- "Make sure you can get your saber if you need it. I don't trust this bunch."
- ―Antares Draco, to Ganner Krieg, while facing down a group of Galactic Alliance bodyguards
The Imperial Knight lightsaber was a standard lightsaber model used by the Imperial Knights, an order of Force-users who were loyal to the Fel Empire and later Emperor Roan Fel's Empire-in-exile. The uniform design represented both the Imperial Knights' unity and the Empire's sovereignty over each individual Knight. The lightsaber had a gray, cylindrical hilt that was partially covered by black ridges; save for in customized variations, its angled emitter produced a white blade. Using a synthetic lightsaber crystal, each Imperial Knight constructed his or her own lightsaber during training, following techniques outlined by the former Galactic Emperor Palpatine in his Book of Anger. Able to function both on land and underwater, the lightsaber was one of several tools the Imperial Knights used to protect their liege, a task that was the core purpose of the order. In combat situations, Imperial Knights complemented their offensive lightsaber attacks with defensive cortosis gauntlets, which could disable an enemy's lightsaber blade and allow the Knight to attack. When not using the weapon in combat, an Imperial Knight usually kept the lightsaber clipped to his or her belt.
Imperial Knight lightsabers were used by the order as early as 130 ABY. They saw heavy use in 137 and 138 ABY during the Second Imperial Civil War, when the Empire-in-exile fought an insurgency against Darth Krayt's Galactic Empire. Early in 137 ABY, Imperial Knights Antares Draco, Ganner Krieg, and Marasiah Fel employed their weapons during a battle against the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Krayt's One Sith on the planet Vendaxa. The skirmish saw Cade Skywalker—a former Jedi who had abandoned his family's heritage to become a bounty hunter—pick up Marasiah's lightsaber and attack the Sith, a move that proved to be his first step in reclaiming his Jedi legacy. Over the next year, Imperial Knights used their lightsabers in battle against Krayt's forces on worlds such as Bastion, Dac, and Had Abbadon; Sith fell to Imperial blades in the war's final stages on both Taivas and the galactic capital, Coruscant. During the battle on Coruscant, Roan Fel attempted to use a bioweapon to wipe out all life on the planet. Draco was thus prompted to slay Fel with his lightsaber, thereby preventing the Emperor from committing an act born of the dark side of the Force.
"Better. We're Imperial Knights."
- ―Monia Gahan, assuming that her lightsaber-wielding saviors are Jedi, is corrected by Sigel Dare
A standard model of lightsaber known as the Imperial Knight lightsaber was used by every member of the Imperial Knights, an order of Force users who were active during both the Sith–Imperial War and the Second Imperial Civil War. Loyal to the Fel Empire and later the Empire-in-exile, the Imperial Knights were an organization dedicated to the protection of their liege and the furtherance of their Empire. The common lightsaber design was a symbol both of the order's unity and of their belief that each individual Knight was less than the Empire that they served. The weapon's hilt was gray and cylindrical, with black ridges that covered less than half of its curved surface. The activation stud was placed near the angled emitter, which produced a white blade that was able to function both on land and underwater. Some customized lightsabers produced blades of different colors, such as a blue-bladed weapon carried by Marasiah Fel, an Imperial Knight and the princess of the Empire-in-exile. Imperial Knight Azlyn Rae once used an orange-bladed variation while sparring. During undercover missions, Rae carried a lightsaber of a different make that also produced an orange blade. Imperial Knight Yalta Val also carried a unique lightsaber that emitted a blue blade and featured a spherical emitter instead of the standard flat angled design.[source?] An additional variation of the Imperial Knight lightsaber was a long-handled version. As tall as a Human, it had a flat emitter and was ignited during ceremonial occasions.
