Questions at Court - Knighting Ceremony

As taken place Eoantos, 8th day, in 5098 (11/8/1998)

The trip to Vornavis was quiet on the whole. I found I had to introduce everyone about two minutes before actually doing it, and in the confusion and lack of preparation neglected to notice the Baron himself sitting on his chair on a dais. That was fairly embarrassing and stupid, but moving on after promising myself I would next time wear my spectacles, all were introduced and then the Baron introduced his guest, Lady Danalla Ba'Thira who we know better as the hapless young lady who was destined to marry against her will and who found her way to Brigatta not so very long ago. Folks will be glad to know that she is safe and apparently thriving in Vornavis. Danalla then admired the Lords in our midst.

Jecquelynn made a report of our preparations in the Landing for the invasion, and asked if he would knight more of our members. He asked what qualifications they had to be knighted and she introduced each of the candidates as Malwind listened.

Then he said, "Lords and Lady, your presence here is testimony to the regard in which others in your order hold you. Given your years of experience, and the conditions under which you've practiced your profession, I have no reason to doubt your martial capabilities or to fear that they may be insufficient for one of chivalric rank.

"Therefore, your time here today will be spent in a demonstration of those other qualities which may set a knight apart from his peers - the poise, wisdom, and judgement - which are often pivotal in a knight's success in the world beyond the battlefield. Granted, the vast majority of your time is spent in mortal combat with any of an assortment of foes, but in your capacity as knights, it is more often your conduct off of the battlefield that creates your reputation and marks you.

"Which brings us to the task at hand... Since imaginary situations are rarely relevant, I will describe the circumstances and conduct of several knights who enjoy their rank by my hand. Your task will be to answer the question I put to you concerning how I view them presently. If my explanation is unclear, let me continue, and I am sure you will understand as we proceed.

"First example: A knight in service to me, Sir Torsal, was returning from a journey made in service to this barony, when he happened upon an unfortunate village on the eastern border of Vornavis. Having recently been looted by Jantalaran troops, he found they were largely without food and had been left in a miserable state. Cleaving dearly to the chivalric duties of largess and mercy, and thinking also of his duty to me and those under my charge, he promptly sold his mount, his armor, and everything of value that he possessed, and used the monies to purchase food and necessities of life. Within the day, he returned to the village, and bestowed these gifts upon them. The villagers rejoiced, praised him, his generosity, and also my name, and resumed their lives. He returned to me, and informed me of all he had done.

"Second example: Another knight, Sir Malcor, on patrol along our northern border, encountered a band of orc lords. They had in their company, as a captive, a lady-in-waiting who had been journeying from her family's holding to this court. Threatening the orcs resolved nothing, since they countered that any harm done to them would result in the young lady's death. At least one of them would see to it that her life was ended if Sir Malcor attacked them, and there was no way he could hope to slay them all before one of them killed her. Recognizing that he could not turn his back upon her plight, he made the orc lords an offer - he would guarantee their safe passage through my barony as long as they promised to release her unharmed first, and also they could not attack anyone during the course of the passage. He also vouched that he would not attack them after the passage was completed, assuming they did not violate the agreement or re-enter the barony, nor would any other knight of this barony for a span of three days. When the passage was completed, he returned to this court and informed me of all that had transpired. I did, however, have occasion to hear of the situation prior to his return.

"Third Example: A third knight, Sir Borgill, while patrolling the northern shoreline was approached by a boat load of seawolves, who had taken a perfume merchant captive. Sir Borgill offered his own freedom in exchange for that of the merchant, and the hapless merchant was set free. The merchant returned here to Vornavis, apprized us of the situation, and I was able to ransom Sir Borgill shortly thereafter."

"Fourth Example: Several months ago, another knight - Sir Cemb - for reasons known only to himself, chose to attack Kai, a deity of some renown - as most of you hopefully are aware, within his own shrine (Kai's, not Cemb's). Cemb actually succeeded in "slaying" Kai. As one might expect, word of such a performance also reached this court.

"My questions to the candidates are, again, in connection to my present regard for these knights. Although, I do find myself one question short."

"Well..." Danalla said at this point. "Perhaps a song?"

"A knight isn't usually called upon to serve as a bard," the Baron replied.

"About me?" Danalla continued. "That would be so chivalrous indeed"

"A fitting test."

And so it was that Lord Hyoko was chosen as "bard" to no one's real surprise, while the other folks were to answer the questions the Baron put forth. The Baron gave Hyoko until the end of the questions before his song was to be done.

The Baron turned to Waldo then and said, "Lord Waldo, in reference to the first knight I spoke of, Sir Torsal, what to you believe to by my regard for him at this point, and why? He is the one who sold his belongings to feed a ravaged town."

Lord Waldo replied, "I believe you regard him well, for he has helped those in need, and sacrificed of himself to make them whole again, to the greater glory of his lord, and those of the land."

Malwind nodded and said, "I see." He turned to Lord Brinn then. "Lord Brinn, how do you believe I presently view Sir Malcor, the knight who rescued a young lady from a band of orc lords?"

Lord Brinn replied, "Well, in some ways, your regard for him, I think, would be high, as he freed the lady, which is a positive result. However..... I would think there might be some disappointment on two fronts. First, that this band of orc lords, having achieved the rank of lord, may well have agreed to a challenge of personal combat for the freedom of the lady. Secondly, while the lady is freed, the orcs have been allowed to pass through your territory, not a good thing, and into a neighboring territory, also not a good thing. It would seem to me to be bad to allow the perception that orcs were allowed free traverse of your territories. But the end result is positive, I believe, Milord."

The Baron nodded again then said, "Thank you for looking beyond the obvious."

He looked then to Lady Wanton and said, "Lady Wanton, what do you believe is my current regard for the third knight mentioned. The one that traded his own freedom for that of a merchant."

