History of the Apostles
By Former Apostle Tigerfang
Although the need for our organization and its subsequent creation did not arrive until our first true enemy pressed us, there were several important components that helped to pave the way for our formation. While the purpose here is to write of the Apostle's history, I feel it important to include a bit of prehistory so that our story is fully told.
Beginnings. One odd thing about beginnings is that they are often times hard to pin-point. Most of the time, people can easily remember the date something ends. The finishing of something seems to have a quality that makes it stand out, but beginnings are harder to date. So it is with our organization. If I had to place a date for our beginning, I would pick a time close to the closing days of passage through the mountain of Ker'lore. So with that in mind, here is where I will start our story.
Many moons ago, those with the knowledge and the purity of heart sought out a small flower that would grow in the stony gardens of Theren. If you were able to pick the flower and knew what to do with it you could travel beyond the great stone slab that blocks the Ker’lore pass. The great stone slab still sits up in Ker'lore and bears the mark of the great dragon, as it always has. However, I have not seen the little flower bloom in sometime, and perhaps it never will again. Why the flower stopped blossoming is still a mystery, but I suspect it was the doing of man, one way or another.
At about the time the last few adventurers were making trips through the pass, there was a great schism in the ranks of the Paladin Guild. A dark seed was beginning to bear fruit that would eventually lead to a change in the very leadership of the guild. Paladins were battling with themselves and others over questions of morals and ethics. A few began to study the arts of thieving to gain a better understanding whilst some fell prey to ill wishing and began to practice at theft. Others, fed up with the gross laziness of the town's guard, began to take justice into their own hands. At first, things were not bad. In fact, all seemed well, justice was being served and the unlawful being punished. Under the surface, however things were not so good. Stories were beginning to surface of paladins that had clearly crossed the line. Stories of paladins striking down a fellow citizen over little more than an exchange of words, stories of paladins taking up a bounty to hunt down men without bringing them to justice or a trial first and stories of paladins threatening and harming other paladins.
Beren, who was the guild leader at the time, always viewed us as his children. His flock to be pushed and nudged, corrected and scolded, but always, he was the father that allowed us to make our own mistakes and learn from them. The guild saw different, however, and before Beren could reign in those few stray sheep, he was replaced with Guild Leader Darius who was given firm instructions on how to handle the situation. Darius laid down the law. It was a law both popular and not among the ranks of paladins. Adding to that was the manner in which Guild Leader Beren was treated when he was replaced. Many found his forced seclusion a hard punishment, and instead of repairing the fractures among our ranks, they widened further. Some paladins swore off the light, and for the first time began to follow the dark aspects of the gods. On the other side, members that held strongly to the light banned together and formed the Order of Light, one of the first orders in the realms.
Many, however, found themselves sitting on the fence. Unwilling to swear to the dark and unwilling to follow the strict guidelines of the Order of Light, they bided thier time and waited for the day the guild would heal itself. Things remained that way for sometime. There was much infighting, many personal attacks, but there were attempts to resolve the schism as well. After several failed attempts at meetings to give the guild some direction, most folks let things lie dormant and fell back to hopes and good wishes for the future. Of all the people that bore the hardship of the time, the most to suffer were the young. Paladins grew up for the first time without help or a clear purpose. Much was lost in the teaching of both combat and magic among the guild and paladins were growing up never knowing their full potential. Into this void stepped Rock Loyalheart, a self-proclaimed dark paladin and follower of Chadatru's darker aspect, Betolf.
Rock was able to pull together senior guild members to lead informational meetings he called "jam sessions." He drew together paladins that defined themselves as unconventional, those that did not want to be labeled, and those that were able to look beyond his colored personality to support what he was trying to do.
For the first time, people came together to help one another with no questions asked. Choice of worship did not matter, and conflicts of personality did not matter. People were allowed to be who they wanted to be, as long as they respected each other. It was these people and the basic concepts of lending a helping hand that would lay the groundwork and prepare us for hard times to come. Enter the Gorbesh.
Always in the past, we had faced enemies that were smaller in number than our own. Always in the past, the information network was sufficient to keep everyone up to date and let them know where support or help was needed. This was about to change.
The Gorbesh were always present among the races of the realms, sending out raiders, called outriders, to spy and raid upon the Crossings and lesser cities. We knew little about them, but a larger part of their story was about to unfold with a fury.
The Gorbesh attacked and quickly exposed our weakness. Jadeite and kyanite mines were the first to fall, breaking our lines of information. Gwethdesuans, which had been our means of communication, were now in short supply. They attacked with siege engines and weapons of mass destruction and exposed us to threats we had never dealt with before. Their numbers were staggering, and for the first time, we were outmanned and outgunned in every imaginable way.
Rock and a few others used their contacts to gather in a core of dependable people, who then spread out to gather the resources needed to help turn back this threat. Without gweths, we needed coordinated places to gather for regrouping and information updates. Rally points were quickly established throughout the Crossings for this purpose. Places to tend to the wounded and dying were set up. Runners on foot replaced our gweths; primitive but effective. We gathered in and tied together as many orders of the realms as possible in an information exchange. We thought, planned and counter planned for almost every situation we could think of. Our efforts were rewarded. For the first time, over 300 souls stood with us with the single cause of turning back the attacks that were now pounding our cities.
The Gorbesh War, also called the Red Winter War, is a story too long to tell here, but a good bard can tell you the tale. The Apostles did not win it alone; no one person or group won it; we won it together. But I can truly say we played an important part. One week after the war was over, the number of people in contact with the Apostles was 400 plus. This was our first indication of the impact and effectiveness that a group of people can have on the outcome of events.
Shortly after the war, Rock saw his purpose over and stepped down from leading the Apostles. He gracefully bowed out and claimed status as an Apostle's member. He turned the Apostles' leadership over to Candidus, Wixlarcar, and myself, Tigerfang, to continue the work that he had started and to lead the Apostles in a new direction, a direction that centered on leading in times of peace.
As a group, the Apostles started off with no intention of being an order of the realms. Our concern was just to serve as an information and organizational force. Banding together whoever would come to us and accept the open hand we offered. Today, we still stand true to this calling; Accepting and offering help with no questions asked, and keeping to the policy that you need not be a member of the order to be an apostle. The drive to become an order was a secondary call, one that came from the Apostles themselves. Those that felt we should be more or those that found a home here that suited them better than a home elsewhere, this was the reasoning behind our drive to becoming an order.
Today, we stand as Apostles, both members and supporters, banded together in the cause to protect, inform, lead and serve the law-abiding citizens of Elanthia. Our focus has moved from the paladin guild to include all guilds. For we found that during the War, each person has his own special talents and abilities, and it is the adding of these talents that give us our true strength. We don't look down on others, rather accept what they have to offer, looking to bring out the best in each of us. This is the call of Apostles, and this is our history, to which we add pages everyday.