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That first night was cold and for most, rather sleepless. Jurgen had made a sort of lean-to for Lord Waldo without any help from the Lady Priska, then after some heated whispering from the woman made one for her as well. By then Brandt, Roderick and Maria had returned with water and what semi-dry wood they could find. It took a bit of effort to get it going, but eventually they had a small blaze going in a ring of rocks. It had been too dark to find any sort of food, and so after copious, and not entirely authentic apologies to Lord Waldo and some guilty looks from Jurgen towards Priska, they settled in for the night.

Lord Waldo, though he’d been trained for combat as all Imperial lordlings are, was young and was unable to keep up with the excitement and effort of the day and so fell asleep first. Brandt, despite an obvious effort to stay awake soon followed, his wound and the exhaustion of battle taking him. Roderick, Maria and Jurgen arranged a watch schedule amongst them, while Priska turned over in her small shelter. She made a show of sleeping easily, but her over-tense movements searching for comfort gave it away. Nobody mentioned it.

Jurgen offered to take the middle watch, and they agreed that Maria would take the first and Roderick the last, unless Brandt woke up. Before they settled in, the Greatsword glanced at the smiths bandaged left arm, then at the priest.

“Is that your handiwork, priest?” he asked genuinely.

“It is, sir,” responded Roderick, unsure how to address the soldier but proud of his efforts.

“I’ve seen many firebrands amongst the Warrior Priests of Sigmar,” Jurgen said, making the sign of the hammer across his chest. “Not many healers, though.”

“Father Gerwig, the old priest of Lorch taught me,” explained Roderick as he turned, trying to dry off parts of his robe on the fire. “He said that Sigmar’s faithful trust in the divine to heal their bodies… but that it didn’t hurt to give their healing a bit of earthly help as well.”

The big greatsword smiled broadly at that and gave a nod of approval that touched Roderick more then he thought it would. The warrior then hunkered himself down with a clatter of armour, keeping his massive flamberge across his chest as he closed his eyes. Maria placed a gentle hand on his shoulder and gave a smile of her own, then moved to sit with her back to the fire, that she might see a bit in the dark of the wood.

That night was filled with unease for all, for even the exhausted and injured Brandt woke with a start on more then one occasion. Once, the quiet sounds of sobbing caused them to glance around, though in the smouldering light of the glowing coals, none could quite tell if it were Lord Waldo or Lady Priska who was the source. Still, there was a sense of dread that only the Drakwald could muster, and a distinct feeling amongst them all that they were being observed clandestinely.

The next morning, however, Brandt had regained some colour and his wound was looking clean, by gentle decree of Roderick. Jurgen destroyed the two makeshift shelters and scattered the remains of the fire so that any casual inspection might not notice their passing, though any skilled tracker would see past the ruse. Lord Waldo was quieter that day, and miserable. Jurgen took point again and they all kept an eye out for anything to eat, with Maria keeping a bolt ready in her crossbow in case of game. They wouldn’t last well if they couldn’t find some form of sustenance. They continued north, and as the sun rose past noon, the sky clouded over and a light drizzle came down upon them. It was going to be another dark night.
In Rise of Heroes 25 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
The only sounds were the guttering of the two torches and the discordant slap of their feet on the cold dry stone of the floor. The darkness and quiet of the tunnel gave Brandt a chance to calm his pounding heart and think. They’d failed to hold the keep, which ruined the heroic image Brandt hadn’t realized he’d had for himself. What was he going to do, stand above the gatehouse, waving Hochland’s banner like some balladeer in a play? Unlikely. It was only chance that he hadn’t been butchered with the rest of the men, and a Sigmar-given miracle he’d gotten off the wall unharmed. Well, not completely unharmed.

Held tight by his shield, his arm had started to throb in time with his heartbeat. Untreated, he worried about infection. He muttered a prayer - uncharacteristic for his only moderately pious self - and wondered if Roderick had any skill in healing. There wasn’t time to worry about it now, anyway. They proceeded through the tunnel, Brandt unable to see past the torchlight, but taking regular glances backwards for any sign of pursuit. None came. By the time they’d traversed the underground way and Jurgen pressed open the door on the other end, the battle fire had left Brandt’s blood and the dull pain of his shallow wound had taken its toll. He was exhausted.

