In the Land of Korannah, several Chivalric Orders developed as a direct response to threats in the Holy Land from the Gols and their allies. Because the Holy Land is so highly dependent on Crusading armies and the often times politically motivated feudal leaders of the Northern Kingdoms for their defense, they are usually hard pressed to field an army in sufficient strength to defeat their enemies, much less keep the peace in the land. Thus, many enterprising knights, mostly second and third and lower born sons of Crusading lords who had little land and wealth to return to, formed, and later bolstered, the Orders—sometimes out of commitment to The God, other times as a way to create their own upward mobility. Since then, the Orders have burgeoned with knights, some high and some low-born.
The Orders also have standing infantry—common men that wish to serve the Holy Land—that garrisons their castles and serve in larger forays against the Gols. There are numerous examples of common footmen distinguishing themselves in combat and being advanced to Knighthood. For the common soldier, it is a way to improve one’s standing in life, though the life is hard and full of danger.
There are several chivalric Orders that exist in the Holy Land, Clurak. Founded during the First Crusade, the Knights of the Tears were created with direct intervention from the Church of The God. The Knights of the Holy Passage were a spontaneous response to raids by Gols and other believers on Pilgrimage. The Passage Knights were later sanctioned by The Church of The God as an extension of his power, due to their popularity and good deeds. Both of the Orders received much of their initial financing from The Church of The God. Since the First Crusade, the orders have expanded North and Eastward and have established many outposts within the Kingdoms themselves, often times attached to or abbeys and monasteries.
Knights of the Tears: An Order of knights sworn to protect the Holy Land. Responsible for protecting Clurak and the Temple of The Star, and places west of The Stone. Their symbol is a Teardrop to represent the tears shed on the Hill of Sorrow upon which The God was broken.
Knights of the Holy Passage: An Order of knights sworn to protect the Holy Land. Responsible for policing roads southeast of The Stone all the way to Paradise Pass. These Knights became known as the Passage Knights to the rank and file of Crusaders and many of the pilgrims. They are generally regarded as pious, practical soldiers.
Other military organizations have been created as responses to various influences during the Crusades as well. Probably the best known of these were the Dark Men. The Dark Men were are direct response to the Golish Assassins. The Gols were more enterprising, as a whole, in their approach to warfare, and often used specially trained killers to assassinate Crusader leaders, or wreak havoc on Crusader logistics by poisoning food or water supplies, or burning down granaries and such. Though the concept of honor was important to Gols, and chivalry (or similar concept) was a theme among their nobles as much as the Crusaders, their interpretation of it was much broader. Victor was the ultimate determinate of Honor. The Dark Men were designed to counter the Golish Assassins and give the leaders of the 2nd Crusade the same advantage provided by the Assassins. The difference was in the acceptance. The Dark Men were never really accepted by the Honor-based knights of the North and as such were subject to reprisal and shame for their actions, even among their own.
Dark Men: Order of Assassins that served Duke Lethan of Greenshire during the 3rd Crusade. They were disbanded at the end of that Crusade, when they were viewed as a threat to the Duke himself.
Until next time, I’ll keep the lantern lit.