Adalbert Drachenheim was the 7th son of Baron Heinrich von Drachenheim, who was a cunning man both in war and business. Heinrich made his home in the Stein and owned the best maintained docks in the fortress city. With so many older brothers Adalbert knew there was no way he could inherit much of anything from his father but his father was good to him and made sure he attended the best schools and had excellent military prospects, even receiving a dracheneisen breastplate and panzerhand his father had won in battle as his official patrimony. Adalbert left home as a mercenary lieutenant to serve in the army of young King Richard IV of Avalon as he took on the Vaticine Church. While there Adalbert quickly gained renown and came to the attention of an equally young Avalon noblewoman named Stella.
Adalbert and Stella had a brief passionate affair that resulted in disgrace for them both and baby girl they would name Serilda. Adalbert’s unit moved on for several years of fighting in Montainge and Stella retired to county life to have the baby. She hid the baby girl amongst her maid’s children and her father quickly married her off to an Innish nobleman who had come to court in Luthon as part of the Innish embassy. Once married, Stella told her new husband about her young daughter. To her surprise, her husband Cumhal was not bothered at all and even insisted that she be given her rightful place in the family with the surname of Fitzalbert. The new couple soon began having children of their own, including a young son and heir named Finn.
When Adalbert returned in glory from his battles in Montainge he found Stella looking completely unchanged but very different in heart. He was disappointed but accepted the realities of life and was actually welcomed by his former flame’s new husband—even to the point of becoming a frequent houseguest. Adalbert and Cumhal actually became close friends and allies in Avalon’s frequent intrigues. Adalbert was known in the family as “Uncle Bertie” and also acknowledged by everyone as Serilda’s true father. Adalbert knew his life was too dangerous for a little girl, especially one who was growing up so slowly, and was glad to leave his daughter in such good hands. He provided for her and, with the help of his brother back in Eisen, made sure that once she was old enough she could enter the Zeitler Academy and become a “doppler” soldier in Albert’s Company. After many years of faithful service, King Richard gave Adalbert a seaside manor overlooking the channel to Montaigne and Eisen as a reward for his faithful service. He also introduced him to the Castillian ambassador, Humberto de la Herrera, who had a beautiful daughter named Aurelia and whom Adalbert soon married. Aurelia eventually gave her husband an heir, a son they named Gunter.
Back in Eisen the War of the Cross led to devastation. Adalbert’s father and all but one of his brothers were killed in battle. The only survivor was the 6th brother Johan. Johan was an excellent merchant but a poor warrior—the former made him wealthy and the latter kept him alive. He maintained close ties with his last remaining brother and they managed to see each other at least every other year. Johan was even introduced to his Avalon wife by Stella and Serilda. Johan’s only child, a son, was named Jeremy. Jeremy was a good man, with his heart in the right place, but generally a failure in every aspect of life. In a simpler time he might have been successful, but life during the War of the Cross was too much for him and he eventually lost everything he owned including the house lived in and died alone and childless. Jeremy knew the shame he had brought the family and was truly sorry. Being no warrior he sent the panzerhand emblazoned with the Drachenheim family crest that he had inherited to Adalbert to give to his son Gunter so at least the boy would be able to prove one day that he was a Drachenheim, if that could ever again mean something good. Jeremy left money in his will for Serilda and young Gunter to attend the finest schools in the Stein, which had been renamed Freiburg by the time the boy arrived. Unfortunately Jeremy’s mismanagement of the family estate meant that at his death it passed to creditors instead of Adalbert and Gunter. After Jeremy’s passing the Drachenheim estate passed through several hands and fell into obscurity and ridicule. While Adalbert loved his nephew he was forced to change his name in disgust of the shame that was brought to the family. He chose the name Herrmann to prove that no matter what had happened to his patrimony he was indeed a nobleman of Eisen.
Around the same time that Adalbert married Aurelia, another player joined the court triumvirate of Adalbert, Cumhal, and Humberto. This newcomer was an attaché in the entourage of the Montaigne ambassador, named Dagobert the Baronet of Archembeaux. He quickly found himself falling in line with the moderating tendencies of the trio and officially joined their collective family when he married Cumhal’s sister Moira. Together the group was able to moderate tempers and avert war on three separate occasions, and as a result the men were all elevated to ambassador status for their respective nations. They were all still able to gain honor in battle as well against pirates and in the wars leading to the Elaine’s coming to the throne.
All was not wine and roses however. As political tides shifted in Montaigne, Dagobert returned to Montaigne to report to King Leon about the succession in Avalon. His wife’s Innish mannerisms caused quite a stir at court and an arrogant rival, Duc Gui de Beaumaindroit used this gaffe to prove that Dagobert had “gone native” and was not serving the best interests of Montaigne. He advocated for a harsher policy against Avalon as befitting the glory of the Sun King, and basically had Dagobert laughed out of court. Dagobert retreated to his estates and drank himself into oblivion. His wife Una took him back to Cumhal’s lands in Avalon where he could receive treatment in the Sanatorium.
In the recent Montaigne invasion of Castille the Duc de Beuxmandroit continued his rise to fame as he lead a unit that conquered Herrera, the estate of Don Humberto. Humberto raised an army, including Adalbert, Finn, Serilda, and Cumhal, to rescue his people. Humberto was slain in battle and while Finn and Serilda bore his body away from the field, Adalbert slew Gui in single combat. While personally victorious, Adalbert was still forced to quit the field and return to Avalon, leaving Herrera in the hands of the enemy. Upon learning of the death of his friend, Dagobert’s grief and intense shame at being powerless to help drove him deeper into drink and he died shortly afterwards of liver failure. At Dagobert’s funeral a letter from Montaigne arrived addressed to Adalbert from the new Duc de Beaumaindroit. He introduced himself as Claude de Beaumaindroit, son of Gui and grandson of Prince Vincenzo Caligari of Vodacce. He also swore that the feud was not over and he would have revenge for his father’s death. Young Claude went to court immediately to continue supporting his father’s expansionist policies and continue the press against Archembeaux.
A few years passed and the new generation came of age. Serilda and Finn had already been serving in Albert’s Company during the Wars of Succession when Elaine took the throne, and now Humberto’s son Arrias, Dagobert’s son Fabien, and Adalbert’s son Gunter were old enough to attend university and the academy. They were all sent to Freiburg where they attended the Zeitler Academy. Upon their return to Avalon, a grand graduation party was held to celebrate. At the party Fabien’s aunt the Marquesse de Bisset offered the young men a unique present—an opportunity for redemption.
She handed them an ancient map of an island fortress belong to a Count Falisci in the 14th century, and said that an earthquake had taken place at sea and a massive rockslide revealed the hidden fortress on what was just assumed to be an uninhabited rock out in the northern sea. The aftershocks of the quake will make the area unapproachable for about two weeks, but once the tsunami calms down there will be a race for the artifacts said to be hidden in the fortress’ vault. Vito “Angel Eyes” Caligari, the cousin of Claude de Beaumaindroit, has already started an expedition from Vodacce, but the party should be able to beat them since they are much closer. If they will represent the Explorers Society and return any artifacts they find there, she will give them the deed to the Drachenheim Estate that recently came into the possession of the Society. She has arranged for them to gain passage to the island on a ship “The Drake” captained by Lord Conrad Hix. They will leave in two days for stops in Montaigne and Eisen before heading out to the island.