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1212 RE-- The Riots of New Aulesburg

Date: 22 September, 1212
Outcome: Leaders arrested; unrest quelled
Parties: Lions of Brezha mercenary company, ultra-orthodox Redwood Throne faithful, New Aulesburg Watch
Casualties: 24 slain, 158 wounded, 171 arrested

Following the Diet of Tionna, a number of ultra-orthodox priests and monks in the Prince-Bishopric of Brezha have spoken out against the resultant Edict. Foremost among them is Sister Mathilde of Lucinea's Abbey, near New Aulesburg. In many public speeches, she has claimed that the decision to recognize the celestials as such indicates only the depths of Ehrenite heresy in the highest echelons of the Church, and moreover that the schismatics have secretly swayed even Patriarch Balduin III himself. Her statements drew a swift reprimand from both the Patriarch and the Lady Accuser Eliza Gollpfur. Even the Patriarch's direct command to end her preaching did not silence her. Her claims gained credence, at least among her followers, when rumors spread that the Left Hand of the Throne would issue new Writs of Bondage to its missionaries operating outside of the Principalities.

By the twenty-second day of September, the mounting tensions in New Aulesburg boiled over; several of Mathilde's followers spotted a carriage transporting Father Viktor of Duren (head of the Mendicants of Duren) through the city, and physically impeded its progress, shouting obscenities at the elderly provost and all of his retinue. The Watch quickly dispersed the crowd, doing little more harm than a few bloodied noses, but the mood in the city was ugly as sun set. Father Viktor departed the city safely under the cover of darkness, reportedly under some protest, as he offered his services in calming the city's unrest. The Watch made some half-dozen arrests in the pre-dawn hours, but only among the laity; the Watch called for an ecclesiastical authority to handle Sister Mathilde and other junior clergy accompanying her.

On the morning of the following day, it seemed that there would be no further trouble. At around the first hour after noon, however, Brother Tobias Kindle, armsman Wilhelm Klein, and a trio of armed and armored celestials entered the city on horseback, with two score riders wearing the livery of the Lions of Brezha in hot pursuit behind them. Once again the Watch intervened, attempting to separate the combatants, but in the confusion a senior guardsman was mortally wounded. At great risk to himself, one celestial healed the dying guardsman; three of his companions formed a wall around him, while the fifth set her bow aside and unleashed raw lightning.

Little did they know that the sight of celestials attacking humans with sword and spell would cause the city to explode into violence. Brother Kindle's presence might have been sufficient to restore order, but his monastic habit was already shredded from the fighting, and a leg wound stopped the crowd from seeing him clearly. The patrol of guardsmen still struggled to separate the combatants, but when the mob attacked the celestial who had saved the wounded guardsman's life, they gave up on peaceable suppression and laid into the rioters with their truncheons. A three-sided melee consumed the city; as other guardsmen arrived, they formed an organized battle line that threw back the rioters several times. Once the Watch was fully engaged, the mercenaries - now the smallest side of the conflict - attempted to withdraw, taking shelter in stables attached to the inn locally known as "Hangman's," adjacent to the main thoroughfare.

The initial clash by the main gate separated when a team of seven mounted guardsmen came thundering along the street, threatening to crack heads and trample anyone who stood in their way. The celestials, and the two humans who had entered the city with them, made no effort to pursue either of the parties attacking them. They returned to a local Watch station under heavy guard, though not apparently under arrest. All five of them bore wounds, as did twelve of the guardsmen, but the magic of the celestials mended their wounds quickly. At the same time, the seven mounted guards and two additional squads of fresh guardsmen began a patrol in force, making a large number of arrests. When they found out that the Watch was sheltering the celestials and discussing the arrest of Sister Mathilde, however, the rioters returned to the streets in much greater numbers and stormed an Imperial tax office. Dame Adele von Chamneburg, a Knight of the Tower, was on duty, and she guarded the clerks until the building was completely overrun and the sword was stripped from her hand. While the clerks have confirmed nothing, it is rumored that over four hundred crowns were stolen. The Prince-Bishop declared martial law.

At that time, Prince-Bishop Tewdar von Brezha and Count Horazo von Kruyer were unaware of the role the Lions of Brezha played in sparking the day’s violence. Emissaries sent by those worthies negotiated with Captain Alaric for aid in restoring order, as the Watch was clearly overtaxed, and their own household knights were days distant. Their services secured, a force of six score Lions entered New Aulesburg accompanied by the Count, and commenced to restoring order. Only the Count’s own presence prevented a bloody clash between the mercenaries and the Watch.

By nightfall, the violence in the city had ended, and Sister Mathilde had been remanded to the custody of an Accuser of the Left Hand of the Throne. Sergeant Erik Zimmerman of the Watch delivered an extensive report on the day’s events to the Count and the Prince-Bishop, and following their deliberations, Brother Kindle and his traveling companions were formally absolved of all blame in the affair; the sergeant’s testimony stated that dozens, if not hundreds, of lives were saved by their actions. Further, Seargent Zimmerman's report placed the blame for the violence squarely on the Lions of Brezha, and he expressed his extreme displeasure with their presence in the city. As the Lions had fulfilled their contract well enough, the Prince-Bishop decided that it was more likely the product of a misunderstanding between the mercenaries, the town, and the Celestial companions of Brother Kindle and Willy Klein, and likewise absolved the Lions of any blame. He did, however, instruct them to depart the city directly upon payment, which they were glad to do. The rebellious elements within the city’s populace did not resume violence on the following day, and a sullen peace has fallen over the city.