Press "Enter" to skip to content

The price of neutrality – Interview with a Bodiam Paladin

In anticipation of the “open doors” weekend in Bodiam, we have reached out to the Outpost and arranged an interview with one of their most decorated agents, Astoria Ritter.

Interviewer: “First of all, let me say how exciting it is to be able to speak to someone from Bodiam. This stronghold is shrouded in so many stories, it’s nice to see a flesh-and-blood person that adds the human element to all the legends.”

Astoria Ritter (smiling): “My pleasure.”

I: “Let us start with a quick introduction. What can you tell our readers about yourself and your training as a Bodiam Paladin?”

A.R. (laughing): “Gosh, people have been using this moniker for so long we’ve started using it ourselves! My story started as soon as my magic manifested. I was lucky to have parents who poured all their efforts into training me in a variety of subjects, honing my skills day and night so that I would be fit to apply to Bodiam. In his youth, my father had dreamed of serving at the Outpost, but he never got in. You can imagine how ecstatic he was when I made the cut. I know I was!”

I: “Is the application process really that ruthless?”

A.R.: “The year I tried out, only three people were accepted out of a thousand applicants. Some years it can be ten people. Other years, it’s no-one at all.”

I: “Rumour has it that it takes a lifetime of dedication to complete the training at Bodiam.”

A.R.: “It’s not an easy step to take. If you’re applying, you need to be fully aware of what you’re getting into. Your life will change forever. You will live at the stronghold and your days will all look the same: learn, train, eat, sleep, over and over again. But once you complete your training, you’re encouraged to travel the world and learn about all the different confluxes, their cultures, customs and laws.”

I: “But you cannot interfere.”

A.R.: “Never.”

I: “Let’s talk about the famous Bodiam neutrality. What is your – their – stance on the war with the Were?”

A.R.: “It seems you have just answered your question.”

I: “Don’t you fear backlash or resentment for Bodiam’s passive attitude towards the war? Your people are the most skilled combatants in the world. You could help tip the scales, yet you choose to remain neutral.”

A.R.: “In the long history of our stronghold, we have trained peacekeepers, not soldiers. Never, at any point in Bodiam’s history, have we discriminated against anyone based on their background, origin, or species. It may surprise you to know that some of our, as you call us, Paladins, are lycanthropes, fae-blooded, and other non-humans.”

I: “Some might say that you’re fraternising with the enemy.”

A.R. “What enemy, Mr. Thenderson? At the Outpost, we eat at the same table, go to the same training, laugh at the same jokes. The Were aren’t a monolith, or a hivemind that shares identical goals and priorities. You wouldn’t say that about witchards. Why would you say that about non-humans? There are good and bad people everywhere, and I’m lucky to have some of the best serving by my side.”

I: “I can’t promise that your reassurance will be enough to placate the fear and distrust of our readers.”

A.R.: (smiling): “I wholeheartedly invite you and your readers to visit us on the open days. See for yourselves. If there was ever a voice for inter-species cooperation, you will find it here.”

We would like to remind our readers that the open days at Bodiam take place on April 15-17th, and are addressed mainly to the magical youth and their families.