Thursday, September 27, 2012

Innsbruck on an October Morning

October 25, 1650, Friday morning
Weather: with brisk temperatures and cloudy conditions, with calm.

It is a cool Thursday night when the party almost reaches Dachau.  Friday morning, it is brisk, and you are well bundled up as you ride past the Dachau city walls.  Andrej recognizes the burned out gatehouse a mile from the North Gate, and the copses of trees and the overall look of the place.  It seems bustling, unaffected by the events from last spring, with the gates open and a host of citizens driving their flocks of ducks and sheep out to make the most of the dried brown grass and field stubble.  The apple trees have lost their leaves, the aspen nearly so.

There's no sign of anyone familiar, certainly not of Emmanuel ... in his wagon, he would not have reached this far yet.  You don't know by which way he travelled - probably further to the east than did the party.

In the early afternoon of Thursday, you come to the great city of Munich.  The weather, for the first time in this year's memory, does not greatly warm up with the day.  There is a drizzle that starts as you reach Munich, and in the brisk temperature it is positively disheartening.  You round the city, taking note that there seems to be an effort to pile up a great deal of building stone and timber ... there is scads of both, timber in particular, stacked in fifty foot piles and stretching far south from Munich.

From Munich, as the rain clears and the wind shortens to a light breeze, you climb into the Alpenvorland (Alps foothills) towards the village of Tolz, where a hundred buildings are scattered over a valley and the adjacent hill.  From there you follow the Isar River (which you have been following since Munich) into the low Alps, rising a few thousand feet above you.  These are nothing like the Alps Lukas knows, or the Andrej remembers, but still they are rugged enough.  You camp near a dairy farm some ten miles south of Tolz, where the cool afternoon fades into a brisk night.

There's no snow on the ground, though there is a bit in the high country above you.  The heavy snows have not yet begun ... and you do not see any flakes that fall.  When you arise the next morning, and travel over the low pass that leads you into the valley of the Inn - and reach Innsbruck - it is yet brisk, but the clouds are not thick above you.  There's little wind.


You are quite surprised to discover, upon crossing the wooden bridge that spans a hundred feet over the Inn River, that there is a tournament in procession.  There are some twenty knights in plate armor, with pikes, waiting to be told by their Hapsburg lord (the Count of Tyrol) who specifically is to begin ... and a crowd of a thousand waiting to see.  The location for the contest is a flat stone rock extending several feet over the Inn River.

You notice a frame constructed over the rock platform, which is about ten feet wide and 25 ft. long; from the frame hangs a small ring on a chain, in nearly the platform's centre, about five feet above the ground.  The frame consists principally of two tall posts, and below the ring, two feet above the ground, there is a chain strung between them.

107 comments:

Andrej said...

Where is the crowd gathered, upon the bridge? How close to where we currently stand?

Ahmet said...

Hm... as much as I would love to investigate this and perhaps even have Ahmet enter the tournament as a mysterious knight, methinks spending too much time here will result in us being snowbound in the near future...

James C. said...

awww, come on... now who's lacking a sense of adventure? afraid some german knights would be too much for you to handle?

Ahmet said...

It's not the knights I fear, but the giant hourglass in the sky...

But I suppose we could spend a little time here without throwing off our schedule too much.

Lukas said...

I dunno, might not even let him enter. Besides, how many jousting supplies do you have? And you don't even have a page! Tsk Tsk Tsk.

Alexis said...

To cross the Inn, it was necessary to pay a fee to embark upon the bridge and that fee also brings you into the town; I meant to say that.

You stand on the edge of the crowd, on a road that follows the river from the bridge. If the bridge is behind you, the crowd is upstream, and the pikemen and frame high enough above the crowd to be seen clearly, poerhaps a hundred yards away.

Alexis said...

For crossing the border into Tyrol, and the bridge, the party owes 24 s.p. per individual, and 7 s.p. per animal.

Andrej said...

All fees are paid for Andrej, Sofia and Hichem.

Andrej finds a place near the edge of the crowd and asks a nearby onlooker what is going on.

Sofia keeps a wary eye out for her master.

