Randall looked around at what had once been a peaceful city. He placed his wonderful blade in the soil of Pinevale; dozens of dead or dying orcs at his feet. An ogre approached and Randall extended his arm in a gesture of friendship. The two creatures, ogre and man, turned to watch the orcs retreat into the pines.
“You would let them go?” the ogre asked.
Randall nodded, “This war is over.”
Months later Randall found himself standing in front of a panel of knights, fully armored with the exception of their helms. He had fought valiantly against the orcs and the knights had noticed. He was led into the chamber by two hooded men, who stood beside him as the knights began the ceremony.
“You have been summoned here for your outstanding service in the defense of Pinevale. We would like to make you an honorary knight,” Sir Radisson, the head of the knights, announced proudly.
“I know why I have been summoned here,” Randall stated with an icy tone.
Sir Radisson was surprised by the man’s response. He asked, “Are you not honored?”
Randall’s face looked as if he had smelled a dead animal. “Honored? No.” The council of knights murmured among themselves. They could not believe what they were hearing.
Sir Radisson stood and calmed the others. “You deny our offer, and you dishonor us.”
“You speak of honor as if it were yours to bestow on whoever you like,” Randall scoffed. “I have no desire to have the type of honor I saw on display in Pinevale while your knights were stationed there.”
“You hold your tongue,” one of the council members shouted.
The two men standing next to Randall pulled back their cowls revealing their identities to the knights. King Arrington and Jericho stared at the council. Arrington spoke, “You asked him here, now let him speak his mind.”
“You are not king here, Grey Arrington.” Sir Radisson scolded.”You have no power here.” Jericho let out a snarl, but remained in his human form. “I see you brought your dog,” Radisson teased, hoping that the therian would rage. Then he would have an excuse to have him cut down in front of his king. Jericho surprised everyone by keeping his composure.
Randall broke the tension. “Your men took whatever they wanted while they were in our city; women, food, and any other item they desired. They bullied our young men and forced themselves on our young women. They had no respect for enemy or ally on the battlefield.”
“Lies!” Sir Radisson shouted. “You speak lies!”
“The proof can be seen in the swollen bellies of our women,” King Arrington replied.
“If your women are whores,” said one of the knights with a smirk, “that is not our fault.”
“There is the honor that displayed itself in Pinevale during the war,” Arrington bowed to the man. “Thank you for showing so clearly the truth in our claims.”
Sir Radisson shot the man a glare that ensured that he would be punished for his outburst. “My men reported no such activities.”
“Would they?” Randall asked. “Would they tell you of the heirlooms they plundered from our people? Your men are not guided by any moral code. Your knighthood is based almost exclusively on bloodline. There is little to no honor to be found behind the coat of arms you so proudly bear.”
“Enough!” Sir Radisson exclaimed. “Leave this place now, and never return. The next time Pinevale is under attack, be it orc or troll, do not call upon us for help.”
King Arrington smiled and stated, “We would not wish you to set foot in our city ever again.”
The three men left the citadel of the knights and returned to Pinevale. The alliance between the knights and Pinevale was severed. However, Randall began training new soldiers to protect the city. He rebuilt an army that far exceeded it’s predecessor. Then he faded into obscurity, but he would always be known as the man who denied the knights.