Order of Sisters of the Lily
By Aaron Kavli
"Ladies of white,
aid those in need,
against all hardship,
this is our creed."
The Order of Sisters of the Lily Shield.
The Sisters of the Lily Shield is a group of like
minded Kaldorian ladies who have agreed to use their resources and connections
to perform Larani's work. The
order's motivations are to fulfill the ideals of Larani; proper and loyal noble ladies that can don their armor and defend the innocent if need be while able to comfort the sick, and serve a proper dinner, all with the graces of a courtly queen. To this end the Sisters have vowed to take no side in politics where the helpless and weak are in need. In theory, this can at times put a lady in direct conflict with her lord. But the teachings of Larani recognize that two just sides may conflict, and the Sisters feel that protecting the innocent is the most righteous of causes.
While they refer to themselves as an order, they
are not officially recognized by crown or church. Efforts are to gain an
official status have long been in the works and
the current leader of the Sisters, Enwyd Dariune, has been using her considerable political influence to further this end. Enwyd and notable other Sisters have gotten
the ear of several important nobles and clergy members.
The order's members are very close as membership
is by invitation only. They meet as often as possible. At any tournament,
party, or other event that draw nobles,
the Sisters will organize some sort of meeting. This can be from a simple dinner social, organized prayer sessions, to various training classes. When ever traveling,
any Sister can expect hospitality from others of the order.
While warrior women are known and generally accepted
in Kaldor, it is still very much considered men's' work. This mindset has
been a main obstacle to the order
becoming official. High ranking, powerful women are in both royal and ecclesiastical positions, but somehow the Sisters' petitions have gone unanswered, stalled at
various levels and even lost. With Enwyd and some dedicated friends, this may change in the near future.
The Sisters make no secret of their desires, but
they are not well known to the public. They are known to the nobility of
the realm however, as many in the order are the wives of manorial lords
and knights. Many husbands simply view the order as a harmless hobby for
idle ladies, and others are outright opposed to such
"pursuits improper for a true lady." Interestingly enough some of the order's most vehement opponents are other noble women who feel the Sisters are silly, delusional
girls who neglect both tradition and their families. Such objectors usually do not address the fact that the Sisters spend most of their time simply performing charity, praying, and aiding the ill.
There are however a number of notable supporters.
Husbands, squires, and other soldiers admire the women and are willing
to share their skills. Some Sisters skeptically, but sometimes correctly,
claim the men only help them for the sake of being surrounded by fair ladies;
others don't mind. But in any case, they are eager students to anyone willing
to train them.
Origins of the Order.
The roots of the Order of Sisters of the Lily
Shield can be traced to Baroness Iranda Manderl, wife of one of the Nurelian
baron's that fought in the revolt of 235 TR.
She and her sisters traveled to beleaguered villages, beaten and burnt in the fighting. They bought food with their own funds and offered aid and condolence to the
innocents harmed. Baroness Iranda was wounded, and lost one of her sisters, as they fought off deserters from her own husband's men who were bent on looting the
It would be more accurate perhaps to say that lady Dellia Dornath truly founded the order by drawing inspiration from Baroness Iranda. She lived in Meselynshire during the early part of the seventh century; another time in Kaldor's history rife with civil strife (Baronial Revolt, 599-603). Dellia also gathered family and friends and gave aid to villagers and refugees. Some claim that Dellia simply hated her husband and began the Sisterhood to thwart him. Unfortunately Dellia and her friends were slain trying to defend grain stores. Her sister Kaya Balana, a devout Laranian, took up her sister's vision and began the first true organization of the order.
Kaya would lead her sisters across the war torn
lands giving aid and protection where they could. They gathered food and
weapons, distributing them as they went.
The women, with more courage than skill, protected villages from bandits, deserters, and even led their home village militias while the men were off fighting.
Since that time Kaldor has enjoyed relative peace.
The Sisters have had little cause to take up arms, though during the reign
of King Torastra they gathered at border
villages to aid the wounded, and to defend the villagers in case of enemy counter attack. Most of their efforts have been directed to aiding the poor, advancing their
own acceptance, and learning the skills needed to perform such duties.
