Calard of Garamont

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Calard of Garamont

Calard of Garamont was a famous and mighty Grail Knight, Bretonnian Lord of Garamont, Castellan of Bastonne and one of the Companions of Quenelles.

History

Born along with his sister Anara into the noble family of Garamont, Calard's mother died when he was very young - he was always told it was the result of a miscarriage. His father eventually remarried and had another son, Bertelis. By the time Calard and his brother had entered manhood, they were already skilled warriors, trained by a famed old knight in the arts of war. They, along with many other young knights, would be called to war against a massive Beastmen invasion, experiencing war for the first time. The brothers would be forged through the trials of battle, fighting alongside Reolus, a renowned and mighty grail knight[1].

Calard's early adventures involved the discovery of his long lost sister Anara, who had become a powerful Damsel of the Lady and Reolus's paramour. After defeating the Beastmen, Calard and Bertelis learned that the invasion had just been a diversion while the tribe's leader, The Gave, travelled across Bretonnia and invaded Castle Garamont. Transported by mystical means provided by Anara, the brothers would confront The Gave, only for the beast to remove its mask of skin and sinew to reveal its disfigured, but undeniably human face. Anara revealed that The Gave was their brother, who they believed had died at birth, instead he was discarded, and their mother killed herself in shame at having borne such a monster. Calard would defeat and kill The Gave, but not before it took its revenge by inflicting a mortal wound on Lord Garamont.[1].

During this confrontation, Calard's life came crashing down, when Anara revealed that Lord Garamont was already dying, having received doses of poison from Calard's fiancée, Elisabet. The young noblewoman feared that Calard's father, who had long favored his second wife and their son Bertelis, would disown him, leaving him poor and destitute - and by extension her if she married him. Confronted, Elisabet confessed, but pleaded that she had only done it for the sake of their love. Calard turned his back on her as she fled from the castle.[1].

The grieving Calard, still very young, would become the new Lord of Garamont, though he was daunted by his new responsibilities and was frequently absent from Garamont for hunts, tournaments, and social visits to neighboring lords. Unknown to him, his family's faithful Chamberlain, Folcard, was convinced, that because of the Gave, Calard and his sister were both cursed. For the good of the Garamont bloodline, they had to be killed.[2]

Knight of the Realm

It was during a tournament that Calard heard of a Norscan war party attacking Bretonnia. The famed knight Laudethaire spoke of a woman held hostage within their camp, and along with Calard, Bertelis and the Grail Knight Reolus, led a rescue mission. The brave knights stormed the camp and discovered the woman was none other than Elisabet, Calards former lover. Rescuing her from a ritual performed by the Chaos Lord Egil Styrbjorn, they hacked their way out of the camp, as the enraged Styrbjorn looked on. He would claim back his only son at any cost.

Now pregnant with a demon child, Elisabet was cared for by her former fiancé and his sister, but Styrbjorn had invaded Bretonnia to claim his son. A bloody war would ensue with combatants from both sides dying in the thousands, including Laudethaire. Eventually Styrbjorn would stand before his army offering a deal: he would face his enemies greatest warrior - Reolus - in mortal combat; if he defeated his opponent, the Bretonnians were honour-bound to hand over his son and the Norscan army would leave[2].

Reolus accepted the challenge, despite Anara's pleas. A titanic duel would ensue, with Reolus seeming to have the advantage, but the mighty chaos warrior was the favoured of Khorne and a wound that should have killed him simply regenerated. Reolus would eventually be defeated, his head cleaved from his shoulders by the enemy that could finally best him. Honour bound, Calard and Bertelis made their way to the castle and pleaded with Elisabet to hand over her child. The girl was hysterical, the half-demon child torturing her mind. When Calard was eventually given the child, his former lover ran after him crying. Bertelis grabbed Elisabet and in his anger, hit her. Calard heard a scream as Elisabet hurtled down the stairs of the keep, running to her body as his sister told him she was dead. Calard turned to Bertelis with anger and grief, declaring that they were no longer brothers. With anger in his heart, Calard left the castle to deliver the baby to its Norscan father, who then left Bretonnia with a single message, he would return one day alongside his fell son, ready to destroy the kingdom.[2].

Calard had also survived an assassination attempt by three of his cousins, who formed part of his retinue. Dying, the last of them confessed that Folcard had ordered his death. Immediately upon Calard's return to Garamont, Folcard was hanged, along with the witch, Haegtesse, with whom Elisabet had conspired to poison his father. Deciding that his path was clear, Calard passed the lordship of Garamont to his young cousin, Orlando, with his friend and mentor Baron Montcadas as regent, leaving Garamont to take up the quest for the grail.[2]

