Knights of the Blood Red Light
|Active||252 AEKE - present|
|Allegiance||Kingdom of Etrand|
|Type||Titanist military order|
|Headquarters||Fort Redlight (near Grandfolk)|
|First Grand Master||Repleus Victoria Tectum|
|Grand Master (785-809)||Julius William Etrix|
|Current Grand Master (809-present)||Gaius Frostang|
The Knights of the Blood Red Light is a Titanist military order of Knights, currently the most powerful and influential military order in Etrand. The order has close ties to the royal court, runs several orphanages throughout Etrand and is known for recruiting among orphans who are taken in by the order, as well as noble bastards and second sons.
This knighthood has the longest history of them all.
Since the High Elven invasion of Etrand during Fathred's reign, Humans always had the idea of organizing heavily armoured cavalry like the one High Elves have. But it didn't happen until the Orcish Invasion of Etrand.
After the establishment of the Kingdom of Etrand, the King created a new army that included Heavy Cavalry like that of Froturn. During the Orcish Invasion, a count named Sepelius Miles had in mind that simple heavy cavalry might not be enough. He had an idea of organizing a heavy cavalry out of soldiers who are trained in swordsmanship from early childhood. Unfortunately Sepelius couldn't live up to see his dream coming true. His idea would become a reality only after his death: his son, count Ferrumius Miles, with the aid of archbishop Silentiumus Rolfrand created a religious military order: The Knights of the Golden Light.
The first members were actually monks who took horses and heavy armour. They dropped the traditional monk's clothes and the wooden sticks, adopting swords and heavy armour, but keeping the clerical magic. They were warrior monks who just happened to wear heavy armour and fight from horseback, but they still had all the rules and regulations that ordinary monks had - celibacy, among other things. This order had limited influence, after the initial rise of the members, it quickly started to first stagnate, than decline in numbers - sword-swinging warriors were not really interested in taking on celibacy and going by all the rules and regulations that monks had to endure. After the first necromancers showed up in 102 AEKE, a few knights betrayed the order and turned to the necromancers. Most members of the order were massacred during the infamous Knights' Massacre in 102, with only a minority escaping to keep the proto-Paladin traditions alive.
Rebranding and Rise to Fame
During the First Demonic Invasion of Artograch, general Repleus Victoria Tectum, - whose ancestors were members of the original order - rebuilt the order, and renamed it to Knights of the Blood-Red Light. He revived the original flag and coat of arms, but replaced yellow colour with red.
This knighthood had much more influence than its predecessor, and more nembers. Many nobles and priests also financially supported it. During the war, they trained many young boys - and even some girls - in the use of the sword, clerical magic and horse riding. After the war, they started to accept more and more children into training. One of the reasons for the success of the new order was the almost complete rebranding of it: they dropped dropped the monastic aspects, they did away with celibacy entirely, they embraced chivalric ideals of honour and romanticism, and they even changed their slogan: while the first order identified themselves as "Monks of War" and "Priests of War", the second order prefers the titles "Soldiers of the Church" and "Soldiers of the Faith" even to this day.
Decline and Revival
The Order's reputation was tarnished heavily in 534 in the aftermath of the murder of Keshuver Seward - a famous member of the order - at the hands of his former secret lover Barn, who was also a member of the order. The fact that two reputable members of the order have engaged in sodomy - a deadly sin that warrants the capital punishment (unless the accused volunteers to drink sodobane) - as well as the fact that a member of the reputable order would commit murder and kill innocents, was too much for many people.
Many members left the order, the funding was cut significantly, and the order had become a shadow of its former self - it didn't even contribute to putting down Rikwi's Pagan Rebellion in 563-576. Even the pagan-scare of that time didn't result in the revival of the order. Never formally disbanded, the order lingered on as a pathetic shadow of its former self until its eventual revival during the 8th century, when a series of complex political events led to the order's rise of prominance once again.
The otherwise secularist King Bryant I of Etrand who otherwise looked down on fanaticism and held the belief that "the age of fanaticism and paladins is long gone, this is the age of realpolitik" surprisingly found himself allied with the order: one of his advisors was the grandmaster of the order, and vestigal order became a convenient way of sapping away some of the most hot-blooded members of the nobility, preventing them from challenging the new order, while putting their skills to use. The Knights of the Blood Red Light effectively became a peacetime police force, protecting the kingdom from dark elements.
The order became even stronger during the reigns of Bryant's successor Cairbré and Cairbré's successor Calhoun, the first of whom was a staunch supporter of the church, the second of whom was specifically favoring the knightly orders. The sudden activities of Ria Baeni and her partner Héli Calbae, as well as a host of other "agents of darkness" during the late 8th century led to a sudden undead-scare that did in fact lead to the revival of the order in full-swing. In fact, during the early 800's, the order was known taking in orphans and recruiting from them - Stephánus Tavilrond being such an individual. The order's involvement in the Froturnish Civil War of 809 cemented the order's role as an important actor in Etrand's politics and military, but it also earned the order quite a few detractors abroad.
- Grand Master: The one and only leader of the order.
- Master: The members of the Council in the order. Although this rank is not tied to age, most masters are over the age of 35. If the Grand Master dies, the masters have a council and elect a volunteer. Any Crusader can become a Master if has successfully trained an Apprentice into a Paladin.
- Crusader: Crusaders can take an apprentice and teach the apprentice. If the crusader's apprentice gets promoted to the rank of Paladin, the Crusader gets promoted to the rank of Master.
- Paladin: A knight, who is now wholly consider part of the order. After completing the Trials of the Knight, a Paladin gets promoted to the rank of Crusader.
- Apprentice: A Youngling becomes an Apprentice when is old enough to start serious learning - mostly at the age of 14 or a bit earlier - and a Crusader has chosen one of them. After enough learning - mostly at the age of 18 or a bit later - Apprentices usually get promoted to the rank of Paladin.
- Youngling: Members of the order who are either under the age of 14 or simply joined the order after the age of 14 and still have much to learn.