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A Grail Knight of Bretonnia.[5]

"He seemed like an immortal, divine paladin, a faultless living legend, and strength, majesty and faith radiated from him like the heat from an inferno."
—The presence of a Grail Knight.

Grail Knights were among the most devastating cavalry in the Old World, living saints infused with the power of their patron God, the first being the revered Grail Companions of legend.

Overview

Considered the ultimate human warrior, a Grail Knight is a successful Questing Knight who has fulfilled his quest. He must slay Orcs, Dragons and countless other monsters, fight duels with Chaos Knights and resist all manner of worldly temptations. If he is true to these challenges, he will find his way to a hidden glade and behold the Lady of the Lake, only then is he allowed to drink from the holiest of artifacts, the Grail. Upon this moment he becomes a Grail Knight, infused with part of the goddess's own power. Among the most fearsome fighters in the World, only the most skilled Blood Knights and Chaos Champions can hope to match a Grail Knight in combat. To defeat them is made harder still by the fanatical Battle Pilgrims, warriors who swarm around their living saint, slaying all who are unworthy to reach their master.[2][3][6][14]

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A Grail Knight charging his undead enemies.

Very few knights survive and fulfill the quest for the Grail, having to travel the Old World slaying the greatest of enemies and performing many heroic deeds. Fewer still survive a taste of the blessed waters from the chalice, those being the purest and most unblemished of knights. Grail Knights have vastly changed lives having supped from the Grail, becoming irrevocably committed to the service of the Lady of the Lake. They stand taller and broader in stature than than before. In battle and on campaign they can endure greater hardships than any ordinary knight as if they were of no effect. Mighty foes will look upon them with fear. When they speak, their voices will be far richer than those of normal men, demanding awesome authority and inspiring confidence in all who listen. They know no fear or despair. Even magic often fails to affect them at all.[3][12]

The mystical waters of the chalice ensure that Grail Knights are granted lifespans many times that of normal men, as well as other, stranger gifts. All signs of age, scarring and fatigue are removed. They are blessed with enhanced strength, speed and endurance. Many have been known to heal wounds and possess the gift of prophecy, others have blessed auras, which can weaken or kill those enemies deemed unholy. Weapons wielded by Grail Knights often radiate with holy power, enchanted by their very touch. Riding atop the greatest of Bretonnian Warhorses, the ground around their mounts is often surrounded by a faint, glowing mist. Grail Knights need no longer pray in hopes of receiving the Blessing of the Lady, for they are ever more protected from arrows and other cowardly weapons.[1][6][8][10]

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A Grail Knight faces a Daemon Prince of Slaanesh.[9]

Grail Knights are feared, esteemed, and respected throughout Bretonnia and beyond. Not even the greatest Knights of the Empire can match these living saints in combat, their enemies cut down in their droves by the righteous fury of the Lady. Each Grail Knight takes over the duties of guarding the holy sanctuaries of the Lady. These are often simple places such as Lakes or woodland groves, but all are sacred to the Grail Knights. Should a corrupted creature set foot within one of these places they will face the awesome fury of its defender, for the Grail Knight will never flee from his defence of the Lady’s land. Indeed, many foes will meet their end by his sword long before they stray into the fields of his domain. A Grail Knight will only leave his sanctum in dire need, eschewing the luxuries of a noble life for a lifetime of service. Although many nobles often decide they can best guard these places by defending the realm, and so retain their titles, fiefdoms and other responsibilities.[3][6]

Sometimes, when all seems lost, a knight defending his land against impossible odds will be joined by a Grail Knight, coming unbidden to fight at his side. Together they will beat back the foe. After the victory the Grail Knight will ride off, seeking no reward for his efforts. During times of dire peril, the lord of a domain might send word to any Grail Knights in the region, asking for their assistance.[2]

The arrival of a Grail Knight at the gates of a town or city will result in great parades, feasts and a day of rest for all workers. Desperate crowds will fill the streets, whilst the common people fight to touch the champion of the Lady and thus share in her blessing. Grail Knights command respect and awe from all listeners, lowly peasants and mighty dukes alike. It is indeed a bold or foolhardy individual who will speak against a Grail Knight, for their wrath is fearsome and terrible, and their words are those of the Lady. Even within the most remote and isolated village in the realm, people tell the tales of these paragons of earthly virtue, and of their glorious deeds in the Lady's name. To the commoners of Bretonnia, Grail Knights form a pantheon of living deities, their names spoken as a reverent mantra throughout the land, and are often worshipped in their own right. They are tireless, and know neither fear, hardship nor despair, their words and deeds immortalised forever. Some five centuries since his death, many still recount how the eyes of Riquiard of Brascard glowed with a terrible light as he slew the enemies of the Lady, while others speak of a golden aura that protects all Grail Knights from harm. Amongst the most famous of all, Laudyricus of Couronne, was believed to have been possessed of a heart so pure and noble that he was anathema to all unclean creatures and could slay them with his merest touch.[1][5][3][6]

Grail Knights and the Lady

Grail Knights in prayer.

