Knight

A knight is a member of a class of warriors dedicated to the defense of a land or cause.

Each knightly order has its own criteria for eligibility, but knighthood is generally granted by a authority to selected persons to recognize some meritorious achievement.

History


  • Kingdom of Erwynn adopts the practice of Knights of the Faith, defenders not tied to royal authority.

Practices


Knighthood is a martial position, and knights are expected to fight whenever there is a need for them. They traditionally fight as heavy cavalry, wearing plate armor and fighting from horseback with lance, sword, and shield. Some knights choose to fight with other weapons such as axes, hammers, and spears as well. They own at least one horse, and typically own two: a fierce warhorse and a milder horse for daily riding.

Knights display a coat-of-arms on their shield and surcoat to identify themselves. They generally wear their family arms. Those who do not have family arms, or do not wish to use them, can create their own. These personal arms often portray the manner in which the man achieved knighthood or have some other personal significance. Many knights wear large crests on their helms that embellish the theme of their arms. Wealthy knights often seek to further distinguish themselves by wearing ornate weapons and armor. Lacquered or jeweled armor and capes of exotic materials are some ways that knights can flaunt their status.

Becoming a Knight


The traditional process to becoming a knight has three stages.

Page

A boy that becomes a page is attached to a knight, who becomes the boy's master. The sons of many knights and lords are sent to foster with relatives or allies, while other pages serve their own fathers. The page performs simple errands for the knight, who in turn begins to train the boy in vital skills, such as jousting and swordsmanship. Typical training involves sparring with blunted weapons and tilting at rings.

Squire

When a boy reaches adolescence, he graduates to being a squire. Squires join their masters in war, assisting them with their weapons and armor and fighting by their side in battles. Some squires choose to never become a full knight, and live the rest of their lives as squires. This may be because the individual does not have the inclination to live a knight's martial lifestyle, or does not have the funds to properly equip himself.

Knighthood

Any knight can proclaim another man a knight for whatever reason he chooses. This usually happens when a squire reaches adulthood and his master judges him worthy of accepting the responsibilities of a knight. A man who has not been raised in the knightly tradition can also be made a knight as a reward for service. This is often granted to soldiers or other smallfolk who have shown bravery or performed a great feat. Knighthood is considered valuable to smallfolk, as it raises a commoner's social standing. Social pressure generally prevents knights from giving out knighthoods for petty or selfish reasons.

The ceremony to create a knight can be simple or complex, however, it always involves the man kneeling before a knight and being tapped on the shoulders with a sword. Ceremonies usually have religious overtones involving the Gods. When knighted, men are often charged in the name of the gods to be just and honorable. More elaborate knighthood ceremonies involve the prospective knight sitting a vigil at a cathedral while wearing a roughspun tunic to show humility. Newly-knighted men are also sometimes anointed with seven oils by a cleric. It is considered a great honor for the recipient when individuals of high status or fame perform the ceremony.

Types of knights


Knight of the Crown

  • Hedge knight

A hedge knight is a wandering knight without a master. Hedge knights are so named because they generally must sleep outdoors, under a hedge. Most hedge knights travel in search of employment and often attend jousts to make money and display their prowess in hopes of being hired. Less scrupulous hedge knights put their martial training to use by resorting to banditry. For this reason, hedge knights are often mistrusted and considered disreputable. The term "hedge knight" itself is considered disparaging.

  • Sworn sword

Some landless knights become sworn swords to other men, taking them as their master. They act as retainers for their master, taking food, shelter, and money in exchange for their services in war, should they be needed. During a campaign, lords often hire a large number of sworn swords on a temporary basis. After the campaign ends and the lord has no further need for so many knights, they are released and become hedge knights once again.

  • Landed knight

A landed knight is a knight that takes residence in a keep with accompanying land. They have their own peasants and men-at-arms, and may even take sworn swords. Landed knights are sworn to fight for the lord who holds dominion over their land. While the wealthiest knights manage more land than the poorest lords, landed knights do not have the authority to deliver justice in their land. Rather, they must appeal to their liege lord.

Knight of the Faith

Knightly Orders


Holy Orders

see Holy Order

Temporal Orders

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