The second of the High Church's militant branches. The Crusaders were originally an order of warrior-monks that were absorbed into the High Church shortly after its ascension. Their old ways are reflected in the current age by traditions of marital arts, physical exertion and meditation techniques forming a core component of their ritual practice. The Crusaders do not train solely for worship however, so most techniques are required to have a practical foundation.
Historical record states they were established during the Dark Ages to hunt down lost pre-Scream artifacts across Acheron Rho on behalf of Church and Empire. Many new crusader initiates still go 'on crusade' as a rite of passage, a dangerous prospect on many of the sector's more inhospitable worlds. The past exploits of the more famous of these 'knight-errant' crusaders have been depicted in mass media.
Reflecting the non-aggressive principles of their parent Church, most members of this ostensibly paramilitary organization are geared towards serving as chaplains, liaisons and intelligence officers. However, elite units of crusaders are sometimes deployed alongside House troops when the house in question wants to show that their campaign has the High Church's approval. The Crusaders also oversee much of the Church's maritime security, manning patrol boats and light cruisers to dissuade pirates from disrupting the Church's significant mercantile assets.
There are rumors of a special operations unit associated with the Crusader branch that operated during the war against House Cygnus. If this so called Palatinus Unit actually exists it has proven to be exceptionally deniable and secretive.
The Crusaders draw many of their recruits from former House soldiers, pious and skilled volunteers, and acolytes who want to engage in a physically active and exploratory role. Prospective crusaders are sent to train at the ***Drepanum Crusader Academy on the moon of Thale.
Thale's annual Fist of Polaris Tournament is a major draw for non-pilgrimage related tourism in the sector, and is a popular event on the Prism Network.
***Cooler name pending