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Heldannic Knights -- Historical Timeline

by Bruce Heard

AC 1001, 1st Quarter The Grand Council votes to enlarge the Crypt of Heroes. Repairs disrupt the silent resting place, but they are completed within a few months and with all the dignity due to its illustrious occupants.

AC 1001, 2nd Quarter After endless debates, Hochmeister Klagendorf decides with the support of the Primate of the Heart to allow pilgrims to travel to Vanya's Rest and pay homage to Her Grave. Most rulers of the Known World and most certainly Alphatia already know of the existence of Vanya's Rest, if not its location, somewhere in Davania. Revealing that it protects Vanya's grave should not harm Heldannic interests (although the artifact's existence remains secret). New sea transports are commissioned from the shipyards of Freiburg.

AC 1001, 4th Quarter Within a few weeks, several younger priests go missing from Notre Dame of Vanya's Cathedral. No trace of them is found.

AC 1002, 1st Quarter Rumours of terrifying nocturnal visits terrify the townspeople of Freiburg. Civilians go missing without explanation. The reports are sporadic at first, but become more frequent.

AC 1002, 4th Quarter Thincol the Brave, Emperor of Thyatis, permits Heldannic transports to pickup pilgrims from the port Southpoint in Hattias. Only citizens of the empire however may disembark, and the Heldannic Order must pay a port fee of 8 denarii per pilgrim embarking from Southpoint. The Order is allowed to purchase some land in Southpoint and build an official consulate to administrate Hattian pilgrimage locally. Some military are allowed as consulate wards.

AC 1003, 2nd Quarter A young priest is found dead, late after the midnight service. His neck bears a bite wound. The Primate of the Hammer summons his staff in the middle of the night for an urgent discussion. They fear vampires are on the loose.

AC 1003, 3rd Quarter The existence of Vanya's Grave is revealed to the faithful through the Churches of Vanya in the Heldannic Territories and Hattias. The possibility of a pilgrimage to Vanya's Rest is announced shortly afterward. For a fee, pilgrims are offered food, shelter, protection, transport to and from Vanya's Rest, and any healing that may be needed during the long journey - to the best of the Order's abilities. Although the offer is genuine, the journey remains fraught with dangers and mystery. The exact location of Vanya's Rest and the length of the journey are not specified, although indications are given that the journey may take months.

AC 1003, 4th Quarter An outbreak of vampirism wracks the Province of Freiburg. Vast numbers of experts among the Priests of the Hammer are recalled from their distant assignments to help fight the disaster at home.

AC 1004, 1st Quarter Rev. Mother Utha Scharnheim dies in a fight against a powerful undead, later identified as a nosferatu. Her remains are burned and later entombed in the enlarged Crypt of Heroes. During the burial ceremony, Clerics discover the remains of the missing people piled up inside the new mortuary cells. They all rise at once, as nosferatus, and lunge at the priests in a feeding frenzy. Horrified and panicked, serving brethren standing in the exit's stairs slam the mausoleum's portal shut, sealing everyone's fate inside. The muffled sounds of the fight cease long, painful minutes before adequate reinforcements arrive. Priests bearing all manners of holy protections crowd the doorway. Behind them, serving brethren festooned with garlic stand atop the stairs with vats of holy water, pumps, and hoses. The vampires are overwhelmed. At the end of the battle, all bodies are accounted for, except for one in the older crypt - Rev. Mother Helga Grauenberg (AC 921-977)

AC 1004, 2nd Quarter Heldannic Missionaries are slaughtered while travelling through the Ethengar Khanates. Ill-prepared for their mission to soothe the animosity between Ethengar tribes and Heldanners, the missionaries end up insulting Ethengarian pride by their own ignorance of the nomads' customs and beliefs. Meanwhile, Eugen Pfefferlind is named Landmeister of Freiburg, at the age of 34.

AC 1004, 3rd Quarter Without the benefit of a declaration of war, the Heldannic Knights send several punitive raids into Ethengar, launching deadly lance-cavalry attacks against Ethengarian encampments and slaughtering every last man, woman, and child encountered.

AC 1004, Early 4th Quarter News of the Alphatian fleet of skyships reach Freiburg. Glantrian adventurers set fire to the Alphatian skyport. The vast majority of the skyships are destroyed in a raging firestorm before the wizards can bring it under control.

AC 1004, Late 4th Quarter For practical reasons, the Order makes available to pilgrims reliable banking services. During the length of their pilgrimage, the Order offers to hold the pilgrims' travel cash to prevent theft, and to release any of it upon the pilgrims' demands with simple signed forms. The offer is legitimate and intends to protect pilgrims from theft during their journey. If a pilgrim dies while in the care of the Order, the money is then returned to the family if the pilgrim has any.

AC 1005, 1st Quarter Glantri declares war on Alphatia as part of the Wrath of the Immortals. The following day both the Empire of Thyatis and The Heldannic Order also declare war on Alphatia.

