The party arrived at Raciborz Castle, and after extremely thorough security searches, were ushered into the courtyard.
The Markiz’s invite was to a formal gala at Raciborz Castle.
It was to be an introduction to the movers and shakers of Silesia, plus other interested parties attending from out of the region. And of course, recognize the party’s achievements that have so benefited Silesia. They were heroes.
A couple of soldiers were sparring as the party entered the courtyard. They wore padded overcoats, headgear, and their swords were wrapped in padding (duct tape).
Introductions were made:
Julian Filipowicz, the Markiz Slaskie.
Marja Filipowicz, his wife.
Major Stranski, the Markiz‘s right-hand-man; the commander of the Strasnik Slaskie (the Silesian Guard), the Markiz‘s personal bodyguards.
Major Geissmar, commander of the Legion Obcokrajowiec (Foreign Legion of Silesia).
Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz
Bernard Bajolet, French diplomat.
Henryk Rapacki, wealthy trader from Krakow
Maj Steve Wolf, US Army Special Forces (who has also provided assistance to Silesia, much like Maks and his crew)
Sgt Nowak, Wolf’s assistant. Big bruiser.
Lt. Ramos, XO of B Troop, who they already knew.
Baron Esterhalzy of Pyskowice, who they already knew.
Sister Basia, Nun from Kalisz, looking for help to rebuild her convent, who traveled south with Maks’ team.
Sgt Nowak eyed Barna Aron with a piercing stare.
The sparring paused while Baron Esterhalzy described for everyone the exploits of Maks’ team.
The Markiz bestowed medals of Silesia on all, thanking them all.
Sparring resumed, with the party members joining in.
Sgt Nowak squared off with party strongman Barna Aron, soundly defeating him in fisticuffs in their first round.
Others tried sparring with swords.
One pair tried a wrestling match.
Barna Aron challenged Sgt Nowak to a rematch, and quickly stunned the hulking Pole with a blow to the head.
This was a great opportunity to game out and practice the T2000 melee rules that seldom get used, both armed and unarmed.
Sister Basia was perturbed by Cardinal Nycz. She told Maks, “He’s no Cardinal. He’s not even a bishop. He was a parish priest in Czestochowa before the fighting in ‘97.” The cardinal was a counterfeit.
Sister Basia controlled her resentment, however, and made her case to the Markiz for assistance in rebuilding her convent.
Major Geissmar tried to get Maks and crew to join his Foreign Legion. When Maks asserted that he wanted to maintain his independence, Geissmar backpedaled and expressed a wish to retain them on a contract basis.
Henryk Rapacki invited the whole team to visit his office the next time they’re in Krakow to schedule a meet, and he’ll have dinner with them.
Bernard Bajolet, the French diplomat, in conversation, stated that France had not been a party to this terrible war, and was an ally to any who desired peace.
Maj Wolf introduced himself as being from the 75th Ranger Regiment, and complemented Maks on their recent successful op.
The Markiz was very interested in the Americans in the group, and asked if any were involved in the Battle of Czestochowa in 1997. DeAngelo Pratt stepped forward, and the Markiz questioned him about his involvement in the battle. The ruler seemed to believe that the Americans took possession of the Black Madonna at that time.
Well, that was uncomfortable. After all, the party HAD the Black Madonna. [I had Pratt make a Charisma check to keep a poker face; he passed.] “I was just a sergeant in the tank corps, sir. I have no idea.”
Maks stepped in to guide the conversation, adding that he too was at Battle of Czestochowa, which surprised the Markiz. He assumed that Maks, a Pole, in that case was on the side of the defense. No, he was there as a military member of the Polish Free Congress, allied with NATO. The Markiz was nonplussed by this revelation; he wanted to be the leader of all Poles, and was unconcerned with former alliances.
During the conversation, Maks debated internally whether to reveal their possession of the Black Madonna, and perhaps hand it over. The Markiz seemed like a decent, if eccentric leader, and Silesia had to be one of the better places in Poland at the moment. But he decided there was no rush, and the counterfeit Cardinal seemed like an inappropriate choice to gift a holy relic. So the secret of the Black Madonna continued.
I asked the group what they wanted to do next, and it was unanimous: