|Leader||Grand Elder Richard Duurwallis|
|Headquarters||Blücherwald Castle in Regalia|
The Bloodcast Order is a Knightly Order acting in stark contrast to all others. Rather than submitting to a code of honor and a structured organization, the Bloodcast Knights instead wander the Regalian Archipelago as Hedge Knights, doing whatever they feel like doing in whatever way they feel like at the time. As a result of their complete lack of discipline, the Bloodcast Order is universally reviled by all other Knightly Orders as being a disgrace to the very concepts of chivalry and honor. Despite this opinion, the Bloodcasts are often celebrated by backwater villages and are often the source of the romanticized tales of gallivanting warriors seeking to right the wrongs of the world, whatever those wrongs are being purely subjective.
The Bloodcast Order finds its start in the aftermath of the Viridian Coup Attempt of 122 AC, ironically by the five Viridian Knights that revealed the conspiracy to Emperor Henri III. Having grown disillusioned with the corruption that brought many in the Order to commit treason, the five Knights abandoned their Viridian honors, casting aside their green capes and leaving the Imperial Palace. They took refuge in the Blücherwald Castle, which had just been removed from the Viridians as part of the stripping of their positions in most of the Empire, and proclaimed the formation of the Bloodcast Knights, a brotherhood which rejected the elitist structures that brought about the coup in order to become true knights. Soon, several boys from the Regalian poor districts moved to be trained by the Bloodcasts, having always dreamed of becoming Knights but unable to due to the expensive fees required to enter the Viridian Castle.
As time passed, Blücherwald Castle proved to be unsustainable, as the Imperial Court cut off all funding upon the creation of the Bloodcasts, not desiring to have a bastardized version of the Viridians promoted by the Emperor. The original five Bloodcasts, now calling themselves Elders, decided that the future of the Order was to go out into the world, training young men to become knights outside of the confines of castles and structure. As a result, Blücherwald Castle began to see an exodus of Bloodcasts Knights as they ventured to various parts of the Regalian Archipelago. Some found abandoned border forts to use as training grounds while others ventured into the backwoods of the feudal realms to assist sleepy villages with administering justice. However, others chose to pursue more roguish activities, such as ambushing merchant wagons to steal their goods, distributing them to the needy in an attempt to redistribute the wealth to those in dire situations. Regardless of methods, the common thing that united the Bloodcasts was a sense of purpose to do good as they saw fit. Even when Yvrize Chattelois published the Treatises of Charlemois, the Bloodcasts outright rejected the notion of written knightly codes of honor, believing that true chivalry came from a person’s heart. However, the Arcèn Corollary did appeal to the then male-only Knightly Order and soon they started recruiting young women into the Bloodcast ranks to become Knights in their own right and, in 210 AC, they opened it to all Races.
In modern times, the Bloodcasts Order continues to operate as Hedge Knights, going around wherever they please, fighting for what they believe to be the greater good. While still seen as the least distinguished of the Knightly Orders, their mission to help any in need has gained them the respect of many commoners, who are more than happy when a Bloodcast Knight walks into town to help with some of the odd jobs needing to be done. It is often said that when it comes to sheer numbers and spread, the Bloodcast Order is the most numerous and the most well-traveled, though their free-roaming nature prevents them from ever realizing their full potential. As a result, they continue to be the Hedge Knights of the Empire, free from oversight and ready to do whatever it takes to see their own sense of honor demonstrated.
The Bloodcast Mission
Bloodcast Knights don’t have a formal code of honor. In fact, it could be said there is no such thing as a Bloodcast Order. Bloodcast Knights simply have one objective; when they finish their education, their tutors tell them to venture out in the world, wherever the wind may take them, and to do good for their fellow Regalians. Whatever this good may mean is often entirely left to the interpretation of the individual Bloodcast Knight. The Knights come together once a year to the Blücherwald Castle to talk to their fellow Knights about the fruits of their labor, though none of this is mandatory, simply a cultural event the Bloodcast Knights engage in to bring praise to the five Viridians who turned their back on the rigidness of their Order. Bloodcast Knights are in fact so free in their general moral code and behavior that it is not unheard of to have Bloodcast Knights fighting each other in certain situations where the moral right is not always clear. Bloodcast Knights have a sense of brotherhood with others of the crimson capes, but they will not stand down from battling each other if they believe what they are doing is right and the other is wrong.
The Grandmaster is the figurehead leader of the Bloodcast Order, whose purpose is to be a point of contact for everyone else in the Empire and to record the great deeds of the well-known Knights. The Current Grandmaster is Richard Duurwallis, who has been in the position for the last five years. The Grandmaster is elected to the position by a majority of all Knights within Blücherwald Castle at the time of election, which is often only a handful of the Order’s membership.
There is only one rank that a Bloodcast can be after completing their training and that is a Knight. Indeed, the Bloodcast Order is the only Knightly Order that does not have any other ranks beyond a figurehead Grandmaster, rejecting hierarchy for personal freedom. As a result, every Bloodcast Knight feels a sense of equality with one another, with the most recent graduate having the same weight to his voice as the oldest Hedge Knight of the Order. Knights refer to each other as ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ when meeting up, as the Order likes to view itself as a second family to many.
Schilder is the name given to the Pages and Squires of the Bloodcast Order, as the Knights believe that training should not be divided into two different parts. Anybody who is 7 years old can become a Schilder and it is as simple as walking up to a Bloodcast Knight and convincing them to become a Mentor. Schilders start off their training by running messages, cleaning equipment, and dressing and armoring their Mentor in order to learn humility. As a reward for these services, the Mentor instructs the Schilder in weapons training and additional education such as reading, writing, mathematics, and wilderness survival. It should be noted that the Bloodcast Order does not have a standard for training and each Mentor is free to teach their Squire whatever they want, however they feel like it. Once around the age of 14, Schilders begin to accompany their Mentor into battle, acting as a bodyguard and assistant to learn valuable first-hand experience. Once training completes around age 21, the Schilder and Mentor pay a visit to the Grandmaster in Blücherwald Castle, during which the Schilder is made a Knight by the Mentor, becoming equal in the Order. After that, the Schilder is a Bloodcast Knight and is free to do whatever they please.
- The Bloodcast Knights identify each other by a crimson cape, which is given to them after their knighting ceremony. Knights highly value this cape and often take it off before engaging in battle.
- There is actually a band of Bloodcast Knights that are von Kërle, who go about converting wandering travelers to the Sanguine Curse. As there is no way to become expelled from the Bloodcast Order, these Vampires are still considered fully-fledged Knights and are even allowed to visit Blücherwald Castle (though they never do as they prefer to rove around the countryside).
- Nobles avoid sending their children to the Bloodcast Order like the plague, as it's lack of distinction gives it the ill reputation of being low quality and a waste of a good son to be sent to a more prestigious military academy.