Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
A ruggedly handsome and dangerous looking Saxon; the Gangrel prince of Kronstadt was a veteran of many years of war. He was slain by Timur, warmaster of Vrancea, in single combat after the battle of Bostral Pass.
For most of his life and unlife, Bernhard was a young handsome Saxon warrior with a dangerous look about him. He was fond of wearing red and always carried with his his broadsword from the Crusades.
After leaving Zara, Bernhard faked the death of his mortal guise, ‘Gunthar ritter von Wolfgang’ in an attempt to leave his possessions and title to his ward, Bernard Dressler. As a part of the ruse, Berhard’s coterie mate, Veceslav Basarab, altered Bernhard’s appearance, turning the young Saxon warrior into the mature handsome Saxon doctor, Johan von Luneberg.
As Bernhard was killed only a few months later, those who remember him recall the image of the young Saxon warrior-knight.
(Bernhard’s frenzies marked with a fur-covered torso and arms, wolf-shaped ears, and a predatory demeanour.)
Bernhard was arrogant, believing himself to be better than almost everyone else around him – better by birth, quicker in mind, with better training, and just better looking. He was right; other people were wrong. That being said, he knew he could not do it all on his own and needed others to help him achieve your goals. He tried to show kindness where possible, both to people and to animals, and not be cruel or dangerous until there was a need. He always had a plan, even if it was not always the right one.
Bernhard’s battle with his Beast was a tough one, and those close to him felt he was losing that battle as the years wore on.
“Die Rote Wolf”, the Coat of Arms of Gunthar Ritter von Sankt Wolfgang
(Lord Bernhard Billung, second son of Duke Ordulf of Saxony – he was knighted under the name Gunthar Ritter von Wolfgang during the Second Crusade, and is a Childe of Lucien the Roman)
Billung Family Background
The Billung family were the rulers of the Duchy of Saxony from the 9th century CE. Bernhard’s father was Duke Ordulf and his mother was Princess Wufhilde, daughter of King Olaf II of Norway. His elder brother Magnus, born in 1045, married Princess Sophia, daughter of King Bela I of Hungary (making Bernard distantly related to the Arpads) and had two daughters, Wufhilde (who married the Duke of Bavaria, of the House of Welf) & Eilika (who married the Count of Ballenstedt) but no legitimate sons. Magnus had a falling out with Emperor Henry IV, joined a rebellion against him and was captured twice before finally reconciling and being a good boy. After Magnus’ death without a male heir in 1105, the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V partitioned the Billung lands between the Duke and the Count but eventually awarded the title of Duke of Saxony to someone else altogether. As the second son of a Duke, Bernhard’s title is ‘Lord’.
The Holy Roman Ventrue grew increasingly strong since the time of Charlemagne due to the efforts of a number of active methuselah’s- Erik Eigerman (4th gen), Heinrich of Volstagg (5th gen), and Julia Antasia (5th gen). Erik disappeared in 1100 AD after growing increasingly erratic and his power base was split between his favoured progeny Hardestaadt and Ilse Reineger. Hardestaadt has risen to the fore, becoming the most prominent Ventrue elder in Germany. Other clans are either being forced into vassalage or forced out.
Magnus’ strife with the Emperor began around 1069-70 and continued for about 8 or 9 years, when Hardestaadt and his cronies slowly moving in on Bernhard and Lucien – both of whom were absent fighting against the Wendts. After Lucien fell into torpor, Bernhard returned to the family lands in Luneberg and continued on as if nothing had changed. As far as anyone knew, Lucien was staying in the shadows, letting his Childe be the front man. Hesitant to challenge Lucien’s age and cunning, the Ventrue backed off and made no further moves against Bernhard’s or Lucien’s holdings. But when Bernhard joined the Second Crusade for personal reasons, he turned his back on his lands and title, walked away and gave the Ventrue their opening.
