- "They took their name from the book the Epitaph of the Twilight. However, in the original text, the Cobalt and Crimson Knights were diametrically opposed, representing the forces of light and darkness. In The World, however, the two groups had little contact with each other and conducted very different missions."
- — Albireo —
The Crimson Knights (紅衣の騎士団) are an unofficial player-governed group that hopes to bring order to "The World." The guild slowly evolved into one that keeps the order that they desire through sheer intimidation via their vast numbers. Although unofficial, they are sometimes used by The World's administration.
The Crimson Knights started as a joke made by Crim. After he and Subaru were attacked by PKers, Crim calmly explained that their actions made new players less likely to enjoy the game and keep playing. Noting that he and Subaru both had avatars with red clothes at the time, Crim told the PKers to call them "the Crimson Knights."
Subaru, empowered by the strength of Crim's words and actions, decided to form a guild of players that helped settle disputes among players.
According to Alberio, the group is named after an organization in the Epitaph of Twilight, but the Crimson Knights themselves never acknowledge this, if they are even aware of it.
Crim resigned after a conflict with Silver Knight about how the Crimson Knights had lost their way. He quit so that he no longer had to be "Lord Crim of the Crimson Knights" and could go back to just being "Crim". According to Crim, games were about fun, not obligation. He urged Subaru to quit if she ever grew tired of the knights, but Subaru disagreed.
Silver Knight tried questioning Tsukasa a few times about a cat-player character they had been investigating. During one encounter, Tsukasa's Guardian appeared and killed his character, causing him to lose consciousness in the real world.
After this incident, Subaru ordered him to be brought to her. Silver Knight mistook the intention of this order, and authorized a massive operation to trap Tsukasa and take him into custody. After the incident, Subaru spoke to Tsukasa, and agreed to let him go.
After this event, Subaru became more cautious about the specificity of her orders, and voiced her belief that Tsukasa was "a victim of a larger flow." Silver Knight began contradicting her orders, secretly authorizing characters to be "marked on all servers, bound, and taken into custody."
He also worried that Tsukasa was a bad influence for Subaru to become involved with, and took steps to keep him from contacting her. Occasionally, he was accused by third party players of having a grudge for his defeat.
Silver Knight had E-mailed CC Corp, requesting real-time player logs and information to help catch "malicious players." This was too much for CC Corp, which E-mailed Subaru to deny the request, reminding her that they were just volunteers, not CC Corp employees.
Subaru was disgusted with Silver Knight's arrogance at making such a request. She said that their job was only to help resolve disputes, not to act as "system support." Silver Knight shot back that she herself had become arrogant, deciding for herself that Tsukasa was an exception to the rules. He argued that they couldn't stop "malicious players" unless they had both justice and power.
Salu, one of the Crimson Knights, tried to talk Subaru into taking back her decision and reforming the Knights, going as far as to threaten not leaving the Hulle Granz Cathedral until she did, but she still refused. He explained that Silver Knight temporarily took over the newly disbanded Knights to continue on with his own ambitions.
She told him that she should seek to follow his own ideals, without clinging to Subaru's leadership, or holding a grudge against Silver Knight. It is presumed he followed her advice, as he logged out of the field after all.
The few who were loyal to Silver Knight began to trickle away around the same time that he became involved in a race between Sora and Crim for the Key of the Twilight, although the specifics are unknown.
Lacking the influence it once had, the group soon disappeared entirely from The World. During this time the era of self-governed order ended and PKing steadily grew in numbers. CC Corp took action and temporarily removed PKing altogether from the game after .hack//ZERO.
Although the Crimson Knights were a volunteer group of players, to some extent, they were recognized and sanctioned by CC Corp. To this end, they sometimes displayed abilities that other players did not have. There were two main powers that were frequently mentioned by Silver Knight.
The first power was referred to as a setting up a barrier. The Knights could set up invisible "barriers" that prevented a player from Gating Out of a field or using a Sprite Ocarina in a dungeon. They used this ability to prevent a target from escaping after they found him or her, and also to turn particular dungeons into private "jails" for their use. The limits of this ability are unknown, save that it did not prevent other players from warping in.
The second power was referred to as binding a character. A Crimson Knight could forcibly warp someone that his or her avatar had touched, regardless of whether or not they were in the same party. This ability only takes affect for as long as the players are in contact, and overrode the barrier ability.