Alsara: Requiem and Revolution
Order of the Peacekeepers
While the Holy Order of the Radiant Falcon is primarily concerned with the holiness of Imperial subjects, the Peacekeepers are more interested in the fact that Imperial subjects remain breathing. They were founded by a chapter of Falconers in 894 AT, right when the Orcs invaded the Empire. The newly-formed Peacekeepers had come to the conclusion that an Imperial citizen couldn’t be holy if they were dead, so someone was needed to be able to respond to threats whenever possible. To this end, they abandoned most of the idealism of Aenor in favor of the utility of Govannon.
They weren’t officially recognized until 902 AT, when the Orcs were driven from the Empire and the Grandmaster of the Radiant Falcon requested all the so-called Peacekeepers return to their duties. When they refused there was a brief unrest in the Sept as they considered how to deal with this group of malcontented men that would reject Aenor’s teachings. It wouldn’t have been a problem normally, but the Peacekeepers had proven themselves war heroes during the Orcish conflicts, and if they were punished according to the Order’s laws it was likely that, if the Peacekeepers protested their punishment, they would be backed by both the population and the Imperial army. The Emperor feared it could lead to rebellion, and so he declared the foundation of the Order of the Peacekeepers, and allowed the southern Paladins to choose which Order they would follow.
While Peacekeepers are sometimes called upon to pass judgement on a crime, secular or not, they rarely do so. More commonly—though still rare—they will administer cases of military crime, but even then they prefer to serve as consultants. Any Peacekeeper can refuse to act as judge in any case, even one of holy nature.
The Order of the Peacekeepers was founded on the principles of Govannon, and as such calling their responsibilities “defense” might be something of a misnomer. Nevertheless, Peacekeepers are required to maintain order on the roads and lands of the Empire, no matter the cost. They do not generally leave the borders of the Empire, instead fighting rebellions, criminals, or invaders, sometimes even supernatural monsters or Undead incursions.
Vows and Restrictions
- Paladins are not permitted to own land.
- Paladins are not permitted to marry.
- Paladins are expected to prioritize mandates from their Order over mandates from any Lord, second to the Emperor.
- Paladins are expected to act according to the code of conduct befitting their station.
- Paladins are expected to attend holy service at least once a month.
- Paladins are expected to make any necessary personal sacrifice in the execution of their duties, including death.
While these vows are similar to the Holy Order of the Radiant Falcon, they differ in a few ways: Peacekeepers are allowed to swear fealty to a lord, generally as a military leader or commander. Their code of conduct is much more relaxed, and they are allowed a stipend to buy personal items not covered by necessity, such as art, fine food, or drink. However, the extension of their duties into secular defense brings the last vow into the fore: they are expected to die in service to the people they swear to defend. Few Peacekeepers survive into old age, and fewer still pass away from natural causes.
Lifestyle and Reputation
Like the Falconers, Peacekeepers maintain a rigorous training doctrine, this time with their studies focused on knowledge of monsters and tactics rather than law and courtly intrigue. Still, they are not ruffians or barbarians, and make a point of maintaining decorum and respect. Their stipend offers them the leisure of free time and something to do with it, and their code of conduct permits them certain earthly entertainment, such as drink and gambling. Sexual acts are permitted, though generally it is considered disgraceful to sleep with whores or unmarried maidens; despoiling a maiden damages her value to her father without recompense of a husband, and whores are disgraceful in general. This results in an interesting phenomenon: high-class whorehouses called Courtesan Guilds, maintained nearby Peacekeeper chapterhouses or other wealthy patrons, which are publicly considered respectable establishments. Children sired by a Courtesan are usually given over to the Sept or the Paladin Orders.
There is a rivalry between the Order of the Peacekeepers and the Order of the Falcon, beginning at the Peacekeeper’s creation and only intensifying with time. They do not hate each other—such animosity among holy men is unseemly—but the dislike is mutual and lasting, sometimes even resulting in violence. The Peacekeepers see Falconers as useless bureaucrats that are too caught up in politics and how holy they are to protect the people, while the Order of the Falcon seeks the Peacekeepers as a mass of slovenly drunken thugs, undeserving the title of Paladin. There are strong arguments on both sides, but the Orders do their best to hide the internal struggles.
Because there are far fewer chapterhouses belonging to the Order of the Peacekeepers, a large percentage of them tend to wander about, acting similar to a Knight-Errant by righting wrongs and protecting the people. Some are dedicated monster hunters, exploring the frontiers of the Empire and seeking out the vile creatures that torment the populations. The remainder act as military commanders in the armies of nobles, ensuring the safety of particularly dangerous territories.
Peacekeepers are primarily Fighters, usually with the Paladin or the Tactician Archetype. Second to that, they are Clerics of Govannon or Lugaid. There are also some Rangers and even a few Rogues in the Order. They are never Barbarians, as they emphasize self-control and discipline too much to allow anger to lead them into battle.
The Order of the Peacekeepers has chapterhouses primarily in the south and on the frontiers or less inhabited regions, though they have virtually no presence in the Steppelands, as they mesh with the Order of the North Watch even less than the Order of the Falcon.