Owsla (OWZ-sluh | /'aʊz slə/)
The Owsla is the elite guard of House Lapin, dedicated to the protection of the Chief Rabbit, Lapin House Heir, or Seneschal. They exercise a variety of skills in this capacity, and may be called upon to serve the function of bodyguards, special forces, security, policing, military command, and intelligence. All Tome Knights of the House Lapin forces answer to them.
Captain James WoodwrightJames Woodwright was appointed to his position for his diligence and undying loyalty to the Mother of Bunnies. Having saved Sable's life on several occasions, he is also the one who coined the House Lapin salute "Lapin for Life." Sable's personal safety is his number one priority (though he cares deeply about her happiness as well,) and it is he who recruited the other current and past members of Sable Aradia's Owsla. His exacting standards and conspicuous devotion have set the standard for the Owsla and the Lapin military forces as well.
Commander DMStretchCommander Stretch was the leader of the Varangian Guard before he dedicated his loyalties to House Lapin and to Sable. He is a wolf-totem barbarian and a dragon-blooded sorcerer. While his duties also include bodyguarding the Mother of Bunnies, Commander Stretch is primarily focused on broader House security matters; namely, special ops and intelligence. He has conducted high-risk infiltration operations for House Lapin and has eliminated "targets of opportunity." He may also potentially be involved in black ops that serve Lapin's interests, but are not necessarily "above-board," and it is assumed that not all of these operations are conducted with Sable's knowledge or sanction, should plausible deniability be required. Rumour has it that he may have been serving as a double agent against The Company at the time that he joined the House's service. DM Stretch has also saved Sable Bright-Eyes on a couple of different occasions; once by helping her escape the Warren, and once by killing her would-be assassin with a wall of fire and rushing her to hospital. Commander Stretch disappeared while on a black ops mission during the July 2022 Tourney, and reappeared at the end of The Third Word War. After a stay in hospital, he has resumed his place in the Owsla and is back on active duty. His wolf-totem powers seem to have improved significantly in his absence. Sir Kitoypoy was promoted to Commander when Commander Stretch disappeared. He has been responsible for saving the Chief Rabbit's life directly twice; once, by resuscitating her after a near-fatal dose of poison, and once, by changing her into her bunny form with an agimat and carrying her from the battlefield after her collapse due to critical Magic Drain. He was the first to suspect Lord Galakrond of being Sable's poisoner, and he kept a close eye on Sable's son, despite considerable personal and political pressure from most of the Woodland Family. Kajetan Writes was no longer able to fulfill his duties during The Second Word War. She is one of the most prolific literomancers of the House, and can be expected to be seen on the leaderboards during the Tourneys of Tales. Since joining, she has improved her combat training significantly, fighting with axe and shield by preference, and has proven adept at magical forensics. During the Battle of the Warren she defended one of the escape tunnels alone. She is widely known for her love of, and talent for, digging. Following the Third Word War and the return of Commander Stretch, Gwen, who is devoted to the Fluffle as opposed to the Chief Rabbit per se, has transferred to protecting the House Heir, Prince Jean. The Missing House in the aftermath of WW3, Flubb went to her great-aunt AttorraRu because she was somewhat at a loss. Introduced to the Mother of Bunnies as a baker and gardener, she was appointed the Royal Cook and Keeper of the Food Gardens for House Lapin. She quickly proved that her devotion went well beyond what might be expected of a Royal Cook, including babysitting the chaotic Bunny Queen and successfully forcing her to eat and sleep. When she began forming an armed contingent in the Lapin kitchens, known as the Kitchenalia Brigade , Queen Sable and the Owsla Captain realized her true calling was with the Owsla, and promptly recruited her. Dame Flubb has quickly earned the deep affection of the Fluffle, and the deep gratitude of the Owsla and the Lapin Royal Family, for her compassionate but stern mothering, especially her mothering of the Chief Rabbit. Sable's younger children affectionately call her "Gramma Flubb." She personally prepares the Queen's food and brings it to her with her own hands.
