Brettonia

The Kingdom of Bretonnia is a highly-chivalrous feudal kingdom that lies between the lands of the Grey Mountains and the Great Ocean.[1a] Bretonnia has a culture and society that revolves around the ideals of nobility, social birthright and the upholding of a strictly enforced code of chivalry. Since the country was split by the “Great Beytrayal” the nation has been ruled by a Royarch, a knight elected by the Circle of Truth. Bretonnia is known throughout Ambrien for having the greatest Knights in the world rivaling or in some cases even surpassing that of the Knightly Orders of the Empire. A proud and honorable kingdom, the warriors of Bretonnia comprised mostly of Knights and Noblemen, who ride into battle with lance, horse, and sword, seeking out glories and rooting out injustice wherever they go.

The religions that currently dominate this mighty feudal kingdom are the worship of two dieties, Heironus and Tymanda. Heironus, lord of chivalry justice and honor, is worshiped by the knights and nobility. Hieronus is believed to have aided Gilneas Breton in unifying Bretonnia into a single nation, during a orc invasions in the olden times. The Bretonnian kingdom is quite a bit younger than the Sigmarian Empire as the people of the Bretonni weren’t fully united until King Gilneas reign as the first Bretonnian monarch.

However, though these honorable Warriors are meant to uphold Chivalry and Justice above all other traits, they are nonetheless afflicted with a much darker side from the shinning Knights they believe themselves to be. Within the feudal social structure of Bretonnia, these Knights consider their lowly subjects as sub-human, as if they are nothing more then property in their hubris and arrogant eyes.[4f] Indeed, the life of a Bretonnian Peasant is a life fraught with endless injustice and cruelty by a nobility whose sole duty was meant to protect them and to uphold their duties as beacons of justice. Though such cruelty and injustice have since stained the honor of these proud Knights, there is no doubt within the minds of the Old World that the Knights of Bretonnia are still amongst the greatest Human warriors within the Realms of Man.[4a]
Contents[show]
History

The Bretonnian calender is offset from the Sigmarian Empire’s by about 977 years, as the people of the Bretonni weren’t fully united until King Gilles reign as the first Bretonnian monarch in 977 IC. Bretonnian recorded history can vary greatly from Duchy to Duchy, being recorded and maintained such as it is, mostly by monks within the many Grail Monasteries dotting the land.[1e]

Common Mythology and Pre-History

The Land of Bretonnia did not in fact truly exist during the time of Sigmar and the earliest days of the Empire. Indeed, many centuries passed before a great and noble Knight united the highly independent and prideful Bretonni tribes in the same way Sigmar had with the birth of the Empire.[1e][2c]

The earliest days of Bretonnian history are not well recorded, though it has been conjectured that as within the wider world, it may have once been ruled over by the cold-blooded Lizardmen at the dawn of the planet’s creation. Long after their first great struggle to hold back the Forces of Chaos, during the First Chaos Incursions, the land that would later become Bretonnia was settled by the High Elves of Ulthuan, this being done during the reign of Phoenix King Bel-Shanaar. Many elven colonies dotted the coast and larger rivers during the first years of their colonization, of which the most famous was the city of Tor Alessi.[1e][2c]

These colonies survived the civil war with Malekith, and then the Sundering relatively unscathed, but they were soon faced with the full wrath of the Dwarfs in a time known as the War of the Beard. Bretonnia was the primary battleground of this war, which lasted for well over three centuries. The conflict finally ended with the death of Phoenix King Caledor II, and the subsequent capture of the Phoenix Crown by the Dwarfs. However, the war had so weakened the High Elves by this time, that the next Phoenix King, Caradryel ordered a withdrawal of all Elves back to Ulthuan, leaving those colonies that stay behind to fend for themselves. Those few Elves who had refused his commands retreated into the enchanted glades of Athel Loren and over the centuries degenerated into the now feral Wood Elves.[1e][2c]

It was at this time that the first nomadic human settlers of Bretonnia appeared. Circa fifteen hundred years before the time of Sigmar, an agricultural tribe of people arrived on the western edge of Axe Bite Pass. These primitive tribes had little knowledge of metalwork or warfare, and relied heavily on agriculture and flint-crafted weapons to survive in the harsh wilderness.[1e][2c]

These groups of Humans were known to have worshiped a primordial earth elemental goddess called Rhya, and erected many primitive stone circles in her honour. These Stone Circles were places of great natural power, and were marked with symbols that remained as a foundation of the Druidic Old Faith unto this day. Approximately five hundred years later, around one thousand years before the time of Sigmar, a second wave of human migrations crossed over the World’s Edge Mountains in tens of thousands, escaping the rampages of the Greenskin threat. These new human tribes were warlike, strong and and fierce, they fought both Greenskin and indigenous human populations alike. While most of these tribes settled within and eventually became the Empire, one far ranging tribe crossed the Grey Mountains. This tribe, called the Bretonni, was to give its name to the land they found. Like their kins within the lands of the Empire, they displaced both the Greenskins and human earth-worshipers, thus soon becoming the dominant culture west of the grey mountains.[1e][2c]

The Dark Age of Bretonnia (900 to 977 IC)
The Dark Ages of Bretonnia

Knights fighting against the Greenskins during the Dark Ages
When Sigmar founded the Empire, he extended an invitation unto all the Bretonni warlords to join him in his new confederation. Despite noble Sigmar’s goal of pan-human unity, the cultural differences between the Bretonni and his people were apparently too large to overcome, thus his offer was quickly rebuffed, unable to accept a foreigner as their leader. While the Empire experienced many growing pains throughout the first millennium of its existence, the Bretonni would remain as a whole, a fractured people. It would be foolish to say that they did not advance though.[1e][2c]

In time, trade and knowledge of masonry and metalworks was eventually gained by the nearby proximity of Dwarfs living within the Grey Mountains, which allowed the early sub-tribes of the Bretonni to resemble something closer towards their modern state, with each petty King or Warlord renaming themselves as a Duke of his own small Dukedom. By the year 770 IC, the lands of all Bretonnia have since been divided into the sixteen realms, each ruled by their own Duke.[1e][2c]