A lack of strong leadership resulted in the order
developing into little more than a social club. As there was never an established
hierarchy in the Sisters, and Kaldor's
peaceful years bred complacency, the worthy goals of the order were ignored by the crown, church, and even its own members. In 710 TR, the energetic and
influential Enwyd Dariune claimed leadership of the order. Her promise, and ability, to make the Sisters into something greater gained her many supporters. Under her leadership, the order has earned some needed notice at all levels in Kaldor.
Goals and Activities.
The tenet goals of the Order of Sisters of the
Lily Shield are simple. To aid and protect the innocent and helpless. They
defend their homes and allies when the lords
are away at war, give of their own to those in need, live a life devoted to Larani, and be the example of what a noble lady should be.
Reality however, often conflicts with lofty ideals.
Enwyd's main goal is to make the order official and recognized. Her ultimate
goal is to make the Sisters an actual
fighting order of the church of Larani. It is her firm opinion that in order to fully accomplish the order's tenet goals, they must have the recognition and support afforded to other fighting orders. Enwyd has concentrated on three factors to this end: political recognition, ecclesiastical approval, and a chance to prove themselves.
The Dariune clan has a great deal of influence
in the courts of Tashal and Kaldor. Enwyd has lived her life in these courts
and is no stranger to intrigue and politics.
With tacit permission from her uncle, Troda Dariune, the matriarch has managed to sway several of the more devout Laranian nobles to give their support. This support takes the form of vocal support in court, assets, and providing training. She organizes various social functions, and gathers much information from the gossip of noble ladies.
Perhaps more important to Enwyd is church approval.
In this she has found an invaluable ally in Luana of Troth, a popular Matakea
at Caleme Abbey and close
friend of the Turintesa of the Order of the Spear of Shattered Sorrow, Kerthede of Talvail. As she is also a senior assistant to the temple Obasaran, the priestess
even occasionally has the ear of Edine Kynn, Serekela (archbishop) of Kaldor. Luana has long spoken of creating a female clerical order, but couldn't drum up the
political support. With Enwyd's aid, that support seems to be forthcoming.
The main hurdle to Luana's efforts are that fighting
orders traditionally require a sponsoring clerical order. Kerthede might
support such a fighting order, but the order
of the Spear already sponsors a fighting order. The only fighting order that has no sponsoring is the Company of the Holy Sepulcher, which serves the pontiff directly in Lythia. Creating another clerical order in eastern Harn would mean greater church expenses and possible conflict with the established one. Despite such problems, Luana presses on and has managed to get at least some support for her order from Kerthede, though has had a hard time getting any sort of commitment from her. Edine remains ambivalent, but seems to be considering the possibility. With support of some of its wealthier members, the new orders may be able to provide for
themselves until established.
Despite the fact that the Order of Sisters of the Lily Shield has proven its self in years past, Enwyd feels that they must prove their usefulness and abilities until someone really notices. One of the main bits of information she is constantly seeking are areas where the women may be able to show what they are capable of. Villages in need of aid, areas where bandits or barbarians are troubling the people, or any where else healers or warriors may be appreciated. So far no leads have really allowed them to really shine, but they are slowly gaining a reputation among those who hear of their efforts.
Enwyd is also currently awaiting approval for
heraldry submitted for the order, with money donated by the members. She
knows that it is not an official order, but
feels her political support will help. Currently one particular herald of the Enclave of the Holy Oak, is holding up the process as he finds the idea of a female fighting
order offensive. His family is having financial problems, and should Enwyd find out about this herald, his family is going to have an even harder time. Regardless of the
herald's wants, should the Sisters be sponsored officially, the arms should be passed. Even without official approval, Enwyd and others wear white lily regalia, and
grant favors with these designs to those men who have have helped the order. Submitted: Gules, a lily (fluer-de-lis) argent, within a border chequy, argent and gules.
