Monday, March 1, 2010

Daybreak, Altdorf

Saturday, May 31, 1650

As the sun has risen (the mountains hide the true dawn), and Emmanuel is packing the carriage, you discover that Serafina is refusing to go on.

"You do not understand," she explains, when questioned.  She sounds quite controlled, not like last night.  "It is not the thing itself, it has nothing to do with the so-called curse on the treasure.  It is that the story about the girl is clearly related to the objects that Brother Andrej found.  We were destined to find those things, to tell me what I have suspected; that my Eberhardt does not know his own mind.  According to friend Delfig's story, he was bedridden and broken ... this is a sign, not a curse.  It matters not whether we take those relics with us or not, it is that I and this spurned daughter from centuries ago are tied together somehow.  That is why I cannot go."

59 comments:

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - Two things: One, today and tomorrow are going to be hellish at work/play. I have a metric crap-ton of stuff pulling me. I will contribute a post in the morning and a post in the afternoon, but that's about it. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, as Alexis has posted a nice roadblock.

Secondly, I failed to convince her last night... so Andrej, it's up to you today, my friend! I'll follow on later with my post.)

Avel said...

(OOC - I will be in a similar situation today. Because of midterms, my access to a computer is limited)

Avel will look to Andrej and Delfig to lead the conversation.

"I can't speak for our other companions, but I will escort you wherever you wish to go, Lady. If you can not go to Dachau, then do not."

Alexis said...

(OOC: Tomorrow is a write-off for me anyway, and today will be spotty. I'll be checking in, but not often)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(Would it be OK if we chew on this and agree to come back to it on Wed?)

Andrej said...

OOC: I'd actually like to chew on it and possibly post something later in response to Serafina if you're still of a mind to have me give it a try, Delfig. I'm likewise occupied today, but can jump back in when you guys are ready (and after I give talking to Serafina a shot.)

Andrej said...

"Serafina, I do not doubt your sincere misgivings. My experience has been, though, that those seeking signs and portents will find them. This daughter of a long-dead king has nothing whatsoever to do with you. Herr Horung has called for you after standing at the precipice of this world. I have presided over those near death in my duties as a priest. There is a clarity that comes with the prospect of that most final and important of journeys. But I cannot say what Hornung's mind is and will not lie to you or try to persuade you. But consider only these things for your sake. When reduced to near nothing, it is Serafina that your dear Eberhardt called for. In hearing this call it is Serafina that unquestionably took to the road with strangers after spending years in the priory.

(long pause)

You know that if you proceed, you have much to gain. Perhaps much joy and life few are ever offered to live. Yet you have much to possibly lose again. Old wounds could be torn open again. But if you turn back and return to Sion... what is there to gain? What will then be lost? The cautious path is often the least rewarding.

Nay, Fraulein... we will not force you to go. It is as Avel says, we shall work to get you safely to where you want to be and if that is not Dachau, then we return there with whatever message you desire to send. Perhaps you should pray. We shall wait for as long as it takes you to decide."

Alexis said...

Emmanuel cannot help overhear; he will move aside and say to Avel, where Serafina might not hear him: "Master, excuse me, I know nothing of these things - but wasn't it true that Herr Hornung was known for much violence in his youth, and might be unhappy if we do not bring the Lady to him?"

Andrej,

Twas a lovely, lovely speech, but Serafina is unmoved. She cannot say for the moment what she will do. Wait here for the word of God, she answers.

(OOC: For the record, like anything in D&D, this is a riddle, and it would be well to treat is as one. I would free her from her ambivalence if we were in a roleplaying contest - you trumped Delfig's attempt Friday, in length if nothing else - but it has to be a clearer solution than that).

Andrej said...

OOC: Noted and appreciated. I will have considered things as such when we reconvene (Wednesday?)

Alexis said...

OOC: Yes, probably Wednesday. I have an hour or two tomorrow morning, but that's it.

Andrej said...

Let us draw away from Serafina and give her some space and time.

"Delfig, Avel... neither attempt has moved her. I have been considering the tale of Valerio and Serafina's situation. I do not see them as similar at all. For one, in the tale Charlamagne has never called for the woman... he never wanted her. The king bled his nation to bribe Charlamagne with a dowry of gold. The three men sent to the king were moved by God to undo this union.

Hornung has called for Serafina. None have suffered to bring her to Bavaria save those who have done so willingly. This is not an arrangement of state or convenience... its very existence is a severe inconvenience to all concerned. The tale speaks of a union sought for greed and lust of power sealed with the blood of innocents. What does this woman see that is beyond us?

Alexis said...

