Vizegraf John von Alexander left his home in the Duchy of Westphalia south of the Lippe River in 1189 to join the Teutonic order in the Holy Land and deliver aid & soldiery support to the besieged city of Acre. His small yet formidable force anon falls in with the Reverend Benjamin & a retinue of guards also making for Israel, among whom the vizegraf quickly became known as Baron Schwarz, or the Black Baron, owing to his Teutonic cross and a name beyond pronunciation to the French.
This unlikely rout spend the winter months in Hungary, where a marriage pact betwixt the Baron & Elena Árpád draws the entire company briefly into the fragile politics of the region.
Following this short spell of shelter, the band of newly acquainted allies arrive in Acre to a battle as bloody as it is indecisive and find themselves immediately under attack. Suffering heavy defeat, their wounded withdrawal avails them not even as far as the hospital near Acre. As the Baron himself fell foul of an ememy blade and fades fast in mortal decline and also the noble Sir Austin, a humble millers’ son of the Tame Worth who earned his rank by valour alone, breathed his last, the few survivors seek further solace and succour from a hermit along the way. Said hermit revealed himself a Jewish scholar practised in the art of alchemy, whose unstable elixir causes an explosion which killed the entire party and alchemist alike – save the Reverend, protected by his curse, and the Baron, who absorbed the life force of the potion during the blast and was thus revived from the point of death.
Forsooth, this story is far from told in full, but look ye for the Reverend’s tome wherein is the full gruesome account of war, love & betrayal which so curseth our Black Baron.