Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
Lucretia von Hartz
Lord Jürgen's left hand, this strong-willed woman has served her master for several mortal lifetimes. She now holds the rank of Deputy Grandmaster of the Order of the Black Cross.
A pale, stern German woman with dark, steady brown eyes, dressed in the garb of a nun of the Teutonic Order. Even obscured as she is by her bulky habit and veil, she clearly has a strong build, and she is taller than most men. Her hands are sure, quick and heavily callused. At her Becoming, she had a long, unruly mane of thick black hair, but these nights she frequently cuts it to be a more serviceable bowl-cut, which is useful for comfort either under a helmet or a wimple.
The coat-of-arms of the Teutonic Order, which Lucretia now uses instead of the device that she formerly favoured: a blue lion sejant regardant inside a sable per chevron on a field of gold.
(the following is an expansion of the character as presented in Under a Black Cross, pp. 99-100, and Transylvania Chronicle I: Dark Tides Rising, p. 89).
Once a devout Christian who followed the First Crusade, Lucretia is not one to frown upon duty. Even as a child, she respected authority and believed it was important to give oneself wholly to a noble cause. With her Becoming, the young zealot transferred her exaltation first to her sire and then to his liege, Lord Jürgen. She obeys him without hesitation.
Lucretia is not a weak-minded soldier. Rather, she sees herself as a true knight, loyal and strong. Although she is required to act in a humble and non-combative role in her current masquerade as a nun of the Teutonic Order, it is thought that behind closed doors, she practices her warrior’s skills meticulously. Indeed, so ready is she to meet problems head on with her sword in hand that in AD 1127 a much younger Lucretia was more than ready to match her skills against that of the older and more experienced Bernhand Billung when the Gangrel and his sire, Lucien, were perceived as a threat to the rule of her sire, Prince Kuritz of Luneburg.
Lucretia von Hartz, as Bernhard encountered her in 1127.
It is true that at that time, her sire’s fears were largely unfounded, but that truth never occurred to her. The strength of Lucretia von Hartz is in her conviction that those to whom she gives her loyalty are utterly worthy of that dedication. Indeed, she is honourable and respectful to a fault, and would rather die than tarnish her reputation or her master’s dignitas. For these reasons, her will is unshakable. She stands dutifully by her lord’s side, ready for any eventuality and expecting the worst from those who surround her.
Under Lord Jürgen’s guidance, Lucretia has gathered and trained an efficient fighting force of loyal and deadly knights under the Teutonic Order’s banner. These ghoul warrior-monks hold their Cainite domitors as exemplars of pious and chivalric behaviour, and see the Blood itself as a reward for faithful and unswerving service. Of course, any comparison between the veneration that these men show to the very blood of their immortal masters and that which the Cainite Heresy espouses towards the “Shining Blood” is enough to invite rebuke, or even hostility, from Lucretia and her brethren. She has become Gross-Komtur (Deputy Grandmaster) of this Order of the Black Cross, Jürgen’s shadow brotherhood within the Teutonic Knights, and she devotes much of her time seeing to the administrative cohesion and growth of the secret sub-order. This reach makes her Jürgen’s single most valuable and irreplaceable vassal.
With the establishment of Lord Jürgen’s court in Magdeburg, Lucretia went to great lengths to ensure the smooth transition and maintenance of power. She has either suborned useful candidates and rivals to her lord’s side, or else eliminated them ruthlessly. Within the Swordbearer’s hierarchy, there are few other than Chamberlain Wilhelm and Akuji who rival her for esteem in Jürgen von Verden’s eyes.
During the spring court at Magdeburg in AD 1211, Lucretia appeared in her guise as a sister of the Teutonic Order, but she was still in charge of security for the proceedings. And so it was that when the Sword of Sceptres and Roses was discovered to have been stolen, her status suffered even more than that of her lord. Throughout the course of the following investigation and recovery of the priceless weapon, she found the skills of herself and her agents to be inferior to that of the Concord, which already had a well-established reputation for finding lost things and people. Swallowing her enormous sense of pride, the Ventrue approached the foreign coterie and asked for their assistance in recovering the sword.
The Concord accepted her petition in return for a boon, with the exception of Sister Maude Khlesl, who was pleased to offer her assistance out of the goodness of her heart. Within nights, they had successfully recovered the Sword of Sceptres of Roses. Furthermore, they also uncovered the culprits among the Tremere and Toreador delegation, plus the perfidious betrayal of Albin the Ghost, one of Jürgen’s own agents. The Toreador Lucius anticipated the outcome, and had absconded from the city in advance, while the Tremere Alexia of Nicosia fled under sentence of Blood Hunt. Albin was reported to have been destroyed by none other than Sister Maude; a breach of several of the sacred Traditions and the orders of Jürgen himself, who wished to put the Caitiff “to the question” in order to discern his full involvement.
The penalty for such offences in Magdeburg is widely advertised as the Final Death, and it was here that Sister Lucretia would repay the small kindness offered to her by the Cappadocian several nights earlier. She stood next to Maude at court, roundly and imperiously criticising her “excessive sensibilities of Christian compassion” and accusing her of straying in deed but not in heart. The penalty for such a lapse should surely be a period of penance, reflection, and prayer, not the Final Death. As in all things, Lucretia’s haranguing of her fellow sister was passionate and hard, but it could not be lost on the attending members of the Concord that it was an act of singular mercy, as close to rebellion as she had ever come to the word of Lord Jürgen. Her lord relented, and instead of condemning Sister Maude he sentenced her to several years of penance at the feet of Hedwig, the Cappadocian abbess of the Convent of St. Mary the Magdalene in Quedlinburg.
After the Teutonic Order was established in the Burzenland, Sister Lucretia has been compelled to visit on several occasions in order to confer in person with her lord. In fact, she is known to have long taken a keen interest in all the Siebenburgen, having loosed agents to ascertain their value as early as AD 1196. While she is seldom on the scene herself, some of these agents continue to serve her in the Burzenland, and she acts as patron to the Black Cross coterie known as the Törz Brotherhood. These worthies include Ludolf von Oschersleben, Thaddeus von Werl, and Otto von Everstein. In their own ways, each of them reports separately to Lucretia, and they are just the most obvious of her people in the land.
Embrace: AD 1098.
Lineage: Childe of Prince Kuritz of Lüneburg, childe of Baron Hredel, childe of Prince Felix of Passau, childe of High Lord Hardestadt, childe of Erik Eigermann (d?), childe of Ventrue; Lucretia’s lineage is a source of immense pride to her, and indeed it is so prestigious as to afford her even more status than an ancilla of her already impressive stature would be entitled to. She is of the 9th generation.