Former MembersBattle of the Warren, but a conflict of duties prevented him from continuing to serve in the Owsla. He has since joined House Sauropoda and continues to offer his services to the Realm as a Tome Knight. House Incendium, joined the Fluffle of House Lapin, and volunteered to serve. It has since become public knowledge that Prinx Tempest is Sable's younger sibling, something that was apparently news to both of them, and only discovered through a genetics testing service. The friendship between the Great Flame and the Mother of Bunnies long predated this, both being active and vocal members of the Chaos Cartel. Prinx Tempest is a powerful entity on the battlefield, being the Filkmaster and a Defender of the Realm; and as a Voider and raw elemental fire, they are unlikely to be harmed by many of the dangers that the Chief Rabbit might face. In The Third Word War, Tempest assumed command of Lapin's forces when the Queen was injured and unconscious, and successfully led the evacuation and retreat to the Sauropoda Protectorate, proving that despite their apparent chaos, they have an excellent head on their shoulders, and the ability to do whatever duty is asked of them. Tempest was asked to step down from the Owsla following the war, because the Bunny Queen did not want any more of her family members throwing themselves between her and the zombies. Prinx Tempest and Princess Sunny, however, have made it their personal and informal responsibility to protect their somewhat-reckless sister, whether that role is officially acknowledged or not.
Unbeknownst to the Mother of Bunnies, Commanders Stretch and Kitoypoy have recruited Tempest as a "black ops Owsla" member, to see that Sable is protected in the Void, which none of the current "official" Owsla can do. This is a clear violation of the Bodyguard Treaty and would land Lapin in some trouble with the other Houses should it become known.
By interhouse treaty, each House Leader can only have up to four members of their elite guard at any given time, and each House Heir can have only one; meaning the Owsla only number up to five at any given time. While membership often changes among the Owsla, this is largely because there seems to be no shortage of volunteers.
The irregular nature of the Owsla's duties makes for an eclectic variety of equipment requirements, but they are afforded the best resources that House Lapin can buy, make, or acquire. They have made use of magical weapons, surveillance gear, firearms, armour, shields, explosives, highly-advanced communications and encoding equipment, a plethora of arcane supplies, and, of course, their literomantic keyboards, laptops, tablets and phones.
As irregulars with a broad mandate, each Owsla member is afforded a great deal of personal discretion in their choice of weaponry:
James Woodwright wields a broadsword
Kajetan Writes also wielded a broadsword in the Owsla's service, and his literomantic focus was the magic of worldbuilding
DM Stretch makes use of a variety of modern firearms and explosives, as well as a trademark Varangian broadaxe
Kitoypoy, being a practitioner of escrima, wields twin bolos and other traditional weapons of arnis; though in the spirit of the art, he also makes use of a variety of improvised weapons
Gwenefre wields the accruements of Literomancy to devastating effect. She also wields a battle axe and center-boss shield.
Tempest Kwake makes extensive use of the power of a bard's tongue, savaging their foes with deadly satire, and writing powerful epics and moving ballads that drive more than themself on to victory. They are also the one who coined The Flame of Encouragement, and the power of this inspiration rallies those who rally others, leading to high morale and more effective literomancy among their allies. They are also elemental fire and not unacquainted with melee weapons, including their Filkmaster's Staff and fencing swords.
Flubb has made an art of weaponizing kitchen implements, and indeed, has trained an entire Kitchenalia Brigade in these skills. She is especially known for her fearsome cast-iron frying pan. She is also, of course, a cat, and may resort to tooth and claw if need be.
The Owsla employ a variety of tactics in their irregular duties. Excellent intelligence is key to their success, allowing them to anticipate and thwart many threats to the Mother of Bunnies and her House before the threats are confronted directly, or giving them the advantage on a battlefield. They are known for their ability to blend modern technology and the arcane arts in seamless harmony. Above all, the greatest weapon of the Owsla is their cleverness, which perhaps befits the elite security force of the house of rabbits.
The Owsla receive training in both small and large-unit tactics. They practice regular personal combat training, and work with the Lapin house regulars in drilling for combat scenarios. The Owsla and the Chief Rabbit also regularly drill for scenarios in which her life might be at risk, including protection, evasion, and escape. Commander Stretch has made his special operations training available to his fellow Owsla members, and they receive instruction in literomancy directly from Sable Bright-Eyes herself.
As an extremely small unit with highly-specialized needs, logistical support for the Owsla tends to be limited to small quantities, but expensive. In particular, their intelligence and communications equipment is often costly. Because there are only up to five of them, they tend to requisition anything else they need directly from the Lapin armouries.
