Sanguine Tears of Mannslieb
The Heroes Of Our Tale
A young man, in his late teen’s, stands before the newly formed adventuring group with a proud, determined, or perhaps defiant posture. He is currently dressed in a dark green and gold clerical robe with the indication of good clothing beneath. His blue eyes take a moment to focus on each person before speaking, “As only some of you know, I’m Gottfried Vogel, devout follower of Sigmar Heldenhammer but feel free to call me by either name. Fate has brought us together at this time, in this place, for different reasons, but we all answered Herr Roderick Altmann’s invitation. Some of you are here to seek fame, some in the hope of glory, or perhaps newfound wealth. I am here to strike steel and Sigmar’s vengeance to the forces of Evil and Chaos. Anything else that comes my way is just sugar in my oatmeal.”
“I know what some of you are thinking, asking yourselves, “Why in the world do we want a crazed zealot in our midst.” And to answer that I simply say a zealot in the name of Sigmar I may be, but crazed I am not. I shall never abandon a comrade in need, act or speak dishonestly, nor act unilaterally in my own self interest. I was born under the sign of The Big Cross should any of you also place value in such. You will never have to question if I have your back.” He offers a small smirk as he clasps his hands behind his back, speaking in anticipation of perhaps another unasked question, “What causes a seventeen year old to become so fanatical; please listen to my tale so that you might understand.”
“I was the youngest of four children, the only male in the house. You see, by father was slain in the defense of our village, Koerin in Hochland, when the Greenskins came down from the Middle Mountains to attack. They did not come for wealth, foodstuffs, or even slaves as their only intent was to kill every man, woman, and child in their path. Fortunately, some of the Hochland militia was patrolling in our area to drive the invaders back. I never knew my father as I was five more months in the womb. With the crops destroyed and without a husband to seek work outside the home, my mother had to sell the farm for us to survive.”
“We were given a house, or more like a shack or hovel, to live in by the Church of Sigmar. In fact, everything we had was from the charity of others, be it the Church or villagers. Being poor and requiring the mercy of others was only partially responsible for making me into the person I am today. Don’t get me wrong as I was happy with my childhood, thankful for those that wished to help my mother raise us four kids. This is why I begged the Priests every day from seven years of age until they finally surrendered to my pleas to accept me as a student. I wanted to become like the Priest and Initiates, respected by the community and to help others in need. That is the primary lesson I learned from my early childhood.”
“I didn’t know until my first day that school cost money, not until I found myself doing chores while other students, few as they were, had other activities. Naturally, I inquired as to why and it was explained I had to work to earn my keep. I was no stranger to hard work, so that was just fine with me. I was still getting the opportunity to better myself and hopefully others in due time. I didn’t have the possibility of being married off into a better life that perhaps awaited my three older sisters. So I studied and worked every day of the week and late into each night for the Church then cleanup at the General Store to supplement my mother’s very minor income as a seamstress.”
“For eight years I was both student and laborer. I never new a time when the agents of Evil were not making small raids on the outer farms, perhaps testing our response and defenses, or perhaps just seeking supplies. They had not mounted a serious threat since the battle that claimed my father’s life. As fate had it, I had just departed for the Temple in Hochland’s capitol of Hergig to take my Initiate vows when the Greenskins once more attacked in force. This time there was no militia to save Koerin. Every home and business was burned to the ground, including the small Church to Sigmar. They may or may not have taken slaves as a body count was near impossible considering the absolute destruction levied on the village and its people. My mother, sisters, and sisters’ families were all brutally hacked to pieces, burned alive, or taken captive. Such was the fate of every villager that was home that night. My hometown was erased from the face of Hochland.”
Gottfried stops speaking as the memory is only a couple years old and still fresh as indicated by his clinched jaw and the fists hanging at his sides. When he continues, his voice matches the anger in his posture, “I first heard of the raid a week after. I ran out of the Temple for home just as my Initiation Ceremony was to begin. All I could think about were my friends and family. Later, I heard my action was frowned upon by the Clergy and a point of gossip for some time.”
