- 1 Introduction
- 2 Hierarchy
- 3 Traditions and Rituals
- 3.1 Formal Introduction
- 3.2 Rites
- 3.2.1 Initiation Rite
- 3.2.2 Progression Rites
- 3.2.3 Other Rites
- 3.3 Trials
- 3.3.1 Training Trials
- 3.3.2 Progression Trials
- 3.3.3 Punishment Trials
- 4 Combat Styles
- 5 History
- 6 Current Membership
- 7 Former Membership
The Genta sa Henu Elua - "Order of the Silver Moon" in Lushan - had its start as a religious order founded by the Dorei Church of the Eternal Goddess, one of the majority monotheist religions of the Dorei. It came about as a result of the first official detection of the Fenari - the Gifted - in the Dorei population; those who could use the power of their minds to sense the thoughts and feelings of others, to move things with their minds, and with practice to augment their physical capabilities. The name was meant to invoke the primary moon of Doreia, which was considered the symbol of the Eternal Goddess, and it recruited from the priestesses of the Church and focused itself on developing female worshippers of the faith. Founded in the 18th Century Christian Era, Human Calendar, the Order was initially associated entirely with the Church and with the Lushan monarchy, but in the Period of Federation in the 24th through 26th Centuries it began admitting non-Lushans, even those who didn't worship the Eternal Goddess, so long as they swore oathes to the ideals of the Order; personal selflessness, willingness to sacrifice, love toward others, preserving life, and courage in the face of evil. Non-Gifted lay members were admitted to help maintain the Order in administrative and support capacities while new technologies diversified the tools the Order's Tylani - Sentinels, their term for Order members trained for fighting and other dangerous activities - could use in their many missions. Since contact with other species, members of other races have not been turned away from membership, though only in the 31st Century, after the Dilgrud Wars, did an appreciable number of non-Dorei sign up, mostly Humans with a few Trill.
The Order's membership is still female, in practice though not rule (there are other orders for male Dorei), though some men, predominately Dorei, work as lay members of the Order. Members of the Order train in the use of multiple types of weapons: chemical firearms, electro-magnetic firearms, energy firearms, vibro-blades, and the current signature weapon of the Fenari, the beamsaber. They also train in Jana Lema, a form of martial arts favored by the Lushan akin to Human savate and karate, allowing them to be capable of unarmed combat. Members are also trained to make full use of the telepathic and telekinetic nature of their talents should an occasion call for it; altogether avoiding conflict is desired, as preserving life is a major purpose of the Order.
The current rank of full members of the Order stands at 1,437 full members (not counting Initiates and Acolytes); 872 of them are Dorei, with 512 Humans, 52 Trill, and 1 Thanagarian. A similar proportion of the races exists among the Apprentices and the Initiates, while the lay membership are 93% Dorei, as all but two cloisters of the Order are on Doreia. The other two are on Human-populated worlds, one on New Anglia in the Princess Caroline Islands and the other on Andalusia in the countryside outside of Marbella. As such they generally attract lay members of Humanity, though in practice some of the necessary support functions in the two Human-world cloisters are provided by contracted workers who do not join the Order.
In the Order, there is an established ranking system based upon a combination of seniority and merit. The refinement of abilities permits the Sisters of the Silver Moon, as all members above the laymen are known, to pass the tests to gain higher positions eventually, though those with considerable merit through skill and actions might take the tests sooner or, in some cases, have a Writ of Recognition signed by the Order Council that grants them a new rank in light of accomplishments outside of standard tests - one's deeds, and the skill needed to accomplish them, are thus recognized, allowing the doer to rise without further testing.
The Order Council - Genta Lana - consists of seven figures, which also correspond to the two highest ranks available to those in the Order. Led by the Grand Master (sometimes rendered as Mistress due to the uniform gender of Silver Moon members) they make the decisions of the Order, ranging from the expenditure of financial donations, the establishment and governance of the many Cloisters, decisions of doctrine and testing standards, and as stated, Writs of Recognition to provide promotion in rank without the standard test.
Senior Ranks and Titles
Sana-Hamal Henu Elua (Grand Master/Mistress of the Silver Moon) is the title given to the most experienced and accomplished member of the Order. Despite many Humans and some Trill having served in the Order over the past centuries, no Human has yet arisen to this rank and has always been held by a Dorei. Once limited to Lushan Dorei and to actual members of the Church of the Eternal Goddess, the Reforms of 3215 changed the rules to permit the rank to be open to all regardless of religious affiliation, though in practice every Grand Mistress since has been a practitioner of this majority Lushan faith.
Hamal Henu Elua (Master/Mistress of the Silver Moon) is the title of the other six members of the Council, as well as anywhere from forty to sixty other members in practice. To become a Master of the Silver Moon is to showcase enormous talent in one's "Gift" and to have clearly spent a lifetime living up to the ideals and code of the Order. The age of the Masters may vary; some are centenarians while others are only in their late fifties or early sixties, having quickly proven themselves skilled while serving in the lower ranks. Those Masters who are not part of the Council are typically placed in charge of the Cloisters - they very rarely operate in the field, though their presence in a fight can easily be decisive depending on circumstance.
Sana-Jadar Henu Elua (Grand Knight/Dame of the Silver Moon) is a ceremonial title awarded to the most skilled Master who is not on the Council. It is the role of the Grand Knight to be the Council's spokeswoman to the rest of the Order and to enact their decisions. When translated to English the term is usually rendered as "Grand Dame" due to the system of styling used in the Anglian peerage, but this is a case of cultural translation that does not apply to the Lushan-Dorei context of the title: "Jadar" is clearly translated as "Knight" in the context of the word in Lushan culture.
Tagar-Jadar Henu Elua (Knight-Captain/Dame-Captain of the Silver Moon) is the title of the Order's veteran members, who have usually served for at least four decades as full members in the Order, thus meaning they are typically at the age of 60 or thereabout when they achieve the rank, some being as old as 70 to 75; they make up no more than a fifth of the overall number of active Sisters. They are skilled ESPers, capable of employing a wide range of abilities in combat situations. Knight-Captains are all prospective Masters, though the Council only recognizes them as such at the average of one per decade. While some remain in the field, leading Knights and Sentinels into battle or in other operations, those who show disposition toward teaching the Gift toward others are typically assigned to the Cloisters, where they train the Initiates and Acolytes. When translated to English the term is usually rendered as "Dame-Captain" due to the system of styling used in the Anglian peerage, but this is a case of cultural translation that does not apply to the Lushan-Dorei context of the title: "Jadar" is clearly translated as "Knight" in the context of the word in Lushan culture.
Jadar Henu Elua (Knight/Dame of the Silver Moon) is a title and rank given to Sisters who serve with distinction, usually earned by the 40th birthday, though there have been Knights as young as 23 who were recognized for extraordinary valor and sacrifice on behalf of the Order and those it protects. As a group they make up about a third of the Order. On top of assignments in the field, a Knight of the Order is typically charged with the training of an Apprentice drawn from the ranks of the Acolytes - in rare occasions they are even permitted to take an old Initiate in her final years as such to train, though they must get the approval of the Council to do so. When translated to English the term is usually rendered as "Dame" due to the system of styling used in the Anglian peerage, but this is a case of cultural translation that does not apply to the Lushan-Dorei context of the title: "Jadar" is clearly translated as "Knight" in the context of the word in Lushan culture.
Tylani Henu Elua (Sentinel of the Silver Moon) is the basic rank of all full members of the Order, typically being admitted at the 20th Birthday (though this varies by skill and race, with the Dorei average being 20-21 while Humans, who develop slightly faster, are admitted at the 18-19 range more often) and making up about half of the active membership. The Sentinels are fully trained in the use of their ESP abilities, though experience will continue to sharpen and refine those abilities. They are most commonly found in the field, working under a Knight or Knight-Captain or even amongst each other as circumstances dictate.
Petany Henu Elua (Apprentice of the Silver Moon) is the rank bestowed upon Acolytes picked by a Knight for personal training. The Apprentices operate in the field beside their Knight teachers (Whom are usually addressed as Master, as all junior rated members of the Order address those in higher positions) to get direct experience and training, though a Knight is considered bound to do everything possible to preserve their Apprentices' lives. In some cases Apprentices will begin to have close relationships with their Knights, though it can vary. After all, some Knights may not be too good as teachers.
Hatan Henu Elua (Acolyte of the Silver Moon) is the rank given to those full members of the Order who reach the age of 17. As Acolytes their educations are geared toward more sophisticated harnessing of the Gift and toward learning the skills necessary for a member of the Order to survive, though they also complete the more basic educations started as Initiates. They are taught to maintain and even construct weapons, particularly the eponymous beamsaber, and in those weapons' use. The most promising are taken as Apprentices early, while those who struggle tend to be taken only much later, if at all. If an Acolyte is never apprenticed, it does not necessarily mean they will not have anywhere to go in the Order, however. At age 20 they are given their first attempt at passing the Sentinel Trials and, if failing such, are permitted a year to attempt two more times. If still failing, on the 21st Birthday they are permitted a final attempt; if it fails, they are reduced to the lay ranks of the Order; many end up departing outright to live as ordinary civilians or, in some cases, to be recruited by other groups if such is offered.
Feytan Henu Elua (Initiate of the Silver Moon) is the lowest rank given to the Gifted of the Order. None younger than 14 years of age are inducted (though prospective Initiates can be sent to prepatory schools connected to the Order). At induction as an Initiate a girl is brought to live in an Cloister with other Initiates and Acolytes. Once in the Cloister she is given an education in rudimentary use of her Gift, such as "Mindwalls", while also educated in the history and traditions of the Order and of the Church of the Eternal Goddess (alternative courses on other religions are permitted in the two Human Cloisters and the main Cloister in Darnis, Lushan). Basic education in other fields like biology, physical science, literature, general history, and mathematics are also provided, as all are seen as necessary to make one a fully functioning part of the Order. Upon reaching the age of 15 they are made into Acolytes automatically, though the most skilled and promising prodigies of the Initiates may be taken as Apprentices by Knights.
