Warhammer Wiki
Advertisement
Warhammer Wiki

"Landuin was the purest and finest of the Grail Companions. He drew all the virtue of his land into his person and left the country the waste it is now."

—Sir Emmerin, Knight of Lyonesse, shortly before his execution for heresy.[1a]

Mousillon, formally the Dukedom of Mousillon, was a founding dukedom of Bretonnia whose territory once stretched along the western shores of that realm. Ever since the fall of its last duke, Mousillon has become a cursed, impoverished land that is plagued by constant misfortunes, disease and the attention of dark powers. Having since lost its status as an official dukedom of the kingdom, the land of Mousillon is the smallest of the twelve dukedoms of Bretonnia, even though it was once known as the most beautiful and fairest of them all.[1a]

Ever since the death of the last officially recognised duke, Maldred d'Mousillon, what remains of Mousillon is a backwater region filled with marshes, bogs and swamps. Those people still living within the dukedom are inbred and horribly mutated. The villages of Mousillon look poor and rundown, more so than typical Bretonnian villages. The peasant hovels are on the verge of collapsing, streets are little more than sewers, and there are as many dead animals to be seen as living ones. The inhabitants watch any visitors silently from their homes, cowering within and giving only occasional glimpses of their malformed bodies. No one rules this accursed land, for none now wish to do so.[1a] 

History

Fall of House Marimund

In the recent past, Marquis Marimund emerged as a dire threat to the noble houses of Mousillon and the city of Castle Mousillon itself. Like a bloated leech, he preyed upon Mousillon, draining its lifeblood and seizing every scrap of power and control he could. From his fortified chateau in the north-east quarter of the city, Marimund's ruffians became a terror to the peasants, exacting a gruelling tribute that left nothing for the rightful rulers of the other districts of the city to claim.[5b] 

Marimund's thugs clashed violently with the soldiers of rival houses in the streets, which resulted in dozens of bodies being dumped into the bog each day, with no end to the strife in sight. The city of Mousillon was gripped by constant turmoil and fear, as Marimund's ambition knew no bounds.[5b] 

The most alarming development came with Marimund's proclamation of himself as "Duc" Marimund, signaling his intent to extend his influence beyond the city's walls. This audacious move threatened to draw the wrath of the king upon Mousillon, a confrontation that the city was ill-prepared to face.[5b] 

Yet before his plan could come into action, a Dragon known by the Elves as Malok the Destroyer mercilessly annihilated Duc Marimund's chateau. Those who witnessed the fall of Marimund's fortress described in exacting detail the horrific monster that had wrought such carnage.[5c]

The Dragon was in search of the Fell Fang, a potent talisman used by the Elves to summon its kind.[5a]

Geography

"Never been there, never want to go. Do I look like an idiot?"

—Eldegar of Busreq, Coachman[1a]
Mousillon map

A map of Mousillon

Mousillon is the smallest, poorest, and most cursed of the dukedoms of Bretonnia. Much of its land was seized by Lyonesse in 1814 IC, after the Vampiric corruption of Duke Merovech d'Mousillon was revealed. The Duke of Mousillon slew the King of Bretonnia and drank his blood before the assembled nobles. War was the only solution.[1a]

The remaining land of the dukedom in the wake of that campaign of conquest falls into two areas. In the west, the coastal areas are dominated by swamp with isolated areas of higher and firmer ground. In the north and east there are rugged hills and the edges of the Forest of Arden. The whole of Mousillon is plagued by extreme weather. When the air is still, thick fogs gather. If there is wind, it is always strong and almost always accompanied by rain or hail. Thunderstorms are common, as are fires started by lightning strikes. Fortunately, these fires do not spread very far.[1a]

Mousillon

Original heraldry of Mousillon before its fall to darkness.

