Dealing with the Devils
- Maude, Veceslav and Sir Alaric head to Pleth, at the northern end of the Pass, and bargain with Voivode Mircea Dzardescu for the lives of the abducted Pechenegs.
- Veceslav cuts a deal with Voivode Dzardescu based on Radu’s advice. Veceslav knows that Mircea’s Voivodate is pressed on two sides, by Visya in the south and Noriz in the north. Likewise, Visya needs to simultaneously contend with Mircea in the north and Vlad Ionescu in the south. The wily Basarab sees the solution to his own woes in the pattern, and convinces Dzardescu to agree to a 10 year truce providing Visya also agrees. This will allow both Voivodes to stabilise their borders before recommitting to their wars.
- In return, Mircea recognises Veceslav as Knez of Tihuta, effectively setting up a buffer state between he and Visya. He also returns the women of Naizuy to the coterie.
- Magh surprises the Cainites by saying that she will not return to Naizuy. The recent struggle showed that she cannot protect her people unless she is a Cainite. Dzardescu has indicated that he will turn her, and so she will stay and serve him for the nonce.
- Maude and Veceslav cannot disagree with her logic, but come up with an alternative. Why not have Veceslav, or Maria Belladodia, Embrace her instead? People who have shown that they will leave her people alone? Magh agrees and leaves with the coterie.
- Jals leads his people back to Letzav, and the people of Naizuy, with the influence of Magh and their recent travails, seem more inclined to work with their rivals to mutual benefit.
- The Herd returns from the south, where they reveal that someone or something was looking out for them much as Gunthar ritter had done during the long march to Tihuta. Freshly slain game was often left where they could find it, and other dangers were scared off or averted. Who was this mystery benefactor? (Update- months later the Gangrel Lorea of Klausenburg, who had been wracked with guilt over he slaying of Hermann Chriegler, came forward to Maude. She gave her heartfelt apology and told that she looked after the Herd as a small measure of penance for her crime).
- The coterie succeeds beyond Rikard’s hopes, finishing the first level and much of the second. Zelios outlines his plans for the growth of the castle, which involves quarrying much of the large hill alongside it both for its strong granite and to remove a weakness in defence.
Rikard and Rewards
- Vencel Rikard arrives with the first snows of winter with the coterie’s sires in tow, plus a young Hungarian knight of the Toreador clan. All are pleased with the success of the mission.
- The Toreador, Sir Andras, was to take possession of the castle project and lead the soldiers Vencel provided. A vassal of the prince, he would be known as Baron of Tihuta, responsible for securing the northern trade route.
- Veceslav, backed by the coterie and his sire, Gabor the Bulgar, explained that he had already secured the Domain through Trial by War, and was now Knez of Tihuta. The Tzimisce would not accept a new claimant, and would return in greater numbers to contest the valley if Sir Andras took possession.
- The Toreador wisely saw that his claim was doomed, and at Vencel’s quiet urging, he swiftly and gracefully withdrew.
- Vencel agreed to endorse the claims of Bernhard, Veceslav and Iulia with his own kin, and among the remnants of the Council of Ashes. He still owes them each a minor boon. Sir Alaric gained nothing save the praise and gratitude of his sire, as the boon owed was immediately passed on to Procet and the absent Sir Conrad. Maude has asked nothing of [[:vencel-rikard | Vencel], and still has a hefty boon owed to her by the Prince of Buda-Pest.
- For their part in organising the successful enterprise, each sire also gained a reward: Lucien and Dietrich were given Domain in Buda-Pest, amounting to trading privileges and hunting grounds; Gabor the Bulgar, Katerina of Adrianople and Procet of the Lexor Brujah have asked nothing yet, and are still owed a boon by Rikard.
- The prince, when asked whether he knew about the clay tablets, admitted that he knew something was buried at the tower. He denied that the recovery of ancient artefacts was the main reason they were sent however, as peace and prosperity motivate are far more important to him. He does, however, answer to others who desire ancient wisdom, so the tablets are a great bonus.
Parting Ways & Epilogue
- Some of the coterie depart immediately with their sires while others stay on for a few months. Rikard stays for just a few days before leaving in company with Sir Andras, Sir Alaric, *Santiago & Procet. The Prince of Buda-Pest says they are all welcome in his court before he departs.
- Sir Alaric and Santiago return to their Templar stronghold in Dalmatia. The Lasombra knight says that he looks forward to working with them all again the future.
- Procet mentions that he has received word from Sir Conrad. The Brujah knight wrote that was now headed to Portugal, where he hoped to find somebody to help him through his ordeal. Procet himself was making directly for Constantinople, and was pleased to take correspondence with him. He took an especially warm leave-taking from Lucien and Dietrich, with whom he had forged an association on the sires journey to the tower.
- Iulia and Katarina stay for a month, long enough for Veceslav to complete her flesh-crafting. She is now considerably younger than her original appearance, and quite a bit more beautiful. The two of them head to Bistritz for the winter, where they enjoy the hospitality of Radu. Prince Radu and Lady Katarina conduct some mysterious business there, and all parties leave happy. Iulia and her sire soon relocate to Weissenburg, where they begin her extensive and subtle machinations for the princedom. Iulia declares her praxis by June of AD 1199, and Lady Katerina returns to Constantinople by September of the same year. Over the next few years, Iulia delicately balances the competing Tzimisce Voivodes surrounding her demesnes (with advice from Sherazhina), and uses her Dominate discipline and skill at subterfuge to gain a strong hold on Weissenburg.
- Bernhard and Lucien remain for nearly two months, helping to oversee the tower security and fortification. They then depart for Kronstadt, to put Bernhard’s affairs in order and begin his machinations for the princedom. Bernhard declares his praxis by October of AD 1199, and Lucien remains a frequent visitor afterwards. Bernhard reigns loosely, lacking Iulia’s mind control Discipline to ensure his power. Instead, he focuses more on ensuring that other vampures respect his claim. He spends considerable time hunting pagan Nosferatu that threaten his Domain. He also pays visits to some of his allies abroad, using his Shape of the Beast power to defeat the tyranny of distance. His highly mobile Roman sire splits his time evenly between Kronstadt and his river trade interests, with a much larger balance of his time going to aid the Quaesitor of the Michaelite Toreador, Petronius, in his Byzantine intrigues.
- Maude and Dietrich winter at the tower, comparing notes on her ritual advances, harping on each other’s idiosyncrasies, and generally making the rest of the people at the project feel deeply intellectually inferior (however unintended). Dietrich returns to Vienna with the first decent roads, and Sister Maude then departs for Kievan Rus. There she embarks on a tour of the northern expanses with Durga Syn, visiting the cities of Krakow and Prague before going her own way. She then heads to Frankfurt, where she meets the ancient Ventrue, Julia Antasia, and meets some of the brightest minds on the via humanitatis and along the Promethean ideal. She arranges patronage for her medical advances and good works, and also tries to disseminate them through third parties (with mostly successful results). Her skill with Mortis grows. She will spend considerable time in the Siebenburgen in the coming years, setting up her clinics and working with Iulia and Bernhard. She also visits Vienna and Athens, taking counsel with Dietrich and Dionysus, who also becomes a patron of hers.
End of the Longest Story Ever!
Attendance: Veceslav (Ben, 2xp), Maude (Dave, 3xp), Bernhard (Greg, 3xp)
Absent: Sir Alaric (Anthony, 0 xp)
End of Story Experience
Sir Gunther (Greg) 3
Sir Conrad (Jackson) 1
Veceslav (Ben) 3
Maude (Dave) 3
Sir Alaric (Anthony) 2