Thursday, February 16, 2012

Carolina's Tale

Saturday, September 6, 1650, evening
Weather: balmy temperatures and sunny conditions, with a light air.

With the evening sun setting, the weather is fabulous for the time of year.  Carolina lies in a bed beneath a window, which Fatima has opened for her, and the odor of the cut fields and the turning leaves settles in the still air.  Carolina looks much better than she did in the dungeon, but her skin is loose and there is discoloring about her eyes.  Fatima has a damp cloth pressed to Carolina's forehead, to reduce her sweating.

Carolina will tell Andrej and Melchior a terrible tale.  She tells of how her family in Pomerania were slaughtered; how she was sold into slavery and shipped in a wood-and-iron box across Germany, bound and gagged.  She tells how she was fed on sewer water and maggoty bread, not because there was no better, but because it pleased her captors to torment her thus.  She tells of how she was stripped and branded and ultimately presented to the Bishop in a house she knew not where, and how the Bishop and his followers raped her repeatedly.  She tells of how she was put in a dungeon with other women, and how she heard their screams at night as each had their turn over the many months Carolina was imprisoned.  She tells of how she was brought again to be the personal toy of the Bishop on this last trip.  She tells of how she had surrendered her own life, and had tried to murder the Bishop with a butter knife ... and how the Bishop gleefully decided to leave her chained in the dungeon to die.

The details are horrible, and difficult to hear.  Fatima cannot bear to stay for much of it, and takes her leave ... only to return again and stiffly hear the rest as she tends Carolina.

At the end, Carolina confesses her sins to Andrej; how she did not treat her brother as well as she should; how she lusted after the boy who tended the machinery at the mill; and how she was not as respectful to her mother as she should have been (Andrej would be required to give her penance, but a single Hail Mary would be enough).

Finally, Carolina tells Melchior and Andrej that fear of discovery drove the Bishop to Arnsberg.  At Arnsberg he intends there to gather forces to help the French attack from Alsace into Julich and the Rhineland.  He is raising money through his Bankers in Munich and Venice to give to the French, and to help them accomplish and invasion that will destroy the Houses of Nassau and Luxembourg.

43 comments:

Andrej said...

Andrej prescribes a single Hail Mary. "Now rest child. You are safe from harm here and amongst those now working to punish the people who have brought you to this state."

Andrej nods to Melchior, indicating it is time for him to try and heal the girl's affliction. He stands back, closer to Fatima and leans in to whisper to her, "once we see what effect Melchior's powers have upon the girl, might I speak with you in private? We may remain within sight of the staff for modesty's sake."

Alexis said...

Fatima won't leave the room, but it is a fairly large room - like many houses of the age, most of the top floor of this palast wing is an extending room, 14 feet wide. Carolina is underneath a window at one end, and the room extends for 27 feet to where a small window looks over the street. The room is loaded with furniture, tapestries, rugs and objects to soak up the sound.

Melchior said...

Melchior listens to the tale in horrified silence. He shudders slightly at various aspects of the story, and his face becomes strained and pale. When the woeful tale is done, and the tiny penance has been applied, Melchior quietly kneels beside the bed and smiles gently at Carolina.

"Brave lady, I know from the horrors that you have suffered that the hands of a man upon you may cause you distress. May I have your permission to touch you while I try to heal the illness which afflicts you? I promise I will be most gentle - my 4 sisters would never forgive me if I weren't."

Melchior said...

Assuming that she assents, Melchior lays a gentle hand upon her forehead, raises his eyes to look out the window into the blue sky, and crosses first her, then himself.

"By the holy power of the lord god, and by the mercy of Raphael, who watches over healing and over the lives of the young and innocent, I beseech you, heal this girl, Carolina, that she may live on in your glory."

Alexis said...

The healing effect rushes through her quite quickly; there is a slight glow where she is touched, but the stronger effect comes as the departing disease leaves a flushed, beautiful appearance in the girl's skin; her eyes brighten, her lips smooth and grow full, her hair freshens and gathers lustre.

Fatima exclaims: "a Paladin!"

Carolina's final appearance is startlingly beautiful. She is clearly no older than 21; her dull blue eyes are now electric blue; her dirty blonde hair is now a rich flaxen gold, and her cheeks are rosy and warm with color.

Melchior said...

Melchior seems taken aback - almost as if he's seeing Carolina for the first time.

Then he grins hugely, taking his hand from her forehead, taking her hand and squeezing it gently.

"Truly, God has blessed us today. To allow such foulness to snuff out a light as you would be a crime beyond imagining. If you will allow me, lady, I would ask your permission to go into battle against this so-called Bishop with your name as my battle-cry."

"There are many voices, it seems, that can no longer cry out against these sins - perhaps my voice and my sword might make answer, if you will allow me."

