Once Upon A Time In The Empire
Grunewald Lodge was originally built as a simple hunting lodge by the ancestors of the von Bruner family, more than 800 years ago. In the year 2012, the von Bruners rebuilt the manor as a defensive structure. During this period of history, the Empire was politically weak, with many claimants vying for the Imperial throne.
It was not until 2304, when Magnus the Pious united the Empire following the Great War Against Chaos, that factional infighting between the provinces diminished and the forests were purged of raiders. Grunewald Lodge was now an ugly fortification where once there had been a comfortable hunting lodge. As a consequence, the von Bruners neglected the building. During the last few centuries, it has become the inherited property of a lesser branch of the von Bruner bloodline and today is considered an inconsequential backwater.
As such, it was surprising when Andreas von Bruner was handed the keys to the manor in 2515. Andreas was the second son of a cousin of Graf Sigismund, patriarch of the very powerful von Jungfreud family. Due to the young man’s relatively high birth, charm, and undeniably keen intellect, he should have been granted a much more prestigious seat to control. Such an apparent snub caused a minor stir amongst those who maintained an interest in the affairs of the aristocracy, though the event went unnoticed by the general population of Reikland.
However, what became more widely known was the mysterious disappearance of Andreas five years later. No one could account for the vanished noble – he was simply at Grunewald Lodge one evening, then gone in the morning.
Two months ago, Ludmilla von Bruner, one of Andreas’s cousins, was betrothed to Rickard Aschaffenberg, a member of a minor noble family from Ubersreik. As part of the dowry, Lord Heissman has granted Grunewald Lodge to Rickard until Lord Heissman’s youngest son, Leopold von Bruner, comes of age. Rickard spent a few weeks at the lodge in an attempt to get a feel for the place before fully moving in, and began to suspect that something unwholesome was going on, despite the assurances to the contrary by the Lodge’s steward, Gregor Piersson.