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Heldannic Knights NPCs -- Meinhard & Schnorkelmeister

by Bruce Heard

Siegfried Meinhard: Brother Siegfried received the responsibility of governing Landfall after the removal of Lernal the Swill, the previous ruler. Siegfried started out as a typical Hattian recruit, eager and devout, but his years of service eroded his character, gradually permitting his natural weaknesses to claim the best of what made him a knight on the first place. From the inflexible, dedicated warrior he was, Siegfried became more motivated by greed and personal advancement.

His natural traits took over in earnest when he first experienced the true personal power of governorship in a corrupt city. He has been able to conceal his nefarious deeds thus far with careful planning. He also managed to surround himself with several knights of the same ilk and even a few corrupt Chaplains of the Hammer. Together, they rule Landfall and keep it as rotten as ever. Worse, they've allowed thieves guilds back in Landfall, provided they, under assumed names, deposit a part of their gains to the accounts of Siegfried and his toadies, also under assumed names.

He makes generous use of hired spies to watch the thieves and occasionally catches one guild or another failing to pay their dues. The offending guild is promptly demolished, in the most brutal ways and with great publicity lest anyone in Freiburg questions his efforts to uphold Heldannic Law. Siegfried uses several networks of spies watching each other, the thieves, his underlings, and key figures in Freiburg to such an extent that occasionally he himself gets entangled in his own web of intrigue.

Siegfried directly supports the efforts of Inge Gottfried (qv) but for the wrong reasons. He believes her efforts will cause confusion and disorder among the knights, which would help him conceal his doings in Landfall. Eventually, in the case of a Heldannic collapse, he intends to hold on to Landfall and rule it as his own. Already, he has saved a fair amount of gold and contacted local agitators and known rebels to form an army (under yet another assumed name), supposedly to overthrow the Heldannic Knights. He has tried hiring Karl von Schnorkelmeister (qv) - unsuccessfully. For fear that the banished knight would one day reveal his ill-fated request, Siegfried has turned lose several of his hirelings to stalk the old mariner and kill him.

Famous Words: "Rule them. Squeeze them. Pry the roots of all evils from their twisted, gnarled hands. It is for Vanya's greatest glory."

Rank: Grand Knight. Born: AC 967 in Hattias. Hair: bald. Eyes: black. Height: 5'10". A scar runs down his right jaw. Siegfried has allowed himself to grow a bit too fat for a knight, but this is deceptive as he remains an able swordsman capable of a certain bravery if there is something to be gained.

Karl von Schnorkelmeister: Brother Karl, better known by his crew as "Herr Kapitän", has had an uneven career in the Heldannic navy. Up until Dalgaard Gustavsson (qv) wrenched her away from him, Karl had been the commander of the illustrious Sturmkondor.

Karl came from northern Hattias with few preconceived ideas about Heldanners and the Order. He became involved with shipping, first as an officer and later as a ship captain. He had distinguished himself at sea numerous times, but somehow his ships always seemed to sink or crash under his feet. In all cases, the unfortunate sinking had not been caused by his actions, and the Order maintained his service up until recently. Although the crew respected their courageous captain, most in the Heldannic navy fanned the rumour he bore a jinx, and often worried about when it might return to haunt them.

Earlier in his career, Karl had questioned the navy policy that only those who took the Oath of Service should be permitted aboard Heldannic warbirds. His thinking changed dramatically when, following the disastrous battle with the Simbasta, he was ordered to fly the Sturmkondor back to Freiburg with minimal crew and military on board. He picked up a group of straggling men-at-arms, indentured soldiers native of Heldannic Territories, to beef up security aboard the warbird. Once aboard, their sergeant, Dalgaard Gustavsson (qv) got to the ship's skygem and threatened to remove it unless the rest of the crew surrendered. Soon afterward, the mutineers dropped him off along with the rest of the crew and took off with the skyship.

Since then, Karl harbours a hatred of native Heldanners and a natural suspicion of anything non-Hattian. He now fully supports the views and actions of Sigmund Treitel (qv) in this regard. Unfortunately, as his quest to atone for his error and the loss of the Sturmkondor, the Order commanded him to seek out and dispatch Dalgaard and his companions, by any means of his own. Until then, he remains banished from the Order and shunned by all.

Famous Words: "I will hunt them on the seas. I will hunt them in the skies. And as Vanya is my witness I will die a thousand deaths before I give up."

Rank: Knight Banneret. Born: AC 973 in Hattias. Hair: short, black, bald on the top; small goatee. Eyes: blue, wears a monocle. Height: 5'10", medium build. Karl's left arm is a wooden, gnomish-built prosthesis. It looks even stiffer and clumsier than Karl himself, but it can bend at the joints and its leather-gloved hand can manipulate simple objects with lurching, mechanical movements. Karl was allowed to keep his weapons and armour, but not the outfit bearing the symbols of the Order.