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Author Topic: Der Geheime Staatspolizei  (Read 191 times)

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Offline Magyar

Der Geheime Staatspolizei
« on: August 04, 2017, 10:33:24 PM »
Was it immoral? Was any of it justified? Perhaps... but then again perhaps not.

The scent of burning oil was almost overwhelming in its pungency, but they'd been forced to use the gelatinous stuff. Like slime, it was, but it burned even when wet and therefore was made highly useful. An onslaught of rain beat down on them, a tinny plinking sound audible for every individual drop that connected with the black armour of Gwynne's company. The six of them, together, sounded like a delicate and discordant symphony, each plink meshing into the other until you couldn't distinguish one from the whole.

Lightning exposed every nook and cranny on the muddy street, momentarily casting everything into deep contrast and splitting the sky like an arm of blinding light springing from one thunderhead to strike another. A thunderous reply came promptly with a deafening crack and violent rumble; so roaring was it that for a few seconds afterward, Gwynne's ears rang slightly. One could imagine great beasts twisting and turning inside those dark, bulbous clouds that hung over them. Then they were thrown back into darkness, only their now seemingly insubstantial torches providing light.

The storm had crept behind them for nearly a week, like a wolf circling his prey, waiting for the opportune time to strike. And he'd gone for the jugular. Their progress had all but come to a screeching halt, horses unable to cope with the muddied backwoods streets, and the already soft earth becoming akin to a bog in constitution. But damn all that, Gwynne was more preoccupied with how nauseating the scent of that blasted petroleum was.

Useful... hah! Useful! It's not as if the stuff is so thick in the air that you could taste it!

He snorted under his breath, keeping his words entirely to himself. This was not the sort of place you got chatty on an assignment such as his. It was simply the normal rounds they were mandated to carry out, and Gwynne had not been actively assigned when the deployment officer had come around. It wasn't that mage gathering was a bad job. There were certainly worse roles to fill, from an objective standard. It was just - in Gwynne's opinion - rather unpleasant. There was always at least one family who was either hiding a mage member, or a refugee in some desperate ploy to keep them from going north. It never worked, and they were found eventually, one way or another. Every time. The penalty for harbouring mages was to be treated as a mage sympathiser, regardless of circumstance. And that in and of itself was only just below the penalty for being an actual mage. It was the act of metaphorically but also often quite literally tearing these people away from their families and treating them like animals. Gwynne would be lying if he said he didn't feel a twinge of guilt at some of the things he'd done, some of the people he'd made examples of.

But it had to be done. And who was he to stand in the way of what had to be done?

Gwynne sniffed, blinked away his thoughts, and turned back to survey his mounted troop. Five Black Allars, Mordecai all of them, wore similarly ebony armour to him. They were of his personal regiment, after all. But aside from that, they looked rather like he did as well, being from the same area of the same province as he. Tall cheekbones, fair skin, and with the exception of one man, nearly white-blonde beards were all visible poking out from their various helmets. We could very well all be cousins, to some degree, he thought to himself, not for the first time. Their clothing, similar in style and all now equally soaked and muddied around the hem only added to their uncanny invariability.

If one thing was to split them, it was that Gwynne stood nearly half a head taller than the rest, and was perhaps thirty pounds heavier as well. Nonetheless, when all together, they were formidable and intimidating. All well and good for the roles they had been cast. But... there was an odd piece out in their set.

Helmetless and clad in silver plate, Mittermeyer stood out like a sore thumb where she rode next to Gwynne, the dim light glinting off of her armour where it shone dully off of the Allars'. Nevermind her near raven hair, which sat undisturbed on her head, if a tad damp. Suffice to say she didn't exactly blend into the night as well as Gwynne's company did. She wasn't so much shorter than the other men as she was dwarfed by Gwynne, making for a humorous juxtaposition when they stood next to each-other. But they had one thing to link them, and that was the Lily that denoted them Mordecai, allied under the Grand Duke.

