"I give my body, heart, and soul to the lady whom I seek. No plea for help shall find me wanting. No obstacle will stand before me. No evil will taint the lands bequeathed unto me. When the clarion call is sounded, I will ride out and fight in the name of liege and lady. That which is sacrament, I shall preserve. That which is sublime, I will protect. That which threatens, I will destroy, for my holy wrath will know no bounds. Honor is all. Chivalry is all. Rejoice, for we, the knight protectors, will be your shield." -Knight-Vigilant Traya Zannifer
Era: First and Second
First: Vorno Kahnebor
Distinctions: Silver armor with flaming sword motiff
Columns of knight protectors paraded down the wide avenues in Nerath. Dashing knights on armored steeds, pennants snapping in the breeze. Those who saw them never forgot them. Most of the Nerathi aristocracy had ties to the knight protectors. Joining the knighthood and dedicating one's life to the kingdom was a tried and true method to improve one's lot in life. It was the obvious choice for landless nobles and noble children not in line to inherit. The knighthood welcomed both men and women, although it was rare for a woman to choose the harsh life of a knight protector over the gentle bliss of marriage and children or the peace of the temple. Those who did were following in the footsteps of the knight protector who became the first queen, Ivania Dreygu.Many of the nobility in Nerath were members of its beloved knightly order, the knight protectors. Joining the knight protectors was a good way to improve social standing, a useful path for lesser, landless nobles and noble children not in line to inherit. The knight protectors included both men and women, although women were not often encouraged to take up arms. They were often posted as the Champion of the King or Queen of Nerath.The legendary training of the knight protectors at the Citadel of the Sun in Vor Rukoth was harsh, instilling in its knights a fierce discipline and code of honor that surpassed even value in their own lives. The knight protectors were said to be fearless and their loyalty to the kingdom absolute. Knight protectors held absolute power over those of commoner rank, but the penalty for dishonor was death, something a knight protector should welcome if they had failed the order.
Knight protector training was brutal and effective, and involved relentless training and honing of one's strength and skill. In addition to the history of the order, students learned proper form and breath control, and how to exercise their muscles to keep them limber as well as ascertain strength in a wounded limb, keep limbs from going numb from being bound, and even fight off the effects of magic or poison. Knight protectors were also taught to identify different types of pain, by way of determining life-threatening injuries.
Exercises at the citadel included fully-armored endurance training such as tree-climbing followed by melee training with weighted weapons. One of their most grueling tests of skill included sparring with moving, bladed pells. Students also learned horsemanship and how to care for their warhorses. Melee training provided a student with tremendous prowess in light and heavy armors and in all forms of melee and horse combat. Additionally, though knight protectors preferred to fight in armor, they were quite capable and resourceful without it, as well as against opponents who may eschew armor all together. Furthermore, knight protectors learned from cavaliers to combat mages, monsters, and worse.
The chivalric virtues were paramount to a knight protector, and they upheld these virtues in the first and second eras. Torture of an opponent, or condoning torture, was also prohibited, as a knight protector would defend the life of a hated foe to prevent their dishonorable death. It did not, however, preclude tactics and a certain opportunism. Indeed, a knight protector would have made note of an any defects or nicks in an opponent's weapons or armor and sought to exploit them.
The on-foot fighting style of the knight protector was tailored to the situation, and involved a multitude of forms given the enemy and type of weapon at hand. Duels were extremely serious affairs for knight protectors. Though enchanted items were allowed, outside magical aid was frowned upon in favor of a test of skill to the death. This was often used to settle arguments or provide satisfaction to a party's sullied honor in public situations.