The Ashen Knights is a knightly order, who staunchly believe in defending the sanctity of Life and Death. The order primarily consists of Undead Death Knights unhappy with the Ebon Blades current trajectory and actions during the Third Invasion of the Burning Legion. However, lesser undead and even mortals can find a place within their Order. They will also defend the living from threats such as the Burning Legion and the Old Gods, when the situation demands it.
The Ashen Knights hold several beliefs which often put themselves at odds with the Knights of the Ebon Blade, as they see much of the Ebon Blades recent actions as abhorrent especially to the balance of life and death.
The following are transcripts from the writings of Lyraeni Sorrowsong, the third Ashen Lord.
Our duty is paramount. Death will not halt it, for it is the most sacred of tasks - the protection of the sanctity of life itself.
As we seek to maintain the Balance, we must uphold it within ourselves. We will not pervert the souls of the living - but we will not languish in our duty, either. Our necromancy must draw upon the already damned within the Shadowlands, rather than cursing new beings to suffer.
An Ashen Knight must stay firm in the face of unimaginable suffering. We stand at the bulwark of death itself - to protect the balance of life and death. Should we falter, we will only rise again.
To uphold our duty to Azeroth and the Balance, an Ashen Knight must be willing to sacrifice everything for it. In taking our final oath, we give up the dream of a final death. For not until the Balance is secure, until our duty is done, will our embers fade.
The Dead Edit
While the Ashen Knights hold great respect for the souls of the dead, their essence that deserves rest, the bodies are another matter. While it should be avoided when it can be, the husks of the dead are tools - and are to be used as such, when the matter requires it. Either animated without a soul, or used in the construction of weapons and armour, the manipulation of corpses is rampant within the Order.
That being said, graves are respected more than open or exposed corpses, as a practical matter. For a spirit may be roused from its rest if its grave is disturbed, and the living will quickly turn their ire to the necromancer responsible.
The ultimate perversion of the Balance, it is seen as a necessary evil in of itself. The Ashen Knights, either before or after their joining, inevitably become Undead. The creation of new undead is only permissable if it is with the express permission of the soul being bound, or if the being was born of Evil; Such as Demons, Faceless, or other such abberations.
While it is not a belief held by all, the use of animal bodies in Necromancy is rather common. They are simple creatures most often, and require only the basest amount of energy to be animated - such as a small helping of Anima, drawn from the Shadowlands.
The Ashen consists of more than the Ashen Knights who are the namesake of the Order as a whole. Lesser undead, and even mortals, are allowed to join beneath the Knights themselves.
The Ashen Lady Edit
The ruler of the Ashen Knights - they serve as both a military commander, and inspirational paragon of all the Ashen Knights strive to be. Leading by example, they have demonstrated their commitment to the cause, and from it are prenaturally intertwined with the Ashen Eye’s energies - able to manipulate flame to an unparalleled degree.
Ashen Knight Edit
The Ashen Knights make up the primary force of the Ashen. Linked to the Eye with their Rings of Kindling, they have taken an oath to protect the Balance with their eternal lives. They serve as guardians of life, and executioners of those who would defile it and upset the balance. In undertaking their oath, they swear fealty to the Ashen Lord.
Ashen Rangers Edit
A sub-sect of the greater Ashen-Knights, the distinction of Ashen Ranger is given to those undead of the Ashen Knights who embrace a more farstrider-esque fighting style mixed with their own deadly magic. Similar to the Dark Rangers of the forsaken.
Those who seek to become Ashen Knights, but have not yet proved themselves to the Ashen Lord. These can be of any race, although it is far more common for Undead to seek out the position, than for the living to give up their afterlife.
The Enkindled Edit
Lesser undead, summoned from the Shadowlands, or freed from the Scourge/Ebon Blade, who serve the greater Ashen Knights as fodder, simply servants, or companions.
The Untempered Edit
Mortals, who through one circumstance or another, have come into the service of the Ashen. They are not expected to take up the oath, but their assistance is appreciated. They are permitted to take up the oath, and enter a life of undead service, on a case by case basis.
Rites and Rituals Edit
The Ashen hold several rituals, designed and developed from inspiration taken from the religions and cults of the world, as well as Lyraeni's own experimentation.
