Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Eberhardt's Tale

Thursday, September 4, 1650, Evening

Weather:  pleasant temperatures and overcast conditions, with a fresh breeze.

Despite their vigilence, the party experiences no action of any kind.  In the early afternoon, the stable boy sends word through the valet that your horses have been groomed and fed.  You learn that steps are being taken to clothe Andrej for the wedding, and that the Prefect has been informed that Andrej will perform the ceremony ... Andrej is to go to the prefect's church to be fitted in the morning.

Serafina sends word that she is spending the evening with friends, still making arrangements, and that as per agreement, she and Eberhardt will not see each other again until the wedding.  She will be living in the heart of town with the Baroness Milliscent de Coesfeld.

Eberhardt arrives late for dinner.  His face is dark with anger, and it takes some time for him to settle and stop shouting at the servants - some of which seems to be focused on wishing he could speak with Serafina just now - before he can explain what he's discovered.

First of all, while you are digesting your eaten portions from a roast haunch of mutton, he will explain that he had to give 4,000 g.p. in collection to the missing Bishop in order to obtain the Bishop's presence, the use of the church and the blessing of the Bishop on the marriage.  He was going to have Andrej perform the ceremony, but he still expected the Bishop's blessing, as it would carry considerable weight.  The Bishop is one of perhaps five premier catholic leaders in all of Northern Europe.

As such, Eberhardt would know why he would not now be receiving this.

To begin with, he learned that the Bishop did not leave the evening before, but in fact that he left at 3 a.m. in the morning ('the third bell') ... and that he did so in a carriage, at breakneck speed, this according to the guards at Munster's South Gate.

Investigating further, by pigeon and by a friend with means, Eberhardt has been able to confirm that no special circumstances are known which would compel the Bishop to return to his lands, which would be Arnsberg in Hochsauerland, as stated before.  Yet this clearly seems to be the Bishop's intent, as he took the road to Ahlen and Hamme, and the Bishop's letter stated as much.  Arnsberg, so say Eberhardt's sources, is peaceful and quiet.  To leave to quell an uprising could be understood ... but to manage mere personal affairs, this is intolerable.

Eberhardt was also able to learn that the Bishop's whole demeanor the evening before leaving was quite typical, so said the servants he was able to speak with.  So some news certainly came to the Bishop that caused this change.

As this is said, the entire company is present, excepting the footmen and groom looking waiting upon Serafina.  There is word that the scribe will be returning within the hour.  Fatima is seated upon a bench against the wall, behind Ahmet, and has refused four times to return to her room as he has ordered her.  Eberhardt has said, "let the matter be," so as to continue the conversation.

"I cannot think what would have compelled the Bishop to such action."

42 comments:

Nine-toes said...

Ninetoes also cannot fathom the workings of the greater clergy, and thus keeps his conspiracy theories (which have often proven incorrect) to himself and keeps his silence. He is also very careful not to look in the direction of Ahmet's cousin.

Alexis said...

Now now, Nine-toes wouldn't know what she said to Ahmet.

"Tell us what you think, friend Monk," urges Eberhardt.

Nine-toes said...

"Sir, there was a cross in the hands of the person whose body now rests in this house, and I was informed by Elder Brother, that is, Father Andrej, that last rites were administered to the body before we found it. Catholic rites administered to the body of a kidnapper on the same night the bishop mysteriously leaves. It would seem far fetched to believe the two events may be related, and yet I have nothing else to go on, yes?"

"Even if this were true, I do not know what to think. If the Holy church is involved, and on a level high enough to influence the bishop, what hope can one such as I fathom out what is happening? Only, if I may not sound blasphemous for suggesting it, perhaps a cleric of a... different faith could be sought to question this man?"

"I am new to the faith sir, and I mean to say nothing that would endanger my mortal soul, much less anger a man of your stature."

Alexis said...

Eberhardt answers,

"I saw things in the late war, dear monk, that would prove any man capable of doing any thing. It seems to me, too, that this could only be a coincidence. And at any rate, the priest who would come aid us in speaking with the dead will have no influence over what the dead will say - no living being can. And more to the point, coming from another town, in the Bishop's absence, this priest has quite probably never met the Bishop."

Alexis said...

(OOC: why did I just get an image of Terry Jones ...The Bishop!)

Ahmet said...

Now that he is responsible for the safety and upbringing of his cousin, at least until she is suitably wed, it is of course Ahmet's duty to beat her for her insolence. But the mutton is tasty and the conversation is flowing, so it can wait until later.

