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Post  vampyre on Mon Oct 12, 2009 11:01 am

Are things as well in the Crosstenmarch household as Vicktoria is indicating. His outburst about the letter...Mardenstadt seems to be needling him about the opposing viewpoints as Otto commented later. Nor did he inquire as to the "source" Wulfram spoke of at the manor.

Wulfram found it interesting that Crosstenmarch did not inquire as to what he had seen beyond him and to who was watching and waiting...but at least Crosstenmarch is holding off for the moment, but the fact he is sharpening his sword for the coming meeting between him and Dominick was seemingly enhanced by the contents of the letter.

Vicktoria's comments did not necessarily convince Wulfram whether there were 2 or 3 in the Mardenstadt family. THought she said there were two, she then added, from her perhaps she does not know whether the Mardenstadts have a son or not. And given Vicktoria's affliction and that it was caused by Dominick...could this be seen as the intertwining of both families...and if Crosstenmarch wished for this to happen, could that be the reason why, waiting for the two families to be intertwined as ordained, bringing about justification for confrontation between the two.


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Post  Admin on Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:54 am

Wulfram exchanges pleasantries and again bids Dominik Madenstadt goodbye. Dominik retires back into the shadowy entrance of his manor as Otto waits atop the black carriage, the horses restless and banging their hooves upon the ground. Wulfram can see the horses look very strong. He enters the carriage and prepares to read the book he has been given.

The carriage surges forward smoothly - despite the knowledge that the road ahead lies broken and sunken in places - and Wulfram begins leafing through the silver bound pages of the unusual tome; at the point where Wulfram knows the shattered road physically ends and enters swampy ground he experiences a strange shifting sensation. There is a black/purplish light and the carriage slows.

"We have arrived near Haastenmoord, young master Wulfram," Otto states. "I trust that things have been enlightening."
Wulfram casually replies "Indeed they have - I bid you good day."

Otto merely nods and urges the horses into action. He turns them skillfully on the narrow track and they then surge forward in the opposite direction from whence they came. After a few moments Wulfram observes the effect of the carriage disappearing through the shimmering vortex that manifests before them. They morph into the portal and it closes instantly behind them, leaving Wulfram alone on the path he has been taken to. He realises he is not far from Haastenmoord, about 500 metres from the top of the dam and near the branching fork in the trail that would take him towards the ruined tower where the wolvenwort herb grows.

It is early dawn and it is calm and pleasant, promising to be a clear day with no mist. Wulfram walks towards the villages, reaches the dam, descends the steps and attends the grand hall for breakfast. The village has woken and inhabitants are beginning to stir. Wulfram eats heartily, a sumptuous meal of warm broth, fresh-baked bread, fruit and a good portion of honeyed mead. He can see that Hrothgaard is not there and neither are the Aranberghs. Winfried (16) and Isolde (16) Gerhardt ask how he fares this good day; "I am fine thank you - just hungry. Where is my friend?" Wulfram replies.

"Young master Hrothgaard has gone with the Aranberghs on their patrol around the lake. They left yesterday, on foot." Isolde says.
Wulfram nods thoughtfully and continues eating until he feels full. Then he decides to wait a while to allow the Crosstenmarchs to awaken and he fully intends to go to the manor when it is more appropriate to do so. While he waits, he goes to his own stone thatched cottage and conceals the book he was given by Madenstadt.

