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"....Thou shalt give unto thine glorious liege the taxes that he requires....Thou shalt labour all but feast day's.....And no more than a tenth-share shall you keep for kith and kin....Rejoice! For a Knight of Bretonnia provides your shield"
—Vow's of the Peasants unto their Bretonnian Lord
Bretonnia Coat of Arms

The Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Bretonnia

Bretonnia is a kingdom that lies between the Grey Mountains and the Great Ocean in the lands that were once part of the domain of the Elves. Bretonnia is second only in size, and military to that of the Empire, and more often then not, the two related nations would often have conflicts with each other, during the cource of history. Once in a few instances was Bretonnia ever allied with the Empire, and it was during the Great Crusades against Sultan Jaffar's invasion of Estalia.

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Bretonnian Lord fighting hordes of Beastmen

The Land of Bretonnia haven't really existed during the time of Sigmar and the earlier days of the birth of the Empire. Indeed it had been many centuries past, before a great Leader united the tribes of the Briton's in the same way Sigmar had many centuries before.  The earliest days of Bretonnian history are not well known, though it has been implied that, as with most of the world, it was once ruled by the cold-blooded Lizardmen . After the first defeat of Chaos, however, the land that would become Bretonnia was settled by the High Elves of Ulthuan, during the reign of Bel Shanaar the Explorer. Elven colonies dotted the coast, of which the most famous was Tor Alessi (later L'Anguille). These colonies survived the wars with Malekith and the Sundering relatively unscathed, but soon faced the full wrath of the dwarfs in the War of the Beard. Bretonnia was the primary battleground of the war, which raged for centuries. The war finally ended with the death of the Phoenix King Caledor II and the theft of the Phoenix Crown. However, the war had so weakened the High Elves that the next Phoenix King, Caradryel, ordered the withdrawal of all elves back to Ulthuan, leaving the elven colonies in ruins. The few elves that refused his command retreated to the forests of Loren and over the centuries degenerated into the feral Wood Elves.

HistoryEdit

It was at this time that the first human settlers of Bretonnia appeared, circa fifteen hundred years before the time of Sigmar, and almost two thousand five hundred years before the rise of le Breton. These settlers migrated from the east, originally from the World's Edge Mountains, and after settling the lands of the Empire, crossed the Grey Mountains and entered Bretonnia. These primitive tribes had little knowledge of metalwork or agriculture and were poor warriors. They worshipped a primordial earth goddess and erected great stone circles in her honour, which remain symbols of the Old Faith to this day. Presumably it was around this time too that greenskins, both orc and goblin, entered the lands of Bretonnia, where they were to become a consistent plague. Approximately five hundred years later, one thousand years before the time of Sigmar, a second wave of human migrations crossed the World's Edge Mountains . These new tribes were warlike and fierce, and fought greenskin and indigenous human population alike. While most of these tribes settled in the Empire and eventually became the Empire, one far ranging tribe crossed the Grey Mountains. This tribe, the Bretonni, was to give its name to the land they found. Like their kin, they fought Greenskins and earth-worshipper and soon became dominant. The Bretonni were master horsemen and possessed of a proud martial bearing. They settled and farmed Bretonnia, splintering into smaller groups and making war on each other with much gusto as well. They would remain in this state for almost two thousand years.


The Founding of the Kingdom: Unification of Bretonnia (978 to 1447 IC)Edit

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Age of Unification

When Sigmar founded the Empire, he extended an invitation to the tribes of the Bretonni to join him in his new confederation. Despite Sigmar's goal of pan-human unity, though, the cultural differences were apparently too large and this offer was quickly rebuffed. While the Empire experienced its growing pains in the first millennium of its existence, the Bretonni remained divided. It would be foolish to say that they did not advance, though, and the dukedoms of Bretonnia began to appear in something close to their modern state.

The greenskins had lived in Bretonnia alongside the Bretonni for all this time, though, and as is normal for the creatures, eventually their population reached saturation point and they began to overrun the Bretonni. The dukedoms of Cuileux and Glanborielle were destroyed in this multiplication of orcs and goblins, and most found themselves battling to survive. One of them, Duke Gilles of Bastonne, fought the greenskins until backed into a corner. Highly respected for slaying the dragon Smearghus early in his reign, Gilles had rallied Duke Thierulf of Lyonesse and Duke Landuin of Mousillon to his side, but the three of them and their armies found themselves outfought and facing almost certain annihilation.

The Bretonni army encamped beside a lake to face their certain doom on the morrow. That morning, a miracle occurred. A heavenly, ethereal woman arose from the mists of the lake, witnessed by the entire army. Of the dumbstruck Bretonni, Gilles was the first to move. He raised the bloodstained and tattered banner of Bastonne high, inspired by some genius or madness he knew not what, and cried "Lady, bless my banner!" He dipped the banner into the lake, at the lady's feet, and when it rose again it was fully restored, blazing with the icon of a grail. Other knights scrambled to follow, asking this lady to bless their sword, lance, or warhorse. Finally the lady held forth a chalice overflowing with light, and Gilles, Thierulf, and Landuin drank.

These three were the first Grail Knights, and behind the banner of the Lady of the Lake, the Bretonni won their first great victory against the greenskins. Gilles led his army across all Bretonnia, fighting twelve great battles against its enemies and offering the grail to every other duke. The twelve dukes, or Companions as they became known, inflicted a massive defeat on the greenskins, and when peace had been won, agreed that so too would there be peace among their dukedoms. Gilles was dubbed 'le Breton' and 'Uniter', and with the Lady's blessing became the first King of Bretonnia.

