Saturday, 4 May 2013

The Villagers of Stary Hrom


Far below the Citadel, nestled in the lower reaches of Thunder Mountain, is the pretty alpine village of Stary Hrom (English trans: 'Old Thunder'). At one time the journey to and from the settlement was fairly treacherous, and more than a little bit tiring, but the situation has recently been greatly improved by the construction of an underground funicular railway. The brainchild of gnome genius Wornl Greyflap no less.

Whilst the Citadel is a fascinating place in its own right, I have always been partial to going down to the village. I will admit I can still occasionally bring them mischief, and in the past have brought them more than their fair share of misery and chaos. In fact, they know me as the slightly eccentric and generally benevolent character, Lord John. They are good people, you see. But it is so hard for a leopard to truly change its spots, do you not think?

At other times I might visit the place in disguise, and then again I might not. It is all part of the fun.  The current crop of villagers are perhaps the most interesting I have ever observed. So it is without further ado I would like to mention some of them.


Old Man Wenceslas
Wenceslas is definitely the most enigmatic inhabitant of the village. His inscrutability is only matched by his hospitality, and he is the only being that I would say can best me in outright eccentricity.  He is well known for suffering from recurring medical ailments, many of which have baffled some of the finest medical brains in Prague.

He is legendary for the fiery moonshine he often produces in his garden shed.  In 1878 he produced the infamous 'Nose Bleeder Spirit', which was banned by the authorities. Furthermore, he was arrested in 1942 by the Nazi occupiers for spiking their water tanks with 'Gut Gurgler'. The Gestapo only managed to hold him for about two hours before he miraculously escaped. More recently, he has produced 'Befuddler', 'Pillow Seeker' and the ever-popular 'Toe Curler Hooch'.
He is said to be as old as Methuselah, and I can concur with that judgement. However, his origins and true nature have always eluded me, and I suspect that powerful magick is surely involved.

Vilem the Goat-herder   

Stoic and quietly spoken. Vilem watches over his flock and the oversees village from a distance. He very occasionally visit the village tavern, where he is heard to mutter incomprehensibly to his drink through a dirt-encrusted straggly beard. It is said that he has a wife somewhere, but I find this doubtful. His first love is looking after goats - and he is very good at it.  The year before last, attention was drawn to poor Vilem during an outbreak of mysterious events in the village.


Mr Pospisil
The village's amiable and bumbling fire warden.  He is in the village tavern so often that the hostelry is also known by the informal soubriquet: The Fire Station.

Mrs Svobodova

Monied widow and member of one of the village's oldest landowning families. She more or less spends most of her time here at the Citadel as she is still in courtship with my faithful butler, Stanislav. I am sure they are yet to share a kiss - but that is probably none of my business. Rome was not built in a day!

Here is a reminder of an early rendezvous between the happy pair:

Sergeant Valdek

Veceslav Valdek runs the village station, where he administers justice and directs a force of  two constables in the task of policing Stary Hrom and its surrounding environs.  Sergeant Valdek is an old-fashioned and headstrong old goat, but I harbour a quiet respect for the man. I will admit our paths have crossed on more than one occasion, and he is still the person who gets my mischief juices flowing the most (after Vlad Dracula, of course, but is not a 'person' per se).
Sergeant Valdek is also something of a national celebrity nowadays, due to the combined factors of possessing a particularly magnificent moustache, and for the brave and effective resistance he organised in the village against the attacking forces of NATO in the Time of Chaos.  You can read about the sergeant's minor but nonetheless impressive role in The Chaosifier.

Okay, I concede. His moustache is worthy. Maybe.



  1. Ye have had a vey busy week oh mighty lord. How wonderful you had time to share these great eccentrics with us. Personally had I know u had goats, I would have danced with them as on Tilos my honorary title is Dances with Goats...
    Ye have a nice Sat nite now.

  2. I haven't even mentioned the Citadel staff yet. Now there is a bunch of eccentrics, I can tell you. Perhaps you should meet Vilem. I am sure he would allow you to dance with some of his goats.

  3. I fear I won't always have this much time on my hands. My little Mountain Lord (a 2 year old Lordlet) is with his grandparents this weekend, giving us (and the servants) an unusual amount of freedom in the Citadel.

  4. Oh dear. We shall not enquire what you are doing with that freedom.


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