As he exits his cottage and heads towards the manor, Dierk Einshaden (black smith) intercepts Wulfram by stepping into his path. "How has your past few days endeavour has gone?" he asks.
"Very well - I was sent to deliver a message and bring one back in return - would you do me a favour?" Wulfram responds.
"..." Dierk raises an eyebrow and looks curiously back at Wuilfram. "What is it you ask of me?" he asks suspiciously.
"Can you write down an inventory of all weapons that are held in the village?"
Dierk replies a little scornfully "Of course ... can you read such a list ... ?" he belittles Wulfram.
"If I could not I would not have asked" Wulfram replies curtly.
"I see ... consider it done," he responds, "I will produce that for you this afternoon."
"There is no hurry but it is important and also knowing how prized black smiths are in my society, I also require - perhaps over a beer or three - your knowledge of weapon making because we may require more weapons to be made to protect the villagers. I valued your counsel, it was interesting."
"You're right in recognising my proficiency and I would be pleased to discuss the finer points of my art with you at an opportune time. I am available when you are, any evening. Tell me ... in your recent travels ... to see the vampire ... did he make you aware of any new threats that we be facing. Is that why you want to know about our weapon holdings?" Dierk replies.
"No -but what he did tell me I will pass on to you this evening ... in confidence of course." Wulfram tells him.
"Very well - I look forward to that conversation ... please forgive my overbearing nature ... you could say that is by hereditory curse," he jokes (with a serious look on his face).
"There is no problem with an overbearing nature - the one thing I do ask is to speak as you see fit but remember we are all here to look out and protect each other."
"Yes," he replies. "I know what you mean. Good day Wulfram - say hello to Lord Crosstenmarch for me."

As Wulfram walks up the hill he wonders how genuine Dierk Einshaden intended to be when he referenced Lord Crosstenmarch. After all, I know he challenged him publicly not so long ago. He reaches the manor steps and knocks on the door.

Otto answers. "Welcome young master Wulfram - Lord Crosstenmarch is expecting you. Do come in." He leads Wulfram to the dining room ... Viktor and Viktoria Crosstenmarch are both there and greet him warmly.

Viktor asks with a serious expression "did Dominik receive my letter well?"
"I do not know, but I have a reply." Wulfram says and hands him the return letter.

Viktor accepts the letter and politely excuses himself from the table and he leaves Wulfram in the company of Viktoria. He explains "I shall be in the study. Otto shall see to your needs and you are welcome to stay as my house guest this night, should you wish to do so." Viktoria is watching both men converse.

Wulfram turns to Otto and says "if you can pass a message on to the black smith ... I will delay the mead session until tomorrow evening ... I have been asked to stay here and it would be improper to decline."
"Of course," Otto says and he vaguely suppresses a smile.

Viktoria asks "how did your meeting with Dominik go? Was he inviting and pleasant to deal with?"
"Yes he was ..."
"Did he try to change you?" she asks.
"Did he threaten you?"
"But I think you could be asking another question ...." Wulfram smiles.
"Why, Wulfram, I most surely don't know what you could mean." she replies innocently. SENSE MOTIVE 20. Wulfram strongly suspect that she may well know exactly what you're thinking.
"Come on Viktoria, who's playing games? I do not think this is the sort of game that should be played. I have seen the paintings of you and I have seen the paintings of her."
"..." Viktoria looks thoughtful as she seems to be recalling something "... so you have seen them. What do you think of that? Does it change anything?"
"What I have seen is a lot more than I think you will ever know, even outside you and your sister. You are twins aren't you?"
"Yes, twins of light and darkness and different natures."
"Many of the paintings tend to indicate you or Seffi being the centre of the battle or ongoing feud between Madenstadt and Crosstenmarch."
"Perhaps ... perhaps it is more about the ego of men than it is about us. Perhaps we are simply innocent and caught between them ... (eyes narrow) ... and then perhaps now you can see that Madenstadt has gifted me with his curse so that brings me closer to his family than Viktor's."
"Why do you say it is a gift?"
"Because there is no going back - I have had to accept it ... thanks to your bravery I am able to do that because the bracelet you located suppresses the monster that I could have become. The gift I speak of and the gift I have been willing to accept is the gift of immortality ... through this I hope I can spend more time with Viktor than I would have."
SENSE MOTIVE 26. Wulfram is not certain that she's being completely truthful. Wulfram recalls that she had been passionate with him previously and now he is partly jealous about her actions.
"I have learned a number of things while I was away. One thing I will inform you, being his wife, is that you must prevent Viktor and any of his plans from killing Madenstadt because while he remains here your village is bring protected against Reisen Morgus. If he dies - I have been told this independently - then your village will be overrun and your souls claimed by Hel. Madenstadt however has also an ego problem .... he finds that his allies are seeking to undermine his authority but while he remains the deal is that Reisen Morgus cannot move against Haastenmoord. Just as you have a link to Madenstadt, Hel has a link to both villages. Independent observers, for want of a better term."
At the mention of the name Reisen Morgus she recoils in fear -
"Do not fear the name," Wulfram says. "For it is just a name."
Viktoria then looks up at you "But I am frightened for he is the soul taker and even mentioning his name will bring him closer to us."
"Then I will not speak it again, but I am not afraid nor of the person who bear that name."

