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Louen Leoncoeur
Louen the Lionhearted- 2017-05-20 22-11
Vital statistics
Full Name Louen Leoncoeur
Reign 2500 - 2521 IC
Predecessor Unknown
Successor Gilles le Breton
Noble House Royal Family of Couronne
Seat of Power Castle Couronne
"Rise Sir Louen, land-knight, slayer of monsters and bane of the dead. You have spirit I thought long lost to this land. I dub thee Louen Leoncoeur, Heart of the Lion."
—The Lady of the Lake grants Louen his title.[6]

Louen Leoncoeur, the Lionheartedalso known as the Lion of Bretonnia and later as the Golden Paladin, was the Duke of Couronne, one of the mighty Grail Knights and the penultimate warrior King of Bretonnia.[1][4][2]

History

Louen took the Questing Vow when he was a young prince. He travelled across the realm of Bretonnia and into lands beyond, displaying such courage and honour that he earned the epithet Leoncoeur or "lion-hearted" from none other than the Lady herself. Louen travelled for years, searching for the Grail, he had met with prophets and ghosts alike on his travels, survived battles against Dragons and Daemons in his attempts to win the Lady's favour, even fighting alongside the Green Knight at one point.[6]

Ascension to Grail Knight

Louen returned to Couronne five years after his quest had begun. The young knight was so scarred and filthy from his battles that at first the King's Men-at-Arms mistook him for a fellow peasant. Louen came to beg his father for aid, the Necromancer Myldeon was gathering an army of the undead and needed to be stopped. When he once again rode out from Couronne he had only sixteen knights accompanying him, for his father was disgusted that Louen had returned from his quest with nothing more than a beggar's plea. The small force of brave knights came across the undead army at the banks of a mystical lake, and arrayed before them were hundreds of undead warriors with the vile Myldeon looming in the distance. The knights' desperate charge destroyed many of the undead, and they fought ferociously against the odds, but one by one they began to fall. Louen's closest friend and companion, Brocard, fought his way towards the vile necromancer and signalled a wordless challenge before being immolated with dark magic, leaving only a charred corpse in silver armour. Exhausted and distraught Louen splashed into the mud at the Lake's edge, dozens of grasping corpses clawing at him as he hacked and slashed. Before long the lake was strewn with undead corpses. As more came, an endless tide of rotting corpses and skeletal warriors, fear touched Louen's heart and he collapsed into the icy waters of the lake.[6]

Louen sank deeper and deeper as shafts of light caressed his face. The murk became lighter and lighter and Louen felt a sense of peace fill his heart. That was until a beast appeared from the depths, an aquatic horror with which Louen desperately fought. During the fight his sword was lost and he had to make do with a simple dagger before finally slaying the beast, burying the blade deep within its gullet. As Louen drifted downwards his eyes began to droop and then closed all together, darkness surrounding him.[6]

Louen awoke to discover a beautiful courtroom of underwater rock, inhabited by many wonderful and strange creatures, seemingly engaged in a large banquet. Presiding over them was a stunning female figure, the water around her glowing like liquid gold, her immaculate features surrounded by a halo of luscious silver locks that curled and twirled against each other like courting snakes. Louen knelt on the sands and cast his eyes down respectfully. He felt a great warmth and his soul transcended his mortal senses. It was her, the Lady of the Lake.[6]

The Lady bade Louen to dine with her, explaining that Bretonnia was going to face a dark age and that it needed a great man to lead it. The Lady explained that The Grail was merely symbolic, that the water within was her own blood, as were all sacred lakes in Bretonnia. Louen was lost in awe as she cupped her hands. Holding them out, the water within them glowed, illuminated from within. Louen clasped his calloused fingers around her delicate hands and drunk deep. Radiance poured into him like liquid sunlight, burning heat flowed throughout his veins as his body was renewed and strengthened by the goddess. His heart thundered like a bull and his muscles became as strong as oak, the years fell away from him like snow melting in the spring sun. The Lady smiled with pleasure as Louen rose reborn, on a sudden impulse she took his face in her hands and kissed him. Before she parted she told Louen that she sensed true greatness in him, bidding him to reclaim Bretonnia in her name. At her side came a group of mysterious knights, garbed in archaic armour and pale of skin, their eyes glittered with the reflected glory of the goddess. These were the lost Sons of Bretonnia, boys taken by the Lady at a young age, never to be seen again.[6]

Louen Leoncoeur Heraldry

Louen's heraldry.

