- "Rise Sir Louen, land-knight, slayer of monsters and bane of the dead. You have spirit I thought long lost to this land. I dub thee Louen Leoncoeur, Heart of the Lion."
- —The Lady of the Lake grants Louen his title.
Louen Leoncoeur, the Lionhearted, also known as the Lion of Bretonnia and the Golden Paladin, is the Duke of Couronne, one of the almighty Grail Knights and the penultimate warrior-King of Bretonnia. He is renowned as a noble and just ruler. Fairness in all matters is his watchword, never allowing the law as written to compromise its noble intent, never refusing anyone a hearing in his presence to air grievances of which must be judged. He has issued a decree that none are to suffer for what they say during such an audience. Whenever the King gets involved, justice is done.
On the battlefield, Louen is a deadly adversary, a natural general and a holy champion of the Lady of the Lake. Vampires, Greenskins and Beastmen alike are right to run from the field when King Louen Leoncoeur - the "Lionhearted" - charges into the fray atop his noble Hippogryph Beaquis, for their doom is surely at hand. Wearing the blessed Crown of Bretonnia, and wielding the legendary Sword of Couronne - forged from exquisite Bretonnian silverine - the fearsome Royarch comes to smite evil from his lands.
Somehow, the King has halted the ageing process, appearing to be much younger than his birth records belie. Many believe it is the Lady's favour, her eternal blessing - or even her ethereal kiss - that enables Louen to hold back the advancing years and continue to lead his kingdom to glory. It is certain that the power of the Grail flows through his veins, for where Leoncoeur is cut, light streams out from the wound until it is healed over once more.
Louen took the Questing Vow when he was still a young prince. He travelled for years across the realm of Bretonnia and into lands beyond, expelling evil from wherever it could be found. He had met with prophets and ghosts alike on his travels, survived battles against Dragons and Daemons in his attempts to win the Lady's favour, and rid Bretonnia of many a rampaging monster. He had even fought alongside the Green Knight at one point, and received the Fay Enchantress's blessing after slaying a herd of Beastmen on the banks of a Sacred Lake.
Despite these achievements, however, Louen knew that the Court of Couronne cared not for hollow boasts. Without proof of his victories, and having not yet seen the Grail, they were likely to dismiss such claims...
Ascension to Grail Knight
- "Liquid light drizzled from the wound at his elbow, spattering his surcoat with bright spots of gold and forming small puddles in the mud by his feet. His arm hardly hurt at all, even when he pulled out the rusted sword, and as soon as the blade was gone the wound visibly began to heal. Shaking his head in disbelief, Louen stood over the largest puddle of the strange substance that flowed in his veins. Movement caught his eye on the ground at his feet, and he looked down in puzzlement at the reflection. The Lady of the Lake looked up at him from the pool of lifeblood and smiled."
- —Louen discovers his powers as a Grail Knight.
Louen returned to Couronne five years after his quest had begun. The young knight was so scarred and filthy from his battles that at first the King's Men-at-Arms mistook him for a fellow peasant. He had come to beg his father for aid. The Necromancer Myldeon was gathering a vast army of the Undead and needed to be stopped.
When Louen once again rode out from Couronne he had only sixteen knights accompanying him, for his father was disgusted that he had returned from his quest with nothing more than a beggar's plea. The small force of brave knights came across the undead army at the banks of a mystical lake, and arrayed before them were hundreds of undead warriors with the vile Myldeon looming in the distance. The knights' desperate charge destroyed many of the undead, and they fought ferociously against the odds, but one by one they began to fall. Louen's closest friend and companion, Brocard the Bold, fought his way towards the vile necromancer and signalled a wordless challenge before being immolated with dark magic, leaving only a charred corpse in silver armour. Exhausted and distraught, Louen splashed into the mud at the Lake's edge, dozens of grasping corpses clawing at him as he hacked and slashed. Before long the lake was strewn with undead corpses. As more came, an endless tide of rotting corpses and skeletal warriors, fear touched Louen's heart and he collapsed into the icy waters of the lake.
