Dartan Vilmon

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The-protectorate-of-menoth.png Dartan Vilmon The-protectorate-of-menoth.png

High Paladin

Vilmon.jpg

Race Human (Sulese)
Gender Male
Weapons Censure
Birth 576 AR
Dartan Vilmon is one of the three High Paladins, the seniormost officers of the Order of the Wall, one of the most ancient orders of the Menite faith. He embodies the noblest aspects of his faith and serves as a defender of his people in their time of greatest need. The life and career of High Paladin Dartan Vilmon is marked by a number of significant events placing him at key moments in the recent history of the Protectorate of Menoth.

History

Dartan Vilmon was born in 576 AR in Sul. There is little information on his parents, who likely were killed when he was still very young.[1]

In 588 AR, he found his calling as a child growing up in the looming shadow of Sul’s western wall. He was initially turned away by the Order of the Wall for lacking a patron and not meeting the age requirements - initiates normally begin training at ten - though he was later accepted on probation after prostrating himself for a full week without food or water on their doorstep. Immediately after joining the Order, he proved himself more than a match for even the most skilled of the older initiates. According to the senior paladin Blaine Rocamber, Vilmon could see the split-second openings in his opponents' defences as they moved something even the best warriors struggle to do after years of training and experience.[1]

Not only did he enter training late, Dartan Vilmon achieved the rank of paladin by the age of fifteen, an unprecedented feat. His rapid ascent is attributed to his unswerving devotion to the Menite faith and a physical and spiritual discipline far exceeding those of his contemporaries.

Dartan’s first assignment after attaining the rank of paladin was the defence of the village of Suthra, where he and his brothers repelled a number of Tharn raids on the small community. He served in Suthra for two years, until he was promoted to sergeant and recalled to Sul.[1]

Shortly thereafter, when the scrutators are heading to the village of Turil, which was accused by heresy, Vilmon and a group of paladins acted with haste and evacuated the entire village to Sul, except for Garin Fineway, the villager accused of seditious and heretical speech, who was lashed to a stake in the town square. When Scrutator Horas Naz-Madrah arrived at the Order of the Wall's fortress with two phalanxes of Knights Exemplar and demanded the paladins responsible for the evacuation to surrender themselves, Vilmon let them waiting for hours before coming forth and asserting he was the sole responsible.[1]

Horas Naz-Madrah took Vilmon into custody and questioned him for three days, during which Vilmon said not a word or uttered a single cry of pain, denying the scrutators even the satisfaction of seeing him suffer for his transgression. With no wish to antagonise the Order of the Wall, Horas was forced to release Vilmon without further incident.[1]

In 599 AR, Dartan Vilmon was promoted to senior paladin after five years abroad serving as bodyguard to junior priests and other emissaries, including some on missions to reinforce ties with the visgoths of the Old Faith of Khador.[1]

In 604 AR, a group of young paladins, Vilmon among them, was sent to serve the Harbinger of Menoth as bodyguards after she ended her seclusion with Hierarch Garrick Voyle and the Synod and stated her intent to tour all the towns and villages of the Protectorate. For reasons unclear to any except herself, the Harbinger chose out only Vilmon to remain, and the rest were dismissed. Soon after being chosen as the Harbinger’s guardian, Dartan accompanied her on a number of pilgrimages across the Protectorate. After being attacked by Tharn during such a pilgrimage at Suthra, the Harbinger accepted a larger escort for the rest of her pilgrimages that included Grand Exemplar Baine Hurst and a full phalanx of Knights Exemplar. In spite of the longstanding animosity between the Order of the Wall and the Exemplars, Hurst publicly acknowledged Vilmon’s achievements, calling him the finest swordsman ever to serve the Creator.[1]

When the Harbinger is ambushed by the eldritch Goreshade in 606 AR, Hurst gives his life to delay the eldritch, while ordering Vilmon to get the Harbinger to safety. For his role in defending the Harbinger, Vilmon is promoted to the rank of High Paladin. Despite the protests of High Exemplar Sarvan Gravus and many Exemplars, who blame Vilmon for the death of their leader and propose him flogged for supposedly cowardice, it is clear Vilmon’s star is on the rise.[1]

Vilmon is chosen again when the Harbinger journeys north, with the Testament of Menoth, Amon Ad-Raza and the Avatar of Menoth to intercept a great evil in the Thornwood. He witnesses her sacrifice to liberate Menite souls trapped in the Orgoth Temple of Garrodh. Vilmon and the Testament fight side-by-side, along with the Avatar of Menoth, to preserve the Harbinger’s body and soul and journey back to Imer to deliver her to Hierarch Voyle. Vilmon is credited with a number of unlikely heroics during this trek, including carrying his holy burden tirelessly for weeks without rest, food, or water.[1]

In 607 AR, Vilmon participates in the defence of Sul when the Cygnarans from Caspia attack the city. When the Cygnaran commander Coleman Stryker asks Voyle personally for a ceasefire and in return he would release all of the Menite prisoners that the Cygnaran army had taken, Voyle disregards both Stryker's request and the Harbinger's advice, and orders open fire on them. True to his primary duty to the Creator and not any scrutator or hierarch, Vilmon steps out and calls out against Voyle, saying that this it is not the will of Menoth for these innocents to die. Voyle claims this was the Order of the Wall finally revealing their treachery, declares Vilmon apostate and attempts to summarily execute him, though suddenly the Harbinger interposes herself, taking the killing blow and saving Vilmon. Lord Commander Stryker subsequently kills Voyle in combat, forcing the Menites to retreat from Caspia, though they retain control of Sul.[2]

Although the Harbinger intervened to save Vilmon’s life, signifying that Menoth himself absolved him, the Synod clearly still considers him guilty of treasonous disobedience against Hierarch Voyle, and he is apprehended by Visgoth Juviah Rhoven and sent to Imer to be tried before the Synod. The Synod sentences him to death, but one week before his scheduled execution, the new Hierarch, Severius, in a letter sent from Leryn, declares Vilmon innocent and orders his rank and title restored to him.[1]

After being released, Vilmon stays in Sul holding vigil as a self-imposed penance for his defiance of the hierarch in the final conflict in Caspia, even after the Harbinger has personally forgiven him. Vilmon’s courage in the Caspia-Sul battle inspires not only his order but also the Protectorate as a whole. At one time in decline, the Order of the Wall has undergone a resurgence in both respect and initiates.[3]

Personality

Dartan Vilmon has attempted to soften the harsh dictates of the scrutators and is compassionate toward the Protectorate’s poor. He gives relief to those forced into hard labour, and sometimes he delivers a merciful death to those enduring unavoidable agony. He is a polarising figure, beloved by the common faithful and utterly despised by the scrutators and most members of the Synod. Despite these powerful enemies, Dartan has resisted every attempt to remove him or diminish his order. He is the very picture of quiet resistance, a man utterly secure behind the wall of his faith and undeterred by external pressures or threats.[1][3]

References