Friday Lore Post: Famous Knights

Throughout the illustrious history of the Dolovin Order of Knights, there have been many dozens or perhaps even hundreds of knights who have distinguished themselves through great feats of heroism, great acts of bravery, or profound moments of stupidity that history would later remember as one of those first two things. The reader is referred to the bibliography for a full account of books in which those stories can be found. What follows is a list of five of Dolovai’s most famous knights, who serve as examples for what the order can be.

Sir Dewey the Small: The fifth knight commander, Sir Dewey is often lauded as the best fighter the order ever produced. He is known never to have lost a fight even against people considerably larger and stronger than him (which was most people, as his epithet is, in fact, a comment on his stature), either with weapons or barehanded, and was even a champion wrestler until his death at the age of ninety. He is the historical author of the training drill manual used to train students today, though his actual authorship of that document is in question. Sir Dewey’s most famous exploit is his defeat of the orc king Rack in single combat, despite Rack being eight feet tall and in possession of a blessed warhammer that could rend the earth. This defeat, and the subsequent defeat of Rack’s ten equally strong sons at Dewey’s bare hands, is what repelled the orcish invasion of DN 1214 and is responsible for a nonaggression treaty between the Dolovin monarchy and the Amaran orc clans that persists to this day.

His Highness Sir Gavin III: Before he was King Gavin III, this Dolovin monarch was also Sir Gavin, a steadfast and loyal knight. Known to be a prodigy, Sir Gavin was made a squire far younger than most, but then took eight years to be anointed, which many whispered was because his father, King Grant IV, who was also an anointed knight, intentionally held Sir Gavin back, presumably to protect him from battlefield harm during the ongoing civil wars stemming from House Ovelmach’s rebellion against the throne. Sir Gavin is held up today as an exemplar because he is known to have squired for his father and very publicly did his duty in upholding the order’s squirely traditions. Of course, this exemplar also allows the order, and any others who hear the story, to make ribald comments about monarchs, which is always a popular pastime, especially when those monarchs were also rumoured to be illegitimate. Outside of his incestuous sexual exploits, however, Sir Gavin is also known for winning several decisive battles that swung the tide of the conflict in the crown’s favour and ultimately ended with the surrender of all rebelling factions. Many historians point out that he also engaged his son Grant V to the daughter of a rebelling house, which is what actually stopped the war, but the battles were also helpful. Sir Gavin was not the only royal to serve as a knight, nor is he the only royal to have ever been knight commander, a position he held for fifty-one years (meaning that in the order he outranked his father for nine years), but he was the only person to ever serve as knight commander and monarch of Dolovai at the same time, which he did for forty-two years.

Sir Priscilla the Dragoneater: Anointed in DN 897 before the order was as formally established as it is today, Sir Priscilla the Dragoneater is the archetype of the dragon-slaying knight that stories are written about. She is known to have slain two dragons before being anointed, and indeed was anointed because of that feat, possibly in the hopes that she would be helpful in Dolovai’s ongoing war with Porean. She wasn’t, but she did go on to slay no less than a dozen more dragons over the course of her career as a knight, rescuing at least six different princesses, including all of King Matthew II’s daughters, from different dragon kidnappings in the process. She never told anyone the secret to her success, but the poetry she wrote when she was older seemed to imply that the secret to killing dragons was to simply stab them a lot until they died. Stories about Sir Priscilla always include her living up to her epithet and eating parts of the dragons she has killed, which was purportedly one of the things that gave her such great fighting prowess. Of course we must realize when reading Sir Priscilla’s stories from a modern perspective that many of the tales of her slaying and eating dragons, often just for fun, are quite insensitive and exist in a space of centuries of racial violence between humans and dragons, and though she is a legendary figure in Dolovin history, we as modern people should remember our own history and be cautious of spreading such potentially harmful tales uncritically.  

Sir Todd Griffonbait: Also known as Sir Todd the Squire, the Griffonbait was a young knight who ‘showed no particular aptitude or promise’ according to an official assessment of capabilities from DN 1794 when he entered the order. Rather than squiring for the traditional two years, Sir Todd was a squire for ten years, passed around between different mentors, who all tried to make a proper knight out of him. He was finally made one in DN 1805 when, as part of the honour guard for King Godric III on his famous trip to Yavhore, the party was beset by griffons, terrifying creatures who, despite being mammals, act like birds. Realizing that their party was going to be overwhelmed and carried off to be eaten, Sir Todd embarked upon a brave plan to lure all the griffons away and was himself carried off. Since that time, griffons have not attacked anyone passing through the Sevoshi Desert. This of course is not true, but it is true that griffon attacks have gone down in the last two hundred years, likely the result of increased domestication of griffons by harpies in the Yoile Range. The order often tells stories of Sir Todd as motivational material to ensure students and squires that anyone can achieve greatness in the order. He is, however, most famous because of the popular ballad “Sir Todd Griffonbait” which was written about his life by famed bard Logan Lighttooth. The ballad is a lengthy one with over two hundred verses, over half of which are about Todd’s experience as a squire being passed around the order for sexual purposes. Almost all the rest of the verses are about Todd being gangbanged by griffons. Some versions of the song also include a sex scene between Todd and the elderly King Godric. The song is extremely amusing and catchy and anyone who has ever been in an inn has likely heard at least its chorus, with the famed refrain “He’s Sir Todd the Griffonbait, ne’er learned to masturbate; squired for near every knight, had his holes filled day and night; scared of beasts from sea and sky, now he is the griffs’ cream pie!” Though most people would likely prefer not to imagine a terrifying bird-like animal engaging in sexual congress with an unsuspecting knight, this is the image of Sir Todd that has solidified in popular memory, and thus Sir Todd’s reputation lives on.   

Sir Victoria the Queenmaker: Some Dolovin histories argue that there would be no House ven Sancte without Sir Victoria the Queenmaker, the personal bodyguard to Queen Geneva the Saint, the progenitor of the ven Sancte monarchy. She was a general in the last ten years of the Flame War and the momentum of the war shifting in its final days is completely attributed to both her tactics and her skill as a fighter, though her charisma and talents as a leader are also regularly noted. Though Queen Geneva was a well-known pacifist who, as monarch, was only interested in rebuilding Dolovai after the ravages of the fifth wave of the Flame War, a curiously large number of her political opponents died as a result of mysterious and random acts of violence before and during her reign. It is believed that Sir Victoria was responsible for these deaths, taking her position as the queen’s bodyguard very seriously and heading off threats before their having heads could become threatening. More importantly, she is also believed to have been the one who organized the assassination of King Pascal Highquail XI, also known as Pascal the Sage King, who was later incorrectly claimed by House ven Sancte as Queen Geneva’s uncle. Queen Geneva famously never married and had only one son, but it is widely assumed that Sir Victoria was her wife in practice if not in name. It is therefore not an exaggeration to say that Sir Victoria was an integral figure in the creation of House ven Sancte as a monarchial dynasty, and therefore Dolovai as a modern kingdom.

From “The Definitive Atlas of the World, Vol. 5: Histories and Mysteries,” by Pascal Tiberius Naoton Quimbell Haeverine anNatalie, published in White Cape in DN 1997, with thanks from the author to Sir Ox “Owen” the Dauntless for his assistance carrying several heavy history books for research purposes.

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