The Disfavored are one of Kyros' many armies and the embodiment of discipline and warfighting. Where the Scarlet Chorus is primal and unrestrained, the elite few of the Disfavored are stoic, obedient, and ruthlessly efficient.
As Kyros conquered the North under a single banner, there were those who resisted the call to unification. Ashe was a young bannerman at the time, petulant and inflated by pride by his own admission. He rallied the sons and daughters of the North to stand against Kyros. While Imperial armies could not stand against the forces of the Overlord, with battles routinely turning to slaughter, Ashe gathered what troops he had and retreated to the mountains. Their adaptive, pragmatic tactics and full use of advantageous terrain made them a killing shadow cast over the offensive. The uncanny resilience of Ashe's forces, including the ability to stand against the Archons of Entropy and Sorrow, fighting with sticks when their iron broke and countering sorrow with the proud songs of the North, were the first signs of Ashe's nascent power as an Archon. The women and men of his legion trained harder, marched farther, and endured more the longer he led them. His soldiers credited him with this new advantage: Ashe had given them total commitment, and they felt protected and strengthened by his presence. Ashe attributed the performance of the legion to their training and breeding, but soon it became clear that something greater was afoot.
Kyros finally noticed that Ashe's influence over the troops was a demonstrable threat when Graven Ashe slew Blood Ruin in a battle described as the greatest of the Age. Though Ashe ultimately emerged triumphant – claiming the mantle of Archon of War – he and his army were weakened by the battle. A relentless offensive by the Overlord, consisting of every army she could spare was sent after Ashe and his legion - all but sacrificing the Scarlet Chorus in the process. Ashe was apprehended eventually, but not until his army lay broken. and Ashe was captured by other Archons loyal to Kyros. They brought him in chains before Tunon. He said that enemies of Kyros would all be put to the sword unless he took that one opportunity to surrender and join the fold. Ashe seized the opportunity, pragmatically believing that life and service to the Overlord, and the lives of the men and women who survived the onslaught, were more important than his pride. So he bent the knee and swore obedience, which led to his name from then on to be known as Graven Ashe - a joke at his expense by the other Archons. Perhaps as a result of his humbling experiences, Ashe is a realist, a pragmatist, and his ego is only slightly inflated - a rare trait in Archons. He listens to the Court and the advice of his Iron Guard, making him a rare kind of leader indeed.
As a result, the remnants of his army were granted the rights of Kyros' Peace, and we lived on as servants of the Overlord. Ashe reformed the remnants of his legion into an elite troop representing all that the North holds dear: Perfect training, rigid discipline, respect for the law, and family. However, since they had transgressed and rebelled against the offering of Kyros' protection, his elite legion was stripped of their decorated name and dubbed 'Disfavored,' a mocking reminder of past crimes. Despite a century of fighting, Kyros' favor is still elusive and Ashe and his men continue to labor to win back the Overlord's love.
As part of Kyros' vast armies, the Disfavored represent the finest the Empire has to offer. Only the finest of trained warriors are accepted into The Disfavored, the elite army led by Graven Ashe, Archon of War. Though they are the smallest of Kyros’ forces in number (barely 10,000 departed the Northern Empire to conquer the Tiers, and the Disfavored in country today were part of that original muster), their superior training and unparalleled discipline make them more than a match for any army who would oppose them. The Disfavored believe first and foremost in order and discipline, and do not act with cruelty. However, against any who would violate Kyros’ law, they are without mercy or pity, and are not above any brutal tactic or method to secure a victory -- for in the end, that is all that matters.
The Disfavored are designed to be more than a mere army. Under Ashe's leadership, the legion represents everything the North holds dear: Rigid discipline, training to perfection, respect for law, and the importance of family. As conquerors, they are to teach the savage lands not just how to live up to the values the Empire sets, but how to live for them. Every member of the Disfavored is precious to Ashe and each other, effectively becoming family members. Their bloodlines are known and respected, their performance in combat beyond every expectation, and notably, Ashe would go to any length to support them.
Many of the legionaries scar themselves with the sigil of the Great General, as Ashe is called, in order to bind their loyalty into their flesh and blood.
The Disfavored are an elite unit that recruits only Northerners. The underlying idea is to ensure that every member of the legion is tied to each other not just through their oaths of fealty, but also blood. Families that stood beside Ashe as he faced Kyros and bent knee together with him are highly respected, although their members are expected to hold their own.
