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    General Lordban's Avatar
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    Danse Macabre


    Berlin, The Spandau Prison




    Excerpt from Albert Speer's "Spandau Diary"


    **




    July 17th, 1954


    Yesterday, on Friday, the sixteenth of July, the guards wake the nine of us up at four o'clock in the morning. A platoon of soldiers are waiting in the prison hall, and a young leutnant - an American, judging by his accent - enters my cell. He points at each of the personal items I'm allowed to take with me to Spandau. And then he keeps his eyes fixed on his watch for nearly ten minutes, prompting me to hurry up with my packing every now and then, even though I'm finished by the first time he expresses impatience. I could smuggle a forbidden item past him, but I decide not to take the risk: our jailors were bound to search through our luggage before it reached Spandau.

    We have time for a last cup of bland coffee. It is served at the Registry.


    Soldier guards seem to have a fondness for making their prisoners go through dull periods of waiting. The nine of us loiter in the entrance hall for over an hour. We're under orders not to talk to one another, and there's no doubt the men who keep watch on us would enforce that order.

    A gunshot cracks, breaking the silence. It's an American who handled his rifle badly and hurt his own toe. It brings back a memory of Elsie scorning the American soldier, and of Karl patiently explaining the assets represented by the American industry and manpower, and of I trying to follow their argument. Has it already been thirty years?

    We take our leave from Major Teich. I thank him for the kind behaviour of his subordinates, and hastily add "within the strict limits defined by the rules", hoping to spare him further trouble. Each of us is then chained to a soldier, and we leave the prison. We are taken away in medical cars, and followed by a mechanized column.

    I feel relieved to leave the prison block. It was indelibly associated with the trials, and our co-accused at the trials had been executed there. Presently the short trip taking us through Nuremberg and Furth, wrecked as they are, lightens my heart, and I feel genuine pleasure when we cross the Pegnitz on a small and elegant steel bridge of recent construction. Hitler would have destroyed Germany, and I am seeing with my own eyes the proof his last, demented wishes will never become reality.


    I am assigned a seat by the window on board a small touristic plane. After having been locked for several months, it was impossible not to feel emotion during the journey. Even being manacled to a soldier cannot bring me out of my reverie, engrossed as I am in gazing at the world around me. On the ground below are villages and small towns, many apparently untouched by the wars; the fields have been sown, and the forests are mostly intact - the rumours some generals and SS colported about a Germany turned into a barren wasteland were not true either.

    Little things move me. A train on a railway, a brick navigating the Elbe, a plume of smoke from a chimney - all of them remainders of how life is going on, when my own had been frozen since November 1952. Thirty more years! Will I be able to recognize the world around me when I am released, should I live long enough to see that happy day?

    We fly in circles around Berlin for over half an hour. The city is still mostly in ruins. My eye is inevitably attracted by the dome of Grosse Halle. I quickly spot the East-West Axis I made for Hitler's 50th Birthday; the lawns around the Olympiastadion look well tended, and the Reichskanzlei is in a pristine state. Grunewald and the Havel Lakes look as beautiful as ever.

    We land at Staaken and climb into a black van.

    The journey through Berlin is made at breakneck speed. Braking, accelerations, sharp turns and horn blows. One last turn, and a brutal halt. We get off, still chained to soldiers.

    An order in German: "Take their manacles off. They have no use here."

    The American guard takes leave of me with a rather solemn handshake.

    Inside we're made to seat on a wooden bench, dressed in the civilian clothes which had been returned to us when we left Nuremberg. One by one, we are led to a room where we abandon our clothes and are examined by a condescending Russian doctor; I make a point of having him assess me as "fit". We're all issued prisoner clothes: pale blue trousers, a threadbare vest and a rough shirt. A formless cap and fabric shoes with wooden soles complete the outfit. Before we're taken to our cells, the German director of the prison reads us the rules which will govern our sojourn behind the walls of Spandau.

    Large white numbers have been painted on the backs of our shirts and vests, assigned to us in the order in which we have been taken to our block. These numbers are how we are to be adressed for the duration of our imprisonment in Spandau; it is forbidden to speak any of our names. My thoughts go back to Elsie, and of her chilling habit of talking about human beings as little more than objects and pawns. It seems this is the feeling the United Nations have for us.

