Knight Errant

The nobles of (insert correct country here) have long endorsed the tradition of errancy, a period in the lives of young knights immediately following their knighthood usually lasting between two to ten years. Eventually a knight settles down in one place, becoming a Knight of the Realm and will start to take a more active role in the governance of the kingdom.

Knights Errant, as they are known, are given a small sum of gold by the Lord who knights them and then expected to head out, alone, to win fame, glory and wealth for themselves. Some knights might be given a specific goal to accomplish (these are instead known as Questing Knights) but the majority simply wander the countryside seeking opportunity.

Knights Errant are always held to the highest standards of chivalric conduct, since, if they show dishonor at this early stage in their lives that hardly bodes well for when they become far more influential figures! They should of course be courteous, brave, skilled in battle, generous and merciful, although a small measure of exuberant rashness is overlooked.

An unspoken rule of a knight’s errancy is that they must always return with wealth equal to ten times the sum gifted to them on their knighthood. The manner of acquiring this wealth is up to the particular knight but must be gained through honorable means (no trading like a merchant!).

Once a young knight has had his fill of adventure he returns to his Lord with the gold he has gained and ascends to the rank of Knight of the Realm, usually with a small plot of land to manage, and has all the rights and responsibilities of a duly recognised member of the nobility.

Whilst most commoners and bards regard errancy in a hopelessly romantic light wiser Lords persist with the tradition as a means of limiting the numbers of young men cluttering up the nobility. Errancy is extremely dangerous (almost 2 in 3 knights errant perish) and those who survive are proven to be good candidates for nobility. After all there is only so much land to go around and if every son of every noble lord was given some then soon there would be none left! With a sizable proportion of noble sons dying during their errancy the numbers of new Knights of the Realm being created are limited and only those with a proven track record of competence and chivalry eventually live to hold the rank.

Knight Errant

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