Of course, the exclusive nature of recruitment has several drawbacks. First, the Disfavored have limited numbers and a relatively small recruitment pool, resulting in great difficulties when it comes to replacing battlefield losses. Ashe's Aegis helps in preserving the extant fighting force, as does the tendency to go to great lengths to save captured Disfavored legionaries. Ashe's protectiveness of the men and women under his command is also ruthlessly exploited by cunning enemies, who would force the Disfavored to retreat by threatening them with irreplaceable casualties or trade captives in exchange for truce. Ashe himself can also sabotage the Disfavored with his fatherly tendencies, as was the case when he ordered an assault on Sentinel Stand in 430 TR, losing several cohorts to the Edict of Storms.
Second, this largely arbitrary limitation leads to prejudice against people living outside the Northern Empire, in particular the denizens of the Tiers. Graven Ashe and his legion consider themselves to be the defenders of civilization fighting against barbaric hordes, believing that the end justifies the means. As a result, the Disfavored are ruthless in their conduct towards the enemy and conquered populations, giving no quarter. Prisoners of war are conscripted as working slaves or put to the sword, villages are put under martial law with capital punishment being common, and any defiance is punished by collective reprisals and destruction of property - up to and including destroying entire towns.
Both of these factors make the Disfavored highly unpopular among the conquered and vanquished. In several cases, the refusal of the Disfavored to take on southerners as fighting thralls has prolonged the conflict. Such was the case in Vendrien's Well, where the Vendrien Guard would've surrendered to the Disfavored if the legion accepted them as slave warriors, rather than offal or menial laborers. The policies also strain relations with the Earthshakers, half of whom are highly trained southerners. If it wasn't for Cairn's interference and protection under Magician's Folly, Ashe would've put the south-born mages to the sword long ago.
While the Disfavored don't have codified laws, there are three principles all are expected to follow:
- Honor the legion in thought and deed. Ashe does not allow atrocity or heinous crimes to drag respectable Northmen into shame. He expects his soldiers to follow Kyros' mandates and conduct themselves respectably.
- Honor all oaths with your life. This respects the vows made to Ashe as Archon and Kyros as Overlord. There can be no formal marriage for the Disfavored ranks - to prevent any obligations higher than the military. However, soldiers can pair up and sire offspring as they wish. The North needs daughters and sons, and Ashe would not force my countrymen to choose between family and loyalty.
- Honor your shield and weapon. The maintenance and care of arms and armor are critical to a soldier's success on the field.
Units and hierarchy
Advisory body, command and control
Elite scouts and assassins
- Iron Guard: The Iron Guard is the Disfavored high command, an inner circle of commanders hand-picked by Graven Ashe for lifelong service, tactical brilliance, or true dedication to the craft of personal combat. The Iron Guard act as Graven Ashe's chief advisors when the Archon is present, and when he is absent, they speak with his direct authority.
- Earthshakers: Earthshakers are the magical arm of the Disfavored legion. Nominally loyal to Graven Ashe, the Earthshakers and their leader Radix truly served Cairn, Archon of Stone. It is from Cairn that they derived their magical ability to shape and manipulate the rock and soil of Terratus. When Cairn rebelled against Kyros, the Earthshakers remained with the Disfavored. Their detractors say they only stayed because they couldn't locate their Archon to join him in rebellion. Regardless of the reason, their loyalty earned them Graven Ashe's protection after the Overlord issued an Edict to destroy the rebellious Archon.
- Iron Walkers: Iron Walkers are the most deadly fighters of the Disfavored legion, giant men and women clad from head to toe in thick iron armor. An Iron Walker spends much of their time in the center of the phalanx, ready to reinforce their Stone Shield brethren if any enemies penetrate the shield wall. When the phalanx nears a valued enemy target, the Walker will order the shield wall to part, and they will emerge from protection to cut their way through the enemy and eliminate the threat.
- Stone Shields: Stone Shields are the largest group within the Disfavored legion. Each soldier carries a large iron shield into battle, where the shields overlap to form an impenetrable iron wall. The Disfavored say that enemies break on the shield wall like waves on stone - giving these soldiers their name. Stone Shields are the largest group within the Disfavored legion. Stone Shields form the main infantry force of the Dishonored Cohorts, carrying deadly iron swords and spears into battle.
- Crescent Runners: Crescent Runners are the mobile strike force of the Disfavored legion. Lightly armored, a Crescent Runner's job is to circle the phalanx and harry the enemy with hurled javelin attacks. Their goal is to bait the enemy into pressing the attack, at which point the Crescent Runners retreat behind the Stone Shields - allowing the enemies to break against the shield wall.
- Oath Bound: The Oath Bound are a select group with the elite Disfavored - men and women whose lives are bound together by magic. Sent ahead of the main legion to scout territory and assassinate key enemy targets, each member of an Oath Bound Fist is life-linked to every other. When one dies, the remaining members absorb their fallen comrade's strength, making the last Oath Bound the hardest to take down.
