Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
Also known as Cluj, Napoca and Kolozsvár
Titular Ruler: Stephen II Burgrave von Klausenburg
Cainite Ruler: Prince Mitru
Governmental Mix: Moderately powerful Burgrave backed by the noble faction of his city council. The Burgrave, his edlers and landed knights are cowed by the supernatural occurrences that have taken place outside the settlement since AD 1190. They have been warned by the ‘Forest Spirits’ that they will suffer if they do not pay the proper respects- and a few midnight visitations convinced them of Mitru’s sincerity and the veracity of their own superstitions. The parish priest is absolutely powerless, but the new archdeacon is far more dynamic, and seeks to build a power-base. Few guilds have any authority on the town council, but a number of prominent merchants do, and represent their own interests.
The City Council is 15 strong, consisting of: Burgrave Stephen II, Mayor Christof Klein, Father Armin, Archdeacon Aurel von Vohburg, Kapitan Bartholomäus ritter of the city guard, 3 landed knights, 3 guildsmasters, 3 edlers & the Abbot Emanuel of the monastery of Kolozs (who hasn’t attended a meeting in years).
Military Disposition: Standing army of 80 city guards, responsible for maintaining the wall watch, keeping law and order in the city, and patrolling the outlying roads and villages. This force is commanded by Kapitan Bartholomäus ritter, who is assisted by Leutnants Stephen ritter (the Burgrave’s son and heir) and Dietmar ritter, a nerve-frayed veteran who hates his job. The city guard is funded by tolls on the roads approaching the city, as well as a gate toll, land taxes and a ferry service over the Someșul Mic River.
The town militia can be turned out in times of crisis, and consists of 280 able-bodied men that are required to practice one saturday out of each month, as well as a further 44 men of the retinues of the landed knights. Klausenburg has a total of 7 landed knights in her service, with a further 3 knights attached to their retinues. The Klausenburg militia is funded by the guild and trade taxes.
Population: c. 1140(55% Saxon, 29% Romanian, 15% Magyar, 1% other). Alone of the Siebenburgen, Klausenburg’s guilds admit Vlachs (albeit with some resentment). Saxons own nearly all the land in the city and throughout the small Burgraviate. Romanians in Klausenburg are employed within the city in all stripes of trade and crafts, as well as the usual army of house servants or serf farmers common throughout the rest of the Siebenburgen. The Magyars are traders or factors for the border lords. A handful of Greeks and Jews work as scholars, scribes and tutors. Klausenburg’s population has not grown appreciably since AD 1180, and a number of Saxon families would move on if they dared be caught outside at night.
Economy: Historically poor and not improving. Klausenburg lies on the Desch-Turda-Weissenburg salt trade route, and boats unload their cargoes here for land transport south. However, few caravans are interested in trading here much, or lingering long- the guilds are under interdiction by their Siebenburgen neighbours, and the legends of the ‘Forest Spirits’ unsettle the traders. Many rare hardwoods coveted in Italy and Dalmatia grow here, and a number of merchants have made small fortunes in the lumber trade. For the most part, Klausenburg is overwhelmingly agrarian in nature.
A note on Trade: Most Klausenburghers are poor, and tend to use coin only for trade and luxury items and barter among themselves.
Cainite Affairs of Klausenburg
Mitru the Hunter is prince of Klausenburg, though he has never been heard to say as much. Instead he claims the princedom of Napoca, and will not suffer the Saxon mame of his Domain to be uttered in his presence. Mitru has sired over a dozen progeny since his Embrace in 1190 CE, and while only a handful are part of his pack full-time, many of them make their lairs within a couple of nights journey from the walls. Out of respect for him, they will come running if he sends word but for the most part, they do not share his love for his people.
Most of the Traditions are enforced extremely harshly by Mitru and his pack. Of special note are the Second and Sixth Traditions. The pack will mercilessly destroy any Cainites that dare enter their city, usually by attacking from ambush. This is done to preserve the lives of their people, who suffered under the yolk of careless Cainite lords in the past. The Hunter proudly boasts that not a single mortal of his Domain has died under the fangs of a Cainite since 1190 CE. The Silence of the Blood is observed only so far as no Cainite is to approach a mortal and reveal themselves openly. All of the the settlements in the Burgraviate know that there are ‘Forest Spirits’ in the woods who demand tribute in blood in return for their protection from even worse monsters out there. It is the responsibility of each settlement, but Klausenburg in particular, to see that people bleed into buckets before dusk when required, and leave the buckets at the edge of the forest as the sun sets. The “Night Creatures” leave a sign before dawn of the previous night when the village or the city are required to do so.
For the most part, Mitru and his pack remain outside the walls and patrol the Burgraviate, watching with equal intensity for Tzimisce and Ventrue incursions. Much of the time, they travel alone or in pairs, but keep in touch with each other via animal messengers that are coordinated by Lorea, who remains within the city itself. Lorea and her mortal kin are very good at keeping tabs on the coming and goings of visitors, and will quickly hear if Cainites bull their way in through the gates after sundown (since no one is allowed in after dark, this is an easy task).
