We travel under cover of being tourists, especially skiing since its winter, as friends of the Earl of Mansauce. We ride the Orient Express, some workers from before are happy to see us again, and thank us more still for our previous service to the railroad. It’s a jolly good ride until we catch the narrow gauge to Sinaia. The next day around 2pm it pulls into the station.
We dine at the hotel, doing as would be expected of us this late in the day after we get our rooms situated. The concierge reminds us that guests on their first night receive 20L in free chips. We gamble tonight to fit in. The first few days will be spent indulging in our cover.
Schuyler wins 16L plus the 20. That’s after spending over 10L on drinks and rolls for the ladies! He has his of a blonde, brunette, and a black haired. He takes the blonde Russian!
Jeremy then takes charge. RC offers him his L20 for the 20 back and half of the winnings from that 20. Jeremy wins L160!! The last round being 70 itself, which the pit boss had to get special permission from. That gives RC his initial 20 plus 35 more, and Jeremy 105 total.
Simon loses all his on one game of chance.
Paul does the same and wins!! Totals L20. Wilhelm does the same.
Simon looks up to the heavens “I know this is a test, God.”
Schuyler “Yeah, ‘persevere’!” as he leaves with the Russian. She’s pumping him for information, what we are doing here, where we are headed, etc. She’s being subtle but amazingly Mr. Grim sees through it. Schuyler mentions skiing and hiking, maybe hunting if they offer that.”
She says the have moose hunting available.
He mentions climbing “even though I won’t find any mts as daunting as these” (ahem ahem) to her.
Simon heads for the facilities. As he stands there, a man jabs a knife right in his side. 3 others stand behind him.
“Hand over all your money card lovin’ papist.”
He insists he just lost all of his money. Nor is he a papist. He offers them their life. They demand his purse.
Simon “I have no money to give you, but I’ll let you leave with your life” showing them his sparse purse. They want him to call his pals in for 25% of the cut.
Simon “I know who won a lot of money, the Indian.”
They go out to a side hall alcove, then he calls RC that way. RC come walking over. 2 of them grab his arms and the third asks for his money with a knife “pope lover”. RC at first is confused. Simon walks up behind the knife wielder, as RC pulls to slam the other 2 together. Simon grapples the leader. RC double noggin knockers the 2 other morons. A brawl ensues tween RC and the 2 as Simon grapples the other. After a few rounds, RC crits one of the 2 down. Simon keeps offering the surrender to the leader. Finally that he won’t turn them over to the cops.
Simon “Give me your money” so RC takes the $ off the KO’d one. Simon says he won’t sin really and steal, RC has not compunction. Unfortunately, they are flat broke.
They were only trying to get money for food and their rooms! “What can we do to get our money back?” They came here from the countryside to make their fortune, but haven’t been able to find a job.
Milos, Ion, Andre are brothers. Family name Diaconescu. Mother is Lena, lives in small village. Sisters Livia and Magda, live with the mother. Not married cause the evil Baron on the hill causes too much chaos. The Baron is Hauptman!!
As we converse, a tap on the floor nearby as a staff wielding guard has arrived. Simon offers them legit pay for a legit job as our guides, if they are willing to not rob and be at our beck and call. They want a pound a day for the group of them. We agree.
Schuyler, after an exhausting round of physical gymnastics, Schuyler says we might head up north a ways. She asks if we will go anywhere near the village of Drovosna. She asks to go as well, for she has been waiting for someone interested in going into the mts for adventure (hmm).
“What would make a gal like you head into the Romanian mts for adventure? What’s your story?”
Her name is Elena Rosalavich. She’s a tourist. Schuyler says he has to ask his team, she says she’ll make it ‘worth your while’.
He leans back “I think I may need a little more encouragement, ahhh”. She provides. Schuyler thinks “This must be what Rathbone feels all the time.”
Everyone turns in for the night.
At breakfast, Schuyler asks if we should take or ditch the Russian chic. Paul doesn’t trust Russians, Jeremy says its up to Schuyler “you’re the one who slept with her”.
The brothers give us some local info:
- the monastery has a great collection of tomes we should see, if we can get them to let us in.
- You have to get passes into the countryside
- Quite a few street musicians on the main drag, but not originally from here. Most say they’re from Brasov, one of the original fortresses of the Teutonic Knights.
