When designing the icons for the Ashen Coast I originally wanted, where possible, to emulate the archetypes illustrated in the 13th Age core book. Naturally, the Platinum Shield are analogous to the Great Gold Wyrm.
THE PLATINUM SHIELD
Revering Saint Laila and the metallic dragons, the Platinum Shield are the Ashen Coast's first line of defence against the dark gods.
'A Knight must be pure of heart and noble of purpose; like our beloved Laila. She was the very spirit of a dragon. We can only strive to emulate her. We will never equal her.'
The Platinum Shield's headquarters are located at Fralfield, a days march from the Plague Bulwark. In truth the majority of knights are manning the wall or questing throughout the Ashen Coast.
Since the Plague Bulwark was constructed there has been an order set up to protect it. The threats behind the Bulwark are more terrible than most could face; only the purest of heart could hope to stand before the followers of the dark gods day after day and remain unscathed in body and soul.
The order's prime duty is to protect Thun from the terrible evils beyond the Plague Bulwark. However, due to the dire state of Thun's Royal Navy, many evil clerics from the Tenebrae Cabal make it off the peninsular and move inland, spreading their evil. As a response, the Platinum Shield roves the Ashen Coast, hunting down these evil priests, or worse. Worship of the evil gods is not limited to the Cabal, and the Shield has become adept at finding hidden devotees.
The order has a strict hierarchy, with ranks following the colouring of their revered metallic dragons so that Brass is the lowest rank, held by the freshest initiates, and Platinum is the highest, held only by the Master of the order. The current Platinum Master is Diogo Corte-Real, an elderly man, thought soon to step aside to one of his inner circle. However, that has been the rumour for many years and his Gold Knights continue to jostle for his favour.
Adventurer's and the Icon
Fighters make up the bulk of the order, although there are many Paladins and Clerics as well, the majority of which worship Derne (God of War and Law) or Sorath (God of Sun, Light and Truth). In theory, however, anyone can join the order if they prove themselves stout enough of heart and pure of soul.
The Knights of the Platinum Shield are pledged to protect Thun and its King. As a holy order, they are natural allies to the High Priestess and, as a Paladin, they respect the Elven Baron.
The Tenebrae Cabal is the sworn enemy of the Platinum Shield, and must be destroyed at all costs. The Devil is a new threat, but an unholy one nonetheless, and the quest to destroy the Cult of Mammon is gaining traction within the order.
The evils of the Empire of Turin once ran rampant throughout the Coast, and on one peninsular in particular; entire towns and villages were entirely subjugated to the wills of dark priests. Eventually, even the Governor, Tyrmund, realised something must be done and ordered the construction of a great wall to prevent the spread of foul undead and terrible disease.
In the years following the end of the Empire, the wall fell into disrepair under the degradations of the evil magicks beyond it and was almost breached, threatening the surrounding towns and villages.
In a town far from the Bulwark, in the northern Duchy of Arromere, the young Laila de Freitas dreamt of the Platinum Dragon, standing resplendent before a wall that spanned over a hundred miles. Laila was brought up in poverty in a world of browns and greys, she wept to look upon his awesome countenance. The Platinum Shield say that he imparted a message to her, though the exact wording has been long lost, if she ever revealed it. Then he spread his great wings and flew away, leaving Laila standing alone before the wall. Now she could see that it was cracked, a huge chasm cut into it. Feeling no fear, she strode towards it and placed her hands upon it. Even as searing pain burnt her flesh away, the crack shank into oblivion, sealing the wall once more.
Waking that morning, Laila took up her fathers old sword and began her long pilgrimage south. As she journeyed, she helped many in need and defeated many evils. More and more pledged themselves to her cause and by the time she reached the Plague Bulwark nearly five hundred pilgrims stood beside her.
The wall was exactly as she had dreamt it, crack and all. She trembled, knowing that only she could seal the breach - but that it would cost her her life. As she hesitated, the aperture grew larger and the wall finally shattered. Plague ridden beasts and undead, driven on by evil wizards and vile clerics flooded from the breach. The pilgrims stood firm, encouraged by the prayers of Laila, but many were only farmers and peasants - they could not hope to stand against such a force.
The cause finally seemed lost as Laila was struck down by a priest of Kostro; god of Vanity, Tyranny, and Violence. Terrified, the remaining pilgrims turned to run. Then there was the flash of light and before them Laila rose to the air, great platinum metallic wings spread, her fathers old sword now a glorious Holy Avenger. She breathed deadly fire upon the evil host, and drove them back with her enchanted blade. Encouraged, the pilgrims fought all the harder and not a single other was lost.
The battle over, Laila flew to the shattered wall and plunged her blade into the ground. A great platinum seal filled the gap, energy flowing from her reforged body. The Bulwark was reforged and Laila fell, lifeless to the ground. The pilgrims swore an oath that the Bulwark would never fall into such disrepair again, that Laila's brave sacrifice would not be in vain. They would be the Platinum Shield.
The True Danger
Everything will be alright as long as the Plague Bulwark stands between the Ashen Coast and devastation.
Would you join the Platinum Shield or throw your lot in with the Dark Gods? Let me know!