As soon as the anger of Zedenek had subsided – and with it his monstrous shape – Nicolai of Glad was instructed to supply the passing caravan with whatever it would need. The village elder was also informed that every so often someone would be sent to collect food and other forms of due.
Just before the three Vampyrs decided to leave, Nicolai told them of the next settlement on the road to Tihuta pass, Rudne village. This would be twice the size of Glad and was ruled by a warrior named Petru, who would not readily accept the ruling of others, or so the mad elder claimed. He later proved to be right.
Returning to the caravan, where nothing out of the ordinary had occurred in the Vampyrs’ absence, Zedenek and Hrothgar granted the mortal guards a few hours of rest and stood watch until the sun was almost up. Zedenek used the time to sew the leather of his armor back together that was destroyed by the beastly shape he had become earlier. Andronicus saw, much to his liking, that not only his trusted mortal companions again joined him in his prayers, but the ceremony also drew the attention of two of Radu’s men.
Next dawn Andronicus was the first to rise and joined Drago to hear a scout report his findings. The scout had indeed encountered a village just a little further down the road and estimated it should house around 30 horse-riding warriors and forty other inhabitants. He also reported to have seen a tower and palisade blocking the entire mountain road.
A brief discussion led to the decision that the three Vampyrs would ride ahead of the caravan and see if they could speak with this Petru to announce their presence. And so they did.
Upon arriving at the village and noticing the gate blocking the road ahead and the tower that stood by it, a guard hailed to them in Romanian: ‘Who travels the dark of night?!’ As Zedenek introduced them as being sent by count Radu of Bistria, one of the guards climbed down the palisade wall and Zedenek overheard him say: ‘I shall summon master Petru, ready the fire-arrows.’
Moments later the gates to the village opened and a figure of average size stood behind it, backed up by some ten men holding bows with flaming arrows aiming at the ground before them.
Zedenek again stated that Radu had sent the three Vampyr, and stated that they now ruled the region and this village in his name. Petru proved impervious to these claims and named Radu a traitor to the land and its people, who sides with the Saxons and even the Tremere!
Zedenek, translating for his fellow Kindred and attempting to reason with Petru by stating that their objective to rebuild the old tower in Tihuta pass would benefit Petru and his men also, too was called a liar to his face by Petru. Adronicus used his commanding presence to make the humans with bows rethink their options, but only partially succeeded, due to the language barrier. Hrothgar, befuddled by the imprudent braveness of this villager, took a good look at Petru’s eyes and noticed the same glittering within that grants some Vampyr their night vision. Petru appeared a Clanmate of Hrothgar, a Hunter among the Vampyr, a member of Clan Gangrel.
A few words were exchanged about Petru coming from the linage of Mitru, the Vampyr that ruled much of the wild places in Transylvania. Hrothgar seemed genuinely interested in this Mitru, but Petru was not in the mood to talk much and his brusqueness reached its peak as he challenged one of the Vampyr for the rulership over Rudne, as was the honourable way according to him.
Hrothgar was willing to accept this challenge, but Zedenek’s fury caused by the insults built up and the shape of the monster once again erupted as his limbs popped and his armor tore again where it was just repaired. Andronicus too was unwilling to grant this ‘ruffian’ the honor of a dual, and claimed the steel of their blades would persuade this one to obedience.
Hrothgar made a final attempt to influence the outcome of this encounter by hitting Petru in the face, to knock some sense into him. Petru again demanded a one-on-one fight, but Andronicus had decided it was too late for that now.
This childe of Mitru proved a skilled warrior, dodging and parrying the crushing impacts of the blade of the monster called Zedenek, postponing his destruction for some time. Andronicus commanded some of the archers to extinguish the fire on their arrows, and succeeded, but could not prevent one of them firing a flaming shot at the shape of Zedenek. But the stone tip was no match for the monsters hide, and the arrow glances off as Petru eventually proved unable to defend the countless blows.
Hrothgar, unwilling to join the skirmish, bellowed the fighting to cease, but the blood was up and no quarter given. Petru stood bewildered as he made one last claim for a fair fight, but to no avail; a brutal swing of Zedenek’s blade opened Petru’s bloodless body and cut him almost in half. Hrothgar caught the falling Vampyr before he hit the ground.
Before the battle was well over, a man from the village named Dimitru stepped forward, stating that he was the ‘bloodservant’ of Petru and second in command after the Vampyr. Arrangements were made with this Dimitru, who proved supportive of their task and was willing to supply them with workers, stone, blood and food, but warned them that Petru would still hold power over this village, should he ever return.
It was decided that Petru would never be allowed to return to the village of Rudne, but Hrothgar was unwilling to destroy this Kindred, for now: he may be the Norseman’s gateway to a meeting with Mitru.
The caravan was ordered to move towards the village and soon arrived to make camp for the remainder of the night. If Dimitru was right, the site of the old tower, the destination of this journey, was just a few turns of the road away.