Upon a pale horse... (The Mists of Ravenloft)
In the five years preceding this conflict, Louise Reiner had relocated from the capital, Pont a Museau, to the far southern city of Mortigny. Here she attempted to build a power base by being a generous benefactor (dubbed the “Matron of Morigny”) to the large immigrant population, that had largely been ignored by the ruling Levigny Family.
Her most expansive project was putting the population to work on the Opera de Mortigny. At the groundbreaking, Louise told the crowd that “The new Opera will be a landmark building for Mortigny alone and can stand as a unique symbol of pride for its citizens that have been forgotten for far too long.”
The project was plagued by suspicious “accidents” and purported “hauntings” that threatened to drive the project off track. Louise personally suspected that these “incidents” were largely the work of the Levignys and was not deterred. She continued to rally the people to the cause and pour a vast amount of her personal fortune into the reconstruction project. The renovation was finally completed in the summer of 747.
The opening gala (August 31 747) was seen by the population as a resounding success as actors, composers, musicians, and dancers entertained nobility and commoners alike in a grand festival of the arts. Louise Reiner was hailed as a savior and a visionary much to the disdain of the Levginy family.
The event was nearly spoiled when a vast swarm of rats nearly entered the Opera from the sewers below, but they were flushed out to the river by the newly remodeled sewage drainage system.
- (See Book One, Chapter One in the campaign journal.)
Castle Street Riots
In addition to the accidents at the Opera construction site, the summer of 747 was also plagued by a series of immigrant disappearances that struck the lower-class citizens of Mortigny’s Harbor District.
Chief among these disappearances was Javier St Germain, a philanthropist from Dementlieu who funded many of the soup kitchens in the area. Rumors abounded that his disappearance was connected his conflicts with unpopular Levigny associate Gerard Le Mains, the Harbor District Governor.
On September 8 747, approximately one week following the opening of Opera de Mortigny, a crowd gathered outside one of Javier’s soup kitchens and was told that there was no more food available. The crowd became angry and violent blaming Le Mains for their suffering. They crowd grew in intensity until storming down Castle Street to the Le Mains residence. The manor house was burned to the ground and Le Mains and his family was killed and mutilated by the rioting immigrants.
Louise Reiner’s agents we able to quell the rioting populace before it spilled to other districts by distributing food and medical supplies. Louise herself made an appearance at the still smoldering ruins of the Le Mains residence and swore to the Harbor District residents that she would personally see to their well being in the future.
- (See Book One, Chapter Two in the campaign journal.)
Lawlessness in the Harbor District
Following the riots, Dominic Levigny issued an order (at the behest of Jacqueline Reiner) to pull all the Mortigny City Guard out of the Harbor District and to bar travel in and out of the district. It is believed that this was intended as a political move to isolate Louise Reiner and cause the population to blame her for the unrest and escalating violence.
Riverboat captains quickly pulled their ships out of port and refused to make cargo deliveries as many rival street gangs began to jockey for dominance in the district. Louise Reiner turned to one of her de facto allies, Villim Steinadler, to organize and train a civilian militia to patrol and keep order in the Harbor. His efforts were largely successful and when combined with a large contribution of funds by Louise to food and medicine, it made for the best life many of the Harbor District citizens had ever known.
It is also during this time (September 18, 747) that Villim’s brother and Falkovnian rebel, Eckhardt Steinadler swore fealty to Richemulot and was married Nina Levigny, daughter of Louise’s enemy Dominic Levigny. It is rumored that Eckhardt died in his wedding bed, but due to later sightings, this was confirmed as false.
- (See Book One, Chapter Three in the campaign journal.)
Storming of Levigny Manor
In the wee hours of the morning on September 23, 747 a fire was started in Louise Reiner’s estate and Louise herself was gravely wounded. It appeared initially that the attack and assassination attempt came from agents of Dominic Legivny. In retaliation, Villim Steinadler was ordered by Louise to slaughter the Levigny family and burn their manor to the ground.
He quickly rallied Louise’s forces in the Harbor District and marched to the gates of the Castle District where he encountered the first resistance from the Levigny loyalists. He sent troops through the sewers to slip past the Castle District walls and caught the wall defenders from the rear forcing them to abandon their posts at the walls.
The forces under the command of Villim surged forward into Church Square and faced heavy resistance as the Levigny guards were aided by Eckhardt Steinadler and his mercenary company “”/campaign/ravenloft-game/wikis/black-lions" class=“wiki-page-link”> The Black Lions". Villim sent skirmishers up the side streets and was able to flank the Levigny forces, causing Levigny guard to rout and the Black Lions to retreat to Levigny Manor.
Villim’s forces continued their pursuit and while the Harbor District troops faced off against the mercenaries, Villim and his command group faced Eckhardt and the Levignys in single combat.
In the end, Dominic and Nina Levigny were killed, Eckhardt was captured, and Levigny Manor was burned to the ground. The remaining Black Lion forces fled the city.
Upon the hilltop where Levigny Manor once stood, Louise delivered an impassioned speech to the population, in which she claimed responsibility for the actions of Villim declared the city of Mortigny forever free from the influence of her sister Jacqueline.
- (See Book One, Chapter Five in the campaign journal.)
Rallying the people
Jacqueline Reiner immediately declared her sister a rebel and warned the population of Mortigny to flee the city or face her wrath. Fearing a mass desertion, Louise worked hard to show her strength and loyalty to the people of Mortigny, but they remained skeptical of her motives and fearful for their lives.
Louise named Villim Steinadler the general of her armies and after he was he finished overseeing the planning of the city’s defenses, he was sent to the Falkovnian settlement of New Brand to see if he could rally the people of that town to his cause, or at the very least make Jacqueline Reiner believe that they were on the side of Mortigny. They proved less than receptive to his advances, so he rode north on a contingency plan across the Falkovnian border south of Aerie. Here he planted false information insinuating that his brother Eckhardt had kidnapped his missing sister Maria Steinadler and that Eckhardt and his Black Lions were using New Brand as a safe haven. Finally, he attacked and burned down a livery stable that the Golden Lion Army had been using, attempting to make it appear that the New Brand citizens had launched an attack across the border. His hope was that these efforts would be enough to send a Falkovnian raid towards New Brand and make the people rush to Mortingy where he had promised aid.
When Villim returned to the city, the city’s defenses were nearly solidified, in an attempt to compensate so Louise’s inferior numbers, the walls of the Harbor District and Castle District were strengthened, as well as the major sewer lines into those districts collapsed. All the citizenry were pulled back into these districts and only token resistance was put up in the other three city districts.
The state of morale was still low on the night before Jacqueline’s forces were due to arrive, so Louise held a night of culture and civic pride in Opera de Mortigny. In a stunning moment, Helen of Verbrek revealed herself to be Antoinette Reiner, Louise’s long-lost daughter and they two shared an embrace that left Louise overcome with emotion. Antoinette went on to tell the population of Jacqueline’s treachery during the Storming of Levigny Manor. She went on to say that this was not truly about Louise being a rebel, but instead about the fact that Louise cared so deeply about the forgotten people of Mortigny and this war was really about Jacqueline’s jealousy for their affection. The hearts of the people turned that night and they all swore to fight at Louise’s back and earn freedom for their city.