The Structure of the Order pre-1106
In 1106, Grandmaster Elrood Brond restructured the Order for two reasons. The first (and most important) was to ensure that it was clear that everyone, Knights, Squires and Companions were of equal importance to the Order’s work. The second was due to the balance of Knights on Quest, and on Campaign, making it difficult to maintain the Chain of Command in the field, as originally, the Order was rather different. (To see the current structure of the Order, click here).
Originally, all Knights of the order were required to be one of the following: a Warrior, an Incantor or a Healer (although all Knights had some skill at arms). They could also choose to follow in the footsteps of Celestial by studying all three fields. Others were welcome to aid them but could not be members of the order. These people were called Celestial Companions, and had a special role inside and outside the order. Examples of this included the post of Knight Confessor and Knight Mystic, both of which were not part of the order but were attached to it.
Upon being brought into the order all Knights gave up their worldly possessions. These were handed over to the order and used for the good of the order as a whole. If any Knight wished for anything they merely had to ask the Grandmaster and the order would attempt to provide. The Order did allow momentos or gifts to be kept most of the time, though they could be lost through penance.
The Order was divided both vertically and horizontally, so to speak. The ‘vertical’ division was of the Order into the Knights-at-Arms, the Knights-of-Thought and the Knights-of-Physik. Each of these branches numbered fifteen men, in addition to their Master (who was named after his branch: Master-at-Arms, and so on). The fifteen men could be divided into three squads, two commanded by a Corporal, one commanded by a Sergeant.
The ‘horizontal’ division of the order was according to the ranks of the Knights. We were divided into the Order Couchant, the Order Sejant, the Order Trippant and the Order Rampant. The Orders are named after some of the postures of heraldic animals. The animal in our case, is of course, the Lion.
The Branches and the Orders
These were the dedicated warriors of the order. They spent the majority of their time in hard physical training, with a range of weapons as well as in small unit tactics. All three branches trained together for battlefield service but it was this branch that worked most heavily on this side of the Order’s work. It should be noted though, that all the Knights-at-Arms were expected to take part in at least two hours of the activities of the other branches each day.
The Knights-of-Thought held the Order’s faith and spiritual well being at the centre of their duties. They led all praise and worship of ancestors for the order. They were as well responsible for dealing with any demons, unliving or other hostile extra-planar entities that the Order may combat. They were highly trained in battlefield ‘wedge’ formations, and were accustomed to co-operating with the Knights-at-Arms for maximum effect.
These were the Knights that were considered responsible for the medical welfare of not just the Knightly order, but also any that asked the Order for aid, and any needy that the Order came into contact with. All of these Knights were healers, although most were capable warriors as well. All took part in the physical training of the Knights, as well as taking part in the sessions of the faith led by the Master of Thought. Unsurprisingly, in a combat situation, these Knights were essential to the continued survival and efficiency of the unit.
There were four circles of the Knighthood, each progressed into as the Knight progressed through the hierarchy of the order. When first admitted to the Order, the Knight passed into the first circle of the Knighthood: Order Couchant. If the Knight achieved greatness then he was promoted to Order Sejant, and then with a further promotion to Order Trippant. If he then succeeded to the rank of Master, he was raised to the rank of Order Rampant.
The Order Couchant
This was the 1st Circle, the basic level of knighthood. It was approximately equivalent to Private and there were 12 Order Couchant’s per branch.
The Order Sejant
This was the 2nd Circle and first advanced level of the Order. Roughly equivalent to Corporal, there were two Order Sejant’s per branch.
The Order Trippant
This was the 3rd Circle of the Order. Equivalent to the rank of Sergeant, there were only three: one per branch.
The Order Rampant
The 4th Circle, the Order Rampant comprised the three Branch Masters, and the Grand Master of the Order. Until recently, the Order also fielded the post of ‘Master of the Order’, who was second-in-command of the Order of Celestial, and a member of the Order Rampant. However, the post was unfilled for a time and deemed unnecessary: it was removed by vote of the remaining Order Rampant.
The Duties of Office
Each post of responsibility in the Celestial Knights had it’s own role and duties. Many of these duties that once belonged to Masters are now rolled into the Grandmaster’s position.
1) is the ultimate authority of the order, governing, steering, the Order’s internal and external policies to further the order and the ancestors they represent.
2) Is responsible for all appointments of rank even within the three branches of the order. He is expected to take into account the preferences and opinions of the relevant authorities on the matter in question.
