Order of the Dawn (Knights of the Dawn)
A knightly, or chivalric, order founded well over a century ago by Zykas Latos. The order is bound in loyalty directly to the Lord of House Latos itself. It's original purpose was to serve as an elite unit in the field for House Latos, but that purpose has since been transcended. Nowadays the order has a gamut of uses. First and foremost they are still an elite force bound to House Latos to serve in battle of need be. But as the decades have passed, they have also grown to become an intelligence gathering unit, advisors to the Lord, and a personal guard for the Lord or other House Latos members on the Lord's command.
The Order is lead, as tradition has made it, by the second born son of the Lord of House Latos. If there is no second born son, then the knight in the order with highest rank and seniority takes this place. The commander of the order has a place in the Lord's Manorial Household.
Lastly, the Order has taken up another use in times where war is less of a full time occupation. To gather funds with which the Lord can then invest in the Order, or other matters important to the House, the Order of the Dawn offers training. Be it to someone aspiring to be a Man-at-arms, simply a better fighter, a knight, or even knight who wish to improve on their skill.
All this does not come free of course, and depending on what training you are looking for, a pretty penny may be charged.
Table of Content:
Ranks and Organization
The Order is divided into ranks that signify skill, authority and seniority. Since the Order of the Dawn is a limited group of thirty knights, no too elaborate system was ever implemented. If a new member joins, he joins at the bottom of the ladder on the position that befits his title, and can work his way up through dedication, show of skill, and valor.
The ranks from high to low are as follows:
- Commander of the Dawn - Usually the second born son of the Lord of House Latos. If no second born son exists, or is available, the knight with highest rank and seniority takes the position of command. This person also holds a place at the Lord's Household.
- Captain of the Dawn - A ranking officer in the Order. They are responsible for command of sections in the field, as well as aiding the Commander in training the men and other authoritarian duties.
- Knight of the Dawn - A full pledged member of the Order. They have passed their training and tests, and have said their vows.
- Squire - A younger man assisting a knight, aspiring to become one himself.
- Page - Child from age 7 or above aiding a knight. Pages serve until they become squires at a later age.
- Trainee - Either someone trying to join the Order but in need of additional training, or a person just looking for training that is unaffiliated with the Order itself.
Recruitment and vows
The Order of the Dawn is a knightly Order. However, their membership is limited. There can never be more than 30 Knights of the Dawn at any given time. It must be said that in the Order's history there have been exceptions to this rule. During it's second decade, the Order counted 46 knights after a surge of recruitment in preparation for an upcoming war. Again, half a century later, the Order had around 38 members. And another half century later the Order counted well over 60 members, with half of them dying in a major battle and reducing numbers back towards 30.
Joining the Order requires a test of faith, a test of skill and a test of perseverance. What exactly these tests entail is a well kept secret however. After completing all three tests, vows are said. When the vows have been spoken infront of the Commander of the Dawn and the Lord of House Latos, one may rise as a Knight of the Dawn.
"Humble I stand, humble I kneel. With it I unburden myself form any ties. I pledge my life and honor to my Lord. I will shield him from swords in the darkness. I will council him and keep his secrets. With my brothers I shall fight, with my brothers I shall die. Never shall I disobey my Lord's command, or fail him to defend his name and honor. When the armies of my Lord's enemies gather at twilight's edge, I will stand proud with my Lord's banner at the head of his men. Never shall my sword falter, nor my arm hesitate. I will lay down my life if need be, but will fight for it to my dying breath. Humble I knelt, humble I am, and like morning I will rise, until night flees the dawn."
After these words the Lord or Commander may say something, and then tell you to rise. From that moment on, you are a member of the Order of the Dawn.
There are a couple of things that are the duties of the Order of the Dawn. They are expected to carry out all of them with equal dedication and expertise. It is sometimes said that a Men-at-arms is the extantion of his Lord's will. If this is true, then a member of The Order of the Dawn is an extention of the Lord himself. It is therefor imperative they know how to behave and how to act on each mission.
- Fight - The most straightforward duty, and the original purpose of the order. First and foremost the Order of the Dawn are elite knights. When war is on the horizon, they are expected to form the strongest core of the Lord's army. they may also be used in duels, or as a security detail.
- Chamber knight - The Lord of House Latos has three Chamber knights. These are his personal bodyguard. These knights always come from the Order of the Dawn.
- Intelligence gathering - Perhaps not something you immediatly think of when you picture a knight. But Knights of the Dawn are expected to carry out these kind of tasks as well when the need arises. Therefor they may have to leave aside their armor and blend in with the masses.
- Advisors - It may well be that the Lord of House Latos faces a difficult decision. When this decision involves some sort of battle, it is likely he will at least consult the Order of the Dawn, or it's leaders, on their take on the matter.
The Knights of the Dawn train rigorously. Aside from that, however, they also offer training to those seeking it without joining the Order. Be this a Man-at-arms, or other knight. It will cost a pretty penny, but if you are dedicated enough, training will be granted. The period of time this takes is variable, as is the training itself. It all depends on your goals.
During training the Trainee can choose to stay in the local accomodations, or come each time from his own. To seek out training one should try and reach out to one of the Knights of the Dawn, or the Latos family. It well then be brought to the attention of the Officers of the Order, or the Lord of House Latos.
If you decide to take up training without the purpose of becoming a Knight of the Dawn, you will not have to follow the entire training program. Instead you can choose what to focus on.
Training to become a Knight of the Dawn:
To become a knight of the Dawn you have to pass the three tests. Many who want to become Knights of the Dawn start off as Pages and work their way up to Squires and eventually Knights. However, one can also join when already a knight, and pass the tests. Alternatively, one can pick up training at later age without being a Page. This will take equally as much dedication, and not many make it through to the end. Training consists, but is not limited to, the following.
- Unarmed Combat - - As the term suggests, this combat does not involve any weapons. There are a variety of different styles that can be practised within the Order.
- Unarmoured Combat - Again the term says it all. This involves techniques that are used in unarmoured combat. It deals with a variety of weapons and employs them in the context of a fight without armour.
- Armoured Combat - The opposite of unarmoured combat. It goes through the same steps but applies it to a context with armour involved.
- Mounted Combat - Learn how to fight while riding your mount. A mounted warrior is worth two on foot is what they say, but becoming one is far from easy.
- Archery - While not the main focus of the Knights of the Dawn, each knight is expected to have proficiency in archery at least.
- Mixed Arms - This can be seen a synthesis of all the above. It combines different techniques and pitches them against one another.
- Field Tactics - Tactical training for field action. This includes leading men into battle, combat tactics, etc..
- Warfare Tactics - Tactical training on a grander scale. Here there is no more concern for what precisely happens on the field, but more as to the strategy and tactics on which force are deployed.
- Skirmish Warfare - Specialised training in one of the most important aspects of denying the enemy, skirmishes.
- Chivalry - Each Knight of the Dawn is expected to know the Chivalric code.
- Etiquette - As a representative of House Latos, the Knights of the Dawn must be able to interact and properly behave around Nobles.
- Politics - Schooling on the political landscape around us and how it works. This includes learning the ruling houses, Nobles, etc... But it also delves in a little bit of political intruige.
- Intelligence - Lastely, the Knights of the Dawn are expected to be able to serve as intelligence agents when need be. This requires them to learn a few skills to accomodate this kind of task.
Possible training for those who do not wish to join the Order:
If you just come to train, but do not aspire to join the Order, you can train in one or more of the following:
- Unarmed Combat
- Unarmoured Combat
- Armoured Combat
- Mounted Combat
- Mixed Arms
- Field Tactics
- Skirmish Warfare