This could be a fault on my part; some pertinent facts:

1) Lombardy was northern Italy, and the blood of Lombards and Italians was heavily mixed, such that the Lombards 'disappeared' as an ethnic group.
2) Serafina is Italian.
3) Hornung is German.
4) Hornung spurned Serafina. Quite hurtfully. Substantially, she doesn't believe Hornung has sincerely sent for her (though the party might know it). Just lets you know the sort of person Hornung once was.

Andrej said...

Thanks Alexis... still considering all angles of this and today turned out to be a tough day to participate due to work and home commitments. I'll check back in later today to read and respond.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I ask Emmanuel what he thinks of this situation. I'll also ask him if Jan spoke of Serafina and how Hornung spurned her, and if Jan had expressed any worries that Serafina might not come back with him.

Alexis said...

I'm afraid that Emmanuel knows only what you know; Jan did not take him into his confidence. But it was mentioned by Jan that Serafina was more or less discarded by Hornung for not being of equal status.

Andrej said...

Serafina, tell me truthfully, is there more to this story of Lombard king that bothers you? You are Italian, of the north, were your people of the Lombards? You have the manner and bearing of a young noblewoman but attest to common birth. This story moves you so deeply, perhaps I'm becoming a romantic... but is there more here than what we see on the surface? Tell me of your family... how did you come to meet Herr Hornung?

Alexis said...

Serafina will find it almost impossible to answer, regarding Hornung. It is just too personal for her. It is clear he hurt her very deeply, and that although she is in love with him, she fears being hurt that deeply again. At any rate, she will not stand up to an interrogation of this kind, and will instead retreat.

(OOC: Are people ready for a clue? This seems to have the party stymied; sadly, riddles and puzzles usually do. I will let you work it out on your own, if you like)

Andrej said...

Not just yet...

Delfig, Avel... you both preferred finding a priest to cast an augury. That'll either be the solution to the gordian knot or an expensive goose chase. Also, there was the plan to go to Hornung at this point and convince him somehow to either come or if unable provide some other sign of good faith. Given his injuries and his past temperment, this latter idea gives me the most pause for concern. Either way, we might as well hash it out here on the board or simply take a clue (but a teeny, weeny one perhaps?)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

Not exactly. What I *preferred* was to talk to Serafina and offer that yes, her fears were valid; yes, Hornung might still be an ass, but she doesn't know. We can take her to Dachau, and if she still thinks Hornung is an ass, we'll take her back. Jan believed in this love and in Hornung enough to go get Serafina and risk it all for that task. As a Man of God, he gave his life for that. She can at least follow his example, take the risk and see if indeed she can overcome hate and violence where the princess did not.

Augury was a second, worst case resort.

But do what you're going to do.

Andrej said...

I've already done what I was going to do. I was hoping to decide on another approach amongst us. Take a shot at what you describe above if you think that's somehow different than what we've already tried. Short of ditching the Dachau plan and returning to the pass with a shovel I'm honestly at a loss.

Where I'm perplexed is chiefly in the fact that Serafina couldn't leave Sion fast enough when we showed up with the cross and the story of Hornung's change of heart. Now, after hearing a simple tavern tale, she's digging in and refusing to go on. Each of our attempts to persuade her otherwise met with no success. My thoughts are either that she's genuinely having second thoughts and therefore needs some reassurnace to continue or there's more to the story of the Lombard princess than mere coincidence. In either event, attempting an augury is a much better plan than my current one, which is to do nothing... but we need to be in agreement.

Alexis said...

(OOC: "Serafina couldn't leave Sion fast enough when we showed up with the cross and the story of Hornung's change of heart. Now, after hearing a simple tavern tale, she's digging in and refusing to go on." - at the risk of compromising my gentlemanly standing, have you met women?)

I must deliver the smallest hint I am able.

Gather information, gentlemen. You do not even know the name of the daughter who was sent to Charlemagne; what else don't you know?

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(@Alexis - that was exactly what I was trying to say - as a guy who's been married 3 times, women approach problems and issues vastly different than we do. I don't think Serafina is going to approach this in an ABC manner... we have to address what the issue is inside the tarball. To me, the core issue is her relationship w/Hornung. The rest is the sticky tarball.)

Andrej said...

(OOC: In answer to you Alexis, yes I have. I'm equally perplexed in real life after 10 years of rather successful marriage.)

Delfig, while you peel away Serafina's psychological defenses I'm going to take the hint and go hunt down Valerio and ask some questions. I'll start with the tavern we frequented last night, Alexis.

Avel said...

(OCC - You mean this women thing doesn't get easier? I have been lied to!)

Let's go over everything we know:

1. Hornrung was an ass, and possibly still is.
2. He had a sudden change of heart after a near death experience, and wants Serafina back.
3. Serafina seemed very eager to see him until hearing this story.
4. Serafina is possibly of noble descent, likely of the Italian Lombards.
5. Serafina is somehow related to and distressed by the story of Charlemagne and the Princess.

