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Knighthood in the Modern World

I think there comes a point in the life of every Realms knight when they feel that their knighthood is being called into question . If we are lucky that challenge comes from a fellow Realmsian, someone who calls us out in character, who we trounce or are trounced by soundly and who buys us a beer later. If we are lucky that challenge is given to us in terms of black and white, where the answer is obvious and we gladly do the right thing; slay the monster, rescue the princess and maintain our honor, unblemished. Unfortunately, we are not just members of the Realms, we are also citizens of the Real World, and I have found that not all Realms knights are quite that lucky.

Recently, a very close friend of mine was raped. Itıs not important who that person is; if you know who it is, fine, if you donıt, then itıs none of your business. From the moment that I found out about it I have been filled with the most terrifying sense of rage that I have ever felt. I am almost humbled by the sheer magnitude of anger I feel towards this person. I want to hunt him down. I want to take revenge by gutting him with the knife that I won at Queen of Hearts. I want to take away his control, his sense of safety, his self esteem, his belief in the goodness of the world. I donıt just want him to experience these things, I want to be the one to do it to him. Sometimes when I think about it, my hands shake with the sheer desire I have to wrap them around his throat and squeeze and squeeze until he is the one that cannot breathe. I donıt just want him dead, I want him obliterated so that even his own mother does not remember that she ever birthed a son. This is the hatred that I have for this person, the disgust that I have for this deed.

But I canıt do those things. No matter how much I feel that Justice would be served if this unknown person died, no matter how much I feel that an insult to a lady like this cannot go un-addressed, I am also a citizen of the Real World and murder, just like rape is wrong. I have never felt such a conflict of desires like this before. I want to do the right thing. I want my choices to be in black and white; how can I just let this rapist get away with hurting a woman that I respect and deeply love? How can I call myself a knight and let this injustice go un-avenged? What have we been working for in the Realms for so long if itıs not to right wrongs when we see them, to become better people and to safeguard our own?

Now, I think I have come down to the crux of the matter. I feel that I have failed my knighthood, failed my friend, failed myself because I could not keep this from happening to her. What is the point of training twice a week, learning to fight, learning to run, learning tactics if we canıt do anything to save someone we love when it really counts? How do I reconcile the person that I want to be with this person who is going to stand aside and let the police take care of finding him? Have I learned nothing from my time in the Realms? What does it mean to call myself a knight, to live up to standards that donıt exist in the Real World, or worse, have no meaning there? How do I be a knight in a world that does not care what I am? I donıt know. I am being challenged and I donıt know if it is a challenge that I can overcome and still be able to leave my own sense of self-esteem intact.

I need to know what it is that I can do to help her, to help myself shed this all consuming rage. And the truth is that the only thing that I can do is support her. The only weapon I have to combat what he did to her is my love for her and my assurance that I will be there when she needs to talk and when she cannot stand to be alone. Compared to the sword that I usually wield, my weapon does not seem nearly big enough. It feels as if I am letting him get away with it. Just being there for her is not enough of an answer to what he did. I think back to the oath that I swore when I became a knight, to protect the Realms from all who choose to bring it harm, and I think because I was not there when it happened, because I could not fight it off for her, that I have failed. And then I think: Queen or no Queen, knight or no knight, I cannot be everywhere at once. I was not there at the time because I was dealing with the Real World. Just as she cannot blame herself because someone choose to attack her, I cannot blame myself for not instantaneously knowing that she needed me even when I was asleep, or in another town. If my oath is to protect the Realms, then the only way that I can do that in the Real World is to heal my friend, make a space where she will be able to believe in goodness and honor again, to allow her to take back the control that he took away. For the things that she lost are the things that make the Realms worthy of protecting, and I WILL fight for those things. I will fight for her to regain herself, I will fight for her future safety, I will fight to restore her dignity and just hope that kind of fighting, that kind of answer is enough.