The Knights of Takhisis were formed by Ariakan, son of the Dragon Highlord Duulket Ariakas. From shortly before the Chaos War and into the Age of Mortals, the Dark Knights have become a force to be reckoned with, conquering much of the land of Ansalon. Some years into the Age of Mortals, the loss of Takhisis weighed heavily upon the evil knighthood, and the decision was made to change the knighthood's name from the Knights of Takhisis to the Knights of Neraka. The Dark Knights follow three basic tenets: the Vision, the Blood Oath, and the Code. The Knighthood is led by the supreme commander, the Lord of the Night. Three Lord Knights are under him, which include the Lord of the Thorn, Lord of the Skull, and Lord of the Lily.
All knights are trained for the betterment of the knighthood. If one knight feels that another knight wronged them, or if they want to advance into the Order of Lords, they may challenge the knight to a duel of the death. The loser will be buried, while the other will retain their honor. Dark Knights will salute an honorable enemy such as the Solamnic Knights, Windriders, or minotaur Legionary, but will not those of the Legion of Steel, human mercenaries, or those of the lesser races. A knight will also set aside one day a year to honor Zeboim, and the founding of the knighthood.
Age of Despair
At the closure of the War of the Lance, Solamnic Knights captured Ariakan. They imprisoned him for six years where he learnt all about the structure and organization of the knighthood. Ariakan also learned of the downfall of the Dragonarmies, "that evil turned in on itself". When he was released the goddess Takhisis visited him and he told her of what he learned and his plans for a new knighthood, she promptly agreed.
After he built Storm's Keep to train and keep his troops a secret, Ariakan explored the lands east of the Blood Sea Isles. During the voyage, he discovered the continent of Ithin'carthia, and gained shock troops in the Tarmak. By 383 AC, the Dark Knights were ready to invade Ansalon for Ariakan and their Dark Queen.
In one month, Ariakan led his forces to conquer more lands than the Dragonarmies did in the War of the Lance. Only Silvanesti, Northern Ergoth, Thorbardin, and a few Dwarves in the Khalkist Mountains did not fall before the Dark Knights. This was due to the gods making a pact that the Dark Knights would be the leaders for the coming hordes of Chaos.
The Dark Knights fought bravely during the Chaos War, but suffered a great loss when Ariakan was killed at the High Clerist's Tower when he was betrayed by Ausric Krell. The people of Ansalon would eventually defeat Chaos, but the Dark Knights suffered greatly with three-quarters of their followers dead or deserted. The Knighthood was at the edge of collapse.
Age of Mortals
During the early Age of Mortals, Mirielle Abrena strove to keep the Knighthood whole and make sure the people of Ansalon appreciated their sacrifice. The Knighthood's headquarters was moved to Neraka since Storm's Keep was no longer their home. The Dark Knights were told that they were to prepare for the eventual return of the Dark Queen. In order to get the Dark Knight numbers up again, Abrena understood that mass recruiting would be needed. So, she allowed for the recruitment of those with questionable honor.
When the Dragon Overlords came to Ansalon, the Dark Knights worked for them in taking of land and prisoners for their Dragonspawn experiments. They worked primarily with Malystryx, Beryllinthranox, and the living legend Khellendros. Those that worked for Onysablet more often than not became the dragon's experiments, and Gellidus didn't have much use for the Dark Knights wanting only Ogres and Thanoi but did use them some. Some joined with the dragon's factions such as the Whitescale Society and the Knights of Darkhaven.
The Dark Knights would stay active in all parts of Ansalon until the end of the War of Souls. During the war, they were able to take parts of Ansalon they weren't able to before under the leadership of Mina, such as Solanthus and Sanction. By the end of the war though, the Dark Knights were shattered. They were clinging to some of their lands barely, and eventually were overthrown from places such as Solamnia. Their base of power was moved from Jelek back to Neraka. There are now scattered faction lords for the Dark Knights, with not all Dark Knights answering to the Lord of the Night in Neraka. Each faction lord has their own command structure, and the Knighthood is no longer considered unified.
The Dark Knights primarily only bond with the Blue Dragons because they are the best fighters, and respect humans more than the other clans. Some Red Dragons, such as Pyraxxus, were partnered with Dark Knight officers to help win battles, but now they are only used by the Knights of Darkhaven. Skull Knights primarily are the only ones to us the Black Dragons, while White Dragons and Green Dragons are never bonded with a Dark Knight. Most Dark Knights respect Metallic Dragons, but hardly ever ally with them and only meet them on the field of battle.
Dark Knights also field many handlers for their dragon mounts to make sure they are content. Most dragons carry only one rider into battle, but there are three person saddles that one member from each Order will ride into battle. Some of the larger dragons work as transports, and will drop their troops in on enemies.
Allies and Enemies
Many of the Knighthood's allies are no more, while their enemies continue to grow. Prior to the War of Souls, the Dark Knights had the greatest of all allies, the Dragon Overlords. They served them, and the dragons allowed the Knighthood's power to grow. Now though, all the Overlords are dead, and their greatest ally is gone. They can still count on the Heart of the Dragon and Minions of Dark as close allies, while the Minotaur Empire and Tarmak aren't close allies, but do respect the Dark Knights. The Bündesphar were long-time allies, but have chosen to reassess their alliance in the new world.
The Dark Knight's enemies have grown since the end of the War of Souls, not only in numbers, but in power also. The Draconians of Teyr chose to no longer ally with the Dark Knights. The Elves, Knights of Solamnia, Legion of Steel, Wizards of High Sorcery, and the Holy Orders of the Stars have all been long-time enemies of the Knighthood. The Legion of Steel was more hated by the Dark Knights, and a bounty on any Legionnaire's head brought back by a Dark Knight.
Branches of Dark Knights
- Blood Oath Archer
- Heart of the Dragon
- Knights of Darkhaven
- Knights of the Lily
- Knights of the Skull
- Knights of the Thorn
- Minions of Dark
- Order of Lords
- Vision Partisans
Dark Knight Units & Terms
- Army (Dark Knights)
- Blood Oath
- Blue Lady's Formation
- Compgroup (Dark Knights)
- Crucible of Darkness
- Flying V
- Law of the Dark Queen
- Lesson of the Ironwood Tree
- Lord of the Night
- Petitioner in the Order of the Lily
- Quadron (Dark Knights)
- Shield (Dark Knights)
- Talon (Group)
- Thunderbolt (Formation)
- Wing (Dark Knights)
List of Dark Knights
Dark Knights that are unknown which branch of the organization they are in.
- Bendic Darthassian
- Burnond Everride
- Jerne Stormcrown
- Jor (Dark Knight)
- Phoenix (Human)
- Vickar Grimgeitz
- Vincit Cathard
- Vinkal Keenedge
- Dragons of Summer Flame, p. 3, 8, 15, 56-57, 63-64, 107, 124, 238, 278, 288-291, 298, 316, 341, 347-348, 419, 443, 445, 520
- The Second Generation, 'Kitiara's Son', p. 27-30, 33, 38-39, 45, 56, 59, 63, 80, 83
- The Search for Power, "Osuin's Treasure", p. 16
- The Second Generation, "Appendix", p. 393-396
- The Siege of Mt. Nevermind, p. 53
- Dragonlance Campaign Setting
- Heroes of Steel
- Knightly Orders of Ansalon, p. 79-118