Special titles are available to those who were once Sisters of the Order, the title depends on their rank upon leaving and the circumstances in which they departed.
Benal-Katal Henu Elua (Eternal Honoured of the Silver Moon) is a title given to retired Grand Masters or to Masters who go into the field and die with honor for the causes of the Order. All are given special entries into the Annals of the Silver Moon and annexes of Cloisters, or entire new Cloisters, are named in their honor.
Katal Henu Elua (Honoured of the Silver Moon) is a title bestowed upon those of the Order who are slain upholding the causes of the Order, regardless of their rank at the time of death. All are given entries into the Annals of the Silver Moon.
Benal-Paman Henu Elua (Eternal Departed of the Silver Moon) is the title bestowed on those Sisters of the Silver Moon who pass away peacefully or who are no longer in the Order upon their deaths. Their names are kept in the Rolls of the Sisterhood. If a retired Sister dies while performing an act in honor of the Order's code, the Council can decide to promote her to the ranks of the Honoured or Eternal Honoured, depending upon her rank when she retired from the Order.
Paman Henu Elua (Departed of the Silver Moon) is the customary title of all Sisters who retire from the Order under good circumstances and who are below the rank of Grand Master.
Laytar (Disgraced) is a common term and official "title" given to all Sisters who are expelled from the Order for violating its Code and ideals. Whether it is a Sister who consistantly acts with cowardice in action, a Sister who abuses her powers be they institutional or of the Gift, or a Sister who outright commits betrayal against the Order, it is generally a final and terrible judgement. The Disgraced are ejected from the Order without any compensation or assistance in adapting to life outside of it. All Order members are required to shun a Disgraced former Sister regardless of prior relationship. Only the Council may revoke the status of a Disgraced, and such does not come often. By records it has only occured eight times since the founding of the Order.
Lay Membership Rankings
The laity of the Order have their own hierarchy, though even the highest lay member is considered subordinate to a full member (though, as with the case of senior NCOs and green Lieutenants in an Army, a Sentinel will not easily ignore the most senior of the laymen).
Sana-Kanta (Grand-Manager) is for the seniormost layman or laywoman of the Order. She (occasionally "he") serves in the main Cloister of the Silver Moon in the Lushan capital of Darnis, assisting the Council in the day-to-day administration of the Order.
Kanta (Manager) are the heads of the laity, one per Cloister, responsible for ensuring that the Cloister's day-to-day affairs run smoothly. Issues like the procurement of food and supplies or the tracking of financial expenditures are their responsibility, though the Master in charge of the Cloister makes all final decisions on budget expenditures.
Kanta-Del (Lieutenant Managers) are those laymen of sufficient skill and seniority to aid Managers in their duties in the Cloisters. They typically oversee, directly, the lay staff of each Cloister in specific departments (Food Preparation, Land Maintenance, Structure Maintenance, etc.).
Sam-Len (Senior Layman) are experienced members of the laity who have become masters of a trade, be it cooking, planting, or equipment repair.
Len (Layman) are the average members of the laity who have learned one of the trades involved in supporting the Order.
Petany-Len (Apprentice-Layman) are young members of the laity, typically of age 12 to 20, who are learning one or more trades while assisting the laity in any aspect deemed necessary.
Otanan (Worker) are non-laity hired to cover any existing vacancies that a lack of laity of appropriate grade and rank open. In Dorei territory there are very few Workers, all typically of Layman level with some Senior Laymen, as the Dorei Cloisters are able to recruit laymen from local populations easy enough. The two Cloisters in Human communities, however, have found themselves recruiting many Workers for all positions, all the way up to Lieutenant Manager (Or Assistant Managers as Humans prefer); only Managers are required to be affirmed laity, this by Council Decree, with Dorei Managers ordered to move into the Human-territory Cloisters if necessary in order to run them.
Traditions and Rituals
Founded as a religious order under the auspices of the Church of the Eternal Goddess, the Order has always had particular traditions and rituals meant to reinforce the faith of its membership. Early on they were part and parcel with the church traditions, but as the Order gained a history and then opened its doors to Dorei of other faiths, and eventually non-Dorei, the traditions and rituals began to change, intended to reinforce the ideals and moral code of the Order more than religious creeds.
The Dilgrud War and the Occupation of Doreia left its mark as well. The loss of so many members of the Order and the suffering caused by the Dilgrud were permanent scars on the memory of those in the Order, a reinforcement of the horrible fates that might await those who stand up for their causes as those of the Silver Moon are meant to.
These traditions are an important part of life for those who are in the Order. They reinforce the beliefs of its membership and provide occasion to ensure continued mastery of the Gift, inspire both pride and humility in one's accomplishments, and provide solace for those mourning the loss of friends and lovers.
All members of the Order will give Formal Introductions during the various rituals and services of the Order. The Introduction consists of one's full name, the given names of one's parents, and one's land of birth (for Dorei it is one's hometown and home nation, for Humans it is usually rendered as hometown and home planet), appended by rank where appropriate.
Example: Damisa Sano-Nedl Pantan, daughter of Kamina Mana and Faron Tel, of Teyga in Hargano, Knight of the Silver Moon.
These Introductions are used only in formal, ritual circumstances; in day to day interaction or for introductions outside of Order rituals, the title comes first, then the given name, and occasionally one's assigned Cloister (either the one in which one was trained or, if applicable, where one is assigned).
The Initiation Rite is performed for all who formly join the Order, whether as Gifted Sisters or as laity. For the latter it is performed whenever they choose to join; for the former, it is done as a child or youth upon becoming an Initiate. The ceremony is led by a Cloister's Master, if available, or a resident Knight-Captain if the Master of a Cloister is unavailable. Friends in the Order and family are invited to attend - multiple rites are usually performed in a common ceremony.
The form of the Rite is fairly simple. Adorned in humble robes dyed in Lushan purple (for Dorei the "dull" purple hue is a "humble" color, not rich like it is for Humans) the initiate is brought before the Master by an advocate already in the Order, a Sentinel or Knight for an Initiate or if laity a close friend, either of the Gifted or the laity. The advocate formally presents her (occasionally his, for laity) initiate prospect before the Master, then their purpose for approaching the Order. The Master invites the initiate to confirm her/his advocate's introduction. When the confirmation is complete the Master prompts the initiate to give the formal oath.
I, <name of initiate>, do swear here, in the presence of the Eternal Goddess/Almighty God/Christ King, that I shall stand in constant obedience to the Code of the Order; that I shall use my Gifts/my Skills for the benefit of the Order and not myself, that I shall act always to preserve Life, that I shall act always to protect the Innocent and Helpless, that I shall act always to accomplish Justice, that I shall act always to place the good of others before my own, that I shall act always to oppose Evil and to show courage in Evil's presence, and that I shall act always to give of myself, even my very life, so that I do that which is right and stop that which is wrong. So I swear here, and may I be struck down if I do not hold true.
For Dorei the oath is administered with a hand over the heart, head bowed in supplication. Human initiates sometimes mirror this practice, but it is acceptable for one to instead perform a Human (or more accurately Western Human) style of oath-giving, in which the right hand is raised and the left hand placed upon a holy book or text of some form. The Trill who join - almost all as children or youths entering as Initiates - tend to follow the Dorei example. Upon the completion of the oath the Master applies several drops of ceremonial oil to the head of the initiate and proclaims their acceptance into the Order, at which time the admitted initiate takes her or his place behind the Master, in the ranks and place of the observing members of the Order.
Progression Rites is a term given to the various Rites used to show promotion within the ranks of the Order. In the laity these are simple affairs, usually overseen by the Manager or Lieutenant Manager of a Cloister, with little to no involvement from the Master of the Cloister. A statement of a layman/laywoman's progression in skill and capability is given and the promoted laity is granted their new rank.
For the Gifted of the Order, this is a more complicated affair, as each rank has an involved ceremonial rite.
Like Initiation Rites, Acolyte Rites are common affairs. Every 100 days the Initiates of a Cloister who have reached the age of 17 during the prior 100 days are brought before the Master of the Cloister. These Initiates will have been educated together, selected for their specific group upon joining, with the same group of instructors assigned to them. Each is brought forward by the group's Rector (a Knight-Captain) and presented to the Master, with a reading of their accomplishments and learning. Students confirm their Rector's summary and are invited to prove their education in the use of their Gift through an act of Mind-Moving, usually lifting a small object from a table and summoning it to their hand, an act well within the skill range of a 15 year old Initiate. Once their refinement in the use of their Gift is proven the Master anoints the individual in ceremonial oil and recognizes their progression to the position of Acolyte. Their plain purple robes are removed and replaced with new robes, these with one quarter lunar phase markings on the arms indicating Acolyte status.
When an Acolyte is picked by a Knight to become an Apprentice, a special Rite is performed in the presence of an available Master. In the presence of the Master, who gives a formal introduction of the Acolyte, the Knight of the Order formally introduces herself in turn and offers to train her prospective Apprentice in the full use of her Gift. Placing her hand on the shoulder of the Acolyte, the Knight pledges responsibility for her education and fullfilment of her future as well as for her life. The Acolyte replies by placing her hand upon the arm of the Knight and pledging her responsibility to be a dutiful student, to obey the Knight's instruction and assist her in fulfilling any duties she is given. When the Pledges have been exchanged the Master anoints the Knight and Acolyte and gives formal recognition to their respective status toward one another.
Upon the completion of the Trials, whether as an Apprentice doing so by recommendation of their instructing Knight or as a result of the automatic attempts upon the 20th Birthday being reached, the successful Acolyte is given an individual ceremony attended by the Master of the Cloister and, alternatively, the Knight whom trained the Acolyte or the Knight-Captain in charge of training Acolytes, as well as friends and family in and outside the Order if available. The Acolyte and her advocate - the Knight they were apprenticed to or the Rector who was responsible for her training - approach the Master and the advocate introduces herself and her student. The advocate then relates the completion of the Acolyte's training, including the passage of all Trials or, if applicable, a Writ of Recognition provided by the Council of the Order. The student gives confirmation upon being prompted by the Master. With the proof of the student passing the trial being presented - medallions struck in recognition of each passage - the Master recognizes that the Acolyte has completed her training and is now a fully adult member of the Order. Their Acolyte robes are removed and replaced with robes of a richer shade of purple with a crescent moon with a sword within the crescent, reflecting their promotion into the full ranks of the Order as a Sentinel.