Louen sank deeper and deeper until shafts of light began to caress his face. The murk became lighter and Louen felt a sense of peace fill his heart. That was until a beast appeared from the depths, an aquatic horror with which Louen desperately fought. During the fight his sword was lost and he had to make do with a simple dagger before finally slaying the beast, burying the blade deep within its gullet. As Louen drifted downwards his eyes began to droop and then closed altogether, darkness surrounding him.
Louen awoke to discover a beautiful courtroom of underwater rock, inhabited by many wonderful and strange creatures, seemingly engaged in a large banquet. Presiding over them was a stunning female figure, her immaculate features surrounded by a halo of luscious silver locks that curled and twirled against each other like courting snakes. Louen knelt on the sands and cast his eyes down respectfully. He felt a great warmth and his soul transcended his mortal senses. It was her, the Lady of the Lake.
The Lady bade Louen to dine with her, explaining that Bretonnia was going to face a dark age and that it needed a great man to lead it. She explained that the Grail was merely symbolic, that the water within was her own lifeblood, as were all Sacred Lakes in Bretonnia. Louen was lost in awe as she cupped her hands. Holding them out, the water within them glowed, illuminated from within. Louen clasped his calloused fingers around her delicate hands and drunk deep. Radiance poured into him like liquid sunlight, burning heat flowed throughout his veins as his body was renewed and strengthened by the goddess. His heart thundered like a bull and his muscles became as strong as oak, the years fell away from him like snow melting in the spring sun.
The Lady smiled with pleasure as Louen rose reborn. On a sudden impulse she took his face in her hands and kissed him. Before she parted, the Lady told Louen that she sensed true greatness in him, dubbing him Louen Leoncouer - "Heart of the Lion" and bidding him to reclaim Bretonnia in her name. At her side came a group of mysterious knights. Garbed in archaic armour and pale of skin, their eyes glittered with the reflected glory of the goddess. These were the lost Sons of Bretonnia, boys taken by the Lady at a young age, never to be seen again.
Louen and the Lost Sons burst from within the sacred lake; the undead turned around as Myldeon stood in shock. The necromancer's undead puppets were smashed into the mud with the force of the impact, decaying bodies practically splashing apart as the silver host thundered home. Louen was a bolt of silvered lightning at the heart of the storm. Even to be near the Grail Knight was deadly to the undead that assailed him. Skin sloughed from flesh and flesh fell from bone as the rotten creatures began to unravel in his wake. Unstoppable, Louen struck left and right with his sword, each decapitating blow leaving a slowly fading curve of silver light hanging in the air. Myledon smiled as he summoned the undead back to unlife, creating a wall of bone between him and the Grail Knight, his sharpened teeth slicked with blood as he drew a sacrificial knife. Louen slashed open his shield straps with his glowing blade, and he brought the steel symbol of Couronne curving round in a great arc, putting all his newfound strength into one great throw. The pointed end of the shield smashed through ribcage and armour alike in a spray of bone and dust, neither spine nor skull slowing its passage. Louen's aim was true, the shield slammed into Myldeon's neck, decapitating him in a spray of gore before clattering to the ground.
King of Bretonnia
- "The greatest Bretonnian leader since Gilles the Uniter, King Louen is a mighty warrior-king - the very pinnacle of Knightly perfection."
- —Louen Leoncoeur, King of Bretonnia.
Louen was officially crowned in the year 1522 (2500 IC), having ascended to the throne following a unanimous vote of his peers and with the consent of the Fay Enchantress, Morgiana le Fay. By then he was said to be over 90 years old, yet he still appeared to be in the prime of his life.
The realm Louen inherited was beset by all manner of threats. The Lichemaster Heinrich Kemmler, despite his defeat at La Maisontaal, still lurked in the Grey Mountains with a horde of undead servants. In the south rumours were spreading of vile rat-men infiltrating the lands of Brionne and Bordeleaux. The northern provinces suffered from raids by the Chaos-worshipping barbarians of Norsca, while other dukedoms were forced to contend with incursions by Greenskin tribes.
Louen's cherished ambition as King was rumoured to be the reconquest and rebuilding of Mousillon, which was all but lost to the realm after the Affair of the False Grail and the Red Pox which followed in its wake. Knights constantly urged him to declare an Errantry War to do this. However, he was often distracted from this great task by wars along the frontier of the Empire, where ambitious Counts threatened Bretonnian domains.
