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Orders-Militant

Guardians of the Six-Fold Path

The Orders-Militant of the Temple of the Divines are a group of independent military organizations who owe their primary allegiance to the Temple of the Divines itself. While all ostensibly answer to the Grand Speaker; each order is an autonomous entity with its own rules, customs, and goals. The Grandmaster of each order is considered to have sovereign authority over his own sect, and each also has the ear of the Grand Speaker himself. It is a rare occurance for a large gathering of these powerful men to come together. The last time this happened was the Great Conclave of 675 I.R., when the Grandmasters of no less than five Orders-Militant met with the Grand Speaker to discuss plans for sending a crusade to quell the unrest in the region that would later come to be the Kingdom of Teugoras.   Spread out across the realms, the reach of the Orders-Militant are extensions of the reach of the Temple itself. In foreign kingdoms where the Temple itself has no presence, members of an order might establish a foothold for the Speakers by creating military alliances. They also often accompany missions to distant lands, protecting the Speakers and the small armies of servants and pilgrims that accompany them. While the Orders generally do not take sides in political disputes, they will intervene when the outcome is of importance to the Temple. Often, this can simply mean choosing the side that agrees to allow the Temple to establish missions in the region once the conflict has been resolved. Such was the case with the War of the Gheltish Pass in 578 I.R., in which the Order of the Burning Lance aided the Marsden Empire in securing an important trade route from the nation of Khesh. Because of the order's participation on behalf of the Empire, there is now a strong presence of missions there.
 

Gheltish Pass

Structure

With a few rare variations, all of the Orders-Militant follow a standard organizational hierarchy set forth in some of the oldest texts of the Temple of the Divines. Leading each Order is a Grandmaster, chosen from among the ranks of the Inner Circle of Keepers to serve for life. Should a Grandmaster become enfeebled with age to a point where he can no longer lead the order, he may abdicate the role or be voted into a forced abdication by the Inner Circle.   The Inner Circle itself is made up of a group of noble-blooded knights who have achieved the rank of Keeper of the Truth among the Order. According to the holy texts, there can only ever be six Keepers. These trusted men are the Grandmaster's council, advising him in all matters important to the Order. In some sects, the Inner Circle is a democratic body who votes on major decisions. In these cases, the Grandmaster acts as mediator of any debates and can cast a tie-breaking vote in the case of a stalemate.   The next rank in the Orders-Militant is that of Brother-Paladin; a rank reserved for those who have proven themselves not only as capable warriors, but also men of pure devotion to the divines and capable leaders. The Paladins of the orders also act as magistrates, generals, and diplomats - depending upon what task they might be called up on to serve.   Brother-Knight is the most common rank among the knighted members of the Orders, and makes up the bulk of its ranks outside of the common foot soldier. Many who join the Orders do so at this rank, having already lead a lifetime of preparation. Landless knights, younger sons of the entitled, and shamed warriors seeking salvation all make up the ranks of the Brotherhood.   Sometimes, however, a common soldier or a young aspirant might join one of the Orders in hopes of one day joining the ranks of the knighted. Squires act as aides, apprentices, and comrades-in-arms to the knights who are training them. The process of becoming a knight can be grueling in any situation, even for those noble sons studying in their father's household. For a squire training to become a knight within one of the Orders-Militant, the process is twice as difficult. The standards to which these aspirants are held are exacting and unforgiving. Added to this is the threat of death on the battlefield as they fight alongside their mentor. A squire might spend years in service to a Brother-Knight before becoming knighted himself.
 

Vigil

 
Before this, an aspiring future-knight will join the order as an Initiate. The Initiates spend the majority of their time learning of the faith from the Speakers who serve the Order in their private chapels, ensuring their piety, devotion, moral integrity, and knowledge of the faith before they undergo the extensive military training of a squire.   Finally among the orders are those who bear arms for the Temple, yet are not knighted or undergoing the process of training to be knighted. These men-at-arms - known simply as Brothers - fight for the Temple and their Order with the same fervent devotion as their knighted brothers. Some Orders have little to no common soldiers, often simply having a dozen or so to act as guards for their fortress-monastery. Others, like the Order of the Flaming Lance, have an entire army of common soldiers lead by the Brother-Knights and Brother-Paladins of the order.

History

While each of the Orders-Militant has their own individual history, the beginning of the Orders tie closely with the beginning of the Temple of the Divines itself. The Temple of the Divines originated in the lands currently known as the Kingdom of Brisland nearly fifteen hundred years ago in the town of Kallenston, named after the man who founded the religion - Kallen. After seeing a star shooting across the heavens, he made a pilgrimage across the land until he reached the Cragoran Mountains. There it is said he undertook six challenges before being granted the right to speak for the Divines. This origin to the temple has inspired generations of Pilgrims to trek across the lands that are now Brisland and Remaria to the Cragoran mountains to undertake their own pilgrimages. In the past, these were lawless lands peopled by roaming tribes who held little qualms against preying upon the weak and helpless. Many of the pious were warriors themselves, though, and took it upon themselves to defend their fellow pilgrims. Quite a few of these warriors, in fact, forsook any other allegiance and set out upon the pilgrimage to the mountains over and over again. They did not undertake the voyage for their own spiritual concerns, but rather to protect those who had yet to make the journey.   These warriors banded together in many cases, their common backgrounds giving them a commonality that lead to easy bonding of strangers. Over time, their ranks swelled and this brotherhood of pilgrim warriors was recognized by the growing organized religion as an official arm of the faith. As these brotherhoods grew in different areas of the countryside, they took names, drew banners, and eventually established their own holdings in the form of fortress-monasteries.   As the feudal culture of the region developed and the peerage system was incorporated, the brotherhoods adopted many of these noble tenants. Eventually, the lords of the land began sending their youngest sons to the Orders to serve the faith, and the ranks swelled with noble blood; leading to the modern version of the brotherhood centered around those among the knighted ranks.
 