With the tragic death of Gilles in the year 17 (995 IC) there are much lamentation throughout the lands as all of Bretonnia mourned. Gilles's only son Louis, who was born under mysterious circumstances, some say he was the child of the Lady herself, became the duke of Bastonne. However, the question of whether he should also become ruler of Bretonnia was much debated. Many advocated that Landium of Moussilon should take the position, while other's believed that Landuin's rival, Thierulf of Lyonesse, or the wise Marcus of Bordeleaux, would make a suitable ruler

The majority of the dukes eventually agreed that Louis should take the role, but that posed another problem, for he has not drunk from the Grail of the Lady of the Lake, as had his father and all the other dukes. And no knight, it was decreed, no matter of birth, should be able to become Lord of Bretonnia without first having the blessing of the goddess. So it was that Louis left court and set out immediately on his quest to find the Lady and prove his worth before her, earning himself the title "The Rash". Thus was the tradition of the Questing Knight's born.

For year's Louis the Rash traveled the length and breadth of Bretonnia, righting wrongs and doing great deeds. In his absense, Theirulf of Lyonesse acted as steward of Bretonnia, much to the chagrin of Mousillon so it is said.  Year's later, Louis entered his ancestral castle astride a mighty purebreed charger, his golden hair shining and his eyes aglow with noble power. None could doubt that the Lady has blessed him, and his subjects fell to their knee's before him.

So it was that he as crowned as King of Bretonnia, and the golden Crown of Bretonnia, a gift of the lady herself was placed upon his broow by the Fay Enchantress, she who had borne away the fatally wounded Gilles who was the sacred representation of the Lady of the Lake herself.  All of Bretonnia rejoiced in their new monarch. His first act as king was to formalise the code of honour that his father and the Companions lived by. The original vows of chivalric knighthood still exist within the halls of Bastonne, crumbling parchment decorated with the elaborate scripts that detail the duties of hte knights. All over Bretonnia, the knights embraced their vows, and many noble warriors gave up their castles and wealth to embark on the path of the Questing Knight. A wave of faith swept through Bretonnia, and the lady of the lake became the primary deity of the nobles.

The dukes continued to push back the evil from their border's, and Bretonnia flourished. The great port cities grew large and sprawling with renewed trade, Grail chapels were built in place of holy significance, and the Fay Enchantress guided the Bretonnian's in the worship of the Lady. For hundreds of years, Bretonnia continued to grow in strenght and influence. When their lands were threatened, they crushed their foe's. King Gulliaume defeated the Orc tribes of the Massif Orcal highlands, spareing none. Lord Lamorte smashed the fleets of the undead at Savage Point. The hated beast of hte forest were pushed deeper and deeper into their darkened realms, expelled from the open lands of Duke Theodremund of Artios. 


The Crusades and the War's of Errantry  (1448 to 2490 IC)Edit

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Bretonnian Knight during the Invasion of Jafar and Araby

In the year 470 (1448 IC) the souther realm of Estalia was invaded by Jaffar during The Great Crusades. Diplomatic envoy's pleaded with Bretonnia to send aid, and the king sent out his call to war. Throughout all the dukedom's this call to war was heard, and countless knight's pledge their lance to the cause. In his noble wisdom, King Louis the Righteous gave permission for warriors of the Empire to cross Bretonnia on their journey to Estalia, for they too had pledged their aid, despite the lack of unification during the reign of the three emperors. The innumerable armies of jaffar could not match against the Crusading armies Mass heavy Calvary charges, for their desert homeland is not suited for heavy calvary warfare, and thousands fell beneath the charge of noble knights. Retreating back to Araby, but leaving a token force of troops around the important sea-ports of Estalia, Jaffar's armies were hounded by the Bretonnians who pursued them tirelessly.

The Crusading army finally managed to reached the sandy beaches of Araby and invaded one of the major city and trade-port of Copher. As the crusaders sailed, Jaffar and his men prepared for the coming invasion. When they finally arrived in the spice-trading city of Copher it was heavily fortified and the defenders were well prepared for the coming battle. Yet they weren't prepared for the wrath Jaffar had brought upon them, and once the defenders first started faltering against the onslaught of knights and siege towers, the high spires were pulled to the ground and much of the population were put to the sword. Not even the harsh desert condition's could perturb the knights, and their fevour very slowly took their toll on Jaffar's warriors as many desert tribes under Jaffar's control are growing tired of the war of attrition.

Despite Jaffar having a far more vastly larger army then the crusaders as the war's entered their third year, Jaffar's armies began to disband, for many of the tribes of Araby grew weary of the despot's tyranny. After frustrating months of minor skirmishes, the Bretonnians faced Jaffar at the Battle of El Haikk.

Elemental spirits of the deep deserts were summoned to fight alongside Jaffar's armies and, the despots army vastly outnumbered the crusaders and, the crusader army was being overwhelmed on all sides by the armies of Jaffar, and just when all hope seems lost and the army was almost about to break, a host of both Empire and Bretonnian knights charged furiosusly at the tightly packed army, and due to Jaffar's army consisting of light infantry and skirmishers with very little to no armor, they were mowed down by the hundreds and a great victory was won by the Bretonnian and Empire knights and the despot's force scattered with the death of Sultan Jaffar by a Bretonnian lance as the foolish despot retreated.