Although the organization used a common model, each Imperial Knight crafted his or her own lightsaber while training in the ways of the Force. The weapons were constructed in a manner similar to that of the Jedi Order; however, unlike their Jedi counterparts, Imperial Knights created synthetic lightsaber crystals rather than seeking out natural ones. Their method of crystal construction was adapted from the writings of Palpatine, a late Sith Lord and ruler of the former Galactic Empire. Palpatine had detailed the creation of synthetic crystals in The Book of Anger, a tome of dark side lore that nevertheless contained some teachings—such as the crystal construction process—which were free of the dark side's taint. The Imperial Knights' construction process was bereft of ceremony and was afforded little more significance than when a new Force power or fighting technique was learned. Lessons in unarmed and vehicular combat, as well as in the use of Force powers, required as much of an apprentice's time as did lightsaber training, and the completed weapon was seen by each Knight as one tool in a larger combat arsenal.
Imperial Knights used their lightsabers in the practice of various forms of lightsaber combat, including two that were unique to their order: the aggressive Praetoria Vonil and the defensive Praetoria Ishu. The lightsabers themselves, rather than practice weapons, were utilized during friendly sparring sessions. In combat situations, Imperial Knights often used their lightsabers to deflect blaster shots fired by opponents until they came close enough to attack. They also complemented the use of their lightsaber with defensive cortosis gauntlets. Worn on their forearms, the cortosis-embedded gauntlets could block the lightsaber strikes of opponents and disable the blade for several minutes, in turn allowing the Imperial Knights to use their own lightsabers to counter-attack their momentarily defenseless foe. When not drawn, an Imperial Knight's lightsaber was usually clipped to his or her belt, where it visibly hung atop their crimson armor. The combination of white-bladed lightsaber and crimson battle armor was a prominent trait of the Imperial Knights that visibly distinguished them from their Jedi cousins. By itself, the lightsaber sometimes led spectators to believe that its wielder was a Jedi.
- "Requiring us to leave our lightsabers on the ship makes guarding the ambassador more difficult."
"Good thing we smuggled them on anyway. Especially knowing our Galactic Alliance friends there have concealed blasters."
- ―Ganner Krieg and Antares Draco, while aboard the Wheel
The Imperial Knight lightsaber was in use as early as 130 ABY during the closing stages of the Sith–Imperial War. When the conflict came to an end, Emperor Roan Fel of the Fel Empire was betrayed by his One Sith allies. In a ruse, four Imperial Knights used their lightsabers to protect Fel's security double when the Sith Lord Darth Krayt arrived on the galactic capital world of Coruscant to usurp the Imperial throne. As Krayt killed them with his own blades, the lightsabers of Fel and his loyal Knight Antares Draco concurrently saw action against LV8-series guard droids as the two fugitives escaped through the planet's Sublevel 12. Displaced from his throne, Fel became the leader of an Empire-in-exile, and his Imperial Knights continued to serve him as he opposed Darth Krayt's Galactic Empire. At some point prior to 137 ABY, Imperial Knight Eshkar Niin abandoned the vows he had made to the Emperor and used his lightsaber to kill Fel's wife, Elliah, before defecting to Krayt's Sith.
The year 137 ABY saw a heavy amount of conflict between the two Empires in one of the Second Imperial Civil War's most intense periods of fighting, and lightsaber-equipped Imperial Knights were routinely dispatched on missions throughout the galaxy by their Emperor. Early in the year, the Imperial Knight Elke Vetter employed her lightsaber in a duel against the Sith Hand Darth Talon, but was overpowered and killed by her opponent. Talon later led a group of Sith to Vendaxa to apprehend Princess Marasiah, who was under the protection of Antares Draco and fellow Imperial Knight Ganner Krieg, as well as two Jedi and the smuggling crew of the pirate vessel Mynock. A number of Sith fell to the three Knights' blades during the subsequent skirmish. The captain of the Mynock was Cade Skywalker, a former Jedi and the heir to a powerful legacy who had forsaken his family's Force-using tradition years before and turned to a life of bounty hunting. During the battle, his first step toward reclaiming his legacy came when he picked up the lightsaber of a gravely injured Marasiah Fel and used it to attack the Sith.
