The Knights Pentaros
Holy Order of Tatayne
Accounting for the Order of the Knights of the Shrine to Tatayne in Pentram, or "The Knights Pentaros" (often referred to simply as "The Pentaros") is difficult to do for a few reasons. The first is, it is very difficult to engage with them in their home town of Pentram. Although situated on the outskirts of the ruins of Bilik, by the shores of Lake Aster, and near the heart of the old Balmoran Empire, and therefore not geographically remote, there are certain environmental factors which keep this town isolated. What is known for certain, is that in the modern era, no group in the bounds of the old empire has more experience, grit, or competence engaging the undead. Chief amongst these factors making knowledge of this order difficult are the great undead horde, once contained to Beldon and its outskirts, which has crossed the old imperial road between Pentram and Balmoral. This has effectively cut Pentram off from the West, and the only true travel path remaining goes to the north, to Tengu Town. Therefore, practically speaking, the only people who have any interaction with the people of Pentram, and the Knights who call it home, are the notoriously tight beaked Tengu Merchants. This certainly doesn't account for adventurers who have heeded the call, but when was the last time anyone heard of one of them coming back alive? The "Call" which I have just referenced is of course the call to any adventurers who would come to the aid of the Grand Shrine of Tatayne - the temple of antiquity along the shores of Lake Aster, originally connected to the now ruined city of Bilik via the Pilgrim's Road, and around which the town of Pentram has grown. A darkness has taken this temple, one which little is known about to us in the outside world. There are of all sorts of horrors spilling from the great Temple Shrine, besieging the nearby town of Pentram and its woestruck inhabitants. Unable to convince any large nearby political entities of the value of coming to their rescue, the people of Pentram look to the Knights Pentaros for their protection, as well as to facilitate the rooting out and destruction of the evil which pulses beneath the Shrine. By "looked to", I really mean "re-made", or... "re-interpreted", as the holy order had not existed for some time. The Pentaros had been an order of the Shrine to Tatayne, yes, but had disbanded after the world fell to Chaos. They had operated from the Fortress Chapel Foyeron, in close proximity to the Shrine, from the days when most visitors came from the now ruinous Bilik. The town "Pentram" had taken its name from the legacy of these defunct Knights, but none existed at the time of the new evils spewing from the Shrine. It was an orchard hand, Balian Normaund, who one desperate night led a group of townspeople to break into the sealed Chapel Fort for protection from horrors coming from the Shrine. In that Fort, he found the means of salvation for his town. Salvation took the form of equipment, training manuals, barracks, and importantly, the Codex Pentaros - an accounting of the inner and outer workings of the holy order of old. From this, Balian re-formed the Knights Pentaros, or at least, the best approximation he could muster with his understanding of the material available, and the town volunteers. He is now fashioned as an "Executor", a chapter master of a military order resurrected. They are not an order that commands much aesthetic respect - eschewing the shiny plate of many other orders for a cheaper, and ultimately more useful (for their current engagements) chain mail. Being in a state of constant battle means the order and its equipment are in a constant state of disrepair, but they make do. Though the Pentaros were disadvantaged by being re-made from seemingly nothing, and never having a chance to really "recover", they have benefited greatly from 1) The accuracy and earnest nature of the Codex, and 2) The baptism by fire that has been the near constant action required of them for the last two years. The Knights would themselves mount a large offensive to retake the Shrine from the evil that festers within, but a new problem - the undead horde- keeps them from committing any more than small scouting and incursion forces to the "Shrine Issue." The shambling horde was identified just as the Pentaros were drawing to a strength deemed necessary to retake the Shrine, and now, besieged from without and within, they must be judicious with the allocation of resources and power. In keeping the Shrine in check, the Pentaros rely on a trickle influx of foolhardy adventurers keen on acquiring glory (and loot) from within the ancient temple. On any given night, at the Guerrière (the large tavern in the center of town), one might see the formation of questing parties which might include a Dwarven Cleric, a Holy Knight of the Order of the Lion, An Orcish Shaman, or even a Tengu Arbalist. Dealing with keeping the Undead Horde at bay, however, is a strictly Pentaros affair, to which they have improvised a perpetual solution. You see, the horde