Army Symbol: The symbol of the Blackblade Guard is not what one would immediately think given their name, as it does not possess any bladed weapon anywhere in its iconography. Instead, the symbol of the Blackblades incorporates elements of the Sith Empire's Imperial crest with the addition of a stylized skull, two perpendicular spears crossed behind it, and laurel wreath forming a semi-circle beneath it. When marching into battle, the Blackblade Guard brandish a flag depicting the eclipse of a red sun on a black background, symbolizing their connection to the Dark Side of the Force and the Lords of the Sith.
Description: Where the Sith Emperor treads, the Guard follows. Comprised of hundreds of thousands of dedicated uncompromisingly loyal soldiers slaved to the Dark Lord's will, the Blackblade Guard is one of the most infamous paramilitary organizations to have come to prominence in the aftermath of the Four Hundred-Year Darkness. At a million strong, the Blackblade Guard is the largest military formation in the entire Sith Empire, eclipsing many of the standard field armies in sheer scope and scale.
The Guard is built around an elite officer corps mostly made up of trueborn Epicanthix hailing from the Emperor's homeworld of Panatha, many of whom had seen decades of action in service to him. The rest of the Guard is filled up by a mixture of Humanoid recruits, the infrequent non-standard Alien, and clones cultivated from a variety of genestock available to the Sith Emperor.
Blackblade induction is a brutal trial of physicality, mental fortitude, and spirituality. Only twenty percent of those who resign themselves to the Guard's mercy survive the initiation process. Upon completion of the induction rites, an initiate is then stripped of their names (to be replaced with alphanumeric designations), their former identities, and put through many grueling weeks of mental conditioning to emphasize uniformity and conformity to the Guard. During this process, they were augmented with various cybernetics that gradually stripped them of their individuality.
The training of a Blackblade Guardsmen was similarly brutal to their initiation but was considered to be of a high quality due to the caliber of soldiers it produced. Guardsman received training in counter-insurgency, guerrilla warfare, and commando raids. They would also receive non-combat related training like medicine and engineering. They conducted live-fire exercises and drill as well as rigorous training that helped to create an emphasis on improvisation on the battlefield. Once a Blackblade initiate had completed their basic training, they were then further tested in the crucible of war. Known as newbloods, these survivors of the initial training comprise the vanguard of all Blackblade operations; surviving meant being fully inducted into the Guard, while death was met with disregard and disdain.
Only those who rose to officer ranks were allowed to display some creativity, with many of them choosing a new name for themselves; such as Osbasid or Tiamat. Yet many more would simply continue to maintain their own personal status quo, reflecting just how deeply ingrained the Guard's initial conditioning was.
Reputation: The Blackblade Guard's reputation is one built and cultivated over the course of decades of service. From their humble beginnings as the personal security force of an Imperial Minister to the most widely feared army controlled by the reigning Dark Lord of the Sith. Their deeds are spoken with fear by those knowledgeable enough of their atrocities, how they callously cut down both armed combatants and civilians with no distinction given between the two. Entire worlds have been burnt by their hand, serving as an extension of the Dark Lord's will. Even among members of the Sith Empire, they are viewed with mistrust and derision, often seen as little more than unthinking brutes that sycophantically do whatever the Emperor tells them to do; giving no thought as to the moral or ethical ramifications of what they've been asked to carry out. Yet none can deny their effectiveness, nor their thoroughness in ensuring that their task has been carried out down to the very letter.
Army Size: Large
Blackblade Guardsmen - Standard Guardsmen who make up the majority of the Blackblade Guard are equipped with the Guard's signature combat armor, rifle, and an assortment of explosive devices. These are the backbone of the Guard, the stalwart soldiers of the Zambrano Family, and infamous across the galaxy. There existed a variant Guardsman equipped for every known terrain in the galaxy, whether it was desert, tundra, volcanic, oceanic, or the vacuum of space.
