The Lanzknecht, the Imperial Lancers, were for many years the dominant military force in the Restored Crimson Empire. Originally, the term was simply descriptive: they were servants of the nominal Emperor who tended to carry lances that they employed as heavy cavalry or in hedgehog defensive formations as infantry.
However, the requirements for becoming a Lanzknecht were substantial: a potential recruit needed to furnish their own horse, their own lance, and their own training. The Empire would only provide uniforms and food, and in many cases the candidates preferred to do these things for themselves as well. In the following years, a Lanzknecht became synonymous with a minor noble, often a younger son of an established lord, who was rewarded with lands as the result of military service.
In practice, the Lanzknecht came to serve as a sort of middle nobility, serving as enforcers, landlords, and foremen through which nobles governed. The ceremonial Imperial Lance, made to a standard pattern but often ornately–and uniquely–decorated, became a common and often hated symbol of the Lanzknecht, with its presence being required at any official functions.
Such was the symbolic power of the Imperial Lance that, when the northern provinces of the Restored Crimson Empire rebelled, the Lanzknecht that were captured tended to be run through and left to rot on their own symbols of office.