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Old 11-10-2012, 07:19 PM   #1
The Oracles
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Default (04) Knighthood

For those on the path to knighthood, boys begin their training as pages at age 7, usually in a household other than their own (though some lords may choose to keep their heirs close to home). At age twelve 12 they become eligible to be taken on as squires to true knights. It is very, very rare that anyone will be knighted before they are 16, and most will be knighted following some act of valor or some show of courage.... or their on their 21st nameday, whichever comes first.

Note that almost every noble boy will receive some kind of weapons training, whether or not he is formally set toward knighthood- unless he is unable to for some reason such as illness or infirmity.

From the beginnings of their boyhood training all the way through their years as a squire they must train in horsemanship, the sword, shield, mace and morningstar, spear and lance. If fostered or raised among nobility, the boys will also learn courtly graces, dancing, feast etiquette and favored games of chance. They may or may not be taught to read and write as well, though if they are destined to become lord of a larger city this is most usually the case. Oh, and they have to clean those weapons and armor too, plus tend the knights' warhorses. A frequent punishment for impudent pages and squires is to give the castle grooms a day of rest while the boys have to clean out the stalls. Other options include making them sleep with the dogs in the kennels to ensure the dogs don't hurt one another fighting. Ah, childhood.

It is not necessary to hold lands to attain knighthood- technically any knight may make another knight- but while soldier need not be a landowner to achieve knighthood, serfs are barred from becoming anything other than a footsoldier. MORE ON COMMONERS IN MILITARY SERVICE HERE (link [coming soon]).

However, a title of Ser does not buy dinner, nor provide shelter from the elements. More importantly that title does not pay for armor, buy a charger, or conjur armor from the air. Thus many common sellswords who have distinguished themselves in service to a particular lord or ruler may be knighted and be called Ser, yet remain landless and often penniless. These are often called "knights errant" or if one wishes to be a bit less poetic about it "hedge knights" because they are sleeping beneath hedges along the roads.

Make no mistake: armor is costly even in Edolon. Some poor soldiers may still be found wearing cheaper mail or studded leather, their iron only a facing over copper, and trained warhorses are even more costly than the armor. Merchant families who manage to get a son knighted might near beggar themselves just providing suitable armor, horse and weaponry- and some noble families have just as much difficulty in this. For these reasons, a squire being dubbed a knight will often receive gifts from his mentor as well as his family: some pieces of armor, a saddle, some other knightly accoutrements; but the traditional token of having earned knighthood is a gift of spurs.

Knighthood attained on the battlefield is somewhat different from one granted in the course of a squire's training- instead of ceremonies, spurs and gifts it is often simply a knight tapping the squire on the shoulder and giving him a blow to the cheek and telling him to rise as a knight. His armor and horse will likely then be taken from the spoils of the battle and thus he is set up to begin seeking his fortune and perhaps a grant of land somewhere. He may also profit by taking knights of the opposing side captive during the battle and forcing that knights lord or family to pay a ransom for his release.

Another way of making a living as a knight is to enter tourneys, specifically melee or combat tourneys, which are made as a mock battle. Regardless of who is named champion, the fighters will strive to take 'captives' or force another knight to yield to them. If a knight yields to his opponent then he must pay a forfeit to them- usually in coin but he may also give up his armor, horse or other goods if he has no money to give.

When a knight deems his squire worthy, he will announce it to the household and at a set time will take the young man to the temple where the boy will spend the night praying to his chosen deity, and may receive only other knights as visitors throughout that night as they must keep him from sleeping. The next morning, the household will gather in the chapel or temple and the boy will kneel before his knight. He will be asked to swear to uphold the tenets of chivalry one at a time, and must affirm each one by turn. The knight taps him on the shoulder with the sword, gives him a blow to the cheek (anything from a light slap to a full punch) as a reminder to remain humble, and then orders his new fellow knight to rise.

Obviously, the ceremony is extremely abbreviated if the knighting happens in the midst of a war or after some battle but if the boy in question is of noble birth some token ceremony may be arranged once there is time.

"So many vows...they make you swear and swear. [...] Protect the innocent. Defend the weak. Respect the gods. Obey the laws. It's too much. No matter what you do, you're forsaking one vow or the other."
-- Jaime Lannister, Game of Thrones by GRR Martin
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