Disliking the harsh, dry lands, for it proved too vast and hostle to be completely conquer, the Bretonnians sailed back home, with their cargo of exotic goods and treasures, while the Empire Knight's remained behind to hunt down the remnants of Jaffar's army, and would eventually lead to the creation of several more Knightly Orders. Meanwhile, a second great crusading force, led by Baron Tybalt, had left Bretonnia and was travelling the long road overland towards Araby. Hearing of the great victory, his force did not press on the desert kingdom's, and though many of the knights smarted not to have shared the glory, and the great many of them still wished to enter the lands of the hated Desert Kings. Nevertheless, under Tybalt's leadership they pushed into lands that had not yet been conquered by any civilised race.

Seeking glory and honour, they sought out the armies of Greenskin's that plauged these lands for centuries, and many great victory were won. The hardy Dwarves that dwelled in the mountains around these lands rejoiced, for the Bretonnians had dealt a serious blow to their ancient enemy, the Greenskin's, and they bestowed much praise and honour upon the Knights.  Rare it was these day's for the reclusive Dwarf's to contact with the other nation's of men, other then the Empire. Yet these victories bestowed a bond between Bretonnia and the Dwarves of Karaz Ankor. These lands later became known as the Border Princes.

ndeed some knights remained there, building great castle in the following decades. Despite these grand crusades beyond Bretonnia the dukedoms themselves were not left undefended, for there were still intermittent threats within the borders. One such threat coincided with the deadly Red Pox that swept through souther Bretonnia and decimating the population's  of peasants living in the sinking slums and hovels villages. As if this were a trigger, foul rat-men creatures erupted from their tunnels and attacked the Bretonnian provinces.

Marching to the aid of the Duke of Parravon came the mysterious fey folk of Athel Loren, lending their otherworldly power's to the knights to destroy this threat before disappering once more. Other perils have been succesfully defeated, including attacks from other hated minions of Chaos, be they beserker Norsemen or foul forest Beast.  Throughout the ages, other crusades have been waged by the proud Bretonnians, yet none of them so great as the last one.

One such crusade however was led into the deep deserts to the east of Araby, in the land of the Tomb King's, and a great many battle's were won in that year. Others seen Bretonnians fighting far from home, even as far across the ocean's as the jungle lands of the New World. Some of these crusades were declared as Errantry War's, a tradition that derives from the old custom of the Errands of Knighthood. Usually a young knight would be set a task by their lord, an errand that must be fufilled before they can attain full knighthood.

Errands traditionally included such things as the recovery of a lost artefact, the slaying of a great beast terrorising a rural village or succesfully escorting a nobly lady through dangerous lands. However, in times of war and peril, a king may declare an Errantry War. At such times, a young Knight Errant may earn the title of Knight of the Realm through brave deeds and daring exploits on the field of battle. When an Errantry War is declared, many of young knights all over Bretonnia rally to the cause, eager to earn their full knighthood. These unseasoned Knights throw themselves in the thickest of fightings, often fighting recklessly trying their best to outdo their comrades and gain the attention of their superiors. As such, the king may declare an Errantry War when has a need to quickly gather a large, well-motivated, yet unseasoned army of knights. 

In the year 1223 (2201 IC) King Louren Orc-Slayer amassed a grand army after declaring an Errantry War, with thousands of young knights joining the ranks of the more experienced retinues of the dukes. Together, this army smashed the growing Orc and Goblin tribes that have been amassing for many years on the border's of Bretonnia. The traditional frontier's of the dukedom's were expanded, and many Greenskin strongholds have been conquered. New castles were built along these borders, and many of the young Knights Errant were granted these domains along with full knightly titles at the end of the war.

The longest Errantry War ever fought was launched by King Charlen in 1442 (2420 IC). The Border Princes were overrun by enemies and, despite their bitter resistance, there were being worn down. Charlen responded instantly to their appeal for aid, declaring his intention's to rid the Old World of the Greenskin menace once and for all. Charlen was brave and mighty warrior, but was never known for his great power of wits and strategy, for scholars knew that the Greenskin horde can never truly be defeated.  Nevertheless, countless thousands of young knights embraced Charlen's vision passionately, and a great army set off across the mountains. However, a great many knights perished on this arudous journey. At first, victory followed victory and the Greenskin's were slaughtered on the banks of the Blood River. Nevertheless, as the years rolled by and more young knights travelled to the region to gain honour, Bretonnia grew weaker due to the lack of defender's within it's border. For over sixty-years the war continued, draining Bretonnia of financies, leader's, and entire generations of knights. Eventually, under King Phillippe V, the Errantry War was ended after a devastating defeat at Dread Pass, where the armies of Bretonnian Knights, were slaughtered by the hundreds, as the Orc's pulled these proud knights from their saddle's and killed them wholesale in the mountain pass. The Bretonnians, in their pride, do not cope well with defeat, and were it not for the wise king ending the wars, then countless more knights may well have thrown their lives away in an effort to regain the honour of their defeated brethren, making Bretonnia extremely weak militarily.