Due to these threats, Louen enacted a policy to encourage even more jousting and tournaments throughout the land than his predecessors did, in order to ensure that all knights honed their skills ready for war. He held magnificent tournaments four times a year which went on for several weeks. He also made a royal procession throughout the various Dukedoms, and on the occasion of his visits the Dukes would hold banquets and tournaments in his honour. Thus, the calendar of Bretonnia became a succession of tournaments and training. This policy was more than welcomed, as Bretonnian knights like nothing better than a tournament, except perhaps a just and righteous war.
In addition to all this, Louen revived the old custom of jousting between noble regiments of knights in a huge tournament marked out especially for the purpose. These Royal Tournaments also became occasions for the investiture of many Knights Errant as new Knights of the Realm, and the setting of tasks for others. Louen would often participate in these tournaments himself, proving time and again that he was one of the most skilled, fierce and honourable knights in the land. With the King encouraging his knights to hone their martial skills at every opportunity, the military might of Bretonnia soon surpassed that of even the greatest armies in history.
Commoners and nobles alike spoke of Louen with reverence, likening him to the mighty Companions of Gilles from ages past. Highly skilled on the field of battle and a master of tactics and strategy, he had never known defeat. As ferocious and noble in diplomacy as he was in war, King Louen the "Lionhearted" was renowned far beyond the borders of Bretonnia itself, and respected by all. He utterly crushed the Orc invasion of 2508 at the Battle of Swamphold, and rode battlefields clear of the undead on the outskirts of Mousillon on more than one occasion. He fought victoriously against invaders from the north, driving them back into the sea, and scoured the taint of insidious covens from within his cities. Leoncoeur always attacked the enemies of Bretonnia with fiery wrath and determination, yet never were his actions anything but chivalrous and honourable. Mounted atop his ferocious Hippogryph, the King always fought at the forefront of his army, descending upon the enemy and chasing them down as they fled before his awesome might.
At one point, the King led his army to aid the Dwarfs in driving out the forces of a bandit lord based within the halls of Karak Norn. Suffice to say that the stronghold was crushed, and the thief-lord slain by High King Thorgrim's own axe. This then left the issue of captives. Louen pled with Thorgrim on their behalf. He explained that they were without choice, for they were but starving peasants, and proceeded to detail the code of chivalry. Thorgrim disagreed, however, believing that the peasants had a choice, and they had chosen not to starve. In the end, the soil of Karak Norn was well nourished that day.
- "We must talk sovereign to sovereign," said the King as he dismounted his dais and moved to stand next to Karl Franz."
"I'm no sovereign. I'm not the Emperor."
"Not yet," said Louen..."
- —King Louen Leoncouer, revealing his prophecy to Karl Franz.
In the year 2502 IC, Louen was granted a vision of prophecy by the Lady of the Lake. He saw the Old World in ruins, with the Ruinous Powers reigning supreme. He understood that Bretonnia needed an equally strong neighbour to form a bulwark against the predations of the Dark Gods and their followers in the north. The Empire was weak, however, and mankind only stood a chance with Emperor Karl Franz on the throne. The nations of Bretonnia and the Empire had not always been friends, but that was the fault of Kings and Emperors from ages past. If Karl Franz made the same mistake, then the Everchosen would be the only one to claim victory in the decades to come.
The Green Knight himself was sent to inform Karl Franz of his summons, materialising out of nowhere to save him from the dagger of a political assassin. Owing his life to the mystical knight, the young Prince of Altdorf made the journey to Axe Bite Pass, to hold council with Bretonnia's warrior-king.
Aiding the Prince of Altdorf
- "I thought you Reiklanders were fops? Nice to see that at least one can wield a sword."
- —Louen Leoncouer, fighting alongside Karl Franz.
When Franz and his retinue of Reiksguard arrived at the mountainous domain, they bore witness to a vast warcamp. At the camp's centre was a grand marquee, a tent of epic proportions in the colours of blue and red with gold trim. It was the pavilion of King Louen Leoncoeur. The Prince entered the pavilion, escorted by Count von Königswald and a pair of fully-armoured Reiksguard. Inside the marquee was a large crowd of assorted Bretonnian nobles, each amongst the most powerful in the land. The King's tent was as opulent within as it was outside. The floor was littered with the furs of large exotic cats and there was a massive fire pit in the middle, on which a boar was roasting upon a spit. Long banqueting tables lined the main gangway, leading straight from the entrance to the rear of the marquee, where, on a raised dais, sat the King.
