Order of the Eternal Seal
|Predecessor||Order of the Maesters|
The Order of the Eternal Seal is an organization that was born from inside the Order of the Maesters, that serves the Elyrian crown and its regional lords. Founded by a mysterious woman known as Vaiyn, the Order was formed of a small sect of Maesters tasked with hiding the secrets of the mystical away for generations, with 'the Eternal Seal' being in reference to their original task. The Order of the Eternal Seal has two primary focuses, to seek and obtain all knowledge present within the realm, and to share this knowledge with the people of Alathra, as they believe ignorance is the greatest sin.
History and Ideology
Within the Maesters of old, the Order of the Eternal Seal had existed for millennia, slowly gaining influence within their ranks. Tasked with guarding the trove of knowledge that was studies of the arcane, members of the Order were typically isolated from the rest of the maesters, possessing knowledge the others were forbidden to learn by the doctrine known as the ‘Eternal Seal,’ containing all teachings of the mystical to within their ranks. Eventually, with the ascendance of the previous Grand Maester Yusan of Kaer Nevura to the position of King of Aerdale, a prominent member of the Order known as ‘Vaiyn’ rose to the position, a role she would eventually use to reform the Maesters as a whole, marking the birth of the True Order of the Eternal Seal.
Where the Order of the Maesters and the Order of the Eternal Seal differ is primarily the way in which the knowledge they seek is interacted with in relation to the outside world, as well as what is permitted to be studied within their ranks. While the Maesters sought to gain knowledge and push forward their disciplines, they did so with a careful watch on who this information was exposed to. Regardless of their mastery of a subject, Maesters were not permitted to share information that was not directly relevant to a situation that may arise, even to the lord they served or to other members of the High Council on which the Grand Maester held a place. Among the Order of the Eternal Seal, this limitation of the sharing of information is no more, with all amongst the Order being encouraged to spread knowledge to the fullest extent, as the Order of the Eternal Seal believes the sharing of information to be essential to the betterment of all peoples. Unlike the Maesters, the Order does not bar the teachings of any recognized discipline or area of study, sharing its original members' learnings about the mystical and occult with the rest of the order. Though the Maesters are respected within the Order, as they directly preceded its formation, their mindset regarding the spreading of knowledge and the limitation of certain subjects is seen by members of the Order of the Eternal Seal as primitive and fearful, serving to hold the Maesters in a position of power above others and seal knowledge away from the world. The Order of the Eternal Seal’s primary belief is that knowledge should be sought for by all peoples and has a right to be shared, and that true mastery over all subjects is the path to enlightenment and truth. Members of the Order believe that to hide knowledge away is to actively harm those it is not shared with.
As those who have proven themselves within their subject(s) of choice, Tien of the Order may be assigned to specific castles or noble families throughout the Elyrian realm to serve and advise the Lords or Ladies in anything they may require. Certain nobles may have multiple Tien assigned to them depending on the subjects which they have mastered, with Masters of Ravenry (a subdiscipline of zoology) and Masters of Healing and Medicine in particular being almost a necessity. Those Tien who have mastered the aforementioned disciplines are far more likely to be assigned to a noble family or a castle by the Conclave, being favored as they will hold responsibilities wherever they are assigned that no other could carry out. Upon being placed in the service of a noble family or castle, Masters of Ravenry will be tasked with sending long distance communications using trained messenger ravens, as well as training and caring for these ravens in the castle’s rookery. Those who are Masters of Healing and Medicine will be tasked with serving as the resident medical expert of the castle, responsible for all duties that will maintain or improve the health of those in their care. Tien who do not possess mastery in these subjects, or possess other masteries in addition to them serve to counsel the Lord or Lady they have been assigned to. Whilst their allegiance remains with the Order, rather than their specific noble family or castle, Tien are expected to aid those whom they would advise to the best of their abilities, and make every effort to keep them informed and knowledgeable in their decision making. If a Tien with mastery of a subject relevant to a certain situation is absent, the Lord or Lady in question is not only permitted, but encouraged to direct their Master of Ravenry to send word to the Conclave, where those who have mastered the aforementioned subject will provide this information in their stead.
Upon joining the Order of the Eternal Seal, a’Turas are expected to distance themselves from their political and familial allegiances. Though they may retain their connections with their family and those outside the Order, if this is seen by the Conclave to impair their judgment or interfere with their duties in any way, any member of the Order may be cast out immediately, as this would be a breach of the Eternal Vow. It is for this reason many continue the practice set in place by the Maesters of dropping their family name, as it is often seen as a persistent reminder of their former loyalties. When a Tien is assigned to a castle, they take residence at said castle and serve its people without question. Regardless of who holds the castle in which they reside, Tien are bound by their vows to serve the Lord or Lady in question. Tien are expected to hold loyalty only to the Order and their castle, rather than any specific Lord or Lady, and thus upon the changing of possession of the castle the Tien resides in, they are expected to serve their new Lord to the best of their abilities. While it is not a breach of their vows to advise the current Lord or Lady in military matters, if the castle officially changes hands the Tien must advise their new Lord in the same manner as they did the previous.