Grail Knights can seem ageless, but they will eventually start to lose the luster of youth. Later generations of Grail Knights choose to live in old chapels, but new ones may be founded from time to time. These Grail Chapels become the resting places for the bones and magic weapons of these Grail Knights. Knights Errant swear on the relics kept in these Grail Chapels, and in times of peril, its weapons may be taken up in defence of the realm.[12][13]

Such is the power imbued into a Grail Knight, that even their corpses can be mighty weapons, many a tale can be told of a living saint protecting the weak even in death. One example is the Tomb of Galand, its holy aura destroying hordes of Undead and filling a young mortal with enough power to kill a Blood Knight. Even the mighty Archaon himself, could barely stand within the blessed chapel of the legendary Lucus of Brilloinne, burning his flesh, eyes and mind with holy absolution. Many other fallen Grail Knights are retrieved by their loyal Battle Pilgrims and carried as Grail Reliquaes, imbuing their allies with the Lady's divine blessing and resolve.[4][8]

Alongside famous tales of felling Dragons and other great beasts, Grail Knights are renowned slayers of both Vampires and Daemons, the belief in the nobility of their Lady-blessed cause being even more impervious than their shining armour.[15]

End Times

During the End Times, the majority of Grail Knights remained within Bretonnia, safeguarding its holy sites as Louen Leoncoeur led his forces in defence of the Empire. Later, during the closing days of the World, the Lady was revealed to be none other than the Elven goddess of prophecy, Lileath. The goddess soon revealed the immortality of all who had supped from the Grail, resurrecting them to act as elite guardians for her daughter's new realm, known as the Haven. Indeed, the peasantry of Bretonnia had long believed that Grail Knights not only fought for the Lady in life, but continued to do so after death as her avenging angels.[7][12]

Duties

"Mighty fighters who know no fear, they are among the most potent warriors of the Old World."
—Virtues of a Grail Knight.[11]

As the greatest of Bretonnia's warriors, Grail Knights are given access to the most sacred of mounts and equipment. Many of these living saints will often band together to form elite units upon the battlefield, or to perform sacred duties and tasks. The King of Bretonnia is always a Grail Knight, for only the Lady's chosen can rule. Many Paladins and Lords are also Grail Knights, mightier than even their superhuman brethren. They are always fewer in number than the other knightly castes of Bretonnia, but these supreme warriors can still slay hordes of lesser creatures with ease.[17][1]

  • Grail Guardians -The Fay Enchantress is one of the most revered and respected figures in all of Bretonnia. As is fitting of someone who speaks with the voice of the Lady, she is accompanied at all times by a retinue of Knights who defend her to the death. These men, selected from some of the very best of the Grail Knights, are warriors par excellence, striking down the enemies of Bretonnia with shining blades of justice. Though rumours abound that the Fay Enchantress is none other than the Lady herself, and therefore requiring no earthly protectors, the Grail Guardians care not and defend their charge all the same.[1]
  • Royal Pegasus Knights - Greater than regular Pegasus Knights in every way, these are Grail Knights trusted with the most powerful and noble of Pegasi, acting as devastating aerial fighters who bring holy wrath from above.[1]
  • Royal Hippogryph Knights - The best of Louen Leoncoeur's aerial forces, these are Grail Knights mounted atop ferocious Hippogryphs, an unstoppable force, combining superhuman skill with bestial fury. These elite units destroy enemies with giant talon and blessed lance, causing fear and panic in their wake.[1]
  • Hermit Knights - Grail Knights can seem almost immortal, but they will eventually start to age and die, those who are near the end of their extended lifespan often live as "Hermit Knights", guarding Grail Chapels with their very lives. It is the Hermit Knights who allow the ancient weapons of their Chapels to be taken up in times of need, and they who offer advice and wisdom to those knights who still seek the Grail. The first and greatest of these knights was Corduin, one of the legendary Grail Companions. The most renowned of these ageing heroes still living is the Hermit Knight of Malmont.[12][13][14]

Errantry Wars

It is extremely rare for large forces of Grail Knights to fight in Errantry Wars, as they are mainly campaigns for Knights Errant to earn honour, rank and glory in defence of the realm. Some Grail Knights however, will often join the ranks of the young Knights Errant, acting as mighty champions and giving them a source of inspirational leadership - an ideal for them to aim for.[16]

Grail Damsels

It is not uncommon for the mysterious Grail Damsels to take on Grail Knights as their personal champions and lovers. These duos will often travel the land, the Damsel's gift of foresight aiding the Grail Knight in his search for evil to destroy. In other instances, the Grail Knight will act as the guardian of a Damsel and her Chapel, protecting her with his life and slaying would-be invaders.[6][18]