- Court is currently being held at Peles castle, everyone dresses in folk costumes “They look like idiots” in medieval garb
- The Bucegi Mta lie to west and north
- Carriage can be rented to go to Mt Omu, hightest point in year. An incredible stairway is cut into the mt; town at bottom; one of the many caves in area also
- rumors circulate that the treasures of Constantinople made it no further than this area; hidden somewhere in the region
Schuyler is going skiing. Elena joins him but she also wants to have a picnic at Ialomisa Caves as its beautiful and private. Jeremy gathers info in town. Paul goes to try to get a visit to the noble court at the castle.
Wilhelm goes to the monastary to try to get the monks to let him into the library, as a sholar. They want to know if Wilhelm came to see the sacred stone. He’d love to. One heavy set tourist is here, bald, german, carries a walking stick with a wolf’s head atop. He looks at Wilhelm quizzically through a monacle. He is Baron Von Grauerstaub.
He is here as a tourist to view the arts here and “I too am a reader! Have you read the latest novel by that glorious Englishman H. Rider Haggard? His biography of that Alan Quartermain chap is quite entertaining?” Wilhelm has, then asks him if he’s heard of his friend Richard Rathbone. He has heard of the “eminant Archaeologist”. Being a Watcher, Wilhelm is pretty sure he’s an enemy because of his silver rimmed monacle of a specific type worn by the 16 top agents of the Watchers. He isn’t one, unless Wilhelm has never met him; or this guy stole or killed the Watcher then stole it.
He gives Wilhelm the appropriate response to the Watcher secret coded sign.
He prefers all titled men to be referred to properly, so its “Dr. Sir Richard Rathbone”.
He wants to take a stroll through town with Wilhelm after he’s seen the stone. Wilhelm is fine with that.
The Stone is that which the town is named after, originating in the Sinai Peninsula. Brought back in 1695 supposedly from where the 10 commandments were given to Moses. Almost like an altar with an ordinary looking rock atop, looks like granite. Putting ones hand close over top, it almost feels like it has a slight heat radiating off of it. The Baron touches it, moving his mouth with a whispered tone.
They come across a tall, muscular man in an ill fitting servants outfit. He is Heiny, the Baron’s servant. The servant hails “Heir Van derNort”. The Baron corrects him gruffly as “Dr.”
They stroll through town, gentlemanly arm in arm. A couple kids run up asking for alms, he immediately bops them off with his stick “I have more important things to do”. The come to the famous liars bridge; many like lovers come to the bridge. Legend is if you tell a lie on it, it will collapse into the river.
On the bridge “So Dr., are you really of the Watchers?”
W “I am.” Examines Wilhelms left side of his face.
“I see you tell the truth” but he does not know Wilhelm either. His chapter has not much trust in the English chapter. He asks what we are doing here, but Wilhelm says they don’t much trust his end either.
“If you have need of help on your mission here. You have only to ask, and I will certainly consider it. And if I should need help, unlikely but possible….”
W “We and mine will consider it.”
He says the bridge was built by the Wachtern, a spell was put on it. If one lies, a pentagram appears on their cheek only visible via the special monacles. Also, he has a monacle because he’s the bridge keeper, chief interrogator; not one of the hightest 16.
He then takes Wilhelm to the mineral springs to soak for an hour or so.
Returning to the monestary, they will allow him 3 hours tomorrow morning.
Paul gets an audience for the next day, a 1:00 luncheon he gets himself invited to. The wife of Carol I, Elizabetha, has met Paul before. The medieval idea was hers, as was the castle decor. It lies beyond a great garden. Paul gets to hang out with some people there.
Jeremy finds out all of the street musicians showing up is new, the great amount at least. Rumors things in the village of Dravosna are very bad. The local gov’nr is thinking about sending a troupe of cav there to find out what is going on. Maybe Paul can get us attached to them with his noble sway.
Ahead they hear a police whistle. They find a policeman there, horrified pale; a peasant girl has disappeared last night, then they just found her dead in a barn hayloft. 14 years old. He can’t even say what happened. Jeremy’s glibness convinces him to let him check it out. Its a terrible scene: blood all over the hay pile; the back wall is partly wall and part her, she’s imbedded in the wall, actually like they absorbed one another; strips wood run through her and vice versa; big gash down the side of her face. She is partially visible on the outside as well. Jeremy helps him get tarps and such to cover her up inside and outside. A crowd is already building. He has already sent a local lad to the office. They form a bit of a bond over blood, with jeremy helping him and all. His name is Vladimir Bathory, no relation.
