|Weapon Proficiency||Dark Blade|
|Armor Proficiency||Dark Armor|
|Special Abilities||Enhanced Physical Prowess|
Dark Knights wear armor dyed the color of abyssal black, these arnaments however are vastly different from normal armor in that they're extremely light and smooth in their construction. A dark knight is however most easily recognized for the fact that their outfit hug the frame of their wearer as snugly as the finest leather. This leads many to question the effectiveness of such thin platemail; this is a superficial concern however, as the armor worn by Dark Knights is in fact extremely resilinet to physical damage, its protective capabilities equalling that of the heaviest armor. But their armor is not constructed with physical force in mind, its constructed for the sake of defending the knight against magical assaults; which it is known to accomplish splendidly - to the point that their wearers can often ignore the effects of weaker spells entirely without any detrimental effects whatsoever.
Each dark knight are given a so-called dark blade once they've completed their training, this weapon is to be the only weapon they ever wield; enchanted by elder magic and crafted from an unique type of mineral, they're fearsome weapons indeed - being almost impossible to destroy by any other means than the most potent of sorcery. These weapons however are more than just mighty tools of combat, indeed - within them are bound a special part of their knights essence and this link between them allow both sword and wielder to grow ever stronger, by slaying enemies who wield magic - the blade leeching off of their mana resserves in order to grow in power, ultimately allowing the knight to surpass the human limitations of their bodies.
In battle, Dark Knights are assigned one primary role; and that is what they're trained for, they're to seek out any enemy mages and destroy them before their spells could put their allied forces at a disadvantage, with sleek armor built for great dexterity and speed, they weave through the flow of battle like an oily snake, directing the full brunt of their considerable force and special abilities to bear on these valuable but fragile combatants. To aid them in this purpose, Dark Knights are taught magic themselves, namely that of Elder Magic - a branch of sorcery dedicated to inhibit, enfeeble or even steal the capabilities of their foes, sorcery that is only furthered by their dark blades.
Becoming a Dark KnightEdit
Dark Knights, like their draconic counterpart are the result of a decade of gruelling training exercises; which are split into several rites - of which three must be completed in order to make the initiate eligible for full knighthood; Once this is accomplished, he or she must be knighted by the Queen of Baron in person. Upon which point the Dark Knight must swear an oath of fealty to the Kingdom of Baron, an oath sworn with the attendence of several Arcanists, whom use their collective power to bind the Knight to their word with powerful magic. Only then will the newly appointed Knight receive his Dark Blade and Armor.
The Rite of the Vessel primarily includes pushing their bodies to the absolute mortal limit, allowing them to achieve peak physical strength and fitness - a necessity for these warriors, whom are destined to wield Dark Blades. This is one of the two Rites which are mandatory. This rite is usually taken last; and it takes roughly three years to complete, Magic is used to accelerate progress, sometimes with fatal aftereffects.
The Rite of the Spirit is usually the first rite taken by initiates, its relatively simple and straightforward as it primarily revolves around instructing the initiates on how to touch Aether; which is an absolute neccessity for the Dark Knight to use their secret techniques. Once the initiate is taught how to reach for Aether, they are thereby instructed on how to cast the exclusive spells known as Darkness and Mana Void; their two most important abilities.
The Rite of the Swordsman is one who is seldom taken, given how all Dark Knights receive training in the way of the sword during the entirety of their tenure, a few however choose to pursue mastery with the blade as opposed to studying one of the two branches of magic available to Dark Knights. While limiting their versatility and removing their ability to cast spells to aid in their function as Anti-Mages, this, combined with their Dark Blades and the Rite of the Vessel, turns them into juggernauts of warfare, capable of rivalling even the normally physically superiour Dragoons.
The Rite of the Sorcerer is one of the two primary "magical" rites; in this case, the Rite of the Sorcerer refers to harsh study within the forces of magic, specifically that of Elder Magic: The Dark Knight initiates this rite by carefully studying under several powerful Arcanists; learning their craft and using it to further their own duty as anti-mages. Due to how Elder Magic is more directly useful to a Dark Knight that, this is commonly one of the three rites chosen - with the Rite of the Wizard almost never being taken unless the Dark Knight sacrifices alot of extra time and martial prowess to take both of the Rites.
