Order of Paladyne

elf02aThe Order of Paladyne has been in existence as long as the races of the world have felt the need to protect their fellow man. They are known for their heroic Knights, the Paladins. Details about their origination are unclear, but the First, who created the Order was said to be an elven woman of great strength and character. Other details about her are wrapped more legend than fact; some say that after the Sundering of the world, she and her Paladyne now hold the Floating Realms together. Others say she died a humble death in service to her fellows without ever knowing that she would inspire the Paladyne Order. Whatever the truth behind this woman, she forged a bond with a race of Titans and inspired people to follow in her footsteps far beyond her days. Because of her, the Paladynes continue to form Bonds with the mortals of this realm, creating Paladins and protecting the lives of countless people.

A consecrated member of the Order of Paladyne lives a disciplined military existence that extends far beyond the walls of each Great Temple. At the core of the Paladyne Order’s existence is a desire to fight injustice, fight oppression, fight aggressors, and find a peaceful existence for living beings. Their central tenet is to be the dissenting voice against oppression that will lend courage to others. That tenet can mean their death or the death of those they love. A Paladin must be willing to make the sacrifices required for the greater good. To aid the Paladin in the face of such choices, their Paladyne grants them the Bond to stand strong against their enemies.

The Order of Paladyne can be found in most major cities around the world, but wherever there are people in need of protection, you will find the Order. They are the single largest unaffiliated military force in the world, spanning all races, genders, and countries. Their presence is a stabilizing force in many regions, protecting the people of the land from tyrants and corrupt governments. This task is far greater than the Order can handle alone, so they target the greatest evils while allowing some lesser evils to survive.

The Paladins have many similarities with a clerical order. Each of their Great Temples appear to be great cathedrals. Initiates of the Order find themselves living a cloistered life within the walls of each Great Temple. Visitors are welcome to worship and meditate within their grounds. They are entirely self-sufficient and have entire communities that live and breath around them. They cultivate vast gardens, have an extensive library, honor all the Controller Gods with Shrines and–where the lesser gods are worshipped–have shrines for them as well. Only the Inner Sanctum is off limits to the general public. The cultivation of trust within the community is a very important aspect of their existence. They need the support of those they protect to do their duty and maintain their Great Temple, without it they would not have a presence in the region.

The Great Temples combine elements of divine cathedrals and military compounds. Each Great Temple is ruled by a Council of Three, the eldest, wisest and most powerful Paladins of the region. Within each Great Temple you will find the four levels of Paladin hopefuls, the Applicants, Recruits, Supplicants, and Paladins. In addition to the Paladin hopefuls are the Regulars and Templars, individuals that for whatever reason were unable or unwilling to become a Paladin, but wished to serve the Paladyne Order in whatever capacity they could. The Regulars and Templars are limited to the Great Temple grounds on this plane, guarding it as they would their homeland.

The true power of the Order is found in the Inner Sanctums and its chambers only available to Supplicants and Paladins. These chambers are otherworldly in design and interconnect each Great Temple. The Inner Sanctums are unique structures within a dimension distortion where the Plane of Elysia—the home of the Paladynes–overlaps with our own. The Inner Sanctums lead into the Fields of Elysia allowing Paladins to move to other Great Temples and transport across the world in the time it takes to move across a farmer’s field. It is not common knowledge, but within the Inner Sanctum, a Paladin may speak directly with their Paladyne Patron on this plane, take part in meetings within the Grand Senate, find housing within the Mansion of Infinite Rooms, and are granted access to each Vault of Orison.

The Paladyne Order is not without its own corruption, as any organization that spans countries and continents is sure to have a few bad seeds, but it is always an organization for Law and Order. These cases are rare and often the Bond has been broken with such Paladins, but if they are in a position of power, there often is not an easy means to detect this. The Paladins are welcome sights in any city and most every government recognizes their presence. Their deeds have been proven through fighting the battles involving earth shaking events.

The Titans known as Paladynes

The Paladyne Order would not exist as we know it without the might and guidance of the Paladynes. Through the Paladyne, the Paladins gain power over the forces of Order; Divine Magic is awakened within them. The Paladynes form a Bond with their Paladin that lasts for as long as the Paladin’s heart is true. A Paladyne usually only forms one Bond at a time, but some of the more powerful Paladynes have been known to form multiple Bonds with different Paladins. The Bond gives the Paladin supernatural speed, strength, awareness, and knowledge. Without it, the Paladin is still formidable through their training and Divine Magic.

The Paladynes are one of the two great Titan races that are known to coexist on a level of power with the Controller Gods. It is believed that they have the ability to span the multiverse, existing in multiple universes at any given moment while not being tied to any particular Universe. This ability lends credence to the idea that they are not of this world, as anything created within a universe cannot exist in multiple universes at the same time. No one knows the motivations of the Paladyne Titans. When asked, the Paladynes have always only responded that they answer to a Higher Power. What is known, is that they were not created by the Controller Gods and their powers are based on the universal force known as Law and Order. This seems to be why the Elves and Paladynes have such a close affinity with each other.

