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The Ordo Magna (aka The Great Order or simply The Order).

by James Ruhland

The Ordo Magna was one of the earliest fighting orders established in Thyatis. In fact, there are indications that its existence predates the Empire itself. During the Alphatian occupation of Thyatis many small resistance groups sprung up, mostly acting in secret. These resistance groups were mostly ineffectual at first, so the Alphatians paid them no real notice. Over time they formed a network, an organisation dedicated to overthrowing Alphatian rule in Thyatis. Not much came of their efforts until Lucinius masterminded and led the revolt against Alphatia in BC 2.

At that point the various resistance groups were organised into a single entity under Lucinius' leadership, the Ordo Magna, which provided the Thyatian rebels with much of their military power, and was among the first institution to include Thyatians, Hattians, and Kerendans in one "national" organisation.

When the Alphatians were defeated and Zendrolion murdered King Lucinius and the Kings of Ochalea and the Pearl Islands, establishing the Thyatian Empire, the Ordo Magna was one of the first groups that received chartered approval from the Emperor. Zendrolion feared that the Ordo Magna, which had followed the leadership of Lucinius, would oppose his rule. By chartering them and permitting them a degree of autonomy, he hoped to neutralise whatever ill-will they might have towards him. In this, he succeeded, though only on the surface. The Ordo Magna did not organise a revolt against his rule, and seemed to dedicate itself to defending Zendrolion's new Empire against the Alphatians.

However, the leaders of the Ordo Magna felt that Zendrolion's new Empire had simply re-created the tyranny of the Alphatians, though with a Thyatian as its despot rather than an Alphatian. Though some felt that this was a necessary evil in order, required to insure that Thyatis would be strong enough to fend off any future Alphatian counter-attacks, others remained committed to the ideals of Lucinius and the original resistance cells, and their goal of a nation which served the common interest with the input of everyone. During Zendrolion's two decade rule, the Ordo Magna resolved this tension between the two factions by extending its ranks to include members from the Pearl Islands, Ochalea, and the Thyatian-held areas of the Isle of Dawn.

This swelled the Ordo Magna's ranks, simultaneously tilting the balance between the factions: the new members came from areas that were occupied by force, and were strongly opposed to Zendrolion. When Zendrolion died, these members were among the first to agitate for overthrowing Thyatian rule, and it looked certain that Zendrolion's Empire would not long outlive him. It was at this point that Valentia made her famous Citizenship Proclamation, unifying the Empire on a new basis of legitimacy and largely fulfilling the desires of the Ordo Magna. The Ordo Magna's members then dedicated themselves to insuring that Valentia's ideals were promoted throughout the Empire, and to defending them against all who threatened them, including not only Alphatia but many powerful Thyatians who had benefited from Zendrolion's regime.

During the Bright Age that followed, the Ordo Magna was quite possibly the strongest and most influential order within Thyatis. However, its very success, and the achievements of Valentia, proved to be its undoing. Members joined, or even founded, other organisations that promoted a particular interest. For example, the Sisterhood of the Sword was founded by former Ordo Magna members who wanted to promote the interest of women and their rights as warriors. By the beginning of the 4th century, the Ordo Magna was simply a small "gentleman's club" for senators. The Hattian revolt and the following war decimated the order, and it was disbanded. Here, the history of the order ends. . .officially.

For while the public part of the Ordo Magna had disappeared, a faction had taken to operating underground. This faction had originated among those who saw no problem with Zendrolion's empire. They were not opposed to Valentia's reforms by any means, but they were firmly committed to the strength of Thyatis. By the end of the third century many in this wing of the Ordo Magna had decided that their goals were best achieved by operating behind the scenes, as a secret society. They organised an offshoot branch of the Ordo Magna, leaving its public membership depleted. The Hattian revolt finished off the Ordo Magna as a public order operating in the open.

Using the new vernacular that was coming into vogue, the leaders of the organisation termed their sect "the Great Order" or simply "the Order." Their goals were similar to that of the organisation at its founding: defending Thyatis from its enemies, both external (Alphatia in particular) and internal. However, their methods began to evolve into the use of hidden hand styles of influence, assassination of people they termed enemies, and other "expedient" means. Also, as a secret society their was no longer a check on their actions. Over time, the leaders of the Order put themselves in the position of deciding who were enemies of the Order's goals, and often this came down to personal political animosities having little to do with the ideals the original Ordo Magna stood for.

By the beginning of the 10th century the leaders of the Order began to notice Thyatis' overall decline. They became committed to Thyatian expansionism, by any means necessary, and the destruction of its enemies. Unlike groups like the Storm Soldiers, the Order is not a racial hate group: the Order contains members from every nation and ethnicity within Thyatis. However, by 1000 AC the Order is a virulently jingoistic secret society, bent upon Thyatian revival by means of the conquest and subjugation of its neighbours, especially those in lands they deem "Thyatian Birthright Lands" (Karameikos, Ierendi, Minrothad, parts of Ylaruam, Norwold, the Isle of Dawn) and all of Alphatia. They are generally hostile to those who they think of as standing in the way of their goals (including Thyatians who advocate diplomacy and consolidation of the Empire as a means to strengthen it and are opposed to conquest). The Order will use any means to achieve their goals.