A humble, yet stalwart order of fighting monks and teachers of the hearing impaired. They revere St. Denreddys, the original Deaf Knight. In the past, the order’s influence was minimal, but today, the Deaf Knights thrive, with even kings and queens of distant kingdoms, sending their deaf to learn and prosper, at the feet of the order’s monks. They are a school foremost, an Order second.
Tale of the Original Deaf Knight
Denreddys Lassiter, named the Deaf Knight, was a wanderer, a knight by appellation only, long abandoned by his liege and order. Denreddys had been accused of a vile act by his Lord, and thus challenged, tortured, and finally exiled from the Kingdom of Lepturia, by the Poppy Seed King himself, the boy ruler against whom, Denreddys Lassiter had supposedly sinned.
Denreddys was accused of a crime most depraved, made only worse by the fact that he was innocent of the transgression. Due mostly to petty jealousy, Denreddys was set up by one, Buwell Bull-Strong, a knight he had bested in a tourney, much to Buwells wroth and shame, to make it appear as if Denreddys, the Palace Knight, had molested the sleeping Princess Laduga, sister of the Poppy Seed King. The Court of Judgments, stacked against the honest knight, headed by Buwell, and his equally waspish and vengeful cousin Gradyn Ancev, as well as the swayed King himself, ruled quickly against Denreddys, and in a moment his flawless career had been permanently tainted. At first, Denreddys demanded Trial by Combat to prove his innocence, and was granted his request. In a pitched, bloody battle, Denreddys slew Emmeraut, the Giants Son, who was named the chosen champion of the Kings Justice. But even victorious, Denreddys was not redeemed, as the hateful Poppy Seed King, went back on his own word, and charged Denreddys instead with torture and banishment.
The brief but gruesome torture consisted of searing hot iron rods being wedged inside each of the knights ears, deafening Denreddys permanently, as well as causing great, unseemly and scarred welts, where his ears once were.
Thrown onto a donkey cart and driven from the kingdom, while still in half-stupor, Denreddys was rudely thrown onto the road, many miles away. As a last and only merciful favor, or some say, a final mockery, the driver of the donkey cart threw down a single ear, the one that burned clean-off the scalp of Denreddys and still remained whole.
Eventually the knight woke and recovered. He was bitter, to be sure, but at the same time numbly revolted by the entire knighthood he served, and his maniacal, immature and erstwhile king. Enraged at first, Denreddys stumbled on, heading farther and farther away from his homeland, surviving with his wits and skill-at-arms, while slowly and maddeningly trying to adjust to his new silent world.
The Deaf Knight, as he self-effacingly and mockingly dubbed himself, became completely withdrawn, in a total and complete state of self-pity, turning from a man of honor, to an uncaring, bullying, lout in a short amount of time.
One day, many months later, Denreddys came upon a river. Across the other bank he could spy a young girl, her back to the water and thus to Denreddys. She was scaling fish, and unaware of his presence. Denreddys first shouted to her, unable to hear his own voice, but confidant that it still worked. The girl ignored him and continued scaling her fish. Next, Denreddys clanged his sword against his shield, with great irritation, but once again the girl ignored the man. Angry now, in his ravaged mind thinking that she was now mocking him, Denreddys dove headlong into the river and swam to the far shore. Emerging from the water, he raced up the bank and grabbed the girl by her shoulders, spinning her around and glaring at her balefully. The young, freckled lass merely stared at the Deaf Knight, her eyes wide as saucers.
It was at this peculiar moment in his life, that Denreddys somehow realized the girl, like him, was deaf. But more than that, Denreddys suddenly began a cathartic mental discharge of pent-up frustrations and deeply hidden emotions. Tears welled up in his eyes, as he realized that he nearly shook to death, a young, innocent girl, who was further burdened with her own curse, that of those like him, unable to hear any sound.
It was at this very moment, that Denreddys imagined the face of the young girl, morphing into that of the Princess Laduga, smiling and forgiving him. Tears continued to stream from the knights eyes, as he suddenly realized the reason for his seemingly unfitting, life's punishment. It truly was fitting, the knight thought, he had not touched the Princess Laduga, nay, but truth be told, he thought of it. He had thoughts impure and unworthy of a knight. And thus he was justly punished Denreddys now reasoned. He was not slain no, nor was his soul taken. He was deafened and properly shamed. His hearing was taken from him, he now believed, because he had not listened to his own inner, unpolluted voice, the one warning him of straying, evil, temptations. He deserved this outcome.