As the war continued to rage, Draco and Krieg were sent by their Emperor to a space station known as the Wheel to serve as bodyguards to Imperial emissary Mingo Bovark as he negotiated an alliance with Galactic Alliance Remnant Admiral Gar Stazi. Although no weapons were allowed on the station, Draco and Krieg smuggled their lightsabers aboard and used them to deflect laser blasts fired by Alliance officers when the meeting was sabotaged by Sith-employed spies. When the two Knights refused to surrender their weapons to Wheel Administrator Pol Temm, Temm declared the station off-limits to all of Emperor Fel's forces. The Emperor's own lightsaber later saw action on his Empire's fortress world of Bastion when the Sith Lord Darth Kruhl infiltrated the planet and attacked Fel in the Pellaeon Gardens. Fel used his weapon to deflect the Sith's lightsaber attacks, but when Kruhl's Force lightning disarmed him, the Emperor finished his foe off with a hold-out blaster.
Piercing the Sith
- "Is this how you welcome all visitors, Jedi?"
"Uninvited visitors who arrive with lightsabers in hand, yes!"
- ―Ganner Krieg and Shado Vao, while dueling at the Hidden Temple
When Fel sent Imperial Knights Treis Sinde and Sigel Dare to the planet Dac to sabotage the construction of an advanced Star Destroyer belonging to Krayt's Empire, the two successfully executed their undercover mission in plainclothes but nevertheless carried their lightsabers. Aided by several of the planet's native Mon Calamari, Admiral Stazi soon after seized the destroyer in the name of the Galactic Alliance Remnant, and Darth Krayt consequently arrived on-world to declare genocide on the Mon Calamari people. Sinde and Dare, on Dac at the time, used their lightsabers to cut through hordes of Imperial stormtroopers on their way to rescue several pilots of the Galactic Alliance Remnant in an effort to warn Stazi of the explosives that they had planted. As Dare and the pilots took a shuttle into space, Sinde remained on Dac's surface and dueled the Sith Lord Darth Azard, thereby buying his comrades time to escape. After escaping from the Sith Lord, Sinde became trapped on the planet and joined forces with the Mon Calamari Rangers, a resistance cell active against Krayt's Empire. Sinde fought alongside them in several battles, and often used his lightsaber against Sith Imperial forces while he swam through the planet's oceans.
While Sinde was on Dac, Emperor Fel pursued a formal alliance with the Jedi Order. Marasiah, Draco, and Krieg covertly followed the Mynock to a Hidden Jedi Temple on the planet Taivas, and when the Princess's protectors departed their ship with lightsabers drawn, Skywalker and Jedi Knight Shado Vao attacked them. Tensions died down after a brief lightsaber duel, and Draco and Krieg shortly thereafter joined Vao and the Mynock's crew on a mission to the planet Had Abbadon to assassinate Darth Krayt. Aided by the ancient Jedi Knight Celeste Morne and her army of Rakghouls, the group did battle with Krayt and several of his Sith Lords. A number of the volatile Rakghouls were felled by the Imperial Knights' blades when Morne lost control of them, and Krayt ultimately survived the encounter. Fel's alliance with the Jedi was only secured when he traveled to the planet Agamar to conduct peace talks with several Jedi representatives; more than ten lightsaber-armed Knights accompanied the Emperor to the meeting, and they fought alongside their new Jedi allies when a Sith strike force arrived. Many Sith were killed by the blades of the Imperial Knights, who effectively used their lightsabers and cortosis gauntlets to protect their Emperor. Along with the Jedi, they were able to ferry Fel away from the planet.
With a three-way alliance secured between the Empire-in-exile, the Jedi, and the Galactic Alliance Remnant, Darth Krayt began a renewed military push against his enemies in 138 ABY. Imperial Knights used their lightsabers against the Sith during battles on worlds such as Borosk and Taivas. Draco, Krieg, Marasiah, and Azlyn Rae stood with the Jedi as they defended the Hidden Temple from a Sith onslaught, cutting down several Sith warriors who attempted to breach the temple's gates. Krieg and Rae used their lightsabers to bring down an Imperial walker. After Taivas was evacuated, the allies struck at Krayt's throneworld of Coruscant, where Rae, Krieg, and Dare joined a strike team led by Skywalker that was tasked with the deactivation of the world's planetary shields. The Imperial Knights used their lightsabers to battle their way through Sith warriors and members of Darth Krayt's elite Sith trooper army on their way to the planet's central defensive computers. After they arrived, Krieg's lightsaber was one of several which disabled the computers and brought down the planetary shields, which in turn allowed the allied fleets to attack.