Cainites of Cluj-Napoca
- Mitru the Hunter, Prince of Napoca (7th gen Gangrel, Childe of Arnulf, e. 1190 CE)
- Lorea, informal Watcher over the townsfolk (11th gen Gangrel, Childe of Tiberiu, e. 1192 CE)
- Nicoleta, Mitru’s best hunter (11th gen Gangrel, Childe of Tiberiu, e. 1192 CE)
- Wulfar, Mitru’s right hand man (8th gen, Childe of Mitru, e. 1197 CE)
Prominent Mortal Residents
- Stephen II der alte Burgrave von Klausenburg: while the Burgraviate is not meant to be a hereditary position, Stephen II is the third generation ruler of the city. His father and namesake was a competent and clever man who placed most of the authority in the town within the family hands, and his grandfather, Klaus, was responsible for gaining the charter from King Ladislaus to found the settlement. Over 60 years old and quite ready to shuffle off to Purgatory, Stephen has watched the growing prosperity of his town slip away due to the demands of the ‘Forest Spirits’, and the resulting interdiction from the Guilds of the Siebenburgen. He is a deeply irritable, tired and very afraid old man; resigned to the knowledge that his reign has been a disappointment.
- Mayor Eduard Salzhändler: A fearful and incompetent man, Eduard is known to be the lackey of Bonifác Kereskedő, a Magyar merchant who has a near monopoly of the salt trade in the city. The mayor sits in his large house on the town square and largely does what he is told.
- Christof Klein, lumber merchant: Sometimes called the “Honest Man of Klausenburg” (implying therefore that no one else is), Christof decries the corruption of the Burgrave and the Mayor whenever given the chance. He claims that the guilds could administer the city far better than the aristocracy, and has been generous in the past with silver and food when the needy come calling.
- Father Armin: A native of Klausenburg and formerly a strong advocate of moral rectitude and town growth, Armin’s congregation has been steadily shrinking since the ‘Forest Spirit’s’ began demanding their tribute. He has written to his superiors numerous times, and despite their assurances that help is on the way, none has arrived other than the new Archdeacon, who is not at all a godly man. Father Armin’s only ally is the aging Abbot Ábel of Kolozs, and the two of them are mostly resigned to their impotent fate.
- Kapitan Bartholomäus ritter von Sangerhausen: A keen hunter in his youth, Bartholomäus would not dare be caught outside the city after dark these nights. He ensures that no one comes in after dark, punishes those who violate the curfew, and otherwise prays that the tribute to the “forest spirits” will be enough. He genuinely likes the Burgrave’s son, and hopes the young man will not do anything foolhardy in the years to come.
- Bonifác Kereskedő, salt merchant: The true economic power in town, Bonifác owns about a quarter of the land, and more than half of the business owners owners of Kronstadt owe him money to a greater or lesser degree. He does not desire office, feeling more comfortable pulling the mayors strings from the comfort of his own home.
- Archdeacon Aurel von Vohburg: Very much the fashionable man about town, Aurel comes from a good family in Saxony. He entered the church when it was clear that he would not inherit, and enjoys the lavish lifestyle that this affords him. He considers his appointment to Klausenburg an insult, perpetrated by the Bishop of the Seibenburgen because Aurel was forced upon him by the Archbishop of Esztergom.
- Abbot Ábel Emanuel of Kolozs: An old monk of great intelligence and wisdom but faltering faith, Ábel has fallen into a siege mentality. He has seen the resurgent belief in the “forest spirits” erode the power of the Church in Klausenburg, and his reports to the Archbishop of Esztergom seem to have fallen on deaf ears. The “forest spirits” do not step inside the walls of the abbey, and Ábel has become convinced that it is the only godly place left in the area. The gates of Kolozs are never opened after nightfall, for any reason.
- Stephen der jüngere ritter von Klausenburg: A proud and gallant young knight, Stephen the Younger hates that the people live in fear, and that Kluasenburg has become cut off from the rest of the Siebenburgen. He has stated in trusted company that the ‘forest spirits’ must be destroyed, but admits that he is afraid and has little idea of how it can be done.
Inns, Taverns & Alehouses of Klausenburg
Other Notable Locations
The City Walls: Well-armed guards patrol the walls and guard the gates at all times, especially after sundown. Klausenburg has 18-foot high walls, strengthened by 12 towers. The citadel is attached to the walls in the northern-western part of the town, and the Church of St. Stephen sits in the walls shadow to the east of the squat fortress.
The City Square: the centre of business and social life within Hermannstadt, the square hosts market days and fetes on a regular basis. A number of guild headquarters are based on the square, as well as the house of the mayor, which sits on a small hill in the centre of town. Several inns and taverns that do a meagre trade, a number of guild headquarters, and a handful of well-off edlers and merchants also have homes facing the square. A large tree dominates one end of the area, and it is thought to be more than 1000 years old. The square has also has two public stocks and a well.
The Church of St. Stephen: A wooden church in need of repairs, St. Michael’s is home to the morbid and despondent Father Armin. A rectory is attached to the church, which Father Armin is compelled to share with Archdeacon Aurel von Vohburg.
Cluj Citadel: designed by the extraordinary Nosferatu master architect Zelios, this keep is the smallest and least appealing of the Siebenburgen citadels. Even so, it is a strong citadel, and it dominates the depressing landscape of the city. It is the home of the city watch and the seat of the Burgrave’s power, but Stephen II prefers his estate and is rarely found here. The citadel has a commanding view of river traffic coming down the Someşul Mic River.Hoia Forest: Starting in the hills about 4 miles west of the walls, moving up the ridge, and stretching another 5 miles further before moving into heavier woods and hills, this forest of hornbeam, cornel, hazelnut, and oak. It has a reputation among the locals for being haunted. Even so, there are many wild apple trees here also and groups of women often go into the woods to pick fruit early in the morning, taking care to be home before twilight. The vampires of the area also give the place a wide berth, choosing to sink into the ground elsewhere.
To be Continued