Hichem does his best to manage the horses, looking out for an inn or stable nearby should the party decide to stop here.

Lukas said...

Indeed, I have paid my fees. I am as well concerned slightly about the stopping and weather. Doesn't mean we can't take a moment to hear about the local celebration or whatnot.

Alexis said...

Andrej learns that these are the opening ceremonies to the Late Oktoberfest ceremonies held in Innsbruck every year. The pikemen are all soldiers of the crown; twenty are chosen every year to win the Innstaler, a silver coin that weighs five pounds, a uniquely minted coin with a unique engraved image.

Andrej said...

Hmm. Andrej awaits the start of the competition.

Alexis said...

The thin crowd behind you is starting to press forward as a host of horsemen come along the road from the direction of the bridge. Not a fast movement, but the party finds itself moving with the crowd.

Andrej said...

how big a host? what more can you tell us about the horsemen?

Alexis said...

I can as they get closer. The first two are guards in shining silver and plumed helmets, leading a rather smallish man on a magnificent horse, wearing a fur and gold cloak that spreads over the horse's rump. He is waving to the crowd, tossing pieces of silver (Lukas catches a coin) and smiling. The crowd seems very happy. The party is pushed towards the opening of a lane (narrow street) as the Count - for this is who it is - passes by ... he is followed by about 30 other men on horseback, looking splendid in their arming cloaks.

Lukas said...

Lukas examines the coin before pocketing it. He nods approvingly of the display.

Alexis said...

Not Lukas personally, obviously being a player character, but the people Lukas grew up with ... the Swiss ... have very little good to say about the Hapsburgs, of which this is a primary example.

The County of Innsbruck has grown spectacularly rich by being on the route the party is taking. This is THE lowest, easiest route through the heart of the Alps, the connection between Germany and Italy ... and the thing that made the Fuggers fantastically powerful as bankers (the Fuggers being located in Nuremberg, as compared to the Medici in Florence).

Andrej said...

I'd like to stick around and watch the spectacle some and do so unless there are objections.

Ahmet said...

Ah yes. Of particular note is the matriach of the family: Mother Fugger.

Andrej said...

(OOC: now that was funny)

Alexis said...

(OOC: take note line 4)

Alexis said...

Forgot link:
http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~robins/deln02.htm

Alexis said...

As the last of the horses begins to pass by, the second from the rear catches a foot and falls back. The horse rears, kicking its feet at the crowd ...

Lukas said...

Well, that's not good. Leave it to the Fuggers to mess it up.

It's almost as if they should be known for such things.

Andrej said...

Andrej and Sofia take hold of their own horses and Hichem assists. We're looking to prevent their bucking should the disturbance spread to our horses.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet, seeing what Andrej and his flock are doing, does likewise with his two horses.

Alexis said...

You keep your horses under control, which is more than can be said for the soldier. He brings it's front hooves down, at first, but then it gets away from him again ...

This time, one of his horse's hooves strikes out and hits a young girl in the face. She drops to the street, as though dead.

Andrej said...

Andrej leaps toward the horse, to grab its bridle and speak to it soothing words. (+2 morale bonus when handling domesticated creatures)

Sofia leaps for the girl.

Hichem does his best to manage the four horses.

Lukas said...

Lukas decides now is not the best time to use any magic and tries to encourage the people to move away from the horse to reduce risk of additional injuries.

Alexis said...

Naturally, the crowd nearest the party is in shock. Andrej must release his horses to grab the rearing horse (need 2d6 rolled, Andrej), which correctly Hichem tries to hold. He won't be able to manage all four ... but how many he can manage at this time isn't known to anyone.

Sofia will get to the girl faster than anyone (monk), and will see at once that the girl's cheek has been smashed in by the point of the hoof. There is quite a lot of blood already, in her face and hair.

The people back off somewhat from Lukas ... his experience, his intelligence gives him quite a REASON influence (even though you did not state you were using the card, this is in effect what you're doing).

Apart from this immediate set of events, further away the crowd is still cheering, the Count is still moving forward, quite unaware that anything has happened. He cannot be yelled at; as I said, there are a thousand people, and none would hear any shouting even if it was attempted.

