|Motto||“Through Fire, Glory. Through Blood, Victory.”|
|Parent Faction||Starlit Court|
|Leader||Grandmaster Syr North Issier, the Momentous Force|
|Colors||Red, Black, and Gold|
|Capital Ship||The Hellion|
The order that was to become what is now called the Red Dragon was first conceived of by Syr Morag, during the early years of the former Heir’s war against the then High King. Consisting of four other knights beyond herself; Syr Edric Meer, Syr Lannivar Holt, Syr Oliva VanMoran, & Syr Paints Ro, the collection served to both guard and maraud the lines of the High King. In this they were remarkably successful, gaining something of a feared reputation on the field of battle. To note each other’s presence and to not get lost in the melee they would each wear a crimson cloak, both to stay possible friendly attacks, as well as to draw attention to themselves from the enemy. ”When you face a knight in crimson,” it was said, “it is an omen of ill fortune. Flee while you can.”
Under Syr Morag, the small collection, then called the Red Cloaks, continued to grow. Seeking those with both prowess and passion, and the temperament to steady them, growing into a small band one hundred strong. And though largely recognized for their military prowess, the then Red Cloaks was very insular, interacting with other groups only when called for and only for as long as their direct interaction was needed. For their part, members tended to prefer the more informal interactions between each other and Syr Morag, seeing the Red Cloaks as more of a found family than a military unit. That in of itself helped to isolate them from other proto-orders.
Over the years of the war against the High King, the Red Cloaks were often the target of much accusation. Using cruel techniques, weapons of mass destruction, and engaging in non-honorable practices such as killing those who had surrendered, were among some of the accusations leveled at them. And while many of these accusations were not true,the isolated nature of the company, the special relationship of Syr Morag to the former Hier, and their general demeanor towards the rest of the conflict and their allies, rumors continued to circulate around them. One of the most painful accusations levied against the Red Cloaks was that it was a member of their group who mortally wounded the High King.
In the time after the war, the Syr Morag led the Red Cloaks into the process of becoming less insular, knowing that with the construction of Sihi, that they needed to grow past their tendency to turn inward and embrace collaboration with the other forming collections of knights. She helped give them their new name, the Red Dragons, as a dragon can be more than a monster. “It can be a guardian to others,” she’d said. “It can be a mother, a father. It can hatch and have siblings. It can love as I have loved all of you. And how we must all learn to love those not of this collective.” Syr Morag was also essential in helping the Red Dragons adopt the Starlit Path, and helped to shape their journey along it.
When the High King disappeared on his journey, the Red Dragons encouraged Syr Morag to go out in search of him when she grew worried. They had long known of her worry when he’d first ventured out, and after he failed to be found at the scheduled rendezvous, members of the Order pleaded with their founder to resolve the worry in her heart. It was known she would have stayed to lead the Order had they not convinced her that they had grown enough, and she deserved the peace of mind and body they were all in search of.
The exact nature of why Syr Morag did not return is a closely guarded secret within the Order. What is known is that they received a series of twenty-eight communications from Syr Morag on her quest to find the High King. The last three of which apparently were of her quite distraught. Members of the order largely know as much as the next member of the Starlit Court and can believe the tales told as they wish, but each Grandmaster of the Red Dragons has access to these twenty-eight recordings, and each must interpret as they wish.
- Be unafraid to charge into battle.
- Seek counsel from your elders.
- Know your enemy, seek the best way to break them.
- When the battle is done, let the fires burn themselves out.
About the Order
Members of the Order of the Red Dragon are often seen as ‘old fashioned’ in comparison to the other knightly orders. Choosing to focus on close-quarters battle (hence referred to with CQB) both in and out of their mechs, Red Dragons have an ever so slight stigma attached to them. Manifesting itself most poignantly in the saying, “A Red Dragon is always bringing a knife to a nuke or laser fight.” That being said, members of this order work hard to make sure all those who interact with them, and especially those that fight them, are few who match their prowess in CQB.
