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The Holy Knights of Westmarch


by Genxcat

As part of my quests to be accepted into knighthood for my clan, I was to write a report on what Chivalry was and what it is today. I am posting this here also, for I thought that the fine members of the HKW would also enjoy it. (Genxcat originally posted this report in the HKW forums)

What Chivalry Provided in the Past

When you get to the root of what it is that chivalry provided to the knights of the past, it was a uniform standard for all to live and adhere to. When you saw a Knight, you knew that they were most likely to be living by these rules, and it would give you a basic trust of this person, even though you had never meet them. In battle, the knights could trust the person beside them to protect them in the fullest, even at the cost of their own lives, knowing that even though they may have never meet before, they were brothers in honor, and all held the same ideals for life and battle. Lots can be said on how chivalry comes from the French word for horsemanship, and how it has its root in feudalism, but I think that it was this common bond among men that made it as strong as it was, to survive in legend and lore even to today.

The Advent of the Online World

Never before in history, have so many people been able to interact with so many others, behind a fog of anonymity, and this has led to a culture of people that will act in ways that they would never act in public. People have taken the freedom of the computer to allow themselves to become foul mouthed to others, with no resect to the rights of others on any level. PK players abound, living only to kill the others, knowing that there will be no repercussions to their actions. Bad tempers are displayed at all times, with profanities spewing out every other word that is typed. I am sure that you have experienced this in some way or another.

Chivalry in Virtual Reality

As gaming has progressed from the lone player on a computer at home, to becoming a member of an ever growing of online players, the rules of Chivalry have become adapted I feel to work within this virtual reality. What many people want, they find in guilds such as ours. Companions to face battle with that you can trust. People to turn to for assistance in difficult levels. Comradery that is evident in the daily posts and conversations among the members. The old codes of the knights also have one major difference. They no longer only apply to men. As is evident with our clan, there are many women that have taken to playing online, and these codes have adapted to include them into the ranks.

I think that the new codes of Chivalry for online players should list as follows:

Prowess. Seek excellence in all endeavors expected of a knight. Know the games that you play, and strive to excel at them. Use your skills in the service of justice, rather than in personal aggrandizement.

Justice. Seek always the path of 'right', unencumbered by bias or personal interest. Recognizing that the sword of justice can be a terrible thing, so it must be tempered by humanity and mercy. If the 'right' you see rings agrees with others, and you seek it out without bending to the temptation for expediency, then you will earn renown beyond measure.

Loyalty. Being known for unwavering commitment to the people and ideals you choose to live by. There are many places where compromise is expected; loyalty is not amongst them. Be committed to the groups you have joined, and be strong in service to your group.

Defense. The ideal knight was sworn by oath to defend his liege lord and those who depended upon him. He also swears to uphold the conventions of the group that he has joined. Always seek to defend our group, and those to whom we believe worthy of loyalty.

Courage. Being a knight often means choosing the more difficult path, the personally expensive one. Be prepared to make personal sacrifices in service of the precepts and people you value. At the same time, a knight should seek wisdom to see that stupidity and courage are cousins. Courage also means taking the side of truth in all matters, rather than seeking the expedient lie. Seek the truth whenever possible, but remember to temper justice with mercy, or the pure truth can bring grief.

Faith. A knight must have faith in his beliefs, for faith roots him and gives hope against the despair that human failings create.

Humility. Value first the contributions of others; do not boast of your own accomplishments, let others do this for you. Tell the deeds of others before your own, according them the renown rightfully earned through virtuous deeds. In this way the office of knighthood is well done and glorified, helping not only the gentle spoken of but also all who call themselves knights. Spread the word of your group, not just your own action. Seek to bring honor to not just yourself, but to all you represent.

Largesse. Be generous in so far as your resources allow. Share the items you find with others of you group that are new or in need; largesse used in this way counters gluttony. It also makes the path of mercy easier to discern when a difficult decision of justice is required.

Nobility. Seek great stature of character by holding to the virtues and duties of a knight and your group, realizing that though the ideals cannot be reached, the quality of striving towards them ennobles the spirit, growing the character from dust towards the heavens. Nobility also has the tendency to influence others, offering a compelling example of what can be done in the service of rightness. Remember, when you carry the banner of your group, you represent all that have come before and all that have yet to join.

Franchise. Seek to emulate everything I have spoken of as sincerely as possible, not for the reason of personal gain but because it is right. Do not restrict your exploration to a small world, but seek to infuse every aspect of your life with these qualities. Should you succeed in even a tiny measure then you will be well remembered for your quality and virtue.

Images by Mortekai