The Peregrine Knights When you follow every rule all you receive is applause History: Unfortunately, the majority of the Peregrine’s history was contained entirely within oral traditions, and was lost along with its members. From surviving texts, we can tell they were a pan-galactic militant force with immense sympathy for the poor and downtrodden. The Galaxy is a giant thing, and distress calls are like messages in a bottle cast into a Heartless Sea, sent with hope, but expecting no one to respond in time. But to the Peregrine Knights, the Heartless Sea has no claim on the honest and dutiful. For centuries they would appear in troop transports and light ships of the line in response to distress beacons, their mission simple: answer the call for help. Spoiler They operated primarily as a first response and triage organisation, engaging in ground and deep space combat against pirates, corrupt authorities, and mercenary groups. They rarely engaged in protracted campaigns, instead they would arm and train local militias, preparing them to win their wars on their own before withdrawing from the area. They weren’t a solely war-like people however, and would often run schools, hospitals, and free shelters on ecumenopoleis and backwater colonies. We know that the Jedi had a checkered history with them, while they held similar interests: a free galaxy for all, lasting peace, and harmony, the Jedi were a peacekeeping organisation at heart. By contrast, several revolts, riots, and coups against monarchs and dictators have been blamed on or claimed by the Peregrines; who say that it’s the duty of a moral being not to protect the status quo, but to challenge and ultimately destroy it in favour of something new. They were recognised as an autonomous nomadic state by most governments prior to the hundred year darkness, living on their carrier ships and on rare planet-side communes. They had a flat hierarchy and were collectivists, and held the common labourer in extremely high regard. They were very fond of alcohol and singing, and had a practice of debating delivered in poetic verse, during which creative insults were highly encouraged. Peregrine Knights were also popular folk heroes, with a number of stories and songs making reference to their defiance. Of course, how accurate any of these fables are can be doubted. What’s concrete, however, is that along with the Jedi Order the Peregrine Knights were brutally purged some five hundred years ago. Given their nomadic nature, and how vastly they were spread, several Knights managed to flee. While no figures have emerged sporting either the Peregrine’s garb, modus operandi, or philosophies, many suspect that there’s still a few knights out there, waiting to slip out from the obscurity of history once more. Religion and Beliefs: Cosmology and Creation Myths: Spoiler The mythology of the Peregrine Knights is a confusing, paradoxical read; preaching self obsession and benevolence, violence without hesitation and tempered reasoning. The texts largely consist of accounts of war, debate, and dialectics between a pantheon of deities, as well as the wisdom and semi-historical accounts of several previous knights. In the myths of creation began with an Omnipotent deity named “Ys’Param,” who had always existed, and was the sum of all that could ever exist. Their existence was a perfect circle, an infinite being with no equal, and utterly wretched. Existence had no perception nor meaning, an infinite number of stories with no one to tell them to. Ys’Param despaired, and ultimately rejected singularity, tearing them self in twain; into the entities: “Y’Param, Lord of All That Can Be,” who embodied the infinite potential of ambition; and “S’Param, Lord of All That Can Not,” the embodiment of stillness and shapes. The Duality begat the seven thousand deities of the Peregrine’s Pantheon, before sublimating reality. The Pantheon forged an age of wonders, debating the nature of reality amongst themselves, and questioned the still living Ys’Param, who’s omnipotence lead to many such paradoxes. Using the fiery essence of their parents the Pantheon crafted the stars and planets from S’Param, and set the universe as it exists in motion with the fiery heart of Y’Param. When much like their parents, the Pantheon grew lonely in the face of eternity, they crafted beings to share in their work. However Y’Asha an ill tempered and meddlesome deity, interfered in their creation, and the creations were fatally flawed. When the first mortal crawled from the ashes of their kiln, she was so small, defenceless, and frail that the deities that found her took pity on her. They were astounded that a being so weak could exist at all, and concerned for her safety, granted her many gifts and secret ways. They taught her of language and how best to seek hidden things, of fire and shelter, and gave her the name Anidenya. It was not long until Y’asha, perhaps as an apology, resolved to teach Anidenya how to defend herself. “Make a fist,” she said, demonstrating the proper method, “and marry it to your Foe’s jaw.” “And what if my Foe wants to harm me?” Asked Anidenya. “Harm him first, or have a very hard head.” As Anidenya aged, the Pantheon inspected her