Hohenzollern Castle is many facets of many things and for many different people. Here, you aren't a prisoner, but you are expected to adhere to its strict codes, morals and Alchemical practices. If you were not born or rescued into it's walls, you likely heard about its history. A place where one of the greatest Alchemist families of all time have built up a structure capable of withstanding a Wasteland. That's right, just as a Throng offers some protection from Wastelands, the Castle offers an undisputed 'perfect' freedom from it and even refrain from Disquiet. When asked how it is possible there are many theories. Some say a former Fire Storm was called here and it cleansed the area so thoroughly, that now the area is purified and benevolent to a point that the leyline energies from the landscape and castle itself, combat any potential Pyros infliction. Whether that is true or not, many Created have lived to tell the tale of its success. In so finding an area, the Castle has also built up a stronghold to protect its Created and Alchemical practices. Here is a safe place to learn and test the Milestones of your Pilgrimage. Here is a place even those on the Refinement of Stannum, might stand a chance to do less harm. Because of this a network of Mentorship in the form of scholarly learning, has thrived in the castle. Many Promethean, over time, have found fulfillment in their Refinements, and even the New Dawn far quicker here, than on their own. Isn't that the draw? Even if you haven't meant to, your Elpis may have drawn you to a mentor in Hohenzollern, without you realizing what you were about to join. There is a price for being admitted to her walls, however, "The Great Bonding of the Throng" must be performed. That is, a ritual practice that you must partake of to swear fealty to its codes, laws and power if you plan to benefit from its teachings. This is not required for all who stay, but those who stay and wish to gleam its libraries, mentors, and even Athanor.
The Carriage Courtyard
Once upon a time this courtyard would receive its guests upon their magnificent carriages or sure fast horse mounts, perhaps it would see the intake of merchant goods come through. Now it's become the center of life among those who live in Hohenzollern. The courtyard is a central place that houses an open market by summer, festivities, and is the connecting platform to all the local trades and shops available to the citizens within. Though there are still horses, tackle and stalls linked to the Carriage lanes, you don't typically see more than a rider or two passing to the riding fields to enjoy a leisurely trot. Here is the busiest place on premise and the best chance to connect with others.
The Bier Garden
True to its name, it's a little slice of food and fellowship for the inhabitants at the Castle. From morning and late into the night, the Tavern keeps open with drink and food to please an assortment of pallets from refined to basic. As long as they have the ingredients on hand, your request is delivered. Even if you have to be segregated from the rest of Germany, you still deserve its finest brews. Both important and local concoctions are available. The local drink is a hoppy beer full of earthy tones and plenty dark.
The Blue Salon
Formally called, "The Blue Salon of the Queen"(Blauer Salon der Königin), this parlor of stately design was none other than a place to entertain royalty. In the day honored guests gathered here for refreshment and conversation, and that ideal has not changed. There is a small one man wait staff who's lineage has always upheld the standard of the Queen's room. To this day, any honored guest that manages behind Hohenzollern's secretive walls, will often find themselves addressed here before getting any further. A place for conversation, gossip, light reading, or even play of music. Portraits of the original founding family, as well as the generations of Mutter and Vater are found here.
A formal dining room is the only real source of evening meal. Why? Because as a guest of the Castle, you are asked to join the "Family" for a late supper, usually around 7 o'clock in the evening. This allows for a days business, study, or even leave where necessary, but you can still make it back in time. A full course meal is only served every Sunday, otherwise the meals are more simplified, but this, like every position in the castle, comes from a long line of Kitchen servers and cooks. Most might be put off by the 'family meal' at first, but it becomes a unique tradition that creates bonding and a human experience most Promethean need.
Boasting sources centuries old, and a vast array of subjects in fiction and non-fiction, so much can be read, studied and learned at the Library. Mentors often take students to this place, as it has a very interesting fortifying energy for learning. Something about it just hums with enlightenment. That might be due to the fact ancient alchemical texts and Azothic artifacts once were housed here and they have left residual spiritual power. An Originist's dream, this bibliothek sees use day and night. (+2 Research and other Academic or Alchemical readings).
Der große Ballsaal
The most gorgeous room in Hohenzollern, and capable of the festivities, dances and parties of ancient days. Now it sees more as a multipurpose room for grand banquets, parties, or orderly business of the Family much like a throne room once was used to address the court. When the Court of the Family gathers, it is here. Ballroom, the dance itself, is also offered here. Some times traditions should not fade away, and this is one the Family holds dear. You must know how to dance, it is a part of humanity that teaches so much. From rhythm to the inner workings of the human heart, everything can be laid out on the dance floor.
Hidden deep in the forests surrounding Hohenzollern, and the last fortification before the woods meet the entrance to the Swabian Jura, the Watchtower stands. One solitary Guardian keeps its place and serves as a last warning for any who venture this deep, this dangerous into the borderlands. That figure is known to most as The Watcher. The tower is ancient, it's vantage point at the top, prominent, and it's door rarely open. To any who have permission to seek the Watcher, approaching this battlement is something to be carefully tread, and respected.
