|Name:||Chosen of Battles|
|Pronunciation:||cho'-zen uv bat'-ls|
|Sobriquets:||Heaven's Soldiers, Shieldbearers|
|Caste Abilities:||Archery, Athletics, Melee, Presence, & War|
|Signature Character:||Black Ice Shadow, Sad Ivory|
|Associated Sun Phase:||Full Moon|
|Five Maidens:||Mars, Io, Deimos, Eris, & Phobos|
Life is war. Every day brings another conflict that a person must face, or his destiny ends. His fate depends on how he fights each battle, not just whether he wins or loses. Only not fighting ends the war in true defeat. All aspects of conflict, struggle and strife belong to Mars. Now, her Chosen fight their eternal war to ensure that Creation does not stop fighting its own.
In the First Age, the Shieldbearers advised the Dawn Caste generals in all campaigns, using the Chosen’s visions of the future to place troops with an uncanny wisdom. The Chosen of Battles guarded the god-kings against Primordial attacks. Later, the Chosen of Battles’ advice to the Old Realm saved many of its citizens’ lives. For the Usurpation, the Shieldbearers duplicitously drew the battle plans for both sides—in Creation and in the Loom—to devastate the forces that stayed loyal to the Solars.
The Great Contagion left armies across Creation in disarray. Chosen of Battles forced their destinies into a rough efficacy, led Dragon-Blooded generals to leaderless troops and sometimes fought alongside them against the Fair Folk. Some Shieldbearers even stood beside Lunars in that terrible war. Shieldbearers crafted the fates that made the Realm legions mighty and maintained Lookshy’s arsenal of First Age weaponry.
Children destined to become Chosen of Battles appreciate conflict, even if they do not enjoy it. Some care if they win or lose, but all recognize on some level that the fight matters more than the outcome. Many become excellent strategists before Exalting; others are simply exceptional warriors. They realize that not all conflicts need occur, and that some battles’ absences are better for Creation as a whole. As Chosen of Mars, they pick which conflicts happen and how they must play out, so a good sense of necessity serves these Chosen well.
When a Chosen of Battles pledges his sword to a faction, he ensures that it wins its battles and avoids conflicts that would harm it. Bronze Faction Shieldbearers keep the Imperial Army in fighting trim through background manipulations, train Immaculate monks in the Five Dragon Paths, teach tactics at the House of Bells, guide Imperial legions to or from battles where they must fall, achieve victory or arrive late. Members of the Gold Faction help the Seventh Legion to remain strong as long as it can, keep the armies of nations that resist the Realm cohesive, train cults and Solars in fighting skills and see that the conflicts of the rest of the world leave stronger nations behind them. Chosen of Battles are admired even among other Sidereals for the Shieldbearers’ skill at battle and their understanding of Creation’s state of war.