Order of the Watchful Eye
The Order of the Beady Eye was a knighthood that rose to prominence and ultimately had a hand in both the history of Arangoth, as well as the The Fall of Old Arangoth. During the Interregnum the Beady Eye reformed into its current namesake as The Order of the Watchful Eye.
History of the Order of the Beady Eye
Main Article: History of Order of the Beady Eye
The Order of the Watchful Eye's history is intertwined with the fabric of Arangoth itself, from both its rise, and the fall of the old Kingdom.
The nature of the Twins
Their traditions are ancient, possibly a strange mingling of Menxism and other religions, they believe that Menxvan and Menxruk were never truly separated from one another, seen in their frequently used symbol of the bent circle, in the form of the eye. They believe that the pair (referred to as 'The Twins'), are two aspects of the same individual - Menxned. To simplify greatly, Menxvan, as the female aspect, gives, and Menxruk, as the male aspect, takes away. (Occasionally, the genders are reversed - for example, Menxvan as a male aspect is the defender of the weak, while Menxruk as a female aspect is the betrayer.)
Typically, they also believe that while Menxruk actively seeks to bring misfortune on the world wherever possible, Menxvan remains passive, and must be invoked for fortune to be called. And while Menxned remains in power, as it is day to day and during all times normal, neither of the Twins know of the world, slumbering together, meaning that in those times it is up to men to judge each other, while in other times, one of the twins is awake while the other slumbers, meaning that in those times it is up to men to take on the role of the other twin.
Judgement, in the sense of the knights, is an interesting concept. It is a dualistic arrangement between Menxruk and Menxvan. For example, in the natural order of things, Menxruk actively recognizes those who do evil, while Menxvan must actively withdraw support from the one being judged, so Menxruk may freely bring about their misfortune, thus causing the evil to be punished.
Fortune is similar, in that Menxruk turns away from those who do good, while Menxvan recognizes them, and in so doing Menxvan is free to pile fortune upon them.
This does mean, of course, that the damned may rise as champions of Menxruk, and that the blessed may rise as champions of Menxvan.
Strictly, the knights make no real distinction between the two twins, being happy to allow each individual to consider one or the other as more personally important, so long as Menxned is properly revered.
The vigil is one of the most ancient of the Order's traditions, and one of those which are followed by all sects and chapters.
In general interpretation, a vigil must be performed from the rising of the primary moon of Arangoth, to the rising of the sun - or alternately, from the rising of the sun, to the rising of the primary moon. Since many start their day with the rise of the sun and end it well after nightfall, the Sunrise to moonrise vigil is known as the 'Vigil of the Many'. From moonrise to sunrise the vigil is known as the 'Vigil of the Few', since it will typically occur throughout the hours of night. When referring to a vigil, one most frequently refers simply to the vigil of the few.
A vigil may be performed at any time, however a vigil performed on pilgrimage at a site of importance to the Order or to your bloodline has a special significance, making such a vigil 'Worthy'. Making a vigil as worthy as possible is important for a number of reasons. For one thing, it is often said that one thing a man must do in life, after taking his vows, is hold a worthy vigil and so prove his willingness to uphold even the most ancient of vows.
Only one member of the order may take vigil at a particular place at a particular time. They must stand, sit or kneel alone, with their collection of armour - if any - arrayed before them, ready to be worn. When the chosen object, sun or moon rises, this begins the vigil. They must immediately wash their hands, ridding themselves, symbolically, of deeds they have done to show their neutrality and equality on all matters, and then take up a weapon - ideally a sword - and keep it within arms length at all times. They must remain alone and awake for the duration of their vigil, they may not move from their chosen position, must not speak in a voice others may hear, and must bear witness to the next rising. They may pray quietly if they so choose.
Some report seeing spirits of ancestors, spirits, or other such creatures after many hours of their vigil. These signs or omens are considered to be a sign of sight beyond the ordinary. Some may never experience them, most have one or two during their lives, an inspiring event, and a few do so frequently. (The keepers of secrets - the Nixtan - are said to do so frequently. Their recordings of such visions are treasured.) Whether or not one should interact with these figures is often debated.
This practice, more than a mere tradition, first came into being with the observation of one of the very early known vows, which was between an unknown knight of the order and 'The Twins' as a singular entity - Menxned - which was that 'So long as only one eye is open, I shall open my own' - meaning that while the world comes under the power of the moon, Menxruk, alone, a knight shall stand watch so that Menxruk can hide nothing from Menxvan, while, as the world comes under the power of the sun, a knight shall stand watch so that Menxvan can hide nothing from Menxruk.
Some claim this is why Menxvan is the 'good' half of the twins - he stands in the sky while many watch, while Menxruk stands in the sky when very few will watch. The vigil of the many, from sunrise to moonrise, is often taken when trying to discover hidden threats, as Menxvan - as a mother - will sometimes hide those to whom justice must be delivered.
Vigils merely came to be for this reason, they are now taken for many more. Some are taken to clear the mind, gain enlightenment on a given issue, or stand watch in the hopes that one or another of the twins will choose to reveal an answer of some sort. Some do it to cleanse themselves of what they may consider their sins, while others do so for inner contemplation.
