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Knight Errant
#1
Necessary Evils

I knelt there, at the altar for a long time. The light filtered through the colored glass, leaving sparkling shades of orange and red here and there on the white walls. The rays even colored my own, pure white robes. There are times where the path of righteousness offers no straight answer. Surely I know the principles. I've recited them again and again throughout my life — as an altar boy, a squire, and now as a holy warrior. Respect, Tenacity, Compassion. When you learn these three they sound like wonderful guides to life. I can't count the number of times I've used them to justify my actions, or to explain to a foe why my blade was sinking into his chest.

Prayer filled the air as others joined in with silent words from the pews. Each head as it fell — lips calling to the heavens, for food, love, prosperity, or peace — seemed to unite the entire room together. There was a harmony to faith, a way that its presence, when it mass, filled the room with a sort of wonder. Yet, today there was no solace in this experience, no answer for me in our collective effervescence. Just as there was no answer to be found in all the virtues I practiced. They seem to work in ideal situations.. But like I said, it's the situations that truly test a man... Those are the ones were I am left alone to confront the world.

There I was, praying to some invisible force as my virtuous were bending and breaking from the pressure of my confusion. To choose a path is to declare it the good in the world and not turn one's back. Paladins are not like other men, we cannot stray from what is righteous if we are to survive and live up to our expectations. But how could I choose? I meet a righteous man that day, before I let myself get caught up in these questions. A Lord Whiteshore. He spoke of a good that I agreed with. And he sounded confident in his power to achieve the good. However, he revealed to me the dark side of his ambition.

Still his philosophies were good. And he has the power to aid me in my own struggle. There are not many who would support what I am going to take underway, yet he was accepting of my purpose. And something he said stuck with me. "For each life you take, save two others, for each darkness you protect for its tactical advantage, destroy two." Could he be worthy of my time, one to pledge my loyalty to? Why is it that good men allow themselves to be twisted in this world? Or perhaps all things are twisted, and I must simply judge the most twisted of them first... Save the lesser evils for another time.

"...I donno. Y'gonna spen' time fightin' some flea when 'ere's a gian' spider-beas' jus' down th'road? 'N sometimes one "darkness" is 'elpin' fight agains' a bigger one, yeah?"

That's what the lady I met in the pews said to me earlier, Roux Blackwood. She was a Gilnean like myself, and I admit I think the universe, in its own way, sent her to me. The words that Lord Whiteshore spoke were suspect to me... But Miss Blackwood, a woman of my own culture who shared a similar home and upbringing. She understands my feelings better than he could, for she knows the problems -plaguing- our people.

For now though, I will continue to pray. Hopefully, Light will it, I can find the answer I seek. Perhaps the path has been set for me, perhaps all that needs happen is that I begin to walk it.
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#2
Knighted

Under Miss Blackwood's suggestion I travelled to Northshire. She mentioned a paladin there helping aid the people with their woes. I thought to myself that it would help to clear my head, doing some honest work with the citizens. But, it seems the Light had other plans for me, trying to will me closer to the path I needed to choose. I did not find the peaceful work I was expecting that afternoon.

As I exited the abbey a boy came running by, out of breath and dirtied with with crimson stains. He starting speaking to one of the priestesses but his mouth was moving fast and his sentences came out convoluted. I stepped forward and knelt down, resting my hands on the boy's shoulders to break his tension. After a few moments he was able to explain to me calmly the situation, all the while his body quaking now instead of his mouth. One of the Blackrock worgs had attacked him and his father, and it was not the boy's own blood that stained his shirt.

The boy was left in the priestess' charge while I ran towards the vineyards. However, upon arriving there was only a man laying in red-stained grass. I knelt beside him as he coughed, then lifted him up in my arms, "Your son is waiting for you."

The man looked up, at first surprised but then he shook his head, "No... he's still here.. run!"

