- "I swear to fight for the safety and glory of not only my home, but of my lord, the people, and my master, but also for the Kingdom of God."
- ― Exerpt from the Oath of Fealty
A semi-autonomous order of knights spread throughout the Papal States, these men and women seek to protect the followers and word of God at all costs.
|La Orden de los Caballeros del Escudo de Plata|
|Type of Government:||Meritocratic Hierarchy|
|Group type:||Roaming Knights|
|Leader Title:||Gran Maestro de los escudos de plata|
|Motto:||"Paz bajo Dios"|
|Headquarters:||El Muro Espejo|
|Location(s):||Soto La Marina, Tamaulipas. Mexico|
|Paisanos and Knights:||80 Knights, 6 Paisanos|
|Founded by:||Henri Chano|
|Goals:||Keeping Raiders and Comancheros away from it's borders|
|Allies:||Various Nobles and Merchants|
|Enemies:||Raiders, Spies, Comancheros, small warbands.|
Brought together by Duque Henri Chano, the eight original members were everything from ex-Grand Armee footmen to bakers. What they all had in common however, was a unshakable faith in God and in the cause of the Pope. Having secretly been watching these individuals for weeks, Chano knew their character and flaws, both of which he felt would serve them.
Sending messengers with invitations to his hall, he awaited the arrival of each. When they had all gathered, the Duque explained to them why he had called them together. Telling them of the need to keep the Paisanos of the realm safe if the Papal States was to remain stable. he further explained that he had chosen the eight of them to be the ones to maintain it. Silencing their questions with a wave of his hand, he had his serfs bring out a Book of Oaths and eight polished metal seal to show their authority.
Answering their questions, he put the seals in his pocket, and told them to sleep on it. The following morning he would hand all eight of them out again, to his new knights. Unsure of what exactly to do, the knights left the town, either in pairs of alone and walked through the Duque's lands, looking for danger. After various adventures (some of which would go down as early legends in the Order's history) they returned to the Duque's hall.
Sharing their exploits with each other and the Duque, they were interrupted by a page warning that a large band of Comancheros were headed out of The Saltlands and moving north. Knowing they had to act, Chano told them to prepare to head out. Told to slow them down while the Duque gathered his soldiers, they rode south to meet them. They stopped at the small village occupying the crossroads towards the Saltlands.
The village known as Green River was known as an 'open town' a place welcoming towards Comancheros. It was here that they finally worked as one, their skills complimenting others. Two of them dug small holes all night, another baked tortillas and poisoned them, before setting them out for the Comancheros. Others made crude dummies, or prepared ambush spots.
The morning the bandits arrived they had already had to kill three of their horses due to them breaking their legs and were ready to attack the village to let out some anger. They were swayed however by freshly baked sweets and food. After breakfast they paused to hear a story about when a caravaner had seen El Confederado in The Highlands. When the story ended half of the bandits couldn't move, either from weakness or death. The survivors tried to regroup outside, but were shot at from seeming every window.
Shooting back at the outline of attackers, they tried to run back into the cantina, only to be met with several shotguns waiting. When the Duque and his men arrived two days later he found the Comancheros either buried or tied up waiting for him. Impressed by their skill, he had the Comancheros hanged and the knights to be honored a week from then. After the ceremony they were called into the Grand Hall, where they were greeted by the Pope.
Ignoring their surprise, he explained that he had been watching their actions, and was impressed with their work in the crossroads. He believed that should have authority throughout the various realms without it being seen as a act of war. So after discussing it with the Duque, he was ready to issue a Bull declaring their status as knights of not only the realm but of God as well.
This however also meant that Duque Chano could no longer lead them, as they needed to be neutral in the affairs of the various lords. Agreeing with the idea, the eight of them were then made knights of the realm, and given authority everywhere. They were then given a hall in Soto La Marina so as they can report to the Pope when needed.
The next decade, they traveled the land, recruiting as they made towns safe. They would reach their peak in 2246, with 127 members, but would shrink down to around a near-constant 73 over the two decades leading up to the Saltland Wars.
During the wars the Order maintained at least a third of it's strength in the southern regions of the States. While they did not actively fight against the tribals with the army, their job was just as needed. These knights would try and stop Comancheros, slavers, arms dealers and small raiding parties, and it many times cost them their lives.
Their sacrifices were not completely in vain though, as it often game help the time it needed to move. They did prevent things from getting very bad during the war, and when the fighting 'ended' in 2267, they were relieved. Many went home as soon as they could, though some would stay for the next several years, while their compatriots moved further north. They currently are more spread out since the war, but still maintain a presence in the south. They have shifted their focus to making sure the more isolated Baronies are safe from internal threats.
They have been busy since 2282, and have taken losses as a result. In 2287 they number about 80 knights and two dozen retainers focused along the western border on rumors on smugglers and slavers.
The Order has been bringing justice to those in need since its establishment. To do this, the knights wander through the Papal States, always looking for Comancheros or their ilk. They are free to pursue common criminals as well if they feel they have the time. Some members go from village to village, training the paisanos and guards how to defend themselves.
Others will put on disguises and buy goods, acting like merchants to attract highwaymen. The Grand Master of the Order however, after his ascension ceremony, will rarely leave their Great Hall, as his responsibility to organize and keep track of all knights current reports and then consult the Pope if a large threat appears.
While they do hold justice in their hearts, the local lord still holds much power. If a paisano is being whipped harshly, but is being in accordance with local law, they can do nothing. Some knights even end up in worse trouble by trying to stop the treatment, occasionally leading to minor incidents.
The number of knights in the ranks of the Order is currently at 80. The number of their agents however is deceptive. Each knight is free to keep or pick up any companions, they deem could help them, and although some do remain alone, many knights have some friends, servants and guards that are always with them. Six Paisanos are retained full time as caretakers of the order's grand-hall in addition to helping the grandmaster.