|Leader||Primae Domenico Cavalcante|
The Viridian Order is the oldest military order, following a code of conduct and servitude to the Empire within the armed forces of Regalia. The Viridian Order dates back to Primae Julian de Montverrat establishing the order under Royal charter by Emperor Theomar the First. The Order was originally established to protect the Royal family and lead the city guard, but as time progressed the Imperial Guard and the Violet Order were established to take over those positions. The Viridian Order then transitioned to an elite unit of warriors trained by the best trainers within the Empire to serve the Emperor and the Empire’s best interests while upholding the Code of Ehrenhof.
The Viridian Order was established by Julian de Montverrat during the early rule of Emperor Theomar the First. A former Altalar bodyguard, he negotiated with Theomar to grant him and his Daendroque comrades a royal charter if they successfully took the main gates of the Regalian capital during the Five Family Rebellion. Finding the endeavor fruitless, but willing to allow these foreign fighters to take on this suicide mission, Theomar agreed to Julian’s request. Utilizing the skills he was taught as a bodyguard, Julian and his men succeeded in taking the city gates with few casualties and, ultimately, led the remaining rebel forces to victory. When the rebellion was over and the Regalian Empire was proclaimed, Emperor Theomar followed through with his promise, granting Julian the right to form his organization. Selecting the best men of the Five Family forces alongside his own comrades, Julian laid out the groundwork that would go on to become the Viridian Order. Taking up the title of Primae, he would soon be granted control of the royal guard and the city guard, before being proclaimed head of all military forces, an honor later Primaes would hold.
Over the next one hundred years, the Knights protected the Royal Family and led the city militia in what would later become the Violet Order. During the reign of Emperor Henri I, the Viridians saw many more privileges granted to them, leading the order to become a notable influence in the Imperial Court. After Henri’s death, his son Henri II continued much the same way, until he made an off comment about reducing some of the more excessive rights of the Viridians. A few months later, Henri II would die during a celebration, with his royal Viridian guards absent during the affair. Upon the ascension of Henri III, the Viridians knew they had to act quickly, or lose everything. At the dawn of the new year in 122 AC, a majority of the Viridian Elders and a few Paladins plotted a coup against the new Emperor. However, the coup never reached fruition as the members were betrayed by some of their own, leading Henri III to call for the arrests and subsequent executions of all conspirators, including the Primae at the time for negligence to his duties. With his position secured, the Emperor publicly declared the Viridian Order too powerful and too uncontrolled to continue being the close defenders of the Imperial Family, creating the Tyrian Order which would go on to become the Imperial Guard. In the same decree, the Viridian Order lost their control of the city guard, being replaced by the newly chartered Violet Order. With their power cut by two-thirds and their prestige tarnished, the Viridian Order reduced itself to just a loose band of knights, which consequently saw several new knightly charters rise up.
A couple of decades later in 192 AC, Primae Yvrize Clair-vois-blanc revolutionized the Viridian Order by the implementation of the Code of Charlemois, as well as submitting the order to be obedient to the Emperor instead of acting as a political entity. With a renewed charter, the Order received various castles to train their knights at, and within twelve years they once again established themselves as the most elite order in the Regalian Empire.
It was the last several years that saw the Viridian Order put through several trials. Coming off the Ranger Crisis with high casualties, the knights began to focus on replenishing their lost numbers, taking an absence from the Empire’s wars. This continued for several years, even as the Kade Dynasty took the Imperial Seat after the Death of Justinian II. The next notable challenge came during the Anahera Occupation, which saw the Viridian Order under siege by the forces of the Lord Protector. While the Imperial Loyalists ultimately lifted the siege, it became apparent that the Viridians were starting to lose their prowess. This was ultimately proven a year later during the Lo Occupation, which saw the Viridian Castle overrun by Deathling forces, resulting in the eradication of the Primae, Elders, and majority of the Order. When the Dark Queen was defeated, it was determined that only 60 of the several hundred Viridian Knights were left. Leaderless and broken, it would be Emperor Cedromar I that would reform the Viridian Order. Placing himself as its head and selecting a new Primae, Cedromar would oversee a massive training effort to replenish the hundreds of lives lost during the Occupation. Today the Order is still very small, though the recent influx of new Pages looks promising for the Viridians, who may be able to rebound in the next decade.
