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The Affair of the Five Realms PDF Print
Friday, 18 May 2007

This tale sets the scene for the Empire just before the beginning of the third phase of this war.




Julius Kessler stood up from his desk and stretched, groaning softly at the pain in his lower back. Too many hours writing, and too few exercising he thought glumly. Rubbing his tired eyes he walked to the narrow window, his robes swishing lightly against the floor as he looked out. From his vantage point in this high tower he could see Altdorf sprawling below him, smoke issuing from the crooked chimneys perched precariously upon the sharp angled roofs of the buildings. For a moment he let his gaze linger upon the throngs of people going about their daily business. It had started to rain and he could observe them picking up their pace as they strove to get to their destinations and to shelter.


He cast his gaze to the western horizon. Storm clouds were gathering, thick and black and he could see the distant flickers of lightning. It would get dark early tonight he mused, indeed the darkness was already descending on what had been a dreary grey and cheerless day.


Turning his back on the window he moved to the fireplace and stirred the logs in the fire with a long poker, encouraging the warm orange tongues of fire to leap into life with renewed vigour. Taking a candle, he lit it in the fire and then in turn he lit the seven long candles in the candelabra and placed it on his writing desk.

Yes indeed he thought, it is going to get dark early this evening and he had much work to do. He sat down at his desk again, groaning softly as the pain flashed in his lower back once more. He picked up his quill, dipped it into his inkwell and opened the thick covered tome before him. Inside were empty pages. On the cover were finely etched letters written in Gold leaf, 'THE AFFAIR OF THE FIVE REALMS'. He began to write, the quill scratching gently across the fine parchment.


'Be it known that I, Julius Kessler, Chief Librarian to the Colleges of Magic do hereby commend to history the events of these turbulent times, as seen from the eyes of the Empire, lest the ravages of time sweep them from memory.

It came to pass that in the year 1595 as reckoned by the Bretonnian calendar darkness fell across the once fair land of Bretonnia. Good king Louen Leoncour was done to death. Not at the hands of some minion of Chaos, not at the hands of the skulking Skaven. Nay, he was murdered by those he would have called his own, by those who would call themselves Nobles. Yet there was nothing neither noble nor virtuous in the foul deed they perpetrated upon their own King. In an act of wanton cruelty and treachery he was cut down by those who craved power and would have the throne of Bretonnia for themselves.

Lord Seibleux then proclaimed himself King even while the blood of King Louen, still warm, ran red upon the ground. But lo this was not to be. As is the way with the treacherous, he was himself betrayed in turn and cut down by others as hungry for power as he was.

And so it came that the once proud kingdom of Bretonnia was sundered, plunging into chaos and anarchy as warlords vied with one another for power and kingship. Five warlords achieved ascendancy and five realms emerged out of the turmoil. Each eyed the other with suspicion and animosity and err long the fractured kingdom was encompassed by civil war and bloodshed.

And what of the Empire? His Imperial Majesty Karl Franz looked upon the dire events unfolding yet it was not his concern. The Empire had its own concerns without worrying about the tribulations of its neighbour. Let Bretonnia resolve her own troubles, the Empire would remain aloof and neutral.

Alas, it soon became obvious that the turmoil in neighbouring Bretonnia would threaten the security of the Empire err long. As the five realms of Bretonnia settled into an uneasy truce, the warlords cast their suspicious gaze upon the Empire. They looked upon their large and powerful neighbour and they looked upon their own fractured, weak and vulnerable realms. They knew fear and so they began to scheme and to plot the downfall of a neighbour who had shown them neither malice nor evil intent. However the Emperor, in his wisdom, sensed the danger and perceived their evil designs.

Thus did he appoint General Alain de Montgallion to command the defence of the Empire against any aggression from the warlords. Being one of Bretonnian ancestry Alain would understand the ways of Bretonnians better than most within the Empire and it was hoped that he could, by diplomacy if possible, bring the sundered realm back to unity.

Verily the fears of the Emperor were well founded. Upon the very eve of his appointment as Lord Protector of the Empire, General Alain received news of a most base and cowardly attack by the Northern Realm upon Imperial sovereignty.By the grace of Sigmar and the stout hulls of the navy of Marienburg was this unprovoked assault thwarted. Alain de Montgallion cast his gaze northwards from the battlements of Castle Drackenfels to Lord Mattrim and the Northern Realm. The Empire was now at war and such cowardly and unprovoked aggression would neither be forgotten nor forgiven. The courage and assistance of Marienburg, unexpected and unlooked for, was greeted with words of friendship and treaties of trade. Thus in a dark time glimmers a small spark of light for the long separated cousins of Marienburg and the Empire have been brought closer together in the face of common woes.

