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The Knights of the Shield were expert wielders and manipulators of information who posed as a group of merchants and nobles interested in mercantile activities. Though they were based primarily in Baldur's Gate, Amn and Tethyr, the realm of influence of the Knights reached from Calimshan to Waterdeep, though they had little influence in the latter thanks to a failed coup against the Lords of Waterdeep.
The majority of the world, and indeed the majority of the Knights of the Shield themselves believe themselves to be only a secret society of wealthy merchants and information traders. Little do they know, the heads of their order are guarding a secret for the archdevil-turned-deity, Gargauth.
The Knights of the Shield were originally founded in the time of the Tyrant Eye Wars in -170 DR by gathering exceptional minds to defend the kingdom of Tethyr; they adopted this name from the legendary Shield of Silvam, a magic artifact supposedly created by the wizard Bardson-Ithal.
After three thousand years and the disappearance of the magical shield the order was officially disbanded when it's members were falsely accused of the murder of the king Leodom IV. However it's members secretly continued to meet. Exchanging between themselves information; soon the members started using this information in mercantile practice becoming richer and more powerful than before. So they became a secret mercantile consortium with the only objective of increasing the wealth of the members and rarely offering to induce new people to enter into the order. A decisive factor emerged in 889 DR when the Duke Tithkar Illehhune entered in the Knights of the Shield.
Tithkar had a mystical shield that he called the Hidden Shield Lord and soon convinced the other members that the shield was a gods' gift and thought it and its advice could be used by the order to regaine their old glory. Tithkar instituted the Shield Council, a secret organ with the objective of use the shield to increase the power of the order.
In the subsequent five hundred years the knights effectually gained more money and power and very affluent people were admitted in the order; they were capable of provide and take advantage of the defeat of the Black Horde in 1235 DR, Tethyr's Restoration Wars in 1366 DR-1369 DR and the institution or abolition of customs duties.
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- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Sean K. Reynolds, Jason Carl (November 2001). Lords of Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 151. ISBN 0-7869-1989-2.
- ↑ Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 74. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
- ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 155. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.