They took time to survey their surroundings, and Lord Waldo exchanged a few words that Brandt couldn’t hear. Maria glanced back at him and nudged Roderick. They shared a concerned look and the priest was about to speak to him when Lord Waldo turned back towards the group.

“I have conferred with Jurgen,” the boy said as if they hadn’t been standing right there, “and he agrees that it’s too dangerous to simply hail a passing riverboat - who knows what allegiance they have. We’ll head north north-east towards Hergig. A town or village might be in our enemies hands, but the provincial capitol will still be in my families control. Excellent, let’s go.”

As soon as the river was clear of traffic, Jurgen took point and lead them away from the riverbank. Once above the water, he looked about and quickly determined the direction. Brandt found a newfound respect for a man he had thought was a dullard, but it seemed he was elevated to the ranks of the Greatswords due to some skill at soldiery. They moved away from the river, and into the Drakwald.
Lord Waldo and his entourage of soldiers left the bedchambers in a hurry after taunting the attacking Lord. Priska basked in their superiority for a moment, then the words that had been hastily exchanged between the young Lord and Jurgen settled in. She immediately left the room of wailing women and servants too old or young to have butchered in the courtyard below. Priska caught up with Waldo, the two men covered in blood and soaked in rain and mud who were talking to that merchant's daughter and Jurgen, who marched dutifully behind Waldo. They passed the main door, which sounded like a dance floor the way they were banging on it. The reality of what sometimes happens to noble Ladies when a keep is taken dawned on her, and she pushed past the warriors to the front of the group. Huffing to keep pace with the long-legged Jurgen, she grabbed him by the elbow, pushing her long nails into the inside of his elbow between the steel plates of his armour.

“Jurgen! You have to take me with you,” she hissed, cutting him off as he was about to protest. “You will not leave me here to be raped and ransomed! I’m coming with you and that’s final.”

The dull brute looked back and forth from her and his liege, eventually nodding. “Just keep close and stay quiet, Prisk--- Lady Steiber.” Priska slowed her pace, falling in behind the fighting men and the Fosdick woman. The hammer-wielding warriors gave her curious looks, but otherwise didn’t say anything and Priska refused to engage the merchant’s daughter with even a look.

They wound their way through a spiral staircase into the cellars. Lord Waldo lead the group, but every so often Jurgen would point him in the right direction. Priska suppressed a grin. The two of them had found a few quiet corners down here over the last few months, and made sure they didn’t stay quiet. They passed the keeps well, that had kept them in clean if unpleasant water throughout the siege, and came to a room full of now-empty cider barrels. Around the back of one huge puncheon barrel, was an old iron bound door. Lord Waldo produced a set of iron keys with a self important flourish and what he surely thought was a charming grin aimed at the merchant’s daughter. Any charm he may have mustered was ruined as he had to try several keys to open the old door.

“My Lord, I must insist I take the lead,” Jurgen said, surprising both Priska and Lord Waldo with his forthrightness. “Nobody from Lorch has been in this tunnel in years, and it’s possible the Talabecmen have found the other entrance.”

“A fine idea, soldier! You should take the lead, one of you others watch our rear,” commanded the Lordling, handing the keys to Roderick. It occurred to Priska that he might not even know Jurgen’s name, despite having been guarded by the Greatsword and his deceased comrade for months. The large man grabbed a torch from the wall, plunging the cellar into darkness and handed it to his Lord before entering the tunnel. Waldo followed, holding the flame high. Priska immediately went after, not bothering to wait for the other three.