When a Sentinel has accumulated certain accoompllishments in her life, usually involving a clear advancement in her skills and successes in field operations, she is given the chance to participate in further Trials to prove herself or, alternatively, is granted a Writ of Recognition by the Council. When this occurs a Sentinel is promoted to the rank of Knight in a formal ceremony. In Sentinel Robes she presents herself to the Master of a Cloister, usually her home Cloister - on rare occasions, for rare accomplishments, this is done in the central Cloister in Darnis, with the Grand Master herself leading the ceremony - and gives her formal introduction. After reciting her actions as a Sentinel and presenting her Trial passage medallion or Writ of Recognition, she kneels before the Master, who give her a ritual anointing and replaces her Sentinel robes with those of a Knight, showing the crescent moon insignia of the order joined by the likeness of two crossed swords.
After decades of service in the Order, a Knight can attain such a skill and reputation that she is given the trials to be elevated to the status of a Knight-Captain. The ritual is much the same as with a Knight's ritual; presentation to the Master of a Cloister and a formal introduction, recitation of actions in her life and presentation of a Passage Medallion or Writ of Recognition, and kneeling to be anointed. The Knight's robes are replaced with those of the Knight-Captain, of the same richer purple as a Sentinel and Knight, and the Order's crescent mood insignia joined by the likeness of a star.
Eventually, a skilled Knight-Captain will, through acts of service or even further refinement of skill, prove herself a Master of her Gift. It can take years for such - the Order's average is three new Masters per decade, though in some situations it has been five or even six - and the ritual is more involved. The prospective Master will undergo a series of challenges that are always held in the Great Cloister of Darnis, proving her superior skill and power, and upon their passage a Master's Medallion is forged. Upon this completion she is brought before the Council in a ritual ceremony. She presents her formal introduction. The most widely-known and prominent deeds will be spoken of, including the successful training of Apprentices and Acolytes who may by this time have proven their own greatness and thus reflected well upon their teacher, and the Master's Medallion will be presented to the Grand Master (a Writ of Recognition is possible, but has only happened in 1 out of every 20 cases of a promotion to Master rank). The Grand Master invites all the present Council members, and the Grand-Knight of the Order, to accept or deny the applicant's worth as a Master of the Order. In theory the Council can here deny the promotion by the majority stating their denials, but in practice the acceptance is unanimous for someone who has passed the Master Trials. Upon the formal acceptance of the Sister applying for Master status the Grand Master anoints her a Master of the Silver Moon and has her robes replaced with those of a bright purple with teal trim, the symbol of the Crescent Moon prominent on both arms and hood, and offers a prayer to the Eternal Goddess for the Master's long life to provide her skill and wisdom to the new generations of the Order. Each Master of the Order in attendance, including the Grand-Knight and Council members, then present themselves to the new Master as equals.
Whenever a sitting Grand-Knight is promoted to join the Council, retires, or passes away, the Council and Grand-Master confer upon a worthy replacement. All Masters may apply, but the Council picks, often choosing the one seen as most worthy of the position and most able to enact the Council's decrees and choices. The Master so selected presents herself to the Council with a formal introduction, though no listing of deeds is made. The Grand Master, acting in the name of the Council, then invites the Master to give the oath of the Grand-Knight, which is the same as the Initiation Oath save the adding of the term "that I shall act always to fulfill the Council's will provided it does not defy the terms of my oath" - the latter part being an addition in the 25th Century to reflect the Grand-Knight's role in being the watchman of the Order, ensuring the Council does not act inappropriately. The Grand-Knight is then anointed and given a robe that adds crossed swords to the Crescent Moon symbol on the arms and hood.
Council Admission Rite
When a Master is appointed to the Council following the creation of a vacancy by a vote of all Masters of the Order, she presents herself to the Grand-Knight and Grand-Master in a ritual ceremony, usually attended by the rest of the Council. As with the Grand-Knight's Rite, no listing of prior deeds is made. The Grand Master invites the new Council Member to give the Oath of the Council, which is a repeat of the Initiation Oath save the adding of the term "that I shall act always to advise honestly and true and my voice never be raised for selfish reasons". The Grand Master responds to the giving of the Oath and anoints the new Council Member as such, presenting her to the rest of the Council afterward. A special Robe is given, the same as a Master's save the addition of a blue layer to the trim to go with the teal there.
Whenever a sitting Grand-Master retires or passes away, the Masters of the Order meet in a Conclave overseen by the Grand-Knight (before the Reforms of 3215 the High Priestess of the Church of the Eternal Goddess oversaw the Conclave), in which they vote for a replacement. Most votes take at least two days, as candidates are considered and rejected. Upon the completion of the vote, the new Grand Master is presented to the High Rector of the Church of the Eternal Goddess who is invited into the Conclave to give a formal anointing (in theory the High Rector can be replaced with an official of equivalent rank of the elected Master's Church, but in practice all picks of the Conclave have been adherents to the Church of the Eternal Goddess, even after the Reforms of 3215 took away that religious affiliation as a prerequisite). An oath is given, special to the Grand Master.
I, <name of Grand Master>, do swear here, in the presence of the Eternal Goddess, that I shall stand in constant obedience to the Code of the Order; that I shall use my Gift for the benefit of the Order and not myself, that I shall maintain the sanctity of my prior Oaths to the Order, that I shall govern the Order and ensure its continued good work so long as I live, and that I shall always act in the name of the Order and never myself. So I swear here, and may I be struck down if I do not hold true.
Upon the giving of the Oath the High Rector (or theoretically his counterpart from another church) gives a formal holy anointing, blesses the new Grand Master, and prays for the long life and continued health and wisdom of the Grand Master and her "most holy and noble Order". He or she then presents the Grand Master to the assembled Masters in Conclave first. After she is adorned in the robes of the Grand Master - the purple robes with blue and teal trim of a Council Member, but with the Crescent Moon symbol being joined by an opened book to represent wisdom - the Rector or his/her theoretical replacement further presents the new Grand Master to the assembled members of the Order, Gifted and Laity, in the courtyard of the Great Cloister in Darnis, which recognize their leader by acclaimation.
The Order has various recognized Rites in its traditions, rituals for various things that might happen in the lives of those in its ranks.
Rite of Departure
The Rite of Departure is undertaken when a member, Gifted or laity, elects to leave the Order. Most do so due to age and fatigue with the lifestyle, others out of opposition to decisions by the Council (the most famous of which was the 3215 retirement of those in the Order who dissented against the Reforms of that year), and a few do so in order to raise families.
In a Rite of Departure, the departing member presents herself (or himself for the laity) before witnesses and, after a formal introduction to begin the ritual, announces to the senior Order member present (usually a Master for Gifted members and a Manager for laity, though Acolytes who decide to leave rather than be reduced to laity after failing Sentinel Trials do so before the Knight-Captain Rector responsible for their training) their decision to leave the Order. The Master inquires ritualistically if this is their true desire, giving a gentle reminder that "a bond that is broken cannot be easily restored" - a reminder that rejoining the Order was unlikely (it requires a formal Council Writ authorizing it) and that it is not a decision to be made lightly. At this point the departing member can still call it off, and on a number of occasions reconsiderations have occurred in the ritual, which prompt the Master to then confirm that the departing member has truly changed her (or his) mind and wishes to remain - if the answer is yes the ritual is canceled, some Masters giving a ritual chiding to the member for not realizing their heart was still with the Order until the ritual had been called (as such wastes the time of the Master and of other members). As happens most often, however, the departing member gives an affirmation of intention. The Master then ceremonially removes their Order robe and informs the witnesses that the subject is now considered relieved of their oaths to the Order and of all duties, responsibilities, and privileges of membership, while in almost all cases the title of Departed is granted to the person leaving. Depending on circumstance, a Master may touch hand to shoulder with the now-departed member in a gesture of friendly parting.
If the Departing member has Departed once before and rejoined, the Master or Manager will give a final warning before the affirmation; "that which is broken once can be mended, that which is broken twice is beyond mending" - it is Order tradition, maintained even after the 3215 Reforms, that a second retirement is irrevocably permanent.
Rite of Return
Not all Departed members adapt well to life outside the Order. They find civilian life unbearable; the loss of a structured and ordered life, the constant exposure to a popular culture that might be grating to someone devoted to the ideals of the Order. Tragedy might strike and the family that prompted their retirement is lost, leaving them heartbroken and devoid of purpose. In any of these circumstances, a member can apply to rejoin and, so long as their departure was on amicable circumstances, it will not be rejected out of hand. For the laity, it is a simple process, more often handled by adminstrative means with the Managers of the laity and a "rubber-stamp" approval by a Cloister Master if rejoining is decided upon, followed by a new Rite of Initiation. For the Gifted, however, it is more involved. One cannot simply leave and return; instead a former Gifted member petitions to a Master for re-admittance. A Master who agrees then forwards the request to the Council, advocating for the Departed requesting re-admittance. After considering the Departed's actions while in the Order and since leaving the Order, the Council renders a judgement. If a no, it is usually attached to a time duration during which return is immediately discounted as a possibility, though in some cases the Council may instead give a qualified no stating that is the Departed fulfills a certain requirement or waits a certain time, the no will be reconsidered automatically. If a yes, the Council issues a Writ of Return to the Departed member, and a Rite of Return ceremony is ordered.
The rank of the Departed member before her departure determines who oversees the Ceremony; a lower rank is done before a Master of the Departed's local Cloister, while a Departed Master will have the ceremony before the Grand Master herself. Adorned only in basic humble vestments and leggings, the Departed approaches with her Advocate - the Master she approached for readmittance - and is formally introduced by the Advocate to the Master overseeing the Rite. The returning member is invited to confirm her intentions, after which she recites the initiation Oath for the second time in her life. Anointment with ceremonial oil follows and a robe fitting the returning member's rank upon Departing is placed upon her, after which she is presented to the witnesses as "<name off returner>, once Departed, now again a <rank> of the Silver Moon".