Have I missed anything?

Do we know the religions of both Serafina and Hornrun? And which side Hornrung fought on in the war? It may help.

How far are we to Dachau? If it comes down to it, I can take a horse and ride ahead while you two try to figure out what's eating Serafina. With a signed letter from you two for ID, I can tell Hornrung what's going on. Then again, that might just piss him off. Or I could die on the road. Either way, not the best plan.

I think that if we can't figure this out by the end of the (in-game) day, then an Augury is the best way to go. Isn't there a chance that the divination is still inaccurate, though? I feel like Serafina will use that as a reason to keep her heels dug in.

Andrej said...

Avel: I think the augury is the last resort and I wouldn't necessarily put a time limit on our investigation just yet. Let's see what we can find out.

Of your numbered points above, I'd say that all are establsihed as fact except #4, which is just speculataion. Serafina and Hornung are both Catholic as far as I know. She was close to taking vows as a nun in Sion and he having fought the Protestants.

Alexis said...

A general comment about auguries: it is necessary to ask questions, for which you can receive yes or no answers. If you do not know the questions to ask, they can be, as suggested, a wild goose chase.

Avel,

They are definitely both Catholic, and Hornung definitely fought against the Protestants. You are perhaps six, seven days walk from Dachau.

Andrej,

The tavern will direct you to a small house outside of town; Altdorf does not have a town wall, nor any guards that you can see. It seems a very open, comfortable town. Arriving at Valerio's small house, you will find him on a small wooden porch, quietly smoking a pipe; he watches you approach.

Andrej said...

"Valerio it is, yes? I am Brother Andrej, a travelling missionary most recently of Dachau in Bavaria. Perhaps you remember me from this evening past in the tavern? I was hoping to ask you some questions about the Lombard Princess from your tale." I offer him a bottle of Avel's beer that I've brought from the communal stores and if he accepts will open one for myself as well. I will begin with the obvious question already hinted at, her name. I'm also looking for a more thorough accounting of the story, and any more he knows surrounding the tale left out from last night's telling. (OOC: Alexis, not sure how you want to go about this, will come up with more specific questions if this doesn't get things started).

Alexis said...

Valerio will chuckle. "Ah yes, last night's story. The woman's name was Desiderata," he says, "and she was every bit as beautiful as I said. But it isn't always beauty that turns a man's head, is it, Father?"

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I will wait for Serafina to come out of her retreat.

"My lady, I hear your concerns when you speak about Hornung. You are afraid that he has not changed and that you go to an uncertain future. Tell me, why did this story affect you so and convince you of these things? What is it of her and you that ties you two together?"

Alexis said...

"Friend Delfig, it is this: what are the odds that I should hear a story about a refused woman like myself during this journey? What are the odds that the woman in the story would be Italian and that the refuser would be a German? What are the odds that this very same story would be foreshadowed by the discovery of a coin bearing the name of the man who sent the daughter, the very day before? And that there would be a medallion that would refer to a treasure in the mountains, the very same mountains described in the story about the daughter and the German king? How could that be chance? It is an omen, it is! I shall not ignore it."

Andrej said...

"I think beauty draws us all in, Valerio. Some mend find beauty in the flesh only, a fleeting thing. Others in the rugged curves or deep valleys of the mountains. Still others in the turn of a phrase or perhaps the satisfaction of telling or hearing a good story. Tell me, how did you come by this tale of Desiderata and Charlamagene?"

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

"Yes, you are right. The story has similarities. It also has differences. Your journey has something that the original story does not - it has people who have sacrificed themselves to bring love together. In the original story, the King slaughtered people in cold blood, to promote a loveless marriage. Here, you have men who have willingly taken on danger to bring love together. In the original story, Charlemenge cast aside the woman and cursed her and then she died. Here, your beloved has nearly sacrificed himself and realized his mistakes. He seeks to reach out to you. Those are very large differences.

What do you think of those differences? And do you believe that you are descended from that bride?"

Alexis said...

Valerio answers Andrej,

"Oh, it is a common story. You must not be from this country, or you would know it well. Of course, I do not tell the story truly. I make better money with a falsehood here, a falsehood there ... it makes a better story, no?"

Serafina answers Delfig,

"Sweet Bard, the girl's name was not my name, Eberhardt is not the Emperor of Europe, Lombardy is not a country and this is not eight centuries before. What matter do differences make? A farmer who sees seven crows fly over his land knows he will have a poor harvest - he does not console himself with the knowledge that he is not a crow and cannot fly. An omen is what it is; one dismisses it at one's peril."

Alexis said...

(OOC: Ha. Made up the crow thing on the fly. Heh heh, get it? Fly? I am the Pungeon Master)

Andrej said...

