Knights of the Thorn
Knights of the Thorn
Lord of the Sun hear me as I make this vow,
I shall serve the city of Syrak and protect its people,
I shall obey its king and uphold its laws,
I shall confront evil and root out the unholy,
I shall revere Sol Helios and bring his light to drive out the darkness.
~ Oath of the Knights
The Knights of the Thorn were founded a thousand years ago to protect the empire of Enzio from its enemies. The significance of thorns in their name is much debated to this day. Some records speak of a Thorn Wall, which they guarded; others say that the Emperor declared they should be a thorn in the side of his enemies and that the epithet stuck. A popular romantic legend claims that there was an order of female sorceresses called the Rose Maidens and that the knights were originally their bodyguards, but this is mocked by serious historians.
The Knights of the Thorn are sworn to protect the weak and helpless and to serve the monarch of Syrak. They are widely respected throughout the city and beyond for their valour and honour. Any human born in Syrak may apply to join the Knights, there are no other official requirements. However some families have long traditions of service to the order and prepare their children for knighthood from birth. This leads to a greater proportion of nobles amongst the knights than in the general population, yet even so half of all knights come from the lower orders of society.
Many young warriors aspire to join the order, but few are chosen, even though fully three quarters of the order perished in the war. Only those who meet the exacting requirements can win their spurs. Such a person must be a fine warrior, skilled with a variety of weapons, an accomplished horseman and also versed in the history and laws of Syrak. Moreover he must prove himself worthy of the honour by riding out from the city and returning with proof of some noble adventure. They are often accompanied by companions who can vouch for their deeds and perhaps assist them on their quests; a Knight of the Thorn is expected to work with others and display some at least modest leadership ability. A true knight understands that Syrak cannot prosper without cooperation between the knights and the rest of the city, hence the reason why the order encourages aspirants to take companions with them on their quests.
The Fortress of the Thorn
The Fortress is a simple, unadorned building that also doubles as the city’s gatehouse. Every traveller enters Syrak through the Fortress of the Thorn. Its thick walls and high battlements are a reminder to all that the Knights are the guardians of the city.
The Fortress is also home to the law courts and Knights traditionally hear a mixture of cases from the trivial through to capital crimes. However, there are so few knights now that more cases are heard by magistrates than in the past.
Indeed the building often seems empty having been intended to house over 200 knights and another 500 guards and servants. After 20 years of war the order can barely muster a quarter of those numbers.
The Knights are led by Marshall Severus and his elderly second in command Ferrus, the Master at Arms. Novice Master Brecht is the final senior member of the order.
Baron Echinos, Lord Hanan and Sir Arioch are the King’s representatives on the northern border. Sir Falco is a renowned warrior and diplomat who is currently leading the defence against the Elves.
Sir Arkhan, Sir Rabnarok and Sir Gulion are also noted for their courage in battle and services to the crown.