Rite of Bonding
The Rite of Bonding is performed when two members of the Order who are lovers desire to have their relationship confirmed within the order, an act equivalent to marriage, and often done to facilitate the bearing of children (especially as modern bio-technology permits two female eggs to be fertilized). On rare occasions a member of the Order who marries someone outside of it has a Rite of Bonding performed to go along with the secular marriage, but in almost all cases both are in the Order. Sometimes it can be a male of the laity and a Gifted Sister or between opposite sex pairs in the laity - statistically, however, it is most often done by two Sisters or by a Sister and her lover in the female laity. The two being Bonded appear before the Master of the Cloister or a duly appointed stand-in (for laity-only it is often the Manager of the Cloister, while in rare occasions of two Acolytes being approved for Bonding - as due to their age they must receive permission - their Rector performs it; sometimes when the Master of a Cloister is too busy a Bonding can instead be done by a Knight-Captain who acts in her stead) and after formally introducing themselves in ritual fashion inform the Master of their attachment and desire to be mates. The Master asks them to confirm their intentions and then has them give Oaths of Bonding toward one another.
I, <Name of Oath-giver>, do swear here, in the presence of the Eternal Goddess/Almighty God/Christ King, that I take <insert name of Bond partner> as my Bondmate to love and cherish, that I shall act always to be faithful to her/him, that I shall act always to give her/him solace when she/he is grieving and comfort when she/he is sad, that I shall act always to defend her/his Honour and Faith. So I swear here, and may I be struck down if I do not hold true.
When both have given their Oaths the Master anoints them in oil, gives her blessing, and proclaims them Bonded, placing bracelets marked with the insignia of the Silver Moon upon their wrists to mark their Bond.
Once Bonded there is no ritual or tradition in the Order to recognize the voluntary end of that Bond by those in it,. and all attempts to contemplate such have met defeat in the Council. There is an unofficial tradition of recognizing its end in the rare occasions of a Bonding with one outside the Order and a divorce in the secular courts. Additionally, when a member retires from the Order and is relieved of her (or his in cases of the laity) oaths, the ritual gives a de facto recognition that the Bond is broken, if the retiring member and the one still in the Order have decided to separate.
Additionally, if someone is ejected from the Order, their Bonding is considered null and void, and the one in the Order is considered obligated to never again see the one they were Bonded to. Defying this results in punishment that can lead to expulsion from the Order if the offender refuses to shun and ignore her/his former Bondmate.
When a member of the Order dies, a Funeral Rite is held. Laity are given a funeral rite in the Cloister they worked in, overseen by the Master of the Cloister, with friends and loved ones giving eulogies before the Master of the Cloister leads a prayer and commits the body for burning or, in the case of most Humans, burial. For those who were full members of the Order the ceremony is a bit more involved. The deceased is placed into a coffin (if there is no body, an empty set of robes of appropriate rank is used) and the Master of a Cloister or, in the case of Masters, Grand-Master of the Order performs the ceremony. The deceased's formal name is recited, as well as her deeds during her life and, if applicable, the actions which led to her death in battle or by the hands of an enemy. Those closest to her, including prior Apprentices, relatives, lovers, or if available the Knight who apprenticed the dead Sister or her Rector as an Initiate and Acolyte, are invited to give statements on the deeds and life of the fallen Sister. Prayers are offered for the soul of the dead Sister, who is commended to either the Eternal Departed, the Honoured, or the Eternal Honoured as befits their ranks and circumstances of their deaths. The body is then burned as is custom, the ashes commended to the crypts of the Order.
Note that a retired member of the Order may have her ashes or body requested by family, especially if she started one after her retirement, to be placed where the family deems proper.
Rite of Judgement
The Judgement Rite is a dreaded occasion for a member of the Order. As with many things, its ceremonial extent and scope are dependent upon whether the one being judged is of the laity or is a Sister. For the Laity, the Judge is often a Asst. Manager or Manager, or if a Manager-level Layman the Master of their Cloister. For a Sister of the Order, then it is overseen either by the Chief Rector - for an Initiate or Acolyte - or by a Master if it is any of the full ranks (An Apprentice may also be Judged by a Cloister Master).
In the Rite of Judgement fior a Sister, the Accused is brought before a Tribunal of Masters and Knight-Captains or, if a Master, the Order Council as Tribunal. An Advocate speaks for the Accused - typically picked from the ranks as a Sister knowledgable in the traditions and practices of the Order, including precedents of prior Judgements - while an Accusor is elected amongst the ranks - usually a peer of the Accused - who has familiarized herself with the case at hand and is knowledgable in the same fashion as the Advocate. The Accused formally introduces herself and her Advocate to the Master sitting in Judgement, the term used for the highest-ranked member of the Tribunal, after which the Accuser introduces herself. The Judge invites the Accuser to read out the charges and the evidence against the SIster. Once the evidence is laid out, the Advocate is permitted to introduce counter-arguments and evidence against the Accuser, including eyewitness statements and even present eyewitnesses, who are required to give Oaths of Truth-giving on the spot. The Accuser is permitted to question vigorously any eyewitness who denies the Accuser's evidence while an eyewitness provided by the Accuser can be questioned in the same fashion by both Advocate and Accused.
After both Advocate and Accuser have laid out their cases, the Tribunal departs to consider judgement. Occasionally they call for the advice of other Masters or Knight-Captains of the local Cloisters; sometimes the facts of a case are clear enough, in either direction, that Judgement is immediately passed. If innocent, the Judge announces their decision immediately, thanks the Advocate and Accuser for their service, and ends the Rite. If, however, the finding is guilt, the Judge then hears out Advocate, Accuser, and Accused on what the punishment will be. Depending upon the severity and intent of the offense, punishments range from short-term confinement with mandatory meditation and limited diet to dedicated Punishment Trials to, in the most severe cases, the dreaded Rite of Ejection. Once Judgement has been passed, the Advocate and Accuser are thanked and the Accused is turned over to the custody of the Cloister's Knight-at-Arms for the fulfillment of the sentence.
Rite of Renewal
The Rite of Renewal is done as a culmination of trials against a Sister found guilty in a Rite of Judgement for a crime or violation of the Code, but who has been spared ejection from the Order. The Sister presents herself to the Master of her Cloister in supplication, giving a formal introduction and a summary of the crimes she was found to have committed, and presents proof that she has undergone punishment ordered in a sanctioned Rite of Judgement. The Master affirms that she has fulfilled the Judgement against her and invites the Sister to "renew your Oath". The Oath given at Initiation is repeated; the Sister is then granted forgiveness for whatever ill deed she committed and is dismissed.
Rite of Ejection
The Rite of Ejection is the most dreaded and hated ritual in the entire Order, even moreso than the grief of a Funeral Rite. In the Rite of Ejection, a member of the Order found guilty by Order investigators of crimes against the Order or against wider society is subjected to its most terrible judgement: Ejection and, for those Gifted Sisters, being proclaimed a Laytar - a Disgraced. Only a handful, those who are truly repentent of their deeds, attend these Rites willingly, often weeping throughout them; others are compelled to attend and even kept bound to prevent resistance to attendance. The disgraced member is presented in their robes before a member of suitable Rank - the Grand Master for other Masters, Master of the Cloister for full members of the Order, Knight-Captain Rectors for Initiates and Acolytes, and for laity the Grand-Manager, a Manager, or a Lieutenant Manager as is appropriate - while a member of lesser rank stands as Accuser. An Advocate, chosen either by the member being ejected or by the master of the ceremony, stands beside the member and formally introduces him (or her), then asking the Master to read the charges that have prompted the Rite. The charges are read, after which the Accused, or her/his advocate, can either affirm their commission or insist upon innocence (which happens, though only in rare occasions is it believed). The Accuser reminds the Master and Advocate of the evidence against the Offender and that her/his guilt has been confirmed by investigation. The Advocate can give a statement, if the Accused permits, refuting the evidence, but for this to be done is considered irregular (As there has already been a hearing in which a trained Advocate has argued against the evidence and lost) and usually as a last-ditch attempt by the Accused or her/his friends to prevent Ejection.
At this point the Master in the Rite can choose to accept the offered counter-argument and refuse to enact Ejection, returning the case to be considered by a Tribunal sitting in Judgement or even referring it to the Council if the Accused is not a Master. It is highly irregular as an act and considered an act of disrespect toward the investigating Sisters and the Tribunal that passed Judgement upon the Accused. If there is no refutation of the evidence or if the Master does not accept it, then they proceed to the next part of the ritual; the Master permits the Accused to make their Final Statement. The Final Statement, if given, can be a plea for forgiveness or lenience, an insistence upon innocence, a defiant tirade against the Order's decision, or a simple statement of accepted guilt and the need for punishment. Again the Master has the right, rarely invoked, to end the Rite after Final Statement and refuse Ejection (The most dramatic examples have been where the Accused showed true penitence and regret and impressed the Master of the value of giving her/him a second chance). If not done, the Master recites the Order of Ejection.
<Name of Accused>, it is the determination of the Order that you have violated your Oath to the Order and to your Deity¹. By your actions you have disgraced the Order of the Silver Moon and all that it stands for. It is thus that you may no longer be counted in its numbers. In punishment for your violation of the Oath your life since the Oath is gone, erased from our knowledge. Your deeds and accomplishments and oaths have never happened. Those you knew are now strangers; those you loved now know not who you are. We of the Order have forgotten your name. Now and forevermore, you are only Disgraced.
¹ - The original Order of Ejection refers explicitly to the Eternal Goddess - part of the Reforms of 3215 was altering it so that the Master instead refers to the Accused's deity.