AC 1005, 2nd Quarter Messengers report vampiric activity southwest of Freiburg. Heldannic vampire hunters, known as the "Experten" track down victims and suspects like a pack of hungry wolves. Not a stone is left unturned. Not a glimmer of mercy is shown to their quarry as they smite the evil darkness from their hallowed land.

AC 1005, 3rd Quarter The pilgrimage sees unexpected popularity among Vanya's faithful. The windfall for the Order is a stronger faith among the Church of Vanya, and an increased growth in its following. Of equal importance are large amounts of cash made available by the pilgrims using the Order's banking service. The Order acquires invaluable experience in accounting, administrating, and moving wealth quickly enough to support the needs of the pilgrims and allow productive investments. The Order is learning its first lessons in large scale banking.

AC 1005, 4th Quarter A suspect matching the description of Rev. Mother Grauenberg is spotted near the town of Grauenberg, racing toward the west in a black carriage. The "Experten" pursue the suspect into Glantrian territory, never to be seen again. The narrow border with Glantri is closed and closely watched. Glantri makes no statement.

AC 1006, 1st Quarter The Heldannic Order completes its preparations for war. More indentured soldiers have been pressed into service. Mercenaries from Soderfjord, Ostland, and Renardy are stationed near Freiburg. Heldannic troops are concentrated in Freiburg and at the northern border with Norwold. Newly commissioned warships join the pilgrim flotillas sailing between the Known World and Davania.

AC 1006, 2nd Quarter The newfound pilgrimage wealth affects the local economy of Fort Southpoint. Up until recently it was a backwater of some strategic importance but with little economical value. Southern Hattias is a poor region. The passage of the pilgrims touched off economical growth in Southpoint as new buildings, called Hospitals, are built to house the pilgrims. Food and clothing is imported. Wealth trickles down through the various layers of the local population, enabling better agricultural means. Southpoint also becomes a stop for Heldannic ships coming from Freiburg.

AC 1006, 3rd Quarter Troubling news of the Myoshiman Empire reach Freiburg. There are indications they might be planning a military move against objectives on Mystara. Freiburg suspects they may be a target. The majority of the warbirds are ordered into space as a first line of observation and defence. Remaining warbirds are stationed at Vanya's Rest to patrol the region and protect the Holy Citadel. Their mission is to prevent foreign ships from following the regular pilgrim flotillas and discovering the location of Vanya's Rest.

AC 1006, 4th Quarter For reasons of their own, Alphatians reveal to Moglai Khan the fact that the Heldannic warbirds are not expected to be in Freiburg for a long period of time. The Great Khan, whose people have suffered from several savage raids by the knights, invades the Heldannic Territories with the full force of his hordes. The Heldannic Knights are totally surprised as they had already returned to their winter quarters. The border commanderies are wiped out. The nomads besiege Grauenberg and march straight to Freiburg.

AC 1007, 1st Quarter Thyatis and the Heldannic Order ratify an official treaty of military alliance. Meanwhile, hampered by the heavy winter snows, Heldannic troops failed to move back from the distant Norwold border. Rainy and muddy conditions compounded by the melting of the winter snows are considered too much of a handicap for the Order's heavy cavalry. The Great Khan destroys most bridges on the Naga River except for a few he controls. The lighter, more nimble riders of the steppes pour into Vestland and Soderfjord looking for more places to sack. Both Freiburg and Grauenberg are still under siege. Hockstein and Altendorf remain in position until new orders are received. Pilgrimage from Freiburg is interrupted. Warbirds skirmish with Myoshiman scout units near Patera.

AC 1007, 2nd Quarter Worried by news of the recent treaty between Thyatis and the Heldannic Order, Moglai Khan presses on with his plan to take Freiburg. Massive attacks are made against the city. The knights and thousands of civilians retreat from several town districts to the Great Fortress. The Ethengarians occupy the port area of Freiburg, cutting off supplies from the sea. The Heldannic sea fleet withdraws to the ports of Zeaburg and Norrvik. The remainder of Freiburg remains in the hands of the knights and their mercenaries who have erected barricades and defensive walls in the streets.

AC 1007, 3rd Quarter The garrison of Hockstein makes its move against the Great Khan, securing one of the precious bridges over the Naga River. The Altendorf garrison, reinforced with a substantial part of the Norwold border army crosses the river into the Province of Freiburg. Together, Hockstein and Altendorf forces slam into the western encampments besieging Freiburg. The Freiburg garrison attempts several sorties leading to murderous street warfare. Out of sheer military genius, the Great Khan repeals the combined assault in the west. The Freiburg garrison fails to link with the relief force. Heavy losses are reported on all sides.

AC 1007, 4th Quarter A swift-spreading plague suddenly ravages the besieged city of Freiburg. On these news, the Great Khan abruptly orders a massive withdrawal from the Heldannic Territories. But he is too late. Once home, the plague breaks out among his own people. All bordering nations shut their borders with the Heldannic Territories and Ethengar to prevent the plague from spreading further. Priests of the Order begin the difficult task of fighting off the lethal epidemic while the winter storms rage on.

