The Long Night - Transylvania Chronicles

Session 5 - The Best Laid Plans of Cainites and Men
23rd-27th November, 1197
  • Damien heard information that Roland was involved with a merchant named Fariq, and he tracked him down. After a brief exchange in the marketplace, Fariq invited him back to his home to discuss business. After a heated exchange at cross purposes, Damien discovered that Roland was getting a variety of slaves, never the same kind twice, and that Fariq had competition that he detests. Damien didn’t want word getting out that he was investigating Roland, and so attempted to kill Fariq, who vanished after a brief scuffle.
  • On his way back to his haven, Damien heard cries at the city gate and went to investigate, where he was joined by Maria. The pair discovered a man bringing news from Tihuta Pass, and persuaded the gate guards to let the man in, while comparing swords and leatherwork. He was run down and almost dead, but asked to be taken to Prince Vencel to deliver a message. Militza joined the pair as they made their way to Buda Castle, attracted by the cries as she went on her nightly confessions.
  • On arrival at the castle, the man (who effected no surprise at being offered blood) brought word that work on the castle had effectively ceased because there were supernatural terrors destroying the work. Vencel seemed mildly disinterested in the whole affair, and was inclined to let things slide until Damien persuaded him that they would remain loyal to Vencel, offering him preferential treatment in any trade that comes through the pass. Vencel accepted their proposal, and organised wagons of equipment and carriage transport for the conspiracy (newly named The Conspiracy of the Hydra after some discussion) to Tihuta Pass.
  • The weather worsened the next night, and the conspiracy were unable to depart due to the terrible conditions. A slight break in the storm allowed them to set off the next night, sending word to their forces arrayed further West to follow them one night behind. The group arrived at the settlement of Kronstadt a few hours before dawn, a place with grand walls and fortifications but which housed residents mostly living in wattle-and-daub dwellings.
  • The group attempted to lodge in the village inn (such as it was), to be told that the head of the town would want to meet them first. They headed to the largest hut in the town, only to find it deserted and strewn with weapons and animal skins. Damien relieved the place of a sword, and the conspiracy set up camp outside the walls.
  • While setting up camp, they were set upon by a group of what appeared to be bandits. A feral thing screaming at them to cease their trespass was, on closer inspection at sword-point, revealed to be Mitru, the Gangrel prince of the area, after the deaths of several of his men. Mitru grudgingly gave the group permission to stay in the area for the night, as long as they were gone from his domain the next evening.
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Session 4 - The Planning Committee
9th November 1197
  • In the intervening time between the meeting to discuss the castle, Damien “persuaded” a blacksmith to make him a skull-shaped pauldron. After some initial reluctance, the blacksmith agreed, and was paid with stolen gold and a sword.
  • Militsa examined Erhart’s books and found a variety of instructions in Latin, with sections that she couldn’t translate written in cuniform.
  • A few weeks later, the coterie were summoned to Buda castle to discuss the possibility of building the castle at Tihuta Pass. On arrival, they were greeted by Prince Vencel, Lucretia, Nova Arpad, Roland, Radu of Bistriz and a Nosferatu who later introduced himself as Zelios.
  • Things started off badly by Nova claiming that the castle would disturb the locals and not be able to be supported by the local population, and was just a power play from Jurgen to gain more power in Transylvania. This was countered by Vencel, at Roland’s prompting, to support increased trade from Buda-Pest into the region. Nova then implied that Vencel was too weak to promise such a thing, which angered Almarick to the point he nearly drew his sword.
  • Zelios introduced himself as a mason and expressed concern that the Tremere wouldn’t be supportive of the project, now that Jervais was dead. He was persuaded to stay by Vencel and Roland.
  • Radu pointed out that the locals would not accept foreign influence into the region, and that the locals would need to be involved with the population, which a bored Damien agreed to wholeheartedly. Nova pointed out that this would undermine a large part of the reason to have a knightly order stationed there in the first place.
  • Damien pointed out that the position of the castle was win-win for Nova – a more secure region with trade links to the West and a secure East with the castle was in her interest. While Nova still disagreed, she and Radu eventually agreed to the castle being built, on condition that the castellan of the castle be blood bound to her. This was agreed by everyone present (apart from Almaric) to be Almaric, who went along with it at Vencel’s agreement. Almaric was one point bound to Nova on the spot.
  • With winter closing in, the following weeks were consumed with planning the castle, with Almaric agreeing to an awful lot of things that he was shown without question, and the castle drawn up to Zelios’ and Lucretia’s designs. Almaric’s inability to read had much to do with this unquestioning agreement.
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Session 3 - Family History
25th October 1197
  • The characters leave for the home of Erhart Grimaldi’s family, to still find them all awake in vigil for their dead son. Dispensing with the formalities of being welcomed into the house, Maria brusquely questions the family about what they saw of Erhart’s murder. The family saw nothing, but the servants remarked that a cloaked old woman matching Polychenya’s description was seen leaving the house at remarkable speed while Erhart burned to death. Allegedly, none tried to stop her leaving.
  • Militsza examined the book’s in Erhart’s chambers, which were mostly in Latin but partly in a language she did not understand. She ordered a servant to prepare them to be taken back to her lodgings in the cathedral grounds. All present note that it is curious that the chambers have windows.
  • After a thorough search of the house, Maria tells the family to go to bed and not leave their rooms, despite urging from Konrad to be more civil to them. Maria, Konrad and Almarick then search the house, and find a hole under the floor in the cellar. Almarick goes down, to find only a short burrow lined with cloth.
  • Maria gets suspicious and summons the household, only to find a servant girl missing. The party leave in haste and track her down to a run-down quarter of Pest, a few hours before sunrise. The coterie descends into a disheveled house, prepared for a fight.
  • The coterie hears chanting coming from under the floor of the house, a passage from which leads to an underground stone amphitheatre. From a distance, the following words were heard in Hungarian:

