Thursday, 10 November 2016

Tales from the Archives: The Original Adventure Entertainment - Chapter Three

Chapter Three.
A Sundered family re-united!
In which Our Tale turns to a New Party of Ardent Adventurers based in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a Mother’s Love engenders a Daring Rescue!

Dramatis Personae:
Katerina, Grafin (Countess) von Ulmfeld from Bavaria
Ruprecht , Ritter von Schlan, of the Austro-Hungarian Diplomatic Corps
Leutnant Maximilian Von Ström, of the Austro-Hungarian Lancers
Louis LeBrun - A French Inventor
Frau Elsa Berg - An Austrian Nursing Sister of the Order of Cassandra

The Prussian Military Academy that Erich and Hendrick were attending.

In early August 1871, after their Rendezvous in Bohemia, several of the party travelled on to Vienna to watch the Grand Finale of the Paris-Vienna Automotive Race. About a week later, The Countess received an invitation to dine at the Ritter’s apartment in Friedrichstrasse.

A few months earlier, The Countess had asked Ruprecht to track down the whereabouts of her son, Erich. The Countess’s Husband (now Deceased) had sent Erich to a Military School in Bavaria but eight months ago, Erich was sent on an educational exchange to a Prussian Military School near Colditz in Saxony. The Ritter had used his ‘Diplomatic Contacts’ to find the boy. He also discovered that the transfer to the Prussian school was Extremely Unusual and had happened Very Precipitously. The documents had been signed by Prussian Oberstleutnant Heinrich Von Vögelwalde, the Countess’s Evil Nemesis!

Using a Cunning Code, the Countess sent a Secret Message to Erich in his birthday card, letting him know that an Escape as being planned. Under an assumed name, she booked rooms at a Sanitarium, near Leipzig, and close to the school. Frau Berg was posing as her nurse and Louis LeBrun as her manservant. Leutnant Von Ström was to take a train to Berlin with a stop at Dresden where he slipped off to join the others.

The party hired a large Steam Automotive with Louis LeBrun driving, dressed in a Chic Red Leather chauffeur’s uniform ( M. LeBrun has asked me to point out that this was the Countess’s choice not his). They drove out to some woods near the school and waited until dusk. Our Heroes dismounted the trunk on the rear of the Automotive. Before setting out, the Great Inventor, Louis LeBrun had swapped the Automotive's normal trunk for one of his newly-created Life-Preserving Travellers’ Trunks. This allowed Leutnant Von Ström and LeBrun to row across the moat surrounding the school. Inside the school, Erich and his Best Friend, Hendrik, started a fire in the school’s stable block and released the horses to create a Diversion.

Meanwhile, back at the Automotive,the Countess and Frau Berg were attacked by Boggarts. The faerie nuisances were in danger of seriously damaging the automotive, making escape difficult. The pair were rescued from the assault by the appearance of a Hob, who was a friend of Ruprecht, and had been asked to keep a eye on the proceedings. The Hob later acquired the name of' Bandolie' after the crossed bandoleers of silver throwing knives he often carried). He swiftly chased off the Boggarts

Having made their way around the equestrian training hall and reaching the school, Von Ström and LeBrun broke open a door on the north side of the building. They quickly found the boys hiding near the dormitory staircase. It was now that they found out that Erich wanted to bring his best friend, Hendrick with him when they escaped. Stealthily, the four of them made their way back to the trunk.

As there was not enough space for four, the two boys put their clothes in the trunk and swam across the moat. LeBrun and Von Ström paddled along behind but were spotted!  Their efforts to increase their speed made the trunk unstable and LeBrun ended up in in the moat! This Soaking was sufficient to display the Inadequate Quality of his new uniform, as it shrank and the Red Dye leached out and his jacket and breeches turned a Fetching Shade of Baby Pink!

The boys, Von Ström and LeBrun reached the other side of the moat and made their way to the waiting Automotive. As they drove off, they heard the sound of horses’ hooves behind them and realised they were being chased by mounted ‘School Staff’. They opened fire on Our Fleeing Heroes and proved to be Surprisingly Proficient Shots despite being Bad Chaps. Their Third Fusillade put several holes in the Automotive’s boiler! Losing speed, Our Party had to hastily take cover in a small hamlet.

Maximilian von Ström in his Lancers uniform.

Despite abandoning the Automotive and hiding in a barn, the Countess and her friends were discovered by the Prussians. The Leutnant defended the door and the others covered other parts of the building. In Vicious Hand-to-Hand Fighting against Four Opponents, Von Ström is wounded in his right arm by a sword blow as he cut down two enemies and shot a third assailant at very close range with his revolver. The Countess and the boys defeated a Prussian with a chain they found. Meanwhile LeBrun & Frau Berg saw off another with a pitchfork and a wheelbarrow. This managed to persuade their attackers to discretely withdraw.

Our Adventurers made their way, on foot, to the nearest railway station. Whilst boarding the train, they were discovered but before the railwayman could call for the Police, Von Ström silenced him with a stiletto dagger which Shocked his companions Considerably!

They quickly found out that the train they had boarded was going in the Wrong Direction, in fact, they were steaming rapidly towards Berlin! When the locomotive stopped near a large siding, our party slipped off and crossed the tracks.

They finally managed to catch a goods train to Bavaria but at Gera, the last main stop before crossing the border, they were found by the Prussian Police who had been ordered to search for them on all trains arriving at the station. The Ladies sneaked out with the boys whilst LeBrun and Von Ström caused a loud distraction by running through the station, overturning luggage trollies and scattering passengers. They were soon surrounded and arrested by the Police.

As the Police wagon was travelling between the Railway and Police Stations, something frightened the horses and they bolted. Suddenly, the back doors of the wagon opened and Bandolier stared in, grinning happily! LeBrun and Von Ström tumbled out and landed in the road. They picked themselves up and ran down the street. One of the Policemen, who had also fallen off the wagon, drew his Pistol and Fired Several Shots at Our Fleeing Heroes! A Ricochet struck LeBrun in the foot! Von Ström spotted a carriage and leapt aboard, pushing the driver off. He dragged LeBrun into the carriage as ‘Bandolier’ grabbed the reins sending them Careering through the streets at Breakneck Speed!

They stopped outside the town and unhitched the horses, riding south overnight and a couple of days later, reached the Bohemian border, entering the Safety of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They then rejoined the Ladies and Boys at the Ritter’s Hunting Lodge near Schlan.

Host’s notes:
This Chapter ran in Spring 1997. The characters changed as I had moved away and gathered together a new set of players amongst my friends in my new location..
Worthy of High Merit: Jont (Louis LeBrun) for inventing the Life-Preserving Travellers’ Trunk and maintaining his Panache, despite being clad in a Skin tight ,Pink Leather Chauffeur’s Uniform and being shot in the foot.

The Countess’s son, Erich, later appeared as a Dramatic Character in the second Adventure Entertainment we ran.