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 Becoming a Knight (Please Read)

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PostSubject: Becoming a Knight (Please Read)   Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:35 pm

Recruitment and Training

In the dark days following the Cataclysm, recruitment
and training for the Knights of Solamnia largely involved
training and investing as Knights the sons, and more rarely
the daughters, of the Solamnic families that had fled to
Sancrist. The Knighthood was looked on with disfavor in
most other places, so virtually no one outside of traditional
Knightly families wanted anything to do with the reviled
Orders. Once the Knights again rose to prominence during
the War of the Lance, young Solamnic men and women
became excited by the possibility of earning their spurs
and becoming Knights like their new or rediscovered
heroes, Anastacia Mercador and Huma Dragonbane. The
rolls of the Knighthood began to swell with eager new
bodies, and the few Knights that were left had
their hands full with molding these new squires into
figures worthy of the spurs of the Solamnic Knight.

Recruiting
In days past, the Knights of Solamnia were rarely
proactive in their recruitment of new Knights. They
would watch and consider all noble sons, but everyone
else admitted into the Knighthood, including
daughters of nobility, had to actively seek out a sponsor
and prove themselves to the Knights. Those days are gone.
During the War of the Lance, the Knights began
to recruit men and women they encountered in their
many travels, but they didn’t usually seek out new
recruits. In those days, most recruits came to them.
After the devastating losses in the War of the Lance,
Grand Master Anastacia Mercador changed the
Knighthood’s recruiting practices. No longer
could the Knights sit and wait for recruits to come to
them. Recruiting offices were opened in major cities and
recruiting parties were organized to travel into rural
areas to seek out potential worthies. These parties never
forced anyone to join, but they would regale promising
individuals with tales of Huma and other noble
Knights, trying to convince them to take up the life of a
Knight. These practices worked. Despite the interference of
the Dragon Overlords and their minions, the ranks of the
Knights of Solamnia recovered and were close to their War
of the Lance Strength. Today the Knighthood still uses these
Recruitment methods in order to continue rebuilding the Orders.

Training
The method by which a prospective Knight begins his
training has to do with the age he is when that training
begins.
Boys and girls who are younger than thirteen when
they and their families decide for them to enter the Orders
serve in the household of a high-ranking Knight as a page.
For the most part, this time is spent as a member of the
patron Knight’s estate or manor staff, performing menial
tasks and helping to ensure their patron’s household runs
smoothly. Pages receive little in the way of formal training,
but in their spare time they play at being knights and learn
from what they observe around them. In addition, they
are given a formal education that includes instruction in
the tenets of the Oath and Measure and the ways of the
Knighthood.

Once a page turns thirteen, he is admitted into the
Knighthood as a squire. The candidate who begins his
knightly training between the ages of thirteen and eighteen
enters as a Squire of the Crown. It is as a squire that a
potential Knight truly learns what it is like to be a Knight.
The squire is assigned to, and accepted by, a patron who
is responsible for his training. The nature of the training
depends on the patron. A wealthy, high-ranking patron
may take on more than one squire and train them all
simultaneously at his estate or manor. Squires trained
in environments such as this are rarely trained directly
by their patrons. Other Knights who are members of
the patron’s household take on these duties, focusing on
their individual areas of expertise. Less wealthy, lower
ranking Knights who take on squires will usually have
a more personal role in the squire’s training. Regardless
of the method of training or the status of their patron,
squires all receive similar instruction in the ways of the
Knighthood. They learn how to use and take care of all of
the weapons favored by the Knights of Solamnia. They are
taught horsemanship and how to fight while riding. They
learn the secrets of effectively wearing and taking care
of the plate and chain armor preferred by most Knights.
They learn strategy and tactics and how to effectively fight
both as a group and individually. Most importantly, they
are taught what it means to have honor and how a Knight
conducts himself in accordance with the Oath and the
Measure. Once a squire reaches the age of eighteen, if his
patron feels he is ready, he again stands before the Knight’s
Trial. If the circle conducting the Trial finds the squire
worthy, a date is set for the ceremony in which he will
be knighted and entered in the rolls of the Order of the
Crown.
Potential Knights who are eighteen or older must still
spend time as a Squire of the Crown. For one who has
already proven himself, this is largely symbolic. He only
spends one day as a squire before undergoing his knighting
ceremony. However, many older applicants remain squires
for several reasons. Some lack the martial skills necessary
to be a Knight. Others have little to no knowledge of the
rules of the Measure and spend much of their squirehood
in study. Whatever their deficiencies in the eyes of the
Knight’s Trial, these squires often learn quickly and are
admitted to the Knighthood within a year or two.
Even after a squire achieves knighthood, his training
doesn’t end. In times of peace, circles hold drills at regular
times every year in which all of the Knights of that circle,
regardless of rank or Order, gather in one place for two
weeks and practice the arts of war. Some larger circles
invite the Knights of smaller circles to such drills so that
the Knights of the smaller circles can gain the benefit of
training with a larger force than they could otherwise
field on their own. Larger circles will also often arrange
drills to take place immediately before or after a tourney,
maximizing the number of Knights that can take part in
both events. For Knights stationed at castles and garrisons
under constant enemy threat, drilling is a regular part of
life, as they must always be prepared to meet the enemy in
battle. It is only during wartime that Knights don’t train
regularly, for nowhere can a Knight learn more than on the
battlefield fighting their enemies.

