Each of you have been proven worthy, wise leaders and warrior-kings all. Rise and be anointed as the Knights of the Round Table.
The Knights of the Round Table, also known as the Forsworn or the Paladins of Valmasia after which the victor of the Championship Tournament is named, were the six most trusted and powerful knights of the legendary King Arthur Pendragon, wielder of Excalibur and slayer of Mordred. The knights of the round table were known as sir Lancelot, sir Gawain, sir Percival, sir Galahad, sir Bors and sir Tristan. Each of the knights accompanied King Arthur in what was naively dubbed as the 'End of Wars', whereupon Pendragon marshaled an army to oppose the yokai forces of Mordred.
Following Arthur's death, some of the knights left to pursue their own destiny while others maintained servitude towards the rebuilding Valmasia. Sir Lancelot in particular is noted as taking the place of Arthur as protector of Valmasia until his death many years later.
The code of the Knights of the Round Table was strict and to be followed at all costs. It spoke of honor, bravery and chivalry in the face of insurmountable corruption. There is only one known instance of Arthur allowing the codes to be broken in his presence, and that was in response to admitting Sir Tristan as a knight despite being an occultist.
Though the original codes are lost they have been reprinted over the years and most of the code remains in-tact. The true code had a list of over two-hundred very specific actions that could and could not be undertaken, however it was later revised to these broad headings.
-- A Knight of the Round Table will never commit assault or murder against an innocent.
-- A Knight of the Round Table will never commit treason against the ruler of Valmasia.
-- A Knight of the Round Table will never be cruel, but instead grant mercy even to his most hated enemy.
-- A Knight of the Round Table will draw his sword only in defence of the country, or of Kraus.
-- A Knight of the Round Table will never practise occult magic, and will abhor its practitioners.
-- A Knight of the Round Table will serve the citizens in Valmasia in the greatest way they possibly can.
-- A Knight of the Round Table will suffer no heresy, nor any master of light but that of Kraus.
Sir Lancelot, the PaladinEdit
The first and most trusted of Arthur's knights, his personal general and bodyguard. Sir Lancelot is famous in his own right for slaying an Imperfect Yokai in single combat during the dark days leading up to the End of Wars, a feat that would have granted him a place at the Table on its own. But he was more then that; Lancelot was wise and chivalrous, with a foresight unmatched throughout his day. He was quick to forgive any slights against him, though never slow to draw his blade during an attempted ambush. When he spoke, birds would fall silent and trees would lean in as if to catch his every word.
Sir Lancelot was undoubtedly the most powerful of the six Knights of the Round, second to Arthur himself. His legendary blade, Tyrfing, left a trail of flame with every powerful swing. But he was as much a philosopher as he was a warrior, and it was he who convinced Arthur to permit sir Tristan-- an occultist-- to join the Knights of the Round. This was ultimately his undoing.
While every knight participated in the End of Wars, Lancelot fought by Arthur's side against the most vile of threats. When Mordred cleaved past Excalibur and knocked the legendary hero down, it was Lancelot that stepped in to fend off the Perfect Yokai until Arthur could recover. But he was merely a human, without a divine sword to aid him, and Mordred dealt him a series of severe blows in the short time they fought. It is a testament to his strength that he survived the brief encounter and even landed a blow of his own.
After the death of sir Arthur, Lancelot remained a loyal knight to the new king of the realm. He was severely weakened by his battle with Mordred; this eventually became his undoing, as he was betrayed by sir Tristan. Even in his weakened condition he managed to strike a fatal blow to the traitorous knight, an echo of the battle between Arthur and Mordred as both men perished.
Sir Gawain, the RighteousEdit
All Knights of the Round followed the Knights Codes as set out by Arthur, but Gawain took it to another extreme. He idolized and worshipped the codes as if they were Kraus' own words, and had to struggle not to find contempt for those whom failed to live up to them. Gawain was the type of man who would without hesitation interrupt a fight or even a duel if he believed it dishonorable. He was a man of Kraus and he held a burning hatred of occultists that led him to rival with sir Tristan on more than one occasion.
