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"Thou shalt give unto thine glorious liege the taxes that he requires. Thou shalt labour all but feast days. And no more than a tenth-share shall you keep for kith and kin. Rejoice! For a Knight of Bretonnia provides your shield."
—Vows of the Peasants unto their Bretonnian Lord[4f]
Bretonnia Coat of Arms

The Bretonnian Coat of Arms

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 is second only in size and military power to that of the Empire of Man, both their chief rival and closest allies, having a culture and society that revolves around the ideals of nobility, social birthright and the upholding of a strictly enforced code of chivalry.[2i] Ruled by a Royarch,[3a] the nation of Bretonnia has been known throughout the Kingdoms of Man for having the greatest Knights within the entire Old 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 religion that currently dominates this mighty feudal kingdom, is the worship of a local elemental deity known only as the Lady of the Lake.[2r] This mysterious Goddess of Purity, Light and Order is believed to have aided Gilles le Breton in unifying Bretonnia into a single unified nation, during a Greenskin invasion from the Southern Mountains in 978 IC.[2a] 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.[1e]

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]

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.[1f][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][2a]

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][2a]

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][2a]

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][2a]


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][2a]


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]


Religion

"Lady, I am your servant and in this time of trial I once again offer you my blade and service. When the clarion call is sounded, I will ride out and fight in the name of liege and Lady. Whilst I draw breath the lands bequeathed unto me shall remain untainted by evil. Honour is all, chivalry is all. Such is my vow."
—the ritual vow of a Knight of the Realm[4g]
Grail Chapel

A Grail Chapel of the Lady of the Lake, patron Goddess of Bretonnia

The religious spirit of Bretonnia is often as divided as the division between the nobility and peasantry. Within Bretonnian society, the worship of the Lady of the Lake is considered the main religious doctrine. Much of Bretonnian culture is shaped by the actions of the Cult of the Lady, making them a large political power amongst the nobility.[1l] However, unlike the worship of other cults, such as the Cult of Sigmar, where Imperial doctrine claims the allegiance of all the Empire's people, the Cult of the Lady is restricted to the nobility. Although the middle class of freemen commoners are allowed to worship at shrines and temples, they are required to pay a tithe unto the brotherhood maintaining such sites.[1f] For the nobility, such tithing is entirely voluntary and the amount dependent upon the noble's generosity. Most tithing's are thus made for show and to establish their social status and reputation amongst the peerage.[2r]

Peasants are prohibited from openly worshiping the Lady of the Lake under pain of death or very severe punishment. Instead, the peasantry are allowed and in some cases, forced to worship the Gods of the Old World.[1h] The Cult of Ulric has very few followers and even fewer public shrines while the Cult of Mrymidia is growing substantially due to the presence of nearby Estalia. Being a martial God, it is a common theme for peasant soldiers and common militia to revere Myrmidia more than any other deity. The worship of Rhya and Taal is strong amongst farmers, where peasants regularly pray for good weather and a bountiful harvest, so to feed their hungry families and to pay the exorbitant tithes and taxes imposed by their Lords and masters.

The Cult of Verena is strongest amongst the few scholars that occupy Bretonnian civic society, found exclusively within the ducal capitals and larger trade port towns. It is common knowledge that outlaw vigilante groups such as the Herrimalts or more commonly known as the Merry Men, make her their patron goddess of justice. The Cult of Morr is especially strong within both the peasantry and nobility alike, for the recurring theme of the dead rising from the graves has ensured the creation of many Gardens of Morr, both to keep the spirits at rest and to contain the dead should they begin to stir. The cult is more feared by the peasantry than worshiped, yet supported as a vitally important and necessary service by the nobility.[1h]

Since the invasion of the kingdom by Heinrich Kemmler, the royal court has patronized and encouraged the formation of fortress Gardens and monasteries dedicated to the guarding of the dead. Amongst the nobility, the black monks and their protectors the mighty Black Guards are seen as special protectors of the kingdom, and so although they are mostly being trained and sourced from the Cult's central temple's within the lands of the Empire, the armored warriors of these Gardens are given a special royal dispensation for the wearing of plate armor, baring martial arms and the stone construction and castellation of their monasteries. The largest and strongest of these within Bretonnia can all being found within the lands that border disgraced Mousillon, aiding in the guarding and maintenance of the Sanitaire des Mousillon.[1h]

The Cult of Sigmar is practically non-existent within Bretonnia's heartland, although not discouraged "officially". A high level of noble prejudice and suspicion is attached to any that follows the Cult's teaching. Such worship can being found within small communities of displaced Empire citizens, now living within disputed border territories, and the passes of the Grey Mountains.[1h]


