|“||Knights of Hell are hand-picked by Lucifer himself. They are of the first-fallen, first-born demons.||”|
The Knights of Hell were a unique breed of demons trained by Cain, the original knight. The Knights are thought to be among the oldest and most powerful of their kind, their exact rank in the hierarchy of Hell is not stated; however, they appear to be figures of awe among most demons and refuse to obey demons they consider inferior to themselves.
In 1863, Cain retired from his position, inciting backlash from the Knights, who tried to tempt him back into his old ways by kidnapping his human wife Colette Mullen. In revenge, Cain slaughtered all of the order. Only his former lover and subordinate Abaddon managed to escape. Until she appeared in the year 1958 and again in 2013, it was believed that all the Knights had been exterminated by archangels. While Abaddon was ultimately killed in 2014, her killer, Dean Winchester, was transformed into yet another Knight by the Mark of Cain, unofficially continuing the Knights' bloody legacy. However, this was brief as his brother, Sam Winchester cured him, leaving Cain the only Knight until his own death, making the Knights of Hell extinct.
|“||My knights and I, we did horrible things. For centuries. Bringers of chaos and darkness...||”|
The Knights of Hell were trained by Cain and were thought to have been hand-picked by Lucifer. Cain personally built the order of Knights and trained them himself. Cain was their commander, leading them as they committed atrocities on Earth. They are represented by a sigil in a pre-enochian language, further indicating that the idea alone of the Knights of Hell had very ancient roots. The said sigil has been found in St. Bonaventure Convent in 1958.
After Cain fell in love with Colette in 1863 CE, the Knights sought to reclaim their leader by kidnapping Colette, whom Abaddon then possessed. Cain killed all of the Knights with the First Blade in his rage, but only Abaddon could escape whilst tricking him into killing Colette. His promise to Colette not to kill anymore kept him from gaining revenge on Abaddon, and he retired. The Men of Letters believed that the extermination had been performed by archangels.
That the extermination had become a "legend" by 1958 indicates that Abaddon had either not been active on Earth or, as Cain apparently did, she kept her presence on Earth secret from even the Men of Letters long enough for the Men of Letters to conclude that all the Knights of Hell had died. In 1958, however, Abaddon resurfaced to kill Father Max Thompson and put a stop to his attempts at "curing" demons. She also worked with other demons to steal souls from innocent people and turn them into demons. This was discovered by Henry Winchester and Josie Sands who attempted to stop them and succeeded but were unable to stop Abaddon. To stop her from killing Henry, Josie offered herself to Abaddon instead. Knowing that she could learn more of the Men of Letters Abaddon accepted and possessed her. She later learned much of them and slaughtered the Men of Letters, and traveled into the year 2013.
Abaddon attempted to take over rulership of Hell by killing the King, Crowley until Dean killed her. Cain remains retired, though he does consent to help Crowley and Dean Winchester kill Abaddon by giving Dean his mark and allowing him to use the First Blade on Abaddon, should they be able to find it. He also requests Dean kill him when he's done with Abaddon as, like Abaddon, the Blade is the only thing that can kill him. In a final confrontation with Dean, Abaddon was killed by him with the First Blade after the Mark of Cain granted him immunity to her powers and telekinesis. Later, when Dean attempted to kill Metatron, but he was killed by him instead, and the Mark of Cain transformed him into a demon. Dean was later cured by Sam.
After killing Abaddon's demons when they attacked his house, Cain fell back under the Mark of Cain's influence and started to slaughter his own bloodline as he saw them as "tainted." This led Dean, Sam, Crowley and the angel Castiel to team up to bring him down. After a brutal fight, Dean gained the upper hand and killed Cain, leaving the Knights of Hell extinct.
In Proverbs 17:3, Sam sees a vision where Dean bears the Mark of Cain again and is a Knight of Hell. Dean kills Sam with the First Blade after effortlessly throwing him around the Men of Letters bunker. In The Trap, God reveals that this was one of God's memories of an alternate reality with a different version of Sam and Dean.
As a type of demon, Knights of Hell are evil spiritual entities that were created from human souls being stripped of their humanity. As a result of having been trained by Cain, Knights of Hell are very strong demons that possess unique abilities. They are called the first demons, making them among the oldest of their kind; this would mean that they were made shortly after the creation of, or at the same time as, the Princes of Hell and Lilith herself (the very first demon).