The Owsla has the authority to assume command of whatever branch of the Lapin military or police force they might require to aid in the protection of the Chief Rabbit. To date since their "restoration," no Owsla officer has ever abused that authority in any way.
The founding of the Owsla has been lost to history, but according to historical records of House Lapin, it was initially founded during the Third Crusade; about the same time that the Knights Templar appeared. It served a similar purpose; the guarding of House Lapin, its Tome Knights, and its subjects. For a couple of centuries, it was large and powerful, and its influence was broad, perhaps even global. Art depicting rabbits in martial capacity became a common theme in medieval European culture. Following the War of the Roses, the power and membership of the Owsla was severely curtailed in England, and this trend continued into the rest of Europe over the next century. The Owsla, like other House security forces, was limited to a personal guard for the leaders and scions of their literomantic house, as opposed to the broader protective role they had once served, in order to prevent the Great Houses from maintaining independent standing armies with no loyalty to national governments. When The Iron Tome was successfully sealed away from the world in the mid-Renaissance, the Owsla further diminished, as the need for protection of the Chief Rabbit diminished. While they were never officially disbanded (at least, not according to House Lapin records) they dwindled into a handful of informal bodyguards. By the time of Sable Aradia's ascension to the Carrot Throne, they had not existed except on paper for more than a century. During the First Word War Sable began informally referring to the most prolific literomancers in House Lapin's forces as her "Owsla," but it was Captain Woodwright who formally reinstituted the tradition. Following the war, the Great Houses formed a treaty that limited the total number of their elite guards to four per House Leader and one per House Heir -- again, to prevent the development of a dangerous standing army that might threaten the other Houses.
Recent HistoryBecause one of the defining characteristics of the Owsla is the ability to occasionally defy the considerable will of the Mother of Bunnies, the Owsla are given a lot of personal leeway in the execution of their duties, and the chain of command is less rigid than might be expected. During the July 2022 Tourney of Tales, the Owsla actually worked at cross-purposes to one another. Captain Woodwright set himself a duty to protect the Forgelings, as Sable's children; while in the meantime, Commander Kitoypoy suspected Lord Galakrond of poisoning his liege, and sent his agents to spy on him. The two factions were caught, and a diplomatic incident and family quarrel was created between House Lapin and House Meles as a result. This also occurred during a public smear campaign aimed at the Bunny Queen, and Dame Gwenefre even questioned whether the Chief Rabbit was still fit to lead. While Queen Sable reprimanded the Owsla for these actions, no further disciplinary action was taken.
I recognize you're all just doing your best to do your duty as you see it. I can't fault you for that. But you need to get your shit together on this.
CultureThe Owsla finds inspiration from the Owsla of the novel Watership Down, as well as the myths of rabbits in many cultures, particularly the clever tricksters, like Bugs Bunny, Br'er Rabbit, or the Rabbit in the Moon from Filipino myth. They also draw inspiration from the Jade Rabbit of China, who saved the world from a great plague, asking for nothing in return; as well as Tsuki no Usagi and the Moon Rabbit of Turtle Island, who sacrificed themselves as food for mythical teachers and leaders who were hungry, as they are keenly aware that their final, most sacred duty is to consign themselves to Undeath in the Mother of Bunnies' or Bunny Prince's place -- a duty they embrace with uncommon courage.
This article is a work in progress, and may be subject to changes.
This article is part of a series related to streaming the Game of Tomes. For more information, see Streaming Game of Tomes.
Restored November 11, 2020
Restored November 11, 2020
Overall training Level
House Lapin by Dani Adventures
Dame Gwenefre by Eclectech
Paladin of the World Forge by Kajetan Writes with HeroForge
It breaks my heart that the Owsla are necessary. And I can't tell you how much I love them for doing it. I don't deserve this sort of devotion, but since I have it, I must do my best to be worthy of it.
Cmd. Kitoypoy carries Queen Sable from the battlefield after the Battle of Kin Beach by HeroForge/Kitoypoy/Sable Aradia
Wounded in the course of their duties, DM Stretch and Prinx Tempest recover in hospital with members of the Royal Family, while Kitoypoy stands guard by Moonflower | HeroForge