With Lucien in torpor and Bernhard away on the Crusade, Hardestaadt and the Holy Roman Ventrue displaced Bernhard’s position, knowing that an absentee neonate had no chance at resisting their claims of dominion over the Duchy. They did not attack him, just outmaneuvered him. In truth, Bernhard had ceased to care.
Lord Bernhard Billung, the second child of Ordulf and Wufhilde, was born in 1046 and officially died after falling off of a horse on July 15 in the city of Lüneburg in 1072. Bernhard was embraced on a battlefield in a minor battle that followed an ambush by the Wends in 1066 at the age of 20. The Saxon forces were ambushed. Bernhard fought as best he could and mortally wounded the ghoul war-chieftan of the Wendt before he was likewise wounded by the chieftan’s spear-brothers. Bernhard was washed down-river and lay dying in the cold water as night fell. Lucien the Roman questioned the dying noble and was impressed with the youth’s courage and mind. Having watched Bernhard for a while and noted his skill in battle and in command, and being unwilling to lose this valuable asset against the Savage, Lucien embraced Berhnard as his Childe.
Bernhard was a military leader with a certain finesse for the unorthodox and no small amount of luck. He cared deeply for the warriors he led, but was a little ‘rough around the edges’ for a noble. His courage, his luck, and most importantly his noble soul are what made Lucien decide to embraced Bernhard. A factor in this was, of course, timing – after decades, Lucien was seeing the tide turn in his war against the Savage. Berhnard had been, and if embraced would continue to be, a valuable asset in this war.
Lucien embraced Bernhard and used him as a political and military leader in the assaults on Lucien’s sire. When Pope Urban called for the Crusade, Bernhard was in the service of Lucien and working towards bringing about the end of Lucien’s sire. As a result, Bernhard did not heed the call.
In 1098 CE, after an extensive campaign sponsored by Duke Magnus against the last rebellious pagan tribes of Wends on the eastern border, Lucien and Bernhard closed the trap on Lucien’s sire. Lucien and Bernhard had spent a generation fighting the Wendt, the spawn of the Savage. With steel and fire and claw they had killed and driven back his minions and robbed him or his feedings grounds and herd until the Savage lay starving in his lair. There the two cornered him, fighting their way through his remaining followers until Lucien confronted his Sire in deadly final fight.
Lucien usually just referred to his Sire as “that filthy savage”, but after slaying him finally he said, “So ends Velatorix the Averni” before collapsing from his wounds and slipping into torpor, leaving Bernard alone to manage his bloodline and to watch over Lucien as he slept. For a generation, Bernhard maintained a vigil over his Sire.
Bernhard’s Lost Love, Jana – the Forbidden Embrace
Bernhard managed his family’s lands by proxy, guiding his descendants with a loose hand. He did not get involved with the town’s affairs and spent much time away to maintain his vigil over his sire’s place of rest. The Prince of Luneburg, Kuritz, felt uneasy with the powerful neonate in his domain, but accepted the Gangrel’s uninterested attitude and peaceful ways. But Kuritz had a plan…
One night Bernhard saved the life of a mortal girl of his bloodline; no more than seven years old, Jana had been attacked by a Ventrue with a taste for young girls (Guy d’Arles). Bernhard drove off the Ventrue, who was not seen again for many years.
The peace of Prince Kuritz’s town had been broken. In short order a powerful ancillae, Lord Jurgen von Verden, rode to town with his aide-de-camp Lucretia von Hartz. Jurgen confronted Bernhard and asked him to either swear fealty via the Blood Oath, leave town, or fight; Lucien would have to make the same choice. As Prince Kuritz uncertain if he could force the issue on Bernhard or his sire, Kuritz’ feudal lord, Jurgen, came as the ‘big-sword’ to ensure the Gangrel did as he was told. Jurgen came in peace, prepared to fight, but not looking to start one if Bernhard and Lucien would leave peacefully. Bernhard did not wish to risk revealing his sire’s torpor and so he left in peace. The two men parted with equanimity; Lucretia less so, for she seemed eager to cross swords and Bernard was dismissive of her as he spoke with Jurgen. Bernhard left town in the following few nights, taking his household and little Jana with him.