The King of Hell outranks the Knights of Hell and they are expected to serve him, but they may stage a coup if they disapprove of the current King. The Knights of Hell are higher-ranked than common demons and most likely Crossroad Demons. They usually command great respect from their fellow demons and have their own subordinates: Abaddon had at least one demon who served her in the past, and she had assembled a group of demons willing to turn on Crowley and help her become Queen of Hell who feared and served her until her death. Larry Ganem called Abaddon a "hired gun," which would indicate that they may be willing to work for other parties for a price. Alternatively, it could mean they are simply subservient to higher demons.
What a Knight of Hell looks like in its true form is unknown, but given descriptions of other demons' true faces, it is likely grotesque. On Earth, its true form manifests as a cloud of black smoke. A Knight of Hell may possess a human in order to interact with the physical world and its inhabitants. Most of the time, its host will not look any different than it how it did before she was possessed, but her eyes may change colors on occasion (such as when the Knight of Hell is extremely angry or wanting to intimidate its enemies) to reveal her possession. They have the completely black eyes typical of most demons. Certain other beings, such as other demons, can perceive a Knight of Hell's true form even when it is in a host, but ordinary humans are limited in the sense that they can only perceive its vessel or if the Knight is not in a vessel, its smoke form. They were depicted as skeletal creatures wearing a horned helm in the notes of Tara.
Powers and Abilities
|“||Brilliant. Why send in a few grunts when you can send in a knight? Say your prayers, moose.||”|
A Knight of Hell is a particularly strong type of demon; in fact, Crowley indicated that a single Knight of Hell is more dangerous than a group of ordinary demons. A Knight of Hell has powers that are rare and even unheard of among other demons and demonstrates fewer weaknesses than most other demons do.
- Possession - Knights of Hell possess human bodies and take control of them, using them as their vessels on Earth. Notably, they can be inside two humans at once by inserting a portion of their essences into a second human while the majority of the Knights' essences remain in control of the first. However, each time this happened, it only took place for several moments before the Knight in question exited the second human and returned to her original host, leaving it unclear if Knights of Hell can possess two humans at once over a long period of time or if they can only perform split possessions temporarily.
- Biokinesis - Abaddon was capable of making humans bleed profusely from their eyes, resulting in permanent blindness. Cain was able to silence Crowley for a while with a shush gesture.
- Unique Smiting - An ability unique to himself as the very first Knight of Hell, Cain can kill other entities with a demonic smiting ability that is similar to an angel's touch. In Cain's case, however, the color is red rather than bright white, and it doesn't burn out the victim's eyes. He can use this ability to kill humans, demons, and possibly angels, as he said he could "swat Castiel like a fly" and also "end him" when he had no weapon capable of killing an angel.
- Immunity - Unlike most demons, Knights of Hell are immune to exorcism rites, churches, and the worst effects of the demon-killing knife. They are also more resilient to holy fire than lesser demons, as they retain the ability to move their hosts' bodies when it is burning with holy fire, unlike other demons. Cain displayed partial immunity to a devil's trap: he was trapped by it though he stated it couldn't hold him long and still possessed his incredible strength and telekinesis.
- Super Strength - Knights of Hell have inhuman physical strength. Abaddon killed two men with her bare hands; one by slashing his throat open with one stroke of her fingernails, and the other by quickly and brutally thrusting a hand into his abdomen to fatally damage his vital organs, wounding him enough to kill him soon after. Dean was able to casually knock Crowley, the King of Hell about to toy with him. Cain had an incredible level of strength, able to casually overpower other demons. He retained his strength in a devil's trap to the point that he was able to casually block Dean Winchester's blows.
- Telekinesis - Knights of Hell can move objects and people with their minds. They can use this power to throw human adults through only a hand gesture. Due to his level of sheer power, Cain retained telekinesis even in a devil's trap, throwing Dean around once and calling the First Blade to his hand.
- Invulnerability - Knights of Hell are little affected by damage dealt to their hosts, even injuries as severe as being stabbed, gunshot wounds, decapitation, and dismemberment. They may not be as tuned in to physical sensations as humans are, as Abaddon did not even notice that her hands were missing until Dean pointed it out to her. Contrarily, Cain felt such pain that losing a single hand defeated him. They can be killed by the First Blade and at least Cain was unaffected by an angel's white light.