AC 1008, 1st Quarter The plague in the Heldannic Territories and Ethengar worsens. Helmut Totenfuss dies of the plague in Grauenberg at the age of 82. He is succeeded by Dora Riesenstein at the age of 27. By then two tenths of the Heldann population has died, and closer to a third in Ethengar. The plague spreads into Vestland, Soderfjord, and northern Ylaruam.

AC 1008, 2nd Quarter The plague spreads through Glantri like wildfire. The many Heldannic priests are winning their war against the plague. Healthy Vestland and Heldannic forces penetrate the Khanates for yet another punitive raid against these tribes that sacked southern Heldannic Lands and Vestland communities. Due to foggy conditions and coordination problems, the Heldannic sea fleet stationed in Zeaburg and Norrvik fails entirely to intercept the Alphatian fleet sailing around Helskir. By the time it is sighted, the Alphatians are withdrawing to the Isle of Dawn, having been soundly defeated by the Thyatian navy. The Heldannic ships set sail to Freiburg, cursing at the lost opportunity to fight a great battle.

AC 1008, 3rd Quarter Word of the effects of what is now known as the "Pilgrim Economy" reaches Emperor Thincol in Thyatis. Soon afterward, the Heldannic Order requests the permission to open another point of pilgrimage to relieve some of the burden in Southpoint. The emperor readily agrees, for a port fee of 8 asterii. Meanwhile in Freiburg, as it was being refitted, thieves board a warbird on the docks. They manage to overpower the sentinels aboard the ship and make away with two blight belchers. The alleged thieves apparently use magic to teleport to safety with the precious weapons. Alphatian spies are suspected. The guards on duty are court-marshalled. They are judged guilty of dereliction of duty and condemned to the mines under Vanya's Rest

AC 1008, 4th Quarter The Alphatian navy decide to make an end-run around the still powerful Thyatian and Heldannic navies. Using their magic, they manage to conceal their move and land their armies in Ylaruam, at the town of Cubia. Despite local resistance, thousands of Alphatian troops disembark and march south. The Alphatian navy then leaves to stage diversionary attacks on the Isle of Dawn, further north. It joins massive reinforcements arriving from Alphatia with even more warships.

AC 1009, Early 1st Quarter Obeying words received from Vanya, the Heldannic Order declares the Broken Lands a festering nest of Chaos. At the behest of their Glantrian "ally" during the Wrath of the Immortals events, the knights feel compelled to launch a crusade against the Orcs of Thar. They make the long journey overland through the northern reaches, tip-toeing along the Ethengar-Ylaruam border, to join with the Darokin army. Shadow Elven patrols harass the knights along the way. The combined Darokin-Heldannic forces kick Thar back into the Great Crater. Emperor Thincol is furious at the Heldannic Order for occupying itself with what seems like a foolish diversion when the Alphatian navy is about to launch a new attack against the Thyatian homeland.

AC 1009, Late 1st Quarter The Alphatian navy stages a phoney invasion of Freiburg. The Heldannic sea fleet sets sail to intercept the invaders, but it is no match for the Alphatians' powerful navy. The Heldannic fleet is beaten and withdraws back to Freiburg to lick its wounds. The Alphatians sail close to the Heldannic capital, bombard it with some magic for several hours, and return to the Isle of Dawn, content that they have secured the Sea of Dawn and no further Heldannic reinforcements will reach Thyatis.

AC 1009, 2nd Quarter The Emperor demands that the Heldannic garrison of Southpoint and all escort warships anchored there move at once to the City of Thyatis. The Order agrees and also rushes its expeditionary force back from Darokin to help fight off an imminent Alphatian invasion from Ylaruam. Soon afterward, the Alphatian army enters the empire.

AC 1009, 3rd Quarter The Alphatian land forces overpower the Thyatian defences. The battled-hardened Heldannic Knights, veterans of the Orcs of Thar campaign, put up a valiant fight. In a monstrous battle a few miles from the walls of Thyatis, they courageously charge into the masses of advancing Alphatian infantry, calling out the name of Vanya. They inflict horrendous casualties to the Alphatians, but in the end, they themselves fall before the wizards' battlefield magic. Not one survives. Their names are later engraved in the Crypt of Heroes. Days after this historical battle, Emperor Thincol sues for peace with the Alphatians to save his empire. Alphatia now turns its attention to its original target, Glantri.

AC 1009, 4th Quarter The Port of Vinton in northern Hattias finally opens up for pilgrims. The Order is allowed a second consulate there. News of the Alphatian disaster reach Thyatis. Continental Alphatia has sunken beneath the seas and the war ends.

Authors' Note: The AC 1010 Almanac states that Vanya ordered Wulf to break all diplomatic ties with Thyatis on Nuwmont 18. At this point of the timeline, this would be a catastrophic blunder for the Heldannic Order. I decided to ignore this event and replace it with another, where Vanya supports the banking development of the Order, with the goal of nibbling away at the crumbling Thyatian Empire over the next few decades.