Yet all was not well. Alain looked to the west with concern. Save for Marienburg, he knew not friend from foe. He looked to the woodland realm of Loren and the Wood Elves, fey and unpredictable. He looked to the Eastern Realm and perceived their hostility and fear of the Empire. Likewise with Montfort, bordering his lands they too would know fear and distrust. With the Northern Realm war already existed. What of Bastonne, what of the large and powerful Western Realm and the unknown power and danger of the Southern Realm? As he deliberated a messenger arrived bearing tidings of a moot, a gathering of the factions, at a place known as the Humble Chapel, set deep in the heart of Bretonnia. Here was a chance he thought, a chance for reason and for sanity to once more prevail.

And so it came to pass that Imperial Envoy Klaus Gruber was despatched to represent Imperial interests at this gathering and to promote peace and unity. At this embassy words were spoken and alliances were forged. The Empire agreed to a union between itself and the Western Realm along with Loren, the Southern Realm and Bastonne. Only by making such friendships could the Empire hope to remain unassailed and Alain de Montgallion perceived this as the best way to restore Bretonnia to its former glory.

In the coming weeks more sorrow and pain was to befall benighted Bretonnia. All the principles of honour, chivalry and virtue, which had been the pillars upon which Bretonnia had been built, had been cast aside in favour of treachery, villainy and murder. In an act of unspeakable treachery Sir Vaylan, Lord of Bastonne was betrayed and murdered in an act of treachery all too familiar in these times. The perpetrator being Chris of Brionne, Lord of Montfort. The dastardly assassination of one of the last true hearted Bretonnians, a man noble of blood and in demeanour and kingly in stature saddened and enraged Alain de Montgallion and Sir Jacon, Lord of the Western Realm. Such treachery could not go unpunished, nor could such a treacherous and aggressive neighbour be allowed to gather strength upon the borders of the Empire.

At the behest of the alliance Imperial forces invaded Montfort with the intention of seizing Chris of Brionne and bringing him before the Inquisition to answer for his crimes. Poussanc and Montfort quickly fell to the might of the Empire although the Bretonnian populace have been treated with honour and respect.

Alas at this time did tidings reach the ears of the General of a danger and a darkness more dreadful than any could imagine. The dead walked! Rumours of some dreadful horror afflicting Derrevin Libre whereby it had been laid waste, and worse, this horror was called forth by Jacon of the Western Realm. The last vestiges of honour had been cast from Bretonnia and the last shreds of dignity had been stripped from her by her very own people. Alain de Montgallion would have no truck with evil. The undead abominations must be removed, or destroyed, there was no alternative.Using strong words, and massing Imperial troops to the defence, Alain de Montgallion made it known to Jacon that these undead abominations must be removed forthwith or there would be war. In the interests of peace between the two allies Jacon agreed, and war was averted. Yet the trust has now gone and the West and the Empire now eye each other warily from their respective borders.

And so Alain de Montgallion turned his attention to the War with the North and with Montfort. Armies he massed to deal the crushing blow to both these treacherous warlords. But lo, on the eve of battle did envoys from the Western Realm arrive urging him to stay his hand. The Bretonnian factions had no desire to see the Empire move deeper into Bretonnian territory. Already did Marienburg press upon the Northern Realm seizing much of its territory while the Asrai of Loren did press sorely upon the Eastern Realm even while the Southern Realm did pillage Lord Rylans southern borders in yet another act of betrayal so regrettably common amongst Bretonnians now.

General de Montgallion, wishing once again to show his peaceful designs agreed to delay his attack on one condition. That the head of the warlord Mattrim be delivered to him upon a silver platter. Only then would he deem his war with the North to be at an end. Nothing was forgotten, nor forgiven. With treachery now being the way of Bretonnia in these dark times this condition was agreed upon. Lord Jacon called a 'secret meeting' between himself, Mattrim and Chris of Brionne to plot the downfall of the Empire and the reunification of Bretonnia. Upon attending they were swiftly and without warning despatched. With treachery they had waged war and by treachery were they worsted.

And so an uneasy peace has descended once more. Did I say peace? Nay for peace is too strong a word. Let us call it calm. Yet it is only the calm before the storm because all is not well. Unity has not come to Bretonnia. The Northern Realm is no more. With the demise of its warlord it has descended into anarchy and a so-called peasants republic has emerged from the ashes. Bastonne and Montfort are no more, carved up amongst their neighbours. The fell minions of evil have sensed the weakness of humanity and even now dark rumours have reached us of beasts massing in the woods, of Black Arks off the coast and of the dead still roaming the borderlands. The Dwarfs are massing in their holds and even the far distant nation of Estalia is gathering arms. Yes for now we have calm, but how long will it last?'

Julius Kessler sat back and rubbed his stinging eyes again and sighed. The room was now in darkness save for the roaring fire and the flickering candles.

He stood gingerly and moved to the window again. It was raining hard outside now and the streets were deserted. Warm homely lights shone from the multitude of windows in sprawling Altdorf. From the west there came another flash of lightning followed by a long growling rumble of thunder.


Yes indeed he thought. There was a storm coming. How long it would last and how violent it would be he could not guess. But he knew that it would be a long time before he would again see the dawn.

Last Updated ( Monday, 24 September 2007 )
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