In the Dragonlance universe, the Solamnic Knights are a chivalric order, a "brotherhood forged when Krynn was young". The Solamnic Order is dedicated to the forces of light, and live by a strict code of honor.
Vinas Solamnus was a general of the army of the Empire of Ergoth, who fought for them until he was sent to subdue a rebellion in Solamnia, which was at the time eastern Ergoth. After months of fighting, winter bogged down the campaign. In the months of inactivity, Solamnus studied the cause of the rebels, and found it to be just. He marched to Daltigoth, capital of Ergoth, he led his army in the Rose Rebellion or the War of Ice Tears. After defeating the Empire, he spent some time alone meditating. The gods Paladine, Habbakuk, and Kiri-Jolith then sent Vinas a vision, in which he thought about an army divided in three orders, each of the three orders associated with a god. The Knighthood was born. They are dedicated to the protection of Solamnia and Ansalon, service to the gods of Good, and above all to the ideals of honor.
The Knighthood requires the help of a conscripted army, footmen, usually local guards, militia and mercenaries, acting under the commands of a Knight. They are not part of the knighthood itself.
The Oath and the Measure
The Measure is a set of rules, written by Vinas Solamnus and held in thirty-seven 300-page volumes, conducting the life of a knight. In those books it is explained how a knight should react in different situations ranging from peace to war times.
During the time right before the Catacylsm, there were only 63 known Knights of Solamnia in Ansalon. These Knights worked for the good of Ansalon against the mounting problems arising from the Kingpriest of Istar. During the time after the Cataclysm the Knighthood was shattered, with no Grandmaster, High Clerist or Justice. After the War of the Lance, Gunthar Uth Wistan, voted Grandmaster of the Knights of Solamnia, took as his goal to revise the Oath and the Measure, considering such strict rules were the ones that made the Knighthood fall in decay with time. The Revised Measure was presented by his successor, Lord Liam Ehrling, on the year 9 SC. The spirit of the Measure changed from being a strict set of rules to a set of proposed rules, which suggest what the knight should do, but not impose them.
The Oath of the Knights of Solamnia is Est Sularus Oth Mithas (My Honor Is My Life).
The Knighthood is divided into three suborders of increasing rank: the Orders of the Crown, Sword, and Rose. A knight can also become a Lord Knight, thus dropping the title of 'sir' and replacing it with 'Lord'. Entry into the higher orders requires attainment of rank in the lower ones. Every order is based in a different set of concepts that the knight must understand.
The Knighthood is ruled by the Grandmaster of the Knights of Solamnia and a Conclave, formed by representatives of each order. This Conclave is reunited during certain times in a year to discuss matters concerning promotions, guidelines, information gathering, war councils, talk with allies, etc. The Conclave may have extraordinary sessions if the situation is exceptional.
When the Grandmaster dies, the new Grandmaster is chosen between the members of the Conclave. Although a Knight of the Rose is usually chosen due to his experience, there is no known rule stating that must be the case, and there have been known situations when the Knight of the Sword has been chosen instead.
During several centuries, the Knighthood only accepted squires coming from noble families located in Solamnia. As the empire of Istar grew stronger and their fight against evil became an obsession, the number of recruits diminished. This forced the Knighthood to send spies to different organizations, including the Thieves Guild in Palanthas, looking for people that, if not from nobility, held solid concepts of honor that may fit in their ranks.
In more recent times, squires can enter the order so long as they are honorable. A Knight already in the order must sponsor them. Once they have received sufficient training, the squire must be approved by a Council of Knights. If the Council has no valid reason to believe that the squire had performed a dishonorable action, they are accepted into the Knighthood. If their honor is questioned, the issue is worked out in the Council, until the time the squire is either approved or turned away.
Order of the Crown
The Knights of the Crown are the most inexperienced and generally young knights. They make up the bulk of the Solamnic Army. It is at this time they are taught to be loyal and honorable, and also they are taught to serve the gods of good and to further their cause. They are also taught obedience to their superiors. An ideal Knight of the Crown is humble. Some of the most notable and respected Solamnic Knights were Knights of the Crown, including Huma Dragonbane (Named for the Persian Phoenix Huma (mythology)) and Sturm Brightblade. The head of the Crown is known as 'High Warrior of the Knights of Solamnia'.
Order of the Sword
Knights of the Sword have proven themselves skilled fighters in sword, bow, spear, etc. It is possible for a squire to achieve this rank right from the out-set; however they must demonstrate a considerable degree of skill. Some Crown Knights choose to move up to the Sword but others choose to stay with the Crown. They are granted minor healing abilities by Kiri-Jolith, their patron, and are valuable in a battle as they are both great fighters and can heal in a pinch. At this time in the Knighthood, Sword Knights are taught courage and heroism. Sword Knights constantly fight evil, and through this struggle they further themselves in goodness.
The representative of the Order of the Sword in the Conclave is known as the High Clerist of the Knights of Solamnia, for their devout faith.
Order of the Rose
The Order of the Rose is the highest rank in the Knighthood. Knights of the Rose have proved themselves in peace and battle, and are taught the importance of faith and other virtues. Due to the great requisites for becoming a Knight of the Rose, they are the smallest branch of the Knighthood and are rarely seen in battle except in command roles. In battle, the members of this Order are the most formidable. Due to their extreme faith in Paladine, the patron deity of this Order, they are able to banish undead by praying. They are also immune to any form of fear. In times before the Cataclysm, Knights of the Rose were able to cast specific minor spells for keeping maps up to date, weapon edges sharpened and the like. These spells were granted by Paladine, not a god or goddess of magic, and are actually advanced forms of clerical powers. The practice became less and less common as the Kingpriest began its campaign against the Order of High Sorcery. It is unknown if the practice survived the Cataclysm, though. For a Knight of the Sword to become a Knight of the Rose, besides finishing the quests the High Justice requests, he must obtain the positive vote of all existing members of the Order. Knights of the Rose practice the virtues of forgiveness, redemption and wisdom at this time.
The representative of the Order of the Rose on the council is known as the High Justice of the Knights of Solamnia, as Rose Knights are taught justice and fair administration of judgement.
Knights of Sancrist Isle
With the coming of the Dragon Overlords during the Fifth Age, Lord Gunthar Uth Wistan of the Rose decided the Knights were not strong enough to stop them, and invited the evil Knights of Takhisis to discuss the possibility of merging both orders. Miriella Abrena (responsible for obliterating any honor left that Lord Ariakan, founder of the Knights of Takhisis, planted in the order), Commander of the Knights of Takhisis, sent a small party to parlay.
Lord Gunthar's idea was to have the Knights of Solamnia absorb the Knights of Takhisis in a single unit, the Honorable Knights of Sancrist Isle, without Orders to differentiate members, only Knights of Sancrist Isle or Knights of Sancrist, and the single white Moon as symbol. However, the Knights of Takhisis plotted against it, murdering Gunthar Uth Wistan and taking over both Knighthoods. The plot was discovered, the Knights of Takhisis were repelled, and Lord Liam Ehrling became the Grandmaster of the Knights of Solamnia.
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