Order of the Compass
The Order of the Compass is a Cardinalian chivalric order, designed to recognize and encourage power wielders of Cardinal to develop their power and dedicate it to the better purposes of the nation and of Kamism. It is officially headed by the Grand Cardinal himself, although the day-to-day activities of it are rarely handled by him.
The Order of the Compass has several possible ranks. The rank of Sovereign of the Order belongs strictly to the Grand Cardinal. Directly below that are the leaders of the order, the Knights (or Dames) Grand Cross. Power wielders of the utmost strength and quality fill those ranks. Below that are the Knight Companions, power wielders of well-developed strength and proven dedication to Cardinal. Knight Officers, the lowest rank of the Compass, are power wielders of variable strength who have proven their loyalty in some manner.
Induction into the Order, and promotion within it, is at the whim of the Grand Cardinal, but typically he consults with the Knights Grand Cross in such matters.
Beyond the three ranks of knighthood in the Order, it also has an auxiliary award, intended for those who provide worthy service to Cardinal, but who are ineligible to join the Order for various reasons, most commonly for not being a citizen of Cardinal. This is known as the Compass Legion of Merit award.
Besides reasons of ineligibility disqualifying worthies from being inducted into the Order, it may also be full. Currently, there may only be eight Knight Officers, four Knight Companions, and two Knights Grand Cross living at any one time. As there is no maximum cap on the Compass Legion of Merit award, it is sometimes given to qualifying persons who would otherwise be properly inducted, when the Order of the Compass is at its maximum capacity.
Fallen Knights do not count against these caps. Instead, they are entered into the Roll of Honour of the Order of the Compass, with their last rank noted. The deeds and lives of these Knights are commended to all living Knights, that they might be inspired in their service by them.
When a new member is inducted into the order, they are given a medal to wear, to symbolize their rank. The Knight Officer medal is a golden compass rose, while the Knight Companion medal adds a laurel wreath to it, anchored at the southern point of the compass rose, and wrapping upwards to almost touch, just short of the northern lance of the compass. The medal of a Knight Grand Cross replaces the central lance of the Kninght Companion medal with a tower, symbolizing Korin's Tower, a monument that is quite important to the Kamist religion. The medal of the Sovereign is the same as the Grand Cross, but adds a background of a crown shape to the compass rose, over which the laurel wreath and tower are imposed.
While the medal can be worn bear, pinned by itself, it can also be worn from a ribbon, which is a blue-green-blue colour pattern. For occasions when full medals are inappropriate, a simple blue-green-blue ribbon can be worn, with Officers bearing the bare ribbon, Companions having the additional of a laurel wreath in the green stripe, and Grand Cross ribbons bear a small stylized tower. There is no ribbon design for the Sovereign.
When a Knight falls, it is tradition that his or her regalia is not buried with them. Instead, a fresh set of regalia is crafted for them, for their funeral and burial. Their old regalia is either given to their family as mementos of their righteous service, or, if the family permits or there is no family to take it, it is kept by the Order to give to a newly-inducted Knight. This regalia, with its lineage, has the stories of it and its former bearers recited during the induction ceremony, as an inspiration to the new Knight to serve and be worthy of their predecessors.
Similarly, if a Knight has sponsored a new inductee, they will often give up their own regalia to the new inductee, and receive a fresh set, so that the new inductee does not have to 'break in' a set of regalia that lacks honours.
While the first Knights were inducted by the hand of the Grand Cardinal, Winston the Twelfth, it is not always necessary for the Sovereign of the Order to do so. Knights Grand Cross and Companions may enter people into the Legion of Merit, and Knights Grand Cross may create Companions and Officers with the leave of the Sovereign. The Sovereign does hold the exclusive privilege of creating Knights Grand Cross, but tends to exercise this only on the advice and counsel of the current Knights Grand Cross.
The induction ceremony for the Order of the Compass can be relatively basic. It can be as simple as administering an oath, "Do you accept the duties and privileges of the rank offered to you? Do you swear to uphold the honour of this noble order to which you have been invited, and to comport yourself as a true knight of Cardinal?", accepting the new inductee's affirmative reply, and dubbing them with a sword, preferably the ceremonial sword of the Order, which hangs in their chapel in the Korine Cardo Aula when not in use.
That said, there are a number of additional complications which can be included, such as forcing inductees to stand vigil and meditate on the duties they are assuming for a night prior to induction, or delivering a buffet as part of their induction ceremony.
The Order of the Compass has a special chapel dedicated to them in the Korine Cardo Aula, in Central Capital. Within this chapel, all the knights (both living and deceased) have their arms displayed. It is open at all hours of the day for any knights that have need of it as a place to pray or meditate.
As a chivalric order attached to the Kamist church, they may also draw upon certain resources of the Kamist brethren. Typically, this means that they will be housed and fed free of charge at any Kamist church or monastery, and they will be able to seek the advice and assistance of ordained Kamist priests. However, as the vast majority of ordained Kamists are mortal, the amount of help they'll be able to provide will no doubt be limited.
Rights and Responsibilities
Knights are expected to at all times, comport themselves in accordance with their station. They are to be role models for less-developed power wielders. Among other things, this means that they should act in accordance with the laws of Cardinal in regards to power wielders and general behaviour. As well, they should endeavor to both consistently improve themselves, for the betterment of Cardinal's defense, and train those who are weaker than them, to ensure that the next generation is stronger than the last.
In times of trouble, the Sovereign or the Knights Grand Cross may summon the order to battle, in Cardinal's defense. All Knights are expected to respond to the summons with all haste. Those who do not show had best be ready to supply evidence of an excellent reason why they could not respond, or be prepared to be demoted or stripped of their rank entirely.
In exchange, the knights are granted certain privileges. They are considered to be trusted sons and daughters of Cardinal, and thus, while they cannot operate outside the law with impunity, they cannot be prosecuted for their actions without the Grand Cardinal's consent -- which he will readily grant if he feels they acted irresponsibly.
To enable the knights to focus on their power wielding lives, they are granted an annual stipend so long as they are a knight in good standing, with the amount increasing with rank and term of honourable service.
On death, whether in battle or to other vicissitudes of life, all Knights may rest in state in the chapel of the Order, before being buried in the catacombs below it. They are not required to, however, as many families of these noble warriors wish to have their remains rest with their ancestors.
Relationship with the Ranger Guard
While knights can enlist with the Ranger Guard if they wish, depending on their rank within the Order, they also have a special relationship with the Guard without enlisting. As officially recognized premiere defenders of Cardinal, the Ranger Guard are far more willing to accept the presence of a Knight of the Compass in their operations, and share intelligence with them, than they are with the average civilian.
With that in mind, the knights are permitted to attend Ranger Guard training camps, master their equipment and techniques, and requisition said equipment within normal Ranger Guard limits, without actually enlisting. Someone who does this will instead hold an honorary commission with the Ranger Guard to recognize both their willingness to devote themselves to being able to better work with the Ranger Guard, and their need to be able to work outside the limitations of the Ranger Guard.
Roll of Honour of the Order of the Compass
- Sir Adam, Knight Companion