by Carteeg Struve
After the Dragonkin Horde began their assault on the people of Etlarn, the Etlarn Defenders were founded as a way to combine both magic and knightly might in order to protect the magocracy from the impending threat.
Adventures: The Dragonkin Horde has been threatening the sovereignty of Etlarn for almost three hundred years. During this time the number of Defenders has grown, but they are not always used a front line forces. Sometimes Defenders need to seek for information, rescue those who are threatened by the draconic enemies, help liberate a town who’s last defenses had failed, or search for ancient weapons of arcane or divine strength that may finally turn the tides. Etlarn’s fate has been growing ever more desperate. Any mission that could assist in any way may be charged to a member of the Defenders.
Characteristics: The Defenders were broken up into three orders, each focusing on a different style of magic. The Brethren of the Flame utilized Wild Sorcery, the Brethren of the Moons utilized White Sorcery (High Sorcery of the White Moon), and the Brethren of the Stars are paladins who utilize the magic of the gods Autenanima, Pietarde, and Pensokia. Each order was further divided to include elite forces of various assortments, but the majority of the Defenders only dedicate themselves to their particular Brethren and Etlarn.
The elite members of the Brethren of the Moons join the Knights of the Argent Crescent, a unit of divine warriors. The elite members of the Brethren of the Stars join the High Arcanists. The elite members of the Brethren of the Flame join the Sentinels of the Throne.
The Paternal is the honorific given to the head of the Defenders. He or she is the only member not part of any of the brethrens, but each order reports directly to him or her. The Paternal reports directly to the monarchy. Ironically the masculine title was first given to and chosen by a woman, Treesa Paldina. She selected the name in jest, but the title stuck through the centuries. The current Paternal is Janos Clearflame, a former Knight of the Argent Crescent.
Alignment: All members of the Etlarn Defenders are good aligned, however the elite bands within the Brethren may have their own additional requirements.
Religion: Dedication to a particular deity is not required to join the Etlarn Defenders, however some of the brethren require a certain type of dedication. The Brethren of the Moons draw their power from the white moon Autenanima (and sometimes Calorossa) while the Brethren of the Stars draw power from their faith in Autenanima, Pietarde, or Pensokia. Only the Brethren of the Flame are unaffiliated with any higher power. Membership in the Brethren of the Flame does not necessarily preclude any member with a religious affiliation.
Background: In 30 AD, a silver wolf spoke to the people of Etlarn as a proxy for Autenanima, the patron of White Sorcery. Through the silver beast’s mouth, he gave both High Sorcery and Wild Sorcery his blessing. “Both the magic of the moons and the magic of the world will be needed to fight the new dangers approaching; they are meant to be used in harmony, not in opposition, against forces that would destroy all that is good and magical about your kingdom.”
A hundred years later, the meaning of the warning became clear. What were believed to be dragons and their followers came ashore in Etlarn and began a devastating assault against the land. Nearly a third of Etlarn fell beneath the horrors of these so-called dragons before the nobles managed to establish a means of defense. A former human native of Gildanesti, Treesa Paldina, helped organize the Etlarn Defenders in an effort to stop the tide of destruction and defeat. Gathering the various factions of popular magic users in Etlarn together, she formed the Brethren under the guidance of Etlarn’s king. Although the Brethren continued to operate as separate groups, she directed them in a cohesive fashion. Soon the Defenders were fending off attacks from the Dragonkin Horde and stopping the dragon’s advance.
During the Starfall, the skies changed and two out of the three Brethrens were rendered powerless. Only the Flame remained capable of spellcasting for the next forty years. This period of time proved very damaging to Etlarn as the dragons advanced in record pace. Most of the magocracy fell under the Horde’s control. Only a handful of major cities, including the capital, were still free, but many were now under massive sieges. When everything seemed lost, the Starfall was undone and the Defenders quickly re-founded the Brethrens of Moons and Stars. With the various powers available yet again, hope returned. Etlarn’s survival as a magocracy is still in great danger. The Brethrens are struggling to operate in unison again after four decades of the Defenders operating with a single order.
The current Paternal is Janos Clearflame, a former Knight of the Argent Crescent from before the Starfall.
Races: The Etlarn Defenders are primarily made up of Etlarnic citizens, but there is nothing in its bylaws that exclude foreigners or members of races not common in Etlarn.
Other Classes: Most members of the Brethren of the Moons tend to be wizards while members of the Brethren of the Flame are sorcerers, and members of the Brethren of the Stars are clerics or paladins. People with other casts are not excluded from the Defenders so long as their abilities are in line with the Brethren they join (for example, no wizards in the Brethren of the Flame).