Bernhard continued to watch over the girl as she grew, for Guy d’Arles had killed the girl’s parents and she was alone in the world. She was bright and beautiful, full of passion for life and possessing of an impatience for fools. Jana knew now that there were ‘bad things’ in the night, but she also knew that she had a protector watching over her. While distantly related kin gave the girl a home, it was Bernhard who became a father-figure to Jana through her childhood and adolescence.
As Jana grew into womanhood she became truly lovely with eyes that changed colour with her moods through blue-green-and-grey. She had a sweet face with a ready smile, soft long dark hair that flowed like silk and moved as a flag about her full athletic figure. Jana was the desire of every man who saw her; and Bernhard loved her for everything she was, a ray of sunlight in his dark world. As Jana grew, the dynamic between Jana and Bernhard began to subtly change. They grew closer still, speaking as equals. A deep and loving friendship existed between them and each felt comfortable sharing the secrets of their soul with the other. It was Jana who, with the first blush of womanhood upon her, first expressed a desire for physical intimacy. Her kiss and warm touch opened the floodgates of Bernhard’s heart and he poured his love upon his Jana; love that was returned with equal passion and tenderness. For a time, each was happy in their love, and their world began and ended with their lover’s laugh and smile and body. Even the light of the sun could not keep Bernhard from his Jana; while the sun still burned him, he learned to hold off its soporific effects so he could see his true love in the sunlight.
And then Guy d’Arles returned when Bernhard was away checking the cave in which his Sire slumbered, seeding the ground with blood as he had done so often. Guy stalked, entranced and fed on Jana, draining her slowly. His torturous feeding was interrupted by Bernhard who attacked in a rage. There was no room in Bernhard’s heart for mercy or compromise. As Bernhard fought Guy and his bully-boys, Jana’s wound from the Kiss remained open. She bled out during the battle. Nearly overcome with his wounds, the Beast raging at the doors of his mind, Bernhard could not save his lover as Guy fled into the night. Distraught at seeing Jana dying in his arms, blinded by love and rage and grief, Bernhard Embraced Jana, not bothering to ask anyone’s permission nor to think through his ill-fated actions.
Jana did not take to the Night as well as Bernhard had hoped, and her first taste of the Blood was not as gently done as Berhnard’s own Embrace. All she knew was that her lover was forcing her to drink the blood of a dying man. Her life had become only horror and betrayal. Jana was filled with self-loathing, and later, with a hatred for Bernhard whom she felt had lied to her, betrayed her, and condemned her to an eternal life of darkness, death and blood. She set about destroying everything he loved. Bernhard stopped her, but could not kill her, instead banishing her from his sight and his side. She fled into the night, and remained for years out in the wilds… hating Bernhard and what he had done.
Bernhard remained watching over his sire, but his life was full of desolation and sorrow. Only his duty to Lucien kept him where he was, and stopped him walking into the sunlight to end it all.
What happened during the Second Crusade?
Years before, Bernhard had been introduced to several of Lucien’s ancient allies including Julia Antasia, the Prince of Frankfurt and a paragon (i.e. saint) of the Road of Humanity. Julia was Lucien’s mentor for centuries, and he credits her with keeping him sane and helping him find his way back to his humanity in his “youth”. Julia’s grandchilde, Sabina von Langenhaim, became a friend of sorts to Bernhard and the two struck up a correspondence and friendship. Sabina served as her mistress’ envoy to other Fiefs of the Black Cross (Holy Roman Cities) and sometimes the Eastern Lord Ventrue as well, and so has an excellent grasp of German and a fair handle on Hungarian politics.
