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"House of Gerich" is the first short-story in Remember - Amnesia: The Dark Descent. It was written by Mikael Hedberg and includes an illustration by Rasmus Gunnarsson and Jonas Steinick. It takes place in 1774 CE, and follows historian Klaas Gottschall from the University of Königsberg, as he investigates a fire that took place on the Zimmermann Farm in 1704, that led to the death of the farmer Herr Stoss, and the disappearance of nobleman Wilhelm von Gerich.

Plot summary[]

Klaas Gottschall is a historian from the University of Königsberg, investigating the fate of nobleman Wilhelm von Gerich, who seems to have disappeared during his service to the Baron of Brennenburg, in 1704 CE. At a visit at the Königsberg Magistrate, he procures documents regarding an arson that Wilhelm investigated. The fire had consumed a barn at a farm a couple of miles outside of Altstadt, where Wilhelm was stationed. Gottschall travels to the farm and speaks with its current owner, a Mr. Zimmermann, and investigates the remains of the burnt-down barn. He then travels to Altstadt to look through the church archives, where he finds out that Anna Stoss, the daughter of Dorothea Stoss who inhabited the farm prior to the fire, had later moved into Altstadt proper, after the death of her mother, and was still alive.

He goes to her home and speaks with her, whereupon she informs him that the barn burned down in an accident: the farmhand, Emil, had fallen asleep in the barn with some lamp oil still burning. Emil had been arrested by Wilhelm, but Anna assumes that he was let go after the nobleman realised the event was an accident. Gottschall decides not to tell her about a statement from her mother which he had procured, where she frames the incident as a deliberate attempt of arson by Emil. Gottschall then travels to Brennenburg Castle to speak with the Baron, where the story ends.

Full short story[]

Click the "Expand" button at the right to read the full short story.

House of Gerich

Altstadt has never seen much crime, but there was a dark period spanning from the early winter of 1702 until late summer of 1704. During these years no less than 39 men were arrested and locked up in castle Brennenburg’s dungeons. In most cases the criminal’s family would be banished from the land, effectively cutting the already dwindling population of Altstadt with 86 souls. The magistrate’s office has almost no records detailing these crimes, as most arrests were handled by an unknown nobleman named Wilhelm.

Klaas Gottschall
University of Königsberg

The magistrate shuffled through the documents on his desk. Every now and then he would find something, adjust his glasses, and try to decipher the century old handwriting.

“I don’t know what to tell you, Herr Gottschall...”

“Please, call me Klaas.”

“Herr Klaas, there doesn’t seem to be much there.”

“I’m aware.”

The magister leaned back in his chair waiting for an explanation. Klaas reached into his bag and produced a thick book and placed it on the desk.

“Are you familiar with Heritage by Ludwig Kleist?”

The magister feared a longwinded lecture from the historian sitting across the desk.

“Does it matter?” he answered, realizing how rude it must have come off. Klaas looked confused.

“Can I get you a drink?” continued the magister, hoping he could redeem himself. He quickly got up and headed over to a cabinet and fetched two glasses and bottle of liquor.

“Thank you – it’s just that Herr Kleist has done the most thorough investigation into the fate of the House of Gerich,” explained Klaas.

“Who?” The magister began to pour the spirits.

“Wilhelm, the vigilant, was from the House of Gerich.”

“Ah, of course,” said the magister, still confused.

“I want to pick up where he left off.”

“I see – where exactly would that be?”

“The book doesn’t really reveal what happened to Wilhelm. It only briefly touches on a few of the cases he worked on during his time in Altstadt. I want to try to find out what happened to him.”

They both raised their glasses and nodded in a silent cheers.

“Fair enough – what can the magistrate’s office help you with?”

“Two things. I would like to know if there is anything which supports the claim that Wilhelm was working for the Baron of Brennenburg in order to quell the rise of crime. Wilhelm remained unknown by most and Kleist argues that he might have been working for the Baron to gain influence in higher circles.”

“Well, that I can tell you, by simply looking at the wall.”

The magister stood up and gestured towards a wall of framed documents.

“These are all the proclamations issued by the Brennenburg barony since...” The magister went in for a closer look at the document to the far left. “... since 1599 and none of them mentions such a partnership.”

Klaas studied the handful of framed documents for a moment.

“Excuse me, but it doesn’t really prove that there was no deal, rather that the barony have been a quiet lot.”

“Not quiet – private. If there ever was such a deal, the magistrate´s office wouldn’t know. My point being, I can not help you.”

“That’s a shame.”

“You could ask for an audience with Baron Alexander.”

“I have, but haven’t heard back.”