Behind her, Brandt looked at Maria and Roderick, then pulled his wounded arm through the remains of his heater shield with a wince. “I’ll take the rear, if one of you wants to grab another torch for us.”
Brandt stared as the gate was pulled away in a great screeching lurch. Sergeant Hoefler didn’t give an order so much as a bloody-minded yell, surging forward with his men loyally at his back. Brandt’s hesitation gave him a wide field of vision of the event, as only two Talabecmen surged into the hole between the wrecked gate. The smiths apprentice could see the two men, each a head taller then most of the defenders, and wielding huge straight zweihanders, in contrast to the Hochland Greatswords’ wave-bladed flamberges. The first swing of the man on the right took the head off a green and red clad spearmen before smashing through the collarbone of the man beside him. The warrior on the left swung lower, clipping several of the Hochlanders along the arms and chest, whirling his blade around his head and following through with a second swing.

Just as he began to move forward, Brandt saw Sergeant Hoefler back out of the melee and look over his shoulder towards the smith and the mudstained priest. "Brandt! Tell his lordship the gate is lost, get him to safety!" He nodded dumbly and spared the priest a look before they both turned tail and ran for the large double door that was the keeps main entrance. Their flight was unmolested, and a voice called for their surrender just as they made the doors. Brandt slammed into one of them hard, then remembered which of the had been left unlocked and pushed through that one, pulling the panting clergyman in behind him. Together they pushed the door closed, then hefted the large beam up and down into its catch, barring the door.

They stood together, heaving in ragged breaths after their sprinting retreat. Brandt leaned is head against the door, his helmed clunking dully against the wood. He’d hesitated. When the moment to defend the gate came, Brandt Dittmar had stopped dead and stared while his comrades had rushed forward. He tossed his bloodied warhammer aside and and slammed his fist against the door angrily. Beside him, Roderick gave a start at the noise.

“Brandt, your arm,” the young man said, pointing. The smith looked at his left arm, still clutching at the cut-up ruins of his heater shield. A crossbow bolt had hit him and pierced through. Closer inspection revealed the head of the broken off bolt had gone clean through the shield and into the makeshift clamshell gauntlets the smith had cobbled together for himself.

“I’m all right,” he replied, trying not to think about it. He hadn’t noticed, truth be told, but his arm had immediately started throbbing. “We need to find Lord Waldo and tell him we’ve lost the courtyard. If he doesn’t already know.

- - - - - -

The women and those few who were too young or infirm to fight had gathered in the well appointed bedquarters at the top of the keep, usually reserved for the ruling lord or his guests. They’d done this each time the Talabecland forces had attacked, watching as the soldiers and those men who’d formed the town of Lorch’s small militia fought off the attackers. Priska Steiber was amongst them, tactfully in a different bedchamber then that of Lord Waldo and more importantly Jurgen, who was back to being the loyal bodyguard.

They women with her watched in silence, for the most part. There were a few muttered comments, both good and bad, as that merchant's daughter Miss Fosdick left the wall. For her part, Priska had nothing to say. That woman who played at being a soldier was below her station, and certainly impertinent. She probably rolls about with the men in the storeroom, she thought, completely missing the irony of her musings. They watched as the ladders were lifted and the fighting began. They watched as the Hochlanders fell back from the wall and the gate was pulled down. There were gasps of horror as their men were cut down by the two Greatswords and despairing moans as the surviving soldiers and militiamen threw their battered weapons into the mud.

One man didn’t surrender, however. Jurgen’s comrade, the second Greatsword stood firm, his bloodied sword at the ready. The Talabecmen surrounded him with spears, until a ripple of movement went through them and they pulled back. The pair of enemy Greatswords in their muddied red and yellow uniforms approached the stubborn warrior, blades raised in challenge. Priska saw the lone man nod, then set his feet in a combat stance.

The Talabecmen rushed him as one, and there was a swift clash of blades. The defender held his sword by the haft with one hand and at the leather wrap with the other, giving him the control needed to fend off the two swordsmen who assailed him, for a time. In the end, a probing swipe at clipped his calve and caused him to stumble, and he ended up with a blade plunged deep into his armpit from the other side. It looked to the onlookers that some words were exchanged between the warriors as the defender fell to his needs, but soon enough the man had topled forwards into the mud. The surrendered men looked on sullenly as their victorious counterparts cheered.