The Emperor had his own plans to destroy the Sith and, from the Star Destroyer Jagged Fel, prepared to release a bioweapon onto Coruscant's surface that would destroy all life on the planet. As every Imperial Knight had vowed to kill the Emperor if ever he were to fall to the dark side, Draco engaged Fel in a lightsaber duel. The two Knights locked blades outside an escape pod, and as Fel prepared to launch the weapon, Draco's blade pierced Fel's chest and killed him. The Sith eventually retreated from Coruscant and, during a funeral for the Emperor held on-world in the battle's aftermath, Marasiah was declared the new Empress and a member of the Galactic Federation Triumvirate. Draco and Krieg flanked her, holding ignited long-handled Imperial Knight lightsabers aloft as those in attendance mourned the death of the Emperor.
Behind the scenes
The Imperial Knight lightsaber was first mentioned and pictured in Star Wars: Legacy 0, a June 2006 preview issue of the upcoming Legacy comic book series. As recurring characters in Legacy, Imperial Knights went on to frequently wield their lightsabers throughout the series' fifty-issue run, as well as in its followup miniseries, Star Wars: Legacy—War. Further details on the weapon and its method of creation were revealed in 2009's Legacy Era Campaign Guide, which was also the first source to explicitly name the weapon as the "Imperial Knight lightsaber."
In the Legacy comics, the lightsaber's blade is consistently depicted with a white hue. The Legacy Era Campaign Guide and The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia similarly describe a white blade, but Threats of the Galaxy mistakenly identifies the color as silver.
The Imperial Knights' lightsaber has been immortalized in plastic on several occasions, a rarity for weapons of the Expanded Universe. Miniature figurines of Antares Draco, Ganner Krieg, Sigel Dare, Marasiah Fel, and Roan Fel were released by Wizards of the Coast in 2008 as part of the Legacy of the Force set of Star Wars Miniatures. All five figures pose with their lightsabers drawn. Additionally, from 2008 to 2009, 3 ¾ inch action figures of Draco, Krieg, and Dare were released by Hasbro. Draco and Krieg are packaged together with the sixth issue of Legacy, while Dare is packaged with Darth Krayt and comes with Issue 22. Draco and Krieg come with lightsabers with removeable blade, while Dare's is fixed.
- Legacy (2006) 8
- Star Wars: Legacy: Broken (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Legacy: Trust Issues
- Legacy (2006) 13
- Legacy (2006) 22
- Star Wars: Legacy: The Hidden Temple
- Star Wars: Legacy: Vector
- Star Wars: Legacy: Fight Another Day
- Legacy (2006) 35
- Legacy (2006) 42
- Star Wars: Legacy: Monster
- Legacy (2006) 48
- Star Wars: Legacy—War
- Legacy (2013) 1
- Legacy (2013) 2
- Legacy (2013) 3
- Star Wars: Legacy 0 (First mentioned)
- "Legacies of Future Orders" – Star Wars Insider 88 (Picture only)
- "The Art of War" – Star Wars Insider 89 (Picture only)
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Special Edition (Picture only)
- Star Wars: Legacy 0½
- Star Wars Miniatures: Legacy of the Force
- Threats of the Galaxy
- "Blaster" – Star Wars Insider 101
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. II ("Imperial Knight")
- "Blaster" – Star Wars Insider 107 (Picture only)
- Legacy Era Campaign Guide (First identified as Imperial Knight lightsaber)
- The Essential Guide to Warfare (Picture only)
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded (Picture only)
- "Authors of the Expanded Universe: The Legend of Dark Horse" – Star Wars Insider 154 (Picture only)