"We heard wolves close to the village last night and when I heard them I thought of you," she says, not so subtly changing the subject.
"There were wolves outside of Madenstadts home last night too."
"Have you not changed yet? Have you not felt compelled to do so? "
"Twice but I have been able to control it as any good warrior of heart would."
"Yes you are a good warrior, Wulfram. I was worried for you, as was Viktor. It has been three days. I feared you may have fallen in the wild or as madenstadt's prey. Yet you indicate to Viktor that he was kind."
"He treated me as a guest and was surprised when he asked me to stay the night to compile a reply."
"Then he is not the monster that he is portrayed to be."
"Yes he can be the very monster. I have seen paintings to prove it and he made it quite clear he could be that monster." Wulfram tells her.

"And what of my sister - did you get to speak with her?"
"I never saw your sister, except in the paintings. Lord Crosstenmarch indicated there were three in the family yet I was told there are only two."
"... yes, Viktor can get confused sometimes. There is only Domnik and my sister, Seffi, as I understand it. It is interesting that he did not introduce her. I do hope she is well ... "
"I think I can find that out for you ... have you ever felt at any time since the affliction, of being drawn to Madenstadt?"
"At first when I was changed by him and returned ... I felt him calling in my dreams and even when I was awake ... and I was hungry, so hungry and yet I knew that food is not what I was craving ... Viktor had me confined for everyone's safety until he could obtain the bracelet and administer the blessing ritual that has now saved me ... and again, I have you to thank. Since then I have not heard Dominik calling. I sleep peacefully and feel almost normal again."
"I wish to ask a very person question and the reason I ask is based on Viktor's faith ..."
"Go ahead"
"I could be blunt and warrior-like but I shall not .... but given the change of circumstances with you, has your relationship with your husband changed?"
"To be perfectly honest ... I am now closer to him than I was before the transition. I cannot bring myself to easily lust after others as perhaps I would have, for even a momentary lapse I fear could bring out the monster inside of me. I will not have the blood of innocents on my hands for Viktor would never forgive me and he would be duty bound by his faith to destroy me for that. In a sense I have been reborn and our relationship has started again."
Wulfram thinks of the paintings ... the two sisters are never seen in paintings together ... what if they are not actually twins but are the same person.
"Least I now understand where I am in these circumstances?"
"You are dear to me Wulfram, for you have saved me and I have merely expressed by deep affection for your heroic actions." INT CHECK 16 - Wulfram considers for a moment that perhaps ... she was passionate with him because he is also a monster.

Wulfram and Viktoria then descend into more pleasant general conversation. Note: layout of manor is identical. Crosstenmarch's manor has different paintings ... no paintings depicting Madenstadt, generally happier scenes of the nobility and lifestyle of wealthiness and faith ... slaying wolves and demonic creatures. Holy warriors.

Wulfram sees Otto in between his chores ...
"Can you clarify for me that Seffi is well? It is for Viktoria."
Otto smiles enigmatically and replies "She is most well, young Master."
"Thank you."
"Why is this manor designed the same way as Madenstadt's? And ... has Crosstenmarch actually visted Madenstadt's manor?"
"It simply is the same and that is the way it has always been. Lord Crosstenmarch has never dared to set foot on Madenstadt's domain; despite the taunting."
"Is this what these letters are about, is it taunting?"
"Not at all - they are ... polite exchanges of opposing viewpoints ... and nothing more."

