Mark of the Knight
Chapter I - Secrets
They drum upon our borders,
Endless as the Night Sky,
Never wavering in their blood-lust,
The Darkspawn come for us.
But we are the Defenders,
We protect our people with our lives,
We stand as the final line between life and death,
We are Knights.
Against all odds, we stand,
Against fear, we stand,
Against hopelessness, we stand,
Against the Darkspawn – We stand.
We will never falter,
We will never wane,
And we will never fail!
A plaque sits embedded into the wall of the academy, right outside the door for all to see who enter the gateway. It reminds everyone who attends Knight training what it means to be a Knight and the courage and sacrifice that every single one of them must give for the rest of the kingdom to live on. This same plaque that states the Knight’s Creed also sits right outside of the classroom meant for special individuals, people who have been blessed with the ’Mark.’ Beyond the oak wooden doors is a setup that differs from most other classrooms.
Normally, classrooms are setup with rows of mats when instruction is given while the room is outfitted with dummies, planning boards, and history lessons while the backyard court is given to teachers for hands-on training. The newer students see more instruction and books then those in higher classes, however and spend more time on theories and observations then actual training. Classes end up being noisy, filled with debates, discussion, and general yells as they swing swords, plan attacks, and discuss battle techniques. On top of all this, the classes are normally split three ways into the various divisions after the first year to give and focus on more specialized training that a student will be given.
When it comes to those that have the ’Mark,’ they experience a completely different world. There is no separation between divisions on the higher floors, completely dedicated to Marked Squires. They get their own dining hall and their own living quarters away from the rest of the Knights and instead of several separate classrooms, they are ushered into one large area that has many things the other classes have – dummies, books, boards, maps, and so on. It’s much more personal and comfortable though, having clashes of custom couches and chairs made by commoners, donated by the royal family, and made to feel a lot more like a home then a classroom.
There aren’t many Marked Knights – there never have been many, but this morning as the pulse of magical energy provided by the Crystals rings throughout the halls to alert them that class is about to start, no one is there just yet. It has a warm, lived-in feeling however, despite the lack of souls. Below, sounds of the students of the ’normal’ echo through the floor as cheers and yells give a general feel of excitement. This is your final year; you have learned basic tactics and swordsmanship, archery, and tracking just like any other Knight graduate, but this year is the first true introduction to your Marks.