    I was called forward last, and consequently have become "number Nine". The United Nations must have found it demeaning for a man who built and maintained the Third Reich's military machine.


    I dwell upon a depressing idea: when I am released, my eldest son will be older than I was when they arrested me.


    Albert isn't much younger today than I was when I met Karl.

    It's strange how I still think fondly of the little man. One could say he's the reason I am a prisoner in Spandau: he introduced me to Elsie, who introduced me to Hitler.

    Karl wasn't an easy man to deal with. You never knew on what footing you should approach him. He hardly ever expressed feelings, but would sometimes burn with fiery passion. One moment he would be coldly analytical - machiavellian, indeed - and the next he would offer succor to victims of the war, to the extent of his capabilities.

    He often displayed nineteenth century mannerisms and turns of phrase, and his values had a lot in common with those of the old Prussian generals, but he was open to progress, and even well into his sixties his keen mind could perceive changes younger men needed years to notice. Over the course of the years I learned to value his counsel, and seldom regretted having followed his advice.


    I often wonder what my life would have been had I not met Karl. I would never have met Hitler, and Germany might have lost the war before 1945, averting many horrors. And I would be with my wife and children, maybe busy making plans for the reconstruction of Germany.

    Instead, Margarete is alone with our six children to raise and few resources at her disposal, and almost everybody views their husband and father as one of the greatest criminals in history.




    **
    Last edited by Lordban; 17-08-2009 at 03:36.
    "Mankind has only one science. It is the science of discontent." -- Count Hasimir Fenring

  2. #2
    General Lordban's Avatar
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    A Hearts of Iron III / Victoria: Revolutions AAR






    Foreword

    It is unusual, but not altogether unknown, for an AAR to start during one of the Paradox games and continue in another of them. It is a lot more unusual to see an AAR covering two games simultaneously and drawing parallels between them, and this is what made choosing how and where to post 'Danse Macabre' a little dilemma.

    I decided against splitting the story between the Victoria and Hearts of Iron III AAR sub-forums, and will not be posting on both forums unless there's really a demand and the moderators agree - or decide so! 'Danse Macabre' will be mostly split between narrative and history-book formats; this story will be going back and forth between the Victorian and World War II eras, developing in both but not truly belonging to either.

    The games involved will be the following:

    > Victoria: Revolutions

    - Based on a modified version of the Victoria Improvements Project R:0.3
    - Played on two networked computers, I will be controlling both France and Prussia/Germany
    - A number of developements for this game will be scripted, but it will not follow history strictly

    > Hearts of Iron III

    - Based on HoI III 1.2, which I will start modifying as soon as that patch is released, and which may see adaptations depending on further patches
    - Played singly as Germany


    I hope it will be an enjoyable ride



    **



    Awarded 'WritAAR of the Week' & 'Best Character Writer of the Week, 04/04/2010.
    Last edited by Lordban; 05-04-2010 at 00:40.
    "Mankind has only one science. It is the science of discontent." -- Count Hasimir Fenring

  3. #3
    General Lordban's Avatar
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    Contents:


    Prologue - Excerpt from Albert Speer's "Spandau Diary" (Berlin, 1954).


    Part I - An Elusive Shadow:

    Chapter 1 - Aktion at the Opera House (Potsdam, 1933).
    Chapter 2 - The Lady and the Soldier (Paris, 1933).
    Chapter 3 - Gaspard Gourgaud's Dismissal (St Helena, 1817).
    Chapter 4 - For a smile of Elise... (Paris, 1818).
    Chapter 5 - Diary of Elsie von Carstein, March 21st 1818 entry.
    Chapter 6 - Diary of Elizabeth Balcombe, March 21st 1819 entry.
    Chapter 7 - The Calling of the Servant (St Helena, 1819).
    Mini-update #1 - Report by SS-Obersturmführer Oskar Günsche, dated March 8th, 1933.
    Chapter 8 - That man is mine (St Helena, 1819).
    Chapter 9 - Excerpt from Albert Speer's "Spandau Diary" (Berlin, 1955).
    Chapter 10 - The Emperor's Penance (St Helena, 1821).
    Last edited by Lordban; 16-04-2010 at 23:58.
    "Mankind has only one science. It is the science of discontent." -- Count Hasimir Fenring

  4. #4
    Very interesting concept, good luck.

  5. #5
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    An interesting start! The beginning tells alot about the AAR, and this one has definitely caught my interest!