Next to King Louen there was a woman in her mid-thirties, and undeniably beautiful. The King himself sat comfortably in his wooden throne. He wore chainmail and a sword by his side - his face, unreadable. Leoncoeur greeted Franz and his party in perfect Reikspiel, albeit with a slight Bretonnian accent. He announced that Karl Franz was to address him as "your majesty," causing the Prince's retinue to bristle with anger and the gathered nobles to chortle with amusement. Then, he raised his arms and everyone fell silent.
The beautiful woman turned to the King and whispered in his ear. He nodded, and dismissed the gathered nobles. Soon enough the tent was empty, and Louen was left to walk around the pavilion with Franz, deep in conversation. The King informed the young Prince of the frustrations of rulership, of what a leader must do for his people. He explained that Franz was right to avoid it, that only fools deliberately sought the chains of governance, but that for men like them, it was their responsibility. Most importantly of all he explained his vision, that Franz had to become Emperor, or the land of Sigmar would fall to the Ruinous Powers.
Louen's speech was suddenly ended by the sound of steel clashing, and the unmistakable battlecry of the Orcs. The Greenskins of the Necksnapper tribe had swarmed Axe Bite Pass, seeking vengeance for their slain kin and drawn to the King's gaudy tent. Louen went for his sword while Franz pulled his Runefang from its sheath. Hulking Orcs burst into the pavilion, running towards the pair with long, hungry strides. One Orc obliviously smashed through the tent's fire pit in his desperation to close with the men, setting the pavilion alight. The clumsy Orc was brought low by Franz's Runefang, the legendary blade carving its body in twain. The Prince and the King fought back-to-back as Orcs swarmed around them. King Leoncoeur wielded the Sword of Couronne with a knight's grace, slicing two Orcs with a fatal whirl that ripped their necks open, cursing their kind as filth as he dispatched yet another. Smoke began to fill the tent as the two royals slew several more Orcs, incapacitating Franz as it entered his lungs.
Then, the front of the tent all but exploded, with burning fragments falling away as Bretonnian Knights of the Realm charged through at full tilt. Horses jumped through tables as their riders skewered and trampled greenskins. Others ran down the gangway, scattering Orcs with lance and sword. In the Bretonnian knights' wake came Imperial Halberdiers and the Reiksguard, killing with every blow.
With the Necksnapper tribe defeated, the Bretonnians and Imperials gathered within the smoking ruins of the King's pavilion. With a smile, Leoncoeur declared that the Greenskins had been given but a taste of what mankind could do when it was united. He began to laugh, and Franz joined him. Then, the King of Bretonnia turned to his newfound ally and informed him of what needed to be done. Karl Franz was to return to his capital. He was to win the election and become Emperor, not for himself, or for Louen, but for the Old World...
Storm of Chaos
- "War has been thrust upon the lands of King Louen Leoncoeur once again and will have to be met in kind."
- —The Storm of Chaos.
During the Storm of Chaos, King Louen received in his court messengers from Karl Franz’s Conclave of Light. A monarch ever aware of the threats to his nation, Louen Leoncoeur was not surprised to hear the dire news that the emissaries brought. There were some among the Dukes and Knights who argued that the perils of the Empire were not their concern and that they should look to securing their own borders and defences should the Empire fall to the might of Archaon.
A warrior king in the greatest traditions of Bretonnia, Leoncoeur chastised these counsellors and spoke of the Norse longships that had grown brave and ventured south to raid the coastal villages of Bretonnia. He saw that if the Empire were to succumb to the hordes of the north, Bretonnia could not hope to hold against the tide that would be unleashed against his people. The Fay Enchantress too guided his decision, telling the court that it was the will of the Lady that Bretonnia take to arms and aid their fellow men. Her divine mistress had come in dreams to many Grail Knights in the preceding nights, and even now they were gathering at Montfort for the march north. The King had no hesitation in declaring a new Errantry War against the forces of Archaon...