I turned, unsheathing by blade, eyes scanning the area. Then, I heard the low rumblings and saw the gleaming eyes of the worg, hidden in the bushes. We locked eyes for a moment before that carnal instinct overtook him and he leapt at me, his mouth agape. I stepped to the side and swung my sword right into the beast's open mouth, cutting into his lips before sliding my blade out. In response came the monster's cries, rough voice now whimpering as he squirmed on the ground.

I swung my sword around before sticking it into the worg's chest. The blade shook but I held it firm, until the shaking stopped. Just as a sigh escaped my lips, the man's coughing returned, his voice steadily growing shakier.

"Thank you lad... Now go look after... my body." His breaths were deep, chest heaving up and down for a few moments as I tried to keep him awake. His eyes started to close. I laid his body on the grass before quickly removing my right gauntlet, revealing the scars that covered it, and the twisted, burnt flesh. I pressed my hand against his wounds, and slowly my hand started to glow. A golden gleam enveloped it, and then came a flash of light.

That evening was a rough ride back to Stormwind. My horse did much of the work, responding to my weak tugs on the reigns here and there as we moved towards the Slaughtered Lamb. My body quaked with fatigue as I sat slouched on my horse, but I could not rest yet. For a child to almost be robbed of his father, the scene kept playing in my head. Northshire was in a state of madness, and all I could think was that one man did not have the power to save it. What I needed now, more than ever, was that power.

It's not enough to be a paladin and just speak of doing good things, or just do good every now and then. Half-hearted goods save no one. That boy might die from a worg attack in a month, or even tomorrow. True good will take tenacity to achieve, and self-sacrifice out of pure compassion. For me to have refused power when it stared me in the face, when the universe offered me the chance to use it for good... was a selfish thing.

In the Lamb I spoke first with Cassius Palenix about his duties as a paladin to the Whiteshores. His convictions only solidified my decision. Finally, Lord Whiteshore met with me. Kneeling before him, I uttered my last question, "Lord Whiteshore, I have no qualms pointing my blade towards your foes and the foes of your house. However, I ask that you allow me to continue following my own ambitions and my own path. That I choose my own enemies and cut them down as I wish, never straying from the path of righteousness."

Tavren placed a hand on my shoulder, gripping it lightly, "Camniel Oxworth, I am to be your lawful liege. You will swear fealty to me, not slavery. It is my duty to lend my power to your dreams, as much as it is yours to serve. Your enemies are now my enemies. your needs are now mine. You are promising me your life. It is my part to deserve it."

When I nodded, head still bowed he lifted his arm up, "Now rise, as Sir Camniel Oxworth of House Whiteshore."
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#3
The Light of Northshire

It's a funny thing, the world. Well, funny isn't the word. Filled with ironies is closer to what I mean. Or maybe, to someone it is funny, perhaps some old god or titan watches the ironies men suffer and laughs. I wonder if normally we observe irony as it occurs in our lives. I don't recall ever having done so before, but as the days grow grimmer, perhaps mankind becomes more aware of his predicament. And young men like myself start to grow wiser more quickly, because life is so much shorter. We can no longer wait till old age to gain wisdom.

I went back to Northshire, back because I wanted to help the people there. And there is little doubt that I did. Day after day I spent my time in the Abbey. In the morning, the light from my healing shinned so brightly, it beat the rays of the sun back, chasing them through the stained glass windows. The day went on like that, till every last soul could be healed. Then, after a good night's rest, the struggle would start again. So many are effected by the Blackrock's attack. It's not just the soldiers risking their lives, but the common people who are simply trying to salvage some piece of their old way of life. All they want is happiness, and if my power can delay death just long enough for them to find it, then I've done a great service.

The people started to sing my praises. Not that I had gained some great fame, simply a high spot in the hearts of a few. Still, they would say to their neighbors, "Have you heard about the young man in the Abbey? He healed another today!" Or, "He's come to save us. He is the Light of Northshire." I smiled at first when I heard that title. The Light of Northshire. It had a ring to it, a certain weight that made me feel as if I were truly making an impact. And, by my virtues, I was. We do what good we can, no matter how little, to influence the universe. There is a logic to it, however... Sometimes it simply feels as if you are doing too little. That's why tenacity exists, so that we always think to do greater goods.

