Hey guys, I was asked to read and edit the history of Benwick on the forum by a few players, but I found it easier to just recount it in-character as Erik Silverarms since I've been playing him since early 2006. History predating Erik which was passed onto Erik from other older characters - I can attest first hand as witnessed as Aristotlus since September 2003. Treat the following like an IC story you heard from Erik from a random encounter at a tavern. If my memory served me right, it should be pretty accurate. If you wish to metagame as if your character actually met Erik and heard him tell the following story, go right ahead. I won't hold it against you.
Well met, traveler! Verily thou art curious of our order? If 'twas not so, thou wouldst not have bothered this old man to endulge himself in tales of old... Very well. Grab a drink my friend, for I shalt tell thee the story of Benwick - Ye Olde Chivalric Order of Arelith.
In the beginning...
1. A paladin named Galahad is said to have built the citadel and moved paladins of Cordor to the eastern Arelith Forest frontier.
2. Earlier members of Galahad's court included at least one "good" drow - who was not a dead drow! Aye, I know 'tis an utter nonsense. Regardless, I've actually met this drow once... Methinks his name was Zoral or some such. Also in his court wert Duke Darius Tristam and Darius' wife, Lady Anna.
3. Benwick was a chaste order, but nearly every damn knight of the order broke his chastity and got married! This included the King himself, who took the elven druidess Xyndral as his wife. They had a daughter named Hope.
4. Back then, Benwick fought against evil forces of Dragon Clan in Stonehold. While the fight continued, there was a rift growing within Galahad's court between those who followed Queen Xyndral and those who followed Duke Darius Tristam. The rift culminated in Darius Tristam taking his followers to Kohlingen. Though Darius became prominently associated with Kohlingen, 'tis uncertain if the city was truly founded by the wayward duke as he recounted it to me personally.
5.'Tis told that a mysterious and cataclysmic formation of a magical rift to an alternate world similar to Arelith indiscriminately engulfed prominent villains and heroes out of existence and devastated Stonehold and Benwick alike. This created a vacuum in Stonehold for Daller Mange the Banite to take control. With the destruction of Dragon Clan of Stonehold, King Galahad also ascended, leaving his tearful queen Xyndral behind to rule his chivalric order.
6. Following the King's ascension, the queen ruled with the support of her champion, Duke Duty Bond, the commander of the knights and his wife, Lady Meegat. While Cordor's war against Stonehold Banites escalated as Aristotlus Bibliophilius V fought Ryan Valtheran, Benwick refrained from much involvement as it believed Cordor to be almost as corrupt as Stonehold. Benwick's intrigue within itself however flowered with the arrival of Prince Baltak Brinson and his entourage from a faraway fallen kingdom. Prominent knights such as legendary Gina Colds, Emma of Camberwell, Nora Ashby, and Frand the Frowning Knight, with Vestool, Eric Siegfried, and Berichance all rose to fame alongside Priestess Lexius Rae Blackmour of Tyr.
7. Benwick soon hosted Praetorians including brave half-elf mage Arklore, and katana master, Severian. As Benwick grew, it renamed itself Light Keep and dedicated its efforts in preserving the virtues of its order. It is during this time that Sir Frand was slain by an assassin hired by Lady Meegat. Sir Frand's death is said to have been related to his frequent insubordination, but I was never told of the full story behind this episode. The intrigue culminated as Severian of Praetorians became romantically involved with Queen Xyndral and became Lord Severian, the Royal Consort to the Queen.
8. As depravity of Stonehold eventually became an unstoppable plague upon Arelith, forces of Light Keep was thrust onto the vanguard of battlefield. Aided by a host of celestial beings, Lord Severian led a massive raid to raze Stonehold to its ruin. This legendary battle is known in some bard circles as "The Angel Summoner and Benwickan Bandits." From the onslaught, Ryan Valtheran and his Stonehold Banites retreated to Skull Crags and took refuge in a cavernous citadel on a peak which they named Mount Valtheran.