Knights from across the dukedoms of Bretonnia gathered for the march, eager to prove their worth against the servants of the Chaos gods. King Louen rode north himself at the head of his Knights, proving to the world that the strength of Bretonnia had not lessened under his reign. Yet Bretonnia was a large realm and its knights spread far and wide, and though many thousands answered the call to arms it would take several months for the army to be readied for war. The march north would be a long journey, the crossing of the Grey Mountains no small task in itself, and Leoncoeur feared that despite his great efforts he might arrive too late and find the Empire ruined and in flames.
The Siege of Middenheim
Despite his fears, Louen's army arrived to aid the Empire in their darkest hour. At the Empire city of Middenheim, in the heat of the midday sun, the Empire troops heard the clarion blast of a score of horns. The forest around Middenheim came alive with brightly-coloured caparisons and glorious pennants, the sun glinted from thousands of lance tips as the Knights of Bretonnia formed up and charged. They fell upon the rearguard of the Chaos troops with abandon, led by a shining figure atop a majestic Gryphon-horse, King Louen Leoncoeur himself. He charged straight into the heart of the chaos line, surrounded by a tight wedge of Pegasus Knights. The minstrels of that land would be busy in the coming weeks.
When Boris Todbringer gave the order to withdraw to the outer defences of Middenheim and Imperials, Dwarfs and Elves pulled back from Grimminhagen, a solid charge led by King Louen scattered the pursuing Chaos forces. As the defenders began to rejoice, the air began to shimmer, and the skies themselves seemed to split apart like a corpse. A great lake of darkness spilled out, coalescing into ten thousand Daemons as it stretched out towards Middenheim. Eyes glinted within the shadowy veil, and cruel laughs and nightmarish curses were carried upon the retreating defenders on the hot wind. The waves of darkness fell over the Imperial army, and terror began to visibly spread amongst their ranks. Hundreds of men knelt and clawed at their eyes as a great, shadowy winged figure rose into the air above the unnatural legion. This was the mighty Be'lakor and his unholy army, who marched upon Middenheim with the Empire's Grand Theogonist chained to their war-banner.
In the melee that followed, the Bretonnian King and his knights battled fiercely with the daemonic host. Protected from the evil sorceries of the Daemon Prince by enchantments of the Lady, Louen engaged Be'lakor in single combat. As the King of Bretonnia fought bravely against the Dark Master, an anguished cry was heard over the battlefield. Volkmar the Grim had ripped free of the chains binding him to Be'lakor's army standard, and laid about the surrounding daemons with those self-same enchanted chains. Bloodied but unbowed, the injured Volkmar was carried free upon the back of Louen's hippogryph and taken to the Temple of Shallya in Middenheim.
Having rescued the Grand Theogonist, Louen was later forced to lead a band of Knights Errant against an ambush launched by Archaon and his Swords of Chaos. Even with Leoncouer at their head, the young nobles stood little chance against the mightiest Chaos Knights. Fighting their way clear, Louen and the brave Leofric were among the only survivors.
Undaunted, the King continued to lead his army against the fell hordes of Chaos. He and the Knights of Bretonnia charged alongside the Gryphon Legion of Kislev, while white-shafted arrows from Elven Archers punched through armour and Dwarfen bullets penetrated flesh, pushing the invaders back. Ultimately, despite the efforts of the bravest and most foolhardy Chaos Warriors, and the exhortations of Archaon, the walls of Middenheim stood proud. Battered, bloodied but unbroken, the defenders rallied to the calls of their leaders and poured forth from the city to pursue the Everchosen's scattered army. After weeks of brutal war, the Empire and its allies were victorious.
With their honour fulfilled, King Louen and most of his noble knights returned to Bretonnia. Some, however, those who still lusted for glory and renown, dispersed on their own individual trials and quests. A great many made the journey to Brass Keep to do battle with the monsters there, while others aided the Lancers of Kislev in scouring the Empire's forests of Beastmen and straggling Chaos warbands.
- "The knightly sons of Bretonnia ride to war once more, in pursuit of honour, glory, and land!"
- —The War of the Nemesis Crown.
