- "Protector of Bretonnia!"
- —The Soul Killer.
The Green Knight, feared by the Beastmen as Shaabhekh, meaning the "Soul Killer", is a well-known figure of Bretonnian folklore, as stories and poems about him are amongst the most popular in all the land.
A being of supernatural power, the Green Knight is encased in ornate plate mail of archaic design. He is a towering figure, tinged the greenish-grey of weather-beaten rock, and many would mistake him for a statue but for the unnatural light of his eyes, burning coldly within the darkness of his helm.
The traditional nemesis of the valiant Questing Knights, the Green Knight challenges them to duels so that they might prove their worth to the Lady of the Lake herself, and thus sip from the blessed Grail.[1a]
- "None shall pass!"
- —The Green Knight's challenge.
The Green Knight is the sacred protector of Bretonnia, and his spirit-essence is intertwined with the land and the Lady of the Lake. He has appeared to many Questing Knights. They speak of the sky clouding over to create the darkness of twilight, and a green mist seeping from the earth, slowly taking the shape of a figure riding a snorting steed. The warrior brandishes a glowing blade, his eyes ablaze with fey light.[1a]
The Green Knight is the champion of the Lady of the Lake, and protector of the sacred sites of Bretonnia. As well as materialising to test Questing Knights in their faith, the Green Knight will appear when these sacred places are defiled by those with evil intent.
Amongst the beast herds of the tainted forests, he is known as "Shaabhekh", literally the "Soul-Killer," for he has slain untold thousands of their kind throughout the centuries. He bursts from within the bole of the most ancient trees, or gallops furiously from still lakes or rushing waterfalls to wreak his terrible vengeance against those interlopers.
As quickly as he appears, so too will he fade into mist once his righteous slaughter is complete. In some tales, he will disappear in one place only to reappear behind the enemy, slaying them without mercy before again disappearing and reappearing elsewhere.[1a]
He appears to those questing for the Grail and guards the mysterious glades, lakes or stone circles where the Lady of the Lake appears. He challenges any Questing Knight who seeks the Grail to mortal combat. This is the last and final test of the Grail quest.
If the Questing Knight can defeat the Green Knight, he will eventually reach the Grail. Any Knight unworthy of the Grail will never defeat the Green Knight and will either flee or be slain. The Green Knight himself cannot be slain, no matter how grievous the wounds inflicted on him.[1a]
Weapons have little effect on the Green Knight. Some say that blades and arrows pass straight through him as though he were as insubstantial as morning mist, while in other stories, even the most grievous of wounds inflicted upon him have virtually no effect. In one epic tale, a Questing Knight cut the Green Knight's head clean from his shoulders, but the fey being simply picked up his head and rode away.[1a]
What the Green Knight actually is has been much debated, and no one in Bretonnia, save perhaps the Fay Enchantress, knows the truth. Some believe that he is the spirit of Bretonnia given physical form, while others say that he is Gilles le Breton himself, having devoted himself completely to the land and the Lady after he was taken from this world.[1a]
Vale of Quenelles
When the Vale of Quenelles was invaded by the infamous Thunderbite Goblins, the proud knights of that realm enjoyed a full day of slaughter before the Goblins deployed their secret weapon -- an army of drunken Giants. The mounts of the Bretonnian knights took fright, carrying their protesting masters from the field.
The peasantry of Quenelles fired upon the Giants with bow and field trebuchet, but once the Giants were amongst their ranks the battle seemed lost. Then, with an unearthly cry, the legendary Green Knight burst forth from the trunk of the ancient oak at the heart of the vale and took the fight to the Giants, felling them one by one with his glowing blade. Quenelles was saved, though the event is strangely absent from its official records.
Gilles had returned to fulfil his ancient promise, to aid Bretonnia in its darkest hour. No longer an ethereal spirit, he existed only to take war to the enemies of his realm: he was a weapon, forged from the myths of the past and given new life by the unfathomable will of the Lady. His ageless face shone with a fay light and his countenance bore the raw weight of centuries. Thus, the Uniter was coronated once more as King of Bretonnia, ending Mallobaude's civil war.[2a]
The Green Knight was one of the deadliest warriors in existence. No one, be it man or monster, could ever truly defeat his immortal form in single combat.
- The Dolorous Blade was a mighty sword of immense size and weight, which the Green Knight wielded with ease. Glowing with a strange light, he would sweep it around him with awesome strength. It was capable of destroying enemies in their droves and was infused with ancient magic.
- The Shadow Steed was mystical horse of fey power. The steed of the Green Knight was never slowed by its heavy barding.
- The Green Knight is inspired by a character from Arthurian legend of the same name. He is mentioned to be among the so-called "coloured knights" whom Sir Gareth encountered on his quest to save Lady Linnesse from the evil Red Knight in one tale. In another, he directly came to King Arthur's court to see if anyone could chop his head off, which Sir Gawain accepted and succeeded at. Gawain was surprised however, when the Green Knight's body arose and placed his head back onto his neck.
- Like the Warhammer World's Green Knight, Sir Lancelot is the reputed champion of the Lady of the Lake, having been raised by her from a very young age.
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Bretonnia (6th Edition)
- 1a Page 74
- 2: Warhammer: Nagash
- 2a Page 30
- 3: Total War: Warhammer
- 4: Warhammer: Rulebook (8th Edition), "Bretonnia"
- 5: Knights of Bretonnia (Omnibus)