Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
Otto von Everstein
An ambitious and capable brother of the Order of the Black Cross. He emulates Lord Jürgen's methods, and should go far if he survives.
A young, slender brother-knight of the Teutonic Order, notable for his aristocratic carriage, his dark, cold eyes and a set of features that would be considered handsome but for his broken nose and the deep scar marring his left cheek. The monk has the bearing of a natural leader, born to rule. The reasons for his vow of obedience must have been compelling indeed. His arms of exceptional quality, even for one of the major military orders.
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, Otto Ritterbrüder von Everstein no longer makes use of the heraldry that he proudly bore throughout the Third Crusade and the turn of the 13th century. However, those familiar with the study of such things may note the design that he formerly used, and may one night adopt again if he should find a reason to take his leave of the Teutonic Order. The arms are directly built upon those of his own sire, August, the childe of Jürgen von Verden, who reigns as the Prince of Halle.
The leader of a coterie of Ventrue brother-knights of the Teutonic Order, and a prominent member of the Order of the Black Cross, Otto von Everstein coordinates much of the defence between the strongholds of Törzburg (called Bran by the Cumans and Pechenegs, and also Dietrichstein by the Saxons) and Rosenau, which lies roughly halfway between the gate of the southern pass and Kronstadt itself. Together with his companions, brothers Ludolf von Oschersleben and Thaddeus von Werl, as well as a 200-man strong detachment of the Teutons, they managed to keep the strength of the Cumans out of the northern reaches of the pass from the autumn of 1211 to the successful culmination of the Cuman War at the end of 1214. He and his fellow Cainite brother-knights were by no means a coterie well-matched to the finer stratagems of the dreaded Cuman Gangrel known as Kordönül, but their ability to hold the strong-points in the south of the Burzenland brought much needed security to the region. It also bought the people of the Burgraviate and their Teutonic overlords much needed time to rebuild and refortify the settlements of Bettel and Weidenbach, both of which served to screen Kronstadt further from Cuman assaults during the war.
Brother Otto claims descent from Jürgen von Verden himself through the venerable prince of Halle, August von Everstein. It is no secret among the Eastern Lords that Prince August is also Otto’s great-great-grandfather, and that he raised the lad for the express purpose of Embracing him into the ranks of the Ventrue. As such, Brother Otto is thought to have enjoyed only the best tutors in statecraft, soldiering, and the duties and honours of lordship. His manners are impeccable (if delivered with the artificiality of the truly arrogant), his oratory skills can stir the passions of the coldest heart, and his knowledge of feudal law and management are more than acceptable. He reads and writes Latin as if it were his first language, and he is well-versed in the heraldry of the Holy Roman Empire, Hungary, and much of France. His skill in warcraft was honed at the feet of his mighty grandsire during his fosterage under Lord Jürgen during the 3rd Crusade, and while he is not the equal in a fight of either Brother Thaddeus or Brother Ludolf, his true ability lies in command. Indeed, one might say that he is being prepared for a position of great significance in the future of the Eastern Lords, and perhaps the Burzenland as well. It was he that named their coterie the Törz Brotherhood, a moniker that came to extend to the members of the Order of the Black Cross at their keep, marking them as an elite cadre within the already elite and secret suborder.
Together they present an odd trio: a scarred nobleman flanked by a short zealot and a hulking veteran, and throughout the Cuman War they became noted as figures of hope across the southern reaches of the Burzenland. Considering the paucity of light cavalry available to the Teutons and their vassals, Brother Otto and his garrison at Törzburg managed to project their power as much as 25 miles to the south of the keep while keeping the lands north free of large bands of marauding Cumans. Concerted efforts engineered by the cunning Kordönül slipped the net on occasion, but no large scale raids penetrated the Burzenland through their pass while the Törz Brotherhood kept their watch. Alas, it would seem that Otto and his fellows proved unable to bring the ceribasi and his men to battle, nor did they manage to strike back at the Cumans’ own lands.
By the middle of 1214, Lord Jürgen had amassed enough strength and security in the Burzenland to take the fight through the pass to the lands of Muntenia, also called Cumania for the dominance of the nomadic tribes there. The war was difficult owing to the strategic brilliance of their opponent, and once he moved through the Törz to begin his southern campaign, the Sword-bearer was compelled to move at a furious pace in order to keep up with the movements of Kordönül. In order to be sure of the security of the pass, Jürgen gave the Brotherhood strict orders to maintain their position. Otto chafed at the orders, especially after word reached Törzburg that their lord was hard-pressed in Cumania, but they held their position over the anxious months ahead. They would have no opportunity to win honour or glory in the lightning-paced fighting to come, but their watch over the Burzenland earned them the love and loyalty of its people. Their vigilance was also rewarded with action of their own, for the Gangrel servants of Kordönül launched a late raid through the pass in October of 1214, and the Brotherhood was on hand to counter them. Brother Otto was laid low in the running skirmish at Rosenau and only the timely assistance of his coterie-mate Ludolf saw him survive the fight.
Over the years since the defeat of Kordönül, Otto has led the Törz Brotherhood in the push to Christianise and civilise the pacified Cumania. They regularly tour the border forts that serve as the locus of authority for the chieftains beholden to the Teutonic Order, advising them on matters of security, resource management, and diplomacy with their neighbours. As the leader of the Brotherhood, Brother Otto has become an indispensible tool of his lord, and there has been talk of the Sword-bearer awarding him the land of Cumania as a vassal lord in the future should he succeed in properly subjugating it.
Embrace: AD 1190.
Lineage: Otto von Everstein is of the 8th generation. He is the childe of Prince August of Halle, Childe of Lord Jurgen von Verden, childe of Hardestadt the Elder, childe of Erik Eigermann (d?), Childe of Ventrue.