A Rendezvous in Bohemia
In which Our Company of Heroes meet a Charming Diplomat, three Possible Spies and a Menacing Manservant.
The Original Invitation to the LARP>
From left to right in the above daguerreotype:
Katerina, Grafin (Countess) von Ulmfeld from Bavaria
Ruprecht, Ritter von Schlan, of the Austro-Hungarian Diplomatic Corps
Lady Louisa Fitzgerald - A British Widow & Traveller
Captain Alan Horatio Montgomery - A British Steamship Capitan
Captain Kenneth Campbell, of the British Black Watch regiment
Mr Geronimo Dedosliberos - An Itinerant Spanish Dentist
Dragovic - The Ritter von Schlan’s Croatian Manservant
Dr. Frederick Bletherington-Smythe - A British MD
The Honourable Cornelius Fortesque-Smythe - A Well-Travelled British Hunter
Not shown as she was the photographer:
Lady Power O’Donahue - An Anglo-Irish Adventuress
In the period of respite following their Harrowing foray beneath the streets of Paris, the party receive a Mysterious Letter. It is an invitation to a meeting at a hunting lodge in the Austro-Hungarian province of Bohemia, near the Bavarian and Saxony borders. It intimates that they will meet friends in their opposition to the Steam Lords and their Prussian allies.
In the middle of the afternoon of the 18th July 1871, that the assembled company took tea and coffee in the rustic hunting lodge of Ruprecht, Ritter von Schlan (known as ‘Otto’ to his friends), a member of the Austro-Hungarian Diplomatic Service.
In addition to Captain Montgomery and his three companions, there were several other guests at the country retreat. The Bavarian Grafin (Countess) von Umfeld, who appeared to be only Rather Friendly Terms with the Ritter, was acting as Hostess for the weekend. Captain Campbell, a serving British Army Officer claimed he was representing a group in the British Military that were opposed to the Political Machinations of the Steam Lords. He was also escorting Lady Power O’Donahue back to her home in Ireland, despite her Better Judgement.
The Ritter’s Croatian manservant, Dragovic, was waiting at table. He caused Severe Consternation amongst the guests by rushing Alarming through the dining room on a few occasions, brandishing a sabre and and Exclaiming in a Violent amalgamation of Serbo-Croat and Latin about Bogles and Bogeys.
Some of the Company dressed for Dinner.
A belated meal formed the centrepiece of an evening in which our Heroes learnt of the aims and intentions of the Second Compact. Captain Campbell seemed Overly Interested in the opinions of Montgomery and his friends concerning this matter. Talk ranged from the New Excavations at Troy to the Paris-Vienna Automotive Race. Several present expressed an interest in visiting Vienna to attend the Grand Finale of the Race.
The Assignation that went unnoticed!
Quietly, in the background Other Things were afoot. Captain Campbell believed that someone was attempting to contact Fortesque-Smythe concerning an arms deal in Prague. In fact, he had overheard a messenger passing Prussian Military Secrets to the Ritter, which was why the meeting was held close to the border. Campbell also tried to persuade Fortesque-Smythe to help support a Military Coup against the Steam Lords in Britain! This convinced Fortesque-Smythe that Campbell was a Spy.
Montgomery and his associates had been warned that a British Government Spy might be present but were not sure if it was Campbell or Lady Power O’Donohue. The Ritter persuaded all those present, excepting Campbell and Lady Power, to support the Second Compact.
The party of British Exiles sadly now dispersed. Dr. Bletherington-Smythe and Señor Dedosliberos set up a joint practice in Paris. Fortesque-Smythe’s luck was poor and with his financial assets seized by the Oppressive British Government, he made a living as a Trading Factor in Dortmund. Only Captain Montgomery joined the Second Compact as an Active Participant and remained as a Dramatis Persona in the furtherance of our tale. As you will see, Dear Reader, Fortune smiled upon the Good Captain and he acquired the command of a small steamer plying the Inner Sea.
This Chapter ran in July 1996 and was our first ever LARP event.
It didn’t go too badly although the plot lines were very simple. Everyone enjoyed themselves. The only big problem was that dinner was very late! We realised the gas oven at the lodge wasn’t working well. We thought the gas cylinder was nearly empty but discovered that a squirrel has chewed through the rubber tube connecting the cylinder to the oven! Cling film & gaffer tape to the rescue!
Worthy of High Merit: Dave (Dragovic) for being a very attentive servant and maintaining an air of barely subdued menace all weekend. Captain Campbell commented that “The Bosnian (sic) manservant always looked as if he would be as willing carve YOU as he would the leg of lamb he was serving at dinner”.