Holy guard

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In the Free City of Norvos, a holy guard of slave soldiers is charged with enforcing obedience and keeping the peace. They are trained from childhood by the bearded priests.[1]

Areo Hotah was trained by bearded priests and guarded Mellario.[2] He accompanied her from Norvos to Sunspear when she wed Doran Martell, and Areo now serves as captain of the guards to the Prince of Dorne.[3]

Training and practices

The bearded priests buy unwanted children and train them in the use of the longeaxe. By sixteen, the trainees "wed their axes", swearing vows which are said to be simple for the simple men who swear them: "Serve. Obey. Protect." They are branded across their chest with an axe shape to remind them to keep their longaxes sharp.[3][3][1]

They tend to wear heavy horsehair capes and studded leather tunics, along with iron halfhelms crested by iron spikes.[3]

Quotes about the holy guard

Serve. Obey. Protect. Simple vows for a simple man.[3]

—Areo Hotah remembers the vows of the holy guard


  1. 1.0 1.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Norvos.
  2. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 2, The Captain Of Guards.