Order of St. Iestyn
The holy Order of Saint Iestyn is one of only a few remaining monastic orders dedicated to the veneration and worship of Tyr and Zisa. Named after Iestyn the Wise, a near-mythical seer and martyr of the Second Age, it stands as a shining bastion of faith in the wild lands of Dwilight.
Founded in the year 1623 of the Seventh Age by Phelan the Elder, the family head of the bloodline that would come to prominence a century after his death as the House Bellator, the order is young when compared to the others, which mostly trace their origins back to the great wars that broke out at the end of the Age of Mourning.
Upon the death of its previous Grand Master, Rheinallt IV of Beziers, the task of leading the order fell once again to the House Bellator. Under the leadership of its new Grand Master, Drystan II of Ipsosez, the order made landfall on Dwilight in the spring of the year 1766 of the Seventh Age, carried from the Far East port of Zonasa by the ships of the Ordo Procellae.
The creed used by the members of the Order of St. Iestyn to affirm their faith traces its origins to the latter part of the Age of Mourning. It has generally been accepted as the most neutral of the creeds that have seen use among the various orders in that it does not seem to favour either one God over the other, and is therefore useful as a general affirmation of faith regardless of dedication.
- I believe in Zisa, gentle mother, shaper of heaven and earth.
- She is the bringer of life, the first blossom that marks the end of winter.
- I believe in Tyr, wise father, guardian of the balance,
- who fought for our salvation on a thousand worlds, and led man through fire.
- I believe in the teachings of our mother, given to man in the first age:
- That we should put the good of our brothers and sisters before our own,
- so the whole might be made stronger and our world be made whole.
- I believe in the teachings of our father, given to man in the second age:
- That we should guard ourselves against the shadow,
- against greed, and hatred, and envy,
- so that the daemon shall find no shelter in our hearts.
- I believe that the world is poised on the brink of oblivion,
- for the heretic and the daemon are ever among us.
- Through unwavering faith we steel our souls,
- that no false gods shall again threaten us.
- We are the children of the gods,
- and we are forever.
(OOC: This is subject to refinement as the background is written in more detail)
While the history of the Order of St. Iestyn itself is relatively short, it keeps a sizeable library of records dating back thousands of years to the beginning of the Fifth Age. Some records from before this time exist, but they do not normally mention clear dates at all.
As one penetrates further and further into the past, fact and legend become impossible to tell apart, and preciously little is known of the first four Ages of the Universe.
The Cianic Calendar was adopted in the year 243 of the Fifth Age. It was named in honour of Cian the Astronomer, who devised a system of timekeeping that uses the relative cycles of the sun and moon to track time. Though rare, it remains in use today and has been adopted by the Order of St. Iestyn because all of its records are dated by this system.
The Order of St. Iestyn traditionally divides history up into seven distinct periods, commonly referred to as the great Ages:
The age in which the universe was shaped was the Age of the First Gods, long before the birth of man. What myths are known of this Age have been made known by diligent study of the divine.
In the peace following the end of the First War, mankind was left to fend for itself for the first time since creation. The race of men spread across the world and flourished. However, bereft of divine guidance, men soon turned upon one another through the machinations of Chaos.
The eyes of man were finally opened to the threat of Chaos through the life and death of five of the greatest of Tyr’s servants to have graced our world:
- Iestyn the Wise
- Tudyr the Brave
- Rheinallt the Strong
- Diniol the Just
- Emyr the Kind
Age of Mourning
Following the death of the five Saints and the scattering of their followers, chaos reigned supreme. But through their sacrifice, the eyes of man had been opened, and the voice of Tyr had been brought back into their hearts.
Guided by those of the blessed blood, the scattered tribes were eventually united under one banner, and were able to make a stand against their treacherous kin.
Age of Vengeance
Inspired by the celestial events marking their victory at the Battle of Falling Stars the now united faithful tribes reformed themselves into the first military orders, one dedicated to each of the Five Saints. These orders were to fight a thousand-year war to avenge the death of their legendary patrons and to cleanse the world of those treacherous men given in to chaos.
They managed to conquer most of the known world, and unite the many warring tribes and kingdoms under one heaven, finally declaring their hard-won victory under the light of the full moon, dyed red, the colour of blood, by Tyr to honour the many brave knights who died in his service.
Age of of the Dragon
(determined to have ended 5A1273)
When the Grand Master of the Ordo Draconis finally declared victory at the end of the long wars of the previous age, his declaration was received under the light of a blood-red moon. Upon witnessing this event, the old warrior fell to his knees and thanked Tyr for his victory, and swore a sacred oath that his Knights would always watch over their people, and ensure that Chaos would never rise again.
With this declaration he declared the year to be 4A1, the first year of the Age of the Dragon. History tells us that this was to be a golden age, an age of peace, an age of enlightenment.
Age of Decline
This age is unique in that it was not declared, or marked by some celestial event, but rather determined to have taken place only at its end. The beginning of this Age is generally accepted to have been the destruction of the legendary fortress of the Ordo Draconis currently believed to have been located somewhere in the Ipsosis range. It was an age of increasing unrest, with many remaining accounts of daemonic infestation in the world.
Age of Shadow
The Age of Shadow was declared when the shattered remnants of the Ordo Procellae took to the sea with the survivors of the other orders, and so escaped annihilation. They realised that time time of the great orders were passed, and went into exile until the time they could return to the known world to restore what was lost.
The Ordo Procellae continues to exist today, and made landfall in Dwilight in the year 7A1766 along with the newly founded Order of St. Iestyn.
The teachings of the Order of St. Iestyn with regards to everyday life are based heavily upon the teachings of Iestyn the Wise as they have been passed down through the generations.
Saint Iestyn identified four Heavenly Virtues.
These virtues are, so he taught, not absolutes, but rather points on a delicate balance between two extremes. Temperance, for example, lies on the balance between miserliness and extravagance. He taught his followers to practice moderation in all things, for he believed that to give in to excess weakens a man, and that hardship builds and strengthens character much as the forge strengthens iron to yield steel.
He believed that the key to living a good life is to be mindful of one’s choices and how they affect people around you. One must realize that every choice affects others in some way, and must weigh each choice for its relative merits. Only by the study of, and the reflection on, moral choices does one learn to distinguish between good and bad choices where the difference is small.
However, it is only through living virtuously that one becomes a virtuous person. Study is therefore essential, but not sufficient.