Wrath of the Righteous
Factions of Kenabres
The Mendevian Crusades have long drawn volunteers from righteous orders across Golarion. Not all those orders are large, well-established organizations, though. Smaller orders, some consisting of no more than a few dozen knights, arrive in Mendev by the droves. Some of these “orders” are no more than a few friends banded together under a name made up on the spot. However, there are a few well-known orders in Kenabres.
The Everbright Crusaders allow only the most virtuous warriors, who live lives of temperance and restraint, into their ranks. Members scrupulously avoid drinking, gambling, and lying, and take any promises they make seriously. In addition to attending religious services once a week, members spend at least an hour a day in prayer. Among the crusader camps, the Everbright Crusaders garner respect for their conviction and battle prowess, but their rigidity and superior attitudes tend to alienate others. Commander Ciar Cobelen, paladin of Iomedae, maintains a humble, good-natured attitude that appeals to others, and is widely regarded among the camps as the most approachable of the Everbright Crusaders.
The Order of the Flaming Lance believes in doing what needs to be done to triumph. They stay within the bounds of law and righteousness – but sometimes only by the narrowest margin. None doubt the fierce conviction of the order’s crusaders, but some whisper that the order cares more about vanquishing evil than maintaining their own purity. The half-elven crusader Miammir is known as “The Scholar” for the time she spends at Blackwing researching all she can on demon-fighting tactics.
The Order of the Sunrise Sword is well established in Kenabres. They were once known for the great ballads and odes their members composed about the crusades, but after an incident in which several of their number were possessed by demons, they have altered their focus to exorcism. Commander Ashus Striegher, cleric and paladin of Iomedae, is a somber and soft-spoken Taldan, who specializes in recognizing and ending demonic possession.
The Eagle Watch is a group of righteous crusaders who realized that though most of their enemies live in the Worldwound across the river, a great many walk the streets of Kenabres and make their camps north of the city walls. The group was founded by an Eagle Knight who felt that the greater threat to freedom wasn’t Andoran’s clashes with Cheliax, but rather the Abyssal rift spitting demons into the world. Dismayed by the behavior of their brothers and sisters, the Eagle Watch seek to rid the crusaders of corruption and improper vices. Many other crusader groups see the Eagle Watch as a nuisance, and even Hulrun works to keep them marginalized.
The Librarium of the Broken Black Wing serves as the Riftwardens’ base of operations. The secretive order renovated the manor house to contain several small libraries suitable for arcane and divine research, a modest laboratory for alchemy, and a grand meeting hall. Rune-engraved flagstones encircle the house each rune outlined in flickering, blue-green flame. From their manor, the Riftwardens research the Worldwound’s effect on the surrounding land. The organization has sent its own agents into the Worldwound to gather firsthand research, but also pays crusaders to collect information for them.
Though the identity of the Riftwarden in Kenabres remains unknown, the spokesperson for the organization is a popular figure in town. Beltran Ravenken is a friendly, gregarious man who remembers names and faces after a single meeting and always knows the latest bit of gossip. Beltran specializes in answering questions without giving any useful information away, and assuaging concerns about the Riftwardens while helping conceal the organization’s secretive activities. The Riftwardens have an understandable interest in sealing the Worldwound, but not out of any altruistic desire to save the world. Their more inscrutable beliefs on the importance of sealing planar rifts guide them, and if the chance to seal the Worldwound rose, the Riftwardens would take it no matter the cost in lives.
Prelate Hulrun might be the most notorious witch hunter in Kenabres, but he’s hardly the first. In 4622, during the First Crusade, holy warriors streamed into Mendev, where they encountered Sarkorians practicing their unique druidic faith. The crusaders, goaded by their righteous fervor, mistook the wooden fetishes and rustic rituals for evidence of demonic influence. In that first year, more than 40 natives of the region died at the hands of ardent crusaders.
As the years passed, formalized groups of witch hunters emerged from the disorganized chaos of the First Crusade. These witch hunters were often self-styled, their tactics little more than brutal trial and error. The least bit of “evidence” could mark a target for investigation – a club foot, a thick accent, or even a “suspicious” absence of abnormalities. The witch hunter groups gained reputations for being cruel and arbitrary, although these weren’t always deserved. Demons ranged freely over the Worldwound and spilled into Mendev. Demonic possession did happen, though not nearly as often as the witch hunters charged. Genuine witch hunters used divination magic and cautious investigation to draw out and destroy fiends, but they were rare compared to the inflamed inquisitors who burned innocent Mendevians at the stake.
With the advent of the Fourth Crusade, the Order of Heralds took strong measures to end the bloody witch hunts of Mendev. The frequency of hunts has dropped substantially, but Prelate Hulrun remains an active and enthusiastic hunter. He maintains a troop of trained witch hunters he dispatches throughout the city to investigate rumors of corruption and possession. The power of the witch hunters isn’t absolute, but the sight of their Iomedaen vestment edged with orange flames makes even the most pure-hearted citizen uneasy. Hulrun’s witch hunters are led by the stone-faced Liotr Hawkblade, an Ulfen warrior who has served under Hulrun for the last 15 years.
Rumors abound of several cults embedded amidst the citizenry of Kenabres, with members belonging to the nobility, mercenary groups and some even hidden in the midst of their crusader compatriots.