The Order of Celestial – post 1106
The document adopted at the Gathering of Nations 1106
Written by Grandmaster Elrood Brond, 1106
I know very little about Celestial, the man that was. I’m told that he was not a particularly good man, that if he was alive today I wouldn’t allow him to become a knight. This may well be true, but it is irrelevant. I’m also told that, when people start to venerate an ancestor, the ancestor becomes what it’s followers believe, so Celestial the ancestor is honourable, even if Celestial the man wasn’t. But even that is only of slight relevance. The word “Celestial” in our title could be a reference to the stars in the sky just as easily as it is a reference to an ancestor. What matters, what *is* relevant, is what we do, and what others see us do. I think this was brought home to me when Queen Tope, just after Spirit had created the “Faith” option for the upcoming cataclysm, asked me if my ancestor was important to me. She was basically saying that if my ancestor was important to me, then I should resign my position in the Feast cadre in favour of Faith. After some consideration, I realised that the Order is, in fact, more important to me than Celestial.
On the Role of the Order
I have always believed that the role of the Order is to set an example to others, and as others have stated, to be a conscience for those that need it, when they need it. Because most of us are Lions, we tend to be a conscience for the Lions, but we’ve currently got a knight guesting with the Vipers, and in the past we’ve had members in the Harts. I see no reason why we can’t fulfil the same function for those factions. Fewer numbers may make us less effective, but that’s no reason not to try. As Sir Tor suggested, our core value is the willingness to stand for what we believe. I’m sure we all know what is right, but we each have differing priorities. What is more, we change over time, and our priorities may change. We should therefore periodically stand up and state to each other what our priorities are, so that we all know what we all believe most strongly.
On Knights and Companions
I believe that there is, and should be, a distinction between knights and Companions, but it has nothing to do with armour or the ability to use a weapon. The difference is in style – the knights are obvious and “loud”, the Companions less so. The two styles working together should make us more effective than one alone. I should possibly clarify what I mean by “loud” – it’s not just standing up at a muster and telling people where they’ve gone wrong. Sir Anri was good at that, I’m considerably less so. By “loud”, I mean blatant, obvious. This is why I hold such strong views about knights wearing a uniform (which normally means a tabard). The design of the tabard makes us obvious, which means that when we do something, people can see us doing it. In this way, we set an example, and hopefully we inspire others to do the same.
By contrast, companions are less obvious. This means that it is possible for them to talk to people quietly, possibly without the person they are talking to even realising that they are talking to a member of the Order. Some people are inspired by visible acts of courage and bravery. Others are more influenced by quiet conversation. The knights may have success inspiring the first group, but are unlikely to influence the second group. By contrast, the Companions are less likely to inspire the first group, but are more likely to have success with the second. I see no reason why any Companion that is able and willing should not wield a weapon or wear armour. Equally, I see no reason why any knight should not talk quietly to people. That each group can perform the function of the other does not negate the distinction that the knights are “loud”, whilst the Companions are “quiet”. In my eyes, both groups are equally important, but advance the aims of the Order in different ways. (To know of the Order’s Livery, read here…)
In the past, we have not accepted mages as knights, and knights were expected to carry a weapon at all times. Neither of these restrictions are to hold true any more. The traditional titles of “Master of Thought”, “Master of Arms” and “Master of Physik” are to be retained, but as honorifics, not as indications of rank or seniority. Unlike in the past, they are not tied to a particular skill set, but rather to our beliefs. The Master of Physik, for instance, could be an incantor or mage, if that member had saved life in a notable manner. There will never be more than one of each Master, and each year, at the Gathering of Nations, the positions will be reviewed, and possibly passed onto another member of the Order. If the Grand Master believes that no individual has earned any of these titles, then they should not be awarded.
One companion shall hold the title of “Knight Confessor”. It is this companion’s duty, in addition to all normal duties, to offer moral support to other members of the Order when required. Any member of the Order may talk to the Knight Confessor, in confidence, if they need moral guidance or advice, or if they need to talk in confidence for any reason. Any such conversation will be treated with complete confidence, unless the details of a crime are divulged, in which case the Knight Confessor should inform the Grand Master of the pertinent details, but no more than is necessary. Members of the Order are, and should be, sufficiently self-disciplined that a detailed command structure is not required. We will therefore abandon the traditional command structure, and simply have a Grand Master. The Grand Master can delegate duties and responsibilities to other members if and when required. If the Grand Master has nominated his/her successor, then that individual may be called upon in the Grand Master’s absence.
Sir Elrood also wrote on the oaths and service that Squires and Companions should undertake. In addition, those wishing to know more about the Order, and about serving with it may be interested in the Knightly virtues, which were not changed by Sir Elrood.
Those interested may also wish to know more about serving Knights and Squires, or about Companions, whose numbers currently contain no less than three prestigious Knights of Lantia. Alternatively, you may wish to read the memorials to learn of the many heroes who have served the Lions Faction and the Order and who have now passed to the planes of the Ancestors. The High Ritualist, High Healer, and two High Incantors of the Lions Faction, Guildmasters, and others with Guild positions across Erdreja, and even a Crown Prince of the Lions are counted amongst them. All fell defending the best values of the Order of Celestial.