AC 1010, 1st Quarter The Order marches into southern Norwold and reaches the Heldland River. The town of Forton declares itself an open city. The knights move in and seize it. No one is harmed. The Order creates the Province of Heldland, under Ludwig Hohenhaus, age 29. Leaving behind a small garrison, the Order marches on to Landfall and start a siege. The Myoshiman skirmishers return to the surface of Patera. A few warbirds stay behind to keep an eye on Myoshima while the others return to Freiburg. As soon as they arrive, an attack is launched on the Kingdom of Helskir which had changed its allegiance once more during the great war. Heldannic and Thyatian ships clash while they both raid former Alphatian colonies on the Isle of Dawn. The Heldannic ships continue on to Aegos to find Thyatians already occupying it. The Heldannic ships make a quick attack and move on. Emperor Eusebius demands (and receives) an apology from the Order. The Heldannic forces withdraw from the Isle of Dawn. Meanwhile King Ericall of Alpha prepares for war.

AC 1010, 2nd Quarter The Hochmeister reaches Grauenberg with troops pulled back from Landfall. He fails to break the Ethengarian siege. In spite of its reduced force, the Order still takes Landfall two months later. In Thyatis, Senator Demetrionitas faces bankruptcy. He borrows several thousand gold pieces from the Heldannic Consulate of Vinton. The affair is well publicised among the Thyatian upper crust. Meanwhile, Alphatian skyships discover the Heldannic presence in Oostdok. They return in force a month later and attack the knights. The gnomes of Oostdok spontaneously rebel and overthrow their Heldannic overlords. Karl Hundkopf retreats with his garrison to Stonehaven aboard gnomish-made zeppelins.

AC 1010, 3rd Quarter Reinforcements from Landfall reach Grauenberg. The Khan switches tactics and orders highly mobile, continuous raids instead. After weeks of Ethengarian plundering and Heldannic pursuing, the Khan reconsiders his plans and sends a messenger to the Hochmeister. The two rulers sign a peace treaty while a few Heldannic scapegoats are turned over to the Ethengarians to prevent the Khan from losing face. The nomads return home. Meanwhile, Anton Schwarznase, an aide to the Heldannic ambassador in Ylaruam, is caught spying. Released a week later, he fails to reach Freiburg alive. Heldannic warbirds discover the existence of Alphatia on a floating continent in the Hollow World. Following Karl Hundkopf from a distance, Alphatian skyships discover the Heldannic presence at Stonehaven.

AC 1010, 4th Quarter Non-human strangers called the diaboli ally with King Ericall of Alpha. Norwold's army continues to prepare for war as winter rolls in. Delayed by the Ethengarian attack in the south, the Order postpones its original plans to move deeper into Norwold. An Alphatian skyship lands in Helskir with the news of Alphatia's existence in the Hollow World. Meanwhile, Oostdok-built zeppelins with Heldannic crews engage Alphatian skyships over Stonehaven. The Heldannic fortress remains under attack for ten days. AC1011, 1st Quarter A brutal blizzard hits northeastern Brun. The Heldannic invasion fleet on its way to Oceansend* is caught in the storm. It is blown off course and suffers staggering casualties. The armada returns home. Meanwhile in the Hollow World, after weeks of unrelenting attacks Anna von Hendriks orders the crumbling fortress of Stonehaven abandoned. She and her sergeants-at-arms use magic to travel to the Makai Islands. Karl Hundkopf with the Oostdok and Stonehaven garrisons escapes aboard the zeppelins.

(*) Note from the Author: The Heldannic Armada was originally raiding Helskir (PWAII, page 181). I changed this as per my earlier note re. diplomatic ties between Freiburg and Thyatis.

AC 1011, 2nd Quarter In Thyatis, Senator Demetrionitas reimburses his debt to the Heldannic Order in full with a total 15% interest over a period of a year. Up north, the Heldannic sea armada reaches Oceansend. Advance infantry and cavalry units disembark and take position around the walled city. Defences are tested as the Armada blockades the port. Available warbirds remain in Freiburg awaiting the main assault and patrolling the fatherland. Two weeks later, the remainder of the Heldannic army reaches Oceansend by land. Meanwhile, King Ericall ships out reinforcements from Alpha to Oceansend and approaches dragons of the Wyrmsteeth Range. A month later, Ericall's ships skirmish with the Heldannic navy, avoiding any serious engagement. Ostlanders, breaking their treaty with the Heldannic Order, raid coastal villages. Warbirds give chase but the longships disappear into the thick sea fog. They spend several days playing hide-and-seek until the warbirds are recalled. Until then the longships stay away from Ostland to avoid incriminating their nation.

AC 1011, 3rd Quarter Dragons of the Wyrmsteeth Range attack the first few warbirds reaching Oceansend. The latter retreat until more ships arrive. A battered warbird lands in Freiburg with news of the Alphatians' existence in the Hollow World, Oostdok's fate, and Anna von Hendriks' plea for reinforcements. The majority of the warbirds assigned to the Norwold invasion are rushed to rescue Stonehaven. The remainder fly on to Oceansend. Three dragons are killed in the ensuing air battle, but the warbirds are badly damaged. They return to Freiburg. Other warbirds in the Heldannic Luftflotte remain stationed at Vanya's Rest to protect pilgrims while others pursue their missions on the Savage Coast.

