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Bougars de Biaucaire

Bougars de Biaucaire

Duke Merovech is one of the most reviled figures in Mousillon’s history. Though Duke Maldred was arguably a more dangerous and pernicious man, there are still many in Mousillon who admire him for the good works he did and even for the ambition displayed during the Affair of the False Grail. Many nobles think it no shame for their bloodline to be connected to that of Maldred. But scarcely a soul in Mousillon, or in the whole of Bretonnia, has a good word to say about Merovech. The tale of Merovech’s victory feast, where criminals were impaled and cooked alive before the guests, is well known throughout Mousillon. The king’s challenge to Merovech over his revolting tastes, and the savage duel that followed where Merovech tore out the King’s throat, are the subject of many a ghoulish fireside story.[1a]

All hoped that Merovech’s bloodline had been severed after his death during the invasion of Mousillon by the Duke of Lyonesse. Those hopes were unfounded. Merovech’s bloodline went on, and perhaps it was irredeemably corrupted by Merovech’s madness. It is certain that the latest in Merovech’s line, Bougars de Biaucaire, seems possessed of a madness the equal of the late Duke’s.[1a]

The knight of the tower at Biaucaire is a ghoulish figure who terrorises the peasant villages of his domain in north-eastern Mousillon. According to their stories, he is a monstrous knight who rides out of the darkness and spears innocents in their beds. He is an ogre who eats children raw. He is a master of black arts who can flay your soul from your body with a word. He is also their liege lord, and the peasants are bound to obey his laws, no matter how insane, on the pain of worse than death.[1a]

The truth about Bougars is bleakly mundane and no less horrible than the wildest of tales. He is a degenerate and a cannibal, and he has turned the watchtower of Biaucaire into a monstrous charnel house. Many criminals, mostly poachers, are impaled along the path that winds up a hillside towards the watchtower itself and the heads of poachers and rebels adorn rusting spikes over the doorway. Inside the scenes are infinitely worse. The tower’s guest quarters are now fouled by the bodies of executed criminals, hanging like sides of meat from rows of hooks. The grand fireplace in Bougars’ audience chamber has a blackened spit on which these bodies are cooked. The watchtower was never the most elegant or awe-inspiring place in Bretonnia, but it is now a dismal and horrible place, its furnishings mouldering with neglect and the stench of death everywhere.[1a]

Bougars resides alone in the watchtower. Occasionally he summons a peasant from the villages to turn the spit or perform some other chore, a summons met with fear and horror but always obeyed. Bougars has a handful of soldiers who answer to him and whom he sends out to proclaim his laws and execute transgressors. These men are not knights, but psychopaths and killers who serve their insane lord in return for a measure of power over the terrified peasants. Bougars’ laws are confusing, contradictory, and frequently brutal. He has been known to demand that all peasants erect a marble statue of Merovech outside their hovel, provide a tithe of one freshly severed limb per family, and allow themselves to be branded with Bougars’ heraldry. The peasants live in fear of Bougars, but they dare not say a word against him—or, especially, against Merovech, since Bougars is perhaps the only person in Bretonnia who considers Merovech to have been a great and noble man.[1a]

Bougars despises Bretonnia and especially the king, since it is because of the nation’s weakling kings that the name of Merovech is now cursed. It was therefore easy for Mallobaude to bring Bougars into his conspiracy, simply by promising him the chance to cover himself in the gore of royal lapdogs and overthrow the kingdom. The role Mallobaude has in mind for Bougars is that of a simple weapon of terror. Peasants break their backs to support Mallobaude’s armies when they are threatened with the wrath of the Butcher of Biaucaire, and when Mallobaude’s enemies learn of Bougars’ depravity they flee rather than risk ending up spitted at one of his victory banquets.[1a]

Bougars is large and ruddy-faced man almost too big for his tarnished, blackened armour. He is a barely lucid brute, and Mallobaude is the only person who can get him to react with anything other than brutality. In particular, Bougars flies into a homicidal rage if anyone insults him or the memory of Duke Merovech. Bougars has utterly abandoned any concept of honour, but he still firmly believes he deserves respect from commoners and knights alike. Bougars’ heraldry is a version of Merovech’s own arms—a set of white scales on a divided field of red and blue. This symbol denotes that the holder won a trial by combat and was actually adopted by a deranged Merovech after his slaying of the king.[1a][1b]

SourceEdit

  • 1 Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Barony of the Damned
    • 1a: pg. 36
    • 1b: pg. 37

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