Solar Knights (also called 'Healer Knights') are, first and foremost, Silver Moon Knights and not a separate body. Their initial training is with their fellow squires in the Order, and all tests, instruction, responsibilities, and rank achievements are the same. Training as a Solar is in addition to regular duties. It must be noted that Solar Knights are not vivomancers. It has been a long-held belief, even among some of the less experienced of the Solar Apprentices, that the Solar Knights use Vivomancy to achieve their Healing. This is a fallacy that was not formally corrected until the release of an edict by Archmagess Annabella Morningstar. The Solar Knights use the same Life Energy of the Fifth Gift, though they are not constrained by the same principles fostered by worship of the Goddess Nostrella. The Solar Knights, when they give their ability a name at all, dub this magic 'Solar Magic.' While they respect Nostrella and those who worship her, their ways in the art of war cannot fall under her mantle. Solar Knights, while they can be considered 'Defenders of Life,' take life by violent means, and Solar Magic is a combat magic, used to preserve the lives of innocents and combatants alike, whereas Vivomancy is a pacifistic magic, taught with the intention of avoiding violence and death at all times. A Solar Knight will not heal someone using the exact same formulas that a Vivomancer does, but they are both capable of the feat.
It is thought that Solar Magic, being the more aggressive magic, is not as 'in tune' with life as Vivomancy, but this is generally a philosophical debate. Depending on the strength of their individual gifts, Solars retain the potential to perform at the same level as Vivomancers. That they usually do not is because they spend more time soldiering than studying the healing arts. They are, for all intents and purposes, frowned upon by the Goddess - and by a goodly number of Vivomancers. In spite of the potential for disagreement, there are generally vivomancers available at each of the forts, and vivomancers occasionally accompany units of Knights into battle.
This is sworn in addition to the basic Knight's Oath and before training as a Solar Knight is begun.
"I am a Silver Moon Knight, sworn to defend and serve the Silver Moon Empire. In this cause, I will use whatever resources are at my disposal to see to the safety and success of my fellow Knights. As a Solar Knight, I will not unnecessarily take a life nor do injury to another where none is needed. I will use my skills to preserve life where I may, giving loyalty first to the Empire, second to my fellow Knights, and last to myself. This I vow as a Knight of the Silver Moon."
Code of Knighthood: All knights of the Silver Moon Order adhere to the same code of conduct as is found under Silver Moon Knights.
The role of a Solar Knight, or a Solar Apprentice, is to preserve the life and health of their fellow Knights. Generally, the Solar is not in the front lines of any battle or skirmish, though they can and do fight alongside their fellow Knights. If a fellow is injured, the Solar will break off whatever combat they are in as quickly as possible and assist the injured. If the injured Knight is capable of continuing combat after they are healed, the Solar can send them back into the fight, but if they are not, the Solar can send them to the rear of the battle, regardless of their objections or their rank. If casualties become severe, the Solar Knight will fall back, taking with him as many Solar Apprentices as he feels is necessary to assist him in healing the wounded and pulling the wounded from battle to be healed. Any Solar Apprentices left in combat will continue to heal during the battle as they are able.
When fighting, a Solar's first priority is defense of their fellows. If they must forego dealing a killing blow to protect a fellow Knight from an unseen strike, for instance, they must do so without the slightest hesitation. Solar Knights cannot, and must not be glory-seekers.
A Solar Apprentice gains the title of Solar Knight when his healing abilities are sufficient to pass the tests set forth by the Solar Knights under whom he studies. In peacetime, Solar Knights manage the training and placement of Solar Apprentices, and are on staff to the Fort Commander. In wartime, Solar Knights set up field hospitals as well as entering the battle to heal, aid the combatants, and recover the wounded. There are usually one or two Solars at each fort, depending on how many troops are present. There are no Solar Knights serving as Fort Commanders, as this would hinder their duties as a Solar Knight. If a Solar Knight were to be promoted to Major, however, his duties will be those of Major, not of a Solar Knight.