3) Is responsible for the orders communication with the command of the faction and for liaison with the Brotherhood.
4) Is responsible for the orders relations with the guilds and ensuring that they are appropriate in nature.
5) Is concerned with ensuring the order’s past, present and future and works closely with the master of the order to achieve this end.
1) was responsible for all of the Order’s goods, chattels and properties.
2) was responsible for the security of the order
3) was responsible for carrying out the work and duties of the Grandmaster in their absence.
The Chain of Command
[Original text] We are sorry if this seems complicated but believe us that in reality this is far simpler than it seems written down.
The Grand Master
The Grand Master has ultimate authority over all knights of the order, in all areas. It is incumbent upon him to heed the advice of his followers, but the final decision is his, and may not be overridden by any of the Celestial Knights.
The Master, like the Grand Master has authority over all Knights beneath him, in all areas. However, unlike the Grand Master his orders may be countermanded under the following circumstances:
1. The Grand Master may, naturally, overrule the Master at any time.
2. The Master may be overridden by the Master-at-Arms, Master-at-Thought or the Master-at-Prayer on a matter under that Master’s jurisdiction – e.g. the Master-at-Arms can countermand an order to one of the fifteen knights under his aegis, or any order involving combat or warfare.
3. Given 2, the three branch Masters, may, if they are in full accordance that the Master is no longer suitable, and if the Grand Master is unavailable, require the Master to step down until such time as the Grand Master may ratify or revoke such decision.
The Master-at-Arms, the Master-at-Thought, the Master-at-Prayer
Subject to commands from the Grand Master or Master of the Order, as described above, the branch Masters have authority over a) the fifteen knights under their command, b) any actions within their aegis.
The fields of authority of the branch Masters are as follows:
Master-at-Arms: warfare, combat actions, physical defence, scouting, training at arms.
Master-at-Thought: incanting, dealing with the Unliving, prayer, dealings with Ancestors, funeral rites, spiritual welfare of the Order, liturgical rites, spiritual training and preparation of the Order.
Master-at-Prayer: healing, healers, field hospitals, medical care for the Order, training in first aid.
A Branch Master may give an order, to a person/in a situation, outside their normal aegis, which should be obeyed, but this should only be done with due respect for the branch Master whose responsibility that person/area, would normally be. Such an order may be countermanded by the branch Master whose area of responsibility it is.
An order from a Branch Master which is within their field of responsibility, but to a Knight not under their direct command may be countermanded by the branch Master responsible for that person, but this should not be done without good reason.
If two Branch Masters agree on an order to a Knight outside their direct command but on a situation within one or both of their fields of responsibility, it may not be countermanded by the other Branch Master.
If the fields of responsibility of two or more Branch Masters conflict, they should attempt to resolve it between them. If this is not possible, it should be referred to the Grand Master or Master, in that order of preference. If neither the Grand Master or Master are present, each branch Master has authority over the Knights directly under their command. In such a situation, any Knights whose Branch Master is not present should follow the order of the Branch Master towards whom their skills best incline them: e.g. in a conflict between the Master-at-Arms and the Master-at-Thought, without the Master-at-Prayer being present, warrior-healers would follow the orders of the Master-at-Arms, Incantor-healers would follow the Master-at-Thought. Knights whose skills do not incline them to either Master present should act as follows: Warrior-Knights – The orders of the Master-at-Thought have precedence over those from the Master-at-Prayer. Incantor-Knights – The orders of the Master-at-Prayer have precedence over the Master-at-Arms. Healer-Knights – The orders of the Master-at-Arms have precedence over the Master-at-Thought. This is not a situation that should arise often, as the Branch Masters should agree their differences.
The oath that is now sworn upon entering the Order has also changed somewhat, to better reflect the current challenges faced by the Order, and the ideals they hold to. Originally, it was somewhat different:
All who would join the Knights were asked to swear the following oath by Celestial, Avalon and all our ancestors:
“To protect the widow, the orphan, the poor; not to slay an undeserving and defenceless adversary; not to take part in a false judgement or treason, or to withdraw if it cannot be prevented; to never give evil counsel to a lady; to help, if possible, a fellow being in distress; not to suffer the Unliving to walk upon Avalon; to fight the extremes of Chaos.”
A Celestial Knight must use his skills to protect the weak, spread culture and civilisation, while acknowledging the differing cultures of others and to uphold the law of the land. He must strive to bring the King’s Justice to all.