Lost in thought, Klaas walked over to the window and looked outside. He watched the people on the town square go about their daily life. This is how he preferred to observe the world, from behind a protective window pane.

“What was the other thing?” asked the magister.

“Excuse me?”

“Before, you said there were two things you wanted help with.”

“I need the documents concerning the fire.”

Klaas stepped outside into the square. He took a deep breath, trying to control his discomfort. His eyes jumped across the scene, the laughing young women carrying bags of lour to the bakery, the boy bringing out one of the horses in front of the Inn, the priest waving to an elderly woman.

Klaas turned his head towards the sky and took another deep breath. Open spaces always made him nervous. He knew it was silly, but he couldn’t control it. Klaas hurried over to the carriage and climbed inside.

The carriage headed south in search for the old farmstead described in the documents. On Thursday, 28 September, 1704, there was a fire which consumed a barn a few miles south of Altstadt. It was Wilhelm’s last case. The documents procured from the magistrate’s office contains a handful of testimonies from witnesses, but it lacks a final statement from Wilhelm. The fates of Wilhelm and the arsonist have never been fully disclosed. A sheriff from Königsberg was sent to investigate Wilhelm’s endeavors, but he returned early winter, 1704, reporting that crimes had dropped in Altstadt and that there was no trace of the nobleman.

Ludwig Kleist, the author of Heritage, goes to assume the best for all parties.

It stands to reason that we lack information about half of Wilhelm’s life. In 1704, when he was but 34 years old, we find the last documents detailing his efforts. Wilhelm had for two years been working for Baron Alexander of Brennenburg as a secret lawman. Baron Alexander, being a knight of the prestigious Order of the Black Eagle, must have realized that the rising crime could not be left to the magistrate and the sheriffs in Königsberg, and acquired assistance from the decorated soldier from Gerich. This arrangement was most likely not administered by the King, at least not officially, and if investigated would fall apart from a legal standpoint. In 1704, a sheriff from Königsberg were sent to Altstadt to question Wilhelm about the civil arrests he had undertaken. It seems safe to assume that Wilhelm was made to cease his efforts, but was allowed to leave on his own accord, as no documents details this meeting. Considering that the arrival of the sheriff coincides with Wilhelm’s last case this fact seems glaringly obvious.

Excerpt from “Heritage”
Ludwig Kleist

The carriage turned up a smaller dirt road. Klaas couldn’t read any longer as the cart started to bob from side to side. He thought about Kleist’s words. He really enjoyed reading Heritage, but there were just so much speculation.

“Master Gottschall, we have arrived,” called the driver.

Klaas took a breath and went outside. Countrysides didn’t bother him as much. As long as there wasn’t too many people around, he could relax. There were two houses standing and one being built. One of the men working, crossed the yard and approached the carriage.

“Hey there!”

“Herr Stoss?” asked Klaas.

“No, there is no Stoss around here. My name is Zimmermann.”

“I see, do you mind if I look around? I’m from Königsberg. I’m investigating the fire.”


“Yes, in 1704 there was a large fire here.”

Zimmermann laughed.

“1704? That’s almost seventy years ago!”

“Yes, I’m well aware.”

“Of course, come.” Zimmermann was still holding back
his laughter, “What’s your name, Sheriff?”

“Klaas, but I’m not a sheriff, I’m a historian.”

“Now, that sounds about right.”

The site of the fire was considered too much of a hassle to clear, as it was still littered with pieces of burned wood. Zimmermann wasn’t concerned as it worked just fine as a pasture. Klaas wasn’t sure what he was looking for, but was hoping he would turn up something. He looked around the grassland, towards the forest and back at the farmstead. The men were working on the house, while the driver had lit a pipe. What am I doing, he thought. He looked at the documents detailing the event again. He tried to imagine it play out in front of him. The two standing houses were most likely from Stoss’ farm. Klaas was standing where the barn stood. The farmhand, named Emil, torched the barn with his master inside. The fire quickly spread...

Wait a minute. The barn was really large. This must have taken a long time. How come the farmer didn’t save himself and how did Wilhelm show up so quickly?

Wilhelm knew Emil was up to no good. He had one of his men follow Emil that night and caught him as he torched the barn. After alerting the family, Wilhelm’s man had fetched his master to arrest Emil.

The Statement of Dorothea Stoss

Klaas returned to Altstadt. His own suspicions was as unfounded as Kleist’s fairytale, but there was something strange about the whole ordeal. He pushed open the heavy door leading into the church. The priest was lighting some candles as the cloudy afternoon left the church in the dark.

“Father?” called Klaas.

