DH:LoF – Resistance (sample)

All things being equal, the first full supplement for Dark Harvest: The Legacy of Frankenstein will be out in May 2012.

Here’s a little taster of what’s to come.  This is the raw 1st draft, unedited version of a piece on the Resistance fortress given to them by the nervous Bulgarian authorities.

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LEAVING PROMETHEA – BABA VIDA

As has been pointed out, the Resistance has just one place it maintains as a permanent base – the fortress of Baba Vida in Vidin, a town by the Danube in north-western Bulgaria.  The Bulgarian leadership was one of the few to offer the people of Romania direct help when Promethea was created, refusing to acknowledge Frankenstein and his cronies as the legitimate rulers of the country, and expelling their diplomats long before Promethea was planning to withdraw them anyway.

The earliest fortress on the site close by the Danube was a Roman fort built in the 1st Century AD.  Fortifications have stood there almost continuously since, with the existing structures being a mixture of Ottoman and Austrian construction.  Used for munitions storage by the Bulgarian authorities, the fortress was handed over to the Resistance after secret negotiations in which the Creature played a considerable part.

The Bulgarians were eager to support the persecuted Romanian people, but nervous of possible repercussions.  The Creature pointed out that taking Baba Vida would require considerable military commitment from the Promethean authorities.  The risk of their precious Augment technology being captured by a foreign power would increase dramatically during a siege or assault.  Furthermore, the fact of Promethea directly engaging in operations amounting to little short of an act of war against a neighbouring country would destabilise the whole region.  It would also give a number of the Great Powers an excuse to perhaps take military action against Promethea and test those precious border defences.  The Creature argued eloquently, and accurately, that Frankenstein was neither ready nor willing for any of that.

There was another thing that the Creature pointed out; something else that he said all but guaranteed Baba Vida would remain untouched.  The Creature and his Resistance had no intention of allowing the secrets of Frankenstein’s terrible science to pass the borders of Promethea.  Frankenstein knew this, the Creature said, understanding that the Resistance were as determined to protect the borders of Promethea as the authorities.

This is not to say that the Promethean authorities are in any way content that the Resistance have a home at Baba Vida.  They watch it continually and very openly from across the Danube, and regularly send agents to try to infiltrate the Resistance in the hope of reaching the facility to destroy it from within.  So far, they have not launched any operation similar to those raids that happen from time to time along the River Prut, the eastern border with Russia.  So far.  It is inevitable that, one dark night, they will at least try.

In the meantime, the Resistance make full use of Baba Vida.  Outside its walls, Resistance patrols maintain a perimeter to prevent unwanted incursions from curious locals or ambitious foreign agents.  A low wall, no more than chest height, has been built completely encircling an area around the fortress.  There is some talk of building a fence too, but for now regularly placed signs in a variety of languages advise no one approach the wall and warn of fatal consequences for anyone attempting to cross it.

Legitimate visitors are expected to call to the patrols.  They are not permitted to cross the wall through the only gate (a simple affair to the north west) until the nature of their visit has been declared and passed on to whoever is in command of Baba Vida at the time.  It is not unusual for the hopeful to be turned away with little explanation at this point.

The approach to the fortress itself uses a relatively narrow bridge across the dry moat to reach a small door in the side of a huge square tower.  This narrow entrance means that large items still have to be lifted by ropes over onto the high outer walls before being brought into the main body of the fortress itself.  Again there is some  talk about digging out and refilling the moat, but talk is as far as things have gone by 1910.

Beyond the first tower, visitors enter a lower courtyard.  The main body of the castle towers above them still, squatting at the level of the top of the outer walls.  The main castle building is a two storey affair, with the former inner courtyard made smaller by the addition in the late 1600’s to early 1700’s of storage buildings and guard accommodation.  In addition to these, there are a total of nine towers of varying sizes attached to the castle, blending with the outer walls on the south-south western end.  There are two  towers only on the outer walls, one being the ‘gatehouse’ and the other, a gunnery position close by looking out to the Danube, accessible only from inside.

There is only the one way in past the moat.  From within the outer walls, there are only two ways into the castle proper, both very easily defended.  The inner walls are over two meters thick – in places far thicker.  The Creature was completely correct when he said that, despite the Promethean military’s formidable military might, taking Baba Vida would require considerable effort.

Within the complex maze of buildings, the Resistance have a thriving and dedicated community.  Baba Vida serves a number of roles, beyond simply being a fortified home to the Resistance and a thorn in the side of the Promethean authorities.  Baba Vida is a storehouse for weapons and equipment that can be filtered into Promethea for critical operations.  It’s a safe place for operatives and fighters to rest and recuperate; vital for the continued sanity of those who struggle on a daily basis with the horrors of Promethea.  At Baba Vida, the leaders of the Resistance can make plans and hold records (relatively) secure in the knowledge that they won’t be raided.  The constant secrecy and effort required to avoid detection and stay alive in Promethea itself takes more time and energy than anything else.  The simple novelty of being able to leave maps and other documents laid out on a table and come back to them later is very refreshing.

1 Response to DH:LoF – Resistance (sample)

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