The Iron Legion
The Legend of the Academy’s founding
The Academy was built where a shrine to Ars once stood. Legend has it that the priest of the shrine offered Hadrian shelter several times in his life. He offered him shelter the night before his final battle. He brought him water, and he tended the emperor’s wounds. One of the few first hand accounts of the battle is attributed to the Priests epic poem. His poem begins the night before. As the general sleeps, a woman in full battle dress comes into the shrine. She goes to the general’s side. The priest tries to protest, but he cannot move or speak. She leans over the general, and she touches her lips to his forehead. Then she speaks in a whisper that seems to come in on the wind. “Tomorrow I will fight by your side. It will be beautiful.” Then she disappeared. This was the first appearance of Domina Ex Bellum.
The Shrine to Ars, Domina Ex Bellum
A new, larger shrine was built in Ars honor when they constructed the academy. Its entrance is the first thing you see when you enter the Academy. It is a large marble structure with ornate columns depicting battles that Academy graduates have fought in. They are constantly evolving, as more and more of the clean marble disappears. Each step on the stairs is marked by a core value of the Academy. At the top of the steps, there is a long open air platform that leads toward the entrance to the shrine. The path to the entrance is covered by a long red carpet. On either side the path, the marble platform has luxurious beds of pillows for warriors to come rest before important events.
The interior of the shrine is simple. A forty foot tall statue stands at the center of the room. Its unlike other statues of Ars you’ve seen, because she is dressed for war. The goddess is usually depicted as an Auran lady with her hair in curls, a dress that clings to her in all the right places and a book or brush in her hand. This statue has the same face of the others, but she wears the same armor as the Academy’s graduates… except its forged from onyx and silver. She wears a circlet that holds a waterfall of curly hair back from her face. Her eyes are intense and focused rather than seductive. Her hand holds the largest sword you’ve ever seen and it points down at those entering. “Honor those that came before” is written on the blade. On her shield, it says “Domina Ex Bellum.”