The History of the Order
Originally founded as the Order of the Celestial Knights in early 1099 by the forceful, but eccentric, Percival de Gales, the Order were originally a more tightly structured, and some would say archaicly formal, organisation, named for a friend of Sir Percival, who it must be said was held in less high regard by a number of other people. Thanks to close relations between Sir Percival and Lady Zavra of the Brotherhood (who later defected, with her entire unit, to the the Tarantulas Faction), the Order was soon granted their first home at the ancient citadel of Claw Keep. This was a portentious site, famed in the history of the Lions, for as the old song by King Rhino has it:
And the fight at Claw Keep bit the Chaos horde deep
And the Demons were beaten by Avalon
Alas, ancient and strong though the defences of Claw Keep were, they could not stand against the Lions’ most implacable foe, and so it was, in one terrible night of fire and blood and death, that the Nosta Kar came to Claw Keep. Despite the most valiant efforts of its defenders, the mighty fortress was soon over-run, as the Nosta Kar forces made use of long forgotten tunnels deep below the citadel to penetrate the walls. A few weeks later, a column of the Order tried to recapture the Keep, but their purpose was betrayed, and the column ambushed with great loss of life, and so the survivors of the Order drifted, together to the refugee camps of Holy Isle.
With the end of the Nosta Kar war, and the departure of the dream of Avalon from the plane of Edreja, the Order, with the Lions drifted through the Void to Lantia. On the way, they fought, as a cavalry unit under the command of Grand Master Alvin deBeers, in the great battle against the Void demons, and earned more plaudits for their valour, nobility and honour.
After arriving in Lantia, the Order were granted a home on Tamarus, and settled the north of the island. The island then was much smaller, and exploration was required. The archives of the Order still contain an account of the first landings and explorations of the isle. The protection of the Order soon encouraged people to make their homes on the Isle of Duty and a series of thriving communities began to grow which hosted the Factional Moot of 1101 – the first time the Lions had hosted an inter-Factional gathering since they left Albion. An assault by the remnants of the Raven Host (which had of course been beaten at Claw Keep so many years before) was driven back by the combined forces of the Lions in the spring of 1103, whilst the summer of that year saw the death of Grand Master DeBeers, who was slain in battle by an unliving of unspeakable abomination. He was succeeded as Grand Master by Sir Aldous Trevelyan, who valiantly led the Order through the remainder of the war against Benedict Darkendale (who in one of those twists of fate had once held the same post of High Sheriff now filled by Sir Aldous) and the League of Evil. Exhausted by the strains of his offices, Sir Aldous handed the title of Grand Master on to Sir Elrood Brond in the spring of 1106.
Sir Elrood instituted a series of reforms to the structures and organisation of the Order (pre-1106, post-1106), to bring it into the twelfth century. Amongst other innovations, the name of the Order was formally changed from the Order of the Celestial Knights to the Order of Celestial, to ensure that it was clear that everyone, Knights, Squires and Companions were of equal importance to the Order’s work. And the work goes on, despite a number of difficulties and tragedies that have assailed the Order – including the destruction of the original Chapterhouse at Tamarus following the explosion of the nearby ritual circle in late 1106. That year also brought the Cataclysm, which changed the Island, merging it with its fey counterpart of Orst and extensively enlarging it through the appearance of a desert in the centre (see Tamarus: Geography and description).
Sir Elrood always said that he would pass on the Grandmaster position to anyone he felt more worthy than himself to carry it: he believed he had found this individual in Sir Darkmane, as his Deputy, Sir Nethaniel Huntington felt unable to take the position due to his responsibilities as Knight Marshall of the Lions. Sadly, Sir Darkmane’s tenure was brutally cut short : he died less than a year later at the hands of Time elementals, and Sir Nethaniel took up the role. Devastatingly, Sir Elrood was lost in the winter of 1112, closely followed by Sir Nethaniel in the Spring of 1113. He was succeeded in the position – by unanimous vote of those assembled – by his wife, Sir Irinaye Huntington.
Whenever a Knight or Companion passes, it is the custom of the Order to add them to the Hall of the Fallen in the Chapterhouse, with their portrait and some brief words to record their deeds on this place. Those can be viewed here.
In the Spring of 1116, at Moot 1, the Order came into a dispute with the Lions Faction they had served so faithfully. Having seen an ongoing decline in the morals of the Faction, and a perceived move towards ‘Pride and Fury’ and away from the ideals of ‘Truth, Honour, & Justice’, certain actions brought this issue to head at Moot 1. For the safety of one of their members, and in order to try and highlight the problems in the Faction to the wider Faction, the Order moved en masse to guest with the Dragons until the issues could be resolved. Ultimately, the issues could not be resolved, and at the Gathering 1117 Queen Elspeth informed the Order they were no longer welcome in the Faction and should not return. They sought a new home with the Dragons, and swore service to the Dragons Faction at Moot 1, 1117. Grandmaster Huntington, served by the Order, is now a Rhi (ruler) in the northwest of Caer Danon, defending the land bridge between Erin and Caer Danon.
Oh, and one other (foot)note. On occasion (actually on frequent occasions), it’s been pointed out that the original Celestial, a Death Jester friend of Sir Percival’s, was, to put it a bit lightly, a twit, and most likely wouldn’t meet the admissions standards of the present day Order. The Order do in fact realise this (having been told roughly nine hundred and forty seven times in the last three years), and couldn’t care less. They are firmly of the opinion that the followers shape the Ancestor, and that their Celestial is, has been, and always will be a shining beacon of light to guide them. Other Celestials need not apply. This firmly held belief was confirmed in the early summer of 1107, when Celestial and his messenger granted audiences to Grand Master Elrood Brond and the then-Squire Hargrim Vorall, and has been reaffirmed several times as Celestial has sent True Avatars to visit the Order.