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Markus de Mandelot

Markus de Mandelot, formerly known as Markus Kruber, is a highly skilled warrior, heir of the Bretonnian bloodline of Mandelot and a member of the famed Ubersreik Five.

History

Having fled farm life outside Ubersreik, a young Markus Kruber found himself in the Grunburg local militia and quickly rose through the ranks. A schism with an inept superior eventually spiraled out of control and resulted in a relegation to Ostland. Being sent from the richest province of the Empire to one of the poorest and most war-ravaged was clearly a punishment, but Kruber welcomed the change. He hoped that competent leadership and a steady stream of purposeful action would await him at his new post.[1]

Leading the 8th Ostland Swordsmen, Markus drilled his troops until perfection, not content until their swords and shields felt like natural extensions of their own bodies. His leadership style was somewhat unconventional, inspiring confidence and loyalty not only through his prowess, but also due to his innate charisma and wit, making him immensely popular with his men. His unit was distinguished in several battles, whether it was breaking through greenskin lines, repulsing marauding beastmen, or hacking down ravaging berserker northlanders.[1]

It was a necromancer who was to be Kruber’s undoing. The undead marched on a grand muster of Imperial might. Kruber’s regiment was on the east flank, forming an impenetrable barrier against the skeletal forces they opposed. For a while it looked as if the Ostlanders sensed victory and fought with extra ferocity to that end, but then the sergeant caught sight of a wizened old man leading a horde of zombies. In a freak moment their eyes locked, the necromancer grinned, and let loose the wind of Shyish. Moments later, a colossal orb of purple-edged darkness swept through the swordsmen, killing all it touched while sucking the souls from hapless bodies. One of the men pushed Kruber out of the way, his own soul selflessly sacrificed.[1]

At the end of the battle, the undead had dissipated and the Empire was victorious, but it was a pyrrhic victory for Markus. His regiment had been destroyed, and he emerged as a traumatized lone survivor. In a state of shock, Markus applied for leave, wishing to quit military life and simply head for home, but was denied.[1]

However, after some time, Victor Saltzpyre, a Templar Witch Hunter on business in Ostland, crossed paths with Markus. The witch hunter was recruiting for an upcoming mission, and after witnessing a display of Kruber’s talents in a roadside ruckus with bandits, he convinced Kruber’s superiors to let him go.[1]

Assisting the witch hunter in escorting a bright wizard Sienna Fuegonasus prisoner, the company headed for Ubersreik, where the mage was up for trial.[1]

After Ubersreik

He should have said no. It was a phrase Markus Kruber muttered almost daily, but never when Saltzpyre was within earshot. After all, without Saltzpyre’s commission, Kruber likely would not have been drawn into the horrors of Ubersreik, and certainly would have avoided all that followed. But had he not accompanied the Witch Hunter, he would have ended up in Ubersreik anyway. Arriving in the Skaven infested ruins of Ubersreik all alone, and with no misfit band of Skaven-slayers allowing him to vent his rage, Kruber would have had to face the verminous horde alone. His prospects of survival would have been low.[5]

Although still world-weary and marked by his experiences, Kruber had found purpose in the aftermath of Ubersreik. As a soldier first, last and always, he understood that some battles had to be fought, no matter the cost. And who better to fight them than Markus Kruber? At first, the former Ostland Sergeant was wary and distant towards the other members of his newfound ragtag unit of five, but along the way Kruber did reevaluate both fellow fighters and schools of thought...[5]

Markus de Mandelot

Recently, the idea that Markus "Kruber" has links to Bretonnia has taken plenty of folk by surprise. Not least Markus himself, who keeps muttering into his tankard something fierce.[2]

It has been revealed, after much digging by Franz Lohner, that Markus is the only living heir of one Foricarl de Mandelot. A great hero in his day, the noble Foricarl saved the Dukedom of Parravon from a Dragon in righteous style. Tapestries were woven in his honour, and he was said to be popular amongst the kingdom's womenfolk. When he rode to tourney, spectators could barely see his lance for the weight of the ribbons of favour. Alas, out of jealousy, some of Foricarl’s knightly brethren did not hold quite the same esteem.[2]

Greatest amongst these detractors was the Duke of Parravon’s son, Willibald. He was not exactly a coward… but few cheered on a killer of Beastmen when there was a genuine dragon-slayer holding court in Parravon’s best tavern. There was even talk of the King insisting the Dukedom of Parravon pass not to Willibald, but to Foricarl. For it was said that the king hated Dragons with a passion, on account of having lost a daughter, an arm and much of his pride to one some years before.[2]

Not long after the Dragon's death, the Duke of Parravon died under mysterious circumstances, and all evidence seemed to point towards Foricarl. The besmirched noble was forced to flee the city or lose his head. However, Willibald was found out in the end – the Fay Enchantress herself became involved. She punished the traitorous knight by turning him into a frog.[2]

When the truth was finally revealed, everyone began looking for Foricarl, but he was nowhere to be found. Despairing of ever proving his innocence, he had travelled across the border to the Empire and continued slaying monsters as a hermit in the Ubersreik Hills. At some point during his vigil, the Bretonnian hero fathered a child. Time passed, and the de Mandelot name eventually fell from memory, but the great bloodline continued.[2]

Until now, Markus de Mandelot has lived in ignorance of his noble heritage. Further still, the mystical Lady of the Lake, knowing of Markus's true identity, has presented him with the opportunity to sup from the Holy Grail, and attain supernatural power...[2]

Heraldry

Markus de Mandelot's ancestral Heraldry consists of a white Pegasus rampant upon a field of blue.[3]

Items and Abilities

Prior to discovering his true calling, Markus Kruber was a fearsome melee warrior. Though primarily a swordsman, he was trained to excellence in numerous weapon techniques. When wielding large two-handed weapons, such as the great hammer or greatsword, he was capable of mowing down several enemies in one hefty swing, engaging a horde of ratmen all on his own. He was equally skilled with the mace, the longsword, or sword and shield combo, his versatility enabling him to tackle any conceivable situation on the battlefield. For ranged combat, he was equally well-prepared, wielding the devastating close range blunderbuss, the armour piercing handgun, or unleashing a high volume of fire with the repeater handgun.[1]

Having now supped from the Holy Grail, Markus de Mandelot has joined the pride of Bretonnia – he is a blessed warrior granted supernatural might by the mysterious Lady of the Lake. As all Bretonnian Knights, he has renounced the use of missile weapons and never engages in ranged combat, instead favouring foes with the gift of close-quarters battle. Whether armed with his longsword or a trusty sword and shield, the Grail Knight is death to foul creatures wherever he encounters them...[2]

Sources