- "Everyone knew who the Drakenhof Templars were, and gave them room - even the scions of Blood Keep, who eyed them in the way a wolf might eye a rival from another pack..."
- —The von Carstein Blood Knights.
The Drakenhof Templars were an order of Blood Knights who acted as the elite, unparalleled cavalry of the von Carsteins. They were believed to be among the greatest of their kind, second only to the Blood Dragons themselves.
The original Drakenhof Templars were a genuine knightly order. Founded long before Otto von Drak they were usurped by Vlad von Carstein and transformed into brutal Blood Knights. They had the noble goal of driving the darkness out of Sylvania. Needless to say, they failed, and Konrad von Carstein tore the last grand master apart hundreds of years ago. There were several iterations of the order, for Vlad and his heirs were ever imitators of human tradition.[1a]
When Vlad von Carstein was resurrected by Nagash during the early years of the End Times, most of the Order abandoned Mannfred von Carstein, and returned to Vlad's service, helping him legitimise his claim over Sylvania once more. They served Vlad during his campaign in the north to covertly help the Imperial forces hold the Auric Bastion against the Chaos hordes. After the collapse of the Bastion they rode with him to aid in lifting the Siege of Altdorf. They later assisted in the Siege of Averheim, after the Bretonnians sent a messenger to Nagash's court, though due to the hesitation of Nagash and the other Mortarchs, they arrived too late.
After constant combat for several years during the End Times the majority of the order was destroyed. The last few members either fell in defence of the Dead and Buried Inn against Nurgle's daemons, or were sent by Vlad to escort Duke Jerrod to Bretonnia's last stand when he and his knights left Athel Loren.
Battle of La Maisontaal
Battle of Mordkin Lair
Only one brotherhood of Templars had accompanied Arkhan the Black. The rest of the vampire knights – four brotherhoods in all – followed Mannfred south beneath the Drakenhof banner. Though Mannfred would never have admitted it, he was greatly reliant on the Drakenhof Templars in the battle beneath Mad Dog Pass, as they were the only troops he could rely on to act autonomously – all others were slaved to his will.[1b]
Dead and Buried
A once-great order of knights, the Drakenhof Templars' numbers had been greatly thinned since Nagash's return. Loyal to all vampires of the von Carstein line, they had many times been pressed into battle by Vlad and Mannfred, and they were given the most dangerous and difficult missions simply because no other body of troops could be trusted to see them through. All in all, this had taken a heavy toll on the knights of Drakenhof. The handful of templars who had arrived at the Dead and Buried with Vlad were the largest formation that remained.[2a]
Notable Drakenhof Templars
- Albrecht Nictus - The first Grand Master of the Order and cousin to Isabella von Carstein. He stood down from his post after turning into a monstrous Varghulf.
- Anark von Carstein - The brutal Grand Master of the order during the events of the End Times.
- Erikan Crowfiend - The son of the infamous Cannibal Knight of Mousillon, who later left the order to serve Mallobaude during the Bretonnian Civil War.