Louen and the Lost Sons burst from within the sacred lake; the undead turned around as Myldeon stood in shock. The necromancer's undead puppets were smashed into the mud with the force of the impact, decaying bodies practically splashing apart as the silver host thundered home. Louen was a bolt of silvered lightning at the heart of the storm. Even to be near the Grail Knight was deadly to the undead that assailed him. Skin sloughed from flesh and flesh fell from bone as the rotten creatures began to unravel in his wake. Unstoppable, Louen struck left and right with his sword, each decapitating blow leaving a slowly fading curve of silver light hanging in the air. Myledon smiled as he summoned the undead back to unlife, creating a wall of bone between him and the Grail Knight, his sharpened teeth slicked with blood as he drew a sacrificial knife. Louen slashed open his shield straps with his glowing blade, and he brought the steel symbol of Couronne curving round in a great arc, putting all his newfound strength into one great throw. The pointed end of the shield smashed through ribcage and armour alike in a spray of bone and dust, neither spine nor skull slowing its passage. Louen's aim was true, the shield slammed into Myldeon's neck, decapitating him in a spray of gore before clattering to the ground.[6]

King of Bretonnia

Louen was officially crowned in the year 1522 (2500 IC) by the Fay Enchantress Morgiana le Fay. By then he was said to be over 90 years old, yet he still appeared as if he was in his prime.[2]

The realm Louen inherited was beset by all manner of threats. The Lichemaster Heinrich Kemmler, despite his defeat at La Maisontaal, still lurked in the Grey Mountains with a horde of undead servants. In the south rumours were spreading of vile rat-men infiltrating the lands of Brionne and Bordeleaux. The northern provinces suffered from raids by the Chaos-worshipping barbarians of Norsca, while other dukedoms were forced to contend with incursions by Greenskin tribes.[1]

Due to these threats, Louen enacted a policy to encourage even more jousting and tournaments throughout the land than his predecessors did, in order to ensure that all knights hone their skills ready for war. He held magnificent tournaments four times a year which went on for several weeks. He also made a royal procession throughout the various Dukedoms, and on the occasion of his visits the Dukes would hold banquets and tournaments in his honour. Thus, the calendar of Bretonnia became a succession of tournaments and training.[8]

In addition to all this, Louen revived the old custom of jousting between noble regiments of knights in a huge tournament marked out especially for the purpose. These royal tournaments also became occasions for the investiture of many Knights Errant as new Knights of the Realm, and the setting of tasks for others. Under such guidance, the military might of Bretonnia surpassed that of even the greatest armies in history. This policy was more than welcomed, as Bretonnian knights like nothing better than a tournament, except perhaps a just and righteous war.[8]

Since his coronation in 2500, Louen has proved himself time and time again. He utterly crushed the Orc invasion of 2508 at the Battle of Swamphold, and has ridden battlefields clear of the undead on the outskirts of Mousillon on more than one occasion. He has fought victoriously against invaders of the north, driving them back into the sea, and scoured the taint of insidious covens from within his cities.[2]

Louen's cherished ambition as King was rumoured to be the reconquest and rebuilding of Mousillon, which was all but lost to the realm after the Affair of the False Grail and the Red Pox which followed in its wake. Knights constantly urged him to declare an Errantry War to do this. However, he was often distracted from this great task by wars along the frontier of the Empire, where ambitious Counts threatened Bretonnian domains and Undead hordes lurked within the Grey Mountains. There was also the threat of Skaven invasion from the south, as they attempted to infiltrate Brionne and Bordeleaux.[8]

Storm of Chaos

During the beginning of the Storm of Chaos, King Louen received in his court messengers from Karl Franz’s Conclave of Light. A monarch ever aware of the threats to his nation, Louen Leoncoeur was not surprised to hear the dire news that the emissaries brought. There were some among the Dukes and Knights who argued that the perils of the Empire were not their concern and that they should look to securing their own borders and defences should the Empire fall to the might of Archaon. A warrior king in the greatest traditions of Bretonnia, Leoncoeur chastised these counsellors and spoke of the Norse longships that had grown brave and ventured south to raid the coastal villages of Bretonnia. He saw that if the Empire were to succumb to the hordes of the north, Bretonnia could not hope to hold against the tide that would be unleashed against his people. The Fay Enchantress too guided his decision, telling the court that it was the will of the Lady that Bretonnia take to arms and aid their fellow men. Her divine mistress had come in dreams to many Grail Knights in the preceding nights, and even now they were gathering at Montfort for the march north. The King had no hesitation in declaring a new Errantry War against the forces of Archaon...[9]

