When Ravens Sing
Ulrich von Winterstein
A hardened, lone zealot on a mission of cleansing for Sigmar...
Ulrich was both blessed and cursed with being born a son in the noble house von Winterstein in Auerswald. The eldest of son of Albrect and Elise, Ulrich learned the pressures of the nobility early and never quite fit the expectation his parents‘ had for a a successful and prosperous future for the family. It wasn’t until several years later that his younger brother Claus arrived. Claus was everything that the von Winterstein’s had envisioned when Ulrich was born… with the only exception being that he was born second. Claus was the eldest son Albrect had always wanted… witty, charming, and one who took to the old family art of trade with ease. He quickly joined his father in attending lodge and trade events on behalf of the family.
Ulrich often questioned his noble status as a youth. Awkward socially, and physically intimidating he was everything that his brother was not. While his brother and father thought about trade agreements and expanding the family fortune, Ulrich would day-dream about joining the militia and then hopefully being selected to serve the Emperor. As a child he trained tirelessly with a faith and determination that bordered on the fanatical. Skipping class he learned to utilize the blade and saw a future in which he could join the armies of the newly crowned Emperor Karl Franz and hopefully serve as a knight in his next great crusade.
At ten years of age, Ulrich found the focus and purpose that had been missing from his life all along when his sister Irene was born. Irene was a bundle of perfection with light hair and fair eyes. Her intelligence unmatched, Ulrich knew that right there and then he would devote himself completely to his family and his baby sister whom he treasured above all others. Irene was everything that Ulrich wasn’t… beautiful, charming, admired by others and most importantly extremely intelligent. Intelligent enough that her accomplishments began to outshine her older brother Claus which definitely caused some embarrassment at formal and family functions. Nonetheless, Ulrich took great pride in his sister’s accomplishments as she moved forward through life in ways he never dreamed possible.
It almost broke Ulrich’s heart when his beloved Irene decided to move to Altdorf to study with the most illustrious history professors in the realm. After writing daily for nearly 5 years Ulrich decides it was time to see Irene again and visit Altdorf for the first time in his life. Stating in her last correspondence that she has met her perfect match and would like Ulrich to approve of her beloved before mother and father heard whispers of her new romance. Ulrich sets out on the long journey to Altdorf to reunite with Irene.
Irene’s Guiseppe (an famed Tilean merchant) and Altdorf do not impress Ulrich. While he is wealthy, intelligent, and has powerful friends, Ulrich can see there is something wrong with Guiseppe‘s demeanor and appearance (beyond being a Tilean). This is most striking in his behavior towards Irene which seems almost dismissive and rude. Utilizing some of his saved coin and meeting with some unsavory folks in the darkest parts of the city, Ulrich is finally illuminated to the truth of the matter… and ultimately finds out only once it is too late. At a secret meeting inside of the abandoned chapel, Ulrich walks in upon the final ceremony of a group of cultists. With them is Irene, fresh on the sacrificial alter with her eyes closed to feel the daggers embrace… the ceremony led by a tall man in a burgundy cloak whispering to his dark mistress of pleasure. His sister nude, and willingly giving herself over to the darkness. It was almost too much for Ulrich to take as he hears their echoing chant about, “joining the fifth circle together, forever in eternity…“. It was then that he drew his blade.
Not much of the past few years has been clear since that night in the chapel. The shame and cover-up that his family agreed upon with his brother dismissing his sister’s memory. His joining the church of Sigmar and his great disillusionment with their inability to fight the evil within. Through the years of wandering, loss, and with the blood of his family and enemy upon him… Ulrich has known despair that he did not know existed. Through the pain, horror, and eternal suffering only two things have been a constant since that night… his nightmares and his resolve. The empty prayers of the righteous and the ignorance of the masses will not stop the enemy within, only he can!
It is with this in mind that he returns home. Seizing ancient Theophilus, Ulrich uses its ancient blade to break his skin and swear on the grave of Irene that he will end this blight upon Reikland… or at the very least die trying. To the shame / embarrassment of his family he tells the story of the fall of Irene and his part in her absolution which has now made him a virtual outcast in his own homeland. As Sigmar as his witness, he will smite this evil wherever it stands and devote himself to the purification of this land no matter what the cost. This is his life, his duty to Sigmar that he was called to perform… and he shall not waiver or fail in it.