“A considered look at history leads inevitably to one logical conclusion regarding changing legalities,” Tessa said, staring out at the thousands of people standing in front of the podium. Behind her in ornate chairs sat some of the founding members of the first Chivalric Orders, as a show of support. But even so, her voice started with a quiver in it. She had given speeches before, but never to this many people. But everything had led to this. She couldn’t back down now. “Resisting a political change based upon a shift in the underpinnings of society is a short-term strategy.
“There are many justifications and biases that have led governments to err towards focusing upon the short term. But we believe that there is no more tragic and damning sin than to sacrifice the wellbeing of our future heroes in order to grasp with desperate hands towards even a second longer’s firm grasp upon the reins of power. To that end, we, a diverse group of future-leaning individuals and decision makers from across our Zones, who believe that the geographic limitations of our current political architecture may very well lead to dangerous tribal tendencies and a cascading momentum of borders and labels that will fail to address the present and real danger of the looming and continued evolution of the System, do hereby consecrate and found the first of the Chivalric Order, the Order Valorem.”
People politely applauded as Tessa turned and politely bowled to Paolo and Kayle, who both gravely nodded back at her. From the brief time, they had spoken before the speech, that had seemed incredibly silly. But now, something in the air pulled away from that. Tessa was glad they felt the gravity of the situation, but it was tight on her shoulders.
Slowly, she turned back to the crowd. She looked down at her speech. Strangely, she felt a flash of panic. Hopefully… hopefully, this wasn’t a mistake.
“These Orders are designed to a be a democratic meritocracy where one’s only path to rising through the ranks rest in finding the support and affirmation of your peers. The considered support being the virtuous and proper mode of assent, these orders will foster loyalty and fidelity towards a higher vocation. In this case, we hope that unto time unending the Order Valorem will display its martial might defending our borders from the horde of System-spawn by demonstrating boundless valor.
“Aside from the Founder, who will remain in that role until her or his death, there is not Path towards glory without the vote of your fellow members. If one desires higher accomplishments, it is only towards donations to the collective good that those may be gathered.
“Aside from the Order Valorem, nine other Orders will be founded today. These are the Order Ferocitas, the Order Sapienta, the Order Fide, the Order Veritas, the Order Infandus, the Order Caelim, the Order Ferrum, the Order Umbra, and finally the Order Ducis. This means that there are 10 vocations that you may be drawn to. For those of you who are not quite as familiar with the Latin, these are Ferocity, Wisdom, Faith, Truth, Monstrous, Sky, Iron, Illusion, and Leadership.”
There were murmurs in the crowd now, but these, Tessa was prepared for. This was a response she had expected. The creeping sense of dread of what she was going to say later, however… For this next portion, Tessa dropped her language to more colloquial English to convey her point more directly.
“You might wonder why an Order Monstrous was included. Well, I’ll be frank; the altered refugees will be founding an Order for themselves, to seek out their own way to contribute to our new world. And believe me, Tessa said, her countenance darkening. “We need all the help we can get.
“We found these great Orders to address three great dangers that are inseparable from our current projected track of governance. These are threats that are perhaps not endemic to the human condition, but three that are exacerbated to an extraordinary degree by the contextual flaws in our culture and social Systems.
“The first is Consumption without Understanding. This is a particularly invasive and seditious issue that stretches beyond simply the possible fate of our world falling to the brutish threats that might be posed by the monsters the System sends against us. This relates to the fact that we are all now party to a strange metaphysical set of rules that didn’t exist three years ago. With sudden and drastic changes to existence, we all have been presented with choices stretched out of context into a seemingly game like form. It is impossible to accurately describe the series of events of the initial aftermath of the System’s arrival due to the vast disparity in choices presented to us.
“For better or for worse, many made selections that resulted in the System becoming an increasingly necessary presence in our lives. Through these choices, we were on the receiving in of the greatest and quickest evolution of the homo sapien in human history. But what are the effects? Even now, we are studying the influence that the System’s influence will have on humanity’s ability to have children. Even now, we study the physiological response of the human body when being flooded with stats. We are beyond the ken of our forefathers. The Cycle of Earth has been broken, and every day we wander father beyond the reach of our humble origins.
“That is not to say that we should refuse to advance within the System. Nor are we suggesting that people should be told which of their varied options is the correct and necessary one. In fact, we vehemently believe just the opposite; the final choice in matters of Skill and Class remain at the sole discretion of the individual. But we make this call in order to spread the word that humans grew to our seat on top of the world using knowledge. We must make use of that now, more than ever.