There was talk among the women of what a brave man he had been, how he’d be remembered. Priska thought he had been an idiot for fighting when the battle had already been lost. The onlookers watched with worry as their captured men were marched out, and a panicked chatter rose amongst the room until a man walked forward to the base of the small bluff on which the keep sat. He had the bright heraldry and dyed plume of a Noble and was recognised at once as Lord Gerard Wendl, commander of the besieging forces.

“Waldo!” called out Lord Gerard, the insult of not using the boys proper rank echoed in the man's tone. “Get out here, Waldo! It's time for you to surrender, my boy!”
Brandt desperately needed to piss. Sure, he’d already taken the time to crouch at the inner edge of the wall and let fly whatever nervous half-hearted stream he could manage twice already since the bombardment had began, but that didn’t seem to have any bearing on his suddenly tightening bladder. It’d happened the same way during the last assaults. The nerves would come, he’d relieve himself thoroughly before things really kicked off, but the moment the time was upon them the only thing his body seemed to care about was letting loose, though he knew he was empty.

“Ladders!” someone shouted, and Brandt joined in the chorus of curses and prayers. For an insane moment he couldn’t remember if he’d prayed or swore, and he laughed a bit. Nobody seemed to mind, each of them seemed to handle the fear in their own ways, and so long as a man stood strong on the parapet nobody judged. There was a ragged crackle as their handgunners fired their first volley, and Brandt peaked up over the wall to see the results. One of the ladder teams had fallen over in the mud as several of them had taken wounds from the spinning bullets. Then the rest were at the walls.

The ladders were hoisted against the walls and everything was a flurry of action. Men armed with spears who’d lashed crosspieces to their poles had the job of shifting the ladders off the wall, either backwards or more usually to one side. They managed to toss two of them down, but by then men had reached the top of others. Panic threatened to grip Brandt Dittmar, but he pushed it away. He was angry at himself for being afraid, and he forced that anger towards the enemy. One of the ladders that had been shoved away was raised again nearby, and Brandt brought his heater shield up under his eyes with a snarl, hefting his warhammer at the ready.

Earlier in the day, the smiths apprentice had imagined himself as some bold hero with a memorable battle cry that would elevate him amongst his fellows as a warrior of renowned. He imagined himself standing shoulder to shoulder with the famed Greatswords, perhaps with his own bold chinless beard. As the first Talabecman reached over the crenulations towards him, Brandt met him with instinct instead of intellect, spitting and shouting.

“Fuck!” he bellowed thoughtlessly, and obliterated the mans face with his hammer. The man went limp and fell back from the wall, but the next man managed to hop over from another ladder. Then the battle began for real, a desperate ugly fight at the top of the wall. There was a rhythm to it, and the BOOM-CRACK of the cannon acted as metronome.

The defenders did well and the attackers never managed to get a hold on the wall.

“Sergeant Hoefler!” came a shout from the Gatehouse, a deep bellow that carried over the noise of battle. It was the Greatsword who’d been almost single-handedly keeping his stretch of the fall free of the enemy with great battlement-clearing sweeps of his flamberge. “Sergeant, they’re massing!”

The old fighters stepped towards each other to speak together and Brandt wasn’t able to hear their conversation. Horns were sounding from the other side of the wall and Brandt raised his now-battered shield, ready for the next man to come in range of his bloodied hammer. That man never came, and as doubts and questions started to push against his raging heartbeat, Sergeant Hoefler began hoarsely barking out orders.

“Down from the walls, lads!” he pointed towards the keep. “That cannon’s done its work, we’re falling back! Handgunners, give us cover as long as you can.” The four surviving handgunners answered with a ragged cheer as the rest of the men reluctantly pulled themselves from their hard-defended parapet. Brandt joined them, keeping close to the Sergeant as they hustled down the stone steps to the mud below. He tried not to look at the corpses that had tumbled to their side of the wall; a few of their own men, and a handful of the enemy that had been shoved over to keep the space cleared for the warriors feet. Brandt saw the gate as they went past. Jagged metal from the outer portcullis reached inward through the mostly shattered oak of the inner gate, and bent cannon balls littered the ground nearby.