Questing Knight

Now several years into his quest, Calard had become a figure of renown. Seeking the Lady’s divine favour, he had bested creatures foul and murderous in the forests of the Empire, championed the oppressed in the burning lands of Araby far to the south, and battled alongside dwarf thanes against screaming hordes of greenskins far beneath the Worlds Edge Mountains. He had fought and won a dozen duels of honour, one against a monstrous Ogre Tyrant. He had battled trolls upon the frozen oblast of Kislev, rescued a nobleman’s daughter from sacrifice at the hands of a band of cultists beneath Altdorf, and emerged victorious from the famed Dance of Blades in the cutthroat city of Sartosa within Tilea. He had battled hulking monsters in the blizzards of the northlands, and tracked and killed the dread Jabberslythe of Ostwald. He had been hunted by pallid, blind ogre-kin through the labyrinths beneath the Mountains of Mourn and emerged triumphant. Most recently and had slain – several times – a monstrous immortal Wyvern that refused to stay dead. He had fought beneath the burning heavens in the Realm of Chaos and survived its countless horrors – there were few things in the world that could truly unnerve him.[4]

Six years into his arduous quest, Calard would return to discover Garamont in ashes, destroyed by a powerful enemy. The anger at the destruction of his homeland would spur Calard on, more determined than ever. The years on the road had hardened him, like a sword tempered in the forge. Through all the trials and hardships set against him he had emerged triumphant, and with every passing month his mind, body and soul had been strengthened. Travelling to the nearby lands of Sangasse, he would learn from his old rival Maloric that it was a pair of vampiric knights who slaughtered his family.[4]

The Questing Knight would soon be led to the cursed city of Mousillon, where he would discover that Duke Merovech, once a famed and mighty warrior, turned traitor and kingslayer, had returned from centuries of death. Revealed to be a powerful Vampire, the evil Duke had been amassing an undead army powerful enough to destroy Bretonnia. Calard would infiltrate the ancient keep of Mousillon to discover his brother, now a mighty Blood Knight and champion of Merovech himself. Bertelis would reveal that it was he who led the attack on Garamont, killing all who stood before him alongside his vile Duke. Corrupted by guilt and the transition to undeath, Bertelis attacked his own homeland hoping to find and kill his brother. A fierce battle would ensue, with the Duke of Mousillon watching as his favoured get fought against his own brother. Bertelis was deadly, faster and stronger than any mortal could ever hope to be, Vampirism had added to his already impressive skill in combat, rivaling even the late Reolus in skill. Calard could only hope to block his brother's mighty blows with his shield.[4].

Meanwhile the vile denizens of Mousillon, in a weak attempt of rebellion had burst into the castle, led by a Varghulf, long imprisoned by Merovech and hungry for revenge. This distraction allowed Calard to seize his opportunity, striking his brother down and turning him to ash and bone. Calard managed to escape just after Merovech had torn the mighty Varghulf's throat out, swearing to save Bretonnia from the man who had corrupted his brother and threatened his kingdom.[4].

Calard's travels eventually brought him to the forest of Athel Loren, it was here that he helped save the Wood Elves from destruction, fighting through the magics of the fey forest and battling the false visions that it gave him. Calard's journey ended with him dueling the ancient Drycha and banishing her from the realm.

The Grail Quest would finally end when Calard battled Gilles le Breton in his form as the immortal Green Knight, avatar of The Lady herself. Landing a mighty blow upon the knight and even matching him in skill, Calard realized that simply defeating him was not enough. He lowered his sword and bent a knee, offering his life for the Lady and ending the test. Supping from the grail, Calard joined the ranks of the mighty Grail Knights, his eyes burned with a fey light, he was more than mortal and now capable of exacting his revenge on Merovech. The god-king Orion, owing Calard a debt for saving Athel Loren, chose the Grail Knight to help him lead the Wild Hunt, straight into the heart of Bretonnia.[5].

"Calard was able to match the fury and power of his foe, and for a time it seemed that the battle might rage on forever, a never-ending duel within the mists. Time lost all meaning. All that existed was the contest. Neither warrior was able to overcome the other, and their blades were a blur as they cut and thrust. -- Calard the Questing Knight, fighting Gilles le Breton"

The Hero of Bretonnia

Merovech led an army of undeath into the heart of Bretonnia, slaughtering the army amassed before him. King Louen Leoncoeur himself, would enter the battle mounted atop a mighty hippogryph. The king defeated all who stood before him, but eventually a lucky blow would send his mount crashing down, pinning him beneath its bulk. Merovech, seeing the king trapped, approached his foe, wielding two mighty swords, and readied the killing blow. A light flashed as the Wild Hunt arrived, Calard stormed down the hill alongside the living god Orion, white fire flickering up the length of his blessed lance. His heart filled with rage as he saw the vast undead army besieging Couronne and his eyes blazed with holy fire. He kicked his noble steed on to match the god of the woods, lowering his lance as he neared the enemy battle line. Calard galloped ahead, the enemy falling in droves beneath the thrust of his lance and the cut of his sword. Calard fought like the living saint that he was, holy flames coruscating from his sword, his eyes flaring with fey light. He alone remained unaffected by the fury infusing the others that rode with Orion. His every blow brought ruin on the enemies of Bretonnia. He could feel the power of the Grail pounding through his veins. The enemy fell before him like wheat beneath a scythe. He forsaw the strike of every spear and rusted sword moments before it happened, and he turned them aside effortlessly, countering with devastating blows that splintered bones and shattered blades.