I met a Stormwind Guard the other day, a good, honest man of the Light named Kogan Hunter. He came in, just as Miss Blackwood was helping me with a patient. She was using some form of nature magic to heal him... I hadn't known she had such skills before. Regardless, Kogan entered to check on the state of things. He spoke to me for a while about the effort in Northshire, and Stormwind's attempts to battle against the Blackrock invaders. In that moment I realized the futility of my efforts. Even as I healed a couple each day, others would die. Sometimes, warriors who I healed went back to battle to die the next day. The irony I discovered was that I suddenly couldn't stand the glories that had been given to me... The title, Light of Northshire, had given me so much confidence. But under the weight of the truth, it crushed my spirits. I was saddened to know that I was giving so many people false hope... They deserved better.

I wish I could give them better. I asked Kogan if he thought it would be plausible to organize a militia composed of men ready to fight for their homes. I thought, maybe this was the next step for me to do good and help the people better than I was. But, Kogan warned me against such a path. He was certain it would not do any good, and would only lead to unnecessary deaths. There was no reason for him to lie to me... Not only that, but I think after I apologized for the more... savage Gilneans who have been giving him problems in Stormwind, he probably felt the need to be honest with me.

Northshire still needs help, but perhaps not mine. I'll continue to help when possible, however my sights are now set elsewhere. Sir Palenix gave me a mission to do some reconnaissance on a group of undead in Duskwood. That will be my next target, and I'll see what answers find me there.
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#4
"...Will I have to stay this way forever?"

"I'm not sure. I haven't been able to find a way to reverse the curse. I swear to you though, I'll find it and change you back."

"...Cam... will I have to stay like this... forever?"


Alicia

"To be sincere, I don't believe Lord Whiteshore can be saved. I believe the only cure he can acquire is that of death."

Sir Palenix spoke those words right before we went off to start our mission. A dark tower where he mentioned having spotted an undead presence. We both went in search of it, Miss Blackwood at our heels, trying to help us in whatever way possible. I started off that mission disagreeing with him. I joined House Whiteshore not because I thought that I would one day have to destroy my own Lord, but because I felt he could one day be the good, same as I.

But, as the day went on something made me understand. There are evils within people that seem incurable. Like within my sister... I tried, truly. But that madness inside her was too great. She knew it herself, and she hated that form. The worgen nature that overtook her was too great a burden to bear. I didn't want her to die.... Perhaps the pangs of hurt were great. Yes, she killed my... killed our parents. Still though, I loved her and even today do. That will never change, but she did. And I failed at saving the only family I had left, but came to understand why it's called the worgen -curse-.

Roux too has the curse, like so many other Gilneans. She tried to lecture me on how their damned race was no evil. Tried to tell me that all I did was care for my own sorrows, my sadness about what the worgen did to my life. As if she understands... It was never about me, no. And maybe if Alicia was still alive...

However, she's not. And her death has taught me all I need to know about the evil that is inside of Roux. It has always been the duty of a paladin to slay evil in whatever form it takes. Our orders killed orcs. We became the bane of Forsaken and other undead everywhere. Treating her any different would be a shame to those who came before me and dared to call themselves paladins. When the freed undead came to join the Alliance, they were rejected because of their unholy state. When the High Elves took to fel to save themselves, corrupting their natures, they were declared enemies. Why are the worgen any different? Her curse holds the same malice, so why am I not allowed to purge our lands of her kind?

... And even worse, why is it that I was sitting right across from her, blade at the ready, but I cannot call the will to cut her down. If it is my duty to destroy her kind, then why can't I bring myself to accept that she must die... That they all must die? Why couldn't I find it in myself to kill Alicia before she took our parents away? Is it weakness?