The hills are rocky and treacherous, and most vegetation consists of scrubby thorn bushes. The Mousillon Rose also grows in the hills. This bush has luxuriant evergreen leaves and vivid purple flowers that bloom most of the year. It looks out of place in the hills, but it fits right in in such a cursed place. The stems are coated with vicious, barbed thorns, and the pollen is a deadly poison. What is more, it grows where a Human corpse has been left to rot. The sites of old battles turn into thickets of the deadly plant.[1a]

Mousillon's swamps are even more treacherous. The firm ground of a trail often sinks an inch or so beneath the level of the water. This poses no problem for those in stout boots or on horseback, apart from the existence of sucking mud and quicksand under the same water a yard or so to either side. To make matters worse, swamp mat creates false trails.[1a]

Swamp mat is a grassy plant that grows out from solid ground, over water, mud, and quicksand, forming a raft about six feet wide and up to hundreds of yards long. It traps mud in its leaves and draws much of the water from it, so that the top of the Swamp Mat is hard to distinguish visually from the trails it links to. Those stepping on it can easily tell the difference, however; swamp mat cannot support anything heavier than a small rodent.[1a]

MaldredDeMousillonHeraldry

Heraldry of Maldred of Mousillon, last legally recognised Duke of Mousillon, in 2276 IC.

The cursed dukedom is haunted by Undead, in far greater numbers than elsewhere in the kingdom. Indeed, the land positively encourages the creation of Undead. Undead creatures summoned by necromantic spells do not revert to normal corpses if they become uncontrolled. Instead, they continue to obey their last order until destroyed in combat.[1a]

Wandering Undead can sense the borders of Mousillon and turn back. If forced across, they become normal corpses unless they are still magically controlled. These energies seem to be appealing to other Undead, as well; there are many reports of Vampire nobility now living in the dukedom, though not on the scale of the Vampire Counts of Sylvania. There are surprisingly few reports of Beastmen. Beastmen Zombies and Skeletons are common near the Forest of Arden, but living Beastmen seem to avoid the area. The exception is tales of man-sized giant rats and Skaven; such creatures are often encountered in the swamps.[1a]

Notable Locations

Mon 256 (3)

Corrupted heraldry of Mousillon used by its Vampire rulers following the fall of the dukedom to the Undead as depicted in Total War: Warhammer.

A traveller does not have to venture into Castle Mousillon itself to be robbed, infected, drowned, executed, or eaten by Undead. There is plenty elsewhere in the duchy for him to see. While much of Mousillon can be characterised by swamp and marsh with the occasional collection of peasant hovels, the dukedom's past -- and, possibly, its future -- means there are some other places of interest.[2a]

Pirates' Grave

Pirates' Grave, off the coast of Bretonnia north of Castle Mousillon, is a bleak testament to the Battle of the Tides. The Bretonnian fleet, having just witnessed how deadly the Mousillon coast could be, had no wish to salvage the pirate ships that were lost in that battle. So the ships were left to rot where they had sunk or run aground, and most of them are still there.[2a]

From the coast, it is possible to see the sun-bleached masts sticking up above the surface of the water, or the rotting, skeletal hulls rearing up onto the rocks. The high tide during the battle means that many ships settled almost entirely out of the water when the tide subsided, and several pirate ships lie, almost complete, on the rocks like beached whales.[2a]

Frulin's Brothers

Farulin's Brothers are possibly the oldest Human-built structures in the whole of Bretonnia. They were built to create a strange magical effect that befuddles those who stray within their boundaries, to keep the curious away from the barrow of an ancient chieftain of the Bretonni tribe. Long dead before Gilles le Breton was ever born, this chieftain must have been a powerful warlord with many skilled wizards at his beck and call for the spell on Farulin's Brothers to remain after all this time.[2c]

His barrow still stands at the centre of the monolith fields, undisturbed even by the curse of the Undead that hangs over Mousillon. The chieftain's chariot and warhorses were buried with him in an antechamber where corroded bronze horse armour still lies, while the stone coffin in the chieftain's own burial chamber has remained sealed in spite of the efforts of time, the damp, and vermin.[2c]

Guerac Circle

Guerac Circle is one of the few places remaining in Mousillon from before the horror. A stone circle sacred to the gods Taal and Rhya, it stands in the hills of northern Mousillon, surrounded by an area of healthy vegetation and wholesome wildlife. Maintaining this requires constant effort by the priests of the two nature gods and their assistants. The priests say the gods provide for them, and certainly, the hunting in the area is very good. Nevertheless, the guardians are hard-pressed and readily welcome further aid.[1a]

