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"There are armour-clad Vampire Knights in the world, pursuing their martial glories with deathless vigour. Most famous are the Blood Dragons, but not all the deadly horsemen of the Old World were trained within Blood Keep."
The vampiric Blood Knights.[7]

A Blood Knight leading the charge.

Blood Knights, also known as Vampire Knights[10], are among the most fearsome cavalry in all of the Old World, first created by the mightiest Vampire, Abhorash.

Overview

"In Bretonnia, there is a breed of Vampire that shares many of the characteristics of the aristocratic breed, though by no means are they contained by the borders of that foolish land. They are warriors, dedicated to perfecting their craft and exulting in the power Vampirism affords. Single-minded in their intensity, they are bold, arrogant, and thoroughly vicious."
Maximillian Sommers, Knight of the Empire.[5]

Their training and discipline in life is enhanced by the unnatural speed and strength of the vampiric curse. Blood Knights are nigh indestructible, riding with fangs bared through storms of arrow and shot. Such is their honour that they can refuse no martial challenge, and will fight at the forefront of an Undead army without question.[1][4][6]

It is said that even the fabled Grail Knights of Bretonnia cannot match the Blood Knights lance for lance upon the field. Nevertheless, such beings are a deadly anathema to the creatures of the night, and simply being near them can induce great pain and weakness.[1][4][6]

A Blood Knight's armour is encrusted with images of death and slaughter. Their blades are fell weapons inscribed with dark runes, chased with precious metals and fashioned in the likenesses of evil beasts. The knights do not ride mortal steeds, but charge across the field upon evil Nightmares that are clad in thick barding painted with disturbing icons of necromantic power.[1][3]

To Blood Knights, every Human in the world can be broken down into two categories: a worthy opponent or a training dummy. The only time a Blood Knight might show mercy is if he encountered an opponent who has great potential to one day be a worthy opponent; it may be better to let such a mortal become something interesting rather than snuff him out with the rest of the vermin.[5]

Despite their aloof nature and singular obsession, they sometimes attract followers. If a Blood Knight finds fame with his particular approach to the quest or a devastating new combat style, others may flock to imitate and learn. So it is that new orders spring up or take root in already existing orders or organisations.[5]

The infamous Red Duke of Aquitaine was such a creature, beginning as a lone knight but ending up with an entire army at his command, both mortal and immortal, as word of his martial skill spread across Bretonnia. The Knights of Irrana were a mortal order of Estalian knights until their grand master concluded that the techniques of Abhorash far outstripped those of Myrmidia and brought his whole unit into the darkness to join him.[5]

And there are many more such groups, small and large. The rest are lone hunters, renegades and vagabond knights who roam the Old World alone and unaided. Sometimes they are found guarding remote bridges or fords, testing all who would cross in mortal combat. Others live an austere existence in high mountain fortresses or secret caves, perhaps training those who have the tenacity to seek them out or perhaps just killing them for food.[5]

Alternately, they may hide amongst Humans, mixing with the noble classes or slipping amongst the ranks of knightly or monastic orders. A Blood Knight will be anyone as long as it allows him to practice his swordplay and feed when needed.[5]

Vampire's Keep

"A Vampire's keep is quite literally its castle - a dark, gothic stronghold from which it plots and assembles its forces."
The great keeps of the Vampire Lords and their Blood Knight protectors.[9]

It is not uncommon to find a Blood Knight brotherhood housed within the stronghold of a Vampire Lord. Among the dread towers and gargoyles of Sylvania's castles are its Keeps - the sanctuaries from where a Lord will entertain his allies or unwary mortals, and make his fell plans for domination of the living. The Midnight Aristocracy are of noble stock and so enjoy doing what nobles tend to do - entertain and plot...[9]