Nonhumans and the Knighthood
In the early days of the Knights of Solamnia,
Solamnia was a country of humans with little to no
real contact with any of the other races of Ansalon.
The Grand Master, lord officers of the Knights, and
the nobles might interact with ambassadors, but
the number of nonhumans living in Solamnia was
negligible. Therefore, all of those who became Knights
in the early days of the Knighthood were human.
Vinas Solamnus and those who came after him did
not purposefully exclude any of the other races at
first; they just didn’t think about them. Nonhumans
didn’t live in Solamnia and none except kender, who
were simply ignored, approached the Knighthood
petitioning for membership. It remained this way for
several generations.

The human racial purity of the Knighthood
first came into question some 300 years after the
founding of the Order. Two nonhumans, a dwarf
and a half-elf—both long time residents of Solamnia
and compatriots of two low-ranking Crown Knights
with whom they would go adventuring—petitioned
for acceptance as squires of the Crown. Respecting
their friends and admiring the Order to which they
belonged, they wanted to become Solamnic Knights.
While the two Crown Knights thought this was a fine
idea and sponsored them, it flew in the face of what
had become a tradition of the Knighthood. According
to tradition, Knights of Solamnia were humans, and
noble-born humans at that. The two Knights argued
that nowhere in the Measure did it state that a Knight
had to be human or noble.

This incident, which started in the small town of
Relgoth, eventually made it to the ear of the High
Warrior at Vingaard Keep, an old man notorious
for his conservative ways. He had a personal dislike
of dwarves and elves, so he decreed that, because
it violated the traditions set forth by previous
generations, the half-elf and dwarf could not be
Knights. Incensed, the two Crown Knights demanded
that their compatriots’ case be heard by the Grand
Master. As this was within their rights according to
the Measure, the Grand Master, who was the previous
High Warrior and friend of the current High Warrior,
heard the petition. Not only did he deny the petition,
he decreed that it would be added to the Measure
that only humans of Solamnic heritage could join the
ranks of the Knighthood. This decree stood for nearly
two thousand years until just after the War of the
Lance.

During the time between this judgment and the
revision of the Measure, members of other races
would fight alongside the Knighthood and would
even gain great honor. A perfect example of this is
Kharas of the dwarves of Thorbardin; his name means
“knight” in Solamnic and was given to him by his
Solamnic Knight allies during the Goblin Wars in
Solamnia. However, no matter what their deeds, no
one who was not of human Solamnic stock could be
knighted.

Near the end of the War of the Lance. Lady Anastacia Mercador
Made Lady Vearauna Moonshadow an Honorary Knight of the Rose.
However, as was pointed out by Moonshadow, and others not of
Human heritage, that the measure made no distinction between
the title of actual Knight, and the title of Honorary Knight.
This would lead the High knights council to look into the measure
for guidance, and after the measure had been thoroughly
Reviewed; it was decreed that Lady Vearauna Moonshadow
Was indeed correct, and for the first time; a person of non
Solamnic and non human descent was written on the rolls
And registered in the Knighthood.

When the measure was revised, Lady Mercador used
Moonshadow as an example , and made changes to the archaic
Rules of humans only being allowed as a true Knight.
The Knighthood now allows those with at least some
human parentage, such as half-elves, to petition for
membership. While this did not sit well with some
of the more conservative Knights, the Grand Circle
approved, understanding the Knighthood’s need for
new recruits.

The Knighthood is still primarily human, but there are
now a few half-elves, and even some elves counted in
the rolls of the Order.


Quests and Trials
Questing is to a knight what bread and butter is to a
dinner table: a staple of life. For most knights, life is not all
guard duty and military drills. In fact, for those who wish
to advance beyond the Order of the Crown, questing is
a requirement. Trials are also a given part of a Solamnic
Knight’s life, as a Knight begins his career with the Knight’s
Trial. Throughout his career with the Knighthood, a Knight
will sit in judgment for others’ trials as well.

