Grail Knight

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A mighty Grail Knight.[5]
"He seemed like an immortal, divine paladin, a faultless living legend, and strength majesty and faith radiated from him like the heat from an inferno." -- The arrival of a Grail Knight.[6]

Grail Knights were among the most devastating cavalry in the Old World, living saints infused with the power of an elder God, the first being the revered Grail Companions of legend.[3]

Overview

A Grail Knight faces a Daemon Prince of Slaanesh.[9]

Considered the ultimate human warrior, a Grail Knight is a successful Questing Knight who has fulfilled his quest. He must slay Orcs, Dragons and countless other monsters, fight duels with Chaos Knights and resist all manner of worldly temptations. If he is true to these challenges, he will find his way to a hidden glade and behold the Lady of the Lake, only then is he allowed to drink from the holiest of artifacts, the Grail. Upon this moment he becomes a Grail Knight, infused with part of the goddess's own power. Mighty fighters who know no fear, they are among the most potent warriors in the World, only the most skilled Blood Knights and Chaos Champions can hope to match a Grail Knight in combat. To defeat them is made harder still by the fanatical Battle Pilgrims, warriors who swarm around their living saint, slaying all who are unworthy to reach their master.[2][3][6][11]

Very few knights survive and fulfill the quest for the Grail, having to travel the Old World slaying the greatest of enemies and performing many heroic deeds. Fewer still survive a taste of the blessed waters from the chalice, those being the purest and most unblemished of knights. Grail Knights have vastly changed lives having supped from the Grail, becoming irrevocably committed to the service of the Lady of the Lake. They stand taller and broader in stature than before. In battle and on campaign they can endure greater hardships than any ordinary knight as if they were of no effect. Mighty foes will look upon them with fear. When they speak their voices will be far richer than normal men, demanding awesome authority and inspiring confidence in all who listen. They know no fear or despair. Even magic often fails to affect them at all.[3][12]

The mystical waters of the chalice ensure that Grail Knights are granted lifespans many times that of normal men, as well as other, stranger gifts. All signs of age, scarring and fatigue are removed. They are blessed with enhanced strength, speed and endurance. Many have been known to heal wounds and use the gift of prophecy, while others have blessed auras, which can weaken or kill those enemies deemed unholy. Weapons wielded by a Grail Knight often radiate with holy power, enchanted by their very touch. Riding atop the greatest of Bretonnian Warhorses, the ground around their mounts is often surrounded by a faint, glowing mist. Grail Knights need no longer pray in hopes of receiving the Blessing of the Lady, for they are ever more protected from arrows and other cowardly weapons.[1][6][8][10]

Grail Knights are feared, esteemed, and respected throughout Bretonnia and beyond. Not even the greatest Knights of the Empire could match these living saints in combat, their enemies cut down in their droves by the righteous fury of the Lady. Each Grail Knight takes over the duties of guarding the holy sanctuaries of the Lady. These are often simple places such as lakes or woodland groves, but all are sacred to the Grail Knights. Should a corrupted creature set foot within one of these places they will face the awesome fury of its defender, for the Grail Knight will never flee from his defence of the Lady’s land. A Grail Knight will only leave his sanctum in dire need, eschewing the luxuries of a noble life for a lifetime of service. Although many nobles often decide they can best guard these places by defending the realm, and so retain their titles, fiefdoms and other responsibilities.[1][2]

Sometimes, when all seems lost, a knight defending his land against impossible odds will be joined by a Grail Knight, coming unbidden to fight at his side. Together they will beat back the foe. After the victory the Grail Knight will ride off, seeking no reward for his efforts. During times of dire peril, the lord of a domain might send word to any Grail Knights in the region, asking for their assistance.[2]

