Bretonnia – The End Times

 

The End Times

“Climax of the Bretonnian Civil War (Mid 2523)
Around the time just before Volkmar’s Crusade against the darkness in Sylvania or the Wars fought against the barbarian hordes of northern Kislev, the Kingdom of Bretonnia was engulfed in internal conflict as a usurper from the fallen Dukedom of Mousillon rose to challenge the Knights of Bretonnia. Mallobaude, bastard son of the King, has long been gathering his own army in hopes of overtaking Bretonnia and claim the throne for his own. That time finally came by the Twilight’s Tide of 2521 IC, when he rode out with an army of disgraced knights. Despite King Louen Leoncouer’s calls for Bretonnia’s armies to unite against this force, Duke Armand of Aquitaine rode out to face Mallobaude arrogantly, along with the Fay Enchantress, Morgiana Le Fey. At the devastating Battle of Châlons, Armand’s forces were slowly overcome by the formidable host of Mallobaude and were on the verge of a massacre. However, the dryad Drycha and a host of forest spirits emerged from the Forest of Châlons and fought alongside Duke Armand. Then, as suddenly as they had appeared, the forest spirits left without a trace. The Battle was lost, and even worse, the Fey Enchantress was nowhere to be found. After the battle, the Dukedoms of Carcassonne, Lyonesse, and Artois defected to Mallobaude’s side.

Though Mallobaude’s armies were vast, King Louen had the blessings of the Lady at his side, and in due time the King had managed to subdue the treacherous dukes and bring their rebellious dukedoms back into the fold. A year into the campaign, King Louen felt confident that he could end this war very soon. However, by the time he met in bastard son at the Battle of Quenelles, on the Winter’s Eve of 2522 IC, the King saw before him a massive horde of Undead warriors under the banner of Malloude and his new ally Arkhan the Black. Vastly outnumbered, the Bretonnian knights began to slowly lose ground until the sudden arrival of the Wood Elves of Athel Loren turned the tide of the battle. Though the battle had been won, at the final height of the fighting, the Bretonnian King fought his son in single combat and lost. With the fall of their king, the Bretonnian armies retrieve the body of their King and sounded the retreat, with the Wood Elves carrying their Queen to safety of Athel Loren.

By the last years of the war in 2523 IC, with the majority of Bretonnia’s military all but defeated, Malloude began to offer a challenge to any knight who would face him in single combat. At Gisoreux, Adelaix, Montfort and many more, he bested all who came against him, believing himself unbeatable by any mortal man, as promised by the dark whispers of Arkhan the Black. Within the city of Couronne, what remains of Bretonnia’s armies stood united against him. Though he outnumbered them greatly, in his arrogance he sent one last challenge towards the remaining dukes. To his horror, the challenger that came to meet him was the immortal Green Knight. Realizing his mistake, the bastard son tried to flee, but was killed when the Green Knight spurred forth and decapitated his head. With their master slain, the Undead forces quickly disintegrate and the remainder of his living armies were quickly overcome, with Arkhan nowhere to be seen.

With Malloude’s body burned to ash, the remaining Dukes began to squabble over the ascension of the throne. Civil war was imminent, but the sudden appearance of Bretonnia’s first king Gilles le Breton, as the Green Knight suddenly stopped the internal conflict. Given new life by the Lady, King Gilles stood beside his people as the first signs of the impending apocalypse began.

Days after Gilles’ recoronation as Royarch, plague broke out in the southern dukedoms of Quenelles and Carcassone. Then came the Warpstone meteors, blazing across the night sky and landing in multiple locations across the realm. Within days, mutation began to run rife amongst the populace, and swollen by their numbers, Beastmen warherds by the hundreds began to ravage the lands without resistance. Shrines, villages and towns were quickly lost, including the Dukedom of Bordeleaux’s capital city after it was sucked into a Warp rift. With a quarter of their population slain, another quarter left the kingdom and sought refuge within the Empire. Seeing the horrors that has begun to plague his homeland, King Gilles summoned his heralds and declared the last and most grandest Errantry War in their history. Within days, hundreds or thousands of Knights have flocked towards his banner, and began to mobilize to face the agents of Chaos in combat.

Thus Arkhan led his forces towards the foothills of the Vault, just south of the Imperial province of Wissenland. There he met with the infamous Lichemaster Heinrich Kemmler and his ancient thrall Krell, Lord of Undeath. Having fought alongside Malloube during the Bretonnian Civil War, Krell and Kemmlers support would be instrumental for the battles ahead.

The three traveled deeper in the Vaults where within the web-strewn tombs that line the mountainside, the two Necromancers raised the dead of battles long passed. With his regime of Drakenhof Templars bolstered by fresh troops, Arkan marched north directly through the ravaged lands of the Dukedom of Carcassonne and Brionne. With little to oppose his advance, the supposively small army slowly grew ever larger as the dead of the lands stir to life. Despite the kingdoms state, what remains of Bretonnia’s armies could not let such an enemy run wild in their lands, and so a force of Bretonnian Knights and Levies gathered under the banner of Duke Tancred II of Quenelles, attacked the Undead army as they entered the Dukedom of Brionne. However, the Dukes mad rage at the lost of his Dukedom and the hatred he had for the Undead proved his downfall as he drove far too deep into the Undead ranks where he finally fell in battle by his arch-enemy Kemmler.

