So there’s our army, eh, West? I swear, I sometimes feel like a father with a set of squabbling sons, and no wife to help me.

–Lord Marshal Burr, Before They Are Hanged

Lord Marshal Burr is the junior overall commander of the Union Army who goes on campaign, while Lord Marshal Varuz is the senior commander who remains at home. When in Adua, he is a member of the Closed Council.

Appearance and Personality Edit

Lord Marshal Burr is a big, muscular man, with a thick brown beard. He seems to have no other expression than a frown. He is a skilled and effective military commander, and a father figure to his men, especially Collem West. Burr suffers badly from indigestion or gut-rot, brought on by the pressures of command.[1]

History Edit

Lord Marshal Burr is from the provinces, probably Starikland. He was promoted to Lord Marshal, over the heads of Generals Poulder and Kroy, as a compromise because the Closed Council could not agree; Poulder is an old friend of Arch Lector Sult, and Kroy is a cousin of High Justice Marovia.

The Blade Itself Edit

When war breaks-out between The Union and The North, Lord Marshal Burr is ordered to prepare the Union forces to sail for Angland, to bring Bethod to heel in the First Northern War. He commands twelve regiments of the King’s Own, fleshed out with levies.

Burr bemoans how ill-prepared the Union Army is for the coming war: many of the veterans of the Gurkish war have since left the army; and the nobles are providing only poor quality levies, because many were badly stung when Arch Lector Sult disbanded the Guild of Mercers. Worst still, the foppish Crown Prince Ladisla intends to fight in the war.

The Lord Marshal appoints Major West to his personal staff, despite West’s concerns that his common-born roots will undermine his effectiveness. However, Burr insists that he needs capable experienced military men.

Before They Are Hanged Edit

Lord Marshal Burr and Union Army arrive in Angland. Adding to his frustrations are his two generals. Generals Kroy and Poulder, though competent, compete with each other in a bitter rivalry. At a meeting of the command staff, Burr outlines the strategy that will split the army into three commands, two to flush Bethod onto the field of battle, and one to guard their back led by Prince Ladisla. Burr, fearing Ladisla’s competence, assigns now Colonel West as the Prince’s advisor. After the meeting, Burr takes West to inspect the regiment. Enroute, they are ambushed by Rudd Threetrees, Dogman and their crew, who offers an alliance. Burr assigns the crew of rebel Northmen to Colonel West.

While Burr is with his two divisions, Prince Ladisla, who was given a purely defensive role, jumps at the opportunity to confronts the Northmen. The Union soldiers under his command suffer a crushing defeat to the north of the river Cumnur.

After weeks of being outwitted by Bethod in the freezing winter of northern Angland, Colonel West returns, having survived the battle at the Cumner, to bring the grateful commander some reliable intelligence; Bethod’s forces are two days march to the south. At a meeting of the command staff, Burr outlines his battle plan: General Kroy will commit Bethod’s forces to battle, while General Poulder brings his troops through the trees to take Bethod in the flank. However, during the battle, Burr is incapacitated by his gut-rot, and Poulder is attacked by the Shanka. Nevertheless, Colonel West follows through on his orders, and the battle ends in a Union victory. Although Bethod has been driven out of Angland, he has not been decisively beaten.

Last Argument of Kings Edit

Burr has recovered somewhat from his illness, and the much diminished Lord Marshal continues to do his duty. After the victory near Dunbrec, the Union Army finally secure the fortress of Dunbrec, and the port of Uffrith thanks to the efforts of the Dogman’s crew. Now, the Closed Council is eager to take the fight into The North. However, they soon get bogged down in skirmishes while probing for a way through Bethod’s lines to Carleon.

Eventually, Dogman comes to them with a plan to use Bethod's hatred for the rebel Northmen, to lure him into a trap in the High Places. However, just as the Union Army is prepared to spring the Dogman’s trap, Lord Marshal Burr is found dead in his tent from his gut-rot. Collem West is promoted as the new Lord Marshal, thanks to his friendship with the new High King Jezal the First.


  1. The Blade Itself, Part II, Three Signs