Junil, the elder of the Gods, had promised to stay apart from the conflict in Creation. No one knows why he decided to change that, some say it was to combat the influence of the Ashen Veil, others that it was jealousy. Regardless of his reasons, he promised salvation to the least of men and asked only one thing in return: unquestioning obedience.
The Order is certainly judgmental, but that isn’t to say they judge based on taste or individual preference. Everyone is subject to the same laws and appropriate consequences, be they king or pauper. Further, they believe this applies to all people, not just the followers of their religion. Consequences fit the Crime, guilty are punished, and the innocent are protected. But while they make a more or less Just society, mercy and redemption are weak points of The Order.
The other theme of The Order is its conflict with demons. The principle reason why The Order is rightly labeled good is because they are willing to die to protect others from demonic oppression.
The Code of Junil
Resolve the weaknesses of your heart
Obey the laws of your providence
Yield to the goodness that surrounds you
Grant silence to those who betray it
Bring wrath upon those who will destroy
Inspire love of the righteous law
Vest in yourself the Code of Junil
Lawful Good/Lawful Neutral
Valin is the greatest of Order Oath-takers (paladins). He is mentioned in the tales of two men who ultimately came to serve evil causes: Rosier the Fallen and Saverous of the Twisted Men. Shortly after these events Valin disappeared. It is thought that Valin was taken up by Junil in preparation for the End Times.
Valin was present at the oath-taking of Rosier the Fallen, a fellow paladin of the Order, and later confirmed Rosier’s breaking of his oath and fall from the grace of Junil. Rosier ultimately became a dread lord (anti-paladin) in service of The Ashen Veil.
Saverous was captured by the Bannor after the Burnt Priest was killed and his summoned legions banished from the mortal world. Valin attempted unsuccessfully to convert Saverous to the Order. At some point Saverous parted company with Valin and became one of the most feared servants of the Overlords.
The room was perfectly formed: identical grey tiles covered the floor and fluted columns were evenly spaced throughout the hall. Angels knelt or were seated according to their rank, which was also reflected in their dress, although the differences were often too slight for mortal eyes to recognize. In fact, the perfection of the chamber, from the exact proportions down to each fold in every angel’s robe, was so off-putting to mortal eyes that even the most precise couldn’t help feeling like he threw the room, or the entire heaven, out of balance by his very existence.
Junil stood in the center of the chamber, unwavering. Words and reports were unnecessary, there was no outward sign of stress or panic, yet every angel’s focus was on the same event: sacred ground was being desecrated. It was the Seven Pines, the place that the Compact was signed. It was sacred to many gods, but Junil had committed to keeping the area safe before the gods had agreed to the Compact, to ensure that the Gods and their emissaries could meet there safely, and now that oath wasn’t being kept.
It was the Compact itself that caused the problem, it stated that the gods and angels couldn’t intervene directly with the affairs of men, instead they had to work through them by various limited and archaic means, none of which helped in this situation. Those loyal to Junil had been killed, struck down quickly through a form of stealth that obscured even the sight of the angelic watchers.
In the Seven Pines, there were symbols for each of the gods that existed at the time of the Compact. The Svartalfar were stealing the symbols, all those except the symbol of their own god, Esus. Junil’s symbol was a sword and shield that hung from one of the trees in the glade. A Svartalfar assassin went to claim the symbol as a personal trophy.
Sphener broke the perfection of the room and stood. The angel opposite him, who was supposed to mirror his movements in every ritualized action, seemed confused. Was he supposed to follow, was this some ritual he had forgotten or was Sphener breaking the laws of the chamber? Other angels in the chamber, including Sphener’s own lord, allowed a brief crease of annoyance to cross their foreheads to show their extreme disapproval of Sphener’s action. Junil showed no reaction.
Sphener crossed the perfect floor and kneeled before the god of law. He spoke, following the tradition of the few mortals that had come here to petition Junil, as an angel had never done so before.
“Great lord, allow me to keep your promise and protect the Seven Pines. Cast me from the vault, take from me the divine essence and have me reborn mortal such that my actions will not break the Compact and both oaths will remain fulfilled.”
Junil turned his eyes to the prostrate lesser angel. His hesitation was not from concern,but from a consideration of the possible outcomes: would Sphener be able to defend the Pines, was Sphener more useful in creation than he was in heaven, was there another way to maintain both oaths, what would keep the same event from occurring again? Junil turned his focus on the Svartalfar attackers and decided that Sphener could defeat them; the laws were clear, if an angel wished to fall, he could.
Junil responded with only one word, “Approved,” and Sphener was gone from the chamber.
The Svartalfar assassin smiled as he considered his own reflection in the sword’s gleaming blade. The sword was too heavy and long for him but it would sell for a lifetime’s wages. Then the sword was yanked out of his hands, he spun expecting to see one of his companions and found himself staring into the breastplate of an eight-foot-tall angel instead.