The counterpart to the Paladynes are the Dreadnaughts–Titans tied to the forces of Chaos and Entropy. We have been told that the battle between the Paladynes and Dreadnaughts has spilled across many Universes since the beginning of time. The victors are declared as the Prime Force of each particular Universe. The Paladynes defeated the Dreadnaughts in this Universe far before the Sundering, eons ago. As a Prime Force, the Controller Gods are unable to interfere with them and are not pleased with the Titan’s meddling, but are powerless to stop their machinations. In their eyes, since the Titans are capable of unlocking Divine power in mortals and go against the rules of Balance the Controller Gods have set, they are problem. Unlike the many minor gods and demi-gods that exist in this Universe and must abide by these rules, the Paladynes cannot be punished for their transgressions. So the world tips towards Order and Law, away from Chaos and Entropy, due in no small part to the Paladynes and their Paladins.

Becoming a Paladin

To become a Paladin a person must undertake many years of training, followed by a great number of trials until they are deemed worthy of the Bonding Ritual with a Paladyne. The Paladyne Order accepts candidates from anywhere. A person may enter the training to become a Paladin at any time of their life. All worthy candidates are evaluated and tested before entering the service of the Order and then go through three stages of training before the Bond. All candidates are evaluated on their military training and experience for placement. Candidates are formed into groups that match their skill level, regardless of age. Most soldiers may find their skills sufficient to meet the basic standards of the Order, but many are surprised to find their training is often not enough to be accepted immediately as a Recruit without a few weeks as an Applicant.

The First Rank within the Paladyne Order is the Applicant. Applicants never face combat or find themselves sent on trials, except in rare cases. Training starts for an Applicant with basic military disciplines, tactics, and combat training with an emphasis on the sword, shield, and bow. The Applicant stage is extremely regimented, with many tests required before reaching a point where they are offered the opportunity to become a Recruit. There is no limit to how long a person may reside in the Applicant stage, but if after many years the Applicant has not attained the required aptitude to meet the Paladyne Order’s standards, they are offered a position within the Order as a Regular. If they refuse they are given gold for their time in the Order and returned to their former Home. Most Applicants stay as Regulars.

If the Applicant has met the standards of the Order, their standing changes to Recruit. Recruits are allowed increased privileges with access to knowledge beyond military matters. They are taught the ways of the Order, Divine Magic theories, and Advance Military training. As an Order of Paladyne Recruit, the candidate is required to uphold the strict values of the Order, practicing them in all aspects of their lives. The time as a Recruit is designed to separate those who see this as a profession rather than a way of life. Recruits they will be placed on multiple missions and trials to test their response to situations, always under the watchful and invisible scrutiny of their superiors. They are evaluate on three criteria, Intelligence, Skill, and Character with Character being the most important. Those that fail to meet the standards of Character required are given opportunity to reform unless a pattern emerges suggesting otherwise. A Recruit that fails at this point is often passable as a Paladin, albeit without the magical powers, so they are offered the role of a Templar–the Elite Temple Guard–or granted their leave with a sizable cash reserve. A Recruit that succeeds in passing all tests is offered the title of Supplicant. The Supplicant stage is voluntary.

A Supplicant is but one step away from becoming a Paladin. For a Supplicant, there are only two available paths, become a Paladin or Death. While this may seem a harsh sentence, this fate is known to all that rise to the level of a Supplicant. It is the consequences of having their Divine Powers awakened by a Paladyne; some can withstand it, others cannot. The Paladynes have tried to shield those with whom they Bond in the past, but found those Paladins were unable to use their powers to the fullest, weakening the Paladyne Order as a whole.

There is no evaluation or test by members of the Order to determine when a Supplicant is ready to become a Paladin. The decision rests entirely in the hands of the Supplicant. They decide when they are ready to face their Paladyne. When ready, the Supplicant enters the Sanctum and enters their Great Temple’s Vault of Orison. Within the Vault, they speak with the Paladyne present. It could be any Paladyne, but most often it is the Paladyne that has chosen the Supplicant as their own and has been watching them for some time. Personalities of the Paladyne and Supplicant are often a close match. Upon entering and making ready, the Paladyne bestows upon the Supplicant the Bond and unlocks their Divine Power. Those that survive become Paladins. Those that fail are taken to the fields of Elysia, the Titan Realm of the Paladynes, to live until their soul is called to this plane once again.

The Bonded Supplicant becomes the Paladin, the pinnacle of the Paladyne Order. They may control the Bond, a symbiotic link between their Paladyne known as their Patron, and wield all the wisdom, skill and power the Order has instilled in them. Their journey begins anew. All Paladins are mortals and mortals can force change within themselves and others even under the embodiment of Order in the universe. The task of keeping their Bond strong and making it even stronger is a daily struggle, sometimes this struggle may even be lost. On those rare occasions the Bond may be broken and their Patron out of reach, but their Divine Power can never be taken away from them. For as the all Greater Beings know, the gift of Divine Power, once awakened, is forever present.