"As you say, I am not from this land. I have come here from the east, to find a land more hospitable to Catholics than my own. Tell me Valerio, you must! (In a tone not of urgency but of convivial confidentiality) What is the truth of the story... your trade secrets would be safe with me, I assure you."

Andrej said...

(OOC: ba-dum, crash! Give it up for the Pungeon Master, folks! He's here all week. Tip your waitstaff and try the veal.)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(Oh, the pain. I'm not even a masochist. Make it stop. LOL)

"What would satisfy you that this is not an omen that applies to you? What can we do for you?"

Alexis said...

Valerio answers, "There was a daughter, her name was Desiderata; and her father was ambitious, though he did not destroy his kingdom to bring a great treasure. Charlemagne would not have been so foolish as to turn back any treasure such as that I described."

Andrej said...

"Interesting... please, go on. What became of Desiderata then? Did Charlamagne refuse her? And what of Lombardy and its king?"

Alexis said...

Got dragged away. Delfig, she will answer only that she wishes to be alone, to think.

In answer to Andrej, Valerio chuckles: "He did refuse her; but not after three years. He married her first, for three years, before sending her back to her father. But who remembers that part of the story?"

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

OK, I'll withdraw.

Alexis said...

Valerio will add, "There probably was a treasure; who knows what became of that. Got lost on the way to Charlemagne, was taken by bandits, or perhaps buried by a part of Desiderius' army - probably buried and dug up again. But one never knows ... there's avalanches in those mountains, you know."

Andrej said...

"He sent her back? That could not have bode well for the respective kingdoms... was there then a war? Is this when Charlamagne defeated the Lombards, after he sent the daughter back? Did they then come across the mountains as the tale describes, only to make war and not pacts of friendship?"

Alexis said...

"Oh yes," says Valerio. "Charlemagne took Desiderius' kingdom, gave the title King of the Lombards to himself and ended Desiderius' line. The daughter escaped to a nunnery and Desiderius' sons tried to take back the kingdom to no avail."

Andrej said...

"And the daughter... she lived out her days in this nunnery? Did she ever remarry? I suppose she had no children by Charlamagne, but were there any from another man?"

"One other thing. Is it known why did Charlamagne send Desiderata away?"

Alexis said...

Valerio will say he doesn't know what happened to the daughter beyond what he's told you, but he will say that Charlemagne fell in love with another woman, whose he cannot remember. "Alas, I have told this false story for so long, I cannot remember all about the truth. Would that I had a coin or two to satisfy my hunger for knowledge, I might see Geneva again."

Andrej said...

"I'm afraid I'm a man of meager means, but always in favor of quenching a friend's thirst for knowledge. Would 2 silvers be enough to slake your thirst?"

Alexis said...

"It might do for today. Danka"

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - I'm not going to be able to participate this morning, and possibly all day. We (the entire IT dept) were just sent letters from our CIO that there will be two short meetings about 15 min in length, one after the other. No subject or agenda. This usually is a bad thing, especially in this economy. I'm not really in the headspace right now to play.)

Andrej said...

(OOC- I hope all turns out well Michael. May you be around for and after the second meeting. I'm OK with holding off for a bit, guys, after one more question...does Valerio remember the woman's name, Alexis? We have food I can offer if he'll take that in place of coin)

Alexis said...

(OOC: Best to you Michael. I've been there; you'll come through all right)

Alexis said...

Andrej - sorry, what woman?

Andrej said...

The woman that Charlamagne married after Desiderata? I thought that's what Valerio was hinting at, as in, "I don't remember her name, but a few coins might jog my memory". Sorry if I misread it.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(lost 1/3 of IT staff here today. I survived. I feel sick and upset. I'm not going to be around today. Sorry. Please carry on, Delfig would be out of it now due to Serafina's request.)

Alexis said...

(Lord, brother. I'm glad to hear you survived. Catch your breath, find your bearings, do what you have to do; we truly understand)

Alexis said...

Andrej, sorry; he wasn't doing the standard tattler's trope. Just asking for recompense for what he'd already given you. He truly doesn't know the name of the other woman.

Avel said...

(Sorry man. I know what it's like to be there - been on the chopping block a three times since the beginning of the year and barely escaped. I know it's not a good feeling.)

Avel it at a total loss at how to handle the situation. If Andrej is in the inn, he'll see Avel buying a hot meal and looking pensive. (whatever the cost is, I'll deduct it)

Andrej said...

(Lousy feeling, Chgowiz, but probably better than the alternative. Hang in there, have a good weekend and talk to youlater.)

Andrej said...

Thanks Alexis. Understand.

In that case I'll just meet up with Avel at the inn and we can take it from there on Monday?

Alexis said...

Agreed. I'll start a new post on Monday beginning with the early afternoon in Altdorf.