A Bulwark is a champion that often comprises the leadership of defensive lines. They are often heavily armored, with great shields and complementary weapons, but someone can be trained in such techniques without any visual resemblance to traditional bulwarks. Regardless of armaments or appearance, however, one thing is always true about them: they are the pinnacle of defense. Whether avoiding blows in single combat, standing against a charge in the field of battle, or commanding the troops of a castle while under siege, they are often ones that survive, and help others survive.
Bulwarks, like warriors, are champions that know a certain subset of techniques derived by the Fragment of Defense. The term is often used liberally, even if a soldier only knows a couple of techniques, as long as there's nothing more evident to characterize him as.
Although there are no standardized teachings for such techniques, there are established schools that teach many of them. Some of those schools claim better teachers, others the evolution of techniques through ages of refinement, and so on, but otherwise have few in common, other than the most basic of teachings.
It is very difficult for an outsider to understand the techniques of fidelity. It feels less than a school of combat arts and more like a class of philosophy and manners. In truth, techniques of fidelity steel a warrior's mind and psyche against immaterial threats. The school's teachings are often veiled under tutorings of honor and valor, grace and dignity, and are in fact a good reason for the widespread behavior of knightly orders across Amelor. A beginner in the school learns of manners and poise, and understands the importance of loyalty, personal honor, and trust to comrades. A master bears an aura of majesty that commands respect or even awe. Such people are very easy to recognize in the battlefield; hope rides with them, morale rises around them, and they provide inspiration to the most downtrodden men.
Some say that the techniques of a sentinel are the heart of a Bulwark, and not many care to contest the notion. Focusing on safeguarding others, but ensuring enough personal defense to prevent the guardian's fall, a sentinel is an expert in all things that relate to protection. Someone with a few sentinel techniques may know how to interject himself between an innocent and a blade and actually survive the process, but the majesty of a true master of the school lies in the complete lack of hesitation, and the amount of punishment he can endure without faltering.
Laymen often claim that a good offense is the best defense, and those that have trained in retributive techniques agree, as well as serve as the prime examples to the adage. Focusing primarily on defense, as usual, techniques of Retribution intend to punish those that attempt to breach such. Although this is sometimes effective in producing combat results, a casual dabbling on those techniques is more commonly used to provide deterrent; in the same way a hedgehog or a thorn bush cause would-be attackers to think twice, the average retributive technique sends that message. Those that specialize in the advanced techniques of the school, however, can often meet each and every assault with an effective counter, frequently bringing about an end to battle that finds them unharmed.
For most combatants, a shield is a tool to offer adjustable defense against weapons; a must-have in the field of battle, but not as important as a good weapon. Those that practice shield mastery disagree with the notion, understanding the full extend of a shield's potential, both as a defensive implement and as a weapon. Someone with some practice in the school's techniques can be much more effective with a shield in the heat of battle, protecting both self and comrades without sacrificing offensive potential. A true shield master can defend equally well from swords, bestial fangs and even spells, some say. At the same time, not only does the use of a shield not hamper his offense, but it complements it and enhances it - few opponents imagine the shield itself to be a viable threat.