The Incursion of Lichmaster Heinrich Kemmler (2491 to 2520 IC)Edit

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Invasion of Heinrich Kemmler's Undead Hordes

The Dead rising from their graves is a common theme amongst the groups of travelling merchants and commoners that journey around Bretonnia, reflecting the profound effect that the Undead have had on the nation. A very superstitious people, the idea of the dead walking is especially horrific and abhorrent to the Bretonnians, both noble and commoner's alike. Peasants often bury their loved one face down in the earth, with dried crow's feet in their mouth and cloves of garlic in their ear's, apparently to stop them from rising from their grave by some dark sorcery. In times long past, legion's of rotting warrior's borne upon the great sea raided the coastline of Bretonnia, slaughtering without mercy or thought, in fleets of shallow-bottomed boat's of rotting wood and bone. In isolated hamlet's across Bretonnia there are said to be foul vampiric warrior-knights, the most famous of these beings the so-called Red Duke of Mousillon who plagued the lands of Bretonnia and the dukedom of Aquitatine.

Many powerful and courageous Questing Knight's had set out to fight against him, to rid the lands of these horrors, but none have ever returned.  The cursed lands of Mousillon has long been associated with the dead. Indeed it is a very morbid realm, where dead and disaster is featured strongly in it's history.  Being built on a sinking swamplands, and subject to frequent flooding, the tombs of the dead in Mousillon are built above ground - so massive are the sprawling macabre graveyards that they are like a City of Tombs in it's own right.

It is said that all manner of foul necromatic sorcerer's lurk amidst the darkened crypts, plotting and scheming. One of the most recent, and major battles fought against the Undead hordes of the land, took place at La Maisontal Abbey, in the Grey Mountain's.  A joint Undead-Skaven Horde, created and led by the dreaded Lichmaster Heinrich Kemmler and a undead Chaos Lord, Krell, attacked the sacred Abbey of the Lady.

The Lichmaster is the most hated and feared figure in Bretonnian lore, and mother's used him to scare their children to sleep. Such was the invasion of Heinrich, that many of noble knight's still fear a second coming of Heinrich, one which would ultimately pull the great nation of Bretonnia into nothing more then a deadland's of rot and death. The battle was fierce between the noble knights and the rotting hordes of zombie's and warriors.

As the battle raged on, knights and undead warriors fought viciously in the sacred grounds, were finally only by the heroic actions of the great Duke Tancred of Quencilles and his proud companion knights, who pushed the hordes back with his devastating charge.  The Knight's returned victours and with much honour, for their victory was glorious beyond meaning, however this seems like a hollow victory, for the Skaven's have taken a mystical and powerful artefact from the Abbey. It is thought by most of Bretonnia that Heinrich died in the bloody battle, but nevertheless the Lichmaster escaped from it, and Tancred spent the remainder of his life pursing the hated Necromancer to the ends of the World.

Tancred finally fell in the battle against the forces of the Lichmaster at the Battle of Montfort Bridge, just as the hordes of Heinrich was scattered, he fell before he could reach and kill Heinrich. It is said that Lichmaster is still biding his time to exact his revenge against all Bretonnia. 


Crowning of Louen Leoncoeur and the Storm of Chaos (2521 to 2522 IC)Edit

The Current King of Bretonnia is Louen Leoncoeur, and in him the populace of Bretonnia can see echoes of the great knight and warriors of ages past. It is said that the blood of Gilles le Breton run's strongly in his vein's, and his knights gave thank's to the Lady of the Lake that they might serve under him, for his nobility and strenght harken's back to those time's of the Grail Companion's, the highest pinnacle of Bretonnian heroism.

Louen has revived many of the old warrior traditions, including hosting great tournaments. Indeed, he will often take part in these himself, and has provent time and again that he is the great and most skill knight of the realm. Encouraging knight's to hone their martial skill's at every oppertunity, some have speculated that Bretonnia is currently as powerful as it have ever been, perhaps even more so. The king is wise, and he see's that a storm is coming. It is the belief of those closest to him taht he is readying for a new Errantry War. Some believe this could be against Mousillon, while other's say about a great evil coming down south from the lands of the far north.

Whatever the case, Bretonnia and it's knights are ready.  In the onset of the Storm of Chaos, a great meeting was called for all the great nation's of the Old World to attend, where Men,Elf, and Dwarves sit side by side to discuss the ineviatable invasion of the Chaos hordes and the coming of the Storm of Chaos. Knowing that he would need to gather all the forces he could to defeat Archaon, the Emperor invited the Elector Counts of the Empire, and indeed the whole of the forces of Order in the Old World, including the Dwarfs and the peoples of Estalia, Tilea and Bretonnia, to a great council in Altdorf in (2521 IC) known as the Conclave of Light.

Many answered the call, even the High Elves of Ulthuan, and the mighty Archmage Teclis once again walked the streets of Altdorf.  At the Conclave the rulers of Man, Elf and Dwarf agreed to set aside their disputes to fight under the banner of Order against the terrible threat of Chaos Undivided, for they know that if the Empire fall's, there will be no stoping Chaos from consuming all the Old World.  Once Loueren returned to his castle, he called for a Errantry War's against the hordes of Chaos Undivided, and a great and massive force of Bretonnian Knights raced towards Middenheim, from the Southern pass of The Empire, in the hope of helping the Empire fight against this storm, and probably, to save the world.