Many a bold knight had made a name for himself during the Storm of Chaos. While this affirmation of chivalric principles warmed King Louen Leoncoeur's heart, it presented him with a problem. In Bretonnia, tradition dictated that valour upon the field of battle be rewarded with land. However, so successful had his knights proved, that Louen was running short on land to award. So it was that the King issued a decree. It was clear that the Empire was beset by evil forces seeking the Nemesis Crown, and that Bretonnia must once again rise to defend her cousin. An Errantry War was declared, its aim to purge the Empire of all threats. Furthermore, knights with the rank of Baron or higher were permitted to extend the protection of the crown to any Empire township that wished greater protection from the strife besetting them, and a more stable governance than that offered by Emperor Karl Franz.
Within a day of the decree, the first of Louen's armies rode to the Empire, Heraldry bright in the sunshine. Knights from every corner of the realm had responded to the King's declaration. Amid the column of the armies, the blues and whites of Quenelles jostled with the white of Montfort, the gold of Bastonne and the red of Gisoreux. Pegasus Knights came from Parravon, mighty Grail Knights from Chalons- even a few Questing Knights had set aside their travails to join the cause. All around flowed the sea of peasants, yeomen and squires that gather in the wake of a knightly crusade. Louen then appointed the famed Paladin Philippe d'Artaud as leader of his armies.
The crusade of the Bretonnians proved to be a glorious success, they had outperformed every other nation of Man, and even Elf. Only the Dwarfs, the true owners of the Nemesis Crown, fought harder to eventually reclaim their powerful artifact.
Mallobaude, bastard son of King Louen, had long been gathering an army in Mousillon, and on Winter’s Eve of the year 2521 IC, he loosed it to seize the throne of Bretonnia. Disgraced knights from across the realm flocked to Mallobaude’s serpent banner and, as King Louen, Royarch of Bretonnia, gathered his own scattered armies, the situation worsened. After the Battle of Châlons, and the calamitous disappearance of Morgiana le Fay, the Dukes of Carcassonne, Lyonesse and Artois declared themselves for Mallobaude, and rebellion blossomed into civil war.
At first, the forces of the king had the upper hand. Mallobaude’s followers fought with the desperation of traitors, but the Lady’s blessing lay with those who rode at King Louen’s side. One by one, Leoncoeur bested the treacherous Dukes and brought their rebellious provinces to heel. A year into the campaign, it seemed that the serpent’s hour was done. It was then that the true depth of Mallobaude’s evil was revealed; he had struck a pact with the ancient liche Arkhan the Black, and as the serpent’s human allies foundered, the dead marched to swell his ranks.
By the time Leoncoeur faced his bastard son at the Battle of Quenelles, Mallobaude commanded a horde far greater than the king’s army. The defenders of Bretonnia fought valiantly, but in the end, it was all for nothing. Having become injured during a failed cavalry charge, Louen fought his way to the centre of the battle, where he was cut down by Mallobaude in single combat. With their king’s fall, the Bretonnians lost all will to fight.
Believed by many to be dead, Louen wandered the far reaches of Bretonnia for days, teetering on the brink of death. When he at last found his way back to Couronne, he collapsed in front of a Grail Knight, who almost slew him for a Wraith before noticing his mud-splattered emblems. By then, Mallobaude had been destroyed, and Gilles le Breton had shaken off his guise as the Green Knight, becoming the true King of Bretonnia. After recovering from his wounds, Leoncouer was dubbed the High Paladin of Couronne by Gilles, and acted as regent when the ancient hero left to hunt down the dregs of Chaos.
The End Times
- "When we swore our vows, we swore to guard the weak and cast down the tyrant. We swore to ride out against any creature of darkness that threatened our hearth and home, and to take the vengeance of the Lady to every last one of them. In these times, every realm stands as our hearth, and the whole world is our home! The corrupted will make no distinction between them and us. If Altdorf falls, who can doubt that Couronne will be next? When we shed blood on the Reik, we shed it for Bretonnia; when we shield the Empire from the storm, we shield the vales and towers of Quenelles and Bordeleaux!"
- —Louen Leoncoeur musters the Knights of Bretonnia.