“Welcome, my son.”

“I need your help.”

“God answers those who pray.”

“Well, yes, this is more worldly. I need insight into the church records. I need to know what happened to Dorothea Stoss.”

“Happened to her? Whatever do you mean?”

“I need to know what happened to the farm after the fire,” pressed Klaas.

“I’m not sure what you are talking about, but Dorothea lived with her daughter, Anna, for years here in Altstadt. She passed away. Must have been fifteen or twenty years ago.”

“Her daughter? Is she still alive?”

Dorothea’s daughter Anna married into the Koch family, in 1718, and moved away from the farmstead. A little more than a decade later, Dorothea moved in with Anna. The farmstead fell into disuse and the land was left unattended for twenty years until it was sold after Dorothea’s death.

Klaas smiled at the treasure trove of information the church archives turned out to be. But there was still little about the actual event or any traces of Emil the farmhand. There was only one way to go, he had to find Anna Koch and hope she had something to say. She was six at the time of the fire and with a bit of luck the event had made an impression on her.

Klaas went outside into the square, he followed the sides so he didn't have to cross it. He felt enough excitement already, he didn't need another panic attack. He turned down the side street and dodged a farmer, with a cart of turnips, heading into town. Anna was a fairly wealthy widow, living with a maid in a modest, but well-kept townhouse. Klaas straightened his jacket, brushed off dust from his sleeves, and knocked on the door. The maid opening the door was a cheerful middle-aged woman. Klaas was invited inside.

“May I offer you something to drink? Are you hungry?”

“Thank you, but no thank you. I was hoping to see Anna Koch.”

“Of course, come, this way.”

The maid showed Klaas into the upstairs drawing room. Anna sat in a rocking chair facing the oriel window. The room was decorated with paintings and porcelain. A fine carpet was splayed across the polished wooden floor. The fireplace cracked comfortingly and immersed the room in a warm glow.

“Anna?” said the maid. “This young man wanted see you. Would that be all right?”

“Yes, of course. What can I do for you?”

“Frau Koch, my name is Klaas Gottschall. I’m from the university in Königsberg. May I ask you a few questions?”

“Please, have a seat.”

Klaas sat down on a robust chair next to her. He looked outside the window. The street outside was nothing but ordinary. One-story houses lined the opposite side of the street, a single sign belonging to the town’s cobbler was the only thing breaking the monotony of residential homes.

“I like watching the world go by,” said Anna.

“I feel the same.”

They sat for a moment watching the street below and the forest beyond the town. The sun was setting and the waning moon was rising.

“Do you remember the fire at the farm?”

“Oh, dear, I haven’t thought about that for years! Why do you ask?”

“I’m trying to find out what happened to Wilhelm and the farmhand...”

“Emil,” she jumped in. “He was such a sweet man.”

“Really, I’m surprised you would say that.”

“How so?”

“He killed your father.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

Sometimes Emil had to sleep alone inside the barn. He was twenty years of age, but still afraid of the dark, so I would sneak him some lamp oil he could burn in a tin bowl. He fell asleep with the fire still burning. Later he woke up screaming his lungs out. The barn was on fire. The entire family quickly gathered in the yard, but father being the man he was, decided he was going to save the animals inside. As you well know, he never came out. Emil was crying hysterically. I tried to comfort him, as I didn’t yet realize what had happened. Later, that Wilhelm fellow, arrived with his men telling Emil that he would have to come with them. Us children were sent inside, but mother spoke to the lawmen and later wrote a statement to the magister in town.

Anna Koch, formerly Stoss

“Whatever happened to Emil?”

“Oh, I would say he was rebuked in some manner, but it was an accident and everyone knew so. I can’t imagine him being punished except by his own sense of guilt.

Klaas considered telling Anna about the harsh words her mother had written about Emil. They most certainly would have him sentenced to a few years in prison. What could he possibly gain from telling her, and what would she do with such information? Klaas decided to keep his words to himself.

What is left? he thought. There is only one more place to go – castle Brennenburg.

As Klaas’ carriage rolled through the main gate and into Brennenburg’s courtyard, he got the sense of abandonment. Everything was so quiet and serene. Did anyone really live here?

Klaas shut the carriage door behind him and looked around. The courtyard was paved in cobblestone, not the rigid square form like at the university in Königsberg, but the more natural stone found on a rocky sea shore. The castle towered in front of him, a magnificent gothic structure with distinct windows and elaborate parapets.

“Shall I wait, sir?” asked the driver.

“Please, I shan’t be long,” answered Klaas. He made his way to the large gate and tapped the heavy door knocker with as much grace as he could.