The Greenskins had lived within the lands alongside the Bretonni for many years, and as is normal for these foul creatures, their population eventually reached critical levels, and began to overrun the Bretonni lands in a seething green tide. By the year of 930 IC, a massive horde of Orcs, led by the warlord Gragabad poured out of the mountains of Massif Orcal and overran the lands of Cuileux. Faced with imminent destruction, the last of the remaining Knights of Cuileux rode out in a last, desperate battle, and fought the Greenskins on the open plains. Though the Greenskins fell like wheat before the scythe, the last of the Knights of Cuileux perished to the last man.[1e][2c]

In the wake of this disaster, the armies of Quenelles and Brionne rode forth and attacked the now weakened Orc army. No sooner had the Orcs began to route from the battlefield that the two Bretonnia armies faced each other for rulership over the charred-husk that is Cuileux. Fortunately, the two armies hadn’t the stomach to face each one in open combat, and instead, the two Dukes of each kingdom fought one-another in a honorable duel. By duels end, the Lord of Brionne was struck down, and Quenelles was expanded. It is said that the destruction of Cuileux marked the beginning of the wars that would culminate to the unification of the entire Kingdom.[1e][2c]

By 932 IC, Balduin, the newly stated young Duke of Brionne, led his armies to victory after defeating the hordes of Gragabad and slaying the Warlord in single combat. In the battle, Gragabad’s great axe became lodged fast in Balduin’s shield, and the lord fought the entire battle with the axe in place. Afterwards, the axe was adopted as the symbol of Brionne in memory of this event. This victory did not the stop the Orcs, however, and around 948 IC, the northern lands of Bretonnia was engulfed by waves of enemy armies. Northern raiders from the frigid shores of Norsca burned the coastlines of Lyonesse and Couronne, while beastmen warherds pour forth in impeccable numbers from the dark woodlands of Arden. Beset by three enemy invasions, the Bretonni of the northern lands were forced to relinquish all they once ruled, hiding behind their stout walls while the enemy roamed across their lands at will.[1e][2c]

At roughly the same time, the Undead armies of Settra the Imperisable and his fleet of rotting warships and skeletal warriors appeared upon the western coast of Bretonnia. No sooner had the Orcs and Goblin armies rampaged through the realms, that the Undead Hordes swept across the lands and completed the desolation with silent impunity. To the South and East, restless Goblin tribes came down from their homes within the Grey Mountains, pillaging and burning their way through the Dukedoms of Quenelles and Bastonne. By 974 IC, Orc tribes poured from the mountains and forest in numbers never before seen in Bretonnia’s history. Cut-off from aid, the once ancient Dukedom of Glanborielle was utterly destroyed. In response, the Bretonni Knights rose up against the onslaught of the Greenskins, charging headlong towards the many battlefields that are springing up all across their realms. However, the Lords of each Dukedom had not the time to properly gather his Knights into a single unified force. Outnumbered and surrounded, these scattered bands of Knights were soon overwhelmed by the superior numbers of the Greenskin hordes. With the enemies of Mankind amassing all around them, the remaining Dukes have all but lost hope.[1e][2c]

One of the Bretonni Dukes, however, did not give way to dispair and was determined to unite all of his people into a single unified nation. This anceint and legendary uniter was Duke Gille le Breton, the newly crown Duke of Bastonne, the famous Knight who personally slew the red wyrm Smearghus, deep within the forest of Chalons. Gilles rallied first Duke Thierulf d’Lyonesse, and then his greatest and most loyal friend, Duke Landuin d’Mousillon under his Crusading banner, but even these three men and their combined grand army found themselves outmatched and facing almost certain annihilation.[1e][2c]

This inexperienced and badly battered “Bretonni” army then encamped themselves beside a lake. Upon the morrow, they felt certain to face their doom upon the field of battle, with the war drums of the Orc Waaagh! allowing them no rest or sleep. That morning, when all hope seemed lost for the Bretonni cause, a true miracle unfolded upon Gilles and his army of Knights. As Gilles knelt before the lakeside to drink of its pure waters and pray for strength, an ethereal and heavenly beautiful woman arose from out of the mists, leaving the Bretonni army a-gasp and afraid. Gilles was the first to make a move, raising the bloodstained and tattered banner of Bastone high, inspired by some genius or desperate madness, he cried out: “Lady, wouldst thou bless mine banner!”[1e][2c]
The Blessing of the Lady

The Lady blessing Gilles le Breton as the first Grail Knight
He then dipped it into the lake at the Lady’s feet. When he drew it forth and raised it high again so all could see, it was dry and fully restored, only now also emblazoned with the glowing icon of a golden Grail. The other Dukes and knights then scrambled to follow his example, asking the Lady to bless their sword, lance, or warhorse for the coming battle. Finally, the lady held forth a large gilded chalice overflowing with light, giving it first to Gilles and then to his companions to drink from and gain the strenght needed to achieve victory. These three became the first Grail Knights, and fighting under the banner of the Lady of the Lake, the Bretonni gained the courage needed to face the Greenskins upon the plains.[1e][2c]

Then the dirt of the approaching enemy was heard from all sides, fouling the air with their war cries and drumming. The Knights hurriedly took up their weapons and mounted their warhorses. They gathered in a battle line around Gilles and the banner.The Orc horde darkened the horizon ahead of the Bretonnian Knights. Steadily and without flinching they rode on as the arrows dropped around them. Then the moment came to charge and the Knights plunged into the midst of the Orc horde. The first ranks of the enemy crumbled before them. The entire horde reeled like some great beast pierced by the hunter’s lance. The Knights cleaved through wave after wave of the enemy and burst forth into the open plain beyond. All around them the enemy began to scatter in flight. As the sun began to set the Knights ceased their pursuit and rode back to the sacred lake.[1e][2c]

Here they gathered once more rested as the rooks and ravens descended to feast on the Orcish slain. All the dukes and Knights gathered around Gilles and together they vowed to serve and honour the Lady of the Lake. They also vowed to stay together as an army and free Bretonnia from Orcs and all her other foes. Gilles was proclaimed ‘Leader of Battles’, with the authority to command the army and the entire resources of all the dukedoms until Bretonnia was freed. This moment marked the origin of the Grail Knights and also the Kingdom of Bretonnia. In the years that followed, under the banner of the Lady of the Lake, Gilles led the Grail Knights from victory to victory throughout the length and breadth of Bretonnia.[1e][2c]