“I spent four months searching for bodies, pieces of bodies, burying the dead, and clearing off burnt out building sites for new construction. I wanted to see Koerin rebuilt. It took a little over a year to rebuild the village for new settlers. Once new inhabitants started to reclaim the village I was left with nothing but my anger and faith, thus I returned to the Temple at Hergig to once more resume the vow process.”
“However I was denied the opportunity, told that I must find a new path in the service of Sigmar. The elderly High Priest decreed, “You shall never find peace within the walls of a Temple. Your road in His name shall be of His and your own making. I see only violence and much blood when I look into your soul. May Sigmar guide and protect you.” Reflecting back on that day, the prophecy of the village seer given to me on my tenth birthday had come to pass, “Thy doom shall be uttered by a dower old man.””
“The Temple provided me with a small amount of coin and gear to seek out this path hidden in shadow, but with the knowledge that no door to a Temple or Church of Sigmar shall ever be closed to me. So here I stand before you this day, setting out with a new family, or so I hope, in the search of this road I am destined to travel.” He gives the lot of you a slight bow as an end point of his introduction. “Thank you, Herr Altmann, fellow adventurers, for inviting and accepting me into this group. I shall endeavor not disappoint any of you.”
1. Where Are You From?
Mencia is from Durango, Estalia, which makes her a foreigner visiting the Empire. Her being a foreigner is pretty obvious to everyone, her accent, her clothing and sometimes her behavior and perspective on things is very different from most of the rest of the group that she travels with. She has a tendency to stand out as obviously not fitting in without some effort to “blend”.
2. What Is Your Family Like?
Mencia’s parents Adriano & Maria-Lucia de Moreno had two daughters: Mencia, who was the eldest by two years, and her sister, Catalina. Having had no son, Adriano had a tendency to teach his daughter things that might have been deemed more suitable for a boy to learn – how to fight being the most significant of those lessons. Her father had, himself, been a Diestro when he was a young man and while he was never a noble by blood, his talents brought him to the attention of many nobles in Estalia and his travels resulted in his meeting Maria-Lucia, a ladies maid in one of the courts that he visited. When they married they were frequently invited to court, something which did shape the entire family having something of a noble bearing – a trait passed along to their daughter. The older that Mencia grew, her parents did make an effort to settle her down (her mother trying harder than her father) and encouraging her to marry and have her own family, but she wasn’t having any of that as she had come to enjoy the freedoms of being a fighter and when she decided she wanted to travel as a Diestro her father supported her fully. Her mother, meanwhile, turned her full attention to her second daughter to make sure at least that one grew up to be a “proper lady”. Indeed, the last time that Mencia was home was to attend her sister’s wedding, and to announce that she was going to leave Estalia to travel abroad. Her father fully supports what she does, perhaps living vicariously through his daughter now that he has retired to the family-life and instructing others in the art of fencing.
3. What Is Your Social Class?
To her mind, Mencia ignores class divisions. That is to say, she believes that she does as she has comfortably dealt with those of the lower class as well as those who are nobles and royalty as their paths have crossed. The reality, however, is that she has inherited a noble bearing from her parents who dealt with nobles with frequency. That tendency to carry herself with such an attitude means that occasionally she comes across as somewhat snobbish, but it is unintentional. She does harbor hopes that one day she might do her parents proud by achieving a title, but that is a far-off goal.
4. What Did You Do Before You Became An Adventurer?
One might say that Mencia was raised from childhood to be an Adventurer, at the knee of her father, trained by him to be a Diestro and leaving home for adventure by choice. Over time her adventuring has taken her further and further from home. Adventuring has essentially become her profession, with the things that she learns to do (such as her present career as a highwayman) supporting that profession. Her upbringing tends to manifest itself in her profession rather than her profession influencing other aspects of her life – she prefers to be clean, she endeavors to be polite (most of the time), her foreign upbringing affects how she dresses (rather flamboyantly) and mannerisms.
