Upon a pale horse... (The Mists of Ravenloft)
Born in Falkovnia in the year 727 to Wolfram Steinadler‘s second wife and Dobra ženska Maja Steinadler. He and his brother Eckhardt were largely left in the care of Maja for most of their lives as Wolfram spent most of his early years back from captivity with their older sons; Baldur and Hrodwulf as he worked to recover his position amongst the nobility. Under her tutelage, Villim learned a great deal about diplomacy and court intrigue while Wolfram’s tutors made certain of his martial training.
Following Eckhardt’s treason and flight from the country, Villim was dispatched by his father Wolfram to capture and return his traitorous brother alive. Stunned and upset that his childhood partner would so easily betray his family for those who had imprisoned their father so many years ago, he stoically accepted the mission. With his trusted sergeant and right-hand-man Boris he tracked him as far as Mortigny where the two of them fell into a trap laid by their quarry and they were imprisoned. At the opening of chapter one they made their escape with a combination of the poor condition of the rotting building, the brute strength of the two men, and the cunning and loyalty of their cell-mate Evan Moreau. Following their escape, Villim was disgusted to learn just how far his brother had fallen and the mission became more of a personal vendetta; a feeling that deepened with the announcement of his marriage to Nina Levigny.
Learning of Maria’s treason and the betrayal by his best man has left Villim torn between his loyally for his homeland and love for his family. For the moment, he is indecisive on the matter; delving first into alcohol and later into his duty as General in Louise Reiner’s army to avoid the matter. He knows that he will have to betray the trust of one or the other eventually, a revelation that left him embittered at what he perceived as his own weakness and is one of the many events that eventually altered his worldview.
Villim was highly idealistic towards his homeland and is startled to find that the other nations do not appreciate their efforts “to hold ”/campaign/ravenloft-game/wikis/azalin-rex" class=“wiki-page-link”> Alazin‘s great forces at bay". The lack of order and strong central control within their neighbors causes him no shortage of irritation which lead to several verbal confrontations with Helen and Lydis. He has something of a soft-spot for Evan both as a result of his actions in his brother’s dungeons and something of respect from his intellectual side, though it is doubtful that Evan appreciates his efforts to “make a real man out of him”.
He acted as General of Mortigny’s army for Louise Reiner during the Sisters war and the early part of the siege of Mortigny, prior to Louise’s betrayal once the Golden Lion Army invaded and seized Pont a Museau in the north. Thrown in Louise’s dungeons along with Eckhardt and Boris he endured weeks of torture (ultimately costing him part of his left hand and right foot, along with numerous scars) until Jacqueline grew bored and had Maria and Lena imprisoned as well. When it was Lena’s turn on the sister’s tables, she snapped out of her catatonic state and delighted in the pain they were causing her. On realizing she was enjoying their ministrations the sisters immediately turned their attentions to Maria. To save his wife, Boris called on the demons of the chains he wore on his left arm to take possession of his body. Snapping the manacles holding him to the wall and ripping the door to their cell off its hinges, Boris went on a killing spree with only the sisters escaping the blood-bathed walls of the dungeon. Though grateful of their release, Villim was concerned about the path his friend was on and more so for his sister’s fate.
Using knowledge gained from the long siege of Mortigny, Villim led the others into the sewers beneath Mortigny in an attempt to escape from the city. Facing the wraith that guarded the passage, they only just managed to escape to the open fields. Knowing that to be caught by Wolfram’s forces would be death for Maria, Boris, and Eckhardt they waited until nightfall and evaded the patrols. Once free from the city, Eckhardt fled south on the agreement to never cross Villim’s path again.
Wishing to split Boris and Maria up, at least until he could figure out what to do about his man-at-arm’s possession Villim led them to the Church of Ezra in Mordent in the hopes of imposing on the hospitality of one of Lydis’s friends to look after the women while they went back to Richemulot to link back up with the Golden Lion army. Unfortunately for his plans, Villim succumbed to illness that had festered from the dungeons and aggravated by the sewers on the road back to Mortigny. Boris, nearly under the demon’s sway, abandoned his life-long friend at a church in Mortigny and went his own way.
