((The following is a relic from 2013, written by myself, Taldrus, Acele, Jaero, and Corran for a player-run RP order of paladins. Basically a tinier Silver Hand. We poured through books, Lore, what have you to put these together. Recently, it was brought up in roleplay (training squires!) and folks were curious, so here it is, posted in its original entirety. Enjoy this piece from the past. <3 For the original link, see here.))
I. The Founding of the Order
Paladins are a Holy order of warriors whose purpose is to defend and shepherd the war-torn populace of Lordaeron. The Archbishop Alonsus Faol perceived that the pious Clerics of Northshire, who suffered such terrible attrition in the First War, were ill-suited for the dangers of combat. Along with many of the surviving Clerics of Northshire, he sought those of only the greatest virtue among the knighthood of Lordaeron and tutored them in the ways of magic. Led by the crusading Uther Lightbringer, it now rests upon these Paladins — christened the Knights of the Silver Hand — to heal the wounds sustained in combat and to restore faith in the promise of freedom from Orcish Tyranny.
By now, the fate of the Clerics of Northshire is well known in Lordaeron. Against a savage enemy such as the Horde, it was slaughter. The survivors of that terrible war recognized the loss and sought to ready themselves for an inevitable second clash.
Archbishop Faol felt a new order was necessary to combat the Horde’s dark magics and began to search the land for acceptable candidates. To him, faith was not enough to battle evil, and so the Order of the Silver Hand was founded. Forged in the fire of strong faith, armored in steel, and armed with hammers honed from battle, the Archbishop founded an order of holy warriors to combat the Horde.
It was my greatest honor to be named the first of this order. The Archbishop’s faith was not misplaced. My brothers and I fought the savage Second War against the Horde and through the grace of the Light and the courage of thousands of souls, we brought victory. More importantly: we brought peace to the lands. As the last of our enemies fell, it was decided that the Knights of the Silver Hand would remain in service for as long as the people needed a ray of hope in the darkness. And so our watch continues…
— Sir Uther the Lightbringer
Although the paladins were once loved and revered throughout the lands of Lordaeron, they have since fallen on hard times. The entire Order of the Silver Hand was disbanded for refusing to kill innocent townsfolk who were believed to be contaminated by the dreaded Undead plague. Disenfranchised and driven from their former homes, the paladins still work selflessly to protect humanity from the gnawing jaws of evil. Empowered by the Light, these mighty warriors brandish both warhammer and Holy fire in battle against all who would trample the meek and innocent.
We write in this tome to add the fate of those who began the Order and to continue forward in our eternal service.
II. The Annals of the Light
The Founding Five
The founding five were anointed by Archbishop Alonsus Faol himself. They are Uther the Lightbringer, Gavinrad the Dire, General Turalyon, Highlord Tirion Fordring, and Saidan Dathrohan.
So many ill fates for the Five. The Lightbringer fell to his Prince, Gavinrad fell at Andorhal, General Turalyon’s whereabouts are unknown, Tirion Fordring is the Highlord of the Argent Crusade, and Saidan Dathrohan was killed then his corpse possessed by a demon. Only two remain, and one of them is unaccounted for. Such is the way of blood, honor, and service.
The Naming of a Paladin
A paladin either comes by their title or a title is chosen for them. There are many tales of paladins and how they received their titles.
The Tale of Edward the Odd
Edward the Odd came by his name by his eccentric appearance. Indeed, he was known far and wide for his unique fashion and from afar, few could recognize him as a paladin at all. But Edward bore a second name: Edward the Empowered. His battle skills were as honed as his dress was bizarre. Edward the Odd is a standing testimony to all paladins that appearances are deceiving and no Knight or soul should be judged as what they seem.
Copies of his… “unique” armor are still sold at the auction house today.
The Tale of Ballador the Bright
Ballador is a man of small stature and often stood silent outside battle. But in battle, his voice and presence command attention from his peers. On the field, he is a beacon, with others quick to follow his commands. His title became Ballador the Bright, and he is the testimony to all that the respect from one’s peers is not from height or ceremony, but the weight and confidence of your convictions.
It is said that Ballador the Bright fell while defending the urn of the King.
The Tale of the Ashbringer
Alexandros Mograine did not come across his title by appearance, past, or accident. His title was carved by the path of the legendary weapon he wielded. His sword was infused with the Light and smelted in the roiling fires of Ironforge. Each swing smote hundreds of undead, charring their bones to ash. The sword’s wielder came to bear the name of the blade itself: the Ashbringer. Mograine the Ashbringer is the testimony of a man whose ferocity in battle brought about the turning point in war.
His heroism and fame brought jealously upon him… he was betrayed and slain by his own weapon, taken from him by his son.
The Tale of Prince Arthas Menethil
Arthas Menethil was the prince of his people and brought his own title to the Hand. The Prince of Lordaeron cared deeply for his people’s lives and rarely let his title keep him from treating commoners as his equals. I was once told a tale of how he wept for a woman who lost her leg to a wolf attack. After he healed her wounds, he rode into the forest and slayed not just the wolf, but three. He returned with the three wolf pelts to serve as her blankets. He embodies his title not only by blood, but by the people he serves.