Now, they stood out in the street, just in front of a Tanner's shop. The house that sat squatly above it was the last in this town to be routinely checked before they could move on to the next hick village in South Matron. The faster this was done and over with, the faster Gwynne would be happy.

"Shall we?" He asked, just loud enough to be heard over the din of the rain. He'd really rather not, on account of how he sank several inches into the mud every time he dismounted. But, alas, duty called.

@Eckhart_Von_Musel

Offline Eckhart_Von_Musel

Re: Der Geheime Staatspolizei
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2017, 08:59:16 AM »
Whenever Gwendolyn Mittermeyer thought she'd gotten a break, Ansgar decided to test her.

It was supposed to be a simple mission- a routine mage hunt. Gwendolyn had only just gotten back from another, considerably more dangerous assignment when she was ordered to meet up with Gwynne and his men. The church higher-ups didn't like it when Gwendolyn wasn't doing anything for the war effort, so they always had something they wanted her to do- even if it meant a simple job like this. Normally she'd be thankful that she wasn't being sent to the battlefield again, but this time was different.

The storm ripped through the town of Ashleaf like a hot knife through wax. It was impossible to see through the rain, and outside the dim light of their lanterns nothing was visible. The thunder was so deafening, it sounded like the sky itself was crumbling. Gwendolyn herself was completely soaked. Her long hair had plastered itself to her face, and she kept having to push it out of her eyes. Her horse Wilbur was clearly unhappy with the weather as well, and Gwendolyn was having trouble keeping him on course. However, the worst part was by far the smell the lanterns gave off. With each breath, Gwendolyn wanted to vomit. "Whoever invented this petroleum stuff is going to hell."

Finally, they had reached the last building on their list- a small shop belonging to a tanner "Shall we?" she heard Gwynne ask.

Gwendolyn nodded. "Yes. Anything to get out of this rain." she responded. Dismounting Wilbur, she tethered him to the small fence outside the shop, then removed her shield from the strap she kept it on while she was riding. She looked at it pensively for a brief moment, then equipped it. Walking through the mud to the shop, she opened the door and walked inside.

Offline Magyar

Re: Der Geheime Staatspolizei
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2017, 02:08:45 PM »
Two candles burned low and nearly drowned in dishes of their own wax lit the small room. And it was a small room, perhaps only a hundred square feet or so and was longer than it was wide, but it wasn't cramped. It would seem a Tanner didn't need much of a storefront.

It was largely unadorned, the room, with tanning racks lining one wall and rolled hide stacked against the far wall. Two stools sat before a tanning rack with hide currently stretched across it, one of which supported a candle. The other candle sat alone on its dish near the front of the building. Buckets of fat and oil sat out in the open, and the scent was less than appealing. Gwynne quickly extinguished his torch with a metal cup designed for just such a task, before motioning for Gwendolyn to do the same.

"If the grease catches aflame, we'll have to deal with much worse than a hidden mage," he said, handing the torch back through the door. Two of the Black Allars stood in and in front of the door frame, barring exit until the search was done. Another circled around the house, in case a window or door provided a secondary exit.

"Dukesmen!" Gwynne called into the dark shop, and through to the house resting above, "All members of the household, downstairs, now!" He moved as he spoke, leaning to rest his shield against a wall and shift his weight onto one leg. He absentmindedly fingered at the belt loop that kept his hammer on his hip. He turned to Gwendolyn, and muttered, "If they don't come down, you'll need to go get them. Apparently, I scare common folk in the day, nevermind how much more so at night."

Offline Eckhart_Von_Musel

Re: Der Geheime Staatspolizei
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2017, 11:22:59 AM »
The tanner's shop was small, and while it wasn't cramped, it was difficult for Gwendolyn to maneuver while carrying a shield almost as large as she was. Buckets filled with god knows what littered the room, and upon stepping further inside she nearly knocked one over. When Gwynne suggested extinguishing her torch, Gwendolyn grimaced- without the light from the flame, she was nearly guaranteed to knock something over. He had a point however, and she quickly put out her torch. "Probably better we didn't burn the shop down."

