Templars of Menxvan
|Symbols||The Letter "V", Ouroboros, Starburst, Sword|
The Templars are an order of knights dedicated to defending the Menxvanic faith, protecting Menxvan's followers, and safeguarding Menxvanic temples, shrines, and other holy sites. Traditionally, they have been dedicated supporters of the Arangothian monarchs, formed an elite corps in the Arangothian armies in times of war, and been used in prior decades to put down particularly troublesome rebellions.
The symbol of the Templars of Menxvan is a green serpent swallowing its tail, surrounded by a sunburst, with a sword in the center. The Templars display this symbol on their armor, or wear a pendant around their neck when unarmored.
Code of Conduct
All Templars swear eternal loyalty to Menxvan and vow to protect his followers and his holy sites. Furthermore, they are dedicated to spread the teachings of Menxvan as far as possible, and to teach by example. Templars realize that they are looked up to by most people, and strive to be role models for those around them. Humility is also a particularly stressed virtue, as arrogance makes it easy to slip from the Templar's path. Templars, like any followers of Menxvan, do not believe in forced conversions.
The Templar's Oath
"Menxvan is my lord and the father of my order as well as my first and foremost duty. His followers shall be my brethren, his temples my home. Those who would threaten these shall be my foes. Those who are not my brethren nor my foes are those who I must strive to demonstrate the rightness of Menxvan's ways to. In trying to teach his ways, I will remain humble. Never shall I let my arrogance overcome me, lest it lead me off Menxvan's righteous and just path."
Not all Templars are capable of many of the abilities for which the Templars of Menxvan have become legendary. Most are able to enter into a trance-like state to accelerate the body's natural healing process. Through rigorous training, many come to learn the ability to enter the first tier of the underworld, the Dreamworld, to commune with the spirits of the recently deceased. Use of this particular ability is taxing. As such, conversations with the dead are generally brief.
Some Templars are able to perceive the mental auras of sentient beings around them, while masters of this ability have such acute senses that they are able to replace ocular vision entirely. During the Sherkhen War, Master Nimpe ul-Alathar was able to lead her troops into battle, despite being blind from birth. Others are able to stand as a rock in spite of whatever assault might be leveled against them. Master Illhurst, in his last stand, was able to stand upright through all manner of blows.
All Templars learn certain skills, such as turning undead and using basic healing magics, and prayers to enhance one's speed, strength, and reflexes are not uncommon among Knights.
Templars are generally longer lived than most members of their species, and with their excellent physical conditioning and iron discipline, they are able to continue their military service long after mundane knights would have left their arms and armor behind. It is not unknown for a Templar to continue his or her service well into their seventies before retirement.
Structure of the Templars of Menxvan
This is the rank at which all Templars of Menxvan begin their service to the order. Initiates are new recruits and those who have yet to be tested in combat. Initiates have not yet earned the right to call themselves Templars, but rather refer to themselves as Initiates of the Order. Advancing beyond the Initiate state requires that the Initiate measure up to very exacting standards of physical, mental, and spiritual discipline. It is strength of body, strength of mind, and strength of faith that allow Templars to call upon their unique gifts. Many of the Templars' special skills require the Templar to enter a meditative state, focusing the will, and opening the mind to receive Menxvan's favors. Only a few individuals can walk this path, and fewer still can remain upon it without slipping. Initiates are just beginning to learn the ways of the Templars, still learning to harness the supernatural-seeming powers of the Templars, and making their first contact with ancestral spirits.
The majority of Templars of Menxvan are at this rank. This rank is for veterans who have proven themselves in the field. As a Templar gains experience in the Templar disciplines and has sustained the intense, disciplined devotion necessary to follow the Templar ways, he or she is awarded the honored rank of Knight once their mettle in battle has been proven. Achieving this rank is a sign that the Templar has the talent and determination to remain upon the path of the Templar disciplines without faltering. Templars at this rank are fully ordained priests of Menxvan and have full authority to conduct religious rituals and lead congregations in worship.
High Templars serve as commanding officers of forty man detachments. Members promoted to this rank are always selected from members of the Order who have attained the rank of Knight. Attainment of this rank is reserved for experienced Templars that have mastered the Templar disciplines. All High Templars are mystics and visionaries at least to some degree, having a very strong connection to the otherworldly. For this reason, many people find the presence of a High Templar intimidating, as they seem to look through one, rather than at one. High Templars serve as teachers to the Templars, guiding them on the path of Menxvan.
The spiritual leaders of the Templars, Masters represent the zenith of the Templar disciplines. Each Templar stronghold is led by a Master, who provides guidance and instruction. Masters rarely leave the temples to take the field of battle, only doing so in times of great peril. Though Masters are often advanced in years (rarely younger than fifty), they are still more than a match for a score of ordinary soldiers. Masters are considered prelates of the Menxvanic faith and command considerable respect from the faithful.
Only one Templar holds this rank at any time, as this is the supreme military leader of the order. The Lord Templar is given full discretion to choose the appropriate course of action in all military matters which concern the Templars, and is also responsible for making sure that young Templars receive the proper training at the various strongholds. The Lord Templar is elected by a meeting of all the Masters in council, and serves until death or retirement.
Located high in the mountains of Ruthmarna, this ancient monastery has trained both human and dwarven Templars for centuries. The monastery's name means 'The Anvil' in Arangothian, and it is said to be the place where Templars are molded from ordinary people. This is usually the first place young Initiates are sent for training, where they undergo a strenuous regime of prayer and physical exertion in the cold, thin mountain air. Templars learn discipline in this unforgiving environment to prepare them for future hardships in the service of Menxvan. They also receive basic arms and hand to hand combat training during their time here. Prakanthoss is home to at least two forty man detachments of Templars in training at any given time, as well as one detachment of trainers and an active duty detachment. When the Great Shadow of Ruthmarna took control of the province, Prakanthoss was left untouched, its Templars and staff able to come and go with impunity.
