Date - 1/12/96 & 1/12/97 (29th and 51st Sessions)
... In which Rabenstein swears fealty to the Bishop of Seckau
Canon Ramon of Seckau Abbey visted with two knights and met with the quorum in the early summer of 1206. Expressing gratitude for their goodwill and considerable skill in the deflecting the curse of Frohleiten, he offered the opportunity to swear fealty to the Bishop (upon whose land Rabenstein had unwittingly been built anyway). Arguing that the recent fortifications and expanding estate were not going unnoticed, the Canon relayed his fellow Canon Geselbert's reservations about Rabenstein, and urged them to accept this offer while in good favor, lest the opportunity fade and Geselbert's concerns lead him to consult the Bishop directly. After a council meeting to discuss the decision, and motivated by the recent deceptions and machinations of the Castellan of Graz (in addition to the desirable right to bear arms that accompanies vassalage), the Magi agreed to pledge their fealty to the as yet more liberally governing Bishop. The Canons presented Rabenstein with a gift of a pack horse, the banner of the Bishop, a red string with which to bind parchment messages to Seckau, and holy water.
In a subsequent session (and nearly a year later, in the spring of 1207) Canon Geselbert arrived at Rabenstein to announce his intention to put them to good use as faithful vassals. Discussing the laws of the Peace of Swabia (governing the rights of peasants), he petitioned them to appoint one of their knights as the Marshall of Frohnleiten, who would serve upon the village Council and live in the village to defend its good folk (Frohnleiten was the new name bestowed upon the village of Bösl). Further, they were to establish a toll along the road and collect taxes twice each year upon St. George and St. Martin's days. In a Covenant Council meeting, Sir Hammond von Braunschweig, the Turb's sergeant, was voted into the position. He was due to assume the title of Marshall with the feast of St. John (at midsummer).
Cast: Merento (Clint Buss), Gustav (Christian Young), Cynric (Patrick Murphy), Julian (Kendall Miles), Magda (Ann Harper), Lassitor (Chris Blake), Lady Enelle (Jason Buss)
Date - 3/25/96 (30th Session)
...where Rabenstein confronts the despair of suicide
Canon Ramon of Seckau invited his master's new vassals the Magi of Rabenstein to investigate mysterious signs at the nearby Priory of Unterzeiring (attached to Admont Abbey), including the appearance of blood in the well. Working with brother Absolam of Admont and Abbess Mary-Gretchen, the Magi Merento and Gustav discovered at great length that one of the sisters (Mary Sebastian) had promised her soul to the Devil as a youth in exchange for becoming head Abbess one day. As the possibility began to emerge, the nun became fearful of the deal, and cloistered herself at the priory, refusing to depart for her new station at another Abbey. Despite their success at elucidating this source of consternation, the poor sister committed suicide shortly after confessing to them (although the noose with which she hung herself contained 1 pawn of Perdo vis). They took the body to bury at the Priory's request (since the dead sister was no longer eligible to receive a consecrated burial and the abbess did not wish sisters to visit her grave). A few weeks later, stories began to circulate of the ghost of the poor sister roaming the Mur Valley in search of Unterzeiring.
A bizarre, mystical sequence caused by the demon of Unterzeiring thereafter transpired, which forged a bridge between reality and dreams, linking the Magi, the grogs who previously accompanied them to the priory, the abbess, and brother Absalom. In this dangerous, surreal confrontation, the Magus Merento banished the demon (although he exhausted the Covenant's supply of Vim vis in the process). Alas the grog Laura (niece of the Autocrat Lady Enelle) was found hanged the following morning, and subsequent news of the similar fate of Abbess Mary-Gretchen did not surprise the Covenant.