The arrival of a Grail Knight at the gates of a town or city will result in great parades, feasts and a day of rest for all workers. Desperate crowds will fill the streets, whilst the common people fight to touch the champion of the Lady and thus share in her blessing. Grail Knights command respect and awe from all listeners, lowly peasants and mighty dukes alike. It is indeed a bold or foolhardy individual who will speak against a Grail Knight, for their wrath is fearsome and terrible, and their words are those of the Lady. Even within the most remote and isolated village in the realm, people tell the tales of these paragons of earthly virtue, and of their glorious deeds in the Lady's name. To the commoners of Bretonnia, Grail Knights form a pantheon of living deities, their names spoken as a reverent mantra throughout the land, and are often worshipped in their own right. They are tireless, and know neither fear, hardship nor despair, their words and deeds immortalised forever. Some five centuries since his death, many still recount how the eyes of Riquiard of Brascard glowed with a terrible light as he slew the enemies of the Lady, while others speak of a golden aura that protects all Grail Knights from harm. Amongst the most famous of all, Laudyricus of Couronne, was believed to have been possessed of a heart so pure and noble that he was anathema to all unclean creatures and could slay them with his merest touch.[6][2][3]

Alongside famous tales of felling Dragons and other great beasts, Grail Knights are renowned slayers of Vampires and Daemons. The divine blessing of the Lady permeates each and every Grail Knight, and has a debilitating effect on the unholy. Lesser undead such as Skeletons and Zombies crumble and collapse in their presence, while mighty Blood Knights and Vampire Lords find it painful even to look upon them. Grail Knights are highly resistant to the fell powers of Chaos, for the Grail sustains their noble will far more than any magical trickery. Truly, the belief in the nobility of their Lady-blessed cause is even more impervious than their shining armour.[2][6][15]

Grail Knights can seem ageless, but they will eventually start to lose the luster of youth. Later generations of Grail Knights choose to live in old chapels, but new ones may be founded from time to time. These Grail Chapels become the resting places for the bones and magic weapons of these Grail Knights. Knights Errant swear on the relics kept in these Grail Chapels, and in times of peril, its weapons may be taken up in defence of the realm.[12]

Such is the power imbued into each Grail Knight, that even their corpses can be mighty weapons. Many tales can be told of living saints protecting the weak, slaying monstrous foes and participating in great battles, long after they have passed from the mortal world. One example is the Tomb of Galand, its holy aura destroying hordes of Undead and filling a young mortal with enough power to kill a Blood Knight. Even the mighty Archaon could barely stand within the blessed chapel of Baron Lucus d'Brilloinne, burning his flesh, eyes and mind with holy absolution. Many other fallen Grail Knights are retrieved by their loyal Battle Pilgrims and carried as Grail Reliquaes, imbuing their allies with the Lady's divine blessing and resolve.[4][8]

End Times

During the End Times, the majority of Grail Knights remained within Bretonnia, safeguarding its holy sites as Louen Leoncoeur led his forces in defence of the Empire. Later, during the closing days of the world, the Lady was revealed to be none other than the Elven goddess of prophecy, Lileath. The goddess soon revealed the immortality of all who had supped from the Grail, resurrecting them to act as elite guardians for her daughter's new realm, known as the "Haven". Indeed, the peasantry of Bretonnia had long held the belief that Grail Knights not only fought for the Lady in life, but continued to do so after death as her avenging angels.[7][12]

Duties

A Grail Guardian.
A Royal Pegasus Knight.
A Royal Hippogryph Knight.

As the greatest of Bretonnia's warriors, Grail Knights are given access to the most sacred of mounts and equipment. Many of these living saints will often band together to form elite units upon the battlefield, or to perform sacred duties and tasks. The King of Bretonnia is always a Grail Knight, for only the Lady's chosen can rule. Many Bretonnian Lords are also Grail Knights, more influential than even their superhuman brethren. They are always fewer in number than the other knights of Bretonnia, but, as proven by Gilles and his Companions in ages past, each of these supreme warriors is able to slay hordes of lesser creatures with ease.[17][1]