Knights charging

Ethics

While each of the orders has their own set of ethical and moral standards, one over-arching tenant followed by all of them is devotion to the Temple of the Divines itself. The Grand Speaker holds much sway over each of the Orders, despite their autonomous nature. Certain principles of the temple - shepherding the people, speaking the Six-Fold Truth, walking the Six-Fold Path, and honoring the will of the Divines - are standard to all of the Orders-Militant.

Political Influence & Intrigue

While the Orders-Militant, and the Temple itself, have no official ties to any one state; they exist and operate primarily within and around the Kingdom of Brisland. They also have a strong presence in the Principality of Remaria and the Kingdom of Teugoras. Although their influence and presence is yet small in other realms, they do have a substantial presence in The Marsden Empire and several nations of the western realms.   As the Temple is the state religion of Brisland, Remaria, and Teugoras, the Orders play an important role there. Should any one lord defy the will of the Temple, from the lowest baronet all they way up to one of these nations' leaders, they risk the possibility of facing retribution from one of the Orders-Militant. In many conflicts throughout history, alliances with one or more of the Orders has helped to sway the balance of power in the region. Combined, the militant arm of the Temple rivals any nation of the eastern realms. Should they all unite into one grand army, the Temple could easily carve out a theocratic empire for itself. The only known power that could rival the united orders, in fact, is the Marsden Empire.

Sects

While there are nearly two dozen Orders serving the Temple, some are much larger and more influential than others. Some consist of merely a dozen knights overseeing a small area, while others lead entire armies across the entire continent. Below are some of the most notable of the Orders-Militant.
 

Order of the Golden Stag

 
The Order of the Golden Stag is headquartered in the city of Riverton. The order maintains a fortress-monastery within the city itself, near the Duke's own keep. Fervent followers of Praedus, the Order considers itself to be keepers of the law and deliverers of divine justice upon the criminal, oath-breaker, and heretic. They regularly patrol the streets of Riverton, the lands of the duchy, and beyond; despite having not official authority to enforce the King's law.
 

Order of the Barbed Star

 
Frelde is the patron Divine of the Order of the Barbed Star. The members of this order are located solely within the confines of the Kingdom of Brisland, and see the protection of the kingdom as their primary goal. Should any outside threat invade the lands of Brisland, the order would quickly ride forth to face them. During times of peace, they roam the countryside protecting villages, traders, and travelers from bandits and other threats.
 

Order of the Fallen Star

 
The Order of the Fallen Star is located primarily within the Principality of Remaria. This shadowy organization does not march en masse waving their banner like many of the other orders do. Rather, they stalk the shadows of the deep forests and back alleys; hunting those threats that lurk in the darkness by embracing that darkness themselves.
 

Order of the Burning Lance

 
The Order of the Burning Lance - as mentioned above - fought at the Gheltish Pass for the Marsden Empire. This order actively seeks out alliances with foreign powers, traveling across the realms. Conflict is their clarion call, and they pay homage to Savas above the other Divines. Often they will fight in foreign wars in exchange for donations to the order; leading some to consider them to be mercenaries rather than a religious order.
 

Order of the Pilgrim Rose

 
The Order of the Pilgrim Rose focuses on protecting the common people, and are ardent followers of Frelde. While the Order of the Barbed Star focuses on protecting the lands of Brisland, the Pilgrim Rose seeks out opportunities to protect those who travel abroad. Often present in foreign missions, this order is more spread out than any other.

Guardians of the Six-Fold Path

Order Militant
Type
Military, Knightly Order
Parent Organization
Temple of the Divines
Subsidiary Organizations
Deities
Related Ethnicities

Order-Militant Hierarchy

Grandmaster of the Order
Keeper of the Truth
Brother-Paladin
Brother-Knight
Squire
Initiate
Brother (non-knighted men-at-arms)

Related Regions

Kingdom of Brisland
Principality of Remaria
Kingdom of Teugoras
The Marsden Empire

Order of the Golden Stag
Organization | Dec 8, 2018

The Order of the Golden Stag is a brotherhood of knights and soldiers faithful to the Temple of the Divines, most notably devoting their piety to Praedus, the Golden Stag.

Order of the Burning Lance
Organization | Mar 14, 2019

The Order of the Burning Lance is one of several militant groups serving the faith of the Temple of the Divines.


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