The sword was functional as well as ornamental and Sphener cut him down. Like a scythe through grain, Sphener set on the rest, they were killed quickly, but it took longer for Sphener to replace all of the artifacts and remove any trace that they had been there from the Pines. When it was finally complete, he knelt and prayed.
When Sphener ended his prayer, the Pines were gone; Junil had removed it from creation to keep it safe. All that was left behind was the sword and shield. Sphener took them and headed into the woods. He had long been curious about creation and looked forward to serving Junil in this new role.
And the Lord did speak unto the warriors, and He did give commands, and He said: “I shall not suffer any to disobey these, my orders. But those who follow them, and heed their words, to those I can promise my protection and favor, they shall be my soldiers, and they shall have their reward at the end of time.” Hearing this, the warriors fell to their knees and promised their swords and their lives to the Holy War, and they were born again, and none could stand in their way.
—3rd Book of Junil, 1st Chapter, 5th Passage
What separates us from them? Honor. We have it, they do not. And without it, even if they win, they will lose in the end. For a victory without honor is like a well without water—empty, and useless. Honor is the mortar that binds friends and the foundation upon which to build a future. Men who fight dishonorably are building their empire on sand.
—Caradel Bluestride, Order Commander, speech before the last stand of the Divine Company
May your enemies plot in vain, their schemes foiled;
May arms raised against you fall harmlessly aside;
May your courage never falter, your spirit unafraid;
And may judgment be true, for you follow the Code.
Junil bless thee, brother.
—ritual blessing of the Confessor
By questioning the command of your superiors, you effectively question their judgment, and thereby challenge their position. Have you never stopped to consider that if these people are in command, then they must be the best for the job, or they would never have managed to rise to such a position? Do you presume to be smarter, or more worthy? Now, I won’t even begin to speak of the folly it would be to question divine commands.
—Jasper Rendrahl, Captain of the South Gate, Precept of Order
Order—Perfect, pristine, untouched and unquestioned. Every individual a part of the whole, performing like gears in a Heavenly machine. What could be more beautiful?
—Archmagess Sivayn ar Falas-Fana
When the messenger brought word that the Lanun refused our demand to surrender, the High Inquisitor sighed sadly, then ordered our army back from the walls. The commanders protested this apparent retreat, but the High Inquisitor replied, “Wait, and see.” He climbed a hill which overlooked the pirate raiders’ seaport, and began to pray.
It started slowly, thin streamers of smoke rising from the rooftops, but quickly hungry tongues of flame were licking the sky, rising higher and higher. Within a minute, the entire town was on fire, and still the flames rose, spinning with increasing speed about a central axis. The great pillar of fire stretched to the zenith, spinning like some hellish cyclone of flame—even a quarter-mile from the walls, we could feel the wind created as it sucked up the surrounding air into itself.
The most horrible part came after the pillar collapsed and dissolved. That’s when it started to snow—except it wasn’t snow, not at midsummer. It the ashes of the town and its inhabitants, drawn up by the pillar of fire, and scattered for a half-mile round about what once had been a thriving seaport, and was now a great crematorium.
That was when I started to have doubts about serving the Order.
—From A Diary of the Lanun Campaigns by Kell Magoran
The aspiring Acolyte was taken to the roof of the basilica or temple, alone with the ranking Confessor. It was a ritual, but one the Acolyte had never before observed, and so also a test. Below them lies the city, with its teeming inhabitants. Merchants, soldiers, farmers, laborers, nobles, each on his own task.
“Look out, my son,” commands the Confessor, “and tell me what you see.”
“Order,” replies the young Acolyte calmly.
The confessor smiles. “How do you see order here? Each man follows his own will.”
“Order is brought by the law. As we follow the code of Junil, we are able to cooperate with one another, bringing about the ultimate expression of order, civilization. Each man’s works contribute to the greater good without him knowing it, so long as those who harbor ill will are constrained by the law.”
“What is the greatest temptation of the faithful of Junil?”
“The children of mercy are redemption and injustice. To show mercy to the murderer is to show contempt for the slain, and to grant mercy to the thief is to impoverish his victims. The redemption of a foe is the greatest achievement, but by forgiveness without contrition one is only allowing future suffering. The brother who grants mercy to all sees compassion as his strength; in truth pride is his weakness and the seeds of future misery are sown in the community. Thus mercy must remain the discretion of the gods.”
“And so what is your greatest calling?”
“Obedience. Unquestioning Obedience.”
This exchange complete, the Acolyte will bebathed and blessed, a full member of the Order.
—From Chapter 2 of Reflections on the State Cults, by Elder Methyl of the Luonnotar