The Ruins of Myvolia
The Cowled Brothers of Saint Ignatius
The Cowled Brothers of Saint Ignatius
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Headquarters: The ruins of the Monastery of the Seven Banners, Crestonbury, Bellweather
Leaders: High Abbot Crewin Martin
Prominent Members: Trendle of Crestonbury
Structure: Religious missionary
Scope: Formerly a large order that has been disbanded. Only small pockets remain
The Cowled Brothers of Saint Ignatius, also known as the Cowled Brothers or the Cowled Brothers of Justice, were an early Lucidian missionary order that existed extensively throughout the Northern Kingdoms. Founded by Saint Ignatius in the year 43 LE in the Braumen kingdom of Bastion, which later became the Grand Duchy of Bellweather, the order’s mission was to spread the faith throughout the pagan north.
The Fourth Great Horde Years
The order grew rapidly as conversions to the Lucidian creed brought ever more faithful into the fold. Saint Ignatius himself settled in the small village of Crestonbury with a group of his followers. When black banners appeared on the horizon, signalling the massive invasion of goblinoid forces from Lodd that was the opening of the Fourth Great Horde Years, Ignatius allied himself with the local druids and Braumen chieftains to repel the invaders. From land and sea the goblinoids came in their unknown thousands and soon the Northern Kingdoms were once more threatened with widespread war and death.
The Braumen belief that the ancient gods were the cause of the mysterious hordes was appreciated by Ignatius and his small band of followers. Rather than battle the massive armies of the horde, they rather sought out the source of its power. On the hill of Varnaa, Ignatius and his allies confronted a dark angel named Collanyen, the master of the horde. In a ferocious battle Ignatius dispatched Collanyen with his holy axe, a weapon known as the Shiranel. Mortally wounded in the battle, Ignatius relinquished his axe to his follower and disciple Brother Anreii, entrusting him with the command of his brotherhood.
Growth of the Order
High Abbot Anreii closely followed Saint Igantius’ doctrine, integrating many aspects of the elder Green religion with the teachings of Saint Lucius. Though this new version of the faith was popular throughout the north and ensured the growth of the order, it rankled of heresy in Vintara.
In truth the growing might of the Ignatiuns was becoming a major threat to the dominance of the Patriarchy. Though the Ignatiuns submitted to the supremacy of the Patriarch they stubbornly held to several beliefs that were not considered canon. In addition their power base in the distant north threatened the centralized nature of the church.
The final straw came in 311 LE when High Abbot Crasswin succeeded to the Throne of Saint Dalmatius as the new Patriarch. Never before had any lay brother who was not a Lucidian priest risen to the post of Patriarch. It was an example of the order’s power and the danger that it posed to the established church hierarchy. Though Crasswin only served as Patriarch for six years before he was called to the celestial domains of Pelor, the die had been cast and the succeeding Patriarch was determined to break the power of the Ignatiuns once and for all.
The Dissolution of the Order
In 325 LE the new Patriarch conspired with several of the most powerful northern kings, lords and priests to disband the Ignatiun order and seize their vast wealth and holdings. The plot was hatched on a fall day in 325 with the arrest of many of the leaders of the Cowled Brothers and the expropriation of much of their land.
Many of the leaders were tried for heresy and those who refused to repent were executed. As for the rest of the order, some were absorbed into other monastic orders while many left the church for other pursuits. A few remained as Cowled Brothers, however, living in the shadows of their former greatness.
The Order of the Knights of the Dawn
The Knights of the Dawn, or the ‘Northwatch,’ as many people called them, became a victim of circumstance. Founded by the Ignatians in 112 LE as bastions of the North to help defend the Northern Kingdoms from the Hordes of Lodd and the Wilders of Mith, they became abolished by association with the Cowled Brothers. Having only a handful of chapters in the the North-lands and only one small chapter house in Vintara, the Knights of the Dawn were put to the sword as heretics spreading paganism and disparaging the word of Lucius. The Lantern Knights of St Clevoy inherited all vessels and holdings: though on a directive from Vintara ceased all occupation of the far north.
In truth, the Knights of the Dawn were the only organized militia devoted to guarding the North from Loddish invaders. The only thing that currently remains of the Knights of the Dawn are two abandoned keeps situated in the far north of Parlone under the shadow of the Spinereach and Skysplit mountain ranges—long overrun by vegetation and the nomadic peoples of the Northreach. For the nomadic barbarians of the far north are the only guardians left against the encroachment of another horde.
The remains of the order continued to exist, dispossessed of their incomes, monasteries and official powers. A general belief amongst the surviving Cowled Brothers emerged that their order’s pride had caused it to be brought low. They continued forth with a renewed sense of humility, determined to fulfill their patron’s mandate. Today they fulfill many of the niches formerly dominated by their order. Many executions in the far north are carried out by Ignatiuns, a grim task that is deemed to be the provenance of holy men. Their missionary work also carries on, though always with the risk of arrest on charges of heresy by agents of Vintara.
Truly both Lucidians and practitioners of the Green Circle tolerate the presence of the few remaining Ignatiuns, seeing them as the harmless fragments of a forgotten order.