The LandsEdit

"When the clarion call is sounded....I will ride out and fight in the name of liege and Lady....Whilst I draw breath the lands bequeathed unto me will remain untainted by evil...Honour is all...Chivalry is All!...."
—Vow's of the Knight unto their Bretonnian Lord
400px-Bretonnia

Map of Bretonnia

 

Bretonnia is the second largest nation in the old world, about 1/3 the size of the empire. The Land of Bretonnia is a feudal, traditional society where the peasants serve the knights in return for protection, while the knights are bound to militarily serve their lords in return for certain rights and titles. At the top of this feudal hierarchy is the King. Beneath the Kings are the Dukes. Beneath them are lesser ranks of nobility, the Marquesses, the Earls, the Viscounts, and the Barons in descending order.

The King, Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, Viscounts, and Barons are also each the lord of a number of Knights, who are the lesser nobles. Each Knight (including the higher nobles) has his own force of Men-at-Arms chosen from the most physically able peasants. In return for serving his knightly lord, each peasant is given a small tract of land for his family and can be expected to be called upon for service in times of war.

The Knights' forces typically consist of the stronger Men-at-Arms and the more lowly Bowmen levies. The lands of Bretonnia are somewhat rural, often having little to no innovation's in science and philosophy, and are somewhat backwards compared to the more technologically advanced nations, such as the Dwarves and the Empire.  Often shunning advanced weapon's such as Gunpowerder, Cannons, and Machines, seeing them as dishonourable weapons.

The lands are also ruled by spiritual and mystical leaders, the Fay Enchantress, her Damsels, and the Grail Knights, who are all faithful servants to the Lady of the Lake.  The Lady of the Lake gets her servants by stealing all children with magical ability by the age of three. The girls become wizards in service to the Lady, her damsels. The males are never seen again. For reasons of religious devotion parents allow this awful custom.

The Knights of Bretonnia are divided into four categories. Knights Errant are young sons of nobles who must prove themselves in battle.  If successful, they become Knights of the Realm, are granted their own small plot of land to govern, and are obliged to defend Bretonnia should they be called. Questing Knights are brave individuals who renounce their titles and worldly possessions and journey to faraway lands in hopes of being deemed worthy by the Lady (of the Lake) to become Grail Knights.

Grail Knights are the most powerful and revered individuals in all of Bretonnia, second only to the Lady. They are living saints who represent the fearsome power of Bretonnia and answer only to the Lady herself. The Kingdom of Bretonnia is made up of 14 dukedoms: Couronne, L'Anguille, Artois, Lyonesse, Mousillon, Gisoreaux, Montfort, Bastonne, Bordeleaux, Aquitaine, Parravon, Brionne, Quenelles, and Carcassonne. Each of these, with the exception of Mousillon (see below), is ruled by its own Duke, who in turn has various nobles and knights who serve under him. The great castle of the King is in the fortified city of Couronne, traditionally the capital. The Forest of Loren is within the borders of Bretonnia, but is considered to be the forbidden realm of the Wood Elves.

The Commoner's and PeasantsEdit

The lands are notorious for their oppression of the commoners and peasants, which some say are more strict and harsh then those of other Old World nations. This dark side of Bretonnian is put out where, the nobles and nobility are above the peasants in many way's.  They have all the say in most matters, and the peasants are often living in far worst conditions then those in the Empire.

The peasants have nearly few rights at all, and are kept illiterate and uneducated. They are considered property, and must commonly surrender 9/10ths of their crops to their feudal lord.  As a result most of them will remain extremely poor throughout their entire lives. They may also not leave their home province unless allowed; as a result a certain degree of inbreeding is quite common. Many peasants are afflicted by clubfeet, extra fingers, lazy eyes, or similar defects. Bretonnian justice is harsh and ruled by superstision, any peasant who is caught stealing or poaching is usually hanged. An even harsher punishment is dealt to a peasant who attacks a noble. He and his family will be tortured and slowly dismembered, while all his friends and acquaintances will be crippled. Such is the price of rebellion!

A small but growing middle class or commoners, also refered to as Freemen, make up the proffesional trades and merchants within Bretonnian society.  Although litterate for the most part, either self taught or by monks as there are no schools in Brettonia. { All education is by private arangement and stemms from the many Grail Monasteries for a price.}

The artisans, craftsmen and semi professionals live almost exclusivley within the kingdom's few city's, and numerous larger towns situated along the kingdom's coasts and rivers.  They remain socially segregated from the bonded peasants and give feilty to a lord or landed knight but remain free to move with permision from local authorities.  Scholars, advocates doctors and the like are respected for their duties but remain of a lower class than the nobles, with few, if any, rights more than the peasants.  The owership of gold jewelry and horded gold coin be forbiden to the common classes, and merchants must deal almost entirely in copper and silver.  {Officially Gold is used only amongst the nobles, mostly as tax and tithing unto the royal treasury.}    

The {Sumptuary laws} are strictly applyed to this class, with gold and gems forbidden to be worn publicly.  As is cloth of Purple, Bright Yellow or Green, gold and silver thread or silk of any colour.  Furs are restricted to rabbit, cat and rat.  Armour of burnished plate also be forbiden to all lower classes, as is the carrying of heavy swords.  {Anything over the class of a rapier or light saber.}  Freemen are permitted to worship the Lady at shrines {upon a tithe being paid first}, and a number of ther recognised deieties be permitted.  Morr, Shallya, Manan and nominally Varena,                 {this last godess being proscribed in some duchies}, as justice is totaly the baliwick of the nobles and their authorized representitives.  With all authority stemming from the King under divine right. The old religions of Taal and Rhya can still be found in some isolated rural areas.           

