The Adventurer's Guild
Former butler of the Imperator
Butler of Riefenstahl and holder of the ninth Chair in the Vendel League, which he was willed by the late Imperator shortly before his suicide. Instead of sending a proxy, he has chosen to travel to Kirk and take up the position in person.
National pride keeps him in traditional Eisen clothes, but he has begun to alter his dress with ruffled collars and the like. His sharp eye for fashion lets him accentuate his short dark hair and slender build, drawing admiring looks from almost every lady he passes. He appreciates their attention and secretly looks forward to the day he can finally act upon it.
Joseph Volkner is an average man in an incredible situation. Up until a year ago, he had dedicated his life to the service of Imperator Reifenstahl of Eisen, serving as the man’s personal butler. The position demanded much from him, but he met the challenge with stalwart skill. Now the Imperator is dead (having killed himself after the visit of a mysterious stranger) and Joseph has become the recipient of an amazing inheritance. He received the Imperator’s Chair in the Vendel League, instantly becoming one of the wealthiest men in the world.
The problem is that Joseph has accepted a life of servitude, not one of leadership. His thirty-five years have consisted of nothing but following orders. It is taking a while for him to learn how to give them, and the other members of the Vendel League strain to keep their patience.
Even though Joseph had been Reifenstahl’s butler most of his life, he had little knowledge of the Imperator’s dealings with the League. He never really thought it was any of his business. Once the title was his, however, he combed Reifenstahl’s records, searching for a clue as to what he was in for. He discovered that the position had been part of the Vendel League from its emergence (see page 26). Usually, a proxy served in the Imperator’s stead; which worked out well, allowing the Imperator to stay in his own country and cast his vote by correspondence whenever needed. Joseph, however, decided not to send a proxy. He had heard many interesting things about Vendel and wanted to experience them first hand. Just four weeks after the Imperator’s death, he packed his few belongings and sailed to the Norvik Isles. It turned out to be quite an adventure.
The second morning of his voyage, the winds died and a thick fog surrounded the ship. The crew began to panic as Vesten pirates, led by the infamous Slagfid Barelegs, stormed aboard and seized control. Slagfid knew the unseasoned League Chair was a passenger and threatened to torture crew members until they revealed his identity. With a lump in his throat, Joseph made himself known. He felt a sharp blow to the back of his head and when he woke up, he was bound and gagged in a smoky longhouse.
Over the next few days, Slagfid unveiled his plans to Joseph. The Eisen had become a hostage because Slagfid’s brother, Njal the Snake-tongued, was being held by the Vendel authorities. Slagfid was negotiating to trade Joseph for Njal and promised his safety if things went well. They didn’t.
In the middle of a snowy night, League Agents attacked. Joseph watched in stunned silence as the scene unfolded. Slagfid was killed by a sharp-shooter before he could rise from his bedroll and the rest of his crew fell in a matter of minutes. It was then that Joseph truly understood the League’s stance on negotiating with pirates.
When he finally made it to Kirk, the first thing he did was make an appearance to the other Chairs. His face was bruised, his clothes soiled and tattered, and his wrists burned raw from the bonds. Still, he summoned the years of poise and grace that had made him an excellent butler, speaking words of gratitude in a thick and broken accent. The other members could not help but be impressed.
Joseph has since immersed himself in the matters of the Vendel League, learning everything he can so that he can make the right decisions with his vote. The other League members are acutely aware of his enthusiasm and each one tries to influence him to their way of thinking. So far, he has proven very resilient, something Val Mokk clearly respects. However, the cautious Joseph sometimes causes more harm than good. He has abstained from several key votes, locking the Chairs into a four-to-four split and throwing the entire League into turmoil. This has not set well, and he has received a few not-too-subtle hints to get his act together. Unfortunately, this has only made him more nervous and mindful of what he is doing.
Because he is so absorbed in learning the ins and outs of his position, he has yet to truly enjoy his new environment. He has purchased a modest townhouse on the outskirts of Kirk and walks to the Great Hall every morning, taking in the constantly changing sights.