Though the Order of the Eternal Seal possesses a seat on the Elyrian Court and serves the Elyrian people, its loyalty is considered to be to the realm, rather than to the crown. Though Tien are assigned to the castles of Elyria, all members of the Order, including Irraih and a’Turas are encouraged to spread their wealth of knowledge throughout the realm, so that it may see a prosperous future to come. Members of the Order are also expected to continue their studies perpetually, and seek to discover all there is to know in the realm. It is in this interest that many members of the Order spend vast amounts of time scattered across the world, as the pursuit of knowledge extends far past the borders of the lands they serve.
'Higher Light,' 'The Enlightened,' 'He who knows all' - The highest rank and leader of the Order of the Eternal Seal is known as the Ard-Solas, a name shared by a powerful ancient rune studied by the original members of the order. Members of the Order of the Eternal Seal are instructed to refer to the Ard-Solas by the title of Grand Master followed by their given name, as the title of Ard-Solas refers to the wealth of knowledge these individuals possess. On official documents, the Ard-Solas is to be referred to as such, with the title of Grand Master preceding it in reference to the title holder’s rank. Within the Order, those who ascend to the rank of Ard-Solas are only those with a mastery over knowledge in all areas of study, thought to be the living representative of all information that exists within the realm. These individuals are typically adorned in solid black or white robes, with no less than thirteen golden chain links hung around their neck representing their mastery of each of the thirteen areas of study. Though all within the Order know this to be untrue, the respect the Ard-Solas commands within the Order of the Eternal Seal remains absolute.
While the Ard-Solas commands the utmost respect amongst the Order and sit at the head of its governing body, they hold no more power than the other members of the Conclave. The Ard-Solas serves as the representative of the Conclave and the Order of the Eternal Seal as a whole in the King’s Court and is an elected position that persists until death or deposition via unanimous vote. If no unanimous vote can be reached upon the end of the previous Ard-Solas’ term, the next Ard-Solas has not been found, and the Conclave as a whole will be consulted on matters that concern the Order until a unanimous nomination can be determined. Regardless of this, a nominee by majority vote will be seated among the King’s Court, however they must consult the rest of the Conclave before informing the King on matters they hold no mastery over. Upon removal from the position, regardless of circumstance, the deposed Ard-Solas is stripped of their rank and titles within the Order of the Eternal Seal, and is barred from the Order for the remainder of their lifetime. If an Ard-Solas steps down for any reason of their own volition, they are granted the title of ‘Fior-Solas’ and retain this title until their death or removal from the Order. An equivalent title of ‘Ro’Solas’ was given to the former Grand Maester Yusan upon the Order’s recognition by the Court of Elyria.
Tien / "Masters"
'He whose desire for knowledge burns' - Within the Order of the Eternal Seal, the rank of Tien is granted upon mastery of a single discipline, represented by a single golden chain link, which is worn around their neck on a cord with a designated color for their mastered area of study. Those that choose to continue their studies will continue to add chain links of various metals corresponding to their current understanding of a discipline to their initial one, though the cord will remain the same color representing their initial field of study. Typically, upon achieving enough chain links to form a full loop that can be worn in place of the cord, it will then be tied around their waist atop their robes. Those that have achieved the rank of Tien are considered ‘Masters’ of their discipline, being consulted on matters regarding their area of study and carrying out the responsibility of passing their knowledge on to those that will follow them.
The Conclave of the Order of the Eternal Seal consists of thirteen seats, with one representing a master of each area of study. While Tien can earn further chain links beyond their original one, the color of the cord worn around their waist indicates their primary subject and thus determines which Conclave seat they may be chosen to fill. When a seat is left vacant after the death or deposition of the current seat holder, the other twelve members must reach a majority vote from those masters of which fall under the previous one’s area of study. If the votes for a candidate reach an impasse (6-6), the Ard-Solas’ vote will be counted as two, and the Tien who has the majority will be granted a seat on the Conclave. Tien are to be referred to by other members of the order as ‘Masters,’ being referred to as Master Tien on official documents. Tien may be called upon to serve as advisors to the regional lords, using their area of mastery to aid them in the decision making process or provide knowledge of a certain area the lord or lady lacks experience in.