Paladins

Not all Paladins are Grail Knights, but due to the heroic deeds and martial might required to sup from the Grail, all Grail Knights are considered to be holy Paladins in their own right. Their courage, valour and loyalty are beyond reproach, and they defend the palaces of the Lady to the death. On the battlefield, they are fell opponents who issue and accept challenges with no hesitation. As such, bands of Grail Knights are rarely led by a single champion, for each is a renowned hero and living saint.[1][6][19]

Grail Guardians

The Fay Enchantress is one of the most revered and respected figures in all of Bretonnia. As is fitting of someone who speaks with the voice of the Lady, she is accompanied at all times by a retinue of Knights who defend her to the death. These men, selected from some of the very best of the Grail Knights, are warriors par excellence, striking down the enemies of Bretonnia with shining blades of justice. Though rumours abound that the Fay Enchantress is none other than the Lady herself, and therefore requiring no earthly protectors, the Grail Guardians care not and defend their charge all the same.[1]

Royal Pegasus Knights

Greater than regular Pegasus Knights in every way, these are Grail Knights trusted with the most powerful and noble of Pegasi, acting as devastating aerial fighters who bring holy wrath from above.[1]

Royal Hippogryph Knights

The best of Louen Leoncoeur's aerial forces, these are Grail Knights mounted atop ferocious Hippogryphs, an unstoppable force, combining superhuman skill with bestial fury. These elite units destroy enemies with giant talon and blessed lance, causing fear and panic in their wake.[1]

Hermit Knights

Grail Knights can seem almost immortal, but they will eventually start to age and die, those who are near the end of their extended lifespan often live as "Hermit Knights", guarding Grail Chapels with their very lives. It is the Hermit Knights who allow the ancient weapons of their Chapels to be taken up in times of need, and they who offer advice and wisdom to those knights who still seek the Grail. The first and greatest of these knights was Corduin, one of the legendary Grail Companions. The most renowned of these ageing heroes still living is the Hermit Knight of Malmont.[12][13][14]

Errantry Wars

It is extremely rare for large forces of Grail Knights to fight in Errantry Wars, as they are mainly campaigns for Knights Errant to earn honour, rank and glory in defence of the realm. Some Grail Knights however, will often join the ranks of the young Knights Errant, acting as mighty champions and giving them a source of inspirational leadership - an ideal for them to aim for.[16]

Grail Damsels

It is not uncommon for the mysterious Grail Damsels to take on Grail Knights as their personal champions and lovers. These duos will often travel the land, the Damsel's gift of foresight aiding the Grail Knight in his search for evil to destroy. In other instances, the Grail Knight will act as the guardian of a Damsel and her Chapel, protecting her with his life and slaying would-be invaders.[6][18]

Heraldry

Grail Knights have achieved the Grail Quest and drunk from the Grail. They have therefore earned the right to display the image of the Grail upon their shields and superimposed upon their heraldry. They may even adopt the Grail as a helmet crest. This emblem is worn in addition to the knight's other heraldry or achievements.[3]

A Grail Knight will often have the most magnificent heraldry of all knights, bearing the colours of his Errantry, the blazon of his Errand of Knighthood, the Fleur de Lys of his Grail Quest and the blazon of the Grail itself. The Grail emblem has no standard form, but can be depicted however it appeared to the knight. There are thus many different versions of the Grail emblem, but it is impossible to confuse with any other blazon. Men across Bretonnia are also expected to memorise the individual heraldries of every living Grail Knight.[3][6]

Famous Grail Knights

  • King Louen Leoncoeur, king of Bretonnia and a mighty warrior. Considered to be one of the greatest rulers in the world since Sigmar and Gilles le Breton. Became one of the Lady's vassals after his death during the end times.
  • Reolus, Hero of Quenelles and sublime swordsman.
  • Baron Lucus of Brilloinne, beloved knight and hero.
  • Sir Dagobert the Thrice-Blessed, an ageing hero who became a blessed Grail Reliquae.

Sources