Mark the shadow which flies
Mark the dragon which rises
Mark the darkness which moves
Mark the shadow of the moon
Mark the angel that dies
Mark the maiden who weeps
Mark the children Embraced
Mark the Clanless kings

  • This was coming from a mob of Hungarians wielding torches, being directed by three identical old women. These were mostly barged aside by Maria and Konrad, who set about attacking the three figures. After a prolonged fight, in which time Militza fled from the chamber after seeing a wall of flames, Konrad and Almarick were separated from the group by it and Damian killed two of the women after diving through the flames to chase the retreating figures.
  • On attempting the Amaranth, Damian was burned by taking on their blood. Instead he took one of their skulls.
  • The group returned to Vencel before sunrise, who congratulated them briefly before announcing that they must leave. Using Konrad’s money, many of the coterie took up temporary lodgings at the House of the Red Hedgehog.
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Session 2 - Murder Most Deserved?
October 24th & 25th 1197, Buda Castle

A bit of temporal rewinding happened to compensate for the time gap between sessions, so some of this is retreading old ground. We resume where the PCs begin questioning Jervais.

  • Damien finished brutalising the guards that came into Adileh’s room, stole one of their weapons and armour and left him bound naked in an armoire in the room before leaving. Adileh did nothing to stop him. Hearing raised voices from Jervais’ room, he headed in that direction and joined Maria part way through her interrogation.
  • Maria questioned Jervais on what he knew about Adileh, and insinuated much about the Tremere’s past. Jervais tacitly admitted he cared little for Erhart, his childe, and more for the ‘position’ and ‘status’ he gave. Jervais confirmed that they pursued Adileh to Tihua Pass before bringing her back to Buda-Pest for the prince’s judgement, at which point Damien entered the room. After much more fruitless back-and-forth, Maria told Jervais to keep safe and tapped him on the shoulder as she and Damien left.
  • Almarick noticed some of Vencel’s servants whispering and trying to sidle away with something. He pursued them into the servants’ corridors and found them excited about an ornate piece of copper ouroboros jewellery, with emeralds set in it. The thieves tried to flee but fell over the flagstones, allowing Almarick the opportunity to grasp the amulet and draw his sword, threatening them with the Prince’s justice if they did not tell him where they found it. They cowered and told him they took it from an old woman before fleeing, leaving Almarick with the amulet.
  • Returning to the main hall, Almarick presented Polychenya with the amulet, which she had lost. She thanked him for it and took it back.
  • Damien took to prowling the corridors as the assembly in the main hall dispersed, noting that Polychenya did not return to the prince’s guest lodgings with the others.
  • Rising the next night, the castle is in uproar. Vencel forbids all guests from leaving, as it emerges Jervais has been slain in the night. Maria petitions the prince to question Erhart’s family, who he was allegedly still staying with, about his murder. Vencel agrees and sends Roland to fetch the family.
  • In the hours between Roland being dispatched and the family arriving, Maria attempts to converse with Lucretia, who gives her the cold shoulder for the whole of the time they are waiting.
