Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Miklos the Hungarian

Miklos is the son of the Archbishop of Kalocsa-Bacs. As a man of the church his father was not permitted a legal heir and instead followed the usual practice of providing for a worthwhile position for his son when he came of age. Hungary was and is less well cultivated than more western parts of Europe and Miklos was accustomed to ride, fight and hunt in the wild hinterlands as soon as he could sit straight in the saddle. His father and his entourage would fare widely afield with other nobles in order to bring down dangerous game, boars were much prized, for sport.

One such night a foolhardy Miklos strayed too far from the campfire whilst his elders drank and was confronted by a great black wolf while armed only with his hunting knife. The young Miklos was brave as well as foolhardy an managed to face down the wolf, stabbing it in the chest as it attacked. Though grievously wounded, the wolf bore down the young man and he would have been killed had not some of his father's servants come to investigate the commotion.

This event was to seal his reputation amongst his peers and be a source of enduring pride for his father. Denied a noble birthright and obviously unsuited to a cloistered life in a rich monastery, Miklos' father turned to a cunning guild master who organised the construction of many projects for the Royal house. The involvement of the House of Luxemburg in the affairs of Hungary had seen much new wealth and expansion and it was the Archbishop's hope that his son would live prosperously and earn royal favor and patronage through building on behalf of the Crown.

It was not to be, Miklos succumbed to consumption in his teens and was bedridden for many months, with recurring bouts leading to frequent setbacks in hi apprenticeship. Frustrated, young Miklos pleaded to his father the Archbishop to be allowed to take up the crosses of a crusading Knight and mindful of his sons' bravery, the Archbishiop assented. So is was that Miklos was gifted his father's ring, a priceless heirloom of their family and sent forth to join the Teutonic Knights as a novice. Though his illegitimate birth denied him any hope of high office according to the Order's strict rule, Miklos found his place in the cavalry much to his taste and trained hard, quickly earning the accolades of his superior knights.

On one of his journey's home to visit his father, Miklos was approached by the soft spoken Mathias, a prominent Dominican and fast friend of his father. Mathias begged a favour, the matter was urgent, though he would not say why. All he desired was for young Miklos to accept an offer of work as a guard from Stefano de Medici, should it be offered. Beyond that there was no explanation, not even an indication that Stefano had made contact with Mathias. Mathias was not the type to speak lightly of any matter so Miklos agreed to his request. When Stefano's servant came with the offer, the man was surprised to find the young Teutonic knight already prepared to leave for Stefano's house.

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