The Templar Order - Nal Dacrd'Varond'ul

The Templar Order is perhaps the most formidable Dral'azie military organisation in The Sunless Realms. Made of the devoted zealots, former mercenaries or those seeking redemption, the group was established by Archon Myistra Vess'Orndii'Arcaine to protect faithful of Aulreth from harassment and antagonism, over the centuries it now acts in several capacities including, defence, infiltration, espionage and and a regular fighting force all in the name of the Seven Signs.
 
The mailed fist of Aulreths faithful and the ever vigilant aegis of the Dral'azie people.
Standing stalwart as the aegis of the faith, the Templar order or Nal Dacrd'Varond'ul is the militant caste that serves The Temple of the Seven Signs.. Their mandate is to enforce and defend the doctrine of the seven signs of their dark goddess through force of arms. They are her sword and shield, the hammer of the heretic, defender of the faithful and extinguisher of the accursed light. The order despite appearances, is not one monolithic organisation, but rather a collective of individual Militant orders each with their own individual motivations, loyalties and agendas. All subservient to the jurisdiction of the Grand Master of Dral'grondii, supreme commander of the order and one part of the Hierarch.   The Militant Orders form the defining martial aspect of the Templars, aiding in maintaining the temples stranglehold over Dral'azie society. It was decreed by Archon Abraxus that to better serve the Temple, the Templar order should be divided. Over the course of the millennia saw the emergence of thirteen different chapters of Templar Order, each finding their origins in the Archons that allegedly founded them, taking their names thereafter. Each Order Chapter has its own distinctive set of beliefs, traditions, allegiances and martial practices that have been lain down by their founding Archon and cemented into the rule of that particular Order. Some even gravitating toward a particular deity, allegiance to a great houses or city states.
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Hammer of the heretic slayers of the monster.

Gather round younglings and heed my words carefully. Do not spurn those that bear the lidless eye. Their vengeance will bring the armoured ones upon us. Blade in hand and hatred burning in their hearts, bringing only death and destruction to everything you hold dear.
Dravarii chieftain teaching young warriors about the dangers of raiding those that serve Aulreth.
by Vectober
These feared guardians of the faith, have cultivated a juxtaposing feeling of safety and security throughout the Ithen'drels. Over the centuries, the order has evolved from enforcing the creed of the temple, and engaging the enemies of faith to combating the monstrous and supernatural abominations and quickly suppressing errant magic users that threaten the safety of Dral'azie society that the ruling houses refuse to confront.   Templar aid is usually sought out by the city-states over the forces of their own houses in military actions. This is typically because the forces of their vassals take longer to muster and unreliable. Whereas the Templar Orders are an experience, disciplined standing army. Their experience comes with a high cost. Despite appearances, the Templars are rather underequipped. Though most Orders possess holds, fortresses and weapon forges of their own, they don't wield the same power or sheer resources that the great houses hold. They rely on donations and what the Seven Signs is able to requisition from its own territories.
The order and the Synod have taken it upon themselves to enforce the Abyss Mother's edict despite her silence throughout the years. Purges and exterminations are being carried out against everyone they consider to be a heretic. Other temples and sites of worship under the Dral'azies realm that do not come within the Seven Signs are now in ruins. Heathens are those who worship other gods and their religions. While her followers carry out these commands, Aulreth's eye discreetly observes and judges their activities.

Aulsh'ganel, Grand Master of the Order.

While the order stands as the right hand of the faith, they are an wholly independent organisation to the rest of The Temple of the Seven Signs. Templar’s have been known to become involved within the priesthoods affairs, when military action is required, or a priestesses, acolyte or Temple Magi has gone rouge. This however has a tendency to cause friction between the Arch-Priestess and the Grand Master, the latter of which is usually subdued and forced to back down. The rivalry between the two characterised most Temple politics.
  At its head is the position of Grand Master of the Templar Order. Traditionally a position that is preferably held by a male. Though peculiar in an overwhelmingly matriarchal society, it represents the subservience of the role to the Exalt and by extension to the Arch-Priestess (Despite these three positions theoretically holding the same level of authority). When a Female grand master is elected, the equilibrium of typically is thrown off balance. Female Grand Masters do not have to feel inferior and have no issue with over stepping their authority or social status. Usually causing issues for the temple elite, leading to the rise of the faith militant and the inquisition.
Such a pity. But doubt is like a cancer and must be cut free.
— Qul'vaar, before executing one of his lieutenants who for heresy.
Grand Master Qulvaar Belvorien
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Structure

The Templars are built upon the principles of the chapter system laid down by Archon Abaxus, in total there are fourteen existing Templar Orders in existence. Often referred to within the order simply as chapters, they are part of the vision laid out by Archon Abraxus to more effectively serve the faith and the Dral'azie people. Each of these chapters are based in one of the Fourteen fortress Temples across the Underdark, used as a headquarters for their order. An order chapter is headed by an Dacrd'ganel or Order Master, who acts as commander and highest senior authority figure that particular chapter, subservient only to the Orders Grand master.   Operating completely independently of every other Order chapter, yet collectively acting as a member of the Templar order as a whole. A chapter is a self-contained religious army with its own leadership, support, and administrative staff, and it is entirely reliant on its own Chapter members. Each chapter has its own set of traditions and specialities, as well as its own cult, beliefs, and rituals.   The Templars themselves are structured into three distinct warrior castes; Ordained Templar, Kabalite Templar and Ordinator Templar.

