Some content in this article is derived from information featured in The X-Adults: Endgame: The Latest Threat, and, as such, spoilers will be present.
The Knights of Plague was a military and political organization that was active approximately ten years after the end of the Second NoHead War. Inspired by the principles of the NoHeads, the Knights of Plague would briefly inhabit a wing of government politics until tensions became intolerable. Fully seceding in hiding, it would plot its ascension as a worldly superpower, and in the late 2030s, fought against both the S.M.S.B. and the government for control of the world.
Before the Knights of Plague themselves came to be, Roger Black, as the Gladiator was known in his childhood and early adulthood, gathered a gang of students who considered themselves his friends, though in truth, he felt no real attachments to any of them.
With the NoHeads limited in its ability to wage war and reduced to a mere fragment of its former glory, their warships began jumping into the Unknown Countries in an effort to escape the prying eyes of the government. There, distanced from the world at large and facing a vast and unexplored frontier, the Knights of Plague would eventually be formed from the remnants of the NoHeads, being inspired by the principles of the fallen government and led by many of its former officers. The actions were fronted by the megalomaniacal Gladiator, who would graduated from Superhero School several months after he began founding the group. After many visits with Harriet Swenson, he also won over Transylvania Quarters, and took up residence there.
In the mix, the Gladiator recruited many followers. However, after he disappeared, they had been arrested and detained together on the third floor.
The Gladiator, as he was now exclusively called, spent the next fourteen years before the Battle of Transylvania gathering followers in mutants who called themselves, collectively, the Knights of Plague. Some were supportive of his cause to dominate Muggles; while others were greedy for domination, wealth and fame; and yet others joined the Dark Lord out of fear. The Gladiator only valued them for their usefulness to him. They freely committed murder mercilessly and indiscriminately.
The Order convenesEdit
During this time, the Gladiator openly used Transylvania Quarters as his home. He had several apprentices before he became invested in the Smith bloodline, ultimately leading Becca Smith to the Dark side and anointing her commander of the Knights of Plague, before ordering her to destroy the police station. Though Becca failed to destroy it entirely due to its shields projected after Operation: Purge, she did find a weakness in the shields, before Carrie intercepted her. Smith tricked Carrie into exposing her conversion before leaving upon Master Intelligence's intervention. The Gladiator forgave her for her failure and congratulated her for her efforts.
In August 2033, the Gladiator traveled to Bast Castle. Here, he recovered Nagatha’s corpse and brought her to his quarters in a capsule. There, he brought her back from the dead by unknown means, and, realizing she had nowhere to go, took her under his custody. From that day forth, Nagatha served the Gladiator and the Knights of Plague, which the Gladiator was just barely forming. The Gladiator also Apparated to Beta Prison and caused a mass breakout, releasing several mutants, many of which knew him and were already loyal. Now he had many minions to do his bidding, and they became his followers.
The headquarters and meeting place for the Knights of Plague was Transylvania Quarters. At this place, the Knights would make reports, and the Dark Lord would give them orders.
Bid for the Orb of PowerEdit
The Knights of Plague kept a low profile in order to maintain their standing in the world and slowly but surely rebuild their forces without detection or hindrance. However, after the outbreak of the S.M.S.B. - Knights of Plague Conflict, the Gladiator, with his followers, planned several courses of action. One was capturing Master Intelligence and killing him, after he became a threat in the late 2030s. While the Gladiator went on his own personal quests and stayed out of sight of the community's eye, he worked through others.
On one occasion, the Gladiator heard Rudolph Lestange's reports concerning events at the Ministry, though he was more impressed with Smith's reports regarding the same concept. At this meeting, Alicia, the head of the Fobble Revolution, was murdered by the Gladiator and then fed to Nagatha. The Gladiator also took Monroe's sword to fight against Master Intelligence, believing his own to be inferior for the task.
In early winter of 2042, the Gladiator led a group of twelve Knights of Plague to steal the Orb of Power, the first of the four Arts. Lindsay was lured there, along with Master Intelligence and the rest of the S.M.S.B., when the Gladiator gave Lindsay a vision of the Knights preparing to unleash the Grand Nuke.
