Generally speaking, the classic Anglo/Francan/Germanic knight doesn’t exist in Druthal or Maradaine. It’s a trope that doesn’t fit with the worldbuilding I’ve done, despite it’s longstanding place in the genre. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good full-plate clad knight thundering on his horse as much as the next guy. But it’s not something I’m interested in putting here.
That said, I do have two elite warrior orders in Druthal, neither of which fit the traditional “knight” model. (There are also various elite orders in other cultures throughout the world– it is a common trope for a reason.) However, on some level, I’m dissatisfied with these two orders.
Conceptually, I still like them. On a basic level, they represent two sides of the same coin. One specializes in offensive combat; the other, defensive. It’s the defensive order that is the focus of Way of the Shield, with the main character a fledgling member of the order.
Also, since Druthal as of 1215 has a centralized government and a standing army, an organization of specialized warriors with no direct accountability to that government becomes problematic. The orders still stand, mostly out of tradition, but their roles in society have become obsolete. This obsolescence is a key factor in Way of the Shield as well. Dayne believes in the order, but he sees that others around him are using it more as a political stepping stone. Successfully joining the order offers a lot of social mobility. Dayne is the son of a horsegroom, and now he can rub elbows with nobles and parliamentarians.
So, what’s my problem? The names of the orders.