Title: "Wolves of Brennenburg" - Chapter 3
Author: Lady Scale
Summary: The Baron of Brennenburg is the owner of several wolf-like dogs.
Just one of the many oddities Daniel finds during his stay at the castle, his curiosity revealing mysteries and intrigues. Savory descriptions, intimidating hounds, peculiar servants, and a plethora of delicious references Amnesia fans are sure to love.
Fandom(s): 'Amnesia - The Dark Descent'
Time passes, the days starting to blend in with each other, and before he knew it, Daniel had already spent almost two weeks at the castle, where he had blessedly found respite. Even though he kept half-expecting for things to turn on their heel, he had slept more restfully on the grounds, away from the influence of the Shadow.
The thought had crossed his mind to give the orb to Alexander, but the baron requested that it should remain on his person to keep it safe. He's told they would let its energy siphon only when they have need of it. So Daniel lets the orb stay wrapped in his traveling case for the time being.
He took the time to explore the manor. There were numerous study rooms and parlors, but what caught his interest were the countless 'stations', as Alexander called them, found in some of the hallways, where bowls of water and food were provided for the hounds. Some on the other hand were stocked specifically with brooms and dustpans. The dogs are very well trained, he thought, if they could do their work in specific locations.
He found servants usually hovering around these stations either to sweep up any messes or to refill the bowls. Every now and then he would see some other servants wandering the halls with opened books and muttering incantations, softly waving around wrapped batons of lit sage, letting the smoke of the smoldering herb permeate the rooms.
The rooms smelling vaguely of sage, and with the smell of rosewater on him, Daniel flexed his shoulder-blades, content after a long relaxing bath in one of the lavish bottle-stacked washrooms.
Soft key notes waft through the room as the baron stood at the pianoforte, his beloved wolf-hounds asleep round his legs. One or two were idly chewing on cattle bones, calmly paying him no mind. On top of the piano was an arrangement of pink Damascus Roses.
Ah yes, the roses. That's another peculiarity he found about the baron. Judging how a lot of the plants in the gardens were roses of all colors, he guesses Alexander holds a particular fondness for them.
The gardens themselves, which housed a great number of herbs, mostly medicinal, had their own irrigation system. Water flowed from pipes and then trickled through grooves chiseled in the very masonry itself, before reaching carved stone basins and pots.
And in the middle of the garden there was the drinking fountain, stocked with silver pitchers and chalices. The gurgling spout caught his attention most of all much like the fountain in the back hall, this one was equally bizarre.
A circle with a triad of what he recognized as astronomical symbols, all encompassing a face. A fleshy frown turned on its head and it seemed to have a popped eye.
He disregarded such decorative choices in favor of pondering how the castle managed to acquire drinkable water.
Upon Daniel's inquiry, the baron explained to him how the water meant for drinking was diverted from an underground spring and passed through filters, which are changed when needed. The coarser ones were nets of metal which caught debris like sticks and leaf-litter, and finer ones were meshes made from numerous layers of sand and charcoal. The water then passes into boiling tanks where it's heated to eliminate any remaining impurities before being pumped up the pipes into holding tanks found in key locations around the castle, like the washrooms or fountains. Finally, the silverware found at the drinking fountains act to further purify the water.
Daniel was evermore amazed how the castle of Brennenburg seemed to sustain itself. And then there's the baron himself
Alexander von Brennenburg is indeed quite an enigma. When to others the passage of time has been unkind for them in neither mind nor body, the baron seemed untouched by common mortal bonds. He did not appear affected by ailments common to those of his age; able-bodied and mind abound with knowledge, he even still found time and the means to keep astounding animals.
Someone capable and stalwart enough to tame not just one beast, but several. That's an infallible confirmation of power, more potent than any title or riches, and it mesmerizes Daniel. It made him confident about relying on such capable hands.
Like whenever they walked the corridors he counted on the baron's aura of protection when the wolves crossed their path. Sometimes a hound would utter a low growl akin to distrust when he passes by, making his heart leap in his throat. Thank god for Alexander to sternly shush them.
Daniel has met the rest of the pack by now. A total 23, all with wide variations of colors and temperament. Most of the dogs paid him no mind, choosing to watch from afar. Daniel however, was still getting used to the howling that went on a good hour of two on some nights.
By coat color, a couple of them were entirely white, and there was even one or two which were black as night and with striking yellow eyes. The look he received from those shining yellow orbs framed by dark fur was most unsettling.
However, any trepidation he felt around them was blunted upon seeing how quite a few of them silently asked for affection. They hardly ever eluded a chance to be scratched, though of course he only felt comfortable giving them attention when the baron was around he felt safer under his watch. The hounds sometimes got rambunctious, shoving and tackling each other when playing, and this one time Daniel got nipped not enough to draw blood but it still hurt. Of course they were only playing but he's still shook up from that brief spike of pain.
There were many occasions when he saw Alexander playing with them, either inside the castle or in the courtyards. They would openly present their underbellies so he can scratch them.
