Dagobert had been a veteran of countless battles during his long lifespan, as a Questing Knight he slew the Dragon Crystophrax, the monstrous wyrm that had razed the Castle Perillus to the ground and made its lair within the ruins, then with his bare hands he built a holy Grail Chapel from it's rubble. He had purged an entire nest of corpse-eating Ghouls within the crypts of La Fontaine and battled a monstrous Wyvern atop the mountainous Pale Sisters. During this time, Dagobert had attracted a following of Battle Pilgrims, fanatical warriors who worshiped the very ground he walked upon, and who protected him with their very lives.
Dagobert's Last Battle
Within his Chapel, Dagobert knelt in prayer to The Lady, the holy Paladin was now an old man, his blessed lifespan finally starting to show signs of agedness. Despite this he was still an imposing figure, his muscles taut and stronger than any normal man's and he was ever surrounded by a nimbus of holy light. Dagobert's prayers were interrupted by the arrival of one of his followers, the frantic pilgrim brought news of Skaven invading the region. With this dire news, the Grail Knight reluctantly left his home and chapel, seeking to destroy the foul rat-kin.
Sir Dagobert rode into the army of Skaven, his loyal pilgrims fighting at his side. Armed with his blessed blade, Deliverer and mounted atop his mighty Steed Silvermane, none could stand before his holy wrath. Skaven turned to flee from the mighty warrior and those that did not were soon trampled by hooves or impaled by blessed lance, soon the Paladin was surrounded by the bodies of slain ratmen. It was then that a fell shriek rung out across the battlefield, a monstrous Rat Ogre, massive even for its kind, stood amongst the skaven hordes. Silvermane galloped past battling pilgrims, struggling peasant villagers and desperate, cornered ratmen. And then suddenly there were less than five horse lengths left between the knight and his quarry. Dagobert’s grip on the lance tightened, the tip barely wavering from its target as the horse thundered over broken bodies, discarded weapons and shattered, unnatural war machines in its urgency to engage with the foe. He saw too late that the brute beast was swinging its huge paw-hands together, intending to deliver a double-fisted sideways swipe as Silvermane closed. The rat ogre was more intelligent than Dagobert had first thought, choosing to strike the knight’s steed rather than the warrior himself. The savage blow smashed the lance out of the way, splintering its smoothed ash tip even as the devastating punch connected with Silvermane’s caparisoned head, ramming foot-long splinters through the animal’s throat and into its eye. Dagobert heard the sharp crack of bone over the screams of the rat-things, the clamour of battle, and the barking of the rat ogre. The horse’s forelegs gave way, Dagobert instinctively leaning back in the saddle as his steed ploughed into the ground. But it was no good. The horse’s back end came tumbling over its head, such had been the force of its charge, and Dagobert was sent sprawling in the stinking mire of blood and mud.
Dagobert felt the dead weight of Silvermane’s body fall across his legs, pushing him still deeper into the sucking morass. Dagobert knew there wasn’t a moment to lose. The adrenaline rush of battle lending him the strength he needed, he pulled himself out from under his dead steed, using the broken haft of the shattered lance still in his hand to push himself to his feet. He glanced back at the motionless corpse of the horse. Any one of the half a dozen dagger-sized splinters now sticking out of its head would have killed the warhorse had the rat ogre’s blow not already broken the poor beast’s neck. Dagobert could tell that the beast was almost on him again by smell alone. Its foul stink was a noxious combination of foetid animal musk and the putrid reek of a septic war wound. Barely on his feet, the old knight took a stumbling step forwards, his feet slipping in the liquid slurry, twisting his body around as he did so, the lance still in his hand. At the same moment the rat ogre pounced, as if Dagobert were the mouse and the monster the hunting feline. The squealing roar that issued from the rat ogre’s swollen throat sac as the broken spear of the lance pierced its sutured flesh was an appalling sound, but it could only mean one thing.The creature arched its knotted back, its claws ripping the armour from the knight’s body where they caught, the guttural scream showing no sign of abating as the creature writhed and jerked on the end of the ruined lance. Bracing the end of the lance against his foot, Dagobert put all his weight and power against the planed ash, pushing it further inside the monster’s cavernous chest. His own roar of rage escaped teeth gritted against the effort. Thick black blood gouted from the wound as the broken shaft ruptured the monster’s enlarged heart. Its death throes pulled the shattered lance from the knight’s grasp as a primal rage and insatiable appetite for slaughter kept it fighting to the last. But the Lady had decreed that the beast must die. Unsheathing his sword, he felt its divine power coursing through him. With an incoherent cry of rage on his lips he swung the keen edge at the struggling rat ogre. The sword took the monster’s ill-proportioned head from its shoulders with one clean cut. The creature’s hulking body slumped to the ground, thick black blood pumping from the stump of its neck, and was still at last. Dagobert turned from the massive corpse, but he was not done yet. The unit of Stormvermin were upon him. Hefting his holy sword in both hands, he laid about him with the mighty weapon, prayers to the Lady accompanying every grievous wound he laid against the enemy. The vermin-kin’s defence could not stand in the face of his holy wrath.