Finally, material assets of a military nature always presents a problem. Even the most supportive and wealthy lords seldom have spare armor to hand out for their ladies' "harmless hobby". Even fewer ladies have the coinage to purchase their own. That is not even considering mounts, weapons, and other military supplies. Many do have various forms of lighter armor however, leather and ring being the most common, and many of the ladies can make quilted and cloth armor. While not as well supported as kingdom or church knights, the Sisters have become relatively well equipped under Enwyd's leadership. This need led to the order's policy on the open sharing of resources.
Traditions are slow to change, and the obstacles
facing Enwyd are difficult ones. Yet she remains hopeful and her efforts
have made significant progress towards her
ultimate goal. Should Enwyd overcome these obstacles, an official Order of Sisters of the Lily Shield may be just over the horizon.
Only those noticed and invited by respected members
of the order are allowed to join. Any currently recognized member can invite
someone, but Enwyd has recently
taken to requiring her approval before anyone is accepted, to prevent it from again becoming a social gathering for local ladies who simply wish to invite friends. This approval does not need to be via a personal meeting necessarily, and some members are trusted by Enwyd enough that their approval is good enough for her.
The current matriarch has actually dismissed a
handful of members since taking leadership of the order, trying to thin
the ranks of "tea sipping sisters interested in
fae tales and story time adventures," and others who she felt threatened the legitimacy of the Sisters. There are other members Enwyd would like to see go, but they are too useful or influential to discard out of hand.
Members must be honest and loyal ladies of the
realm, willing to work hard and make sacrifices to aid the innocent. Aside
from these personality traits, most
importantly all members must be of noble birth and devout Laranians. The status requirement is a matter Enwyd and Luana have strong a difference of opinions about the order. Enwyd strongly believes that her order would be tarnished and taken less seriously if just any peasant's wife were allowed to join. Luana however feels that allowing acceptable commoners to join, like all other church orders, will give the order wider acceptance and popularity. It is a concession Enwyd is willing to make if need be to get her order recognized, but not until that time.
Those who are accepted by Enwyd, must undergo
a vigil similar to that of the Tirannon performed by knights and recite
an oath to the ideals of the order. The
ceremony and oath swearing must be witnessed by at least two other members. It is common for these ceremonies to be performed during a larger gathering of the
"By my heart and virtue I, <insert
name>, give myne oath,
to hold true the virtues of Larani by service to the
Sisters of the Lily Shield.
I give myne oath to defend the innocent,
protect the helpless,
aid the downtrodden,
uphold the will of Larani above all,
support myne sisters,
learn and teach, ask aid and provide it, in blight or bright,
or forever be denied myne place in the sacred halls of Dolithor."
All members are required to supply what they can
for group endeavors. They must also provide any aid they can to other members,
and refusal to offer hospitality to
a fellow Sister is grounds for removal. Members must also share their knowledge and skills openly, teaching any skill or sharing any information they know to the
benefit of the others. Useful skills, and ones expected to be learned as best able, are any combat skills, healing, heraldry, law, politics, and proper church doctrine.
It is important to Enwyd that members of the Order
of Sisters of the Lily Shield be able to perform independently and take
the initiative on local matters. There are
relatively few members, and most are scattered. Some issues must be handled quickly, not allowing the opportunity to gather other Sisters. If a member is able to
provide aid in any such event, she is highly encouraged to mention the order's name.
The order has no official seat of power obviously,
and the members are scattered across Kaldor. The closest equivalents would
either be Enwyd's home in Tashal, or
Caleme Abby where Luana lives. Both of these seats are close to the most influential nobles and clergy. Many royal events take place in Tashal, as well as the major
caravans, that allow the members to gather and discuss their progress.