With the lost of Duke Tancred II, the rulership of Quenelles fell towards his distant cousin, Jerrod Palatine of Asareux. Demanding revenge, Jerrod asked the prophetess Lady Elynesse for her aid in finding what the Undead are after. Finding out their intentions, Duke Jerrod rode with the remaining knights and met with Duke Theodoric of Brionne at La Maisontaal Abbey. In desperation to absolve a pass sin during his treachery at the Bretonnian Civil War, Duke Theodric in his zeal ordered to sally forth and attack the Undead upon the open fields.

Twelfth Battle of La Masontaal (Mid 2523)

Upon the night of the Twelfth Battle of La Masontaal, the armies of Arkhan and Krell marched against the armies of Duke Theodric and what remains of Bretonnia’s valiant defenders at the meadows just a few miles from La Maisontaal. At Arkhan’s command, the Undead forces of The Arisen and The Hungry formed form themselves into a single titanic horde that would be used as a rotting battering ram against the hastily assembled Bretonnian battle-lines. So tightly-packed was the Undead horde in front of the Bretonnians that it would seem impossible for Duke Theodric and his array of Trebuchets and the archers of Ennar’s Outlaws to miss their intended target, even against the dark and gloom of the battlefield.

By the time the first assault wave crossed no more than half the battlefield, that the Bretonnian bombardment suddenly erupted. A hail of firestorms soon burst upon the undead ranks as the sky was ablaze with a rain of fire-arrows and flaming rock. Even under the shower of enemy fire, the Undead continued their advance. Arkhan and Kemmler used their combined magical might to resurrect the fallen dead as quickly as they were killed, and soon the attrition the bombardment inflicted upon the Undead horde was reduced to a mere annoyance. With the Undead forces advancing towards the line, the Bretonnian skirmishers fell back behind the shieldwalls of the Rapscallards. Krell and the Wights of Stonewrath Tarn were the first to come into contact with the enemy. Battered but unbroken, the peasant shield-wall held their line until a horn signaled the Bretonnian counter-attack.

To the right and left, a force of Bretonnian Knights of Aldrad’s Lance led by Montglaive d’Treseaux and Duke Theodoric began a pincer-movement against the enemy flanks. This attack troubled Kemmler little, for the true threat of this attack were the Three Sisters of Ancelious that stood behind the embattled shield-wall, woving counter-spells to halt the two Necromancers resurrection spells. Enrage that a trio of woman would dare to challenge his magical might, Kemmler wove a counter-spell that conjured a lightning bolt from the dark sky, striking the damsels into charred bones.

With dawn rising, Duke Theodric still drove deep into the Undead ranks without noticing the damsels demise. From there the Duke charged towards Arkhan the Black whilst he was preoccupied with controlling his army, and with a mighty swing of his axe-blade, the Duke crunched through Arkhan’s battle armor and smashed the necromancer to the ground. Before striking the killing blow, Theodric was attacked by the vampire Anark von Carstein, and was killed by decapitation. With his death the Bretonnians courage was shattered, and with victory nearly achieved, Arkhan surveyed the battlefield to find the Necromancer Heinrich Kemmler missing.

Upon the Vaults of the Abbey, Kemmler retrived the Great Staff of Nagash from its resting place and turned towards Arkhan as he entered the room, revealing his secret pact with the Gods of Chaos and his intention to keep the staff for himself. With a deafing crack, La Maisontaal exploded as a magical duel soon erupted within it’s foundations. Outside the abbey, Duke Jerrod and a host of Gioffre’s Lance and Fastric’s Skylance charged over the horizon and slammed against the Undead’s rear-guard. But when the Abbey exploded, what remains of their resolve was shattered as rubble the size of houses fell upon them. Realizing that the battle was lost, Duke Jerrod signaled the retreat for the remaining Bretonnian forces still alive. As the blare of horns echoed throughout the battlefield, Arkhan drew himself up from the ruins of the Abbey and swept thick ash from his robes. With the death of Kemmler, Arkhan retrieved the Staff and began the long trip back into Sylvania.

Within the ritual itself, Arkhan the Black had completed the first stage of the summoning. Scarlet light pulsed deep within the stones as the magic within the Staff of Alakanash and the Nine Books of Nagash created a massive magical barrier on the edge of the ritual circle. In time, the sacrifices were made. Morgiana le Fay of Bretonnia was cut open, her blood filling the cauldron at the center of the circle, while the defiant Volkmar stood ankle-deep in her blood, spiting holy curses at Arkhan, even as his body was encased in Morikhane, the black armor of Nagash. The last sacrifice lay bound on the edge of the stone circle, Aliathra, Everchild of Ulthuan.”

 

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