The Order of Knights of the Wreathed Snake of Apollonisus, also known as the Order of the Wreathed Snake, Order of Medicine or Healer Knights was the name of a Karentian Christian order. It was headquartered variously in the castle Apollonisus and later in the Polforian states of the Outregam, before its headquarters moved to Navatiak.
The order raised during the Middle Human Age, but some of their religious teachings were seen close to the Redemptionist Heresy, and as well rumours of secret initiation ceremonies created distrust in the kings of the Five Kingdoms of the Northwest.
Foundation and early history Edit
In the aftermath after the First War of the Power, Saron of Apolia, a sanctioned cruzeño-dumian nobleman who claimed to have had visions from God during his campaigns in the war, purposely was traveling with his closest friends at the coasts of Trebol -at that time, a Sargonic possession-, when they claimed to see a meteor descend toward them.
Believing it to be a signal of god himself, Saron obtained the authorization to build a church and a hospital for pilgrims in the site by the Karentian church, and later royal authorization to expand it into a settlement.
The Order of the Wreathed Snake will be founded as a Knightly order at the 2233 a.a.H.
From the church and hospital will rise a fortified monastery and later a castle that will be called Apollonisus, becoming a strong port and coastal fortress over the years.
The Hospital could accommodate up to 1,200 patients, and it served as well as orphanage.
The Order in the Northern Marches Edit
The Order in Polforia Edit
Accusations of Heressy Edit
The Templars were organized as a monastic order. The organizational structure had a strong chain of authority. Each country with a major Wreathed Snakes presence had a Master of the Order for the Wreathed Snake in that region.
All of them were subject to the Grand Master, appointed for life, who oversaw both the order's efforts in the East in the Outregam and the northern marches of Huncle and their financial holdings in the Northwest. The Grand Master exercised his authority via the visitors-general of the order, who were knights specially appointed by the Grand Master and convent of Apollonisus to visit the different provinces, correct malpractices, introduce new regulations, and resolve important disputes. The visitors-general had the power to remove knights from office and to suspend the Master of the province concerned.
No precise numbers exist, but it is estimated that about a tenth of the members were actual knights.
Behavior and clothing Edit
Unlike other Knightly Orders founded in the aftermath of the First War of the Power, they didn't charge headfirst into battle: Instead their man function was to tend the wounded, offering Mass and as well baptisms: only when fighting was absolutely necessary, they would take part, being looked upon more as warrior monks than knights.
Other thing that separated them from other Orders were their secrecy and knowledge. They put learning and academics above what the other Orders would call "Their Sacred Duty to God." The Order did spread the word of God, but it was in a more passive way: they preached to those who wished to listen, never did they become violent, nor did they to forcibly convert.
The First Founder Saron, spoke to his first students; saying that "Tis God that blessed us with a mind that thinks and discovers. We are the messengers of His word, but with every message it's the decision of the recipient to act upon it." This way of teaching had brought a number of non-humans to be baptized, which brought disrust to the Order as it was perceived as related to the Redemptionist Heresy.
The Order claimed that the Word of God was that of tolerance, love, forgiveness and acceptance. Those who accept love shall also be loved and welcomed in the Home of Man and Heaven.
This philosophy did not boat well with the more zealous and fanatical factions of the Knightly Orders and The Karentian Christian church, who originally supported the Order. These conflicts will become a point of tension in the Northern Marches and the Polforian states:
The Knights of the Wreathed Snake were absolutely appalled by what they referred to as "The slaughter of Mortal Kin." When the zealot Christians went around and slaughtered any non-humans, the Order of the Wreathed Snake offered sanctuary to the non-humans. The only thing that kept those who they were protecting being killed, was that they stated that it was the Word of God that demanded they offer sanctuary to all, not just humans. This event only further drove a wedge between the Wreathed Snake and the other Orders.
The Order of the Wreathed Snake is most iconic for its plague doctor outfits. As they were usually around the sick and dying, this helped them work for longer periods of time as well as kept any unwanted infections of their person.
Another unique aspect about this Order was that they did not care what species you were part of. If you had the motivation, and the capability to learn, you had a chance to join the Order. But only a select few are given the opportunity to be taken under as Apprentices. To be a member one needed to not only be mentally strong, but physically strong as well. Yes they aimed for more passive and academic practices, but they also had a fierce reputation as fighters. Never to be underestimated.
The colours of the Order of the Wreathed Snake is black and golden orange. The black represents death. Death is indiscriminate, whether you're human, non-human, Christian or not... everyone faces the dark abyss that is death. While the golden-orange represents the light that you see in the darkness. Symbolizing God's light and warmth of His love. The sigil of the Order is a snake with a laurel wreath surrounding it. The wreath is the sigil of the founder's family name Apolla. While the snake may be a more heathenistic symbol to most zealots, the creature holds a different respect to this Order.
During the early years of the Order, thanks to the knowledge of The Trinity, Saron learned that snake venom had some medicinal values and with this knowledge, used it to create more effective healing concoctions. Thus the creature became a permanent staple in the Order's history.
The Order's banner is a field of black with a golden- orange border, with the snake and wreath in the centre. Both are in the same golden-orange colour.