Joan of Arc
Back in the 1420's, France was in deep shit. France and England were in the middle of the Hundred Years' War, and despite the fact that the War began in the year 1337 the "1337" French knights were getting the long unattractive end of the assbeating stick shoved up their rectums by badass Brit motherfuckers like Edward the Black Prince and John Talbot. Rebellious provinces, succession disputes, British "scorched earth" tactics and a little thing called The Black Death didn't really help things a whole lot either. However, just when things couldn't have looked bleaker for the struggling Frenchies, salvation came in the most unlikely form - that of a sixteen year-old illiterate farmgirl named Jeanne d'Arc.
Joan was a badass warrior babe who stomped crotches across Paris in her short but retardedly successful career as a military commander and a Knight of France, though I feel as though I should go ahead right now and tell you that she was definitely NOT the sort of oversexed licentious warrior babe you see in movies and video games that wears next to nothing in terms of clothing and gives you a boner because OH YEAH she's also a fucking pure-as-the-driven Catholic Saint you goddamned perverts. She was a tough, pious, god-fearing crusader who wouldn't even hesitate to bash you over the head with a rusty pipe if you stood between her and the liberation of her homeland from foreign aggression.
One day she was just walking around her farm thinking about how badly the French were getting their balls whipped when all of a sudden the Patron Saint of Badassitude St. Michael came flying down from Heaven and was all like, "Yo you need to get a sword and start kicking asses." She responded, "dude tell me about it but what the fuck do you want me to do?". Michael taught her a super-secret gang sign, told her to go flash it to Prince Charles VII, and then said she should demand to be put in charge of the army. Since she was eager to start hacking up enemy soldiers (and certainly wasn't one to try and fuck with God's Will) Joan jumped on a horse and rode off on her quest to rock some British faces. She showed up at Charles' pad, flashed the sign, gave him a secret handshake and told him, "Hey God said you should give me control of your armies and let me lay waste to these invading British cockmasters who are out there jacking our shit up". Charles had a tough time arguing with this, so he set her up with a horse, a suit of armor and a battle standard and sent her off to wreak havoc.
Now at this point the major French stronghold of Orleans had been under siege Stephen Segal-style by the Brits for several months and was in danger of capitulating at any time. The troops were demoralized, supplies were low, and the British soldiers were being real douchebags about the whole thing. Joan showed up and immediately decided she was going to lead her troops in full-scale balls-out assaults against the enemy camps and forts that surrounded the town. Now the guys who were in charge of the French forces at Orleans weren't really down with being ordered around by a teenage chick with no combat experience, but when they tried to give her shit she just bitch-slapped them with a ten pound steel gauntlet, told them to "grow a pair", kicked them into a river and prepared the attack anyways. She went to the front lines, gave a speech so inspiring it would have made William Wallace cry tears of blood, and then send her men off to whomp faces. The French started kicking ass all over the place, taking fortification after fortification, crushing the unprepared English armies, and in just eight days the siege had been lifted and the British defenses had been crushed.
Joan didn't stop there though. She had already won the respect of her generals and her men, and she pressed the attack, tearing ass through the French countryside Blitzkrieg-style in 1429 karate chopping the British commanders up and down the Loire River Valley. The campaign culminated in the Battle of Patay, when 1,500 french heavy knights obliterated a force of 5,000 British archers and footsoldiers while only losing 100 of their own. This was the first major French land victory in the war, and opened the way for Joan's men to capture the city of Reims and coronate Charles VII the official King of France.
Joan busting some asses.
Now Joan wanted to get right back out there and kick some nuts again, but a damn hippy peace treaty left her with nothing to do for a while. After a long winter dealing with court intrigues and other such bullshit Joan launched an assault on Paris, but during the campaign she was captured while trying to defend the town of Compeigne. Like any good commander, she had ordered the retreat of her men and took the place of honor as the last knight to leave the battlefield, but unfortunately this didn't work out so hot for her because she was ganked off her horse and taken prisoner. She tried to escape from her cell a couple times, even going so far as to leap out of a 70 foot high tower once, but was eventually shipped off to British HQ to meet her fate. The Brits accused her of being a witch, gave her an unfair trial and burned her at the stake as a heretic, which incidentally is probably one of the top five most badass ways a person can possibly die.
As soon as the British clergy had finished with her execution, Jesus came down from Heaven on a white flying Pegasus Unicorn and was all like, "Holy shit dudes, I enjoy a good witch-burning as much as anyone but you guys do know you seriously fucked up here right?" Then the Pope showed up in his arrow-proof Popemobile and was like, "sorry about that Jesus, I'll take care of these jokers". The Pope held a legit trial, overturned the heresy conviction, shot Force Lightning out of his hands and beat the jackass clerics to death with his Magical Pope Hat. Later Popes would beatify and eventually canonize Saint Joan of Arc.
Joan was a badass commander because didn't fuck around and wait for shit to happen - she sent her hardcore knights running all over the place impaling shit on their lances and bashing skulls like a hyperactive meth-head carnie pwning a round of Whack-a-Mole. She wasn't the sort of commander to hang back while everyone else was getting their limbs chopped off either - during the war she was shot in the chest with an arrow, hit in the leg with a crossbow bolt, and even got cracked in the helmet by a goddamned cannonball while scaling a siege ladder (she was so fucking tough she just "walked it off" and got right back in there though). She also gets Mega 4x Multiplier Badass Points for being probably one of the only people in the history of the world to be both burned at the stake as a heretic AND sainted. Oh yeah, and if that's not enough for you I forgot to mention that she also carried a Legendary Holy Sword (+5 vs. Evil-Aligned creatures, double damage to Undead, +2 to all Paladin skills) that she found buried behind the altar in the ancient Chapel of St. Catherine in Chinon. Her visions of God told her where the weapon was and she just went and dug it up. If that's not some crazy Tolkien-esque fantasy novel shit I don't know what is.
All in all, in just one year of combat action Joan, known to her friends and foes alike simply as "La Pucelle" (The Maid), was more successful and won more victories than any French commander in the war, inspiring the entire nation to rally together and rise up against the invading enemy in the process. Her efforts would mark a turning point in the Hundred Years' War, and by the war's end in 1453 the British armies would be completely driven out of France. She lived fast, died young (she was only nineteen at the time of her execution) and left a legacy that is still remembered to this day. Joan of Arc is a badass of the highest order.
The Requisite Wikipedia Entry
St. Joan at the Catholic Encyclopedia
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