“This is a call to gather all available information regarding the System, to address the threat of our continued Consumption of its precepts without truly understanding the far-reaching consequences of them. This is a nudge toward patience and Wisdom. The Order Sapientia will be spearheading this endeavor.”
Breathe in, breathe out. Then continue.
“The Second threat we would like to address with the Orders is Decisions without Counsel. This is a functional result of the first threat, we believe, or we believe with a considered solution to the first, we would be possessing of the natural inclination towards an organic resolution of this second issue. But as these are congruent, they must be addressed separately.
“There have been, without a doubt, scientific and knowledgeable groups that have been working towards understanding the System and its effects. At the same time, there are groups that have been making laws within which we now operate, without truly considering the repercussions. We are of the belief that some more attention will be fulfillingly spent thinking about the role of local governments and the System. There will always be regional differences. But these local governments need a well-constructed template of laws to understand the spectrum on which they act. The Chivalric Orders will give this invaluable context by their wide foundation of existence. Through them, the local governments may be counseled and given a lens with which to see their own role in the New Earth.”
Breathe in, breathe out. This is the easy part. And the hard part.
“Finally… the third threat is Power without Experience. Due to the disparate circumstances of individuals and the fickle impact of the System, there have been recent cases of individuals rising to such prominence and power that they seem to beyond the reach of justice or even beyond the scorn of reproach. They are, to misquote a previous regime, ‘too big to fail’. They exist beyond the walls of human society, having climbed to the apex of what is possible within the System.”
The entire audience looked up at Tessa. In their sparkling eyes, they knew. They knew exactly who she was talking about. There were multiple people who would fit this description of course, but most people in Zone 1 wouldn’t know about the beehive of powerhouses that was Donnyton. They would have only heard of one name, the biggest name. The name that took down the Unity Church and stopped them from experimenting seemingly on a whim.
He was an irreplaceable fixture in the public consciousness. But as of yet, the rumors about him, the stories that people told, they were spoken with awe and barely concealed confusion. He was a figure so powerful that he was scary. His existence was paired with no reasonable explanation. Slowly, that fear in people’s chests would take root.
At some point, Tessa knew that Randidly would have no choice but to choose to become a monster or a dictator. He wouldn’t want to, but people were smarter, and less, than Randidly seemed to think. Even if he pretended to be hands-off, instead devoting his time to running a business, people understood that he would act if any forces were to endanger the world. They sensed the implied threat of his existence, even if he didn’t vocalize it. People were incredibly capable at sensing power dynamics.
But whereas Randidly would do his best not to use that power, people would so fear his eventual use that they would force his hand. Because no human is smart enough to leave well enough alone. Without Randidly giving himself a role that people could grasp, others would simply choose it for him. That was simply how fame worked. It was lonely at the top, especially when it was impossible to even know yourself.
“Some might believe that such individuals are an invaluable commodity to us.” Tessa continued. “We are not stating this is inaccurate. Rather, we are saying this: Justice never stands alone on a dark night. Justice exists in courtrooms and forums open to the powerful influence of the public. It exists in debates and explanations and respect. By its humble and elegant dress, it may be recognized, as well as by the company of transparency and integrity that it keeps. This is not meant to deny the positive influence that some actions or actors may have upon the whole of humanity due to the context of their actions. This is simply to underscore that these are often shortsighted behaviors and do not come without the cost of dispensing with some necessary and vital moral underpinning. Justice is slow because it does not cut corners.”
Breathe in, breathe out. One more part.
“To that end, we the representatives of 9 of the 10 Orders, forming a quorum of the Chivalric Council, do make the following Proclamation: Randidly Ghosthound…”
One last breath. Finish it all at once. “…you are named as Founder of the Order Ducis. There is no one more capable or well suited towards enforcing the tenants of Chivalry among not only your own budding Order but amongst all. To that end, you are named Requarian, that you might require what you will of the Orders to be found consistent with the tenants of chivalry and justice.
“Randidly Ghosthound, you are the individual with the requisite set of Skills to enact the ultimate punishment upon the Orders that would betray the trust of the people for their own gain. To that end, you are named Requiessor, so that you might ensure that all those who leave the Path of Chivalry will either be guided back to the flock or led towards an eternal slumber. Go with honor.”