With this the Master orders the Advocate to turn her/his back to the ejected member and does likewise. A member of the Order, usually a Sentinel or Layman but sometimes a Knight or Knight-Captain in the rare case of a Master being Ejected or an Initiate if it is an Acolyte or Initiate suffering Ejection, steps forward and rips the robes off of the now-Disgraced former member before throwing them into a fire. She (sometimes He) then sees the Disgraced member out of the Cloister alongside the Cloister's Knight-at-Arms, with all members of the Order required to turn their back to the now-Disgraced former member as she/he is led to the gates of the Cloister, which are slammed behind the ejected member.
Rite of Restoration
The Rite of Restoration is the most rare of Rites, having been performed only seven times in the Order's history, to commemorate the restoring of a Disgraced member to the Order (the eighth case of a Disgraced being restored was done during the Dilgrud Occupation and concerning a Disgraced Sister who died in an act of significant courage and honor, prompting the underground leadership to declare her restored posthumously). The Disgraced member being restored is led before the Grand Master of the Order and the assembled Council and presented by an Advocate. The Advocate requests the permission of the Grand Master to read the name of the Disgraced and it is granted; a formal introduction, complete with old rank, is given, as well as the fact she was declared Disgraced. The Advocate then reveals the reason for the Restoration (five times out of seven it has been as a result of new evidence revealing the Disgraced Sister was innocent, the other two occasions were because the Disgraced Sister performed an extraordinary act of courage, such that it was clear that even if guilty before she had recanted of her crimes and was worthy of restoration) and invites the Grand Master to confirm the truth of the reason. The Grand Master does so and steps forward, giving a formal statement that either apologizes for the miscarriage of justice (in the cases of new evidence revealing innocence) or recognizes the acts that have shown the Disgraced worthy of being re-admitted. The member being restored is invited to formally renew her Oath to the Order and be made a Sister again, with only one refusal recorded in the history of the Order.¹ Upon the Oath being made yet again, the Grand Master announces the member as formally restored to the Order and has her put into robes reflecting her rank at the time of her expulsion, then presents her to the rest of the Great Cloister from the courtyard balcony.
¹ - The lone exception came in 2883. Clara Michaels, a Gifted Anglian girl from New Wales, had joined the Order in 2849 at the age of 16. In 2867, ten months after she became a Knight, evidence was uncovered that Clara was working as an agent for New Anglian intelligence and was using her position in the Darnis Cloister to spy on the Lushan nation for her government. Though she protested her innocence, the investigation swiftly concluded that she was guilty and she was submitted to Ejection, after which she spent six years imprisoned by the Lushan government until released as part of the Treaty of Jarini that ended the Lushan-Anglian War. However, in 2881, reports surfaced from the archives of the disbanded Royal Security Service of the Lushan (the Lushan RSR was disbanded following the forced abdication of Tanaro XIX and the Great Reform that turned Lusha into a Constitutional Monarchy in 2873) that indicated that the RSR had manufactured the evidence against Michaels as part of a campaign by King Tarano XIX and his advisors to purge the Order of Humans, in preparation for a conflict with New Anglia over their plan to found a colony on Latium. With the evidence revealed the Order, horrified at what it had been tricked into doing, immediately authorized Clara's restoration. However, in the ritual, Clara refused to renew her Oath during the Rite, stating she had started a family in New Anglia that she was not willing to leave and that she was only interested in seeing the Order affirm her innocence. With this in mind, the Grand Master on the spot, Kamsi Benay, adopted what will now be the formal response to any Disgraced member who attends the ritual but refuses an Oath renewal: the Grand Master gives her a formal blessing and announces that she is considered a Departed member of the Order in good standing, and presents her to the Great Cloister as a Departed Sister of the Silver Moon.
The Trials of the Order fulfill various requirements. Some serve to reinforce a Sister's skills and abilities, or to further refine them. Others are done to demonstrate worthiness for promotion to a higher rank in the Order. Yet others are done as punishment, acts of penance required for a Sister to atone for a misdeed of some form.
Training Trials are generally informal affairs, sometimes even self-initiated, though some require a witness to aid the Trial-taker. Most are for Acolytes to complete, one per year, as they refine their skills and prepare for the Sentinel Trials. They are also used for refining skills while preparing for Progression Trials.
Humans tend to refer to them as exercises, not trials, but it is the custom of the Order to consider even these common practices as "Trials of Retention and Refinement".
The purpose of a Focus Trial is for a Sister to learn concentration, focus, for the use of her Gift despite distraction around her. Focus Trials generally consist of a Sister sitting in meditation and maintaining telekinetic levitation of a Focus Cube while friends or Initiates or any others she gets to aid attempt to distract her. After holding her Focus for so long, the Trial is considered complete. Sisters who master Focus against disturbances will inevitable increase the frequency of them to hone that edge.
Weapon Repair Trial
Trials that all Acolytes must pass in their time. It generally consists of learning to disassemble and reassemble all forms of weapons, including firearms.
Trial of the Saber
The Trial of the Saber is part Training Trial, part Progression, in that it is a rite of passage for Acolytes. An Acolyte is given the materials to construct a beamsaber. Once they have completed this work they must demonstrate their ability to use it against a mock combatant, usually a robot sparring partner. Completion is considered necessary for an Acolyte to become a Sentinel, and the Saber Medallion they receive for completing the Trial is presented at the Sentinel Rite.
For a full member of the Order, a Trial of the Saber is often done with the sparring portion only, to help with refinement of their skills with the weapon.
The Strength Trial is done to test and improve the power of one's Gift. An obstacle course is run and all senses are put to enhanced test - telekinetic moving strength is also put to the test. Wrestling with a fellow Sister, telekinetic and telepathic, is often the most informal and basic act that is considered a Strength Trial.
The Mind Trial is a test of telepathic abilities, the object usually being to get through another Sister's mental defenses or to identify one particular mind among a crowd of them.
Like the Focus Trial it concerns helping one learn further refinement and control of the Gift, but while the Focus Trial is about blocking out external distractions like shouting voices, the Control Trial focuses on blocking out internal distractions, usually sensations of the body. In some cases it is simply a meditation in the presence of creatures that will provide sensations to the body by crawling or moving around one, in others the aid of fellow Sisters is had by things like tickling or other touching. Fully devoted Sisters will, in some cases, even arrange for their physical restraint and the use of nerve stimulators to provide nerve stimulations, all to teach themselves absolute control and the blocking out of physical stimuli.
The Progression Trials are done to confirm a Sister's skills have grown to the extent she is worthy of an increase in rank. Certain Trials are repeated at every promotion, simply with higher expectations or more difficult elements, while others are particular to a particular rank (usually in the higher ranks). Upon the completion of a Trial and demonstration of sufficient ability, a Medallion is cast in the Cloister forgery that confirms that the Sister in question has attained a specific level of skill. Acolytes looking to become Sentinels have no Medallions until they start passing Trials - Sentinels and onward, however, have their old Medallions melted down and used as the raw material for the new one.
Trial of Blades
The Trial of Blades is meant to confirm one's skill with bladed weapons. Skill with the Beamsaber or more conventional vibro-blades are both put to the test as feats of maneuver, use, and precision must be displayed by the Sister undergoing the Trial, as well as demonstrated proficiency in one of the styles of blade-fighting taught in the Order. An observing Blademaster - a Master or Knight-Captain certified by the Council as an expert in the use of blades - oversees the Trial and determines if the Sister has shown the skill level desired. Upon completion the Blademaster determines if the criteria has been met to confirm the Sister's successful passing.
Trial of Weapons
The Trial of Weapons focuses upon the use of firearms. Firearms are an entirely different weapon to fight with than bladed weapons, so the skills of a Gunmaster are called upon to judge the Sister's skill. The ability to assemble and disassemble, clean, maintain, and show good aim and use of both projectile firearms and energy firearms is required. Meeting the criteria leads to the casting of a new Weapon Medallion. Though only basic understanding of the firearms are considered necessary for a Weapon Medallion to support becoming a Sentinel, Knights are expected to show greater skill in the use of firearms, including a minimal amount of capability in a firearm fighting style. Prospective Knight-Captains must also show yet greater skill in one of the few styles to be elevated to that rank, Masters do not. Some Knight-Captains and Masters still take the most advanced forms of the Trial, however, if they seek recognition as Gunmasters.
Trial of Thought
The Trial of Thought is required to show improved mastery of the mental aspects of the Gift. Telepathy, Telekinesis, and any more unique side-capablities like Premonition are carefully tested by a Knight-Captain or Master in a meditative environment. Ability to ignore distractions and maintain focus is also carefully tested.
Trial of Balance
The Trial of Balance tests a Sister's ability to use her Gift to maintain control of her body. Observed by a Knight-Captain or Master, she is required to balance herself, barefoot, upon wires in mid-air, to stand perfectly still on her hands, and to perform acrobatics on both solid ground and raised wires. Higher ranks require displaying an ability to move effortlessly from one suspended wire to the rest while performing other acts such as dodging, crouching, or using a weapon.
Trial of Endurance
The Trial of Endurance is to stamina, including a Sister's ability to use her Gift to enhance her physical stamina and to go without food or drink after prolonged exercises. Cloisters within cities require running of an obstacle course while those in a countryside often see running through the country used in the more basic elements of the Trial, while all also require a Sister to carry a load of some form (progressively heavier as you go up the ranks). No matter how a Sister's mind and body are pressed to the limit, the Sister is always accompanied by a Knight-Captain or Master - among Trials this is also the one most often given to multiple Sisters at the same time.
Trial of Combat
The Trial of Combat once used war-games and sparring to test a Sister's mettle, but now holographic systems permit a more immersive experience. In the Trial of Combat the Sister is left armed only with a vibro-blade, usually a dagger, and must work her way through an enemy force in close quarters initially, taking weapons as she finds them and using all of her skills as necessary. Volunteer laity and Sisters provide human opponents to go with robotic foes (a potential threat in the field, it must be noted) so that the Sister has a real opposing mind to feel with her Gift in the experience. Finally, having fought her way through the simulated enemy compound by stealth and ambush, she is given a beamsaber and blaster rifle and must use them to hold her ground in an open battlefield against unarmored infantry. The difficulty of the battles becomes greater as one goes up the ranks.
