A fictitious knight reveals 5 secrets to having honor


What does it mean to ‘have honor’? Is it something real, or is it more like an idea, a notion based on a set of beliefs? How does one obtain honor? Are we born with it, or do we learn it?

Read on to find out what Sir Trogsdill Domnall, the most revered knight in my novel, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING, has to say about the subject.

***

Me:  “Sir Trogsdill, thank you for sparing a few moments to talk to me. I know from talking to the other knights in the Order you do not like these sorts of interviews, but I couldn’t think of anyone else who could answer my questions with complete honesty.”

The knight leans to one side and props an elbow on the arm of the chair. His forefinger and thumb cradle the sharp angles of his face; the other three perch at his lips. Thick, brown hair falls in gentle waves to his collar. His piercing, peridot-green eyes lock onto mine, and I gulp as my stomach takes flight. I can tell he’s waiting for me to continue, but I’m incapable of speech. I am drowning in a sea of green. Part of me wants to run, but I can’t. I’m drawn to him in a way that defies explanation. He is a mystery, an enigma that commands respect. I take a deep breath to ease the pounding of my heart and then shift in my chair, ignoring the sweat pooling at the nape of my neck. Somehow I gather my thoughts and steady the tremble in my voice.

Me:  Sir Trogsdill, the word I hear most often to describe you is ‘honorable’. Would you say that is an appropriate word? How do you perceive yourself?”

Sir Trogsdill: “I believe I am honorable, at least I strive to be.” His deep voice vibrates the air. My nerves quiver. “As for how I perceive myself? I don’t waste the time thinking of it. I am who I am.”

Me:  “What does being honorable mean to you?”

The man leans forward, his hands clasped between his knees. His eyes remain fixed on mine, as if he’s trying to dive deep into my soul. I want to look away, but I can’t. I’m mesmerized. I’m a noodle. I am a victim to his captivating presence.

Sir Trogsdill:  “You ask an interesting question. Honor, to me, is not something a king or a lord bestows upon you, nor is it something you win at the end of a joust. It is solid. It is moral. We are all born with it, this capacity to be honorable. It is what we choose to do with our lives that keep us that way.”

Me:  “Would you mind elaborating a bit?”

Sir Trogsdill: “I am not sure how much clearer I can get.”

Me:  “I suppose what I want to know is if you feel honor is something we learn?”

Sir Trogsdill pressed his back into the overstuffed chair. “No, it’s not. It’s something that resides deep within us. Some of us have it. Some don’t.”

Me:  “But don’t you have a code of honor you must abide by? Aren’t many of those things learned?”

The man smiles, and my heart swells at the way it touches his eyes. He is handsome in ways I can’t pinpoint. I wonder if he knows it.

“My code? My lady, honor is more than a code. It is something intangible. Yes, knights take oaths to follow certain conventions such as serving our liege lord in faith and valor, or to protect the weak and defenseless. To refrain from wanton acts and protect a lady’s reputation, but honor goes beyond these acts.”

He looks away for a moment as if collecting his thoughts, then turns his gaze back to me. His features are strong, his eyes trusting and kind.

“Honor, my lady, is about integrity, unwavering dedication to one’s morals and standards. It means walking a difficult path, even if we must travel it alone, but we must because it is righteous and true. Honor is holding tight to your convictions when you know they are right, and letting them go when they are wrong. It is about putting another before oneself and striving for a life steeped in justice, loyalty, and fairness.”

Me:   “But who is to say what is just, loyal and fair? Your definitions of those may not be mine. Who is right and who is wrong?”

Sir Trogsdill:  “Honor is not a question of who is right and who is wrong, my lady. You asked me what it means to have honor.  If one stands and defends what they believe in with every fiber of their being, whether you agree with their cause or not, then they are honorable.”

Me:  “So by that token, you’re saying that people who are consumed by evil can also be honorable because they adhere to their convictions?”

Sir Trogsdill shakes his head. “No, that is not what I said. Honor and evil cannot exist together.”

Me:  “Why is that?”

Sir Trogsdill:  “Because having honor is to be selfless. As I said before, honor is about putting others before yourself. An honorable act is a selfless act. Evil, on the other hand, is based in self-gratification. Evil, by virtue of what it is, is not honorable. Therefore, those performing it are not honorable.”

I am touched by this man’s passion … and his wisdom. I can tell by the shifting of his legs and body, he’s getting restless, so I ask my last question.

Me:  “If you could give young people any advice about being honorable, what would you tell them?”

Sir Trogsdill counts on his fingers:  “One. Hold true to yourself. Two. Never lose faith in the spirit that guides you. Three. Do not let anyone sway you from your core beliefs. Four, turn your back on those who wish to destroy your sense of integrity, and five, stray away from those who disregard your values.”

Wow. Those are words we could all live by.  I stand and offer my hand to him.

Me:  “Thank you, Sir Trogsdill. That was an enlightening conversation. You have certainly given me plenty to think about.”

The knight stands, and I am dwarfed by his size, but instead of feeling insignificant, I am overcome by a sense of safety and compassion. He bows and kisses the back of my hand before departing the room. I watch as he leaves, noting the confidence in his walk, the strength in his demeanor, and my heart twinges again. What I would give to have half of the courage, poise, and assurance he has. I suppose it will  have to suffice knowing how honored I feel to have sat in his presence. I will never forget him. Ever.

***

So, what did you think? Do you agree with Sir Trogsdill or does ‘having honor’ mean something different to you? Please leave your comments below.

To learn more about IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING, please visit my website at www.j-keller-ford.com and sign up for my newsletter. Once a month, I will divulge parts of my story that no one else will see unless they are signed up.  I hope to see you there.

