It is not peace when cruelty reigns
“Paladins show that courage is possible,” Cami said to them one day. “It is easy enough to find reasons to give in to evil. War is ugly, as Paks knows well,” she nodded toward Paks…. “We do not argue that war is better than peace; we are not so stupid as that. But it is not peace when cruelty reigns, when stronger men steal from farmers and craftworkers, when the child can be enslaved or the old thrown out to starve, and no one lifts a hand. That is not peace: that is conquest, and evil. We start no quarrels in peaceful lands; we never display our weaponskills to earn applause. But we are Gird’s cudgel, defending the helpless, and teaching by our example that one person can dare greater force to break evil’s grasp on the innocent. Sometimes we can do that without fighting, without killing, and that’s best.”
— Oath of Gold, Elizabeth Moon
I highly recommend The Deed of Paksenarrion to anyone who enjoys good military fantasy. As astraea36 put it when I was describing it to her, “This is one of those books that actually makes you think, makes you feel something,” and that is it better than I could have put it myself.