In the August sunshine of the day of St. Bartholomew in 1483 a flag in the Thierstein colors, yellow and red, blew in the keep of the Hohkönigsburg, the largest castle in all Alsace, for the counts of that name carried in their escutcheons seven red diamonds in a golden field ,
The castle lay on a ridge stretched from east to west, which, however, appeared after the plain to its narrow side as a sharp cone exceeding all other visible heights, and, bearing walls and towers like a jagged crown, already opened the view from a distance pulled and irresistibly tied.
The perimeter of the very extensive works consisted of two ring-walls, separated by a broad interval, the outer walls of which were reinforced with a number of projecting round towers, and three gates, at intervals measured upwards, had to pass through who wanted to reach the high-class. Today, at each of these gates, there was a double post of servants in armor, saluting with their halberds in a candlestick attitude to the approaching guests of the lord of the castle. Behind the second gate was reached on a spacious courtyard,
where the stables, saddle and table chambers and the smithy were. There the riders had to get off the horse, because from this they had to walk on the steps leading up to the third and highest gate in several steps. It was called the Lion Gate, because over its arch on either side of a heavily damaged, indiscernible coat of arms – presumably the Hohenstaufen – two lions hewn in stone rested. Here, in addition to the two brush-sticks, stood a herald with a staff, in feathered beret and an embroidered tabard, to receive the new arrivals in the name of his master, and to escort them to the entrance of the hall.
Today, a lot of visitors were expected, for it was necessary to inaugurate the castle, which had burnt down completely after its storming, but now had a mighty and magnificently restored castle, and had received invitations to the knights living in the wider area.
Changeable fates had haunted the Hohkönigsburg since its creation.
Originally created in the twelfth century by the Hohenstaufen. After them, the Dukes of Lorraine had the suzerainty and mortgaged to each other, the Landgrave of Werd, the counts of Oettingen and the bishops of Strasbourg with the much sought-after celebrations that temporarily also to the Rappoltstein from Rathsamhausen and Hohenstein as an after fief passed over. Then she came to the Habsburg imperial house, in whose possession she remained long. By the middle of the fifteenth century, however, a flock of wild peasants and prairie, among whom were also some of the nobility, had illegally settled there, and, as highwaymen and bushmen, drove their cheeky robber craft in a way so unbearable for the whole neighborhood, that at last Bishop and the Council of Strasbourg, the Counts of Rappoltstein and the citizens of Schlettstadt in the fight against the infuriated Schnapphähne and their numerous petty associates allied, besieged and took the castle, the rabble, which escaped, unfortunately escaped, chased away and become the robber’s nest Castle destroyed.
For more than half a century, the huge rubble stared barren and homeless on the high mountain ridge to heaven, until 1479 Emperor Frederick III. The Counts Oswald and Wilhelm von Thierstein entrusted the castle with the castle and those who had broken it, the bishop and the city of Strasbourg, commanded them to restore them to protection and defiance firmly and habitable. The headmaster of the Minster of the Minster, famous and decisive in the whole German Empire, recommended for this purpose a capable, experienced man, and the chosen one, Master Ebhardt, built and repaired with Strasbourg workers and Strasbourg money for years, before the Counts of Thierstein with their families , a select servant and a handsome crew could move into the gloriously rebuilt stronghold. And today, barely two weeks after their transfer from their manor to Strasbourg, the gates of the old Hohenstaufen castle were decorated with foliage and hospitably opened to let in the crowd of those invited.
Only one Thierstein family member was missing at the present day party, Count Oswald’s only, still underage son, Heinrich, who was a noble boy at the castle of an old aristocratic family in Switzerland, where he was, as was custom, knightly under alien discipline and care To learn being and courtly service.
The two wanderers, who had the guard of honor at Lion’s Gate, and who were richer and richer than the servants at the lower gates, were servants from the immediate vicinity of the lord of the manor, one, Marx, the falconer, the other, Herni, the Count’s armpire Oswald, who, as the elder of the two brothers Thierstein, was the real ruler of power. The third man here at the gate, the one in Herold’s dress, Ottfried Isinger, took up a position of trust in the castle as a stable master and knew many of the gentlemen who came up gradually with their wives, sons and daughters, or even alone up the stairs. He named his fellows the names of Fleckenstein, Müllenheim, Andlau, Geroldseck, Durkheim, Kageneck, Anger von Bulach, and one and the other of the gentlemen had a friendly word for him, Thor and paid tribute to the deeply bowing ones.
