Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Tales from the Archives: The Original Adventure Entertainment - Chapters Four.and Five


Sadly, Herr Marchall has discovered that the notes remaining in the Archive for the next two Chapters are very limited, therefore, we have presented both Chapters together.

Chapter four.
a bracing trip by sea
In which a Second Family Reunion is to be brought about and Captain Montgomery and Our Heroes are belaboured by High-Flying Prussians.
Dramatis Personae:
Katerina, Grafin (Countess) von Ulmfeld from Bavaria
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
Captain Alan Horatio Montgomery - A British Steamship Captain

After they had liberated the Countess’s son, Erich (& his best Friend, Hendrick) from the Military School near Dresden, our Company escaped the clutches of the Dastardly Prussians for a couple days of well-deserved rest in Bohemia. Hendrick informed the Countess that he had been transferred to the Military School from his home in the Netherlands where his Father, Jan Van Rodeheuvel, was a Key Government Minister. Not unsurprisingly, she decided to take him home and they travelled to the Bavarian Inner Sea port of Frankfurt. There, they bumped into an old friend, Captain Montgomery, who was still exiled from Britain and had managed to gain a position as Skipper of a small paddle-steamer plying the Inner Sea. The party, therefore decided that they would travel to the Netherlands aboard his ship. Once there, they would return Hendrick to his Grateful Father.

 The S.S. Speedwell 

They booked cabins on the SS Speedwell and headed out to sea. After around six hours sailing, they were awoken by the noise of a steam engine approaching through the night mist.  The crew scanned the sea, worried about a collision, when, to their surprise, a grappling hook fell from the sky and hooked the port paddlewheel. Looking up, they could now see the guns of a Prussian Dirigible Warship pointed down at them! Lt. Maximilian von Ström started to cut through the grapple’s rope with his sword but a second grappling hook caught him in the arm as he chopped away. He was lifted off his feet but dropped free as the hook tore the sleeve of his jacket and ripped through the flesh of his arm!
Rudolf, von Ström’s batman, and the Countess quickly hid the boys in trunks in her cabin as a section of Prussian Aero-marines slid down ropes to assault the ship. They forced their way below decks where the ship’s Chinese steward was shot as he tried to lock the bulkhead door.
Whilst some of the Perfidious Prussians herded the crew and several of our heroes together in front of the bridge, the ship’s Chinese cook, climbed up a rope onto the airship overhead. Armed with a Meat Cleaver and with the Fire of Vengeance for his dead brother (the steward) in his heart, the cook cut his way through the crew to the Helm and seized the wheel! He plunged the dirigible into the sea and was never seen again!

The Crashed Prussian Airship.

Whilst the Prussian Marines were distracted by the crashing airship, the crew, von Ström and his batman rushed them, and in a bloody engagement, overpowered the enemy. Below decks, the three remaining Marines were forced to give up their attempts to enter the Countess’s cabin when LeBrun fired several of the ship’s distress rockets down the corridor they were in.

Eventually, the damaged paddle-steamer managed to limp back into the port of Frankfurt, where they handed over the Prussian would-be Aero-Pirates to the authorities, and our Adventurers were forced to continue their journey to the Netherlands by train.

Postscript: The Prussian attack on the SS Speedwell caused a minor diplomatic Incident and a large legal battle, which is still continuing in the Bavarian Courts, over who was responsible for compensating the Steamship Company for the damage to its vessel. Sadly, Captain Montgomery was dismissed and sued for negligence in a Maritime Court. He was acquitted but found it difficult to find work as a Ship’s Master elsewhere.

Host’s Notes:
This Chapter ran in Spring 1997.
Worthy of High Merit: Richard (Leutnant Maximilian Von Ström & his batman) for his Swashbuckling Attitude and Courageous Actions in tackling the Prussian airship and its marines and the NPC Chinese cook who sliced his way through the airship crew like a Hot Meat Cleaver Through Butter.


Chapter five.
The fast chase of a slow train
In which Our Heroes speed through the Rhinelands by Locomotive, but will the Deeds of a Dastardly Magician foil their Best Enterprises?
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

With their attempt to travel to the Netherlands by sea thwarted, the Party took the train to Mainz. From there, they intended to continue through the Rhineland principalities to the Dutch city of Nijmegen where Hendrick’s father would finally meet them.



Mainz Station.
After a night in a hotel, they headed to the Railway Station to catch their train to Nijmegen. Hendrick went off to the Gentlemen’s Cloakroom and didn’t return. A quick search failed to find him but a railway porter said that he had seen the boy shout “Father!” and hug a man who spoke to him in what the porter thought was Dutch. The child and the man had boarded the Express Train to Dusseldorf just as it was pulling out of the station.

With the next train being a slow train, calling at all stations en route, Our heroes had to find another means of catching up with the Dusseldorf Express. After a few Frantic Telegrams and a meeting with the Station Manager, Ruprecht, risked his career and pulled in several favours to organise a Private Train travelling under the  authority of an Urgent Diplomatic Mission which would give them priority over other trains on the tracks. He also telegraphed ahead to a friend in the Eleusinian Order of  Magicians to meet them at Dusseldorf to track where the Kidnapper had taken Hendrick from there.

At Dusseldorf, Herr Krause cast a Track spell and traced Hendrick to a slow train heading to the coast at Dortmund, presumably for his abductor to take him by ship across the Inner Sea and back to Prussia. Herr Krause also said that he could detect traces of Magick in the trail! Swiftly re-boarding their Private Train, the Countess and her friends hurried down the line and overtook the slow train. At the next station they disembarked and when the train with Hendrick arrived, they got on board, searching the carriages with the help of the Train Guards who had been informed of the abduction.

As they worked their way up the train, various Phantasmagorical Images assaulted their sense. Snakes writhed on the floor and seats turned to wolves, driving many of the other passengers and one of our heroes (I refrain from naming them publicly) back towards the rear of the train in Terror! 



The Phantasmagorical Dragon Attacking The Train.
The train neared the coast and the sight of a vast dragon bearing down on them caused the Train Driver and Engineer to stop the locomotive. They soon abandoned the train completely along with most of the passengers as a Huge Tidal Wave swept up from the Inner Sea and rushed towards the railway tracks!
Summoning up all her Courage, the Countess reached the carriage which contained the Evil Illusionist who was casting the spells! In his concentration in creating the large apparitions, which were afflicting the train, he had dropped his Magickal Disguise as Hendrick’s father. In one hand he held the boy kicking and screaming. The Countess took a deep breath and shot the Magician twice which her pocket pistol. As he collapsed to the carriage floor the Illusions Faded and normality was returned!


Hendrick Being Re-United with His Father.
After a brief period of recovery, and one or two glasses of schnapps, the Party continued onto Nijmegen and Re-united Hendrick with his Real Father. There they found that Herr Van Rodeheuvel was part of an anti-Prussian group in the Dutch Government who were trying to influence the Netherlands’ pro-Prussian King against making closer ties with Bismarck and his Allies. Hendrick’s transfer to the school in Prussia had made him a Hostage in Bismarck’s Evil Machinations.

Host’s Notes:
This Chapter ran in Summer 1997.
Worthy of High Merit: Helen (Katerina, Grafin (Countess) von Ulmfeld) for continually managing to resist the Illusionist’s Magickal Onslaughts and dealing authoritatively with the panicking bystanders (is that the right word to describe train passengers or should it be bysitters or bytravellers?) on the Locomotive as the Weirdness unfolded.