Code of Ehrenhof
The code of Ehrenhof is a code of conduct and honor implemented by Emperor Cedromar I of Regalia after the order’s revival, replacing the previous Code of Charlemois written by Primae Yvrize. The code dictates how the Knights should treat each other, as well as citizens and the Imperial family. The code strictly dictates discipline and loyalty to one another as well as the realm. Knights greet each other by striking a closed fist to their chest while exclaiming “Ehren” which directly translates to “Honor”. They use this same greeting to members of the Imperial family. The code also dictates various chivalrous which must strictly be adhered to, and failing to meet the requirement of this code often leads to public lashings or expulsion and humiliation.
- Müt fur alle Courage for the face of Unionism. To face certain death when it is demanded by the Emperor, or by the cause of Union, and above all to protect the cause of Union, the royal heirs, the Imperial Family and the Supreme Reverend and men of the Holiest Cloth. Knights failing in their duty are sinners of the worst degree. Knights who fall to the vices of heresy and blasphemy fall to the highest degrees of justice.
- Wort gegen die Ungerechtigkeit To take pity on the poor, the helpless, the wounded, the impaired, the destitute, and the sickly. Give alms to those in need, care for those who cannot, and defend those who may not be able to raise a weapon. Do not bring harm to those who cannot defend themselves, for honor is a necessity. Fight any attempt to destabilize the Empire, be it on a local or government level, and fight for the command of the Emperor, even if the governments around him should no longer obey.
- Ehre ist die Seele Honor is the highest form of virtue for the Knights. Honor to duel in fairness. Honor to speak in fairness. Honor to do no act of evil deception, and Honor to those who bring Honor to the Knights. Awareness is demanded for hubris, never to let Honor itself become a goal, and never to let Honor itself become a means for others to degrade or deface or abuse the righteousness of the Knights.
- Seid Gehorsam, doch nicht ohne Freimut Be obedient, but not without frankness. Plainness in speech and openness leads to a better leader and follower relation with trust and merit. Knights are permitted and encouraged to criticize their leadership when they disagree with the course of policy, but must remain obedient to the hierarchy of the Order and the Empire.
- Tapferkeit ohne Wehleidigkeit Learn to suffer without complaint. For to complain is to deface the will of the Imperial Spirit, and to suffer with self-pity is to deny yourself the courage and standing for your own merit. A guard caught self-defacing, self-deprecating or complaining about their station, situation or other events is in violation of the Code.
- Gegen sich mehr noch als gegen Andere Be even harder on yourself than on others, as you should always endeavor to hold yourself to a higher standard than what you ask of others, even if you ask the impossible. A Knight that does not self-improve is a stagnant complacent, and complacency to the eyes of the Imperial Spirit is a sin. Knights should always self-punish when found in collective guilt over others.
- Aufrichtigkeit Sincerity, speak of your feelings, beliefs, thoughts, and desires without restraint or constraint or fear of judgement from peers. Sincerity is a sin of Cere, a sin that allows one to grow. Secrecy and deceit has no place among the Knights. Knights should speak honestly and clearly, but not with spite or hurtful intent.
- Zurückhaltung Restraint in counter activity. Endeavor to satiate, but not to overindulge. Deprive one’s self from excess, but do not deprive others, for this is a test of self-value. Knights do not display greed, Knights do not envy or covet the wealth and richness of others. Knights do not retaliate, revenge, or seek vengeance both in word or act against those who they perceive as slighters. Knights should not demean themselves by engaging in plotting, deceit and shrewd politics.
- Zielstrebigkeit Determination and Discipline. Finish what one starts and never divert from one’s plans unless the situation begs it so. To seem inconsistent and wishy-washy is to show contempt to discipline. Contempt to discipline leads to laziness, while Knights are to be heralded as the pillars of stability of the Empire. Knights should be determined and disciplinary, sticking to their plans to the end.
- Selbstaufopferung Self-effacement. More substance to the person than semblance. A person must have equal value decked in golden armor with medals as a pauper dressed in rags. A Knight should not wear their identity on them as a statue or a painting, rather, the value of any man ever is truly only judged when exposed to the Imperial Spirit and without clothes or wealth. A Knight should not be vain.
- Treue zu Selbst Loyalty to one’s self. One must always be aware that following the virtues of Ehrenhof is never possible to the fullest extent. Failure will always occur. Failure will lead to growth. Failure must be recognized, but not be dwelled on. Admittance to failure should never lead to complacency, for acknowledging is not indulging. A Knight who seeks to excuse himself is a failure to the order and trueness to self. A Knight should acknowledge their own shortcomings, but not wallow in them.