When once again a society of gentlemen and ladies had entered so carelessly, Herni, the crossbow man, said: “It will make me think that our distinguished guests are not all with happy faces. Some look almost grumpy and dissatisfied. ”
“I’ve noticed,” agreed the Falconer. “And do you know what I believe? – they do not treat us the beautiful, big castle; Many of them liked to live up here as high-ranking lord and governor in the river. ”
“You could be right, Marx!” Laughed Isinger. “This and that may have hoped for the fief, for none of their castles is as big and strong as these except girbades, perhaps, that belong to the Müllenheim. But our lord has a piece of cake with the Emperor, for he has served the House of Austria well, and Bishop Albrecht of Strasbourg, Palatine of the Rhine and Duke of Bavaria, has a powerful voice as his advocate with the Habsburgs. ”
“Who were the last ones to pass this snooty?” Herni asked. “The one, the squat, broad-shouldered, looked at you all over, Ottfried!”
“Yes, he knows me, and I know him too,” replied the stable master with particular emphasis. “It was Herr Burkhard von Rathsamhausen and his clan who are sitting on the two Ottrotter castles.”
“Aha!” Herni said, “that’s why the evil eye. They also once sat up here, the Emperor Wenceslas with the castle invested. The legend goes that their seven Rathsamhausen had once, when they were masters here, praised one another by firm feasts and pledged that no one should divest anything of his possessions without wanting the rest. ”
“So? How do you know that? ”
“Once, our Count told me on a stalk.”
“Yes, then it will be their fault that they are not the beloved again,” said Isinger, “for the Rathsamhausen are the proudest generation in all of Wasgau.”
“Proud! Count Oswald is proud, too, and not a trifle, “said Marx.
“Urs also has the lord of Hohkönigsburg, but he is not as defiant and stubborn as Herr Burkhard. This is an adventurous man and has a grim temperament; I could tell you more than a bold little piece about him. ”
“Oh, our count does not let himself be jealous,” remarked Herni. “He who stumbles stiffly against him, he knows how to duck, if need be.”
“Certainly! but in these last days, when I had much to consult with him, he did not want to please me. He was restless, excited and seemed to the banquet not to look forward to right when he worried about the progress and the success. ”
“Then he could refrain,” said Marx.
“That did not work; He owes it to himself and to his position of showing himself to the other noblemen, as lord and master of the most powerful castle in the country, and to make clear to him his high rank from the outset. Do you understand that? ”
“Hm! therefore,! Yes of course!”
They had to break off the conversation, for now the abbot of St. Pilt approached his reverend with several of his canons and some choristers, who were invited to consecrate the castle chapel and were greeted in silent reverence by the guard.
It was afternoon. The sun was still high above the forest, which, with its old, mighty fir trees, its oaks and beech trees, covered the mountains and valleys, and out of which, brightly lit, the neighboring castles rose. The rugged summit to the right Hohrappoltstein held like a guard, on the left sparkles the Frankenburg and continue on the steep mountain slope, the Scherweiler locks Ortenberg and Ramstein. Deep down, however, the Ried, the fertile plain to the Rhine, poured out far and wide with towns and villages and vineyards, the mirror of which flashed and flashed at Breisach. On the other side of the stream, the Kaiserstuhl mountain range was clearly in the background, and in the background, the outline was shimmering and cloudy. of the Black Forest. But the farthest distance was hazy, and the Alps, which in clear weather stretched their snowy heads above the horizon, were invisible.
Thus the view from above offered a splendid picture, and one of the gentlemen who had just swung out of their saddles with their ladies in the stable yard, seemed to regard it so attentively from the bottom of the staircase as if he were looking for it in a certain way Point. It was Count Maximin, called Schmasman, of Rappoltstein, in the family the second of his name, who had ridden up with his wife Herzelande and his daughter Isabella. They lived on the St. Ulrichsburg above the town of Rappoltsweiler, and in their company were his brother Kaspar and his still young wife Imagina, who had the same way with them from their nearby Felsenhorst Burg Giersberg, while the third brother, the between the ages stood between those two
Countess Herzelande approached the interrogator and asked, “What are you looking for, Schmasman?”
