First sorry for my bad english feel free to edit mistakes.

My world is set in a fantasy european middle age era. The king has a group of warriors who protect him and his family :

  • They are twelve knights
  • They use dire-wolfs as mounts
  • They are not forbidden from taking wifes
  • The king lives in a castle in the capital

Where can they live with their families, and what should the wolves' stable look like ?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If those guys protect the king, they provably live within earshot of him. And the stablr will just be a kennel for really big dogs. $\endgroup$ Jun 20 '16 at 1:59
  • $\begingroup$ It really depends on a number of points. For example, if you take A Song of Ice and Fire, the King Guards are at most 7 at a time. And they are not allowed to take wives. One or more are on duty to guard the King, some are doing some specific errands for the King or his familly. Now, you could have a King's Guard, composed of a batallion. Or a full army. The kind of castle, protocol, etc. are many parameters that need to be clarified for us to answer that question. $\endgroup$ Jun 20 '16 at 9:07
  • $\begingroup$ Could someone explain to me clearly why my question is on hold ? I think it's not entirely based on opinions. @bilbo_pingouin maybe it's not clear for you but for the three persons who answered it was. $\endgroup$ Jun 20 '16 at 12:39
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    $\begingroup$ It is "on hold" because 5 users (I was one) thought your question was not best as it is. The fact that someone answered is not a proof to the contrary. "Where do they live?", I could answer that they all live in the same area of the castle. And that would be valid. I could answer, no they live close to the miliary quaters. Still valid. They could be living in another part of the city. And that would still be fine. Etc. I can find many answers, all answering your question. Yet, I have no way to see which one is the best. The only criteria being your opinion. Hence the close reason. $\endgroup$ Jun 20 '16 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ Where do they live ? What you @bilbo_pingouin answered is mostly illogical ! It's based on opinion you're right but this opinions had to be logical not the ones you mentioned, and I think 50% of the questions here are opinion based and are not in hold. And finally despite you and the five users I had the answers i was looking for :D Thanks to Mike L. Bryan McClure and Philipp. $\endgroup$ Jun 20 '16 at 16:20

TL;DR: In the castle barracks, and they won't have families.

Well, twelve people really isn't all that many. If they are to be continuously responsible for the safety of the King and his family (let's assume a wife and two children), they'd be just about able to have one bodyguard assigned to each of them continuously if they worked three shifts.

Note that this doesn't leave anyone available to patrol the grounds, guard the gates, etc; you really just have four guards on duty, four on alert (maintaining their gear, training, or whatever) and four sleeping. This has the following consequences:

  1. The King's Guard are not the only ones responsible for the King's safety; they have to have a regiment or so of House Guards who patrol the corridors, guard the gates and are available to be called on for support (e.g. providing further escorts while travelling). The King's Guards are probably able to issue commands to the men and officers of the House Guards at need.
  2. Even though the guardsmen may be allowed to marry, they likely will not do so. This is quite literally a full time job where they are always on duty or on call, and can't spare the time for raising a family.
  3. This is also basically "grunt work", so you will only have young guys serving this way.

This paints the following (likely) picture of how the King's Guard works:

The King's Guard are a group of twelve armsmen who are directly responsible for the bodily safety of the King and his immediate family. They are chosen from young men of good blood (likely second sons of various nobles who do not stand to inherit and seek this as a way of social advancement) at about the age of 15 based on some audition or something, train for five years and then may be appointed as a Guardsman.

Upon appointment, they serve for a period of twelve years after which they retire (possibly marry), are awarded a small fief for their service and for the rest of their lives may be called upon to serve as the King's trusted captains whenever the King needs to raise an army. This gives you a nice cycle where you exchange one of the guards each year and you have both older, more experienced and younger, more vigorous members in there, and getting married at 32 is not terribly late; in earlier times, it was common to put marriage off until one had accumulated sufficient property and standing to support a family, and men tended to marry relatively younger women than today.

A member of the King's Guard is simultaneously commisioned an officer in the House Guards (probably above company officers but below the commander-in-chief of that regiment), which gives them standing and the authority to call on the guardsmen at need.

They live in the palace, probably in their own barracks (a bit fancier than the common sort - they'll even have actual beds and such). They may have servants and squires to wait on them and help with the maintenance of their equipment, but since they work shifts literally 24/7 they can't move away from whoever they're supposed to be protecting pretty much ever.

The wolves will be kept either in a kennel if you expect to be needing them momentarily, or in an enclosure near the royal hunting grounds, where they may socialise and get exercise.

  • $\begingroup$ First I tought this answer was useless for my story because the guards won't have families. But finally it make me change my mind, I think i will go for an optional retirement after years of service, just one last question : what's the best rate (Experienced and Novice) if the retirement is not obligatory after twelve years. $\endgroup$ Jun 20 '16 at 12:31
  • $\begingroup$ There's no universal recipe; I pulled most of those numbers I gave you out of my hat. $\endgroup$
    – Mike L.
    Jun 20 '16 at 19:38

Wolves would not be kept in stables, instead they would be kept in kennels like the one used in Europe during the dark ages to hold hounds only much bigger. when not in the kennels they could kept in a large field with a change strong enough to hold them tide to large and heave steak that is pushed deep in the ground. the chain would be long enough to allow the wolves to walk freely through the field but not so long that they can leave the field.

As for the kings guard if there to serve and protect the kings family they probably have rooms here by to there so that they don't have far to go should they be called to aid or protect the king or one of his family members.


In medieval times, castles were often surrounded by towns. This makes logistics much easier because you can acquire any goods and services you need to maintain the castle. That means the knights can serve in the castle in shifts and return home to the village when off-duty to spend time with their families.

When you want the castle is in a less urban environment for some reason, then it will need to be more self-supplying. That means you will need far more personnel. This, in turn, means you can simply employ the knight's families in your castle. Their wives and daughters can serve as cooks or maids. Their sons can serve as craftspeople or lower-rank guards.

You can also use this solution when you don't want the knights to leave the castle in the evening. It would also make the knights less worried about the safety of their families (physical and economical) so they can better concentrate on their duties. This might improve their morale considerably. When the knight gives his life for the king, he can be assured that his family will still have jobs and housing. But when the knight gets dishonorably discharged, his family will get kicked out. And when the knight becomes a traitor, his family can be held hostage.


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