He saw Merovech then, looming over the stricken King, he ploughed into the Duke's vampire bodyguard, a shining light spearing through the darkness and the driving rain. Unholy Blood Knights moved to protect their dark lord. Their eyes were filled with hatred, but there was fear there too - the shining light Calard exuded was anathema to those creatures of the night, and it caused them great pain to even look upon him. Known as the "Seneschals", and garbed in archaic armour of ancient design, each was a mighty warrior and dark champion in their own right, but even so, they perished under Calards furious charge, lance and sword skewering blackened hearts and sending dragon-helmed heads into the air.

Calard shouted towards Duke Merovech, drawing the vampire away from the fallen King, he batted aside a vicious swinging broadsword, and his lightning riposte stabbed deep into the flesh of another Seneschal, the white flame flickering up his sword, making the devils skin blacken and blister. It was then that the fell Duke swung towards Calard.

Despite the Duke's superhuman speed and strength, Calard was no longer a mortal warrior, and after a brief and brutal duel, Merovech, vampire Duke of Mousillon, was destroyed.[5].

The vampire tore the lance from its throat and rose to meet him. Merovech had lost one of his swords; the other one he gripped in both hands. He hissed, and hurled himself at Calard. The Sword of Garamont came up, smashing Merovech’s sword aside. Calard allowed his momentum to carry him around, so that he had his back turned to his enemy. With a movement so fast it was little more than a blur, he spun his sword around... -- Calard during his duel with Merovech.”

Destiny

Fifty years later, Calard - now one of Bretonnia's greatest heroes - would stand at the head of an army, his feats and exploits were renowned throughout the land, but there was one more task for him to complete. Facing him was a massive horde of Chaos led by Egil Styrbjorn; his destiny had come. As the two warriors spoke to each other, Styrbjorn would call forth his son, for a duel that would once again decide the outcome of a war... and Bretonnia's survival.[5]

"Calard could feel the daemon writhing within the warriors flesh, but more disturbing still was the fact that he could see the features of Elisabet, the woman he had once loved, reflected in the creatures face. This was the offspring of Styrbjorn and Elisabet, the deamon-child for which so many had died. 'fight well my son,' said Styrbjorn stepping aside. The daemon came towards Calard, unsheathing a massive double-handed cleaver from a scabbard strapped across his back. Dark flames rippled across the length of the blade. Calard drew the Sword of Garamont and stepped out to meet him, his own blade wreathed in a pale fire. 'Lady guide my blade', murmered Calard. Thunder rumbled across the heavens, and under the watchful gaze of the Bretonnian and Norse armies, the two champions of the gods came together. -- Calard facing the Son of Styrbjorn."[5]

Fate

By the beginning of the End Times, Lord Calard of Garamont was finally starting to physically age. Despite this he was one of Bretonnia's greatest defenders as one of the Companions of Quenelles. During the siege of Averheim, the ageing hero fell alone against innumerable odds, with a sword in his hand and a curse on his lips.

As a Grail Knight, Calard's spirit would eventually be resurrected in a new world, inhabited by all who had supped from the grail of Lileath, part of her final plan to preserve humanity.

Weapons and Abilities

Calard was a fearsome warrior. one of the greatest to walk the Old World, renowned by other Knights and feared by even the mightiest Vampires and Chaos Lords. Even before his ascension to a Grail Knight, he was capable of defeating many monstrous foes, Having slain Trolls, Wyverns, Ogre Tyrants and even a monstrous Jabberslythe in combat. He had defeated the ancient Drycha and equalled Gilles le Breton himself in their penultimate duel, passing his final test and drinking from the grail.

Like all Grail Knights, Calard was blessed with an abnormally long lifespan and possessed strength, speed and endurance beyond any mortal warrior, he was also protected against fell magic and could predict enemies attacks seconds in advance, these abilities added to his already deadly skill in combat, honed through years of fighting the most powerful of foes.

  • The Sword of Garamont was a powerful artefact, blessed by a kiss from the Lady herself, it blazed with a fey light as it struck down its enemies. A weapon of holy might, blood would trickle off the blade as if it were oil and it could cut through the greatest of armors with ease. In the hands of Calard it was a weapon of righteous death, his speed and strength allowing it to cut down enemies in their droves.
  • Elith-Anar - The Dawn Spirit, was a mighty elven lance, its hilt was forged into the face of a snarling dragon, and its blade blazed with a pale fire. He weilded this lance as if it was but a sword, skewering his enemies and throwing them to the ground with ease.
  • During his fight against Merovech and his Blood Knights, Calard demonstrated an ability much like the "Bane of the Undead" gifted to Amalric of Gaudaron. His very presence induced great pain and was an anathema to those who clung to unlife.

Gallery

Sources