Order of the Jade leaf
The sun dropped below the western tree-line, heralding a rapid transition into darkness and blessed relief from the day’s heat. Six groups of men and women assembled in the courtyard of the Order’s keep for the night patrol. Xanthus Bome watched them fall in. His eyes were dark beneath bushy eyebrows and his face a stone mask, yet he was pleased. Discipline had finally arrived in the militia ranks, and it was about damn time. He was molding a force that the poachers would fear. House Tharashk also, if it came to that.
So few to patrol the entire area. There was no help for that; the population of Kith’takharos could not support a larger military. But once he captured or killed a few poachers, word would get out, and only the hard cases would remain. Such as Huygens Tierney.
He adopted his best drill instructor voice. The militia, and the rest of Kith’takharos for that matter, joked that he gargled with pebbles. “Listen up!” Every damn one of them came to attention as if he had pulled their strings all at once. He wanted to smile, though of course he did not. “We have word that Huygens Tierney has moved in from the northwest, come overland from the Whitecliff River. Probably that is untrue, but we will take it seriously. Team One, take a boat on the northeast route towards the river. Team Two, head south, then west around the Harlass Orn island. Team Three..” And so on, until all the orders were given.
Some of the House Tharashk guards thought his men dirty or sloppy, with their greenish armor and black painted faces. And now that all the teams had left, Xanthus allowed himself a vague curling of his lips. Those guards should pray they would never meet his people in the dark.
—Xanthus Bome sends out the daily night patrol.
The Order of the Jade Leaf manages the swamp plant trade. Its name derives from the V’lrar leaf, first used by the settlers to cure the poisoned wounds inflicted by various reptiles. The second Lady ir’Salmissra created the Order about fifteen years ago, in response to the aggressive policies of House Tharashk. Without an official counterweight, the money and influence of the House would eventually have triumphed.
The Order of the Jade Leaf occupies a fortress-like structure adjacent to Kith’takharos Keep, but smaller. A portion of the docks are also reserved for the Order. Dorian Orsova leads the Order. Below him are two separate chains of command: the Militia and the Harvesters.
Xanthus Bome organizes the militia to protect both the swamp plant trade and Kith’takharos. Lady ir’Salmissra occasionally observes militia training and offers encouragement. Militia patrols maintain an obvious presence on water and land. Kith’takharos has never been invaded, nor has the swamp plant trade been interrupted, but many thieves and poachers have been deterred.
Elite scouts and explorers serve as the eyes and ears of the militia. Possessed of an uncanny ability to navigate the swamp, they always manage to discover intruders. If a frontal struggle seems ill advised, they will snipe from a distance and call in reinforcements. The liberal use of swamp plant poisons aids their efforts.
The scouts and explorers are the heroes of Harvester society. They journey farther from the village and into more dangerous places. Children run to the docks whenever such a man poles in, hoping to hear tales of his latest exploits. These men view one another as friendly rivals, challenging their fellows with deeds and dares. The boldest explorers accept these challenges, and return with proof of their accomplishments. Koran Thelig is currently the best-known explorer.
Jorian Odessa oversees the Harvester wing of the Order. He organizes foraging parties to discover swamp plants and collection parties to harvest them. Scouts or explorers guide the parties on more hazardous missions, sometimes accompanied by the militia. When the swamp plants arrive at the Order’s keep, other Harvesters process them into the valuable potions and salves used as enhancements, antidotes, and poisons. The processing methods almost always require some magic, further adding to the cost of the finished product. These extracts make their way from Kith’takharos to all the nations of Khorvaire.
The Order also includes a few members who are not directly involved in defense or the collection of swamp plants. These are scholars who investigate Harlass Orn ruins and other topics of interest. Yavanna Culand is the most accomplished scholar, and she has ongoing excavations at a number of Harlass Orn sites. She suspects that the concentration of useful swamp plants around Kith’takharos is an artifact of the Harlass Orn civilization.