Terribly shaken, but now cognizant and accepting of his fate, Denreddys made peace with himself and his destiny. The girl, though fearful, had not pulled free of the Deaf Knights grip, and he now let her go gently, gesturing with his hands and drawing in the muddy bank with his dagger. The girl smiled and began to gesture to Denreddys in turn, using a peculiar Fingerspeak.
Slowly, as the pair communicated deep into the night beside a makeshift campfire, the exiled knight learned the girls story. She was banished from her own village, even at this tender age, accused of witchery, due to her affliction and her bad fortune of being the daughter of a witch as well. A kindred spirit he had found, the Deaf Knight thought and smiled.
At merely thirteen summers, she was a pure and proud soul, the now redeemed Denreddys thought, and he knew that this was his first test. And he cried once more, in tears of silent joy, as his own thoughts were pure, and thus he went on to his second test.
What would he do with the rest of his life?
The girl, Epiphany was her name, accompanied the Deaf Knight on a mysterious journey, and the two became inseparable, much like father and daughter.
It is here, where the scrolls and doctrines of the Order get murky as far the chain of events, but what text does not have discrepancies I ask you?
The tale, or doctrine, as it were, picks up again, years later when the two companions have erected a massive edifice and bastion of stone, and have built the first ever abbey, especially for the deaf.
End Note: Twin inspirations for this piece, my character going deaf in a Forum RP, and a recent article in the newspaper on the Deaf Knights of Columbus(tm)
Additional Ideas (2)
And so four hundred years later, long after the deaths of Denrredys and Epiphany, the Order of St. Denrredys, or simply, the Deaf Knights, as they came to be known, thrives and flourishes, its members teaching and nourishing newer generations of those souls born or brought into a world of blissful silence.
Symbol and Shield Design: A yellow lightning bolt piercing a cobalt-blue ear, on gray background.
Credo "Patience, Redemption, and the Never Ending Silence."
Oftentimes specialists from the order are hired to thwart banshees, and other such creatures, whose powers derive from sound.
Most of the knights and monks are highly trained in the use of the Mortuary Sword and the Lochaber Axe, traditional weapons of St. Droluuc, the saint that Denreddys had revered in life, before he himself was disgraced and later canonized.
Being masters at lip-reading and Fingerspeak, sign language, the monks of the order make able, albeit reluctant, spies, rarely hiring themselves out to moral, agreeable rulers and governments.
The Master Sign, or Fingerspeak, the official language of the Order and eventually all the realms, today is much more complex than the original language Denreddys and Epiphany had invented and perfected.
They are teachers and foster parents for deaf children, which the Order takes in indiscriminately, and with relish. They are in fact, and in essence, the worlds first School for the Deaf, nothing less, and a little more, since they also keep up the militiristic ideals of their originator, one St. Denrredys.
Always on the look out for the fabled weapons of Denreddys, which according to legend, went missing after Denreddys was banished by the Poppy Seed King in his youth. They also seek the Missing Ear.
The Deaf Knights are always on the look out for the fabled weapons of Denreddys, which according to legend, went missing after the Deaf Knight was banished by the Poppy Seed King in his youth. These are the original arms of Denreddys, but they are not magical in any way. They have been immortalized, and that very fact alone, enhances their intrinsic value, not to mention their spiritual importance to the Order. Wherever they may be now, they must surely be rusty at best, but still the Deaf Knights search on.
Sancta Karra, the Mortuary Sword: This morbid blade sports two feet of tempered steel, before the metal reaches the pommel. Nicked from countless tourneys and melees, the sword was said to cry the tears of angels if ever its blade struck innocent flesh.
Oyster Shucker, the Lochaber Axe: This viciously hooked pole-arm, especially made for rending knights out of their mail, like oysters from their shell, is a gruesome reminder of Denrredys' past. Though a Masterwork weapon, to be sure, the lochaber axe, like the sword, was wholly mundane in nature.
The Missing Ear of Denrredys is another holy icon of the faith. A shrivelled strip of flesh and cartilege, the legends claim the ear exists to this day, and if one were to hold up the ear to one's own, great secrets of an unknown nature would be revealed to the listener. The Deaf Knights take their own legends seriously however, and search for the ear, near and far. Furthermore, the Deaf Knights have acquired an unfortunate second appellation over the years, due to whispers of the Missing Ear among the common folk, and are now known as "Ear Seekers", in many towns and villages, ironically, sharing the name of a feared and deadly, near microscopic, assasin bug, which is known to devour men's brains, after entering their victims, undetected, through the ear canal.