Now, that doth sum up what I know of Benwick before mine own arrival. Take a sip fellow, for I shalt resume my story.
9. On my first day of arrival on Arelith, I met Aristotlus' daughter Ruthia who was leaving the island with her fiance in utter grief over her father's death. For next two years, I served humbly in Cordor's Temple of Torm under Haulfest. Methinks I was sent down to the sewers more often than I care to recount to slay one dung covered monster after another. After my stinking years in Cordor, I began my tenure at Light Keep as a squire to Lord Severian alongside my contemporary, Landara of Unthur, under the command of Dame Emma of Camberwell.
10. Benwick faced numerous powerful villains then. Among the more notable was Dionne the drowish demi-power. We managed to defeat the demi-power and sealed her within a ring called Eye of Harmony, but she hath since escaped, for I encountered her much later in my years. There is a certain deep intrigue Dionne has with Benwick and Lady Meegat in particular, but I never discovered much beyond that Dionne is the true mother to Anisha whose grave still sits outside Benwick's western gates.
11. The flowering of Baronial Age was when I met my future wife Leela the elven druidess as she sought shelter from the villainy of infamous Zeer, the foremost enemy of Cordor. I arranged a sanctuary for Leela at Benwick, and we used the Keep to arrange our battles against the powerful villain. To learn the basic countermeasures against magic and spies, I spent years as a research assistant and subject for the odd gnomish scholar, William Melphele. In the end, our efforts bore fruit as we destroyed Zeer alongside other heroes of the day, but not before he murdered Duke Galverson of Cordor - bringing end to the Baronial Age. I still fondly remember Lord Forlindel of Myon, Curare the Dwarf, Trynn'delynn Eldafire, the legendary Graash Zorgar and Rask Under-River who were the prominent heroes of the time.
12. Shadow Attack on Benwick was an event which changed the order forever. One day, without warning, darkness shrouded the Keep and persisted for a season. We were then visited by a mysterious harbinger of Triad, the Knight of Mirror. It was through him 'twas revealed that the pillar of light atop the Keep was a beam from Celestia itself and that it suppressed a great evil beneath the Keep. 'Twas further revealed that its divine power was waning as knights of Light Keep kept isolating themselves from the suffering of rest of Arelith. When the nameless evil finally rose in a form of an immortal lich, Queen Xyndral sacrificed herself by infusing her own being into Light of Benwick, severing the villain's link to immortality - The Portal of Baator - which was yet to manifest itself. Benwick was victorious that day, but at the cost of losing our queen, who asked the order to abolish the isolationist monarchy in place for a Council of Three befitting a chivalric order of The Triad. Following the Queen's sacrifice, Lexius Rae Blackmour as High Priestess, myself as The First Knight, and Sway Sands as The Archmage took the responsibility of leadership for Light Keep.
13. Methinks 'twas after Sway Sands that Sir Todd Feathergoat took his place as a third member of the council. In years to come, I inherited the title of Duke of Light Keep as 'twas given by the High Priestess Lexi and acknowledged by Duke Darius Tristam. In the period which followed, we led an aggressive campaign against the Banites, drow, and undead creatures. Any drow we encountered wert killed on sight, and Banites came to curse our names through gritted teeth. Ah, I recall the time as the golden years of jolly evil smiting.
14. Through more than three decades of tenure, we accomplished much through the efforts of righteous folks such as Dame Elva, Sir Alfric Percival, Dame Kelly and humble Dredi Harren of Illmater who since the days of the Queen has gained his own fame for his part in ending the Plague of Arelith. I saw the death of many villains and comrades alike. Campaign against Lothar Steelsworn the Dreadmaster of Bane; Legendary rivalry between villainous Azur and righteous Sir Rawk; Strange adventure with Grendal the Dreadmonk who had to carry Benwickan Statue of Tyr... I've taken a vow of silence regarding that one; And the eventual passing of High Priestess Lexi whom I served as the First Knight and a fellow peer of the council. Following the tragedy, we ushered in Sabel as the new High Priestess, and my young friend Sir Arlan Garrinson as The Protector. We stood firm until Arlan's famous heroic last stand against forces of Bane years later. Within the decade, after countless adventures and campaigns, I retired from my post, leaving Sir Conway as The First Knight of Benwick.