The Cult of the Lady

Symbol of the Grail

The Holy Grail, a symbol of the Cult of the Lady

Revered throughout Bretonnia but almost unknown anywhere else, the Lady of the Lake is the Bretonnian patron Goddess of purity, nobility and courage in the face of danger. She is the romanticized ideal of womanhood, the one fair Lady that every Knight aspires to love and serve without any doubt or hesitation. Within the minds of many nobles the Lady is the very heart and soul of Bretonnia, a mystical elemental incarnation of the land itself and a guardian of all people living within the kingdom. Sacred groves and pools of mystical healing power are her dwelling places, and the Grail Knights her protectors, devoting themselves to upholding her honor and purity.  No base creatures or evildoers can be permitted to profane her sacred sites, this is a duty every knight within Bretonnia, not just Grail Knight's, take very seriously indeed.[1l]

The Bretonnian Code of Chivalry is inextricably linked with the Lady of the Lake, as it is she who rewards all honor and virtue, it is the supreme sign of a knight's favor to receive her personal Divine blessing. Achieved only by drinking from the chalice she carries with her at all times, said to contain the pure and incorruptible life's blood of the Land itself. Throughout Bretonnia, there are many Grail Chapels built upon sites of holy significance, ranging from the most humble road-side shrine, up to the truly grand and beautifully ornate flying buttressed fortress cathedrals, incorporated into a Duke's castle estate.[2r] It is the sacred duty of all Grail Knights to protect these shrines, often such holy paladins will devote the remainder of their lives to defending the Lady's sacred places. These mighty warriors are best known as Hermit Knights, whom willingly spend their remaining living lives defending the relics housed within such places, or standing vigil over magical items and tomes far to dangerous to be allowed out amongst common, frail willed and easily corrupted men.[1l]

The fame of these hermit Knights can spread quickly, especially if they are Grail knights. Each will soon gain a varied following of displaced commoners, peasants and even a few disgraced minor nobles. Over time, this rabble, sworn in fealty unto the original knight or a noble born successor, can form a brotherhood, which if it gains official recognition from the central Grail Temple within Bastonne and a royal patent from the King in Couronne, can become a landed estate monastery or Grail Abbey, paying tithe and fealty unto their local Duke and the King. It is these brotherhoods that build and maintain the wayside shrines and chapels upon the King's Highways, and it is these selfless grail monks whom care for the many pilgrims traveling within Bretonnia. The Master, or father Abbot of such a Brotherhood can also march his brothers to war at the call of the local Duke or the King, when needed, thus forming core units of fanatical shock troops, and morale boosting divinely blessed bastions upon the field of battle.[1l]


The Cult of Shallya

The largest and most important religious cult within Bretonnian society, after the Cult of the Lady of course, is the Cult of Shallya. The life of a Bretonnian peasant is extremely hard and the relief brought by the caring and ever merciful Shallyans is a most welcoming sight within any village, town or city. The religious doctrine's of Shallya have been known to contradict those of the Lady at times, for while the Lady of the Lake promotes ideals of chivalry and honorable deeds in battle amongst the nobility, the Goddess Shallya cares for all people equally and weeps crystal-white tears for the suffering they must endure, wishing only to ease their burden and provide a sense of comfort and relief in an otherwise cruel world. The symbol of the cult is white dove in flight.[1n]

As many might expect, the Cult is extremely popular within the peasantry and commoners alike, to such an extent that no Bretonnian peasant would ever want to be more than a few hours walk from a shrine dedicated to Shallya. Such is the popularity of Shallya's teachings that even the nobility have taken to endowing small shrines near and even associated within Grail Chapels, in the form of Grail convents, a custom that is rapidly growing in popularity. In fact, the main temple for the Cult of Shallya is now located within Castle Couronne and has the official patronage of the entire royal court and the present King himself.[1n]

A common and growing heresy among peasants and some commoners, is the belief that both Shallya and Varena are merely aspects of the Lady, whom provide comfort for the peasantry and guide the nobility towards their protection. However such beliefs are ruthlessly suppressed by all agents of the lady, namely the Bretonnian Inquisition based within Bastonne. Despite many years of vigorous investigation, a repeated reappearance of this heresy is now believed to be a natural weakness of the mind formed within the common and simple folk.[1n]

Language

There are two main languages spoken within Bretonnia, Common Bretonnian and High Bretonnian. The most important is the High tongue, a dialect that is spoken only amongst the nobility. Almost exclusively spoken within the ducal and royal courts, it has a highly complex and rigidly formalized grammar, which was originally intended to create a language barrier between the upper and lower classes of Bretonnian society. Someone not raised to the tongue thusly stands out immediately, preventing pretenders to nobility from easily entering a noble court.[1c]

Over time, it has grown to become an almost entirely foreign language, far greatly refined as compared to that of the rather course Common Bretonnian, which shares its roots within a mix of early Sigmarian and local tribal Bretonni Gothic, which in itself varies greatly from Duchy to Duchy. A peasant within Lyonesse for example would barely being able to make himself understood within Carcassonne, a fact that the Nobility have exploited to curb the movement of the lower classes and further isolate them.[1c]