He can't fathom this holy man's intentions.

"Perhaps he wasn't running to his home, but rather away from here?"

Andrej said...

Rather than admonish his brother Ninetoes Andrej remains quiet and reflects upon the monks words. "Let us hope for mere coincidence." At this Andrej levels his gaze at Ahmet, "but if not, let none here doubt my resolve in seeing justice done."

Andrej informs Eberhard of the day's activity and describes those seen watching the house. He keeps his suspicions regarding Jan's killers being these same two to himself for now.

Alexis said...

"That is very puzzling," answers Eberhardt, hearing about the house being watched. "But you did not go to see where they might have gone. That is too bad - but I will speak with the guard and have them accompany a friend of mine to turn over the Apple Quarter to see what they can learn."

(apparently, this is what Eberhardt calls the group of houses in the town fields back of his palast)

Nine-toes said...

"Elder Brother, in no way would I doubt your resolve, no matter who was involved. And I do not condemn the church as a whole. There was a serpent even in Paradise, yes? If there is another in our midst, we will strive to cast it out as well."

Andrej said...

"We are in agreement, Ninetoes."

Andrej eats then relieves Emmanuel from his post in the turret so that he may do the same. The rest of the night is spent in alternating watches for the two.

Andrej lets the matter concerning the two watchers rest for now. Tomorrow he will go to see the Prefect. If somebody wants a little action on Friday, perhaps you could ask Eberhard to accompany the Brute Squad to the Apple Quarter.

Andrej said...

I mean to suggest, ask Eberhard to arrange for you to accompany the Brute Squad.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet cheerfully volunteers to join the Brute Squad, provided someone can keep a chaste eye on Fatima.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Andrej is getting ahead of me)

A few minutes after declaring his intentions to relieve Emmanuel and allow him to eat (though food could be sent to him, says Eberhardt), the house scribe arrives. He has something for Eberhardt - the 4,000 gold coins that were paid to the church.

Not in actuality, of course - but sent as paperwork for a bank in a pouch by the Bishop. The scribe opens his own satchel and hands the Bishop's satchel to Eberhardt. The Bishop's seal, embossed on the side of the pouch, glistens in the firelight.

Fatima screams and faints, her body striking the floor.

Nine-toes said...

Ninetoes rushes to make sure Fatima is okay.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet rushes to Fatima's side. "Father Andrej!"

Alexis said...

In Ahmet's arms, she seems to be fine. But as she is roused again, she will explain in halting sentences that a duplicate of the pouch she has just see was carried by the Frenchman who kidnapped her.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet glowers, as only Ahmet can. "It seems we -- or I -- will be traveling to Arnsberg."

Alexis said...

"You will not be going alone, my young Turk," adds Eberhardt. "I think I shall have to cancel my wedding."

Nine-toes said...

"Friend, on no account would I let you pursue this alone, but we have little to go on as of yet. Even if he is guilty, he is a bishop, a very powerful man. He is among those who toss purses full of thousands of gold coins to and fro - how many men might he hire to stop you with just what is in that pouch? It is a long game we play. We must pull at the cassock one thread at a time till our true enemy is exposed."

Andrej said...

"And I, but let us not be hasty. We should turn the Apple Quarter over and find our Frenchman and his sister first. We could begin immediately."

Alexis said...

Eberhardt stares at Andrej a long time, clearly thinking it through.

Alexis said...

"Why do you say 'his sister,'" asks Eberhardt. "You merely described them earlier. How do you know the woman is the man's sister?"

Nine-toes said...

"I am for going after lower hanging fruit before attempting to chop down the entire tree, as I think Elder Brother suggests."

Andrej said...

"I did not want to say so until I was sure, Eberhard, but alas I have let it slip. I suspect the Frenchman and the woman are known to me. Introduced as Mssr. Herieux and Madomoselle Rochelle to me in Olten many months agao. It is the woman, Rochells, who likely killed Friar Jan."

Alexis said...

The words about Friar Jan will make Eberhardt's face darken.

Andrej said...

"Understand that I am not certain, and could be wrong. I have no proof save for what insight natural instinct and God might have granted me. We could go and find out this night."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet nods eagerly. "Yes, immediately, before they too run away from here!"

Andrej said...

Andrej begins his preparations.

He arms in plate and takes his backpack and maces. He sends word to Emmanuel to stay vigilant in the turret. Joost and Klaas, with the agreement of Ninetoes, are placed outside of Fatima's door. Ahmet and Ninetoes presumably accompany him.

