Knight of Tortall is a title given to a noble of Tortall who has completed training and passed the Ordeal of Knighthood. Customarily, noble families send their eldest sons to become knights, and younger sons often follow, although younger sons also have the options of pursuing studies instead.
A knight bears a shield, usually of his or her family coat of arms. They receive the title "Sir Knight" or "Lady Knight". "Sir" is never a hereditary title in Tortall; the lords of fiefs, whether or not they are knights, have the title "Lord" (if not a higher title such as "Duke").
The ritual instruction of would-be knights before their Ordeal of Knighthood lays out the duties and ideals of knighthood:
- "If you survive the Ordeal of Knighthood, you will be a Knight of the Realm. You will be sworn to protect those weaker than you, to obey your overlord, to live in a way that honors your kingdom and your gods. To wear the shield of a knight is an important thing. It means that you may not ignore a cry for help. It means that rich and poor, young and old, male and female may look to you for rescue, and you cannot deny them. You are bound to uphold the law. You may not look away from wrongdoing. You may not help anyone to break the law of the land, and you must prevent the breaking of the law at all times, in all cases. You are bound to your honor and your word. Act in such a way that when you face the Dark God you need not be ashamed. You have learned the laws of Chivalry. Keep them in your heart. Use them as your guides when things are their darkest. They will not fail you if you interpret them with humanity and kindness. A knight is gentle. A knight's first duty is to understand."
- —Prince Jonathan and Gary of Naxen instructing Alanna of Trebond[src]
As the ritual instruction implies, knights are required to behave honorably. As members of the nobility they are also bound by the rules and customs regulating a noble's behavior.
Training for knighthood typically consists of four years' training as a page in the royal palace followed by four years as a squire in service to the palace or to an active duty knight. Squires are eligible to take the Ordeal of Knighthood at age eighteen (assuming they've completed training by this age), except the Crown Prince, who is eligible at age seventeen.
Page training takes place at the Royal Palace, under the supervision of the royal training master. Most pages begin at age ten or eleven, although it is not unheard of to start at an older age. New pages are made familiar with the palace and their duties by a sponsor. Pages are part of the palace service, and perform duties such as waiting on table at banquets and running errands for any noble who asks. During the reign of Roald I of Conté pages waited on table for every evening meal, because the Court dined together. Later, when Jonathan became king this practice was abandoned. From then on the monarchs dined in private and pages were only expected to serve once every year at the Midwinter festivities, although one page always had to wait on Lord Wyldon, their training master. When serving at dinner or banquet the pages wore the royal uniform: A full-sleeved shirt and hose in bright scarlet with a cloth-of-gold tunic. The uniform also included sturdy leather boots and a slim leather belt from which hung a dagger and purse.
Pages life in a separate wing of the palace. If they have personal servants they share their masters' rooms. Misbehaving or disobedient pages have to report to the training master, who usually assigns punishment duties. Pages behaving well might be granted free time, which they may spend in the city.
Training for pages is strict and exacting. They spend half of each day on combat training, and half on book learning. Usually physical training is held in the afternoon, while the pages' mornings are spent in the classrooms. Subjects of physical training may include: staff; sword; jousting; archery on foot and mounted; weapons such as axes and maces; normal riding and trick riding; and hand fighting; shield work. Subjects of academic learning may include: reading and writing; mathematics; deportment; history and law; philosophy; study of plants and animals; magecraft for the Gifted; and the study of Immortals. Pages must also learn how to dance and play at least one musical instrument. They get so much homework and punishment duty when they don't manage to finish their assinged work that they usually don't have any free time. However, a page might be granted a free morning or afternoon, or even a visit to the market, when his conduct has been favorable. Rulebreaking, like fighting, might lead to even more punishment work and less free time.
Although there are many traditions, the training master has a great deal of discretion over how training is conducted. The training master is selected by the King, with advice from his counselors.