AC 1011, 4th Quarter A few warbirds attack Oceansend from the air while the Heldannic Knights rout King Ericall's relief force. The Oceansend garrison chooses this time to sally forth and attack the knights' siege weapons. With the help of the warbirds, Heldannic cavalry chases the Oceansend force back into the city. King Ericall's forces inside and outside Oceansend suffer overwhelming casualties. The knights execute several of King Ericall's mercenary officers in plain view provoking consternation among Oceansend's hired troops. Olaf Yarrvikson surrenders Oceansend to the Heldannic Order a few days later. Meanwhile in the Hollow World, warbirds strike the Imperial Palace after discovering the fate of Stonehaven.

AC 1012, 1st Quarter In Thyatis, the city of Port Lucinius borrows tens of thousands of gold pieces from the Consulate of Vinton to repair and expand the current network of aqueducts. Part of the funds are quickly transferred from Freiburg to cover the loan. In Norwold, Ericall's envoys warn Wulf von Klagendorf that the people of Norwold will fight to death to defend the Kingdom of Alpha. The Hochmeister replies that the Heldannic Knights shall do as their patron Immortal commands - which does not seem to include Alpha at the moment. Meanwhile in the Hollow World, the Alphatian air fleet chases part of the warbird force out of the Hollow World. The remainder searches for remnants of the Heldannic garrisons.

AC 1012, 2nd Quarter The port of Neuhafen, newly established on the coast just east of the Altenwald, is now open to shipping. Its position next to the large forest is expected to support Wulf's plans for the expansion of the Heldannic sea fleet. The Order begins a recruiting drive, seeking new knights to join their ranks. The new port and the recruitment effort are part of the Hochmeister's plan to conquer the vast wilderness surrounding Landfall and Oceansend. Meanwhile in Thyatis, Emperor Thincol dies. His son Eusebius succeeds him on the imperial throne.

AC 1012, 3rd Quarter Rangers of the Altenwald with the help of forest druids and woodland creatures are hampering logging efforts near Neuhafen. The rangers are the survivors of Halvard's freedom fighters - mostly old men still living with their memories of a time now past. Ever since Halvard's death, they have travelled the land in search of an heir they believe still lives in the Heldannic Territories.

AC 1012, 4th Quarter Anna von Hendriks and her companions discover a visiting Karameikan skyship. The crew, which had just been ambushed elsewhere, and the Heldannic Knights all agree to set sail together toward the surface world. Meanwhile, a lone warbird spots Karl Hundkopf and his troops. Their zeppelins were destroyed in a storm and crash-landed months ago. Unable to take everyone aboard, the warbird leaves with the sick and wounded. It seeks to contact other ships outside the Hollow World to come evacuate the rest of the troops. An Alphatian skyship that had been trailing the warbird for months observes the scene from above a cloud. It returns to Sundsvall to report.

AC 1013, 1st Quarter After long consideration and finger-pointing, the three Primates of the Order agree that all is not well. Knights of the Order are almost universally disliked if not profoundly hated. It's not to say it does not deserve its reputation. But somehow, events have had a way of bringing the worst out of the Order. Although the Primates do not exactly consider the Order to be a benevolent force in the world, they can't explain many of its worst acts of repression and abuse of power. Reluctantly, the Primates conclude that faith isn't all it should be among the Order and perhaps other forces may be at work. On this thought, the three agree to begin a time of meditation and introspection to purify the Order's thoughts and soul.

Meanwhile in Thyatis, a fire sweeps through several districts of Thyatis City. A thousand people lose their lives in the blaze. Losses exceed an estimated 2,000,000 gp. With the Imperial Treasury nearly bankrupt after the war, Emperor Eusebius appeals upon the Heldannic Order to help finance the cleanup and the rebuilding of these districts.

An earthquake shakes Norwold. Shocks are felt as far as Freiburg. Oceansend suffers considerable material damage. A tidal wave ripples through the Sea of Dawn, flooding the northern coasts of the Isle of Dawn. Helskir is flooded.

AC 1013, 2nd Quarter Some of the best priests of the Voice and of the Hammer are summoned to Freiburg. They are to form the backbone of the Heldannic Inquisition under the command of Manfred Himmelbrand, age 49. Their charter is drafted, defining their goals and duties. Powers are given the Inquisitors to requisition troops, wealth, and materials to support their efforts. Meanwhile, some of the pilgrims travelling to Vanya's grave decide to stay and settle in the Holy Land. With next to nothing to work from but their fate, these courageous pioneers build their shacks in the Davanian wilderness, there to grow a meagre crop, raise a few oxen, or hunt the wilderness. Unusual lion-like rakasta, the Simbasta, are sighted in the vicinity of Vanya's Rest.

In the Hollow World, warbirds arrive to evacuate Karl Hundkopf and the rest of his troops. Alphatian skyships and Oostdok, warned well in advance of the warbird's arrival, intercept the Heldannic fleet as the troops embark. The warbirds put up a valiant fight, but caught at a disadvantage, all but one are destroyed. A battered warbird barely manages to escape the Hollow World and return to Freiburg. Heldannic troops and their commander are captured and taken to Sundsvall.