Jeremy offers whatever help he and his compatriots can give, just find us at the hotel. The cpt arrives, chastises the sgt for using outside help “This is a job for the investigators not the lowly gendarmes. This was obviously a maniac.”
Ion “No maniac did this” to Jeremy.
Schuyler, tailed by RC and Simon, goes skiing w/o incident. They return to the hotel, then rent a carriage to go to the cave for picnic. It has several rooms; even grottos with gorgeous pools with holes in ceiling creating a fairy like atmosphere.
Schuyler “Beautiful in here.”
Periodically he notices she periodically opens her compact and closes it w/o using any make up.
She resists all attempts at romance, she is more interested in looking around deeper in.
“Wouldn’t it be fun to look for a secret door?”
“Why would there be a secret door in a cave?”
“You never know, caves have all kinds of secrets.”
She starts searching the wall, 5 paces from long stalactite that almost reaches the floor.
“Oh look here, I need a stong man to to escort me to such things.” He takes a look, finding nothing. She’s disappointed, recommends they return to the village.
Sch “So what did you really bring me up here for.” She’s looking for the old Constantinople treasure, read in a tome the doorway was right here.
Sch “Lets look a little more.”
Still nothing. She is sure its here, that there is a secret to it we just need to figure out. He asks to see the map, but she is wary at first. Opening her compact she reveals it. Stole it from a monastery in Spain where one of the last surviving monks who hid the treasure told the Hapsburgs where the treasure was.
She has been searching for years, her old partner was murdered on her way here on the Orient Express. Now looking for a new protector.
Sch “Well, I’m afraid your map is a red herring.”
She’s exasperated, and they return to the village. Talks of finding a village guide who may help them, then we’ll have to shoot him. Schuyler says not such thing will be done, he isn’t here to be her protector forever.
Outside she sees big Simon, and asks him to be her protector.
Simon “You seem like a harlot.” She has dumped Schuyler immediately.
Simon says lets all go in to search, and her and Schuyler can still split it 50/50.
He takes a look at her map, voicing the layout out loud.
Schuyler "Maybe you have to walk through the stalactites flanking the spot.
Simon does so then searches. RC tries to use the stalactites as levers but nothing. RC searches then for a minute. There is a sudden click “What did I do” the wall gives. He pushes the door in then off to the side. A fog billows out.
Simon “Good job noble savage.”
And keeps billowing out. Mysterious. RC readies his weapon. She pulls a dainty peal handled pistol.
Simon “That’s so cute” and enters. She swiftly goes next, RC follows her, Schuyler comes in at the rear.
Evening comes and we dine with Vlad, but Schuyler et al are still missing.
Jeremy “I know what they’re doing.”
Paul “Where, there’s no where out there for a proper gentleman to romance a lady.”
Vlad asks where the rest of the group are we were going to introduce him to. He thinks we should get a search party in the morning.
No Schuyler/Simon/RC. We ask around, hear they came back from skiiing, rented the carriages which came back w/o them. WHen they didn’t return to the cabs by dusk, the cabbies searched for a while, found nothing, so returned.
The Sgt wants to know if he wants to search the cave with a few of his boys, even though the cpt said they weren’t allowed.
Jeremy says no; we don’t want to get him into trouble.
We go search the cave, cabbies taking us there, with our 3 tuffs. Wilhelm invites the Baron as well.
Jeremy and Ion find the cracked open door in the cave wall, calls for the rest of us.
Milos opens the sliding wall. Paul leads the way in. As the last person enters, the door shuts behind us leaving a small crack.
The wall seem to spin. The door is now a blank wall.
Jeremy calls out, no answer. We then discover a tunnel out so Paul leads us that way.
Paul (sigh) “I have a feeling we’re going to come to a vampire or a werewolf or something….”
Jeremy “If there was a vampire or werewolf in here, I’m sure its dead now” referring to Simon and RC.
Forward we go by lantern light for a good hour. We find one or 2 small trinkets that belonged to the girl; then come to a gate like into a cemetary outdoors beyond it.
Jeremy “Obviously a job for undead hunters so, Willy, move up.”
Baron “Mighty strange things happening here.”
Wilhelm swings the gate open and leads us in amongst the graves, all look old but not ancient. The writing is rune like, indecipherable. The sun above is twice as large as it should be, bright daylight.
Jeremy thinks Baron, Willy and Paul should recon the cemetary, while he and the tuffs stay here to watch the gate and be backup.
