Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Battle of Rosenheim

When last we left our four heroes, Miklos had heard an odd crackling noise to their left down a side tunnel, they investigated and saw a crackling man shaped glowing apparition floating toward them above the water. Thom immediately recognized the smell of Lightning in the air and refused to remain and face what ever it was, Hans was more eager and approached it but was forced to drop under the water to avoid touching it as it came towards them. With Hans submerged beneath the muddy water, Miklos and Seighard quickly followed Thom's example and fled back through the tunnels. Meanwhile, the apparition floated over Hans, offering it's back to the young warrior.

He quickly came to a decision and leapt to his feet, showering water at the tunnel walls and brandished his hidden relic, the Brand of Tigrius and Eutropius. Igniting it, he smote at the unnatural menace many times, suffering much damage in consequence, before he banished it forever. His companions marveled at his wondrous treasure and expressed their relief at it's existence, fearing they could never defeated the apparition without it. The companions searched the remnants of the grotto, finding first a great ten foot high gold plated cross, all woven about with golden roses that loomed over a room also containing a raised platform and a gilded cage containing intelligent looking twittering yellow songbirds. Leaving these marvels for now, they investigated a side tunnel and found along it's walls three alcoves between two great statues: one vulture headed and Oriental in aspect and the other wearing a toga and winged statues. Along the top of the wall ran an inscription in Latin: Sumo sapienter (Choose wisely). Inspecting the alcoves, Seighard perceived a small notebook, a set of bound scrolls and a larger folio. He decided upon the folio and before his companions could react, seized it from it's resting place and eagerly inspected his prize. Disgusted at what he found, he tossed it to a surprised Hans, who upon reading it himself, was delighted to find formulae for new potions.

Deciding nothing else was of value (after a number of unsuccessful attempts to remove other items from the alcoves) the companions then scraped the gold leaf form the great cross and brought their treasure back to the entry shaft. The tried climbing up, but the gold proved impossibly heavy in their pockets, they tried hauling it up separately, no success, they even tried throwing it, but the height was too great. At a loss, the companions left the gold at the base of the shaft, hid the top of it once more and resolved to return one day with some means to make a new entrance of their own away from the magic of the grotto's entrance way.

Leaving Halgast behind, the companions made the last leg of their journey and came to the Lord's keep, looming on a ridge above the serf's fields, in the afternoon. Making their way past silent, closemouthed peasants, they companions smote upon the wooden gate. After a delay, a pot helmed head appeared at the ramparts demanding to know their business. After the companions stubbornly refused to leave in the face of constant rebuffs delivered by the the Lord's representatives, the Lord himself appeared, flanked by several men at arms bearing heavy Arbalests. He was unimpressed by their mission and demanded they quit all his lands by midnight, upon the companions rejoinder that they had religious knights amongst their number, he retorted "that the crosses of their holy orders were all that kept him from shooting them where they stood for their impertinence". Disheartened, the four took the road South to report to Stefano that there was naught more to be achieved there without much fruitless blood shed.

So they made their goodbyes to the survivors of Schryswig, and made their way quickly south through the tree lined paths of the Bayerischer Wald. After a couple of days, their journey brought them to a long valley leading down to a peaceful looking village guarded by some soldiers. Relieved to find security in German lands at last, the companions, with Stefano and Cosimo in tow, approached the houses and haled the nearest soldiers. They were greeted in oddly accented German by a snaggle toothed veteran, leering at them from beneath the rim of his helm. Suspicions aroused, Miklos cast his eyes quickly over the rest of the soldiers, they might have been the retainers or mercenaries of any lord in these troubled times... until his eye alighted on the familiar sight of a shaggy haired blond captain, bearing the a Chalice device on his tan tabard. The very same who led the Hussite ambush that caused their woodland flight in the first place.

The companions were quick to action, calling to Stefano and Cosimo to hang back, they charged in. Seighard worked first defensive, then brutally offensive alchemy while the other three charged in on horse back. They were met by a volley of gunfire from nearby houses, largely unharmed and knowing full well the gunners must now reload, the riders charged pressed through the smoke and attacked. Thom crashed straight in and engaged the still unready soldiers, Miklos wheeled in and out launching quarrels from his crossbow and Hans skirted round the flanks and began to torch the buildings where the gunners lurked, slaying the hapless men when they fled. Though the tide initially was with the companions, the shaggy blond Captain was rapidly ordering his men into a solid line and when he joined the melee, his skillfully wielded war hammer soon wounded those in reach. Unperturbed, Hans finished with the last refuge of the gunners and turned to charge the back flank of the remaining soldiers, however the other three were beginning to falter, tired, wounded and losing heart in the face of so skilled a warrior. When the Captain took stock of his losses and called for a truce, Thom and Miklos quickly agreed (Seighard again was too wounded to continue the fight) but Hans, emboldened by his successes pressed on. However, it quickly became apparent his companions could not long continue and he reluctantly acceded to the Captain's request. They would cease fighting and the Hussites would leave Bavaria.

So the remaining Hussites gathered and made to leave, when they were almost away, their leader turned and called "my name is Lional Poder, remember it well, for I know it in my heart this is not our last meeting". Then, true to Lional's promise, they made their way directly back to Bohemian lands. The villagers emerged from their hiding places and were ecstatic with joy, crying out that teh four heroes had delivered them form damnation at the hands of the ehretics. It soon emerged that the Hussites had come a week ago and occupied the village, Rosenheim since. Everyday they sent out patrols to search the surroundings. When one day a trio of a armed men came form the west claiming to be couriers, they were challenged, when they refused to surrender, they were slain and their possessions taken. The Hussites never molested the villagers, their blond Captain maintained firm discipline, but the ruthless handling of the "couriers" made even the boldest farmer to fearful to resist the Heretics. Intrigued, Stefano' had the couriers bag brought out from where the Hussites had had to leave it. It contained only a single sealed letter shrugging, he broke the seal and read it, he made a face at it's poor composition and handed it to his escorts. "You lot make sense of it, if it has any importance at all. These villagers seem friendly enough so we will pause to lick our wounds and rest before making the last few days journey...to Regensburg".

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