Force Organizations: Imperial Knights
By Jason Dietzel
The Imperial Knights are one of the newest Force organizations to appear in the Expanded Universe. The sect only appears in the Legacy comics, the latest content chronologically. However, their existence dates back three generations to just after the events of the Fate of the Jedi series and the novel Crucible. It is rumored that the cancelled Sword of the Jedi series would have highlighted the creation of the order.
Regardless, the idea of the Imperials having its own Force order first circulated within the Imperial Remnant around the time of the discovery of the Outbound Flight wreckage. This idea was first considered by Admiral Voss Parck while leading the Empire of the Hand. He unsuccessfully approached Mara Jade Skywalker with the idea of starting an “Imperial Jedi” organization for the Remnant, given her history as the Emperor’s Hand.
Chak Fel would also unsuccessfully try to lure Luke Skywalker for the same position within the Empire of the Hand. However, it was his younger brother, Jagged Fel, who would successfully create the Imperial Knights. Given his marriage to Jaina Solo, it can be assumed she would lead the Imperial Order in service to her husband, as the first Emperor of the reorganized Fel Empire.
Jagged Fel’s lineage would continue to be the ruling family of the Fel Empire and the Imperial Knights, with future generations of Fel emperors also being Force-sensitive, ensuring the Emperor would also be the head of the order. The hierarchy of the order had the Emperor as head, with various Masters having oversight over Knights, trainees and day-to-day operations, as directed by the Emperor.
The order does have a unique position, the master armorer, whom is responsible for crafting special life-support armor for severely injured Knights. In fact, most Imperial Knights wore specialized armor, as part of their knighthood. Knights wore crimson armor, made of the same material as Darth Vader’s armor, which included threads of phrik interwoven into it for limited protection against lightsabers. Knights also utilized cortosis gauntlets, fully able to repel lightsaber blades.
Imperial Knights also utilized uniform lightsabers. Most shared a standard hilt, a replica of Darth Vader’s design, though a few exceptions were allowed, ie: double-bladed lightsabers. The order also had a standard silver-white blade, but once again some exceptions were allowed given special circumstances. For example, Marasiah Fel’s blade was blue, and Azyln Rae wielded an orange-bladed lightsaber and didn’t wear the standard uniform due to her special op’s assignments.
Though the Jedi considered the Imperial Knights to be gray Jedi, the Imperials acknowledge their service to the light side. According to their philosophy, they believed the Emperor to be the personification of the Force, and of order, and claimed fealty to their emperor so long as he remained true to the light side. If the Emperor were to fall to the dark side, it was the duty of the Imperial Knights to either redeem him back or remove him from power, killing him if necessary.
Though they shared many common ideologies with the Jedi, another reason Imperial Knights are considered by many to be grey Jedi is because they viewed the Force as a tool to be studied to master, not meditated upon and not some supernatural entity with a will. And though they acknowledged the light and dark sides of the Force, the Imperial Knights ultimately placed the burden on the user from giving into the darkness. As a result, members underwent strict disciple and training in order to counter these strong emotions.
Members were recruited into the order based off their connection to the Force and loyalty to the Emperor. New adepts were drafted into Imperial service, where they would be paired with a Knight or Master who would train them until knighthood. Adepts would study under their master’s tutelage, however other Knights and Masters could also lend aid, as appropriate.
Imperial Knights primarily focused on combat, rather than diplomacy or negotiations, developing ironclad will and strength that rivaled the most hardened Jedi Guardians. Knights trained above and beyond the Jedi Guardians in lightsaber combat techniques, creating two of their own forms: Praetoria Vonil and Praetoria Ishu; the former an aggressive form and the latter a defensive form, but both designed for teamwork of a group of Knights working together as one.
Come the events of the Legacy comics, circa 137 ABY, Emperor Roan Fel ruled the Fel Empire. A decade prior, he had allied with the One Sith to fight the Galactic Alliance in the Sith-Imperial War. This alliance proved successful and the Fel Empire was able to oust the Galactic Alliance from Coruscant, reclaiming the planet as the Imperial capital. However, Emperor Fel was informed of a plot by Darth Krayt to usurp Fel’s short-lived victory, and the Imperials were forced to concede to the Sith.
The One Sith were able to rebuild their empire, with Coruscant as its capital, igniting a three-way cold war between the Sith Empire, Fel Empire and Galactic Alliance. These tensions would turn hot after the Sith nearly eradicated the Jedi in another purge, with the Imperials eventually allying itself with the Galactic Alliance and Jedi remnants. Though untrusting of their allies, they were successful in toppling the Sith, killing Darth Krayt, and establishing the Galactic Federation Triumvirate between the Fel Empire, Galactic Alliance and New Jedi Order.
Unfortunately, the Imperials suffered a grave loss: in the conflict with the Sith, Emperor Roan Fel fell to the dark side. Under the leadership of the order’s second-in-command, Master Antares Draco, the Imperial Knights were forced to kill their emperor. Following the funeral, Roan’s daughter Marasiah Fel became Empress and Antares Draco continued his role as second-in-command of the order.
Like the rest of the Legacy content, the Imperial Knights’ fate was left open-ended with the premature conclusion of Legacy vol. 2, as a result of the decision to end the Expanded Universe timeline. It is unclear what new projects were in the works for this new and exciting era of content, but like other eras that were also prematurely ended, had a lot of potential to become a classic amongst fans.