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Synn and Wulf von Klagendorf

by Bruce Heard

In the Princess Ark series, Herr Rolf was slain by Synn, but then we discover that he is back and in command of the Heldannic Knights under the name of Wulf von Klagendorf (Rolf was his adventuring id, so to speak). Now, if a Night Dragon kills an individual, it has the power to claim its soul and inhabit its body with its spirit (correct me if I'm wrong), so can it be that this von Klagendorf is another puppet of Synn (or Synn herself)?

I remember someone asking me this question some time ago (you're the same person, right?). Frankly I was puzzled by that one. It goes back years, so in order to answer to this accurately, I'd have to locate my original material and dig through that. Having moved, become a father, changed jobs (blah & blah), that requires time... Yes, nag-nag-nag...

So, we're left with two possibilities. Either (A) I/we meant to do that! or (B) I/we goofed somewhere down the line.

A) I/we meant to do that! Okay cool, we come out of this one smelling like a rose, but then again I can't remember how I/we pulled this one off (or planned on doing so and never got around to revealing this little bit of data). So, that means we should think about applicable solutions.

B) Oops, ack, fumble... Okay, Murphy's Law strikes again, which means we should also think about applicable solutions to patch the problem up.

Which brings everyone back to the proverbial Square Numero Uno! Assuming I never get around to finding out what really happened, I shall therefore come up (contrive/concoct/conjure/and otherwise dream up) possible solutions.

Our little Wulfie could have been replaced with a clone at the time of his death. There are problems with that, but it's been done before. Herr Rolf (the original) remains a pawn of Synn, to be revealed at another time. As an alternate to this, there is the "ACME Herr Rolf look-alike" or a twin brother who had been imprisoned by the Heldannic Knights, and kept aside for just such an event. At the time the knights figure out their master is dead, they pull the rabbit out of the great helm, and... voila... the "master" is back. (You need to watch the Japanese movie "Kagemusha" to understand where I'm going with this). The knights resorted to this to avoid a possible schism within their ranks (the Good Knights vs the Bad Knights). Vanya thought of the subterfuge as being utterly entertaining and audacious and decided to go along with the charade for the time being...

Another solution is that Rolfie got lost while travelling limbo (I'm thinking about what I wrote about Mystara's limbo and the "pre-death" tribulations of a dying man's soul). I don't buy that one. Synn's way too powerful to allow a soul to run off in Limbo, unless of course someone more powerful than her was there also. That means probably someone like Vanya, or a herald of hers. After all, Wulfie is the big kahuna of the Heldannic Knights, and thus a key pawn of Vanya on Mystara.

Whether the latter scenario occurred or not, Vanya could have otherwise "negotiated" the release of Rolfie's soul and its return to his body. That's likely to have been a pricey deal, which of course Wulfie needs to repay, in deeds I presume.

These two or three scenarios help explain what is otherwise an annoying inconsistency in the setting's timeline. We wouldn't want to have that, of course.