Knighthood is a rank and honor given to warriors who perform exemplary service for a Lord or to one of the Six Races in Endless Utopia Online. Those who earn a knighthood are known as Knights and are typically referred to as "sir".
Any man or woman can be knighted, no matter birth or status. Knighthood is mostly seen as a martial position, so players who do not fulfill the requirements are not knighted. A young knight's reputation also derives from the man or woman who knighted him. Receiving your knighthood from one of the leaders of a race or from a famed knight holds great prestige.
In terms of social hierarchy, knights are considered minor nobility, above the common people but still behind most Lords. The title is also something that sets lords and knights apart, lordship being hereditary while a knighthood has to be earned and not inherited. Also, the title of lord having more prestige than "Sir". Although knights are often ranked beneath lords, some landed knights may have more power, lands or wealth than lesser lords.
As it was bestowed, a knighthood can be stripped if the knight turns to be an Outlaw , or disobeys important orders of his master, or for any other reason relevant enough to punish the knight.
A player knight loses his title if he is ascended to lordship.
Since in Agea's history martial arts were more often taught to men rather than to women, knights in the past were almost always men. There was no "official rule" that determines that women could not be knights because it made as much sense in their culture as having a rule that forbade cows to fly. In other words, it was considered impossible for women to become a knight. On extremely rare occasions, a woman warrior was ascended to knighthood. Over time, traditions changed, and in recent years it's possible to see women Knights.
Occasionally, some warriors with certain level of reputation (either good or bad) may be referred to as "Knight", even though they have not been dubbed a knight. This is mainly due to their good reputation as warriors or notable deeds. This is sometimes seen through epithets.
Knights are supposed to be honorable and to follow a chivalric code. It follows several duties or commandments that the knight is supposed to uphold:
- I shall loyally follow the commands of my master or my lord.
- I shall fight my enemy with courage and honor.
- I shall protect the innocent, the weak and those in need.
- I shall be a champion of justice, against all evil.
- I shall show my enemies mercy.
Though all knights are supposed to uphold these commandments, how closely a knight follows this code varies immensely from individual to individual. It is difficult to obey one law while trying to uphold the other. For instance, if a lord commanded a knight to kill innocents: if he does, he is contradicting the third commandment, but if he does not, he is contradicting the first. There are many knights who strive to accomplish all commandments and there are those who simply ignore all of them. Between those two extremes, there are thousands of different perspectives.
Customs and Practices
In wartime, knights are the backbone of any major army, being the captains of squads of soldiers. A single knight is an elite professional soldier, with extensive martial training, wielding a fine weapon and using Aera. Most knights also wear armor. Typically, a knight fights while riding a horse, cutting through infantry, especially when they ride on a group. A knight is also the best weapon to use against enemy knights. Even a dismounted knight is worth several dozen of poorly armed soldiers with no battle experience.
During peacetime, knights prove their martial value by participating in Tournaments (though it is not necessary to be a knight to participate in a tournament unless it is a knight-only tournament). Knights also help their lord with whichever task they may command. Generally, they are given a task equal to their status, since giving a knight a task beneath them is considered disrespectful.
The importance of knights also varies from race to race. For instance, in the Draco society, Knighthood is a requisite to join the Dragon King's Royal Guard and for Fairies it is a prerequisite to join the Crusaders. In the case of Terrans, sometimes knights are named representatives of their House in the Terran Senate, and sometimes they even become the Daitoa. For the Fiends, knighthood is a simple title, and they do not put much emphasis on the title but rather in the prowess of a warrior. It is not necessary to be a knight to join the Emperor of Darkness's Imperialguard.
Becoming a Knight
Squires are also known as knight's apprentice or knight-in-training. After somebody joins a household, and if he is considered ready, he is named squires and is tasked with following their teacher, a knight. From him, they learn how to handle weapons and to use Aera. A squire may also be tasked with running errands, tend to animals, clean armor and weapons, and help him into his armor, among other things. A squire is also expected to follow and defend his master during a battle. One Knight may only have one squire at a time.
Reason for Knighthood
There is no defining moment that signifies the ascension from squire to knight. Most squires are knighted once their teacher or their lord considers that they are ready, this is generally by showing notable martial capabilities.
In rare exceptions, a commoner who proves himself a capable warrior can become a knight, therefore skipping the squire status.
Any knight can make a knight. Any of the leaders of the races can make knights as well, even if they are not knights themselves. On the other hand, Lords cannot dub knights unless that lord was once a knight. Respected people would not give the title lightly to any man or woman who is willing to say the vows.
During the ceremony, the dubber says the name of the knight-to-be and the house (if applicable). Then the knight-to-be is asked to kneel in front of the man or woman who will dub him a knight and to place his weapon on the ground in front of him. The dubber will then will speak the name of the knight-to-be and then recite an oath. At the same time, he touches the subject on the right shoulder with a sword during the first line of the oath, then moves it to his left when he starts the second and continues until the oath is over. Once the oath is over, the subject needs to respond, and the dubber then ends the ceremony saying "Rise a knight."
Types of Knights
In theory, all knights are ranked equally. In reality, however, a landed knight of a powerful lord holds more prestige than a landless commoner, who happened to be knighted after a battle.
Several types of knights can be identified:
- Wandering Knight: knights who do not join any particular house, but rather spend their days riding from keep to keep, taking service with different lords until the lords have no more need for them and sent them off. This type of knight is looked down upon since they act like a mercenary rather than a knight.
- Household Knight: those knights who have been taken into service by a lord. Generally, once a player joins a household, he can eventually become a squire and then household knights.
- Sworn Sword: those knights who follow the command of an individual with authority. For instance, the Daitoa has several sworn swords at his service.
- Landed Knight: those knights who are rewarded with lands and a keep by their master. This is typically a small keep or holding. If the knight is successful enough, he may become a Lord and inaugurate his own Noble House.
- The title of Knighthood is inspired by real-life medieval knights. However, the title is adapted so it can fit a Virtual Reality Game.