The Order of the Wings
has been an important order in
and still is in today's United Kingdom of
Santharia. It is made up exclusively of female warriors who each have
chosen a gryph as a partner, and who fight
from their gryphs’ back. Most members are
origin (often called the "Tamers") although
there are cases of other races joining too. These other women are thoroughly
taught in the ways of the ancient
traditions of the Tamers folk, so that they come to love nature as much
as any Eyelian.
The women are trained especially for aerial
combat, fighting often with ranged weapons,
such as the bow and arrow. Although the
don’t have a standing army, theirs being a peaceful race, the Order of the Wings
could still be called an army. They are indeed formidable fighters, much to be
feared once they have mounted their gryphs.
Image description. A
tamed gryph bearing the sign of the Order of the Wings with a female Eyelian
fighter. Picture by
Most members of the Order have the same appearance as other
Eyelians. They are tanned, with
brown hair – bordering on black – and brown eyes. They are rather small for a
human tribe, yet at the same time muscular and
strong. Only the few women who have come from other tribes have a different
Their clothes do not differ from other
Eyelians’ either. They wear a short skirt, which is handiest to ride a
gryph, and a sleeveless top. Colours are mostly earthen, greens and browns. Some
choose to carry the Order’s coat of arms on their chest.
Either on one of their arms or on their chest, the members carry a tattoo of a
gryph’s head. Members receive this when they
first join the Order.
Coat of Arms.
The Order’s coat of arms is a black
head on a teki red background. It is surrounded by a
band of gold.
The Order of the Wings is located in the Rimmerins Ring. The buildings of the
members are on the higher reaches, to make the
gryphs feel at home. They also own some fertile lands lower down, to provide
the members with food. These are taken care of by the girls who have been
accepted the first time, but not yet the second time. These girls are between 8
and 18 years old. (For more explanation, see the Members
The Order of the Wings is led by women who are chosen from among the members.
The leaders are called the Ma'eila, which is both the plural and singular form.
When a new Ma'eila has to be chosen, all full members who are present in the
Order at that time assemble. Those who are willing to lead, and have enough
experience for it, step forward, and the candidate that has the approval of two
thirds of the members, is chosen as the new Ma'eila. She stays that until she
resigns, is too old, or is proven to have abused her power. There are in all
five Ma'eila of the Order.
Each unit also has its own leader, called a Ge'elota (plural: Ge'elotas). Very
often she is one with a very good knowledge of tactics in battle, who can make
rapid decisions, and who the other members of the unit trust enough to follow
her orders without any hesitation. Choosing this leader is a matter for the
unit, and not for the entire Order, but it has the same principle for a basis.
All other members are equal in their rights. If a dispute comes up between two
women from the same unit, it will be settled by their own Ge'elota. If the
dispute subsists between two (or more) women from different units, the Ma'eila
will be called upon to judge who is in the right.
Other Activities. Some members are not only trained
to fight, but also to negotiate in diplomatic missions. This is mostly because
they have one of the fastest ways of transport around
Caelereth. They are trained especially to
avoid warfare if it is possible. Of course, they sometimes don’t hear of a
coming war until it is too late, yet when they hear of it in time, they will
always try to prevent it. In such a case, the faster a diplomatic envoy reaches
its destination, the more chance of success it has. Still, the Order does not
see itself as a pigeon-service, they won’t send a diplomatic envoy for any
trifle. The matter has to be grave enough, and the Ma'eila decide whether it is.
Another activity of the Order is patrolling. They receive payment from the
Kingdom to patrol the Manthrian lands, to
protect certain important buildings or to escortfamous or important people who
are on a mission for the Kingdom.
Sometimes a wealthy merchant or nobleman, for example, who doesn’t travel by an
Order of the Kingdom, but who is afraid of robbers, will ask them to escort him
too. In that case, he pays them out of his own pocket. This means extra income,
besides the Kingdom’s payment. With the money received from the Kingdom and the
various noblemen and merchants, the Order pays their employees, such as the
Non-Members. There are also those people who are
not a member of the Order, but help to make their life a little easier. For
example, there is the smith, who makes arrows and
spears. There are two cooks for their meals, together with a baker for the
Order's bread. And there are some husbands of members.
Actually it doesn’t happen very often that a member of the Order marries. Most
find their lives adequate as it is, not really missing a male companion. There
is even a group of members who honour an age-old tradition: they swear never to
bed a man. The Eyelian heroine
Candillia the Willful, who was also member of the
Order, had taken this oath but broken it. Marrying is, however, not unheard of,
and those who do marry are assured of a place for their husbands in the
community. Those members who do take the oath, take it willingly, but are
expected to abide by it. Therefore, when they break it, they are banished from
the Order, which is what happened to
In the first instance, the decision to become member of the Order is not the
girl’s to make, but her parents’. When an
Eyelian family has a daughter after
a first-born son, when the bloodline is secured, they will sometimes decide to
bring her to the Order. Being a member is a very prestigious task, and it is
therefore a great honour if the girl is accepted by the Ma'eila, the leaders of
When the girls are five, their parents bring them to the Order’s quarters in the
Rimmerins Ring. The majority of these new starters are
Eyelian, but other tribes are
accepted as well. Other races are not accepted into the Order at all. There is a
very simple reason for this rule: it would be impractical. As
elves for example mature much slower, their
training would take longer than it does humans.
Their playmates would become members long before they are ready for it. Each
year, about ten to twenty girls join the Order.
In the first year of their joining, they are already given a young
gryph to care for, one that is too young to
look for a partner. This teaches the girls a sense of responsibility very early
in life. When there are more gryphs than
girls, older members will take care of the rest of the
For about two to three years, the girls receive a general training, in
geography, history, and so on. There is also time for play, either with the
gryphs or with each other, to teach them to
be part of the group.
