“When we reached the ridge, we could see that our soldiers were hard pressed by Karrnathi forces. There was nothing to do but dismiss our steeds, cast a few spells, then charge into the fray.” — Knight Phantom Athum, remembering the Battle of Starpeak Mile
During the Last War, the knight phantoms were specialized light cavalry that used phantom steeds to reach the critical point in a battle, then a combination of spellcasting and martial prowess to win the day. Part of Aundair’s famed Knights Arcane, the knight phantoms prided themselves on their ability to ride hard and reach strategic points in the battle before the enemy could—or to rescue Aundairian units in danger of being overwhelmed by the enemy.
Like other members of the Knights Arcane, the knight phantoms remain in service to the Aundair crown after the end of the Last War. But their numbers are diminished, and many a knight phantom has retired—or put her war-won talents to use as an adventurer.
Becoming a knight phantom requires a great deal of arcane power, so typically only experienced wizards, sorcerers, and bards are considered for membership.
Knight phantoms are among Aundair’s most elite soldiers. They can get to places that traditional cavalry can’t reach—and can get there before their enemies have a chance to react. Once they’ve arrived, they are able to outcast what they can’t outfight and outfight what they can’t outcast. That’s the strategic maxim drilled into every knight phantom: Throw your strength against your enemy’s weakness, and you’ll carry the day for Aundair.
Now that the Last War is over, many knight phantoms are retired or on “detached duty,” free to seek their fortunes across Khorvaire. Unless war breaks out again, you have a great deal of independence and need only check in with the Knights Arcane from time to time.
KNIGHT PHANTOMS IN THE WORLD
“We had a whole battalion dug in the bridge, ready for the Aundairians. But somehow they used magic horses to ride across the river several miles downstream, so they captured our headquarters and supply train.” —Hann Olbrecht, Karrnath Army
Now that the Last War is over, many knight phantoms sell their unique talents as mercenaries or freelance adventurers. Those that remain on active duty mostly patrol Aundair’s borders, arriving at trouble spots before conventional troops can even get out of the barracks. They otherwise live typically austere military lives, stealing time with their spellbooks and to brush up on their arcane skills whenever they can.
A small force has been detached to Arcanix to guard the personal demesne of Adal, and to help defend the towers and town if required.
The most famous former knight phantom is now one of Aundair’s most inﬂuential men: Darro ir’Lain, Lord of the Knights Arcane. Lord Darro rarely rides with knight phantoms anymore, because he has the larger Knights Arcane organization to command. He still wears the coat of the knight phantoms with pride whenever he’s in uniform.
At the height of the Last War, the knight phantoms were able to field two heavy cavalry companies for the Knights Arcane—nearly 400 knight phantoms in all. Now only a single company of 150 knight phantoms remains on active duty; the rest are dead, retired, or on long-term leave from the Knights Arcane.
Captain Mathus Brochand now commands the knight phantoms, and his staff is responsible for keeping at least tenuous tabs on former members who are still in fighting shape. He’s headquartered in Lathleer, although the knight phantoms have been spending more time in the vicinity of Windshire than anywhere else lately.
The knight phantoms are rare enough that most Aundairians tend to group them with the Knights Arcane in general. Everyone knows that the Knights Arcane combine spellcasting with traditional military techniques, and most think of the knight phantoms as just “Knights Arcane on horseback.” While the details of the knight phantoms elude most Aundairians, they know that the Knights Arcane were a bulwark of Aundairian strength throughout the Last War—and thus any Knight Arcane is assumed to be a war hero by default. The average Aundairian has an initial attitude of friendly toward anyone wearing the coat and leather of the knight phantoms.