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Knights of Solamnia

Knights of Solamnia were once the greatest order of chivalry in all the history of Krynn. This historic organization was founded in 1775 PC, by a human named Vinas Solamnus, a noble warrior visited by the gods Paladine, Kiri-Jolith, and Habbakuk, the patron gods of the Knighthood. Now their entire way of life shifts in precarious balance between the Code of Honor and the truth of what the world has become.

The Knighthood of Solamnia is the enforcing arm of the good. Its goals are not so much to win more land and glory for good, but to stem the rising tide of evil on Ansalon. The knights are the main force for chivalry, law, and goodness on this continent, and they constantly seek to keep the people aware of the knightly ideals.

The Oath and the Measure - The organization of the Knights has not changed substantially in the last 1,800 years. The Knights subscribe to two codes: The Oath and the Measure. The Oath is simply: "Est Sularus oth Mithas"--"My Honor is My Life." The Measure is an extensive set of codes, many volumes in length, the purpose of which is to define "honor." The Measure is complicated and exacting, consisting of thirty-seven 300-page volumes.

The Organization of the Knighthood - The Knights are led by the Grand Master, who sits in judgement on matters of importance to the Knights and, subsequently, the nation of Solamnia as a whole. Below him are three posts: the High Warrior, the High Clerist, and the High Justice, each representing the three major Orders of the Knights. They are, according to the Measure, the embodiments of honor, Wisdom, and Loyalty. All three rule the entire knighthood jointly, though they govern the tree orders of Solamnia.

There are three orders of knights. All knights start out as Squires of the Crown. After they actually achieve knighthood, they may move onto the Order of the Sword if they meet certain requirements. After they reach a certain skill level as a Knight of the Sword, some few may move onto the Order of the Rose.

Each order has a specific Virtue, which the knights must study and adhere to:

Knights of the Crown - This is a training order. Along with general knighthood training, Knights of the Crown study they Virtue of Loyalty. This is the least demanding order.

Knights of the Sword - Knights who wish to enter the Order of the Sword must first complete a quest. This is the most popular order. The Virtue of the Order of the Sword is Honor.

Knights of the Rose - Knights who wish to enter the Order of the Rose must go before a council and relate tales of himself and his family. The political power of the Knights rests within the Order of the Rose. The Virtue of the Order of the Rose is Justice.

The three Orders of the Knights of Solamnia are named the Rose (honor), the Sword (wisdom), and the Crown (loyalty). Squires accepted into the Knights of Solamnia enter under the Order of the Crown, learning the laws and codes of loyalty first. They then must demonstrate their acceptance of the codes of that Order before progressing to the Order of the Sword. Entry into the Order of the Rose, the highest-ranked order, can be attained only by nobility; however, this rule has become more lenient in recent years.

The Order of the Crown - All knights begin here with training in the virtue of loyalty. The Order of the Crown takes its Measure from affairs of Loyaty and obedience to authority of the greater Knighthood through its Highest Councils and commanders. Examples of such acts: unquestioned obedience to those whose authority is maintained in the Knightly Councils; dedication to the ideals of the Measure; loyalty to Knights of all Orders; and all other acts that cause the strengthening of loyalty among the Knights. Loyalty is the unquestioned promise of a Knight to a higher power and authority. Loyalty is a treasure valued only when it justly given. Those to whom loyalty is due include the following: Habbakuk and all that is good, those oppressed by evil, and those monarchs who by decree and common consent of the Knightly Councils are in good standing with the Knighthood and deserving of its honorable loyalty and protection.

Responsibilities of a Knight of the Crown: forfeiture of 10% of all wealth accrued by the Knight, service and aid to any fellow Knight who is about the business of his order and requires assistance, service to the kingdoms on the List of Loyalty as compiled by the Grand Circle of Knights.

The Order of the Sword - Upon completing his squire duties in the Order of the Crown, each Knight candidate has the option of either entering that order and continuing allegiance to that group and its ideals or of entering into the Order of the Sword. A knight who wishes to advance into the ranks of the Order of the Rose must first rise through the Order of the Sword. In addition, every candidate who wishes to join the Order of the Sword must first complete a quest. According to the Measure, the test must be a witnessed deed of heroism and valor that upholds the virtues of a Knightly honor and good.

