The Knight Templar of Alaithor
Also referred to as the Temple Knights, Templar of Avataar and Anu, the Swords and Shield Knights, the Knight Templar was created initially by the priesthood following the split in the Knight Protectors of Alaithor Order.
When the Knight Protectors of Alaithor broke apart the remaining knights of the order were sent out to bring the ‘rebels’ inline. Instead of doing so they were defeated in the ‘Day of Blood’. Years of the priest giving out positions in the Order in exchange for political favours had weakened it beyond imagining. The Order now stood at the brink of collapse.
The High Steward then took command of the Order, replacing its sigil with that of the Hand (the symbol of the High Steward’s office), and set about rebuilding the Order, which unfortunately would never again achieve the heights it once held.
The priests were angered by this removal of a major source of their power. They took steps to replace the Order, with one of its own making. They began to recruit Temple Guards, these were to protect their temples from harm now they could no longer utilise the Knight Protectors. From these Temple Guards they chose the best of them to become an Order of Knights dedicated to the priests and their gods, the Temple Knights.
These new knights did not have to come from and noble or favoured background. To keep them in line they were made to swear oaths before the gods, they were made to dedicate their lives to their cause and had forswear any previous family ties, monies, lands or titles. Forbidden to have wives or children they were surrounded by religious trappings and ceremonies.
The priests had drawn up pacts with the High Steward that removed the Templar from normal laws, setting them above such things and were made answerable only to the priests. As the years wore on they became more powerful, and the High steward began to wonder if he had made the right decision. Then came the ‘Sundering’.
The Templar began to question the authority of the priests after the Sundering. If the priests were no longer in contact with the gods then on whose authority did they give their orders? With no higher authority who was best placed to guide the Templar? Like the Order that preceded them they split from the priesthood entirely. Retaining their exemption from laws they took command of some of the Temples that they had been employed to guard, using them as their bases. The priests begged the High Steward to intervene, but he could not (or some suggest would not) interfere. Instead he took steps to negotiate with the Templar to forge a working relationship with them.
The Knights Templar Today
Today, the Knight Templar presents a rather mixed face to the world. To many they are said to be powerful warriors, surrounded in ritual mysticism and mystery, rich in power and wealth hidden in their Temple fortresses. To others who know them a little better they are little more than mercenaries, fighting for the highest bidder under the guise of fighting on their gods wills.
Today the Order is home to many. It is said that anyone may join the Templar, your past means nothing and so it is often home to those wishing to escape their past. Upon taking one’s vows joining the Order it is traditional to adopt a new name and so the Order is home to many with something in their past to hide. Once in the Order, your past is forgotten and means nothing to anyone.
Much of the Order is made from Turms, the lowest rank. These are the common fighters who fight under the Templar. Turms are not true Templar; they join for a minimum of fifteen years after which they may leave if they wish. They are not Brothers, as the Templar are, but often refer to themselves as ‘little brothers’. Turms are normally kitted out in hard leather armours, spears, hand axes and shields. Their armour is stained black, although years of fading and patchwork repairs, especially on cloaks, can lead to a variety of shades of black.
The best of the Turms are invited to join the Templar. Once a Templar, it is for life. All ties to the past life are to be forgotten and the only family one will have now is one’s Brother Templar. When they can they use plate armour but many are left to utilise augmented chain, scale or ring mail. It is always coloured black, as are their cloaks. In battle they use a shield and those can obtain them use swords, but many others are left with maces and axes. Many Templar sport long, drooping handlebar moustaches, especially higher ranking Templar, something often copied by ranking Turm members.
A Marshal, who receives his orders from the Commander of Knights for that area, commands each Temple fortress. This commander is also responsible for assigning command of the many ‘safe-houses’ that the Templar have for moving around in secret, normally disguised as inns or taverns. Above them are the House Commanders who govern for each of the five lands in Thennador. A High Marshal acts as second in command for the overall leader, the Grand Master of the Templar.
Throughout Thennador the Templar have acquired numerous small areas of land previously owned by the priests. They have a number of small-fortified Temples that they use as bases of operation. On Templar ground, Templar laws apply, not those of the King or head of state. Within the Order they still follow many of the rituals and codes set up by the priests of old. Despite being made up of a mix of backgrounds, they are forced into a tight-knit, tough order by the harsh regime imposed on them. They have their own laws within the order that they impose themselves.