Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
Father Samuel of Kronstadt
Once a mild-mannered, retiring parish priest and indifferent city councillor, this old man has regained a spring in his step in recent years.
A wizened, ancient priest, quite tall and unbent despite his many years of life. Never a stout man, he has grown only more angular and frail in his advanced years. His thin white hair is combed forward to hide a substantial bald patch on the crown of his head, and his bushy eyebrows almost obscure his gentle brown eyes when his head is bowed, as it often is in thought or prayer.
Father Simon has been the priest of St. Emeric’s, the most important parish church of the Burgraviate of Kronstadt, since AD 1174. In his more than 4 decades of service to the good burgers of the city he has become a much beloved, and respected, fixture of the settlement. The bounds of his service have included, but are not exclusive to, the basic education he has provided to hundreds of the children of Kronstadt over the years, his appointment to the City Council in 1188, and his establishment of the Orphanage of St. Emeric’s in 1205. However, until he threw in his lot with Archdeacon Simon von Nijmegen in recent years, he was characterised by a certain diffidence in council, and a readiness to ease into the retirement that is his due. As events stand now, the sermons at St. Emeric’s have grown decidedly more passionate, full of the urgent need for repentance and the acceptance of the laws of God into the daily lives of the parishioners. Indeed, in recent years Samuel’s rhetoric from the pulpit has grown to closely mirror that of his clerical superior and friend, the archdeacon.
Their friendship was not easily built, especially considering the early turbulence between the aristocratic archdeacon and the rustic contumacy of the parish priest. In the years after his arrival, Simon was known to practically bully the quiet and recalcitrant Samuel, who obviously resented the archdeacon’s heavy-handed interference into the parish of St. Emeric’s. This carried over into council politics as well as clerical, and the coolness between the two of them seemed fated to escalate into enmity. However, Simon’s willingness to finance the costly creation of the orphanage out of his own pocket appeared to bring on a change of heart in Samuel, and his skilful reorganisation of the standards of education for the local parish priests (many of whom were previously, vexingly, illiterate) seems to have thoroughly won the priest over.
Now the two men work hand in glove in matters of both city administration and the direction of the city’s moral compass. They both seem to be in favour of the transition of the Burgraviate into the new political entity of the Burzenland, and they approve of the presence of the Teutonic Order in the city. However, in comparison to the easy friendship of Simon and Brandt there is still a certain polite distance between the priest and the archdeacon. The reasons for this are not public, nor are they clear, but some speculate that the aristocratic archdeacon has trouble seeing commoners as his equals.
In any case, Father Samuel spends most of his free time at the orphanage these days, educating the youths there in both the seven liberal arts as well as the seven spiritual and natural virtues. He also still offers free classes to the children of the city on Saturdays, but he has begun to delegate these duties to his assistant, Gerwalt, and Peter of Kronstadt, one of his orphans who has come of age and embarked on a career as a tutor.
Thus far, the extent of Father Samuel’s involvement with the vampire hunting conspiracy led by Simon and Brandt von Bremen is unclear to the Ashen Band. However, given that the priest was responsible for the education given to Valentinus and the other senior orphans, and that his sermons tend to warn of “powers of darkness threatening the Siebenburgen”, it could be speculated that he is a member of the archdeacon’s inner circle…