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The Order of the White Drake - A Historyby Geoff Gander, special thanks to James Ruhland, Tharquil, and Jamuga Khan
The Order of the White Drake was founded in AC 895 as an elite corps of soldiers riding on dragonback. Swearing a personal oath of service to the Thyatian Emperor himself, the Order was to be an elite task force that, it was hoped, would turn the tables in all future battles, and allow Thyatis to win the day.
The first decades of the Order's existence were glorious. Although they had not seen active combat duty, they were instrumental in boosting morale among the populace, as well as providing ground troops with crucial air support in the conquest of Traladara. After Traladara was annexed to Thyatis, the Order was given a plot of land along the coast, near the Dymrak Forest. Here, they built their headquarters, an imposing fortress called simply "The Aerodrome". Over the ensuing decades, the membership of the Order grew and changed, such that, by AC 950, many of its members were of Traladaran extraction. It was around this time that the Order's leadership changed, and a new Commander of the Order, by the name of Yuri Molotov, was chosen.
Unlike the previous Commanders, Yuri's first love was not to the Emperor, or to Thyatis, but to Traladara. He resented the Thyatian incursions into his homeland, and wished to see Traladara independent once again, but unified. Yuri, along with many other Order members who were Traladarans, saw the Order as the prefect vehicle with which Traladara could be taken, and held, against any reprisals. In AC 959, Yuri was approached by an Alphatian spy, who made him an offer. Yuri was informed of the coming Alphatian Spike Assault, and he was told that, if the Order did not come to the aid of Gabrionus during the assault, and remained neutral throughout the hostilities, they would be given Alphatian support to rule over Traladara and a sizeable portion of western Thyatis. Yuri's dream had come true, the chance to have a nation of his own.
Many members of the Order agreed to this, primarily because they were Traladaran, Hattian, or some other minority group lacking deep ties to the Thyatian government, and they followed Yuri's order to stay in the Aerodrome while the Alphatians attacked Thyatis. Another factor which drove a large number of Order members into Yuri's camp was the increasing suspicion on the part of Gabrionus, the Emperor at that time, of the motives of the Order. Rumours were rampant in the Thyatian court that the Order of the White Drake was comprised of Alphatian spies, who sought only to undermine Thyatian interests. Although the rumours were never verified, that fact that Gabrionus was always exposed to them coloured his judgement somewhat, and as a result some Order members who would otherwise have been loyal became supporters of Yuri.
When the Alphatian armies reached the Thyatian mainland, Gabrionus sent orders for the Order to mobilise, and it refused. Gabrionus was dependent on the Order attacking the Alphatian airships, and without this defence, the airships landed around Thyatis City unimpeded, and disgorged thousands of troops. Once within Thyatis city, the Alphatians made their way to the Imperial Palace, and killed Gabrionus. Their victory was short-lived, however, for not long afterwards a former gladiator, by the name of Thincol Torion, led a rebellion which not only threw out the Alphatians, but saw Thincol become the next Emperor.
After the Alphatians were beaten back, the new Emperor set his house in order by reclaiming the lost colonies on the Isle of Dawn, and by dealing with those who had not followed their oaths of allegiance to the Empire. Turncoat battalions of Hattian Legionnaires were sent to Borydos, Alphatian guerrillas left behind by the retreating Alphatians were captured, and the Order of the White Drake was dealt with.
Thincol had Yuri arrested, and brought to him. He accused him of high treason - the Order knowingly collaborated with the Alphatians for the express purpose of undermining the Thyatian Empire, and of pursuing its own interests. Thincol ordered all Order members who willingly betrayed Thyatis to be executed, and all properties of the Order to be confiscated. The Aerodrome was abandoned, and it remained a derelict building until the Karameikan government restored it as Rugalov Keep. The Order itself was to be cast from the history books, the names of its members removed from public view - it was to be as though the Order of the White Drake never existed. Thincol, being a deft politician, but not an evil man, knew that the Order had violated its oath, but at the same time some members still kept to their duties. In the end, he disbanded the Order, and had only those who were guilty of conspiring against the Empire executed, knowing that he had to satisfy public demand for justice.
Some members of the Order did not betray Thyatis, and in fact these were the ones who alerted Thincol as to what had actually happened. These people were transferred to the Retebius Air Fleet and the Knights of the Air, though some among their number were conspirators who had hidden their deeds from their fellow Order members, and these men and women harboured anti-Thyatian sentiments for many years to come. Those former Order members who were found innocent were allowed to keep their mounts, as well, since they had formed bonds with them. Some former Order members who did not join the Retebius Air Fleet or the Knights of the Air returned to Traladara, there to take up solitary lives as guardians of the land. People such as Ellis did this, and they gained reputations of nobility of honour.
Most of the former Order members have died since that time, though there probably are a handful of them still around - either as very old men and women, or those gifted with potions of longevity. Who knows what they might be up to today?