Lady Wanton replied, "Well, trading your own life to save another person's life. That was seem obviously honorable. However... You did have to ransom him.. which cost you. While if the merchant guild had been called, they would have undoubtedly ransomed one of their own. All in all though, I cannot see how Sir Borgill could have done any differently... Since battling the seawolves would have possibly lead to unnecessary deaths. I would assume you regard him as highly as ever."

The Baron nodded once more and said, "In each case, the key to my question has been, to look upon the knight's performance from the point of view of the one he serves. The first knight, rendered himself temporarily of no use to me, by selling his belongings. Since the town didn't move anywhere, it was raided again in a few days, and all he had done was removed. So his choice of actions simply rendered him useless to me until I was able to re-equip him.

"The second knight, was not thorough enough in the oath he extracted from the orcs. During their sojourn through my barony, they fouled sources of drinking water and abused livestock. To the point that I am give to understand the young lady will no longer eat meat raised in this barony. She was sent to this court before the journey was over, a act of belated good judgement on the knight's part.

"The third knight ransomed himself for a perfume merchant. I would have been happy to endure the cost for an armorer or a weaponscrafter, but perfumers are of no interest to me right now.

"In each case, the knight's view was too small to serve me to their fullest. They thought first of themselves and never of the larger situation which did in fact impact me."

He turned to Lord Cemb then. "Sir Cemb, how do you think I currently regard you, given your actions in Kai's shrine, and why?"

Lord Cemb says, "I think you hold me in high regard."

The Baron paused a long moment then asked, "And that is all?"

"I defeated an invincible warrior, who many have fought before, but no one has beaten, thus strengthening the view of the Landing, and thus your lands as well. If I hadn't have won, nothing would have been lost. "

The Baron said, "Once again, my view is based upon the welfare of this barony and myself. If this war goes badly, and I am forced to seek aid from a deity, Kai in particular, what do you think his response will be to the man who knighted one who slew him in his own shrine?"

"I think it will be more powerful, as he welcomes mortals to challenge him, if he hadn't have wanted me to win, he's a god, he didn't have to let me win."

The Baron nodded once more. "A good answer, but not one that I am comfortable with."

"Or certainly he could have taken his revenge on me if he was beaten by me by some mistake of his. Which he has yet to do." Cemb replied.

The Baron continued, "I can see him saying, "Hmmm, if this war is indeed going badly, perhaps we should let his enemies overrun the town and we will step in once this baron's line is wiped out. We must be able to find someone with better judgement to rule a barony."

Lord Brinn then asked, "Your Eminence, if I might speak?"

The Baron nodded his approval.

"My Lord...." Lord Brinn began.

"I have no love for the gods, he had beaten me before, you would rather I go get spanked by him again?" Lord Cemb interrupted.

"I do not seek to sway your opinion here," Lord Brinn continued. "As a Baron, your discretion is surely above my reproach. However, I would like to inform you of other related events that may weigh in this matter, so that you may view these events from as enlightened a view as is possible."

Again the Baron nodded.

"Sir Cemb has had a long and renowned career in the Landing which cannot be summarized with this singular event. He has helped many and counseled many more. He has stood by the Order while many others have stepped away. And he has also been dealt with regarding this matter within the Order, and has come through all of that well. Surely facing such an act and such determinations bravely without cowardice or pettiness shows something more of the stuff of a man than a completely smooth career. In my humble opinion, while I cannot support this action of his, I do hold Cemb in good regard, and believe I am not alone in this thinking." He bowed then as the Baron nodded. "Thank you, your Eminence."

The Baron turned back to Lord Cemb then. "Sir Cemb, while your answer and that of your companion reduce my concern to a degree, still the potential that your action places my barony and my family at risk is something I cannot ignore. If at such time as I see that potential being realized, I will offer you a choice of performing an act of contrition, or being exiled from this barony for the rest of your life, natural or unnatural as it may be."

"You place your Barony in the hands of gods alone? And not in those that have sworn to you?" Cemb asked.

The Baron replied rather coolly, "Bear your situation in mind, Sir Cemb." Then he looked to Lord Hyoko. "Lord Hyoko, have you risen to your challenge?"

Lord Hyoko replied, "I hope so, honorable Lord Dunrith. I hope that my song may raise the spirits of those here, as well. I have composed five verses in Lady Danalla's honor."

He smiled then began this song:

"A lass, quite fair, perchanced to come
Upon the shore of Wehnimer's
To seek asylum from a fate
A marriage, not a choice of hers."

"At Hearthstone, there, some friends she found
Who gifted her, afore she fled
And ne'er were we to find her then
For her we feared, the worst we dread."

"And now we've come to Vornavis
A land of honor, and we see
Our hearts are doubly lifted now
To find Danalla here safely."

"To gaze upon this Lady fair
With hair of night and soft of skin
She has become magnificent
A heart she chose, she'd surely win"

"I finish now, my words fail me
I choose to stand and gaze instead
Upon nobility and grace
Lady Danalla, one well-bred."

After much applause the Baron said, "Very fine. And composed under constraint and distraction. Well done."

The Lady Danalla made reference to her willingness to be saved by Lord Hyoko any time he so chose, then the Baron finished with, "Thank you all for your time and for making the trip. Given all considerations, I must give some thought to the candidates you've presented. I will make my decision known to you when I have reached it."

We came home and our after remarks in the Holding were cut rather short by one of the many non-threatening temporary rifts in the lands and a slight memory loss.

The result of our trip to Vornavis was that the Baron came to the Landing to visit us. He had pondered how the Gryphons had answered his questions and he had come to a decision while visiting us several days later in our own city. We extended every hospitality. That event is transcribed in Malwind's visit to Wehnimers.