There was shouting, and the sounds of horses. Brandt heard a clang and turned to see grapples flight into the wreckage of the gate. There was a barked order he couldn’t quite hear, and the ropes were pulled taught. A great groan went up as the wreckage began to twist away.

“The gate…” Brandt muttered, until the reality of the situation set in. “The gate! Sergeant Hoefler, the gate!”
“Oh, Jurgen! Oh Jurgen, yes! Jurgen!” Priska thought she was very convincing. Certainly Jurgen was enjoying himself, and so he should. It was unlikely a bland man like Jurgen Wolter could talk his way into an ugly milkmaid, let alone a lady of her standing in an regular situation. However, as the siege wore on and the tediousness of it all had nearly driven Priska to who-knows-what, her standards had to be adjusted. He was a fine enough lover, and though his face was as dull as his personality, his body was firm and strong in all the right places. It was to be expected in a Greatsword and one of Lord Waldo’s bodyguards. Jurgen had other uses as well, she mused. Before this afternoon’s tryst, he’d brought her a small package of delicious dried apple strips. Lord Waldo didn’t like apple, he had said, but Priska Steiber was smarter than some simpering lordling. She’d hungrily eaten a few strips, then wrapped the rest up. A treasure like that could buy all sorts of favours, or at the least be enjoyed alone. She’d had to share some of her initial taste with Jurgen as a half-hearted form of foreplay.

She could feel in his hastening efforts from behind her that he would reach the top of his end soon, and so she reached down to make sure she did as well. Moments later, however, he faltered. She turned to look over her shoulder to see if he’d already climaxed when she heard the tolling of the chapel bell. Jurgen extricated himself quickly and awkwardly with a grunt and Priska gasped. “What…?”

“What are you doing?” she demanded, rolling to a sitting position on the straw filled bed.

“The bell is ringing,” replied the dull soldier stupidly as pulled his trousers on.

“What?” sputtered Priska. “So?”

“It’s an attack,” answered Jurgen, though his voice was muffled as he pulled his undertunic and smelly arming coat over his head.

“Jurgen!”

He’d pulled his boots on and turned to look back at her with a blank expression on his face. The fool probably thought he looked romantic or dashing or something, but he just looked sweaty. He pulled open the door and left without saying anything, which was probably in his favour.

“Jurgen!” repeated Priska in equal parts surprise and afrontment. “But what about me?”

- - - - -

The Blackbird loosed a few more bolts at the Talabecmen, but the enemy were more wary after her first and kept out of range and behind cover. Brandt, along with most of the other men on the walls watched with interest, admiration and in the case of some, undisguised lust. Brandt was admiring how a cold breeze had lifted Miss Fostick’s dark hair when a distant booming caught his attention. By the time he realized the source of the urgent angry whistle that followed, it was too late to do anything about it. The crenellations on the other side of the gatehouse from Brandt exploded into shards of stone, several men being thrown to the ground below. The rest of them took cover, screaming curses or prayers or just screaming. Only a moment passed and the roof of the chapel exploded, scattering flaming timbers amongst the grounds inside the wall. Most guttered out in the cold and the mud.

There was a shocking moment of quiet, the only sound being the ragged breath of angry and frightened men and the groans of the wounded. Sergeant Hoeffler, a half dozen feet down from Brandt, was the first to move. He stood, looked up and down either end of the wall then stood up with a grunt between two still intact crenellations.

“You missed me, you cross-eyed cunts!” hollered the old soldier, punctuating his declaration with a gob of phlegm spat towards the enemy. The Hochland troops inside the wall stood up as one, cheering and jeering in equal measure. The Sergeant hopped back down and started shouting orders to his men, all about his business.

“Schmitt, Bachmann! You two are on lookout. They’ll be sending more at us with that artillery and I don’t want my head taken off by the next one, so you watch the crews and give us as much notice as you can. Handgunners! Spread out and keep your heads down until they’re in range, we’ll let you know when your guns can bark.”