Cast: Gustav (Christian Young), Merento (Clint Buss)
Date - 8/25, 9/15/96 (32nd and 35th Sessions)
...Rabenstein is embroiled in the mysterious secrets of Strassburg's courtisans
A devoted young knight named Sir Heinrich arrived at Rabenstein on an errand of mercy, begging the mystics to prove the innocence of his beloved, who stood convicted of murder and was soon to be hanged at Strassburg castle in neighboring Carinthia. Determined to use the opportunity to win the favor of the castle's lord, Julian and Cynric set out with a band of 6 socii to introduce themselves (and marginally look into the affair of the murder). At the castle, the Magi discovered that the condemned girl (Loretta) was a failed Hermetic apprentice (somehow convinced they were sent to kill her, or worse), and that the murdered woodcarver Basil possessed a unique aptitude for creating enchanting, perhaps magical engraved wood-cuttings. Interviewing such varied denizens as the ladies-in-waiting and even the dairy maids, the Magi were convinced of the accused girl's innocence, and eventually of the Castellan's involvement (and his sins of the flesh with other men). Further, it appeared that the Castellan did not age naturally as normal men, but rather retained a youthful glamour despite his many years. Sneaking into the Castellan's wine-cellar, the Magi discovered a carefully-stored grotesque, distorted woodcarving of a decrepit old man, along with the body of Basil. Using his magics to discern that the Castellan was indeed the true muderer, Julian confronted him late that evening and charged him of the crime of Basil's murder in front of several witnesses (including the minnesinger Gottfried and the acolyte priest Haley). The Castellan fled his accusers to take sanctuary in the chapel when Basil's body was revealed and the tide turned against him (and the young Sir Wulfstan confessed to his sinful affair with the Castellan). Pleading with Cynric for the return of the wood-carving, the Castellan claimed that it aged whereas he did not, and offered his service for its return (or its destruction). Unimpressed with his continued lies about committing the murder, the Magi refused to surrender the carving and departed Strassburg with it for Rabenstein. Exhonerated of the crime, Loretta was released from her tower-prison, and the Castellan remained trapped in the chapel awaiting trial for the murder of Basil.
Cast: Cynric (Patrick Murphy), Julian (Kendall Miles), Gelvin (Chris Blake), Aurora (Kathy Solace)
Date - 9/1/96 (33rd Session)
...some grogs find themselves re-living the same day with a bumbling hermit
In the absence of the expedition to Strassburg (late August of 1206), a wedding took place in the village of Bosl. Several of Rabenstein's folk were invited to attend the festivities,which were for the elder sister of Ammon (the poor lad who they had rescued when he attempted to ride the Barrenschutzklamm rapids). In the midst of dinner, a pathetic 'hick' tried to steal the roast duck, only to have it torn apart in a fray with the villagers and captain Eric. Later that evening, Wolfgang, Eric, and Katrina wandered to Chanoine's knob to drink wine, and there they found the would-be thief, dejected at the loss of the duck. Attempts to question him proved merely that he was quite stupid and practiced bizarre customs (he babbled about needing the duck to sire a son and about a mysterious green-haired 'Lady' of the woods). They tricked the hermit/hick into going back to Rabenstein with the promise that it harbored the duck he desired, and giving him a magically-conjured duck's carcass, the group (including the Magus Gustav now) then followed him to see what he meant to accomplish with the duck. Following him back to Chanoine's knob, they lost sight of the odd man, but did discover that the hill was faerie in nature, with blue fireflies sparkling in the night air. Alas, wolves near the top of the hill forced the group to wearily return home without learning anything useful.
The next morning, Wolfgang, Katrina, and Eric arose to discover that it was the day of the wedding once again! And only they three had any memory of the events of the previous day. Heading to Bosl they found that the wedding was taking place exactly as they had remembered it, including identical conversations with Sir Hedwig, Ammon, and Victoria. Summoning the Magus Gustav (who had no recollection of his supposed deeds the previous 'day'), the group chased down the mysterious hermit when he appeared at the wedding, and treed him with Katrina's hound-dog. This hermit Galen also must have lived this previous 'day', for he recognized them, and muttered about the 'Lady of the woods giving him a second chance'. Contriving a scheme to steal the roast duck, Gustav, Wolfgang, and Katrina took the hermit and the duck he so coveted back to Chanoine's knob. There the hermit was transformed into a fox, darting away to his home, and the group met the beautiful 'lady'. Some sort of faerie-phantom, she called herself Gertrude, and spoke at length about how Galen the fox had broken the law of the woods and she had transformed him into a man as punishment. In her hands, the duck's carcass gave rise to the shadowy image of a duck, which flew away into the bright sky. Gertrude spoke of her gentle animal subjects, and gave warning of Morrigan and her two sisters.