AC 1013, 3rd Quarter A small earthquake hits the region of West Portage of the Isle of Dawn. Close to 75 people perish under collapsing buildings. A tidal wave ripples through the Sea of Dawn and the Sea of Dread. Towns on the east coast of Hattias see some damage as the full force of the wave overshoots south of Hattias. Ships headed for Vanya's Rest are severely damaged. One overloaded vessel capsizes, drowning most of its passengers. After rescuing the few survivors, the flotilla returns to Southpoint.

Rufin Amantius, aide to the Thyatis ambassador to the Heldannic Territories shoots a crossbow bolt into a persistent admirer of his wife. Both Thyatis and the Order are embarrassed by the incident as the admirer was a Heldannic Knight. Amantius is forced to resign so the affair can be forgotten.

A forest fire destroys over a thousand hectares of woods in the Altenwald, near Neuhafen. Loggers from Neuhafen set the fire when they got wind of an ambush from forest rangers.

AC 1013, 4th Quarter A gale off the coasts of Norwold and the Heldannic Territories damages ten ships and kills forty people. A month later a fire destroys a hundred houses in Freiburg. Arsonists were seen leaving the building that first caught fire. They included four rather old men and three women who rode off toward the Altenwald.

A wild man travelling the Province of Heldland claims to be a prophet. He predicts that the end is near to all who listen. Priests of the Hammer capture him and question his beliefs. During the interrogation, they find out he was one of their own, a member of the mysterious and awesome Anvil of Blood. They call in the Inquisition. A few weeks later, under excruciating pain inflicted by Manfred Himmelbrand's executioners, the wild man admits he planned to found a heretical sect. The Inquisitor condemns him to ten years of meditation and atonement in a local abbey. He comes back on his word the very next day, and, as relapse, he is immediately found guilty of consorting with the forces of Chaos. He is burned atop a pyre before the end of the week. A manhunt begins to identify his followers.

AC 1014, 1st Quarter Port Lucinius defaults on its Heldannic loan. An arrangement is made that authorises the Heldannic Order to seize the aqueduct network as collateral and collect taxes related to water distribution. Further north, months after her Karameikan skyship crashed near the north pole, Anna von Hendriks arrives in Freiburg. She completed the long trek on foot from the crash site to Freiburg, through Frosthaven, the Kingdom of Alpha, and Norwold. Meanwhile in Davania, thousands of Simbasta, approach Vanya's Rest. They claim to be the legitimate owners of the region. Pilgrim settlers are captured. A Simbasta emissary, Chief Ikwanza, demands that the Heldannic Order vacates their ancestral lands. He is walked back out of the Holy Citadel.

AC 1014, 2nd Quarter Konrad Blutfelden, Primate of the Hammer, and Eugen Pfefferlind, Landmeister of Freiburg, are accused of simony. They are linked to the recruiting of notorious Hattian Storm Soldiers in exchange for gold. One of the Storm Soldiers admits he is a worshipper of Thanatos. The High Inquisitor convicts them all of heresy. Konrad, Eugen, their sergeants-at-arms, and the Storm Soldiers are all burned at the stake. Sigmund Stahlfaust, age 52, succeeds Konrad. Anna von Hendriks succeeds Eugen. Both claimed their innocence as they died. The High Inquisitor seeks other suspects in what is now dubbed the "Thanatos Conspiracy".

Meanwhile in Davania, Maude Erstenlicht, Primate of the Voice, dies sword in hand during the Simbasta assault of the Holy Citadel, at the venerable age of 83. Ingeborg Gottfried (Vanya's mortal avatar) takes on the position at the age of 42, in Freiburg. After suffering heavy losses, the Simbasta seize Vanya's Artifact. The Hochmeister urgently recalls all available warbirds to Freiburg. The Order suffers its worst crisis since it was established.

AC 1014, 3rd Quarter The entire Heldannic fleet of warbirds sails to Davania. They find Vanya's Rest abandoned. They attack the Simbasta in the open. Soon all the warbirds crash land as the Simbasta's Great Shaman finds out how the artifact works. Severely outnumbered, the Heldannic expeditionary force surrenders. Seeking merely to establish themselves as the knights' overlords in Davania, Chief Ikwanza convinces the Hochmeister to swear fealty to the Simbasta in exchange for the return of the artifact and the prisoners. For the permission to occupy Vanya's Rest, the Order also must pay a yearly tribute to the Simbasta. Wulf von Klagendorf returns to Freiburg to deal with the blossoming crisis. Days later, renegade soldiers of the Order stage a mutiny aboard the Sturmkondor. They name themselves the Wolves of Heldann, and flee to Glantri with their prize.

AC 1014, 4th Quarter Following the latest events, morale and faith are profoundly affected at all levels of the Order. The Inquisition grows even more repressive. Wulf von Klagendorf receives word from Vanya that he must leave on a quest to prove his value to Her, and save his Order. The Hochmeister, at the official age of 85, leaves on a quest to destroy a powerful dragon called Pyre in the faraway Savage Coast. Shortly after his departure, an entire village is accused of consorting with minions of Thanatos. The Inquisition burns them all at the stake.