Thus, High Bretonnian has also become a universal form of converse amongst the Noble ranks for use in parlay and contract and all negotiation. A fact that any foreign visitor is wise to consider if he wishes to gain any respect and consideration within dealings of trade and commerce there. All conversation with foreigners will being done exclusively within High Bretonnian, and the failure of proper diction will be seen as amusing, as well as inviting the unvarnished contempt of the local Noble party, a fact that has lead most non Bretonnians towards seeing them, as being generally brusk, rude and even arrogant.[1c]


Society

There are Three Major pillars supporting Bretonnian Feudal society; the Nobility, the Clergy, and the Peasantry in order of authority. The peasantry grow the food, do all the work and support civil infrastructure. The Nobility hold all authoritative power and privilege, they are duty bound to face all dangers threatening the kingdom both local or foreign, and uphold all qualities of Honour and Chivalry, at least publicly. The entire system is then held together by the Clerical class, whose duty's are to maintain the kingdom's spiritual health enforce the faith and all "moral" authority within the kingdom. Primarily they are used to keep the peasantry in check, suppressing un-contentment and rebellion. The Clerical class are also the record keepers and administration of Bretonnia, advising the King and other nobles at all levels. All learning and writing is done through them or is under their influence. The hunting down of witches and mutants are their darkest and most important duty.[1d]

The geography of Bretonnia is decidedly rural, all powerful local tradition's allow little to no innovation in science and enlightened modern philosophy, its people are somewhat backwards and highly provincial compared to the more technologically advanced nations of the Old World, such as the Dwarfs and the Empire. The Bretonnian military is well known to shun advanced weaponry such as Handguns, Cannons, and most War-machines, seeing them all as dishonorable weapons that go against the ideals of Chivalry and the will of their patron, the Lady of the Lake.[1d]


The Nobility

The lands of Bretonnia are a feudal, traditional society where peasants and commoners serve Noble Knights in return for protection, while the knights are bound militarily to serve their lords in return for certain rights privileges and landed titles. At the top of this feudal hierarchy, is the King. Beneath the Kings are the Dukes. Beneath them are lesser ranks of nobility such as Marquesses, Earls, Viscounts, Lords and Knights all in descending order, and the Barons having a special place within the courtly pecking order.

Each of the senior nobles are also master over a number of Knights, whom are the lowest noble rank of society. Each Knight, including the higher nobles has a duty to raise his own full time force of Men-at-Arms, chosen from the most physically able peasants within his domain. In return for serving his knightly lord, each peasant is given a small tract of land to farm for his family and can be expected to be called upon in times of war, to form a peasant militia of archers and pikes, commanded by the highest ranking Nobleman present.

The Knights of Bretonnia are divided into four generalized ranking categories.

  • Knight's Errant - are the young sons of noble families who must prove themselves in battle, so then to earn their spurs.
  • Knights of the Realm - Should they survive to become fully honoured Knights, they are granted their own small landed estate to govern, called a knight's fee or tithe, and are obligated to defend that estate and Bretonnia should they be called to muster.[2l]
  • Questing Knights - These are brave individuals, revered as the land's most dedicated and selfless heroes. They willingly renounce all title and worldly possessions, so to journey unto faraway lands, all in hopes of being deemed worthy by the Lady to become a blessed Grail Knight.[2m]
  • Grail Knights - These are the most powerful and revered individuals in all of Bretonnia if not the entire human world, second only to the Lady in influence. They are considered living saints who represent the fearsome might and power of Bretonnia and answer only to the Lady herself, the rightful King of the realm can only be chosen from within their holy order.[2m]


The Clerical

The lands are also ruled by spiritual and mystical leaders such as the Fay Enchantress her Damsels and the Grail Knights, all whom are faithful servants unto the Lady of the Lake. The Lady gains her servants by stealing all children with magical ability, ideally by the age of three. The girls become sorceressess within the service of the lady and eventually become her Damsels and mighty Prophetesses. However those born as male are never seen again. For reasons of religious devotion Bretonnian parents both noble and peasantry alike allow this awful custom to continue without due comment mainly through fear of divine retribution.[1l]

The highly destructive actions of many hedge witches and especially necromancers within the kingdom are espoused as justification for this practice. A fear of curses and witchcraft is "the" major concern amongst all and particularly the highly superstitious peasantry, this is manipulated ruthlessly by all levels of authority within the kingdom, such that almost any accusation can be justified when tarred with the label of witchcraft.[1l]

At a more human level the Kingdom is kept running by a series of Brotherhood orders and Grail convents. These small groups serve the varied temples and maintain all shrines, temples and cathedrals throughout the land.  Brotherhoods and convets can be granted land and local authority by the King under fealty to him first and the local duke second, they are charged with maintaining the moral order of society, they record all marriages and births, witness all legal contracts.  Monks are also used to broker parlays and truces between feuding Nobles as a neutral third party.  All writing and learning is enacted through them for a fee, upon their local nobleman's permission.[1l]