Trial of Suffering
The Trial of Suffering is a result of the Dilgrud Occupation, meant to prepare a Sister for the worst. Under the careful watch of an overseeing Master or Knight-Captain, the Sister is stripped of her garments and strapped onto a table, often called the Suffering Table. Stimulator devices built into the table create pain sensations in the Sister. Her purpose is to use her ESPer talents to suppress the pain her body feels, to accomplish a state of Banno egh Banno - "Suffering without Suffering" - for a certain length of time that grows as a Sister climbs the ranking.
Trial of Knowledge
The Trial of Knowledge is not taken until one is a Knight and is being considered to become a Knight-Captain. It requires a Sister to show knowledge of the long history of the Order, of battle tactics, and other things that are of vital importance if one is to be capable of being one of the seniors of the Order. It is arguably the only Trial that does not fully invoke the using of one's Gift, as it is primarily focused on what one has been taught by book or by hard experience and whether the Sister has the knowledge to serve effectively as a Knight-Captain, whether it be as senior field commander, a Rector for Initiates and Acolytes, or a Master's assistant in governing a Cloister and all attached Chapters (including directly working as head of a Chapter). Generally a Knight will succeed in proving herself knowledgeable enough to justify having at least one of these positions.
The Masters' Trial is the greatest of the Trials, always held in the Great Cloister of Darnis. A Knight-Captain must show her Mastery of all aspects of her Gift, thus requiring feats of all the earlier ones to be repeated and greatly surpassed. She must break through the mental defenses of a fellow Master, identify a single mind in a crowd of hundreds, lift a great weight with her mind and then manipulate a single grain of sand or salt, complete a mid-air obstacle course composed entirely of thin wires, defeat a peer and two Knights in a blade weapon duel (using Kala sticks, the equivalent of the Japanese bokken), and spend half a day upon the Suffering Table in a state of Banno egh Banno. These things must all be done in constant progression with no rest breaks. The reward is the Masters' Medallion, which is ceremonially forged in the Great Cloister's Master Forgery using not just refined Lushan iron and silver but with a vial of the recipient's blood mixed in and ceremonial oil and blessed water for tempering.
These are the Trials that a Sister may be ordered to undergo as the result of a Rite of Judgement. Only Initiates are considered ineligible for these as they are too young.
Trial of Contemplation
The Trial of Contemplation is the usual sentence for lighter offenses that mostly involved a lapse in judgement. The Sister is confined to a cell and fed only water and sansa (a kind of sour-tasting baked pastry - due to different dietary requirements in species Trill and Human Sisters are more often given sourdough or hard breads) as she is required to contemplate on what she has done wrong and the need to avoid such in the future.
Trial of Restitution
Actions relating to theft can lead to the Judgement Tribunal ordering a Trial of Restitution. The guilty Sister presents herself to the Master of her Cloister and gives over a cherished possession of equal or greater value to what she was found to have taken. Weapons, mementos, personal trinkets, even Trial medallions can be handed over. The item is often given to the one wronged by the Sister.
Trial of Contrition
The Trial of Contrition is for crimes of greater magnitude. A Sister must prove she has repented of her crimes and accept a punishment, whether it is transfer far from home or the relinquishment of all possessions (including Trial Medallions). The most egregious offenses require the act of contrition to include voluntary laying upon the Suffering Table for a set period of time, where a Sister does not attempt Banno egh Banno but endures pain directly. When the punishment has been completed, she is granted the proof of Contrition to show at a Rite of Renewal.
Trial of the Scourge
The rarest of Trials, usually ordered when a crime has been severe but the Tribunal is impressed with the penitent attitude of the guilty or believes that the crime is not quite severe enough to warrant Ejection. Sometimes done in combination with Contemplation and/or Restitution, the Trial of the Scourge is the most controversial of Silver Moon rituals today. Due to the rarity, and as part of the ritual, witnesses from all ranks often gather to see the Sister brought before the Master of the Cloister and a Sister trained in the use of the Saca, a dimunitive term referring to a four-bladed whip named for the slashing claws of the Sapas beast, a lion-like creature native to southern Lushan.
The charge against the Sister, and the Tribunal's Judgement against her, is read. The Sister, clad only in a sleeveless vest and leggings, has the vest pulled off by attendants before her wrists are strapped to opposite poles and, if necessary, her hair is pulled into a pony-tail and placed over her shoulder to get it out fo the way. The Sister is encouraged to accept a mouthpiece of some sort to prevent her from biting her tongue. When all is in readiness, the Master calls for each individual lash as an attending Sister, usually a Sentinel, counts them. The Saca wielder responds to the order carefully, planting each strike between the shoulder blades and the bottom of the back. Ten is the usual number, though some particularly severe actions, like causing the death of a fellow Sister through momentary cowardice or failure to follow orders, can see the lashes continue up to fifteen or twenty. When the Master has reached the proscribed number of strikes she raises her hand and signals the Saca wielder to lower the Saca. Medically-trained Sisters (and laity) step up and remove the Sister from her bonds and begin providing medical attention to prevent further blood loss or infection to the open wounds. Though modern medical technology would permit the use of skin-regeneration patches that would minimize the resulting scarring, such is not permitted in the Order. A Sister who has been Scourged must bear the marks of it for the rest of her life in the Order.
At one time the Scourging was even more brutal, often involving strikes against the whole body and thus more overall (the record stands at fifty), but the scope was reduced by the Reforms of 3215; the movement to do so is in fact what set off the Reform decisions of that year.
There are many weapon styles that have been developed over the centuries by all races that have seen ESPers come about. As one of the earliest races to gain ESP capability, the Dorei have some of the oldest, and as one would expect their styles dominate the Order's teaching.
These styles of fighting are for use with bladed weapons. An energy blade and a metal blade are of such difference that the two have their own sets of schools.
Keyn da Lema: "The Art of the Blade". A modern form of an ancient Dorei sword art, initially Tryni in origin, but with the capabilities of the Gifted taken into account, as well as the function of vibroblades. A favorite among Sisters who eschew the beamsaber for a simpler weapon, especially as one can use a "normal" blade as well as a vibroblade without needing to alter how you fight.
Tor da Lema: "The Art of the Tortpa", referring to an aggressive, dark-furred felinoid beast of the Lushan southern forests, sometimes called a "nightcat" in English translation. Practitioners of Tor da Lema wield their beamsabers aggressively, using their relative weightlessness in quick strikes against an opponent with minds concentrating on increasing the power of the arms and upper shoulders. It is an easy style to learn but a hard one to master, as it requires what the Sisters call a "soul of Fire"; an aggressive, almost reckless spirit that works best on the offensive when using their Gift. It also tends to be the least favorite school of dedicated Blademasters, whom eschew it as unrefined and too much a "brute force" style of fighting as opposed to one that requires skill.
Jeyn da Lema: "The Art of the Fencer/Fighter" is a style that emphasizes a balanced offensive attack focusing on technique and reading a foe's defense more than the aggression and ferocity of Tor da Lema. A favored skill among all Sisters for offering attack without needing the personal aggressiveness demanded to properly use Tor da Lema.
Dela Kutasi: "Shield Fighting" is a fighting style that emphasizes the defense, using short and quick maneuvers to stop an enemy's attacks and to let them wear down, offensive attacks only being made upon an enemy weakness revealing itself. Preferred by a number of Blademasters for its emphasis on mental discipline. Those who choose Dela Kutasi as a favored style frequently become excellent at feint maneuvers as well, a necessary tool if they look to end a fight before a foe completely wears down.
Tasa Duria: The "Cyclone of Fury" style, a very difficult school to learn, even moreso to master, it involves fighting with a beamsaber in each hand, requiring far greater concentration by the wielder.
Reyma Duria: The "Cyclone of Fire", a specialized martial art created centuries ago that uses a sidearm in each hand for both medium and short-range combat, with kicks and pistol-whipping strikes to complement the use of the guns when in close quarters. It is the most common of gun styles in the Order.
Reyma Sen Datha: The "Style of the Fire Weapon" is a fairly new style, developed by the first Human Master in the Order, Mary Tasker, in the 28th Century. Master Tasker was the daughter of an SAS veteran and had learned rifle-handling even before joining the Order, giving her a basis for applying this learning into her education and handling in the Order. The Style is centered around using an assault rifle, with bayonet blade attached, as a melee weapon and firearm in rapid succession as the situation changes.
Jana Lema: A fighting style that resembles karate and savate, save that ESPers are trained to use their mental capabilities to improve their speed and response in the style.
The Order of the Silver Moon was established in the 18th Century in the late Interplanetary technological era of the Dorei race, when their most powerful nations were commencing terraforming of lunar and planetary bodies across their home solar system. Created by the Church of the Eternal Goddess to help guide young Lushan woman who were developing the Gift, the Order was one of many that dotted the planet without any defining characteristic.
After the Sindai Wars of the 22nd Century and the Great System War of the 23rd Century, the Federation of Nations was but one of many new entities amongst the Dorei. Religious orders began to die out as the various nations grew more and more secular. The development of Heim Drive and the colonization of Ji'Doreia and Astranai dispersed the population further. But where other Religious Orders of Gifted died out or merged with each other, the Silver Moon remained independent due to a strong tradition of what some might call a "humanist" outlook on issues. Eventually it even opened its doors to the Gifted Dorei women of other nations and creeds, emphasizing the code and values of the Order more than its religious doctrine. As such the Order survived into the Interstellar Era.
Interstellar Period and War
Early Interstellar Period
In the Interstellar Period the wars between the Dorei states ended for the most part as there were new competitors, primarily the warlike Thanagarians and the expansionist Humans of New Anglia. Throughout the Early Intersteller Age of Doreia the Order of the Silver Moon began to attain a reputation for its chivalric code and noble beliefs, such that it was given grudging consideration by the militant Thanagarians and excited the interest of feminist philosphers amongst the Anglians. However, it would be two Trill women, Lela Zamen and Fadzia Tigan, who would become the first non-Dorei members of the Order during the early 27th Century, joining at the ages of 21 and 25 respectively as Initiates and both reaching Sentinel status by age 30 under special dispensation from the Grand Master of the time (Fadzia Tigan would go on to become the first non-Dorei Master of the Silver Moon later in her life, at age 80). Later, in 2653, Teresa Reynaldo became the first Human to join the Order (she would reach the rank of Knight-Captain before retiring in 2702), opening the way for other Human women ESPers to join the Order.
