Famous Santharian Order of knights, located in the northernmost province of Nermeran. It was founded in 288 b.S. The founding fathers of the Order, who fought in the time of the Sarvonian Dawn in SW III against the first major invasion of orcs, are still adored as legendary figures.

Rise and Power of the Order.
With strict rules, both for peace and war, the Order got rather powerful in northern Tharania and later on in Santharia as well. Especially in the century that followed SW III the Order became very mighty, proving to harbour the most trained and experienced soldiers among the Tharanian ranks. Most of the border Lords are members of the Order whose Grandmaster is and has always been the Lord of Nyermersys ever since.

A Knight of the Fallen

View picture in full size Picture description. A Knight of the Fallen on the battlefield. Image drawn by Seeker.

In times of war all units of the Fallen wear the same colors in wartime demonstrating a unity not often seen in a kingdom with that many tribes, domains and independant realms. It is said that there is a friendly rivalry between the Helcrani clans and the Fallen about who has the best generals and the best tactics in warfare. In all the conflicts since then it turned out to be indeed always a very close run as the knights of the Order of the Fallen study strategies of warfare tactics as fanatic as their founders fought in ancient times.

The Order's major domain of influence is the Santharian North of course, commanding many castles and outposts at the border and important regions of Nermeran. The Order also concentrates on organizing all kinds of military preparations against the still vivid orcish threat menacing from the north.
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Coat of Arms. All armies that belong to the powerful "Order of the Fallen" wear their colors when going to war and form the feared "Fallen Legion", one of the biggest and best trained units in Santharia. Their coat of arms consists of the broken swords of the Fallen and the burning crown of Erpheronia, which shines bright on a red-blue squared ground. These signs are usually placed on a blood red tower shield, which is combined with the provincial Nermeran blue. Their motto is: "Abandon all hope as we will not!"
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Members of the Order. The Order consists mainly of members of the low nobility like knights or counts, only few high noblemen (aside from the Grandmaster and Duke of Nyermersys) are among them. The measures for recruitement are harsh and beside physical factors also demand psychical and social skills.

Common people are mostly only assigned as soldiers among the ranks but it is not unusual that members of the Order act as mentors for remarkably skilled persons. The latter members are then increased in rank to "Squires" of their mentors which is a compromise because only the king himself can indeed heighten someone to nobility. However, the Order has a special position here and has enough authority to give strict orders, even to other nobles. As squires members can give these orders also in representation of their Lord. In general squires in most cases are treated equal to their mentors. - When the training of the squires is finished the they can rise to Squires of the Grandmaster which makes them capable to also rise in rank to Marshal or General of Santharia.

These steps were taken to make it possible for any fullworthy member of the Order to take command over any army unit and gain any Santharian military rank necessary. A side effect of this custom is that members of high rank protect their squires to have major influence on the Orderís politics when they become full members.

Currently there are five so-called "Leagues" among the Order, all having different opinions about warfare, politics and alignment to the king. As a sign of their philosophy they wear different armpatches, which is something not really welcomed by the Grandmaster, but he canít do much about it.

The Leagues form own smaller communities following certain ideals. Strong grandmasters most of the time have no problems to control them. This is du to the fact that they can count on their own League as well as on the great majority of knights that donít belong to a specific League. Weak grandmasters however or grandmasters without the support of any of the Leagues often cause terrible chaos and skirmishes between the Leagues. Still, the Leagues have some kind of gentleman-agreement to prevent the Order from falling into complete chaos.

The five Leagues can be described as follows:

The Order of the Fallen

View picture in full size The Coat of Arms of the Order of the Fallen. Designed by Koldar Mondrakken.

The Organization of the Order. There are several terms which have to be explained when speaking about the organization of the Order:

Administrative institutions of the Order:

The ranking within the Order:

Note: To become general or field marshal, squires as well as knights have to be squires of the Grandmaster to have enough rank to order Dukes or Earls in battle. Furthermore, of course, they also need the authorization of the Santharian King. Return to the top

The Birth of the Order.
The historian Ethelim Herengwar describes the birth of the Order of the Fallen in the following dramatic battle scene:

"Around 290 b.S. a group of lancers climbed a hill to prepare their last attack against an enemy that had destroyed their lands for years now. Their enemies, the last remants of the orcish tribes, were gathering theiir forces on the opposite side of the valley. The men were outworn, the signs of too many fights and senseless slaughtering lay on their faces but nevertheless they were ready to do their last duty.

On the other side of the hill the orcs raised their disharmonic shouts to a loud crescendo as they pushed each other into a bloodrush ready to fight against all odds.

The soldiers were silent shapes standing against the slowling ascending morning sun. They had lead the horses to the top and now readied their weapons. Helmets were taken, pikes readied, the swords were inspected for a last time as well as the saddles and their horses. They mounted and formed a line, a dark wall of horses, leather and pikes sparkling in the sun.

Suddenly a horn signal echoed in the valley. It was immediately answered by many more to the left and right. The united armies of the southern Sarvonian continent, who had already moved into position, now launched their attack: The cavalry unit answered the call, the seargants were yelling orders, the horses got more and more nervous as did their riders.

"Pikes ready!" The men readied their lances. "Prepare for assault!", a last time the men readied their shields. "For Nyermersys! For the King!" In one united move the horses pushed forward storming down the hill over rocks and small 
bushes. They reached a small river flowing through the bottom of the valley, still all men in line. Horses jumped into the water, rushing for the other side.
As they climbed the bank, suddenly first arrows dropped between the riders. First cries of wounded riders mixed into the orcish battle shouts, but the mainbody of the formation rushed upwards again. More arrows hit their targets, but as the hillside dropped to a long terrace, the greenskinned enemies finally got into range of the aggressors.

The knights dropped their lances and started their last race. The onslaught had begun. With a loud crash lances and horses broke into shields, swords and flesh..."

-- Ethelim Herengwar, "Of the Orcish Armies", Chapter XVII, p. 269 f.

The mentioned riders were the last remnants of the northern Tharanian army which was destroyed together with the city of Nyermersys in the dawn of the Third Sarvonian War. Despite this catastrophic defeat the few surviving units and knights launched a personal vendetta against the orcs and continued to fight the war at their own command. Thus they became one of the most feared, unpredictable but nevertheless most respected forces in the whole war. They named themselves the "Fallen" as they experienced a deep shame of not being able to fight and die in the effort of defending their hometown.

When they finally returned to the ruins of their homes they were honored by the newly assigned king and were given privileges as "Heroes of Tharania". The surviving knights started rebuilding Nyermersys and they also founded a new order: The Order of the Fallen.
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