Famous Santharian Order of
knights, located in the northernmost province of Nermeran.
It was founded in 288 b.S. The founding fathers of the Order, who fought in the
time of the Sarvonian Dawn in SW III against the first major invasion of orcs,
are still adored as legendary figures.
Rise and Power of the Order. With strict rules, both for peace and war, the Order got rather powerful in northern Tharania and later on in Santharia as well. Especially in the century that followed SW III the Order became very mighty, proving to harbour the most trained and experienced soldiers among the Tharanian ranks. Most of the border Lords are members of the Order whose Grandmaster is and has always been the Lord of Nyermersys ever since.
Picture description. A Knight of the Fallen on the battlefield. Image drawn by Seeker.
In times of war all units of the Fallen wear the same colors in wartime
demonstrating a unity not often seen in a kingdom with that many tribes, domains
and independant realms.
It is said that there is a friendly rivalry between the Helcrani clans and
the Fallen about who has the best generals and the best tactics in warfare. In
all the conflicts since then it turned out to be indeed always a very close run as the
knights of the Order of the Fallen study strategies of warfare tactics as fanatic as their founders
fought in ancient times.
The Order's major domain of influence is the Santharian North of course, commanding many castles and outposts at the border and important regions of Nermeran. The Order also concentrates on organizing all kinds of military preparations against the still vivid orcish threat menacing from the north.
Coat of Arms. All armies that belong to the powerful "Order of the Fallen" wear their colors when going to war and form the feared "Fallen Legion", one of the biggest and best trained units in Santharia. Their coat of arms consists of the broken swords of the Fallen and the burning crown of Erpheronia, which shines bright on a red-blue squared ground. These signs are usually placed on a blood red tower shield, which is combined with the provincial Nermeran blue. Their motto is: "Abandon all hope as we will not!"
Members of the Order. The Order consists mainly of members of the low nobility like knights or counts, only few high noblemen (aside from the Grandmaster and Duke of Nyermersys) are among them. The measures for recruitement are harsh and beside physical factors also demand psychical and social skills.
Common people are mostly only assigned as soldiers among the ranks but it is not unusual that members of the Order act as mentors for remarkably skilled persons. The latter members are then increased in rank to "Squires" of their mentors which is a compromise because only the king himself can indeed heighten someone to nobility. However, the Order has a special position here and has enough authority to give strict orders, even to other nobles. As squires members can give these orders also in representation of their Lord. In general squires in most cases are treated equal to their mentors. - When the training of the squires is finished the they can rise to Squires of the Grandmaster which makes them capable to also rise in rank to Marshal or General of Santharia.
These steps were taken to make it possible for any fullworthy member of the Order to take command over any army unit and gain any Santharian military rank necessary. A side effect of this custom is that members of high rank protect their squires to have major influence on the Orderís politics when they become full members.
Currently there are five so-called "Leagues" among the Order, all having different opinions about warfare, politics and alignment to the king. As a sign of their philosophy they wear different armpatches, which is something not really welcomed by the Grandmaster, but he canít do much about it.
The Leagues form own smaller communities following certain ideals. Strong grandmasters most of the time have no problems to control them. This is du to the fact that they can count on their own League as well as on the great majority of knights that donít belong to a specific League. Weak grandmasters however or grandmasters without the support of any of the Leagues often cause terrible chaos and skirmishes between the Leagues. Still, the Leagues have some kind of gentleman-agreement to prevent the Order from falling into complete chaos.
The five Leagues can be described as follows:
The most conservative League among the Order. Mostly consisting of families that belonged to the Order ever since it's foundation. They stand for total neutrality concerning internal affairs of Santharia. It is critcized by the other Leagues that this policy proves too shortsighted sometimes.
Santharian Cross (golden)
This League only accepts Santharian nobles among their ranks and want the Order to be completely loyal to the Santharian king. As the members of the League of the Santharian Cross are all only nobles they look suspicious on the tradition of the squire-system which the other Leagues practicate that freely.
Black Crystal (black)
This League interprets the Order of the Fallen as the only legal authority on their lands and want to be free from foreign authorities. Theyíre said to take all opportunities to defend their interests and increase their influence. That makes them to vital enemies of the Eagles-faction as well as the Santharian Cross.