5. Why Did You Become An Adventurer?
She became an adventurer to impress her father, to embrace the freedoms in life that are possible – and avoid being settled into a marriage by her mother.
6. How Religious Are You?
Mencia isn’t overly religious, however she was brought up from childhood in the worship of Myrmidia and of all the deities is most likely to invoke Myrmidia and feel an affinity towards the goddess of warfare.
7. Who Are Your Best Friends and Worst Enemies?
Mencia’s best friend to her mind is her father, they have been very close her whole life. Beyond him she had various friends as a child, tending to have befriended lots of boys – being very much a tomboy – rather than enjoying the company of most girls. This is something which might explain her having no trouble traveling all over in the company of a group of men. In the absence of her parents, she has formed reasonably solid relationships with most of the people that she travels with, viewing some of them as friends, if not akin to a sort of surrogate family. She has no real “worst enemy” beyond the enemies that she has collected over the course of adventuring – there may be a few people who consider her an enemy if they’ve been left alive after fighting her, or if she’s killed their family member or follower in the course of protecting herself and doing her job.
8. What Are Your Prized Possessions?
Mencia’s attitude is that her most prized possessions are her talents and skills, the fighting ability that she learned from her father and the various other things she has learned over time. Beyond that she places the highest value on her weapons that have been collected, and her clothes – especially the really pretty clothes. She would be very upset to lose her best pieces of clothing.
9. Who Are You Loyal To?
She has a lot of difficulty with it (lacking some of the necessary charm and charisma to be very successful at it) but sees herself more as a leader than a follower. She has a lot to learn before she gets to be “leader” material however. In the mean time she is most loyal to the group of people she is traveling with, particularly those she has traveled with the longest and who have earned her loyalty. She is also loyal, to a degree, to the Witch-hunters that have employed her – a steady paycheck for doing something she doesn’t mind doing anyway, and so long as they pay her and don’t make unreasonable demands, she will remain loyal to their cause.
10. Who Do You Love/Hate?
Mencia loves her family, probably favoring her father though. She loves herself. She has a strong like for some of her traveling companions, even when they are harassing her or getting her into trouble, with a particular kinship with a couple who might have influenced some of her profession choices. She doesn’t particularly hate anyone, except of course those who are corrupted by Chaos who need to die.
Somthin’ll Come up…
2513 was a cold year in Kislev. So cold that Ivan’s youngest brother Yuri got a nasty bit of frostbite bringing in the winter wheat. Cold enough as well that it looked like there would not be enough to pay the taxes.
“I don’t know what will become of us son.” Ivan’s father confided grimly.
“Don’t worry Da.” Ivan reassured him “ Somthin’ll come up…. Somthin always does.”
Two days later Ivan was in town selling the last bit of the harvest, when a band of Kossars rode in. Ivan had never seen anything so impressive. Covered from head to toe in furs and leather armor, armed with bows, axes and swords, each one more grizzled than the next. These had to be the most fearsome men in the world. Ivan cautiously approached their leader.
“Who are you men, and to where do you travel?” he asked.
“Have you never seen a Kossar before boy?”
“No sir” Ivan responded.
The gruff man chuckled quietly to himself. “My name is Baronov, and this pathetic band of layabouts…” his voice raised he turned his head to make sure all the men could hear, “ are the finest mercenaries that ever rode across Kislev.”
“Hoo Ra!” Every man shouted the answer in unison.
“And as to where we’re going, in the morn we ride for the East front to join with the army and push back those who encroach our borders. You may come if you like. You’ll be paid 2 silver a week till ye be put in the ground.”
Ivan rode straight home and bellowed to his brothers, “ Get your things together lads, you just joined the Kossars. We’ll send money home Da. I told you somthin would come up.
