these five years the apprentice ranger is gradually given more and more responsibilities and missions to carry out and handle until they are believed ready to be made a full ranger and given their silver oak leaf.
There are numerous specialized techniques developed or adapted by rangers over the years since their formation.
List of Known RangersEditThe rangers whose names appear in italic text are retired rangers. The ones that are underlined are apprentices. The rangers with † next to them are deceased
- Crowley - Former commandant †
- Gilan - Corps commandant as of A New Beginning
- Halt O'Carrick - Will's mentor
- Liam †
- Madelyn - First female ranger
- Pritchard †
- Will Treaty - Main Protagonist
- John Flanagan inspiration for the Rangers came from a United States reconnaissance force in World War II.
- In Dutch the Rangers are called "Grijze Jagers", which means "Grey Hunters".
- In Polish the Rangers are called "Zwiadowcy", which means "Scouts".
- In Portuguese the Rangers are called "Arqueiros", which means "Archers".
- In Czech the Rangers are called ''Hraničáři'', which means "Borderers".
- In Swedish the Rangers are called "Spejare", which means "Spies" or "Scouts".
- John Flanagan also found inspiration from The Lord of the Rings group called the Rangers, who share the camouflage cloak, longbow, and elite status.
- Rangers outrank all Araluens except the King and his regent.