Lady Enwyd Dariune, 28, is the current leader of the order, and is affectionately called matriarch by its members. An attractive woman, despite her somewhat stern countenance, Enwyd has dark features and long brown hair. Born in Kiban, she is a niece of Troda Dariune, in good standing with the Earl though they are not particularly close. This matriarch has grown up in the courts of Tashal and Kiban, and is a shrewd politician and as versed in church lore as any lay person can be. Enwyd is a devout Laranian, and has long wished to be a holy knight. Perhaps more importantly, she didn't didn't wish to live the quiet life of a sewing, child raising, and settling into the mundane life most women seem destined for. When she happened across a meeting of the Sisters in 708 TR, she immediately became interested and asked to join. Enwyd soon became disappointed that the idle chattering that made up the bulk of Sister activity was just that, and vowed that she would tap the potential of the dormant order, and turn it into a respected body with her as leader.
Female knights are not unheard of in Kaldor, so
the resistance she met at the idea was not the main deterrent. With her
family ties, Enwyd could have easily entered
the Lady of Paladins. If asked however, she shows discomfort at the rumors of the Solori crusade, even though it is not even in Kaldor. Personally she feels the
current set up of the LoP would leave her little chance to get to a leadership position. The Solori crusade has little to do with her rejection of the LoP in truth. Enwyd feels the true nature of Larani herself is better exemplified on Kethira by women. While a woman may have to work harder to match the physical prowess of a man, it is far more difficult in her mind for a man, even a proper gentleman, to show the compassion and mercy beloved by the goddess. Enwyd feels that male military orders, and even clerical orders, are not reluctant enough warriors. A female only order however, would be far more mindful of the innocent instead of immediately hacking away at anyone who offers insult or injury.
Enwyd is utterly consumed with making her order
recognized by crown and church. She is very ambitious, and at times ruthless
when it comes to her goals. She and the previous matriarch did not part
on friendly terms when Enwyd dismissed her. Enwyd has spent the last ten
years pursuing her dream, after finally deciding what she really wanted.
Secretly, she has a respect for the the Agrikan Order of the Crimson Dancer.
While they are anathema to everything she holds dear as a Laranian, the
fear their name brings provides Enwyd with a morbid inspiration. Having
taken every bit of training anyone is willing to impart, she is a skilled
and influential politician, and has in the recent years gained some martial
and survival skills, as well as collecting some quality mail armor and
Matakea Luana of Troth is the second most involved member of the Sisters. Luana is the the youngest daughter of the Troth clan, a minor noble family from Qualdris. Her parents were rather fertile and she is has eleven living siblings. With nearly no chance of any inheritance, or even support for so many children, all of the Troth children have spread across Kaldor to find their own way, with only a noble title to help them. Despite their relatively meager wealth and dispersed family, the Troth's have a very close knit family and Luana often sends messages and money to their family estate. She is a somewhat frumpy looking woman with bland features, but quite likable and very intelligent.
The elder of the two at 35, Luana usually submits to the decisions of Enwyd. Luana has been in the Laranian church and a strong member of the clerical order Spear of Shattered Sorrow. Over her tenure, she has served in just about every bishopric of Kaldor. Like Enwyd, Luana has a dream of a female only order. Unlike Enwyd however, she drew her inspiration from the Peonians. Her goals are not so much centered around the female only aspect, but around new opportunities. She has no radical plans or theological differences to present if she were to get her order started, but feels that both the Spear of Shattered Sorrow and the Order of Hyvrick have become too rigid. Order and status are ingrained into the teaching of Larani, but Luana feels that unyielding stasis will only hurt the church in the long run.
Luana has spent much of her career making contacts and befriending important personages in the church, making a case for her new order. She is a popular and respected Matakea of Caleme, as well as the assistant Obasaran, so her abilities are not in question. But the undertaking and support of a new clerical order, as well as the assured competition to follow, has been a major obstacle. Luana is far more interested in her goal of making a clerical order, and has promised Enwyd a charter for the Sisters as their fighting order. But she is willing to accept the position as the spiritual advisor of the Sisters, if not able to become Turintesa (clerical grand master) of her own order. Luana feels however that between her own influence in the church, and Enwyd's political savvy, they may well be able to accomplish both. She feels it to be presumptuous to name her yet to exist clerical order, so hasn't done so.
