By Paul Monteleoni

An overview of the most famous Questing Knights.

The Questing Knights are heroes by intention, and so they provide ideals that the rest of the Known Worlds can look up to and try to emulate. In some ways, what the Questing Knights aim to do is remake the world, insofar as they can, in their image. Of course, just as they influence the world, the world influences them- the Questing Knights are picked not only on how skilled warriors they are but on how they look and how much the populace is likely to like them. Every age gets the heroes it deserves. These are only a few of the most famous.

The Captain of the Company of the Phoenix is Count Gabriel Darian Hawkwood the Chivalrous, a true visionary and longtime companion of Emperor Alexius. Count Gabriel has seen unimaginable suffering and atrocity and still, marvelously, preserves his hope and optimism in his extreme old age.

The High Council is composed of the following knights: Sir Vincent Talbot Hawkwood the Unvanquished. Once one of the best fighters in the Known Worlds, now still one of the best fighters in the Known Worlds. He won two counties singlehandedly but gave them both to the Emperor.

Baron Eviathan Fenris Hawkwood the Glorious. A boastful but wise old lion. Less of a buffoon and more of a true hero than depicted in Byzantium Secundus, Baron Eviathan encourages knights to fight against his lifelong foes, the Vuldrok.

Lady Cassia Darian Hawkwood the Honest. She can always smell a lie and, when young, got in a lot of trouble for always doing so. Now she is old and still just as unyieldingly honest.

Lord Siegfried Koln Hawkwood the Humble. He once challenged Alexius to a duel of honor out of pride. His defeat has taught him true grace and humility.

Sir Simon Cobbler Hawkwood the Simple. Sir Simon was once a lowly serf. Granted his freedom, and then a knighthood, then entry into the Company for his remarkable valor and honesty.

Sir Uriah Mahdin al-Malik the Subtle. This sage master of enigmas large and small is said to have spoken at length with a Gargoyle. He has a fascination with the Ur.

Lady Ilana Mahdin al-Malik the Swift. Lady Ilana is always underestimated due to being both an al-Malik and a woman, but extremely deadly nonetheless. She singlehandedly slew a Symbiot warlord and most of its army in her time on Stigmata. Lady Ilana has an extreme hatred of Symbiots, and constantly encourages her fellow knights to quest for some way to stop them.

Marquis Genma Okemo Li Halan the Sage. Lord Genma is an extremely even-tempered and diplomatic lord who is a powerful theurge and has a powerful calming manner. He never speaks above a whisper- some believe this is his Stigma.

Sir Toshiro Chanjiri Li Halan the Gentle. Sir Toshiro was an extremely pious knight who was known for his reverence for the Pancreator and the Church, but now he is struggling nobly to keep his faith. A tragic encounter with a group of Kurgan Blessed resulted in near-death for Sir Toshiro. Now he is largely cybernetic, hovering dangerously close to the 64% mark, and he considers himself quite sinful for it.

Marquis Rafael Echeverria Dulcinea Hazat the Stern. An unyieldingly honorable knight who turned to the Hawkwoods when he saw how noble Alexius was, Maquis Rafael is obsessed with behaving as he believes the Hazat patron saint Maria wishes him to, and considers himself questing to find her. Currently dying of love for Lady Cassia, who already has a husband. Marquis Rafael has a cybernetic arm due to his war wounds.

Dame Bianca Saturnine Justinian the Merciful. Dame Bianca is an extremely charismatic knight who is famous for her penchant for sparing the lives of her enemies and getting them to repent their trespasses.

Dame Leola Fomhoire Fianna the Wordsmith. Before her recent and rapid appointment to the High Council, Dame Leola was a travelling minstrel of a knight, performing songs of the great deeds of others even as she performed great deeds of her own. Now as High Councilor, she does not get to travel or perform as much, but has a silver voice nonetheless. Always interested in spreading the Emperor’s word, Dame Leola is the patron of many Troubadors and the instructor of many a Questing Knight.

Other notable Questing Knights include the following: Sir Percival Darian Hawkwood the Brave, son of Count Gabriel. Remarkable even to his fellows, the young Sir Percival has twice refused the offer to sit on the High Council despite full popular support. Many within the Company wish him to be the next Captain.

Sir Arthur Darian Hawkwood. One of the most popular knights to the peasantry, Sir Arthur goes around doing good deeds for simple folk who have been overlooked by their lords. Some other Questing Knights may sneer, but Sir Arthur is truly committed to what he does.

Sir William Easton Hawkwood the Hawkeye. A laconic and sometimes cynical knight, Sir William is ruggedly handsome, gruffly good-natured and always travels alone. He is said to be the greatest shot in the Known Worlds, and while this claim may or may not be true, it is undeniable that he can make his various firearms do things nobody has ever dreamed of.

Sir Peter Wilde Hawkwood the Star Baron. One of the greatest starfighter pilots alive, Sir Peter has an absolutely immense ego, but he’s so handsome and debonair, and such an absolutely extraordinary pilot, that he’s impossible not to love nonetheless.

Sir Quentin Avery Hawkwood the Pauper. Born the son of a Duke, Sir Quentin relinquished all of his land and riches and travels with the bare minimum luxuries needed to survive. The populace is divided on him- many love him utterly, but a large number, strangely, are extremely bitter towards him as well.

Dame Esther ibn-Rahiman al-Malik. An expert fencer, an extraordinarily witty conversationalist and an almost magical poet, Dame Esther travels the Known Worlds getting into numerous scrapes, from which she extracts herself with a flair and panache that Cyrano de Bergerac would have died for.