closely, and to their shock discovered she carried the gift of Death. This discovery lead to a great understanding in the Pantheon, and so they sat facing away from one another and committed Holy Self Annihilation The precise meaning of these stories is fiercely debated Force Sensitivity: Spoiler According to the Peregrine Knights, the force exists as a tiny sliver of the essence of Ys’Param present in all natural phenomenon, a concept they dubbed “Atum.” The fiery animus present in us can burn hot (Sashin) or cold (Mushin). Sashin is linked to passion, joy, love, adaptation, and fertility, the source of all greatness and all things that can be. By contrast, Mushin is associated with reason, temperance, instinct, protection, and valour, the source of all wisdom, of knowing secret things. Curiously, the Peregrine’s concept of gender is based on the composition of one’s Atum, an idea that obviously found little success in the outside world. Force Sensitives were simply regarded as having an abundance of Atum, a fact considered a blessing and a curse. While a naturally strong Atum made for an exceptionally gifted Knight; they knew that the fires of Sashin would always need to be kept in check, a fact that lead many Force Sensitive Peregrine’s to corruption, ruin, and death. A number of Knights were noted for becoming Force Sensitive, despite having had no inherent connection to the Force itself. Philosophy: Spoiler Because they claim all of existence sprang from the suicide of an immortal being, it’s exact nature and purpose is fundamentally paradoxical and not especially worth concerning yourself with. Instead, one’s focus should be entirely in the present, a practice that can sever oneself from their past, and grant freedom beyond what the Force alone ever could. Through the cultivation of power and freeing oneself from their biases and past experience, they could become a Circle Cleaver: a person who struggles against their fate for better or worse. They have a decidedly bleak outlook on the afterlife compared to contemporary traditions. Death is a tiny candle flickering out in a dark cave, and when the candle is put out, the cave dies with it. When you kill a man, you destroy an entire universe: You kill your enemy, a comrade, a child, a parent, a student, a mentor, and all of their former selves. The Circle Cleaver: Spoiler The Peregrine Knights believe in fate as the logical conclusion of determinism; while there are infinite potentials that exist, the chain of cause and effect that started with creation means any choices we could make were decided at the very first moment of existence. Simply put, we have no power to do anything other than what we actually do. By extension, all living things all equally doomed to repeat their mistakes forever, until creation burns dim and the last men sit huddled around the campfires of dying stars. It is only through a Circle Cleaver, one who can defy fate and break the infinite wheel of history, be it for better or worse, that true agency may return to the world. Temples, Shrines, and the Speaking Houses: Spoiler The Peregrine’s placed heavy religious significance in roads. On worlds Knights visited, it was common to find numerous shrines and temples, constructed out of whatever materials were on hand, to serve as places of respite for weary travellers. A shrine was typically a simple lean-to designed for up to four people to take shelter inside, with a small cairn adorned with the symbols of various faiths to offer prayer at. A temple was a more elaborate affair, usually a dedicated work taken out by a band of Knights and Squires that could take months to finish. They were the size of a cottage, with two rooms separated by sliding doors, with only one entrance. The first room would be located by the entrance, and would hold a large fire pit that was kept well stocked by passing Knights. By passing through the sliding doors, one would reach room covered in shelves and tiered pedestals, were relics and keepsakes would be enshrined. The Speaking House was a sacred thing indeed, and the only permanent settlements the Knights would build. A Speaking House was typically a single room open air building placed as to face scenes of natural beauty, with a small hamlet growing around it. Within the house, cushions would be arranged around large hookah pipes scattered throughout the floor, positioned so that regardless of the angle one would approach the house from, it wouldn’t take long to sit down. Peregrine’s and guests would smoke and drink from dawn till dusk, playing music, boasting of past exploits, discussing lessons, and getting quite drunk. Fights were also relatively common, both as demonstrations of prowess, and as a way to experience and learn from fighters a Knight might otherwise never encounter. The Speaking Houses were open to all, and many of the surviving accounts of the Peregrines are the half remembered drunken exploits of curious researchers. Culture and Organisation: Nomadic: At their peak, there were approximately 130,000 Peregrine Knights, and while an Order of knights might occasionally stay in an area for several years, the majority of active Knights were on a constant patrol of the Galaxy, from