A decade after the tragedy with Jana a call had gone up throughout Christendom to once again Crusade to the Holy Lands. His soul alone and bereft, Bernhard contemplated taking up the cross, to seek forgiveness for his beloved and redemption for his own injured soul. Sabina had read of his pain in his letters and came with other to discuss the Crusade. Bernhard was able to share his pain with Sabina and found some degree of refuge in her company. He discussed with her his plans for taking the Cross, to leave his old life behind. Sabina counseled against war for the sake of war, and stated her views clearly that his Crusade had little to do with faith. But she did support Bernhard’s decision to leave, to try to find healing for his soul. Bernhard took the name ‘Gunthar von Wolfgang’, and sought to forget his loss in the giving and taking of blows and by pitting his wits against his enemies. Maybe it was as the clergy said, that he could find forgiveness in Jerusalem.
During his journeys he once again encountered Guy d’Arles and Jana. Gunthar attacked Guy d’Arles when he encountered the Ventrue in Pressburg. He fought without reason, feeling only hatred for his enemy. The battle went against Gunthar and he was brought before Prince Gregor for justice. Gunthar was unable to speak in his defence and Guy d’Arles – a relation of Prince Gregor – bore false charges against the Saxon Gangrel. Gunthar was condemned to Final Death. Facing extinction, his life was spared due to the intervention of Prince Gregor’s new favourite, his Scourge, Lady Jana.
Jana’s interceded for Gunthar and received mercy on his behalf from Prince Gregor, enamoured with his new favourite. In return, Gunthar was made to swear a Life Boon to Jana and to Prince Gregor, taking one drink of each of their blood. The stake removed from his heart, Gunthar was finally able to speak. He spoke eloquently as he received his sentence, asking that he alone be judged for his crimes, not his sire. To Jana, he said that his life had already been sworn to her a thousand times, and all she’d ever needed to do to claim it was to ask. The Court was moved by his words.
On Crusade, Gunthar proved to be an asset beyond his age and the relatively minor power of his blood. He fought more fiercely and more effectively than Cainites twice his age and power. He advised in the command tent and worked nightly with Cainites – often Ventrue and Toreador – immeasurably older and more powerful than himself; the ‘pet Gangrel’ was very useful indeed. At a unit level, Gunthar led well and formed a friendship and partnership with a Ventrue Hospitallar called Ser Rudigar.
As men died in droves in the march along the Anatolian lands, Gunthar & Ser Rudigar worked wonders to keep their men alive. Gunthar achieved some small renown for his skill at unorthodox campaigning during this march. At the battle of Doryleaum, Gunthar saved the life of Emperor Konrad III. Gunthar was knighted for his deed, becoming ‘Gunthar ritter’, and earning the name of ‘the Red Wolf’ for his exploits during this campaign. This made Gunthar was one of the first ever Saxon knights, a fact of which he is very proud.
At the siege of Damascus, Gunthar met several of the ruling Assamites, Firras ibin Sabar (called ‘The Smiling”), Da-Ud Asshyru who found beauty in the orchards of Damascus, and Gavan ad-din ibin Darshuf, Protector of Damascus of the Banu Rieen Atfan. Gunthar and The Smiling discussed geography for hours as the Crusaders tried to bargain for peace. Negotiations failed. Gunthar ritter won fame again when the Assamites attacked, defeating two Assamites in single combat and saving the life of his friend Ser Rudigar after the Assamites stormed the Crusader camp, killing many in silence. Ser Rudigar fell into torpor as a result of his wounds, and was taken away to be cared for by his fellow Hospitallar knights. The finely crafted sword Ser Gunthar took from an Assamite he slew became one of his favourite possessions.