Sir Horatio ban-Sefanuks al-Malik the Crafter. A tinkerer and gadgeteer by nature, Sir Horatio is extremely intelligent and loves figuring out what makes things tick. Both a learned scientist and a fashionable dresser, Sir Horatio constantly goes about adorned with dozens of gadgets from the deadly (a throwing star in the shape of the al-Malik symbol that uses contragrav technology to slice through multiple foes and return to his hand) to the useful (a monocle that can see through solid substances) to the bizarre (a mechanical golden songbird that perches on his shoulder, flutters around him, and warbles bawdy songs to him with the voice of a babbling brook).

Sir Salah Mahdin Al-Malik. Sir Salah was a fanatical warrior for his house and a man renowned for the lengthy list of foes he’d slain, but one day, upon watching a small child play with a ball, he was overcome with guilt for what he’d done, and he vowed to try not to kill again. He’s trying, but circumstances always make it very difficult.

Dame Xiana Yeoh Li Halan. A powerful theurge and an amazingly skilled practitioner of Xiang-To drunken pugilism, Dame Xiana is sometimes referred to as the Blessed because it is said that no foe has ever drawn blood upon her. She has hit struck by those who have fought her with martial arts, but never by any who attacked her with a bladed weapon.

Sir Tetsumoto Okemo Li Halan. A highly pious demon-hunter, Sir Tetsumoto is renowned by the peasantry for his stalwart courage in the face of husks and other infernal monstrosities. Even with his strange choice of weaponry (a long spear with a cross-bar and a hand flamer are his tools of choice against undead foes, though he carries a Sanctified katana and wakizashi as a back-up), and his unorthodox tactics (encourage the infernal creature to charge and spear it- it will hurl itself down the spear towards him and get stuck on the crossbar. Once it is stuck there, he immolates it with his flamer), he has managed to defend entire villages from husk plagues. He is a moderately powerful theurge (his stigma is that his eyes are a flaming yellow-orange), but his orthodoxy is somewhat questionable- some whisper that he has come to worship the Emperor with an idolatrous fervor.

Sir Wei-Li Tchu Li Halan. The identical twin of Sir Wei-San, Sir Wei-Li is an eloquent speaker and lightning-witted master prankster. Sir Wei-Li is an excellent martial artist and escape artist, and is no slouch with a katana. He often gets captured by foes who believe they’ve got his brother, often allowing him to steal whatever he’s after while waiting for his brother to help break him out.

Sir Wei-San Tchu Li Halan. The identical twin with Sir Wei-Li, Sir Wei-San is stalwart, quiet, immensely perceptive, capable of moving quickly and making no more noise than a shadow, and utterly deadly with his katana and wakizashi. The two knights often work together, playing on their foes’ confusion between the two of them.

Sir Coleric Bogakov Decados. A quiet man-mountain, Sir Coleric Bogakov is as implacable and unstoppable as an avalanche, and is an absolute terror to foes of the Empire. He is much as described in the Players’ Companion.

Sir Anastas Gurevich Decados. Brought up the third son of a count on Severus, Sir Anastas is no stranger to courtly life and the various schemes and plots that invariably attend it. However, he has turned his back on it all. Eschewing the subtlety of his house, Lord Anastas simply stopped speaking almost completely and joined the Company of the Phoenix. Blessed with an almost miraculous ability to smell a lie, Sir Anastas rarely speaks except to plainly and bluntly point out the fact that someone is lying. And then, plainly and bluntly, to challenge that person to a duel.

Sir Juan deMarcado Serra Hazat the Vigorous. An able fighter, a fairly good poet and an absolute heartthrob, Sir Juan will do anything for a damsel in distress, and is one of the more popular Questing Knights amongst much of the populace of the Known Worlds. Rumor has it that he is competing with Sir Ianus Shaft Justinian for the hand of Dame Esther. This is not actually true- Sir Juan enjoys an on-and-off flirtatious relationship with Dame Esther, while Sir Ianus enjoys the charms of either Dame Celia or the Hawkwood Dame Eleanor depending on who’s around. Sir Juan spends a great deal of time touring the Known Worlds and rescuing maidens fair, but also has a special hatred of tyrants, and spares no effort to humiliate them and uncover their tyranny. Once accused by Sir Anastas of being unwilling to do anything unromantic, Sir Juan immediately made a great show of flying off to fight the Symbiots, a gritty job which he nonetheless did with his characteristic panache. And now he can boast of it.

Dame Celia Murietta Fernando Hazat the Panther. A nimble, svelte, and utterly capable knight, Dame Celia is of course deadly on the battlefield but far prefers covert operations. An excellent ranger and cat burglar, Dame Celia has singlehandedly rescued many a hostage and retrieved many a powerful artifact through her ghostlike ability to sneak into even the most well-defended fortress. Dame Celia’s extreme competence, as well as her stunning athletic beauty, have enraptured many proud noble lords and humble peasant folk alike, and the Company is currently recording yet another magic lantern show based on her deeds.

Sir Ianus Shaft Justinian. A sober and stern but undeniably charismatic man, Sir Ianus is both a martial and a romantic rival of Sir Juan, though Sir Ianus focuses less on rescuing damsels in distress and more on reforming evil damsels, who he invariably finds strangely captivating. The story of how he convinced the rebellious Decados Marquessa to swear fealty to the Emperor is wildly popular, in both its sanitized and unexpurgated versions. Sir Ianus is also deeply committed to rebuilding the honor and glory of his house, and has made a great deal of investigation into the location of Paradise.

Sir Noki Gimlesson Trusnikron of the Hunt. Sir Noki is a renowned ranger and tracker, and a friend to creatures large and small. He is renowned for being left naked for dead in the midst of bleak and savage wildernesses and making his way back to civilization to wreak vengeance on his captors.