Many mistook Gawain as the weakest of the Knights for he had almost never been seen to fight prior to the End of Wars. This was a mistake; his steel rung as true as his brothers, though the zealous man was more at home praying to Kraus than he was honing his martial prowess. He held within him powerful holy magic that extended far past simple healing, actively warding blows away from himself and those nearby. During the End of Wars all were able to see the full extent of his righteous fury. He bore the Sigil of Kraus, a sliver of Kraus-touched metal hammered into a badge which was said to protect him from the most felling of blows.
After the death of King Arthur, Gawain remained in service to Valmasia, although for the most part he did not actively hunt down enemies. He remained devout and protective of his family, worshipping Kraus and maintaining order where he went. Although he had repeatedly warned Lancelot about Tristan, their conflict and deaths still outraged him. Yet he understood and accepted it as a part of Kraus' plan for all beings. Gawain died peacefully at an old age, his last conflict being against an uprising occultist band five years earlier, at the ripe old age of sixty-two.
Sir Galahad, the FuryEdit
Though the Knights of the Round certainly had their differing and unique opinions as well as their more normalized personal lives, the stories and legends tend to focus on their most defining characteristic, whether wisdom, devotion or strength. For Galahad it was the latter, and many tales are spun over his monolithic power and the frenzy which consumed him as he waded into battle. The knights weapon was an unnaturally sized Warhammer, larger than a man and far too heavy for even Galahad to wield in one hand, glistening gold and resounding against earth and bone with each powerful swing. His above all others is a legacy of blood and battle, with his influence upon culture and ideals only scarcely mentioned.
It may be from his striking figure that stories focus on his martial prowess to the exclusion of other aspects of Galahad's life. Standing well over two metres tall and with glistening armor he looked the equal of two men in stature alone. He has been known to fight against dragons, sea monsters and even the legendary Gargoyle of the Bygone-grove. Perhaps ironically his performance in his most important battle, the End of Wars, was often glossed over. He did not assist Arthur or Lancelot directly but was instrumental in saving his comrades from being overwhelmed.
The war ended and so did most of Galahad's desire to continue serving. He did not stay with the other knights to safeguard Valmasia, instead wandering the lands and searching for powerful foes and monsters to slay. Legends contradict each other on what his final fate was, though the most popular rumors speak of him being defeated and slain by a mere child.
Sir Percival, the WiseEdit
Percival as a Knight of the Round Table has never been the most inspiring figure. Small and somewhat weedy even adorned in plate, he had forgone a sword in favor of a staff and was a practiced mage with little skill in melee fighting. While this was still respected by most, many at the time felt it inappropriate for a Knight of the Round to engage in a comparatively 'cowardly' form of fighting while the other knights risked themselves at a blades edge. Arthur ignored all of these complaints, for to him Percival was a most valued advisor. The man often had sage advice on what to do and what could result of any action, and-- as a master time mage-- even had brief glimpses of the future. There is only one time when the knights advice was ignored. It was Percival that warned Arthur that he would certainly die by Mordred's hand, to which the hero had replied, "So be it."
During the End of Wars Mordred had summoned an almost unstoppable legion at his command-- an army of yokai so vast that there seemed to be no end. Percival manipulated the strands of fate and applied his time magic so that Arthur's forces would not be overwhelmed, giving them time to react to blows and strike them in turn. He dealt rot and decay to any who struck at him. Unfortunately, Percival was incapacitated halfway through the fight after a Kaor yokai had breached his guard and struck his chest with its massive blade. Percival managed to survive, with the assistance of Galahad, but he did not rejoin the fight.
Following Arthur's death Percival did not remain with the other knights serving the new king, but instead left for a life of his own. He spent the majority of his life amongst Frostvale's peaks, living off what he could catch and the offerings brought to him-- for he was wise, and knew that a life of material wealth was no life at all. As he aged many began to refer to him as the 'snowy prophet', and would take the long trek to hear what they could of their future. This rarely proved surmountable. It is unknown how Percival met his end.
