Children of the Light
Author: Anya Valerin
The Children of the Light, an independent military organization, was founded by Lothair Mantelar during the War of the Hundred Years. It originally began as the Children being preachers of the Light, but over a time period of about hundred years it morphed into the military organization it is today, with the main purpose of defeating the Dark One, Shadowspawn and Darkfriends. They also hold the notion that Aes Sedai are creatures of the Dark One.
Like the Aes Sedai, they are not liked by many, but are certainly a force to be reckoned with in world politics.
The Fortress of the Light
Their base of operation is known as the Fortress of the Light, which is located in the country of Amadicia. Although Amadicia has a king, the Children are the true rulers of Amadicia, while the monarch handles the ceremonial duties of a ruler.
From here, the forces of the Children are commanded by the Lord Captain Commander. While based in Amadicia, the Children can be found in every country, with the exception of Seanchan and the Aiel Waste, and attempt to impose their view of the Light on the citizens. However, wherever they go, they are not treated with the respect they feel they deserve. Most of the citizens ignore them and go about their own business. However, the citizens do try to keep their distance, as it doesn't take much in the eyes of the Children to name anyone a Darkfriend.
Also housed at the Fortress of Light is the Hand of the Light, the upholders of the Light through the questioning (and putting to the death) of suspected Darkfriends. Known by the general populace as "Questioners" because of the tactics they use to obtain confessions from suspected Darkfriends, they are even more feared than the Children. They can be identified by a red shepherd's crook over the sunburst on their white cloaks.
The Hand of the Light
The High Inquisitor ranks only slightly below the Lord Captain Commander. Though command for the military originates with the council, he alone issues the orders for the investigative Hand of the Light.
The majority of the Children, from the Lord Captains to the lowest trooper or recruit, are soldiers, dedicated to battle for the Light. They face death as a part of their duty. Members of the Hand, however, rarely, if ever, risk death in battle. They serve instead as interrogators or occupation forces. The fact that they rarely participate in the actual fighting, along with their morally superior attitude, frequently earns them the resentment of the regular troops.
Known among themselves as the Hand that digs out Truth, they are more often known to others as the Questioners. The nickname, however, is seldom used to their faces. Members often act as if they are a law unto themselves, entirely separate from the rest of the Children. Although technically under the command of the Lord Captain Commander, they usually only answer to the High Inquisitor. Ranks within the Hand of the Light are largely the same as in the regular order, with the exception of Lord Inquisitors, who are equal in rank to the Lord Captains.
The avowed purpose of the Hand is to discover the truth in disputations and to uncover Darkfriends. They are hampered by few rules, and torture is used extensively during most of their inquiries. According to their detractors, they have never had an innocent subject. In most cases they know the truth they seek; it is simply up to the Questioners involved to force their victim to confess it. Their methods, and the fact that anyone at all may be put to the question, including other Children of the Light, have made them deeply feared, within the Children and without.
Any military organization, no matter how weak it may appear, has those members that perform covert actions. Covert operations allow any military organization to plan for battle, prepare their troops and if necessary, perform actions that help balance the playing field. The Children are not remiss in this field. They have an extensive eyes and ears network. Some work for the spymasters of the Children and others work for individual Lord Captains. Even within the Children, the true spymaster is not known except to the Lord Captain Commander.
Structure and Ranks
The Children are deployed as mounted cavalry in groups of about one hundred. A legion contains about two thousand mounted troops. They are led by the Lord Captain. Ranks under the Lord Captain from highest to lowest are the Senior Lieutenant, Lieutenant and Under-lieutenant. Below this is the Hundredman - one who theoretically commands one hundred soldiers. Lower ranks include the following: Bannerman, Second Bannerman, Squadman, Second Squadman, file leaders and regular troops.
Trial Beneath the Light
A Trial Beneath the Light is a form of trial by combat among the Whitecloaks, which assumes that the Light will shine on the innocent and guide them to victory. Prior to Galad challenging Valda, the practice had lapsed and there had not been such a trial in over four hundred years. The accuser must bring his claim before the Lord Captain Commander, who may grant or refuse it. Once granted, the accuser must make a formal accusation, and the accused must deny it and accept the challenge. The highest ranked Whitecloak who is not involved, or a Questioner is designated the Arbiter and begins the fight with the words
"Under the Light, we are gathered to witness Trial Beneath the Light, a sacred right of any Child of the Light. The Light shines on truth, and here the Light shall illuminate justice. Let no man speak save he who has legal right, and let any who seek to intervene be cut down summarily. Here, justice will be found under the Light by a man who pledges his life beneath the Light, by the force of his arm and the will of the Light. The combatants will meet unarmed where I now stand and speak privately, for their own ears alone. May the Light help them find words to end this short of bloodshed, for if they do not, one of the Children must die this day, his name stricken from our rolls and anathema declared on his memory. Under the Light, it will be so"