Ordained Templar

 
This highly trained, elite warrior caste lead the order. Often are used as instruments of fear and shock troops against the enemies of the faith. Throughout most conflicts the order has been involved in, these heavily armoured warriors would engage the enemy ahead of the main force, in an attempt to break opposition lines and destroy moral.   Successful supplicants must go through a series of initiation ceremonies before being baptised by black ichor pulled up from the Boiling Abyss, signifying the shift from Initiate to Order brother or sister. This ichor is said to be the Abyssal realm given form in the mortal plane. Often, detachments of Templars are dispatched to journey to the Boiling sea, escorting priests to obtain the Ichor from the great southern sea. These ordained Templar or Varond'ul are what one might deem the traditional Templar brothers and sisters that form the principle as the orders elite fighting force.
The Templar order receive numerous aspirants wishing to join, ranging from all echelons of society. It is only natural for the class prejudice that is entrenched throughout Dral'azie society, to run within the Templar as well. While only the most exceptionally martially-gifted initiates are to be deemed worthy enough to be recognised and join the ranks of the Templar Order. Despite the rule set down by its founders, the Ordained Templar have not escaped the elitism that suffocates Dral'azie society. It is commonly known that the majority of Templars accepted into the order today are from aristocratic and highborn origins, as opposed to those who join the Templar Kabals from lowborn backgrounds. Ordained Templars and higher members of the Order have access to high quality equipment from the forges and armoires of Draal'Grondi and other fortress-temples across The Sunless Realms.

Kabalite Templar.

These lowborn Templars were established to augment the number of fighters the order could bring to bear as it grew in prominence, similar to the warrior Kabals prevalent across the city-states. Kalabite warriors form the primary bulk of the Templar Orders military strength, laying at its heart as a dedicated warrior caste. Having carving out a reputation as fierce warriors, proven in multiple battles as reliable combatants, Kalabite Warriors are just as recognised members of the order like their Templar brethren.   The bulk of Kalabite templar are a motley band of unsuccessful aspirants who were typically denied from entering the Order or failed the trials but were put to use in different capacities. Indentured slaves, former mercenaries, and the retinues of lordlings who have joined the Order are commonly seen among their ranks. Only when Nobles or Greathouse members join do you observe an investment in their own equipment and the equipment of people around them, as opposed to obtaining armour from dead masters or comrades. Draal'Grondi's forges, which make high-quality equipment, are only accessible to the Order's elite members.   Few kalabites survive long enough to rise up through the ranks to earn the prestige to ascend the ranks and become fully fledged brother or sister of the order, thus earning the rank and title of templar. Those that do are regarded with distain but a majority of the Templar in the order.

Ordinator Templar.

In a literal sense, Ordinator's are the Temple Guards, and as their name would suggest, they are the ones who keep order, uphold and enforce temple laws and the statures. Found throughout temple precincts protecting property, shrines and places of worship. An Order Chapter is headed by an Dacrd'ganel Order Master, who acts as commander and highest senior authority figure that particular Chapter, subservient only to the Orders Grand master.   Additionally they can be levied in times of conflict by their affiliated order should the need arise. There are no Ordinator's in Dral'grondi; The Custodian Guard of Draal'Grondi. The Sisterhood of the Temple or D’nai Draal’Valaan.
The emblem of the Templar Order.

Table Of Contents

  • History.
  • Hammer of the Heretic, Slayer of Monsters.
  • Aulsh'ganel, Grand Master Of The Order.
  • Templar Battledress.
  • Structure.
  • Ordained Templar.
  • Kabalite Templar.
  • Ordinator Templar.
  • Initiates.
  •    

    Ga'hensaar

    Originally an ancient Templar traditional expression of devotion, that can still be heard used as a battlecry or formal greeting to one another. Ga'hensaar means the Submission to the will of the Goddess, an oath unto the eternal service of the abyssal mother and her faith. It was later adopted by the wider faith during the temples unification, and is used as a pledge of loyalty and subservience to all who enter into the service of the Seven Signs.

    History of the Templars

    Forged from Redemption.
    Older than the seven signs and the cults that founded it, the Templar Order finds its origins in the first age during the dark days of The Sundering. During these tumultuous times, when the Dral'azie's forefathers still lived on the surface. Pilgrimages to Aulreth's sacred places and shrines had become increasingly perilous in the aftermath of the Cadence's calamitous events. Many of these sites were located across the length and breadth of Evalaw, as well as in the deepest parts of the earth. As the world grew darker, pilgrims faced violent barbarians, brigands, and terrible monsters on their way to many of these destinations. Countless religious and commoner pilgrimages would end in tragedy, becoming routinely slaughtered, sometimes by the hundreds and these locations gradually fading into obscurity and ruin.   Prominent individuals within the Cult of Aulreth proposed creating a militant order for the protection of these pilgrims. While the Higher echelons of the Aulrethie faith were hesitant, a precursor to the Templars would eventually be established, the faith militant.   [[Templar History in progress]]

    Templar battledress.