Louen Leoncoeur was one of the Lady's foremost champions during the final days of the world, freeing every Bretonnian city he encountered from the forces of evil. Despite these victories, however, Louen had lost much of his pride. He had ridden out to face Mallobaude as the unquestioned monarch of his domain. He had returned to find a legend from the past sitting in the throne-room to accept the acclamation of the masses. All bowed the knee to le Breton, including Leoncoeur himself.
The former King knew that to linger in Couronne like a ghost over its grave was pointless, and only grief could come of it. He decided that the time had come to aid the Empire in its own struggle, to fight back at the darkness that threatened not just Bretonnia, but the entire world.
Bretonnia had rode out to aid the Empire on many occasions, but those noble actions had not been reciprocated in recent years. Nonetheless, Louen could not stand by as the Sigmarites were assailed by the forces of Chaos. King Gilles gave him leave to make the case for Errantry, and despite the weariness of the long and grinding war, those tidings were met handsomely. Knights from across the realm rode out to answer the summons. Louen may not have been the King any longer, but they still responded to the Lion of Bretonnia when he called.
The Fall of Altdorf
- "Of course, beloved. I desire that of all things. Turn aside, and I will preserve you for as long as my power lasts. When you die, my heart will break."
- —The Lady of the Lake.
Louen's final act of heroism was at the great city of Altdorf. Here the Grail Knight plunged into the fray, first slaying a monstrous Bile Troll of Nurgle and then a titanic Cygor, plunging the Sword of Couronne into its baleful eye. Seeing a single, untainted area within the city, Louen set forth to defend it from Nurgle’s hordes. This was Altdorf's Temple of Shallya.
Within the temple's courtyard Louen fought against Ku'gath Plaguefather, Nurgle's mightiest Greater Daemon, further empowered by the unnatural mucus-rain surrounding the besieged city. Even amid all the terror and filth, those Shallyans who witnessed the fight were struck by the knight's sheer beauty. Louen's hair seemed to shimmer like gold, and his armour, though streaked with the blood of slain Champions, still glittered with a high sheen. He charged straight at the Daemon, spitting words of challenge that sounded like some strange music, working his blade in blistering arcs and hacking into its loose flesh. He moved so fast, shrugging off wounds and taking the fight straight to the titanic creature that loomed over him. Ku'gath struck Louen with a giant bronze sword, each strike capable of breaking bone into dust, but still he fought on.
The Lionheart soon found himself fighting against both Ku'gath and his horde of Plaguebearers, who had come to assist their master. Cutting down the daemonic tide pressing against him, Louen’s flashing sword glowed bright under the comet above. The battle ended when he plunged his holy blade deep into the Greater Daemon's bulbous throat. Hanging from his sacred blade, Louen’s blood began to pour onto Ku'gath. The golden lifeblood, bearing the blessing of a goddess even more powerful than Shallya, began to consume the Plaguefather, slowly rendering him into nothing but a puddle of gore.
The former King had been greatly weakened by his fight against Ku'gath, and the many monsters and Chaos Champions he had fought to reach the foul daemon. When a horde of fresh Plaguebearers poured into the courtyard, Louen stood bleeding but proud atop a fallen statue, cutting them down.
Though he fought valiantly, Louen was eventually felled by the Nurgle-Empowered Festus the Leechlord. However, even as Festus's plague-saw parted muscle and severed ribs, Louen fought back against the pain. He stared straight into the face of his killer, and cracked a grin. This enraged the Leechlord further, but before he could twist his plague-saw deeper, he was slain by the newly arrived Vlad von Carstein.
Mortally wounded, Louen's last sight was the remainder of the daemons driven from the courtyard, pursued by grey-skinned warriors in archaic armour. A Priestess of Shallya was at his side then, cradling him. He managed to shoot her a final smile, thanking her. So it was that, courteous to the last, Louen Leoncoeur died in the precincts of the Temple of Shallya, far from home, ringed by the living and the dead.
Even the Vampire Lord had a look of sadness as he stood over the Bretonnian's ravaged body, before finally retreating from the field. Louen was found hours after the battle had finally ended. Collected by his grieving knights, he was borne away like a hero, silently and in reverence. His body later melted into a pool of holy water as he ascended to godhood, part of Lileath's plan for a new world. Later, as Lileath held a meeting with the other Gods of the Old World, she turned to the Golden Paladin at her side, inspired by the loyal sacrifice he had made...