A knight found violating any of the aforementioned tenets is often harshly punished by lashings in the Viridian Castle by orders of the Primae. Honor is the most important asset of a Viridian Knight, and violating said Honor or degrading the Honor of another demands punishment. Failure to adhere to the Code of Ehrenhof will result in expulsion. When a Knight is expulsed from their order, it is usually for life, unless the Emperor himself allows them to re-enter.
Furthermore, The Viridian Order has an extremely strict protocol on what they consider compliance with the order’s code. Alongside the Honor code that a person would have to follow, they are not allowed to engage in activities that would make them a member outside the Order. This means they are not allowed to be City Guards, Military Army Leaders under the Regalian Military hierarchy, House Guards, or otherwise servants to any other organization or person than the Viridian Order. While it is true the Viridians held most of these positions historically, since 122 AC the Order has viewed these types of organizations as weaker replacements of their own, and believes working under one of them tarnishes the prestige of the Viridians.
Joining the Viridians
To become a Viridian Knight, one must be of relatively wealthy descent. One does not need to be noble, but one’s family must be able to afford a sizeable sum of money to pay for the child’s induction into the order. It is extremely rare for a family to send their only child into the Knight’s training as it usually requires the child to be sent away from home at the age of 10, only to be released at the age of 20 to 24 when they finish their official training. The child will remain within the confines of the castle where they will be taught courtly lessons, the Code of Ehrenhof, martial training, and formal discipline. The idea is to cultivate a perfect soldier for as far as that is possible within the Regalian Empire: obedient, organized, loyal, independent, and extremely skilled. Sometimes children undergoing education may return home over the weekend or for certain weeks leave, but these only occur during family death or when the trainee goes through a period of illness. When a Knight is done with their training, they will have been properly indoctrinated to follow the Code as well as the general obedience of the Viridian Order to the Emperor.
The Viridian Order has a very strict hierarchy that enforces a chain of command as well as quality within the order itself. Members are usually ranked based on their skill in martial arts. Ranks are often decided in a tournament held every year, though the highest rank of Paladin is reserved only for the most talented, and is a position held for life unless expelled from the order. Additionally, the Elders and the Primae are selected from the Paladins, who are also seated for life. The Grand Tournament is a tournament held at the Viridian Castle, where all Knights are required to participate. Failing to participate is considered dishonorable. The Knights are all faced against one another in one on one combat through three disciplines, the sword, halberd, and lance. Based on their performance in the three disciplines, Knights may be promoted in rank, as during every Tournament a single Paladin is chosen to join the elite few.
The Regalian Emperor
A recent addition to the Order’s hierarchy since the Cedormarian Reform of 306 AC, the Regalian Emperor acts as the official leader of the Viridian Order. This means that the Emperor oversees the graduation ceremony for the Squires becoming Paladins, and consequently has the loyalty of the Order, something which now prevents the Order from staging another Coup as they did centuries ago. Despite being the head of the Order, Alexander has taken a more distant role compared to his brother Cedromar, and has practically yielded control of the Viridians back to the Primae. Though should the Order go down a path he does not agree upon, the Emperor only needs to raise a finger to curb the ambitions of the knights.
The Primae is the leader of the Viridian Order, he leads the various Elders and is chiefly considered the most respected and educated Knight in the order. The Primae is often very old due to the fact that he is chosen from among the older Elders. The Primae sets the rules and policies within the Knight’s order while also functioning as a representative. The Current Primae is Domenico Cavalcante. It is a position unofficially held by an Ithanian over the past years, due to the fact that Knighthood finds its roots in Ithanian culture.
The Elders are teachers and instructors at the Viridian Order. They are generally considered the most talented sword fighters and lancers in the realm, so they use their knowledge to train the next generations instead of using it in battle. Viridian Knights are lost each war, thus by preserving the most skilled, the average skill of the order does not diminish after a particularly bloody war. It is not unheard of for a knight to reject the Elder status because they would prefer to wage war, though many choose it purely because it offers a comfortable existence. The Elders are given leisure and luxury within the castle and are often afforded a minor estate with servants as well. It is not possible to play an Elder.
The Paladins are the most talented and skilled warriors within the Viridian Order. These fighters have mastered the art of horseback riding, sword fighting and halberd swinging to the point where only a select few could challenge them in single combat. Every Grand Tournament, a single Paladin is chosen to join the elite few. Paladins are revered across the Empire for being paragons and holy warriors of the Unionist faith, even though they have no distinct religious backing or membership like their rivals in the Villiers-Eclaire Order. Paladins often gain their own heraldry, which they carry on banners into battle next to their family banner to identity a specific paladin. Upon receiving their rank, Paladins are also able to choose a specific honorary title to differentiate them from other members, such as Cedric the Fury Paladin, or Handorien the Stork Paladin. In order to play a Paladin, one must have a Backstory Special Character Permission.
