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 General Info and History of the Knights of Solamnia

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PostSubject: General Info and History of the Knights of Solamnia   Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:36 pm

“What kind of damned idealistic flaw brought me
out here?” he wondered aloud. He chastened
himself. This was a holy place, this weird wedge
of black granite, and he ought to keep a reverent—
And then, from a clear sky, lightning flashed. Vinas
ducked instinctively.
High overhead, three constellations shone brightly down
upon him—the Dragon’s Lord, Paladine; the bison-headed
Kiri-Jolith; and the kingfisher of Habbakuk. They glared at
him. In his head he heard ethereal music.
He heard the grand justice of Paladine in well-ordered
chords, the unflagging courage of Kiri-Jolith in enduring
themes, and the temperance of Habbakuk in balanced
counterpoint.
Then he heard wisdom—wisdom resonating in his own
soul.
A knighthood. He would establish a knighthood to
embody honor, to live it day by day. There would be three
orders, the highest for Paladine, championing justice. The
second for Kiri-Jolith, preserving courage. And the third for
temperate Habbakuk, personifying loyalty and obedience.
“Knights of the Rose…of the Sword…of the Crown,”
whispered Vinas in awe. “They will preserve honor, and pass
it, unsullied, generation to generation.”
Suddenly, the great lights of the heavens glowed in the
very stone beneath his fingers. The black granite had been
transformed into white crystal, and it shone like a chunk of
star grounded on Ansalon.
“Honor,” said Vinas. “They shall live and die by honor. My
own Elias will do so. And so will I.
“My honor is my life.”

Vinas Solamnus


The Knights of Solamnia are the most well-known and,
depending on the era of their history, respected or reviled
military order on Ansalon. Founded in 1775 PC by Vinas
Solamnus, the Knights were formed to be the pinnacle of
all that is good and honorable, defenders of the weak, and
protectors of Ansalon. They have striven to uphold these
ideals through the ages, though sometimes they have fallen
short for one reason or another. Whatever the age or the
situation, however, the Knights try their best to hold on to
the oath that is the backbone of their lives: “My honor is
my life.”

The Knighthood is made up of three Orders, the
Crown, Sword, and Rose. Each Order is dedicated to one of
the three gods who appeared to Vinas Solamnus, inspiring
the creation of the Knights. The Crown Knights are
dedicated to Habbakuk, who commands their loyalty and
obedience to the Knights and the precepts of Good. The
Sword Knights are dedicated to Kiri-Jolith, who commands
their courage in the face of all things. The Rose Knights are
dedicated to Paladine, who commands wisdom and justice
to be the foundation of all that the Knights do.
The Knights try their best to live up to these ideals, evidenced by their laws,
the Oath and the Measure.
The Oath, “Est Sularus oth Mithas,” or “My Honor is My
Life,” is the creed by which all Knights of Solamnia attempt
to live their lives. However, the Knighthood does have a
set of laws—the Measure—designed to guide the Knights
in living up to the Oath. Started by Vinas Solamnus,
the Measure is a collection of the rules and laws of the
Knighthood. Each Order has its own Measure, though all
Solamnic Knights are expected to follow the whole of the
Measure at all times. At its largest, the Measure occupied
37 large volumes; since the War of the Lance, it has been
revised to be smaller and more manageable, both in size
and in laws by which the Knights must abide.
Some of the most famous heroes in the history of
Ansalon have come from the ranks of the Knighthood.
Vinas Solamnus and Huma Dragonbane are paradigms
of the Order that most Knights endeavor to emulate. However, the Knights of
Solamnia have also had their share of villains.
Despite these knaves, however,the Knighthood has often been a s
hining beacon in a world sorely in need of light.


History of the Knighthood
The Knights of Solamnia arose during the Age of Dreams,
more than two millennia before the War of the Lance. The
three Orders of the Knighthood emerged from the
remnants of the tyrannical Ergothian Empire to become
the most enduring force of Good on Ansalon.





Origin
The beginnings of the Solamnic Knighthood lie with a
noble of the oppressive and wicked court of the Emperor
of Ergoth in the year 1801 PC. Vinas Solamnus, the Praetor
of the Imperial Armies and a Cavalier of Ergoth, was
commanded to crush a rebellion in the eastern Imperial
province of Vingaard. He spent the better part of a year
using his huge armies to deliver defeat after defeat to the
rebels, but weather forced him to cease his campaign in the
winter months. During this time he began to examine the
causes of the rebellion and saw for himself why the rebels
were justified in their actions. The Empire oppressed the
people with tyrannical laws and demanded impossible
tributes, keeping the common people starving and sick.
Vinas and the majority of his army decided to join the
rebellion. This was the birth of the Rose Rebellion.
In the midst of that fierce winter, Solamnus and his
commanders gathered and trained an army made up
primarily of the people the Empire was oppressing. He
then launched a series of daring campaigns that came to
be known as the War of Ice Tears. The rebel army pushed
the Imperial forces all the way back to the capital city of
Daltigoth. Vinas laid siege to the city. Within two months,
the citizens of Daltigoth revolted, forcing the Emperor
to sue for peace. So it was that the common people
of northeastern Ergoth helped bring about their own
independence.
The new nation was named Solamnia, in honor of the
commander who enabled the people to win their freedom.
The people also named Vinas their ruler. Though the
nation did not become a great power until closer to the
end of the age, the name Solamnia became synonymous
with honesty, integrity, and determination.
Sixteen years after the country’s founding, the lords
of the lands north of Solamnia also threw off the yoke of
Ergothian oppression and came to Solamnus for help. They
wished to merge with the new nation and become a part of
Solamnia. Vinas wanted to agree to this, but he saw it was
an impossible task. The ideals and customs of the various
areas differed and in some instances clashed. The people
had no common ground. To find an answer to his problem,
Vinas embarked on his Quest of Honor.
After many weeks of wandering Ansalon looking for
a solution to his dilemma, Vinas sailed to the island of
Sancrist. Battered and worn from his journey, he forged
into the wilderness. Eventually Vinas found a glade with
a monolith of black granite rising from the center. Here
he fasted and prayed to the gods of Good to help him
find the answer to his problem. Vinas was on the verge of
giving up hope when the gods Paladine, Kiri-Jolith, and
Habbakuk sent him a vision. From this vision came the
inspiration that would grow into the Knights of Solamnia.
He saw three orders of knights, each one sponsored by
one of the three gods and based around ideals put forth by
that order’s
patron. From
Habbakuk came the
Order of the Crown, based on the
ideals of loyalty and obedience. The Order of the Sword,
championed by Kiri-Jolith, would uphold the ideals of
courage and heroism. Paladine would lead the triumvirate,
as his Order of the Rose would lead the Knighthood with
the ideals of wisdom and justice. These Knights would
unite the northern lands with Solamnia and carry on
Solamnus’ vision of honor and goodness long after he was
gone.
Some legends say that Vinas also saw the downfall of
the Knights in this vision. Others tell that Paladine assured
Vinas that the Knighthood would rise as often as they were
truly needed. An obscure legend even tells that each god
told Solamnus a great secret of wisdom that he chiseled
onto three tablets of black granite, though no evidence
for the truth of this legend exists, even in the surviving
writings of Vinas himself. The one thing all legends agree
on, however, is that that during Solamnus’ vision the gods
transformed the piece of black granite in the glade into a
pillar of pure white crystal. This blessed and sanctified the
glade, sealing the gods’ pact to watch over the Knighthood.
The Whitestone Glade is to this day the most sacred site of
the Knights of Solamnia.

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In the hatred of a minute. - Edgar Allen Poe
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