The Circle is also renowned as the site of the Oak of Prophecy. This tree grows just outside the stone circle and bears acorns all year round. If one eats one of the acorns, they suffer terrible stomach cramps, but also see a vision of the future. This vision is always easy to interpret in broad terms and reveals roughly what the individual must do to avert some disaster that would affect them personally. It doesn't give details. The guardians rely heavily on the Oak of Prophecy to warn them of attacks by the foul Undead and other creatures of Mousillon.[1a]

River Grismerie

The River Grismerie is over 600 miles long, forming in the Grey Mountains and eventually winding its way down to the swamps of Mousillon. It is regarded by the people of the dukedom as somehow enchanted, but it is crossable by ferry.[4a]

Chateau Hane

Mallobaude heraldry Bretonnia

Heraldry of Mallobaude the Serpent, current unrecognised "Duke" of Mousillon

Chateau Hane is a handsome, single-tower keep, octagonal in cross-section, that forms one end of a small but sturdy stone bridge over the River Grismerie. The tower is the current residence of Aucassin, the chief lieutenant of Mallobaude. It has a stable nearby for the several Vampire Blood Knights that work for Aucassin. Several villages nearby also pay fealty to Aucassin in his tower. The tower is richly decorated by banners and tapestries depicting Mousillon's history.[2f]

Chateau Marimund

From this castle located in the north-east quarter of the city, the sentries stand watching outside the chambers of their lord, the self proclaimed Duc Marimund,[5b] could lean tiredly upon their spears. Theirs was a dull, uneventful post. The possibility of any intruder making his way into the castle was remote, some might say impossible. None had done so for years, not since one of the rival noblemen of Mousillon had employed an Estalian assassin to attempt to remove their master’s claim over the city in a rather forceful fashion.[5a]

But this was before the attack of a mighty Dragon, known as Malok which destroyed under his weight the castle and many of his inhabitants.[5a]

After the attack the castle of Duc Marimund was just a pile of rubble, three of its outer walls collapsed entirely as though the fist of an angry god had smashed the fortress flat. The blighted districts of rotting houses and shops that had surrounded Marimund’s stronghold were blackened and charred, scarred by a flame intense enough to prosper even in the mouldy swamp-tainted wood that prevailed in the environs.[5c]

Biaucaire

The tower of Biaucaire is the home of Bougars de Biaucaire, a sadistic and cruel cannibal Bretonnian lord. He terrorises the peasant villages of his domain in north-eastern Mousillon. According to their stories, he is a monstrous knight who rides out of the darkness and spears innocents in their beds. He is an Ogre who eats children raw. He is a master of black arts who can flay your soul from your body with a word. He is also their liege lord, and the peasants are bound to obey his laws, no matter how insane, on the pain of worse than death.[2e]

Bougars has turned the watchtower of Biaucaire into a monstrous charnel house. Many criminals, mostly poachers, are impaled along the path that winds up a hillside towards the watchtower itself and the heads of poachers and rebels adorn rusting spikes over the doorway.[2e]

Inside the scenes are infinitely worse. The tower's guest quarters are now fouled by the bodies of executed criminals, hanging like sides of meat from rows of hooks. The grand fireplace in Bougars' audience chamber has a blackened spit on which these bodies are cooked. The watchtower was never the most elegant or awe-inspiring place in Bretonnia, but it is now a dismal and horrible place, its furnishings mouldering with neglect and the stench of death everywhere. The cannibal lives at the castle alone, but a peasant or soldier is somtimes summoned to do some menial task, usually filled with terror.[2e]

Pied a'Cochon

Considered by many to be the last sacred place in the dukedom, Pied a'Cochon was a small Grail Chapel. Unfortunately, the chapel was destroyed by a horde of Zombies in 2450 IC. The Grail Damsels there either fled or were killed. No one knows who commanded them or why they attacked the chapel, but the Zombies remain there to this day. The Chapel was particularly beloved by the Fay Enchantress for its humility and acts of charity to the poor in the swamp villages.[2c]