A Solar Apprentice is any Silver Moon Knight found to possess the 5th Gift. They are sworn in as members of the Solar Order of the Silver Moon Knights, and then begin their training. They must do this in addition to their normal duties and missions, as they are still within normal units, so as to have their abilities easily at hand. They are trained in both Solar Magic, and basic and advanced first aid techniques. They are inserted into regular line units, where they serve as line-medics and learn from other Solars of higher rank and expertise.
After taking the Oath of the Solar Knight, one becomes a Solar Apprentice and remains at that level until gaining profiency enough to earn the rank of Solar Knight, which is completely independent of any military ranking and based solely on healing ability. Training in the Solar Arts is secondary to training and duties as a Silver Moon Knight and proceeds in several steps, starting with the Healing Arts and working into the Battle Arts.
The Healing Arts: The ability to preserve the life of a fallen comrade is first and foremost in the mind of all Solar Knights and Apprentices. Immediate first aid is the first step in the Healing Arts, followed by more complex healing, such as internal injuries, and purification of poison from the bloodstream. This early phase of training also includes a more in-depth look at the First Aid taught to all Silver Moon Knights.
Life Force Arts: The ability to sense and manipulate the Life Force surrounding all living things comes next. This art can be used to determine the level of health of a patient, and higher applications can be used to reinforce a patient's own Life Force, giving them the strength to survive a grievous wound, at the cost of depleting the user's own strength a small amount. Another mid-level application is to repress the patient's Life Force in order to calm them or sedate them, i.e., if they have a toxin in their system, or are deliriously violent.
Battle Arts: This last level of Solar Magic is discouraged, at best, and is is forbidden to use some applications entirely. Common uses of the Battle Art are to enhance the strength of a fellow Knight in battle or to temporarily enhance one's own strength (at the cost of later weakness) by stimulating the Life Force. Discouraged but not forbidden use includes suppressing the Life Force of an opponent to slow their reactions and weaken their attacks. Also discouraged is physical enhancement for the purposes of combat, to include deadening nerves, or inducing detachment, due to the longterm side-effects of such usage. The forbidden uses, for which a Solar Knight can be cast out of the Order of the Silver Moon and imprisoned, if not executed outright, include any use that inflicts actual direct injury on an opponent, whether in the form of bruising, cramps, fractures, or worse.
The origin of the Solar Knights is not widely known, as all Solar Knights consider themselves Silver Moon Knights first and prefer to ignore anything that sets them apart. That aside...
The presence of Solar Knights in the ranks of the Silver Moon Order dates back to the time when they were a mercenary Order. Phoebus Ilios, a mage from the Vivomantic Order, was stationed in Concussua, a small city in southern Luminii. While out on a foray with some local guardsmen, this Vivomancer came across a situation which made him question his beliefs, and his faith in the goddess Nostrella's benevolence. The troop he was with was attacked by a terrible beast* which had crossed the mountains and was ravaging the area. Phoebus attempted to use his wardings and his other protective magics, but the beast simply shrugged them aside or ignored them. In the end, Phoebus was only able to save himself from the creature, and his days thereafter were troubled.
When Icaruss raised his army and Cornelius Dreven rallied defenders from all the lands, Vivomancer Ilios felt the call. In a dire argument with his Superior, he took up arms and forsook the Vivomantic Order to seek more useful Magics. He eventually joined up with the Silver Moon Knights in their campaign to stop Icaruss, and though he was unskilled in his newfound art of combat, his Vivomantic training helped turn the tide for his own unit in the battle. After the Battle of Dawn's Early Light, when Cornelius was made Emperor and the Silver Moons were made the official defenders of the Realm, the ex-Vivomancer was carried along in the flow. With a new sense of purpose, he continued exploring possibilities until the magic he practiced had little actual similarity, in other than effect, to Vivomancy. It was not long before he began training others among the Knights who were blessed with the Fifth Gift, yet had chosen not to pursue careers as vivomancers.
Thus did the group of Healer-Knights among the Silver Moons, known now as Solar Knights, come to be.
*The "Beast" referred to in the Origin story is believed to be a troll, due to reports of several small bands of the creatures roaming the lands of Southern Luminii during the Unrests.
Note: This information is for players; please use discretion about what your character would know.