Knights from across the dukedoms of Bretonnia gathered for the march, eager to prove their worth against the servants of the Chaos gods. King Louen rode north himself at the head of his Knights, proving to the world that the strength of Bretonnia had not lessened under his reign. Yet Bretonnia was a large realm and its knights spread far and wide, and though many thousands answered the call to arms it would take several months for the army to be readied for war. The march north would be a long journey, the crossing of the Grey Mountains no small task in itself, and Leoncoeur feared that despite his great efforts he might arrive too late and find the Empire ruined and in flames.[9]

Despite his fears, Louen's army arrived to aid the Empire in their darkest hour. The Knig of Bretonnia later fought at the Empire city of Middenheim. In the heat of the midday sun, the Empire troops heard the clarion blast of a score of horns, the forest around Middenheim came alive with brightly-coloured caparisons and glorious pennants, the sun glinted from thousands of lance tips as the Knights of Bretonnia formed up and charged. They fell upon the rearguard of the Chaos troops with abandon, led by a shining figure atop a majestic Gryphon-horse, King Louen Leoncoeur himself. He charged straight into the heart of the chaos line, around him was a tight wedge of Pegasus Knights. The minstrels of that land would be busy in the coming weeks.[10]

In the days that followed, as the siege of Middenheim raged on, Louen was forced to lead a a cavalry charge of Knights Errant against an ambush launched by Archaon and his Swords of Chaos. Even with Leoncouer at their head, the young knights stood little chance against the mightiest group of Chaos Knights, with Louen and the brave Leofric being among the only survivors.[5]

Louen continued to lead his army to the point of victory, the Chaos hordes were scattered, but the Empire was left facing uncertain times. Their honour fulfilled, Louen and his knights returned to Bretonnia. Some young knights however, still lusting for glory and renown, remained to hunt down the fleeing Chaos warbands.[10]

Nemesis Crown

Many a bold knight had made a name for himself during the Storm of Chaos. While this affirmation of chivalric principles warmed King Louen Leoncoeur's heart, it presented him with a problem. In Bretonnia, tradition dictated that valour upon the field of battle be rewarded with land. However, so successful had his knights proved, that Louen was running short on land to award. So it was that the King issued a decree. It was clear that the Empire was beset by evil forces seeking the Nemesis Crown , and that Bretonnia must once again rise to defend her cousin. An Errantry War was declared, its aim to purge the Empire of all threats. Furthermore, knights with the rank of Baron or higher were permitted to extend the protection of the crown to any Empire township that wished greater protection from the strife besetting them, and a more stable governance than that offered by Emperor karl Franz.[11]

Within a day of the decree, the first of Louen's armies rode to the Empire, heraldry bright in the sunshine. Knights from every corner of the realm had responded to the King's declaration. Amid the column of the armies, the blues and whites of Quenelles jostled with the white of Montfort , the gold of Bastonne and the red of Gisoreux . Pegasus Knights came from Parravon , mighty Grail Knights from Chalons - even a few Questing Knights had set aside their travails to join the cause. All around flowed the sea of peasants, yeoman and squires that gather in the wake of a knightly crusade. Louen then appointed the famed Paladin, Phillipe d'Artaud as leader of his armies.[11][12]

The crusade of the Bretonnians proved to be a glorious success, they had outperformed every other nation of Man, and even Elf. Only the Dwarfs, the true owners of the Nemesis Crown, fought harder to eventually reclaim their powerful artifact.[12]

The End Times

"Of course, beloved. I desire that of all things. Turn aside, and I will preserve you for as long as my power lasts. When you die, my heart will break."
—The Lady of the Lake, beseeching Louen not to march to the Empire[4]

Having become injured during a failed cavalry charge against an army of Undead, Leoncouer was eventually cut down by his bastard son Mallobaude during the Bretonnian Civil War. Believed by many to be dead, he travelled the lands of Bretonnia for days, before collapsing in front of a Grail Knight. He returned to discover his land had a new ruler, Gilles le Breton, who had shaken off his guise as the Green Knight, becoming the true King of Bretonnia. Louen, no longer King, was dubbed the High Paladin of Bretonnia by le Breton and acted as regent when the new King departed to hunt down the dregs of Chaos.[4]

