Still no siege, as this session ended up being very light on screen-time for Scharf and his expedition southward. Instead focus was on events in Himmelfeuer and (to end with) Drachenmalstein.
We began with the private audiences that the baron had offered. Only Pou and Lady FitzCarstein took up the offer [of the PCs], as Scharf left to see to organising his men – 30 or so – who would rendezvous with local Kupfers once they reached the southlands.
Pou was first to see the Baron, and they talked about the common man, faith and the plans for Die Kupfers. Pou mentioned official militia status, and how the men were all volunteers, the Baron countered with talk of chains of command, formalised structure and the need to stand down for their future if a given fight was un-winnable. Pou had concerns about how his men would react to being placed under the direct command of Scharf and his small cadre of career soldiery, and as a result – stressing the need for order, men of faith, and standards/reliability, Pou quickly found himself officially named Lieutenant, officer in charge of the Militia. He was a little taken aback by this – formalised rank being the last thing Pou craved – but was at least happy that the Baron agreed with his plans to man the castle from the ranks of the newly official militia. He was to choose his men, prepare them, and present them to the Baron in a week, when they would take occupancy of the castle.
Lady FitzCarstein’s meeting followed Pou’s directly; she caught wind of his title from Gottfrid as she was presented to the Baron, retorting with telling and touching questions about the nature of the box(es) the steward held for Werner. Once alone with the Baron, Lady F counselled the unthinkable – that the Baron disowned his only offspring and sever his family line, thus permitting him to name a worthy heir (and the Lady presented herself as willing to take this role). She spoke of how she knew it was not possible for him to do this, as a father, but how it was the only way that she could see the Barony he had built surviving the oncoming troubles. The Baron, naturally refused.
Next morning Scharf was up, prepared and leading his men off early – but only after stopping by Pou’s foundry for some bits and pieces. Pou wasn’t there, though they had arranged terms the previous evening, and Scharf let himself in to seize the goods. As he led his men out from the castle courtyard, the word was already going round that Lady F was missing.
Pou had got up late(ish) and was in the inn, talking over his “promotion” and wedding plans with Herbert, whose daughter Cornelia was also present and, as a trained book-keeper, quickly assumed responsibility for number-crunching the nuptials. A little later, as he was overseeing a drilling practice, Pou felt a hand on his shoulder, and turned to find Jonn, his hitherto missing foreman, looking him in the face, and seeming worse for wear. Jonn bade Pou follow him to the shop – where they found evidence of a break-in and hoped it was down to Scharf taking the arranged goods, though the thought of the theft irked Pou all the same – and more so after Jonn told his tale as the foreman didn’t trust Scharf at all. But the majority of his tale had been how he’d disappeared to track the retreating Tileans in the aftermath of the attack on Gunter, only to get jumped by bandits, who had tortured him and from whom he had only just managed to escape. Jonn spoke of hearing that Scharf was asking about him from a barkeep who had overheard the Captain’s conversation with Pou some nights before and felt that Scharf was trying to divide and conquer a bit.
Pou still had time to arrange for a few trusted Kupfers to head west looking for Josephine, with strict instructions to make her aware that people were looking for her, and to try to keep her safe.
Meanwhile Lady FitzCarstein reached a silent Drachenmalstein as it approached . There was no answer to her approach, knock or call – a truly unusual and disturbing find. It was only after a while when the wind died and she heard faint sounds of life from inside the castle proper carrying out. Annoyed before she arrived, and angry now, she tried the gate and found it unlocked. As she moved in it was clear the noise was coming from the great hall. She proceeded through, and upon throwing open the hall doors found almost her entire staff present. Jurgen was on the dais along with a figure tied to a stake.
Ended promisingly, and with the knowledge that the next session will start (and likely focus) with Scharf’s march southwards and what he finds there, and giving enough information to Lady F to convince her to keep von Schicksal alive was a big bonus for me.
Need to figure out how to write these sooner and quicker though – much missed, much forgotten and still too long and too late!