It had been two years since the Von Carstein’s were placed in charge of Templehof. The new Viscount, Ziegfried, had taken a perverse pleasure in forcing Heinrich to terrorize the citizenry into quiet servitude by appointing him to enforce order. While Heinrich felt more suited to dispatching problems with sword and spell outside the city walls, his talent at reading a room and misleading others was actually more suited to the task than he had originally imagined. What had begun as a survival mechanism for the Midnight Court found a purpose in protecting the populace.
Finding good men in Templehof was difficult. It wasn’t that there weren’t any, just that finding them presented multiple challenges. Being from Templehof helped Heinrich defuse some of the distrust due an invading force, he knew the people, he knew their lot in life, and while he had to take care to cover the source of his knowledge just the fact that the newly appointed ‘Warden of Templehof’ seemed to understand their situation was helpful. The fact that the Warden never removed his blank, faceless mask was less helpful. But then speaking to his ruined face would likely have been worse. The mystery also lent menace to his bearing which also assisted Heinrich in getting a good read on people. Which was critical because Heinrich intended the Grave Guard to be the keepers of the peace for as little time as absolutely necessary.
They made the populace feel like prisoners, they were inflexible in reading the complicated circumstances of a situation, and they were utterly merciless in the execution of their charge. Heinrich adorned them uniformly in faceless masks like his own and removed all customization from their armor to make them more like motionless decorative suits of armor than implacable instruments of death. But while the process of replacing them with a thinking, reactive peace-keeping force of men was difficult, it was not without its benefits. The new Warden finally had just cause to interview nearly anyone he wanted as well as the authority to reward those who helped him with position and authority of their own.
People had reason to talk to him and he increasingly had people reporting to him out of responsibility. As such, Heinrich became much more informed about the goings on of the populace than he had been since he could pass for normal and spend an evening in a pub. And he finally caught word of what had happened to his former family without drawing suspicion on them or himself. The amount of relief Heinrich felt as this weight was finally lifted was reassuring as it reminded him that despite his outward appearance, some semblance of humanity lived on in his twisted form.
It was weeks before he gathered the courage to walk past her new home. Heinrich harbored no illusions, his former family was lost to him from the moment Anark slaughtered his brother and Markos sired him. But Gertrude lived, and all that Heinrich had previously done to secretly provide for her had paid off. She lived in the city now. Hans had escaped Silvania entirely according to rumor. The man she lived with seemed a good enough sort, she had a chance at a life again.
Once, Heinrich saw her in the flesh walking on the other side of the street. He paused, motionless, behind his blank mask and reveled in the chaotic jumble of feelings she awoke in him. It was heart-wrenching, it was painful, it was terrible; almost exactly like he remembered life felt. Heinrich couldn’t tell the Viscount, but he swore silently to himself that he would repay him for this accidental gift.
That was enough for the Warden. Gertrude was safe and provided for, Hans was free. With the exception of the occasional hunt outside the walls with the Grand Marshal’s forces in training or the occasional session with the Necrarch in his tower, Heinrich was left largely to himself and spent the majority of his time meeting and re-meeting with each personally selected member of his peacekeeping force. The Viscount would occasionally receive progress reports but Heinrich never heard if they were acceptable or even read.
Occasionally an officer would overstep his bounds and require correction or dismissal, but for the most part the Warden did not hire anyone he did not feel was right for the position and was able to train and shape his men into a Watch that was a boon to the people. They were to observe and report, they were to be seen and heard, but they were largely not required to intervene. They were not a fighting force there to brutalize the populace into submission. When force was required the Warden reluctantly applied it personally and with finality. And only when he was incapable of going himself were the Grave Guard again pressed into service. Thankfully in two years the unfeeling butchers were only required once, though the grisly scene they had created then still haunted Heinrich.