Over the course his long life, Louen was known to have fathered at least two children. He had a daughter, Isabeau, who at one point was captured by the Dragon Malgrimace and rescued by Jasperre le Beau. He also had a bastard son, Mallobaude, who would go on to become his greatest enemy. Louen's own father was a previous King of Bretonnia, and thus a Grail Knight.
Louen, like all Bretonnian knights, rode into battle wearing armour bedecked with magnificent Heraldry. His shield, great helm, pennant and surcoat all bore his personal heraldic markings, indicating to everyone his achievements and status, and overawing his opponents in battle.
Louen's coat of arms Was: Per pale Gules (for his father) and Azure (for his mother), a lion (for the royal family of Couronne) with a crown (as King) holding in his sinister paw a sword (as Duke), within a bordure charged with fourteen fleur-de-lis, Gules and Azure (for the Dukedoms).
Wargear and Abilities
Among the monarchs and leaders of the Old World, King Louen Leoncoeur was perhaps the mightiest warrior. He was capable of slaying Nurgle's greatest Daemon, simply with his holy blood, and slaughtering lesser enemies in their droves. Older than any other human ruler, his experience in combat and politics was unquestionable. The power of the Grail flowed through Louen's veins, making him faster, stronger and more resilient than any mortal man. Imbued with this fay power, he could regenerate his wounds, the blood shining with a holy light before disappearing completely.
- The Sword of Couronne was a mighty relic weapon, first gifted to the Grail Companion Carleond, and wielded by many heroes of Bretonnia's past. It was forged from the finest silverine and was quenched in the mirror pools of the Great Forest. A purified weapon of the Temple of the Lady, the sanctified blade was steeped in righteous power. As Louen wielded this blade, it would catch the sun's rays, dazzling his enemies as he charged into battle.
- The Lion Lance was a mighty relic weapon carried by the kings of Bretonnia's past, granting the wielder enhanced strength and striking with a relentless fury.
- The Tabard of Kings was a magnificent embroidered tabard which had been passed down through Bretonnia's greatest Kings, enchanted with powerful counter-spells it protected its bearer against enemy magic.
- The Armour of Brilliance was a near impervious relic of holy might, once worn by the famed Grail Knight, Agilulf. The dazzling light from the armour's polished plates made it painful for dark beings to even look upon their foe.
- The Crown of Bretonnia shone with a golden light and was blessed by the Lady herself, enhancing the character of its wearer and inspiring those near him.
- Beaquis is the loyal mount of King Louen - a mighty Hippogryph as majestic in battle as his master.
- Louen is inspired by the well-known King of England, Richard the Lionheart, also known as the "Couer de Lion."
- There is a distinct possibility that King Charlen is Louen Leoncoeur's father. Depending on the source, Louen was either 70 or 90 years old when he ascended to the throne in 2500 IC, having drunk from the Grail while still a young man. This places Louen's time as a Questing Knight in the 2400's, during Charlen's rule. Charlen also hailed from the Dukedom of Couronne, and his war-like personality fits the description of Louen's father in "The Court Beneath" novella.
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Bretonnia (5th Edition)
- 2: Warhammer Armies: Bretonnia (6th Edition)
- 3: Warhammer: Nagash
- 4: Warhammer: Glottkin
- 5: Warhammer: Guardians of the Forest
- 6: Hammer and Bolter: The Court Beneath, Issue 25
- 7: Total War: Warhammer
- 8: White Dwarf 202 (Aus), pg. 55-57
- 9: Warhammer: Storm of Chaos
- 10: Darkness Rising
- 11: Warhammer: The Nemesis Crown (Booklet)
- 12: Nemesis Crown Official Website (Archived)
- 13: Warhammer: The End Times Omnibus
- 14: Warhammer: Thorgrim (Novel)
- 15: Prince of Altdorf (Novella)
- 16: WHFRP - Knights of the Grail
- 17: Storm of Chaos - The Loremaster's Journal
- 18: Warhammer: Louen Leoncoeur (Miniature Box)