Off the brothers rode, seeking fortune with the Kossar. They met up with the army and repelled the invaders. They continued to sell their skills to whoever could pay the price. But times could not remain flush forever. Peace came to Kislev and the silver stopped it’s flow and they were forced to accept less glory and less gold. One by one the once proud band broke. Some fell in battles, such as they were. Some settled to raise a family. Some simply vanished in the middle of the night, until all that remained were Baronov and the three brothers.
“Don’t worry Baronov” Ivan told him. “Somthin’ll come up… somthin always does.
Three months passed.
“WAR!! There’s war in the East” The messenger cried at the top of his voice as he galloped through town. The sweet words washed over the tiny band like a cool spring shower brining relief from the summer heat.
“You see Baronov, I told you somthin would come up” Ivan remarked gleefully.
“That you did boy” answered Baronov, “That you did.”
Their old enemies had returned. It had been several years since the last encounter and Baronov’s tiny band of Kossars was spoiling for a real fight. They rode night and day until they reached the encampment. Baronov knew General Rialivek well from previous exploits.
“Where do you want us deployed?” asked Baronov.
“I’m sorry old friend,” replied the General, “ The crown says no mercenaries this time. If you want to fight, you’ll have to join the army.”
Ivan and Baronov looked at each other. Their other prospects were very slim.
“Well then General” Ivan broke the silence “ I guess you better sign us up. Somebody’s got to keep this lot of amateurs from pissing down their leg at the first charge.”
For the next two years the armies fought each other to a stale mate. Late one night after a long day of fighting Ivan told Baronov “ It’s not that I tire of the glory of battle, I just don’t want to spend the rest of my life on this godforsaken mountain.”
“It’s like you always tell me boy, Somthin’ll come up… somthin always does.”
Two weeks later a new offensive had been devised. The enemy had not been resupplied and there was an opportunity to gain the upper hand. The main force of the army would push straight at the front lines. A small group would be assigned to guard a small passage where the enemy might be able to flank them. This is where Ivan’s unit was assigned. There was a new Commander in the unit, untested. It would prove to be costly. As the first wave came down the narrow path, Kislev took heavy losses. The troops were shaken, but Baronov and Ivan managed to hold them together. The next wave came. Again they were hit hard. Wave after wave they came. Kislev’s numbers dwindled. Finally the new Commander cracked and called for retreat.
“NO!” Screamed Baronov “ We must hold the pass!”
But it was too late. The frantic soldiers were already in a dead run. Only Baronov, Ivan and his two brothers, Yorgi and Yuri remained. Side by side they fought with all the fury they could summon. Yorgi fell first, then Yuri. But at last the two Kossars stood alone. Baronov had suffered a deep gash and so Ivan slung him over his shoulder and began walking him back to the encampment. Along the way they spoke of this incompetent Commander and how his foolish actions had lead to the deaths of Yorgi and Yuri, and could have even cost the war. Until at last Ivan realized that Baronov had stopped answering. Ivan laid his friends body gently in the snow and picked up his axe. He walked into camp almost unnoticed. Soldiers were sitting around everywhere nursing their wounds. Ivan walked to the Commander’s tent and threw open the flap. Before him sat this wretch cowering. Ivan tore his helmet from his head and threw it to the ground. Grappling him by the collar of his armor, Ivan stood him up and shoved him out of the tent, in front of all the men.
“Behold” he bellowed “ The coward who thought himself greater than the Mighty Baronov”
With that he lifted Baronov’s axe and cleaved the Commander from the crown of his head to mid-torso. He stood over the body for a moment and then mounted the nearest horse and rode south. He would never again be safe in his home land. He crossed the border safely, but the horse died from exhaustion. He would have to travel on foot. And so he did, for weeks, doing his best to avoid people. Finally he entered the town of Gerzen where he drank for days, mostly off of intimidation since he had almost no money.
“ I hate this town.” He thought to himself. “ But I’ve got nowhere to go and nothing to do.
What the hell, Somthin’ll come up… somthin always does."