The Unification of Bretonnia (977 to 978 IC)
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The Age of Unification

The morning after his encounter with the Lady of the Lake and his first grand victory over the Greenskins, Duke Gilles of Bastonne led his army against the Orcs besieging the Dukedom of Bordeleaux. The three Grail Companions did as much slaughter as the rest of their army combined, and the Greenskin hordes were driven into the ocean. Seeing a means to retake their lands from the Greenskins, Lord Marcus d’Bordeleaux and Lord Fredemund d’Aquaitaine eagerly joined Gilles and his ever-growing army of Knights. After the victory feast, the Lady of the Lake appeared in the private chamber where the Lords were gathered, where she bestowed Marcus and Fredemund the Holy Grail and thus become the fourth and fifth Grail Companion. Marcus turned that chamber within his castle into the first Grail Chapel, a site still of unparalleled sanctity today.[1e][2c][4a]

As the Companions rode south to the Dukedom of Brionne, they found their way blocked by the army of a bloated Orc by the name of Warlord Brogtar. Lord Fredemund summoned a great flock of Falcons, which struck the flying beasts of the Orcis armies from the sky. With the flying beast slain, the Grail Companions sounded the charge and fought their way deep into the heart of the enemy army, where Lord Landuin struck the Warlord down with his own sword. With victory achieved, the Companions hurried their armies towards the besieged capital of Brionne.[1e][2c][4a]

Once they reached their destination, they found the castle under-siege by a horde of Greenskin warriors. The Knights drove through the unsuspecting besiegers from the rear-flank, shattering their resolve and breaking the siege. Lord Balduin d’Brionne sallied forth with his Knights and met Gilles in the midst of the Orcish army. As they clasped forearms as brothers, the Lady of the Lake appeared and gave Balduin a drink from the Holy Grail, thus becoming the sixth Grail Companion. Although the Knights were outnumbered three-hundred to one, the Grail Companions were able to still drive them from the battlefield.[1e][2c][4a]

Urged on by the vision of the Lady, the army crossed the River Rienne and rode east through the ravaged Dukedom of Carcassonne, towards the besieged Dukedom of Quenelles. As they rode, Lord Lambard d’Carcasonne rallied to their banner and entered Quenelles. Upon their arrival, they found that the Forest of Loren was in flames, assaulted by another army of Orcish warriors. Some of the Knights were afraid to venture towards the burning forest, for fear of the dreaded Fay Enchantress that has made the Forest her home. Unafraid, Gilles urged them on, and upon entering the Forest, the Knights were attacked by the Orcs. In the heat of battle, the Fay Enchantress appeared from the shadows and lent her aid towards the Knights, with the very trees of the Forest rising up to meet the Greenskin invaders. As the battle raged on, the Knights were met with the army of Rademund the Pure, Lord of Quenelles, and with the last Orc slain, the Lady blessed both Rademund and Lambard for their bravery, thus becoming the seventh and eighth Grail Companion.[1e][2c][4a]

Riding north to the Dukedom of Parravon, the Grail Companions found it’s beautiful capital lying in ruins. Rampaging Giants rained down boulders upon the city walls from the mountains above, whilst a horde of Goblins from the Severed Head Tribe looted the city streets. Lord Agilgar d’Parravon, mounted upon Glorfinial, his faithful Pegasus, took to the skies and aided Gilles in retaking the city.[1e][2c][4a]

Heading further north-west, the Companions alongside Lord Agilgar, came to the aid of the Dukedom of Montfort. Besieged and surronded, Gilles order the charge against the Greenskin invaders, but was struck low by a ballista bolt from one of the Greenskin war-machines. His companions rallied about him and fought their way towards the city, where they were met by Lord Martrud d’Montfort. As Lord Agilgar and Martrud watched over the body of Gilles, the Lady of the Lake appeared before them and healed Gilles of his injuries. For their dedication to Gilles, the Lady blessed Lord Agilgar and Martrud in becoming the ninth and tenth Grail Companion. Arising from his sick bed, Gilles led that charge that broke the Greenskin army.[1e][2c][4a]

With the Greenskins retreating, Gilles ordered a counter-attack and plunged deep into the cavernous homes of the Goblin Kings. Illuminated by the holy light of the Grail Companions, the Lords of the Britonni slaughtered the Goblin Kings and broke the unity that held their fractious tribes together. With their purpose achieved, they fought their way back to the surface covered with the black blood of their enemies.[1e][2c][4a]

Now with ten of the Bretonni Lords following his banner, Gilles turned west to face the Greenskins despoiling the Duke of Gisoreux. Joining forces with Duke Beren d’Gisoreux, GIlles faced a horde containing many of the Orc’s most deadliest Shamans, who turned their foul magic upon the Bretonni. Protected by the blessings of the Lady, the Knights and the Grail Companions charged unharmed through the magical maelstrom and struck the enemy horde with great force, breaking their resolve.[1e][2c][4a]

The army continued west into the Duchy of Mousillon, once the most beautiful and fairest lands of the Bretonni people. Now wasted and burning, the Knights walked through the wasteland and met Duke Folgar d’Artios within the city of Mousillon. Duke Folgar told the Knights that an army of Beastmen and Undead warriors march upon the city within a matter of hours, and so the Knights took to the city’s defences and stood resolute. The Grail Companions each took out a Dark Champion of the army, with the battle ending when Duke Landuin struck down the sorceror who is controlling the Undead warriors, destroying nearly half the enemy army, forcing the Beastmen to retreat. The Grail Companions perused the fleeing beastmen army, and when Duke Beren and Duke Folgar returned, they shined with the light of the Lady, becoming now the eleventh and twelfth Grail Companion.[1e][2c][4a]

The victorious Lords turned north, riding through the Forest of Arden until they reached the besieged port-city of L’Anguille. There, they found the great city under-siege by an army of Norsemen Marauders and Chaos Warriors, attacking from both land and sea. Duke Corduin of L’Anguille cut a path through the besiegers and met up with Duke Gilles. At lenght, Lord Marcus of Bordeleaux challenged the leader of the Norse, Svengar of the Skaelings, to single combat, with the conditions that the loser’s forces would withdraw. Too proud to refuse, the giant warrior met Marcus upon a lighthouse tower and fought until the next day. As dawn broke, Lord Marcus found renewed strenght and struck down the Norse Cheiftan. A savage but honorable race of warriors, the Norse kept to their words and returned to their ships and sailed home.[1e][2c][4a]

