College of Knights
The ruling class amongst warriors, they are among the aristocracy. They are of noble birth and highly trained in the art of war, management, and diplomacy. Leaders on the battlefield in military formations. Leading footmen, bowmen, or horsemen they are a force to be reckoned with. They make up the majority of Army leadership. All royal and noble born sons must enlist at age 14, at which point their military service begins as a Squire. Those who stay in the military to defend those who rule, and eventually rise to leadership of their respective orders, make up the membership of the college. They are informally led by a council of Cavaliers, one for each major knightly order, all appointed by and subservient to their countries highest authority. Together they determine the rules of war.
From top to bottom the ranks within the knightly orders are:
- Cavalier- Patron and leader of an Order
- Commander- Sheriff and battalion leader
- Banneret- Constable/ Captain/ Marshal and banner leader
- Companion- Castellan/ Bailiff and company leader
- Bachelor- sword/ hunt/ gate/ horse masters and platoon leader
- Squire- sword/ shield bearer, herald, messenger, groom, agent and squad leader
The way each rank is addressed for peerage is:
- Cavalier-------- Most Honorable Sir
- Commander--- Right Honorable Sir
- Banneret------- Honorable Sir
- Companion---- Most Worthy Sir
- Bachelor------- Right Worthy Sir
- Squire---------- Worthy Sir
Their values focus on specific ideals. Above all else are loyalty, duty, and respect. Equally important are honor, integrity, and courage as well as discipline, justice, and courtesy. Though more characteristic of these men are dark humor, camaraderie, drunken duels, and a certain degree of tribalism. Soldiers may get into petty squabbles over which unit is better, what commander more effective, or the level of training and usefulness of a certain group. But they quickly band together against a common enemy or outsider. They are brothers in a large extended family. Hairstyles and colors worn are two of the many ways a knight or his men stand apart from the rest. The colors of their order, a signet ring or tattoo, clothing that facilitates motion while concealing weapons, and more come together to mark a professional soldier. Those who achieve greatness are honored after death. Typically monuments are erected depicting the knight on horseback. If the horse is rearing then the rider died in the commemorated battle. If the horse has a single leg raised then the rider was wounded in that battle. And when all four hooves are planted the rider died outside of that battle. It is customary to pour out a bit of a drink for the lost before their first sip. And if the loss was recent a full drink will be left out over night. It's believed that the spirits drink the portion that goes missing. The remainder is poured out at dawn, returned to the earth. When visiting a grave, whether a memorial or an unmarked patch of dirt, it is customary to leave coins for the dead. If you trained with the deceased you leave a copper 2 piece, if you served together you leave a 3 piece, and if you were there when they died you leave a 4 piece. Any visitor with no relation is expected to at least leave a 1 piece. The funds go to the clergy tending the grave and used to give alms to the poor. Service Awards:
- Medal of Honor- for courage in the face of imminent danger.
- Medal of Valor- for going above and beyond the call of duty.
- Commendation- for peak performance and proficiency in a given field.
- Good Conduct- for acting appropriately and following rules, no negative marks in a given time.
- Unit Citation- for a formation showing exemplary service.
- Foreign Campaign Service- for serving in foreign lands.
- Overseas Service- for serving across the sea.
- Humanitarian Service- for showing compassion and doing a public service.
- Instructor Duty- for teaching, training, or mentoring others who have gone on to do great things.
To protect the realms and defend the nobility and their holdings. Above all is the safety and security of the royalty.
They all wear medium to heavy armor. Medium armor is generally a hooded hauberk or heavy gambeson while heavy armor is brigandine or plated cuirass. They have various helms as well as armor for the arms, hands, legs, and feet to match. Shields range from medium to small, all of hardened wood covered in good steel. They carry a very diverse set of weapons. From the primary weapon of lance or spear on horseback, to secondary melee weapons such as the rapier, arming sword, flail, morning star, war hammer, crows beak, and halberd. Their backup weapon is generally a stiletto. With various horses of different type:
- Destrier or Courser for war.
- Rouncey is most common and used for travel and as a pack horse.
- Palfrey for day to day travel. Also commonly used by nobles and ladies.
- Pony is used by the Squire for messenger duty.
- Mule used as a pack animal.
Companion knights who continue to rise in rank become a Banneret Knight. At this rank they can serve as a Constable of a garrison, Captain in a city, or Marshal of the Fief stables. There is one Constable per Fief acting as direct agent of the Fiefdom. There is one Marshal per Fief acting as a direct agent of the larger Shire. Every major city will have a Captain to keep order and enforce the law. Appointed to the position upon being recommended by a noble. Given a shield upon appointment. Nominated by the provincial lord, the Knight commander is the highest military authority within a shire. As the agent of the provincial lord, he enforces his rule on all within the command structure. He is responsible for the welfare of all within the shire. Must be recognized by the assembly of Cavaliers. Nominated by at least two other Commanders, and appointed by majority vote, the Cavalier commands every knight within their order and is responsible for the welfare and safety of all within a province. Given a cloak and tabard with their colors upon appointment.
- At age 14 pages are made a squire and assigned a knight to serve and learn from directly. He cares for the armor and weapons, tends to the horses, relays messages, announces arrivals, and any other chore the Knight deems fit. During this time squires also learn the art of falconry/ hawking and hunting. Their combat training is also accelerated and formalized at this point. They learn to use all the various weapons at a knights disposal as they care for their masters weapons, even acquiring some of their own, and learn to joust with the quintain.
- At age 21, once he has proven himself capable, he is knighted and swears allegiance to his provincial liege lord. Upon being knighted he is given a sword and spurs, representing his rank of bachelor knight. He will then serve at a castle or manor as a sword/ hunt/ gate/ and horse master for no less than one year each. Once this service is completed those who are first born sons will return home to serve their fathers as heir to his title and holdings. Second born sons can become Companion knights and be given a castle or manor to run as a Castellan or Bailiff respectively. They are presented with a great helm upon appointment and officially enter the college of knights.
The Council of Cavaliers writes the rules and regulations that all professional military forces must adhere to. They set forth approved tactics, weapons, skills, and armor, as well as dictate how prisoners of war are treated.
Except when it is an internal matter for the nobles or royals to decide upon. A triumvirate of cavaliers convenes to preside over cases brought against a knight. In matters between orders or nations, one member is chosen to represent each side and a third neutral arbitrator renders the legally binding decision.
All members of the college of knights are sworn to uphold their rulings.
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