[Paladin] History and Origin

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[Paladin] History and Origin

Post  Taki on Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:41 am

The Paladin discipline has had fans and detractors in the years since its introduction, but to my knowledge no one has ever discovered the truth behind its in-game origin. Those unfamiliar with Donovan's history or that of the Phoenix Guard may want to consult the FH lore page to put this in perspective.

“A detachment from the keep had gone into the wastes nearly a week earlier after scouts had reported strange gatherings of creatures on the horizon. One hundred men set out to disperse the gatherings before they could become a problem and found the gathering of Corenn’s demonic allies. Hopelessly outnumbered, twenty of the strongest men charged into the enemy, carving a path through the lesser creatures and trying to reach the army’s leaders before they were overcome. The remaining eighty fled back toward the keep, fighting a running battle with the army the entire way.”

-From “The History of Eldesta and the creation of the Order of the Phoenix”
As written by Ferendin Malinkosh, Historian to King Aldan Morad
1161 C.E.

“What history forgets, fate often remembers.”
-Eldestan Proverb.



Aenoch opened his eyes slowly, taking the time to adjust to the darkness before daring to examine his surroundings. He was in some sort of rag tent, and though his body was racked with pain, he was certainly alive. Lying on his back with his hands bound beneath him, he could see only the moth-eaten roof of the tent and the hazy darkness of the night beyond. Moans and rasping gasps around him let him know that others had survived as well, though he could not discern how many of his brothers still lived.
He lay there for some time, just listening and familiarizing himself with the sounds he heard. Once he was convinced that no enemies were present, he slowly rolled onto his side. His shoulders burned in agony as he shifted his weight, but as blood slowly returned to his hands and fingers Aenoch realized that his injuries had been healed. He clearly remembered the claws of a lizard-creature tearing at his chest, but no wounds could be seen. Only the jagged rents in his armor remained as proof he had been struck.
Now on his side, Aenoch took stock of the tent and its inhabitants. There were seven others here, all bound as he was. Feeling blindly, he found that one of his steel bracers had been cut by some foe during his mad rush toward the demon army. The sharp edge of the torn steel was pressed against his back, but a few moments effort he turned the bracer and began sawing at his bonds.
The ropes gave a satisfying snap as he cut through, and a few seconds later he was on his feet again. One by one he woke and freed his brothers, noticing that each of them had also been healed. As he was waking Garel, the last of the survivors, Aenoch’s breath caught in his throat. All of the others: Azrus, Raginald, Eriel, Sarcian, Ramael, and Micas were on their feet and looking at him. Their eyes glowed softly with a white light, and they looked on him with suspicion on their faces.
Holding his hands up to his face, Aenoch saw his gauntlets bathed in the same pale luminescence. Something had been done to them, and as the eight of them emerged from the tent, they found themselves alone. The remains of a huge encampment lay all around them, but there were no signs of their captors or their allies anywhere to be seen. Together, they began to journey east into the unknown…

***

The eight men who awoke that day in the Wastes were the surviving members of the Guard who charged into Corenn’s Demon allies and bought the remainder of the 100-man scouting mission time to flee back to the wall and make history. Twelve of them died, but these eight were taken by the demons and… changed. They lay abandoned by the demon army during their assault on the keep at Harrison’s Pass, and woke to find themselves alone in unfamiliar territory. Fearing that they had become agents of darkness, the eight wandered the Wastes for several years before creeping back towards their home.
During these travels they found themselves somewhat hardier than they had been before, and each of them had gained some ability in the arts of healing. Believing that these abilities were somehow unholy the eight pledged to live only in the Wastes, never returning to the place of their birth. Instead they fought the evil of the Wastes head-on, using their powers to sustain each other in an unforgiving land. On occasion they would find scouts from what was then the Phoenix Guard in the wastes, and though they would conceal their presence, they occasionally saved an outnumbered scout from a painful demise. After their first such rescue, all eight were horrified to find that the scout awoke with eyes like theirs. The scout, Jophias, joined them in their vigil, and from that day forth they only saved (and thus recruited) those who would perish without their intervention.
Generations passed, and as the original eight met their demise more men and women were added to the group. Though their numbers never rose over 12, they continued on until the time of the Cataclysm. They referred to themselves as the Coelestians, from the ancient Coelesti, or “shining ones”.

***

During his time as the Shadowhammer, Donovan met and was saved by the Coelestians. Upon his awakening, the Coelestians discovered something significant: unlike all the others, Donovan’s eyes did not take on the ethereal glow, nor did those he healed exhibit the mark of the Coelestians. As he learned from them, the Coelestians theorized that their “gift” might not be unholy after all, as their abilities had much in common with Donovan’s knowledge of healing by use of the Light. It was they who aided him in his quest for vengeance in the Wastes, and they who fought alongside him during his assault on Ulzahuk’s fortress many years later.
Though he would leave them and return to Eldesta, Donovan continued to have contact with the Coelestians intermittently throughout his career. He has never spoken to anyone of their existence, and they remain his best-kept secret.
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Taki

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