- "We keep the Orcs from the rest of Bretonnia. It is our duty, and we ask no reward but that we be allowed to do it. We are the men of Carcassonne, and we will fight!"
- —Duke Huebald (his longest recorded speech)[1a]
The Dukedom of Carcassone is a founding Dukedom that lies at the extreme south of Bretonnia. A highly marshalled Dukedom, even in comparison to other Bretonnian Dukedoms, Carcassonne is a heavily militarized land that focuses its efforts on the eradication of the Greenskin tribes that infest the Irrana Mountains in its southern border. Nearly all of its people, from the highest noble to the lowest peasant is a warrior in both skill and spirit. Being a warrior is considered an expected trait within most of Carcassone's communities.[1a]
Strangely, the people of Carcassone, though warriors all, have a particular interest in poetry and music. This ensures a strong bond of friendship between the people of Brionne to the north and the people of Carcassonne to the south. The Carcassonnians like to listen to Brionnian minstrels when they have time, and those who can travel visit Castle Brionne to see the wonders of the city. The Carcassonnians are proud of these achievements because, they say, they fight to make such things possible. They fight so that the Brionnians do not have to, and they are justly proud of this. The current ruler is Duke Huebald.[1a]
- "Ah, Carcassonne. I came into Bretonnia over the mountains, and my first job was as a “shepherdess.” Me and the rest of my company. We had a sheep to look after. We protected Bessy from half a dozen Orc warbands, and then the stupid animal fell down a cliff. I decided to move on."
- —Marietta, Tilean mercenary[1a]
Carcassonne lies within the southern borders of Bretonnia, covering much of the Irrana Mountains and bordering Estalia in the west, Tilea in the south, and Athel Loren in the east. The land is split into four regions by the three great tributaries of the River Brienne, and the Brienne itself forms the northern border. There are narrow bands of arable land along portions of the major rivers, but the overwhelming majority of Carcassonne is pastoral or mountains. Carcassonnian shepherdesses are particularly renowned in the rest of Bretonnia for strength, courage, and a complete lack of feminine charm.[1a]
The two eastern portions of Carcassonne were once the land of Glanborielle, but that dukedom was utterly swept away in the invasions of Orcs that led to the unification of Bretonnia. The area is now distinguished by the hill-forts that were the strongholds of the Glanborien nobility, now abandoned. Popular legend holds they are all haunted, and in at least some cases, the legends are known to be justified. The main threat facing Carcassonne is the constant raiding of the Greenskins of the Irrana Mountains and the Vaults. In the east of the dukedom, they occasionally get some help from the Fay of Athel Loren, but the Carcassonnians have never had as good relations with the Fay as their neighbours to the north in Quenelles.[1a]
For the most part, they stand alone, trusting to their military prowess, and for the most part, that trust is often justified. In recent years, Carcassonnian knights have begun talking of the Iron Orcs of the mountains, obvious servants of Chaos who reinforce the normal Orc hordes and who are stronger even than the Black Orcs. So far, only natives of Carcassonne claim to have seen them. Even Tileans, with territory in the same mountains, have seen nothing. Many people think they are just a story to back up Carcassonnian demands for reduced taxes.[1a]
Carcassonnians are a martial people, believing prowess at arms is their birthright and their duty. This mentality is reinforced by the constant Greenskin raids, which often reach quite a way into the dukedom before a sufficient force can be gathered to crush them. Almost all Carcassonnians have some military training — even the peasants. However, they do not look down on those who are not warriors. This is seen best in their attitude to Brionne, a dukedom that spends its time on poetry. The Carcassonnians like to listen to Brionnian minstrels when they have time, and those who can travel visit Castle Brionne to see the wonders of the city. The Carcassonnians are proud of these achievements because, they say, they fight to make such things possible. They fight so that the Brionnians do not have to, and they are proud of this.[1a]
Many Carcassonnian adventurers travel to employ their martial abilities against threats in other parts of the Old World. Others travel because their talents are not martial, and they find it very hard to receive the recognition they feel they deserve within Carcassonne. Brionnian minstrels are all very well receieved, but a true son of Carcassonne should be a warrior. Two Carcassonnian customs have achieved a degree of fame beyond the dukedom. The first is the Birth Sword. All male nobles are presented with a fine sword at their birth; it is supposed to be the first thing that they grasp. This sword is then hung above the boy’s bed until he is old enough to train with it. From that point, it rests on a rack beside his bed whilst he sleeps. Most Carcassonnians refuse to fight with any other weapon and do indeed seem to do better whilst holding it.[1a]
The second custom is the Carcassonnian “shepherd.” Peasants cannot, of course, be trusted to fight independently, and it would greatly shame Bretonnians to hire mercenaries. However, the flocks of sheep in the foothills of the mountains do need protecting, and so there is no shame in hiring shepherds who can defend themselves. On the one hand, Carcassonnian shepherds and shepherdesses are trained warriors, and they are also trained to operate alone, spying on and harassing Orc bands. On the other hand, Carcassonnian nobles sometimes hire foreign “shepherds,” often in bands with a skilled leader, and give them a single sheep to look after. The pay is 50 Pennies per day, but those nobles are remarkably careless about dropping purses of gold in front of the head shepherd. The mercenaries hired in this way find it amusing. Most manage to resist the temptation to eat their sheep for at least a week; some adopt it as a mascot.[1a]