Gotham Knights: 1943 Aftermath – The Fiend in Teufel

The following story tidbit follows the actions of a character from GK:1943 following the end of the War.  The character herself is The Fiend, a former RSHA operative and occultist… with a demon bonded permanently into the fabric of her being. Charming woman.  This story doesn’t go into the backstory of how she was bonded with a demoness or how she became such an incongruous thing as a Nazi noblewoman – that’s a story for another time. Anyhow, let’s see what the sadistic demon-witch got up to after her adventures playing superhero against a rival occult SS faction that ended up leading into a time-traveling conflict against the forces of Apokolips.

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It happened on a summer day in 1945. The town of Teufel was in the Brandenburg region of former Prussia, which by then was in the Soviet Occupied Zone and would eventually become the core of the DDR. She came walking up the main road from Berlin then, but I am getting ahead of myself. The Barons von Teufel had owned a huge manor house and estate just outside the town proper for generations, but by this point a soviet military administrator called it home. He was in charge of dismantling what industry had not been obliterated and turning the surrounding land into collective farms. As the largest completely intact building near the town, the house also served as the HQ to a company of Russian troops that were supposed to enforce the administrator’s will, keep the peace and kill any German that showed the least sign of looking like he might be thinking about maybe making some trouble. The war hadn’t been over very long and so the Red Army was very jumpy, and they even had a couple of tanks in town. There hadn’t been a lot of guerilla activity since the surrender just there at this point so Teufel wasn’t completely shut down but things were still tense, and the place as a whole felt pretty much hopeless all the time.

If I remember correctly, there was also some big shot in from Moscow making a fuss of appropriating anything valuable in the manor and asking the locals lots of questions about the late baron himself. The Baron was a hero in the Great War and an official of some kind during the second one, but he died in, oh… 1943 I think. The Russians thought he had lots of important artifacts – he was a great collector, you know – and they wanted them but were having a hard time tracking down where he’d hidden it all from them.

Anyway, that was the situation when she returned to Teufel. I was only a boy and she had been away for several years so I did not know her – at school and then working for the SS, you know. All of the other locals recognized her instantly. The woman marched right up to the town as bold as can be, like she owned the place. To be technical, she almost did: her parents’ and big brother’s deaths during the War had made her the baroness. Of course, the Weimar Republic had formally abolished the aristocracy in 1919 but nobody in town paid that any mind. The von Teufel family owned nearly everything in the area that was worth owning anyway until the Soviets seized anything that hadn’t been destroyed and most of what had.

Brigitte von Teufel was more beautiful and frightening than a queen when she came up that road. She had perfect posture, a dignified carriage and a face that seemed impervious to time, to the ruin about her and even to human emotions. To me she looked almost more like a legendary valkyrie than an actual person though her fine coat and traveling clothes had seen a lot of miles and all sorts of weather. My mother was the first person in her path, and she paused to ask her about what had become of Teufel while she had been away. Of course she already knew most of the news about her own family. The woman’s voice was liquid music, but a music that could make the blood run cold. Then she inquired as to whether the Soviet administrator had taken up residence in her house and my mother told her that he had.

This was when three of the Russian soldiers approached her and the leader demanded her business and papers in broken German. She gave them a cold look like these men pointing rifles at her were actually cockroaches, and she told then authoritatively, “This is my home, underlings. You cannot hinder me. Also, you will escort me to your commanding officer. I will have words with him regarding my house.” Never before or since have I seen three grown soldiers cowed so completely by a lone unarmed woman; they obeyed her immediately and even apologized for their rudeness. So the three poor Russians led her back to her house to meet with their commander.

It wasn’t very long after this that the screaming started. I heard a lot of noise and some gunfire, and soldiers came running from all over while the citizens took cover as best they could. Smoke was rising up from where a couple of buildings were burning. Myself, I was very scared but I snuck out through a broken window to see what was going on while mother was trying to shush my little sister’s crying. The first I saw of her again was when she leaped up onto one of the tanks. There was a Russian up on top looking out of the hatch for her, and she sliced his head right off with one swing of this fancy sword like something that you see in these fantasy movies today. She was wearing this crazy suit of metal armor and a helmet with four long horns on it too – I don’t know where she got any of it or how she had time to put it on, but as sure as I see you sitting there I saw her with these old-time weapons and things killing people that were shooting guns at her. There was fire everywhere, and even men were burning.

I only saw her for a few moments – this terrible fear came over me, and I ran and ran as fast as my little legs would carry me, and then I hid for several hours. I didn’t get a good look at her even. Still, I swear that it was the Baroness out there killing everybody. I still sometimes hear that howling that she made in my dreams. It was a sound straight out of Hell itself.

Maybe she’d had some help from saboteurs or somehow snuck in ahead of time and did it all herself but the baroness had apparently disabled all of the Russians’ radios, even the ones in the tanks. The soviets’ bombs had already killed the telephone system, so without those radios there was no external means of communication left for them to call reinforcements. If any radio messages had gotten through, it probably would have taken an hour but in this case it was the better part of a day before any help for them came. By then she was long gone of course, one of the Russian trucks was missing and every single Soviet in the down was dead. Some of the townsfolk were killed too, mostly the ones that were collaborating with the Soviets. We never found out how she did it – they wouldn’t reveal any of the details to anybody but the townsmen who were dragged off to Siberia for being guerillas. They weren’t really guerillas of course, but the Russians insisted that there was no way a lone woman had killed so many men and even taken out two tanks so they hauled off a few of our men to save face.

There were hundreds of stories passed around after that, of course. Several people reported seeing a bunch of men they didn’t recognize loading up the truck at the manor house just after the massacre. Nobody ever said that they saw any other men fighting the Russians though, which is maybe the strange part. Maybe the whole thing was some kind of commando raid and there were lots of fighters after all, but I don’t know. One boy even told me that he saw the men just vanish once the truck was all loaded up, and then somebody drove off in it. Everybody in town was sure that it was the baron’s hidden treasures that were being carted away, but how he hid a whole truckload like that nobody could say.

I never saw Brigitte von Teufel again, and as soon as the Russians’ investigation came to an end they made a big point of covering the whole thing up. It never happened, and I’m just a crazy old man, you know. But I’ll tell you this much: neither the Soviets nor the DDR ever dared to occupy that house again. It’s still vacant. Old Horst Kemp tells me that he recently saw a beautiful woman claiming to be the Baroness’ granddaughter up there, visiting from out of the area and looking in to maybe acquiring her family’s old manor. If Herr Kemp is not putting me on, maybe you could contact her. If Baroness von Teufel is still alive then she may be willing to give you an interview.

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