There were a few more shots aimed at the top of the wall, but it seemed as though the first had been lucky for the gunners, as the next few either hit the wall or went high, impacting the hill that the small keep sat upon. The cannoneers readjusted their aim to the gate, smashing balls into the iron-sheathed oak and the rusty iron portcullis beyond. The mortar, however, was what gave the men worry as they hunkered down under the slow bombardment. Over the span of half an hour, it blasted apart two more buildings and set several others on fire. It seemed as though each shell landed closer to their position on the wall. This one to their left, this one to their right, but nearer every time.

Brandt stayed where he was and kept his head down. He couldn’t help but wonder what had saved most of them so far: The love of Sigmar, inexperienced gunners, or something as mundane as strong winds fouling the mortars trajectory. The other men had begun to mutter, however, that the Talabecmen were moving forward. Hoeffler ordered the Handgunners to stay where they were. The enemy were using the artillery as cover to bring forward improvised mantlets, and the six Handgunners couldn’t afford to waste a single bullet.
The smiths apprentice watched the priest scurry past his forge in silence. Roderick wasn’t very popular as far as holy men went. He wasn’t a fully ordained priest, as far as Brandt knew. That makes him what, a monk? A friar? wondered the apprentice. Far from the brimstone spitting war priests you heard about on the great battlefields, Roderick seemed mostly to continue as if the siege hadn’t happened at all, delivering services every Sonntag morning with Father Gerwig to those who would listen. Not being a particularly pious man himself, Brandt had yet to attend the chapel since the siege began.

An enthusiastic peel of brass pulled Brandt out of his melancholy and by the time the heavy church bell joined it, the apprentice was striding out of his forge in his kit. All scavenged from deceased defenders of the wall and skillfully adjust to fit his tall frame and muscled upper body, he wore the open faced bascinet and breastplate of a State Trooper with the addition of rough clamshell gauntlets and greaves he’d managed to hammer together using scraps of battered armour leftover from the last real bombardment a month ago. He had a beaten heater shield strapped to his arm, and a heavy warhammer whose head he’d remounted on a broken spear pole in his hand.

In his mind he cut quite the heroic figure, striding forward and armoured like some noble footknight to meet his foe. In reality, he wasn’t used to how he had to move in a cuirass and while he bore the weight easily on his strong shoulders, the armour and warhammer were heavy. Still, he was strong and thanks to his skilled hands the armour was free of dents and shone bright, the way it should.

Other men were emerging from the keep and coming down the hill, or from where they were resting inside away from the cold of the morning. They had a decent rush about them, though few really had the fear. The last two assaults on the walls had been halfhearted. They’d run up with a few ladders, the men on the walls had bashed a few heads, and the ladders were pulled down. There’d been few casualties on either side, and the attackers had called it a day. The frantic ringing of the lookout bell started to grate on Brandt however, and he hustled up the stairs to where the men were gathering near the gatehouse.

“Brandt Dittmar!” huffed a gruff voice as the smiths apprentice made it to the top of the forts outer wall. “If we had any fuel for your forge, I might send you back down to keep you alive to keep our swords straight. As it is, I think they might be making a real go of it this time.”

Brandt clapped shields in greeting with Sergeant Hoefler, who was the highest ranking member of the Lorch State Troops, which consisted of a depleted unit of spearmen that once numbered 50, a half dozen handgunners who’d been caught betting amongst each other with their precious supplies of powder and shot. They were joined by two Greatswords who acted as the personal guard of Lord Waldo Seidl, and the handful of farmers, tradesmen and unfortunate passersby who happened to be trapped in the town when the army of Gerwin Wendl marched on the town.