Blackblade Shocktrooper - Heavier armored than their standard counterparts, Shocktroopers epitomize the doctrine of shock and awe. Equipped with heavier variants of the Blackblade combat armor, rotary cannons, and shoulder-mounted rocket launcher, they serve as the hammer by which the Guard uses to smash even the most resilient of resistances.
Blackblade Officer - Commanders of the Guard's many sub-divisions wore distinct uniforms that weren't as heavily armored as the Guardsmen they commanded. Typically, most Officers would go without the all-encompassing helmet and instead opt for a variant that left the face uncovered, while flourishing their gear with billowing armorweave capes or kamas. Officers carried either a standard blaster pistol or a stronger particle beam pistol as their signature weapon.
Blackblade Marksmen - Marksmen serve as the Guard's reconnaissance arm, scouting enemy positions and marking locations for the Guard to attack. Wearing light versions of the Blackblade combat armor, the Marksmen ambush prey with personal cloaking devices and dispatch enemies at a distance with blaster sniper rifles. When pressed into closer combat, they can reliably use their personal defense weapon to dispatch enemies.
Blackblade Flametrooper - When the enemy is heavily entrenched, the Blackblade calls in its Flametroopers to flush them out into the open. Wearing bulkier versions of the Blackblade's combat armor and wielding flamethrowers to spew purifying flame on enemy positions, or bathe enemy vehicles in scalding caustic destruction.
Blackblade Lancer - The mounted cavalry of the Blackblade Guard, Lancers are specialized units astride speeder bikes and carrying power lances that could cut through infantry and vehicles alike. Typically maneuvering across the battlefields in gangs of up to ten Lancers, these roving bands could sweep through enemy formations to disrupt and harry any resistance towards the main Blackblade host.
Blackblade Sapper - Highly skilled combat engineers trained to support Guardsman formations by not only destroying enemy formations and other obstacles, but also building pre-fabricated defenses, digging earthworks, building crossable structures such as bridges, and tending to the Guard's armory of equipment, weapons, and vehicles.
Blackblade Medic - Though all Blackblades are trained to kill, there is a select number who are trained to repair the body through galactic standard medical means and more esoteric methods championed by the Sith they serve. Though still clad in the black armor of the Guard, these medical officials can still be identified by distinct white markings on their armor.
Blackblade Combat Drivers - Combat drivers were the elite vehicle pilots of the Blackblade Guard. Standard combat drivers were trained to handle everything in the Imperial ground arsenal, from speeders, to repulsorcraft, and to walkers. More specialized roles existed to pilot the Guard's extensive fleet of troop transports and infantry gunships.
The image of the Sith Emperor, Darth Carnifex, is never thought of without his black-plated butchers stretched out in many legions behind him. For nearly thirty years the Blackblades have served as his sword, scouring the lands in which he waged war upon with unflinching brutality and eager, almost jovial, maliciousness unrivaled by many in the galaxy. Though their numbers have swelled and dwindled over the years, they have nonetheless remained a feared and highly elite army in service to the Dark Side.
But their beginnings were quite small. They originally started out as a personal guard for the newly christened Minister of Intelligence Kaine Zambrano, who was only thirty-eight at the time. Handpicked from those agents he had established relations within his years as an Imperial Agent, they were each sworn in to protect his person at all costs.
Yearning for stronger followers, the Minister dabbled in combining the secrets of Sith science with cybernetics to enhance his Guard and formulate stronger soldiers in his service. To this end, he enlisted the aid of the Arkanian scientist Arkoh Grevane to perfect the conditioning regimen that would turn these test subjects into brutal warriors. The majority of the attempts ended in failure and death, but two of these subjects managed to survive the experiments as perfectly loyal soldiers.
Their names were Xander and Baelric, Humans from the Outer Rim worlds of Lianna and Telos respectively.
