|"You should not have fought me". Helborg stared up at him. He felt neither fear nor anger, only astonishment; astonishment that someone had beaten him at last." -- Helborg's defeat.|
The Viscount led a small force of Knights and Peasants from Couronne against the forces of the Empire during a bloody border dispute, led by none other than Kurt Helborg and his Reiksguard, the Empire and Bretonnia were slowly being forced into a stalemate. Sensing no need for more slaughter d’Alembençon issued a challenge to his enemy, Helborg would face him in honourable combat, with the losers army retreating and ending the conflict. Helborg agreed to the duel, for he was one of the Empire's most legendary warriors and had never been beaten. Helborg stood weilding his mighty Runefang and watched as the Bretonnian army parted to make way for Viscount d’Alembençon. The Bretonnian was a giant of a man, clad in a knight’s full plate. His armour was thicker-set than Helborg’s and looked very old. The outline of a goblet had been graven into the knight’s breastplate, decorated with fine golden tracery and surrounded by an elaborate, oak-leafed halo. For all its age, the armour had obviously been reverently treated – delicate flutes of beaten metal winked in the morning sun, lending the curved steel an almost palpable glow. The warrior wore a close-faced helm, giving nothing of his features away and beautiful crimson cloak hung from his shoulders, outlined with black and gold lozenges. Once the Viscount had reached Helborg, he drew a mighty longsword which glowed with a faint golden light.
The two leaders clashed swords and begun their duel. The Viscount was able to match the fury and strength of the Reiksmarshel and add his own, d’Alembençon never said a word. The unbroken silence of his fighting quickly became eerie. Helborg found himself wondering if some awful deception had taken place; that perhaps his foe was something more or less than human under all that glittering armour. The Viscount's long blade moved quickly and smoothly, carving through the air like a rapier. Helborg fought ferociously, but to no avail, his opponent was unlike anything he had ever fought, man or monster, every strike was a flurry of punishing blows and Helborg slowly started to tire.
Even armed with a legendary Runefang and using every masterful technique at his disposal, nothing had any impact. The Viscount kept on fighting, doggedly resisting every attempt to knock him out of his stride, untiring and unrelenting. Eventually Helborg let his guard slip, his breast was punctured and his ribs smashed asunder by the Bretonnian's sheer strength. As the Empire's greatest swordsman lay scrambling for his sword, the Viscount approached and pressed his blade against his throat.
And so it was that Kurt Helborg, the Empire's greatest swordsman, was finally defeated. Helborg looked up at the man standing over him, demanding to know who or what he was. The Viscount announced he was a Grail Knight of Bretonnia, removing his helmet he revealed a face which shone with a fey light and a voice that was almost otherworldy. Helborg struggled on the ground, his ribs were shattered and his armour rent, d’Alembençon looked down upon him with respect, he had fought valiantly, he told Helborg that he regretted what he must do, but the Reiksmarshal had to be slain to prevent any more bloodshed.
Before d’Alembençon could kill his opponent, the sound of cannonfire surrounded the field. The Empire had betrayed their deal, Helborg had agreed to the duel as a distraction, he did not want the battle to end unless it was a victory for the Empire. Shocked and enraged at the sight of his men being blown apart, d’Alembençon was disarmed by Helborg and decapitated, but not before hissing the word "Faithless" at the Reiksmarshal. The Viscount's body was resplendent even in death. Helborg gazed at the holy warrior and felt a twinge of regret before ordering his army to continue the battle...
1. Kurt Helborg: Duty and Honour by Chris Wraight