15. Following Sir Conway, Dame Elva, and Dame Kelly each took turns as the commander of the knights. The position was eventually passed on to Luna Strata who occupied it for nearly two decades. In the place of The Lord Protector, Dame Cina Byrneson occupied it - I believe - until Sir Godfrey rose to fill the position. In the meantime, I took young Riago Angert as as my squire and passed on the virtues of paladin knight as best I could. Later Sir Riago came to his own fame as the holder of Sword of Elysium, and one of the heroes responsible for ending the Plague of Undeath.
17. Sometime after Luna Strata's tenure... 'Twas my namesake and the scion of Arlan and Sabel, Erik Garrinson who came to lead the knights as the commander. If my memory doth serve me right, 'tis around this time that there was a bad rift between Sir James Malhinde and the other knights which caused the order to split. I was mostly errant during this time, however 'tis said that knights following Sir James called themselves "The Forsworn" and left the Keep to find a new order in the logging community of Guldorand. I recall the names, Oria Mavekix and Kamir Sunsteel among those who went with Sir James.
18. Following the events involving The Forsworn, My young friend Sir Godfrey Willows also left Benwick to settle down in Cordor. Aye, 'tis during these days that just two of us tracked down Archdemon Paush and smote him down in just five strokes of our swords! Ha! 'Twas a rousing, glooorious adventure for the ages!
19. My memory is rather unclear beyond traveling with Godfrey for age hath clouded my mind. Methinks we fought a large battle where we smote an exceptionally large evil dragon near Lake Minmir. 'Twas a glorious time. Ah, how I wish I could have died soon afterwards, for I was cursed to witness the greatest tragedy befall my beloved order.
20. One thing that I cannot forget even despite the thick fog of old age is the Crisis of The Planar Rifts: A young knight commander, Thomas Miller ended up betraying the order by inviting villains of Sencliffe to desecrate the Chapel of Benwick to repair the rifts. Though some say that 'twas a necessary sacrifice to stop the cataclysmic destruction of our world by dimensional rifts, the destruction of Last Bastion and Benwick owe the villains of Sencliffe and their pawn, Thomas, for the evil they have wrought. Through their sabotage of the Light of Benwick - the very same upon which saw the sacrifice of Queen Xyndral - devils wert allowed to overpower the Chosen defenders of Last Bastion and enter our world through the Portal to Baator. The ensuing battle collapsed the floor of my quarter, and I lost my beloved Leela in an epic struggle to rejoin the main battle in the crypts of Benwick. We lost countless comrades including Priest Valian, Brother Marius, Dame Lena, as well as Rowen Strata. Others wert lost in the ensuing battle to reclaim the Keep including all of the Strata family along with the ever-brave and faithful Knight, Roland De Sanbruno who persisted for more than a decade before meeting his solemn end bravely in battle against the devils. Perhaps only Dame Elderith Ashalley is the only one remaining of our order aside from myself and the few guards outside the Keep's gates to battle devils that pour out endlessly. But no matter: Let them come!
Well, friend. I thank thee for hearing an old man ramble on about the old days. 'Tis the history of Benwick as I remember it. Methinks mine account is at least tenfold more honest and accurate than other works of history claiming authenticity. 'Tis a surprise that I still live to tell thee this tale, but as we live in miraculous modern age of resurrection and regeneration, finding an Aasimar paladin over a hundred years old is only as unexpected as finding a Fountain of Youth on a desert Isle off the coast of Arelith. Fare thee well, until then... SMITE EVIL, my friend!
"Drider-man, with Great Smite cometh Great Responsibility to SMITE THEE!!!" - Erik Silverarms, in The Underdark. Circa AR 63