The Celestial Shields of the Eternal Flame
Highly Trained Protectors for Garuda's Most Sacred
n elite group of devout bodyguards for The Divinity and the Chosen.
At the inception of the Divine Order, the thought of protection was a distant one. The Chosen One and their families were simply normal folks before the deities designated them as special. That would change as the Order became larger and powerful with each town expansion. However, it would become evident that all the citizens of Garuda wanted a central authority figure. While not common, various groups would attempt attacks on the Order and its flock. Several attempts on The Divinity were even attempted, all to spectacular failure, however. Eventually, the Divine Order was faced with the task of putting together a protection force for its own members as well as The Divinity. In 8 D.A, King Nzinga Luban would decree the formation of The Celestial Shields of The Eternal Flame. The name invoking their very purpose, the protection of their heavens in the name of their god.
Womb to War
The See'er say that the Sigil Temples
may predate The Divinity, though many in Garuda dismiss it as conjecture. Whatever the case on how old they are, the fact is that no one knows when they were built. Or who built them. Scattered throughout Garuda these temples are direct conduits to the Pangool, the See'er distance, and fortunetelling gods. The sixteen Sigil Temples that had been discovered and used by the See'er made for the perfect place to train the future Celestial Shields
. Over the last hundred years, each of the uncovered temples has been converted into a school and education facility for warriors. Up until 8 D.A, they had never formally had a name or association. They were merely warrior priest who grew up in the devotion of the gods. King Nzinga changed that by bestowing onto them the name of Celestial Shields and the opportunity for their elite to serve the Order if they choose.
It was no longer a matter of IF dangers would come at us, but a question of WHAT. I don't want to build just another fighting force. I want to create something true, something that embodies justice and the warmth we feel from The Divinity. Something that might be better than ourselves.
A Mutual Agreement
After confirming with their deities, the Pangool, the See'er agreed to join the Divine Order and essentially train Celestial Shields. Nzinga had long heard about the mysterious group and their supposed ability to see the future. The warrior monks they were training in their requisitioned temples were becoming things of legend, so who else was better at protecting? In return, the See'er were able to receive a portion of the tributes to maintain the Sigil Temples.
While in beginning anyone could train become a shield, currently the Celestial Shields are taken into the ranks as children. They range from orphans to children of affluent families with glory in their eyes. Regardless of origin, all children are taught the same. The schooling begins at age 5 and continues until slightly after maturity. They are taught the complete history of the Order and their deities in-depth. General education is a heavy focus of the curriculum. The See'er use a mix of teachers from around Garuda to give perspective not only culturally but militarily. Shields are taught to be well rounded and comfortable in any terrain and situation.
"One with self, one with nature, and one with the gods."
Handpicked for Great
Training at a temple may make you a Shield, but it doesn't make a Celestial Shield of The Eternal Flame. The Flames are the Elite guard of the Order, and they serve as one is a badge unto itself. A few times a year the Eternal Flames will hold competitions to help select new members for its lowest ranks. This is the only way to voluntarily try and gain entry. Otherwise, Shields are chosen for deities only by the god themselves. As well, the Chosen or someone in the house, tends to choose their Shield as well. You are never assigned, only picked. If the deity wishes to end the service they may as well. The Divinity will often make voyages around Garuda to visit parishioners and will often make temple visits part of the journey.
In the beginning, there were just Celestial Shields, with no real distinction between different ones. The initial thought was that everyone deserved equal recognition for their service to the gods. However, the first great Shield changed the framework of the organization when Kalali of the East
famously staved off a 10 man assassination attempt on a Chosen
. After his epic display of bravery, he became known as the Prime Shield
. His popularity soared as stories of him shot across the lands. He would work his way up to become the head of the Celestial Shields. He would assign the title of Prime Shield to the top candidates.
Kalali won't talk much about that incident, I fare it's more theatre to us than it is to him. Though one time we got a few pints in him and got to asking him about it. Drinking mate asks him if the story was true if it was really 10 men. Kalali smiled real slow and said, "You don't hear any survivors saying otherwise do you?"
While the Sigil Temples have been found all across Garuda, their original discovery was an area known as the Outer Steppes. As well, they didn't just find one, they found eight in the area. Since then it has served as a second home area for the See'er. With the inception of the Celestial Shields, the area was reclaimed as their lands with it serving as a hub for Flame business. The area doesn't have much in the way of cities or towns as the bulk of the population is centered around the eight temples at the heart of it.
While declared as a formal organization, in reality, each Sigil Temple operates fairly on its own. The environment and local threats mean each one has its own style. While they all cover the same material and have the same goal, different instructors have their own styles. To counteract the issue, a tribune of every temple master was formed. Once a year the Tribune elects someone to serve as the head of the organization. This position is called the Torchbearer and is responsible for representing the Celestial Shields of the Eternal Flame.
||Represents the Celestial Shields in public matters and before the Order of the Phoenix.
||Oversees the maintenance and structure of the Sigil Temple. Also has final say in the school agenda and lessons
||Commanders in times of wars as well as bodyguards to the most sensitive of Chosen and Divine.
||Till Death or Dishonor
||Instructors at Sigil Temples. Some are former Primes, some are Shields who are never picked for duty.
The Divine Order of the Phoenix Official Flag
Religious, Holy Order
The Eternal Flames
The Celestial Shields remain a division of the Order of the Phoenix.