During the various wars of the Dorei Nations in the period leading up to the 30th Century, even those not involving the Lushan or even Dorei, the Order of the Silver Moon often volunteered its members to give aid to beleaguered civilian populaces. They were recognized by the New Anglians as a humanitarian NGO in 2698; in 2801, during the Third Anglia-Thanagar War, the Thanagarian Ruling Council also recognized the Order as an organization tasked with delivering succor to war-ravaged civilian populations. In 2872, during the Lushan-Anglian War (sparked by a Lushan attempt to colonize a continent of Latium), the Lushan monarchy threatened to arrest the Council and any Silver Moon member who did not accept military control and did take into custody, and eventually expatriate, four Human members of the Order (including one who was not even a New Anglian subject), one of many actions of the out-of-control Lushan royal family that led to the abdication of King Tanaro XIX and the liberalization of the Lushan nation.
The policy of the Order of the Silver Moon to stay out of wars ended with the beginning of the terrible Dilgrud-Dorei War in 2920.
The Dilgrud Wars
For twenty-five years the Dorei Nations, in unity, fought the Dilgrud invasions of their colonies. Every resource was expended toward building the fleets to attempt desperate defenses or counter-attacks. The Order of the Silver Moon, for the first time in its history, suborned itself to government authority, offering its entire rank to be used as guerrila fighters, commanders, or specialists. Of the seven hundred and eighty Sisters to be counted as full members of the order during the quarter-century of desperate, doomed war, only two hundred and eight survived. Among the slain were two Grand Masters, thirty Masters, and at one point the entire contingent of Knights were lost, with most of the Sentinels, during the fall of Astranai. The atomic destruction of Darnis during the final attempts to resist the Dilgrud conquest of Doreia itself cost the Order many priceless artifacts and manuscripts, including original hand-written copies of the journals and orders of the Order's first Grand Masters. In the end, only two hundred members of the Order, including Initiates and Acolytes, survived the conquest. They went underground and worked with the Dorei resistance groups, trying to keep their people alive.
Death was only one of several terrible fates that awaited the Sisters of the Order under Dilgrud rule. Any captured Sister, even those who were Human, that was not killed out of hand for the slightest appearance of resistance to Dilgrud forces were subjected to experimentation under the Emperor Djakaedan's "Racial Enhancement Decree". Cruel and terrible genetic and biologic experiments were conducted on captured Sisters, as well as casual beatings and violations by their guards and the Dilgrud leaders of the camps, including summary execution for the slightest resistance. The Sisters in these camps gained a reputation amongst the Dilgrud for their suicidal adherence to their code, such as refusal to kill in the forced gladiatorial combats the Dilgrud held for their ESPer prisoners (both for entertainment of personnel and for data collection regarding ESPer capabilities) despite the fact that such refusal mandated instant execution under the Dilgrud rules. Ultimately only a scant handful of Sisters, out of over a hundred, would ever survive Dilgrud camps, almost all by way of daring escape.
This came to an end in in 2956 with the Anglian liberation of Doreia. As the victorious Human Kingdom drove the Dilgrud out the remaining Sisters of the Silver Moon - still at two hundred including Acolytes and Initiates - joined their fellow Dorei in trying to rebuild their war-torn, shattered homeworld.
The Liberation of Doreia and the end of what Anglians called the First Dilgrud War left the nations of the Dorei a free but broken people. Their ability to be independent had been shattered irrevocably. Every family had known loss, with 11 billion deaths out of approximately 26 billion Dorei having been suffered in the prior fourty-three years.
In this environment the Order, for a time, focused on rebuilding. Though individual Sentinels and Knights did get involved in thwarting crime rings and other groups taking advantage of the desperate people of the broken world, the Order was more concerned with helping restore the Dorei nations and replenishing its ranks than in sending its members across the region, and especially into the Outback, to perform errands of mercy and protection.
Thus for a century the focus of the Order would be on following through on the rebuilding of Doreia and of itself. Even when that was completed by 3010, the further wars with the Dilgrud provided distraction from a re-orientating of the Order's policies, the Order offering its experienced full members to the Anglian military during the Third Dilgrud War as scouts, commandos, and combat specialists, which claimed another forty-eight Sisters and left sixty crippled. The Order Council would not be rushed in rebuilding its ranks, however, refusing recommendations from some Knight-Captains and Masters to grant automatic Sentinel status to Acolytes above age 20 and use them in lesser roles to free up fully-tested Sentinels for field duties. As such, while other ESPer organizations and orders of the Dorei and the Trill sometimes allowed their skill average to be diluted in their rank replenishment drives, the Order retained a high level of overall skill by continuing to recruit and train members as it had for centuries.
One new development came in 3008 when, after years of intense debate, the Order opened its first Cloister on a non-Dorei world, purchasing land outside the city of Summerville in the New Caroline Islands of New Anglia. The new Cloister would be used to train Human ESPer Initiates who were admitted to the Order (most were no younger than 12 or 13, some escaping from broken homes and others permitted to join by parents who were aware of the Order's reputation and honored to see their child admitted) all the way to Sentinel rank, though for the first few decades most taken as Apprentices were given their Sentinel trials on Doreia or other Dorei worlds.
By the end of the 31st Century, the Order of the Silver Moon had finally recovered fully from the terrible losses of the Dilgrud Wars. The time had come to determine how the Order would operate.
The Order from 3100 to 3400
For three hundred years the Order has orientated itself toward the fulfillment of its original purpose; to give aid and comfort to the innocent and needy and to confront those who would do wrong to their fellow sentients. Sisters of the Order swear an oath to use their Gift to preserve life, protect the innocent, see justice done, and to do whatever is necessary to accomplish these noble means. To be a Sister of the Silver Moon is to put others before one self and to suffer whatever must be suffered in order to accomplish the success of a cause of the Order, whether it be the elimination of a sentient-trafficking ring or the defense of an independent colony from pirate attack. As ESPers go the Sisters are particularly capable melee fighters and operators, though not as brutally effective as the Mercenary organizations and Orders can sometimes be.
The major event of the era was the Reform Movement of 3212, which directly led to the Reforms of 3215. Following scandalous public inquiries caused by ex-Sisters (including Disgraced) into the Order's practices of punishment and maintenance of order, a Reform movement within the Order gathered steam, insisting on the altering of the punishments and a final secularization of the Order (As by this point the Church of the Eternal Goddess's adherents had become only a plurality in the membership). For three years the debates raged, including some rancorous Rites of Judgement against the most vocal critics of the system and one Ejection that would later be overturned (three more critics faced with Ejection were spared such by the refusal of the Master at the Rite to commence the Ejection). The break came at the opening of the 3214-3215 Winter session of Parliament in Westminster, the first of a new Liberal Government that had, among other things, won the majority of its Dorei seats by pledging to investigate the various Orders and force them to undertake reforms and get rid of "old and now unacceptable practices". Sensing that His Majesty's Government may soon step in and restrict the Order directly, Grand Master Nyran Sayna and a slim majority of the Council began enacting the Reforms, aided by the threat of government intervention swaying some of the more moderate traditionalists. The dissenting Council members and Masters, seeing they had lost their fight, began to retire from the Order en masse rather than see their "old and true traditions" of 1,500 years watered down "for the sake of convenience".
The Reforms of 3215 altered many things. Traditional oathes and standards of education were altered. The organization formally became deist in religious overtone and the Grand Master was no longer required to be a member of the Church of the Eternal Goddess. The Church's role in the selection of a new Grand Master was removed as well. The punishment trials were altered; the Trial of Contrition no longer required voluntary self-flagellation, the Trial of Fire (which involved the body of the offender being scorched and burned with coals and hot irons) was abolished completely, and the Trial of the Scourge was heavily-altered to sharply limit the number of permitted lashes and to forbid a strike from landing anywhere but the back of the torso. Training and Progression Trials that required the inflicting of pain were either abolished or heavily altered to remove any use of flagellation or burning, only the modern and generally un-damaging use of direct nerve stimulation technology. Instead the Trial of Restitution was created and the Trial of Contrition altered to lead to non-physical punishments like prolonged confinement, forced transfer to hardship posts, or the forfeiture of personal possessions. As a result of these Reforms, and those like them in other Orders, the threat of direct government intervention faded and the Order was permitted to continue to operate independently.
Currently the Sisters maintain small chapters on all worlds of the Anglian Empire and the inhabited words of the Dilgrud, each chapter consisting of a Knight (a Knight-Captain in some cases) and a contingent of Sisters. Specialized detachments also operate as temporary or permanent chapters in the independent worlds and settlements in the Outback, aiding innocent settlers and colonists against the pirates and other criminal gangs that threaten their livelihoods, even their very freedoms. Chapters of the Silver Moon range as far as the shoal sectors known as Wild Space, though those assignments are considered especially dangerous as the powers of that region are not friendly toward the Order; many Sisters have entered the rolls of the Honoured after falling in Wild Space.
The ranks of the Order continue to be dominated by Dorei, but with increasing numbers of Humans and still a trickle of Trill joining the organization. To date there have only been three Thanagarians to become Sentinels - that race's ESP population was especially hard-hit by the Dilgrud and has spent the four hundred years since recovering slowly from the brink of demographic collapse.