Luana is not nearly as forceful as Enwyd, but
is relentless to the point of sending senior clergy scurrying for cover
when she comes. Luana is a devout priestess,
honorable almost to a fault, and shares the fighting skills common in the priesthood of Larani. She has occasionally been offered advancement within the church; sometimes as a way to keep her from chasing her dream, but most often for her devotion and administrative skills. Luana has turned down such opportunities, feeling they would impede her ability to establish her order.
Dame Duna Poloma is a knight in the Olokand garrison. Her family comes from an honored line that originated in Chybisa, but made arrangements for titles in Kaldor for their cooperation in the Treasure War. Duna will defend her family name with swift vengeance (and indeed many feel she is far to sensitive on the matter), but secretly feels shame at her family's betrayal. She has vowed never to betray a liege or comrade, and keeps all of her promises. At the age of only 23, Duna has an excellent start and long time to prove her loyalty to herself. This loyalty has been given to Enwyd and the Sisters, but she worries of a situation that may put the order's goals against that of her liege. Duna has received tentative permission from Maldan Harabor, Sheriff or Olokand, to join the Sisters should they ever be recognized by the church.
While not a member of a church fighting order, she is a devout Laranian. Duna is a skilled horseman and warrior, and supports Enwyd's efforts fully. What ever inspiration Enwyd draws from Duna, the dame draws twice as much from her. Duna takes no small amount of pride in her personal accomplishments, but sees them as paling in comparison to the massive efforts of the matriarch. Duna happily teaches and trains the members in skills at arms when they meet, which is as often as possible. There are some about Olokand and the surrounding fiefs that don't particularly care for Duna, as she is known to actively try to recruit stalwart daughters and wives. She is quite gregarious, and enjoys carousing a bit too much for Enwyd's liking. Despite wishing to please Enwyd, Duna is too easily talked into bouts of merrymaking and misadventure.
Dame Alla of D'pon is another female knight that supports Enwyd's efforts. She is the vassal of Baron Orsin Firith, but travels to Tashal often. Orsin, and her comrades, are more than willing to let the woman leave when the urge strikes her. Alla is not particularly well liked among her fellows, or considered very able. The only reason that she has yet to be sent away is that the D'pon family currently strongly support the Baron's efforts for a keep at Oselbridge, both politically and financially. Alla is an angry looking woman of 32, with fair features and waist length blond hair.
Alla is known for her tirades more than her skill. The last tournament she entered, she was defeated first off with a spectacularly dynamic fall from her horse. She claims it was simply the men running the event trying to keep her in her place, and that someone must have sabotaged her saddle. This despite the fact that she has been known to fall from her horse, for no good reason, on several occasions. She claims not to need training, and refuses to drill with her comrades unless utterly forced to, which she usually isn't as few wish to put up with her. In truth, Alla knows her deficiencies and fears making a fool of herself while fighting. Instead of trying to learn, she arrogantly hides her incompetence behind her angry outbursts and tantrums.
The dame makes no qualm about her dislike of men
in general, and tells everyone who will listen that she can do anything
a man can, and twice as well. Enwyd wishes Alla were not so outspoken on
the matter as it may alienate some people whose support she needs. But
the dame is still an important Sister and inspiration to many members,
and can at least immitate an air of respectability around those who don't
know her better.
Dame Brada of Gomeh is not a member of the Sisters of the Lily Shield. Nor does she wish to be. Nor does she support them or their efforts. In fact, Brada loathes the order and the ladies who support it. Her position and outspoken mockery of the Sisters does make her influential to the order none the less. As a member of Miginath's personal guard, she carries a good deal of respect and authority, and is constantly present in the King's entourage. Any outburst about the Sisters Brada makes is likely to be heard by the most important of people.