The Order of the Sword takes it Measure from affairs of curage and heroics. Examples of such acts are: facing evil without regard to personal suffering; accepting the challenge of combat for the honor of the Knighthood; defending the honor of Knighthood; defending the honor of a fellow Knight; protecting the defenseless. Courage is sacrifice to the ideals of honor; it is the well from which true honor draws its life. Heroism includes acts of might in defense of sacrifice and honor. Those to whom honor is due include the following: the weak and the oppressed, the enslaved, the poor, the falsely imprisoned, fellow Knights in need, and the defenseless.

Responsibilities of Knight of the Sword: forfeiture to the coffers of the Knighthood of all wealth save that required for upkeep, pay homage to the gods each day (though in times of great hardship, once in a quartermonth is still a seemly practice), never decline combat with an evil opponent nor flee from such combat regardless of the strength of the enemy, protect the weak and the defenseless wherever the need arises, abstain forever from the use of Knightly powers for unrighteous reasons.

The Order of the Rose - The Order of the Rose takes its Measure from deeds of wisdom and justice. Examples of such deeds are: taking compassion on the less fortunate; sacrificing one's life for the sake of others; taking no thought to one's own safety in defense of the Measure; protecting the lives of fellow Knights; seeing that no life is wasted in vain. Wisdom is the strength of honor and ability applied in the service of just causes. Justice is the heart of the Measure and the soul of a Rose Knight. All beings regardless of their stations, positions, or beliefs have equal claim to compassion under the Measure.

Responsibilities of a Knight of the Rose: forfeiture of all wealth accrued as a Knight save for that needed for the upkeep of any principalities under the protection of the Knighthood, to honor the gods of good at all times and in all acts, to fight for justice without regard to personal safety or comfort, to never submit to any evil foe, to sacrifice all in the name of honor.

Before the Cataclysm, the Knights of Solamnia were the greatest order of chivalry in Ansalon. Between the Cataclysm and the War of the Lance, the knights became reviled and scorned by the people for their inability or unwillingness to combat the Cataclysm. After the War of the Lance, the Solamnic Knights regained their status. They sought to revive their code of honor and apply it to new Ansalon.

The Knights of Solamnia arose in the Age of Light, about three millenia before the War of the Lance. The order of knighthood emerged from the ruin of the decadent Ergothian Empire. The commander of the Ergothian Palace Guard, Vinas Solamnus, rode from the capital city of Daltigoth to quell a rebellion in the northeast. Arriving at the troubled spot, Vinas saw that the rebellion was justified: the people toiled beneath the Empire's oppressive tributes and tyrannical laws.

Solamnus assembled his legion. In an impassioned speech, now lost to history, he detailed the imperial atrocities and announced plans to champion the people's cause. In addition, he promised any soldier loyal to Ergoth safe passage back to the capitol. But the warriors were moved by the people's plight and, risking exile or even death, most chose to stay.

In the midst of a fierce winter, Solamnus mustered his knights and the local frontier nobles. He then launched a series of daring campaigns, which came to be known as the War of Ice Tears. The Rebel army doggedly pushed the imperial legions back to the very gates of Daltigoth itself. Vinas laid seige to the city, executing many covert raids inside the city walls.

In two months, the city fell - a revolt among the citizens of Daltigoth forced the Emperor to sue for peace. Thus, it was not armies but common folk who broght independance to northeast Ergoth. The people from Hylo to the Khalkist Mountains chose Solamnus as King, naming the country Solamnia in his honor. Though the nation did not become a great power during the Age, the name Solamnia became synonymous with honesty, integrity and determination.

In 2225 PC, the Lords of the Northern Reaches besought Solamnus for help. They, too, had thrown off the Ergothian tyranny and wished to unite with Solamnia. Though Vinas wanted to wanted to comply, he saw the task as impossible: the ideals and customs of the nations differed markedly or even conflicted. Knig Solamnus therefor launched his Quest of Honor to find an answer to his problem. He left his most trusted lieutenants in charge and journeyed into the wilderness.

Various apocryphal stories tell how Takhisis, the Dark Queen, initiated several covert plots to topple Solamnia in the absence of her king. Fortunately, Vinas' lieutenants had learned well from their king and commander and foiled each plot.

