- "Death is preferable to cowardice!"
- —Sir Lambert de Lillaz.
During his quest to find the Holy Grail , Lambert had passed through a small woodcutter's village on the edge of the Forest of Chalons. The poor men living there had pleaded with him to save them from the "Red Knight of Châlons". They told him in despair how this terrible warrior had ridden into their village over the past four knights to abduct their sons and daughters. He was clad in a blood-red suit of armour and mounted atop a huge black Warhorse. The device on his shield was that of a coiled, black Dragon. Certainly, he thought, this was a trial set by the Lady on his quest for the Grail, and so he entered the dark forest.
Sir Lambert and the Red Knight
In the dim light of the sunset, the path led to clearing. It was then that Lambert saw the Blood Dragon. Standing tall and proud in the centre of a small glade, the Vampire seemed to be waiting for him. He was wearing no helm, and Lambert could see his long mane of thin, black hair that contrasted with his pale complexion and crimson plate armour.
Lambert proudly announced that he was a Questing Knight of Bretonnia, demanding that the Vampire mount his steed and prepare to fight...
After a few seconds of tense silence, the Red Knight spoke in a calm, confident voice. He explained that Lambert should not be concerned for the fate of commoners, that they were not worth the young knight risking his life for. The Blood Knight explained that he had no interest in such an uneven confrontation, that he was already glutted on the blood of peasants and that Lambert should retreat from the forest.
Lambert became enraged at the vampire’s arrogance. He lowered his lance and spurred his Warhorse, charging the vampire with a cry for the Lady and the King. The Red Knight did not move and Lambert’s lance found its mark. The steel tip of his lance pierced the red armour and the shaft buried itself deep in the undead warrior’s flesh. The lance shattered as the young knight galloped past his opponent. Lambert was immediately filled by a sense of triumph. Nothing could survive such a terrible impact. He had vanquished the abomination. Sir Lambert halted his warhorse and turned it around.
The Vampire was still standing. The lance had penetrated his chest just under the collar bone and the tip was now protruding from below his shoulder blade. The creature turned slowly towards Lambert, pulled the thick, wooden shaft from out of his body and dropped it with an unnatural nonchalonce. Only a thin stream of blood trickled from his gaping wound. The Vampire declared that he had experienced a fine jousting display from the Knight of Bretonnia, and that Lambert should leave the forest and live.
Lambert was astonished at the Vampire’s resilience, he felt a strong urge to flee from this powerful enemy, but controlled his fear and made his answer. The young knight declared that perhaps the Vampire was right, that perhaps he could not win this fight. But Lambert was a knight of Bretonnia and he would not surrender. Death was preferable to cowardice.
Demanding that his foe defend himself, Lambert drew his sword and spurred his steed on once more. When he reached the enemy, he swung his sword in a wide, deadly arc, with all the strength of his arm and charging warhorse. This time the Vampire reacted. With blinding speed his left hand raised and caught Lambert’s wrist in an iron grasp, while the right stopped the chargen warhorse. The sudden halt in impetus shocked both the animal and the young knight, and they found themselves both immobilised and helpless, at the mercy of that unnatural predator. For a second the eyes of the two knights met. Looking into those two pools of ancient darkness, Lambert realised that there were powers in this world against which he could not prevail.
Then the Vampire unhorsed Lambert with a powerful twist of his arm and flung him like a puppet into the trees. Lambert crashed against a trunk and darkness engulfed him.
When Lambert opened his eyes, surprised that he was still alive, the Red Knight was in front of him, a sad smile on his thin lips. Lambert realised that he had been thrown over the saddle of his own horse. He tried to move, but his body was overwhelmed by pain and his muscles would not respond.
The Red Knight announced that he was sparing Lambert’s life - He had fought with courage. The Vampire further explained that he was now going to leave the forest, that Lambert has saved his precious peasants and that his pride was intact. The Vampire revealed that his name was Caleb, of the Order of the Blood Dragon.
Caleb bade Lambert to rest and heal. He explained that once he had completed his quest for the Grail, they could engage in a far more even fight, an action that the Vampire might live to regret...
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts (6th Edition) - Blood Dragons