Candlelight flickered over bare stone and filled the otherwise chilly chamber with warmth. A knight in white armor knelt in the center, his sword on his hip, a heavy book in his hands and his head bowed.
The others in the chamber watched impassively, almost all decorated knights themselves. Dame Blackiron stood closest to the door, watching the ceremony but alert to the danger of them all being gathered here. Lord Sonnenheim stood with Sir Ansel to Sanguine’s right, a stark combination of black cross on white and white sun on black. To Sanguine’s left stood, Sir Hezke. She was the last to enter the room and didn’t speak, but put a hand on Sanguine’s shoulder briefly as he prayed and then stood beside him.
Bishop Adeodatus stood in front of Sanguine with his hands folded and head bowed, the scripture of Dumal covering his missing eye. As all were gathered, he spoke.
“You have come before us today to swear Oaths before God. The Oath of Integrity and the Oath of Reprisal. Speak these Oaths and what they mean to you, Sir Sanguine.”
Sanguine took a breath and looked up.
“There was a time in the past that I thought deception could be excused in times of great need, when the cause was righteous and when the results were more good than bad. I have studied and gained experience since then. I have atoned for my deception. I have learned that the method is as important as the result. Even more important.
We must be honest so that others can trust us. Our word must be kept, even when it is inconvenient. I swear that I will be an example of trust and honesty going forward. I swear that none shall find deception in my words or deeds.”
Adeodatus nodded gravely. “Now speak to me of the Oath of Reprisal.”
“The Order of the White Lions has even more responsibility to be an example of right action than most. And in Stragosa, we struggle more than elsewhere. By my action and inaction, men and women have been led astray. Sir Suriel made mistakes that risked his soul. Paladins have made excuses for actions done ‘for the greater good’. This is not the way we should be. I have learned this lesson in difficult ways. And because I have learned it, I now have the responsibility to pass it on.
I swear to take responsibility for the failings of my order and see that they are corrected. I will not allow the hope that we bring others to be tarnished.”
“Well said, Sir Sanguine,” the Bishop spoke with gravity. “God has heard your Oaths. Keep them and be stronger for their swearing.” He extended a hand and helped the knight to his feet.
Ansel embraced Sanguine. Reinhart clasped his forearm. The white knight exchanged a warm smile with Kirsa and Hezke caught his eye and nodded with approval. They departed the small room together, with much still to be done before the next forum.