I'm running into one snag, which is the word "paladin." It's a good word for a purely religious warrior type, it's the one that I, geek as I am, default to immediately, but I worry that it has too many D&D (or these days, WoW*) connotations behind it. I can't cook up an alternative that I like half so well, though--"knight" is too secular a title, and I'm trying to differentiating between knight-as-quasi-military-title and paladin-as-religiously-ordained-demonsla
My attempts to find something in a thesaurus have failed wretchedly--"crusader" is the only one even remotely close, and it's right out, speaking of bad connotations (and what kind of thesarus puts "paladin" as a synonym for "numero uno"?) Although I did learn some interesting bits about word origin (it comes from palatinus, referring to Palatine Hill, in Rome, where the emperor hung out) and a lot of interesting bits about popular figures serving Charlemagne during the middle ages. Who knew?
Unfortunately for my synonym quest, we don't have a lot of good words for religious warriors in English. The whole thing has kind of fallen out of fashion. (Thank god, sez I.) I may simply resign myself to hoping people can read it without wondering vaguely when the laying on of hands and smiting evil starts.
Possibly that's my own background speaking, but I sort of figure everyone else has the same basic geek backing, and when they hear "paladin" thinks "Lawful good, probably annoying, tends to clank a lot..."
Oh, well, if Bujold can do it with Paladin of Souls I suppose so can I...
*Yes, I, too, weep for the younger generation of geekery. You don't want to know what I said the first time someone said "Orcs? Like in World of Warcraft?"
Update: Digging around a history of Catholic medival orders turned up "knight-brethren" as an interesting phrase. I don't like it quite as much, but I may poke around with it.