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The Order

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2drones.gif This article is about the Caliban society, for the Adepta Sororitas organizational unit see Order

The Order was a band of techno-medieval knights that existed upon the world of Caliban. It was led by the primarch Lion El'Jonson before his reunion with the Emperor of Mankind and was ultimately absorbed by the Dark Angels Space Marine Legion.

History

The Order began long before the arrival of Lion El'Jonson, when the populace of Caliban were constantly terrorized by the Great Beasts. Its history began when a warrior forgotten by time built a shelter from the Beasts around cave. More slowly joined him, until it grew to a settlement known as Aldurukh. An order of knights gradually formed to protect the growing city from the beasts.[3]

When Jonson descended upon Caliban, he would spend the first ten years of his life surviving amongst the Chaos-tainted creatures that inhabited the planet's vast forests. Eventually he was discovered and taken in by a group of knights who belonged to the Order, one of several knightly bands that had tasked themselves with defending the people of Caliban from the forces of Chaos that infested the planet. At this point, the leader of the Order was a great warrior known as Luther.[1]

After Jonson was inducted into The Order, he and Luther began a grand genocidal campaign against the Beasts that lived on their world and terrorised the inhabitants. As they won victory after victory, the ranks of The Order began to swell as new recruits volunteered and other knightly bands aligned themselves with them. Ultimately, all the knights of Caliban became members of the Order, with the exception of those who belonged to the Knights of Lupus, who were capturing and training great Beasts, in an attempt to protect the status quo of Calibanite civilisation. Despite meeting with the ambassador of the Knights of Lupus, the Lion declared war on the holdout order, eventually bottling them up in their castle stronghold and obliterating them. Within a decade, The Order had succeeded in ridding the world of the taint of Chaos. Caliban was brought into a new age of prosperity, and Lion El'Jonson was named Supreme Grand Master of The Order and lord of all Caliban. It was during this time that the Emperor, leading his Great Crusade across the galaxy, came to Caliban.[2]

Jonson immediately recognized the stranger for who he was and pledged himself and his warriors to the Emperor. The Emperor presented Jonson with the Dark Angels, an entire legion of Space Marines made from the primarch's own genetic material. In addition, the members of The Order were given the chance to join Jonson's legion. First among them was Jonson's best friend and mentor Luther. In time the whole Order was transformed and inducted into the Dark Angels legion.[1] Some older knights of The Order went rogue however and attempted to assassinate Jonson and the Emperor but were foiled by Zahariel.[2]

Organisation

The Order was not a top-heavy formation, with but a few notable positions held outwith the main body of knights. The leader of the Order was known as the Grand Master, the title of Master was applied to those who held particular responsibility, such as those veterans who undertook the training of new recruits, and the overseer of the Order's histories and archives was referred to as the Lord Cypher. All other knights were bestowed with the title of Sar and were considered equal 'on paper'. In reality a knight's ranking seemed to depend on the record of his deeds and the perception of his worth as a warrior. Leadership roles were assigned by the Grand Master when deemed necessary. Knights of the Order were considered individual warriors and typically quested alone; with the exception of those belonging to the Ravenwing, active knights were not bound by any further organisational strictures after achieving Knighthood. Although they had several outposts across the surface of Caliban, the Order's stronghold was the fortress-monastery of Aldurukh, a formiddable stonework built around and upon a rocky outcrop. Aldurukh was the home of the main strength of the Order, as well as its training and recruitment centre.[2]

Recruitment and Training

Recruitment appears to have been extended primarily to youngsters; the most detailed account of a recruitment selection concerns a group of children around 7 years old. The selection process only began at mid-winter; all volunteers needed to be present outside the gates of Aldurukh on a certain day. The volunteers would then be instructed to remain standing where they were for one whole night; only those still present in the morning would be allowed entry. This was primarily a test of willpower and resolve, for the guards would rescue any who collapsed from exhaustion or hypothermia, and whilst being under open sky on Caliban at night was always dangerous, the immediate environment of Aldurukh was theoretically safe. The guards would also attempt to randomly intimidate or trick the volunteers into moving or sitting down during the test. Those who passed were collected by their training Master in the morning and became accepted supplicants of the Order. They immediately began a concentrated education and exercise program to prepare them for full induction. Upon being judged worthy of entry into the Order proper, the supplicant was initiated in a secretive ceremony designed to impress upon the youth the seriousness of his chosen life and the bonds that united the Order's members. After this, the supplicant entered a new stage of training that concentrated on the martial and philosophical ideals of knighthood. When judged ready, the supplicant would be allowed to embark upon a quest (ideally a Beast Quest, although other types of quest were permitted), the successful completion of which would guarantee his promotion to a full Knight.[2]

Equipment

Members of the Order were equipped with a set of knightly armour and weapons. Their armour was a primitive form of power armour, which offered enhanced physical protection and some inter-suit communications ability. Their weapons included various forms of projectile-firing pistols, including a form of bolt-weaponry. Swords were either traditional in pattern, or a form of Chainsword. Their armour and gear was customarily dulled or painted black, with the option of wearing a white surplice over it. The emblem of the Order was a downward-pointing sword - this emblem was eventually incorporated into Dark Angel heraldry. Knights could also draw on the great warhorses of Caliban as steeds.[2]

The Ravenwing

The Order kept a standing cavalry force in operation at all times, with outriders constantly patrolling and exploring the forests of Caliban. These knights were known as the Ravenwing, and had the additional distinction of wearing winged helmets. Solo masters of the wilderness, Ravenwing knights could also be trooped together and used against enemies in 'hit and run' tactics.[2] The name and philosophy of the Ravenwing still exists inside the Dark Angels and the Unforgiven, ten thousand years after the Imperium arrived on Caliban.[1]

Notable Members

Sources