If you are into YA epic fantasy stories of love, honor, faith, courage and sacrifice, please head over to my Goodreads page and click on that Want to Read button.

I hope you enjoyed this interview. Stay tuned for more to come.

It’s an “A-Z challenge” and “If you could” Friday! Whoo Hoo!


Hey everyone!  I was going to forego “If you could” Friday because I’m doing the A-Z challenge, but I thought about it and said, why not to both, so here goes:

If you could /date/marry/have an affair with your favorite fictional character, who would it be and why?

Now on to day 5 of the A-Z challenge.  Today we bring you the letter E.  As in keeping with my theme, I bring to you Eric, another protag from my novel, The Eye of Kedge.  Eric, take it away.

As squire to Sir Trogsdill Domnall, Eric makes it his personal mission to find and offer his services to a mysterious paladin summoned by the mages to protect the realm of Fallhollow.  Fearless in his pursuit, he defies danger in his search for this magical being.  What he finds is nothing like what he imagined, but that’s okay.  Even head-strong, fearless squires have to make unlikely alliances to find what they want, even if it’s hidden in plain sight.

Excerpt:

Eric nodded and shuffled his feet under the weight of Trog’s stare.  He waited for Sestian and Farnsworth to get far enough away before lifting his head and meeting Trog’s gaze.  The knight raised a brow.

“Are you going to tell me where you really were, or are you going to hold to your story that you were listening to a lecture that ended this time yesterday?”

“Which one will get me in the least amount of trouble?”

Trog placed his hand on Eric’s back and edged him down the stone steps to the lower courtyard.  “The truth, Eric.  Always the truth.”

“What if I promised not to tell?”

“Secrets are grave burdens to bear.”

“I can’t betray his confidence, Sir.  I promised.”

Trog nodded.  “Then you’ll sleep in the stables tonight as punishment.”

“But, how is that fair?”

“You know the rules as my squire and you still choose to withhold the truth.  Therefore, you shall be punished accordingly.”

“But the rules of knighthood require I not reveal confidences or secrets under any circumstance to anyone at anytime, even under pain of death.”

“Nice try, lad, but that rule only applies if you’re a knight and have been captured.  Last time I looked, neither of those apply to you.”  Trog placed a heavy hand on Eric’s shoulder.  “I’m going to give you one more chance.  What will it be?”

Eric clenched and unclenched his fists at his sides.  “With all due respect, Sir, I cannot and will not betray my friend.”

Trog removed his hand.  “Then you have made your choice and will suffer the consequences of it.  Now go on and get busy with your chores.  I want each of those blades in your hand sharpened and polished by morning—”

“But, Sir—”

“And for protesting when you should not, you will also sharpen and polish Sir Farnsworth’s blades. I’ll see to it they are dropped off this evening.”  Eric opened his mouth to speak, but changed his mind at Trog’s lifted brow.  “Would you like me to add Sir Gowran’s and Sir Crohn’s weapons to your load?”

Eric bit his lip, his guilt boiling below the surface.  “No, Sir.”

“Very well.  Bring the blades to the farrier’s stall in the morning around eight.  It will be a dual-fold meeting as you can visit your father at the same time.”

Trog paused for a moment, his expression thoughtful, then turned and strolled across the courtyard.  The beast of a man hoisted a young page from a game of marbles and lectured him on the pitfalls of wasting time. Eric snorted at the boy’s bewildered expression and the speed at which he ran once set down upon his feet.  Been there, boy.  He cursed beneath his breath.  What am I talking about?  I’m seventeen and I’m still at his mercy.

****

For a glimpse into my vision of Eric, click the guy below:

anime boy

 

B – Bainesworth von Stuegler


Happy April 2 and welcome to day two of the A-Z Challenge.  Today, I bring to you from my YA novel, The Eye of Kedge, the one, the only, Bainesworth von Stuegler

Bainesworth is an arrogant, devious knight and commander, serving the kingdom of Faucher, an ally kingdom to the kingdom of Hirth. His allegiance, however, doesn’t lie with Faucher’s ailing king, but with himself.  He’s also made himself the arch enemy of Sir Trogsdill Domnall, a revered knight of Hirth.  Trust me, there is no love lost there.

***

Trog tore the shirt from Eric’s hand, slipped it over his head and stormed through the doors.  The murmurs hushed, the room fell silent except for the click of boots across the tiles.

“Well, well, well.  Sir Trogsdill.” Bainesworth’s voice echoed in the hall.  “How nice of you to join us.  Are you well?  You seem ill.”

Trog set his gaze on Bainesworth and grunted.  “You have no idea how sick I feel at this moment.” He scratched his chair across the floor and sat down.

“Yes, well, as usual, you’ve kept us waiting for quite some time.  Then again, that doesn’t surprise me.  You’ve always been a bit ostentatious when an audience is involved.”  He paused for a moment, as if waiting for a rebuttal.  Bainesworth continued, a snide grin pinned to his square face.  “Funny thing is, despite your grand entrance, I’m short of feeling honored by your disheveled presence.  You know how I hate to wait – especially on the likes of you.”

As if I give a damn about what you hate,” Trog said, his expression contemptuous.

“You should.  You top my list.”

“I’m honored, considering I don’t give you a second thought.”

Bainesworth’s lip twitched at the corner.  “I’d watch your arrogance, Sir Trogsdill.  You never know where I’ll be lurking.”

“Lurk all you want.  It makes no difference to me since your fate waits for you on the tip of my sword.  Of this I swear to you.”

Bainesworth chuckled.  “I look forward to your feeble attempt.”

***

Nice guy, huh?

Want to see my vision of what Bainesworth looks like?  Click this little guyDon’t forget to hop around to the other bloggers who are participating in the A-Z challenge.  You can find the list here