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Malkioni Knights

by Peter Metcalfe

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Knighthood is a heroic path among Malkioni societies and usually involves combining the powers and attributes of the four traditional castes (commoner/farmer, soldier, priest and lord) into oneself and wielding the combined powers for God and the good of his fellow man. Over time, the interpretations of knighthood have diversified such that most societies have their own different concepts of knighthood.

Knights are traditionally associated with Chivalry because those are the virtues that Hrestol the First Knight deemed necessary to maintain the required state of grace for Knighthood. Quite a lot of Malkioni disagree and Chivalric Knights are a minority - more about this below.

Knights have a feud with Wizards as they are the epitome of one imbued with God's Grace as opposed to those hubristic sorcerers who wield the cosmic laws as if they were putty and care naught for their fellow man. Malkioni society is often dominated by tension between these two social groups. In societies where Wizards dominate, the Knights have a reduced role or do not exist.

The Brithini (Arolanit, God Forgot, Old Trade and Sog City) do not have Knights for they are utterly dominated by their wizards. The immortal people of these places are bereft of love and happiness, and most would say real life as well. From these people, most Malkioni conclude that all God's children should have Knights.

The most successful Wizardly society is the Rokari church. There the Wizards dominate the church, deny that one should combine castes into oneself and have convincing evidence that when Hrestol made the first knights, he was really redefining the soldier caste (and that other castes received similar blessings). Hence Knights are the best men of the soldier caste.

This interpretation reaches its zenith in Tanisor where the Ecclesiarch has condemned the practice of chivalry (it caused the downfall of their kingdom once). The knights there are disciplined soldiers that recognize only loyalty and excellence in arms as being virtues. A RW comparison would be Japanese Samurai (in attitudes - not in armament!).

The Quinpolic Knights of Nolos and Pasos are actually brave soldiers-of-fortune seeking out glory and riches. Reportedly you can purchase a knighthood here. RW examples are Sir Francis Drake, Othello the Moor and perhaps even Baron von Munchausen. They may or may not be chivalrous but are definitely interested in fame and fortune.

The Knights of Vustria are the last remnants of Chivalric Rokarism that Tanisor once practiced before its Ralian empire collapsed. They are like Tanisoran Knights except they practice chivalry. They are perhaps the closest to the standard chivalric knights in Glorantha.

The Knights of Castle Coast are remnants of the knights that were expelled by Bailifies the Hammer when he forged a Rokari state in Tanisor. They reject the Rokari interpretations of Knighthood and practice a florid style of chivalry that has a camp-Arthurian air plus a touch of Don Quixote.

The Loskalmi are dominated by Knights just like Tanisor is dominated by Wizards. Their knights practice chivalry although with a heavy dose of militarianism. The best RW analogues are the Knights Hospitallar and the Teutonic Knights (but not Templars as they have the wrong association to most people's minds). Some Knights go on to become Wizards (and every Loskalmi Wizard must also have been a Knight), a practice that many see as unnatural. The Loskalmi have no problems so far and besides with the Kingdom of War on their frontiers, they reckon they need all the help they can get.

Further afield, Malkionism becomes mixed in with pagan practices and the institution of Knighthood is likewise transformed.

Carmanian Knights are actually a pagan fighter-caste. Although Chivalry is dimly remembered as a Good Thing, their religion is dualistic and does tolerate the doing of Bad Things to other people. Thus people are always nervous around these knights as they quite never know what mood he's in.

In Safelster, they have two types of knights. The most common and most visible are the ordinary knights, as most of Safelster accepts the Rokari interpretation of knights as the best men of the soldier caste. They are little more than foppish dandies on horseback adhering to some quaint concept of chivalry.

The second type are the secretive Arkati. They are occult warrior-assassins much like the post-suppression Knight Templars in popular mythology. Chivalry is meaningless to them. They prefer to conceal their status from others and pretend to be another type of person. They rule Safelster from behind the curtains and are chiefly concerned with opposing rival Arkati from other cities.

Umathela is a place I'm not too strong on, although given its wizardly nature, I'd think the Knights are second-class here. I do know that the Sedalpists, the most wizardly sect here, actually consider the Knights an unclean caste for killing people (even in battlefield) is considered most damnable.

I've mostly mentioned knights as if they were male and this is sadly true for Malkionism is full of sexist pigs. Nevertheless women can become knights or join equivalent institutions in most places (although it's denounced as unfeminine). Even Tanisor has its Joan-of-Arc types, although they are a bit of an embarrasment to the establishment.


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