Viktoria spends the day indoors resting ... or doing her embroidery.

Later ... it is dinner time, Crosstenmarch emerges from his study and asks how Wulfram has spent his day. He has in his hands some parchment notes.

"It has been fine thank you."
"I am sorry I did not spend any of it with you - I have been preoccupied with reading Dominik's letter and furthering my studies."

Viktoria asks "and what did Dominik have to say?"

"Very little of importance," he tells her. "He is simply a crazed fool who believes that he should own all of this land. I will not permit it. This is my land and the village is my home. The villagers are under my protection and no harm will ever come to them while I am looking over them." Crosstenmarch replies impatiently.

"... I was simply curious." Viktoria blushes.

"Forgive me ... that was rude and in front of our guest most wrong ... I apologise. I am sorry for my outburst. It is just that Madenstadt angers me so much, for everything that he has done. Tell me Wulfram ... did you sense his evil when you were in his presence? Did it feel overwhelming?"

"What I felt and what I saw is a manor the same design as yours with paintings similar to yours and it was totally evil. Yes."

"So ... my sworn enemy mocks me? He has copied my home? And he tried to steal my wife from me?"

"No. The places were prepared for you." Wulfram says.

"... I am confused. What do you mean 'prepared'?" Crosstenmarch asks.

"You spoke like a true lord to your people before I left. I saw a history of two families fighting over a long period of time. The Madenstadts embraced darkness and evil and yours embraced all that is opposite. From a source who I met at the manor ... he made three things quite clear; the first is that while Madenstadt remains then he who shall not be named will not attack this village ... second, I have learned that we must prepare and the villagers must learn to defend themselves ... third, you must seek knowledge and this regard I propose that Hrothgaard will assist to train your villagers and I will seek out those places where knowledge can be found. Also Madenstadt mad light of your faith, which I did not take seriously and he also made it clear that both of you are more intertwined than what you think. He said to me that your hatred of him could be your downfall. My source at the manor agreed, saying if Madenstadt then he who shall not be named will be unleashed upon the village. It seems he has been given guardianship on behalf of Hel, but his allies including those we have faced are undermining that authority which I believe is a weakness we should allow to continue while we prepare."

(Crosstenmarch blinks) "... you have given much to think of ... you have learned much in your time with Madenstadt at his manor. His letter to me, I view as a minor provocation, but nevertheless a provocation all the same. But I have prayed and have again sharpened my sword knowing that the righteous time draws near for us to face each other. I have engaged in studies to seek out further knowledge so your mentioning of that is most opportune and again tells me that my prayers have been answered. Tell me ... do you know where the mossy rock tunnel is located?"

"Yes ... I intend to go there in the next two days."

"Good; I have here some information that I have recently discovered. He shows a symbol .... this represents an entity known as the "Corruptor" and it is my belief that this thing, whatever it may be, exists in that location. My information is not complete but I believe that the Corruptor is an entity that the druidic monks are following. The Arranberghs recently scouted the area near the mossy rock tunnel and have informed me that the monks come from underground, using that passageway. I have also learnt that deep below it might be possible to find further remnants of the knowledge that previous inhabitants of this world have had at their disposal. "

"When Hrothgaard returns I intend for him to begin training your villagers in the art of defence and I will then undertake to search these caves. However I need your word as the Lord of this village and as its protector that you will do nothing against Madenstadt because I have seen beyond yourself and Madenstadt and seen who is watching and waiting ; as you rightly said in your speech to the villagers are indeed part of a game. the game expects you to kill Madenstadt and I believe you are better than that."

"Well said, friend ... (Crosstenmarch scrutinises Wulfram) ... I know your heart is true and I will honour that. I will undertake no rash course of action. Take these notes to prepare for your new challenge." Crosstenmarch passes Wulfram a bound set of parchment papers.

Otto enters the room and looks at everyone, casually but properly announcing that dinner is served.

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