One of the Greatswords could be seen above the gatehouse, standing grimly with his flamberge resting at the ready on his shoulder. The other would surely be found with Lord Waldo, who didn’t participate in the fighting, which was for the best. The truth of the matter was that Waldo Seidl, a cousin of some sort to Count Seidl, was not quite a boy and not quite a man, having turned thirteen years of age on the second day of the siege. He and his entourage had been passing through Lorch when Wendl’s men had arrived just before daybreak and he’d become trapped with the rest of them. In theory, Lord Waldo was in command of the fort, and either of his Greatsword bodyguards would have outranked Sergeant Hoefler, but none of them seemed to have any interest in command. Thus the defense had fallen to the veteran Sergeant, whose chief mission had become keeping Lord Waldo out of Lord Gerwin’s hands for use as ransom.

“They don’t look any more organised than the last time, what makes you think they’re taking this one seriously?” asked Brandt as he shielded his eyes to look out on the town. Troops in the yellow and red of Talabecland had begun to muster out of bow and handgun range, and they bristled as one of Hoefler’s men raised the green and red banner of Hochland.

“There,” the sergeant pointed. “They’ve brought up their cannon, and there behind that garden wall? I saw them bring the mortar around behind it. Either they saved their powder for a final go, or they’ve scrounged some more. I doubt it’s for show, as I don’t think even that fop Gerwin would roll them out just for show.”

Brandt gave the troops across from them another look, and realized that they had a certain swagger about them that perhaps they’d been missing. They hustled to and fro, the orders from their sergeants and corporals were crisp and followed immediately. There wasn’t any sight of Lord Gerwin as yet, but that could mean anything. Brandt felt a lump of apprehension in his throat, and spun the warhammer once in his grip. He suddenly didn’t feel very heroic at all.
A cold forge was a depressing thing, thought Brandt. He’d only been the smiths apprentice for six months, and yet in that time he’d learned how the hot forge and steady clink-clang of the smiths hammer was like the beating heart of a town. Farmers came for new scythe blades and to straighten bent plows. Soldiers came to purchase new weapons or to have dents planished from breastplates. Tailors, butchers, and all skilled tradesmen, unskilled peasants, skilled knights and noble lords all might pass through the open arch of the smiths forge. They dropped off and picked up, commissioned and socialized with others doing the same.

Even when they relocated from the village to the small motte and bailey castle, the forge and anvil were a popular spot in the small courtyard behind the walls. That was early on, however. In the first weeks of the siege, a shell from a mortar caught his master, Gerald the Smith, in a blast of shrapnel. Since then Brandt’s paltry skills had been put to the test. Truth be told, he thought he’d done quite well considering the sudden end of his tutelage. The full mysteries of metallurgy hadn’t been part of Gerald’s rough and rambling curriculum and so Brandt wouldn’t be able to create much from rough stock iron, but he knew enough to fix and repair and replace with inferior components. Well enough to get by in the circumstances.

The siege had dragged on, however. Lorch Keep was well supplied, but weeks had turned to months. Now any wood was fuel for cooking, and the forge would no longer be fed. Brandt was resigned to pounding out dents in helms and breastplates and sharpening blades. As the attackers had settled in, however, there was less and less of that to do, and now Brandt had mostly taken to meandering strolls along the inner wall, and polishing tools in the smithy. As he cleaned a pair of tongs of ash and tarnish that seemed older then he was, Brandt couldn’t help but think that a cold forge was a sad sign of a town in decline. The thought was made all the more bitter, when he heard the familiar ringing of a hammer from the other side of the wall - from his own forge being used by their enemies.
Brandt Dittmar
18-20, to guess.
Apprentice Blacksmith

Lady Priska Steiber
22
Woman of Noble Birth, en route to a marriage.

Jurgen Wolter
Greatsword, bodyguard of Lord Waldo

Lord Waldo Seidl
13
Lesser cousin to Count Seidl

Count Egon Seidl of Hochland
Ruler of the Province of Hochland

Count Gerad Wendl of Talabecland
Ruler of the Province of Hochland

Lord Gerwin Wendl
Son of Count Gerad Wendl

In Memoriam
Sgt. Hoefler
Father Gerwig
This sounds amazing! It also seems to have a bit of longevity which is always nice. Are you still open to new participants? I'll have a read to get updated with current events and try to get a character together!
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