“Once a Vanguard, always a Vanguard.” -Olivia Winnlock, former Vanguard class head.The Vanguard mission is to keep the peace or, failing that, to act in order to ensure justice and restore concord. The class has a reputation for arrogance, even going so far as to capitalize their class name in spite of convention, but given their impressive history of service, their arrogance may well be deserved. The Vanguard are an elite, loyal group whose often clandestine activities remain vital to the function of not only the Academy but the country at large.
Vanguards must be stealthy, agile, loyal, courageous and trustworthy. They must have good memories and high intelligence, as well. While “arrogance” is not necessary, a certain confidence is required, as self-doubt can be deadly in their line of work. Vanguard students must be willing to work hard and put forth their best effort to keep up with the rigorous curriculum.
Vanguards work closely with many other classes. Their most common ally is the eraser class, but they work with sorcerers and crusaders often, as well. The official dragon of the Vanguard class is the teleios dragon, as its sleek form and superior stamina make it ideal for Vanguard missions.
Vanguards are identifiable by the spiked silver cuff worn on their left wrist, engraved with the name of their class on the inside. Students can choose to have their own name engraved, or engrave it themselves, on the inside in addition to the class name.
The Vanguard are an elite, loyal class that perform the functions of espionage and investigation for the Academy. They rely on stealth and subterfuge to uncover information from the barest bones. Vanguards are responsible for ensuring that nothing strange is occurring, and if something does happen, they investigate. Vanguards may investigate simple crimes in cities or villages, anything from thievery to abduction to murder to treason and more. Vanguard work is both difficult and dangerous. It is also impressive and honorable.
Vanguards may limit themselves to investigating petty crimes, like pickpocketing or vandalism, but the general class attitude sets the bar high for all students and discourages them from limiting themselves. Vanguards often aim ever higher in their efforts, investigating larger and larger crimes. Many Vanguards put their lives on the line to infiltrate enemy territory and discover information often more dangerous than what they went through to get it.
Along with investigations, Vanguards keep their ear to the ground and their eyes peeled. They ferret our treason and uncover brewing wars or insurrections. Vanguards keep tabs on former enemies and deliver information to sorcerers, crusaders, or erasers. They are constantly on alert for any threat.
Apart from special missions, Vanguards have three areas of study. The Vanguard have a “classroom” in which they teach stealth and inconspicuous information gathering techniques, as well as how to interact with their targets in a way that encourages them to be forthcoming without arousing suspicion. Vanguards study their class history in-depth and analyze past cases. They learn to identify leads, suspicious rumors or sights, and different approaches to investigation.
Vanguards also teach dragon riding, of course, and they study the basics of runes and dragon care. Vanguards mostly focus on stealth: utilizing their dragons in order to gather information and hiding their dragons when they don’t want to be seen.
Vanguards also teach combat, in the unfortunate event that their surreptitious actions are discovered by unfriendly parties. Vanguards are taught to be agile and stealthy, to move about without being discovered, and how to make a quick escape and cover their tracks. Vanguards are dedicated to their studies—their skills often mean the difference between life and death.
Rivalry With The Erasers
Despite a close working relationship, there is no love between the erasers and the Vanguards. In fact, there is a bit of a rivalry that has been struck up between these two classes, due in part to the at-odds nature of their purposes. Erasers, whose image as murderers and thieves, crosses with the Vanguards, whose job is to prevent or punish crimes.
Along with a idealistic difference, members of the eraser class have been known to attempt thievery from the Vanguard class before. However, only one successful attempt has been made, perpetrated by Constance Dreamweaver. The Vanguard generally consider the infiltrating erasers to be a test of their skill and a strike against their reputation. Though there is a rule against outright murder, the rivalry has landed members of both parties in medical care.
Class heads have been known to encourage this rivalry. Apart from murder, the rule seems to be very much "anything goes."
The Vanguard class has a long history, one that has lead to its legendary status and instilled great pride in its members. At the start of its war with Lexelle, nearly two thousand years in the past, Alluum found that it could not anticipate the opponent's tactics and suffered from its reactionary position. The Vanguard class was created when the Academy saw a need for information gathering beyond what magic could divine.
The class’s founder, a freelance “spy” known as Annika Cobaltan, brainstormed new techniques and trained the class in infiltration and sent its members behind enemy lines to gather intel on Lexelle’s military strategies and upcoming moves. Cobaltan is also responsible for the discovery of teleios dragons in the wild. After hatching and bonding with a dragon, her study of them led to their implementation in Vanguard operations. They soon became the official dragon of the class.
The Vanguard have since aided the nation and allies with countless wars, invasions, and high crimes while developing the arts of espionage and investigation.