Please, help me Light.
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#5
Spoiler:
I'm somewhat back so I plan to start writing in this again (I'll hopefully be back in full force next week). I felt something missing in this character's direction so I'm changing the focus of this story a bit. Hopefully the altered direction will be fun

The Problem of Evil

A paladin serves as the blade that shatters darkness. We seek evil in all its forms and wield holy light to purge it from this world. However, I fear evil has become a more complicated thing than what it was when when our order was first created. Even a child could point out the evils of the world. The Legion is evil. The Lich King and his mindless undead were evil. Deathwing, the Orcish Horde, the traitor Sin'dorei. They must all be punished, judged by the Light for the destruction they have brought into the world.

But the belief that evil is simple can only be held by those who have not allowed their beliefs to be challenged. I was forced to dive into the depths of my piety, and to discover the complex evils that exist. I still remember my shock when Roux, in her worgen form, shielded me from harm. A monster saved my life... Yet my body still aches from that monster's claws and teeth as they tore into my flesh. The worgen's nature is evil, yet some try to force that evil to be a tool of the greater good. My own Lord spoke of necessary evils, that while he uses a dark power, he does it for the Light. I would have dismissed such a thing as nonsense before, but now I cannot be so sure. I constantly discover these contradictions.

I went to see her festival... I distrust the Harvest Witches and their practices, yet apparently there is some good that comes from their heresy. They heal nature and use the same magic as that of the Kaldorei druids. And it is true that their order saved Gilneas from famine... But if the philosophies that have been taught to me, those of the Church of Light, are the truth then her way is false. Even if it attempts to do good and achieves some good that faith still misleads people from the true good doesn't it? But, is it wrong to allow people to try and do what is right in their mind?

The stories say that Sargeras thought he was doing good when he created the Burning Legion. He aimed to wipe out all the evil in the world so that he could purify it, make the world good. Look where his goals, however righteous, led. Many worlds were destroyed and so much madness was released into the lives of innocent people. Surely the path of the paladin cannot be one of moral relativism. There is a single Good, and a real and true Justice. Just as there is a true Evil. But we have lost sight of these truths, or perhaps we never knew them from the start.

If I am to be a true paladin, to crush evil where it stands, than I must know the true evil. I must represent the true good. So I ask you Light, what is the darkness? Where did it come from and why does it exist? How does it manifest itself in others? I must understand corruption if I am to be a purifying agent against it. Light, I ask that you teach me of the darkness so I may find my own sense of justice once again.
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#6
Spoiler:
Just got back home from NYC and should be rping again soon for those I've kept waiting. Still wanted to post so here it is. Brownie points to whoever can guess the philosophers I'm drawing on for these posts (and feel free to brag to me about how I'm not that clever and you saw right through me from the start).

Complex Good

I've come to a point where I realize that the dichotomy between good and evil may not be real. Such a thing is madness for a paladin to say, but only on the surface. I do think there is a good and an evil. Without a doubt the Church of Light knows the good and we paladins embody the good. At the same time, there is evil that must be destroyed. We will combat immorality until our own deaths or the salvation of Azeroth. However, good can beget evil and evil good.

Lets stop to take an example, war. If you ask a commoner, he thinks differently of war depending on what that war demands of his life. A war on foreign soil means nothing to him if it raises taxes, requires his sons to fight and die, or only enriches his superiors. When war is conducted in his own backyard, he may think it an evil if his King and country have caused that war without care for the civilians. If the people suffer and die from the war to increase the Crown's wealth or power the war is an evil thing. Worst of all, if a civil war breaks out than the country itself becomes an evil, their blades the tools of damned soldiers, and all matters of myth can be created about 'the enemy.

When war is fought for the common people, perhaps in a way that enriches them, brings them land and lower taxes, or brings glory to the nation without taking their sons, it is just. A war fought to keep invaders out, to protect life, land, and liberty, is a war the common man thinks is worth fighting. Take the Kaldorei and their war in Ashenvale against the Orcs. The citizens of Ashenvale are grateful that their huntresses protect the forests. Or the Third War against the Lich King's wrath. No man, living or dead, with free will and sanity would think any war more just than the war against Arthas' undeath and destruction.

