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The Sigil of the Order of the Golden Hound.

The Order of the Golden Hound is a Knightly Order based in Shalgora. It has a history that stretches back to the First Era and counts many esteemed and honourable names among its historical and present roll of members. The Order is open to everyone it deems worthy, the single binding quality being that of Honourable Conduct.  

History of the Order of the Golden HoundEdit

Founded in the First Era, specifally 1E521, the Order of the Golden Hound began in that year when a Knight by the name of Philipe Montrois Valterayn, the second oldest son of the ruler of Shalgora at that time, decided to go hunting with his fellow chevaliers who were at court. Ranging far and wide, they hunted many beasts and had a great many adventures. Until, as they rode into a clearing in the woods, they saw it standing upon a jutting rock in the middle of the clearing.

The Golden Hound.

Thought to be a fabled legend. It was said that during the days of the Dawn Era, that there was sculpted a statue of solid gold in the shape of a hound. It is then said that Sheogorath passed by and breathed life into the statue, thinking it so lifelike that it was worthy of life. And so began the fable of the Golden Hound, which is said to travel all over Shalgora and has been at times apparently been spotted in other lands, the furthest away reported to be Alcaire. Always causing mischief. At any rate, upon spotting the Golden Hound. Philipe spoke forth.

"Doth mine eyes decieve me? Or Do We look upon the Golden Hound of Legend."

To which, to everyone's amazement, the Hound replied.

"Of Legend? I am not a Legend I am as real as the Stars that shine above."

The rest of the conversation is recorded, but with differing accounts as to what was actually said and what insults were exchanged. All that is agreed by scholars is the beginning and the end. The end being that Sir Philipe and his party could not stand the insults it continually flung at them and charged the

Golden Hound. The Golden Hound decided to run, and was chased through the woods, but escaped with a cheery laugh after it leapt a river twenty feet in width.

Riding back to the clearing, Sir Philipe drew his sword and bade every knight present, draw their chosen weapon and swear that from that day forth, they would not rest until they had found the Golden Hound and had made it apologise for the insults it had lain against all of them. Since then, generation after generation of Knight has quested after the Golden Hound. At the Clearing in the woods, a Chapel was erected and a wall built around the stone.

Having founded the Order, Sir Philippe moved onto founding a headquarters, this was easily done, a Priory and a Chapel were raised in the Grove. The Order quested after the Golden Hound, a quest that has never ended, though the paths of the Golden Hound and the Order which owes its namesake to it have crossed as recently as half a decade ago, the Order of the Golden Hound has never been able to capture the Hound. In most cases, the Knights who meet it end up either being befuddled by the Hound, or owing their lives to it. At any rate, during the First Era, the Order grew and grew until it could be said that its numbers, income and lands were equal to that of the Valterayn’s themselves, the ruling family of Shalgora.

This resulted in a few decades of tension between the Valterayn’s and the Order, the former believing that the Order should downscale and remember its place as a Knightly Order, whilst the latter, under its Grand Master at the time, had begun to have slight delusions of Grandeur. Things looked to come to a head when a series of clashes between Retainers of the Valterayn’s and Knights of the Golden Hound spilled over from bar room brawls and vicious tourney battles into a skirmish resulting in a death on either side of the combatants. However, fate intervened. The Kingdom of Daggerfall declared war against Orsinium, and both the Valterayn’s and the Order of the Golden Hound leapt to the side of Daggerfall, Shalgora being a loyal 

ally of Daggerfall at the time.

The war went like other wars against Orsinium, skirmishes, battles and victories and defeats all culminating in a siege against the Orcdom in the East. The First few months moved into a year, then another year passed, then another, then five years passed, seven, ten, fifteen, twenty and at last after Thirty years of an unending Siege, the war ended and so the Westerners returned home. In this time however, things had changed. The Valterayn’s had carefully managed and balanced their books, even growing rich in typical Valterayn style from the war by providing many Siege provisions to all of the besieging forces, whilst in comparison, The Order of the Golden Hound faced disaster. It’s lands, mismanaged by those left behind, had fallen into disrepair, and its account books had resolved to borrowing vast amounts of money from the Valterayn’s to finance their campaigns, and also to finance the corruption of some of the left-behind members, who were promptly either expelled or met untimely ends.

