The vampire civil war has begun. The machinations of the Count and the Viscount have come to a head. Now, the loyalties of the other major cities come into question as the forces start aligning themselves to the great war to come.
One of the primary concerns to the Count was the situation in the war with the Greenskins around Eschen. Initially thought to be foolish warmongering, but now suspected to be one of the deeper machinations of Templehof, the Darkstalkers were given leave to use their necromantic powers to the fullest, and raise an army to learn the fate of Godric, eradicate those who would not pledge loyalty to the Count, and secure the loyalty of Eschen to the von Carstein banner.
Before departing, Ziegfried sought out the Handmaidens of Beautiful Death one last time to learn what they might know of Godric’s advances into Eschen. While Sigmara was happy to greet him, and commented on how lordly he looked in his cloak, she wasn’t interested in gossiping until after she had enjoyed some entertainment. A while later, she told him the dire news, that Godric was dead.
Ziegfried retired to his chambers to recompose his attire, and then set off to speak to Glaedwine about this. Glaedwine, thinking multiple levels ahead, saw then that this likely meant that the Greenskins were a part of Templehof’s faction afterall, and focused on how to splinter the leadership of Eschen so that they might still be turned to Drakenhof’s side. While Clara von Diehl has been the Baroness of Eschen for the last decade, Helga von Diehl is the older, more powerful vampiress. She has longed for rulership, but been held at bay. Glaedwine told Ziegfried now was the time to bring the distrust amongst Drutmund and Franz, Helga, and Clara to the fore to sunder whatever hold Templehof had on Eschen. The simplest way to do this, he said, was to slay Clara von Diehl. However, if possible, her leadership would be beneficial, so if she was beyond suspicion, she could be brought to Drakenhof to answer for Godric’s demise.
Meanwhile, Oliver von Darkh sought out the Handmaidens as well, only to find himself intercepted once again by Ostelle. He said he wanted the location of Greghor the Surgeon, as it would benefit them all for such a dangerous, renegade vampire to be tracked down. Ostelle agreed, but still demanded an exchange for the information. The Handmaidens wanted the original journals and notes of the rogue Master Necromancer Milland Kalarel. These items were handed over to the von Carsteins months ago by Oliver himself, and were now in the hands of the necromancers in the crypts below Castle Drakenhof.
While Oliver initially thought to steal the books through subterfuge, he remembered that, being on close terms with prominent von Carsteins, he could simply ask for assistance instead. Seeking out Rollo, Oliver explained that he needed help, and so the two headed down to the crypts below Castle Drakenhof.
Once there, they found the place abuzz with activity. Several of the Master Necromancers and many of the lower ranked necromancers and aides scurried about with armfuls of scrolls, trinkets, and other items of magic potency. Rollo mentioned that he had no idea who any of these lowly humans were, and so he simply shouted for the one they sought instead. The necromancer soon came forth, nervous, and sweating. When Rollo explained that he was simply to give whatever was requested to Oliver, and Oliver stated he needed the research materials, the necromancer noticeably relaxed. He took Oliver there straightaway, and which point Oliver ordered the necromancer out of his own room, searched the lace, took what he needed, and left.
With this and the other needed preparations complete, the Darkstalkers departed. In their company were Drutmund and Franz, whom they ‘escorted’ back to Eschen. While the brothers were glad for the escort, it was apparent to most that there was more at work.
Upon arriving in Eschen, the Darkstalkers noted that the walls were manned by undead guardians, which, if Eschen was not interested in the von Carstein way, would certainly not have been the case. As they approached the city center, they were greeted by Genevieve & Ivonette, who led them inside to speak with Helga von Diehl.
Helga thanked the Darkstalkers for escorting Drutmund and Franz back to Eschen, and offered the travellers the finest fare that Eschen had to offer, including some of the finest wine Sylvania has to offer, grown in the fields surrounding Eschen. Helga asked for news of the Masquerade, with a trace of irritation at not having been able to attend herself. However, the Darkstalkers, led by Rollo, had a different response, and began questioning her about Clara von Diehl, and the death of Godric. Helga soon realized that she was in a very dangerous position, and that this was no social call, but an interrogation.
Rollo pressed his line of questioning quickly to ascertain how Clara von Diehl came to led Eschen, despite being a much younger scion. Helga explained that Clara knew the ritual of binding to put the banshee, Thusnelda, into her service, and with that omnipresent threat, she was unopposed in her rule. Rollo then asked if agents of Templehof had come to Eschen, which they had. It happened two months prior to the Greenskin invasion, but Helga had not been party to the conversation, nor details. Clara spoke little of the matter, and since the visitor was merely a human, she thought little of it at the time. Dagomar perceived that she spoke true, and so then Ziegfried asked if she would be one to fly the von Carstein banner after the Darkstalkers ended Clara von Diehl. Helga agreed, saying that she would raise an army for the von Carsteins. As added insurance, the Darkstalkers decided to take Franz with them as the left in pursuit of Clara’s renegade army.
They met up with their enemy upon the banks of the still creek four days north and east of Eschen. Clara von Diehl initially sought to speak with them, maintaining the ruse that she was innocent, but it was soon made clear the Darkstalkers had come for her life, and so battle was joined. The undead forces smashed into each other, with the skirmishing beginning in the skies overhead. Soon after, ranks of Crypt Ghouls fell upon Skeletons, and Crypt Horrors began to bash through ranks of Zombies. The battle was fought upon the banks of the creek, and soon it became evident that Clara von Diehl’s forces were no match for the Darkstalkers, and, surrounded, she surrendered.