Emphatically not "Prowess". Of the Nine Knightly Virtues, Prowess in my
opinion is the least important, and "Franchise" the most. Of the other seven
(Courage, Honesty, Loyalty, Largesse, Faith, Courtesy, Modesty), I could not
seperate out one that best defines a knight, as I believe that anyone who
would be Knightly should be all these.
There are those that believe that since religion is prohibited in the SCA that
Faith (or Piety) has no place on the list of Virtues. I disagree most
vigorously. In our Society, Piety is not Faith in any God(s), but faith in
the SCA itself. It is a belief that the rules of the game matter. It is a belief
that the Oaths we swear mean exactly the words we swore, and are not merely
words we mouth to get our regalia and title. For damned good reason the Crown
of the King of Caid is ingraved on the inside with, where only someone putting
it on will be able to read, the words "You rule because they believe". That
belief is the Faith I discuss. That faith is what makes construction workers
Kings, and makes our whole society work. Without that Faith, we're a bunch of
idiots drinking and camping out in funny clothes.
So, perhaps it is in fact Faith that makes us knights, but it is not just the
Faith we hold in the game, but that Faith that everyone else in the Society
holds in us that we will live and be like the Knights they read about in their
story-books, the Galahads and Lancelots who are just as prepared to carry a
lady's basket to her feast table as to lay our very lives on the line to save
that same lady from a fire-breathing Dragon. As the King of Caid rules
because they believe, we are knights because they have Faith in us. Let us live our
every day earning that Faith, repaying it by living by the Virtues, and
striving to be worthy of the admiration of a child.
Earl Cathyn Fitzgerald, KSCA
p.s. By the by, I define Franchise as practicing the other eight Virtues
without thought of personal gain, for no other reason than they are the right
things to do.