That said, I do have two elite warrior orders in Druthal, neither of which fit the traditional "knight" model. (There are also various elite orders in other cultures throughout the world-- it is a common trope for a reason.) However, on some level, I'm dissatisfied with these two orders.
Conceptually, I still like them. On a basic level, they represent two sides of the same coin. One specializes in offensive combat; the other, defensive. It's the defensive order that is the focus of Way of the Shield, with the main character a fledgling member of the order.
Also, since Druthal as of 1215 has a centralized government and a standing army, an organization of specialized warriors with no direct accountability to that government becomes problematic. The orders still stand, mostly out of tradition, but their roles in society have become obsolete. This obsolescence is a key factor in Way of the Shield as well. Dayne believes in the order, but he sees that others around him are using it more as a political stepping stone. Successfully joining the order offers a lot of social mobility. Dayne is the son of a horsegroom, and now he can rub elbows with nobles and parliamentarians.
So, what's my problem? The names of the orders.
See, originally (the initial worldbuilding, which I did in my early 20s), I had named them the Vanguard (the defensive order) and Warlords (the offensive order). I still like the orders themselves as part of the worldbuilding, the culture. But the names? I'm less comfortable with them. "Warlord" conjures up images of despotic rulers. "Vanguard" means "the foremost division or the front part of an army; advance guard" or "the forefront in any movement, field, activity, or the like." While it could be used for a warrior who stands in front, placing himself between others and harm, I'm not crazy about it.
But what to change them to? That's my question. I'd prefer not to simply have made-up names*. Druthal does follow certain anglo-saxon models, so names that derive from the plain English would be ideal. And ones that conjure up images of "defensive warrior" and "offensive warrior". But I'm at a bit of a loss as what those would be.
Or am I overthinking this? Are "Vanguard" and "Warlord" fine?
*- I do have a certain fondness for Eddings's Pandion, Genidian, Alcione and Cyrinic knights in his Elenium, but I would feel a bit gross simply mimicking that kind of name.