|Leader||Grandmaster Carlos of Alvas|
|Headquarters||Castillo de Monzon in San Selin, Girobalda|
The Monzon Order is a Knightly Order which revolves around the pursuit of fame and fortune. Originating in the Girobalda region of the Regalian Archipelago, the Monzon Knights are well-known for their charm and stylish dress, but also for the types of clients they choose to serve. Indeed, the aspect that sets the Monzon Order apart from other Knightly Orders is that they prefer to serve in the criminal underworld, where their martial skills are handsomely rewarded by crime bosses, smugglers, and other shady characters with coin to spend. Despite their perceived criminal conduct by other Knights, the Monzon Order is considered a staple of Daendroque culture in the Archipelago, and the knights pride themselves in being able to demonstrate a sense of both class and style in public, while also being able to earn gold at a rate that rivals that of the Lion Pelt Order.
The Monzon Order finds its origins with Daendroque migrants entering the Regalian Empire around the time of the Ithanian Gem Boom. With these migrants came a sense of seeking new fortunes during the mining craze, hoping to earn far more riches than if they remained in Daen. Over time, these immigrants began to be influenced by the concept of knighthood, as the Viridian Coup of 122 AC saw several new orders rise to prominence. Of particular note was the Lion Pelt Order, which was unique in that they were the only Knightly Order which charged fees for their bodyguarding skills. The concept of honorable conduct while also making money was appealing to several Daendroque fighters, and together they began to create the foundation of the Monzon Order.
At the same time, several criminal syndicates were rumored to have set up shop along the Rim Isles, and looked to establish a strong foundation for their underworld empires. It was fitting therefore that these crime rings and the Monzon fighters found themselves on two sides of the same coin. One group desired a source of manpower to secure their interests, and the other side was looking to make some wealth for their martial skills. As a result of this supply and demand, several crime families helped funnel wealth to the first Monzon Knights, who used the income to purchase the Castillo de Monzon in San Selin in 177 AC, which is where the Order derives its name from. With a base of operations and a template of knighthood to base their hierarchy on, the Monzon Order began to recruit young men into their numbers, promising them wealth and a luxurious life in exchange for service to others.
Over the next century, the Monzon Knights continued to provide their services to the Girobaldan crime syndicates, and in return received large sums of gold which financed the fashion choices of the Knights. Knowledge of the Order soon spread outside of the southwestern realms, and before long reached the Lion Pelt Order, who found the Monzon Knights to be a disgraceful imitation of their own honorable services. Using their influence at the Imperial Court, the Pelters ensured that the Monzon Order never received Imperial Respects, forcing the Knights to exist only in their home provinces. Despite this minor intrigue, the Monzon Knights took it as a sign of superiority, believing the Lion Pelt Order was afraid of the competition. As such, the Monzon Knights doubled down on their Order’s mission, even going as far as to set down a Knightly Code to emphasize the standards they set for themselves in contrast to more free, roving sellswords. Since then, the Order has remained much the same as they set out to be, earning coin from those who can afford their services, while purchasing the latest fashions to display their status as skilled warriors.
The Grandmaster is the leader of the Monzon Order. He leads the various Elders and is chiefly considered the most respected and educated Knight in the Order, and sets the rules and policies within the Order while also functioning as a public representative.The current Grandmaster is Carlos of Alvas, who is more known as the Lion of Algavarvistas. While relatively younger when compared to the Elder Council, the fortune he made over his years as a Monzon Knight led the Order to appoint him as Grandmaster, in the hopes that his knowledge could be taught to upcoming generations of knights to aspire to the standard he set.
The Elders are teachers and instructors at the Monzon Order. They are considered the most talented in terms of martial prowess, while also being some of the most connected people in the criminal underworld around Girobalda, Bragacao, and the Rim Isles. There are Twelve Elders that make up the Elder Council of the Monzon Order, and together they use their knowledge and connections to train the next generation of Knights. Most of the Elders do not actually live at the Castillo de Monzon, but instead on small coastal manors paid for by the years of wealthy clients they’ve served.
- The Paladins are the most talented and skilled warriors within the Monzon Order. These fighters have mastered the skills necessary to pursue work in the underworld, and only a select few could challenge them in single combat. Paladins are few in number, with usually only one Monzon Knight chosen to be promoted every year by the Elder Council. Despite not having the right to be recognized by the Imperial Court, Paladins are still well respected in their home region, and often have made enough income to purchase a decent town estate with a few servants.
- Lieutenants are the highest rank any Knight can achieve before becoming a Paladin. These are some of the most skilled of the Monzon Knights, but lack a certain finesse or skill required to become an all-rounder like their Paladin higher ups.
- Sergeants are the next rank any Knight can achieve after being promoted from Man-at-Arms. They are quite capable combatants, but lack refinement and dedication to become a Lieutenant.
- Men-at-Arms (or Dames-at-Arms) are the lowest rank any Knight is after graduation at the age of 21.
- Squires are the second step at becoming a full member of the Monzon Order. They receive this rank at 14 when they finish their training as a Page, and will remain such until they graduate. Squires often accompany their Mentors outside of the headquarters to learn first-hand combat experience, acting as a standard bearer and bodyguard assistant to their senior Knight.
- Pages are the first step in becoming a Monzon Knight, and to enter the Order at the age of seven following the completion of an entrance exam. Once inside, Pages are taught in a classroom setting by Elders and graduated Knights, after which they are paired with a Mentor who provides more in depth instruction to the trainee in exchange for completing various chores to learn humility. Pages also accompany their Mentors outside of the Castillo de Monzon, though their role is limited to non combatant roles due to their inexperience.
- Monzon Knights are identified by a silk sash worn around the waist, held in place by a Gold Orchid pin. This silk is rumored to be imported from the Dread Empire, as Kathar silks apparently have a superior weave when compared to other suppliers.
- Despite being criticized as glorified criminals who will stab you in the back to get their money, the Monzon Knights are extremely strict in adhering to their code of honor. This has often led to some contracts being declined for being beneath the standards of the Order, which ironically has led to even greater respect by the underworld which values a sense of class with their dealings.
- The Monzon Knights and students of the School of Mariposa have a small rivalry given their shared Daendroque origins, and common appearance in the underworld. However, the Monzon and Lion Pelt Order rivalry is far stronger.