Order of the Iron Rose
The Order of the Iron Rose has its origin in 522 with Empress Endalla , who fancied herself an ‘iron rose’; a perfect mixture of strength and beauty. The fact that Endalla was neither strong nor beautiful did not stop fawning courtiers from adopting the name for her. A particularly ambitious member of the lower nobility outmaneuvered them all by founding the Order of the Iron Rose, a knighthood dedicated to Cadria’s defense and the promotion of knightly ideals. After Endalla immediately raised its founder to the upper nobility, more aspiring nobles quickly flocked to join. Three years later, a young member spotted an assassin on a balcony while Endalla was walking the in the garden, and stepped in front of the crossbow bolt intended for her.
The heroic act made the Order of the Iron Rose the foremost symbol of knighthood in the empire, and Endalla’s grateful patronage made it the most wealthy. It built a training barracks in Tirus, along with a luxurious guidhall, and its members became fixtures in the tourneys that the imperial social calendar revolves around. By the time of Endalla’s death, the Order had become enmeshed in the upper circles of politics such that its position little changed. Three hundred years on, the Order remains Cadria’s most powerful. Its reputation has suffered as late, as the mountainous wars fought against King Siggard of Norhelm have been ill-suited for its talents.
The Order’s symbol is a iron-colored rose on a red background.
Training and Lifestyle
Would-be knights begin serving as pages in the capital by their eighth birthday, where they gain experience in the courtly life and politics of Tirus as well as the beginnings of their martial training. By age twelve they progress to become squires, in which they are tied directly to a knight to be both their man-at-arms and body servant. On their sixteenth birthday, squires undergo a trial of arms, personally administered by the Order’s Grandmaster. Those who fail are expelled; those who succeed become full-fledged knights. Every knight is outfitted with a suit of armor and shield of the highest quality, rumored to be laced with mithril, and emblazoned with the Order’s symbol. After they are raised, knights have a high degree of autonomy, beyond being expected to respond if the army calls. While some remain in the capital others pursue quests, both real and self-styled. They are welcomed in the countryside where they are hailed as dispatchers of bandits and monsters.