Paul shakes his head and leads us forward. Fog still shrouds much of the grounds.
About 50 yards in, figures start appearing.
Jeremy “If these are zombies or something, so help me God I’m going to run like a little girl.”
Paul calls to them, asking who they are and declaring his name openly.
Warriors in archaic style armor, worn by beautiful women, carrying spear pointed toward us, appear out of the fog before us.
The leader says something in Greek, then something else in Hungarian. The Baron speaks to her now. They wish us to go with them to the palace. They seem pretty angry.
Paul “Who lives at the palace?”
Bathsheba, the Queen of this land.
They take us out of the graveyard half mile away to a huge palace, surrounded by rows of houses. Looks a little Russian. We pass men working the fields, citizens on porches, etc. The people in the houses look like normal families, though the warriors with us are all women.
2 bronze doors open into the palace. We are led to a beautiful woman on a throne. She speaks to her warrior in Greek then says in Hungarian what language do we speak.
The Baron responds in Hungarian, finding out she does speak Shakespeare’s English, though speaks modern Hungarian.
“Are you the rest of the prophesied group?”
Jeremy “What prophecy?”
“I thought so, go, go refresh yourselves. We shall speak at dinner.”
They take us down a long hall to a large room, centered by a fountain, sleeping silk bed sets around. We see Schuyler lying on a couch with 1 gorgeous woman fanning him, another feeding him food.
“Good to see ya, all we have to do is kill the dragon then we can go home. Simon thinks this whole idea is the greatest thing ever.”
Girls come running in wearing peplums. Schuyler fills us in. They were brought here like we were. Turns out this is the country of Bathsheba the 74th; land is called by her name. He;s pretty sure we are not in earth history, thinks we are in the dreamlands as he has seen the same weird little shifts/changyness here. Yet is seems much more stable than the dreamlands we recall. So who knows where the hell we are.
The girls tell the story: they are surrounded by countries they could be at war with; call selves Amazons because they always are ruled by a queen and her elite female guard chosen for both fighting and beauty. Rest of army is male; as are most of the high nobility. They have great wealth and a happy land, which their neighbors want for themselves.
Recently, the great dragon Praxis began to ravage their land. Sent the army against it and though they hurt it badly it lives still. Praxis had a cult that worshipped it, that held off the army long enough for him to retreat into a cave 1 days journey from here. They worship him as a god. He is just one of the faces of the god, the great evil god Nylath.
Schuyler “Big surprise there, right.”
Soldiers sent in all perished. Seers said they needed to gather heroes via dreams from the land they dream of to come here. They sent the dreams to Elena, tasked with bringing the heroes here. We’ve been waiting here for 5 days for the rest of us.
So 5 days here for every day in the real world.
RC is in another room right now with 4 ladies.
Simon is elsewhere praying, but he arrives during the tale. The queen has been putting moves on him since he arrived, she has fallen for him.
We dine with the queen tonight.
Next day is a celebration and showing off of us to the people.
Next day travel to the cave.
Next day we kill the dragon.
Then back to the cave and home.
3 servant girls each, all willing to get frisky to entertain the great heroes.
We find out the soothsayers are only confused a bit by our names. They thought it would be something like William the Fish, Rikard, an Iron Beard, and a black killer.
So, they meant to get the Explorers, but ended up with the MH.
Couple cultists were captured and tortured, couple others who actually quit the cult.
It is led by 6 powerful leaders, taken to drinking and bathing in dragon blood, and using a transmutation magiks making them part dragon. The rest are crazy men wielding sickles.
Darsov Eriksson: high priest; wife Rama Savitri, druid who brought much of the druid trappings to the cult
Nira Bavasar: a sorceress of little magic
Iborsum Shatterfist: male cheuvanist pig, at one point had tried to overthrow Bathsheba calls himself; that’s what he calls himself at least; rose to prominence from no where
Solgrim Fleetfoot: a rogue and scoundrel
Gavin Donnell: a sorcerer of much power; comes from their dreamworld, aka our real world; his weak power there became much greater here; he brought the worship of Nylath.
Baron Heinrich Von Grauerstaub
The 3 brother Tuffs:
Milos, Ion, Andre
Family name Diaconescu; Mother is Lena, lives in small villag with sisters Livia and Magda; Not married cause the evil Baron on the hill causes too much chaos.
pg 33 Map
pg 59 food and meals
pg 35 Bran Castle