After but a nights rest, the Grail Companions rode eastward where they met up with Duke Caerleond d’Couronne. There the Duke joined the armies of Gilles and fought an Orc horde at the River Sannez. With the aid of the combined armies, the Knights drove the Greenskins back, defeated them, and turned the waters of the river black with blood. With victory achieved, the Knights rode with all haste to the city of Couronne.[1e][2c][4a]

Gathering within Couronne, the Knights heard news of a massive host of Beastmen, Trolls, and nameless creatures of Chaos pouring from the Forest of Arden. As they prepared for the final battle, messengers brought word of an army of Greenskins warriors, the largest they have ever seen, pouring out of the mountainous region known as the Pale Sisters. Worst yet, when the Knights assembled outside the walls of the city, an army of Skavens rose up from the sewer networks and pillage the city streets. As the Lords took counsel before the fight, the Lady of hte Lake joined their numbers. There she had Lord Corduin and Caerleond drink from the Holy, thus being the last and final thirteenth and fourtheth member of the Grail Companions. Then she blessed the whole army and bade them fight in her name.[1e][2c][4a]

With a ferocity not seen by their people for centuries, the Knights of all the Bretonni people fought the three armies that assails them. The battle raged for weeks upon weeks, as foul creatures continued to pour from their lairs like a stormy tide and break upon the armies of the Bretonni as against a cliff. When at last the sounds of battle fell silent, the plains of Couronne were awashed with the bodies of the slain. This was the greatest victory ever achieved by the Bretonni people, and the battle had finally signaled the end to the fighting, and the birth of a new kingdom.[1e][2c][4a]

Founding of a Kingdom (978 to 1448 IC)
Gilles le Breton death

An ancient portrait of Gilles le Breton being taken by the Lady of the Lake
Thus with peace won, it was agreed that there shall be an everlasting peace amongst the surviving twelve Dukedoms. Gilles was dubbed “The Uniter”, and with a blessing from the Lady of the Lake’s representative, the mystical Fay Enchantress, he thus became the first Royarch of Bretonnia. The first Royarch of Bretonnia battled dark forces all across the realms for many years until he finally fell in a mighty battle by a cowardly weapon shot from afar. With his dying breath, he asked to be laid before a small raft by a nearby lake where it is said in legend that the Lady took his body back to her domain, where is body remains to this very day. [1e][2c][4a][4d]

With the tragic death of Gilles in the year 17 (995 IC) by Orcish ambushers, the Kingdom of Bretonnia was left with a dilemma. There was much wailing lamentation and gnashing of teeth throughout the lands, as all Bretonnia mourned the passing of their first king. Gilles’s only recognized son, Louis was crowned the next Duke of Bastonne, and a possible new King of Bretonnia. However, the question of whether he should also be proclaimed King of all Bretonnia, as old tribal tradition allowed, was much debated. Many advocated that Duke Landuin should take the position, whilst other’s believed his rival, Duke Thierulf or the wise Duke Marcus, should make a more suitable heir to the throne.[1e][2c][4d]

The majority of Dukes eventually agreed that Louis should take on the duty, but this then posed another greater problem. Louis had not drunk from the Holy Grail, as had his father and all other Dukes at the time of the Kingdom’s founding. It has been decreed that no Knight, no matter of birthright, could become Lord over all Bretonnia without first having the blessings of both the Fay Enchantress and the Lady of the Lake. So it was that Louis left court, setting out immediately upon his quest to find the Lady, and thus prove his worth before her sight, towards earning himself the title as King, earning him the title of “The Rash”. This event eventually led to the traditions of the Questing Knight.[1e][2c][4d]

For years, Louis the Rash traveled the length and breadth of Bretonnia, righting many wrongs and doing great deeds in service to the Goddess. In his absence, Duke Theirulf acted as steward of all Bretonnia, much to the annoyance of Duke Landium. Years later, Louis returned to his ancestral castle astride a mighty purebred charger, his golden hair was shining and his eyes were aglow with a Divine noble presence. None could doubt that the Lady had blessed him, so thus his subjects fell unto their knee’s before him, and pledge their loyalty to the new King.[1e][2c][4d]

So it was that Louis was crowned King of all Bretonnia, and presented with the golden Crown, a gift given by the Fay Enchantress herself. All Bretonnia rejoiced in their new monarch, and made ready to do what ever he demands. His first act as king was to formalize the code of honour and chivalry that his father and the Companions had lived by. These original vows of chivalric knighthood still exist within the halls of Bastonne, upon a crumbling parchment, decorated with an elaborate script, detailing all the duties and privileges of a knight, and those of all other ranks within noble society. All across Bretonnia, knights eagerly embraced these vows, and many noble warriors gave up all deed of land and title, castles and wealth, thus to embark upon the path of a Questing Knight. A wave of faith swept through Bretonnia, and the Lady of the Lake verily became the primary deity of the noble classes.[1e][2c][4d]

The Dukes continued to push back all manner of evil from within their border’s, and aided in the struggles of their neighbors to do like wise, which lead to Bretonnia flourishing with wealth and power. The great port cities grew large and sprawling, prosperous with renewed trade. Grail Chapels were built in places of holy significance, and the Fay Enchantress guided the Dukes of Bretonnia in their worship of the Lady. For the next few hundred years, Bretonnia continued to grow in both strength and cultural influence. This was a golden age of chivalry, and when their lands were threatened, they crushed all foe’s that dared to face them. King Gulliaume defeated the Orc tribes of the Massif Orcal highlands, sparing none. Lord Lamorte smashed the skeletal fleets of the Tomb Kings at Savage Point. It is said that Bretonnia will never experience such a Golden Age ever again.[1e][2c][4d]