Orphan Hills

A range of low hills in eastern Mousillon are known as the Orphan Hills. Rising above the waterlogged ground, they are known among the worldlier peasantry (those who have actually left their home village once or twice) as a place where the most unusual and exotic herbs and flowers grow. Many folk remedies passed on through generations of Frogwives use herbs that grow only in the Orphan Hills, and the villages around the hills are home to herb-pickers well versed in spotting the useful herbs among the weeds.[2a]

A knowledgeable Frogwife might pay anything up to a chicken leg for a fine bunch of herbs from the Orphan Hills, and some hardy folk travel the roads of Mousillon selling herbs to various villages. Such travellers are viewed with great suspicion since they have the audacity to leave the village of their birth. Still, they are tolerated.[2a]

The Orphan Hills are covered in bracken and scrub, but they are still more pleasant than most of the rest of the dukedom. They are also relatively safe, and it is only the stubbornness of the bracken that prevents them from being more densely populated. A ruined keep sits atop one of the Orphan Hills, and through little more than a few collapsed walls, it was evidently quite large before it fell into disrepair. No record exists of the keep's name or who once lived there, and it might even be an ancient High Elven ruin. In any case, some of the most useful herbs grow from the cracks of its foundations.[2a]

Cordon Sanitaire

Over the two centuries since Mousillon was officially unrecognized as a dukedom by the King of Bretonnia, the Cordon Sanitaire has been gradually built up around the former dukedom's borders. By order of the king, more than two dozen towers encircle Mousillon whose sole purpose is to watch for bands of peasants leaving Mousillon. Bretonnians are certain that a peasant from the dukedom must surely carry the Red Pox and would be the source of another outbreak if they were permitted to leave the dukedom.[2a]

Thus, the towers stand along Mousillon's few roads, game trails, and paths, using natural terrain to make sneaking past them difficult if not impossible. To ensure their continued success, soldiers regularly patrol the gaps left between the towers. And where the soldiers cannot go, they leave it to the natural dangers of Mousillon's countryside (Undead, Orcs, and worse) to do the dirty work.[2a]

Each tower serves as a checkpoint along the Cordon. Like a small fortress, each is self-sufficient, having the means to grow its own food and keep food animals on hand for slaughter. About once every three weeks, the attached dukedom sends supplies and fresh troops. Governing each is a castellan -- usually a knight charged with capturing and questioning any peasant who tries to cross the Cordon from Mousillon into the neighbouring dukedom, especially into Lyonesse and Brionne.[2a]

In truth, relatively few peasants venture out of Mousillon (many do not realise there is a world outside their village, let alone the dukedom), and the castellans find themselves instead fighting bands of outlaws and racketeers moving contraband from the city through the Cordon Sanitaire. Beneath the castellan, there is a small garrison of ten to twenty militiamen, though some are staffed by knights (about twenty percent of all the towers).[2a]

In spite of the Bretonnian Crown's renewed interest, the average Cordon Sanitaire watchtower is a rather dismal place, lonely and isolated, staffed by a knight acting as castellan and a few Men-at-Arms. Knights and nobles are assumed to be on honourable business and can normally move freely across the Cordon, as can commoners or foreigners if they are specifically permitted to do so by the duke of a neighbouring dukedom.[2a]

Others, however, must run the Cordon Sanitaire. The Cordon cannot physically prevent everyone from crossing through, but the journey is still dangerous as travellers without authority can be killed by the forces of the castellans -- to this end a few criminals in Mousillon specialise in smuggling people and cargo through the Cordon, using hidden passes and the occasional corrupt soldier in a castellan's staff to gain safe passage out of the cursed dukedom.[2a]

Donjon of Dol

The Donjon of Dol was the infamous location where the Fay Enchantress was kidnapped during the Affair of the False Grail. Located on the northwestern coast of Mousillon, the Donjon is a tower of sea-sprayed black granite, perhaps of ancient High Elven design now eroded into a gnarled finger of rock pointing at the sky. The Fay Enchantress languished in the donjon until a Questing Knight named Gaston de Beau Geste was led by visions to the Donjon of Dol.[2]

There he defeated the monster Maldred had sent to guard the spindly stone bridge leading to the tower and released the Fay Enchantress. For this deed, the Fay Enchantress granted Gaston the vacant throne of Bretonnia, and it was as king that Gaston led the knights who rode into Mousillon and besieged the Castle Mousillon. The Donjon of Dol was forgotten, save perhaps by the Fay Enchantress herself.[2]

The tower still stands, lashed regularly by storms. The narrow stone bridge has since collapsed and the only way to the tower is to climb the treacherous rocks and sea. The structure is still tainted by cursed magic, and nobody knows what remains there still.[2]

Inhabitants

The Living and the Dead

"If you don't behave, I'll lock you out when the monsters come."