However, Master Intelligence and his friends managed to elude the Knights, and the Orb was accidentally destroyed by the Gladiator himself during the struggle. A battle ensued between the Knights of Plague and the S.M.S.B. Nine of the twelve Knights were killed, and their fate was shared by Red X and Andromeda. The Gladiator was arrested, ultimately putting the Knights of Plague to an end. Apart from Ramona Meyer, the status of the Knights who had not joined the battle is unknown. It can be assumed that they were hunted down and arrested by authorities, killed for resisting, or possibly had dissolved into hiding as Meyer had.
The Knights of Plague were an organization of supremacists that coalesced around the Gladiator. He found them very useful, as their ranks included mutant aristocrats that could accomplish his goals through government and money, and deadly, remorseless thugs of all stripes. It is hinted at in 2041 that he openly shared his origins with them.
Knights of Plague followed their leader's commands first and foremost, and he treated them ruthlessly, often sending them on impossible missions and punishing them horribly if they failed him, even due to bad luck rather than incompetence. At his command, they worked against the Gladiator's opponents, the police and eventually the S.M.S.B., through espionage, murder, and battle, and also infiltrated the government several times. When he needed tasks done to increase his own power, he would occasionally send them if he considered the task trivial enough to not warrant his personal attention, though he usually joined them himself. The Knights' other, more spontaneous activities included Muggle torture and murder for fun, property crime, and plotting the eventual overthrow of the U.S. government and replacing it with a mutant-dominated system.
Although some Knights appeared to have been fanatically loyal to the Gladiator, such as Becca Smith and Nolan Giles, many seemed to serve him largely out of fear. As soon as he disappeared in the 2010s, many immediately renounced their loyalty and did not attempt to find the Gladiator in the intervening years.
In turn, even though the Gladiator valued the services they provided, and spoke as though they were a family, he saw them as no more than efficient servants. Coupled with either disloyalty or constant failures, the Gladiator lost faith in some of the once-highly revered servants such as Monroe or Augustus. As a sign of distrust-based precaution, the Knights of Plague did not have knowledge of all their colleagues' identities: the Gladiator alone knew who they all were. This was done in order to prevent any traitors from turning all the others in.
Like the NoHeads, becoming a Knight of Plague meant a lifetime service to the Gladiator. Knights of Plague had no opportunity to "hand in their resignation" if the situation looked grim: deserters would be marked for death.
The Gladiator's most senior Knights, most of whom were highly useful to the Gladiator for their wealth, skill, or ruthlessness, were bestowed with the Knight Mark on their busom. These were his inner circle, those who sat around his high table at Transylvania Quarters. Having been branded with the Knight Sign was a symbol of very high status in the Gladiator's social order, but was also something of a dangerous burden, as it allowed the Dark Lord to track, communicate with, and summon his chosen few.
The next level down were allowed to wear Knight garments in order to command the respect they engendered, but were not Marked. These seem to included those that the Gladiator found useful but did not prefer to associate with, such as the 'savage' Augustus Salt.
On the lowest rung was a mass of supportive rabble, loyal to the Gladiator but not useful enough to him to deal with him directly. They were given orders and opportunities to commit crimes or advance themselves through the senior Knights of Plague. On the same tier were mutants who were possessed (subtly implied to disproportionately constitute the weak-willed, like Fredrick Powell, the stupid, and the dubiously loyal), and non-humans of different degrees of sentience such as werewolves, Deaformas, giants, Acromantula, and tigers. These were pressed into service by the Knights, and sentient groups that would have ordinarily remained neutral like the deaformas, giants, and werewolves were brought into the fold with false promises that their grievances would be avenged upon victory in battle.
In Knight of Plague society, death was accepted. They believed the manner in which you died was the most important. Those who died an honorable death in battle would bring pride to their Domain, but those beings who died shamefully would bring dishonor.
Behind the scenes Edit
The Knights of Plague may at some point have been titled The Knights of Walpurgis. This name seems to be a play on Walpurgis Night, the evening of 30 April when, according to legend, witches and demons gather. While the majority of the Knights of Plague were males, two explicitly mentioned female Knights were Eve Higgins and Becca Smith. It's likely however that there are many more that we just never see.
- The X-Adults: Endgame: The Latest Threat
- The Life and Legends: The Gladiator (first appearance)
- D.I.T. Website
Notes and references Edit
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Knights of Meyer