In ages past the task of keeping the Emerald Kingdoms far-flung borders safe from threats fell to militias raised by local lords and, if the threat was severe enough to affect the kingdom as a whole, the Imperial Army. Unfortunately, This was often ineffective due to corruption and lack of sufficient training or funding to accomplish the difficult job set before those who were supposed to defend the border towns, and oftentimes those very people would even ally with the very bandits and creatures they were supposed to be opposing for personal gain.
That all changed with the coming of the latest, and some say greatest, Imperial Champion. Eiygil Vallen, called the People's Champion by many, came from a common background and rose to his office by skill at arms and determination rather than being appointed by noble birth, and after witnessing the evil that went unopposed in his own home province for so long one of the first things he did with his newly-earned title was commission a new corps of elite men and women whose sole purpose was to serve as a specialized for that would defend the lands beyond the safe walls of the empires cities and larger towns, and within a year he had recruited and trained one hundred skilled and loyal people from the empires ranks to serve that purpose. In the years since, the Order of the Griffon - so named because of their iconic griffon mounts- have worked tirelessly to defend lands that were once part of the empire in name only and restored order in the name of the crown, though their numbers remain very small and casualties have thinned their ranks to a mere fifty.
The Order of the Griffon, while considered a knightly order, accepts members who are not warriors in the traditional sense as well - skilled arcanists, pious priests and holy warriors, spies, sneaks, and woodsmen also are found among their ranks. Griffon Knights work in squads of three to five knights with a variety of skills, though recently the Imperial Champion has put out a call for new applicants from among the populace to replace those who have fallen while performing their duties, and many times the ranks of an individual squad are swelled by young hopefuls who accompany the knights in hopes of someday being found worthy to wear the golden insignia of the Griffon themselves.
The code of the Order of the Griffon (With notes from the Imperial Champion, Eiygil vallen, on what each tenet means)
-Protect the weak and defenseless regardless of their social status.
This one is self-explanatory. A peasant is just as entitled to our protection as a noble.
-Defend the lives of the lands just rulers against all attacks.
Again, an easy one to grasp. One of our duties is to protect the royal family and those who govern the land from their enemies. This one can put us in a bind when the 'enemy' is another nobleman, but as a Griffon Knight you have to be able to use your best judgment and decide when to step in to deter needless bloodshed and when to step away from politics. As long as nobody is being physically harmed in any way, we stay out of it.
-Serve the crown with honor and valor.
We are knights. Our honor and trustworthiness has to be beyond reproach, and we must be fair and impartial regardless of our personal feelings. We can't do our jobs if the people don't trust us enough to ask for our help.
-Obey just and rightful authority.
Do your job, but do it by the book when you can. Work with local authorities, not against them, and remove corrupt leaders when you find them. We are all on the same side.
-Guard the honor of fellow knights.
Don't let people execute unjustified smear campaigns against fellow Griffon Knights. You don't have to worry about them deserving the bad reputation or not, because if they deserve it then they should be getting brought before a council to answer for whatever actions are giving us a bad name.
-Answer all challenges.
Respond proportionately if someone calls you out or questions your competence or capability. That doesn't mean you have to duel every would-be local tough who wants to make a name for himself by defeating a Griffon Knight, but you also must not make the order look weak, because it makes our jobs harder.
-Above all, seek the good of the kingdom and its people.
Our most important duty is defending the empire and its people from all threats. As long as a Griffon Knight still lives, so does the Emerald Empire.
Those Griffon Knights who betray the code will be cast out and hunted by their former brothers and sisters to be brought before a council of their peers for judgment. It is only for us to judge our own.