The Green Knight is a well-known figure of Bretonnian folklore, as stories and poems about him are amongst the most popular in Bretonnia. A common character in puppet shows and plays performed for peasants and kings alike, he is bedecked in strange ivy-covered armour and intones his famous line: "None shall pass!" The traditional nemesis of the valiant Questing Knights of these tales, the Green Knight challenges them to duels so that they might prove their worth to the Lady herself, and thus sip from the blessed Grail.[1a]
Little do most realise that these stories are bound in fact. The Green Knight is the sacred protector of Bretonnia, and his spirit-essence is intertwined with the land and the Lady of the Lake herself. He has appeared to many Questing Knights. They speak of the sky clouding over to create the darkness of twilight, and a green mist seeping from the earth, slowly taking the shape of a figure riding a snorting steed. The warrior brandishes a glowing blade, his eyes ablaze with fey light.[1a]
The Green Knight is the champion of the Lady of the Lake, and protector of the sacred sites of Bretonnia. As well as materialising to test Questing Knights in their faith, the Green Knight will appear when these sacred places are defiled by those with evil-hearted intent. Amongst the beast herds of the tainted forests, he is known as Shaabhekh, literally the 'Soul-Killer', for he has slain untold thousands of their kind throughout the centuries. He bursts from within the bole of the most ancient trees, or gallops furiously from still lakes or rushing waterfalls to wreak his terrible vengeance against those interlopers. As quickly as he appears, so too will he fade into mist once his righteous slaughter is complete. In some tales, he will disappear in one place only to reappear behind the enemy, slaying them without mercy before again disappearing and reappearing elsewhere.[1a]
He appears to those questing for the grail and guards the mysterious glades, lakes or stone circles where the Lady of the Lake appears. He challenges any Questing Knight who seeks the grail to mortal combat. This is the last and final test of the grail quest. If the Questing Knight can defeat the Green Knight, he will eventually reach the grail. Any Knight unworthy of the grail will never defeat the Green Knight and will either flee or be slain. The Green Knight himself cannot be slain, no matter how grievous the wounds inflicted on him.[1a]
Weapons have little effect on the Green Knight. Some say that blades and arrows pass straight through him as though he were as insubstantial as morning mist, while in other stories, even the most grievous of wounds inflicted upon him have virtually no effect. In one epic tale, a Questing Knight cut the Green Knight's head clean from his shoulders, but the fey being simply picked up his head and rode away.[1a]
What the Green Knight actually is has been much debated, and no one in Bretonnia, save perhaps the Fay Enchantress, knows the truth. Some believe that he is the spirit of Bretonnia given physical form, while others say that he is Gilles le Breton himself, having devoted himself completely to the land and the Lady after he was taken from this world.[1a]
- The Green Knight is inspired by a character from Arthurian legend of the same name. He is mentioned to be among the so-called "colored knights" whom Sir Gareth encountered on his quest to save Lady Linnesse from the evil Red Knight in one tale; in another, he directly came to King Arthur's court to have a little game of who could chop his head off, which Sir Gawain accepted, but was surprised when his body got up and put the head back on.
- Just like the Warhammer universe's Green Knight, Sir Lancelot is the reputed champion of the Lady of the Lake, having been raised by her from a very young age. It is possible that this Green Knight was also raised by the Lady.