The most important duty of the Clerical class is to work closely with agents of the Lady, mostly these are simply Questing Knights and Grail knights, by giving them shelter at need and support in battle if called for.  The local Inquisition is their darkest duty, hunting out practitioners of magic that have escaped detection by the Lady's Damsels. Publicly punishing those witches and necromancers, mutants and un-licenced foreign Mages that are captured by burning them at the stake, usually after a very showy public trial called an Auto-de-Fe, this is esentually a display of the Inquisition's power and serves also as an object lesson of fear and intimidation towards keeping the peasants in line.[1l]

The center of Religious Bretonnia is the City of Bastonne, the kingdom's grandest oldest and most spectacular Temple Cathedral is to be found there, along with the Grail council's hall and bureaucracy. All patents and petitions of Brotherhood must be heard here before being signed of by the king, a procedure that can take many months if not years to complete.[1l]


The Peasantry

Bretonnian Peasants

The simple folk of the lands

The Kingdom is notorious for its oppression of both the commoners and peasants, which most agree are more strict and harsh then those of any other Old World nations. This dark side of Bretonnian culture is placed unashamedly out in the open where all nobles and nobility are set high above the peasantry in all ways. Noblemen have all the say in most matters, and peasants often live in far worst conditions than those in the Empire, Tilea, Estalia and perhaps even brutal Kislev in some respects.[1d]

The peasants have very few if any rights at all, and are kept illiterate and uneducated by law. They are considered sub-human and mere property to their feudal lord and must surrender 9/10th's of their crops each harvest.  As a result most remain extremely poor throughout their entire lives. They may not leave their home estate unless allowed; as a result a certain degree of inbreeding is quite common. Many peasants are afflicted by clubfeet, extra fingers, lazy eyes, or similar minor defects and mutations. Bretonnian justice is extremely harsh and entirely ruled by superstition, any peasant who is caught stealing or poaching is usually hanged. Far harsher punishment is dealt unto any peasant whom attacks a noble. He and his entire family will be tortured and slowly dismembered, being drawn and quartered is the preferred method, while all his closest friends and acquaintances will be crippled. Such is the price of rebellion.[1d]

A small but growing middle class of commoners also referred to as Freemen, make up both the professional trades and merchant class within Bretonnian society. Although literate for the most part they can be either self taught, or instructed by monks as there are no public schools within Bretonnia. All education is thus done by private arrangement and stems from the many Grail Monasteries for a steep price. Artisans, craftsmen and skilled semi-professionals live almost exclusively within the Kingdom's few cities and numerous larger towns, situated mostly along the kingdoms coasts and rivers.[1i]

They remain socially segregated from the bonded peasants and give fealty unto a Lord or landed Knight but remain free to move, with permission from local authorities if their skills are not considered too important to their current master and or community. Intellectuals such as scholars, doctors and other similar profession are well respected for their duties but remain of a lower class than the Nobles, usually having about the same rights as a well skilled commoner with monies. The ownership of gold jewelry and the hoarding of gold is forbidden to all common classes, forcing merchants to deal almost exclusively in copper and silver. Gold is officially used only amongst the nobility, usually as tax and tithing unto the royal treasury. Any gold received in trade must be declared and handed over to a merchant's noble master, this being done each tithing day, and at an exchange rate that is considered criminal in nearly all other countries.[1i]

The Sumptuary laws are most strictly applied to this class, with gold and certain gems forbidden to be worn publicly. As is cloth of Purple, Bright Yellow or Green thread, or silk of any colour. Furs are restricted unto rabbit, cat and rat. The use of plate armor is strictly forbidden for use by the lower classes, as is the carrying of heavy swords or any weapon class above a rapier or light cavalry saber. Foreign visitors are permitted the use of both armor and heavy weapons upon issue of a licence issued at the border for a steep price, usually being in the form of a bribe to the local petty noble forced to command a frontier castle, either due to dishonorable behavior or powerful rivals within his duke's court. Such duties are considered highly undesirable as it involves constant dealing with uncultured foreigners, whilst also living isolated from all centers of decent courtly civilization. Papers must be carried at all times, adventurers can expect to be questioned and considered suspect by any local authorities when travelling beyond Bretonnia's port cities, or boarder settlements.[1k]      

Military

"I pledge my service and my loyalty, body and soul, to my Lord. When the clarion call is sounded, I will ride out and fight in the name of liege and Lady. Whilst I draw breath, the lands bequeathed unto me will remain untainted by evil. Honor is All! Chivalry is All! This I swear on my blood and my breath"
—The Knight's Vow[1f]
Bretonnia war

The Knights of Bretonnia upon the Battlefield

The Knights of Bretonnia are feared and respected throughout the known world. Men of valour and honor, they are exceptional warriors and guardians who protects a land founded upon the most heroic of ideals. In the name of the lady of the Lake and for the glory of the Dukes and King, they swept aside evil on the field of battle, for none could stand against their glorious charge upon the field of battle.[4a]

