Oath of Service
I am a creation of the Shadow. In the end, I will be destroyed by the Shadow. But while there is breath in my body and blood in my veins, I will fight to stop the spread of its taint across these lands. I will fight in the vain hope that I might someday do as much good for this savaged world as I have evil. I will fight because it is what I was created to do, and because it is time that my creator felt the bite of his own weapons.
I must strive at all times to keep from feeding the ember that was once my reason for being; I will not be driven by rage, hatred or lust for vengeance. Rage and hate are the tools of Shadow. Vengeance is an illusion, murder disguised as justice. I will have none of these. I will slay my enemy's generals and scatter his soldiers, but I will do this because it must be done, not because I wish it done. The vardatch feels no joy in killing; it is a tool, a means to an end, and now I must be as well. I will be the impenetrable shield, the killing blade, the cleansing torch, wielded by a warrior who cannot be slain, and whose name is Hope.
These men are my companions. They are flawed and imperfect, and some of them are weak. But they have the potential to succeed in places where I cannot, so it is my charge to protect them. If the Shadow should take one of them, I must strike him down as an enemy; if I become a danger to the group, I must take my own life before I endanger theirs. The war is more important than the soldiers.
I must do what I can to protect those others who cannot protect themselves, the helpless and the weak who suffer and die every day for the Shadow's pleasure. They must be saved so that, when we are dead and forgotten, others can rise from their ranks to take up where we left off. But I must remember that I cannot save everyone, that I must pick battles I can win; or that, in losing, can accomplish something greater.
I must remember that I myself am a creature of Shadow; I am living proof that one can turn back from the darkness. But I must not allow this knowledge to weaken my resolve, to fool me with false hopes. If it is possible to share the light that woke me from my nightmare, I will bring it to as many of my brothers as I can, free them from the Shadow's yoke and turn his own armies against him. But if this cannot be done, I must not hesitate to slay them all.
I must remember all of these things. I must keep them within an arm's length, like wayposts in a stream, and hold tightly to them so as not to stumble or be swept away. They are my strength; they are my purpose. And I will serve them, and die for them, as I once would have done for the Shadow, so that they might live on to strengthen others when I am gone.
Gaakh. Let it be so.