Cast: Erik von Mälmo (Chris Blake), Wolfgang (Patrick Murphy), Katrina (Kathy Solace)
Date - 9/8/96 (34th Session)
...A decrepit old miner leads an expedition into his mine in the Eisenertz
Lassitor was encouraged by tales of the new Brabancon grogs to lead an expedition into the wild mountains of the Eisenertz, north of the Mür Valley from Bruck. Departing before the autumn chill fell over the valley, they trudged high into the mountains, above the tree-line. Discouraged by being unable to find any hint of the mysterious falcons of which the Brabancons spoke, the group made their way to a battered old shack, where they met an old miner named Vulfram and his goat. Vulfram convinced them to help him to move something blocking his mine, which he boasted contained a mighty treasure. Crawling deep into the earth, down ropes and through ice-cold water in some ancient caves, the group found a boulder blocking further progress, and Lassitor used his magic to assist the men in rolling it aside. Drained from the attempt however, he was barely able to fend off two stone-like creatures which soon thereafter extinguished their torches and slew hapless Jozef. Calling them the 'underpeople', Vulfram led their escape from the mine, and slipped away from the group with his goat later that night (he also claimed that the underpeople could be appeased by teeth, and when returning to bury Jozef the next day, they discovered that someone or something had removed all of his teeth). Upon returning to the Covenant, Lassitor discovered that the blue sapphire eyes of the creature Bertoul had slain harbored Terram vis.
Cast: Lassitor and Ursmar (Chris Blake), Jozef (Kathy Solace), Bertoul (Kendall Miles)
Date - 9/22/96 (36th Session)
...Where mysterious ill humors seem to descend from a loaf of Wastel bread
Sir Gozwin, the master of Landskron castle overlooking Bruck-an-der Mür, sent a request to Rabenstein to send a doctor to attend to his mother Imagina's illness (in early October of 1206). Arriving, the Jerbiton Magus Julian (posing as a doctor from Milan) was assured by Gozwin that the lady's illness was not serious, but rather that she complained so frequently that the castle's own doctor had quit in frustration. Demonstrative of his lack of concern, Gozwin departed with Rabenstein's aging knight Sir Fitz to hunt pheasant while Julian attended to his mother. Forming a compress to aid her aching tooth, Julian and the pretty young Slav Tatyana (his assistant) found little wrong with the woman. The next morning, it became clear that unusual maladies had begun to afflict some of the castle's knights and Rabenstein's expedition. Julian's tongue gave sharp pains, while Tatyana's eyes ached horribly, and Julian's custos' sword-hand suffered arthritic shooting pains. Strangely, others exposed to the lady's chambers did not contract any illness. Cynric attempted to cast healing magic on Tatyana but its outcome was uncertain. Departing quickly lest they fall more ill, the covenfolk set camp in the Stubalpen near the Covenant until they recovered a few days later. Returning to Landskron with Lassitor of Criamon, the doctor Julian elucidated that the source of ill humors seemed to descend from a loaf of Wastel bread that had been in the lady's chambers (those who had partaken of the bread fell ill, though each illness varied mysteriously in nature according to the nature of the afflicted). The afflicted seemed to recover after healing magics by the Magi, or perhaps a sprinkling of holy water. Discovering that the wastel had come from the baker Frank of Thorl, the group departed for the village of Thorl to investigate.
In Thorl, it was found that the baker had taken ill shortly after market in Leoben the week before. Isolated in his hut eating turnip porridge, Julian was shocked to discover that poor Frank was showing early signs of leprosy. Frank explained that after the market at Leoben, he had given the old leper a loaf of his best Wastel bread out of pity, and that the leper had, without even giving thanks, told Frank that he should covet his health lest God turn his back on him. Showing kindness for the man, Julian and Cynric attended Mass in Bruck that sunday where Frank was shown the office of seclusion of the leper, and taking him back to Rabenstein, gave him food and alms for his new life, as Frank headed south towards Graz to wander the land as a leper.