The Bretonnian military are a powerful army formed around a core of brave Knights supported by scores of low-born peasants. They are a warlike and valiant people who willing seek out battles as a way of securing personal honor and pride. Any who invade their domains face the fury of their powerful knights and few foes can match them on open ground. The knights range from the youngest Knights Errant, eager to prove their worth, through the Knights of the Realm, defenders of the land. Rarer still are the Questing Knights, wandering warriors engaged in a quest for the Grail. And then there is the legendary Grail Knights themselves, who have succeeded in their quest and sipped from their goddess' Grail, becoming imbued with fey power and longevity. From mighty warhorses to souring pegasi and roaring Hippogrphys, these Knights of Bretonnia are warriors with few equals.[4a]

One important aspect that defines Bretonnian military is that, unlike the professional armies of the Empire, Bretonnia has no standing military. Instead, the Kingdom relies on the long and complicated feudal service of her Knights.[1h] When a lord must go to war against the enemy, he appeals to the military assistance of his vassals. They in turn take the long process of summoning their own vassals to his banner, with most knights taking with them local peasants drilled in basic ranked pike combat or archery. These armies do not follow common military training and usually have even no internal hierarchy, but their military tactics are simple and homogeneous enough to function smoothly in all circumstances, units being formed and reformed on the fly or at need during an extended campaign. Due to feudal law, the Bretonnian military is well known to shun advanced weaponry such as Handguns, Cannons, and most War-machines, seeing them all as dishonorable weapons that go against the ideals of Chivalry and the will of their patron, the Lady of the Lake.[4a][1h]

On the field of battle, the ultimate and most glorious goal of any Bretonnian army is to run down their foe with lance, sword and the iron-shod hooves of their mighty Knights. Such an approach to warfare has lead the Bretonnians to almost always follow a strategic tactic known simply as the "Hammer and Anvil" The peasants role is to support the knights by peppering the foe with arrows and to crew the mighty trebuchet. Regiments of men-at-arms march into battle to protect and hold the line as the Anvil. Finally, it is the Knights who come charging through the field of battle, crushing their foes from the flank or rear as they essentially become the killing "Hammer". Protected by the Lady and her blessings, these Knights storm through firestorms of lead and arrows and crush their foes and earn glory, honor and most of all, to uphold the values of Chivalry.[4a][4e]


Bretonnian Infantry

  • Men-at-Arms - are the basic front-line infantry that comprises most Bretonnian armies. These men have been chosen from a very young age to be trained and equipped with basic weaponry and gear and fight on the behalf of their Lord. Wearing mostly chainmail armor, these reluctant but adequate soldiers are responsible for defending a noble master's castle, or holding the line against the enemy with shield and spear, whilst the Knights upon their mighty warhorses attack from the flanks and bring victory.[2g]
  • Peasant Bowmen - commoners that are not fit to join the men-at-arms companies are often press-ganged at need into military service as basic support units. As such, archers are a common and readily formed unit within most Bretonnian military armies as all peasants and commoners within Bretonnia are required to maintain a proficiency with the bow, their willingness being reinforced by the promised bounty of a single copper coin for any who survive the campaign, an exception from tithing and the right to loot the enemy fallen, which is to any peasant a potential princely fortune. Unfortunately, as with most Bretonnian infantry units, these men aren't very reliable soldiers.[2g]
  • Grail Pilgrims - though not considered an official part of Bretonnian armies, these "Pilgrims" are either feral peasants or fanatic and pious followers of the Grail Brotherhoods, all whom believe zealously in the holiness of their chosen Grail Knight, they will flock in their dozens to join and bask in their master's reflected glory. Equipped with the discarded weapons and armor of the Grail Knight, and what ever handmade items they can craft for themselves, these units provide a Bretonnian army with a much more reliable source of stalwart near unbreakable shocktroop infantry, and sacrificial arrow fodder.

Bretonnian Cavalry

  • Yeoman - these experienced soldiers provide the Bretonnian army with dedicated skirmishers or fast light cavalry and scouts. These veterans have fought and survived many battles with only the skills of their arms and their unwavering bravery. Such is their combat experience that Yeomen are almost as skilled in combat as any Knight of the Realm, but such a boast is often ignored and even suppressed by the nobility. When promoted to the rank of a Yeomen, these men are often divided between Mounted Scout Yeomanry or become the Sergeants within a Men-at-Arms company.
  • Knight Errant - these young nobles are the lowest ranking members of most Bretonnian cavalry squadron as well as within the hierarchy of Bretonnian nobility. In the prime of youth, these ill-experienced but highly enthusiastic warriors comprise a significant portion of many armies on the field of battle. Fighting on horseback, these Knights often engage the best enemy regiments in their eagerness to earn the title of a Knight of the Realm.[2e]
  • Knight of the Realm - these knights are the backbone of nearly all Bretonnian armies and as such, they are the most common members of the ruling elite. They have distinguished themselves in errantry and have thus received a fief or a position of power within noble society. They are expected to honor and defend their lords and kingdom from the depredation of all those that seek to destroy it, fighting on horseback, with lance in hand and their unwavering faith in the Lady of the Lake.[2l][2f]
  • Questing Knight - these Knights are those nobles who are seeking the attention of their patron goddess, the Lady of the Lake, in hopes of acquiring her blessing as a means to obtain the status of a Grail Knight. Living a solitary existence, these men would strive to prove himself to the Lady, performing good deeds, slaying foul beast, and aiding the armies of Bretonnia when in times of peril.[2h][2h]
  • Grail Knight - these Knights are the very pinnacle of Bretonnian chivalry, honor, and bravery. Those Questing Knights who have drunk from the Holy Grail are blessed with the powers of the Lady and have thus been proven worthy to become a Grail Knights. To obtain the position of a Grail Knight is the ultimate goal for all Knights, and to become one is to be the very embodiment of a Holy Warrior. It is said that these Knights are one of the greatest of Mankinds warriors to ever walk the earth.[2h][2i]
  • Pegasus Knight - unlike traditional mounted warfare, those Knights that can tame and ride the mighty Pegasus into battle are warriors without equal. Flying across the battlefled with wings of angelic appearance, the Pegasus Knights take to the sky and fight the flying monstrosities the enemy has unleashed upon them with lance and swords.