Leoncouer was one of the Lady's foremost champions during the final days of the world, freeing every Bretonnian city he encountered from the forces of evil. The former King then led his forces to the Empire, seeking to defend his allies against the coming tide of Chaos. Louen's final act of heroism was at the great Imperial city of Altdorf. Here the Grail Knight fought against Ku'gath Plaguefather, Nurgle's mightiest Greater Daemon. The mighty Daemon struck Louen with a giant bronze sword, each strike capable of breaking bone into dust, still Louen fought on. The Lionheart soon found himself fighting against both Ku'gath and his horde of Plaguebearers, cutting down the daemons pressing towards him, his flashing sword glowing bright under the comet above. Plunging his holy blade into the Greater Daemon's throat, Louen hung from his sacred blade, his blood began to pour onto Ku'gath, and the golden lifeblood began to consume the daemon, slowly rendering him into a puddle of gore.[4]

Louen had been greatly weakened by his fight against Ku'gath and the many Chaos Champions he had fought to reach the foul daemon. When a horde of fresh Plaguebearers poured into the courtyard, Louen stood resolute, cutting them down. He was eventually killed by the Nurgle-Empowered Festus the Leechlord, who in turn was slaughtered by Vlad von Carstein. Louen's body melted into a pool of holy water as he ascended to godhood, part of Lileath's plan for a new world. Later, as Lileath spoke to the other Gods, she turned to the Golden Paladin beside her, inspired by the loyal sacrifice he had made.[4]

Family

Louen's father was a previous King of Bretonnia, and thus also a Grail Knight. He was also known to have a daughter, Isabeau, who at one point was captured by the Dragon, Malgrimace and rescued by Jasperre le Beau. His bastard son, Mallobaude, would go on to become Louen's greatest enemy.[1][6]

Items and Abilities

Out of all the Kings and rulers of the old world, Louen was probably the greatest warrior, capable of killing Nurgle's mightiest Great Unclean One simply with his holy blood and slaughtering enemies in their droves, older than any other human ruler, his experience in combat and politics was unquestionable. Leoncoeur was one of the most powerful Grail Knights in the old world, faster and stronger than any mortal warrior and protected from powerful magics. He also possessed an ability that only the greatest Grail Knights were gifted, he could regenerate his wounds, the blood shining with a holy light before eventually disappearing completely. His power increased tenfold when he died during the End Times. Becoming a minor god in Lileath's plan for a New World.[4][2]

  • The Sword of Couronne was a mighty relic weapon, wielded by many heroes of Bretonnias past. This powerful weapon was forged from the finest Silverline and was quenched in the mirror pools of the Great forest. A purified weapon of The Temple of The Lady herself, The sanctified blade was steeped in righteous power. As Louen wielded this blade, it would catch the suns rays, dazzling his enemies as he charged into battle.
  • The Lion Lance was a mighty relic weapon carried by the kings of Bretonnias past, granting the wielder enhanced strength it attacked with a relentless fury.
  • The Tabard of Kings was a magnificent embroidered tabard which had been passed down through Bretonnia's greatest Kings, enchanted with powerful counter spells it protected its bearer against enemy magic.
  • The Armour of Brilliance was a near impervious relic of holy might, the dazzling light from the armors polished plates making it painful for dark beings to even look upon their foe.
  • The Crown of Bretonnia shone with a golden light and was blessed by The Lady herself, enhancing the character of its wearer and inspiring those near him.

Coat of Arms

Louen's coat of arms was: Per pale Gules (for his father) and Azure (for his mother), a lion (for the royal family of Couronne) with a crown Or (as King) holding in his sinister paw a sword Or (as Duke), within a bordure Or charged with fourteen fleur-de-lis Gules and Azure (for the Dukedoms).[2]

Trivia

  • Louen is inspired by the well-known King of England, Richard the Lionheart, who also known as the "Couer de Lion". 

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Bretonnia (5th Edition)
  • 2: Warhammer Armies: Bretonnia (6th Edition)
  • 3: Warhammer: Nagash
  • 4: Warhammer: Glottkin
  • 5: Warhammer: Guardians of the Forest
  • 6: Hammer and Bolter: The Court Beneath, Issue 25
  • 7: Total War: Warhammer
  • 8: White Dwarf 202 (Aus), pg. 55-57
  • 9: Warhammer: Storm of Chaos
  • 10: Darkness Rising
  • 11: Warhammer: The Nemesis Crown (Booklet)
  • 12: Nemesis Crown Official Website (Archived)