Mousillon

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Mousillon or Moussillon is a city and former Dukedom of Bretonnia also known as the City of the Damned. [1a]

A small Duchy that is situated on the west coast of Bretonnia, bordered by Lyonesse to the north, Gisoreux to the east and Bordeleaux to the south. Its most fertile parts were taken by Lyonesse in the 1900s IC to avenge the death of the king at the hands of Duke Merovech. [2c]

The city was built on the banks of the River Grismerie, which floods into the poorer areas every spring, sweeping away hovels and their inhabitants alike. [1a]

Mousillon is a cursed realm, a crumbling city surrounded by stinking marshes and swamps, a land that is shunned by the rest of the country. It is said that in that doom-laden land the dead walk the dark and empty streets, that all manner of unnamed horrors lurk in the depths below castles, and that the night is filled with screams and laughter from beings no longer of this earth.

History

Landuin and the Fall

For a period in history from 975 IC[2b] onwards, Mousillon threw off its dark reputation. This was during the times of Gilles le Breton and his Grail Companions; for the bravest, most skilled and honourable companion of all was Landuin, the favoured son of Mousillon and their first duke. He was the epitome of knighthood, the paragon that all knights aspired towards, and he was beloved by all. None could stand before his wrath, and Mousillon gained much honour thanks to his mighty deeds.

Tragically, with the death of Gilles, Landuin fell into a terrible malaise from which he never truly recovered. The land of Mousillon itself felt his pain and began to fall into ruin and despair, continuing to do so even after his death in 1045 IC. [2b] Thus did Mousillon begin to fall back towards being a realm shunned by the other Bretonnian dukedoms. It has since fallen further into darkness. Many believe that the land itself is cursed - it is certainly true that vermin seem to thrive in this foetid land, that many dwelling within its borders suffer madnes, and that many other unnatural things occur on an almost daily basis.

Lyonesse took most of its fertile lands in the 1900s IC to avenge the killing of the king by Duke Merovech. [2c]

In 2091 IC, the Grand Sow of the Grismerie is born and Sow Night is still celebrated in many villages. [2b]

The Grail Chapel at Pied a'Coochon is besieged by the Undead in 2450 IC, none of the Damsels remain when the horde disperese and the chapel is never rebuilt. [2b]

The Bretonnian Navy attack a large number of pirate ships grounded by freak tides on the coast in 2458 IC. [2b]

After the disappearance of the daughter of the Duke of Lyonesse, Nicolete of Oisement is found guilty of Witchcraft in 2479 IC and walled up in her home. [2b]

The Red Pox

Two key moments in history can be isolated that have irredeemably doomed this haunted land in the eyes of the other dukedoms. The first of these occurred during the outbreak of the terrible red pox, in the early 9th century. After the formation of Bretonnia, the duke of Mousillon, Merovech, was a proud warrior who was desperate for his realm to regain the prestige and honour that it had during the reign of Landuin. Led astray by his corrupt advisors, but with only honourable intentions, Merovech began dabbling in things far beyond his power or control.

When the red pox struck Bretonnia in 835 (1813 Imperial calendar), Merovech and his knights were strangely unaffected. As foul rat-creatures appeared in the thousands to kill and maim, Merovech saw that his time to shine had come. Riding south with his black armoured knights, he slew thousands of the foul creatures, and broke the siege of Brionne. The route his army took mirrored that road of Gilles' Grail Companions before him, as he then pushed towards the east, crossing Carcassonne. His dreams were filled with blood, death and horror. In his delusions, he actually believed that he was Landuin reborn, and that he was the only one who could save Bretonnia.

Meeting up with the armies of Parravon and the fay folk of Athel Loren, a great victory was won, and the rat-creatures scattered before the martial might of Merovech and his most trusted knights. In the middle of the battle, Merovech was soaked in blood, reveling in the killing. Even after his foe lay unmoving, still he continued to hack at them with his gore-soaked blade. The virtuous and honourable knights of Parravon looked on in horror.

Merovech invited the dukes to his castle for a great victory feast. Many saw him as a saviour, for he had saved Brionne and Quenelles. Nevertheless, the banquet horrified the chivalrous dukes. Dinner was served by shambling servants, and the dukes were shocked to see spitted and impaled criminals arrayed about the hall. Merovech could not understand their discomfort at all, and having already drained many goblets of fine wine, he drunkenly claimed that his hospitality was being dishonoured.

The king was repulsed by Merovech, and spoke against him and his court. In a rage Merovech accused the king of jealousy, and of plotting against Mouillon. The king formally challenged Merovech, though each of the other dukes begged to be the one allowed to punish the disgraceful knight. In the ensuing combat, Merovech fought like a daemon, and tore out the king's throat with his bare hands. Merovech raised his goblet and filled it with the blood of the king, which he then drank from. The other dukes hastily left Mousillon to gather their armies, pursued by twisted creatures and malformed peasants.

In the following months, Merovech was publicly denounced by the Fay Enchantress and the newly crowned king. Lyonesse led a massive invasion of Mousillon, and many knights of Mousillon gladly took up arms against their liege-lord, having no wish to be associated with the corrupted duke and swore fealty to Lyonesse. Faced with the might of all of Bretonnia, Merovech was finally slain, though many brave warriors fell beneath his blade. The righteous anger of the Bretonnians against one they see as having tainted their honour was truly to be feared.