James C. said...

2d6: 8 (if it applies, Andrej's husbanding abilities provide the +2 bonus to horses he either directly handles or that the party owns)

Can Sofia tell if the girl still lives?

Sofia dumps out her backpack looking for her cotton bandages. When she can she will wrap the girl's face to staunch the flow of blood.

Andrej said...

(OOC: whoops. Sorry about the blogger id mishap above, I was working on my campaign blog this am and forgot to switch it back.)

Alexis said...

With a 10, Andrej snags the horse and brings it in line. Whereupon the soldier shouts, "What are you DOING?"

Sonya quickly realizes the girl is dead. Another townsperson, a man about 25, kneels across the body from her. "Can you help her?" he says.

Andrej said...

Andrej shoots the soldier an admonishing look and continues whispering pleasant things to the horse, ensuring the animal is under control before releasing the bridle.

Sofia says nothing while tears threaten to well up in her eyes, the useless bandage clutched, perhaps, in one hand.

Alexis said...

The soldier gives Andrej a firm push with his boot, and draws a sable from his scabbard. "LET GO of my horse, friar, or I'll skewer your gullet!"

Andrej said...

Andrej releases the horse, "A wiser man might hold his tongue and his horse with greater care."

Alexis said...

It's clear there are many angry faces in the crowd, and yet as the soldier resheathes his sabre, he says to Andrej: "An important man need do neither!" He spurs his horse and trots forward to catch up with the others, as the crowd breaks for him.

The man on his knees across from Sonya addresses the crowd: "Who knows this girl? Does anyone know this girl?"

It is clear to Sonya, and Ahmet standing nearby, that the girl is not poor; she is wearing a rather well tailored woolen jacket over a homespun embroidered wool dress ... the daughter of a journeyman, perhaps, or a scribbler.

No one in the crowd answers.

Lukas said...

Lukas looks around, "Does she have any sign of who her parents were? Was she fetching something or have any markings on her hands? I think we should also take her somewhere proper. Perhaps someone at a church will know her parents?"

Andrej said...

(OOC: While Sonya is also a pretty name, the monk is called Sofia. :) )

Andrej approaches Sofia and the girl, checking for himself that she is dead. Regarding the man across from them, "Where is the closest church, friend?"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet hangs onto his horses and is glad for once to not be the cause of a child's misfortune.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Sorry, sorry, sorry ... Sonya is the OTHER woman kneeling next to Sofia. Yeah, that's it.

I think this is the second time I've made this mistake, or third or fourth; want to know something crazy? Sofia was my mother's middle name. Anyway, I'll work on it)

No one in the crowd claims to know the girl. They begin to drift away, towards the contest. The man across from SOFIA offers to pick the girl up. Sankt-Anna is just at the end of the nearby lane.





Lukas said...

I agree that is what we should do and take the lead to inform the church of our approach with the girl.

Andrej said...

Andrej nods his agreement to both Lukas and the man. Sankt-Anna it is.

Ahmet said...

Hm. Perhaps Janos, Sofia, and Hichem should wrangle the horses to the nearest inn?

Andrej said...

I say we not linger here, perhaps instead take the horses through town and wait on the edge for Lukas and Andrej us there.

Ahmet said...

You sure you don't want me sticking around for when the constables come to arrest you?

On second thought, maybe a dramatic rescue on horseback is a better idea...

Andrej said...

I'm opting for dramatic rescue upon horseback, but don't get any ideas about Andrej falling into Ahmet's arms or anything.

I don't plan on Lukas and I taking very long and hope that Mr. Fancy Important Pants will be too busy looking fancy and important for now to worry about me.

Lukas said...

It would be pretty bad business to go barging into a church and pull out a holy man. Just sayin.

Anyhow, Andrej and Myself could take one horse each. That would logically leave horses equal to hands, then one of us can go inside to deal with the priest, or they may have someone or somewhere to leave our horses for the duration.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: So what, no tournament for Ahmet now? Damn you Fuggers!)

Ahmet said...