Meanwhile, after many weeks of wilderness travel and hardship, Solamnus sailed to Sancrist Isle. Arriving bruised and wind-torn, he forged into the wilderness. In time, he found a glade where a stone of black granite lay. There he prayed and fasted to the gods of God. After several days, the gods Paladine, Kiri-Jolith and Habbakuk came to him. They instructed Vinas to create a knighthood that will last for generations to come. Three seperate orders would be created, each upholding a high ideal from one of the three gods. These knights would unite the northern lands with Solania and carry on Solamnus's vision of honor and goodness.

According to some legends, Vinas then saw a vision of the future downfall of the knights. According to others, Paladine reassured Solamnus that the knights would rise as often as they were truly needed. Some of the legends even report that each of the three gods told Solamnus a great secret of wisdom, and wrote these three secrets on three tablets of black granite. The wisdom tablets are purportedly lost, scattered about the continent.

All legends agree, though, that the gods then transformed the stone where Solamnus prayed into a pillar of white crystal. The crystal blessed and sancified the glade, sealing the god's pact to watch over the orders of knighthood. The gods were bound to the pact unless the knights strayed from the narrow path of honor. Solamnus returned and established the three orders of the Knights of Solamnia: the Orders of the Crown, Sword and the Rose.

Vinas himself became the most famous Solamnic Knight, though two of his contemporaries also became legends: Bedal Brightblade and Huma Dragonbane.

Bedal Brightblade single-handedly held a pass into Solamnia against hords of desert nomads. His sword, Brightblade, was of dwarven make, never rusting or losing it's edge despite heavy use. The tomb of Bedal lies buried in the southern arms of the Khalkist Mountains, its location all but lost. Legend states that Bedal will return to aid Solamnia in its darkest hour. Sturm Brightblade, a knight honor and fame, is a distant descendant of Bedal.

Only one Solamnic Knight ever exceeded Vinas in virtue: Huma Dragonbane. He led a group of heroes to destroy the evil dragons, and drive them from Solamnia. Huma's greatest ally was a silver dragon who, in her human form, had fallen tragically in love with the knight. During their battle with Takhisis, Huma sustained a mortal wound. Some accounts say he died where he fell; others say his death was slow and painful, causing the agonized gods to inflict thunderstorms across Ansalon. To this day, many Solamnians claim that thunderstorms mark the god's mourning for Huma.

Huma was reverently buried in a tomb shaped like a silver dragon. Many who aspired to knighthood pilgrimaged to the spot. As the worl darkened, the path to the tomb became rough and overgrown. Soon, folk even questioned whether Huma had truly lived, or was only a legend. The location of Huma's tomb fell from memory.

During the War of the Lance, a band of heroes found Huma's tomb. There they also discovered the special metal used to make Dragonlances. Wanting to establish the truth of the Huma legends, the heroes opened the tomb. It was empty. Had the gods of Good taken Huma's body up to the heavens? Had the evil dragons or even Takhisis stolen the body? The original legend, told by th elven bard Quevalen Soth, was now to fragmented to offer any answers. The discovery of Huma's tomb had only deepened the mystery.

The Kingpriest of Istar's monomaniacal quest to extinguish evil was quickly eroding the foundation of the world- the balance between Good, Neutrality, and Evil. Krynn was poised on destruction. Ironically, the gods could only halt the destruction only through an equaly destructive force. They dropped a fiery mountain onto the capital city of Istar. The resulting devastation changed the face of Ansalon and sundered her great civilizations.

Solamnia, though spared the worst, was overrun by evil creatures. Beasts boiled up from beneath the earth and ravaged the nation. Many knights died fighting these horrors. After years of such attacks, the peoples faith in the Solamnic Knights dwindled, then vanished. Rumors purported that the knights knew of the Cataclysm in advance and refused to avert it. There was a kernal of truth to these rumors.

Many foul deeds blighted the name of the knighthood in a time when the knights were needed. Soon, the Oath and Measure were publicly jeered. Words escalated into violence. Knights were fouly murdered; their castles and homes were invaded and seized; their families were slaughtered or driven into exile

Centuries of heroism fell to years of panicked hatred. The Solamnic Knights faded from view. Some forsook the road of honor and took up the simple tools of laborers. Others roamed the countryside under false names, continuing to fight evil. Others still, who could not bear to work in secret, left Solamnia and settled on Sancrist. To this day, a settlement of knights thrive there.

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Last modified: Saturday, 24-Sep-2005 15:24:01 UTC