—Threat employed by exasperated mothers in Mousillon.[1a]

The people of Mousillon are generally Human, though you would not always know it to look at them. Most peasants are horribly deformed and suffer constantly from foul diseases. The residents of Mousillon are there because they cannot leave: many deformities that are normal in the dukedom would get someone burned as a mutant anywhere else. Indeed, there are a number of Mousillon peasants who are mutants but who live in what passes for normal society because nobody has realised anything is wrong.[1a]

Some people do come to Mousillon from outside. These are the most depraved and evil bandits, Chaos Cultists of the Ruinous Powers, and necromancers. They believe, rightly, that few people will bother to pursue them once they enter the cursed dukedom. Many such immigrants find that the monsters waiting for them are more dangerous than any Bounty Hunter, but a few survive to add to the peril for the next set of arrivals.[1a]

Mousillon villages look poor and rundown. The peasant hovels are on the verge of collapsing, streets are little more than sewers, and there are as many dead animals to be seen as living ones. The inhabitants watch any visitors silently from their homes, cowering within and giving only occasional glimpses of their malformed bodies. The castles of the nobility also appear to be decaying, but here the appearance is somewhat illusory. Ruined portions are not unusual, but the parts that are still inhabited are always well-maintained but never beautiful. The decaying corpses of gibbeted criminals hang outside most castles, fat ravens feeding on the remnants. The nobles all wear black armour with a helmet, and they never reveal their faces.[1a]

Some are actually Undead, Vampires, Wights, or Mummies, and the same lord has ruled for centuries. Others are mutants, or servants of the Ruinous Powers bearing the marks of their lords. A few are simply Human and need to hide that fact lest their mutant and Undead neighbours think them weak. Adventurers do not need a reason to leave Mousillon. They left because they were able to do so. Many lived near the borders in the first place and were lucky enough to be born undeformed. A few were simply born with more courage and drive than those around them, and for these adventurers, leaving Mousillon is merely the first step. Almost all lie about their origins: Mousillon's reputation for degenerate evil is not one most adventurers want to carry into the outside world.[1a]

Snails and frogs are the only two resources found in abundance in Mousillon. Local hunters of the swamps, known as swampaires, gather frogs and snails with the permission of the local lord. Some nobles require lengthy apprenticeships and the swearing of oaths before a man can call himself a Swampaire and be permitted to hunt his lord's swamps. Swampaires tend to be hardy folk adept at tracking snails and frogs, which is a tricky and time-consuming business at the best of times.[2b]

Swampaires are normally men, but some nobles have been known to permit a particularly sharp-eyed and quick-fingered lass to hunt in the absence of suitably skilled menfolk. They work closely with Frogwives. These women are experts in gutting and cleaning frogs and snails. A Frogwife is not only an expert at the gutting and cleaning of frogs and snails, but also forms a crucial part of a Mousillon village's social structure. Frogwives tend to be relatively knowledgeable about the surrounding world, sometimes being permitted to leave the village for short periods of time to find useful herbs or other essentials from neighbouring villages. Some Frogwives are experts in the use of herbs, folk medicine, or some other esoteric but useful pursuit. It is a rare Frogwife who does not know the majority of what is going on in her village, and Frogwives have a deserved reputation as gossips, storytellers, and the originators of many strange superstitions. A Frogwife is almost always a woman, as it is a great shame for a man to labour at the swamp bucket.[2b]