The Rite of the Wizard is the second of the two primary "magical" rites; unlike the Rite of the Sorcerer, this rite focuses entirely on the study of the destructive art of Black Magic; a rarity considering how most Dark Knights find the practise highly unsophisticated and unrefined; completely unsuitable for their craft. It is due to this that Dark Knights capable of using Black Magic are vanishingly rare; almost all of them eschewing it in favor of the Elder Magic that has so much more synergy with their abilities. As mentioned earlier, most Dark Knights that have taken the Rite of the Wizard are very magic-focused; and have therefore almost no physical ability at all, in comparison to their brethren; its also taken by those few whom choose to stick around to complete more rites before earning their knighthood; although such dedicated individuals are very rare indeed.
Warp: Rather than being an ability in and of itself, Warp is a spell taught to every single Dark Knight initiate during the early years of their training; and from then on they refine it. When a Dark Knight uses Warp it instantly vanishes in a puff of black smoke, before quickly reappearing at to any desired spot within range. The movement is very quick; and the spell is highly unsettling, to the degree that only the most seasoned and experienced Dark Knights can follow up their warp-movement with an attack, much less another spell or ability.
Darkness: The trademark ability of all Dark Knights is reffered to with many names, Soul Eater, Shadow Wave; but by far the most common is simply Darkness; and it sums up the effects of this technique perfectly. Unlike most other supernatural abilities, this ability does not draw upon mana for power, but instead saps its users life-force in direct proportion to the intensity of the effect. When invoked, the power takes the form of a cold, cloying miasma of greasy darkness that emanates outwards from the Dark Blade of Knight in a powerful wave of twisted energy, anyone hit by this wave of shadows are instantly subjected to acute weakness, sickness and - due to the cold, unforgiving nature of the technique, powerful cold damage, which in turn can lead to frostbite.
Mana Void: The reason that Dark Knights are feared all over the world by mages is their ability to invoke an extraordinary special ability called Mana Void; which works as a powerful curse, that when cast upon an enemy caster proceeds to turn their own magical power against them; depending on how much mana he or she has already spent the Mana Void will transmute the emptiness within their vessels into a powerful burst of energy which bursts its way through their body in a terrific explosion of pure undiluted magical power, usually inflicting grevious injuries on the mage in the process; but even more so, the explosion that ensues is the true threat - as while the mage is immune to it, its sure to cause untold havoc among enemy ranks. For this reason, Mages are commonly issued a flee-on-sight order when facing a Dark Knight on the battlefield. If the enemy knows that there's a Dark Knight within the ranks of an attacking force, the mages are disguised as ordinary soldiers to help throw the Dark Knights off-course and thereby preventing them form using this ability to its full potential. Like its counterpart, Darkness. Mana Void draws its power not from the mana of the Dark Knight; but their actual life force - although the extent is much greater than that of its twin-technique. For this reason, most Dark Knights only ever use it in large skirmishes or fights, where they can use it to its maximum potency.
Black Magic: Dark Knights can learn how to use Black Magic, but only if they've completed the Rite of the Wizard - something that is considered very rare for most Dark Knights, with only a handful having taken the time to learn it. The reason for this however, is not that its not useful - its just that its less useful to them than Elder Magic is. Pure destructive power is rather inattractive for them; as with Darkness and Mana Void; they have all the magical offense they'd ever actually need; and getting any more would be rather inefficient - however, there are always exceptions and a small, select group of Dark Knights are known to favor Black Magic over Elder Magic, belieiving that it offers much greater versatility and that it ensures they needn't overely on dangeros abilities like Darkness and Mana Void.
Elder Magic: By far the most popular magical choice for Dark Knights, Elder Magic offers a plethora of ways of which these magical warriors may manipulate the mind of their foes, create powerful illusions or even feed on the mana of a designated opponent; the latter sporting tremendous synergy with Mana Void; which alone is enough of a reason for Dark Knights to use it; as the further they can deplete the resserves of their enemy the more powerful their ace technique becomes.