As the last of the verminous bodyguards fell, a host of squealing rat-slaves parted, and there before the old knight crouched the Warlord of the pack. It was clad in strong armour, like the grail knight. But where Dagobert cared for his plate mail, keeping it in immaculate condition so that it might serve him as well in battle as he served the Lady in all things, the rat-thing’s armour was scarred and pitted with some unknown, green-black deposit. Where Dagobert wore a fine helm upon his head, a sculpted chalice rising from its crown and the polished metal glinting silver where it was caught by the sun, the ratman had a crudely hammered helm topped with a crest of cruel blades. Dagobert cried out the Lady;s name, raising the blessed blade Deliverer in his hands once more, putting the aches and pains from his mind with a prayer to the divine damsel. Meeting his challenge, the verminous warlord gave a furious hiss, foul spittle spraying from its elongated snout. Slabs of muscle rippled and bunched under its scabrous hide as it took up what looked like a halberd looted from another battlefield. The tempered steel of the once finely-wrought weapon was blackened and corroded, despoiled by the runes scratched into it, and it pulsed with a sick green light. Totems of rats’ skulls and human hands had been bound to the haft with knotted leather cords.
Dagobert twisted as the rat deflected his blade with a sharp swipe of its own weapon, the halberd scraping along Deliverer’s keen edge. Foul sparks were thrown from the corroded metal and the rat used its momentum to carry it forward under the old knight’s guard. Turning his sword to deflect his enemy’s attack, Dagobert brought the blade down swiftly, parrying the thrusting halberd. The warlord hissed again and rolled away from the paladin, throwing itself onto the ground and twisting its spine so that it was able to catch the bloodied blade against the haft of its weapon. Dagobert spun round, raising an iron-shod foot, ready to bring it down on the rat-thing’s skull. Moving with deceptive speed, especially considering it was clad in armour, the rat scrabbled out of his way. It was on its clawed inhuman feet again in a second, back hunched, chittering in a horrible high-pitched unvoice, holding the halberd with both hands, as if it were a quarterstaff. His vow on his lips, gauntleted hands tight about the grip of his sword, the knight thrust the weapon’s lethal point towards the pack-leader as the ratman angled its own hooking blade to parry the blow. Dagobert rained blows upon the horror while the rat-thing tried every underhand tactic at its disposal to best the knight’s skill with a sword. To the pilgrims who fought with him, Sir Dagobert was a living saint, an inspiration to them all, a paradigm of what a life dedicated to the Lady could achieve.
Every blow he laid against the warlord’s battered armour gave them the courage they needed to push the chittering horde back still further. For every one of the faithful that fell to a poison-coated blade, five of the mangy vermin paid with their miserable lives as the pilgrims exacted their revenge. But with his battle rage as hot as dragon’s breath, Dagobert’s attention was fully focused on the twisting, perfidious thing before him. Where the knight was honourable, the rat-thing was conniving and treacherous, prepared to try any devious trick to gain the advantage. Where the knight was bound by oaths of duty to the Lady, the rat-spawn was motivated by nothing but its own loathsome self-serving nature. Where Dagobert’s sword was straight and true, the rat’s halberd was serrated and fashioned with snagging hooks. And every time the two blades connected, Dagobert’s weapon threw virulent green sparks from the rune-etched halberd. A bone-numbing, wearying pain was creeping up Dagobert’s arms, but despite his failing strength, his faith in the Lady remained steadfast. And faith was the greatest weapon of all against such a foul and unholy enemy. The warlord made a sudden lunge for the knight, ducking in under the smooth arc described by his sweeping blade. Contrary to expectations of age, Dagobert managed to jerk his torso round so that the warlord’s blade scraped along the mail protecting his stomach, splitting the links of chain and sending more of the poisonous green sparks flying from the sundered steel rings. The rat gave a squeal of enraged frustration as its lunge carried it forwards, exposing it to Dagobert’s counter-attack. Reaching the end of a sweeping swing and twisting his arm at the elbow, he turned Deliverer deftly in his grasp. The tempered steel sang as he brought it down towards the rat-thing’s exposed neck. It twisted its back, bringing its defiled weapon to bear once more, braced before it in both paws. Dagobert would not be denied. He brought the blade down, muscles in his arm on fire as his faith in the Lady granted him all the strength he needed. The worn shaft of the halberd splintered beneath the blessed blade’s keen edge, the gleaming steel catching the light for a moment as the sun burnt through the cloying mists at last. Just for a moment it seemed as if Deliverer burst into flame. The tip of the blade connected with the creature’s breast, parting the exposed flesh between neck and sternum.
