- "The enemy is in the heart of our lands, like a cancer. We will not let it grow, and, Lady willing, we shall cut it out once and for all."
- —Duke Tancred II, raising another force to assault the Massif Orcal
The Dukedom of Quenelles is a founding Dukedom that lies upon the borders of Athel Loren, at the south-eastern corner of Bretonnia. Being one of the largest out of all the Bretonnian Dukedoms follow their annexation of Cuileux during a Greenskin invasion in 900 IC, Qunelles is so massive that it surronds the entire mountain range of Massif Orcal. Lying at the very center of the Dukedom, the Greenskins living within Massif Orcal have always been a bane to the existence of all those living near the mountain.
Unlike other ducal lands plagued by Greenskins however, the people of Quenelles has such unreserved hatred for these raiders and barbarians that seems to far outshadow all those living within Bretonnia. Some have said that when the Dukedom of Cuileux was destroyed by the Greenskins, the ghost of these people have put a curse upon Quenelles that would ensure that they shall continue the fight against them for the rest of time. Its current ruler is Duke Tancred II.
- "They’ve got so much land. It’s not like they’d really miss a bit."
- —Sir Renart, a noble of Montfort
Quenelles is the largest of the dukedoms of Bretonnia, stretching over most of the middle of the land. In the east, it has a long border with the Forest of Loren, and Quenellers have more direct dealings with the Fay than the inhabitants of any other dukedom. To the south, the dukedom faces Carcassonne across the River Brienne, and then, working clockwise, borders Brionne, Aquitaine, Bastonne, Montfort, and Parravon, divided from the last two by the River Grismerie.
Broadly speaking, northern Quenelles is pastoral whilst the south is arable. The north of the country is dominated by the Massif Orcal, a range of mountains rising up in the middle of the land and the source of the River Gilleau. The mountains of the Massif are relatively low, rounded, and eroded into networks of caves. These caves are inhabited by large numbers of Greenskins who mount frequent raids on the surrounding settlements.
Few humans choose to live in the Massif, but the Dukes encourage a human settlement in the hope of weakening the Orcs. Most villages are sacked within a few years, so ruined villages and castles are a common sight. However, a few have survived, and these are now very well fortified. The most notable is Viefin, which sits at the end of the road through Axe Bite Pass. Viefin is a small town, but the houses are dwarfed by the massive walls and watchtowers. All inhabitants of Viefin are trained to fight, and all but the very youngest or newest immigrants have experience of fighting attacking Orcs.
Between the Massif Orcal and the River Gilleau is a part of the Forest of Châlons. This area seems almost completely free of monsters: one or two small groups of Beastmen or Orcs are seen in a year. Small groups of hunters, charcoal burners, or woodsmen can work in the forest unmolested. All attempts to establish villages have failed, ending in the complete destruction of the village. The village is replaced, overnight, by a bare depression in the soil, as if something had scooped up the entire settlement and taken it away. The Quenellers suspect something similar happens to large bands of Orcs or Beastmen. Nobody knows who or, more likely, what is responsible.
The southwest of Quenelles was once, before the founding of Bretonnia, the land of Cuileux. The knights of Cuileux were wiped out by Goblinoids and their lands absorbed by Quenelles. However, the courage of the last stand of the Cuilen has made them legendary. A large area is known as the Grave of Cuileux and is not farmed. Stories say that anyone who tries to do so is killed by the ghosts of the knights of Cuileux, who believe that only an Orc would disturb their rest. The occasional discovery of Orc and human bones in the area tends to suggest that this really is the site of the last ride of the Cuilen.
The People Edit
- "I hear the Fay themselves walk the streets of Quenelles, working wonders. That would be something to see!"
- — Ignorant and credulous L’Anguille tavern keeper, talking to a Sea Elf Wizard
The people of Quenelles are most renowned for their unrelenting hatred of the Greenskins that constantly raid their lands. This is a little strange; it is certainly true the inhabitants of the Massif Orcal raid very frequently, but Greenskin raids have not had the same effect in other regions. Some people think that the dead of Cuileux have placed some sort of curse on the inheritors of their land, compelling them to continue the fight. Certainly, it is notable that every single Queneller festival involves burning a Goblin or Orc, in either effigy or a real one.
A lot of Queneller adventurers left to take the fight to the Greenskins. Such folk often head into the Massif Orcal, but there are Goblins and Orcs in all mountain ranges, so others go further afield. They often ally with the Dwarfs, seeking to drive the Greenskins from the Dwarfholds. The politics of the dukedom are dominated by the succession question, as Duke Tancred is not the only one to have noticed that he is getting old. If Einhard returns, he is the clear heir, but most Questing Knights who are going to return have done so within ten years. There are about half a dozen nobles with a realistic claim to the dukedom, but two stand out.
Earl Hincmar is the eldest son of the Duke’s elder sister. He is also lord of a large fief around the Massif Orcal and known for his great courage in the face of Orc raids. He is feared even by his own vassals, as he is famous for the arbitrary cruelty of his “justice.” Lord Therevault is the grandson of the Duke’s younger brother, and the next male in line if Einhard does not return. However, he is not yet twenty and became a Knight of the Realm prematurely on his father’s death in a hunting accident. The accident was clearly genuine, but Therevault is not ready to rule. A number of wilier nobles are thus backing him, hoping to have a pliable puppet. The final decision rests with the King, but Duke Tancred is not the only noble who really hopes that Einhard can be found. Earl Hincmar would really like Einhard to be found dead. Lord Therevault does not know what he thinks.
- Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Knights of the Grail (pg. 88-89).