Herein lay the final legacy of Alexei Von Kroitsau Flambonis, ex Milites, proud member of Mons Electi, and Chief Hoplite of the Normandy Tribunal.
It is my solemn and sad duty to put quill and ink to paper and write of Alexei, whom I often knew as Lexi, as did many of the men and women who served him. It was a term of affection and admiration that we used upon gaining a level of familiarity in service with him. Many know of Alexei’s severe exterior, his demand of formality. A lucky few knew that beneath that veneer was a man who had a great love of humour, of romantic tales, of the few writings of the Founder of his House and that of his students, and finally that his love of the church was often at odds with his sense of duty to the Order he served. In the end he was able to reconcile only some of these loves of his life.
It was the Spring of the Year of Our Lord 1229 that began the events which concluded with such calamity. A dishonourable ruse was played on Alexei and the Prima of Flambeau Ariel, wherein Alexei received what seemed to be a genuine invitation to the new Domus Magna of the House. Amidst some confusion and a near battle with the guardians of Val Negra, the ruse was discovered, but not the author. Alexei was given the task of finding the perpetrator.
Alexei was a proud Magus, not as scholarly as many of his Sodalis, but never held his skills as second to any. His flaw was that he held to a sense of honour that few others adhered to. And the more he discovered this fact, the more he cleaved to those values, believing with all his heart that the answer lay within. The more he was mocked for his beliefs, the more he would express them and put them to his use. This particular task would put him to the test in a way that he often doubted he could succeed. Investigations were not something he cared for. He often told me that if he had his way he would challenge his suspects to a duel of some kind to get the answers he sought. I believe though that his years in Normandy were teaching hard lessons.
The Redcap Alaire was he felt the key, but he was elusive as smoke, with superior knowledge of the landscape and allies and conspirators seemingly everywhere. Alexei also lamented that the valued service the Redcaps offered meant that the strong tactics he wanted to use would do nothing but sully his reputation; this was his first action as Chief Hoplite, and many eyes were on him. It was finally late in Spring that he managed to encounter Alaire, seemingly by luck, but Alexei said it was fate. His constant questioning paid off, and he found the home of a fair maiden of the name of Juliene. She and Alaire often met during his rounds of the vassal covenants of Montvert. Alexei left some extra coin and vis at one of the vassals of Montvert; [Name removed pending Quaesitorial investigation]. Alaire was delayed by their hospitality and Alexei arrived at Juliene’s before him.
Alaire could not have been more surprised, nor guilt ridden when Alexei answered the door of Juleine’s cottage. He tried playing coy and ignorant, then even threatened Alexei with all manner of consequences. Finally he tried fleeing. With Donner at his side, Alexei had no difficulty in finding him. It is sad the events that happened next, Alexei truly did not wish to kill him, but was left with no choice when Alaire rounded on him with an enchanted device. Alexei and Donner were sorely wounded, but I’ve seen him sustain far worse and he dispatched the Redcap with a heavy heart. Alexei had slain Alaire but did not confirm his suspicions of Rotgers. Alexei was no doubt concerned about his future within the Order, and he felt that he had no choice but to press his suspicions against Rotgers. He healed himself and told no one yet about his encounter with Alaire and the fatal results.
Alexei then made war upon Rotgers. He kept others out of both his plans and his attacks, not wanting to embroil any in his affairs. He prayed every night that his actions would not fall on the Magi of Mons Electi. He started with the road to Montvert and began taxing all who would cross it, magi and mundane alike. The legality of this would no doubt be questioned, and to some there was no question of its lack of legality. But Alexei remarked. “If the bastard Rotgers shall become so embroiled in the affairs and household of the Baron, then let their fortunes be as one.” Alexei donned the livery of the Baron in these actions, raising the ire of the people under his flag. He attacked and slew men-at-arms and knights of other lords as well as the Baron’s knights that sought to stop him. Alexei is not known as being subtle…yet that is because he is more subtle than many would ever imagine.
His Gentle Gift and unassuming magic left him an open field to rile up the people as well as slay any that opposed him, all the while hiding his presence as a magus. This was a tactic that is not well known about Alexei, which is intentional. Leaving no evidence leaves nothing to witness nor write about later. The Baron’s knights he questioned did not know they sought a magus initially, they assumed it was a bandit impersonating them. As the year drew on, Alexei caused much consternation to the Baron and no doubt Rotgers as well. It was in the beginning of Fall that he received the results he sought; Rotgers took the field himself, searching for Alexei.
Alexei’s gambit worked well. Rotgers’ impression of Alexei being a straight forward knight on a horse with a code that resisted deceptive tactics led him to leave the protection of his Aegis in search of what must have seemed to be a simple but troublesome bandit. Alexei ambushed Rotgers and his knights on the road, giving no quarter and asking for none. When Rotgers saw Alexei all pretense at brotherhood within their House was done. While Alexei’s men attacked the knights with Rotgers, Alexei and Donner appeared next to Rotgers and fought in close quarter.
Alexei’s advantage over most magi is that he can fight in a way that they often know nothing of; the melee. Rotgers did not share that weakness. A canny fight began, Alexei’s ability to use magic without word or gesture served him well as Rotgers used affects to hinder and bind him. It was still effective enough to wound him though and were it not for Donner, he would likely have died.
Donner proved that day he was not the runt of the litter and he rended three knights and their horses to get by Alexei’s side and bite the arm off of Rotgers. That wound was not enough to kill him, and Donner was undone by a spell that he could not defend against. With the death of Donner Alexei flew into a rage and ran Rotgers through on his spear, his talisman weapon, and spat his bile and blood into Rotgers’ face as the magus died.
Alexei was a changed man after that. The Tribunal was convened so he could answer for his actions. Alexei’s main defense was that Alaire had forfeited his immunity when he attacked Alexei, while with Rotgers he was determined to have him declared Marched posthumously for both perpetrating the ruse on he and his Prima and for endangering his Sodalis with his close ties to the Baron. Though his friends of Mons Electi pressed this defense vigorously, Alexei was too melancholy from the valiant death of his new familiar to provide much assistance.
In the end Alexei was required to travel to Magvillus for a special investigation. All knew that the forces of the Guernicus had put this in motion and that Alexei would never be seen again. He left his affects with Fiona, to dispense among the remaining magi as she saw fit. He confessed to me that one of his greatest of many regrets was that he had met Fiona so late in his career. He spoke of a great affection he had for her and also that his vows to God and the church (which I never knew he made) were some of the hardest to keep when in her presence.
Of what transpired at Magvillus, I cannot say. No correspondences from he or the Magi there have been delivered and letters sent there are returned with no word. The only thing I know that gives me hope is this.
One morning in my new duties as librarian of Mons Electi, I was bringing the last of the scrolls, books and writing materials from Alexei’s home. It was a somber duty and one I had put off a long time. The door was locked, barred from the inside, but this should not have been. No magi were available so I had a grog hack through the door with an axe until we could enter. It is then that I found what blocked the way. Alexei’s talisman staff had been set in the groove as it so often was when he desired privacy. But how could this be? Alexei never returned and he had brought the staff with him. How could it be here, now some years later? I do not know, but it gives me hope. I have given the staff and these pages to good Maga Fiona, as I feel that is what Alexei would want. Perhaps she can discern what Alexei’s fate was.
These pages I commit to the records of Mons Electi, in the Summer of the Year of Our Lord, 1234. May Alexei’s example be remembered with honor and cherished by those who knew him. I know that I, Helmut Siggismund, shall always cherish and love my master, Alexei Von Kroitsau Flambonis ex Milites; my Lord Lexi.