Bretonnian Artillery

  • Trebuchet - are immense siege engines used to lob large projectiles at enemy formations from a safe distance. The machine itself can vary greatly in design, and the projectiles thrown can range in weight from a cannon ball sized rock, up to something as large as a peasants hovel. Due to it's reputation as a dishonorable weapon and the lack of any proper education amongst the common people, only a handful of craftsmen have the skills and knowledge to build such expensive and time-consuming devices. Thus with only a finite number of engineers available for hire and no consistent quality or qualifications amongst them, Trebuchets are usually scratch built onsite using whatever materials lay at hand, and are then stripped down again for scrap with only the valuable iron forged parts travelling from siege to siege along with the hired engineer that forged them.

Bretonnian Lords

  • Bretonnian Lord - are powerful noblemen or knights whose deeds are recounted throughout the lands, warriors unparalleled in combat and the stout follower of the Codes of Chivalry. These Bretonnian Lords includes the mighty Earls, Barons and the Dukes that occupy much of the higher nobility. Proud and powerful warriors all, Bretonnian Lords are excellent warrior-generals.
  • Prophetess of the Lady - The most favored devotees of the Lady are those whom have served their divine mistress faithfully for much of their lives. They are highly potent spellcasters and their magic can dramatically affect the outcome of any battle, their magic is elemental in nature controlling air and water, plants and animals, calling down raging storms thick cloaking mists and mighty bolts of lightning.

Bretonnian Heroes

  • Grail Damsels - Lesser servants of the Lady not as long in service as a Prophetess. They specialize in protective wardings, purification's, healing and the dispelling of hostile magic, coming to the aid of armies and questing knights at need. Moving always from place to place at the Lady's will so as to root out evil and corruption, whilst hunting down potentially gifted children and guiding heroes to holy sites in need of protection.
  • Paladin - Paladins are powerful warriors renowned throughout Bretonnia for their chivalry and feats of arms in combat against all evil, they as respected and noble as a Knight can become without the grail blessing. Many of them are highly ranked nobles, holding titles such as Earl or Baron, while others hold warrior titles such as Knight Marshal or Knight Warden. They are legendary heroic fighters as well as natural leaders for any army.

Bretonnian War Mounts

  • Hippogryphs - A ferocious creature, a Hippogryph has the head of an eagle, and the body of a horse. Only owned and trained by the greatest of lords and nobles.
  • Royal Pegasus - The purest of all pegasus, legend has it that these creatures are descended form Glorfinial himself, these incredibly rare creatures are a once in a lifetime sight even for Dukes and Lords.
  • Pegasus - They can be found in small herds upon the slopes of the Grey Mountains, only the richest and most influential knights can boast about having them.
  • Bretonnian Warhorse - Bretonnian horses are believed to be the best in the old world, because of their endurance and fiery temper. Bred from strong local native Brettoni stock mixed with hot blooded Araybian stalions brought back to the kingdom by crusaders that helped fight campain's within Estalia.[2q]

Locations of Interest

400px-Bretonnia

A Map of all the Duchies of Bretonnia

The Dukedoms of Bretonnia

Lost and Former Dukedoms.

The former Dukedoms of the Kingdom of Bretonnia and other regions of note:

  • The Dukedom of Mousillon - After the horrific event known as the Affairs of the False Grail, the Dukedom of Mousillon has since gone into regression and poverty, and with the death of Duke Maldred, no Duke has since claimed the throne.[1e][2c]
  • The Dukedom of Cuileux - A Bretonni Dukedom that was ravaged by war during the Dark Age of Bretonnia. Little is known about the Dukedom saved that it was overrun by a Horde of Greenskins.[1e][2c]
  • The Dukedom of Glanborielle - A Bretonni Dukedom that was ravaged by war during the Dark Age of Bretonnia. Little is known about the Dukedom saved that it was overrun by a Horde of Greenskins.[1e][2c]

Cities of Bretonnia

The Kingdom of Bretonnia is famous for its rural landscape, and lack greatly in the construction of urban environments. However, some of the Dukedoms capitals are all cities that were built either as trade-hubs or ports to the sea. Since each Duke is essentially also a Knight in both duty and status, the capitals of each Dukedom sometimes was founded and built upon the remains of ancient castles that served as the Duke's own estate.