We did not see. We were blinded by love. Our Prince. He was the Prince of our people…
The Tale of Sir Thomas Thompson
Sir Thomas Thompson was a hero in life and a paladin of Lordaeron, but his title in death is far more famous than the deeds of his life. Driven mad by the betrayal of Prince Arthas and the Scourge, he joined the Scarlet Crusade and soon after lost his mind. He slayed his own family and comrades, then was beheaded. Still crazed in death, his title is the Headless Horseman. His life and death is testimony to all that for whatever noble deeds you sow in life, they are undone quickly and forgotten if you betray those you love.
I’ve heard children sing rhymes about him. They don’t know his real name.
A libram is a book of Holy spells gifted to every paladin of Knight rank. It contains several blank pages to be filled later by their own hand. A libram is carried into battle at the paladin’s side, and is as essential as a paladin’s platemail and weapon.
The Induction Ceremony begins.
The Inductee kneels at the altar in full armor, framed by two rows of people: the left row is white-robed Clerics from Northshire, the right row is armored Paladins of the Silver Hand.
The Inductor stands at the altar with an inscribed tome that reads the following: Esarus thar no’Darador — “By Blood and Honor We Serve.”
The Inductor begins the ceremony with the following verse:
In the Light, we gather to empower our brother. In its grace, he will be made anew. In its power, he shall educate the masses. In its strength, he shall combat the shadow. And, in its wisdom, he shall lead his brethren to the eternal rewards of paradise.
The Inductor then turns to the white-robed Clerics on the left and says the following:
Clerics of the Northshire, if you deem this man worthy, place your blessings upon him.
The Clerics lay a blessed stole around the Inductee’s neck, anoint their brow with sacred oil, and say the following verse:
By the grace of the Light, may your brethren be healed.
The Inductor then turns to the Paladins of the Silver Hand and says the following:
Knights of the Silver Hand, if you deem this man worthy, place your blessings upon him.
The Paladins lay a two-handed warhammer etched in holy runes at the Inductee’s feet, place silver ceremonial shoulder plates upon the Inductee’s shoulders, and say the following verse:
By the strength of the Light, may your enemies be undone.
The Inductor then steps forward to place their hand atop the Inductee’s head and says the following:
Arise and be recognized.
The Inductee stands and faces the Inductor.
The Inductor reads aloud from the tome:
Do you, [Name], vow to uphold the honor and codes of the Order of the Silver Hand?
The Inductee must reply:
The Inductor again reads aloud from the tome:
Do you vow to walk in the grace of the Light and spread its wisdom to your fellow brothers and sisters?
The Inductee must reply:
The Inductor again reads aloud from the tome:
Do you vow to vanquish evil wherever it be found, and protect the weak and innocent with your very life?
The Inductee must reply:
By blood and honor, I do.
The Inductor then closes the tome and speaks to the assembly:
Brothers and Sisters – you who have gathered here to bear witness – raise your hands and let the Light illuminate this man/woman.
The Clerics and Paladins bestow their blessings on to the Inductee. Once the blessings are complete, the Inductee then must bend down to pick up the warhammer laid at their feet..
The Inductor then declares:
Arise, [Name] – Paladin of the Grand Alliance. Welcome to the Order of the Silver Hand.”
The Inductee rises and turns to face the assembly, warhammer in hand.
The Induction Ceremony ends.
IV. The Members of the Hand
The Order of the Silver Hand is a brotherhood and there are currently two ranks: Knight-Aspirant — or one who aspires to be part of the Order — and Knight, a inducted member of the Order. Further ranks may be necessary dependent upon growth of the Order.
The Knight-Aspirant is the entry-level rank to all those who aspire to become Knights of the Silver Hand. It is here you will learn the tools and training that will help you face the trials all Knight-Aspirants must pass to become Knights. The tasks will be difficult and the reward, while substantial, will be a life of service to the people of the Alliance. It is during this time that those unfit will be culled from the ranks. Only the strongest and purest of heart will face the trials, and even then, not all will succeed.
The Knight is the true strength of the Silver Hand ranks. Each Knight has proven themselves by passing the trials required of them. It is here a paladin begins their true service to the people. Each Knight is blessed with the ability to heal the sick and wounded while being highly skilled in combat. It is this rank where a Knight Aspirant deemed worthy is recognized as a full member of the Silver Hand. While achieving the status of Knight is an important step, it is but the beginning of their service to the peoples of the Alliance.
V. The Three Virtues
The first virtue taught is Respect. Respect is the connection between the self, others, and universe. War and strife are constants — but mindlessly waging war and taking lives is to fail this virtue. Wars should be waged and lives taken only after Respect is held for the lives lost, those their death leaves behind, and the world created in war’s wake.
A paladin is humbled and burdened with Respect toward the lives of others, even those of their enemies.