The Crusades against Araby (1448 to 1451 IC)
BRETONNIA 1

A Crusader-Knight during the Great Crusade
In the year 470 (1448 IC), the war-torn southern realm of Estalia was invaded by Sultan Jaffar and the armies of Araby. Diplomatic envoy’s pleaded with Bretonnia to send aid, and the king sent out a call to war towards all of Bretonnia. Throughout all the dukedom’s, this call to war was heard, and countless knight’s pledge their lance to their King’s holy cause. In his noble wisdom, King Louis the Righteous gave permission for warriors of the Empire to cross Bretonnia on their journey to Estalia, for they too had pledged their aid, despite the lack of unification during the Age of Three Emperors. This military campaign had since been named the Great Crusade, in homage of the zeal of these warrior-knights.[1e][2c][4d]

Within time, the armies of Jaffar were pushed back by the more mobile and heavily armored forces of the Crusading Knights, forcing him to relinquish his hold on most of Estalia. Retreating back to Araby, but leaving a token force of troops around the important city of Magritta, Jaffar’s armies were hounded by the Bretonnians who pursued them tirelessly. The Crusader army eventually reached the sandy beaches of Araby and invaded the major city and trade-port of Copher.[1e][2c][4d]

As the crusaders sailed with the aid of Estalian ports and Tilean warships, Jaffar and his men prepared for the coming invasion by fortifying most of the major sea-ports. When they finally arrived in the spice-trading city of Copher, it was heavily fortified and the defenders were well prepared for the coming battle. Yet they weren’t prepared for the wrath of the northern kingdoms that Jaffar had brought upon them, and once the defenders first started faltering against the onslaught of knights and siege towers, a breach was made and soon the high spires of Copher were pulled to the ground and much of the population were put to the sword.[1e][2c][4d]

Not even the harsh desert condition’s could perturb the knights, and their fervor very slowly took their toll on Jaffar’s warriors as many desert tribes under Jaffar’s control are growing tired of this war of attrition. Despite Jaffar having a far vastly larger army then the crusaders, Jaffar’s armies began to disband, for many of the tribes of Araby grew weary of the despot’s incompetence. After frustrating months of minor skirmishes, the Bretonnians faced Jaffar at the Battle of El Haikk.[1e][2c][4d]

Elemental spirits of the deep deserts were summoned to fight alongside Jaffar’s armies, and with their numerical superiority, they overwhelmed the outnumbered crusaders on all sides. Just when all hope seems lost and the army was almost at the breaking point, a host of both Empire and Bretonnian knights charged furiously at the tightly packed army, mowing down the lightly armored soldiers until finally the armies were scattered by the sudden death of Jaffar by a Bretonnian lance. Disliking the harsh, dry lands, for it proved too vast and hostile to be completely conquered, the Bretonnians sailed back home, with cargo-ships laden with exotic goods and treasures, whilst the Empire Knight’s remained behind to hunt down the remnants of Jaffar’s army for another century, which would eventually lead to the creation of several more Knightly Orders.[1e][2c][4d]

Meanwhile, a second great crusading force, led by Baron Tybalt, left Bretonnia and was travelling the long road overland towards Araby. Hearing of the great victory, his force did not press onto the desert kingdom’s, feeling sadden at the lose of such a glorious campaign. Nevertheless, under Tybalt’s leadership they pushed into lands that had not yet been conquered by any civilized race. Seeking glory and honour, they sought out the armies of Greenskins that plagued these lands, and many great victory were won. The hardy Dwarves that dwelled within the mountains around these lands rejoiced, for the Bretonnians had dealt a serious blow to their ancient enemy, and they bestowed much praise and honour upon the Knights. Rare it was these day’s for the reclusive Dwarfs to make contact with the other nation’s of men, other than the Empire. These victories eventually bestowed a bond between Bretonnia and the Dwarfs of Karaz Ankor.[1e][2c][4d]

These lands later became known by most as the Border Princes. Indeed some knights remained, building great castle in the following decades hoping to create their own kingdom upon the frontiers of this new land. Despite these grand crusades beyond Bretonnia, the dukedoms themselves were not left undefended, for there were still intermittent threats within the borders of their kingdom that needed to be secured.[1e][2c][4d]

Of Pox and Rats (1786 to 1812)
Bretonnia Skaven

Bretonnian Knights fighting against the Hordes of the Under-Empire
One such threat coincided with the deadly Red Pox that swept through southern Bretonnia and decimating the population’s of peasants living in the sinking slums and hovels villages. As if this were a trigger, foul rat-men creatures erupted from their tunnels and attacked the Bretonnian Duchies. Using the same method used against the Empire, the Skaven unleashed the Red Pox upon the sewer networks of the city of Bordeleaux. The scourge was once more successful, and nearly 1/3 of the populace was infected in killed, but the Baron Giscard Du’ponte acted quickly and ordered the Poor Quarter of the city to be sent to the torch, killing both innocent people and the vast majority of the infected populace. This act, for its deplorable lack of humanity, halted the contagion to further spread. However, just a quarter of a century later, the full assault was launched by the Skaven and nearly all of Bretonnia and northern Tilea blossomed with a virulent outbreak of the Red Pox.[1e][2c][4d]

As the nightmare that unfolded within the Empire once more repeat itself, whole country-side was lost, with the cities of Brionne and Quenelles soon fighting for their lives against the verminous hordes of the Skaven Empire. It seemed that this time, the Under-Empire shall triumph, but fate has an ill-will towards the ratmen, and once more their glorious victory was taken away from them.[1e][2c][4d]

Duke Merovech of Mousillon and his black-armored Knights rode south where they slew thousands of the Chaotic creatures, and lifted the siege of Brionne. The route his army took mirrored that road taken by Grail Companions before him, as he then pushed towards the east, crossing Carcassonne. His dreams were filled with blood, death and horror – in his delusions and hubris, he actually believed that he was Landuin reborn, and that he was the only one who could save Bretonnia from destruction.[1e][2c][4d]

