Trace of Breath
A family business that has lasted for hundreds of generations, the Aegis Knights are not of noble blood, but they have always served as protectors of the crown and the royal family.
A strict code of conduct governs their lives with the first rule being to “never abandon your client.” While there have been occasions where this is necessary, they must always be brought before a Tribunal that will decide whether the action was warranted. If found without excuse, the culprit is executed and their family dishonored.
Both men and women in the family take up this prestigious responsibility, with the eldest in the family (male or female) regarded as the leading authority for the household.
Upon returning from Watchpeak Prison, Argoth is approached by a squad of Aegis Knights. They escort him with varying emotions (some very stern and cold, some accusing, others sympathetic but controlled) to the elders of the order. The ancestral home of Aegis is a sprawling manor just outside the city proper, wrapped around a mighty fortress that stands almost in opposition to the high palace of Anvar. Inside, Argoth is lead into an enormous courtroom with vaulted ceilings. Crowds of Aegis knights roar down from stadium seating and a marble dais looms high in the front of the room. Argoth is made to stand, while the three elders of the Tribunal begin to speak in turn…
“Argoth of Stormblade, of the 3rd Circle of this Ancient and Knightly Order of Aegis, you have been summoned before this Tribunal in response to your successful assignment to return the murderer known as Polycarp safely to Anvar, answering to the Temple of Bahamut for his crimes.”
“Your valiant conduct has reached our ears, and we are prepared to pass judgment upon you and your family…”
“Upon your father, Rogoth, for spurning his sacred oath of protection and for fleeing right justice, a sentence of death unless he return to stand trial.”
“Upon your sister, Isabella, for forsaking her duty to carry the family name and restore it to honor, excommunication from the order, to be stripped of the honorable name of Aegis and the benefits thereof.”
“Upon you, Argoth, for carrying out the duty that fell on your sister, honor restored!”
“You shall be given the name of Argoth don Aegis, forsaking the name of your father to begin a new family of high standing in the 2nd Circle (promotion)! Your mother, Leta, shall carry this honor with you and be welcomed and provided for once more in the protective grounds of the House of Aegis.”
“What say you?”
After a moment of silence, Argoth replies, “My… name… is… Argoth STORMBLADE! Son of Rogoth and Leta, brother of Isabella. You may have forsaken my kin, but I do not. I proudly carry their name. I serve the Order of Aegis as is my family’s tradition and will restore honor to them all – though some would still pronounce judgement upon them without a proper trial.” Argoth pauses for a minute to deliver a dreadful glare at a figure in the crowd, he is a well decorated man by the name of Elon Ishtabin – the main accuser of his family.
Argoth continues, “I would have hoped that our Order – the renowned Aegis Knights – would have come to recognize throughout the ages that there can be no honor for one, if that honor is not shared by all. I appreciate your accolades, but must respectfully decline your offer. I shall continue to serve within our Order, if you shall have me, but know this – I serve to ensure that the disgrace unjustly bestowed upon my family is never felt by anyone else in our Order again. And until my dying breath I will fight to restore the honor of my kin – honor for ALL of them. Kick me out, demote me, kill me, or let me be – I care not. Though I would be curious how outsiders would view our prestigious organization if it so easily casts aside those whose deeds do nothing but bring it glory. But I digress… those are MY terms. What say you?”
A gasp waves across the audience following Argoth’s speech. The first to break the silence is Elon, “Outrage! This belligerent pup would question the will and honor of our distinguished council!”
Mixed reactions to Argoth and Elon’s statements rise in a cacophonous crescendo until the Tribunal judges call for order by stamping their greatswords on the stone, sending thunderclaps throughout the chamber. When all is silent, save the quieting echoes of rolling thunder, they speak…
“So be it, Argoth. If you would bind yourself, and your family (meaningful look at Leta in the non-member guest box) to that of the deserters…”
“Though they be a millstone around your neck…”
“Then you shall share their fate…”
“Upon pain of death…”
“Never to return to the House of Aegis…”
“Unless evidence of your father’s innocence is found!”
With an uproar of mixed emotions, Argoth is ushered from the chamber and from the grounds. The symbol of Aegis is torn unceremoniously from his clothing and his family sword darkens, its bond with him broken.