Sir Bors, the ShieldEdit
Born from high nobility, sir Bors was the only Knight of the Round, apart from Lancelot, whom seemed an obvious choice to induct into the circle. He had fought in the stead of Valmasia countless times and, though aging, his reflexes never dulled. He was also filled with compassion and it was this that drove him to take care of Tristan and even go to great lengths to attempt to keep the individual under control. Despite this, his story is perhaps the least known of all the knights, likely because his deeds were eclipsed by Tristan's betrayal which linked so closely with his own fate.
He was an easy-going individual, quick to laugh and make light of a situation. Yet in battle this ease vanished, replaced with a stoic demeanor and a tense posture often found in stalking reptiles. The man held a sword and shield and was often famed as the Bastion of Valmasia, for no enemy could hope to sunder its arcanium-infused surface. It was said that Mordred himself once struck a blow against the ancient metal while Bors held it during one of the few encounters the knights had with the Perfect yokai prior to the End of Days. It was a strike that could likely have snapped a lesser shield in half, yet it suffered only a dent.
Bors met his end on the field of battle against yokai of insurmountable odds. They swarmed and scratched around him, flanking his mighty shield and overwhelming him and his faithful companion Tristan. He died heroically, drawing the brunt of the yokai to him so that his friend could escape and be saved. His shield remains lost to this day. Legends tell he died with a smile on his face, oblivious to the betrayal that his closest friend would commit.
Sir Tristan, the TraitorEdit
Never has a figure in legend been so reviled as the Traitor Tristan. And yet, as centuries passed, even his vile deeds fell into myth and legend. They survive now only in the oldest of books and most ancient of tales. Tristan was an occultist of grand potential born in a time where people feared daily for their lives at the hands of yokai and other such dark beings. Were it not for the interference of sir Bors, he would likely have been lynched as a young boy. But Bors-- not yet a Knight of the Round-- had been moved by the young boys plight, and took him under his wing.
Tristan was powerful, incredibly so-- but also unstable as a result. As he neared adulthood it grew worse and worse until Bors was finally forced to admit that perhaps Tristan could be saved. His attempts at soothing had done nothing, but he tried one more thing; a sealing ritual now long lost, to attempt to pacify the soul and the innate hatred spawned of darkness. It seemed to have work, and from that moment on Tristan was in full control of his powers. The young man was bright and vibrant, and eternally thankful for Bors assistance.
When the Knights of the Round were formed, Bors was immediately invited as a well-known and virtuous swordsman. He suggested that Tristan join as well, but Arthur would not hear of it. All of Bors arguments fell on deaf ears. Eventually it was Lancelot that managed to temper the heroes heart to the possibility that Tristan would prove a loyal and valuable knight. Tristan accepted and performed admirably, and as a result the code of abhorring occultists was almost disregarded in normal life.
During the End of Wars Tristan fought alongside Bors. To his horror the older knight was slain by the swathes of yokai that came at them. Tristan was thrown into a rage and fought against the tides as long as he could, but eventually he too was overwhelmed. He was narrowly saved by Galahad. But he was not the same; with the death of Bors something inside him snapped. Whether the seal had broken or his rage and grief had overpowered it is unknown, but what we do know is that vengeance smoked in his eyes. Yet he was cunning, and did not betray his rage.
The anger did not abate over the years. Rather his dark magic began to fuel insanity once more, and he cursed every day that passed. Other than hunting yokai, there was no outlet for his rage; Mordred was dead, as were the yokai to slay Bors. Eventually his mind deteriorated so much that he began to set his eyes on Lancelot; if Lancelot had never accepted him, then he would never have had to see such a thing... Bors would have fought somewhere else, and he would have survived... so desperate was he for closure, that he sought out the wounded Knight and attacked.
They fought fiercely, the walls of the castle which they had met shaking with each blow. Occult melded with fire as their swords collided. Even severely crippled as he was, Lancelot managed to sieze victory-- his blade plunged through Tristan's chest. But the occultist was not finished. With the last of his energy he spoke a terrible curse, lost in the annals of history. It was a potent spell of darkness that tore the soul from the almost-defeated knights body, before sundering it. So it was that they both lay defeated.
The tale of Tristan is the main reason in Valmasia that most common individuals exhibit a strong distrust of any occultists. It serves as an example of the corruption innate in all men.