The nobles largely worship the Lady of the Lake, considered the national patron deity of chivalry. However the other deities of the Old World are respected and presumably worshipped on occasion. The main priestess of the Lady of Lake is the Faye Enchantress who is respected throughout Bretonnia. Other 'minor' Prophetesses and Damsels roam the kingdom, advising noble families, and occasionally aid Bretonnian armies in battle through their magical abilities. The peasants are not considered worthy enough to worship the Lady of the Lake directly. While they certainly respect and fear her, they usually worship the other deities of the Old World.  Shallya, Verena and Morr are most common.

The Blessing of the LadyEdit

"That which is sacrosanct I shall preserve....That which is sublime I will protect....That which threatens I will destroy....For my Holy Wraith will know no bounds..."
—Vow's of the Grail Knights unto the Lady of the Lake
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The Enchanted Lady of the Lake

Since ancient times, the Bretonnians have worshipped the Lady of the Lake as their goddess and their primary deity, a figure of myth and legend who guides their kings and protects their lands from harm.

Worship of the Lady can be traced to the earilest days of the Kingdom. It is said that she arose from a lake before Gilles le Breton and his Knightly Companions on the dawn of the Great Victoy of Bordeleaux. Wreathed in a fey light, the Lady rose from the water bearing a grail which overflowed with light that spilled into the waters of the lake, blessing the assembled knights until dawn's light broke over the mountains. Gilles famously dipped his bloodied and tattered banner into the radiant waters of the lake crying: "Lady, Bless my Banner", only to lift it from the waters, magically restored and bearing the image of the lady and her glittering grail. Gilles and his Knights rode out and defeated the Orcs, then returned to the lake after the battle to give their thanks to the Lady for her blessings. And at this lake, he and his companions swore great oaths of friendship and to serve the lady and remained together to free the lands of Bretonnia from the monster's that assailed it.

In the years that followed, Gilles and his kngihts went on to win many great victories and since thsoe days, worship of the Lady has spread throughout Bretonnia. The lady herself is very rarely seen, and only in the most verdant depths of the land may she be found by a few priviliged and pure souls. Those who do find her are regarded as highly favoured and are themselves revered.

Appearing as an ageless maiden of unearthly beauty, the Lady will onlyonly appear to those who have faced great peril and are pure of heart. Many knights, wishing to prove their valour, declare that they will go on a Grail Quest and seek the lady of the lake to sup from her sacred chalice and become one of the legendary Grail Knights, warriors of unsurpassing skill who are incapable of malice and impure thought.

Sacred groves and areas of mystical power are her dwellings, and the Grail Knight are her protectors devoting themselves to upholding her honour.  No base creatures or evildoers can profane her sacred places, and this is a duty that every knight in Bretonnia, not just the Grail Knight's, take very seriously indeed. The Bretonnia code of Chivalry is inextricably linked with the Lady of the Lake, as it is she who rewards honour and virtue, and the supreme sign of a knight's favour is to recieved her blessings.

Throughout Bretonnia there are many Grail chapels built upon sites of holy significants, ranging from humble road-side shrines to great fortress cathedrals incorporated into a knight's castle. It is the sacred duty of the Grail Knights to protect these shrines and often such knights will devote the remainder of their lives to defending the Lady's holy places. These knights are known as hermit knights and spend their lives living defending the shrines and relics housedd within.

Places of InterestEdit

There are few cities in Bretonnia. Most nobles live in mighty castles in the countryside surrounded by a village and only the castles of a handful of dukes protect developed towns, which sport the same name as the respective provinces. The people of Bretonnia consider the life in towns to be somewhat unnatural, fit only for the most desperate and poor. The largest towns are seaports, centres of trade and harbours of the Bretonnian fleets.===

MousillonEdit

The Dukedom of Mousillon is the cursed dukedom of Bretonnia. The first Duke, Landuin, is reputed to be the finest knight of the Companions of Gilles le Breton and presumably the finest Knight ever.  However after his untimely death the land fell into darkness and the name is now associated with evil, a refuge for vile men, dishonoured knights and creatures of evil.

The first major incident to tarnish the name of Mousillon involved the Duke Merovech in the Imperial year 1813, during a victory banquet held to celebrate the defeat of an invasion of Bretonnia by the Skaven.  The knights and nobles who attended were disgusted to see his halls decorated with impaled criminals and the meals served by shambling servants who more resembled the undead than living men.

In a drunken fury, Merovech accused the other nobles of insulting his hospitality, causing the King to challenge him. In the inevitable duel that followed, Merovech ripped the King's throat out and drank his blood from a goblet. (There is no evidence to suggest he was a Vampire, however).

The rest of Bretonnia denounced the duke, and invaded Mousillon. Many of his own knights renounced their feudal oaths to him and swore allegiance to Lyonesse. After a bloody final battle, Merovech was slain. Five hundred years later Mousillon was involved in the Affair of the False Grail in which the Lord and Lady of Mousillon perished during a siege of their castle, and a new duke has never been appointed.

