"All we require is faith, loyalty, obedience, trust, and complete and utter devotion." -Sable Bouchart
Era: First and Second
First: Sable Bouchart
Fealty: The Order
Distinctions: Holy symbols
Some warriors fight for gold. Others seek glory, power, or prestige. There are a few, however, who seek the warrior's path for reasons that transcend the material and mundane. Called by divine powers to stand as champions of the light against the ever-encroaching darkness, paladins fight not because they choose to, but because, deep within their souls, they know they must. The paladin's life is not a choice. It is a destiny.
Paladins are holy warriors, defenders of good and enemies of evil. Paladins are well trained with their weapons and armor, but they augment that skill with divine powers that allow them to shield their allies and smite their enemies. A single paladin can turn the tide of an entire war through a combination of skill at arms and inspiring leadership. As icons of virtue and heroism, paladins are a deadly threat to those who would rule through fear, intimidation, and violence.
Paladins typically wander the land either alone or in small groups. They seek out wrongs to right and villainy to defeat. Most paladins begin as squires to more experienced holy warriors. Through training and arduous tests, a squire's bravery, battle skill, and ethics are all tested to see if the squire is worthy of becoming a paladin.
Paladins become the embodiment of justice, champions of righteousness and fairness - at least as viewed from the perspective of their particular faith. They are granted the ability to shelter and protect their allies and others in need, while also receiving powers that help them do the right thing according to the faith they have embraced.
A cavalier is a paladin who has embraced one of the heroic virtues, such as compassion, justice, sacrifice, or valor. His or her belief in this virtue is so strong that it manifests as divine magic. Although many cavaliers pledge their faith to the gods, others follow no specific religion. Regardless of one's divine affiliation (or lack thereof), a cavalier's virtue stands paramount. It guides his or her actions, pointing to the best way to protect the ever-flickering light of hope and civilization in the world.
Opposing the cavaliers and the virtues that they champion are the blackguards, who embody the dreaded vices that the cavaliers stand against. Where cavaliers embrace compassion, justice, sacrifice, and valor, blackguards epitomize fury, tyranny, greed, and terror. Since the earliest days of history, these two factions have fought each other. Both wander the land, gathering allies and working to further the cause of their virtues or vices.
At one time, cavaliers formed the chivalrous Order that was dedicated to the ideal of protecting the civilized realms. The forgotten kingdom that ruled the lands relied on cavaliers to help keep the peace. Those cavaliers maintained not only the military security of the land, but also its moral strength. A cavalier might drive off a marauding troll, but she could also mediate a dispute between two farmers, break the power of a corrupt noble, or free a wrongly accused prisoner.
As with many things from the time of the forgotten kingdom, the cavaliers' glory proved fleeting. The kingdom of old grew weak, and some of their decline could be laid at the feet of cavaliers who strayed from the righteous path. All too often, cavaliers fell victim to the very evils they had sworn to combat. Power corrupts, and in many cases cavaliers served as perfect examples of how power can twist the most resolute heart.
The grand Order of cavaliers has long since faded, but their glory is not forgotten. Even as evil casts its shadow across the land, there are those who hear the call to the cavalier's path. Many of the cavaliers of old strayed from their purpose, but that purpose and the power behind it remains strong for those who stay true to it.