Knights of the Holy Sun
The Knights of the Holy Sun are the militant arm of the Jovian Church, dedicated to His Glory, and are well known and admired by many for their bravery in battle.
The Knights of the Holy Sun see themselves as the military arm of the Jovian Faith, and everything they do is based upon it's principles. They are normally chosen aged seven from two sources;one is from the legitimate sons of the priests of Holy Jove. Whilst a priest should be faithful to the one he loves, celibacy is not mandatory although it is an advantage if trying to gain a higher position in the Jovian Church. The belief of the Jovians is that if a priest is allowed a legitimate wife, he is less likely to commit sexual sins. The other is from the noble families of secular Jovians who wish to help the clerical arm. When young they learn how to obey without question, how to clean armour by rolling it in a barrel of sand, how to use The Holy Firestick and other such knightly skills along with the basic tenants of the Jovian Faith. By fifteen they are put into battle training as squires,and at eighteen they are dubbed and become true knights and can ride into battle for real. Thier armour is red, their battle banner is red with a golden sun disc symbol upon it, and their weapons are the sword, the axe, the lance and the morning star.
Not all ride horses;a minority become Battle Mages or War Dog handlers, but all learn and obey the Rules of the Order.
I-Obey your superiors in peace and in war in all times, except an order that directly violates the commandments of Holy Jove. (for example, an order to bury the body of a Jovian instead of cremating it, could normally be refused, since according to the Jovian religion to refuse cremation would trap the soul within the decomposing body regardless of how the person acted in life.Said Jovian would have had to have done a really major sin for an order to bury them to be justified.)
II-In wartime, where at all possible, do not harm the Jovian faithful. (Whilst they have an ugly reputation for harming non-Jovian civilians, both in theory and for the most part in practise they avoid deliberatly harming Jovian civilians. A Jovian officer who enjoyed maltreating fellow Jovians would at the least, end up sidelined to a boring desk job, and could end up court-martialed and in real trouble.)
III-Respect Jovian temples, monastaries and other holy buildings, avoid fighting in them if you can. (If this rule must be broken to save life and limb or to evict unwanted people from a Jovian holy place, absolution from a Jovian priest should be sought as soon as possible to cleanse the souls of those involved.)
IV-In battle, do not charge without orders or you lose your horse. (Battles have been lost in the past because of a charge at the wrong time.)
V-Necromancy, even when done with a seemingly good reason, is anathama to Holy Jove, and fatal to the soul, those in the Order caught practising it will be expelled, excommunicated and either executed and buried or in the worst cases, buried alive. When you face necromancers, take no prisoners. (Necromancy is one of the worst sins in the eyes of Holy Jove;for a Jovian to do it is unforgiveable. Some religions burn those they dislike at the stake; Jovians do not do this, as they feel heretics, necromancers and the like don't deserve to sully fire with their bodies, they deserve burial instead. The worst punishment given by the Jovian Church, not handed outÂ lightly, is burial alive.)
VI-As a leader, do not order what you would not do
(Unusally, this rule is for the officers of the Order rather then those who just obey the orders, and it's practical and makes sure that suicidal charges or deeply degrading ordersare rarely issued. Yes, you can order a charge but you will be leading in the front rank at the tip of the charge. You can order knights who have done nothing wrong to clean out chamber pots if you feel like it, but if it's not a punishment detail for knights who have done wrong,you too will be cleaning out chamber pots with them. This ruleÂ is to stop bad leaders from making orders which defy common sense,and works very well at doing that.
VII-If at all possible, avoid surrender. Holy Jove does not consider death in battle against overwhelming odds to be suicide. (Like the Japanese in WW2, Jovian knights see surrender in battle as the act of a coward. There are exceptions;if poisoned or knocked out, it's not your fault; if your officer calls on you to surrender and you do, it will be your officer who is in deep trouble with the Jovian Church for making you let your order down, not you for obeying the order.You yourself would be blameless in the matter.)
VIII-Conversion is better then killing, but slay the apostates whenever they are found
(Like most large religions, the Jovian religion is easy to join, as they want to have as many as possible within the faith. Prisoners of war are often freed on the spot if they convert and swear to serve Holy Jove, and a convert gained in this way is deliberately given a small burn on the back of the hand with a holy symbol in such a way that it creates a small scar when it heals. When prisoners are taken, the backs of the hand are checked for this circular scar and if it is found on either hand, the prisoner is beheaded as an apostate. Secular Jovians don't norally have this mark, unless they feel so religious they have it done voluntarily;priests, monks, nuns, all the higher members of the Church and the Knights themselves all have this scar and have pride in it.)
IX-You may marry, but it has to be with a female Jovian or Jovian convert, she has to be willing, and you need the permission of the head of your Chapter, or if you happen to be high in the Church, the permission of the next officer rank above yours. Except upon Turnaround Day, sexual relations are forbidden outside marridge.
(Many holy orders forbid their members to have sex at all, but the heads of the Jovian Church prefer to have a legal way for their members to let their needs be sated, as it lowers the chance of sex with unsuitable partners behind the Church's back. Also, their children will be Jovians by birth which increases the numbers of believers in Holy Jove. Many knights are celibate, either through choice, because they are too busy in battle to look for love, or because their request to marry is turned down. For the most part those who are married have happy relationships-in forts, wives are allowed to be present;if the fort should fall to it's foes, the wives and children are in danger which gives married knights an extra reason to defend it.Â )
X-One on all, all on one. Your Brother may not allways be right but he is allways your Brother.
(In battle, defend your fellow knight as much as you would defend yourself. Do as well as you can to stop a fellow knight being killed or captured, if you can help it, do not even let a dead knight's body fall to his foes. Not only will they steal his amour and weapons, but in some cases they will shovel his body underground out of sheer spite,trapping his soul within it. Outside battle, if someone picks a fight with a knight, the other knights of the Order within earshot will defend their knight regardless of the facts of the matter.)
XI-When at allÂ possible, keep your horse and the war dogs fed and watered, your armour and weapons clean and fit for service, your body and mind fit to fight.
XII-Turnaround Day is on the last day of the year, if battle or siege prevents this from being celebrated, it should be celebrated as soon as it is safe to do so.
Turnaround Day is when most of the rules are relaxed. Knights can relax and sleep in, feast on rich food, and generally enjoy themselves. Juniors can politely question their superiors about things and don't get into trouble for it. Even getting drunk is allowed and much merryment is had by all. Symbolicly, officers serve the men their food upon this day. If it is militarily impossible to celebrate on the right day, then as soon as the danger is over then it is celebrated then. Having a day in the year when the iron discipline is cut to the bare minimum is great for reducing stress, and gives the juniors a day to let those above them know when something is wrong.
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? Responses (4)-4
An interesting addition to your world Cheka!
Nice one, Cheka.
Good set of rules.