I have decided to create a unique army in my third fantasy book. Last night, I watched a historical documentary that talked about the mercenary army known as the White Company and their commander, Sir John Hawkwood. They were called the White Company because they all wore white surcoats over their armor. The White Company were battle-hardened veterans of the Hundred Years War and participated in the feuding wars of the Italian city states. The White Company were known to utilize guerrilla and psychological warfare to devastating effect.
I believe that the White Company was the inspiration for the Golden Company in Game of Thrones. Like the Golden Company, the Sir John Hawkwood and his men never broke a contract even when bribed. Both the White Company and Golden Company were the largest and most effective mercenary companies in their respective universes.
The sense of loyalty that the White Company and Golden Company had towards their clients reminds me of the Mandalorians from Star Wars. Both in Legends and Canon, the Mandalorians were formidable part-time mercenaries yet they had a rugged sense of honor. The most prominent example of the Mandalorians’ sense of honor revolves around their ruler, who holds the title of Mandalore. In times of war, when the Mandalore calls, all Mandalorians from across the galaxy would answer.
This loyalty to a single ruler reminds me the Army of the Dead from The Lord of the Rings. Long ago, when these warriors were alive, they swore an oath to the King of Gondor to come to his aid and fight. However, they broke their oath when the King of Gondor called and fled into the mountain from whence they came. As punishment for breaking their oath, these warriors were cursed to never rest until they fulfilled their oath. These damned souls were able to break their curse when Isildur’s Heir, Aragorn Elessar. When this undead army joined Aragorn, they were able to turn the tide during the Battle of Pelennor Field, resulting in Gondor’s salvation.
For my third fantasy book, I am planning to create several armies of mercenaries who fight for coin yet are loyal to a particular individual. When that anonymous individual calls, these various mercenary companies gather to form one massive private army. Compared to normal mercenaries, these men would possess a certain balance between greed and loyalty. I will be drawing inspiration from the White Company, the Golden Company, the Mandalorians, and Army of the Dead.