merricb writes "The history of the Scarlet Brotherhood is one that is shrouded in dark mystery. Here is the tale according to one of the Flanaess' greatest bards: the Dreamer-Minstrel.
A History of the Scarlet Brotherhood
By: Merricb (email@example.com)
(Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.)
Greetings travellers, and rest a while! You have come to me for lore, and lore you shall have, though I cannot boast for its accuracy. However, sometimes my tales have a way of being more true than the truth itself...
It was in the early days of the Suel Empire that the Scarlet Order first came to prominence. An order of martial devotion, following the god Bralm - the god of Insects and Industriousness, if you weren't aware - the priests of Bralm had long been well regarded for their exemplification of the primary virtues of the Suel race.
The Scarlet Order was a sub-order amongst the main followers of Bralm, devoted to enforcing the will of Bralm and the rulers of Suel. When the rulers of Suel first crowned themselves as Emperors, the Scarlet Order was made protector of the virtues and principles of the Suloise race.
As time went by, the Scarlet Order became more and more hidebound in their following of this commission, coming to see all that was not Suel as evil and corrupt, and the Suel Empire as the only true paragon of virtue.
How this meshed with their adoption of the unarmed fighting arts of the Baklunish - the way of fighting we know as 'open handed' - I am unaware. Perhaps the change-over period was extended, and some new arts were learnt; or perhaps they simply believed that they were improving the Baklunish methods beyond recognition. In any case, the Monk-Enforcers of the Scarlet Order became greatly feared within the Empire, and greatly rewarded by the Emperor.
The true history of the beginning of the Suloise-Baklunish war is not known to me, but it is certain that the Scarlet Order did nothing to stop the hostilities commencing, and indeed propagandised in favour of the war. As public unrest at the war grew, it was the Scarlet Order that was charged with keeping the peace.
The tactics of the Scarlet Order were corrupted as they were granted more and more power. Dissenters to the will of the Emperor were found murdered in their beds, or vanished never to be seen again. The rogues and assassins, that the Order of Bralm had once fought against, were now the very tools that the High Monks of the order used to carry out their will.
Then came the Twin Cataclysms. Most of the Scarlet Order was wiped out in the initial stages of the Rain of Colourless Fire; the others were killed by their own kinsmen in retribution for the fate they had helped bring down on the Empire. And so the Scarlet Order disappeared from the world, none mourning their passing, and it was thought that the order was totally destroyed.
So it was thought until recently, when from their hidden city in the south-eastern Flanaess, the Scarlet Brotherhood rose to take its place amongst the movers and shakers of Oerth. That the Brotherhood is the heir of the Order should be in no doubt, as their methods and structure are the clearest legacy of the teachings of the Scarlet Order.
Unfortunately, time has only further darkened the souls of the Masters of the Brotherhood. With the destruction of the Suloise Empire, it seems that those who would form the Brotherhood in later days turned to the Fiends of the Lower Planes, and eventually to He who is Bound in Ebon Slumber, binding themselves to working his release.
Members of the Brotherhood can be found throughout the lands of the Flanaess, seeking to rebuild the dominance of the Great Race of Suel, to find magics that will help them release their ultimate master, to foil the plans of good-thinking people, and especially to trouble the Baklunish people.
I have heard that certain old temples of the Baklunish pantheon, abandoned during the Invoked Devastation, are now controlled by the Scarlet Brotherhood, which keeps them from ever serving the Baklunish peoples again, but I cannot vouch for the veracity of those tales.
But that the Scarlet Brotherhood does exist, and that it seeks by darkest means to cause a new Great Empire of Suel to rise over the land cannot be doubted, and those who live in these lands should be constantly aware of their presence.
Note: Ancient History,