"Dukesmen! "All members of the household, downstairs, now!" As Gwynne spoke, Gwendolyn could hear a muffled noise come from upstairs. Nobody came downstairs to greet them however, and Gwynne turned to the White Lily. "If they don't come down, you'll need to go get them. Apparently, I scare common folk in the day, nevermind how much more so at night."

Gwendolyn gave the man a grim smile. "I won't be much better. If the people in this shop are hiding something, and "Ansgar's Shieldmaiden" walks upstairs to fetch them, there will be trouble." She was all too familiar with the consequences having a reputation brought- for every child who saw her as a hero, there was a mage who saw her as a monster.

Thankfully, as they spoke a very disgruntled looking man walked down the stairs. "Do you have any idea what time it is?" he snarled angrily. "My family is trying to sleep! Can't this wait until morning?"

Offline Magyar

Re: Der Geheime Staatspolizei
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2017, 01:16:48 PM »
Gwynne snorted derisively and added a stern, "No. Wake the whole clan, and be quick about it."

The light of the candles wavered ever so slightly, and Gwynne twitched. It had been days - days - since he'd slept in a bed and these peasantfolk thought this was at their inconvenience? Laughable, not to mention entitled. Tanners, cobblers, farmers... they were all the same in Gwynne's eyes. Commoners. Lowly, in the order of things. Accountable to show the proper respect to those who had made more of themselves.

"Hurry up now, I'd rather have this done before the sun crawls up on the dawntide!" He chastised, ignoring the fact that this man had just woken up to bureaucrats intruding his home.

Offline Eckhart_Von_Musel

Re: Der Geheime Staatspolizei
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2017, 06:49:07 AM »
Gwendolyn looked at Gwynne sternly, and then at the tanner. The last thing she wanted was a conflict, especially with somebody who hadn't done anything wrong. She gave the man a sympathetic look. "Please. We won't be long, this should only take us a few minutes."

The tanner stared indignantly at the two Mordecai. "My wife and kids had a long day! They need their rest."

Gwendolyn sighed. "And I don't blame them for wanting it. However, you must understand that we'd like our rest too, and we can't do that until we've checked this house. We're just as human as you."

Looking angry but seemingly unable to come up with a retort, the man went back up the stairs. Gwendolyn could hear talking coming from above her. Satisfied, Gwendolyn turned back to Gwynne. "Please try not to antagonize them. Having a good reputation with the common folk makes this job a lot easier."

Offline Magyar

Re: Der Geheime Staatspolizei
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2017, 04:35:02 PM »
Gwynne didn't like being chastised himself, though he wouldn't gripe. He knew her words held enough truth, but he didn't care enough to take them to heart. These people were sheltered, and they didn't even know it. The worst thing that had ever happened to these people was most likely a neighbour having a heart attack or a child running off into the woods.

"Do as you will, Shieldmaiden," He muttered, relenting... even if only for now, "But I never intended for my career to be one which children pretended to act out with sticks in the street. I intended, and still intend mind you, to protect those same people who are too ignorant to protect themselves. If I have to root through peasant homes in backwater hovels like this place, then I will, but I refuse to put on a jovial veneer to do so. What ultimately matters is that no Connloathian lives are endangered by the black witchery that breeds under a soft rule and in such festering conditions. Surely you can see that, Mittermeyer?"

He could hear the pattering of smaller feet accompanying the steps from before. Children... how many? He couldn't tell. He was no tracker, no huntsman. Well, perhaps that wasn't true. He was hunting now, wasn't he?

Offline Eckhart_Von_Musel

Re: Der Geheime Staatspolizei
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2017, 10:42:25 AM »
Gwendolyn raised an eyebrow. Gwynne had struck a nerve, and her voice- while still as soft as ever- was noticeably more intense. "You seem to be mistaken, comrade. My reputation isn't something I've made any attempt to cultivate. I have the same desires as you do- magic endangers the very fabric of our society, and it must be eradicated." Gwendolyn's eyes narrowed. "The only difference between us is that I'm not an-"

"Why do we have to get up? I wanna go back to bed..."

