The Order of The Lion

The Order’s Coat of Arms

Overview

The Order of The Lion was created in 1501 by King Edwin of Lind, so named for the title of Sir Herrick The Lion, a knight who earned his moniker for great feats of bravery. Sir Herrick became a general for Lind’s army, and head of the order.

Today, the order numbers about 50 mounted knights, who act as one unit of the royal guard in open battle. When not campaigning in warfare, the knights perform duties as typical of their rank, and participating in tournaments.

Recruitment and Hierarchy

The original 24 members of the Order were elected by Sir Herrick himself, selected personally from amongst the barons, dukes and knights already engaged in military service to the crown. These members, as the tradition survives today, selected nine other candidates a piece.

Now, as then, the monarch chooses those nominees whom he thinks is best fit to serve the Order (regardless of the number of nominations). When a member dies, is expelled or otherwise leaves the order, the process for filling in vacancies is the same. The Order maintains a hard number of 50 knights, as one unit of mounted soldiers in the army.

Male knights of the Order bear the title “Knight Companion” and female members are called “Lady Companion”. Foreigners who are elected to join the Order, typically an honorary status, bear the title of “Stranger Knight”.

Officers

The Order elects six officers: the Prelate, the Chancellor, the Register, the Order Principal King of Arms, the Usher, and the Secretary. The Prelate is selected from amongst high-ranking members of a church or temple, usually a bishop. The office of Register is held by the dean of the royal palace in Adney. As the title suggests, the Principal King of Arms has specific duties as the Order’s officer of arms, attending to the companions’ crests and banners of arms, which are exhibited in the chapel. The Secretary, who acts as deputy to the Lion in the ceremonial aspects of the Order, is also selected from the other officers of the College of Arms.

Military Knights

In addition to 50 Knights Companions, a number of “Military Knights of Lydney” were attached to the Order shortly after its founding. These Military Knights are not required to maintain a specific number, and are recruited typically among retired veterans or other military pensioners. Members of the Military Knights are not considered true knights of any sort, but are required to assist in Order processions, escort Knights Companions, perform religious services and stand watch in the royal palace in exchange for a salary and lodging in the royal palace.

Precedence and Privilege

Knights Companions of the Order take precedence over non-Order knights in social hierarchy, and as members of the royal guard, are in command of all but those with the rank of General on the battlefield. The wives, sons, daughters and daughters-in-law of Knights Companion are also assigned some precedence. Knights Companions prefix their names with “Sir” and Ladies Companions with “Lady,” as typical of knighthood. A wife of a Knight Companion may prefix her name with Lady, but no corresponding privilege exists for husbands of Ladies Companion. Relatives of Ladies Companion are not, however, assigned any special positions. Such formalities are not used by princes and peers, except when peers’ names are written out in their fullest forms.

Ceremonies and Observances

Lion ceremonies are often lengthy and complex, typical of noble affairs. Most are performed before the King himself, when possible, in one of his palaces, though it is not unusual for a member of the Order to host a lesser official ceremony at his estate.

Initiation

This ceremony inducts a new member into the Order, for which the king is always present. The knight-to-be is lead down an aisle, where members of the Order stand, 25 to a side, and recite one line of a passage each. This passage denotes the duty and honor of which the inductee is expected to uphold. A priest blesses the inductee in the name of Ao. At the end of the ceremony, the king knights the initiate, and afterward a feast is held.

Ceremony of Degradation

This ceremony is performed when a member has committed shameful acts, such as treason or heresy, and must be expelled from the Order. The Order King of Arms, accompanied by the rest of the heralds, proceeds to the royal palace. While the King of Arms reads out aloud the Instrument of Degradation, a herald climbs a ladder and removes the former knight’s banner, crest, helm and sword, throwing them down into the quire. Then the rest of the heralds kick them down the length of the chapel, out of the doors, and into the castle ditch. Depending on the severity of the offense, this may be followed by a public execution.

Vestments and Accouterments

Members of the Order, like all nobility, are required to dress in the vestments of their station during ceremonies and certain days of the week (such as holy days). The outfit includes a mantle, a robe made of wool, which is golden in color and lined with red tafetta. The mantles of Ladies end in trains. Over the right shoulder is attached a red surcoat and hood. The hat is dark red with white ostrich feathers. Over the left breast hangs the medal of office, the coat of arms of the Order. Around the neck is worn the collar, made of solid gold intertwining knots with enameled medallions depicting the purple wyrm of Lind facing opposite the Lion of the Order. The outfit is completed with a pair of soft leather shoes.

In battle, members wear various forms of plate, typically half-plate or full plate, or a breastplate over a shirt of chain. These armors are emblazoned with the guarded lion of the Order. Each member is allowed to wield the weapon of his choice, though most prefer to carry a lance or sword while on horseback, and a sword and dagger while dismounted.

The Order of The Lion

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