Villim woke from his fever dreams days later surrounded by his other friends; Evan, Lydis, Helen, and Cara. He learned that Boris was nowhere to be found and with Evan’s help deduced the true intent of Jacqueline to infect the now concentrated populous of Richmulot with the lycanthropy virus that they had learned of weeks before. Knowing what such an army could do and deducing that his family and the army was in great danger of annihilation he decided to forsake Boris and Maria to do what he could to save his family as a whole.
On returning to his father’s army in Mortigny, he finally learned from Maja the truth about “Lauren”. At the feast that evening he lied to his father telling him that Eckhardt had died screaming in Louise’s dungeons. A story that seemed to placate, if not please him. Novack asked about Maria and quipped that she would soon be too old for his tastes (galvanizing Villim’s decision to aid Maria’s escape instead of handing her over to such a cruel fate). Later as the evening drunkenly progressed, Novack let slip that Wolfram had gone impotent nearly causing a fight between them. Realizing the fate that would likely befall Anja he slipped into her tent that evening and made certain she would bear a Steinadler child.
Sneaking back into Mortigny and convinced it was going to be his final moments in this world, Villim led the intrepid band on a decapitation strike against Jacqueline prior to the walls being breached the following morning. That evening, Louise Reiner came upon their hiding place and proposed a truce between them once again. She had foreseen where the machinations of her sister would ultimately lead and decided she couldn’t “Live in a world where her sister is worshiped as a God” (a move that Villim dangerously quipped was uncharacteristically brave of her). She agreed to assist them in creating a weapon that would negate her sister’s ability to polymorph at will, which would give them at least a fighting chance against her. The details of the ritual spell are best not dwelt on and continue to haunt some of Villim’s sleeping hours.
Deciding it would be best to force Jacqueline to begin the transformation of the now infected populous early (where at least the army would not face encirclement within the city’s walls) Villim gathered together as many of Louise’s supporters as could be trusted and led them on a massacre within the harbor district of the city to convince her that he had returned in force to exact vengeance upon her.
Sadly, Wolfram’s impatience once again got the better of him and he breached the wall early, just as the city’s population transformed into beasts of nightmares. Surrounded, the better part of the army (along with his brothers; Hrodwulf and Baldur) was encircled and destroyed precisely as Villim had feared. Louise met with them once again and led them to her sister, but was unable to overcome her own cowardice and fled from them just as they made battle with Jacqueline’s supporters within the Steinadler command tent. Jacqueline was bound by the spell they had started earlier and was forced to stand and fight, but had tricks of her own. In the moments before they had arrived, she had seen to it that Wolfram was infected with her virus and she turned him on them. Unable to strike his own father, all Villim could do is fend off his attacks and it was Cara who leapt in and felled Wolfram.
As the last of her supporters fell, Louise leapt upon the escaping Jacqueline and the two fought briefly until Louise was stabbed with a cold-iron dagger and died rapidly. Jacqueline gloated as her armies surrounded the party and gave the order to kill them all. As Louise breathed her last, the army of monstrous were-rats collapsed and returned to human form. It had been Louise’s strain that was used to manufacture the virus, not Jacqueline’s. As Jacqueline collapsed in a nervous breakdown Helen struck her down with the swords gifted to her by her mother, ending her reign within Richemulot.
In the aftermath, Villim caught up again with Boris. With the help of Evan they managed to finally exorcize the demons from within him (at great cost to the both of them) and later did the same with Lena. Sickened at the loss of Maria, he left them to their own fates and returned to Steinadler Keep to take up leadership of the bloodied clan. He eventually married Anja and raised thier child with her until the Fifth Dead Man’s War intervened.
His whereabouts after the razing of Steinadler Keep are unknown and it is presumed he was destroyed along with the rest of his clan.
(See also Steinadler Family)
(See also Player Characters)
Villim is a tall and muscular man with long, raven-black hair, tanned and weather-beaten skin, and a hooked nose where it had been broken by Eckhardt when they were children. His forehead is branded with the Falkovnain Hawk Brand which he proudly displays by keeping his hair pulled back. His shield prominently displays his father‘s army’s icon of a lion’s head and he wears a cloak in his company’s dark-red colors.