Most of you know this already, but I have a tendency, nay, need, to detail lots of background stuff when I am designing something for my games / world. What follows is a little info I have created for a group that may, or may not, appear in one of my campaigns...
ORDER OF THE SKULL ENSHRINED (Early third Age) An order of knights, dedicated to one of many aspects of the sundered Lord Solum’Tassadexes. It was founded in the year 44 N.C. by the former Knight of the Dawn Griffon, Sir Edrek Solum’Tar, after he unearthed the skull of – so he claims – a former Saint of the Sun Lord, which he stated imbued him with special knowledge. Guided by the secrets given him by this skull (a gold plated human skull, sans lower mandible, inscribed with a single angelic rune on its forehead), he founded a new order of knights, and worked towards a great crusade in the name of his God to retake the High Temple of Solum’Tassadexes upon the Hill of Reclucent Zeniths, with a view to usher in a new age of might for a church reunited under the teachings of Solum’s only true words.
In the year 49 N.C. the order had gained over 300 followers, and travelled to the holy city (by this time a ruin, ravaged by the constant battles over its sacred sites), ready to begin its crusade. Alas, in the spring of 50 N.C. the order was wiped out in a pitch battle against Sir Edrek’s former order, and knights of the Order of the Sun Blessed Sword. Sir Edrek himself lived on for another year, and was executed by Dawn Griffon knights early in the summer of 51 N.C.
As for the skull, it was claimed by the Dawn Griffon’s Arch-Prelate, who determined it to be an item of significant power, though he suspected the power was diabolic in nature. He carried it to the high altar, when his order managed to fight their way to the temple (they held it for 48 hours, before being forced to withdraw by a significant force of Sacred Zenith Templars), and conducted a ritual over it, which unleashed a bound angel and allegedly destroyed the skull. The nameless Arch-Prelate is said to have been struck deaf and blind by the outpouring of magic, and on the next morning, is reported to have thrown himself off a high tower; weeping loudly as he fell. The Dawn Griffon annals blame the death of this figure for their inability to hold the holy site beyond two days.
Interestingly enough, in 116 N.C., a wandering mage named Kyleth discovered a mottled skull in a river some 200 miles from Lumor (which was still being fought over at this point, though with less frequency, and was now being slowly rebuilt by those that occupied it), flecked with gold, and scribed with an alien rune. When he researched the skull, he found it a potent source of magical energy, and used it to bind a powerful daemon to a great suit of plate armour, creating the terrible Infernal Skin of Kyleth – a suit of power armour that would be used in the Aelwyn Wars by a desperate captain in the defence of his station in Mid-Fey, and which would meld with him, and resurrect the Daemon Odryxius. As for Sir Edrek’s skull, it was polished and set above the throne of the Dawn Griffon’s Commander, being lost when their main chapter house burned down in 59 N.C.
The Order of the Skull Enshrined’s standard depicted a stylized version of the skull, surrounded by a golden corona of fiery rays. The skull was kept in a sanctified box into battle, purity seals and prayer scrolls hanging around it, a mesh placed over it so it could be clearly seen by enemies, but was shielded from harm. According to some, when the order took to the field, the skulls’ eyes “would flash with a distant light, like the fires of our Lords holy Orb glinting from the blades of his chosen”, and one battle poet (or unknown allegiance) even claims that “lightning, the colour of the midday sun did crackle and flicker from the reliquary, laying all who stood against the knights smoten”.
Yeah, you heard me; Smoten.