In an effort to alleviate concerns that many Nobles are believed to currently harbor in regards to the security of Townships and Villages in the wake of the news that the Imperial Watch will not be assigned as security to them, His Grace the Emperor Zolor Zahir the First today released an official statement that suggests a course of action that would see a centuries-old establishment find its way back into Fastheld: Chivalric Orders of Knights.
Though the full statement was detailed and complicated, a number of bards and scribes have been repeating the subtext of the statement for normal citizens and lazy Nobles, which generally translates as such:
Though one might have once been able to find them in every corner of the lands that surrounded Old Fastheld, such Orders generally fell out of popularity soon after the First Wildling War when Emperor Talus Kahar the First banded them together with standard militia, hunters, rangers, and guards, to form the first incarnation of the Emperor's Blades. Such a standing army negated all need for such Knights, and soon saw them resigned to dusty old tomes and fondly retold bardic tales.
Such Orders would be sworn to protect the House they serve, the people that inhabit the lands that fall under that House's scope, and uphold the Imperial Law for the greater good of the Emperor and the Crown. Each House would be permitted to form one such Order, and it would be those Orders that maintained peace and security within the Townships, Villages, and the lands that surrounded them.
Each Order would also be entirely House-funded, and while the Emperor would hold a sovereign right to band these Orders together under his command in times of need (and disband them at will), would be House-run as well. This, it is stated, will present a unique way for the Noble Houses of Fastheld to give something back to the Crown after the Emperor abolished most major taxes on holdings and establishments.
Thus, while the Imperial Watch would protect the highways, lands, and state-held territories of the Empire, the Knights would protect the Townships and Villages, all within the scope of the Imperial Law. Knights would be mostly permitted to go about their business as they saw fit providing that it did not interfere or prove detrimental to the operations of the Imperial Watch, which would at all times supercede the assignments of the Knights by virtue of the Emperor's word.
For now, it seems, the Emperor has merely provided an early view of that which is yet to be set in stone. However, if the Emperor had set out to give the Noble Houses of Fastheld something to ponder and contemplate, then that goal has no doubt been accomplished.