Founded almost 1500 years ago in Els'tar, the Order of Eight was originally made of eight adventurers seeking money and glory. Over time their ambitions and opportunities changed, and so did their goals. But as the original party got stronger they moved from plundering dungeons and ruins to a brief stint of piracy and banditry, to controlling trade routes and caravans. Their ambitions led them to the conquest of a fairly large city, which they ruled briefly, before a neighboring city decided to "deal with the Eight, permanently", and the Eight were hunted for a time.
After the original Eight found a safe place to continue their work, they gathered students to them and passed on their knowledge. Several members stayed on as some had longer lifespans than others. Eventually the original Eight were replaced entirely and the cycle continues several more times.
About 500 years ago, in Els'tar, the Order of Eight, and their entourage, were tracking down several missing settlers at the edge of the desert when they quite literally stumbled upon a massive magical gate. It was large enough 8-10 wagons abreast could pass through. Assuming the settlers had gone through, and the Eight being quite powerful, they followed in after, only to find themselves in a large desert. The gate itself had a presence in the new world, but only the monoliths making up the sides of the gate. The gate allowed travel in only one direction leaving the Order stranded.
Without a way to reopen the gate, Order headed west through the mountainous desert for several days until they reached the forests on the other side. Settling down for the night at the edge of a river seemed the right thing to do as they were running low on fresh water, and in need of baths and provisions. That night would be a turning point for the Order of Eight.
As they slept near the river, a bright purple flash rose from the ground to the heavens, startling the watch and waking the entire party. It lasted but a few seconds and disappeared again, but its source was spotted, a hole in the ground nearby. It was mid summer and everyone knew winter was coming, but they needed a permanent camp while they got their bearings and to weather the coming storms. They spent the next several months constructing crude houses and fortifications all the while they gathered supplies for the coming winter. Game was plentiful, and the vegetation of the land was similar to parts of Els'tar so finding food was straight forward.
The winter was long and cold, but the Order had a hobby, exploring the cave they had found, and capped with a longhouse. What they found in the mine was worth more than all the gold and magic cummulatively found by the Order in their previous 1000 years. It was a large rough metalic sphere eminating a deep purple glow from holes in its surface. It was easily the size of a barn and located in the center of a large cavernous room.
The Order sought to determine the spheres purpose. The mages' arcane knowledge did little to provide answers, only clues. On the eighth day of research a new clue was found as the room was being mapped. Partially buried in the hard dirt floor of the room was chunk of metal. Excavation of the metal quickly pointed out that this was not just a chunk of raw metal, but the breast plate, helmet and sword of someone quite wealthy, who apparently lost his life to a large stone that crushed his skull. But the armor and sword were old, very old, but not rusted or tarnished, and ornately decorated. The breast plate and sword turned out to have magical properties. The helmet, while crushed and unusable as such, was also untarnished by age and water. The metal was strange and similar to the makeup of the sphere in composition.
Through out the winter, the Order of Eight explored the caves, find an large vein of nearly pure iron ore, among many other man made wonders. But they knew when spring came they needed to figure out a way back home to resupply their equipment for a return trip.
As they set off looking for settlements of people, and seeking answers on how to return home, they came across a large stronghold. Its walls were of a gold colored stone, partially glistening in the sun. Huge butresses flowed from the rocks below bracing the walls of the castle. The markings of the walls were very similar to the stylings of the armor and sword they found earlier. The large doors of the stronghold were smashed off their hinges, great claw marks marked the source of their demise.
After several days of exporing the ruins of the once great castle, members of the Order came across the laboratories of the past resident wizards. Within they found a scroll explaining the gate, how it was activated, and how to disable it. This opened the door for the Order to return to Els'tar.
Upon returning to Els'tar the Order led the fleeing populace of their lands through the gate and into Karenth. The newly relocated people, the Displaced
, helped the Order build a new civilization and in turn the Order returned to studying the sphere and exploring the lands.1 Gamemaster notes
Presently, the Order of Eight is building its membership, strengthening its position in Ironholm
, and continuing its research on the Sphere of Ironholm
With over 400 years of population growth in Karenth, the Order no longer has a firm hold on all of the known lands. Pirates work the seas, city states have formed in prosperous areas, other adventuring parties have formed and left their marks on the land. But Karenth is far from being understood and explored fully. The Order continues to put its agents among all of the factions of the world, and in positions of power when possible. With all of the changes of the past few centuries, the Order is turning into a politial and intelligence faction as much as it is an adventuring and research organization. They influence and control much of the trade in the world. What they seek more than anything is information and artifacts of the people who previously lived in this world.