Andrej said...

Quietly, to Fatima "My thanks for caring for Carolina. I understand how difficult it must have been to hear her tale, after coming so close to being in the clutches of that monster yourself. I am no Imam, but am here for you nonetheless."

"If you would continue to watch over her while she recovers, I would be most grateful. Also, any more details regarding our enemies that either of you may remember while you both rest must be brought to me. May I count on you in these things, Fatima?"

Alexis said...

Melchior, please roll 2d6.

Alexis said...

Fatima assures Andrej that he may count on her.

Melchior said...

11

Alexis said...

(OOC: I'll be off-planet for the rest of the afternoon. Give me a sense of what you want to do until tomorrow morning; I haven't got any new information for you at this time, given these circumstances

Let me know the result Melchior, and we'll pick it up tomorrow)

Alexis said...

Ah, since you have ...

Melchior, Carolina looks as hard at you as you've ever seen a woman look; there is darkness in her eyes that sets off alarms.

In a low, almost feral voice she says, "Kill him."

She'll then turn over and clutch the covers to her chest.

Melchior said...

Melchior rises. Looking down at Carolina's huddled form, he replies equally quietly, "Kill him I will."

Andrej said...

Andrej takes in the exchange between Melchior and Carolina without comment, but wonders if the impetuous young gallant has just bitten off more than he can chew in all the ways that can be taken.

"Next market day we'll find you some respectable armor, lad. It seems you'll be needing it."

Andrej thanks Fatima again for her fidelity and compassion, and says he will pray for her and the safe return of her cousin Ahmet.

Then he finds his way back to Hornung's kitchen to see what wine or ale may be sampled and if there is any cheese about. He seeks out Emmanuel, wants to more about this girl in Dachau who has him smitten and spends what remains of the day and Sunday, until word arrives from Hornung, in total rest.

Finally, he remembers and comments to his servant Emanuel "Did you ever hear word about that priest due to visit us today? The one Herr Hornung sent for to speak with our dead friend in the cellars?"

Andrej said...

Melchior, take 100 gold pieces and buy whatever equipment you deem necessary. I'd recommend at least getting yourself some chainmail, but it's your call entirely. This is a gift, there is no need to pay me back. Welcome aboard.

Melchior said...

(OOC: gulp. Sure, throw a damsel in distress and a corrupt bishop at me on the first day on the job. Trying to get me killed...)

Melchior will follow Andrej, do as he is told and nervously consider the promises he has made...

Melchior said...

Thanking Andrej profusely, Melchior takes himself away to the armorers and merchants of Munster.

I'll update the character sheet with my purchases. Chain sounds like a good idea.

Melchior said...

General question here - advantages of Scale or Banded over Chain? Scale is lighter and banded is heavier - any other major impacts?

Andrej said...

You mean aside from the difference in AC?

Ahmet said...

There also is a difference in MP. Melchior (and Lukas), do you need Alexis's charts for movement points and combat actions?

Alexis said...

Emmanuel’s response to Andrej regarding the cleric coming tonight would be, “Master! I completely forgot! Surely he must arrive within a hour or so – he was meant to come Saturday night.

Melchior said...

It would be helpful to get those. If you have them, and could email them to wickedmurph@yahoo.com, that would be awesome.

Alexis said...

Regarding Melchior's question: scale, chain and banded correspond to the armor class levels in the DM's Guide - namely that they improve AC by 4, 5 and 6 respectively. Melchior and I have been in communication, and he knows his AC with banded and shield is "2" ... this differs from the usual "3" not because of his dexterity, but because Melchior got lucky and obtained the result from his constitution of being tough-skinned. His natural armor class is 9, not 10. Ain't that nice?

I'd like to add that for catholics in the party, standing within 2 hexes of Melchior in combat causes the enemy to suffer a -2 penalty to their dice while attacking with weapons, and a -4 penalty while making bodily attacks. I need to point out that this subtraction does not apply to dumb animals, those with an intelligence of semi or less, as they are not influenced by a knowledge of religion.

Alexis said...

Melchior,

I'm working on an advanced post about those charts; but you can find interesting combat rules if you look here.

Andrej said...

Blogger appears to be eating posts...

Andrej awaits either the cleric or word from Hornung, resting in the meantime.

Melchior said...

Great, thanks for that. Regards other character development stuff - are we using proficiencies?

Alexis said...

Sorry, I went off and worked at other things for awhile.

Along about Eight in the evening, there's a hammering upon the door.

Alexis said...

Melchior, your character starts with three proficiencies. You're -3 (-2?) to hit with any weapon you're not proficient in - whatever the Player's Handbook says. You can't double up proficiencies as was later argued in post AD&D editions/rules.