However in recent years rumours of a self-appointed Duke have begun to circulate, a black-armoured knight who is assembling the evil men and creatures that dwell there. It has been rumored that the current King, Louen Leoncoeur, is planning to lead a fresh invasion of Mousillon. It is no secret that many Bretonnians would love to see Mousillon burned to the ground and destroyed once and for all. 

BrionneEdit

Brionne, one of the smaller duchies of Bretonnia, is nevertheless famed for its priavteers. The merchants and sea captains of Marienburg insist that Brionnese privateers are the scourge of their trade.===

CouronneEdit

The King of Bretonnia's personal fief, the Duchy of Couronne is where he keeps court. The King's personal castle is built upon Elven ruins. Additionally, there is a temple of Shallya in Couronne that is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the entire Old World.===

BordeleauxEdit

The Duchy of Bordeleaux is justly famed for the quality of its wine.

HolidaysEdit

All holidays within Brettonia stem from the foundation of the Kingdom, with the traditions of the original Bretonni tribes suborned or rededicated unto the Lady Of The Lake.   These holy days now take preeminence above all others. 

Witching NightEdit

Upon the first night after both moons are full in the new year, or three weeks after after the winter solstice, as Moreslieb be notoriously unregular in its celestial movements.  All Bretonians celebrate the Lady's protection of the land from evil magic.  It stemmed from a celebration of the eighth battle of Sir Gilles Le Breton.  Where the Divine Lady did bless the damsel's of his army, and the "good magic" wielded by them upon the field of battle. A tradition has arisen throughout the Duchies that place the women of Bretonnia in charge of this celebration. Thus honouring the Damsel's with a sign of respect. Great bonfires are lit and effigies of male Mages and warlocks are burned upon them. In many rural areas an actual living wizard, sorcerer or warlock is captured and cast upon the fire, with varied levels of success. Always it must being a woman who lights the bonfire upon this night.

Lilly DayEdit

This being a celebration of the spring solstice originally.  A celebration of new growth, and is concurrent with the Empire's {More-Growth} day.  It is thus the most popular day for weddings.  Most villages and towns in rural areas still follow an ancient tradition of choosing the most beautiful Maiden and proclaiming her the { Lady of Lillies. }  She then presides over all festivities for the day thus being a queen for a day, able to pronounce new engagements and annul an arranged marriage, if just cause can be shown.===

Peace TideEdit

The celebration of Sir Gilles Le Breton's final grand victory over the orks, thus forging the Kingdom.  Festivals are centered around plays about and dramatic re-enactments of, the first King's great battles.  A grand feast is held with Tournies and Jousts.  Pledges of fealty are being renewed this day, along with displays of strength and martial prowess preformed upon the Lists and at the Butts.  Prizes usually being given out to the greatest Swordsman, Horseman, Wrestler and common born Archer upon the end of each grand Tourny. An older tradition from tribal days, holds that any ongoing feuds or conflicts within a community, shouldst being resolved.  Even if by duel of honour or a battle of champions unto death if demanded by both parties.  Adjudicated by their local lord, bailiff or a respected monk, whom is being a lay cleric of a recognized and royally patented Grail Monastery Brotherhood.===

Day of MysteryEdit

This day marks the day of the { Lady Of The Lake's } first appearance unto Gilles Le Breton, allowing him to drink from the Grail thus creating the first Grail Knight.  It is the most holy day throughout Bretonnia.  The barriers betwix the Lady's realm and mortal, mundane reality are said to grow verily thin upon this day and night.  Most people- { thus meaning Nobles, freemen and merchants not peasants} -spend the day safely within a grail shrine, chapel or temple cathedral.  Contemplating their sins and asking the Lady for her forgivness.===

Grail DayEdit

Originally a day meant for the honouring of the Holy Grail.  Grail Day has lately degenerated into a festival honouring the finest wines.  A day of carousing and excessive drinking of wine drunk fully undiluted.  A  great feast is partaken of by the entire community, along with many Tornies and Jousting.  Players, Jesters, Minstrels and artists are also honoured upon this day.  As the specter of winter and the monsters of chaos it brings out, approches.  Everyone celebrates in an air of nervous lurking fear of the harsh and long dark days to come.

Kings SleepEdit

At the approch of the Midwinter solstice, in the deepest darkest days of the year.  All gather together to remember that like the trees and meadows.  Winter is turning and the land merely sleeps, as does the first and greatest king of the land { Gilles La Breton.}   That he naught be dead only resting, awaiting the time he is needed again.  This Holy day be marked with plays depicting his divine departure and return, along with prayers of a speedy end to the cold days of winter.  A grand feast is held as all welcome the return of spring and regrowth, thus incorporating much older Bretonni celebrations and  tribal druidic traditions.  Very few places, beyond the the most isolated rural communities, still preform a blood sacrifice at the shortest day of the year.  Known infamously as the Burning-man ritual.  Even though such practice has been outlawed by the Grail Council and the King in Couronne.===

Days Of The WeekEdit

The standard Eight Bretonnian days of the week, evolved with a heavy influence from the tribal traditions of their Empire cousins. There are of course many differences. Different names and cultural traditions colouring them greatly, as befits the more stable and civilized system of Feudal guardianship found within the Kingdom of Gilles La Breton.  The calendar has nary been so formalized, nor so rigorously enforced as within the Empire.  The actual order of the days, their importance and traditions in organizing a community, and the daily tasks required to keep all running smoothly, varies greatly from Duchy too Duchy, and even within them depending upon how isolated a community is from its neighbours.   The order here mentioned be standard for the region of City Couronne and its neighbours.  {Thus should it nary be the standard of the entire kingdom.}  A goal which the Brotherhood of the Grail council, endeavors to achieve at some future date. All days are being listed first in the common Gothic root tongue of the peasant stock, then in the noble {High Bretonnian} tongue.