Cast: Julian (Kendall Miles), Cynric (Patrick Murphy), Tatyana (Blythe Newton), Sir Fitz and Lassitor (Chris Blake)
Date - 9/29/96 (37th Session)
...Rittern of Carinthia deceive the Magi in a plot to steal the woodcarving
Sir Uwe von Passau arrived at the Covenant to consult the mystics of Rabenstein in his quest to slay the ancient Lindwurm of Klagenfurt. Accompanied by a young squire and the Minnesinger Peter von Hallstatt, the knight asked for an unction to protect him from the foul poison of the dragon. Agreeing to look into the matter when the knight promised to bear them the wyrm's tail as a prize, the Magi retired for the evening and gave the knights lodging. Late in the night however, the true intention of the visitors became clear; they snuck into the chambers of the Magus Julian of Jerbiton, and demanded at swordpoint that he take them to the woodcarving of Castellan Demel (refer to the story The Picture of Castellan Demel, 32nd and 35th sessions). Descending into the caverns (where the carving lay in Lassitor's laboratory), Julian plunged the would-be-thieves into pitch darkness by extinguishing the magical torches the knights bore with them from the library above, and in the confusion crept away. Unbeknownst to the treacherous knights, the sentry Polu had seen them creep into the library, so he summoned help to investigate, sending his fellow sentry Bjorin to awaken the Magus Cynric. Before the knights could rekindle a torch and find Julian in the caves, Cynric and Polu had made their way down into the caverns, and strode to confront the intruders. A terrific fight ensued around the Sanctum of Lassitor, in which the squire and Minnesinger Peter were slain in a fiery display (though Sir Uwe pummeled the overmatched Polu and nearly killed Lassitor with his morning star before being captured by Cynric). Adding to the woe, a crossbow bolt was sunk into the sentry Bjorin's chest. Imprisoning Sir Uwe, it was discovered that he had intended to retrieve the magical woodcarving linked to his friend Castellan Demel, and mercilessly slay those who had brought about Demel's fall from grace.
Indebted to Polu, the young Bohemian grog who had averted complete catastrophe by raising the alarm that night, the Magi depleted their remaining supply of Corpus vis to save his life when it became clear his wound was festering. With care, Bjorin too was able to recover from his wound, though a nagging cough persisted.
In a previous story, the Quaesitor Raisel had tricked the covenfolk in her recent visit by disguising herself as a peasant woman (pretending to be the waif lover of the visiting Redcap). In this disguise she had elicited numerous stories about the Covenant's exploits from some of the unsuspecting sentries. Coupled with the deceit practiced by Sir Uwe and his knights, the Magi lamented their all-too-trusting nature in recent months, and vowed to be more cautious in the future.
Cast: Lassitor (Chris Blake), Cynric and Polu (Patrick Murphy), Julian andWolfgang (Kendall Miles)
Date - 10/6/96 (38th Session)
Story Concept - Blythe Newton
...An aged body exhumed from a salt mine rekindles a timeless tale of love
Several grogs made a trip to Bruck to purchase a cask of wine on All-Hallow's Eve, and within the Pilgrim's Broth Tavern, they heard a strange tale about an ancient body found within a mine not far from Leoben - with wings as if that of an angel. The following saturday, Julian and brother Meshach travelled along with the expedition to the monthly market in Leoben, and there they learned from brother Gregory of Seckau that indeed a body had been withdrawn from deep within a nearby mine. Gregory explained that it had been given into the care of the nearby monestary of Goss. Walking to the weathered old Benedictine monestary, Julian and Meshach convinced a burly monk to let them speak with the Abbot about the body (the monks were reluctant due to the recent onslaught of gawkers come to view the body). Abbot Jurkas discussed his concern over what should be done with the body, which seemed to be that of an ancient albeit normal man (it had been preserved in salt within the mine). That night, strange noises plagued the monks and aroused the curiosity of brother Meshach, who learnt of the appearance of a womanly ghost at the Monestary since the arrival of the body. The next morning, Onre the gardener was found in a horrific state - his face gruesomely frozen in a silent scream of terror, and though he still lived, Julian learnt that Onre seemed to possess no mind whatsoever. Having volunteered to bear the body away to Rabenstein (the home of vassals of Seckau), Julian was granted a cart and donkey by Abbot Jurkas with which to relieve him of the consternation brought by the body. Hastily making their way back to Rabenstein, the expedition heard the lonely wail of a trumpet from the distant mountains as they neared home - the very sound some of the monks had heard at Goss each night the previous week.
