Knights are soldiers who serve the province of High Rock under the command of their respective Great Houses. They are the main backbone of High Rock's military and filled almost roughly half of the province's ranks. They are considered the lowest of the nobility, but are still respected for their rigid discipline and high-quality training despite their lack of numbers when compared to the Imperial Legion.
The order of the Knights was found in 4E 176, just a year after the end of the Great War between the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion. Due to the increasing occurrence of riots and revolts caused by the great economical depression post-war period, and the lack of organized soldiers to maintain order, the Great Houses and nobles of High Rock pooled their resources into creating an powerful order of soldiers with high-quality training, rigid discipline, and undying loyalty. The Knights of High Rock were the result.
However, unlike the chivalrous knights of old, many of the knights under the command of their Great Houses vary in reputation. Some were interested in justice and compassionate to those who were weaker and less fortunate around them by aiding the common people and devoting their lives to protecting them. Others serve as brutal enforcers and extremely loyal soldiers for the less compassionate and conservative Great Houses.
Knights are specially outfitted depending on a large number of factors, including climate, location, task, and expectations. They employed armors of chain, scale, plate mail, and fitted leather armor depending on the conditions. They were very effective at keeping order and enforcing the law than regular town guards and are sometimes considered as military police for the Great Houses. Their roles in battle varied as well depending on rank and preference.
As of 4E 177, Knights the following variants:
Trainee knights who lack experience or are freshly inducted into the path of knighthood. Both entirely fresh recruits and Spellswords with magic training will begin here. They are not considered as fully fledged members and tend to be weaker than a fully ranked knight. Not all of them make it to be promoted into a full knight. Their armament tends to be a sword and shield or a greatsword.
Non Spellsword members who have served time in the Knighthood and have become fully fledged members. They are the main backbone, less common than squires, but much better fighters. They utilize a wider variety of weapons. They will generally wear heavy armor of certain design, depending on their allegiance.
Knights whom act as field commanders. Much like the knight, but more skilled due to their experience in both battle and training. They are usually seen commanding a group of other knights or training Initiates. It is rare to see Crusaders under one, unless they happen to have a very high rank.
Spellswords who choose to focus on the path of heavy armor and arms instead of magic become Crusaders. They undergo the training of a knight after mastering a few basic spells. This puts their skill as a knight before their skill as a mage. As most Spellswords would not retrain themselves as knights, Crusaders are relatively rare. They generally train in defensive arts, the use of shields and one handed weaponry, mostly a sword or mace.
Unlike the typical knight, Crusaders are able to use self-enhancement magic and ranged spells. They can thus move faster and with greater agility than any non magical knight, through the use of enhancement magic and movement spells. They are also capable of keeping themselves in battle far longer by the use of healing in conjunction with their heavy armor, and fighting them at range offers no advantage when they can cast ranged spells for attack. The magical prowess of a Crusader cannot be compared to a Battlemage or a dedicated Spellsword, though.
Paladins are the expert variant of Crusaders and their own version of a Knight-Captain, having served long and trained hard enough to attain their respective rank alongside their combat experience. They are normally in command of Crusaders and Knights. Generally, they tend to promote to higher ranks within a military because it is easier for them to accrue military merit by virtue of spells being incredibly useful for combat and their superior performance to most normal knights.
As they are former Crusaders, most Paladins, if not all, wield shields and a one handed weapon of sorts. They tend to have better quality equipment and a wider range of spells compared to their lower ranking counterparts, making them more dangerous to fight and giving them incredible battlefield stamina. It is not uncommon for them to be clad entirely in enchanted gear and wield a magical weapon, especially if they can afford it.
Knights are well-known for their incredible resilience, ruthlessness, bravery, and determination in battle. They are less likely to retreat than other soldiers and will attack relentlessly. They were considered extremely dangerous as a team, and utilized various weapons and shields with great skill and efficiency.
Knights are powerful melee fighters, preferring to get up-close and personal with the enemy. Their heavy armor provides protection from marksmen and other warriors as they plow through enemies while greatly reducing the damage they take. They were proficiently skilled with using heavy armor, one-handed weapons, and shields. Attacking them head-on is ill-advised, as they can block most attacks with their shield before performing deadly counter-attacks.
However, the heavy armor of knights made them bulky, slow, and they are weak to certain spells. Usage of armor-piercing weapons, fire spells, shock spells or block-and-counter techniques are ideal for taking on the heavily-armored knights. One can also disarm them with proper timing and deliver deadly counter-attacks in return. Two-handed power attacks and ripostes will also break through a knight's block and stagger them, leaving a short opening.
Crusaders and Paladins rely on both reinforcement spells and their heavy armor, making them more durable than a normal knight. Their enhancement magic also improves their agility and negates many downsides that heavy armor typically brings. Hence, combat against them requires more attention, as they have to be exhausted of both magicka and stamina before their threat level greatly falls. It is generally impossible to disarm one with proper timing, compared to a normal knight, since they are much tougher and stronger. Repeated power attacks and ripostes are needed to break their stance and stagger them.