Giant Snails are often hunted in Mousillon. The Bretonnians hunt them during the winter, when the snails hibernate in the forests around Mousillon. Hunting sleeping snails is an exacting sport, and one for which the famous Bretonnian "snail hound" is superbly adapted: it is said these large, indolent animals can catch the scent of a Giant Snail from up to a mile away, indicating their excitement by slowly wagging their tails and loping towards their prey. Apart from Bretonnians, who eat them, these creatures are largely left alone by other Humans, although their shells are sometimes used to make windows, lamp fittings, combs and other small decorative items.[3]

Harrowmaw Tribe

The Harrowmaw tribe is a group of Beastmen that is one of the few living tribes of the Children of Chaos that inhabit the region. Commanded by the Bestigor Ograh, they seek not only to hunt and consume Humans in the dukedom but to enslave villages to their will. Ograh's vision involves the peasantry of Mousillon giving their own kin to the Beastmen of the Harrowmaw tribe, saving the tribe from having to scavenge and hunt like animals.[1d]

Ograh has begun this process by playing upon the superstitions of the peasants. For generations, the villagers have left offerings of food at the edge of woods and swamps, to placate the various supernatural forces that might dwell there. Ograh has taken this tradition and, through simple dream-spells conjured by the tribe's Bray-Shamans, moved certain village elders to leave their children as offerings near the woods where covens of Harrowmaw Beastmen dwell. These children are fattened in pens dug beneath the roots of particularly large sacred trees, until the time comes for them to be feasted upon.[1d]

Ograh's vision does not stop at a few easy meals for him and his brethren. He envisions a future where Mousillon's peasants worship the Beastmen as superior beings and give them both sustenance and the respect that Ograh craves for his people. Some villages are already virtually ruled by the cloven-hoofed creatures in the woods, and for every such village that is razed to the ground by its neighbours there are two or three more who accede to the Beastmen's brutal demands. Ograh takes their children not only to eat but also to raise as his own, creating an underclass of Human slaves who can not only serve Ograh but also venture back out into the world and convince their fellow Humans to worship the Beastmen.[1d]

Grey Men

A mysterious group of creatures known as Grey Men inhabit the swamps of Mousillon. Their intentions are unknown and seem to vary. There are reports that have torn commoners to pieces for intruding into their sacred swamps and also stories of how the benevolent spirits guided lost souls back to their homes and defended villages from greater threats.

The Grey Men are mostly composed of swamp debris and ooze with only their two eyes being visible. However, they do have sharp claws and teeth that are easily capable of tearing a man apart. The creatures also have reportedly transmitted the Horrorblind Fever.

Notable Settlements

  • Castle Mousillon - This city is the largest settlement and capital of the dukedom.
  • Yremy- Yremy is a large town that is located near Castle Mousillon.
  • Grenouille Gate - This town straddles the Grismerie River on the border with Brionne and survives by taxing the only goods that are allowed to come in and out of Mousillon.
  • Rachard - Under the rule of Lord Rachard, this castle stands near the border of Lyonesse.

Notable Mousillonians

  • Mallobaude - A fearsome warrior rumoured to be the bastard son of King Louen Leoncoeur, Mallobaude has taken up the unrecognised title of Duke of Mousillon.
  • Landuin - The first Duke of Mousillon, one of the fabled Grail Companions and the greatest knight to have ever lived.
  • Lord Aucassin - Aucassin is a genteel Vampire Lord of Mousillon, a patron of the arts with connections to the living nobility of the kingdom despite his nature. Aucassin serves as the chief lieutenant of Mallobaude.

Trivia

The name of Mousillon is likely based on the real world French commune of Mouzillon.

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition: Knights of the Grail (RPG)
    • 1a: pp. 81-83
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition: Barony of the Damned (RPG)
    • 2a: pp. 19-22
    • 2b: pg. 28
    • 2c: pg. 24
    • 2d: pp. 45-46
    • 2e: pp. 36-37
    • 2f: pg. 49
  • 3: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Rulebook (3rd Edition), "Giant Snails"
  • 4: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition: Rulebook
    • 4a: pg. 274
  • 5: Brunner the Bounty Hunter Omnibus (Omnibus Novel) by C.L. Werner
    • 5a: "Blood of the Dragon," Ch. 7
    • 5b: "Blood of the Dragon," Ch. 4
    • 5c: "Blood of the Dragon," Ch. 9
Advertisement