    Speer is a fascinating fellow. I view him relatively fondly, from what I know of him, and yet he was an enabler of some of the greatest war criminals. Somehow he is "the one who does not belong", and that's the puzzling thing. He was so central to the Nazi rise and empire, and yet...

    Was Speer misunderstood then? Or is he misunderstood now? I'll look forward to seeing your take!

    Rensslaer
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    I think I'm going to love this AAR.

    Count me in.

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    Silent LurkAAr V Aelendil's Avatar
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    Very nice start, I will follow !

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    Tohu Wabohu Lord_D's Avatar
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    Certainly something worth the attention of following

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    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    A very interesting concept. And I will be very intrigued to see what you make of Speer. I think he has some rather marvellous potential as a character.
    To view is human, to comment is divine.
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    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    I'm subscribed!

    Also, congrats on being named Fan of the Week.
    Read about my full body of AAR works here!

    Fan of the Week 13/08/09

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    General Lordban's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skizbot View Post
    Very interesting concept, good luck.
    We'll see how practical this one is to pull off Thanks to you, and welcome!


    Quote Originally Posted by Rensslaer View Post
    An interesting start! The beginning tells alot about the AAR, and this one has definitely caught my interest!

    Speer is a fascinating fellow. I view him relatively fondly, from what I know of him, and yet he was an enabler of some of the greatest war criminals. Somehow he is "the one who does not belong", and that's the puzzling thing. He was so central to the Nazi rise and empire, and yet...

    Was Speer misunderstood then? Or is he misunderstood now? I'll look forward to seeing your take!

    Rensslaer
    An honor to see you here! It's fitting, because this story is as much your fault as it was a couple of years ago

    Yes, I was attracted to Speer because he seems not to belong - and yet, somehow, it did not matter until it was too late to make a difference.


    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    I think I'm going to love this AAR.

    Count me in.
    Counted Welcome, and thanks again for your suggestions in GD


    Quote Originally Posted by Myth View Post
    I'm subscribed!

    Also, congrats on being named Fan of the Week.
    An honor to succeed you

    And welcome on board!


    Quote Originally Posted by stnylan View Post
    A very interesting concept. And I will be very intrigued to see what you make of Speer. I think he has some rather marvellous potential as a character.
    He's one of those characters who are quite enjoyable to let "run away" from you

    Thanks for your attention, and welcome!


    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_D View Post
    Certainly something worth the attention of following
    Then I shall do my best to try and fulfill your expectations Welcome!


    Quote Originally Posted by Aelendil View Post
    Very nice start, I will follow !
    Beginnings do matter a lot Thanks to you, and welcome!
    "Mankind has only one science. It is the science of discontent." -- Count Hasimir Fenring

  12. #12
    Major Solo?'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rensslaer View Post
    An interesting start! The beginning tells alot about the AAR, and this one has definitely caught my interest!

    Speer is a fascinating fellow. I view him relatively fondly, from what I know of him, and yet he was an enabler of some of the greatest war criminals. Somehow he is "the one who does not belong", and that's the puzzling thing. He was so central to the Nazi rise and empire, and yet...

    Was Speer misunderstood then? Or is he misunderstood now? I'll look forward to seeing your take!

    Rensslaer
    Yes, he truly is a fascinating individual. I've read both his Spandau prison diaries and Inside the Third Reich. Although I began to develop somewhat of a sympathetic view of him he still made use of huge swathes of slave labour and his initial blind following of Hitler undoubtedly allowed German armament production to continue much longer had he not so zealously and efficiently managed it. I must say, your style reminds me much of Speers own writing. I look forward to following this one!
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  13. #13
    General Lordban's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solo? View Post
    Yes, he truly is a fascinating individual. I've read both his Spandau prison diaries and Inside the Third Reich. Although I began to develop somewhat of a sympathetic view of him he still made use of huge swathes of slave labour and his initial blind following of Hitler undoubtedly allowed German armament production to continue much longer had he not so zealously and efficiently managed it. I must say, your style reminds me much of Speers own writing. I look forward to following this one!
    How ambiguous Speer can be, yes. We will somewhat explore his character as the story goes along.

