Paladins and Cavaliers in Accitaine
The role of the Paladins and Cavaliers in Accitaine is of 2 very distinct sets of noble warrior; one inspired by their devotion to Korvaio and their limitless faith and selfless dedication, and one largely characterised by their devotion to temporal concepts and ideals that whilst temporal can at times be just as fiercely followed.
Paladins and their orders
Whether a Paladin is a Hand soldier, a Non-Afiliated free spirit, a Kessavine Holy Seeker or an individual motivated by their religious devotion to the God and decency, Paladins all have two immutable truths in their hearts; be true to the God, and uphold justice and law. Other warriors fight for money, fame, glory or the will of their liege, but the paladin fights for what their own internal compass of goodness means to them, and it is true and without compromise. This moral certainty and immovability has sadly seen Paladins in decline over the centuries since the Cataclysm. Indeed, the comparative scarcity of Paladins within the Society of Harmony in modern times has been quietly noted by Non Society factions, and what is also of note is the growing trend for Paladins formerly of the Society to resign their membership and become independents. This has annoyed the Society to some degree, though this has not went so far as to arrest or vilify, for Paladins, more than any other, are deemed to be chosen of the God, and to move against a Paladin for following their heart is akin to moving against the God. Given the dark rumours of Society atrocities past and present, many believe that if this continues, no Paladins will be under Society banners before long, and that the Society will be the poorer for it. Indeed, there is speculation (quiet speculation at that) as to the ongoing rumblings from the Society Citadel of Dijnjuk in Toralden (the HQ of the Hand), for it is rumoured that Lord Commander Lady Isbet Koryull, a Harmonious Lord, Commander of the Hand and herself a Paladin, is on the verge of resigning her position due to the conflicts she may feel with being a Paladin and a Society soldier; this would be the first time a Harmonious Lord has done such a thing, and it is felt that such an action on her part would send shockwaves throughout the Society.
Paladins within the Kessavine Church of Korvaio operate under a very different regime and are given full freedom to represent the God, and many set themselves as guardians for settlements, seeking the Divine as they aid and assist their charges and the community. Independent and Non-Afiliated Paladins are the most mobile and individual, for they have no hierarchy to order them, merely what they feel the God would wish, and as a result they come in all shapes, sizes, genders and approaches.In general, all Paladins are friendly for the most part with Cavalier Orders like the Sword and the Shield, and especially the Star.
Cavaliers and their Orders
Cavaliers are more hierarchical though largely depending upon the Order they are part of, for no Cavalier sits as an independent; all are defined by the Order and the Chapter of the Order they are in, with even the self centred and self aggrandizing Order of the Cockatrice having a loose hierarchy. There are 6 Officially recognised and sanctioned Orders, each with Chapters within various lands and nations. With the exception of the religiously motivated Order of the Star, each Chapter is an autonomous member of the Order it is part of, and in the case of some Orders they have had different Chapters of the same Order fighting on opposing sides of a conflict (though normally treating their rival brethren with appropriate respect and civility). Each Order is mentioned below in brief;
The Order of the Star
Based in Tonnalta near to the Great Cathedral, this religiously inspired Order has been in existence for longer than the Society and it is interesting to note that none of them has ever served within the Society, always acting as its own wing of Korvic worship. The Order seeks to help and aid ALL followers of Korvaio and whilst it offers aid to Society and Non Afiliated alike, it takes no orders from them, regarding any orders as suggestions to be regarded and acted upon as seen fit by the Cavalier. They have good and strong connections with Paladins of all types, and it is not unusual to see Cavaliers of this Order working alongside Paladins and travelling together.
The Order of the Cockatrice
This loosely organized Order of self interested and glory-hounding characters operates in all nations, but is strongest in Heidelgard and Varrunna. Each Chapter may have a GrandMaster but this is a position fraught with politicking, bickering and backbiting by all within the Order, as by its very nature each member is always seeking self advancement and influence with little regard for the consequences; however, a complex network of quid pro quo and favours allows the Order to function despite its fractious nature, though only a fool would place all their trust in one of this group.
The Order of the Dragon
This sociable and dedicated Order is one of the smaller ones but one that has many little Chapters scattered throughout Accitaine; almost like armed social clubs loyal to each member of their Chapter, a Chapterhouse in an area looks to defend and inspire its membership and offer support to its network of allies. They have a lot of presence within The Confederation of Free Towns and The Free Midland Duchies for example.
The Order of the Lion
This Order is one of the largest, and each of the nations (Great and Lesser) of the land has at least one Chapterhouse within it who look to their local Monarch or leader and defend that leaders rights and person, whether officially, like the powerful and dedicated Kings Musketeers in Serroya, or unofficially, like the Chapterhouse within Heidelgard City. They have rules of engagement that are strictly coded, as more than any other Order they have had individual Chapters on opposing sides of wars, and have become accustomed to observing correct ways to conduct themselves in such situations.
The Order of the Shield
This altruistic Order sworn to defend the commonfolk is massively popular, despite its being quite small compared to others (their determination to protect the commoner is not lucrative and features great political and military enemies). Its members and Chapterhouses can often be found in poor areas, near or indeed within hospitals and other charitable concerns, though it is currently banned under pain of death in Toralden; this just means that its Chapterhouses in Schwereinn make incursions across the borders to aid the poor in their escape into freer lands, which annoys the Toraldens enormously.
The Order of the Sword
This is the largest of the Orders in terms of manpower and membership, and likely the oldest, for its keen interest in Chivalry and proper knightly behaviour dates back many hundreds of years, and when a person mentions the word Cavalier, more often not it is one of these Cavaliers that will first spring to mind. They most often serve honourable Lords and Ladies outside of royalty (they leave slavish devotion to a Monarch to the Order of the Lion), and serve as long as the Lord or Lady maintains proper Honour and fairness. They are on especially good terms with the Orders of the Shield and the Star, and Paladins often respect their similar views on right action and defending the meek and poor.
The Cavalier Orders are amongst the very best cavalry within Accitaine, and when motivated by their ideals and beliefs, hard to stop and impossible to ignore.