- Telepathy - By blowing a portion of her essence into a human, Abaddon has the ability to access that human's memories to see and hear what that human had seen and heard. The Knight appears to be able to instantly identify and access specific memories she wants to see, rather than having to shift through all of a human's memories.
- Immortality - Knights of Hell will not die of age or disease, and have the potential to live forever if not stabbed by someone who has the mark and the first blade.
- Weather Manipulation - A Knight of Hell is capable of causing weather phenomena. For example, an infuriated Abaddon caused thunder and lightning by screaming, and Cain's arrival caused gusts of wind.
- Super Stamina - Knights of Hell do not require food, water, oxygen or sleep to maintain themselves.
- Terrakinesis - Knight of Hells can cause ground tremors. Abaddon used this power to split the ground of a church before she had even physically arrived there. Cain's mere arrival caused local tremors.
- Flight - When outside of their hosts, Knights of Hell can fly or hover above the ground.
- Tactile Exorcism - Abaddon could expel another demon from her host and send her back to Hell simply by grabbing the demon's host by the neck.
- Teleportation - Cain and Abaddon could disappear from one location and reappear in another instantaneously.
Although they are some of the first-existing, oldest, and most powerful demons, a Knight of Hell is subject to some of the weaknesses that most demons have.
Harming, Misleading or Trapping
- Devil's trap - A Knight of Hell can be stripped of its powers if placed in a devil's trap. The trap has much the same effect if it is placed on or inside of the Knight's host instead, with the additional effect of severely restricting the Knight's ability to move. However, Cain is partially immune to a devil's trap's powers, being bound by one but still retaining his superhuman strength and telekinesis. He also states that a devil's trap can't hold him for long and seems more amused than annoyed to be trapped, indicating that at least for him, devil's traps aren't a big problem.
- Holy fire - While holy fire cannot kill Knights of Hell and they are more resistant to it than lesser demons are, they still find it to be extremely painful, to the point that Abaddon abandoned her host and fled when it became engulfed in holy fire.
- Holy water - Contact with holy water causes Knights of Hell to react as if burned. It was used to great effect on Abaddon, causing her to stagger backward and cover her face in pain for a short period of time without attacking her targets; Dean was similarly incapacitated despite additionally bearing the powerful Mark of Cain. Cain's vulnerability to holy water is yet untested.
- Demon-Killing Knife - Although the knife cannot kill a Knight of Hell, it is able to temporarily incapacitate one not bearing the mark: it caused Abaddon enough pain to bring her to her knees. However, Cain was completely immune to the knife, not even showing the glow of being stabbed like any other demon, a feat not even the Princes of Hell possessed. Dean's susceptibility to the knife was never tested, as while threatened with it, it was never used on him, though his complete lack of fear of it implies that, like Cain, it would be useless against him.
- Angels - Though they are no match for Cain, as evidenced by his encounter with Castiel, Abaddon fled rather than face Gadreel suggesting that an angel can defeat or at least do some level of harm to an ordinary knight. Castiel was able to overpower and restrain Dean Winchester, even when he became a Knight. Though Dean himself had been weakened by Sam's purified blood injections at the time, as well as being caught off guard. Despite this, Abaddon believed that she would be able to force the angels to bow to her or kill them if they didn't.
- Demon Curing Ritual - A Knight can be turned back into a human using this ritual.
- Purified blood - An essential part of the ritual to turn a demon human. It hurts a Knight more than other demons, but they retain demonic mannerisms longer with Mark of Cain than other demons as well despite it turning them more human.
Banishing and Killing
- The First Blade - The First Blade, when powered by the Mark of Cain, is a weapon that can kill a Knight. This was proven when Cain slaughtered the other Knights with it, when Dean killed Abaddon with it and later Cain.
Known Knights of Hell
- Abaddon (deceased)
- Cain (deceased)
- Dean Winchester (cured)
- Alternate Dean (deceased)
- Several Others (mentioned only, deceased)
Most of the Knights
Following Abaddon's reemergence as a threat in 2013, Dean took on the Mark of Cain to be able to kill her with the First Blade. During a battle between Dean and Abaddon, the Mark of Cain gave Dean immunity to her powers and a telekinetic control of the First Blade, enabling Dean to use the First Blade to kill Abaddon.