  • Castle L'Anguille - The port-city of L'Anguille is a famous trading-port, situated at the mouth of the River Sannez. In the past, this city was formerly an ancient Elven colony abandoned during the War of the Beard. Today, it is the premiere sea and trade port within the kingdom and the home port for the Royal Bretonnian navy. It is this city that most travelers see first upon arrival and is the most multicultural of all Bretonnia's Duchy capitals. Its most impressive feature being the Duke's castle, located upon a towering pinnacle of rock just off shore, linked to the mainland by a long and graceful, elven made stone arched bridge, guarding an extensive harbor and a multitude of dock wards below. The city itself being built mostly into the cliffs overlooking the harbor, guarded atop by a ring of mighty cliff top walls.[1p][4c]
  • Larret - the city of Larret is located within the Dukedom of Artois, squeezed inbetween the borders of Mousillon and Lyonesse, famous for its modernization in comparison to other towns within Bretonnia. Its duke quested extensively within the Empire and has recreated much of what he saw there in an attempt to advance Bretonnian society. This has made him rather unpopular within the royal court.
  • Castle Bastonne - this capital is claimed to be the oldest city within Bretonnia and acts also as it's spiritual heart. The noble seat of Duke Gilles le Breton himself, it was the first original capital and seat of the first Kings of Bretonnia. Today it serves as "the" major pilgrimage destination within the kingdom. At its heart sits the largest and most important Grail Chapel Cathedral in all the land, and holds the tombs of many grail Knights as well as many of the earliest Kings, including the tomb of Gilles himself, containing all his most Holy relics if not his actual body. It is one of the very few cities not built upon a river or the sea coast, being located at the center of Duchy Bastonne.
  • Castle Bordeleaux - The fortress-city of Bordeleaux is the capital of the Dukedom, famous for its port and the grand ring of defenses that guards the city from sea-born invaders. It is the second most important navy port within Bretonnia and has a long standing rivalry with L'Anguille over this fact. Its most important role is maintaining a royal naval blockade of the Grismerie estuary, hunting pirates and smugglers who use the river and its hundreds of low swampy islands as bases, thus to raid small river settlements all along the western coast. The city is renowned for producing the finest red wines in all the old world.
  • Castle Brionne - the fortress-city of Brionne is best renowned as being "the" architectural, fashionable and artistic center of all Bretonnian society, and since the fall of Mousillon has taken the title of the "Jewel of Bretonnia", a title given to the most beautiful of all cities, finest patron of entertainers and poets. On the darker side it is also infamous for its many Slaaneshi, and Nurgalish cults. A fear of plague is ever present within the city and the Inquisition also maintains an ever watchful presence. Built of a fine white sandstone and Marbled facades, with fine sky blue painted tiles upon every roof and tall slender turreted tower, the city is a true splendor to behold. Artists call this city their capital and performances by all the greatest poets, minstrels and mummers can be found within every market place, tavern and noble hall throughout the year.
  • Castle Couronne - This is the current capital of all Bretonnia, a mighty fortress-city and the seat of power of Royarch Louen Leoncoeur. The royal castle's tall alabaster white walls, many graceful towers and bright blue tiled turrets and city houses, make it the second most beautiful city in the old world after Brionne. The city attracts trade from throughout the old world and beyond and therefore has the most multicultural population after L'Anguille. Politics and a cut throat, never ending game of intrigue within the court dominates all aspects of life within the city. The inquisition maintains a very careful presence here as do many cults devoted to Tzeentch. Hardly a season goes by without some great scandal within the Nobel court's ranks being carefully hushed up. The Grail council also meets here annually each winter to offer their advice to the King. The city is home to the second biggest Grail Cathedral within Bretonnia and is famed for its many chapels and holy places, and as a site of pilgrimage.
  • Castle Gisoreux - a bustling fortress-city that is home to a wide variety of traders and travelers stopping in upon their way along the River Grismerie. An important port of call for the Cordon-de-Sanitare over Mousillon, and since Mousillon's fall, it has become the largest center of trade upon the kingdoms largest and most important river highway. It also serves as a guardian over a Grey Mountains pass into the Empire, called the Gisoreux gap.
  • Castle Lyonesse - The small official capital of the Duchy, it is barely large enough to qualify as a proper city. It is known to have once been a far larger port and a beautiful elven city, abandoned after the war of the Beard. The god Mannan it is believed, punished its later human inhabitants for their lack virtuousness, to back this legend up, many extensive ruins are exposed along the near shore upon the lowest tides, where many adventurers claim to have found valuable treasures sunk within them. At low tide, each day the castle and its small rocky island become accessible for a few hours via a stone causeway, only at high tide can small boats and barges access the sprawling castle's main sea gates and docks.
  • Castle Montfort - a massive fortress-city that guards the western most end of Axe-Bite Pass. It displays the finest example of fortification within the old world, five mighty tiers of towering stone walls guard the pass at the western most end, another just slightly smaller fortress-garrison town sits at the pass's eastern end as well. The city is primarily a trade center charging a toll upon all whom enter through the gates of the pass, which goes both ways, even its own citizens. It's craftsmen are renowned for their extensive mining operations and for the fine quality of their steel, weapons and armor, an influence of their very close association with the Dwarfs of the Grey Mountains. It is claimed Montfort's original foundation was Dwarfen, abandoned either during or soon after the war of the beards. Montfort and its lord stands as a stalwart bastion against the Ork tribes that now infest the local valleys.
  • Castle Mousillon - a decaying fortress-city that serves as the provisional capital of the now-disgraced Dukedom of Mousillon. Its most famous landmark is the Lance of Light, a tall ruin believed to be the port city's old Lighthouse. The largest islands of the estuary's southern most shore are held by forces from Duchy Bordeleaux, where they are used as a fortified port base of a military faction known as the Cordon de-Sanitare, and the river's Royal Blockade Fleet.
  • Castle Parravon - an impressive fortress-city carved directly from the rock of the mountains and marks the highest navigable point upon the mighty Grismeire river. It is most famed for it's Heroic Paladin Duke and his extensive stable of Pegasus, these stables are built within the towering shear sided cliff walls of the city. Many of his highest ranked vassals ride forth upon these noble beasts when the city is threatened by either Orc or Empire armies.
  • Castle Quenelles - a fortress-city that is located at the borders of the Forest of Loren. It has a long and intimate connection to the wood elves, and its Duke is even rumored to have some elven blood within his ancestry. It's people are the most superstitious of all the kingdom, living in constant worry over bad luck and wild faye mischief and changelings, witch-hunts and the subsequent brutal even near hysterical trials and burnings, are a common popular event. The Inquisition maintains a strong and ever vigilant presence within the city at all times, all forms of magic are considered highly suspect here, so foreign adventures beware when adventuring here.