Meeting up with the armies of Parravon and the feyfolk of Athel Loren, a great victory was won, and the rat-creatures scattered before the martial might of Merovech and his most trusted knights. In the middle of the battle, Merovech was soaked in blood, revelling in the killing. Even after his foe lay unmoving, still he continued to hack at them with his gore-soaked blade. The virtuous and honourable knights of Parravon looked on in horror. After winning their great victory against the Hordes of the Under-Emprie, the once mighty Dukedom of Mousillon had since begun its mutual decline as the jewel of Bretonnia after a heretical event took place that shook the very foundation of the kingdom to its core. In the wake of his victory, Merovech invited the dukes to his castle for a great victory feast. Many saw him as a saviour, for he had saved Brionne and Quenelles. Nevertheless, the banquet horrified the chivalrous dukes. Dinner was served by shambling servants, and the dukes were shocked to see spitted and impaled criminals arrayed about the hall.[1e][2c][4d]

Merovech could not understand their discomfort at all, and having already drained many goblets of fine Bordeleaux wine, he drunkenly claimed that his hospitality was being dishonoured. The king was repulsed by Merovech, and spoke against him and his court. In a rage, Merovech accused the king of jealousy, and plotting against Mousillon. The king formally challenged Merovech, though the other dukes begged to be the one allowed to punish the disgraceful knight. In the ensuing combat, Merovech fought like a daemon, and tore out the king’s throat with his bare hands. Merovech raised his goblet and filled it with the blood of the king, which he then drank from.[1e][2c][4d]

The other dukes hastily left Mousillon to gather their armies, pursued by twisted creatures and malformed peasants. In the following months, Merovech was publicly denounced by the Fay Enchantress and the newly crowned king. Lyonesse led a massive invasion of Mousillon, and many of the knights of Mousillon gladly took up arms against their liege-lord, having no wish to be associated with their corrupted duke and swore fealty to Lyonesse. Faced with the might of all of Bretonnia, Merovech was finally slain, though many brave warriors fell beneath his blade. The righteous anger of the Bretonnians against one they see as having tainted their own honour is truly to be feared.[1e][2c][4d]

The Wars of Errantry (2201 to 2422 IC)

Throughout the ages, other crusades have been waged by the proud Bretonnians, yet none of them so great as the next one. One such crusade however was led into the deep deserts to the east of Araby, in the land of the Tomb Kings, and a great many battles were won in that year. Others seen Bretonnians fighting far from home, even as far across the oceans as the jungle lands of the New World. Some of these crusades were declared as Errantry Wars, a tradition that derives from the old custom of the Errands of Knighthood. Usually a young knight would be set a task by their lord, an errand that must be fulfilled before they can attain full knighthood.[1e][2c][4d]

Errands traditionally included such things as the recovery of a lost artifact, the slaying of a great beast terrorizing a rural village or successfully escorting a noble lady through dangerous lands. However, in times of war and peril, a king may declare an Errantry War. At such times, a young Knight Errant may earn the title of Knight of the Realm through brave deeds and daring exploits on the field of battle. When an Errantry War is declared, many of young knights all over Bretonnia rally to the cause, eager to earn their full knighthood. These unseasoned Knights throw themselves in the thick of battle, often fighting recklessly trying their best to outdo their comrades and gain the attention of their superiors. As such, the king may declare an Errantry War when has a need to quickly gather a large, well-motivated, yet unseasoned army of knights.[1e][2c][4d]

In the year 1223 (2201 IC), King Louren Orc-Slayer amassed a grand army after declaring an Errantry War, with thousands of young knights joining the ranks of the more experienced retinues of the Dukes. Together, this army smashed the growing Orc and Goblin tribes that have been amassing for many years on the border’s of Bretonnia. The traditional frontiers of the dukedoms were expanded, and many Greenskin strongholds have been conquered. New castles were built along these borders, and many of the young Knights Errant were granted these domains along with full knightly titles at the end of the war.[1e][2c][4d]

The longest Errantry War ever fought was launched by King Charlen in 1442 (2420 IC). The Border Princes were overrun by enemies and, despite bitter resistance, there were eventually overrun. Charlen responded instantly to their appeal for aid, declaring his intention’s to rid the Old World of the Greenskin menace once and for all. Charlen was a brave and mighty warrior, but was never known for his great power of wits and strategy, for everbody knew that the Greenskin horde can never truly be defeated.[1e][2c][4d]

Nevertheless, many thousands of young knights embraced Charlen’s vision passionately, and a great army set off across the mountains, with many knights perishing on the long and arduous journey. At first, victory followed victory and the Greenskin’s were slaughtered on the banks of the Blood River. However, as the years rolled by and more young knights traveled to the war-zone to gain honor, Bretonnia grew weaker due to the lack of defender’s within it’s border. For over sixty-years the war continued, draining Bretonnia of its finances, leader’s, and entire generations of knights. Eventually, in the year 1444 (2422 IC), retaliatory attacks from Orc tribes had ravaged the undefended Dukedom of Carcassonne whilst the Knights that should’ve protected the realm joined the Errantry War.[1e][2c][4d]

Eventually, under King Phillippe V, the Errantry War was ended after a devastating defeat at Dread Pass, where an entire army of Bretonnian Knights were slaughtered by the thousands, as the Greenskins pulled these proud knights from their saddles and killed them wholesale. The Bretonnians, in their pride, did not cope well with defeat, and were it not for the wise king ending the wars, then countless more knights may well have thrown their lives away in an effort to regain the honor of their defeated brethren.[1e][2c][4d]

The Dead Arisen (2491 to 2520 IC)

As the years grow by, one of the most recent and major battles fought against an Undead horde, took place near and within La Maisontal Abbey located around the Grey Mountains. A joint Undead-Skaven army lead by Lichmaster Heinrich Kemmler and a Wraith Lord named Krell, attacked and sacked the aforementioned sacred Abbey of the Lady. The battle was a most fierce struggle between the noble knights and the rotting hordes of zombie’s and warriors Kemmler and Krell had summoned up to serve them. As the battle raged on, knights and undead warriors fought viciously within the sacred grounds. They were finally overcome by the heroic actions of the great Duke Tancred d’Quencilles and his proud companion knights, whom pushed the hordes back with a devastating charge and disrupted the sorcerous hold that held the army together.[1e][2c][4d]

Seeing imminent defeat, the Skaven army abandoned there allies as is their habit to do. The Knights returned victorious and with much honour, for their victory was indeed glorious. However, it was a hollow victory, for the treasonous Skaven had merely used the foolish necromancer to gain hold of a mystical and powerful artifact kept within the Abbey. [4d]

