Introduction

Greetings, gentle reader.

My name is Von Winterstein, Joachim von Winterstein, and these are my memoires. I am sure you will have heard of me and my exploits – tales told around campfires or over flagons of ale in the taprooms of the empire – but herein lies the unvarnished truth.

I am sad to relate that the accounts of my early adventures contained within my trusted journal were lost when I had occasion to jump into the Aver to extinguish a flaming sleeve having moments before rescued a child from a flaming barge (such is the lot of heroes). Even as I write these words on this fresh page, those old notes are drying nearby. If they survive the process in anything like a legible format I will append them to this document for the benefit of future historians, otherwise I fear that the life of a hero leaves little time to recreate that which time and the stinking waters that pass through Averheim have decided to erase.

I have high hopes that some of the earlier material might be salvaged, but I won’t hold my breath over recent events in Ubersreik. Perhaps that is for the best, since I am quite convinced that all examples, even second hand, of Leo Von Bruner’s poetry should be destroyed for the common good. Suffice it to say that, assisted by my loyal companions Karl and Boris, I put an end to the machinations of the cultist Esmerelda, survived the plotting of Max Aschaffenburg, saved the reputation of his cousin Leo Von Bruner (an heroic achievement in itself as anyone who has heard the boy’s poetry can testify!) and enhanced that of his father. All in a day’s work (well, the best part of a week in practice, but the point is made).

I suppose it is worth setting aside a few lines to explain who Karl and Boris are for the benefit of those reading this account years after the fact; it seems unlikely that their names will be much remembered, after all.

Karl, in all honesty, is a decent enough chap whose greatest failing is in having the misfortune to be born into the silver tier, and whose saving grace lies in his constant desire to at least strive for more. While his background has imprinted a certain moral flexibility and his manners tend to lapse on occasion, he is in ever respect the sort of man one could instruct to clean one’s boots and rest easy in the knowledge that he will have the sense himself to palm the task off on someone more temperamentally and economically suited to the task.

Boris is a man of an entirely different calibre. One might best sum him up with reference to the aforementioned drying journal pages. Boris is entirely the sort of man one would not trust to watch paper dry for fear he would seize the opportunity to use my journal as material for wiping his own arse. But such fear would be short lived (or the discovery of the fact of only mild consternation) since for Boris to actually wipe his arse would be a great improvement! The man swaggers about wearing the breastplate of a soldier several centuries dead (and only my own quick wits saved him from the mob for doing so), believes that a superabundance of black powder weapons grant him the gravitas otherwise entirely lacking from his bearing, and seems to bear a familial relationship to your choice of farmyard animals. His one redeeming feature is his ability to end violent conflicts decisively when the situation calls for it (and frequently when it does not).

Together with Karl and Boris (an on occasion another chap by the name of Victor, who showed great promise as a manservant until he spent too long in the company of Boris) I had a variety of escapades in Hugeldal, Ubersreik, Stromdorf, Hugeldal, Ubersreik (we travelled extensively, but only over a small area!), generallt thwarting chaos at every turn and doing the sort of things that a hero and his entourage must, before setting out to do a personal favour for Thane Gronmir Dorisson of Karak Azgaraz.

All of which brought me to Averheim and my investigation into disturbances, disappearances and all manner of other problems at the docks. In short, people were disappearing, bodies were turning up bearing strange poisoned marks, a new criminal figure was “muscling in” on the “turf” of established players. A powder keg scenario in search of a match…

Introduction

Brash Young Fools destrin Trevelyan