However, these were not the only tragedies that had befallen it, The Order of the Golden Hound had gone through Several Grand Masters, and was threatening to completely collapse under the weight of its own vastness which before the War a boon, was now a poison that was swiftly sapping the strength of the once mighty Order. Into this gap stepped the Duke of Shalgora at the Time, Willas Timothy Henri Valterayn. Forged in the raging flames of a besieged Orsinium, Willas recognised the Order for what it was, a threat that if left unchecked and allowed to recover, would come to bite the Valterayn’s when they weren’t looking. He resolved to strike first, and strike he did. But not in the way one would expect. Approaching the Order, he offered to pay all debts of the Order, in exchange for a pledge of allegiance to the Duchy of Shalgora.

After a debate among the members of the Order, it was decided to accept the offer. It should be noted that many members were in debt to or bribed by the Valterayn’s, as well as the fact that many members of the Order had letters from their family members and lovers of recent visits by Valterayn soldiers and clerics. This was not a sudden move, this had been years in the making. The vote was unanimous, and so the Order came to kneel before the Throne of Shalgora. Duke Willas moved quickly, folding the lands of the 

Order into his own, cashing in some debts, forgiving others and within five years, had made a Military Order into a Chivalric Order. With a limited numbers allowed and its headquarters moved from Penwych Castle back to Grove Abbey, the Order of then, now resembles near identically the Order of Today.

And as such, here the tale of the Order’s history ends.

Membership of the Order of the Golden HoundEdit

Membership to the Order of the Golden Hound is open to all worthy, provided they can furnish themselves with their own mount, suit of armour, lance, shield and chosen weapon. As such, only those of a certain wealth usually end up in the ranks of the Order, though in the past members of the Order have squired peasants deemed worthy and raised them up to the rank of Knight.

Questing Knight

A potential member of the Order questing.

After the material challenge, that which is detailed above, the next challenge is that of Valour, a Knight must quest and prove himself in the skill of arms. Be it a dozen wins upon the tourney fields, to fight in a battle of worthy cause or the slaying of a monstrous creature or villain that has been plaguing a region. Once proof has been shown, and then tested for authenticity, and then acknowledged as authentic, the Knight is then given their third challenge, that of Chivalry. Many Knights falter here, for it requires great humble acts to surpass and overcome this crucible of morality. The tales that have stemmed from this challenge are legendary, the escorting of a fair and legendarily beautiful maiden to the other side of Tamriel and back, all the while never succumbing to temptation and protecting the maidens honour and life from others, to the carrying of two dozen monks on a Knights back through a river in the middle of the night.

At any rate, having passed this challenge, the final challenge is given, that of Faith. Fasting for a full day, the potential Knight must then kneel in front of the Grovestone for a full night. A considerably easy task one would think given what the Knight has to have done before, but all the while, a Priest will constantly test the Knights will and mind. Asking numerous questions, giving forth insults and other audits, the Knight must not move, even to itch, they must not faint from exhaustion, they may only drink a single half cup of water when the moon's zenith has been passed as it has been found that, even then, they must answer three questions to be allowed the drink.

As the moons set, and the first ray of light from the sun rises, so do the doors of the Chapel be flung open and so steps forth the Grand Master of the Order, clad in full armour and flanked by exactly eight knights of the Order, so do they surround the Knight and inaugurate them into the order, by making them first wait as the Grand Master questions the Priest to see whether or not the Knight has passed all questions posed. If the affirmative is given, then the Grand Master turns to the Knight and makes them take the Oath of the Knights of the Golden Hound. The Oath being:

"I, {Member's name and titles}, Swear to uphold the ideals and virtues of the Order of the Golden Hound. To be Valiant of Heart, Honourable in Deed and Behaviour, Steadfast of Mind, Unflinching of Will and Strong in Body. To Help those in need no matter the Hour, no matter their standing, be it king or beggar. To be gallant in thought, word and action to Women. And I vow to be unceasing in my quest to bring to heel the Golden Hound for the Insults it has given and the mischief it has made. This I swear before the Nine Divines and this I swear before witnesses and this I swear upon my Honour as a Knight and upon my life."

To which the Grand Master Replies:

"So it has been sworn and so it is agreed. Arise, {Member's name and titles}, and be greeted as a Brother(Or Sister if the member is female) of the Order of the Golden Hound."

Whilst speaking the reply, the Grand Master knights the newly inducted member of the Order of the Golden Hound with the Oath Blade. This is the same blade that Sir Philipe Montrois Valterayn made all the other Knights draw their own weapons and rest upon it, whilst said blade also rested upon the Grovestone, and swear the Oath that brought into being the Order of the Golden Hound.

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