In my last post, I mentioned the tensions between the House of Mackritae and the House of Hahlerand that led to the Nine Years War. Now, some three decades later, Mordwell (Mackritae land) and Riverend (Hahlerand land) continue to hate each other.
The Knights Service is the core of Riverend's elite soldiers. Any citizen of good standing aged 14 and older can apply to join the Knights Service. However, in order for an applicant to be considered for admittance as an apprentice knight, they must complete the Trials.
The Trials consist of a series of physical and mental challenges, some of which pit one applicant against another. Many applicants do not finish the Trials, and in a few rare instances, applicants have died. If one passes the Trials, however, the Trials judges decide whether to admit the applicant. Applicants deemed untrustworthy or mentally weak are summarily denied entry.
Apprentice knight training lasts five years. It's focus is on the physical and mental and even academic training of future knights. In the kingdom of Riverend, academic studies hold a place of honor, just as military service does.
As for the Watchers of Riverend, this service within the Knights Service was created in answer to Mordwell's continued antagonizing of the Hahlerand clan. After a few strategic murders and abductions were committed by Mordwell, Riverend implemented the Watchers program whereby top tier apprentice knights are assigned a Ward: family members of high-ranking officials and members of the Hahlerand family not in the immediate line for succession. In other words, those individuals deemed important, but not crucial to the kingdom, and therefore, not under the protection of the King's Guard or a full knight.
In Corruption of Honor, Shaun Greyson is a Watcher in her third year of Watcher service. The first two were spent shadowing a higher level Watcher, who was Watcher to Sara Hahlerand, the king's youngest daughter, and her best friend. Shaun has no direct battle experience at the time of the events in CoH.