Solitude & Sanctum...
Our Hohenzollern Castle is in partial a work of fiction. This looming and grandiose historical building was built as the Imperial holdings of the House of Hohenzollern and its dynasty. it is located atop Mount Hohenzollern, above and south of Hechingen, on the edge of the Swabian Jura of central Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The first fortress on the mountain was constructed in the early 11th century. Over the years the House of Hohenzollern split several times, but the castle remained in the Swabian branch, the dynastic seniors of the Franconian-Brandenburgian cadet branch that later acquired its own imperial throne. This castle was completely destroyed in 1423 after a ten-month siege by the free imperial cities of Swabia. A larger and sturdier structure was constructed from 1454 to 1461, which served as a refuge for the Catholic Swabian Hohenzollerns, including during the Thirty Years' War. By the end of the 18th century it was thought to have lost its strategic importance and gradually fell into disrepair, leading to the demolition of several dilapidated buildings. The final castle was built between 1846 and 1867 and though the pages of history recorded it errected as a family memorial by Hohenzollern scion King Frederick William IV of Prussia, those who inhabit it know the truth.
Architect Friedrich August Stüler was hired to keep up appearances for the public eye, but it was the Achterberg family who paid for its resurrection and at no small cost. From that point forward the Castle housed The remnants of the Hohenzollern dynasty, as thin as their blood had become. They trace back deep roots into a magical practice long since thought of as witchcraft or dark religion, but those in the family knew it simply as Alchemy. The Alchemists of the Achterberg family knew the true secrets of Hohenzollern and the imperial family. They knew what power ran through the ages towards such practices as Magic, Alchemy, and pursuit of relics. The priceless property of the Castle remains handed down, age after age to the next closest of blood who is worthy of undertaking the task of Hohenzollern and its inhabitants within. The Castle walls themselves offering a haven from Disquiet and the devastating effects of a Wastelands potential build.
At present age the Castle is kept shut off from the public eye, at best the inhabitants of Hechigen take pictures of the locked away treasure and wonder when a time will come where it will be open to tourists. Inside, however, is a bustling world all of its own for the mortals and other beings known as Promethean who have been upheld by the family for centuries. If Hechigen is a fairy tale village by modern respects, Hohenzollern is straight out of the story book. It seems a little lost in time and place, using more befitting furnishings of the late 1800's and that includes the businesses and homes within its palace walls. Hohenzollern is not just a castle, but a community. It's massive walls and gates keep shop keepers, establishments, guard towers, and residential apartments or in rare cases homes as much as it keeps the Imperial Castle itself. Each community member has known it's place since long ago, and every generation of shopkeeper or guard passes down their destiny to his or her next of kin so that the importance of the work continues and the secrets remain taken to the grave. From tavern, to smithy, to seamstress all patrons know their place. It is to fulfill the needs of the Genitor and Progeny within the Imperial house, the House of Hohenzollern(as some still call them) or the family of the Achterberg.
For the inhabitants of the Imperial House itself, and the Castle proper, life is a little different. Every immediate member of the Achterberg bloodline has a place within it, both physically and dutifully. They know the importance of their lineages journey, though some adopt to it begrudgingly, there is a draw to a world teeming with magic and madness. At present Franziska Achterberg holds the land title, and thus is Principle head of the House. In lieu of her husbands untimely disappearance 3 years ago, she has been driven to holding down the fortress on her own with help from the generations of community as well as her own extended family. At the age of 18, she inherited this curse, or blessing, and now at the age of 38, she has found it her true calling. Her call reaches out, as does her influence and knowledge of Pyros, Divine Fire, and its fluctuations of disquiet and wastelands over the earth. She continues to keep an ear to the ground for new and prospective Promethean's to be sure they are cared for. If no Genitor or Demiurge is present to care for their creation, she is willing to do the part as are the rest of Hohenzollern. She and those of her blood continue their study and practice of Alchemy within the walls of the Library, Study, and Great Laboratory. Access to these parts of the House are granted to the Promethean's adopted under the roof of the Castle as well. Once part of the family, every Promethean has a room, has their needs cared for, are introduced to the ways of the community and court, and it is by no means a stretch to call it court. The Family continues many traditions of their ancestors, and there is a distinct hierarchy to follow as well as decorum to adhere to. Some would call it outdated and archaic, but those who have lived within its walls find comfort and even dire need for the strict and specialized foundation laid and maintained within.
There are areas of the Castle, however, forbade by the Achterberg family to enter. Most of the Community, even extended family and certainly the Promethean's have only heard rumors about them, and yet there is knowledge that sections of the Castle are still condemned as unsafe, and other's just are not allowed access to without express permission. Other areas still, seem to have no rhyme or reason as to where a hall ends and begins, leaving you in endless wandering and never quite getting where you meant. This prevents the curious and maintains some secrets within the walls of Hohenzollern. And of course there is the biggest secret of all. Promethean's. So where do their lives in Hohenzollern begin and end? Presently, they begin and end at the Castle Walls and gates. That is to say, new members of the Family Fortune have a strict and regimented structure to their boundaries until they are found trustworthy. It isn't that you are a prisoner persay, but if you are to stay?
It's by the Muter's rules. Founding Created or the aged and trusted will find themselves allowed leave from the Castle, but usually this is only to run specific tasks, errands or intelligence gathering. The only other reason that Promethean's might leave their home? The Woods. That is to say, the Swabian Jura and the unpleasant adversary it has become.
