“It is difficult to pin down specific dates…” Viktor would preface, the beginning of his talk always following the same predictable path, “…as to when our humble city was founded. You see, my young friends, our ancestors built this town many years ago after having fled a desolate place of misery and blasphemous evil.” Those gathered aged between twelve and twenty, the former children who were now old enough to properly find their place in the community, and the latter individuals who had taken Altdorf as a surrogate home. Each year Viktor – both the Mayor and Captain of the Witch Hunters (considered the same position in Altdorf) – would gather those young and new so that they could learn the history of the land, ask questions and begin their lives within the community. Removing the wide brimmed, pointed hat which had become the trademark of the Order, he sat down on the semi-raised dais and continued his talk. “Before migrating here and joining with the Kingdom of Lor Voskara, our people inhabited a region far to the South. Due to its secluded nature from any capital body, it was plagued by criminals fleeing their deserved justice, hedge wizards practicing dark antediluvian magics and blasphemous beings such as the Vampyre – or Vampires, as they are called here.”
A hand shot up from the back, a young boy of perhaps thirteen years who had a look in his eye that spoke of a deep, fiery passion for knowledge – a common trait among Altdorfian citizens. “Have you ever killed any vampires, M’lord?” The younger boys around him all whispered and shared adolescent thoughts of no doubt violent and exaggerated rumour.
Clearing his throat, Viktor allowed the question. “Yes, I have boy – as is the tradition of our town, the office of leadership falls to the Witch Hunter Captain, similar to mayors of other lands, except that here he must lead and oversee not only the people, but also the Silver Order.” There was another wave of quiet talking and murmuring before he continued, “I have seen my share of evils and no doubt will see plenty more till my time is done.”
Another boys hand shot up, eager with a question about the mans exciting past. “Sir..ha-”
Before the question could leave his lips, Viktor held up a gloved hand. “Though I applaud your thirst for knowledge my young friends, perhaps we can save these till the end, hm?” He gave them a friendly smile, or as friendly a smile a man of his type could muster and continued. “So, as it became apparent to our people that they could no longer support themselves in such a place, they packed what they could carry in bag and cart and set out – thought not without great hardship and loss – until, finally settling here in these lush, comparatively peaceful lands.” Reaching over to the nearby table, Viktor hoisted a flagon of mead up towards his lips and took down a mouthful of the brew, savouring the taste which always stirred nostalgia within him of home here in Altdrof.
A woman who must have been approaching her twenties, and bore the look of an outsider, shyly raised her hand. “M’lord, if we moved here to get away from the darkness of our former lands, then why do we still have the Silver Order…why are we not governed like all the other towns and settlements?” She gave him curt smile before sinking back into the crowd around her, hoping to find comfort in the anonymity the group provided.
“That is a good question, my dear.” He picked up the wide brimmed hat which had been perched on the table near his drink, twirling it in his grip before placing it on his head. “From a traditional point of view, our people have always been led by someone who is, or was, a member of the Order. Originally this was due to the fact that many of the problems encountered would be of a violent and dark nature, and that expertise was required.” He stopped to consider his words, a small smirk forming across his face as he considered how proud his father would have been to hear his knowledge of both Altdorfian and Order history so firmly grasped and practiced. “As for why we still operate that way…well, as wonderful and generous as these lands are, it is a hard-won education of our people that nothing is absolute; there is no such thing as absolute safety. Whilst it is true that vampires, daemons, criminals and the likes of are rare in these parts and seem almost distant thought…things change, and it is best to be prepared when they do. Our way of life has kept us safe and prospering for this long, I see no reason to change it as of yet.” He nodded to her, his trained gaze having no problem finding her clear and youthful face in the crowd, despite her near adolescent age, he had to admit she would grow to be a true beauty. He stepped down from the dais with a small spring in his step, the topic at hand always bringing his mood up. *“Now, let us share a drink and a toast of thanks to our lands and people!” *