> 1. THE SOURCE OF POWER OF THE KNIGHT CASTE: In Cults of Terror, it
> states that the New Malkioni religion of 2 ST was "the spiritual
> support of the Hrestol knights." Assuming this is still seen as
> being the case, what was the nature of this support? Was it personal
> to the knight, perhaps sorcery spells learned from an original
> grimoire of knighthood, or heightened skills and/or powers gained
> during initiation? Or was it external, something channeled to the
> knight by someone or something to provide assistance in case of need?
> For example, perhaps the message of Joy reinvigorated Malkioni
> worship and venerative energies, some of which could be channeled to
> a knight, or maybe to a saint who would then have power to bless the
> knight or curse his opposition.
As I said before I don't believe knighthood is related to Saint worship. People were worshipping Saints before Hrestol and even now there are Malkioni that deny Joy but still worship Saints. Likewise the chain of veneration.
I also don't believe the Knights have a grimoire as such (grimoire in the sense of a book containing spells). They would still have spells or spell-like effects but their method of learning magic should be different .
I would make the starting Knight prospect, one who joins a knightly order, swear an oath which allows him to use the order's joy in a particular way (ie smite heathen). If he goes against the oath or breaches it (ie dealing peacefully with a heathen), his magics is reduced or disappears. To avoid the problem of knights having too many behavioral oaths in effect, oaths can be quest (kill thirty pendali within the next month) or pilgrimage related (ie visit Hrestol's grave in Sog City within the year). Completion of such oaths means that the related spell becomes part of the Knight's joyful experience.
Lastly Joyful spells should not be a substitute for ordinary Malkioni magic (ie if a knight would know ordinary Malkioni combat spells in addition to his joyful spells).
> 2. RELATIVE POWER OF KNIGHTHOOD: Is Hrestol's ability to kill the
> goddess Ifftala primarily from powers granted to him from being a
> knight or is it more due to factors unique to him (his lineage, his
> fate, etc.)?
It's because he was a knight.
> Leaving aside YGWV, in a canon interpretation of knighthood is it
> reasonable to suppose that Sir Player could prepare himself
> sufficiently to repeat Hrestol's feat and slay the new Ifftala?
No. Hrestol has it extra-good/bad because he was the first to experience joy. Other knights are more familiar with what they are dealing with and even the most foolhardy among them have an innate resistance to accepting Joy wholeheartedly.
> Second scenario: A skilled Seshnegi knight, prepared to the best of
> his (and his community's, if that matters) ability vs. a skilled
> Brithini horal armed and ensorcelled to the best Brithini standards.
> Leaving aside luck and such, which side has the odds in his favor?
The Brithini Horal. There's only sixty or so of the best in the whole of Brithos at the time of the Sunstop and none of such rank in Seshnela at the Dawn. The warriors that leave Brithos to settle in Genertela (even those dwelling in Sog City and Arolanit) are not the best.
> 3. THE PENDALI: These guys are described as being "civilized
> hsunchen" but I'm not sure what this means. Were their urban centers
> walled cities of stone like the Seshnegi or cruder hill forts? If
> they were walled cities, did the Pendali move in and take over
> existing centers and peoples? Did the Pendali wear metal armor in
> battle and use civilized weapons and tactics? Did they have access
> to sorcery or theistic magic? What was their main source of strength
> in war?
Given they worshipped Seshna, I'd say they worked with stone. There probably were previous settlements and peoples in their lands but much of the stonework is probably Pendali in origin. As for using metal armour, I think they would have fought like lions instead. They would have known of Gods (Seshna for example) and sorcery (because their lands were previously inhabited by Malkioni) but their war magic were based on their Basmoli traditions.
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