Andrej said...

Andrej answers the door if the household staff does not.

Alexis said...

The staff does, as you order them to.

At the door are fifteen guardsmen in full regalia, heavily armored and armed, led by a rather massive fellow, 5'10 and 290 lbs.

He reads off a scroll in his hand. "To inform the residents of the Palace of Hornung, this day, September 6th, 1650 ... to whit: by Order of the Archbishop of Mainz, and cosigned by Eberhardt Hornung, I am to take possession of any and all corpses in this house at this time, and to further give word that the City of Munster is under Marshall Law, which shall remain in force until such a time as an army can be raised to march upon Arnsberg no later than the 9th day of this month. I am to carry out my orders immediately, SIR."

Alexis said...

(OOC: just one 'l' in marshal)

Andrej said...

Did Melchior get his armor today?

;)

"By all means, my fellow, enter. We are unarmed and will comply. I request that all but two of your men stay outside, though, so as to not upset the ladies Herr Hornung has here in residence. They are of a delicate temperament at this time, and his lordship would be most upset if they should be disturbed. Joost & Klass... show these men to the body and turn over possession. And good riddance, I say. Emmanuel, please shut the door, looks like bad weather coming."

If this is set into motion, Andrej has another action to take before the body leaves the premises.

Alexis said...

"I'm sorry Father, I'll have to search the palace."

In effect, he ignores Andrej and proceeds to send his men into every room.

Alexis said...

We'll rule that Melchior has returned by this time. Wouldn't want him to get pressed by a gang, would we?

Andrej said...

Andrej finds a quiet corner and casts Know Intent.

Melchior said...

That would be a bummer. Yes, Melchior did get his armor and gear today. He isn't wearing it though.

Alexis said...

The spell is cast with no one being the wiser. None of the guards appears to have any ulterior motive whatsoever. To the best of their knowledge, they are acting without malevolence ... just doing their jobs.

They'll find the one body, they'll make no overt disturbance in the upstairs rooms except to search for any other bodies, and they will set about departing. If there's anything odd they find about there actually being a dead body on the premises, they make no special comment about it.

Andrej said...

Andrej stops the leader of the men while the spell is still in effect. "You said the writ was signed by both the Archbishop of Meinz and Eberhard Hornung, correct?"

Alexis said...

"The writ is signed by Eberhardt Hornung," says the guard. "But it is in the Archbishop's name."

Andrej said...

"May I see the signature?"

Andrej has a writ of passage from Hornung and I reason would recognize his signature. He will remove this from his pack to examine the two together if necessary.

Also, Andrej "examines" the lead guard while the Know Intent is active. Any change? s he hiding anything?

Alexis said...

The signature looks like Eberhardt's, to be sure. The guard certainly seems to have no bad intention; the spell regards him as a sort of neutral entity, perhaps a little gruff and do your duty sort of fellow, but he bears no ill will towards Andrej. The spell wouldn't detect a lie, but it would detect any ill will the guard, or any of the ten guards Andrej can check, would have any malevolence towards the party.

These are just men doing their jobs.

Andrej said...

Andrej thanks the guard and allows the troupe to complete their duty without further interruption or delay. Once gone:

"Melchior I believe the guard to be truthful and to have discharged his duty at the behest of our patron Eberhardt Hornung. Nevertheless, we must be on guard. If I heard it correctly yesterday, Hornung is an heir to the House of Naussau. The Prince Bishop of Munster, not Mainz, whom I mentioned earlier at the cathedral and who so ill-treated Carolina appears to be intent on destroying Hornung and his house. We must await word from Hornung but in the meantime prepare ourselves for the coming fight."

"Klass, Joost and Emmanuel. You three have the watch until morning. See that one of you is armed and posted in the turret throughout the evening. You may leave the turret only to make an hourly round of the manor. You will move quickly when doing so, do not linger long when off the turret. Four hour watches for each man, Emmanuel will assign the order as he sees fit. He who takes the mid-watch will have extra time to rest tomorrow. Should ANYTHING unusual happen, Melchior and I are to be awoken immediately."

Andrej instructs the house staff to secure and double check all points of entry. He then retires to his bed.

Melchior said...

Melchior listens to Andrej intently, then proceeds to do his own quiet patrol of the house, familiarizing himself with the layout and grounds. In addition, he concentrates on detecting evil in all areas, and on all persons he encounters, from domestic staff to Andrej's other followers.

He also takes some time to speak with Klaas, Joost and Emmanuel, introducing himself and taking care to be friendly and respectful of all the men.

Finally, he checks Carolina's room to ensure that it is secure, although he doesn't go inside, then finds a quiet corner near the main entrance to the house, but somewhat concealed from it, and goes to sleep with his belted sword in his hand.