They were only the first and soon enough Minister Zambrano inducted such brazen warriors as Osbasid and Anthmar into the growing ranks of his personal Guard. To commemorate his success, he rechristened them as the Black Blades, his most loyal warriors within the Sith Empire. By the time of the Sith-Mandalorian War, the Blades' ranks had swelled to several hundred soldiers all enhanced through the same method as those original few.
But seasons changed and Zambrano accumulated more political power, eventually being appointed Emperor Moridin's Grand Vizier at the start of the Sith-Mandalorian War. By its end, he was Grand Vizier to Moridin's successor, Ashin Varanin. It was under her administration that Zambrano began to accelerate his efforts to amass power, and expanded the Blades' recruitment efforts.
By the time Varanin was overthrown by Voracitos, the Blades' numbered in the thousands. At that point is when they changed from the Black Blades into the Blackblade Guard, their evolution complete. And they would only continue to grow in power and strength as Emperors came and went before Zambrano's ultimate ascension to the Imperial throne. They were now his personal army, a force through which he could exercise his might and will on a previously unimaginable scale.
Through them he brought death and ruin to Togoria, slaughtering a large majority of its population and ensorcelling the rest through slavery. They were his last line of defense as the Republic engaged the outlying Sith worlds in war, but in the end, their strength faltered and Emperor Zambrano was cast down during the Battle of Mon Cala.
Momentarily without direction from their Lord and Master, a large number of the Blackblade Guard went insane and ended their lives through either their own hand or on the swords of the Republic as they pushed deeper into Imperial territory. Xander and Baelric perished during the Battle of Korriban, their bodies cast into the red sands as the Republic raised their flag over the tomb-world.
But there were some who resisted madness, soldiers like the Human Morcar, the Echani Anthmar, the Epicanthix Brutus and Zaddion, and the Arkanian scientist Arkoh. They fled to Thule to reorganize what they could of the Blackblade Guard. It was there that Kaine Zambrano rejoined his faithful servants, freed from the shackles of the Republic by the enigmatic One Sith. He assembled what loyal forces he could and struck out for his homeworld of Panatha. There they helped Zambrano reclaim his family's place as the pinnacle of Panathan civilization, casting down all claimants and adversaries to his new regime.
But Panatha was only ever meant to serve as the last redoubt, a place where the former Emperor could lick his wounds before he relocated the majority of his forces to the Deep Core. There he reunited with many scattered elements of the Sith Empire and their new benefactors, the One Sith. He pledged his loyalty to their Dark Lord and gained the name Vornskr in return, serving as one of his most powerful arbiters of power. Traveling through the Unknown Regions, Vornskr discovered the wounded warrior Osbasid and recruited him into the Blackblade Guard.
This would soon escalate into the Great Core War between the One Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic, the former of which sprung forth from the Deep Core like a burst pustule. Entire systems fell to the Sith's onslaught in the first few months of fighting before Coruscant itself was caught in their grasp. Vornskr used this opportunity to improve upon his Blackblade's diminished strength and appointed Anthmar to the newly created position of Highlord of the Guard.
Under Anthmar they would wage beautiful war against the Sith's enemies, fighting hundreds of battles across the Core and Inner Rim on multiple fronts. Ultimately, Anthmar would be slain during the Battle of Kashyyyk and replaced by Osbasid, who slew many rival claimants to the title which earned him the moniker of Blade-Breaker.
Osbasid would prove to be the greatest and fiercest of the Emperor's soldiers, his loyalty beyond mere fanaticism, and into utter worship. Through his guidance the Blackblade Guard would become far more than just a fighting force, it would become a force of nature as it ripped through the Republic's lines like a hurricane, unstoppable and merciless. In this, they truly fulfilled their purpose as Vornskr's instruments of death and destruction, and they reveled in the butchery they inflicted.
And though the wheel of fate would spin again and the One Sith fell and Vornskr became Carnifex, the Blackblade's desire to carry out their mission never wavered. They were reorganized and strengthened during the formation of the New Sith Empire, their numbers swelling into the hundreds of thousands as new recruits were plucked from the systems that came under the Empire's control.