Order of the Thorn
The Order of the Thorn are only a couple hundred years old, dating back to the establishment of Lonraith. They grew from the original army that fought Draios, though they didn't bear that name at the time, and were not as organized as they are now. After the war was won, it was decided that the free cities could not rely on simple guard forces to defend them, but given the decentralized nature of the Lonraith Alliance, a traditional standing army wouldn't exactly work either. They compromised by creating the Order of the Thorn, a force of warriors with members and commanders from every city but largely independent from all of them, dedicated to defending the borders of Lonraith and securing the wild lands within it.
The Order is commanded by six senior officers, one drawn from each of the major cities of Lonraith, to ensure that they maintain neutrality. They have a central barracks, Thornmonte, as well as a number of waystations throughout Lonraith where a traveling rider can find shelter, supplies, and, at the less isolated stations, a fresh horse. Every rider is a ranger, though some focus a little harder on the magic side and become druids; natural magic is key to their work, though they do not condone arcane magic, and are iffy on any magic that comes from outsiders, because there's a fear it may lead to the corruption of old Draios. Nearly all are human, though they do not exclude most nonhumans so long as they have ties to one of the allied cities.
Riders are not required to stay at the barracks – many remain in or near their home cities, and patrol that area regularly, only straying far from home when specific duty calls them. However, the order also draws a fair number of orphans and outcasts, and to them, the order becomes a true family; many take new, nature-related surnames, or simply the surname of Thorn. Those members usually consider Thornmonte their home, and are often sent farther afield on border patrols or even out of Lonraith when need arises.
- Defend Lonraith and its people against threats, internal and external
- Preserve the wild regions of the world as best as possible, keeping nature and civilization in balance
- Maintain stability between the cities, and cordial relations with outside powers – the Knights actually wield a decent amount of political power, and are somewhat empowered to act as diplomats/envoys to other nations
- Civilization and the wilderness can and must coexist peacefully.
- Serve the allied cities with honor and courage – you represent them in every action, and cannot dishonor them
- Good cannot be served by doing evil
- Thornmonte, originally just the central barracks placed on neutral territory, now a small town to itself dedicated to keeping the Order running smoothly