Members of the Red Dragon order will typically work in groups of three (called a Thunderhead) when on a quest or contract, with the Knight who has been on the most quests taking charge (in the event of a tie, the elder in age takes command). This number developed as a result of a need to keep knight0pilots from getting too in over their heads and not losing sight of any overarching goal. That if a single Thunderhead was not enough to take on a task, that the whole of the Order could be called in, and the risk to the overall members was lowered.
There isn’t a great deal of historical precedence for the Order of the Red Dragon collaborating with the other knightly orders. There are many factors for why this might be the case ranging from disagreements of fighting philosophy and technique to disagreements over how honors will be divided out at the end of a quest. After a battle with members of the Order, areas are often left partially on fire and structures heavily damaged if not destroyed. Red Dragon members favor fire, personal hard-light weapons, and short to medium ranged firearms in their fighting. Culturally there is a favoritism towards weapons and techniques that bring you face-to-face with one’s opponent. Members of the Order are trained to be competent fighters both in their mechs as well as outside of it in their personal power suits.
Joining the Red Dragon
To become a member of the Order as an aspirant, one must first prove they can fight alongside standing members. When a perspective comes, they must spar against a standing member of the Order of the Red Dragon. Duels are held to a strict three minute timer. The ideal for hopefuls is a duel ending in a draw, knocking their opponent out, or incapacitating their opponent from the ring. Though it is rare for fresh recruits to give a standing Knight-Pilot too much trouble, it has been known to happen if they are an exceptionally gifted fighter. If an aspirant manages to beat a standing Red Dragon they are given the honorific of Ember which the carry through into their knighthood (example an Ember Squire, Ember Knight-Pilot)
Though few in number, there are some early application processes families or guardians can send their children into. These programs last no more than three to four months at a time, and result in a child receiving a sponsor until such time as they can formally request to join the Order. Though receiving a sponsor is not a mandatory step to become a Red Dragon, it is a mark that standing members of the Order will take into consideration during training if they are able to successfully enter past the dueling stage. A sponsorship can be rescinded from a recipient if they are found guilty of duty unbecoming for a Red Dragon, but they will still be allowed to apply themselves when they come of age.
Often armed; weapons are never ceremonial. “Simple” weapons are often carried (daggers, swords, etc), in addition to the more standard monoblade, powerglove, or firearm.
Adorned in Black and Red colors with Gold accents
Inner and Outer Culture
While the Starlit Court operates on the concept that anyone with a warrior’s soul can apply themselves to become a knight, the Order of the Red Dragon bares down on this fact. Often coming off as gruff or uncaring to those who are not members of the Court, or who lack the understanding of the nature of the Knighthood. Red Dragons put extra effort both into the training of their squires and into the testing of their Knights, in order to maintain that all who bear the Red Dragon’s symbol are warriors at all moments of their lives, not just in their best armor.
To those inside the Starlit Court they are as respectable as any Knightly order, from the common field hands, all the way up to their fellow Knights and beyond. However, they tend to be less boisterous than their counterparts across the order. Occasionally coming off as dower and sober people more often than not. During tournaments Red Dragon Knights do not put on flashing matches, tending to go for the win in whatever presents itself as the fastest possible solution. Red Dragon order members believe it is a faux pas to toy with one’s enemy in such cases, seeing it as a sign of excess cruelty or pride, and should try to strip out of their personas.
In War or while on a quest, Red Dragons also take great care to not be responsible for civilian casualties. When deployed to urban centers, Red Dragons will alert the population 48 hours in advance to evacuate. If their contracted enemy has taken up a defensive location within an urban zone, the Red Dragons will establish a ‘hot zone’ of their expected deployment zones, and constantly notify that area’s civilian population over the course of the advanced warning time to leave the area. Though the action gives their enemies time to reinforce and dig in, the Order sees it as the greater good to allow non-target parties to leave the area of danger. The unnecessary injury or death of non-target parties is to be avoided. And while not a crime, such cases of damage are cited as important learning moments for any Knight-Pilot.