The result of this is that the Archon of War is capable of shielding his soldiers from injury and fatigue. This protective influence exerts itself even from far away or as he sleeps (if he sleeps - rumors disagree). Few understand how this arcane power works, but all who have faced the Disfavored in battle will attest that Ashe's soldiers can survive serious harm and shrug off the fatigue of starvation or long marches in heavy armor. When the Disfavored are wounded, Ashe's Aegis (as some refer to the Archon's unique power) appears to help the soldiers swiftly recuperate and return to battle.
The price that Ashe pays for this protection is not known to others. To spare his soldiers their suffering, Ashe takes on their suffering, literally. Every wound a Disfavored takes, from mildest cuts to the scorching of the skin and breaking of bones, Ashe feels and takes upon himself - up to and including death. While this bond grants Ashe the undying loyalty of his troops, it also makes him suffer - and for the better part of the century, Ashe has been steadily losing the ability to endure the pain. This has steadily eroded his capability to act as commander and affected the Disfavored performance in the field ever since.
In non-Disfavored paths (especially the Rebel path), the Disfavored will be a tenacious enemy in Blade Grave. Also, at higher levels, Ashe's Aegis heals for a lot of hitpoints; be prepared to spend time grinding down any Disfavored soldier.
- Behaving in an honorable, noble, and respectful manner will typically provide a small bump in reputation every time.
- Bastard City: Fight with the Disfavored at the Gates of Judgment or infiltrate the City with the Disfavored.
- Bastard City: Aid the Disfavored in taking control of the Bastard City in the year 428 TR.
- Lethian's Crossing: Convince the Forge-Bound to supply the Disfavored with additional weapons.
- Lethian's Crossing: Grant control of Lethian's Crossing to the Disfavored.
- Apex: Grant slaves to the Disfavored during the conquest of Vendrien's Well.
- Apex: When Cairn, Archon of Stone, destroys Edgering Fort, congratulate the Disfavored and denied the Scarlet Chorus their claims for conscription from the Disfavored ranks.
- Apex: When the Vendrien forces attempt to hold a peacetime celebration, lead the Disfavored in slaughtering all in attendance.
- Apex: Slay the Queen of Apex and force the Vendrien Guard to a prompt surrender, saving many Disfavored lives.
- Vellum Citadel: Forbidden knowledge was fed to a Disfavored bonfire, denying it to the Scarlet Chorus and upholding Kyros' law.
- Vellum Citadel: Proclaim Kyros' Edict of Fire without any warning to the Vellum Citadel Sages.
- Stalwart: Punish Chorus thieves during the Stalwart campaign.
- Stalwart: Prevent the Chorus from conscripting Disfavored prisoners.
- Stalwart: Proclaim Kyros' Edict of Storms without any warning to the people of Stalwart.
- Disfavored hate barbaric, cruel conduct.
- Grant control of Lethian's Crossing to the Scarlet Chorus.
- Refuse Disfavored and Scarlet Chorus bribes to maintain the Forge-Bound shipment schedule.
- Stalwart: Let the Scarlet Chorus go unpunished for inadvertently poisoning Disfavored soldiers.
- Apex: When Cairn, Archon of Stone, destroys Edgering Fort, allow the Scarlet Chorus to conscript the youngest Disfavored in reparation for the loss of potential enemy conscripts.
- Vellum Citadel: Give Sirin several Disfavored soldiers as bodyguards to punish them for executing mages enthralled by her.
- Vellum Citadel: When the Disfavored started a bonfire of tomes from the Vellum Citadel, order half of the text be given to the Scarlet Chorus as rightful plunder.
- When conversing with Barik, blame the Disfavored for failing to prevent the uprising of Vendrien's Well.
|Charismatic||Reach maximum Favor with a faction.|
|Intimidating||Reach maximum Wrath with a faction.|
|Legion of Victory (Act III)||Complete the game as an ally of the Disfavored.|
- Graven Ashe
- Bleden Mark
- Graven Ashe
- Graven Ashe
- Barik: "We would not recruit even a champion of the Tiersmen. Each soldier in the legion is tied by blood and fealty to those that stood with Graven Ashe during the coming of Kyros. That is part of who we are, and that will never change."
- Barik and Graven Ashe dialogue hints at this being the case.
- Echocall Crossing is put to the torch for harboring rebels. Additionally, conduct throughout the Vendrien's Well insurgency and the Conquest emphasizes the ruthlessness of the Disfavored and their prejudice.