The Long-Standing Online Campaign, beginning in Germany, travelling through Italy and Greece to the Sea of Azov.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Soest the Broken
September 8, 1650, Evening
Weather: pleasant, with an intermittent drizzle and a gentle breeze
For Ahmet and Lukas, the rain does not diminish. With winter coming on, the weather is just miserable in the mountains. For Andrej and Melchior, climbing up to Soest, the mist in the mountains worsens as they pass Hesse, turn at the little Inn on the road and make their way to their destination.
The drizzle in the morning is steady, and intermittent throughout the rest of the day. The night again was brisk. There are unmistakable signs of winter coming: the trees have turned to gold and red, the fields (which the party from Munster sees) are all stubble now, though in a number of places farmers are planting winter potatoes (these were transported from the New World by the druids some five hundred years ago, so they are quite normal to people).
Soest is surrounded by woodland and dumpy hills. It is quite a large town, with well over 600 buildings and sits on a round, flat plain. The walls are enormous, with many bastions - but these are shattered and show fire and destruction in many places. Soest was damaged and ruined by the German War, and there are no signs of reconstruction here (the picture would be old). Unlike other places you've seen, there is no reconstruction here. In fact, ruined seige engines, as tall as forty feet, lay wrecked and abandoned. There are piles of stone at the sides of the road next to broken and destroyed mangonels; rotted timbers; and piles of animal bones next to the town fields. Grass and grain stubble show that the fields have been planted around these hazards, rather than efforts taken to remove them.