One of the stories that surround the mythos of the Silver Moon Empire is that of Estrella. While the tales inevitably vary, there is one that claims that she was meant to be the patron deity of Life Magic and Luminii, rather than her sister, Nostrella. Young and rebellious, she didn't want to be the patron of anything or be responsible for anything, so she abdicated, and faded almost entirely from the histories. Some Solar scholars claim that Estrella regretted her rebellion, and became the patron of the Solar Order to atone for her rashness.
Solars only publicly speak of 'the goddess,' and most people assume that they're referring to Nostrella. They never bother to correct this assumption. Estrella, the Order's secret legends claim, made herself known to the Order's founder, a disillusioned former Vivomancer named Phoebus Ilios who was assigned to a unit of soldiers and who had to watch helplessly as they were slaughtered. It was after this that Estrella came to him, and he founded the martial Order of the Solar Knights, which were soon thereafter subsumed into the Silver Moon Knights.
The reason for the secrecy isn't entirely known, and Solar scholars debate the circumstances. Some believe that she does not wish to seek glory. Others claim that she actually abandoned her post as the patron of Luminii to avert some larger threat, which would come again if her presence became public knowledge once more.
With the coming of the Klockmaster and the persecution of all Knights at the hands of the Klock Army, desperation was turned to hope by the conversion of many 'regular' knights to the Estrellan faith. In bringing their brother and sister Knights into the tiny but devout Estrellan community, the Solars required the same secrecy that had previously been preserved. Mention of the goddess to anyone outside the Order is strictly forbidden, and even amongst themselves they do not speak much of her. On those rare occasions, she is referred to by other names: the Daystar, the Vigilant Daystar, the Lady Knight, Morningstar (ironically) or Star of the Morning, and Lightbringer. She is, appropriately enough, associated with the sun, though she is not believed to be a sun goddess, and the Solars depict this connection in the use of their insignia, a stylized sunburst.
Worship of this goddess is not mandatory among the Knights, though many do so. However, any Knight who chooses not to follow the goddess is bound by the same vows of secrecy as those who do.
In the midst of some of the harshest terrain in western Luminii, in the southern peaks of the Sturrbith Mountains, lies a temple to the goddess Estrella. Of all the secrets kept by the Solars, this place is perhaps the most closely guarded. Once nearly abandoned, it now sees a regular - if meager - attendance of adherents coming to study, ponder, and pray. Within the depths of the mountains, the temple itself is accessed through a long corridor that eventually widens into a hall lined with tapestries depicting battles rallied around the banner of the Silver Moon from decades past when the order was little more than a band of mercenaries. Bare stone is replaced with a carpet to match the snowy cloaks of the Solars, fringed with gold tassel are two great metal-bound doors with two men always on guard. The men and women found in these halls, though few, wear voluminous cloaks of purest white, clasped at the shoulder with brooches worked in the sunburst design of the Vigilant Daystar. Raised hoods are crowned with a tiny golden sunburst where it would sit directly above the wearer's brow.
In contrast to the worshipers housed at or visiting the temple, those who are there to make reparation for laws broken wear dim gray and no visible representation of the Daystar. Thick steel bracelets lie heavy on their wrists, though there is no chain to connect them. He who wears them is bound more firmly by his own honor than by steel or stone. Atonement begins with an interview. From behind a screen of muslin, the interviewers - ranking members of the Order - question the guilty.
Monitors administer Atonement, a 'tortured trance (called the twilight realm), interrupted by periods of lucidity.' Atonement takes place in the Atonement Chamber, a gray stone room with no door, but with a window set high in each of the four walls. The windows show roiling gray clouds without, but whatever wind moves them cannot be felt within the small, square room. Breaks are given, and in these brief hours the atoner is allowed to bathe, eat and sleep. Atonement lasts 'as long as it lasts,' though it is not usually longer than three cycles.
"May the Daystar watch over you."
"May her Light always illumine thy path, Sir."
(Descriptions taken from "Atonement," by Adrien Locke)
|Adrien Locke, Apprentice (M.I.A.)|
|Cravideous "Red Hands" Saerndakk, Captain (M.I.A.)|
|Shane Corsair, Captain|
|Theelda Leonhardt (deceased)|