Notable Blood Knight Orders

"The Blood Knights are nigh indestructible and their thirst for blood makes them ferocious and implacable. There are few tales to tell of their existence, for those who see them often die of fright, or worse, find themselves skewered on a wicked lance and hauled into the air before the fangs of the waiting Blood Knight."
The fearsome Blood Knights of the Old World.[8]
  • The Blood Dragons - The most infamous order of Blood Knights were easily the Order of the Blood Dragon. Centuries ago, the people of the Empire would have named the knights of the Order of the Blood Dragon among the noblest of warriors defending their lands. Their great fortress, Blood Keep, guarded the passes to Bretonnia and was famed for the strength of its walls and the valour of its defenders.
  • The Drakenhof Templars - The original Drakenhof Templars were a genuine knightly order. Founded long before Otto von Drak was usurped by Vlad von Carstein, they had the noble goal of driving the darkness out of Sylvania. Needless to say, they failed, and Konrad von Carstein himself tore the last Grand Master apart hundreds of years before the End Times. There were several iterations of the order, for Vlad and his heirs were ever imitators of human tradition, and the most recent incarnation of the order was comprised of vampires considered unworthy to bear the von Carstein name. The Order was considered to be the greatest outside of the Blood Keep itself. 
  • The Knights of the Red Death - None were more bloodthirsty or more merciless than the Knights of the Red Death. These vampiric fiends were the butchers behind the Massacre of Modruin and the slaughter of every living soul in the siege of the walled town of Ostwald. The vampire Gorgivich Krakvald rode at the fore of these knights, and their standard was emblazoned with a representation of Krakvald Castle.
  • The Depth Guard - The Blood Knights of the sea are elite, armour-clad sentries to the dreaded seafaring creatures of the night. They act as elite infantry troops within the Undead fleet of the Vampire Pirate, Luthor Harkon.
  • The Seneschals - Each a fearsome dark champion in their own right, these knights were the ancient protectors of Duke Merovech of Mousillon. Clad in archaic, serrated plate armour and wielding powerful weapons of darkness, their deeds were immortalised on murals across Mousillon. Many of these fearsome warriors were slain by the Grail KnightCalard of Garamont, along with their dark master.
  • The Knights of the Black Grail - A mysterious group of Blood Knights who replaced the Seneschals, acting as the personal knights of Mallobaude during the Bretonnian Civil War. They are not to be confused with the more infamous Black Grail Knights.
  • The Knights of Irrana - Originally a mortal order of Estalian knights dedicated to Myrmidia. This changed when their grand master concluded that the martial techniques of Abhorash far outstripped those taught to the knights by the Cult of Myrmidia. In search of this superiority, the grand master of the Knights of Irrana brought his whole order willingly into the eternal darkness of Undeath to join him in the search for true perfection.

Notable Blood Knights

  • The Red Duke - Also known as the Scourge of Aquitaine, he was a former Duke of Aquitaine. Initially slain by King Louis the Righteous, he returned centuries later to defile his former dukedom.
  • The Dark Knight of Maleaux - A disciple of Abhorash.
  • Varison the Blade - A disciple of Abhorash.
  • Gorgivich Krakvald - Leader of the Knights of the Red Death, who fought during the End Times.
  • Merovech d'Mousillon - The Vampire Duke of Mousillon and a brutal warrior. He led an army of undead into besieging Couronne, where he slain by the Grail Knight, Calard.
  • Bertelis of Garamont - A young Bretonnian Knight who greatly impressed Merovech with his swordsmanship. He was granted the Blood Kiss and became his personal champion. Bertelis was later slain by his brother, Calard. 
  • The Dark Knight - A Bretonnian Questing Knight turned by the Red Duke. He was slain by the power of the Duke’s son, the Grail Knight Galand.
  • Lord Corbus - A former Knight of Bretonnia who failed his quest for the Holy Grail.
  • Aucassin - A powerful member of Mousillon's nobility and one of Mallobaude's key lieutenants. 
  • Frich von Haas - A member of the Blood Dragons, who entered the cursed city of Mordheim to test his skills. 
  • The Red Knight - A fallen Bretonnian Knight who began covering his armour in the blood of his defeated foes. He was eventually slain by the noble Mathieu Rossereux.
  • Sir Morten the Black - A great Blood Knight who had terrorised the Bretonnian lands of Gaudaron for centuries. Morten crumbled to dust as he challenged the Grail Knight Amalric to a duel.
  • Caleb, the Red Knight of Châlons - A member of the Order of the Blood Dragon who duelled the young Questing Knight, Lambert de Lillaz.

Trivia

  • Originally, all Blood Knights were supposed to be tied to the Order of Blood Dragon, with lesser Orders still being directly linked to Abhorash’s bloodline. However, in later editions of Warhammer, new Blood Knight Orders were introduced, such as the Von Carstein’s Drakenhof Templars. Eventually, the term “Blood Knight” came to describe any martially-focused Vampire, regardless of their bloodline.

Gallery

Miniatures

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts (8th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 45
  • 2: Old World Bestiary (2nd Edition Fantasy Roleplay)
    • 2a: pg. 72
  • 3: White Dwarf #310 (Oct. 2005, UK)
    • 3a: pg. 108
  • 4: Warhammer: Grail Knight by Anthony Reynolds
    • 4a: pg. 129
  • 5: WHFRP: Night's Dark Masters
  • 6: Warhammer: The Red Duke
  • 7: Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts (7th Edition)
  • 8: Games Workshop - Blood Knights [1]
  • 9: Total War: Warhammer
  • 10: Knights of Bretonnia (Omnibus)