After this period, they receive their first real test. First, the Ma'eila decide
whether they are up to it, or not. If they are not, they continue in the same
pattern as before. When they are found ready, however, they are assigned to a
girl of around 18 cycles, who is about to become an actual member, but who faces
her last test. The two of them have to find the egg of a
gryph, and they have to work together in
order to find it. If either one leaves most of the work to the other, she is not
accepted. To find out whether they have worked together or not involves more
than just asking one question. The girls are both subjected to extensive
questioning and conversations by the Ma'eila and the Ge'elotas, who are the
leaders of a single unit. Any lies quickly come to light in this way.
Not every quest succeeds, but the egg is not the most important part of the
quest. Even if the girls didn’t find an egg, or somehow lost it, they can still
be accepted for the next part of their training, as long as it is apparent that
they had worked together. The quests are not the only means of the Order of
getting new gryphs. They also have some tame
gryphs, who have chosen another
gryph as their partner, but who have
remained with the Order, and they hatch their own egg and the eggs that the
girls have found.
Very often, when the two girls really worked together during this quest, a tight
bond of friendship is formed, one that lasts a lifetime. It does occasionally
happen that the girls can’t stand each other, but still managed to work
together, in which case they are accepted but put in different units.
Another aim of the quest is a kind of survival training for both the girls, but
especially the younger one, as the older already went through it once. The way
the younger girl acts during this quest is another factor in accepting her: has
she been brave enough? The Ma'eila and Ge'elotas are quite experienced in
getting the answer to that from the girl herself, even had they not the other
girl to talk to.
If the young girl is accepted, the next part of her training begins. At first,
it is very similar to the way it was before, general lessons and playing, but
slowly the playing looks more and more like training, until she is ready to
learn how to fight. Apart from this, they also have to do some general chores,
which teaches them to do some decent hard work with their body, instead of
always training to fight. One example of such a chore is farming, another is
keeping the gryph stables clean.
Apprentices also start learning how to fly, from the back of the
gryph that they take care of. At this point,
the gryph is still not ready to bond.
Training gradually becomes more and more intensive, and the girls also learn
battle tactics. This training lasts for a few years, until the
gryph is ready to choose a partner. Very
often, in fact almost always, they pick as a partner the girl that has cared for
them. When there were more gryphs than
girls, the other gryphs either pick another
gryph or fly away to pick a partner in the
wild. However, as their life is rather easy within the Order, they usually stay
Once the gryph has chosen the girl and the
girl has chosen the gryph, a ceremony is
held to confirm this. After the celebration, the girl is ready for her second
survival test, now as the older girl. She now knows exactly what is expected of
her, as she has already done this once, and she explains everything to the
If she passes for this test too, she is accepted as a full member of the Order.
The new member is put in a unit and can now help patrolling, but training
Training. A unit is formed by thirty women.
They sleep in the same dormitory, they fight together, they do almost everything
together. This is another way of working in a group, apart from the training
sessions. A unit always consists of either experienced members, or a mixture of
experienced women and inexperienced girls, who have recently been accepted as
When the young girls are accepted after their first test, they start to learn
how to fight. These training sessions are the same for the girls who have been
accepted for the second time, with this difference: the younger girls train with
each other, the older girls train with their unit. They are taught to fight both
individually and in a group.
The individual fighting concentrates mostly on shooting with
bow and arrow – first shooting at a standing
target, then at a moving target, than at a moving target from on top of their
gryphs. The trainees also receive some
instruction on the use of spear and staff, so
that they aren’t defenceless if they should ever be separated from their
gryphs. Another extensive part of the
individual training is attacking with the gryph
itself, using its beak and talons as quite effective
Of course there will always be people who are not good archers. These form a
unit within the unit, concentrating entirely on fighting with their
gryphs. They can also use
spears for even more damage to the enemy.
This makes them quite a lot more dangerous even than the other fighters,
especially when they are attacking together. The most dangerous situation for
the enemy is, of course, when the whole unit attacks together, both
gryph archers and gryph fighters – the
latter swooping down on the enemy archers, thus protecting the
This example is a good instance of group fighting. The trainees are taught as
soon as possible to fit within the group, to respond to orders immediately and
to learn to recognise the need of the group. Not only the riders, but the gryphs
also are taught the same thing. As a result a rider has almost no need of
explicit gestures to convey orders. Slight pressures of knees or hands are
Apart from this, the Eyelian girls
have a small advantage over the few members from other tribes, as they are also
taught to communicate with their gryphs. The
other tribes can join these lessons, but they don’t have the same talent of
talking with animals, so they can’t learn the
Origin/History. The origin of the Order
is lost in the mists of time. It is believed that it was founded early on, some
time after the Eyelians came to the
Sarvonian continent crossing over the sea
from Nybelmar, possibly in the time when
the Eyelian Kingdom took shape.
Within the Order it is told that five women had gone in search of a
gryph’s egg to hatch, and to care for the
gryph hatchling. Each had gone separately
from the others, but they had agreed that in one year time, they would meet
again. The place of meeting was to be the Rimmerins Ring. One, the oldest of the
five, went to the Ring to find her egg, the others sought other mountains in
Sarvonia. After a year, all five had found
an egg, and they met again with the eldest. Together, they made a warm nest for
the eggs, and hatched them. In time, the gryphs
chose them as their partners. The women stayed together, and more and more women
Still, now, there are five leaders for the Order, in memory of those first five.
Over time, long after the first five women’s time, the Order began to see the
advantage they would have with an airborne
attack in combat, and they started to practice combat skills.
On a side note, some
Compendiumists believe that the Order was founded during SW I, in order to
fight alongside the other humans. The Order
itself, however, places its foundation a long time before that, as is told
Sleeping Dreameress 1666 a.S.
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