Irraih‘Knowledge seeker,’ ‘To seek knowledge is to seek truth’ - Those within the order that have risen above their basic studies and have chosen a discipline are referred to as Irraih, meaning ‘seeker of knowledge’ in the old tongue. These individuals make up the vast majority of the Order of the Eternal Seal, and upon deciding on a field of study, Irraih will receive a cord to be worn around their shoulders or neck in a color representative of the discipline of their choice. Unlike Tien, Irraih are bound to one field of study until they achieve mastery over their subject, and while they are permitted to change their field at any point in their studies, any previously attained “mastery” will not carry over upon their ascendance to the rank of Tien, and they must once again pass tests of achievement and mastery to be acknowledged as such. Upon mastery of a subdiscipline within their field of study, or the passing of certain trials of achievement and mastery, Irraih will be granted their first golden ring. Upon consecutive mastery of multiple subdisciplines, more golden rings may be earned until the title of Tien is achieved, with these golden rings being reforged into the first of their golden mastery chain links. Irraih are to be referred to by their given name, which may or may not be preceded with the title of Acolyte, or Learner. Often the clothing of the Irraih will reflect the field in which they have chosen to study, appearing far more practical than the robes of those considered to be masters within the Order, as the Irraih will often be required to work in the field during their studies. Irraih will typically reside in the care of a Tien of their discipline who will serve to guide them in their studies and present tests of achievement upon milestones in their progress. Irraih will study in a variety of locations throughout the realm, such as the Library or the Academy, depending on their path of study.
‘Knowledge awaits,' ‘He whose journey has yet to come,’ ‘A new path’ - New recruits within the Order of the Eternal Seal are granted the rank of a’Turas upon their admission. These individuals must go through a rigorous course of study that includes the basics needed to continue their learning at higher levels, such as reading and writing as well as the very basics of each and every discipline. a’Turas are expected to utilize this basic information to make an informed decision regarding the subject they will study upon ascendance to the rank of Irraih and the choosing of a discipline. Each a'Turas will be assigned to a Tien, with some Tien taking on multiple students at once. It is under these Tien that they will undergo their studies until they are granted the rank of Irraih. Members of Order at the rank of a’Turas will typically be seen wearing more casual attire than the rest of the Order, with no robes, chains, rings, or cords present to indicate their achievement. They are to be referred to by their given name, and will officially be referred to by their given name ‘of the Order of the Eternal Seal.’
Sa-Uraa / “Honorary Master”
‘One granted the honor of mastery’ - The Sa-Uraa are a small group of individuals outside of the Order of the Eternal Seal that command respect within its ranks at the same level as the Tien. These individuals have displayed mastery over a discipline in their own right, and the rank of Sa-Uraa may be granted to them upon significant achievement within their field. This title is granted in addition to any former titles said Sa-Uraa may possess, permitting the title holder to act in the place of a true Tien in matters that relate to their specific area of mastery.
A notable individual granted this honor is Lord Commander Sherman of Elyria, who was honored as a master of Alchemy, Warfare, and Diplomacy upon the recognition of the Order by the new Court of Elyria.
Indications of Mastery
Golden chain link indicates mastery of a discipline, with silver, bronze, and iron chains indicating various other levels of understanding of a subject. The first of these chains is forged from the rings that indicate mastery of a subdiscipline as an Irraih, with further chains being granted upon the passing of trials of mastery within a discipline.
Golden rings are awarded to Irraih who pass a test of achievement or mastery of a subdiscipline within their area of study. The number of rings vary from subject to subject, however the total weight of the rings able to be earned will always equal the same amount regardless of discipline. Upon ascendance to the rank of Tien and mastery of a discipline, these rings will be forged into the first of the Tien’s golden chain links.
Upon making the decision of which area of study to proceed in, Irraih will receive a cord of a specific color representative of this discipline. This cord will be worn over the shoulders of the Irraih who receive it, and upon ascendance to the rank of Tien, will be utilized to hang the golden chain link of mastery from one’s neck until they possess enough chain links to have no need for it. At this time, the cord will be worn around the Tien’s waist, indicating their primary field of study.
The current and previous Ard-Solas’ (Fior-Solas’) are referred to by the title of Grand Master followed by their official title within the Order and any official documents. This title commands great respect within the order, and its holder maintains a position at the head of the Conclave as well as a seat on the Elyrian Court as a direct advisor to the King.
All individuals of the Order of the Eternal Seal who have achieved the rank of Tien and mastery of a discipline are to be referred to by the title of Master within the Order itself. These masters are referred to as Master Tien followed by their given name on official documents. The Sa-Uraa are considered within the order to hold the same authority as a true Tien within their discipline, though on official documents they are referred to as Master Sa-Uraa instead.
Those of the Order who have chosen a discipline of study though have not achieved mastery may or may not be referred to as an Acolyte or Learner. Usage of their given name in-lieu of this title is acceptable however, and is typically done during non-official discussion. On official documents, the Irraih must be referred to by their given name preceded by the title of Acolyte or Learner.
‘Of the Order of the Eternal Seal’
All members of the Order of the Eternal Seal shall be referred to as such on official documents, following their given name and any other rank or title achieved within the Order. In the case that a member of the Order falls under the rank of a’Turas, which requires no other official title, ‘of the Order of the Eternal Seal’ will follow their given name on any official document. If multiple individuals are listed on the document, only the final member mentioned must notate this following their name and official titles. On official documents, members must be listed in descending rank order, with ‘of the Order of the Eternal Seal’ placed after the final name.