Helmut looks around before taking a stool that seems not too big and sits down. He looks worn out and haggard by now, unlike his usual self. After running his hand though his hair he begins.
"This happened in Germany, three maybe four years before we came to France. Master Lexi often posed as a mercenary captain or sergeant. He kept his magics secret, no one ever knew he was a wizard, they came to call him 'Lucky Lexi' because things seemed to always go well with him. His magic was always either subtle or...well he simply made sure no one survived to tell the tale. That did not happen often. The few men that came to know would actually join him and stay in his services perhaps dying later on campaign. Michel and Brionne are the only surviving fighting men that know what he can do from that time.
"I was basically a camp follower and messenger and helped Alexei with written correspondences. He was hired by a village, I can't even remember the name of it now. He was to clear out some bandits that were plaguing the village and travellers. Easy work for him right? Their main defense was hiding from him, he was getting frustrated I could tell. He was drinking more as well, part of the deal he had was being supplied with their excellent local vintages. Alexei thinks he's charming when he's in his cups, and mostly he is, but he can be roused to anger and it will surprise you. One day I was heading from our camp back into town on an errand, something I had done a few times. The bandits knew this and captured me, thinking to ransom me. I wrote my own ransom note and all the vile things they'd do to me if he didn't pay. I also wrote where I was, they weren't able to see the secret codes I used that Alexei was prudent enough to share with me." he pauses and takes a shuddering breath.
"I won't say the bandits were good to me, but they were not really evil men, I've seen evil men, these were mainly fools. I believe they might have let me go if Alexei paid or if they thought Alexei was going to find them. I don't think they had the stomach to go through with the threats they made. Alexei...believed otherwise." Helmut red eyes begin to water at the memory. "The first warning the men received that Alexei was coming was the severed head that was pitched into their camp, it was the head of the one that had drawn lots and was sent to deliver their message. I swear at that moment, every single one of them messed their trousers." he makes a slight laugh but then grows quiet. "I did as well..."
"Then he was among them. He appeared out of nowhere. I'd seen him use that trick, it was so amazing when I first saw him do it, but now he seemed a devil sent from Hell. He appeared among them and roared and then grew, grew even larger than you m'lady. And then it was wrath and violence as I've never seen. I said he looked like a devil. No, more like a titan, a furious pagan god of war. He was shouting in Latin at them, cursing them, condemning them as he rent them. He broke their bodies, split them, severed them. This was no fight...just as a babe can't fight a bear they could not fight Alexei. Alexei's magic is always subtle, but that night there was nothing subtle. And..." he pauses and a sob wrenches out of him. "You've been near him when he casts a spell yes? It produces a smell, it's different to all that smell it, but it's always pleasant, it brings back good memories. To me his magic smells like the beeswax candles that were burned at the monastery where I learned letters. All the while he was...slaughtering the men, this overpouring, cloying candle scent was filling the campsite, stronger than the spilt blood and burning bodies. To this day I can't bear that smell for long, my memories that day are forever bloodied by it."
Helmut dabs at his eyes. "When it was done he was covered in blood, and this was when he was still giant sized. He turned to me finally in a rage, I honestly don't think he recognized me initially. It was only after I begged and pleaded that he recognized me and started to come to his senses. Brione arrived after that, finally catching up with Alexei and he lead me away. He and Michel would dispose of the bodies that night. The village never had to worry about them again. Alexei swore off drinking after that, he had been in his cups when the messenger arrived and he drank some more as he made council with his men. They told me that he read the message one more time...and I can only assume at that point he saw the secret codes I had put in. It was then that he went...that he went mad I guess. He became more religious after that, he's very concerned about what he's done and that he could do it again. I don't know if he's confessed yet.
"He's proud you see. And proud men think their sins are so grand that only someone very important can hear them. But...and this is what I feel holds him back, if he confesses to someone worthy; a Bishop or maybe Archbishop, he is worried that he shall make the church even more afraid of the Order and what it can do. Or they will try to use him as the Bishop recently did and had him go on Crusade. But that is something else. He's drinking again, drinking more and I worry that he could be set off. Valerian, Lucius, that creature. I would hate to see them awaken this rage in him again." he wipes his eyes and his nose and sits quietly.