When I was growing up, I loved the stories about the knight in shining armor – riding in like the wrath of God, descending upon the villains, and laying them to rest. It was not about saving a damsel in distress either, though that was usually a perk to most of the stories. The true appeal was that the knight had been through trial after trial, suffering hardship after hardship. Through sheer will, tenacity, and the never say die mentality, they conquer the odds in the end. The knight would not accept accolades – it is not in his nature. To him, it was satisfaction of doing what was right no matter what obstacle stood in his way. No matter who turned their backs on him, or told him he was insane for trying, he would march forward knowing that an evil committed cannot stand.
He was more than human – not because of any special powers or abilities, for he had none of those. He was more than human for he stood for more them himself – even when it cost him everything. All too often were his deeds taken for granted, and his best efforts mocked by those comfortably living without fear under his efforts. He is vigilant; hoping on one hand that trouble does not come, yet on the other welcoming the challenge. He knows that the world is mostly good, yet there are those out there who would take advantage of the common people’s ignorance.
His greatest weakness is not a physical threat or enemy – those he is more then capable of meeting and crushing. His greatest threat is his king seeking to use him not to protect his people, but the Kings wishes for expansion and ambition. Such times call a knight to make a choice – serve the people, or the King. Matters get far worse when the King convinces the people that such crusades are righteous and necessary. When the knight then balks at the subsequent commands, he is either mocked by the people, or labeled a traitor. It is during such times that the knight will start to question whether the people are worthy of his service. His questioning becomes even harder when the people themselves turn on him.
The knight will fall into obscurity should he give up during such times – loathed by history as the one who refused to serve his king and therefore the people. A knight becomes a hero however when he persists against such odds knowing that his duty to the people outweigh his duty to the crown. The heroic knight will bide his time as best he can – for he cannot directly go against the king who enjoys widespread support from the people.
Yet eventually – after enough time has gone by, the people will start to feel the damaging effects of the Kings ambition, and will call out against it. The king will then use favors to maintain the base of those loyal to him, and force to maintain the support of everyone else. It is during these times that the knight must start instilling in the people the idea that the kingship has failed them, and that if they are to survive with any freedoms at all, that they must rebel, for the knight cannot act alone. If the people fail to rebel, choosing servitude over freedom, then the knight is helpless and can no longer protect them. If the people do rebel however, then the knight will become the hero, and take a stand against the tyrant.
The knight knows he is just a man. A driven, wise, and strong man, but a man nonetheless. He knows that even though those around him are not knights, that they share this in common with him. He knows that the makings of a hero lie not with title, but in the heart of the individual. He knows that anyone who wishes could become a hero – all they have to do is try. He knows that not everyone will make that choice, but is okay with that knowing that a land of heroes never lasts very long. So all he asks, is for people to gain wisdom, take a stand when the time comes, and when he gains their freedom back, help him get back into the real world.
As I grew I became acutely aware that knights are rare. People are either to busy in life’s daily routine, or hypnotized by the kings flowery rhetoric. I also have become aware that most people do not know freedom anymore because they have never truly had it – it has become and unknown and thus great apprehension is shown toward it to varying degrees. Yet the knight knows it, and their fondest wish is to see the people enjoy its benefits once again. For fear of becoming a tyrant, the knight would never use force toward that end. He must wait for people to realize that dream, and want it. This is why so few knights are left. It is hard enough to move forward in a meaningful manner – even harder to break through a mediocre existence to continue toward that – and who wants that?
We need more knights. Everyday people who are tired of the kings ambition at the expense of the people. People who study enough to know how to move forward without dooming a future two steps back. People who have the strength of body and mind to see it through.
The question now is – will enough people step forward before the Kings ambition dooms them all?