*Note: Upon creation of a Promethean for "Into The EverAfter" you will have access to more of these Rituals, Hierarchy, Court nuances and the threat of The Wood. Depending on how long you have been part of the House, you may even have access to some of its hidden history. These are not to be shared ooc with the mortal players of the game.
Prestine & Storybook...
Our Hechigen Village is in part, a work of fiction. The beautiful sprawling countryside of Baden-Württemberg, Germany and surrounding Swabian Jura, nestle in a tiny village untouched by the ravages of time. A historical center, Hechigen Village is a breathtaking and mysterious little town. The most distinct features of the village come from its landscape. Surrounded by the mountains, and crested by Hohenzollern Castle, it is cut off from the rest of Baden-Württemberg by a mountain pass. One main road in and that pass is treacherous by winter, thus closed. That is to say by winter the village is a place cut off from the rest of the world. By Spring, the pass melts and the inhabitants move from a state of lonely lethargy, to a building buzz as summer brings the tourists in the pass opening. A contradictory little place based on the seasons, but that isn't the only estranged part of Hechigen.
Hechigen's mountains, that is the infamous Swabian Alps, or Swabian Jura as the locals call it, have a very unique property that comes from the minerals and metals buried thick into its core. Satellite and other radio wave or wireless technologies find no reach into the Alps or Hechigen. The village is a virtual dead zone for much of modern technologies speed and agility to getting from place to place. Attempts to undo the mineral deposits of the Alps were made long ago in the late 60's, but rumors today speak about unholy accidents in the Swabian Jura until finally no mining company or developer would take up contract. Seeing no way to modernize Hechigen, the community and politicians of the town decided to make a new appeal. The idea? Lure in residents and tourists who wanted to escape from the modern world and return to a simpler time. A time with no radio waves, and thus technology that knew its place and could not control the modern family. From health benefits, to true relaxation, Hechigen became an experimental success.
So what does a contradictory village of seasons look like? How does technology find a place in Hechigen? If anything could be said about the community here, it would be how adaptable they are. In the dead of winter Hechigen's residents are usually the only ones who stick out the season. Though Christmas in the village is beautiful, no one knows for certain when the pass will open again. The few that come, come by private or prop plane, but flying over the Swabian Jura by winter has almost become a superstitious avoidance. Luckily for those who remain, Hechigen has a very particular and prized nook within. It is titled "Medical Valley" and it houses not only medical training, but forward thinking Medical professionals in a vast array of field work. Even with the restrictions to technology in Hechigen, the citizens here have some of the best Hospital and medical treatment available to them year round. Winter is bleak, grey and biting cold. There is a sense of listlessness being cut off from the rest of the world. Depression, anxiety and boredom strike a chord with the people, but the people learn to survive it and part of that survival comes with a careful and intuitive alertness to watch the Woods. The Swabian Jura has been a mystery, but it gives a chilling and eerie presence by winter that cannot be described. No matter how many years you've lived in Hechigen, there is an unnatural fear and waiting that comes with Winter. Maybe nothing has happened in ages, but everyone seems to wait for the next story about the Wood.
By Spring there is hope in the air. The pass is melting, and everyone worth their weight in survival is busy preparing for the summer tourist season. When the pass melts, when the flowers and fields stretch on in endless beauty, so too does life truly begin anew. From fishing, camping, historical walks, to shops and restaurants, there is much to do in Hechigen by summer. Most notable are the plethora of Festivals, Parties, Traditional village holiday's and remembrances. The tourists and villagers celebrate and make up for everything that is missing in Winter for all they are worth. Night and Day are akin to the way Hechigen feels by winter or summer. From Spring Festival that celebrates the opening of the pass(and many hobby brews), to Meistertrunk Show with Historic plays and costumes, to Weindorf wine festivals, to Mozartfest, to Corpus Christi, Luther's Wedding Festival, to Volksfest County Fair and folk festival. There is always something to celebrate and that is what makes up for the lack of Hohenzollern Castle being open to public tourism.
Lastly, Hechigen is a place of rest and wellness. A place of family and remembering what is important. It's a place to unplug, though technology does exist here. Internet can be found by those who still long for a wired connection, though most of the inhabitants have learned to embrace a life without it, besides it's dial-up and who has time for that? It's a place where you don't text one another, you call their land line or pay a visit. A place where letters are still written by hand and neighbors watch out for the widow on the block. It's a place where after work you drink at a pub, or fish on the lake. It's a place where you'd rather walk than take a bus or car, and really you haven't far to go. It's a place you don't mind stocking up on batteries or a generator in case, because power fluctuates and technology has its moments of failure when program updates and old copper lines struggle to do their job. It's not that technology isn't in Hechigen, its just that its lost its importance. That is, other than Medical Valley, but that's one of those mysteries the locals who aren't involved in are grateful for, don't care too much as to why, and figure if there's a problem in the world money can't fix, that'll be the day. And there is a lot of money in Medical Valley for one reason or another.
*Note: Upon creation of a Mortal for "Into The EverAfter" who is related to a Founding Family, you may gain potential access to more history regarding them. These are not to be shared ooc with the players of the game. If you have interest in being related to a founding family, please see the NPC page for particular Founder Bloodlines.