- "Under shall rule above! Under shall rule above! ..."
The gatekeepers were an organization of the Knights Academy of Sanctaphrax during the First Age of Flight. They simply guarded the academy and operated the entrances, but during the events of The Winter Knights they gained a great amount of power and threatened the very independence of Sanctaphrax.
Individuals of all backgrounds and races were accepted to be part of the gatekeepers, not just those who were Sanctaphrax born and bred. Gatekeepers wore white robes with a red logworm insignia on the front. Their exact weapons and armour varied between individuals. During their rise to greater power in The Winter Knights, new members of the gatekeepers were handpicked from the roughest parts of Undertown by Heft Vespius.
The gatekeepers were led by an individual called the Captain of the Gatekeepers, but they also took orders from the Hall Masters of the Knights Academy. In fact, they took orders only from their captain and the Hall Masters. Even the Most High Academe did not have authority over the gatekeepers, for they were a part of the Knights Academy.
Rise and Fall
The power of the gatekeepers rose high above its traditional levels under the leadership of Hall Master Hax Vostillix and Captain of the Gatekeepers Daxiel Xaxis. They effectively became the private army of Hax Vostillix, backing him up in his play for power. Before Hax Vostillix made his move and threw out the other three Hall Masters, the numbers of the gatekeepers swelled with recruits from Undertown and they carried out some legal matters on their own. Afterwards their numbers continued to grow and they gained a number of new powers and privileges in addition to what they already had.
They took up residence in the Hall of Grey Cloud and became responsible for keeping the treadmills that pulled the burners that warmed the Sanctaphrax rock turning, day and night. They treated the prowlgrins and giant tree fromps that pulled the treadmills with unnecessary harshness, and had all the prowlgrins that were unable to work killed. The quantity and quality of their equipment also improved as the furnace masters of White Cloud favoured them and neglected the basic needs of the academics-at-arms at the command of Daxiel Xaxis, backed by the authority of Hax Vostillix. The gatekeepers reached the height of their power immediately after the assassination of Hax Vostillix. Daxiel Xaxis blamed the academics-at-arms for the murder, and he rallied the gatekeepers to seize control of the Knights Academy and then Sanctaphrax itself.
The fall of the gatekeepers from power was complete and sudden, occurring immediately after their defeat in the Battle of the Knights Academy. Many of their number, including their captain, were killed, and the rest fled. Then the gatekeepers were disbanded and the academics-at-arms took up their former duties.