A child's voice interrupted Gwendolyn before she could say anything she'd regret. The tanner had returned, along with a woman and three young girls. The man stared at the two Mordecai with contempt. "Well? Get on with it then."

Offline Magyar

Re: Der Geheime Staatspolizei
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2017, 07:16:55 PM »
Gwynne nodded to the tanner and drew a small flask from his belt. In the flask was a dark, thick liquid that would forcibly cause one to vomit, given that they were already nauseated. If they were not, they would be by tomorrow, but it would soon enough pass. The mage testing procedure was rather primitive, granted, and relied solely on the idea that magic users grew slightly nauseous when in a Mordecai's field of power, but didn't really account for stomach aches, sickness, and general night nausea. It was one of the ways non-mages were grouped into mage camps, entirely innocent of any perceived crime. Of course, there were other, entirely reliable ways to test magic users... but those involved magic themselves and were thus self-defeating.

He gave the liquid to the tanner, who had undoubtedly tasted the foul elixir before, and bade him, "Drink. Then pass it on to your family, such is the procedure. I'd rather you comply out of the goodness of your heart."

Offline Eckhart_Von_Musel

Re: Der Geheime Staatspolizei
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2017, 07:08:50 AM »
One by one, the members of the tanners family drank the foul liquid- albeit reluctantly. Gwendolyn grimaced. She had only ever smelled the stuff, she didn't want to imagine what it would taste like. While the family were all clearly sickened, they were all able to keep it down- although for a moment it seemed like the tanner's wife wouldn't. After a few minutes of clutching his stomach, the tanner glared at the Mordecai. "Well? Are you happy now?"

Before Gwendolyn could answer, she heard a muffled sneeze come from upstairs. Looking at the man- who now wore an expression of terror on his face-  Gwendolyn rested her hand on her sword. "No. I am not."

With that, Gwendolyn would begin to walk up the stairs, motioning for Gwynne to follow.

Offline Magyar

Re: Der Geheime Staatspolizei
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2017, 10:31:48 AM »
Gwynne spared a glance back to his lieutenant, who had also noticed the small noise over the endless tinkling of the rain on metal. He motioned something and punctuated it with a snap and the company, who'd been rather lax, tightened formation at the stiff barking of the lieutenant.

Gwynne sent a stone-cold neutral stare to the tanner for no more than a second, as if to condemn him for his lies before it was even confirmed... though it might as well have been in Gwynne's mind. The innocent don't hide. He shifted his gaze to the wife and narrowed his eyes. He knew of the persuasion mothers could have regarding their children. The blame for this crime would be distributed very equally if it was to be left to Gwynne.

Gwynne hefted his shield off of the wall and gripped it as if preparing for combat. Who knew what this mage might be able to do... He also loosened the belt loop around his hammer, and followed Mittermeyer up the dark steps.

Offline Eckhart_Von_Musel

Re: Der Geheime Staatspolizei
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2017, 06:46:52 AM »
Gwendolyn had trouble with this particular stairway. The it was incredibly steep, and it was so narrow that her shield made navigating her way up borderline impossible. Finally, Gwendolyn managed to squeeze her way through.

The hallway was much more open than the stairway. Cautiously, Gwendolyn opened the door to the room that was directly above the shop.  It was a child's bedroom- with four beds. Gwendolyn frowned. There had had only been three children downstairs.

A muffled whimper came from under one of the beds as Gwendolyn entered. A small girl who couldn't be older than five poked her head out. "Daddy, are they- eek!" the girl shrieked as she saw Gwendolyn. "D-Daddy said you wouldn't come up here!" Crying, she threw a plush rabbit at the Mordecai. "Go away! I don't want to go to the church!"

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