“It annoys me,” replied the count, “that there is still nothing to be seen of Egenolf; he should have been punctual today. ”
“Our dear son will follow suit ,” the wife sought to reassure the rumblings. “I have had his robe ready for him, that he only has to slip in when he returns home from Gejaide.”
“The third day he is on the prowl from morning to night. What rare wild track may he pursue so eagerly that he forgets all about it? ”
“Why, let him stalk you, brother-in-law!” Said Countess Imagina, with an approving gesture, stroking the bearded cheek of the head of the family. “The noble Waidwerk is Egenolf’s greatest pleasure.”
“I treat him with joy,” said the count, “but today he had to take care. The Thiersteiner will think he has no appetite to be their guest at the inauguration. Count Oswald is distrustful anyway, and soon senses an enemy and a jealous here. ”
“He probably does not lack such,” interrupted Count Kaspar.
“Maybe,” said the older brother. “He does not stand up easily and will have to win favor before he manages to make himself at home amongst us veterans, if he cares.”
“The Thiersteiner are themselves an old knightly family,” said Countess Herzelande.
“But immigrants, Swiss, from Aargau, formerly the fief-bearer of the Basel bishops. For the most part, they owe the imperial feudal letter to the high Clerisei. «
“Schmasman, you have not had any eye for the Hohkönigsburg?” Teased the always cheerful Imagina.
“I?! no, you witty woman! “laughed the count brightly,” but I think I could have had them if I had seriously aspired to them. ”
“And you would not have had a jealousy,” Herzelande added with a sincere look to her stately, chivalrous husband.
“Who knows? but let us not stop here any longer, “warned Schmasman,” I hear new guests approaching. ”
They walked slowly up the steps, but after a little while Schmasman said to Herzelande who was walking beside him: “Let me wonder if the Ottrotters will come today.”
“You doubt that?” She asked, as if in shock again.
“I’m not sure. Burkhard was not very inclined, and I had to talk to him a lot. He feels hurt by the kind of invitation, because it did not bother Count Oswald to make his visit, but sent only his younger brother Wilhelm, who may have found a somewhat cool reception at Schloss Rathsamhausen, as I have done Must close Burkhard’s speeches. ”
“Is that his only reason not to appear at the Hohkönigsburg today? So we could complain, because even though Count Oswald was with us at Ulrichsburg, his wife and daughter did not show themselves to me and Isabella, however close we live to them. We do not know the ladies yet. ”
“That does not hurt, Mother,” said Isabella behind her parents. “I’m looking forward to the party and will be able to face the young countess.”
“They have had more to do in the short time they have been here than to ride to all the surrounding castles,” Herzelande herself apologized to those who had previously remained far away. “Who will be so sensitive in these circumstances?”
“That’s what I think, too,” said Schmasman, “but you know our friend Burkhard. When he is in a bad mood, the fly on the wall annoys him, causing his wrath to swell. I am very curious whether he will be here, and if not, little love will grow between him and Thierstein. ”
In the meantime they had come to the lion’s door, now stopping on a landing, and then proceeding at a leisurely pace. Schmasman, startled when he saw the herald there, looked him closely in the eye and began: “Is it really you, Ottfried Isinger, who is in the magnificent coat of arms?”
“Serve your Grace, Herr Graf!” Answered Isinger, bowing once more and delighted that he had been recognized and addressed by Schmasman.
“I have not seen you for a long time and I did not know that you’re up here. What are you doing here? Do you play herald? ”
“No, sir! I’m a stable master on the Hohkönigsburg. ”
“Just look at one!” Smiled Schmasman. “Then tell me, Herr Stallmeister, have the Lords of Rathsamhausen already arrived?”
“Yes, sir,” answered Isinger, “Messrs. Burkhard and Philipp von Rathsamhausen with their consorts and Junker Bruno are already up in the castle.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” said Schmasman, almost with a sigh of relief. – “Did the defiance take reason,” he whispered to Herzelande.
They walked, led by Isinger, through the entrance into the inner courtyard enclosed by high buildings, and here Imagina turned with a mischievous smile to the leading herald: “Herr Stallmeister, you must show me your stables today, I have so much horse-mind that I can distinguish a cent from a white horse. ”
“Be at your command any time, gracious Countess!” Replied Isinger reverently, and went back to the Lion Gate.
But the gentlemen ascended the spiral staircase in a tower to the palaces of the palace.