The Order of the Lost was founded by two knights, each of which had been thrown out of their respective Orders in disgrace for comparatively minor breaches of the rules. One was thrown out of his Jovian monastery after he was caught kissing a woman; the other was expelled from The Knights of The Lady for hitting a woman.
After meeting in a tavern and having a long and rather misogynist chat about women who had laid them low, they decided to found a new Order for knights like them. Knowing that there was no way that they would be allowed to set up a chapter where they were, they travelled to a mountain range claimed by few and ruled by none, and purchased a disused, ruined castle, that had been burnt out in an old war centuries ago.
Then they set about gaining new members for their Order, at first in secret. They carried out a prison break and set two traitors to the Valermorian Crown free, who joined them. They then decided to take the bold step of throwing their would-be Order not just to those who were nobles, but to almost all classes, prepared they were fit enough to fight, and willing to go through a prospecting period to prove they were dedicated enough. Sooner or later, of course, the other Orders got to hear about them, and the one who ruled the area, The Order of the Knights of Rightous Victory decided to exterminate them before they could prove a thread and sent their Blackstable Chapter after them.
Unknown to the chapter, however, the Order of the Lost was bigger then they thought, and tricked them, leading them into the forests where their close formation was broken up. As they rode over what seemed to be just a thick area of pine needles, they were ignited below them, burning the horses, which panicked, scattered and threw their riders. At once the lightly armed members of the Order of the Lost swarmed their fallen enemies, pushing daggers through the eyeholes in their helmets to despatch them and taking their armour and weapons for themselves.
When the other chapters heard of the demise of the Blackstable Chapter, they sent hundreds of knights from no less then six other chapters after them, determined to besiege their castle and bring a bloody end to this impudent new Order. However, when they travelled along the only road through the area, they found rocks rolled down in front of them and behind, cutting off their advance and retreat. Looking above them, they saw their foes with rocks and hot oil at the ready. Blocked in two directions, with a steep unclimbable rocky wall too long for their scaling ladders on the third side and a sheer drop on the other, without room to aim the trebuchets that they had brought with them, they were given an ultimatum-surrender or die.
They surrendered. Baskets were lowered down the cliff wall and they were made to place their weapons, shields and armour inside, before being freed from the trap and being forced to return unarmed and naked the way they came.
Since then, protected by their mountains and the fact that most of the other Orders dislike each other so much that they can’t bring themselves to unite against them, they have grown to more then a thousand strong, their symbol being a plain black flag and black shields. When someone comes to join them, they do not ask why he wishes to join. Fugitives from justice, rebellious peasants from other fiefs, traitors, and born knights who have been expelled from their old Orders have all come to join them.
Provided he is strong enough to fight, and passes a prospecting stage that can last years, he can join regardless of if he is a noble or a peasant.
Their rules number only seven.
I-In warfare, anything goes.
Amongst other things, they have poisoned the water supply of another Order, thus laying low it’s members with disease, hired assassins, laid many ambushes, and pretended that they are a lot more dangerous then they really are.
II-In battle, obey orders, but outside it, everyone gets their say but not necessarily their way.
When not in battle, they are a democracy, unlike most Orders in which the individual members have little or no say in what he does.
III-When one of our members is in trouble, regardless of who started it, we all pile in on his side.
They mean that, mess with one member and you mess with the whole Order.
IV-Stick with the territory we have for now, as trying to grab too much means that you risk all.
Whilst many Orders are at war with each other over territory, the Order of the Lost hangs onto their core region without trying to grab more lands. Knowing this, the other Orders tolerate them as a buffer zone.
V-Ask another member no more then they are willing to freely reveal to you.
The Order does not want to know about the background of it’s members or what they did in the past.
VI-Do not foul your own stable.
Do not fight with, steal from, betray or lie to another member. Those who break this rule have a right to a trial, but if convicted the penalty is death. In peace the jury is of twelve, in war, three are enough.
Noone is forced to join the Order, and prospects can choose to stand down, but once somebody becomes a full member, they will be killed if they try to leave.