In the past the entire Realm of Sylvaeon was a place of peace and balance… everything and everyone had a place in it. There was no blight, only natural cycles and the ways of the Fey. The Corrupter introduced foul creatures and dark designs upon the land. Since the Great Wars, corruption had been driven back to far reaches of the Realm. However, the armies of the past are no more and corruption has reached its tendrils back into places where it has not existed for some time. Recently, (ie. -within a few generations of men) the introduction of new "interlopers" into the Realm has destabilized the Balance even more. The need for a way to deal with these problems has become clear to the White Lady and those who swear at least passing allegiance to her. Out of this need was born the practice of the Wardens.
The Wardens of Sylvaeon are sometimes all that stands between the forces of Darkness and the good Folk of the Realm. The Wardens are recruited from the local populations and sent on missions to root out evil, to help those in trouble or to patrol an area on the lookout for the machinations of the Corrupter.
While the Wardens do not have power over the local magistrates, if they exist in their area, they are generally respected and there advice and assistance is desired - if not outright needed. Local rulers and ruling bodies that exist will generally work closely with the Wardens, giving them what material assistance they can, as well as the recruits they need willingly. Wardens are not "the cops" in settled areas, but they are the vanguard of the wilderlands, acting as agents of the local populace, and if they are true to the Balance, as the hand of the Lady herself. Recruits are given latitude as to their actions in service, so long as they adhere to the general orders of the Master Wardens.
Recruits pledge themselves to at least one year of service to the Wardens. After the year is up, recruits may freely leave or they may choose to be inducted as full Wardens. Service in the Wardens is considered a great honor and those who do so well have good reputations among the locals and are accorded with respect. A Warden that acts corruptly or through cowardice allows harm to come to their compatriots or the local populace is severely disciplined.
Many former recruits have come back with tales of strange magics, wealth, hideous monsters and of the encroaching evil that is spreading across the Realm; just as many have been killed in service or never seen again.
It is hoped that these groups of allied defenders of the Realm will help unite Sylvaeon once again through their valorous deeds. Even if a recruit does not have such lofty aspirations, seeking only adventure, fame or wealth, they still can vicariously help the cause of the White Lady and the Balance. If anything, they will have some stories to tell their children or unbelieved tales to brag about in the pub when they grow old. ;)