Levy Day  {Jour-de' Levy.}Edit

All peasants and freemen of a labouring trade, are commanded to practice of the Bow and staff upon this day.  Being the start of a new week, the local lord or knight, gathers his Mense obligation and peasant Levy.  There to drill them upon the order of battle should they ever be required at call. Thus the day has become a day of freindly competition amongst men, in the martial skills and the building of comradeship under arms.

Kings Day  {Le Jour du Roi.}Edit

This is being the first official work day of the week and most commonly held as the first day of the week in most other Duchies.  All folk return to work in honour of the King, peasants doth give of their labour unto their feudal lord and master as tithe.  Thus they work the land and estate of their master in joyful service and loyal duty.

Market Day  {Le Jour de Marche.}Edit

Upon this day, also known as {Merchant's Day}, within all the larger towns and few cities of Bretonnia.  All tradesmen and merchants are allowed to gather, thus too barter or trade in coin of the realm for goods and services.  Although those larger towns with a royal patent to trade and commerce, have permanent markets and trading on a daily basis.  Peasants also are being allowed to barter crops and handmade goods for like, or with the permission of their noble master, even for copper coin.   The holding of gold and silver being forbidden unto peasants and bonded common labourers in many areas still.

Baking Day  {Jour de Cuisson.} Edit

Bakers and millers are being honoured upon this day.  Unsold and day old loaves are offered out to the poor and needy as charity.  Fresh baked loaves are seen as a greater act of chivalry thus honouring the Lady, and better for gaining her special favour.  In rural areas a baguette or croissant will be left out by the back door of a house, along side a small bowl of milk or a cup of wine to honour the local Faye.  It is not unknown for a small favour to being found left in return, within the cup or bowl the next morning.  Thus to reward a particularly fine wine or baked offering.  This comes usually in the form of a small protective charm or talisman, thus marking the wearer as favoured by the Faye spirits, and a friend of the forest folk. Beware in using such charms though, as the little people have a very odd sense of humor, and one may not like the results of their favours.

Tithing Day   {Jour de la Dime.}Edit

This marks the mid week. Craftsmen and all freemen may offer of their labour or goods, unto their Noble lord.  This in lieu of Tax in coin upon this day, upon prior arrangement with the receiving Noble party. All peasants must work the fields or within the castle of their lord and master as due their divinely mandated and loyal duty.  This be upon and not in lieu of their normal tithes in the form of crops coin and hand made goods upon agreement.  The Bailiffs and other authorized representatives do their rounds and collect such tithing upon this day each week.

Commons Day  {Le Plaide pour Jour.}Edit

The day upon which one's noble lord and master hears the complaints of those needing advocacy.  Judgement is taken against those whom have transgressed against their peers or have betrayed their duties.  No class may make or pursue an acusaition upon those of a higher class.   All higher ranking Nobles beyond the level of rural knight of the realm, or those with large estates and many folk under their guardianship.  May entitle a junior knight or illegitimate offspring as their Sheriff, or hire a studied Magistrate and official Advocates to do this duty under their authority.  All punishments, trials and their subsequent executions, are reviewed and carried out upon this day.

Lady's Day  {Du Jour de la Sainte Vierge.} Edit

The most Blessed day of the week.  All  Nobles and freemen spend the last half day in chapel.  Proclaiming their loyalty unto the Divine Guardian of the Land.  Peasants may be required to re-swear their loyalty and service unto her Noble representatives.  Towards which all are joyfully beholding and indebted.  This day is traditionally finished with a meal of fish or any other water related fair if possible.  Peasants will usually try to partake of a frog stew.  Thus honouring the {Lady Of The Lake}.

Rest Day  {Le Jour de Repos.} Edit

Thus we reach the end of the week, to rest and spend time with family and friends, in play and dance and song.  Thus To enjoy all that the fair land of Bretonnia offers its loyal people. Peasants are permitted to work their master's land and serve within his castle for only half the day.  Then are allowed to  work their own or gather food and, {If allowed to as a reward.}  Hunt within the forest and field for mushrooms, { not truffles }, berries, frogs insects and even a brace of rabbit, { if they have been particularly loyal and dutiful! }  Within most large towns and all cities the common folk are permitted to use this time, thus to beg for charity without harassment.  From noon till sunset those with wealth and or Nobility, use the time to show their Noble chivalry and generosity of spirit.  Thus earning the good favour of the LADY, and mayhaps the admiration of ones peers or sweetheart.

SourcesEdit

  • Armybook: Bretonnia (5th Edition) pg. 5 - 34, 17 - 19
  • Armybook: Bretonnia (6th Edition) pg. 6 - 28
  • Knights of the Grail (RPG) pg. 6 - 11, 14 - 20, 21 - 29, 30 - 34, 36 - 42
  • Barony of the Damned (RPG) pg. 6 - 10
  • Warhammer fantasy {RPG} 1986 - 2009 
  • Tome of Salvation {RPG}

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