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"Calard saw that knights had gathered here from all across Bretonnia. He saw a silver unicorn upon a field of black that must have been the heraldry of a knight from Quenelles, and the black image of a squat fortress upon a halved field of white and yellow that was clearly the heraldry of a knight from distant Montfort. By far the majority of the knights were from Bordeleaux, as was to be expected, and the vast majority of these sported variations of the duke's heraldry. Everywhere was the tri-forked image of Manann's trident, and Calard was amazed at the sheer amount of variety in that simple image. Here was a pair of crossed, long-hafted white tridents upon a quartered field of blue and black, there an image of three trident heads, the tips of each resembling the fleur-de-lys, upon a field of red. Other shield designs were more unique, representing long held family traditions and honours. Calard saw a silver stylised bull's head upon a black background, and a sinuous golden beast that must have been a cockatrice upon a shield divided into countless diamonds of blue and red."
Calard of Garamont examines the Heraldry of his kingdom.[1]
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A collection of heraldic devices belonging to Bretonnia’s magnificent knights.

The Heraldry that adorns the Knights of Bretonnia signifies their allegiances and their experiences on the field of battle.

Overview

Bretonnian knights go into battle magnificently decked in full armour resplendent with heraldry. A knight's shield, helm, Warhorse, barding, lance pennant and surcoat all display his personal heraldry. Each knight has his own unique arrangement of heraldic colours, devices, emblems and crests. These indicate his achievements and status, and are designed to overawe his opponents. Heraldry further serves as a way of identifying a knight and what family he's from, so that Squires, fellow Knights and even enemies can recognise him on the battlefield. Such recognition is very important, because the various dukedoms and families do not shy away from war.[1][3]

Heraldry is also used as a sign of ownership, often being displayed on ship sails and Castle doors among other things. Men-at-Arms always carry the heraldry of the Lord they serve into battle.[1]

Rules of Heraldry

The heraldry designs used by Bretonnians consist of two things - a coloured background (called a Field) and one or more emblems (called a Charge) confined within the shape of a shield. Heraldry is commonly tied to the individual dukedom that a knight hails from, such as a Boar for Artois or a Trident for Bordeleaux, and a stunning number of variations can be found for each.[1][2]

Some symbols can be seen throughout Bretonnia regardless of which dukedom a knight is from. They are often incorporated into a knight's main heraldry as Blazons to highlight his achievements in battle. For example, if a knight were to fight and slay a ferocious Dragon, he may decide to add its image to his existing heraldry. These images may also be crafted into ornamental items known as Marks of Excellence, which decorate shields and armour.[1][3]

Bretonnia's royal court appoints Heralds whose task it is to regulate the use of heraldry so that all knights can be properly recognised and wear emblems appropriate to their achievements. The more splendid a knight's heraldry, the greater his status, reputation and therefore also his prowess in battle. When a knight is granted a place in a higher knightly order (such as the transition from Knight Errant to Knight of the Realm) his heraldry will not completely change, but the way it is represented on his shield will become more elaborate to fit his new stature.[1][3]

Blazons

Heraldry sm

Blazons are often incorporated into a knight's existing heraldry to signify acts of valour and feats of arms. These Blazons often come in the form of monsters and beasts that a knight has slain in combat, such as Dragons, Wyverns, Griffons and Chimeras. Other commonly used Blazons signify noble deeds, or experience in certain fields of combat.[1][3]

  • Cross - Signifies that a knight has fought against the Undead
  • Grail - Signifies that a knight has completed the Grail Quest and become a living saint.
  • Rose - Signifies that a knight has rescued a damsel in distress.
  • Eagle - Signifies that a knight has fought and defeated an Empire Knight.
  • Crown - Signifies that a knight has served the King in his royal retinue.
  • Hammer - Signifies that a knight has fought against Dwarfs.
  • Clarion - Signifies that a knight is one of the King's messengers.
  • Crescent Moon - Signifies that a knight has fought against Goblins.
  • Axe - Signifies that a knight has won in single combat.
  • Key - Signifies that a knight is Castellan of a castle.
  • Lion - Signifies that a knight has fought in an Errantry War.
  • Star - Signifies that a knight has fought and slain an enemy Wizard.
  • Stag - Signifies that a knight is a renowned hunter.
  • Shark - Signifies that a knight has fought sea invaders.
  • Clovers - Signifies that a knight has been thrice favoured by Grail Damsels.
  • Tower - Signifies that a knight has fought in a siege.
  • Raven - Signifies that a knight has defeated Norscan raiders.
  • Sword - Signifies that a knight has performed a feat of arms.

Sources

  • 1: White Dwarf #288 - Bretonnian Heraldry
  • 2: Knight Errant (Novel)
  • 3: Warhammer Armies: Bretonnia (5th Edition)

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