Virtue turned, casting an eye behind him to determine the question’s source, before lowering his eyeline to regard the young boy tapping on his armour. The knight smiled, showing pointed teeth, a helmet tucked under one arm and the other hand resting on the pommel of his sword.
“Yes, my friend?” The young boy took a moment to process the response, and it was difficult to tell if he was starstruck, or merely having difficulty processing Virtue’s thick, Aeonian accent.
“Are you…are you Virtue? The Knight? From Tyllia’s Shield?”
The busy crowd parted round the two, flowing around them like a river’s island, the odd glare being directed their way. “You have a good eye, young man. What can I do for you?” the paladin said. He dropped his hand from the sword pommel.
“I wanted to ask how to become a knight…” the boy said, rather sheepishly. The knight had pressing business, but the oath was the oath. He pressed gently on the boy’s back as he attempted to carve a path through the crowd, and the two made their way to a shopfront, out the way of the flood of people going to and fro. The knight eased himself to the ground, his armour scraping against the brick wall of the shop, and the boy sat down cross legged in front of him with rapt attention. Virtue rested his helmet on the ground next to them.
“A knight, eh?” the tiefling said.
The boy nodded.
“Why do you wish to become a knight?” came the question, accompanied by a raised eyebrow. The boy pondered for a moment, before replying.
“I want to protect people.”
“Protect people? From what?”
“From…well, from danger.”
Virtue nodded. “A noble goal, my friend. What do you think is dangerous?”
“Well, you know, monsters. Dragons and undead and…all the things you fight.” The boy was beginning to come out of his shell, but his expression turned to dejection as he saw Virtue’s response. The knight raised a finger.
“Knighthood is much more than slaying monsters, my friend. Often, monsters are far less dangerous than ideas.” He widened his eyes to punctuate his last word, and the boy smiled.
“Mm,” he said, “Very dangerous things, ideas, very powerful. They can do great good, but also great evil.” The boy was wide eyed, taking it all in. “That is what it is to be a knight. The Oath. Do you know about the Oath?”
The boy shook his head.
“If you are to be a knight, then you must swear an Oath. An Oath to protect the good ideas, and to defend against the evil ones. Then,” he said, “you are a knight, whether you slay monsters or not. Do you understand?”
The boy nodded, and Virtue stood.
“Very good,” he said. He gave a bow, then strode off into the crowds, leaving the boy with his thoughts.
And with a knight’s helmet.