The second virtue is Tenacity. Tenacity is the lifetime perseverance to affect the universe. While the world can change a single soul in one day, it takes far more to change the world. To embody Tenacity is to learn that the connection between the self, others, and the universe means that each affect the other, no matter the size. To affect the world is to be a teacher of few or a leader of many. The choice is left to the individual.
A paladin with weak resolve buckles under Tenacity and takes the easier path. Those who shoulder the virtue walk tall and with unwavering purpose.
The third and final virtue is Compassion. Compassion is the most powerful yet dangerous of the three virtues. The embodiment of Compassion knows when to lend a hand, when to not, and all that is in between. For followers who lend a hand too far, they bar others from living and growing by experience. For followers who lend too little, they do too little to stem the suffering in the world.
This is why Compassion is taught last — a wise paladin knows who is truly in need, and who can and must grow on their own.
VI. The Trials
The trials are guiding ideas, they are not cast in stone upon a tablet. A Knight-Aspirant will be tested by each trial and given a set of tasks. Tasks are determined by an assigned Knight. Each trial is administered by a different Knight.
Trials of the Three Virtues
The Three Virtues are the essential core of faith in the Holy Light. A Knight-Aspirant must complete the Trials of the Three Virtues as they begin their training. These trials are the foundation of the Order — they are so essential, that ordained Knights are known to endure these trials again and again, long after they are inducted into the order.
Trial of Respect
To complete the Trial of Respect, a Knight-Aspirant must be able to:
Recite the Virtue of Respect
Demonstrate the Virtue of Respect in battle:
- Toward an ally
- Toward an enemy
Demonstrate the Virtue of Respect outside of battle:
- Toward the sick or homeless, etc.
- Toward a rival
Trial of Tenacity
To complete the Trial of Tenacity, a Knight-Aspirant must be able to:
Recite the Virtue of Tenacity
Demonstrate the Virtue of Tenacity by taking on a challenging task and seeing it through, such as:
- Finding a way to provide food for the homeless for a predetermined amount of time
The challenge: making it self-sustaining long after the trial is over
- Delivering sermons and performing community service for a province plagued with poverty outside Stormwind for a predetermined amount of time
The challenge: confronting the difficulties of poverty and uplifting a population that is without hope
- Fighting the front lines against the Horde without the traditional leaves of absences
The challenge: fighting at the most dangerous point of battle without breaks, and finding the mental and emotional capacity to do so without endangering self and others
Trial of Compassion
To complete the Trial of Tenacity, a Knight-Aspirant must be able to:
Recite the Virtue of Compassion
Demonstrate the Virtue of Compassion toward the following:
- The homeless
- The faithless
- The corrupted
- An orphan
- A student
Trial of the Three Paths
Each paladin must choose a path: the fighter, the protector, or the healer. Once a paladin has chosen their path, they must endure trials at the behest of their teacher to complete their training.
Path of Protection
The Path of Protection uses Holy magic to shield and defend allies from attackers. This path is for the paladin who seeks to defend the lives of their comrades.
To complete the Path of Protection, a Knight-Aspirant must master the following skills:
- Physical: shield training, heavy armor training, endurance training, one-hander training
- Spells: Avenger’s Shield, Vengeance, Consecration, and other Protection spells
Path of Retribution
The Path of Retribution is for a righteous crusader who judges and punishes opponents with weapons and Holy magic. This path is for the paladin who seeks to be an single force of reckoning by the hammer or the sword.
To complete the Path of Retribution, a Knight-Aspirant must master the following skills:
- Physical: two-hander training, speed training, endurance training
- Spells: Divine Storm, Templar’s Verdict, Inquisition, other Retribution spells
Path of Holy
The Path of Holy invokes the power of Light to protect and to heal. This path is for the paladin who seeks to protect their comrades in battle and bind their wounds.
To complete the Path of Holy, a Knight-Aspirant must master the following skills:
- Physical: shield training, combat healing, endurance training, one-hander training
- Spells: Beacon of Light, Light of Dawn, Holy Shock, other Holy spells
Trial of the Body
Test the limits
- Push the body to the physical limit in exercise or combat
- Place the student in a situation where they are taxed to their limit
- Create a personal training regime/program that pushes self to limits
Display the results
- Show the progress to others by a display of combat in a duel or sparring match
- Allow the Knight-Aspirant to prove themselves in a real situation
Trial of the Spirit
A test of how well the Knight-Aspirant can manifest the Light
- A test of offensive, defensive, and healing uses for the Light
Connection with the Light
- Practice ways to connect more deeply with the Light: meditation, prayer, or spirit walks
A show of faith
- A final showing of the growth of a Knight-Aspirant’s connection to the Light in all its three aspects
Trial of the Crusader
This advanced trial is at the behest of the teacher and the pupil after all other trials are complete. Whatever the pupil must individually learn, the teacher will create a set of trials and test the pupil’s limits. Many aspirants will not complete this final quest to join the Order. Those who do, will earn the right to fully join the ranks of Silver Hand.