The Shieldmaidens are the only asset of the Viridian Order in which women may be trained. They are trained outside of the Viridian Castle, in a smaller building called "Frauenhaus". The women here are trained in the use of the Cross-Shield, a massive shield almost as tall as the female themselves and wide enough to protect their entire body. They also train in the use of a morning star flail, but are not usually afforded swords training, horse riding or halberd training. Women are not permitted to join in the Viridian Tournaments, but function as a part of the order in and of itself as guardians of the Castle, though they aren't actually permitted to enter the Castle. When not deployed at the castle, the Shieldmaidens may patrol the City of Regalia to guard the noble houses. There is no formal method of combat deployment of the Shieldmaidens, except when the Elders go to war. Shieldmaidens then function as bodyguards to the Elders in battle. Shieldmaidens are also able to become Paladins but must do so outside of a Viridian Tournament, often through action of high honor to the Order.
Men-at-Arms are the highest rank any male Knight can achieve before becoming a Paladin through winning a Grand Tournament. They receive this rank when they finish their education at the Viridian Castle and will remain such until they become Paladins. Once graduated, Men-at-Arms may venture out of the Castle on missions, or remain and train the Squires and Pages.
Squires are the second-lowest rank of any Knight. They receive this rank around age 14 when they finish their beginner education at the Viridian Castle and will remain such until they graduate. At this point in time, a Squire is assigned to an older Man-at-Arms, who teaches the Squire practical combat knowledge that is used in the field. Squires do not participate in city parades when the Viridian Order makes a military parade, nor do they receive any honors.
Pages are the lowest rank of the Order whose rank is given to anyone entering the Viridian Castle to begin their education. Pages attend lectures taught by the Elders, and learn basic swordsmanship with wooden weapons. Due to their youthfulness, Pages are forbidden from leaving the Viridian Order until they are promoted to Squire, in order to instill the values of the Viridians without outside distractions.
Training within the Viridian Order for the Pages is passed down by the Elders and the Primae in so-called classes. These classes often occur indoors but may also be done outdoors, where the Elders educate the new trainees in the various martial arts. The Elders are divided into several disciplines, including the Sword, Halberd, Horse. Each Page must go through all of them for two years, after which they will specialize in one in particular for the remainder of the years, but they are also expected to continue honing their skills in the other disciplines in their own free time. When martial training does not occur, the Pages are taken indoors for education, often on religious matters or state history by Tutors. There is no room for tavern going, women are strictly forbidden from entering the Castle (as they train in and around the Frauenhaus) and excursions outside are often guided by an Elder. If anything, the Viridian Castle is an extremely strict boarding school for children groomed to become extremely skilled warriors. After the age of 14, a Page is promoted to Squire and assigned to a Man-at-Arms who will mentor them for the remaining years of instruction.
The Viridian Order deploys independently from the Regalian Imperial Armed Forces. They are not part of levies, but their members may be called as Feudal commanders. This creates a bit of a complex loyalty system, as the Order always derives its power from the Emperor, meaning Emperor’s call goes first. If a Knight has a feudal title or is expected to lead a banner army to war, they will do so as a feudal lord, not as a Knight. The Primae can, however, choose to independently deploy the Viridian Order as well, in which case the Knights are called to war under a single banner. In such a case, senior Paladins lead smaller squads of Viridian Knights, spread out over the battlefield to assist the various commanders in their objectives, and can often be spotted with large green capes, high helmets with white and green feathers, and a large shield with their crest on it. However, Viridian Combat theory is often a bit contradictory to their own Honor bound codes, as they rely on weaker and less trained levy troops to act as a shock barrier before they actually engage. Despite this delayed engagement by the Order in battles, Viridians never attack from the back or use dirty tactics. They believe in the concept of an honorable fight and duel, and will often reject an unfair fight to their advantage, choosing to fight those with comparable skill levels.
- The Viridian Knights are represented by the colors white and green, and their emblem is the Blue Crown Dragon, though in recent times this symbol has largely been replaced with a tower.
- The Viridian Order once boasted the highest membership of any other Knightly Order. However, the Lo Occupation reduced that number drastically, with the vast majority of its membership now undergoing training as Pages and Squires.
- Despite many military orders taking inspiration from the Viridian Order, none of them are allowed to teach the official Viridian Combat techniques. To do so would be a capital crime, with said legislation being found in an obscure law book written by Chancellor Caldomir Kade during his tenure.