The Rite Of Linking Edit
The most important rite of the Ashen Knights, is the linking of their soul to the Ashen Eye through their Ring of Kindling. An Aspirant is taken before the Eye, and once they state their oath, the Ashen Lord uses their mastery over Necromancy to peel away a sliver of their soul. The sliver is then fed to the flame as kindling, to bolster it. An ember is taken from the fire, and placed upon the Ring of Kindling. The ring is then placed upon the Aspirants hand, and a spell is performed using the Ashen Lords’ Necromancy and their own Pyromancy, to bond the Ember to the ring, and the Ring to the soul of the new Ashen Knight.
This bond is not impervious - if one loses their Ring of Kindling, they will lose that ember, and their connection to the Eye. However, it is rumoured that the most dedicated, and those with the longest continual time wearing their ring, have been able to call upon the Eye’s powers even without their ring.
Ritual Of Enkindling Edit
A ritual that can be performed over any ordinary campfire - lit or not. By channeling the power of their Rings of Kindling, any Ashen Knight can bond the existing flame to the Eye temporarily.
The Bonfire acts as a beacon of rest and comfort for nearby undead, and weary souls. Passively regenerating their forms, albeit slower than it would for one wearing a Ring of Kindling.
Through its connection to the Ashen Eye, an Ashen Knight may use it to return to the Ashen Refuge from any location that is not blocked for teleportation via the Shadowlands. As long as the fire remains lit, the Ashen Knight can return to any bonfire linked to the Eye.
Rite of Immersion Edit
After a good deal of time bonded with the Ashen Eye, an Ashen Knight can choose to undergo a ritual to grant themselves immunity to most types of fire - excluding Holy Fire, and magical fires such as Coldflame.
Ritual of Ashen Reflection Edit
The Ashen Knight can place a blade into a corpse, and channel their flame through the weapon into the body. This will cremate the body. If the body is already cremated, this step can be skipped. The Ashen Knight then will reach out with their necromantic and pyromantic power to the ash - awakening a burning Echo of their life. This echo cannot truly converse, and only answer questions it would know the answer to in life. The echo burns for half an hour, before the lingering life essence contained within the ashes is used up. After that, performing the ritual again on the same ashes will be useless.
Arnethil Manawhisper, after the invasion of Tanaan, had asked himself a question. "What next?" Things seemed to be escalating progressively to grander and grander scales as time went on in battle. First it was Ahn'Qiraj, then fighting The Burning Legion and Illidan, and then the Scourge in Northrend. Deathwing, Pandaria, Draenor...these conflicts convinced him of one thing. They were not enough. His knights, his ebon knights, were the world's best chance at fighting off the forces of darkness. However he noticed a...flaw, of sorts. The Death Knights were still mortal. Although their hearts did not beat, and their lungs did not rise nor fall, once they died...they tended to stay dead. His solution to this was the Ashen Eye: A device that linked beings to it's necromantic power, which could raise them back from death multiple times. With this power, he appointed six Death Knights to be the Ashen Knights, who were forever sworn for the protection of Azeroth from the shadow. As the eye would bind them, it would ensure no matter how long it took, they were uphold their oath.
Following the events of the third battle of Light's Hope Chapel, the two surviving members of the Ashen Knights - Lyraeni and Aritiri - disconnected the Knights from the Ebon Blade. They stood on their own, opposed to both the Ebon Blade and the Legion. They did not possess the military or magical power to openly launch an assault on Acherus or any major holdings, thus they used hit and run tactics, and launched disruption missions in an attempt to stop the Ebon Blade's atrocities.
This had varying success - with Lyraeni racking up quite the reputation within the Ebon Blade. Several Death Knights have fallen trying to apprehend the Ashen Knight, or after having run into her while commiting acts Lyra saw as attrocities.
In the modern day, Lyra has taken a more reactionary approach - only when she is forced to, or made aware, of the Ebon Blade's attrocities, does she act.
The Ashen Lord Edit
Arnethil Manawhisper (Former)
Aritiri Dawnblaze (Former)
Lyraeni Sorrowsong (Current)
The Ashen Knights Edit
Miliel Sunblade (Second Knight)
Third Knight (Yet to be chosen)
Fourth Knight (Yet to be chosen)
Fifth Knight (Yet to be chosen)
Sixth Knight (Yet to be chosen)