Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
Ludolf von Oschersleben
A veteran soldier among the knight-monks of the Teutonic Order. Brother Ludolf is, in theory, an ally of the Concord.
A tall, strapping veteran of a knight garbed in the black and white of the Teutonic Order. He is middle-aged, with iron grey in his brown hair and beard, and yet he seems older still with his deeply lined, careworn and scarred face. A patchwork of horrid scars mar his left cheek and brow, leaving the sight of his left eye obscured by a cataract. In addition to the arming sword at his side, he carries a battle axe.
The uniform coat of arms of the Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, also known as the Teutonic Knights. Having sworn his vows as a full monk of the Order, Ludolf Ritterbrüder von Oschersleben no longer makes use of the heraldry that he bore until forswearing worldly concerns after the 3rd Crusade and joining the Military Orders.
This strapping, older monk of the Teutonic Order very much fits the ideal of the grizzled, scarred veteran of the Military Orders that many of the folk of Kronstadt might imagine. He is rarely seen in the city itself, as he is stationed in the key fortress of Dietrichstein. Together with his brothers-in-arms Otto von Everstein and Thaddeus von Werl, he is responsible for holding the Törz gorge against he threats to the south, and the three of them performed an admirable job of doing so during the Cuman war, keeping the enemy from conducting further raids on the hapless outlying communities of the western Burzenland. They made use of a detachment of the city’s Pecheneg mercenaries to supplement their own heavy cavalry, and succeeded in establishing a relatively safe zone as much as 25 miles into the pass south of the fortress.
Unlike his coterie-mates, Ludolf presents as neither an aristocrat nor a zealot. Instead, he is a soldier, through and through. While Otto has leadership qualities and the mind of a commander, and Thaddeus is the more accomplished fighter, Brother Ludolf has the perspective of the man with his boots on the ground, shoulder to shoulder with the common sergeant. In addition to this, his years in the Holy Land fighting the Saracens and serving in the commanderies and hospices of the Order of St. Mary were not all spent with an axe in his hands. He has a layman’s understanding of Eastern medicinal practices, and he has worked to improve the quality of the infirmary in the fortress as well. The serving brothers of Dietrichstein respect him like no other, and he frequently organises the night watches, troop rotations and other orders of duty for this reason. The men grumble a bit less when Ludolf is in charge, and they sing his praises when on furlough in Kronstadt. As a result, he has garnered no small amount of fame as the “Axe of Dietrichstein” across the Burzenland in recent years.
Within the coterie itself, Ludolf often serves as the voice of military experience, worldliness and common horse sense, having fought in a good many of the petty wars of Saxony even before taking the cross for the Third Crusade. While Otto learned how to be a captain at the feet of Jürgen von Verden himself, his ideas sometimes seem to fall short on details and he has grown to appreciate Ludolf’s contribution, for the older soldier brings the perspective of the rank and file to their discourse.
Marius de Şimand has openly opined to his coterie-mates that Ludolf is present in the Burzenland to represent his sire, Rudiger von Goslar, who owes a Life Boon to the bloodline of the late Bernhard Billung, who saved the famed Ventrue’s life from an Assamite during the Second Crusade. If true, this would appear to make Brother Ludolf an ally of sorts to the Concord and their students. Whatever the case, he has not been swift in offering his services.
Ludolf is gregarious in the company of soldiers, but guarded about his origins outside the company of his fellow Ventrue and the brothers (both mortal and undead) of the Black Cross. It is known that after he spent the best part of a decade in Acre after the King’s Crusade, a sworn guardian of the Hospital of St. Mary in Jerusalem, before taking up service in the short-lived and ill-starred German Crusade of 1197. It was on this campaign that he met his sire, Brother Rudiger, and formed a friendship that would lead to his Embrace into the Clan of Kings in 1199.
He and Brother Rudiger share a great many personality traits, including a strong sense of duty, loyalty, honour and dignity, a love of the soldiering life, and a generally fair disposition towards the common man. However, they do differ in a number of important ways. Firstly, Brother Ludolf has not yet displayed an interest in stepping onto the via equitae (the Road of Chivalry), a code to which his sire adheres most ardently, preferring instead to cling to his old mortal values. Secondly, despite having taken the vows of the Order, the childe seems to lack the strong religious convictions of the sire, reciting his prayers dutifully and going through the motions without any true enthusiasm. And lastly, good Brother Ludolf seems to have taken on a weary air in recent years, quite out of step with the verve and elan for which Rudiger von Goslar is well known.
Indeed, some of the Cainites of the Burzenland and the Eastern Lords wonder (somewhat unworthily) whether the famed Axe of Dietrichstein, this redoubtable pillar of the Order of the Black Cross, truly has the stamina for immortality. Whatever the case, he fought well in the closing stages of the Cuman War, saving the life of his friend Brother Otto from a vicious Cumanian Gangrel late in 1214, and the coterie has gone on to be dubbed the Törz Brotherhood by their fellows among the Order.
Embrace: AD 1199.
Lineage: Childe of Rudiger von Goslar, childe of Frederick the Bold (d), childe of Gustav Hesse; further lineage is unknown, but Brother Ludolf places himself among the 9th generation.