Order of the Sun
The history of the order, like much of the The Lastlands, is a matter of much debate. The order’s official history is that the order was formed by human worshipers of sun, light and fire thousands of years before the settlement of the The Lastlands. According to the order they were brought here by the divine to retake the holy city of Koth from an inhuman army of necromancers and demon worshipers.
The order remains at its core a deeply religious and conservative institution. The core of its fighting force are second and third sons of the nobility of Koth who take the paladin oath of devotion. These sons follow are trained by older knights in a page and squire system. The core fighting force consists of roughly 1,000 fully armed, armored and mounted knights of the order. An auxiliary force of 50-100 vengeance and ancient paladins, drawn mostly from the best students of the Academy, work outside of the fighting core on special assignments. In addition, the order has a varying number of clerics, squires, men-at-arms and varies logistic specialists drawn from the many fraternal societies of the order.
The order, and the city of Koth, has strained relations with the city of Firsport. The two cities were rivals for hegemony in the early days of the Last Lands. The order’s military and location near natural resources gave Koth an early advantage. However, the better strategic and economic location at the mouth of the Llobreg river proved to be a dominate advantage as Firsport grew much faster in both size and riches. Most recently, the order supported the newly formed Orcish horde in their bid for freedom from indentured servitude and slavery.
The order is structured in three separate branches that grew from the foundation faiths of the order. Each of the branches is independently run with separate strongholds and multiple factions. The leaders of each of the three branches form an executive council that directs and guides the order. The council is led by the Knight Commander which is the head of the core fighting force of paladins. Two other permanent voting seats are retained by the heads of the great hospital and academy of Koth respectively. The two non-voting, rotating seats are reserved for retired Knight Commanders. It takes a unanimous vote of the council to declare total war at which point the Knight Commander takes absolute control until the conflict ends.
The order maintains a high level of political influence and material power inside and around Koth. The order has tight connections with the nobility and many members have sworn oaths both to the order and the noble families. In extreme cases, the council can excommunicate political leaders thereby stripping them of the allegiance of their vassals. The order also provides healing services, protects trade and administers captured lands near Koth providing it with large amounts of material wealth.
The order is held together by three core tenants to which all members live by. Different factions inside the order interpret the tenants differently.
- Humanity must unite to survive in a world surrounded by darkness
- The light of the divine lives in every man, woman and child
- Faith is the greatest weapon against evil
The order represents multiple gods and faiths unified by the goal of protecting humanity. However, the order harbors a number of factional and philosophical divisions under the façade of a unified mission. The biggest philosophical spit in the modern day order is between conservative religionists and more liberal Universalists. Religionists inside the order recognize the similarity in the faiths of man, but believe wholly and completely in the dominion of their deity. Universalists believe all the gods represented by the order are but representations of one divine power. However, the order is unified in rejecting the new beliefs of the Philosopher Cults. The official doctrine of the order is the divine manifestations of non-believers are but tricks propagated by the gods of darkness to undermine man.
Gods & Goddesses of the Order
The order is officially pantheistic and actively incorporates other faiths as a method of evangelism especially as the order attempts to reach out to the other common races. Some of the more important deities for the order:
- Amaunator (the light is law) – The ancient solar deity of order, justice and law is worshiped by many of the old noble families and consequently the leading deity of the devotion paladins that make up the fighting core of the order. Worshipers of Amaunator have a privileged place at the Great Temple and knights sworn to his service are often called Knights Templar.
- Pelor (the light is all) – Worshipers of Pelor, the god of sun, light, strength and healing, share many similarities with the worshipers of Amaunator. However, unlike Amaunator, the worship of Pelor is growing among younger Universalists and those that feel more power should be taken from the noble families and shared with the common folk. Paladins and clerics of Pelor are often called Knights Solar.
- Lathander (the light is life) – The young deity Lathandar, the god of dawn, renewal, life and vitality, is a favorite of those drawn to the order by its good works. Many of the order who follow him lean toward neutral good. The Great Hospital is the center for those who worship Lathander and the clerics and paladins who serve him are often referred to as Knights Hospitallers.
- Kossuth (the light is purity) – Kossuth, the primordial deity of fire, is believed to be one of the original deities whose followers liberated the Great Temple at Koth. Vengeance paladins in service to Kossuth acted as internal enforcers for the first few centuries of the order. Their zealotry allowed them to enforce an ideological and racial purity in the order. Eventually, they would go too far causing a schism and eventual purging of the noble lines that supported them.
- Brighid (the light is hope) – Brighid is a goddess of inspiration, knowledge and momentous change often signified by an eternal flame in darkness. Worshipers of Brighid in the order tend to be those outside the traditional power structure by virtue of birth, circumstance or temperment. She is the favored goddess of the Academy, half-orcs and those fraternal societies that support the order through crafts such as blacksmithing.
- Áine (the light is luck) – This goddess of summer, harvests, good fortune and wealth is a favorite of those in the order who administer its lands and businesses. It is also a favorite of the fraternal societies that support the order and the growing community of Halflings who call Koth home.