Bearing the body into the courtyard, a council was conveened and it was learnt that the body was actually that of a woman, and possessed 5 pawns of Corpus vis. In subsequent nights her ghost was sighted on the Covenant grounds, and each night the heralding trumpet grew louder, leading to the appearance one night of a ghostly fog which surrounded the fortress. The boiling, spinning mist enveloped Rabenstein, and within its brewing midst arose the forms of ancient naked warriors. Although they were easily dispelled into ethereal vapor with a forceful blow, the grisly Celt warriors cut off the heads of the hapless sentries Katrina and Liudgard before retreating into the pitch night (spiritually it appeared that their heads were cleaved and born away with the mist, but their bodies lived on in the same manner as brother Onre of Goss monestary - as autaumatons, their faces frozen in a silent scream of terror).
An expedition led by Lassitor and Cynric was quickly mounted to find the mine from which this malodious body had been exhumed. En route to the village Hafning (where the boy who discovered it lived), a deer seemed to beckon the group towards the majestic Gosseck mountain. But when a ghost tried to dissuade them from bearing the body there, they hastened back to the valley. Investigating alone while the others hiked back to Hafning, Lassitor of Criamon discovered a hexenschlinge (witch's loop) on the Gosseck's slope, and climbed through it to enter a faerie regio. Here a haggard man beckoned Lassitor to give him the body, claiming it was that of the Chieftan's daughter. Threatening more violence if he refused, the old man refused to allow Lassitor to speak to the Celtic Chieftan, but let him depart and pledged to grant peace with the return of the body. Meanwhile, a mysterious black swan (seen near Rabenstein in the past few days) had been sighted near Hafning by the grogs.
The next day Cynric discovered the sight of the body's unearthing to be a nondescript iron mine. But as he left the tunnels the black swan appeared near the mine's entrance, and Cynric followed its course northward. Sure that the bird meant to lead him somewhere, Cynric returned to Hafning and the group agreed to pursue the swan on the morrow. Blazing a trail deep within the mountainous woods of the Eiserertz, the swan led them to an aged Alder tree, and a spirit calling itself Meru relayed the tale of the body they bore..."Her name was Daphne, and indeed she was a Chieftan's daughter, having been promised to his greatest warrior Lael as she lay in the shadow of the Dagda-pole. But her heart belonged to another man, Gwawl. Meru had tried to help these lovers unite, transforming them into a pair of swans, but the Chieftan's men intervened when they learned of the moon-blood's coming, and the task lay incomplete." Meru told that only their mortal hands could help her now, and beckoned them to help fulfill Daphne's wishes, and cast her into the Pool of Stars on December 1st to be united with her lover. Giving Lassitor a branch of Hazel to guide him, Meru departed and the expedition trudged back to Rabenstein, and though they were harrassed by the Chieftan's mist, it seemed weakened and its warriors unable to assail the Hermetic Wards put against them.
A final expedition was mounted as December 1st approached, and marched to Hafning, ignoring the beckons of the stag of Gosseck mountain. Led by Meru's Hazel-branch to the pool of stars (the Leopoldsteinersee near Eisenertz), the group cast the body of the ancient Daphne into the icy waters with the black swan, and witnessed its transformation into a beautiful white swan. Collecting its molt (4 pawns Muto vis), the group headed home, content in the goodness of their deed, but saddened by the fate of their friends and the new enemy they had made in the Chieftan.
*Note - Meru revealed that the spirits of Katrina and Liudgard were bound to the Chieftan, for his warriors had taken their heads, and she could not help return them. She suggested that it may be possible to retrieve their spirits by challenging his greatest warrior (but hinted that the stakes might be high).
