- "The fire will always burn, just as the courage of this elite band of men will never be extinguished."
- —The Knights of the Everlasting Light.
Known throughout the Old World, the Knights of the Everlasting Light are a doomed Order, an institution that shoulders the heavy burden of an ancient curse. Many view these warriors with a mixture of sympathy and derision, for they cannot understand why any would voluntarily accept the curse by joining the ranks of this ancient order. Despite their blight, the Knights of the Everlasting Light are noble and true in their service to their Goddess, and amongst the countless tales of their curse, there are a similar number revolving around their heroism and bravery. These are always coloured by gloomy ends and desperate efforts to hold back the call of the curse that afflicts them all. It is the self-sacrifice that makes them beloved in the eyes of the common people.[3b]
The warrior code of this Order is founded squarely on the principles of justice and fairness. Naturally, as nobles, the Templar's opinion of justice contrasts markedly with that of the common folk, yet it cannot be argued that they often willingly fight for those who have no others to defend them.[2a] They were the only warriors to defend the plague-afflicted village of Hafbad from an advancing horde, when none else would venture near. And it was only knights of the Order who would fight the fearsome Shaggoth, Brakorth, high up in the World’s Edge Mountains.[2a][3b]
Recruitment & Duties
Knights of the Everlasting Light are almost all drawn from the ranks of the nobility, usually the middle sons of nobles sent to join the order as a compromise between a martial career and a religious education. Regardless of the order’s infamy and notoriety, there is never a shortage of applicants wanting to join. There are those strange folk in the world — again, mostly nobles — who believe it is better to belong to a well-known but cursed order, than to belong to a mundane but obscure one.[3b]
The knights swear to uphold the values of Verena, truth and justice, although as a result of their noble status, most of their views are skewed somewhat. The commoners they “deliver” unto justice do not always agree with their pronouncements.[3b]
They rarely undertake the mundane activities that many templars face as a daily reality, such as guarding temples or priests. Instead, the knights of the Order are constantly embarking on crusades or quests, either as a means to further the cause of justice, or as a way to expiate themselves of the curse, if such a burden can ever be lifted.[3b]
Like many templar orders, the Knights of the Everlasting Light trace their origins to the crusade against Araby, where they gained fame and fortune from their part in the wars. Along with great wealth and notoriety, though, came their curse. Legend holds that when these knights passed through a small town filled with women and children, they hardened their hearts and slew them all. With a dying breath, the matriarch of the village cursed these knights for all time — consigning them to a life of heroic service, but one that ultimately would doom them to ignoble deaths.[3b]
The curse first became apparent when the order made its way home from the crusades, its ships laden down with fabulous treasures. Despite the sea being calm, and the Order’s ships sailing in a fleet along with ships from countless other orders, only its ships sank, sending the wealth of the order to the bottom of the Black Gulf. In the centuries that followed, the Templars have suffered worse and worse turns of bad luck, ranging from strange outbreaks of illnesses that afflict only them, to blights in the food they purchase, to lamed horses and worse. Nearly every knight has met some ignoble end, and the stories are filled with heroic warriors who survive battle but succumb to plague, choke to death on food, slip down a flight of stairs and break their necks, and more. In every case, these deaths are always from some mundane source, and rare is the Knight of the Everlasting Light who finds an honourable end.[3b]
They find themselves thrown from their horses at inopportune moments; swords break as a deathblow is delivered; seemingly stable earth turns to marsh or quicksand once the hooves of their steeds touch it. Only a member of this Order (Kurt von Tzalza) could be struck in the eye by a ricochet that was fired behind him. Only a Grand Master of the Everlasting Light (Sigismund Drak) could be dumped unceremoniously into a cart-load of manure during a victory parade in Altdorf, the only such cart for many miles around.[2a]
In the year 2485 at the Battle of Black Road, Wolfram Hertwig, Elector Count of the Ostermark, stubbornly refused to allow the Grand Master of the Templars of the Everlasting Light to take command of his army, though Hertwig was barely into his teens and had never commanded an army in battle. In response, Grand Master Kessler and his warriors rode back to their chapter house, leaving Hertwig’s army to fight the invading Orcs without their aid. Though the greenskins were eventually defeated, the count's army suffered horrific losses and for many years, the Ostermark was dependant on aid from the armies of Ostland or Talabecland for its survival. Needless to say, Hertwig’s Folly (as it has now become known) stands as a cautionary tale to those who would allow ego to blind them to the value of having the greatest warriors of the Empire fighting alongside them.[4a]
Appearance & Tactics
The Templars of the Everlasting Light often wield greatswords, representing the sword of justice, and wear expensive and elaborate plate armour which is polished to a mirror shine. They have a tendency to throw themselves into battle recklessly, seemingly without a care for their own safety or for the curse that hangs over their heads, reasoning that if they are doomed anyway, there is little left to fear.[3b]
The Order’s primary symbol is that of a lit candle, sometimes modified to feature a forked flame.[1a]
In battle, some Knights are known to wield enchanted lances, gleaming with such luminosity that the foe cannot see to adequately defend themselves against the Templars’ devastating charge.