Pages are generally made into squires at age fourteen, although the decision to make a page a squire lies in the discretion of the teachers. A squire is usually chosen by a knight to be his or her personal squire. It is then the knight-master's obligation to outfit the squire, supervise his or her training, and prepare him or her for knighthood. The squire in return looks after his masters belongings, runs his errands and protects his interests.
Whenever knight and squire are at the palace squires also attend normal lessons, which continue and get harder. In Duke Gareth's time as training master the squires had a different hall for eating. They were also required to wait on table at evening meals. In addition to this duty, they also had to serve the nobles at evening parties after the meal. In Duke Gareth's time it as also usual for squires to live in rooms next to their knight masters'.
When Lord Wyldon was the training master, squires had separate wings for their living quarters in the palace, although some squires still had rooms directly besides their knight-master, especially if the knight-master was often called away from the palace on short notice, like the Commander of the King's Own.
Usually, a squire will serve approximately four years, or until they are age eighteen, when the squire may undergo the Ordeal of Knighthood.
Ordeal of KnighthoodEdit
The Ordeal of Knighthood is the most vital part of a knight's training. Squires undergo the Ordeal during the Midwinter Festival every year. Those who survive are knighted.
After undergoing a ritual bath where they receive instruction from two knights, the would-be knight must spend the night in contemplation, then enter the Chamber of the Ordeal alone at dawn. They are forbidden to make any sound during the Ordeal or the preceding night. Within the Chamber, they face their worst fears, and some see visions of their past, present, or future. If they are still alive when the chamber doors open, and don't immediately run away or confess to some disgrace, they are knighted in a ceremony that evening.
Knights are forbidden from discussing what goes on during their Ordeal.
Most young knights fight in the service of Tortall, but this is not strictly required. This duty may include border patrols under the direction of the royal training master. Knights are also called upon to serve in time of war.
The crown often gives monetary rewards to knights for excellent service.
Historically, daughters of noble families had the option to undergo the same training as their male counterparts and become knights. At that time about a third of the knights of the realm were female. However, the practice was banned for about a hundred years from c.340-442 HE. When this happened there already were no more female knights and the realm had too much peacekeepers; in addition to that the conservatives were in power and the cult of the Gentle Mother very popular. The re-institution of lady knights was the subject of much controversy and the discovery that a girl (Alanna of Trebond) had taken part in the education for knights disguised as a boy lead to stricter rules, including the introduction of the big examinations for pages at the end of their fourth year.
Lady knights, though nobles, do not generally make noble marriages.
List of Tortallan KnightsEdit
Including pages/squires that did not finsih their training or pass their ordeal
|Not (yet) knighted|
* denotes Lady Knights.
** denotes the years that are unclear due to the time difference in Squire
*** denotes the pages or squires that were mentioned in the Protector of the Small-quartett whose year of knighting is guessed at from the year they started training for the purpose of this table
- ↑ Alanna: The First Adventure, Chp 1 (p. 7; Random House paperback)
- ↑ ITHOTG, Chp 9
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 AtFA, Chp 4
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Alanna: The First Adventure, Cp. 2 (p. 22; Random House paperback)
- ↑ ATFA, Chp 6
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Alanna: The First Adventure, Cp. 2 (p. 23; Random House paperback)
- ↑ Alanna: The First Adventure, Cp. 2 (p. 26; Random House paperback)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Alanna: The First Adventure, Chp 2
- ↑ FT, Chp 3
- ↑ FT, Chp 4
- ↑ Squire
- ↑ ITHOTG, Chp 9
- ↑ ITHOTG, Chp 3
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Squire, Chp 13
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Random Buzz; "Lady Sabine"; April 17, 2009
- ↑ Tortallan timeline
- ↑ Squire, Chp 11
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Bloodhound, Appendix, Cast of Characters
- ↑ Alanna: The First Adventure, Cp. 2 (p. 21; Random House paperback)
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 Random Buzz; "Alanna's Children"; April 17, 2009
- ↑ Squire Chp 14