Cast: Julian (Kendall Miles), Brother Meshach, Cynric and Gelvin (Patrick Murphy), Lassitor and Mudimbé (Chris Blake)
Date - 10/20/96 (40th Session)
...A cormorant merchant ingratiated to Rabenstein sings a new tune
As Martinmas approached and no word from the merchant Gotthilm of Graz had arrived (who supplied the Covenant with smoked meat each winter according to a previous arrangement), the sergeant Hammond was quickly dispatched with Gelvin to learn the nature of the delay. In Graz, they discovered that Gotthilm had been put in the stocks for usury, and though his wife and cousin retained the business, they claimed no knowledge of Gotthilm's bargain with them, and sought to cheat the Covenant. Pursuing the whereabouts of Gotthilm, Hammond found his two brothers and their families meagerly eeking out an existence south of the town as farmers. They professed Gotthilm's innocence, proud of their brother, and claimed he now worked in a saw-mill along the Mür. Returning to Rabenstein with the news, the Covenant elected to send the Magus Julian to speak with Gotthilm. The merchant, formerly a shrewd and somewhat greedy man, was found in the garb of a beggar working in a saw-mill as foretold. A changed man, Gotthilm confessed that his wife had betrayed him and though he was innocent, he had discovered salvation through his fall from grace. He counseled them how to secure a fair bargain in the future, and spoke of how with each mounting disaster in his life, he found happiness (he seemed almost holy in his conviction and contentment, taking sincere comfort in merely washing his feet in an old pot and breathing in the crisp autumn air. He had even taken a young mute boy under his care, having been spurned by his own greedy sons).
Julian departed with Gotthilm's council, and secured a supply of meat for the winter from Pauline and Hannes (the usurpers of his business), inviting the transformed merchant to visit them should the winter prove too cruel.
Cast: Erik von Mälmo (Chris Blake), Sir Hammond and Julian (Kendall Miles)
Date - 10/27/96 (41st Session)
... A knight's tale leads Rabenstein to a dangerous forest regio in midwinter
Castellan Otto of Graz invited the seers of Rabenstein to his winter feast at the Schlossburg with the approach of Christmas (1206), and endeavoring to please Otto (who might be annoyed with Rabenstein's recent ties to Seckau Abbey) they presented him with a gift of Roman artifacts. While entertaining the nobles and knights with games of chess on the Castellan's new board, a young ritter named Joachim of Radkersburg arrived and relayed an interesting tale. Sir Joachim described a strange grove of trees he had encountered when recently hunting the wolf Baras (a legendary beast that has plagued Austria and Styria for over 20 years and is highly sought by the Ritter of the duchy). Amidst this grove of pine trees the good Ritter had collected rosin for his bow, and miraculously the sap had transformed to water upon his return to Graz. Cynric Ex Miscellanea and Julian of Jerbiton examined the water and discovered it not to be water at all, but rather human tears. Prodding Sir Joachim with tales of their gift of prophecy, the Magi convinced the young ritter to lead them to this mysterious wood, and since it lay east of Graz, they agreed to depart the following morning to reach it before the winter solstice rather than return to Rabenstein.
Departing with Sir Hammond (Rabenstein's sergeant), the Magi followed Joachim eastward to the humble village of Kaibing (along the Feistritz river near the Hungarian border). Nearby lay the mysterious grove of pines - a place devoid of animal life, where naught but spruce trees grew. Utilizing their Hermetic magics, the Magi discovered that the tree from which the tears were taken seemed to entrap a man (perhaps the villager missing from Kaibing who had never returned from gathering kindling, and whose axe Joachim had found nearby). Attempts to free the man or communicate with him led the expedition to risk returning the next day (the day of the winter solstice), but when Hammond found a wreath of pine cones and raised it to show the Magi, the expedition suddenly found itself knee-deep in glistening snow amidst the ancient spruce trees, their limbs drooping low from the heavy snow (perhaps transported to a regio). Discovering a wolf entrapped by one of the trees, the Magi hypothesized that many of the trees were in fact transformed villagers or animals, and feared for their safety. Sure enough, although their parmae were able to thwart the assault, the Magi's companion knights Hammond and Joachim were transformed into spruce trees. Bargaining with the powers of the regio (after threatening to burn the trees) the Magi agreed to spread seeds (pine cones) in the spring to distant hills in return for the release of their friends.
In a later session (the following spring, 1207) an expedition travelling into Hungary took the magical spruce cones (seeds) with them (see The Meerfrau of Lake Balaton), and spread the pine cones in the vicinity of the western banks of Lake Balaton to complete their bargain. Sir Hammond returned the subsequent summer, released from his imprisonment with the keeping of the bargain (as told to him by a sparrow in the Styrian woods).
Cast: Sir Hammond (Chris Blake), Lady Enellé Hallinger (Blythe Newton), Cynric (Patrick Murphy), Julian (Kendall Miles)
This page last modified on 11/9/97.
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