More-so, he never tired of watching how the hounds followed the set of commands the baron's baritone voice spoke in German. 'Kommhier' he'd shout, and they clamored from the ends of the far rooms to come and greet him, 'Sitz' and they sat on their hind legs. Alexander would then go through a list of names, saying 'Sprechen' after each one, prompting the mentioned wolf to bark. Wolfgang V, Sheeva, Macbeth, Beowulf IV, Engel X, Romulus VII
When that was done, the nobleman said 'Platz' and they made themselves room to lay down, 'Bleib' he'd say before he went with a bucket of chopped meat to each of them to place a treat before their noses, occasionally a 'Nein' if one attempts to sneak a bite
Finally, after Alexander stepped back to his spot in from of them all, putting down the bucket and wiping his hands with a cloth, he said 'Voraus'. The hounds instantly dived for the meat set before them and happily chewed or made their way elsewhere with their reward to enjoy it in peace.
Of all the interactions Daniel himself had with the hounds, there was one moment he found notable. He immediately envisioned a furry footstool when one dog laid to rest at his feet when he was reading in the parlor, so in the spur of the moment he kicked off his shoes to put his feet up and rub at its belly. To add to the whimsical setting, the dog even twitched its foot. Laughter bubbled up in him when the legs pedaled the more he rubbed his socked feet on the furry stomach.
But then he laughed wholeheartedly when he ceased and the dog lifted its head, looking at him with incredulous eyes as if to ask 'why did you stop?' Oh, that was worthy of a picture.
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Speaking of pictures, he went to explore the upper quarters of the castle. Brennenburg even had a foyer with entire hallways dedicated to its dogs. Numerous memorabilia lined the walls paintings, engravings, painted china, scrolls of commemorative calligraphy in glass cases, tapestries, and more.
There were solitary portraits, depictions of couples, charming pictures of fluffy puppies, and some illustrations with twins - such as the one painting with 'Onyx and Opal', as the plate under it wrote.
All the paintings were labeled with names and dates. Sometimes there were just engraved nameplates which also included lovely quotes, like 'Thy hope's star, thy golden wings' and such. Galileo von Konigsberg, Sultan IV de Barmherzig, Hugo die Wilde, Canis die Wilde
Daniel noticed quite a few had the 'Wilde' surname, meaning 'wild'. Could that mean that there were some full-blooded wolves which integrated themselves into the pack at different points in time? He could only speculate.
Larger paintings showed hunting scenes, the wolves conquering a great array of game, such as stags, boars, badgers, mountain goats, fowl, and foxes. Some of the images actually presented their lords on horseback. No doubt the baron's ancestors.
In this one picture this black-haired nobleman, wearing a doublet characteristic of centuries past, stood with a selection of dogs it was subtle, but he could see Alexander's resemblance to his predecessors.
Another and it is him. His features are younger, but it's unmistakably Alexander. He sat on a plush lounge, his hounds settled all around him. One hand rubbed one dog's ears and the other held
He was in possession of an orb as well? Then it explains how he recognized Daniel's own relic, more-so how he explained to him the intricacies surrounding its manifestation. The prospect that he acquired one and managed to ban its wards while remaining alive and well gave Daniel hope.
Back in the corridors, there were a surprising number of the porcelain vases and pots, each one having a painted tableau on its surface. One exceptionally long hallway presented a genealogical tree. There was even an antechamber of shelved catalogues which chronicle nearly every aspect of their lineages.
Here it's evident the baron's and his family's fondness bordered on obsession if Daniel could hardly find any depictions of the family members themselves. He'd actually asked him about his kin, whether he had any descendants, since Alexander seemed to be the sole owner present in the manor. He told they relocated to other parts of Europe and left it at that. No locations, no names. Sensing the reticence to disclose such information, Daniel thought it wise not to push his luck.
Here and there taxidermy displays greeted him. Some superbly preserved and others somewhat worn by time.
So the baron keeps their bodies after their passing?
That notion jutted out in his mind. And rousing his awareness, drew those previously imperceptibles to the forefront of his consciousness.
The engraved plates. Stone and metal plaques more present in some corridors than in others, and he notices.
The foyer was not only a memorial, but a mausoleum in itself. And all those porcelain pots, he realized, were in fact urns.
And yet, for all that it was maybe a resting place, it seemed anything but bleak. All the depictions he'd seen were shown in a warm light. Memorized the individuals at the height of their lives, focusing on the things they have accomplished rather than lamenting their passing.
Seized by their significance, he was mindful of any undue disrespect, viewing those chambers of the castle with a new sense of enlightenment.
'Xerxes I die Drachen', its exploits inscribed with reverence, 'Uma, Iusti Mater', carved lovingly in cursive letters, 'Icarus die Trittsichere, Jäger der Hirsche', depicted running with deer
He read many of the epitaphs there, and then one caught his attention in particular.
"Romulus II von Brennenburg Worthy successor of Baldwin III de Warsaw and Ishta I von Galicia. Benevolent father of 5: Shatzi V, Remus II, Caesar I, Aurora I, and Edelweiss III von Brennenburg."
There's some more text about their patrimony before concluding with:
"Unjustly assassinated upon a peasant's pitchfork. May his malefactor be treated the same deed."
Elsewhere, he found a painting, 'Ursula IV die Wildshweintöter', depicted with a felled boar at their feet. Its respective plaque had the closing lines:
"Atrociously murdered upon a laborer's log saw. Hell hath no wrath as a vile act returned."
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