It is believed by most that Heinrich died in that bloody battlefield. Nevertheless, the Lichmaster’s body was never found, and Tancred spent the remainder of his life pursing the hated Necromancer unto the ends of the World. Tancred finally fell in battle against the surviving forces of the Lichmasters minions at the Battle of Montfort Bridge. Just as the hordes of Heinrich were scattered, he fell before he could reach and kill a hooded figure he believed to be Heinrich re-risen. It is said that the Lichmaster is still biding his time to enact his revenge against the Bretonnians that defeated him.[2c][4d]
Feudal Government

“We have political systems like this in the Empire. We call them ‘protection rackets’…” —Matthias von Pfeildorf, former Imperial Envoy to Couronne[1f]

Bretonnian Court

A Lord and his Feudal Court

The Governmental system that controls much of Bretonnian society is the use and implementation of a Feudal System, an out-dated archaic political system that was widely used within the Old World many centuries ago, but has seen been removed and replaced with more efficient systems of Government.[1f] Bretonnia is now the only Human Kingdom to still follow this system. The functionality of the Feudal System is based upon oaths of loyalty between individuals within a society or nation, from which there is little to no direct form of a centralized goverment. The basic principles of the Feudal System is where those below the social ladder must give up their goods and service to those of higher nobility in exchange for protection and certain rights, privileges and titles.

The peasantry of Bretonnia form the foundations of this feudal system and are required to serve and obey the nobility without question in exchange for their protection. As such, the vows of the Peasants are those of servitude.[4f] Above the peasants are the nobles, whose responsibility is the protection of their lands and subjects from the depredations of outside threats, who in exchange for a land and title, shall fight for the King or Royarch when called into war. Thus, the vows of the Nobility is one of fealty.[1f][4g]

At the very top of this social pyramid is the King or Royarch.[3a] The Royarchs rule is sovereign and absolute, with no laws made within the kingdom having any hold upon the actions of the King. The Royarch has the right to do anything he pleases within his realm, and has the ability to create new laws or legislation should he wish it. However, to be a King of Bretonnia requires one to become a Grail Knight, and to be a Grail Knight, one must be the purest of all humanity’s hearts.[1f]

As such, nearly all Kings of Bretonnia are a shining beacon of Chivalry, Justice, and Bravery. The Kings of Bretonnia have been known to truly care for all of his people, constantly finding ways to better the lives of his subjects under his rule and to root out injustice wherever it grows. Thusly, the King’s power serves as a check on abuses and exploitation made by the lesser nobility.[1f]

Below the King are the Dukes. A Bretonnian Duke has royal power within his dukedom, but he is still subject to the King. That means a Duke acting within his own dukedom cannot break the law, unless he disobeys a direct order from the King himself. Unlike royal power, the power of the Dukes has been abused, most notably in Mousillon. There is no current Duke of Mousillon to avoid having someone hold such authority in such a corrupt area. All Dukes hold their land directly from the King. Louen also holds the Dukedom of Couronne from the King, and thus holds it from himself. Legally, he is two different people. In theory, the King can create as many Dukes as he wants, though the title is meaningless without land. In practice, only the fourteen great fiefs descended from Gilles and his Companions are held to be worthy of this status.[1f]

The Royal Court

“What is a Knight without his steed. But what is the steed without his knight. Knight and Steed, noble and peasant; on such relationship is Bretonnia built.” —King Louen Leoncoeur

King Leoun Court

The Royal Court of King Louen Leoncoeur

By ancient tradition, the king of Bretonnia must be a Grail Knight, selected by a conclave of as many Grail Knights as can attend the Grail Council of Bastonne immediately following the death of the previous Royarch. This unanimous choice is then legitimized by the Fay Enchantress, the holy representative of the Lady of the Lake. Once the election is finalized, the Fay Enchantress will then crown the new Royarch for life in a ceremony within the traditional Grail Cathedral of Bastonne.[1h]

Like any government ruled by a central figure, each King of Bretonnia houses a Royal Court from which he is able to govern and manage his realm with the aid of advisers and his fellow nobles. The current ruler, King Louen Leoncoeur,[2s][4c] holds court within the Duchy of Couronne during the winter months. In the summer months, the nobles within his court disperse to their fiefs.[1h]

By long custom the King speaks only to the highest nobles, and rarely speaks to those of less than baronial rank. Indeed, nearly all of the Kings servants are Barons, powerful in social ranking due their constant interactions with the king and being sworn in fealty to him alone, for only by the King’s direct proclamation can a patent of Barony be issued. The only time a Peasant would ever speak to the King in person, is when he raises one unto the ranks of nobility by knighting them, and this has occurred only five times in the kingdom’s entire history.[1h]

Unlike most of the lesser nobility King Louen is deeply devoted to his country, and has declared he is willing to hear of abuses and injustices committed by any of his subjects, no matter how powerful. Peasants who can find a noble no matter how lowly, to plead their case can appeal directly to the King. Still, the King has limited time and there are far more abuses than he could ever hear. As such, only the most grievous of abuses are heard. Fortunately if the King hears a grievous case, he always judges fairly with both a wisdom and conscious that most nobles have often lack.[1h]

The Code of Chivalry

Another aspect of Bretonnia society that governs the actions of the nobility is the Codes of Chivalry. This code was first introduced upon the coronation of Gilles le Breton as the first Royarch, which grew out of the warrior traditions of the ancient Bretonni tribes that occupied the lands of Bretonnia before its establishment as a kingdom. Indeed, this Code of Chivalry is in its own way, a system of laws from which the Bretonnian nobility has to follow in order to regulate the way their dukedoms should be run.[2i]

It wasn’t until the reign of King Louis the Rash that the Codes of Chivalry were formalized and established, with the king appointing many heralds to regulate the ranks and honors of knighthood throughout Bretonnia. The code of chivalry has since been almost unchanged unto the present day.[2i]
The Seven Commandments

The Bretonnian code of chivalry requires that every Knight must follow seven commandments. These commandments are an integral part of Bretonnian society and government, and is often used to dictate the actions of a Bretonnian noble.[2i]