As the 35th Century dawns, the Order is currently on a stable path. The Dorei generally support it, providing the vast majority of its lay membership and daughters with the Gift for its ranks as well as the bulk of its financial support. It enjoys some ideological support from the Trill, though as a rational, secularist people their support in that race tends to come from individuals with connections of some sort to the Order. Support from Humans has been slowly but steadily growing since the 32nd Century. Already the Human race has provided forty-three Masters of the Order, four Grand-Knights, and numerous ESPers of the other ranks. His Majesty's Government recognizes it as a private charitable organization and it enjoys some support from Parliament from time to time, including a trickle of funding and often the support of the Lord Priest of the Church of the Eternal Goddess who sits in the House of Lords in Westminster as one of the Lords Spiritual. There are some who calculate that if the current rates remain steady, the Order's main membership will reach racial parity between Humans and Dorei by the middle of the 36th Century. The current leadership already recognizes this drift and has mostly embraced it. "The Order has grown beyond the Lushan people or the Dorei race as a whole," Grand Master Jenta Samdo was quoted as saying in 3374. "It is a Sisterhood of all sentient races willing to affirm the same values regardless of religious belief. So long as our Sisters stand in defense of those threatened with evil actions, the Order will stand regardless of which race makes up its ranks."
Rank: Grand Master of the Silver Moon
Birthplace: San Korta, Nation of Tryna, Doreia
Eye Color: Light Purple
Hair Color: Teal
Preferred Fighting Style: Reyma Duria
The current Grand Master, elected in 3391, Yemila spent her years as a Sentinel in the Outback working with various Chapters to deal with the endemic issues there. Since becoming a Knight-Captain she has spent her entire time in direct Cloister assignments, focusing on refining her skill and tapping a talent for organization that has led to her being considered the most administratively-adept Grand Master in two centuries. An expert at Reyma Duria.
Rank: Master of the Silver Moon
Birthplace: Atalanta, Hansom's Planet
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Dark Blonde
The eldest ranking Human in the Order and one of two on the Council, Violet joined at age 13 as an Initiate after fleeing an abusive family that attempted to force her to use her ESP talents for criminal purposes. Her rise through the Order has been a marked one; Apprenticed to a Human Knight, Sandra Lasalle, she became a Sentinel at age 20. She made Knight at 31 and Knight-Captain a quarter-century later, at age 57. As a Rector at the Aurora Delgado Cloister on Andalusia she became known for facilitating the full training of numerous Human Initiates and Acolytes, a task she focused on almost exclusively for a generation until she returned to improving her own skills. At age 90 she passed the Master's Trial. After several years operating in the Outback she returned to the Delgado Cloister to lead it, which she did for a quarter century until called upon, in 3397, to join the Council. Violet is considered a likely candidate to succeed Grand Master Yemila, which would make her the first Human Grand Master in the Order's History (though as a convert to the Church of the Eternal Goddess she would not be the first from a different religion).
Rank: Knight-Captain of the Silver Moon
Birthplace: Paynate, Nation of Hargano, Doreia
Eye Color: Light Blue
Hair Color: Purple
A fiery Sindai, Syrandi is known as the most successful Apprentice to have been taught by the late Master Keldri Gronla. Exceptionally skilled, Syrandi became a Knight after only six years as a Sentinel and completed the Knight-Captain Trials at age 48. Aside from being an excellent markswoman with a rifle and a skilled saberist, Syrandi is also an expert archer with a Sindai-style collapsible longbow. Syrandi is currently assigned to the Lochley's Retreat Chapter in Sector X-18, in the heart of the Outback, overseeing the efforts of the Order in helping to keep order on the small independent colony.
Rank: Knight of the Silver Moon
Birthplace: San Tenma, Nation of Loimo, Doreia
Eye Color: Purple
Hair Color: Blue
A Loimi Dorei with a deep teal complexion, Namiri was recently rotated back into service in the Outback.
Rank: Knight of the Silver Moon
Birthplace: Holtadpra, Thanagar
Eye Color: Green
Hair Color: Red
Preferred Fighting Style: Tor da Lema
The only Thanagarian currently in the Order. Currently serving out of the Mary Tasker Cloister on New Anglia and training her Apprentice, Zaharia Herzela, she has been involved in various conflicts in the Outback as well as a tour in the Chapters of Wild Space. Her aggressive temperment and passionate heart make her supremely dangerous with her preferred combat style of Tor da Lema.
Rank: Knight of the Silver Moon
Birthplace: Juitang, Zealandia
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Black
From a North Mesoamerican settlement on the Anglian colony world of Zealandia, Cassandra has achieved much in her young career. After a short and successful career as an active Sentinel in the Outback, Cassandra became a Knight at the young age of 25, after which she devoted herself to training Apprentices and refining her knowledge of the combat arms, specifically unarmed combat. After training four Apprentices successfully she was granted dispensation to transfer to a Rectorship at Tasker Cloister, where she trains all of her Sisters, regardless in rank, in the arts of Jana Lema and other martial arts styles. Cassandra is considered one of the leading experts in unarmed combat in the entire Order, having defeated many older and higher-ranked than her, including Tasker Cloister's head Master Jennifer Long, in Jana Lema bouts.
Rank: Knight of the Silver Moon
Birthplace: Altair, Fynn
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Blond
One of the Human recruits from outside the Anglian nation, unique in the Order as the only Human member to be of Royal rank as the daughter of King Charles IV of Fynn . She was sent to the Order by her father to ensure her abilities were refined and geared toward a greater good. While in service within the Order she is known only by her given and family names. A brave and clever leader in the Order, the death of her father has required her to take up residence on her homeworld as Queen of Fynn. She has not officially left the Order yet, as she wishes to finish training her Apprentice Layla to readiness for her Sentinel trials. As soon as this work is complete Hilda will leave the Order officially.
Rank: Knight of the Silver Moon
Birthplace: Chatham-upon-Fraser, New Anglia
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Blonde
Preferred Fighting Style: Dela Kutasi.
A newly-minted Knight of the Order, Zara Delmar now serves in the Mary Tasker Cloister after spending most of her time as a Sentinel in the Outback. Due to her patient, careful personality, she has found her niche as a fighter with the Dela Kutasi style. She has taken as Apprentice a Dorei girl, Druni Jestani. She was bonded with Hilda Atlan, now Queen Hilda I of Fynn, but Hilda's impending marriage to the Grand Duchess of Tyconia has ended their relationship, leaving Zara heartbroken.
Rank: Sentinel of the Silver Moon
Birthplace: St. George Harbor, Mystria, Planet of Hobbs
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Green
A native of the Principality of Mystria, a statelet of Sector X-13. Due to the exotic gene-engineering developments made possible by cosmetic allteration research, her family's genes have a recessive trait that cause their bodies to produce an exotic form of pheomelanin that creates green color instead of red; as a result Sister Rydia's hair is a vibrant green tone as opposed to a "natural" hair color.
Maria de Leon
Rank: Sentinel of the Silver Moon
Birthplace: Altair, Fynn
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Blue
A young Fynnian woman. A cosmetic alteration gene in the family caused her hair to become a deep blue instead of black. She is assigned to Lochley Retreat's Chapter.
Rank: Sentinel of the Silver Moon
Birthplace: Chittagong, New Bangladesh
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Black
A new Sentinel, working out of Lochley's Retreat in the Outback. Was apprenticed by Syrandi.
Rank: Sentinel of the Silver Moon
Birthplace: Kanagawa, Hansom's Planet
Eye Color: Green (Right) and Blue (Left)
Hair Color: Brown
A young Sentinel, born to immigrants from Nova Terra who dwell on Hanson's Planet, a formerly Zorian mother and a Caucasian Cascadian father. Currently in the field in the Outback, operating out of the Lochley's Retreat Chapter alongside Sentinel Dalmasan. Already noted as very skilled in Reyma Duria and with other firearms, though fairly effective with blades as well.
Rank: Sentinel of the Silver Moon
Birthplace: Stantonford, New Anglia
Eye Color: Gray
Hair Color: Sandy Blond
Preferred Fighting Style: Tasa Duria
A Sentinel and native of New Anglia, Ashley Dalmasan - "Ashe" to her closest peers - serves alongside Sentinel Burley in the task of giving aid and support to innocent people in the Outback. A capable blade-fighter, Ashley has attempted to master the difficult art of Tasa Duria.
Rank: Sentinel of the Silver Moon
Birthplace: el-Baghra, Nejd
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Black
A new Sentinel, working out of Lochley's Retreat in the Outback. Was apprenticed by Shayera.
Rank: Acolyte of the Silver Moon, Apprentice to Knight-Captain Syrandi Luneri
Birthplace: Tayga, Nation of Janis, Ji'Dorei
Race/Ethnicity: Dorei/Southern Islands
Eye Color: Teal
Hair Color: Dark Blue
Trinande Nesay is the child of Dorei from the first of the Dorei full colonies, on Ji'Dorei, of the Nation of Janis - peoples of the Southern Islands region of Doreia. The apprentice of Syrandi Luneri, Trinande has seen her powers blossom under the tutelage of the older Dorei woman. It is believed she will be ready for her Trials well before her 20th Birthday - currently she serves with her Master on Lochley's Retreat in the Outback.
Rank: Acolyte of the Silver Moon, Apprentice to Knight Shayera Thol
Birthplace: New Chatham, New Anglia
Eye Color: Green
Hair Color: Red
A Trill girl born and raised on New Anglia, the daughter of civil servants. She joined the Order at age 13 after manifesting her ESP talents, with only the reluctant blessing of her parents. Something of an outcast as a Trill raised primarily among Humans, she came to the attention of Shayera Thol upon the Knight's return from the Outback and has been taken as her Apprentice.
Former Rank: Acolyte of the Silver Moon, Apprentice to Knight Zara Delmar
Birthplace: Kalanta, Nation of Astra, Doreia
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Dark Teal
A free-spirited Dorei girl committed to the Order by parents desperate to bring some order to her life, Druni has been a troublesome child and has been put before numerous Rector Tribunals, though she has not yet done something so severe as to be expelled. Despite all this, she was selected by the newly-proclaimed Knight Zara Delmar to be her Apprentice despite having never met the woman before. However, after a chance meeting with the pyrokinetic Crown Princess of Tyconia, Duchess Sarisa, and the realization of her own pyrokinetic and electrokinetic talents, Druni decided to leave the Order and pursue her own life. She currently dwells in the Palace at Carwen as a guest of Sarisa, being trained by Sarisa's own teacher, Master Maroh, in the arts of pyrokinesis.