Loyalty can be described in three ways, Sir Kendrick once said. Loyalty of the hand, loyalty of the head, loyalty of the heart.
Loyalty of the hand is perhaps the quotidian. The hired help earning her pay, the craftsman completing a customer’s order, the soldier or guard who signs her name for the weekly silver, a bunk and three meals. As long as they receive their coin, they’re content. Another layer (or view, if you will) is the person who carries out the will of another, without acceptance or approval of that other’s goals.
Loyalty of the head…(here Sir Kendrick asked for a top-off of his Dalaran red, and his slippers to be brought from the warming-rack). It is a calculated loyalty, borne often of necessity and circumstance. You follow because of said person’s abilities and capability. Another layer (again) is the labor not of one’s back, but one’s wit and will. What you can do to help them achieve their goals, to protect them, to improve them.
Loyalty of the heart … ah. The person, the cause, is cherished. Loved. That’s easy enough to understand, yes? But another view, or layer, is the absolute belief in that which holds your loyalty. It’s so much a part of your life you can’t imagine being without it. That you would do anything for it.
They overlap at times, these three ways. You may only experience one or two, instead of all three. And sometimes they grow or fade as time passes and people and the world change.
Writing Sir Kendrick started me thinking about those full moon nights when he would don his favorite blue dress and break open the Dalaran red, and talk. I’ve been thinking about loyalty lately, since that horrific night in Elwynn when Demetrius presented me with that ax he’d found in the ruins of his old family estate. The pleasure his gift and his words of respect gave me was genuine. And yet… they didn’t quite feel like mine. Rather, as if they were from the past, echoing through us. An effect of that damned oath again? Or do I just hope that it is, because I don’t like the thought that IThefeel pride in serving this man.
Aneokame has my loyalty hand, head and heart. So does Gavia. For “the flock”, it’s of the head.
Loyalty to my lord is a matter of the hand, possibly – in part, at least – of the head. Nothing else. I think of those sworn to House Haethon, and others, and envy them their chance of a lord who could claim all three.