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Squire

A Squire.

Squires are Knights in training. Often of Noble blood, they assist Knights on and off the field of battle. Though they can appear to be nothing more than glorified Servants, fetching food and wine for their lord or tending to his horses and panoply, the gruelling work is meant to toughen up the Squires and ready them for knighthood. Their lords are also supposed to provide them with martial training, though some are lax in this duty. Favoured Noble sons serve as Squires for a few months at best, while those less fortunate spend years trying to earn their spurs.[1a]

Elsewhere

Unlike other nations, the noble sons of Bretonnia are trained since childhood in the art of combat, and never act as Squires. Instead they become Knights Errant, and are expected to travel widely, often alone, seeking out perilous situations in which to prove their worth. The role of Squire is instead filled by Peasants, selected from the youngest and fittest of a lord's retinue. Many are also bastards, illegitimate sons born of both noble and peasant blood. These Foot Squires are equipped to higher degree than any other lowborn, acting as elite infantry alongside the more traditional role of a knight's servant.[3]

A Day in the Life

A squire awakens very early in the morn, long before his lord stirs from slumber. Although the squire learns much from his master, he is both servant and student, and gains lessons as much from performing mundane tasks as from careful instruction. If the squire is in his lord's manor, he might sharpen his master’s steel or prepare his master's horse. If on the road, he might cook his master's breakfast or clean his clothes. The squire always attends the immediate needs of his master as the day begins.[2a]

During the day, a squire receives instruction on various matters, either from his lord or his lord's servants. The lord may instruct the squire on topics of heraldry or history, and may let the squire observe affairs conducted in his court. The lord's master-at-arms could provide tutelage with swords, both wielding and caring for them. A squire is expected to learn to wage war with both weapons and words, and the lessons learned reflect this belief.[2a]

At night, the squire gets to relax from a weary day. However, his lessons do not always end. If not travelling with just his master, the squire finds company with other squires of the court, comparing what they have learned... and commiserating over the foolishness of some of their lesser masters over a mug of ale. Squires have been known to try to catch the eye of pretty ladies-in-waiting as well. Some lords view this with approval as another lesson to be learned in a royal court – while others may punish their charges for such brash behaviour.[2a]

Affiliations

In a large court – or in a marshalled group of knights that is part of an army – squires may be divided in various groups when assembled together. Though this hierarchy is not official, it is something that is understood, and part of tradition.[2a]

Younger squires may often be referred to as pages, and do not receive as many hard physical acts of labour as the older squires do. These younger squires act more as servants, and may be asked to be messengers on the field of battle. Older squires may also be asked to fight for their lords, but they would be expected to act more as scouts than messengers, and to face down their enemies with drawn swords.[2a]

A squire's social status may also affect his training, as well as the tasks he is expected to perform. Squires of higher aristocratic lineage usually receive less physical tasks as their duties, and their training in combat revolves as much around the ability to lead and inspire soldiers as to fight. Squires who comes from lesser noble families – or who might even be of common blood – undertake more punishing physical training, and are expected to be more fighters than leaders.[2a]

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Core Rulebook
    • 1a: pg. 54
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Career Compendium
    • 2a: pg. 198
  • 3: Total War: "Warhammer

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