    Throughout the history of the Dral'azie, Templars have a appeared in one form or another. What has made them distinguishable throughout history is their battledress. Appearing in various iterations over the centuries, evolving alongside Dral societies. To the faithful, they represent a symbol of stability and order, the shield of the Seven Signs and the vengeful sword of the faith.   A traditional Templar battledress begins with its iconography, immediately denoting them as a member of this religious warrior class. The Templar Order version of the Eye of Aulreth is a far more austere and brualistic iteration, than the standard Temple symbology. Emanating a foreboding sense of martial authority and prestige. It has been an icon rightfully feared to behold, for its bearers have carved out equally infamous reputation in blood and death amongst the Temples enemies over the centuries. The Templar war outfit is distinguished by plate armour and the traditional gambeson. While style and many variations occur over their history and throughout their numerous chapters. For decades, the recognisable shape of an Aulrethie Templar has been irrevocably engraved in the collective memory of the Dral'azie and their adversaries.

    Initiates

    T hose who first join the order start as initiates, training and performing tasks and duties more befitting servants and slaves. Undertaking rudimentary temple education under the priesthood and vigorous, if somewhat brutal and humiliating training exercises by appointed Exemplar to root out the weak. They are to be tempered and learn lessons in humility as they strive before being considered to ascend the ranks of the order. Templar initiates who show are promise are placed under the guardianship and tutorage of a master, undergoing vigorous, almost brutal physical training and a comprehensive religious education.  
    The trails of the Templar are observed and undertaken by initiates, having to prove themselves before they can submit themselves before the judgment of senior members of the order and deemed worthy to join the order and become a brother of sister of the Templar Order. There are seven trail in total, their nature is varied, highly and secretive. Given to a hopeful supplicant by an Exemplar, or the Initiates Master.
      Initiates are a rag-tag bunch, inheriting armour and weaponry from fallen comrades. It has been known in some cases when one of their brethren fall in battle, to be likened to a feeding frenzy over their equipment. Each one wishing to prove that they are worthy of being recognised to join the ranks of the Order. The vast majority will find themselves wanting in the eyes of the Exemplars, and instead fall into the Kabals.   In times of war, it has been known for Templar Order to break the rule of the Temple and recruit more initiates than is allowed. Reducing the need to pay out for Mercenaries, though feeding and equipment costs may vary, it is not expected for these emergency recruits to last very long in their ranks. As was seen in the southern wars against Phyraxgia, new initiates were given a life expectancy of twelve days.

    Character flag image: Templar Emblem by AstarothArcaine

    Comments

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    2 Jan, 2022 21:29

    I'm quite surprised to see this has gone unnoticed by other readers. This is beautifully illustrated and formatted - well done! I will note that the font you use for your aloud BBcode is somewhat hard to parse. Interesting to see that this is a society that still delineates a strict distinction in the usual gender of a role, and how that being changed can impact society. I'm curious, what if a nonbinary person were to take up the Grand Master position?   Also, I love the initiation ceremonies. Reminds me, in the best way, of Dragon Age's wardens!

    Grandmaster ChroniclesofEvalaw
    Olarae & Astaroth Arcaine
    2 Jan, 2022 22:41

    Thank you for your kind words! I'm still hoping to get the latter elements complete (Notably the Templar History), but I am really pleased to hear you enjoyed reading it! I will pass your note about the font to my other half who does the coding. Good to get some feedback on that though, the aloud sections are something we've started introducing recently.   Hmm, that is actually an really interesting question, especially with a Matriarchal society like the Dral'azie have. We do actually have a named Templar character who is nonbinary, so this could theoretically affect them if I so chose to one day thrust the burden of power on their shoulders. I suppose, hypothetically they wouldn't be face the same stigma that would face a male in this position. While on the other hand, due to the "Matriarchal pre-eminence" that permeates their society, the other Temple elites that would usually feel threatened by a female taking up this mantle probably wouldn't feel that same level of threat to their authority being undermined. Both sides together, it could lead to a nonbinary person being actually in a rather advantageous position, potentially allowing them to execute their role without much impediment. But I guess it also depends how ambitious they are feeling too! Definitely food for thought!   Yes, I may have drawn some inspiration from the Grey Wardens not going to lie!! I just felt, the Templars swearing to serve some Abyssal Goddess, there needed to be some dramatic final aspect to their initiation ceremony. Perhaps there may even be that element of risk at this final step when being baptised!

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    Master after_xero
    Eric Jorgenson
    7 Jan, 2022 13:10

    Very nice... I always knew there was something fishy about them...

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