A few months later, Wulf defeats Pyre who escapes to the Wyrmsteeth Range. Wulf follows. Unable to find Pyre, Wulf captures instead a young gold dragon called Kindling. Meanwhile, Thanatos sends word to Manfred Himmelbrand, the High Inquisitor, that Pyre has killed the Hochmeister. He tricks Manfred into believing that it was Vanya speaking. Horrified and giving in to paranoia, the High Inquisitor seizes the position of Hochmeister to face the "all-out war against Thanatos". Fearing the Inquisition's power, no one intervenes.

The Wolves of Heldann, having completed new enchantments on the Sturmkondor leave Glantri and land in a remote area of Norwold. There, a priest of Odin joins them. He directs them to a potential ally (Pyre in disguise), with whom they conspire against the Order. About the same time, Myoshima invades Mystara, starting with Vanya's Rest. The knights manage to fool the Myoshimans into believing they possess Vanya's artifact.

AC 1015, 1st Quarter Wulf befriends his captive, the young dragon called Kindling. They become companions on the way back to Freiburg. There, he discovers the abuses of the Inquisition as hundreds of crucified cadavers line the roads to Freiburg, with signs marking them as heretics. Upon Wulf's arrival, the High Inquisitor, manipulated by Thanatos, declares in the name of Vanya that the visitor is a fraud. He and his companion are both thrown into to the dungeons. Kindling escapes. Soon afterward, Wulf demands a trial by fire. The High Inquisitor eagerly accepts. Wulf walks without hesitation into the blaze of a pyre and claims that his faith to Vanya is true and that the fire cannot harm him. As the flames fail to affect Wulf, the High Inquisitor casts spells upon spells to defeat Wulf's protection. Failing this, he himself adds more wood to the pile, tosses oil, frantically screaming "Burn, I say! Burn!", while in the throws of a growing dementia. But Vanya's protects the Hochmeister. He walks out unharmed and stares down at the pitiful figure of this Inquisitor frothing at the mouth. Having proven his point, the knights overwhelmingly join their old master. The Inquisition's charter is revoked and its forces are disbanded. Manfred Himmelbrand is sent to an abbey to recover from his malady and atone for deeds.

AC 1015, 2nd Quarter Kindling meets with Pyre in the Wyrmsteeth Range. He discovers Pyre's goal to pit humanity against dragonkind. Pyre is on her path to becoming an Immortal, under the patronage of Thanatos. He barely escapes Pyre's attempt to kill him. Meanwhile, Myoshima invades the Heldannic Territories. Secure with the knowledge that they can stop the Heldannic warbirds, the Myoshimans launch a massive assault on Freiburg's Great Fortress from the air. Heldannic warbirds, filled with knights and Simbasta nonetheless arrive from Davania and threaten to tip the scale in favour of the knights. Manipulated by Pyre, the dragons of the Wyrmsteeth Range join in the Myoshimans, inflicting staggering damage to the warbirds. Wulf von Klagendorf challenges the King of the Dragons as the fortress goes up in flames. Kindling saves the day and reveals Pyre's plans to the king. Pyre escapes. The dragons leave the battlefield. The Myoshimans, believing the knights defeated the dragons, are terrified at the awful turn of events and surrender. Forgiving and eager for peace, Wulf allows them to retreat to Myoshima. He then wows to restore true faith in Vanya among the knights and rebuild the Order, free of Thanatos' corruption.

AC 1015, 3rd Quarter Wulf von Klagendorf restores an old manuscript, written by the hand of Ledeia, the original founder of the Church of Vanya. It is distributed throughout the Order and everyone is required to study it. Faith is slowly restored. Vanya grants a special prayer to its priests to ensure no one speaks in her place. Meanwhile in Thyatis, repayment of the imperial debt to the Heldannic Order is postponed. Otto Morgenhammer dies in Hockstein at the age of 74. He is succeeded by Friedrich Feuergeist, at the age of 43.

AC 1015, 4th Quarter Wulf von Klagendorf institutes a new affiliation inside the Order, called the Pathfinders. It answers to the Primate of the Voice and requires very specific qualities of its members. Their role is to offer benevolent and spiritual guidance to the Order. Before the end of the year, it is discovered that Pathfinders have the ability to heal wounds by laying their hands upon the afflicted.

AC 1016, 1st Quarter Alphatian wizards from the Hollow World lose control over an ancient spell and fill Mystara-Space with breathable air.

AC 1016, 3rd Quarter A new reform of the Heldannic Code of Conduct is ratified, allowing knights to marry or married knights to join the Order.

AC 1016, 4th Quarter Wulf von Klagendorf dies of old age. He is buried in a mausoleum underneath the old Cathedral of Notre Dame of Vanya. Anna von Hendriks and Sigmund Stahlfaust are rivals for the succession (winner to be determined).

AC 1017, 1st Quarter An additional reform is made to the Code of Conduct, allowing hereditary land grants as a reward for the best knights of the Order.