A sudden spear of pain burned in the knight’s side. Dagobert gasped, staggering back from the dead ratman, releasing his hold on his sword that still pinned the treacherous creature to the ground. And then he saw the tip of the halberd clasped in its left hand, the dizzying symbols pulsing with sick green light. The knight’s blood smoked as it ran down over the rune-etched blade. Even with the tainted blade removed, the acid agony remained. The burning pain was joined by a pernicious cold that radiated from the point where the halberd had pierced his side with a creeping malignity. He could feel his legs giving way under him. His stumbling steps carried him down the rugged hillside towards the babbling waters of a stream that ran pink with the blood of the men and vermin that had met their end upon its banks. His vision greying, Dagobert made for the brook, his mouth suddenly dry, wanting nothing more than to sup of the waters that tumbled from the same holy spring that filled the font in the Lady’s chapel. The Lady had chosen him to be Her champion and she gave succour to those who needed it and peace to those that had earned it. Reaching the stream, he gave in at last to the numbness spreading throughout his body. He fell to the ground, feeling the damp earth beneath him as the soil of Bretonnia welcomed him with its soft embrace. As he attempted to draw the waters of the stream to his mouth with one quivering cupped hand, the words of the vow he had first taken as a youth – so many years ago now – tumbled unbidden from his parched lips. And so the last thing on his lips when oblivion took him was the first vow he had taken on setting out upon the path to honour and glory in the Lady’s name...
Dagobert slowly opened his eyes. Flickering shadows resolved into jostling figures and, as his sluggish senses finally caught up, he realised that someone was tugging at his body. He could feel his slack limbs being pulled this way and that, but felt like he barely had the strength to breathe, let alone resist the attentions of the looters. He could hear the babbling of a brook close by and smell the mingled scents of blood and fire on the air. Dagobert understood what was happening to him now. With the ratmen routed, his followers – clearly believing him to be dead already – had returned to claim what relics and other trinkets they could from his body, whether it be a piece of his armour or some token of the Lady that he carried about him. He tried to say he was still alive, defiant to the last, but all that escaped his parched lips was a hoarse whisper. Swallowing hard, trying to draw saliva to his mouth, he tried again. A dark shadow passed across the canvas of the featureless white sky and resolved into the lumpen features of a pilgrim. Dagobert commanded that the peasant help him, but his voice was still little more than a cracked whisper. It was certainly unlikely that any of the other pilgrims had heard him. The Pilgrim knelt down beside him and whispered in his ear that he knew. For the briefest moment, hope filled the grail knight’s world. But only for a moment. It was then that the Pilgrim explained to Dagobert that he had been chosen by the Lady to inspire her faith for all eternity, even after death. The pilgrim pushed the weakened old knight into the waters of the sacred stream until he could hold his breath no longer. Dagobert opened his mouth to cry out in rage, to give a shout that the whole world might hear and realise he was not done yet. But rather than a wrathful roar, his final breath burst from his lungs in a torrent of furious bubbles. As his greying vision gave way to the blackness of a watery oblivion, Dagobert saw white flowers falling through the dark. The scent of apple blossom was in his nose and he heard the Lady calling to him across the gulf of eternity, guiding the aged knight to his long-deserved rest.
With the death of their Grail Knight, the pilgrims set about turning his body into a Grail Reliquae, a blessed war altar of holy power. Even in death, Dagobert would continue to fight the enemies of Bretonnia. Most notably an army of goblins and their mighty Arachnarok Queen.
The monster’s bile-yellow shell was thicker that a knight’s plate armour. The creature must have survived for centuries within the lightless depths of some primeval forest, having nothing to fear from man or greenskin, growing fat on the flesh of forest goblins and the offerings they made. Thorn-like protuberances studded the spider’s carapace, forming symmetrical patterns across its back. Some of these spines had grown to enormous proportions, becoming great spears of bone-like chitin that thrust forward over its head, protecting it from attack as sharpened stakes did the ranks of Bretonnian bowmen. Buoyed absolute faith in the divine blessing the bones of Sir Dagobert conferred upon them, the pilgrims charged across the field, despite the fact that the men of Layon’s charge had already faltered with the monstrous spider’s emergence from the forest. Bellowing in triumph before they had even engaged the enemy. The spider moved with stilted steps, the gargantuan arachnid favouring its right side and yet still covering as great a distance with one rocking stride as the bier bearers did running at full pelt. But the pilgrims’ charge did not falter, even as the gibbering greenskins hanging from the web-strung platform rained crude arrows down upon their heads. One pilgrim fell with a bolt through his thigh but the holy warrior continued on.
