Story of Calypso
Cedric & the Tent
Training of Vinal
Gypsy Reverie
Aeston's Advice
Ubi Sunt
Winter Nights
Not to Yield
Rhiassan Anthem
Sir Cedric
Battle of Rhiassa
Blood and Beer
Red and the Black
Why I Fight
Why I Eventhold
Mentoring Part 1
Mentoring Part 2
Mentoring Part 3
On Squireship
Becoming a Squire




On Squireship and Knighthood

Written by Jason Rosa for The View from Valehaven

I've been asked to express my views on squireship and knighthood. I feel like this is a topic that I've written about at length, though primarily in the larger context of mentoring, and in those articles I have attempted to be general enough that they can apply to whatever mentoring relationship applies to my readers. In this case, I'll take the opportunity to speak more to knighthood, specifically, and explain as best as I can what I believe to be important about the knights and squires of Rhiassa and the experience that I've had and tried to create as a member of that order.

I have to talk first about what is involved in choosing a squire, and to that end I must start by being redundant. It's a sentiment that I have detailed many times before but it merits repeating. The philosophy behind the Knights of Rhiassa is one of service. Individual knights are asked to always work towards the betterment of the community, usually in modest ways such as NPCing or otherwise staffing events, but also to model that behavior for the other members of Rhiassa. The philosophy of the entire nation is built off of the same mission of service. Again, service to all members of the community in a myriad of ways but specifically in working together to make our events as best as possible for the sake of those who attend them. Because of this synergy in the goals of the knightly order and the goals of the nation, choosing squires and developing those squires is inherent in who we are as a group.

In a lot of ways, that makes my mission as a Knight Commander an easy one. Of the people who make up our "regular" members, I can observe who is most pushing themselves to contribute to our national goals and identify them as people ready to be squired. In a lot of ways, this also makes my job harder. Virtually every member of the group contributes to the best of their ability as often as they can. In that sense, singling out any one person can be a great challenge. To further refine our criteria, then, we have to look at those people who are ready to take their first steps "outside" of the group. While a rank-and-file member of Rhiassa is asked to contribute all they can to what we do internally, to be a squire to the knightly order requires going beyond Rhiassa and attempting to be an asset to the entire Realms.

To the knights who are now in a position where they are attempting to choose a squire, then, I offer the following advice. Much in the same way that the members of Rhiassa are brought into a group that supports the philosophy of the knightly order, when selecting a squire it is imperative to choose an individual who has a philosophy similar to yours. There are facets of this community and this game that you, as a knight, feel to be of vital importance. They are the aspects that have defined your path up to this point and therefore will permeate whatever relationship you have with the individual that you teach. Therefore, from the outset, find a squire who agrees with you about what they believe to be most important. What you will have created, then, is a partnership that has a foundation based on the same ideals and upon which you can more easily work towards common goals.

So by observing who among my members are ready to push themselves in their contributions and their relationships to the rest of the community, I have chosen my own squires and I have helped my other knights choose theirs. And certainly the choosing of those squires is a very vital first step in creating the partnership that moves them towards knighthood. What comes afterwards are the two to three years where that mentored individual will develop into a knight, and it is not something that happens accidentally or without direction. Rather, I believe that the actions and the attitude of the knight have an immeasurable impact on how their squire will progress, and starting off that relationship correctly forms the foundation of that future success.

In my experience, a squireship is a journey that a knight and a squire take together. As a knight, I would be disingenuous if I considered myself the fount of all knowledge and my squires to exist only to learn at my feet. Instead, I consider myself a learner alongside my squire. Certainly my experience is greater, so in that relationship, at least in the earlier stages of it, it is my job to take the lead. Very early on it is my job to choose projects that I think will best help develop essential skills in the person who I am squiring. Tasks to that end are often related to staffing different kinds of events or working on basic crafting together. These tasks are partially about the learning of different abilities, but just as much they are about building confidence, giving us experience working together, and helping the squired individual see the relationship between the effort that they put in and the success that comes from it.

In an important way, I would describe the first few months of squireship to be about building that relationship, and I would advise my fellow knights to consider it that way as well. It is a time to establish norms, to make your expectations clear, to develop the habit of frequently and meaningfully communicating with one another, to practice working side-by-side on projects, and to give you and your squire the opportunity to become closer friends. More than anything, I think that friendship is the most significant part of the knight and squire partnership. Throughout the course of the time we have had working together, I have become best friends with each of my squires. I have developed a deeper appreciation for who they are as individuals, been amazed by their personal strengths and their dedication towards being even stronger, and celebrated with them through each of their accomplishments. And it has been a joy and a privilege to do so each time.

So, in closing, that is my final advice in choosing a squire and in preparing that relationship to be a successful one. Find a person who you are enthused to work along side. Select someone whose victories you want to exalt in. Pick a mentee who you want to learn from even as they are learning from you. And, most of all, choose an individual who can become your best friend. If you are fortunate enough to do so, the entire experience will be a joy and a privilege and you will have grown from it as much as you have inspired that growth in your squire. I know I have.