USW: Early Modern Magick

Session 5: Better Than Any Man, Part 4

N.S. Sunday, October 12, 1631 / O.S. Sunday, October 2, 1631

With Goffhilf unconscious and the others injured to varying degrees, Gasparo, Maksymilian, Mannfried, and Ross decide to flee Thüngen as soon as possible. They gather their comrade and sneak out the back. Fortunately finding two scrawny horses, they load the gear and their unconscious companion on the beasts, and leave town.

As they leave, smoke trails from one of the homesteads on the farmland.

After getting turned around and wandering for a bit, they find their way to a stream and start walking downstream to avoid the madness of Karlstadt, Würzburg, and the approaching Swedish Army. As the river terminates in a lake, they stop to wash themselves. As they rest briefly, a woman comes crashing through the brush. She is quite surprised to see the group, and immediately seems resigned to whatever fate they have in store for her, but is pleasantly surprised when they seem wary, but not hostile.

She explains that she is fleeing the witch trials in Würzburg, and as the group seems somewhat amenable and is also moving away from there, she asks if she may travel with them. They, in turn, ask if she can aid their friend. She says she helped her son when he had the croup, so she can try…

She does her best to clean, handle, and wrap Goffhilf’s wounds, and the group goes on its way.

They spend the rest of the day marching to the northeast. At some point, it becomes clear that Goffhilf has come down with some manner of fever. They return to the pond so that Mannfried can treat him with scrounged leeches and muddy water. They then continue marching until night falls, when they sleep and take watches. Having run out of food, they continue marching in the hopes of finding some village. They find none before nightfall.

The next day, they awaken to find that Goffhilf is very sick. They decide to press onward in the hopes of finding a settlement where he can obtain treatment. They wander until they find a clearing with several large, ominous dirt mounds within. They decide to take a 90° turn and start heading southeast, away from the mounds. They finally come to a stop when they hear Goffhilf shudder and breathe his last.

Gathering flattened rocks, Gasparo, Mannfried, and Ross start digging while Maksymilian and the woman, Gerdrut Sprinthoffer, go foraging. They return a few hours later with nothing.

Meanwhile, Ross finds a skull while digging and decides to recover the spot and dig elsewhere. Mannfried and Ross manage to complete the hole by nightfall and inter Goffhilf within. The group says a few words, and then moves a little ways away to camp for the night.

The next morning, they awaken to find that they have spent most of the night next to a plague-infested corpse. They quickly gather their things and flee, wandering until they see a city. They immediately recognize the walls around Eger. They are all overjoyed to have found civilization again, and as they are speaking to Gerdrut about it —

Gasparo, Maksymilian, Mannfried, and Ross suddenly find themselves along a road, next to a cart. Ross and Maksymilian recognize the road to Würzburg, back on January 26, 1611. Although everyone is pleased to note that the backpacks stuffed with large gems came with them, they also find that Goffhilf’s maggot-infested corpse has come back with them. Ross starts screaming, which awakens Konrad from the cart. He leaps out, sword in hand, ready to do battle. Seeing two new people whom he does not recognize, as well as Goffhilf’s corpse, he demands to know what has happened. Ross and the others quickly explain what has transpired, and proceed to gorge themselves on food. They rebury Goffhilf’s body, say a few words, and proceed on their way in the hopes of seeking asylum in France.

Over the next few days, Gasparo, Maksymilian, and Mannfried each succumb to the plague. Konrad and Ross successfully reach France and liquidate their stolen goods, finding that they have over twenty thousand ducats worth of wealth. Ross, reverting to her real name of Rosaria, joins a convent and lives out the rest of her days under the auspices of the church. Konrad takes his newfound wealth and privilege in the courts of Europe, and returns to what he does best — killing for pay.



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