A Treatise on the Knights of Solamnia
D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules
Treatise on the Knights of Solamnia
Author's note: While my earlier treatise covering the creation of the Solamnic Empire can be considered a reference tool on the how the modern nation of Solamnia came into being. It should not be taken as a reference for the status of the Knights of Solamnia during this time. While these knights for centuries had championed the cause of light, it has been well documented that following the Chaos War their power over the region called Solamnia fell tremendously. With the loss of power in the region the knighthood had been forced to fall to lands of previous exile, Sancrist. Even though the War of Souls allowed the knighthood a chance to rejoin the traditional lands, they were no longer able to properly administer such lands. Further information can be gleamed from the Treatise of the Solamnic Empire.
In this writing you will not find any argument concerning the grossly management of the country or an apology about the actions of Jaymes Markham on the nation of Solamnia. Those arguments have been written a hundred times already and the works discussing Markham's actions are still often quoted years after the incidents. Instead you will find a clear description of what befell the knighthood in the early days of the Solamnic Empire. To have a clear understanding of what befell the knighthood one needs to look back at the history of the nation of Solamnia and most importantly in its last days in the struggle against the half ogre Ankhar and the civil war that followed with the Dukes.
I hope you as the reader will understand what steps were taken in the early stages of this campaign and how the quick actions of people such as Kalkwarf, Margraf, Cataya and Schweibert preserved the heritage of the organization. While the knighthood has evolved since the days of Huma, Brightblade and even the Majere's, it has always stood for the forces of light. Please enjoy the summary of the events that took place in the last days of the Solamnic Civil War and the early years of the Empire.
Treatise on the Knights of Solamnia
"One needs to understand that the knighthood was sick, sick long before the likes of Markham." Sir Elisha Margraf, Knight of the Crown.
"When history documents these events, who will they cast as heroes and who as villains?" General Jackson Kalkwarf, Knight of the Rose
The history of the Knights of Solamnia is one filled with glorious highs and unforgettable lows. This history has been told by historians throughout the centuries and contains the tales of Huma, Sturm Brightblade and even Linsha Majere. All of these tales tell of truly normal individuals cast into moments of history that have made them immortal. It is through these tales of gallantry, honor and sacrifice that the knighthood has made its name. These tales also are what caused the turmoil post War of the Souls.
When Jaymes Markham led the armies to victory over the forces of Ankhar, the people living in the land of Solamnia fell in love with him. While Markham had at one time been a knight, it was also noted that through false evidence that he had been framed for the murder of a fellow knight Lord Lankford Lorimar, Knight of the Rose. This evidence was discovered through the Invasion of Ankhar, that in reality Markham was innocent of the murder and that the real culprits were individuals who considered themselves Dukes of the Knightly orders.
Now one must understand that by this point, the government of the knighthood had no real power in Solamnia. The Solamnia during both wars of this time was corrupt and did not respond to requests made by the council. Instead they operated independently and often misled knights still loyal to their oath. It is during this time in history we see a true separation of the knighthood in the traditional lands. Knights began to form into two opposing side, those who still believed in the oath and those that were driven by a military calling.
During this time period the knighthood in Solamnia was known for its military victories, victories over the forces of Mina. The men who joined the knighthood at this time were different then the older traditional knights. The newer knights were ones who dreamed of riding into victory and cared little else for the organization they served. This led to a great divide in the knighthood as older knights often left the mainland of Solamnia, seeking the comforts of Sancrist as something that was stable and familiar.
The knighthood previously to this divide was on the verge of recovering its power base in Solamnia. Lorimar had led a resurgence in the organization and while many citizens of Solamnia did not wish for another outside ruler, following the fall of the Dark Knights and the stories of the inability of the Knights of Solamnia to defend them in countless wars. They did though wish to become united under the leadership of this great knight, but in the early days of the return of Solamnic power, corrupt lords created petty fiefdoms. After the assassination of Lorimar the only voice of the knighthood that supported the oath had been snuffed out.
During the period of time between the death of Lorimar and the rise of Markham, the knighthood continually loses control over large parts of Solamnia. Those few lords who remain dedicated to the oath learn early the price of obedience and many of them leave their estates in the hands of others as they travel abroad. The lands are quickly confiscated by the various fiefdoms of Solamnia and prior to the invasion of Ankhar the knighthood has no real power in Solamnia.
