The Imperial Knights were an organisation which went through numerous incarnations, a philosophical concept resurrected during the Cold War, Shattered Galaxy Crisis and later in the years following the Miranda Crisis.
The concept of the Imperial Knights is that the desire to have an Empire is not intrinsicly a negative one. While the concept of Empire has traditionally been wielded by the Sith, and thus been a dark side creation, democracy is not inherently a light side structure. During the reign of Supreme Chancellor Constipex, democracy was responsible for the genocide of alien species in the Outer Rim, and the Jedi acted apart from the Republic during the Mandalorian Wars.
After the Great Sith War the Jedi Order banned attachments and grew considerably stricter, clamping down on Masters taking more than one Padawan, and shutting down personality cults that attached themselves to the Jedi. Setting up a central seat of power on Coruscant, the stricter strain of the Light cast the acts of several Jedi outside the Order, informally creating a 'grey' dichotomy, a dichotomy which was linked to Ulic Qel-Droma by hardliners within the Jedi - a suggestion that anything less than complete service to the Jedi Council led to a Force user falling to the dark side.
The Grey Jedi philosophy came about - the concept that 'dark' energies could be harnessed for good, or that simply it was possible to balance the two, and not pick a side. While a great many of these adherants fell to the dark side over the years, it was no different for the Jedi, who lost swathes of support to Darth Revan in the Jedi Civil War. The concept that lightsiders could serve an Empire, however, only really came into being following the Great War.
The First Imperial KnightsEdit
[To be wrote]
The Second Imperial KnightsEdit
The second incarnation of the Imperial Knights came about during the resurrection of the Empire in a purer form. While subsequent Empire's were attached to the Sith, the Empire of Emperor Palpatine was ruled by a minority of Sith. While it would have eventually echoed the old Sith Empires, the Emperor was killed mid-mutation, allowing a lightsider - Emperor Iaius - to take the throne, and create a bodyguard of light side Force users, and expunge the dark side from the Empire in 6 ABY. Though a small personality cult, it represented a radical philosophy twist for the Empire, but with the death of the Emperor at the hands of Dark Jedi, the cult was massacred by the self-proclaimed Darth Rem.
The Third Imperial KnightsEdit
See: The Imperial Knights
The third incarnation of the Imperial Knights represents the most stable. Founded in the years since the Miranda Crisis, the Imperial Knights have sworn fealty to the Emperor, but are also responsible for preventing the Emperor from falling to the dark side. Numbering a thousand by the Sith-Imperial War, the Imperial Knights lost more than a fifth of their number in an attempt to avoid conflict with the Jedi Order, and had their position in the Empire usurped by the Sith, the Second Massacre on Coruscant destroying the majority of the surviving Imperial Knights.
The dozen remaining Knights form the nexus of the deposed Emperor's True Empire, and are his only way to oppose the Sith, so weakened it is militarily. The Imperial Knights dabble in the dark side, though are primarily lightsiders in the service of the Force as personified by a light side Emperor. The Knights are growing in numbers, but such growth is off-set by the casualties they suffer. With few teachers, the Knights can ill afford to lose any of their remaining elites.