    As to the resemblance with his style, I'll admit to a bit of skullduggery: many details regarding the actual transfer to Spandau are taken from the July 19th, 1947 entry, such as the incident of the soldier shooting his own foot. A few variations are unintentional - I do not have access to an English translation of the Spandau Diaries (and actually prefer it that way), but there's a precise intent behind the changes and, of course, I've inserted and added quite a bit of material.
    "Mankind has only one science. It is the science of discontent." -- Count Hasimir Fenring

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Lordban View Post
    skullduggery
    Tricksy rabbit.

    Looking forward to reading more of this

  15. #15
    Banned EvilFishtank's Avatar
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    Wow! an AAR that does Vicky and HOI3! This looks like it could be one for the AAR history books.

  16. #16
    General Lordban's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shosho Tanaka View Post
    Tricksy rabbit.
    Ain't I

    Quote Originally Posted by Shosho Tanaka View Post
    Looking forward to reading more of this
    Thanks, and welcome on board!


    Quote Originally Posted by EvilFishtank View Post
    Wow! an AAR that does Vicky and HOI3! This looks like it could be one for the AAR history books.
    Let's hope it lives up to expectations!


    Update's in the works; it should come later today or some time tomorrow
    Last edited by Lordban; 18-08-2009 at 05:58.
    "Mankind has only one science. It is the science of discontent." -- Count Hasimir Fenring

  17. #17
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    Part I - An Elusive Shadow
    "Mankind has only one science. It is the science of discontent." -- Count Hasimir Fenring

  18. #18
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    Aktion at the Opera House







    **




    Potsdam; March 3rd, 1933. 19:25


    Of the nineteen men Sturmführer Christian Faber had selected for this aktion, none had joined the SA before October 1930. Twelve of them had taken up the brown shirt in the wake of NSDAP's stunning electoral successes in 1930 and 1932, which had brought the Party up from the status of backbench agitators in the Reichstag to that of the strongest political entity in Germany. The remaining seven had actually sworn their oaths after Adolf Hitler had been appointed Chancellor. The Sturmführer had had time to train the former decently; he still had a lot to do with the latter.

    Faber's shock sturm had been integrated in the "Auxiliary Police Force" created by Göring a couple of weeks earlier. Their missions still involved bullying, threatening and beating political opponents into submission, but now the SA had legal sanction to perform these actions. Göring himself covered up for them - and that cover even extended to acts of murder. Before Hitler's appointment Faber's men had formed a brutally efficient force; now that they could act with impunity, they had started degenerating into a motley of self-important thugs, firm in their belief Germany now belonged to the SA and that they, as members of the SA, could do now whatever they wanted. A belief shared by a large number of higher-ranking SA, starting with their leader Röhm.


    Faber did not share that outlook. A former army sergeant and a member of NSDAP since 1921, he had participated actively in the resistance against French occupation in the Rühr. He had been ordered back to Munich in October the same year, and he became one of the "Alte Kämpfer" who lay bleeding on the pavement when the Green Police had opened fire on the column led by Ludendorff and Hitler in the ill-fated Beer-Hall Putsch. He had been ordered to move to Berlin in 1925, and there he had spent years fighting the powerful Communist organizations. He had risen through the ranks of the SA owing to his fidelity to Hitler when Strasser tried to take NSDAP away from him in the late twenties, and had earned himself a reputation as an efficient and fearless leader in many skirmishes. He had fought fiercely, and had served two sentences in jail.

    Now that NSDAP had won, he too was relieved not to have to worry about the legal implications of his actions. But he did not revel in that freedom and found it futile to take advantage of it to indulge one's desires; he dreamt of an ordered and efficient Germany, devoted to the fulfilment of the ideals of National-Socialism, and he held faith that Hitler would eventually bring the SA back in line. Hitler was not a man who would accept disorder and chaos when they no longer served National-Socialist purposes.


    But the SA still had their uses; the opposition was only defeated, not yet broken. And here Faber was ready to play his part.

    Thus it was that, in the late hours of a chilly evening, section Faber prepared to break into a safe house of the Reichsbanner Schwartz-rot-gold, the several hundred-thousand-strong paramilitary organization who supported the Social-democrats. The existence of the safe house had been revealed a couple of days earlier by a member of the Reichsbanner who had been terrorized by the wave of repression unleashed on Prussia after the burning of the Reichstag. Its location was good enough to warrant taking it over: it was close to Berlin and yet isolated enough to detain political opponents there discretely; Faber was to break into the refuge, occupy it, and then wait for a local branch of the SS to take over the place and set up a makeshift prison.