A Time of Peace and Healing
The Crusade ended, but Gunthar chose to remain. In the Holy Land, Gunthar found a kind of peace, living in Jerusalem for some time. He befriended an old and powerful Gangrel named Hakkon who worked as a mercenary near Jerusalem. Hakkon had also experienced lost love, and encouraged Gunthar to follow his Viking philosophy of forgetting his pain through ‘living large’. Gunthar spoke often with Boniface the Brujah Christian scholar and Aysha bin Wahid the Salubri healer, discussing the merits of faith and redemption. Slowly, Gunthar began to put the pieces of his shattered soul back together
In 1156 CE, word reached Gunthar that Lucien had risen from his torpor. The loyal Childe immediately returned to Saxony. Once the two had reunited, Gunthar told his sire everything, all of what had gone on during Lucien’s almost century-long sleep. The ancient Gangrel understood, and passed no judgement on his Childe. Lucien took Bernhard traveling. Over the next few decades, there was nowhere in Europe the two did not travel. Eventually Lucien released Bernhard from his ‘apprenticeship’.
On their travels through Thrace (Thessaly) Lucien and Ser Gunthar met Justinian the Gangrel. The three bonded quickly, travelling together and later meting in Bulgaria at the court of Prince Marcus Licinius of Adrianople – Lucien’s friend of centuries. The soldierly wanderer Justinian can be found as far west as the shores of the Adriatic, as far north as the passes of the Transylvanian alps and as far east as his Anatolian homeland, usually carrying messages for various Gangrel and those allied to the Dream.
Bernhard’s bloodline moved to the Siebenburgen region in the last wave of migration to Transylvania in 1191 CE. His allies in the family took the initiative and moved when Gunthar was away traveling. They found that they were held in high esteem given their wealth and breeding, but acceptance comes slowly to those new to the area. Karl, Gunthar’s ally and former ward, was delighted when ‘Cousin Gunthar’ turned up in 1195 to base himself in Kronstadt.
The tale begins in 1195. The Billung bloodline has concentrated itself in Kronstadt, making it Gunthar’s intended base of operations and the place where he will aim to secure the position of Prince in order to safeguard his bloodline. Lucien came to Kronstadt to see his Childe en route to traveling on to Adrianople and Constantinople. Lucien requested that Gunthar meet him in Constantinople no later than 3 months after his departure. He recommended a route through the pass near Kronstadt, down to Sofia and east to the Black Sea port of Varna, where Gunthar was able to take ship directly to the Golden Horn.
In Constantinople Lucien urged his childe to work with the get of several other ancillae. The new coterie formed as they investigated the death of the childer of Bishop Alfonzo, the Lasombra master of the Latin Quarter of Constantinople. The coterie – Vecheslav the Tzmisce, Yulia the Lasombra, and Ser Conrad the Brujah – soon changed the focus of their efforts to further the cause of the ruling Triumvirate of the city instead of for the Lasombra bishop. Their decision and actions won them favour from Constantinople’s rulers, but diluted the favour they would have otherwise won from Bishop Alfonzo.
Their work done, the coterie split up. Gunthar ritter stayed on in Constantinople and the area, working on behalf of Baron Thomas Feraux and his Gangrel and continuing his firm friendship with Ser Conrad. He stayed for a year as his ward and descendant Bernard Dressler, studied in the great city. In time the Dream of Constantinople began to influence Gunthar’s Dream, that of creating a ‘garden of plenty’ where Cainites and mortals could exist in harmony. Gunthar formed a friendship and trading partnership with the Giovanni merchant Marcus Mansu Giovanni, finding the rogue to be entertaining company. The trade partnership was profitable for both Cainites, and the friendship proved informative as well as enjoyable, with the Gangrel and the Giovanni discussing philosophy and metaphysics as often as they discussed the finer points of serving women’s breasts.
After a year in Constantinople and the region, Gunthar moved back to Kronstadt, taking with him his ward and Adrian, a Greek boy from the criminal gang he and the coterie had helped – Gunthar hoped to give the boy and education away from his home in the streets. Upon arriving in Kronstadt, a message from Lucien asked Gunthar to get to Buda-Pest. Leaving his charges, his fortune and his family in Kronstadt, Gunthar travelled to Buda-Pest to work for his Sire once again.