A vigil is widely considered to hold more symbolic importance the more distant the place it takes place at, and the longer the time between the rise of the two bodies. Also, long periods where neither of the two moons appear during night fall are considered to be a strange time between, as neither of the Twins keep watch. Some consider it the time of Menxned, while others consider it a time of chaos.
(The primary moon is considered Menxruk's, and the sun Menxvan's. The secondary moon is considered to be a kind of messenger, running between the two twins, shining bright with Menxvan's message in the night, and appearing pale or 'dark' during the day, carrying Menxruk's message.)
Becoming a Knight
The Order has many positions and 'ranks'.
The first is that of 'Servant' - Those who promise to dedicate themselves to the Order and its ways are considered servants of the Order, and may, in time, come to take their vows. Before one may move forward, they must learn the vows of their forefathers (Those of their Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather are required. More than that are wholly optional) and, if necessary, prove themselves worthy to the head of their chapter. While the right to take their vows is open to all 'sons of the order', being those whose father, father's father, or father's father's father was a member of the order, other men must first be accepted by a knight or better as a servant, and then he must prove his loyalty to the chapter head.
The second is that of the 'Vowed' - Those who have taken vows, witnessed by the head of their chapter or their liege lord (if their lord is a Knight). Some remain as 'Vowed' their entire lives. A man may only take his vows after he has turned thirteen - the age of the brakkerrat in Arangothian tradition. Typically, young members of the order are taken aside from their peers to take their vows. This was once an open tradition, however since the fall, it takes place in the presence of other order members only. Those who have been 'vowed' are struck once, symbolically. This is the last time they may be struck without retaliation, as a common man. After that time, strictly speaking, they should never tolerate being struck or having their honour called into question.
The third is that of 'Squire' - Those who have been taken as apprentices by a knight. This is generally consensual, however if one is ordered to do so by their Liege Lord, there is little option but to obey. A squire remains a squire as long as the knight they serve decrees. If the knight they serve dies, they should return to their liege lord, either to become another man's squire, or to progress. (Serek Daxkavath, as one example, chose to see out what his Knight chose to do first - completing his knight's vow. This was also considered acceptable) (When becoming another man's squire, he must swear allegiance to that man's Liege Lord. This is one of the few 'fast and unremarkable' ways of leaving a Lord's service.)
The fourth is that of 'Knight Errant' - those who have been judged ready by the one they have served - or their Liege Lord's intervention in some circumstances - become a knight errant. During this time, they must complete the obligations of a Knight Errant. These are to make at least one worthy pilgrimage, to stand bravely in battle or confrontation, act according to their vows and complete at least one task given to them by their Liege Lord or Chapter Master. (These can be done during their time as squire or vowman, but they cannot progress beyond Knight Errant without performing their obligations.) Also, they should seek to prove themselves as dutiful, strong in battle, courageous, etc. Some choose to remain Knight Errants throughout their lives, never swearing to a Liege.
The fifth is that of 'Knight' - Strictly, the only requirement of becoming a Knight is that of a suitably reputable person taking the hopeful knight in question into their service. However, to do this properly, they must have completed all the obligations of a Knight Errant before entering their Liege's service, and most who know of the order will not accept someone as a Knight who has not performed their obligations. A Liege is not necessarily a member of the Order. A Liege must act fairly when dealing with those under their vassalage. Those that do not may find knights leaving their service, or worse still, members of the Order judging them.
The Sxith is that of 'Master' - Men who are chosen from among equals to stand as a master of their local chapterhouse or chapter gathering. Technically speaking, all this requires is that one has taken their vows.
The seventh is that of 'Grandmaster' - The head of the family family of the grandmaster, a family which holds the title of 'Master of Masters'. For much of known history, this was the family of the Dolthrops (Dollitrogs), known as the Paupers for an early vow of avoiding needless wealth.
There is a special term for those who work for the order, or who hold as Liege men of the order, and that is 'One who Serves' or 'Sergeant'. These men may seek to become members of the order, but typically are not able to due to the heavily patrilineal nature of the Order. Technically, they are considered 'Servants' in the same manner as the first rank members.
A chapter of the Order of the Watchful Eye is a group which traditionally gathers into massive formations in battle. For a chapter to exist, it must have a book of vows recording the vows of its members, a chapter head, and a chapter house.
The chapter is an important part of the Order's organization, which, in one instance, serves as the guardian of the vows entrusted to it. In another, it can serve as haven to members of the order. In times past, men were considered obligated to serve under whatever chapter's territory the found themselves in, causing a schism at the time of the fall of the old kingdom.
Aranian Chapter - The Shield - Existent
Elgarian Chapter - The Sword - Abandoned - Quarblan, etc (Black Garden)
Outer Arangothian Chapter - The Hand - Abandoned
Grand (Northern Arangothian) Chapter - The Eye - Destroyed
Errant (Southern Arangothian) Chapter - The Shut Eye - Existent