- "Deus-Imperator Vult!"
- —Avisian chant, meaning "God Emperor Wills It"
The term Avisian Royal Military Order refers to the regiments of the Imperial Guard that originate on the Feudal World of Avisia, which are also commonly known as the Avisian Knights. Founded by a King of Avisia, St. Grigorio, who is now regarded the patron saint of the Royal Military Order, the regiments are primarily infantry and are known for their skill in close combat. While they are all capable of using the regular weapons of the Imperial Guard, the Avisians still follow the ancient tradition of swordsmanship established by St. Grigorio and train in the use of blades in addition to standard-issue Guard equipment. The Order is also heavily indoctrinated by the Imperial Cult and considers itself to be holy warriors fighting a Crusade for the God-Emperor, adding a religious zeal to the already high level of devotion to the Imperium, making them stand out for their fanaticism even in the highly-loyal Imperial Guard.
Individual members of the Royal Military Order are generically referred to as Knights (Cavaliere) rather than the regular term Guardsman. Each regiment is led by a Commander (Commandante) and named after a famous leader of the Royal Military Order. Due to their lower numerical strength in comparison to regular Imperial Guard regiments, the Avisians were mainly deployed throughout Segmentum Obscurus against local threats, only seeing action outside of their native segmentum during emergencies.
Having been rediscovered by humanity in M30 after centuries of isolation as a result of the Old Night, the planet Avisia not only pledged its large agricultural resources to the Emperor's cause but also its sons. King Grigorio XVII was said to have been so awed by the Imperium and its glorious mission that he formed the Imperial Guard regiments of Avisia personally, and chose to lead them in battle himself. The earliest years of the Royal Military Order are murky, surprisingly being one of the few events in the world's history that is not very well documented by its government. What is known, however, is that the King originally created his regiments more along the lines of a typical military rather than a holy order, and one of his successors, King Sebastiano III, was considered to have been the one to establish the regiments in their current form. Grigorio fell in battle at some point during the Great Crusade and later was made a Saint by the Imperial Cult for his heroic deeds. The following Avisian Kings and Grand Masters of the Order practically mythologized his figure, making him a worshiped patron-saint of the Royal Military Order.
The Order continued to expand and develop since his time, forming new rules and regulations, increasing its numbers, fighting in campaigns, and forging a name for itself among the countless other Imperial Guard units crusading under the Emperor's banner. Since the late 40th and early 41st millennium, the Order's culture has become very integrated with the Imperial Creed beliefs and worship of the Emperor as the savior of mankind. As a result, Knights of the Order have come to view themselves as holy warriors, waging a sacred war against the enemies of the God-Emperor.
Black Hand Crusade
Recruitment and Training
The Royal Military Order has its doors open to any willing Avisian subject for the role of enlisted personnel. The organization's reputation on its homeworld is prestigious enough that there is a steady supply of volunteers joining the regiments, so the Order has rarely had to have conscription. Many people also join up simply to escape the difficult conditions of the feudal world and to earn bread. The possibility of earning a noble rank for military merit also entices some to enlist, while others are enchanted by the idea of getting to travel through the stars and use the offworlders' mystifying technology. The officer corps, on the other hand, is limited for those of Avisian noble birth only. A special academy exists for potential officers that teaches them the art of war, while esquires (the rank that enlists hold while in training) are trained at various military schools throughout Avisia.
All recruits undergo an intense training regimen that usually takes place at a battle school in one of the planet's many castles and fortress. It is physically and mentally challenging, to the point where some cadets are killed during the process. If an individual successfully passes the training, they are granted the rank of knight and are assigned to a regiment.
- Knight - Though the word also can be used to refer to all members of the Order, it is the specific term for the standard infantrymen of Avisia. Trained in both ranged and close combat, particularly swordsmanship.
- Chaplain - Representatives of the Imperial Creed who make sure that every knight of the Order remains faithful and carry out church services.
- Mechanist - Trained to drive different vehicles of the Imperial Guard, including tanks, armored vehicles, and others.
- Templar - Heavy infantry, trained to use a variety of weapons and issued with heavier armor.
- Zouave - The shock troops of the Order, selected from veteran knights and templars to receive additional training (in fields like sabotage, airborne operations, etc.) and serve as special forces.
|Order Rank||Imperial Guard Equivalent|
|Magistral Chaplain||Warrant Officer|
|Knight of Justice||Sergeant-Major|
|Knight of Grace||Sergeant|
|Knight of Devotion||Corporal|
Honors and Awards
In addition to standard Imperial Guard decorations and medals, the Order has some of its own awards:
- Holy Order of St. Grigorio - The highest award conferred upon senior Knights of the Order for distinguished service to the Imperium during operations, named after the aforementioned King Saint Grigorio. Those members who awarded the Holy Order and are commoners are given the Avisian noble rank of Imperial Knight. Unlike the other decorations, the Holy Order is usually not awarded to personnel of other Imperial Guard regiments.
- Sacred Knight's Cross - Awarded to any Order Knight regardless of rank for military merit, acts of extreme battlefield bravery or outstanding military leadership. Also eligible to earn this award are Imperial Guard personnel of other regiments who take part in operations with the Order.
- Medal of Divine Valor and Glory - A lower-ranking award given to those Knights that have performed a feat of significant valor and accomplishment in battle. Also eligible to earn this award are Imperial Guard personnel of other regiments who take part in operations with the Order.
- Custom-Made Avisian Blade - Part of the training process for each Knight is to forge their own sword to use out of Avisian metal.
- M35 "M-Galaxy" Pattern Lasgun
- Takara Compact Laspistol
- Mk. II Royal Military Order Imperial Guard Uniform
- Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer
- Depending on the regiment, some may be wearing a Mk I or Mk III Royal Military Order Imperial Guard Uniform
Very little of the actual information on his life has survived to the 41st millennium, and Grigorio XVII has become practically mythologized by the Avisian monarchy. What is known is that he was the King of Avisia reigning sometime in late M30, at the time that the planet was discovered by the Imperium of Man. He was the one who established the first Imperial Guard regiments and led them personally in battle during the Great Crusade, founding the Avisian Royal Military Order. The exact details have been lost to time and many different theories exist about what happened next. All that is known for sure is that he was killed in action during some campaign in difficult circumstances, and was later made a Saint by the Imperial Cult for his heroic actions. Since then, the King has been made the patron-saint of the Order.
Constanzo Thaon di Revel
- 1st Royal Avisian "St. Grigorio" Infantry Regiment - Consisting of veteran knights of the Order, the 1st St Grigorio Regiment is the best Order unit that the Imperium can field. Serving in the 1st Regiment is regarded as a big honor by knights and the unit has one of the oldest and most illustrious histories of all of the Royal Military Order regiments. Being the first unit in the order of battle, it reserves the right of being named after the legendary St. Grigorio. It is also one of the only units that does not recruit almost exclusively from a certain state on Avisia and is most often deployed outside of Segmentum Obscurus on special missions.
- 2nd Royal Avisian "King Sebastiano" Infantry Regiment -
- 6th Royal Avisian "Prince Marcello" Infantry Regiment -
- 18th Royal Avisian "Duke Campioni" Tank Regiment - One of the rare armored units of the Order, the 18th regiment specializes in driving all sorts of Imperial armored vehicles to provide support to infantry units. It is named for Duke Campioni, an Avisian noble and officer who pioneered the development of the Order's armored corps.
- The Order is primarily based on the Knights of Malta, the Knights Templar, and the various other Catholic Christian military orders that date back to the time of the Crusades.
- Avisia itself and its culture are based on the history of Vatican City and the Papal States.