Faith is my weapon; courage, my shield.
The Sky Sanctuary’s Sector IV, also known as The Holy Knights, is a subdivision of The Sanctuary Order. Sector IV is staffed exclusively by Angels, and forms the militant wing of the Order. Angels are naturally beings of Law, and thus, they make superbly disciplined, organized soldiers. A significant portion of the Angel population stays sheltered within the Silver City, deciding not to taint themselves by taking up arms and meddling in mortal affairs. But, for the growing population of Angels who saw the woes of mankind and could not stand to do nothing, the order of the Holy Knights was created to intervene.
The emblem of the Holy Knights is derivative of the overall Sanctuary logo, with the crescent cradling an orb, curled around three diamonds. For their emblem, however, the orb forms the centerpiece of a cross, with the crescent looping around. The colors of the Holy Knights are scarlet and gold.
The Holy Knights make their primary base of operations at Heaven’s Gate. While nominally under Sanctuary control, the Knights are largely independent of the Sanctuary, only called in for emergencies and times of crisis. The Holy Knights are not spies or diplomats; they are soldiers, and they are very good at what they do. They usually respond to crises on very large scales. If aid is requested from the Holy Knights for anything other than all-out war, they are very sparing with their forces. They deploy their members in small, tightly-knit task forces and strike teams, sometimes sending only a single soldier because often, one is enough.
The Holy Knights split their command structure into two branches. One wing of the Order receives special training in using divine power to purge evil; the other trains in smiting evil the old-fashioned way, with ordinary martial might. The ranks within the Holy Knights are split between the knighthood and the priesthood:
- Commanders are the leaders of the Holy Knights as a whole, and are in charge of managing their overall forces. They, along with a bureau of senior staff, stay at base and relay their orders abroad using dedicated psionic coordinators.
- Marshals execute the Commanders’ orders in the field. Marshals typically have command over a particular division of the Knights’ forces, each Division split into squads.
- Captains are the leaders of their respective squads, and have their efforts coordinated by their Marshal.
- Knights are the rank and file of Sector IV’s soldiers. They may be further specialized according to role or martial skill, but they are all held together by a Captain.
- Squires are still knights-in-training, and form the backbone of Sector IV’s support staff, taking care of various menial chores when not out gaining field experience.
The priesthood, ranked separately from the military, help administer to the Knights’ spiritual needs. As Angels are naturally creatures of Order, the rites and rituals carried out by the priesthood help them to focus and become a unified fighting force. The priesthood’s hierarchy is as follows:
- The Archbishop is the head of the priesthood as a whole, and serves as the liaison to the Sky Sanctuary. They are the one appealed to when the Sanctuary requests the Holy Knights for aid. They are one of The Elder Magi, and hold a seat on the council.
- Bishops serve under the Archbishop and are each assigned to a Division alongside a Marshal, to better minister to the soldiers’ militant and spiritual needs.
- Chaplains hold the equivalent rank to Captains and are assigned to each squad. Chaplains are responsible for steeling the squad’s resolve in the face of sanity-warping threats, and hold skill in smiting evil, blessing weapons, and miraculous healing power.
- Exorcists do not take to the battlefield, instead fulfilling much the same function as the Sanctuary’s Ghosts. They are the scouts and assassins of the Holy Knights, exterminating threats early on before they can escalate and require greater intervention.
- Monks joined the Holy Knights for the discipline and structure, not for the violence. Despite this, they are not merely a civilian population. Monks are called on to serve as the Holy Knights’ internal police, serving as diplomats and mediators, and also serve as the home guard in times of crisis.
The knighthood and the priesthood often come into conflict, and for different reasons. Their methods differ; some knights view the Exorcists as a black mark on a fine martial tradition, whereas some of the priesthood see the use of weapons as barbarous savagery.
Puritans vs. Radicals
The main schism within the Holy Knights, however, is this: the ideological differences between the so-called Puritans and Radicals.
Puritans believe in the inherent purity of the Angels, and, conversely, the inherent evil of Demons. On the far end of the scale, some extremist Puritans believe demons to be a taint that must be purged; more moderate Puritans, though not advocating genocide, still view demonkind as having a propensity for evil, and keep a close eye on them toeing the line. A Puritan believes any demonic influence to be cursed or corrupt. A moderate Puritan, when coming into contact with demonic powers, seeks immediately to atone and redeem himself. An extremist Puritan, however, believes fervently in purging the unclean, and will not hesitate to do so, even in death. Puritans have come under fire for being overzealous bigots; however, heavy-handed as their methods are, there are times when their paranoia and zeal is well-founded, and leniency would be to invite disaster.
Radicals, on the other hand, are Demon sympathizers, and are unafraid to dabble in dark arts if their intent is pure. They are often criticized by Puritans for their sympathy and lenience being weak, naive, and foolish; it is said, “be wary of he who seeks to use the weapons of the enemy against him”. While Radicals have a more sympathetic public image for their policy of redemption before ruin, the vast majority of Fallen were once Radicals, who fell into darkness when their use of the dark arts consumed them. While among non-Angels they retain sympathy for “keeping an open mind”, some things are meant to remain secret, and you never know when the life you save will be the one that destroys you.
Historically, the knighthood comprised the majority of Radicals, and the priesthood the majority of Puritans. Interestingly, this trend has reversed in recent years. Sonja, Commander of the Holy Knights, is a Puritan, whereas Lucien, Archbishop, is a Radical. There has recently been a concerted effort among the Holy Knights’ leadership and the Elder Magi to create a more moderate stance among the Order at large, but this has met with mixed success.
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