|Leader||King Florent de Gosselin|
|Headquarters||Carainthais Cloister in Basta in the Regalian Archipelago|
The Villiers-Eclaire Order is a Knightly Order which has earned a reputation as being defenders of the Unionist faith. Created by the demands of both the clergy and Vixhall locals, the Villiers Knights have since grown to be a prestigious group of Knights in the Regalian Archipelago. With their words carrying the weight of the clergy, Villiers Knights are seen both on the battlefield fighting heretics, as well as on the streets preaching the Unionist message to anyone who may hear. As a result, the Villiers-Eclaire Order has grown to be one of the most respected Knightly Orders in the Regalian Empire, and continue to carry out their holy mission to this day.
The Villiers-Eclaire Order finds its beginning in 243 AC, the year in which the School of Lancyon separated from the Unionist Celacy into its own self-sufficient organization. With this change to the Lancyons, many in the clergy grew worried that this newfound freedom would result in the Halberdiers one day revolting against the faith, especially in Basta where the School was headquartered. At the same time, the Burdigalic areas of the Regalian Archipelago were maturing into their new Culture, with knighthood being a prominent part of it. While the Lion Pelt and Viridian Orders had been operating in the region for decades, the locals desired the creation of a more culturally-inspired Knightly Order, one which encompassed the Burdigala ideals of chivalry. This call for Celate protection and Burdigala representation reached the ears of the Bastan Duke François de Gosselin who, despite being Ithanian in Culture, was all too willing to assist the clergy and Burdigalans. As a result, the Villiers-Eclaire Order was founded soon afterwards by House de Gosselin, who took it upon themselves to create a Knightly Order that would be stylized as the defenders of the Unionist faith.
The Villiers Knights quickly gained the appeal of the Vixhall nobility, who were quite eager to send their sons and daughters to the Order, believing that the Knights were the perfect example of service to the Imperial House Ivrae. Not only did the Order exemplify Ithanian and Burdigalic ideals, the Cultures of the Ivraes, but because the Emperors were the vessels of the Imperial Spirit, defending the Unionist faith also indirectly defended the Ivraes themselves. Within a few decades, the Villiers-Eclaire Order grew in popularity, as more and more Pages entered the ranks of the Order to become paragons of Unionist virtue. Even when the Regalian Pessimism hit the Empire, the Villiers Knights were an anchor to the local populations, who went out into the countryside to help the clergy maintain the faith and provide hope to everyone. Due to their assistance in keeping the Unionist faith strong in the worst days of the Empire, the Primae-Celate at the time, Wolfram Ultor, granted the Villiers-Eclaire Order the right to grant the Celatcy Villiers Seal to graduated knights; so long as a Villiers Knight remained loyal to the Order and to the Unionist faith, their word would carry the blessing of the clergy wherever they went, allowing them to act as chaplains and evangelists to the clergy.
To this day, the Villiers-Eclaire Order remains dedicated to protecting the Unionist cause. Following the revelation of the Tenth Creed, the Order refocused its purpose to protecting all Unionist sects, rather than just the Dogmatic Unionism as they did previously. This saw an influx of new Pages from the Evintarin and Vultarian Schisms, inspired to be guardians of their own local clergy and spread their own Unionist beliefs. Beyond this major change to the faith, the Villiers Knights remain stalwart in their duties, and can still be found around the Regalian Archipelago, whether that be in the personal security detail of local priests, defending the faith’s most sacred locations or preaching the Unionist message to anyone that would hear them.
The Primae of the Villiers-Eclaire Order is the central authority of the knights, and the main contact person for external authorities. The current Primae is King Florent I of Ithania, whose ascension to the throne has led to the role becoming far more ceremonial in nature. While the King still has all his authoritative rights, he has delegated the running of the Order to the Elder Council in Basta, while he rules from his Kingdom.
The Elders are the main leadership body of the Villiers-Eclaire Order, and since de Gosselin’s conquest of Ithania, the contact body for external authorities. Comprising mostly brothers and cousins of King Florent, the Elders spend most of their time training and tutoring the Pages, and also coordinating with the Université cléricale de Basta in regards to spiritual lessons for the Order.
- The Paladins are the most talented and skilled warriors within the Villiers-Eclaire Order. These fighters have mastered the skills necessary to defend and the Unionist Faith, to the point where only a select few could challenge them in single combat. Paladins are revered across the Empire for being paragons and holy warriors of the Unionist faith, heeding the orders of the Conclave regardless of their directive.
- Lieutenants are the highest rank any Knight can achieve before becoming a Paladin. These are some of the most skilled of the Villiers-Eclaire 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 Villiers-Eclaire 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 Villiers-Eclaire Knight, and to enter the Order at the age of seven following the completion of an entrance exam and tuition fee. 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 Carainthais Cloister, though their role is limited to non combatant roles due to their inexperience.
- The Villiers-Eclaire Knights identify each other by their signet ring, which bears the Celatcy Villiers Seal.
- Some of the Villiers-Eclaire Order accompanied their Primae during his conquest of the Ithanian Sovereignty, though most of the Order remained in the Regalian Archipelago due to the faith's leadership competing with the capital’s nobility in the start of the Anglian Mist Crisis.
- The Villiers-Eclaire Order has a healthy rivalry with the Viridian Order, as both Orders are immensely respected throughout the Regalian Archipelago, and frequently compete against each other in tournaments.