The Tower of Tihuta Pass
Gunthar ritter von Wolfgang was actively involved in leading the coterie from Buda-Pest to the Tihuta Pass. Along the way he took into his service a Rus mercenary called Karliv. When Karliv was killed during a battle with Cainites, Gunthar realised how he had been ultimately responsible for Karliv’s fate, and felt a little piece of humanity slip away from his callousness.
Gunthar initially took a large measure of responsibility for inducting the Pecheneg hunter, Jals, into his new existence, training the young Pecheneg as Lucien once trained him. Gunthar backed away once he realised that to continue would be to condemn the young Dragon to a life outcast from his clan. Gunthar then encouraged Veceslav Basarab to take a greater part in Jals’ education. Jals settled in the Tihuta Pass, an agent of Veceslav Basarab who came to be seen as the lord of the Tihuta Pass.
Soul-searching done after a confrontation with powerful Ventrue knights has led Bernhard to give up his pseudonym Gunthar ritter von Wolfgang and reclaim his name of Lord Bernhard Billung of Saxony as he attempts to reclaim his humanity. Bernhard’s companions are unsure of what to make of the change.
After a challenge from the Eastern knez by their war-coterie, Da Nord Sang was seen off by successful single combat between the coterie leaders, the tower at Tihuta Pass was completed. With the reward of their sire’spraise and the political support of Vencel Rikard, the coterie went their seperate ways once more. Yulia moved to the town of Alba Julia to claim domain there. Maude the Chaste went traveling, seeking esoteric knowledge. Veceslav Basarab traveled among the Seibenburgen, spreading his renown as a diplomat. And Ser Alaraic disappeared into the shadows, to serve his masters once more. And Gunthar? He returned to Kronstadt.
A Gather of Gangrel
It was during this time in the Seibenburgen that Bernhard finally attended his first Gangrel Gather. There he faced many local Gangrel who, due to their lineage, harboured feelings of mistrust (at best) and outright hostility (at worst) towards Bernhard. Here he met in Gangrel fashion the likes of Arnulf and Mitru whom before he had only met on opposing sides of conflict, and Lorea and her sister who became, if not friends, then neutral parties. Bernhard also fought with one of the line of The Savage, winning the challenge, but upsetting the Gangrel traditions with his method of combat and nearly being destroyed by the feral Gangrel’s wrath. Bernhard, wounded from the combat, backed down from other challenges and gained no standing in the eyes of his fellows from the Gather. He is still not trusted by his peers, and is seen as an outsider. Indeed, it was only due to the intervention of others that he did not meet his Final Death at the hands of those Gangrel who still see his part in the death of The Savage as a crime to be punished. Bernhard’s future relationships with the Gangrel of the region are likely to be far from friendly.
Prince of Kronstadt
Upon completing, with his coterie, the quest to build a tower at the Tihuta Pass, Bernhard returned to Kronstadt and sought to become prince of the city. He established his demanse, and regularly met with the mortals and Cainites of the town. Slowly, Bernhard built a mortal faction, a loose alliance of those involved in the politics of Kronstadt. In itself, this alliance was not enough to control the town nor its surroundings, but it has allowed the Gangrel to ‘keep an eye on’ the town politics. His real ‘political power’ as prince comes from his relationships with the other Cainites of the town.
Bernhard formed a close friendship with Lukas, the Nosferatu, and spent many nights speaking at length with him on many topics. Lukas long suspected Bernhard to display some sort of regression to the dangerous feral nature he so clearly has; yet even after several years, the Gangrel remains calm and peaceful, even if he still does not understand the human heart. Lukas (rightly) suspects Bernhard saves his feral anger for his frequent ranging along the boders of Kronstadt.