While the knighthood's power was waning in their traditional homeland it was growing elsewhere. On Sancrist the Council of Knights elected a new Grand Master in 427 AC. This event was in response to the elevation of Markham to Lord Marshall of Solmanic forces and the isolation of the acting Grand Master Goddard Tasgall. The council felt that Tasgall was turning Sanction into his own private domain and that he did not represent the Measure.
The new Grand Master Sir Michel Cataya was a young Knight of the Rose, one born on the isle of Sancrist and had never traveled to the mainland of Solamnia. It was believed that he was free of the corruption that plagued the knighthood there. The hope of a strong charismatic leader was a major deciding factor to the council.
As the wars swept through the lands of Solamnia, Grand Master Cataya did little to contain them. Instead he focused on gaining control of Sancrist mainland to help establish the land as the new permanent homeland of the organization. It would be through a series of events that the Dragon Overlord Pyrothraxus would be defeated by forces under General Jackson Kalkwarf and control of the land would fall completely to the knighthood. In the early part of 430 AC the knighthood began to resettle large parts of the island. It would be during this time period that the Knighthood would attempt to reach out to the Solamnic Empire.
Sending an ambassador party headed by Lady Natisha Schweibert (Knight of the Sword) to Palanthas, the knighthood was hoping to set up a trading partner to help its fledgling industrial base. When Schweilbert attempted to meet with the Emperor Markham, she was told that in no form would a decrypted organization that had failed the people of Solamnia would be given any consideration. The ambassador then returned home with the message and informed the knighthood of no possible trade agreement.
Cataya saw that any further communication with the Empire would cause further anger and potentially anger the emperor enough to react with force. The knighthood under the direction of Cataya instead chose to follow a different path and ruled out a return to Solamnia. Using the Ambassador Schweilbert they reached to the nation of Ergoth and the city states of Abanasia. Through the skillful negotiations they were able to create lucrative trade deals. They would even be able to send representatives to Thorbardin and convince the High Thane to create a colony on Sancrist.
In the nation of Solamnia, while the knighthood was strengthening alliances, the situation grew dire for those supporters of the knighthood. In 433 AC Markham decreed that any image of the former knighthood would be destroyed. All knights who had taken an oath to Knights of Solamnia would be required to take an oath into the Army of No Sign and receive a new rank. It would be during this time that a knight of the Crown, Sir Elisha Margraf, would rise up to challenge the emperor.
Elisha Margraf was born on 396 AC in Caergoth in the years following the Chaos War. He was raised in exile in Northern Ergoth he was taught about the oath and measure from none other than Sir Liam Ehrling. In 414 AC, Margraf would be knighted into the ranks of the Crown Knights. He would go on and serve with distinction in the War of Souls returning to Caergoth following the war. In the events leading up to the civil war in Solamnia, Margraf stayed loyal to his oath. He would often give long speeches to his fellow knights about the importance of their oath. In the southern part of Solamnia he gained a large following of support.
During the invasion of Ankhar and the civil war that followed, Margraf remained neutral. He declared to all who would listen that "this war is not for the knighthood, not by the knighthood and supports no cause of the knighthood." This argument would win him little in the way of friends and much of his support went to become followers of Markham. Throughout the war he would continue to champion the cause of the knighthood, while many would consider him an outdated relic of ages gone past.
When the decree was issued by Markham to have all current Knights of Solamnia to renounce their titles and swear a new oath to his army, Margraf refused. He was arrested in 435 AC and charged with treason. Instead of being executed, as was the decree's order for those who refused, Margraf was taken to meet with the emperor. Why this happened no one can explain, perhaps it was their campaigning during the War of Souls that created this bound, or was Markham compelled to learn why would a man rather die than simply swear a new oath.
In the months that followed Margraf would argue with the emperor that the current course of Solamnia was wrong. That it should be the knighthood the governed the land and that is should be Grand Marshall Cataya leading the people. Markham listened to the argument and simply stated that if the people of Solamnia would ask for Cataya that he would step aside. He even took the matter one step further and accompanied Margraf to Central Plaza. There he called the people of the city to him and he allowed Margraf to give his argument for the knighthood. Following the speech Markham made a short speech of his own simply stating, "I have done what the knighthood never could." The crowd's cheers for the emperor were deafening. Markham then turned to Margraf and declared, "All those still loyal to the lost power of knighthood have 30 days to leave this country. You will not be stopped by anyone but you will be free to leave. I do this as my last act of mercy to a dying cause."
This began the event later called The Great Migration, but that is another writing for another time.
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