"We fight and die for our houses, the blood of Errants fuels the Sovereign Game."
-Erik zu ri'Wodan, Errant of House Tyr
There are few in the Avalon Cluster who do know the name, Chevalier, and not think of lacquered metal Knights locked in eternal combat. Once developed for war against the Kindreds of the Gwawgaruh. The Dark Years were perhaps some of the worst and if it were not for the work of the Excalibur Station the early models of Chevalier would never have been created. From that experience the Chevalier steadily went from a machine of war to one of ritual. Soon the Errant Class arose from the Psi bound warriors across the Triad. The Wrights Guild was established to build the great machines as the Marcher Houses pushed for increased resources to defend the Line against the northern raids of the Voidkin.
Soon the control of Chevaliers became paramount among the Houses. The Sovereign Lords are able to field the greatest contingents of Mecha to be fielded in battle. Great Houses can only afford maybe fifty to a hundred Chevaliers at a time with Minor Houses only able to put a handful into battle. These odds have often forced Errants and Nobles to value each and every one.
Chevaliers are producted en masse selectively by artisan groups led by Master Wrights. These artisans then focus on the development of a singular Mecha over time. Finality concludes with the design of the exterior decorations and the naming of the machine. Most Chevaliers can take well over a year to develop with customized versions (known as Maitre-Travail, High Avalon for "Masterwork"). Maitre-Travail are considered the highest pinnacle of design for the Chevalier and for this reason Master Wrights who can produce them are often paid a high commission by their patron Houses.
Production of Chevaliers is often conducted in specialized locations which are heavily defended. Those seeking to increase their power and prestige thus often target these facilities (often called Knight Havens). Most Knight Havens are filled with active Chevalier and Carapace Armored Guards.
- See also: Terminology
The evolution of the Chevalier Mecha and the Knightly mythos attached to it has spawned a unique series of vocabulary unique to the weapons usage. Many terms such as Maitre-Travail are named in High Avalonic, the ancient language of the Veilrien and which was once adopted by the Artur Court as a language of politics. Others are in Elder Tongue to reflects the scholarly terminology applied to various aspects of the bond between Errant and Squire. Finally there is the common speech, Low Avalonic, used for technical terms such as "Heart-Searing" which apply to the over-usage of the Entente and Detente system of binding the souls of two pilots. Collectively this jargon is called "Knight's Speech" and is commonly used by Errants, Squires and Wrights. Battle formation and organization terminology is often derived from Ermika (Language of the Ermikines people of Ereves and Aslphada.
Chevaliers of Avalon
Mecha who fall under the name of Chevalier are created uniquely from other Mecha formats. Few ever consider the major differences between the various forms of Mecha, but if one stands out the most it is the Chevalier. The bone armored monstrosities dubbed the Eoten are incapable of bearing a soul, and few know about the inner workings of the feather-cloaked Wak'a. The very notion that a machine could create its own life is perhaps one reason why the Eternal and the knowledge of how unique the Chevalier truly as a work of machine artistry.
- See also: Active Chevalier Models
The Chevaliers are Avalon are far some of the most respected fighting machines in the Avalon Cluster. Stories of the grand armored fighting knights of the Triad carry weight in the depths of the Southern Reaches, to the rumored lands of the Fallen Star. Most designs of Chevalier come within the two designated model classifications. Light and heavy, with both serving as a primary strategical and kitted design for combat across the Triad.
Heavy Class Chevaliers are often known as Hard-Shields, Shock-Knights, or in other cases simply as Heavies. They are the most heavily armored and armed to act as primary fits in attacking enemy lines. Their expansive armament and defense is also used in protracted battles to strengthen lines, and to deal with frontal assaults from the enemy. Heavy Chevaliers are not known for their speed and instead focus most of their design on targeting and redundancies. They are less likely to fall apart in combat and are considered some of the most rugged machines developed by the Mesiters Guild.
The Light or "Strike" Class Chevaliers are often reinforced for fast travel and for light weaponry. If heavily armed they will often be used for lightning engagements, and are thus focus upon speed rather than durability. For this reason they are often nicknamed Swords, Spears, or in some case Speed-Demons. Their light frames are designed for precise and quick strikes to conduct the most damage against the enemy.
The Eternal and Ascendant
The Soul-Core that bonds the Errant and Squire of a Chevalier creates a mental and spiritual connection between the two. When a Pilot dies a bit of themselves is lost within the COre, and the internal computer cores of the machine themselves become ever bound tighter. There is no true term for what it means for a consciousness to be born, but it happens. When three pilots have perished a Mecha becomes Ascendant and their new Pilots become Eternal. The terminology itself is quite complex and is only commonly used among the fighting pilots of the Errant Class.
Eternal are said to gain their own unique personality, they contain memory and tactics that give them an edge in battle. This is seen as supernatural effect, and only a slight degree of edge, but still an edge nonetheless. The rule of this personality and traits is based upon the pilots who perish in the Chevalier itself. Those who are skilled in certain weapons will impart said skills upon the machine. Those who are violent will birth a violent personality. These traits then are slowly added to that of the Errant and the Squire. Those who are quiet become more violet if their Chevalier is Violent, or more solemn. The Eternal are thus revered and abhorred at the same time.
The skills gifted by the Eternal are additions, not complete enhancements. They allow a Mecha pilot to fire a few seconds faster, to reload more strategically, and when adjust their flying thrusters. These are not total means of winning a battle, but they gift the Eternal a fearsome reputation for being able to defeat less weathered Chevaliers in war.