    **



    The truck carrying Faber and his men stopped on a gravelly path some fifty metres away from their objective.

    The "safe house" was actually made of two buildings standing on barren soil. The larger was a small Opera House whose owners had gone bankrupt late in 1918; it had a rather extensive cellar where wine and other supplies used to be stored for the buffets which invariably preceded and followed the performances. The smaller building was the former owners' house; it must have been cosy in the past, but in its present state it looked rather miserable. Both nominally belonged to a Rheinlander noble these days; according to Potsdamers, the man had never actually visited the estate.

    Now Faber could see neither building showed signs of habitation - his information had been correct. There were no lights to be seen through any of the windows - here again, his suspicions nobody would be present when his SA came to pay a visit were correct.

    What bothered him a lot more was the state of disrepair in which the place was. Several tiles had fallen from both roofs - some of them still lay near the walls. Many of the planks barring the ground-level windows were half rotten, and parts of the roof and of one of the walls of a lean-to were actually missing. Nobody had bothered to cut a dead tree down, and ivy was creeping on a couple of dozen others.

    None of the other SA seemed to be bothered by any of the details; they were busy getting off the truck and did so with a lot of shouts, bad jokes and rude laughter. So much for discretion Faber thought. The carelessness of his men was getting on his nerves. It looked too much like they had just walked into a trap.


    Faber cleared his throat and he called out to his men with a powerful voice:

    'Comrades, that's enough! There'll be time to get fun later. At attention!' The trouble being these men are starting to believe this is fun he added for himself.

    The men took nearly a minute to calm down and to arrange into a semblance of formation - a process during which Faber waited without a sign or a word, his icy stare trained on the rowdier of the SA.

    Faber's unit had once been among the best in Berlin, but some imbecile higher-up had decided to split Berlin's sections into two or more new sections filled up with recruits, rather than form entirely new sturms with the thousands who had recently made the SA ranks swell. The idea, while not bad in principle, had been applied unimaginatively to all the sturms, and this included crack ones like Faber's.

    The Bavarian often cursed the idiot who had given the order to take half of his men away from him; he had taken months to train a motley band of undisciplined youths into a crack troop, and now he almost had to do it all again. The Sturmführer had hoped the lack of opposition would make the coming aktion an excellent drill for the newcomers; by now he was fairly sure they were about to get actual experience on the field.


    Finally the men stood silent and at attention, and Faber gave his orders.

    'This whole place looks like it's empty, but it's no reason to act like fools. If it had been me who set up this place as a safe house, I'd have made sure to leave a couple of very nasty surprises to any uninvited guests.'

    'You real think there gonna be danger?'

    The rough voice belonged to a thuggish man who stood nearly two metres for a hundred and thirty kilos of muscle. His name was Zigmund Koller; he was an ex-butcher who had actually succeeded at intimidating his clients into purchasing their meat at someone else's. One of the new members of the sturm, he was strong like a bull - and nearly as stupid.

    Not stupid enough to miss the meaning of Faber's glare, though.

    '... Sturmführer' he said moodily.

    'Much better. As I was saying, you'll have to watch your steps once you are inside. There may be traps, or there may simply be stairs and floors in too bad a state to support your weight. Keep an eye out for men, but pay attention to your surroundings.
    'Ernst and Kristof' and Faber motioned the two men forward, 'will stay here with me; we'll watch the front doors and reinforce those of you who'd run into unexpected trouble.
    'Hans, Helmut, Karl and Heinz will be squad leaders. Hans will take four men with him and prepare to storm into the smaller house through the back door, on the right end of the building. Secure what you can, but withdraw at the first sign of serious opposition and interdict the door. The other teams will help you mop things up after they're finished with the opera house.
    'Heinz will take three men and prepare to break through the main building's front door. Hans and Karl will also take three and will enter through ground-level windows, respectively on the far side of the left and right walls. You'll sweep the ground and second floors clean before you regroup and clean up the cellar.
    'Squad leaders have four minutes to choose their men and move them into position; I'll shoot to signal the beginning of the operation.
    'Anybody got questions, Comrades?'

    'What if we find someone?' Heinz asked. He was a lean, wiry-muscled man much more dangerous in a fistfight than appeared at first glance.