Bernhards’s relationship with Eudokia, a Toreador, has not been so smooth, but the two have an uneasy understanding. Bernhard trades information for understanding with Eudokia, bringing her gossip and news from the outside world. In return, she allows him to feed in her domain and tolerates his infrequent company to discuss ‘matters of importance’. That the Gangrel prince has never once sought dominion over her claimed domain in the town is one of the reasons why Eudokia has never publically sought to rid herself of the Gangrel.
Bernhard’s “muscle” is a Gangrel neonate called ‘Jerro’. Jerro was a reeve in his mortal days. Having heard about a Gangrel prince in the region, Jerro came to find a home and a cause. He’s not too bright, but he is an effective fighter, and has fallen in well behind Prince Bernhard’s lead.
And, of course, in the background there is Lucien the Roman, Bernhard’s sire. Lucien is a more infrequent visitor than his childe, yet his presence is significant. With such an old Cainite hovering nearby and supporting his childe, Bernhard’s political position is far less insecure than it would otherwise be given his ‘hands off’ approach. While the younger Gangrel does not rule based on Lucien’s presence, the support of the older Gangrel is a considerable factor.
The Gangrel prince proved to be an effective leader, if only in that he didn’t make things worse. He improved the lot of some of those in his domain, but made no huge difference in his early years. Not having the political grace to rule the mortal world, and having a largely insular and disinterested Cainite population, Bernhard was a ‘hands off’ ruler. Much of his time was spent on the borders if his domain, ensuring the safety and protection if trade caravans.
A young Gangrel joined his domain, seeking to serve under a prince who would accept his blood. Jerro proved an able sheriff, and grew to like working for Bernhard whom he regarded as a slightly tougher, but much smarter Gangrel.
The Fourth Crusade
Answering a call for help from fellow Gangrel Anna of Constantinople (with whom Bernhard had maintained a correspondance) Bernhard once again joined his coterie and traveled to Venice to lend a hand. The coterie, Maude and Veceslav, performed as effectively as before, but tensions could be seen, especially between Maude and Bernhard.
Bernhard has bet the Ventre knight, Sir Martin, that he can educate a Fiend ghoul as a knight; and do so better than Sir Martin can train Bernhard’s own squire, Bernard knappe Dresler. While the Gangrel made the bet as a manipulation of the young Venture, the challenge has reawakened Bernhard’s desire for something more than survival.
Bernhard’s mortal guise of ‘Gunthar ritter von Wolfgang’ died in battle just north of Zara. (He fell over a cliff when his horse was stabbed.) Abandoning this mortal guise, Bernhard had his appearance changed by his coterie mate, Veceslav. Now Bernhard calls himself ‘Johan von Luneberg’ and presents himself as a Saxon doctor.
Investigating the presence of Bodor Toth at the pass to the East of Kronstadt, Bernhard and the coterie are present to witness the beginning of a Shaper ‘rial by Blood’, a challenge issued by Koban, a voivode koldun with a fierce reputation. The coterie elects to stays and fight alongside Bodor Toth, securing an uneasy alliance with the Shaper lord in return for him calling off his attacks on Zara and the Crusade. The coterie is more confident of this Trial by Blood despite being against worse odds than before; a sign of their growing confidence in their abilities. Pitched against a superior foe amidst difficult terrain, Bernhard is in his element and took the lead in wreaking havoc upon the advancing army of Koban.
Bernhard and his companions defeated Koban in the trial by war, but as Koban’s warmaster fled into the snows, Bernhard took off in quick pursuit, determined to end the thrreat that the warmaster – the most dangerous of Koban’s childer – posed. Unfortunately the gamble proved unwise andthis last hazard was too much for the Gangrel – Timur the Warmaster slew Bernhard in single combat and took his body as a trophy to Koban’s camp. The last Bernhard’s companions saw of him, he was being used as a war-trophy by Kban’s surviving force as they marched through the snows to the East.
Lineage: Childe of Lucien the Roman, Childe of ‘The Savage’, <unknown>