Friday, January 22, 2010

Day's End, Sion

Monday, May 26, 1650

The party travels upstream along the Rhone River from Montreux, which flows into the east end of Lake Geneva.  The slope is gentle, the land itself is flat and heavily farmed; throughout the first day, Sunday, there are nor hills to climb, no forests to pass through ... only the magnificent mountains to the south and the north, through which the wide plain of the Rhone passes through.  There are a great many people moving along the road, as many as three or four dozen in sight at a time, making this the busiest road the party has been on.  Andrej speaks to a party of four Italians, who explain that the road forks at Martigny, east into Sion and southwest where it leads to St. Bernard Pass into Italy.  It is the traffic to Italy that makes the road busy.

The valley narrows progressively through the day, the party having climbed perhaps 300 ft. above Lake Geneva.  By evening, the party reaches Martigny.  The following morning, a thin drizzle falls (snow on the alpine slopes high above), and the party continues on its way through a narrow gap (not a pass, though the Rhone gives way to some moderate rapids), into the Prince-Bishopric of Sion.  At the border, where the road directs away from the river and into a cut through a mountain spur, you learn that you are leaving the Republic of Switzerland and re-entering the Holy Roman empire.  A heavy toll is levied - 8 s.p. per person, but no cost whatsoever for the mule.
There being little doubt this price will be paid, the party continues into the lush valley of Sion.  The thin rain ceases, the sky remaining overcast, and at last the twin hillocks of the town of Sion come into view.  The manor house is seen on the right, and the castle (shown here in ruins) and monastery on the left.

I love this image.


Andrej said...

Yes, very nice image, particularly given the ruins.

I've deducted Sunday's rations for four but will await Monday until we get settled.

I actually can't afford the toll to re-enter the Empire. I assumed that Jan held the party funds and that they were stolen by his murderers. I'll have to rely on Delfig or Avel to continue.

(OOC: I can't wait to figure a way to earn some coin... did I recall something last camapign about a market for ghoul-hearts?)

Andrej will make mention to Delfig of his desire for paying work, sooner rather than later. Relying on the kindness of friends is becoming old.

Avel said...

Avel will cover the friar's toll.

"Andrej, you should have some coin on you in case something goes wrong. Here, take this as well."

Avel tries to give Andrej 2 gold.

"Consider this a donation. If it helps your conscience, then you can grant me confession once we have a safe moment."

Andrej said...

"Bless you brother, and thanks. I shall remember your kindness always. I am ready to grant the sacrament of reconciliation when your heart moves you, my son, regardless of coin. consider the gold a gift only. One I shall reapy in kind some day."

Avel said...

"You said that we need to retrieve somebody. Is there time to do so before full dark? Then we can spend tomorrow securing mounts or transportation, maybe some more food as well."

Andrej said...

"Good question. I honestly hadn't given much thought to anything beyond just getting here. Jan, our friend... he knew the details.

(OOC: At this point, Avel, we generally call it a day for the weekend. I'm not sure how things will work next week, there's been some changes on Alexis's end. I suppose he'll let us know when appropriate. Have a great weekend.)

Alexis said...

Serafina is a member of the Premonstratensian order, and resides at the Sion Priory ... there’s really nothing to do but to go to the gate of the priory and ask to see her.

Sion is an extraordinarily Catholic realm, remaining independent from Switzerland specifically because of its Catholic beliefs. So Andrej is right at home.

Andrej said...

Let's make our way to the gate and ask for the much-awaited for Serfina, then. Could we expect to be put up at the Priory or should we see out an inn as well?

Alexis said...

You could not expect to stay at the priory; an inn will cost you one and a half silvers, or 18 c.p. a night.

To cut to the point, you speak briefly to a sister at the gate, who tells you that you will have to ask to speak with Candidate Serafina in the morning. This tells Andrej that while she has not yet become a nun, she plans to, perhaps very soon.

Andrej said...

Very well, let's install ourselves at the nearest inn and relax until tomorrow. Once there, Emmanuel can see to the mule while we see about some food for the party.

Avel said...

I'm with Andrej on that decision.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

To Andrej: I thought Jan had spent the last of his funds to gain passage on the carriage.

To all: We can find an Inn, relax, perhaps earn a little coin with some music and tomorrow begin our journey home.

If Serafina agrees to come with us, we can then plan for the safest way back.

Avel said...

"Does this woman know we're here to take her away? We're not 'rescuing' her from the nunnery, are we?"

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

To Avel: "No, we are not rescuing her and in truth, if she wishes not to come, we have little to persuade her. Jan was the one who knew her well enough. We will have to make do with this crucifix I bear from Herr Hornung and our story of his travails and our journey here."

Andrej said...

To Delfig: Of course you're right, I went back and read... the silver was long gone.

To All OOC: Hopefully this Priory of Sion isn't like that other one I once read about.

Alexis said...

(OOC: I've learned that I can add a blog post from work, but the system there does not allow me to comment on blogs. Frustrating. Means pretty much that I can post only in the evenings, which will make the campaign move very slowly indeed. Add that I'm stressed from training and from not being comfortable at home).

Consider that it's the next morning, and that you've come to the gate to ask for Serafina. A nun goes to fetch her ... and she approaches, in a nun's habit, only her face visible.

It is an extraordinary face - quite beautiful, but of course only inasmuch as you cannot tell any other feature. She sees you, nods, and through the bars of the gate, asks, "Sirs, you were here last night? I do not know you, so I wonder what you ask of me?"