Wild Space to Maw. Family: Peregrine Knights were usually born into the order, although recruits from rescued civilians were common. They famously rejected the idea of filial relationships, considering them to be the first step to continuing along the circle without questioning it. Instead, children were raised communally, with dozens of people acting as mothers, fathers, siblings, uncles, aunties, and cousins. While the biological parents might reveal themselves once the child reached maturity, it’s not uncommon for a Peregrine Knight to never know who their biological parents were, and most didn’t care too much about it. Induction: The Peregrine Knights were an open order, allowing anyone who had the resolve to seek them out to join. Training would begin a few days after their sixth birthday, or as soon as the new recruit was recognised by the rest of the commune. It consisted consisted of physical conditioning, an introduction to the philosophy of the Knights, and basic swordplay. A Knight in training was commonly referred to as a Page, though affectionate nicknames such as “Fledgling” and “Chick” were also used. Given the perils and martial nature of being a Knight, there was no real expectations for a Page to become a fully fledged Knight. If a Page felt it was his place to tend to the Speaking Houses and nothing more, there was little need to force them into anything else. Squire: Typically after a period of ten years, a Page would become eligible to become a Squire. A Companionship of Knights, usually between two and four members strong, would offer to take the Page on as a Squire. Assuming the Page accepted their offer, a short ritual would be conducted, and the newly dubbed Squire would be considered a brother to the group. The precise nature of the mentorship would vary wildly from group to group, although it was rarely a leisurely experience, usually consisting of strict and brutal physical conditioning and swordplay. Every year on the anniversary of joining the band of Knights, the Squire would be subjected to a form of ritual combat known as “Pankrash,” in which one of the Knights would attack them with a wooden staff with the intent to cause major bodily harm. The Squire’s job wasn’t to win, but to survive and endure to the best of their abilities until they were forced to submit. If during a round of Pankrash a Squire managed to wound their attacker, the fight was ended immediately, and the Squire would be Knighted on the spot. Knight: After being Knighted, a Peregrine was free to pursue their own interests. They would typically stay with the band of knights who first trained them however, working more closely alongside them and furthering their education. There very few common threads between any two Knights and their path in life: they might join a Band of Knights patrolling Hyperspace Lanes in a formation of gunboats, or wander from frontier to lawless frontier dispensing justice, dedicate themselves entirely to weaponsmithing, or even become a hermit swordsman. Companionship, Bands, Orders: While the Peregrine’s lacked most forms of organisation let alone standardisation, their order was split into three distinct groups distinguished by size. A Companionship was defined as “As many Peregrines as you can fit on a single ship,” including Knights, Squires, and Pages. A Band referred to a group of Companionships who worked closely with one another. An Order of Knights was a rare occurrence, when multiple Bands and Companionships would combine their efforts in pursuit of a single task, such as the liberation of a planet, the destruction of a criminal syndicate, or the rebuilding of a ravaged nation. Retirement: To the Peregrine’s there was no glory in martyrdom, and when a Knight grew old and wounds accumulated, they would retire to reside on one of their transports, or in the villages surrounding their Speaking Houses. These Knights would often turn their free time to refining their skills, before passing them on to new Fledglings and Squires. Martial Arts and Kindling Atum: For all their work in civilian aid and political activism, the Peregrine Knights are first and foremost, a martial tradition; while an individual Knight might have dedicated their life to medicine, or even have taken a vow of non-aggression, they were all formidable fighters. The martial arts of the Knights were highly eclectic, with there existing schools dedicated to hand to hand combat, long and short swords, polearms, blasters, physical projectiles, and a variety of auxiliary weapons. Force Sensitive Knights would use their body as the primary focus of their abilities, using their bodies and weapons as conduits for the Force. The Knights were notable in their ability to “Kindle Atum,” a process that would allow a being with no inherent connection to the Force to develop a Force Sensitivity. The process consisted of rigorous training, strict dieting, and developing fine bodily control and discipline through meditation and rituals. Kindling Atum was practised by Knights and Squires alike, and while the degrees of success varied wildly, the vast majority would experience enhanced strength and reflexes, and the eventual ability to imbue their weapons with the Force.