Or Sofia could remain with you two, with three horses.

Andrej said...

Excellent idea Lukas. Andrej takes John. Paul will stay with Hichem and Sofia along with Truth and Beauty.

Andrej said...

Nah, Sofia's with you Ahmet. This way no matter what happens, I get to play. :)

Lukas said...

Lukas will keep Tovenar.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Very well. Vaya con dios!)

Ahmet, Janos, Sofia, and Hichem takes all the horses save John and Tovenar, and proceed to the rendezvous point.

Alexis said...

The fellow carrying the girl describes himself as Thomas Ribbentrop; he remarks on the girl weighing hardly anything at all, as those members of the party and he make their way to the church through the narrow lane (no one is pursuing).

The church door is open upon Andrej's attempt, and the church largely empty. It is only a small chapel, suitable for perhaps forty worshippers, but it is quite ornate and attractive inside, the walls painted admirably by someone who had talent.

A priest appears at the sound of the door, and asks, "Who are you? What has happened?" He looks at the girl, and at the blood. "Saints preserve us," he mutters, and bows his head in a quick prayer.

When he raises it again, he asks, "Does she live?"

Lukas said...

Lukas shall hold the horses and let the holy folks deal with the specifics and proper of the following process. Unless there's a place to tie the horses outside. He will keep himself so he can see into the church however.

Andrej said...

"No father, that her death was a quick one is our only thanks."

Andrej then introduces the group and quickly explains what happened to the priest.

"As nobody in the crowd knew the girl I was hoping the local parish might."

Alexis said...

"I do not know the girl," says the priest. He quickly looks her over for a rosary or cross, or some other sign. "I do not think she's Catholic." He draws out his own holy symbol and kisses it. "Please do not be alarmed, father," he says. "I am going to cast a small spell."

He begins to cast what Andrej immediately recognizes as a detection from evil spell.

Ahmet said...

(Question from the peanut gallery: "detection from evil"... Did you mean protection from, or detection of? Big difference!)

Lukas said...

Magical technology, they finally merged the two spells into one super spell.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Yeah, well, you get me doing this during working hours, you're lucky I'm still in English)

DETECT EVIL.

The priest completes the spell, and suddenly flees from Thomas holding the girl. He rushes to the altar, and there seizes upon the mace he keeps behind it.

"GO!" roars the priest. "SHE is not welcome here!"

Andrej said...

Andrej shoos Thomas from the church, shielding he and the girl's body from the priest as he does so.

"What is it Father, what did your spell reveal?"

Alexis said...

In a low, deep voice, intoning, the priest says, "A dark abyss, hungering, swallowing, calling outwards for more and more ..."

Then the priest, mace still in hand, reaches forth and seems to concentrate hard upon the girl's body. Andrej realizes he is attempting to Turn the girl.

Thomas begins to shudder, but it is not because of the girl; he is just hopelessly confused.

Alexis said...

Thomas doesn't move; I meant to convey that he's too at odds to do as Andrej says.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet, sensing danger...

...moves upwind of the horses. Pee-you!

He quizzes Hichem on mining operations in his homeland.

Andrej said...

Andrej casts detect malevolence.

Lukas said...

Lukas will stand outside holding the horses and getting concerned at the turn things are taking.

Alexis said...

(OOC: I don't think Hichem knows anything about mining?)

I tell you, I am just on the other side of the planet today.

Detect Evil is Detect Malevolence ... it is what I renamed the spell to, so that it was more universal.

Andrej feels the same sense the priest felt - a horrible, gnawing hunger, emanating from the girl like a cold stab of ice,

When Thomas sees the look on Andrej's face, upon completing the spell, he decides he has had enough. He drops the dead girl, staggers backwards through the door ... and runs.

Lukas said...

Lukas feels like he's the only one not in on the situation as the man runs out of the church, this time with less concern on what SHOULD be used to tie up a horse, and now more on what COULD be used to do so.

Andrej said...

Could Andrej and the priest turn together or does that require a combine spell? I suppose we could each turn individually, yes?

Does Andrej recognize what the creature might be? Field of Study (Spec.): Legends & Folklore (Artifacts, Beasts, Heroes)

Ahmet said...