The Affair of the False Grail

Later, Mousillon fell even further during the Affair of the False Grail, a terrible time when duke Maldred of Mousillon perpetrated the vilest of crimes. He conspired through treachery to become king, imprisoned the Fay Enchantress, and claimed to have found the Grail, though this was later proved another of his subtle lies created to gain power. His actions doomed himself and finally condemned his homeland utterly, and he eventually died after a prolonged siege. From that moment forth Mousillon was to have no duke, by the order of the king, and so the position remains unfilled.

Inhabitants

Those dwelling there are the most desperate of people, for none would choose to live in this tragic land other than the evil-hearted and the outcast. Dispossessed and dishonoured knights band together here, as do hordes of the most malformed and diseased peasants. Those few who remain of the cursed bloodline rule this land with absolute authority. These remnants of the decadent and corrupt nobility wear pitch armour, and never raise their visors, or so it is said in fireside tales. The implication is that the nobility of Mousillon have been corrupted by vampirism. [2a]

Unusually the division between men and women in Mousillon is much less clear than in the rest of Bretonnia partially due to the extreme poverty that most live in. For the nobility, laws of inheritence are much more mutable and it is not unknown for noble women to conduct her own affairs, be the heir or even take up arms - things that would not be permitted in the rest of the land. [2a]

The land is plagued by the walking dead as uncontrolled Zombies do not crumble away but roam the countryside seeking food. Minor Necromancers are often found in the Duchy and the grimmest villages sometimes degenerate into Ghouls forcing other peasants to burn them out. [2a]

There is a small presence of Skaven who treat the disease ridden Duchy as a laboratory. Herds of Beastmen also dwell in the forest with some villages entering into dark pacts with them, offering them children in return for protection from bandits or against other villages. [2a]

Law and Order

As Mousillon does not have a duke there is no court of nobility and hence justice between the nobles is based on who can kill or intimidate their opponent. Peasant justice is equally haphazard, sometimes taking up knives and pitchforks to enact mob justice. [2a]

For unknown reasons, the people of the Duchy often assign criminal guilt to animals and will charge, try and execute them for crimes such as witchcraft, bringing pestilence and harbouring immoral thoughts! Even the mounts of travellers are not immune to these prosecutions. [2a]

Locations

The land is little more than a swamp fed by the river Grismerie which makes for very poor farming and the best food is considered the frogs, snails and slugs - the gathering of which is a prestige occupation in the wretched peasent villages. [2a]

  • Castle Oisement: Small castle built on a older Elf ruin whose mistress was walled up inside it. [2c]
  • Chapel of Frenegrande: The last keeper for whom it is named died several hundred years ago. [2d]
  • Chateau Hane: A keep that guards one of the few bridges across the Grismerie. [2c]
  • Cordon Sanitaire: More than two dozen towers encircle the city, preventing peasants from leaving the are and spreading the Red Pox. [2d]
  • Donjon of Dol: Lying off the coast it is a prison that once held the Fay Enchantress at the behest of Maldred. made of black granite, it is thought to be of Elf design. [2d]
  • Forest of Arden: The north-western frontier is defined by the dangerous wood. [2d]
  • Farulin's Brothers: North-East of Mousillon, a complex arrangement of monoliths in concentric circles. [2d]
  • Grenouille Gate: A fortfied town that regulates and taxes trade that passes out of the City of the Damned. [2d]
  • Guerac Circle: A stone circle sacred to Rhya and Taal and the site of the Oak of Prophercy. [3a]
  • City of Mousillon: A walled city mainly populated with beggars, criminals and madmen and which houses the main buisiness of the area - smuggling. [2a]
  • Orphan Hills: A range of low hills in the east where exotic herbs and flowers grow - a large ruined keep still stands but there are no records of who built it. [2d]
  • Pied a'Cochon: An isolated Grail Chapel held dear by the Fay Enchantress, it was destroyed by zombies who still haunt the site. [2d]
  • Pirates Grave: Site of the Battle of the Tides, large numbers of wrecked priate ships lie here, stipped long ago of anything valuable. [2d]
  • Tomb of Merovech: A huge stone mausoleum near the centre of the Duchy. [2d]
  • Tour D'Alsace: A tall crooked tower that attracts strange lights. [2c]
  • Victory of Landuin: Site of a famous battle, it rtains unusually good soil and at its centre is a ruined keep. [2d]

Notable People

Religion

There remain chapels dedicated to the Lady in knightly keeps but the lack of Duke or Grail Damsels mean that many aspects of the Knightly Code is often ignored. [2a]

Peasants often cling to superstitions that vary from house to house as much as from village to village. Some do pray to versions of gods such as Manann or half forgotten dieties such as Rhya, Shallya and Taal. [2a]

Gallery

The dukedoms of Bretonnia
Couronne - L'Anguille - Lyonesse - Artois - Gisoreux - Montfort - Parravon - Bastonne - Bordeleaux - Aquitaine - Brionne - Queneles - Carcassonne - Mousillon

Sources