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.