Notable Characters

  • The Green Knight - Legend states that this may being Gilles le Breton himself, eternally serving his Lady and awaiting the time he may be needed to defend the Kingdom again.  He appears only in times of the greatest need so to aid the king in battle or a fellow Grail Knight. His primary duty seems to be, offering the final test of worthiness unto a questing knight, he will appear and challenge a knight when the Lady deems him ready, if the knight then defeats him in single combat or simply passes a test of either Courage or Chivalry, the Lady will then manifest and grant her new hero a blessing from the holy grail itself.
  • Fay Enchantress - This individual is the living voice of the lady of the Lake. The mightiest Sorceress within the kingdom. Often seen within the company of the Mystical Green Knight, she travels the land aiding questing knights and giving spiritual and magical aid and advice to the King and varied Dukes. Her primary duty is to select and proclaim the next rightful King of Bretonnia, from amongst the brotherhood order of Grail Knights. It is uncertain whether she is an immortal as all the legends claim or is simply replaced by the next most powerful Prophetess when her time is done.

Sources

  • 1: Knights of the Realm (RPG)
    • 1a: pg. 6 - 8
    • 1b: pg. 9
    • 1c: pg. 10
    • 1d: pg. 11 - 13
    • 1e: pg. 14 - 20
    • 1f: pg. 21 - 22
    • 1g: pg. 23
    • 1h: pg. 24
    • 1i: pg. 25 - 26
    • 1j: pg. 27 - 28
    • 1k: pg. 30 - 33
    • 1k: pg. 34 - 35
    • 1l: pg. 36 - 37
    • 1m: pg. 38
    • 1n: pg. 40
    • 1o: pg. 42
    • 1p: pg. 43 - 46
    • 1q: pg. 47 - 50
  • 2: ArmyBook: Bretonnia (5th Edition)
    • 2a: pg. 4
    • 2b: pg. 5 - 9
    • 2c: pg. 10 - 16
    • 2d: pg. 17 - 19
    • 2e: pg. 20 - 21
    • 2f: pg. 24
    • 2g: pg. 28
    • 2h: pg. 31
    • 2i: pg. 32
    • 2j: pg. 34 - 35
    • 2k: pg. 36
    • 2l: pg. 38
    • 2m: pg. 40
    • 2n: pg. 41
    • 2o: pg. 42 - 44
    • 2p: pg. 45
    • 2q: pg. 46
    • 2r: pg. 50 - 52
    • 2s: pg. 67
  • 3: End Times: Nagash (Volume I)
    • 3a: pg. 37 - 39
  • 4: Armybook: Bretonnia (6th Edition)
    • 4a: pg. 3
    • 4b: pg. 6 - 10
    • 4c: pg. 12 - 15
    • 4d: pg. 34 - 39
    • 4e: pg. 42 - 43
    • 4f: pg. 44
    • 4g: pg. 45
  • Knights of Bretonnia (Novel) by Anthony Reynolds.

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