  • Roland returns with the family, who are distraught at the loss of their son. His father gives a description of their son being burned alive by an old, withered woman, which doesn’t match Adileh in the least. Maria asks the prince’s leave to discuss the matter with Almarick, Damien and Militzsia in private, which is granted on the condition that Roland acts as chaperon.
  • The characters decide that Polychenya best matches the description of Erhart’s assailant, deepened by Militzsia’s insinuations that she is a heretic. Maria remarks that it is possible that the Teutonic Knights are needed in the area after all, and asks Roland to put in a word with the Prince to arrange acceptance for Lucretia’s proposal after all. Roland is only prepared to do so on condition that the coterie provide money and slaves to him for his sire, Buluscu Arpad. This infuriates Damien, whose people suffered at Buluscu’s hand during his breathing days, and Maria concludes the discussion by saying that she’s sure they can arrive at an arrangement that is beneficial for all parties. The coterie return to the castle’s main hall, where Erhart’s family have left.
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Session 1 - Assembly at Buda Castle
October 24th, 1197
  • Lady Lucretia welcomed all her erstwhile supporters to court in Buda Castle and implored the Prince to permit the Teutonic knights under Lord Jurgen to expand into Burda-Pest and the Siebenbergen generally. This was vocally opposed by both the Tzimisce Knezi Radu and Nova Arpad. Prince Vencel indicated he would consider the issue, but did not decide either way immediately. Lucretia reprimanded the coterie for their lack of support.
  • Damien Negrescu was asked to show himself properly at court, rather than trying to remain unseen. Roland attempted to give him a lesson in manners, which fell on deaf ears.
  • The Tremere Jervais presented a captured Salubri as a demon, claiming that she had killed his childe. She was defended by Maria and Paulo, who accused Jervais of lying. Upon demanding proof of the Salubri’s demon worship, Jervais forced her third eye to open. The coterie demanded more proof, and Vencel directed them to investigate the matter themselves. Jervais and the Salubri were led away to separate rooms in the castle. While this was happening, the coterie receive whispered messages that the Tremere is a usurper, a thief of blood and not to be trusted.
  • Belatedly and with ill grace, Konrad presented his childe Amalrick to Prince Vencel. Despite a barely acceptable introduction, Amalrick held himself well.
  • The guests at court discussed rumours of the recent rise of Bogamilism in the region. An old lady by the name of Poluchenya cautioned Militsa that the locals’ ties to the land made such a heresy only natural.
  • Damien and Paulo heard a Venetian merchant complaining about the interference of another merchant by the name of Fariq. Paulo discusses the possibilities of trading ivory with him, arranging to discuss in private at a later date.
  • Konrad made to retire, letting Damien out to sneak into the room where the Salubri was being held. After a brief search, he found the room and clambered into it through the shutters. The Salubri claimed that she had been taken while near Bucharest, many miles from Buda-Pest. On mentioning enlightenment in her blood, Damien grew angry and threatened her, at which point the guards outside her room burst in.
  • Maria and Paulo requested an audience with Jervais, which was granted. After a brief questioning, more on the origins of the Tremere than anything else, Maria threatened to kill Jervais.
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