    'If you find someone' Faber replied, 'you beat him up and make him squeal like the dirty little piglet he is'. Some of the men chuckled. 'Nobody's supposed to live here; this means anybody you find is guilty of something. We'll just save the courts several hours of nitpicking.
    'Another question?'

    None of the men replied.

    'Very well; comrades, you have your orders. Let's get rid of this stinking job; the sooner the SS can take over here, the better.'



    **



    Now the Sturmführer was a bit more satisfied by what he was seeing. He'd had to tailor his speech to the men's new expectations, but it had gotten things running and it was all Faber really cared about. The veterans quickly decided on who'd accompany them and made a short work of objections from three of the late-comers who wanted to stay together.

    The sturm moved into position, and at the end of the four minutes Faber drew his revolver and fired at the sky. His shot was echoed by four slams as his teams assaulted the doors and boarded windows.

    Faber took some enjoyment watching Koller wreck the front door. The big man has yet to learn to work efficiently in a team, but his sheer might was already a great asset.

    The bashing sounds from the other points of entry were soon followed by the sounds of splintering wood and shattering glass, and then the shouts of the SA attempting to intimidate anybody who'd had the sorry idea to hide in grounds claimed by NSDAP.


    The first sign something had gone wrong was the shout of pain which had followed another slam somewhere in the abandoned house. Ernst and Kristof fidgeted.

    'We don't move until they ask for help' Faber told them quietly. 'Our only concern is making sure the job gets done.

    A couple of minutes later two of the men emerged from behind the house; one of them was supporting the other, who looked like something was sticking out of his arm.

    "Something" turned out to be pretty unexpected, even for Faber: from the right shoulder of the wounded man emerged the barbed, wooden shaft of a crossbow bolt.

    Faber hissed. 'Clever. Taking that thing out will require a doctor.'

    The wounded man groaned. 'Sorry, Sturmführer. Didn't mean to make a fool of myself.'

    'Next time you'll kick the door instead of shoving it, that's all.' Faber smiled. 'It doesn't bleed that hard.'

    'Doesn't, but I can't feel my arm'.

    Faber frowned. 'Michael' he asked the unhurt man, 'take him back to Sebastian, then go to the main house, ask Heinz to lend you a man and warn everyone to pay extra attention to traps.' And then, with a smile for the wounded one: 'Get your rest. I'll have someone fetch a doctor as soon as we've cleared this damn place.'

    Fewer sounds could be heard coming from both buildings now, and the Sturmführer took a few moments to watch the last rays of sunlight creeping through the trees of the small demesne.

    Faber smiled. He knew Hans would have pulled out and would be waiting by the back door of the house with his remaining men. He wasn't a man to take unnecessary risks, and the two rookies he still had with him must have gotten cold feet after seeing their comrade get hurt.

    Sorry kids he thought, still smiling. Sometimes the bad guys do fight back.


    A scream coming from the Opera house wiped the smile off his face. It was quickly followed by several gunshots, and then a high-pitched, bloodcurdling "HILFE!" in a voice Faber recognized as Heinz's, followed by a sinister crack and finally the thud of a body falling on the floor.

    'Heinz!'

    Faber cursed himself. That was Michael - the man had not met Heinz, and obviously it was too dangerous for him to stay inside on his own. And it was hardly less dangerous to let the others keep exploring the opera house - they'd have been frightened by what they had heard, and risked making fatal mistakes of their own.

    Faber took a deep inspiration and shouted at the top of his voice:

    'ALL OF YOU GET OUT! TO ME! GET OUT! OUT!'

    Hans and his two men quickly reached Faber, after a short sprint.



    **



    Michael never did.



    **



    Nor did anyone else.



    **



    Now the five men Faber had left weren't just frightened: they were terrorized.

    'We get the hell away from here, Sturmführer' Hans said.
    'I'm out too.' Ernst.
    'I don't wanna die.' Kristof.

    And Hans' two men were about to start racing for Sebastian's truck.

    But Faber couldn't just run away without trying to discover what had happened to his men. Someone had to tell the higher-ups his sturm had somehow been all but wiped out in a few minutes... but someone had to make sure they were.

    And Faber knew none of the men would be persuaded to go back inside.


    'Hans'.

    'Yes, Sturmführer?'

