I had inspiration yesterday to write about an all-female group of warrior-nuns in the TES universe, and was struggling to find a fit when a friend of mine brought up the Knightly Orders from Daggerfall. I then noticed the Order of the Lily, and some of the writing there was just really weird. So I rewrote it! Tell me what you think, please.
The Temple of Dibella as an institution is known for their exquisite artwork and focus on spreading love and beauty in all of its forms across Tamriel, and despite the unfortunate (and blatantly false) reputation that temple and its clergy have accrued, you will not find kinder souls in all of Tamriel. This, however, does not prevent the priesthood of Dibella from needing to defend itself. This sacred duty falls upon the Order of the Lily.
Like many knightly orders in Tamriel, this organization came about as a matter of necessity. Bandits and brigands are quick to prey on those that seem weak, and the priests of Dibella in particular make prime targets due to the effects of the office being intricate and made from beautiful materials. Naturally, they decided to arm themselves.
Members of this order also double as wandering priestesses, teaching classes and aiding those they come across in order to spread peace and beauty around Tamriel. Sometimes this includes defending the defenseless, helping the formation of local militia, and serving as a battle-healer in towns and cities.
Unlike many knightly orders, however, every member of the Order of the Lily is a woman and trained in a fairly exotic discipline of fighting. The chosen weapon of the Order of the Lily is a modified form of an Akaviri weapon known as a Naginata, which resembles a pole-axe but with a katana instead of an axehead at the end. The modifications are mostly visual, as every Dibellan Naginata is made to reflect the knight that wields it; everything down to the wood the shaft is made of to the ornamentation of the blade is chosen and shaped by the wielder. The only thing that every weapon has is a small symbol of Dibella hanging from the guard of the weapon.
The armor that the Lily Knights garb themselves in is practical as well as beautiful. It takes the form of a light cuirass, bracers, and greaves made of moonstone and quicksilver and treated until it takes on a polished brass hue. After this the armor is enchanted by the wearer if she sees fit, and an enchanted hooded robe is worn over it. Atop the knight's head is a circlet made of the same material as the armor, with a single piece of rose quartz mounted on its point.
Like most temple orders, the Lilies are handpicked by the marshall at their local temple after displaying advanced aptitude for combat and restoration magic, in addition to spiritual aptitude. Then they are trained by the marshal personally for a few weeks before being sent to a training facility near Glenumbra, where the Grand-Marshall of the Order oversees training and determines whether a Knight will guard a temple, become a knight-errant and travel a particular province, or be assigned to the Sybil of Dibella and other high-ranking officials of the Temple as personal guards. However, most knights are assigned to be knights-errant first in order to gain more practical experience.
Every two years the knights-errant of the order return to Glenumbra to attend a ceremony where their actions over the previous two years are recounted. During this ceremony, many Knights are given new assignments, promotions, and altogether have a good time among friends both old and new. During this ceremony, a knight may also request to be bonded with another sister if they find themselves taking a liking to each other. If this happens, a small ceremony is held that binds the two spirits together in the name of love, beauty, and the faith of Dibella. This is symbolized by a tattoo on the wrist, and a gold ring being added to the shaft of their naginata.
The ranks in the Order of the Lily are as follows (divided into sections of student, knight, and officer ranks)
Student Ranks (in order): Novice, Initiate, Acolyte, Knight-Ascendant
Knight Ranks (in order): Knight, Knight-Protector, Knight-Sergeant, Knight-Paladin
Officer (in order): Paladin, Curate, Marshall, Knight-Marshall, Knight-Commander
Leadership (in order): High Paladin, High Marshall, High Commander, Grand Marshall, Grand Commander
Unique: Knight-Sybil (side note: there has only ever been one Sybil of Dibella that came from the knightly order, but the rank remains for posterity’s sake)
- The Knights of Iron, lore rewrite/headcanon #4
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