Arising from the social and political upheaval of Post Cataclysm Europe, what would become the Church of France emerged around Paris, was given official recognition in 1008 and would spend the next century establishing itself in the shattered kingdom in a century and a half of blood. It's most notable feature (outside of adopting a two barred cross as it's symbol) was the elevation of Charlemagne and his veneration as an icon of the ideal of a Holy Warrior who spread the word of god by the sword and defended the faithful against heathens and heretics. Despite facing fierce competition and several setbacks, most of France was eventually brought into line and various other sects as well as a smattering of Muslim enclaves along the southern coast were conquered. Once this was achieved however a downside manifested itself, as the King of France did not need to simply need to deal with managing his vassal lords, but also a church which had a prominent faith militant on top of it's financial and spiritual authority. While it was a considerable defensive asset it was also often a liability and kingmaker. There were several civil wars between 1180 and 1426 in which the church played a significant role in starting or escalating. The final of which involved a schism in the church itself between the more passive sections of it with the backing of much of the nobility and the more militant groups and most of the Church Militant with it with the latter side ultimately loosing after three bloody years. The result was a reformation of the Church of France, which resulted in a major curbing of the size and influence of the Militant Orders. This however left a problem of a large number of dissatisfied and quite dogmatic soldiers which were sure to cause trouble. However a solution was ultimately found: a Crusade against the Heathens of the New World.
By this point there had already been regular contact and Trade between the increasingly well established Norse colonies in the Americas and Eurasia. Part of which had been The Church of France (along with a dozen other churches and Muslim states) sending missionaries to spread the word of god to the pagans who much to their frustration were largely disinterested and sometimes converted their message bearers back. Christianity would never be more than a minority faith in North America and usually one overshadowed by the Jewish populations which trickled in. As such, King John IV found an way with d7,500 Poor Fellows from three formally abolished orders millitant as well as 10,000 camp followers (priests, artisans, squires and their families) which sailed across the Atlantic to the Caribbean to Hispanolia before returning. Their holy mission was to conquer this land and so they formed the Order of the Sunset Sword.
As luck had it, things were in just the right position for them. Hispanolia had seen some colonization by Norse Settlers over the past century (mostly outcasts) which had grown into a variety of small towns and villages, but these were under the control of thirty petty Jarls which fought with each other. The result of this was that the locals could not mount an effective defense as thirty small forces of Leidangr
levies were ill equipped to deal with the sudden arrival of a large force of battle hardened heavy cavalry and infantry in chainmail, scale and brigandine armor. At the same time, the local populace had grown to the point in which even after a fair amount of butchery it could still support the invaders. In a few short months the Crusaders had managed to cease control of the Island and began consolidating their holdings. Norse Priests were executed en mass and burned their temples while the populace was forced to convert at sword point. New stone castles were raised and fiefdoms were carved out. Ten years latter the Crusaders launched an attack on the Island of Cuba, but had a harder time of it. The settlements of Cuba were a bit older and more established and had made defensive alliances after hearing reports of their initial invasion. While the eastern half fell, more casualties were incurred, but they took more casualties, got involved in more protracted sieges and were eventually bogged down. This represented the maximum extent of their territorial expansion and their holdings in cuba would eventually be lost by 1490, though their ambitions would never be mollified.
The new state that they founded was formally called the Kingdom of Charleterre, though many people referred to it as "the lands of The Order" or "The Order" which was the theocratic government of the islands. Though there was a hereditary nobility, the King of Charleterre was an elected one by the Holy Synod of the church from the eligible members (being a man with a title of nobility who's served the Church for either 20 years as an ordained priest who was not the son of a previous King*). Though nobles were required train in arms and there was a secular militia the Order Militant was the main armed force of the Kingdom. While small it did produce a solid force of soldiers and sailors that was respected and feared throughout the Caribbean sea.
The society The Order of the Sunset Sword created was one that was pious, spartan and authoritarian. The church cracked down hard on perceived heresies among it's main population. Taxes were heavy and mostly went into paying for the military. While it did not have the manpower to conquer the Norse Kingdoms, it did invest heavily into defenses, built a respectable fleet of Galleys and often launched raids against Norse Kingdoms and the Tezemco Empire, the primary purpose of which was looting and the collection of slaves. The Church's policy was that the lot of unbelievers was to learn The Truth in the bonds of slavery on the estates and mines, though they were not above selling slaves back to the ungodly as "the gold of unbelievers could be put to do god's work". In the larger scale wars, they could be something of a Wildcard for the coastal states, pledging their allegiance to whomever seemed to be winning so they could get a cut of the spoils. During the Shogunate's invasions they laid into coastal kingdoms that were being attacked as well as attacking Shogunal forces on the retreat. Needless to say their policies made them something of Pariah State which was deemed to be too hard to crack.
This fellow is a Knight of the Order from 1760. He's clad in the Three Quarter plate of the time and bears the heraldry of the Order, though unlike his forebears three centuries prior the advent of gunpowder and more nautical nature of war changed their tactics. He's dismounted, but would usually fight as a medium cavalryman using his pistols to lay into the foe before chopping at them with his scimitar. Destriers and other heavy horses went into decline after the Kingdom's arrival in the new world for anything other than defense of the Kingdom Proper. Smaller horses with better sea legs were bred for use by Marine Cavalry. Such knights were deemed to be a cut above most Light Huskarl
cavalry man per man, but their numbers were limited and The Kingdom was always conservative with how many they deployed. Their armor is fairly high end stuff for the day, even if it's use was gradually in decline with the rise of muskets and artillery
. Even so the amount of raiding the Order of the Sunset Sword would do would decline as the Shogunate rose in power and the Norse Kingdoms began fielding increasingly professional armies.
Organization rather than ordinance would ultimately do in the chivalry of old.
*Ecclesiastic celibacy was never an thing in the Church of France or The Order offshoot.