A Pilgrim stumbled and went down, a lucky goblin arrow piercing his eye. For a moment, the reliquae bearers – robbed of one of their number – stumbled too. Another stepped up to take their place and the pilgrims surged on across the field. Spears and lances were protruding from blackened rifts in the spider’s side, the hafts of the buried weapons clattering together with every stalking step the monster took. He saw that one monstrous eye was gone, ichor oozing from the savage wound the monster had been dealt. And yet, despite having suffered injuries that would have levelled an entire regiment of men-at-arms, the spider was still standing. More than that, it was still striding towards Layon. The pilgrims bellowed furiously and the Grail Reliquae charged.
Sir Dagobert met the monstrous beast in battle. A spearing tarsus came down among the pilgrim mob, running one through from shoulder to groin and lifting him clear of the ground, screaming in agony. Another spider claw came down almost on top of the reliquae itself, missing Sir Dagobert’s bones but snagging a piece of Silvermane’s caparison and tearing it free. Despite the best efforts of the spider and its frenzied passengers, the pilgrims found themselves directly beneath the monster’s furiously working jaws. Strings of corrosive venom drooled from fangs the size of ploughshares, burning smoking holes in the crumbling raiment of the knight’s tabard where they touched. Moving far more quickly than should have been possible for something so vast, the monster’s discoloured fangs snapped closed about the body of the knight. The crushing bite punctured steel plate and splintered bone as if Sir Dagobert was nothing more than a scarecrow of sticks and straw. The idiot beast delivered a great jolt of poison through its fangs deadly enough to drop a giant, pumping the relic-knight’s remains full of venom that corroded the smooth surface of his polished armour and dissolved the links of his chainmail. Rising up on its hindquarters, the spider tore the reliquae apart, sending tatters of cloth, broken bones and pieces of armour raining down about the pilgrims.
With Sir Dagobert preoccupying the beast, his faithful followers made the most of the distraction and, out of range of the shrieking goblins, ran for cover beneath the bloated arachnid. The beast’s underbelly seemed to pulse with disgusting peristaltic ripples as if something was moving beneath the white puckered flesh. Myriad tiny spiderlings swarmed over its leathery hide to drop down onto the pilgrims crouched beneath their monstrous brood-mother. They scampered across the ground around the spider as well, scuttling up the legs of the unwary, squirming inside jerkins and into hose, delivering crippling bites and making the men cry out in pain and horrified surprise. A pilgrim peirced the spiders bloated abdomen with his sword and soon other joined. The spider made a sound like a high-pitched hissing scream and the pilgrims redoubled their efforts, chanting prayers that called down the Lady’s divine retribution about the unholy monster. Viscous fluid poured from the beast’s wounds, drenching the pilgrims in a stinking torrent, but still they did not relent. The men hacked and slashed, opening up even more grievous wounds in the monster’s abdomen. The gargantuan spider spasmed with every sword thrust, every axe that cleaved its flesh drawing from it more hissing screams. The creature twisted, trying to catch its tormenters in its terrible jaws, throwing screaming goblins from the howdah as it did so. But the pilgrims were sheltered beneath its belly and with every blow they dealt the beast, its strength ebbed, making it harder for the gigantic spider to keep out of reach of their vengeful blades. Soon, the spider was possessed by the paroxysm of its death-throes, the Forest Goblins howling in terror, unable to believe that their god had been bested.
The spider was dead, and the village of Lyon saved. Dagobert's remains were reconstructed and repaired, with the peasants adding many new tokens from the village's blessed shrine. As the peasant horde left the village to continue the Grail Knights righteous work, a familliar scent entered the air. It was the subtle scent of apple blossom...
Items and Abilities
As a Grail Knight, Sir Dagobert was a warrior beyond mortal men, renowned as a Paladin of the realm he had slain monsters great and foul across the old world. Even in old age, the knight was able to kill an entire regiment of Stormvermin, a Rat Ogre and a Skaven Warlord before finally falling. After his death, Dagobert's body was still infused with holy power, blessing all who stood near as a sacred Grail Reilquae.
- "Deliverer", was a blessed blade of exquisite beauty, its polished blade shone with a myriad of light, revealing the name engraved upon it.
- "Silvermane", was a powerful white charger, the steed’s barding was draped with the knight’s personal colours, and it was outfitted with a magnificent caparison.