An aging edler, increasingly influential in the political affairs of Kronstadt. He was once the ward of Bernhard von Billung, and they maintain their relationship through the auspices of the Sixth Tradition..
An old, pudgy, well-attired Saxon gentleman with greying, long brown hair and a wispy moustache. He has intelligent blue eyes, a cheerful smile, and a pleasant, open manner of carrying himself. He carries a cane in his sausage-like fingers, and leans on it rather more heavily than yesteryear.
Karl Dressler edler von Lüneburg was born in the Year of Our Lord 1153, the only child of a modest landowner of edler stock, Ordulf Dressler II, and his equally modest wife, Anne. He remembers them little, for he lost them both to a house-fire when he was but two. He spent a year-and-a-half in an orphanage run by the Dominican Order, and his first memories are of the kindly Father Axel, who taught him his first numbers and letters. Eventually a distant cousin, the valiant knight of the Second Crusade, Sir Gunthar of Wolfgang, came to collect him and see to his upbringing.
The knight was a distant sire, kindly enough but gripped by some hidden loss, perhaps a lost love or some fallen comrade from the Crusade, but Gunthar ritter and his best friend and business-partner, Lucius treated Karl very well. After he was old enough to take in new experiences, they took him on an extended tour of the West, in company with a governess servant of “uncle Lucius” named Agnes. Agnes saw to his daily needs while they treated with various lords, ladies and wealthy merchants on their own business. In the days of his formative years, Karl saw many fine cities: Frankfurt aum Main, Cologne, Hamburg, Paris, Florence, and Bologna. At night, his pale cousin and his mentor quizzed him on his growing knowledge of the seven liberal arts, and Lucien schooled him with profoundly gripping tales of Roman history, almost as if he had seen them firsthand.
Gunthar ritter spoke often his desire to see a son of his own inherit his name and legacy. Karl prayed often with him for his hopes, and prayed nightly that God would see fit to gift the good knight with a worthy son. As the years wore on it struck him as somewhat strange that both his cousin and “uncle Lucius” seemed curiously immune to the vicissitudes of Chronos, but they both certainly worked hard at keeping it at bay with their strenuous nightly exercises of hand, sword, dagger and spear fighting. Karl too was taught the basics of self-defence, but his inclination and talents lay elsewhere.
Eventually, the time came for Karl to continue his education in an institution of higher learning, and he even fancied that he might take holy orders. At the age of 14, he was admitted as a postulant to the University of Paris, where he remained for 4 years to study the law and theology. His dearest friend at university was a fellow postulant, Klaus von Osterholt, who was a year younger than himself. They were both deeply devout young men with a strong academic interest in the more esoteric roads that Christian mysticism had travelled, and they ventured into the closed section of the library on many occasions to expand the breadth of their knowledge. Klaus would go on to take holy orders, but Karl eventually decided that God’s plans for him lay elsewhere. He returned to Saxony in AD 1172.
Gunthar ritter wrote often from his travels in the Crusader Kingdoms in the East, and how he was struggling with a lengthy and debilitating illness. With the money his parents had left him and the patronage of his cousin, Karl settled in to his life as an edler of Lüneburg, though he was unhappy with the arch looks that he often received from older and more illustrious lineages. Happily his cousin wrote that he had found a wife, Jana, at last, and he announced to his former ward that a son, his namesake, had been born to them in the spring of AD 1176. Karl was overjoyed at the news. Another letter in AD 1184 carried the news that Gunthar ritter had passed away. Eventually the letters of the son replaced those of the father, and Karl was pleased to find that their opinions were one and the same on nearly all matters. He was very glad that his dear friend had found a measure of worldly peace in his final years, and that the apple had fallen very close indeed to the tree.
He was graced by God with a goodly and beautiful wife, Eadith, and the fortune of having 4 children: Bernard, Ingrid, Wanda and Axel. The first three took after their mother, with her tall frame, honey blonde hair and lively blue eyes, while the last, Axel, displayed more of his father’s look.
As Karl grew into his middle-age, he began to feel that the Dressler’s would never truly be given their due in Lüneburg. Due to his skill at estate management and a fine, sly eye for lending capital to speculative ventures, Karl and his family had wealth and success, but socially their status as ‘new nobility’ would not soon be forgotten. He investigated the possibility of heading east to the newly established Siebenburgen, and his enquiries yielded positive results in the growing town of Kronstadt. He soon made his decision. They would maintain estates in Lüneburg, but Karl knew that their future lay elsewhere. In AD 1190, the Dressler’s made the perilous journey to Transylvania.
Their years in Kronstadt have been good ones. While the Dressler’s are not entirely accepted yet on account of the lateness of their arrival in the parochial town, advanced have been made. He soon made a name for himself with his wise and godly political counsel to the Burgrave and his noble faction. After years of lobbying and hard work, he has now been accepted onto the city council himself, where he works for the prosperity of the city and his liege. He has a drawn a small number of like-minded men about him as well. His good eye for land serves him well, and he assarted excellent and fertile land to grow his crops and rear his livestock. He has now branched out into owning property in the city itself. His old friend, Karl von Osterholt, has risen to the rank of Bishop of the Siebenburgen, and while he seldom leaves his base in Weissenburg, the two have resumed a lively correspondence.
The children have thrived, more or less. Axel has displayed a gift for learning, and Wanda is bright as well. Ingrid has become one of the great beauties of the town, and suitors are beginning to travel to his door from all over the Burgraviate. His son and heir, Bernard, is another matter. The boy has proven willful and irresponsible- not at all suited to taking up his father’s mantle. He is a handsome lad, and rumours circulate that he has a shameless talent for wooing the ladies. Still, Karl hopes that he will come good, after he has “sewn his wild oats and his blood has thickened with age.”
Best of all, his young cousin Gunthar ritter has relocated to Kronstadt, pleading loneliness and a desire to reconnect with his father’s family, and perhaps start one of his own. The knight is the very image of his father, and though he appears more sanguine and less godly than his predecessor, he harkens closely to the words and deeds of his late sire. Gunthar ritter assarted some good land of his own not far from Karl’s own holdings, and he soon became a welcome addition to the family despite his long absences on pilgrimage. Young Bernard looks up to him and has conceived (albeit a few years later than he should have) of the notion of becoming a knight. After an abortive and troubled start with a local knight, Gerhard, cousin Gunthar has taken Bernard on himself.
For a number of years, the strange and precocious boy, Gabriel, also made his home in the house of the Dresslers. A ward of their cousin’s, he was placed among the family to learn his numbers and letters, and he displayed an uncommon aptitude for both. He has a Mediterranean tone to his skin, and there is no physical resemblance, but the family believe the boy to be the natural son of Gunthar ritter, conceived in some youthful indiscretion. Gabriel has become another member of the family, and Wanda in particular has taken a shine to him.