How can war be both a good and an evil? Surely perspective is important and we have looked at two different perspectives... But perspective is not enough. War -is- a terrible thing, an evil thing. The Church realizes that violence and war are sometimes necessary paths, however their justifiability does not make them inherently good.

Is this true in all cases? Can the good be complex, filled with both darkness and light? Can good come from all evils? The Argent Crusade allowed fel users to accompany them in order to help defeat the Lich King. Arcane magic, while thought and evil once, became a good under the watchful eye of the Kirin Tor. Perhaps, certain evils, with proper guidance can be used towards good means. But then, who decides which evils survive and which must be extinguished? And, does a perfect Azeroth need to still have evil along with its good?
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#7
The knight errant. He is our hero, our knight in shining armor. He goes from town to town seeking to slay evil, rescue damsels, serve the people, and serve his lord. But he is much more than just a man who swings his sword at whatever he deems a threat. He is a man that chases after an ideal: a good world removed of evil, a people who can live at peace, or earnest courtly love. All his journeys culminate into one impossible goal, and despite the futility that normal men may see in his travels the knight errant does not falter. Even if his life only serves to help a handful of people the world has still been bettered. Though he remains a single man, he will protect all that he can with one sword.

But such idealism cannot change the world. Where one evil is slain new evils will come. How long can he endlessly face perils? The truth is that the world cannot be changed by one man. A wanderer's back cannot hope to carry the burden of the world's sin. You see, the knight errant lacks vision. He moves aimlessly, winning victories but never advancing. And doing half-hearted goods ultimately helps no one. A true warrior of the good has a vision of the world he wants to live in after his work is done. That inspiration becomes a blueprint for others to work from, a cause that is perpetuated into the future.

End To The Wanderings

I have finally seen my purpose, and with it has come the truth about good and evil that I've sought after. The relativity of morality confused me. How could men that I was certain were in the wrong consider themselves to be in the right? And with the belief that there is a true evil, that a substance exists that is inherently evil... Perhaps there is but focusing on that idea confounded my thinking. I will continue to search for a true evil, however I will not make this my primary goal.

The truth that I must accept is that there is no true good or evil. Instead every man, based on his beliefs and desires, creates for himself a good and evil. He splits the world into rights and wrongs and follows the path of his own moral compass. But that does not change what I must do. There are things I consider good and things that are evil. If each man only lives to make his vision of the world the truth for all people than I mustn't let my anxieties over right and wrong hold me back. From this day on there can be no other justice but me and the path I walk leads to the ultimate truth. Arrogant as it sounds, with so many trying to stamp their beliefs into Azeroth I cannot seek a middle ground.

And I may not live to see my vision of the world come true. But others will. My battle will be taken up by those who followed in my footsteps and saw the truth of my vision. This small seed that I have found inside me will be perpetuated, growing in each man who picks up a blade to fight for our collective dream, till the day that dream comes true.

And the vision itself? I want to see Gilneas restored, made great again. I want to see her people flourishing, be able to live a peaceful life within her walls. But there is a scourge that prevents this from happening, a curse that has infected my people like the plague. A cure must be found for the worgen curse to free all who suffer from that monstrous form. And those who have accepted it and wish to stay tied to the beast must be slain. I will remove the worgen from Azeroth, end that mistake forever. But peace will not be found after just that. All the monsters that exist must be exterminated. The forsaken and mindless undead, the orcs... There are so many who threaten the peace of a good world that I must stand against.

Azeroth has become too twisted for the soft-hearted approach of the Church of Light. While I will never insult or berate those who adhere to its principles I must harden my approach to dealing with this world... And I must judge evil based on new laws. Perhaps there was a time when simple goods could change the world for the better, but that time is behind us. Views must be reformed and the Light must adapt to survive in this uncertain era or risk being wiped away by the darkness.
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