    'I'm going to try and see what happened to the men.' Faber was trying very hard to keep his voice and expression detached. 'You will take the others back to Sebastian.'

    Hans almost strangled himself. 'You are going inside? Are you crazy?'

    'I can't go back to the Sturmbannführer and just tell him I ran away without knowing what had happened to my men.'

    'All you'll learn is what it's like to get yourself killed.'

    Faber managed a weak smile. 'Thanks for your concern, Hans. Now listen: you will tell Sebastian to wait for exactly ten minutes. If none of you see me get out of the god-damned place, or if anybody or anything else gets out, you get away as fast as you can. Alright?'

    Hans swallowed. 'Jawohl, herr Sturmführer.'

    'I'm counting on you. Now give me your torchlight.'

    Faber left his men and made it to the door Koller had smashed - had it really been less than ten minutes earlier? He drew his revolver, and held the torchlight in his other hand, scanning the wide hall which opened in front of him.


    It was almost completely dark inside. The sun had already set, and what little light it still gave did not reach the interior, as the only open windows ware above Faber, and they were facing East.

    Unlike the exterior, the hall was clean, and the carpeting on the stairs directly opposite the entrance looked pristine.

    The stairs weren't. Blood was dripping from their left sides.

    Faber shifted his lamp to the left and, next to the foot of the stairs, he spotted Koller's hulking silhouette, sprawled on the chequered floor and feebly stirring.


    Faber was about to call him out when he caught a faint movement on the man's left. He dropped to the ground without thinking, and heard the shriek of a projectile tearing through the air where his head had been moments before. The torchlight clattered to the floor; its light caught slippers made of some black fabric, resting in a slowly expanding pool of blood.

    'Guten abend.'

    Faber jumped; he caught himself and hit the floor with his elbows, aiming the revolver in the direction the voice had come from.

    It had been an exquisitely soft and polite voice which reminded Faber of some nobles who fancied themselves "civilized".


    Faber did not have time to dwell on the voice. He heard the sound of the Sebastian's engine starting and roaring, followed by the sound of the truck's wheels tearing themselves away from the gravelly path. Faber was already getting up, but the man's voice stopped him before he could start running:

    'They will not wait for you.'

    'You're bloody damn right.' There had been confidence in Faber's voice, but nowhere near as much as he would have hoped.

    Inside, the man laughed softly. 'Your life has already ended, my dear man. The only choices left to you are whether you die by your hand or mine, and whether you die in here or out-'

    BANG!

    Faber only had the man's feet and his voice to help him aim his shots. He shot another couple of shots in quick succession, sending a triangle of bullets in the man's general direction.


    Faber ducked and leant on the wall to the right side of the entrance. He risked a quick glance through the door into the hall.

    The man's feet had not budged.

    Bad. There's little chance he-

    'It seems there is only one choice left to you.'

    Worse.

    'Those were very well aimed shots, by the way' the man said almost conversationally. 'A pity you have to die. You must have been a brilliant soldier.'

    Heck, Faber had been. Only the men he'd killed in the trenches of the West Front stayed dead when you shot them.


    Faber gasped. For the first time, he realized there was a possibility the voice belonged to something which was-

    'Cool logic in the face of fire; I approve.'

    'Not enough to want to let me live' Faber shot back, determined not to let himself intimidated.

    'I regret having to kill you, my dear man' and indeed, oddly enough, the man sounded sincere. 'You seem to have made up your mind about where you would die; it would be foolish of me to expect you to come in now.'

    'I'm glad you noticed.' Faber even managed a sombre grin.

    'I will give you three minutes, in case you change your mind. After that time, if you have not come in, then I will come out. And you will die.'


    Faber was a soldier. He'd known situations where a couple of seconds could mean your life or your death, depending on your choice.

    And for whatever reason, the 'man' inside might not come out for three minutes. Faber wouldn't be getting more of a head start.

    He didn't even know if the 'man' would let him, but it didn't matter. It was his only chance.




    **


    Faber ran, as he would have had the Legions of Hell been after him.




    **



    Last edited by Lordban; 18-08-2009 at 14:48.
    "Mankind has only one science. It is the science of discontent." -- Count Hasimir Fenring

  19. #19
    Very well written, I'll be reading.

  20. #20
    Tohu Wabohu Lord_D's Avatar
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    Burning with desire to know what'll happen

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