AC 1017, 2nd Quarter A fair portion of the imperial debt is repaid in cash to the Heldannic Order. The remainder of the debt is converted into Hattian lands ceded to the Order for a period of 100 years, during which they will remain under Heldannic sovereignty. The grant includes a village of 350 people, a deep water bay with 24 miles-worth of coastline, and lands extending another 16 miles inland. It is located east of the Stegger River's source and is promptly renamed Vanya Bay. The Order quickly begins the construction of a fortified port, barracks, and warehouses. Troops are moved in.

AC 1017, 3rd Quarter The Wolves of Heldann land the Sturmkondor amidst the Altenwald. They meet with the old survivors of Halvard's rangers. They reveal the possible existence of Halvard's son, heir to the Haldis Clan and all the ancestral Heldann lands.

AC 1018, 1st Quarter Pathfinders discover the hidden grave of Ledeia in Hattias. The Heldannic Order pays the nearly bankrupt Empire of Thyatis a large amount of gold for the right to build a great temple on the site of Ledeia's grave. The birthplace of Ledeia, a modest village in the hills of southern Hattias near the temple, becomes a pole of attraction to the faithful.

AC 1018, 4th Quarter The Wolves of Heldann, with the help of their priest of Odin, identify and locate Fredek Halvardson. The latter joins their group on a quest to free the Heldann Freeholds. Younger rangers volunteer as crew aboard the Sturmkondor.

AC 1019, 2nd Quarter As it leaves the Altenwald, the Sturmkondor intercepts and destroys a lone warbird. Before setting sail toward Wendar, The Wolves of Heldann leave a note on the wreckage calling for freedom and signed by Fredek Halvardson, Rightful Heir to the Heldann Freeholds.

AC 1020 Heldannic banking operations are now fairly common throughout Thyatis, Vestland, Darokin, Minrothad, and western nations of the Isle of Dawn. They commonly involve the rulers of these nations. Heldannic banking has acquired a solid reputation of reliability and integrity. Pilgrimage remains ever so popular among Vanya's faithful in Hattias. Southpoint and Vinton now operate at full capacity.

Conclusion from the Author: What is important to understand at this point is that Thanatos has effectively been defeated in his efforts to corrupt the Heldannic Knights. Unfortunately, this does not solve all of the Order's problems. The ill-fated Heldannic Inquisition managed to reach one goal, but failed in several other ways. It did succeed in identifying the more pressing issue of Thanatos' corruption, but failed to address the problem the right way, inflicting serious harm to the Order and the local population. This supported Thanatos' efforts more than anything else, but this is no surprise considering Thanatos took advantage of the High Inquisitor's own weaknesses and influenced his decisions.

One of its other failures was not to have identified an even bigger influence among the knights, the one from Vanya's artifact. Indeed, it came very close when it captured a former member of the Anvil of Blood. But the Inquisition was unable to see further into what was really going on.

A third and now more pressing threat, unknown to the Inquisition, is Odin's counterattack. His faithful followers still exist in the Heldannic Territories, as well as Frey's and Freya's. They survived as underground faiths. Odin still plans on recovering this old bastion of his. Eventually, the Wolves of Heldann - his pawns in the chess game with Vanya over the fate of this region - will start yet another civil war with the Heldannic Order, one that spreads to all of Norwold.

Fortunately, by then the Order will have eaten through the heart of Hattias, ideologically and economically. The Order effectively has become the Thyatian Empire's treasury. Nearly bankrupt, the empire is crumbling and begins to appear as a prey ripe for the quarry to many predator nations if not civil war. The Heldannic Knights, eager to protect their huge investments and possessions in the empire are likely to step in and "save the empire", effectively taking it over.

Unlike with the Heldann Freeholds, the lands of Hattias are not only of the same ethnic background but also of the same faith, considering that the Church of Vanya is the most important faith there. The rest of the metropolitan empire will quickly fall under their control, eager to benefit from the Order's wealth and a revival of laws and stability reminiscent of the empire's olden days.

Whether the Order tries to retain its lands up north then becomes highly debatable. The latter offer low productivity, a harsh climate, a population that is likely to remain hostile, and basically not much economic potential. Rather than waste vast fortunes and human potential there, it may be more practical for the Heldannic Order to sign a treaty with an independent Heldann and Norwold, evacuate these lands altogether, and focus on defending or reclaiming old Thyatian colonies on the Isle of Dawn. By then, the Storm Soldiers' movement in Hattias has no further reason for existing and disappears, save for a few individuals with criminal intentions. An exodus will follow, allowing Vanya's faithful in the northern lands to resettle in Hattias, providing a rebirth of both the old empire and the original Heldann Freeholds.

A crucial development among the new Order is its reliance on Pathfinders, a group of well-intentioned paladins who are at the origin of the knights returning to Hattias - the Pathfinders remaining true to their stated goal of showing the way. Pathfinders represent an important milestone in the Order's development, taking it further away from the original abuses and the senseless brutality of Thanatos' Storm Soldiers who formed the backbone of the Order some eighty years earlier.