"The Franks are devoid of all great virtues, save for one: courage."'
— Osama ibn Munqidh, 12th century Syrian chronicler
Unique French heavy cavalry unit with a speed bonus.
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Armed with axes and shields, Scara Cavalry are a force to reckon with, with added speed. Normally, the somewhat lumbering speed of heavy cavalry makes them good only for running away or chasing down infantrymen (once the opportunity is offered), but with the added speed bonus, Scara Cavalry are now even more offensive-minded operation, now having an agility which makes the French army even more flexible. Now, whole battalions of light cavalry and infantry not only can be intercepted, but also interdicted at the same time, given the heavy armaments of heavy cavalry. Nevertheless, there is only so much the Scara Cavalry can do, and these do not include assaulting grinders of spearmen or castles.
- He Who Liveth By The Sword ... — As always, Scara Cavalry have sufficient armour and punching power to plow through hails of arrows, but not a wall of determined pointy objects. Thus while they are most effective against enemy archers and infantry, their worst enemy will forever be pikemen.
- The Quick and the Dead — The speed and attack of Scara Cavalry make them extremely well-disposed towards "disposing" light infantry, although concentrated heavy infantry will easily take them apart — once they catch up, that is.
- Hammer and Anvil — Given their better speed and attack, use these units to flank and even ride down dispersed infantry whereso needed.
- Norman Routier — An exact copy of the Scara Cavalry is available to some nations as Norman Adventurers. Like all mercenary units, their cost consists wholly of Wealth, but continue to follow the same fast-riding traits as their Frankish brethren.
The Scara was a group of elite Frankish warriors, all mounted on horseback, and which served as bodyguards like many other cavalry units in contemporary cultures, such as the Persian javan or the Roman Scholarii. Historical opinion differs greatly on the quality and role of Frankish cavalry in the early mediaeval period. Sources indicate that in the old Frankish kingdoms, two horses were worth one sword. This either meant that mounts in the Frankish imperium were in abundant supply (that melee cavalry could then be implemented) — or simply of depressing quality. Recent investigation, however, suggests that most Franks fought as mounted infantry as did the Norse, using horses to garner a strategic advantage (by moving quickly across large areas) as opposed to a tactical one (by fighting from horseback).
What is most certain, however, that by the 11th century, the armed horseman or miles (Latin, "soldier") formed the mainstay of many mediaeval armies, and soon formed the first chevaliers (French, "horsemen") or knights. The cost of maintaining horses, especially those used in battle, and the fracturing of the Holy Roman Empire following the Treaty of Verdun meant that the role and importance of the military aristocracy increased in France, forming a nobility that would dominate French politics well until the Revolution of 1789. Much later, the Romanised Franks were soon also joined by another group of people — the Normans. Combining the Norse love of adventure and individual enterprise with Frankish experience with cavalry, these descendents of Vikings soon took to two things: horseriding and conquest, and many Norman nobles soon left their home in northeastern France to seek employment as mercenaries.