itself is not something the Pentaros, or the inhabitants of Pentram have any hope of defeating head on. If the Horde ever made it to the town, the only recourse would be evacuation. It was a middle-aged Shepherd, Roland Berger, who is now a Captain of the Pentaros, who came up with the idea to "herd" the horde, rather than fully engage it. The strategy of survival which has worked so far involves limited engagements, luring tactics, and "management" skirmishes, on terms favorable to the Pentaros. The herding strategy plays into some of the strengths of the old Pentaros, once they were modified for modern problems. The old Pentaros had been famous for devastatingly effective cavalry charges, as well as disciplined and powerful archery support on the field. While in the old days one of these famous charges would have been perfect against an exposed flank of Orcish raiders, and coordinated ranged support would have kept an elongated battle on terms favorable to the Pentaros, the modern problem sees these assets used differently. Cavalry now is still devastating, but will withdraw just as quickly as it charges, and is used to draw attention of the horde. The archers and arbalists perform a "herding" action by eliminating any wayward tendrils of the horde, ushering the mass of undeath in a direction that keeps them from ever truly being a threat to Pentram. The Pentaros are therefore not a particularly entrenched military order. A knight who just a year ago might have been picking brambleberries on one of the town orchards, may today be sitting atop a warhorse, readying his squad for a charge against a gibbering host of ghouls and zombies. His path likely began when he reported to the barracks, and undertook a rigorous, if rushed training in archery. He may have then been part of the battle line of archers in herding skirmishes, eventually promoted to being a full member of the order, a warrior learned in the use of one of Pentram's famous crossbows, ready to stop a flayer charge cold, or bring down a gargoyle threatening a knight's column. He may then have become one of those very knights he had been covering as an arbalist. Now with a hardy mace, and the iconic kite shield of the order, he could lead an expedition in to the chapel in order to turn back an onslaught, or in search of some ancient relics of Tatayne. This could be his path, or it might have been one of a hundred others. This order may once have had a great structure and plan for its recruits, but the new order, with its new objectives, relies on the saturation of pure experience a soldier will receive in a short amount of time. There is a religious aspect to this order as well. These are adherents of Tatayne, at least, ostensibly. Their ultimate goal is the safety of a people who made a home outside her temple, as well as the retaking and purification of that temple itself. There is not much formal worship, as while the Codex Pentaros offered a lot of guidance re: the military makeup of the holy order, the holy aspect is known to be recounted by a sister book, the "Codex Tatania". This is thought to be kept deep in the crypts of the Shrine, far beyond where any adventurer or Pentaros has managed to fight their way to. Absent what will most likely be the most important holy book of their order, the Knights do attempt to cobble together what they can via the retrieval of artifacts and relics. On the rare occasion one might run into a Knight Pentaros out and about in the world, they are, no doubt, on a quest at the behest of their executor, to retrieve some item or knowledge in furtherance of the order's understanding of Tatayne. The Knights Pentaros are a holy military order resurrected out of necessity, by a people under siege from without and within. They make do with what they have, but they could certainly use help.
Pantheonic Holy Order of Knights to Tatayne.
The old order: Service and protection to 1) Pentram, 2) Adherents of Tatayne. The new order: 1) Preservation of the town of Pentram, 2) Elimination of the Undead Horde, 3) Purification of the Shrine to Tatayne.
Fortress Chapel of Foyeron, between Pentram and the Shrine to Tatayne; the great orchard of Poireum; tithes and material support from Pentram, trade with Tengu Town; the Boissombre woods, containing much sought after and possibly magically infused White Oak, Maple, Cherry, Ash trees. The Pentaros benefit greatly from high quality wood products (powerful bows, crossbows, also highly sough in trade by the Tengu), but are mineral ore poor, and require an influx of metals and metal weapons.
Founded as a chapel order of knights to Tatayne. Duties included protection of the shrine, its priesthood, and its pilgrims, as well as any military action required in protection of Tatayne.
Disbanded after the fall, re-made in the modern era upon the discovery and implementation of the Codex Pentaros. New order has modified duties focused on protection of the town of Pentram, and re-taking of the Shrine to Tatayne.
Lumière, Guérison, Gloire.
Order of the Knights of the Shrine to Tatayne in Pentram, "Pentaros."