Ahmet snorts at Hichem's utter lack of knowledge concerning mining and proceeds to lecture him at length upon the subject.

Alexis said...

There is no creature. The girl does not seem to be undead.

"Take that body from this church," says the Priest. "Rid yourself of her, and do it quickly! I do not know what is this evil, but it will defy burial. I have not the power to exorcise it! It must be removed from the town, buried in a place where it cannot bring harm to the innocent people here!"

Andrej cannot help feeling the same loathing as the Priest - he has felt the girl's evil as well, as though he were being eaten by it ... and he, too, cannot help be convinced that burial will not quell that evil.

Andrej said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alexis said...

(OOC: Damn, sorry about that Andrej. Did not mean to delete that! Fuck I hate this system)

The girl is about 5'4, perhaps a hundred pounds. I can't remember what question you asked Lukas.

Lukas said...

He asked for my thoughts.

My first instinct says, "Something fishy is going on."

My sarcastic self says, "Where does the soldier on the horse live?"

I also think, "I hope this isn't the kid of someone important."

Finally, "It sounds like we might be going on a trip outside the city."

I'd also suggest getting a second opinion if it weren't for the fact Andrej WAS the second opinion. Oh yeah, and there could also be checking the body for cursed items, but really, it probably isn't good to be stripping a little girl in a church.

Andrej said...

(OOC: On your last point, yes, a shame she wasn't a young alter boy instead. I kid, I kid...)

Andrej picks up the girl's body and leaves the church. A shame Ninetoes wasn't still about, he could detect curses.

"We cannot leave the body here, Lukas, and none about seem equipped to deal with it. Help me up into the saddle?"

Andrej approached his horse with the girl's body. Does the horse react in any way as the evil gets closer?

Alexis said...

No, the horse has no special reaction. Remember that there was no reason to believe anything was unusual until both you and the priest cast detect malevolence (evil).

(OOC: Sorry guys. I can see you're interested and that's great. But I'm just not up for it. I'm unplugging from work and everything today; I think I will buy some shoes).

Andrej said...

(OOC: No worries, Alexis)

Andrej's next action is to climb atop his horse with the girl and head toward the other side of town with Lukas to meet up with the party.

Should we be stopped along the way, as I'm taking no special precaution with the body, my plan is to be completely honest and gladly turn the body over to any who would act in our stead. Lukas?

Lukas said...

I'll help out and be right with you. No reason in over complicating something that already made itself overcomplicated.

Alexis said...

(OOC: sorry I went AWOL yesterday)

The question arises ... how do you intend to manage the town guard, when they see you carrying a dead girl covered in blood, while getting out of Innsbruck?

Andrej said...

I intend to ride right up to them, slowly, and tell them the truth entire should they ask.

Andrej said...

(OOC: no worries on being AWOL. Next week will be tough for me, but I will check in when I can)

Lukas said...

Then, we will of coarse wait willingly for them to verify with the priest. Then when they are satisfied, we will continue on.

Lukas said...

Oh yes, and if they continue to object, I have no problem with letting them deal with the burial process themselves.

Andrej said...

You got it.

Ahmet said...

OOC: I'm thinking we'll be dark on Monday, given Canadian Columbus Day and American Thanksgiving... or did I get that wrong? :)

Alexis said...

The guards, having no idea how the girl was killed, could seize you, hold you in prison, to investigate the death; the priest may not be willing to talk, or may accuse the party of bringing what may be anything from a witch to a demon into his church; the guard who killed her may scream that it was the party that killed the girl; and in a medieval court of justice, the foreigners are always distrusted and made guilty, as it gives the town the opportunity to seize your property.

As it happens, however, there are no guards at the gate; the gate is open. If there are guards up in the towers on either side, they don't notice the party leaving ... no one seems to be paying any attention to Andrej or Lukas at all.

So I'll rule that the party is now together again. What do you wish to do?

Alexis said...