To serve the Lady of the Lake.[2i] To defend the domains entrusted to him.[2i] To protect the weak and fight for the right.[2i] Always to fight the enemies of virtue and order.[2i] Never to give up the fight until the foe be defeated.[2i] Never to break faith with a friend or ally.[2i] Always to display honor and courtesy.[2i]

The Rules of Honor

Apart from the commandments of chivalry, there are certain traditional ‘rules of honor’ from which are adhered to and respected by all Knights. These rules are an important part of the code of chivalry. They date back to the very origins of knighthood in Bretonnia and mark out Bretonnian Knights as distinct from those of other realms. The most important rules are summarized below:[2l]

A Knight may only fight hand-to-hand, with sword or lance he may not use a missile weapon.[2l] A Knight shall always accept a challenge towards personal combat.[2l] A Knight shall not draw sword against his fellow Bretonnian Knight, except in trial by combat or within a tournament.[2l] A Knight shall not allow himself to be captured alive.[2l] A Knight shall not flee from the enemy, nor retreat without proper tactical cause.[2l]

Geography

“Bretonnia is fair and peaceful because everyone knows their place. Yours is with the truffle hounds.” — Lord Thederic of Maronz, to a captured outlaw.

Bretonnian lands

The lush, tranquil meadows of Bretonnia

Bretonnia is one of the greatest Human realms of the Old World, almost rivaling the Empire in size, wealth and power. It stretches from the Grey Mountains in the east to the Great Ocean in the west. In the south it is bordered by Estalia and Tilea and to the north its rocky coast is lashed by the stormy Sea of Claws. Unlike the Empire, Bretonnia has a kinder climate and is a more easily cultivated land. Its vast forests and wilderness regions are separated by great fertile plains and valleys where the nobility of Bretonnia have established their feudal domains. It is a rich, strong chivalrous and well defended land.[1a][2a]

Short-term visitors to Bretonnia see a land of fertile farms, rolling hills, starkly beautiful mountains, and airy forests. The population consists of noble and courteous knights, fair ladies, and contented and deferential peasants. Bretonnian chefs are famous for their culinary skill, and the wine produced in the vineyards of the country is renowned throughout the Old World. This is the image Bretonnians want to project, and it is not entirely false.[1a]

Anyone travelling through Bretonnia, outside the blighted land of Mousillon, sees a country that looks fair and prosperous. The forbidding forests and frowning mountains of the Empire are nowhere to be seen. This does not mean Bretonnia is completely safe, however. Behind the facade, peril lurks. Bretonnia’s landscape can be divided into six main types: arable land, where crops are grown; pastoral land, where animals are grazed; forests; mountains; the coast; and the great rivers.[1a]

The dominant arable crop in Bretonnia is wheat, though oars, barley, and green vegetables are also grown. Fields are very large and divided into strips. Peasant families are responsible for one strip each, and differences in treatment mean many fields look somewhat stripy. Fruit Orchards and vineyards are common in the hills, on land that is too steep for easy farming. Sheep are often grazed under fruit trees.[1a]

It does, however, conceal problems. The mountains are home to Greenskins, the forests to foul creatures. Many peasants are starving, and knights who use courtesy to cloak brutality are found throughout the land. Even the superb flavours of the food often mask rotten ingredients. The cynical say Bretonnia wears a fair mask over deep corruption; the more generous lament the gap often found between its ideals and reality. No one who knows the country at all can ignore the contrast, however.[1a]

Highlands

Most of Bretonnia’s hills are devoted to pastoral farming, whilst the plains and valleys are arable. The grazing animals keep the grass short, and the view of green hills dotted with white sheep or typically Bretonnian russet cattle is a common one. The flocks and herds are tended by shepherds and herdsmen. Shepherdesses are common in the south of Bretonnia, where it is the only occupation that allows women to travel by themselves. In the north, the idea of letting women go into the hills alone is frowned upon.[1a]

Flocks of sheep are attractive to predators, starting from wolves and climbing through Goblins, Orcs, Beastmen, and the like. As a result, the life of a shepherd is much more dangerous than it looks. Shepherdesses, in particular, have a reputation as tough and dangerous fighters and generally cannot find husbands. Most of them do not particularly care. Many shepherds carry the Bretonnian Crook, a spear with a hook at the end of the handle, and are skilled in its use.[1a]

Forest

The outer edges of Bretonnia’s forests are thoroughly exploited by the people. Pigs forage in the leaf litter, trees are felled for building, and others are coppiced or pollarded. These are techniques that ensure a tree produces a lot of long, thin branches, useful for wattle and daub or for firewood. It involves cutting the branches right back every year, almost to the ground in the case of a coppice, or further up the trunk for a pollard. In Bretonnia, pollards are more common, so that pigs and sheep cannot eat the shoots of new branches. As a result, the trees in these areas are spaced out for easy access, and there is little undergrowth.[1a]

Further in, however, the forests become as dark and tangled as anything in the Empire. There are no Elves in the forests of Arden or Châlons (Athel-Loren is outside Bretonnia proper),[2a] and no Humans live beyond the tamed borders. As a result, they are a haven for Beastmen and similar foul creatures, or for cultists of the Ruinous Powers. Human outlaws often lair near the edge of forests, and provide an important defence for local communities, keeping worse creatures back in the depths of the woods. There are stories of whole cities of Beastmen in the depths of the Arden, and whilst there is no evidence for this implausible idea, it is not impossible; no one knows enough about the forest interior to say the cities are not there.[1a]

Mountains

The mountains surrounding Bretonnia, and the Massif Orcal in its heart,[2a] are notable for their spectacular scenery. Soaring cliffs and thundering waterfalls mark the outer edges of mountain ranges, and on clear days, the peaks seem to shine from the snow on them. Farming and mining communities dot the edges of the mountain ranges, renowned for the extremely steep roofs of their houses, designed to shed snowfall quickly. Some of these communities are cut off from the rest of Bretonnia for months at a time in winter and have developed their own customs, in some cases involving the worship of the Dark Ones. Further in, Orc and Goblin tribes make their homes. When the snows melt in spring, at least one mountain community is found reduced to charred rubble. It has, however, been many years since these Orcs dared to raid outside their mountain strongholds; some fear they have been building their strength.[1a]

Brettonia

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