Andrej gathers four torches from Emmanuel's pack lights the first of them upon leaving the palast. He moves toward the apple quarter.

"I am only sorry that we did not march sooner."

Andrej said...

(OOC: Yes, I know I may be moving too far ahead again. Color me excited.)

Nine-toes said...

Ninetoes complies with Elder Brother. He brings his crossbow this time, 3/4 loaded.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet dons his plate mail and his backpack. His scimitar and daggers are on his belt, and his trusty pick ax is in his hands.

Alexis said...

Eberhardt will send the scribe and the valet immediately to the nearest guard post to raise a body of men and bring them to the rear of the palast. He will then select a set of leather armor, a short sword and two daggers, with a whip at his side. "Be careful," he says. "They may look like peasants, but that place harbours the worst of criminals. If we go to turn it over, we will find more villany than what we seek."

Alexis said...

(OOC: When you're ready, we'll begin a new thread in the 'backyard' by the shacks of the Apple Quarter.

In the meantime, I wonder if I could ask you to put your conflict card images on your character sheets. Just for convenience. I don't know if anyone has done it already ... I haven't gone to look)

Ahmet said...

(OOC: I'm ready... and I'll add the cards tonight.)

Andrej said...

(OOC: I'm ready, but may drop off a bit this afternoon for work commitments. I'll add the cards now.)

Nine-toes said...

Ready

(I used a conflict card, so it's gone, correct? I don't think I can edit the image of the three that you sent me, but I will add them to my sheet.)

Alexis said...

(GCI: Nine-toes,

No, you never 'lose' cards. They only cease to apply in that particular conflict at that particular time when you use them. You gain them all back for the next conflict.

The cards represent intrinsic parts to your nature. For example, your 'persuade' card indicates your natural talents for persuading other persons. When you meet a person, and try to persuade that person, you succeed in getting a specific response - anger, indifference, agreement, whatever. You only set the card aside for that conversation because its assumed you've used the best possible persuasive argument you can think of - and now that tactic is gone. But when you talk to a different person, you can then try that tactic again.

You don't need to even use just one "try" against one person. Consider Andrej's piety card, and apply that to the upcoming wedding. Andrej will perform the wedding, and when he does so 2d6 is rolled for every person present in the church. Andrej will use the piety and his beauty card to modify his persuasion (probably not his jest) and gain a +3 modifier on every die rolled. Some people in the church may be insulted by his sermon, but only 1 in 12 on average; 1 in 3 will be indifferent; 15 in 36 will be accepting; and 1 in 6 will be moved and friendly. The church itself will serve to quell any open disapproval - which is what a fortitude card does.

The genius of this is that Andrej can get a specific response measure for an entire audience, simply by using his cards in that particular instance. I can use that as a DM to figure the effects of something D&D typically provides absolutely no rules for: crowd control.

A point I should make - Andrej didn't think to use his natural persuasion or jesting abilities to speak with Freida and the ladies ... instead he chose to bribe them, and I ruled that they had no reason to hold anything back.

But the party should be thinking about these abilities proposed by the cards, and how to make them useful for when the actions of NPCs don't fit with your desires. You're all about to go out and question people - how will you do that, exactly, and how will your success be determined?

This is why the cards were made.

So no, do not reserve the cards - as I say, they are not like hit points; they are like the ability to swing your sword ... though if you miss with one tactic against a particular person, you can try against another. Or you can try one tactic against many, many persons at one time)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Thanks for the reminder. I was also thinking of the sermon in terms of the cards, but I was hoping to open it up with a joke. "A jew, a catholic and muslim walk into a tea shop...")

Andrej said...

or better yet, "mawedge. mawedge is what brings us here today. mawedge is a beautiful and prefect thing. mawedge."

Alexis said...

(And the catholic says, "these prices are pretty steep;" and the jew says, "I'd have to be potty to charge this much," and the muslim says, "If you did, you'd be awfully cozy." Then they go to the shopkeeper, and the catholic says, "I only need one tea-bag, and I have a coupon for you to redeem;" and the jew says, "The tea I wanted hasn't come in yet, so I'll wait;" and the muslim says, "I'll wait too - I'm willing to suffer a lifetime if I have to."

Whereupon the Hindu behind the counter says, "You know gentlemen ... tea can be used more than one time."

Alexis said...

Head to the next post.

Andrej said...

(OOC: very good)