The Knight’s Trial
The Knight’s Trial is the council of Knights that all
applicants must stand before if they wish to be admitted
to the Knighthood. The prospective Knight must be
sponsored by a Knight in good standing, of at least Knight
rank, and then submit to a lengthy examination by the
council of his sponsor’s circle. The applicant is asked
questions about his family, past deeds, and knowledge of
the Knighthood. In the present day, the most important
factor for admittance is how the applicant has behaved
in life up to the time of his Trial, though at one time the
applicant’s family pedigree had a great deal of bearing on
admittance. If there are no questions of the applicant’s
honor and no dissent from the council, the candidate
swears an oath to the honor of the Knighthood and the
causes of the Order, and he vows to live by the Oath and
the Measure. He is then accepted into the Knighthood as a
squire of the Crown.

If there is a question of the candidate’s honor or
a negative vote from a Knight sitting on the council,
the applicant is further interrogated and there is an
investigation by the council. If the question of honor is
dismissed, the Knight-candidate is admitted normally. If
the point of dissent or honor is found valid, the candidate
is dismissed until the matter can be satisfied.
Once the squire has performed to the satisfaction of his
sponsor and reached the proper age if he was previously
too young, he is brought back before the council. If the
council finds the squire’s deeds to be worthy, he is knighted
and admitted into the Order of the Crown as a Crown
Postulant. Every once in a while a squire’s deeds will be
so great that he will be admitted to the Knighthood at
a higher rank.

Quest of Virtue
For a Knight to be able to advance through the Orders
of Knighthood, from Crown Knight to Sword Knight or
Sword Knight to Rose Knight, the Measure states that he
must undertake a quest to prove himself worthy of the
Order to which he is trying to advance. This is known as
the Quest of Virtue. During the quest, the Knight must
uphold the virtues espoused by the Knights of Solamnia:
honor, loyalty, courage, and wisdom.

When a Knight wishes to advance to a higher Order,
he must first present himself before a knightly council.
If advancing to the Order of the Sword, the council must
contain at least one Knight ranking as a Steward of the
Sword or higher. If advancing to the Order of the Rose, at
least one Knight holding the rank of Steward of the Rose
or higher must be present. If the council does not have the
proper membership, the Knight must wait until the council
contains the proper representation, or he must travel to the
location of a circle with the required Knights.
The knightly council reviews the candidate’s actions
during his time in the Knighthood. If his actions are found
acceptable, the Knight is given a quest. If the Knight feels
he was misrepresented or unjustly found wanting in his
actions, he may take up the matter before the council.
The Knight’s quest will not be given until the matter is
resolved. The quest is the determining factor in
whether or not the Knight will be advanced. According
to the Measure, the quest is a witnessed deed of heroism
and valor that upholds the virtues of the Knights of
Solamnia. When the Knight has completed his quest, he
presents himself again in front of a knightly council
and tells his tale, which must be corroborated by witnesses
or irrefutable evidence. If the quest is not witnessed
or there is not evidence of the quest’s completion,
the Knight is denied advancement. Advancement
will also be denied if the witnesses report the Knight
not acting within the virtues of the Knighthood. As always,
a Knight may make a case for himself before the
council to refute any negative points
that may be brought up. If the Knight completes the quest
and his witnesses and evidence corroborate his tale, the
ranking Knight of the Order he is trying to enter welcomes
him into his new Order.

The quest itself can be a number of different things.
Often the presiding knightly council will set a major
goal and three minor goals. The Knight must complete
the major goal to be advanced. The minor goals are not
necessarily required for advancement and are rarely
predetermined. It is usually left to the Knight’s judgment
as to what fulfills the conditions of a minor goal. If one
or more of the minor goals are met, the Knight is usually
rewarded in some way. Completion of the minor goals can
also help the case of a Knight whose adherence to knightly
virtues on his quest is called into question.

The major goal will always involve a journey of some
kind, as Vinas Solamnus and Huma Dragonbane both
traveled far and wide to find what they sought. At the end
of this journey will be a challenging test, such as rescuing
someone from the lair of a chromatic dragon, freeing a
town from the yoke of the Dark Knights, negotiating a
peace settlement between two groups who are mortal
enemies, or recovering an important artifact from the
monster-infested ruins of an old city. The minor goals
are things the Knight can accomplish during his journey
to or from his main goal. They can include things such
as assisting a farmer with his crops by procuring new
seed for him to plant, defending travelers against raiding
bandits, acting as an impartial judge in some type of
dispute, or facing a worthy evil opponent (one whose
Challenge Rating is equal to or greater than the Knight’s
character level) in single combat.

Racial Requirements
In order to become a Knight of Solamnia, one must have at
least half human parentage. Exceptions can be made on a
case by case basis for acceptance into the knighthood
by those members of a race without human parentage;
but it is a very rare occurance.
A half human applicant will be subject to the same standards as all
other applicants of full human blood. Those whom have no human
blood in them, will be expected to perform duties above
and beyond those of the Human applicant, if they have not already.

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In the hatred of a minute. - Edgar Allen Poe
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