Shiskwa is outside of Arangoth, located on the north shore of Song Deep at the mouth of the River Tkhonu, on the lands of the Menxvan-worshipping Hoshk tribe in Kahlahra. The rough lands of Kahlahra are a traditional proving ground for young Templars where they practice their endurance and learn horsemanship from legendary Khalar horsemen. In addition to horsemanship, the proving grounds at Shiskwa teach advanced arms training and unit drilling. The fortress at Shiskwa houses up to four forty man detachments of Templars in training, one detachment of trainers, and one active duty detachment. In return for spiritual guidance from the Templars, the Hoshk have a longstanding practice of donating horses to the Templars as offerings to Menxvan.
This monastery is located in a small mountain village on the western side of the Skull Teeth, the mountain range that divides Outer Arangoth and Leptatarna (Inner Arangoth). It is in this secluded stronghold that young Initiates receive their education, both religious and secular. They also continue the arms training begun at Prakanthoss. Sonkovath is home to a cadre of Templar Masters and is generally the place where retired Templars focus on their spiritual devotions after ending their active service to the order. Aside from the teachers and students, Sonkovath maintains one forty man detachment of Templars in active service. The original monastary at Sonkovath was destroyed by the Order of the Beady Eye during the prior civil war to open the pass into Inner Arangoth. The stronghold has long since been rebuilt, though several of the artifacts that used to reside in Sonkovath were either destroyed or stolen in the attack.
Situated at the crossroads that connects Drache, Arania, and the Sresar Vale, the town of Millabratel was the only remaining significant outpost for the Templars in the southern region of the kingdom for many years. The Menxvanic Temple complex at Millabratel is located in the center of the city where the three roads converge. Millabratel was the provincial capitol of Transdariania before BLKDRAGON and AngelSin founded their capitol at Drache, and has a permanent population of approximately ten thousand (though this number can double during important religious holidays). Millabratel boasts a full forty man detachment, as well as a number of students undergoing advanced studies in the High Templar disciplines. Each of the other Menxvanic temples in the southern provinces of Arangoth has at least one Templar (as many as five in the case of larger temples), though all the Templars in Transadariania, Arania, and the Sresar Vale report to the Master of Millabratel. Aside from its strategic location, Millabratel has remained an important center for the Templars because it is a repository for several important relics, including the original copy of the Book of Metrarin, a set of spiritual meditative exercises which is essential in mastering the Templars' ability to commune with ancestral spirits.
This stronghold is a fortified temple surrounded by an octagonal wall in Drache's Wharf District. In the wake of the destruction caused by the Cult of Anathema in the year 475, the Master of Millabratel pledged the Templars' assistance with the rebuilding efforts in return for a grant of land to build a new temple to serve as a place of refuge in future disasters. While it was unusual for the Templars to build a new stronghold in the middle of a city, the order considered it a vital outpost in the struggle against evil. The new Drache stronghold houses a full-strength detachment of forty Templars led by a Master Templar, half of which is ordinarily deployed to protect the Royal University and the Temple of Menxvan in the Royal Church District. The stronghold's staff also includes several priests and healers to attend to the needs of the faithful, as well as potential Initiates receiving initial introduction to the order before traveling north to Prakanthoss.
Castle of Gessihorna
Gessihorna is traditionally the residence of the Lord Templar. The position of Master of Gessihorna has been held by Templars of the Sanskaranth family for centuries, and it was the family's duties as vassals of the Arangothian monarchs that first forged the link between the Crown and the Templars. Located on the shores of the strait that divides Song Deep from Little Deep, Gessihorna is the largest fortified castle in the country, large enough to contain a small town within its walls. Gessihorna's defenses are a marvel of engineering, designed by Templars with the aid of their ancestral spirits, and modified and expanded several times since the stronghold's original founding. Such is its reputation as an impregnable fortress that it was not attacked at all by the forces of the Order of the Beady Eye during the civil war, and was flooded with refugees fleeing the war after the fall of Tagrana. Gessihorna absorbed a considerable portion of Tagrana's population after the war, causing a new town to spring up around the walls of the castle in the years since the civil war. Gessihorna boasts ten forty-man detachments of Templars, plus a permanent garrison of four additional detachments that remain to defend the stronghold in times of war. In addition to the Templar forces, there is a sizable contingent of the Border Guard stationed in Gessihorna under the command of the Lord Templar, serving as the town's police force in peace, and defenders in war.
The Templar's newest stronghold was created in the summer of 488, close to the former Korthai homeport of Mhernettla after the city was freed from evil forces. The stronghold is now part of Transdariania's protectorate. It's separated from other settlements in the area by dense woods. One road that leads to Mhernettla is maintained for supplies and travelers. The stronghold was established not to conquer or purge the evil woods but as a training ground meant to prepare Templars for the psychological and physical rigors of fighting unending evils. To that end, most of the work within the Stronghold is focused on securing the grounds against nightly monsters raids or infiltration by parasitic plants. Groups of initiates and knights are sent to camp in the woods overnight as part of survival training. It's perhaps the most high stakes training they can do. Despite the dangers surrounding the stronghold, it's nonetheless open to travelers seeking refuge from the forest and is a place many Menxvanists in the region seek out for spiritual counseling. Knights act as escorts for pilgrims to and from Mhernettla, other settlements, and the stronghold.