The Path of the Dragon Knight

The dragon knight treasures the state, friendship, duty, promises, kindness, vengeance, honor, and righteousness more than his own life.

– The Way of the Dragon Warrior

These are the ideals that combat pilots (xia) of the Jin Hu house of Huang Yinglong aspire to:

1. altruism
2. justice
3. individualism
4. loyalty
5. courage
6. truthfulness
7. disregard for wealth
8. desire for glory

Excerpt from an ancient Imperial Vhek historical treatise on the Xia of Old Vhek:

The Xia Value System 

The most frequently used definitions for xia are knight and knight-errant. Like the knight, skill in combat was the stock and trade of xia. However, xia were soldiers only on rare occasion. They excelled in personal combat, and were more akin to the Gallentean duelist than the Amarrian knight. In addition, unlike the knight who was exclusively a member of the aristocracy, xia could come from both humble or aristocratic backgrounds. The xia were often wanderers seeking adventure, but greed and self-interest was not always their motivation. As hired swords, xia resolved conflict through use of force, but their actions were tempered by a personal sense of justice and honor. Thus, what set xia apart from other men with fighting skills had to do with their ideology and code of conduct. As a force for good, xia have been extolled by the ancient Vhek sage Sima Qian. Later historians elaborated, making the distinction between xia, and other types of outlaw who used force without scruple for personal gain. Others saw little difference between xia and their less principled brethren. Han Feizi listed the xia among the five vermin of society for being subversive vigilante, while Xun Yue took a moral stance against xia for their rejection of pacifistic Vherokior values.

In The Vherokior Knight-Errant, eight common attributes of the xia are listed as altruism, justice, individualism, loyalty, courage, truthfulness, disregard for wealth and desire for glory. Except for individualism, these characteristics typify the Old Vhek junzi (princeling, gentleman). The junzi embodied all of the traits of the Old Vhek gentleman, among them: ren (benevolence), zhong (loyalty), yong (bravery) and yi (righteousness). Disregard for riches was a product of the Old Vhek disdain for merchants, and was demonstrated by magnanimity, or indifference to monetary profit. Thus, in many respects the values of the xia are merely an extension of traditional Vherokior mores. Few could live up to the standards of the junzi, though it was held up as the ideal. The best of the xia tried, but most were subject to human foibles. Thus, not all xia were altruistic, and many were acquisitive. Frequently their sense of justice was subjective, and more often than not was in fact vengeance. Their sense of justice (and altruism) could also be looked upon as part of a code of honor that embodied certain elements of li (chivalry, propriety). Noble xiapersonified chivalry, and even villainous xia would extend chivalry to those they deemed capable of appreciating the notion of honor. Loyalty was one virtue that defined any xia, but it was based on the oft ignored principle of reciprocity. A xia who was not treated with due respect did not feel any obligation to serve his patron with zeal. This was not the blind loyalty promulgated by later Vherokior sages. The courage of the xia was that of any fighting man, and his truthfulness did not always imply honesty. It had more to do with maintaining a reputation as one whose word was sacred, and could often turn to intractability. Even the desire for personal glory was not universal among xia. Some considered it counter to the spirit of wude (martial virtue), which counseled humility and forbearance.

What really set the xia apart from society was their value on individualism, and their willingness to use force to achieve their aims. Thus despite the fact that most of their beliefs were quite mainstream, xia were seen as a part of the counterculture. The individualism of the xia manifested itself as non-conformity with respect to certain traditional conventions. The xia were criticized for placing personal loyalty above family loyalty. Often, an oath sworn to a stranger was considered more important than the unspoken obligation between family members. This was a serious breech of traditional Vherokior propriety. To further outrage social convention, many xia had great disregard for authority. Those who were ostensibly their social superiors were often treated with open contempt, while those of humble status were shown great courtesy. Some characterize this behavior as rebelliousness, but in many cases it was due to a sense of egalitarianism. The xia valued individuals over what they considered arbitrary labels of tribe and status, and were not loath to challenge such notions.