It was time.
Lowering smoothly to one knee, the Shining One pulled his sword from the scabbard by the quillons, holding it forth by the blade for Amaranda to grasp the hilt with Dash's hand. Aorle's own hands remained on the blade as he swore the deepest promise of his life.
No one had truly taught him the words. No one had to. They were inscribed upon his very soul. Hearing them recited by Kurgriss had only shown him the reflections of his own heart.
"By my word and sword, by faith and honour. My Oath is thus."
"To act with valour and compassion in all things. To stand upright and true with every deed. To walk humbly and love justice. To permit no evil within my power to oppose, by life or by death. To make honour my life. To safeguard the helpless. To do no wrong. To share of my strength with those without."
"That is my Oath."
"My rulers are Compassion, Heroism, Honour, Justice & Measure. Here and now I call each one my liege and pledge my fealty. To shun what they shun and love what they love."
"From Compassion my tasks are eternal. To answer the cries of those in need. To watch no cruelty go unchallenged. To give without thought of return. To aid those who suffer and ease their pain. To stand against what threatens them. To meet malice with battle and sorrow with kindness."
"From Heroism I accept these duties. To strengthen the weak, to enrich the poor, to free the enslaved, to exonerate the falsely accused, to champion the defenseless, and to welcome self-sacrifice when 'twill bring what is just. To better do right and die than do wrong and prosper."
"From Honour I welcome these charges. To uphold all trusts placed in me. To speak only truth. To exhibit courage in both word and deed. To make no accord with workers of evil, be it to yield or consort. To forsake none given loyalty. To answer to rightness and stand by my deeds."
"Justice be the soul of knighthood. To render all fair due, be they man or woman or beast or god. To permit no life be wasted in vain. To avenge the wronged and guard the blameless. To set right inequity to my full power. To side always with right, unswayed by thoughts of gain. To champion those causes I find worthy."
"To Measure, my obligations. To reserve wrath for the wicked. To be not blinded by anger or pride. To stay my blade save for righteous purpose. To give honour to the deeds of others. To be guided by wisdom. To act always in accordance with the Teachings of Angels."
"This is my pact, and these are my duties, until Heaven release me, or death takes me, or the world ends." Not one shred of doubt entered his voice, this was his driving purpose. Every word held deep value for him. Finally, he ceased his grip on his sword blade and released the weapon into Amaranda's care, for her to use in her Judgement.
And yet, there was one modification he made to the Oath. Two further words of such value. "And beyond."