Heraldry

Grail Knights have achieved the Grail Quest and drunk from the Grail. They have therefore earned the right to display the image of the Grail upon their shields and superimposed upon their heraldry. They may even adopt the Grail as a helmet crest. This emblem is worn in addition to the knight's other heraldry or achievements.[3]

A Grail Knight will often have the most magnificent heraldry of all knights, bearing the colours of his Errantry, the blazon of his Errand of Knighthood, the Fleur de Lys of his Grail Quest and the blazon of the Grail itself. The Grail emblem has no standard form, but can be depicted however it appeared to the knight. There are thus many different versions of the Grail emblem, but it is impossible to confuse with any other blazon. Men across Bretonnia are also expected to memorise the individual heraldries of every living Grail Knight.[3][6]

Famous Grail Knights

  • King Louen Leoncoeur - King of Bretonnia and a mighty warrior. Considered to be one of the greatest rulers in the world since Sigmar and Gilles le Breton. Became one of the Lady's vassals after his death during the end times.
  • King Gaston de Beau Geste - Became king of Bretonnia for his actions during the Affair of the False Grail.
  • Lord Calard of Garamont - A famed Grail Knight renowned for slaying the powerful vampire, Duke Merovech of Mousillon, matching the immortal Gilles le Breton in combat, banishing Drycha and saving Bretonnia from an army of undeath.
  • Duke Tancred II - Ruler of Quenelles and Grail Knight known for defeating the army of Heinrich Kemmler and Krell at La Maisontaal.
  • Reolus - Hero of Quenelles and sublime swordsman.
  • Viscount d’Alembençon - Was the Viscount of Couronne who defeated the Empire's greatest swordsman in single combat.
  • Galeron and Joinville - A pair of Questing Knights who supped from The Grail after slaying an entire horde of Beastmen.
  • Sir Dagobert  the Thrice-Blessed - An ageing hero who became a blessed Grail Reliquae.
  • Sir Geg of Wainfleet - One of the very few peasants to ever become a knight, and the only known Peasant to ever sup from the Grail. 
  • Gilles Ettringer - An elderly Grail Knight who acted as the personal champion for a barony.
  • Theudric - Grail Knight of Carcassonne who became famed for his tragic life and heroic deeds
  • Leofric Carrard - A hero from Quenelles who helped the Elves defeat a Beastman incursion.
  • Baron Janduiá de Turín - Rules over one of Bretonnia's holiest lands, his wife Jacomettá de Turín, is the only known female to have ever supped from the Grail.
  • The Legendary Grail Companions - The first and greatest of the Grail Knights.
  • Baron Chlodegar - The most widely known noble within the forests of Artois, who rules over a large fiefdom and many Grail Chapels.
  • Leon the Brave - Brother of the Questing Knight, Gilles de Moreaux, he famously completed his Grail Quest after only two weeks.
  • Sir Letour - A Grail Knight who attracted a large following of Grail Pilgrims, including their fanatic leader Estrebert.
  • Paris de Marbleau - A Grail Knight re-searching for the Lady, who a young peasant girl, Ulrike Stavonnus, fell in love with.
  • The Wardens of the Shroud - A group of five Grail Knights who guard the Shroud of Gilles le Breton, a sacred artifact of Turín, Carcassonne.

Gallery

  • A Grail Knight charges into battle
  • A trio of Grail Knights
  • A band of Grail Knights
  • A Grail Knight returning with the head of a slain Troll
  • A Grail Guardian on the charge
  • A fabled Grail Knight
  • A Grail Knight bedecked in splendid heraldry
  • A Grail Guardian
  • A Royal Pegasus Knight
  • A Royal Hippogryph Knight
  • 6th Edition Miniatures
  • Grail Knight Miniatures (6th Edition)


Sources

  • 1 Total War: Warhammer
  • 2 Warhammer Armies: Bretonnia (5th Edition), pgs 40-41
  • 3 Warhammer Armies: Bretonnia (6th Edition), pgs 32, 50
  • 4 Archaon: Lord of Chaos
  • 5 Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Knights of the Grail, pg 104
  • 6 Knights of Bretonnia (Series)
  • 7 Warhammer: The End Times Compilation
  • 8 Warhammer: The Red Duke, pg 430
  • 9 White Dwarf: Issue 372 (Cover)
  • 10 White Dwarf: Issue 262, pg 109
  • 11 White Dwarf: Issue 205
  • 12 White Dwarf 203, pgs 15-16
  • 13 White Dwarf 300, pgs 69-70
  • 14 Warhammer Quest - Bretonnian Knight
  • 15 Zavant (Short Story), by Gordon Rennie
  • 16 Warhammer: Storm of Chaos
  • 17 Warhammer: Rulebook (8th Edition) - Bretonnia
  • 18 Warhammer: Perilous Quest