The position of Grandmaster holds special importance in the Order of the Red Dragon. The holder of this title is not only the leader, but widely recognized as the most experienced and capable fighter, as well as being the final arbiter of disputes that occur within the Order.
One can occur in one of two ways. The first, and far more common way is for an aging current Grandmaster taking on an individual Knight-Pilot as a protege. Typically this process will last anywhere from 5-10 years, with the selected individual accompanying the Grandmaster on campaigns, advising their efforts, and acting as their first officer if one isn’t present. The tutoring process ends with a ceremony in which the current Grandmaster steps down from their office and bequeaths the position to their protege. This is also typically done before the Grandmaster embarks on an especially dangerous quest where death is all but guaranteed.
The second way for one to ascend to the rank of Grandmaster is by invoking the Challenge of Morag. If the actions or commands of a standing Grandmaster have resulted in extreme damage to the Order, utter disaster in battle, or the senseless loss of life, a Knight-Pilot may challenge the current Grandmaster, deeming them unfit to continue as leader. What follows is a trial by combat, where the fighters typically agree to the same martial weapon (traditionally swords but other weapons have been seen over time), and meet as soon as both are capable of standing in a match. The fighters wear minimal armor in this battle (usually only gauntlets to protect the hands), and though the Challenge of Morag isn’t necessarily to the death, yielding is uncommon because of the shame of issuing the challenge and failing or the defending Grandmaster being beaten and gracefully stepping down from their power. As a result there have only been seven recorded instances of the Challenge of Morag resulting in one of the fighters yielding.
For those who either willingly stepped down from the role or those defeated in the Challenge of Morag and yielded, there are few options. For some, they are able to join the Order again in a support role, acting usually as a mentor, an instructor, or sometimes as a clerk. Though depending on the age of the former Grandmaster, and the circumstances surrounding this decision, they might be understandably shunned or isolated by the average member of the Order. In such circumstances the former Grandmaster can return to the civilian population of Sihi or choose to undergo a Death Quest. These quests are designed to provide the individual with an honorable death. No individual who has chosen a Death Quest has returned from one, and it is not certain what would happen if someone were to manage the feat.
- CQB (both in and out of a mech-suit)
- Urban/Subterranean fields of battle
- Prolonged field deployment
- Specialized Heat & Fire-based weaponry
- Deployable Flamer Drone
- Thermite Grenade
- Thermite Cannon (mech weapon)
- Thermal Lance (a modal flame-based-weapon)
- Weaponized Mining tools
- Slag-Rounds (Mech munition rounds), also known as H.E.A.M. rounds (High explosive anti-mech)
- Shaped Charge
The Hellion, equipped with six batteries of heavy Mag cannons, sixteen laterally-aligned thermal lances, two batteries of “Firestarter” drones, point defense Flak cannons along the length, and over forty capital sized thermite cannons, also known as the Dragon Storm. Also aboard the Hellion are anywhere from 25 to 50 Thunderheads Squads, as well as over 400 Men-at-Arms ready to assist in ground or anti-boarding actions.
The Hellion, when fully staffed, has a total crew complement of 2500 souls, with room for 3100 in extreme cases.
Members of the Order
Syr North Issier, the Momentous Force (he/him)
Power Suit: the Crimson Grip
Mech: Vin de Sang Noir
Syr Patroclus (he/him)
Species: Lutrian, albino
Syr Æthelflæd (she/her)
Syr Juniper (he/him)
Ember Squire Raleigh Ulthway (she/her)
Mech: the Hailstorm
Squire Marlok (they/them)
Squire Raith (he/him)
Former Grandmaster Florez Vinitri (she/her)
Former Grandmaster Osomund Kafeel (He/Him/Them)