(OOC: it is thanksgiving for us on monday; I may have a look here anyway. Lately, with three new people, I am in communicator hell, training hell, error hell and in the midst of the pleasant, enjoyable company of three new co-workers; thus, my steady disappearance. Things, I trust, will settle down when they learn their work and I can delegate with confidence)

Ahmet said...

Ahmet eyes the dead girl.

"Was the church closed?"

Lukas said...

"Something like that. We need to take the body to a place that's remote. Preferably with a big rock we can use to weigh down the body."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet quirks a brow at that, but then, he's unfamiliar with infidel burial practices.

"Speaking of being buried under a big rock," he says, turning to Hichem, "I need to finish telling you the story about my cousin Halim..."

Alexis said...

Hichem will stare stoically at Ahmet, showing no sign of emotion - or interest - whatsoever.

There is plenty of "remote" around you, all of it high upon the mountain sides; while the lower slopes are covered in forests, they are thin, and there is much bare rock and stones two thousand feet above the valley.

Andrej said...

(OOC: I appreciate your explaining our predicament, Alexis, but I was resolved to either deal with all of what you mentioned or lay the body in the street and walk away. I'd rather get caught openly walking out with the body then trying to smuggle it out under some flimsy pretense.)

The party will ride to a likely camping spot south of the city. Ideally one with a dense and concealing thicket of trees with not too many people about.

Andrej said...

Along the way, Andrej catches the others up on what we have learned, then proceeds like so...

"I do not think that burial will put this soul to rest and do not understand what curse or creature may posses this body. Perhaps it is not a rock that we need, but a fire."

Andrej observes his companions to gauge their reaction.

Andrej said...

Also, it occurs to me that while the priest tried to turn the creature, which may or may not be a creature I understand, Andrej did not. I will attempt a turning before we fire up any bonfires, though I'm not very hopeful about it.

Lukas said...

I think I remember something about burning bodies...

I guess though if it were a corporeal undead it would remove the threat, but I don't know if these things would just manifest differently instead.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet hmphs, completely out of his depth here. He does, however, offer to slash off the creature's head, if anyone thinks that will do any good.

Alexis said...

Part of 'explaining your predicament,' Andrej, is sometimes a dramatic ritual necessary to outline how lucky you're getting it. Black, white, its all about painting contrasts.

Sometimes, I'm sounding pedantic because I'm anxious to make you think the way I want you to think.

I'm not to be trusted ... :)

Alexis said...

Andrej feels none of the pressure/pushing back he would normally experience from turning; and equally none of the evil emanating from the girl while doing so.

It is strange - as he clearly remembers detecting malevolence, there seems to be no outward evidence that this isn't simply a dead young girl.

Ahmet said...

Could it be the malevolence was coming from something else? Or perhaps it was in the girl, but left her while she was in the church?

Lukas said...

Is there at all a chance the man holding the girl was picked up by the spell?

Alexis said...

There is no means by which you could know the answer to either question.

Lukas said...

Screw it. Do the normal burial rights if a big rock is handy put it over the grave and lets get out of here. That's Lukas' advice should Andrej announce his uncertainty.

Andrej said...

We shall see, I suppose. First thing's first, finding a remote camp site as described above.

Can we reach the more remote and thickly wooded slopes about us and set camp there, Alexis?

(OOC: I find myself on west coast time this week fellas, with the sorts of working meetings scheduled that will mostly prevent playing... but I will check in when I can so please, let's continue, though I may be long in responding at times.

Alexis said...

Remote is not much trouble. Higher up, there are places on the slopes where the herders run their sheep in the summer season, but those are mostly empty now; I can even offer you part shelter, if you wish, as any number of hay sheds are three quarters filled in and no one - Lukas can assure you from experience in Switzerland - will care the least about your resting in one.

Lukas said...

I stand by my earlier statement. But, not being a priest or the one with knowledge beasts and whatnot, I yield to your professional opinion.

Alexis said...

I think its probably that Andrej is going to say yes. As he's unavailable, for the sake of everyone's comfort, let's move this forward to the late afternoon; we'll presume you're a few miles southeast of Innsbruck, several hundred feet above the valley. I'll work up the next post.

Alexis said...

The next post is up.