Henchingen Village is as quaint and secluded as they come. Here, you come by an honest and home grown way of life, or a place to escape one less wholesome.That isn't to say that bad things, or darkness doesn't linger in Hechingen, but the locals have become very adept at pretending it doesn't. Still, if you're a local, or a recent resident, you've come to hear the rumors. Don't travel in unlit alleys, don't get stuck on roads with no street lights, and whatever you do-don't go into the forests at night or alone. Hechingen is also known to be in a state of flux. By winter there is stark, quiet and lonely months. By summer everything is made up for in one big ongoing party. It is also a place deeply rooted in Blood. Some claim to be descendants of those who once served for, or lorded within Hohenzollern Castle. From royalty to peasants, the Founding Families have blood that runs deep. These families, "The Müller"(Millers), "The Schmidt"(Smiths), "The Fischer"(Fishermen), "The Richter"(Judges), "The Schulz"(Medieval Sheriffs), and "The Hoffman"(Courtiers) all have played an intricate role in Hechingen for centuries. The locals have come to respect each of these families, and during town hall meetings, they have considerable weight. True to their names, the families have 'roles to play' and they play them well. Most Schmidt's work with their hands as craftsmen, construction workers or jewelers for example. A Schulz often finds themselves in police work, or perhaps home security. Being a founding family member also comes with considerable wealth, though some have squandered that upper hand. Rarely does a founding family member break free the expectations. The few that do leave Hechingen, somehow always find themselves crawling back.The mystery of the founding families is one of the charms of the village life, so much so that they are celebrated on one of the village's Festivals, "Founder's Day". This is celebrated in the spring to immortalize the fact that the founding families survived the harsh wood and winter back in their ancestors day, and overcame into Spring.
Kline's Bier Hall
Kline's is a lively place the entire year around. In many ways, it's "The place everyone knows your name". You are as soon to find your Mother there drinking, as you are the boy who bullied you in 6th grade or the entire family from next door. It's family, and there's an understanding here, that you leave your crap at the door, because at Kline's you drink with kinfolk. Many widower's take their Christmas dinner at Kline's, many youth swarm the long tables for college celebrations. It's a mixed crowd and that's its charm. Kline Müller, the local and owner, took over this business from his sister who died 3 springs ago to a battle with cancer. He, his wife and 2 children are often found at the beer hall, as they live in the apartment right above on and off. They also own a large hop farm and mill on the outskirts of the village which his wife attends the business side of. (All ages are allowed in this beer hall).
Gaststätte Jockele Café
Morning coffee, lunch with the ladies, or a quick bite on your lunch break, Gastatte is always that little slice of peace and comfort in the day. During the bustle of summer months, the tourists stick to the chains, more than a nook set back from the main market, that the locals prefer. During winter, it's one of the warmest cafe's to escape the cold and it boasts late hours to fulfill the need for light and people during the lonely dark. The owner is a lovely divorcee by the name of Marta Bauer. A middle aged woman who came to re-invent herself in Hechingen.
Attached to one of the longest established and posh Inns to stay inside of Hechingen, as hotels and high rises are forbade here, is the lovely little Bistro known as Poseidon. A Greek-Italian fusion restaurant that boasts a culinary delight to the pallet, not to mention the price tag that goes alongside its menu and the Inn rooms. This is where the wealthy stay, and where romantic dinners are established. The Manager is the youngest daughter to the Hoffman legacy who have always owned the Inn, her name is Analie. Having graduated high school last summer, most thought her too young to handle the task, but she's proven to drive up business and media around their little money pot. She has a reputation of being a 'mean girl' and she's taken her tactics to business untoward success.
Rundweg Hochburg Trail
A gorgeous hike that takes you into one of the wild trails blazed since decades ago. At one point this trail was a tactical troop road that allowed you to reach vantage points to the local hillside, including a breathtaking view of of Hohenzollern Castle and the Swabian Jura on the horizon. There are many decayed monuments, remnants of the past wars, religious markers, graves, and local superstitions. At the beginning of the trail is a bonfire area with wooden benches semi-circular around it and picnic tables for events. At the end of the trail is a vantage point high above the village and an old outpost building that has been historically protected. They say its preservation is due to the Schulz Family, and once upon a time it served as a strategical beacon and military post.
Judge Herrick Richter is a man who enjoys his solitude, and his family bought this public property over a decade ago. Here, deep into the hills, Stuggart Point resides. Secluded, hard to reach, and pristine in vegetation, lake, source water, and teeming with fish. Here are where the big catches are found, and the Judge allows minimal impact visitation and camping at the point, with only 8 sites and a daily hike as well as boat restriction. When you go here, you feel alone with nature and alone with the belly of a massive, glacier fed, lake. Here, the mist visits thick and dark by morning, but by night the sky stretches into oblivion.
During the winter months, the Market is a pretty point of scenery, but many of the shops close down until tourist season. Come Spring, however, the streets are brought forth in light, festivity and sound. It is one of those Markets that spills from shops, out into the streets, and where restaurants or sales have little carved out portions on the cobble stone streets. Traffic isn't allowed through the market in tourist season, and everything is open until midnight or later. In fact, several times during Spring and Summer a 'Night Market' is offered during festival times. The entire mood, atmosphere and target clientele is changed for a Night Market, in which an appeal for a younger crowd is made.
St. James Parish
A quaint, old, but small little church nestled near the Market, where it meets one of the inner village parks. Many families have come and gone to St.James throughout generations, but recently it's seen a lot of change. In 2000, the last Engel to be a Priest in Hechigen finished his ministry. For a long time there was an uproar. How could a family as old as the Engel's turn their backs on their vocation and calling? And yet they did, and over the next few years, most Engel's left Hechigen to start a new path. By 2004, a new man arrived to oversee the Parish, Reverend Loring Keller from England. He was not a man of deep roots, and thus he was a man that the locals took time to open up to. There was one family, however, that sought him directly. Achterberg, in the form of a young Franziska. If ever Franziska is seen in Hechigen, and that is a rare occasion, it is at this church. Services are readily available Friday nights, Saturday Midnight Mass and Sunday mornings. The policy is open door for both confession, counsel and worship or study.