After killing Abaddon's Demon Army, Cain returned to his murderous ways and began slaughtering his descendants. As a result, Dean, Sam, Castiel, and Crowley teamed up together to stop him. After the others lured Cain into a devil's trap to weaken him, Dean engaged in a brutal fight with Cain that ended with Dean cutting off Cain's right hand. After Cain refused to stop killing, Dean used the First Blade to kill Cain.
- Ironically, despite the power and status that the Knights commanded, at least three of them (Abaddon, Dean and alternate Dean) were black-eyed, which usually denote low to mid-tier demons. Cain on the other hand, never exhibited such eyes, even when he used his powers.
- The Knights of Hell like alternate Dean, Dean and Abaddon differ from other higher demon classes in that they are ancient and powerful demons that are not yellow-eyed and/or white-eyed demons.
- Funnily, the white-eyed demons are exactly the opposite.
- The number of Knights that existed before Cain's slaughter is unknown. As Cain referred to having slain "the Knights of Hell." It is implied that there were several, however, as Cain called it a "demonic order."
- When a Knight of Hell is killed by the First Blade, they emit a massive red light that resembles the visual effects of Cain's smiting ability, rather than the brief flashes light seen with most other demon deaths. When Cain was killed, the effect wasn't shown though there was a clap of thunder in the background.
- Although Knights can be cured by the Demon Curing Ritual, they, or at least ones with the Mark of Cain, still retain demonic mannerisms longer than other demons do, including the King of Hell Crowley. This indicates they have a stronger resistance to the ritual but not complete immunity as it does work.
- While the Men of Letters were aware of the Knights existence, despite their great wealth of knowledge, they seemed to know very little about the Knights themselves. For example, Henry Winchester was aware of their existence but, along with presumably all the other Men of Letters, believed them all to be dead before the reappearance of Abaddon, whom he was unaware was even a Knight. The Men of Letters also believed that the archangels wiped out the Knights, something that most demons believed as well when in fact it was Cain. The Men of Letters also seemed to lack knowledge on how to defeat or kill a Knight: when Abaddon arrived, they knew who she was but tried an exorcism which they were unaware she was immune to. When Sam Winchester asked Larry Ganem how to stop her, he responded saying that they could not. Also, when Kevin Tran looked through the bunker's archives, he too couldn't find anything and resorted to asking Crowley.
- The Knights of Hell were all killed by either Dean Winchester or Cain. All but Cain himself and Abaddon were killed by Cain while Dean killed both Abaddon and Cain.
- Weirdly enough, Dean (as a Knight of Hell) did not seemed to have a teleportation ability, despite being a common ability among high-level demons. Seen when he was chasing down Sam in the bunker.
- Demon Dean, as a demon with the Mark of Cain, was described by Jensen Ackles as an "über-demon".
- Season 5
- Season 6
- Season 8
- Season 9
- Devil May Care (Abaddon)
- Heaven Can't Wait (Abaddon)
- Road Trip (Abaddon)
- First Born (Cain and Abaddon)
- Sharp Teeth (Cain, mentioned only)
- Blade Runners (Abaddon, mentioned only)
- Mother's Little Helper (Abaddon)
- King of the Damned (Abaddon)
- Do You Believe In Miracles? (Dean Winchester; Abaddon and Cain, mentioned only)
- Season 10
- Black (Dean Winchester; Abaddon, mentioned only)
- Reichenbach (Dean Winchester)
- Soul Survivor (Dean Winchester; Abaddon, mentioned only)
- Fan Fiction (mentioned only)
- Girls, Girls, Girls (Abaddon, mentioned only)
- The Things We Left Behind (Abaddon, mentioned only)
- There's No Place Like Home (Cain, mentioned only)
- Halt & Catch Fire (Cain, mentioned only)
- The Executioner's Song (Cain; Abaddon, mentioned only)
- Inside Man (Abaddon, flashback only)
- The Werther Project (Abaddon, mentioned only)
- The Prisoner (Cain, mentioned only)
- Brother's Keeper (Cain, mentioned only)
- Season 11
- Season 12
- Season 15
- Supernatural: The Men of Letters Bestiary: Winchester Family Edition (Cain and Abaddon, mentioned only; non-canon)