The voice, too, is rather startling - more melodic than perhaps you have heard in a long age.

Your answer?

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - I will be gone Thurs evening through Sunday evening - WinterWar 37 in Champaign/Urbana. Alexis, however you want to proceed with the campaign is OK with me. I appreciate the time it takes and if we need to slow down or if you become disatisfied with the pace and wish to halt it, I'll put Delfig on hold and we'll pick it up when we can. That being said...)

Delfig bows low to Serafina.

"Good lady, we are three companions joined together by a common purpose. I am Delfig Kolhupfer, my friend in robes is Andrej and the large man is Avel. We are from Dachau.

I was charged by Herr Hornung of Dachau to accompany Friar Jan to seek you out, return this crucifix and to let you know of Hornung's love and wish to receive you and be with you in marriage. Hornung has almost died in battle with Evil and he has repented of his anger and seen that his love for you is the most important thing."

(I'll show her the crucifix.)

Andrej said...

Andrej smiles reassuringly, but otherwise remains silent.

Alexis said...

(OOC: I'm fine with the pace, but wanted to explain how it is)

The reaction to your speech is remarkable. Whereas she seemed quite reserved, Serafina rushes forward, grasps the bars and says in a low voice, "Eberhardt has sent for me?"

You may or may not recall, that was Hornung's first name.

Her voice is not challenging, but concerned: "Why did he not come himself?"

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I bow and nod my head. "God as my witness, my lady, he did. Herr Hornung, Eberhardt, he fought with a terrible evil in Dachau close to three weeks ago. He came close to death itself, but God and his faith kept him alive. At his recovery bed, he gave me this (I show her the crucifix again and press it into her hands) and bid me to find you and give it to you. Friar Jan... "

At this, my resolve shakes and tears come to my eyes.

"My lady, I don't know how to tell you this, but Friar Jan, who looked so forward to seeing you and returning you to Herr Hornung... he was met with foul play on the road and did not survive the trip. It is our charge and our mission that should you decide to, we will bring you back to Hornung and give our lives so that your love may be complete."

Alexis said...

She stares at Delfig long and hard, clearly trying to grasp this; she does not quite succeed, that is apparent. But her voice is strong as she answers, "Good sirs, please stand where you are, I shall make haste to have the gate opened and you brought in, while I gather myself."

Whereat she goes, and speaks to a sister within your view; she leaves the courtyard through a door, and the sister comes to unlock the gate and allow you in.

I would not think that Emmanuel was with you; rather, that he would be watching the donkey, and your inexpensive goods, at the Inn. But if you protest this, I will say that the nun will allow the donkey and Emmanuel into the court also.

Andrej said...

I'm OK with assuming Emmanuel is back with the donkey, that seems the most logical.

Andrej will continue to let Delfig do the talking.

Avel said...

Avel will be doing out best to watch our backs. Even though we should be safe, Avel considers it his job to watch for the unlikely. Since he knows little of what is going on, he'll stay quiet and stay all eyes.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I nod in sympathy to Serafina's reaction to the news. She seems to be a strong woman if she can recover so quickly.

"Of course we will wait, we are at your command, my lady."

(I am fine with Emmanuel being behind, as long as he's not alone - meaning that other people are close by that an assassin won't chance by - now I'm very paranoid...

Another OOC comment - tonight roughly about 9pm Central is when I'll be making my last post of the day, if any of you update prior. I may have Internet access tomorrow, but gaming starts in the afternoon and I'm intending on gaming as much as I can...)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Hey guys, I noticed at work today that I was also being prevented from posting. I could read all I wanted, but could not log in nor post even anonymously. I sure hope we can find a new rhythm here and keep things going)

(OOC: Chgowiz, have fun at the con my man. You've got me all itching for some Battletech. Looking around the local scene, it seems like Warhammer 40K is all anybody really plays nowadays. Darn kids!)

Alexis said...

Serafina will be some time. The few nuns who pass through the courtyard give strange looks towards the three men; but none seems concerned that you will present any danger to them. It is almost unnerving how fearless they are of your presence.

When Serafina returns, she is wearing a woolen shirt with a leather mantle, a cloak with hood pulled up over her head, short breeches and woolen hosiery beneath, a pair of beautiful soft leather boots, and leather guantlets. She has a bow strung over one shoulder, and she carries a sabre and scabbard in her one hand. Apart from these things, she has no other equipment, no pack or goods of any kind.

Although you cannot see any more of her face than you could before, you do feel that you can see much ‘more’ of her.

I will need a d20 roll from each of you. (Delfig can roll when he gets back from the con).

(OOC: As it happens, Andrej, my son-in-law runs battletech every other weekend, when he is not in my world; so perhaps you should move here)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Alexis: How cold is it again? I lived 1 year on the Aleutian Islands of Alaska and swore I'd never be that cold again)

D20: 12

Avel said...

D20: 14

Alexis said...

This is a minor point, but Avel - you are 'smitten' with Serafina. Andrej recognizes the gentle pull in that direction, but his resistance against his nature is fine. While Avel isn't head over heels or anything, there's a definite tug on his heart.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Sorry about the time delays, fellows; I know I should be moving this along, but I am still adapting to shifting my sleeping schedule around, shuttling back and forth from the job, losing 10 hours of my day, blah blah. I'll get this thing moving along tomorrow)

Avel said...

(OOC: On occasion, life intervenes.)

Andrej said...

No worries. It'll be worth the wait.