The youngest League which stands for some of the more revolutionary but also questionable strategies of warfare. Their most disputed idea is that random attacks against the barbarians and the orcs might cease the danger from the north. It is rumoured that the Griffins in fact want to gain new lands in the north with this strategy. Therefore most members are young knights or nobles without land who seek fame and power. Beside that their interests are similar to the Eagles.
The Coat of Arms of the Order of the Fallen. Designed by Koldar Mondrakken.
The Organization of the Order. There are several terms which have to be explained when speaking about the organization of the Order:
Administrative institutions of the Order:
The Council of the Eldest
The twelve oldest members and most members of high rank are among this semi-government. Always part of this council are the Lord of Nyermersys and the Lord of Astran, the major strongholds of the Order.
The Circle of the Generals
The "Circle of the Generals" form the loyal part towards the Grandmaster as well as the field commander for the army units of the Fallen Legion, of which currently approximately 40.000 men are scattered all over northern Santharia. The Circle of Generals appoints leaders for various tasks, confirms promotions and also takes direct control over the six main army units of the Fallen Legion.
The Knights Parliament
The "Knights Parliament" is the place for the common members to critisize decisions made by the leaders and demand justice in case of irregularities by other members or demand protection when attacked by non-members. In theory any full member of the Order can participate in this conference but as most members are appointed as career soldiers or have their own land as Santharian lords, a gremium of 60 older knights is appointed to keep control of the higher instances and internal affairs.
The ranking within the Order:
Grandmaster of the Fallen
"Grandmaster of the Fallen" is the official leader of the Order of the Fallen. He has to deal with various political affairs in Santharia and is also often one of the kingís and the Lord of Nyermersys' advisors. He also bears the titles "Leader of the Council of the Eldest" and "Head of the Circle of the Generals". In case of war the Grandmaster is the supreme commander of the Fallen Legion as well.
The "Knight of the Fallen" has at least the Santharian military rank of a Captain and is protected by the Order when he gets in conflict with the Santharian government. As a Knight of the Fallen he has to follow important rules both, social and spiritual written done in the Code of Honor, obligatorily for every member of the Order. He has to obey the orders of any Fallen having a greater rank than himself and the directives given by the institutions of the Order of the Fallen.
"Squires" are fullworthy members of the Order but have no authority to rule someone not in service of the Fallen. To compensate this and not to break Santharian tradition or law squires are appointed to be associated to certain noble members of the Order and have the right to speak in their name and therefore to give orders to noblemen, too.
The Common Soldier
The common soldiers are based on the amount of soldiers every single knight has obtained as a Santharian lord and as member of the Fallen. Today the Santharian King keeps control over the Fallen Legion only via the Grandmaster (here the amount of 40.000 comes from). Thus all soldiers are soldiers of the Order in wartime. Still in times of peace every Fallen has to support a certain amount of common soldiers to man the castles and outposts owned by the Fallen knights that defend vital parts of the northern border.
To become general or field marshal,
squires as well as knights have to be
squires of the Grandmaster to have enough rank to order Dukes or Earls in battle.
Furthermore, of course, they also need the authorization of the
The Birth of the Order. The historian Ethelim Herengwar describes the birth of the Order of the Fallen in the following dramatic battle scene:
"Around 290 b.S. a group of lancers climbed a hill to prepare their last attack against an enemy that had destroyed their lands for years now.
Their enemies, the last remants of the
orcish tribes, were gathering theiir forces on the opposite side of the valley. The men were outworn, the signs of too many fights and senseless slaughtering lay on their faces but nevertheless they were ready to do their
The mentioned riders were
the last remnants of the northern Tharanian army which was destroyed together with the city of Nyermersys
in the dawn of the
Third Sarvonian War. Despite this catastrophic defeat the few surviving units and knights launched a personal vendetta against the
orcs and continued to fight the war at their own
command. Thus they became one of the most feared, unpredictable but nevertheless
most respected forces in the whole war. They named themselves the "Fallen" as they experienced a deep shame of not being able to fight and die in the effort
of defending their hometown.
When they finally returned to the ruins of their homes they were honored by the newly assigned king and were given privileges as "Heroes of Tharania". The surviving knights started rebuilding Nyermersys and they also founded a new order: The Order of the Fallen.
Information provided by Koldar Mondrakken