Brada's skill and strength are appreciable, even in the elite company she keeps. Many an upstart squire has been sent to her when their knight feels a lesson in humility is in order. She is beautiful woman of fair skin and hair, and imposing at just over six feet tall. The dame is the perfect example of what a female warrior should be, which is why it is so dismaying to Enwyd that Brada opposes the Sisters. Enwyd constantly goes to monumental efforts to appease and impress Brada, vainly hoping to curry any scrap of favor she can. Even to the extent of accepting humiliation. She will do nothing that would insult Brada; regardless of the insult she will simply grin and bear it. This is partly due to her view as to how a Laranian lady should act, but mostly because she holds on to the hope that Brada can be swayed to support the Sisters, if only she could be convinced of their worth. Brada has rebuked all of Enwyd's offers of friendship, and it seems likely she will carry on doing so. Anyone capable of swaying Brada, would have Enwyd's eternal favor.
Unfortunately, Brada holds a position that is diametrically opposed to the goals of the Sisters, and is unlikely to change that. Brada has worked hard to gain her skills and position, and has no use for an organization that "dresses up soft, clucking hens to play warrior because the real world is too hard,". To the dame, the Sisters are little more than an attempt to provide a more gentle avenue for spoiled women to gain recognition in a trade they are not suited for. Life is hard, and it takes hard work to get what you want.
The dame is well liked among her fellows, especially
those with a dim view on Enwyd's goals. Enwyd hopes in her heart of hearts
that Brada has simply succumbed to pressure from her peers. Despite Enwyd's
efforts and direct orders, it has come to her attention that some of the
Sisters have spread rumors about Brada, implying that she "grants the flower
of her maidenhood, both readily and eagerly,". Brada and Alla are quite
hostile to each other, and Brada is constantly trying to egg her fellow
dame into a duel; a duel Alla would most certainly lose. Enwyd does her
best to ensure the two don't meet.
Sir Tanyk of Krencathy is also a member of Miginath's personal guard. His family is only two generations away from when they were granted noble status for some work done for the throne. As such, they are neither wealthy or influential. Most of Miginath's personal guard come from established and wealthy families, and Tanyk has suffered some cruel jokes from his fellows for his lowly status. Despite this, he is a very skilled swordsman, and has managed to keep a modicum of respect by his skill alone. He is a square jawed, handsome man of 30 years, with dark features indicating some recent Jarin heritage.
Tanyk is obviously not, nor could he be, a member of the Sisters. But he is a very vocal and staunch supporter of the order. This has caused him some friction with his fellows, most especially the Dame Brada. More than once his surcoat has been replaced with a gown in his wardrobe. Tanyk often finds flowers and ribbons tied to his shield by his more malicious comrades, but he has taken to wearing them with pride and seldom removes them. He and Brada remain friends despite their constant jibes at one another.
As one of the Sister's strongest supporters, Tanyk
actively and readily uses his spare time to train any Sister Enwyd asks
him to. In fact it is Tanyk who has trained Enwyd in most of what she knows,
and showed her how to take proper care of her armor. Aside from earnestly
supporting the order, Tanyk is deeply in love with Enwyd and may, some
day, tell her. Until that time however he uses any excuse he can to spend
time with his love, who will hopefully someday be his wife. Only Brada
knows of this love, learned from Tanyk's own ale loosened tongue one rare
evening. Brada will flirt outrageously with Tanyk when Enwyd is near, just
to try to embarrass both of them; even though Enwyd doesn't know of the
man's true feelings.
Campaign and PCs.
Enwyd and the Order of Sisters of the Lily Shield
can provide PCs with a good deal of adventure. Enwyd and Luana are constantly
involved in all manner of intrigue
to gain support for their petition. This can involve court or church politics, snooping out advantageous information on opponents, or simply going about gaining the
trust of an important personage. A clever GM could create a whole campaign, sans adventure and combat, simply working one of the political sides of the issue of the Order of Sisters of the Lily Shield.
More adventurous missions could be found as well.
Enwyd has ordered her Sisters to try to get involved in any crisis. As
these noble ladies are scattered throughout
Kaldor, any could approach the PCs to help with a local problem. Even if it is the PCs that do most of the work, a Sister who can claim to have organized the
solution is worth just as much to Enwyd and the reputation of the Sisters. Leadership is just as important to their reputation. Any female, noble PCs that are adherents of Larani may be recruited into the order; especially if they are knights already.