“The Knights of the Moon are rag-tag warriors of honorable and courageous conduct. They fight for those less gifted, less strong, less provisioned. The history of the order suggests they were once more proud and aloof from the common man, but that has drained away over the years. The knights I know are real men and women who are honest, kind, and brave, and not afraid to stoop so low as to aid a beggar or leper. The order is divided geographically into two parts: northern and southern. This has nothing to do with internal strife or separation, though, as it is purely historical. Perhaps the southern order no longer exists; in the north, we may never know.”
-Shulithis, 10th Chronicler of the Knights of the Moon.
The Northern Knights of the Moon
The northern Knights of the Moon kept the pure blood of the Moonjarls until the first tribal war killed all but three of them. Two more died later. The remaining brother decided to keep the order alive, so he recruited non-blood members. In this day and age they have a key role in society – they protect and aid the needy. In the Vieran stronghold this includes themselves, but they will not put themselves before those in more urgent situations.
Over the years, the Knights of the Moon have maintained a tenuous relationship with the Vierans. Their blood is that of northerners, as are their people and (in earlier times) their culture. The Knights of the Moon celebrate their own god and a humble selection of vows that most Vierans find either odd or distasteful. That said, the Moon-knights still hold a place of respect among common folk; it is the upper classes (including, to a certain degree, the nobility) who hold them in disdain.
In the history of Viera, the Knights of the Moon had a more prestigious place in society. Only the devout and elite were accepted into their ranks. When the army went north, everything changed. The start of the changes occurred when the Moon-knights were headed by a more practical leader, who preferred men and women of skill and honor above those with blood and money.
The Vieran military campaigned against the Moon-knights to assist the growth of their own numbers. So far from home, they wanted as many recruits as possible to join the legions; capable young men were a commodity in the society that consisted of only one chief city. This campaigning turned to press-ganging and political upheaval, because The Knights of the Moon offered fairer terms and more brotherly conduct.
The Vieran council favored the Vieran military, though, and spread slander about the Moon-knights. In the Vieran culture of proud honor, few people wanted to join the allegedly shameful Moon-knights, no matter what their code actually claimed to be. This smear on the reputation of the Knights of the Moon narrowed their recruits to women (as the Vierans did not consider girls choice military recruits), the poor, and the homeless.
After a time, the Vierans relented and lifted the smokescreen, but the damage was already done. Few were now interested in joining the Knights of the Moon, and the existing Moon-knights were generally shunned for their close association with the poorest classes.
That is their current state. Even though the Knights of the Moon have some outstanding soldiers and guardians among their ranks, they stand low in the eye of society.
– Episodes of the Northern Knights-
The Southern Knights of the Moon
In Viera (now known as Rylacia; the empire split into three kingdoms – Brucia, Jarbia, and Carapacia – fifty years after the Verian army started their northward journey), the Knights of the Moon had a rather different life. They retained the respect of the Vieran (and eventually, Brucian) royalty up until fairly recently. They had a minor falling out with King Percival, but then they regained their respect by assisting King Imalion in aiding his people and liberating Kil’ead from the usurper, Atheros.
The southern Knights of the Moon lost their pure Moonjarl blood during the Sharaglin wars. Their order survived, but with severely quenched numbers. The popularity of knightly prowess and the feudal lifestyle persuaded a change in Moon-knight policy; the order began to accept warriors from other noble families as well.