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Scribed by Ruaridh

Spring 1096 AD


Petrus left for Durenmar early in the season. He will be away for most, if not all, of the year. Varsavia decided to spend a season in the faerie regio. In addition to looking for reasons why the unseelie fae have turned against us (if indeed they have), she also intended to try to find out more about the Mountain King who stole Idris' first born child. Idris agreed to seek out the pagan priest who frequents the forest to the west of the covenant to ask him whether he would consent to be questioned by the Magi of Holy Isle covenant.

Following the attempt on Bryghtwold's life last season, I reasoned that we needed to strike out against the coven operating in Gloucester, for the diabolists would surely only grow in confidence if their actions went unavenged. Accompanied by Bryghtwold, Thurstan and several of the grogs, I travelled to Stent priory, planning to capture one of the diabolists, Francis, who was posing as a clergyman there. There was no sign of the man, and we were told that he had apparently drowned several months earlier. We quickly learned that this was untrue, and that it was more likely that he had fled with two of his disciples when he learned that we knew of his identity.

While investigating the graveyard at the back of the priory, Bryghtwold and I discovered a small infernal regio close to the riverbank. I was assailed by a demonic spirit, which I was unable to destroy, despite using every pawn of Perdo vis I had. Bryghtwold soon fell under the creature's influence, and he sought to slay me, a task for which he was more than capable. Gathering up all my energy, I was finally able to drive the dark spirit from Brygthwold's mind long enough for him to crush the skull that acted as the focus for its power. We were therefore able to escape, though I fear that the spirit was not destroyed. We told the priests of the evil that lurked in their midst, and I hope I convinced them to seek out the services of an exorcist.

Talking with some of the local villagers, it became clear that Francis and his acolytes had met up with an agent of the high diabolist, Guyere, and possibly travelled back to Stone with him. The trail therefore seemed cold, and we journeyed back to Gloucester, some of us spending a cold and miserable night out of doors. While staying in a inn in the city, Brygthwold, as a member of the 'nobility', was asked to adjudicate in a dispute between two townsfolk. One man claimed that the other had kidnapped his invalid sister, carrying her away into the night. The man accused of this crime denied all knowledge of it, and I did not detect that his words were anything but truthful. We therefore let him go, a mistake we soon came to regret.

The man who had lost his sister persisted in his claims that she had been stolen away, arguing that there must have been some infernal influence at work since all the milk in his house had turned sour following the abduction. We were persuaded to inspect the man's home, and we discovered that there were small scratches on the shutters that barred the room's windows. With a heavy heart, Bryghtwold said that the marks looked very similar to those caused by the demon that had attacked him on Saint Beresford's night.... Using the woman's silver cross as an arcane connection, I was able to track her down to the house of Richard of Frampton, a wealthy merchant and one of the leaders of the coven. We journeyed there at once, hoping to rescue her before it was too late.

In Frampton, we met a strange and disturbing clergyman by the name of Godwin who claimed he knew of and was working against the diabolists. Bryghtwold, Godwin and I stole into the merchant's house and managed to rescue the woman, though her injuries were so terrible that it was unclear whether she would survive for very long. We took her to Simon the jew in Gloucester, who did his best to staunch her bleeding. Unfortunately, neither Simon nor Ceadwith were able to save her, and she died later that night. It will be a long time before I forget this.

Summer

The council meeting at the start of the season brought several pieces of important news. Varsavia told us that she had managed to find a way to travel from the nearby faerie regio to the home of the Mountain King. She said she had visited Idris' son, who appeared well enough, but there appeared to be little prospect of the faerie agreeing to give up the child. One possibility would be for Idris to wager something of equal 'value' to the child, but the stakes for this sort of gamble would be high indeed; losing could cost Idris his life. Idris reported that he had been unable to locate the pagan priest. He cautioned that we should delay sending any message to Holy Isle until the end of the year, as it was possible that he would be able to catch up with the priest by then. We agreed.

We learned from Gloucester that King Robert had decided to take part in what has been termed a 'pilgrimage with sword' to the Levant. In Robert's absence, Henry of Normandy has been appointed to rule as regent.

Autumn

Stassius of Mercere visited us at the start of the season, bringing news both hermetic and mundane (as usual). Pope Urban, claiming to have received a letter from God himself, has called for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and many knights from all over Europe have responded. There has been much bloody slaughter in the Rhineland as an army led by the Emperor attacked jewish settlements; thankfully, those travelling to and from Durenmar were not caught up in the war. In England, two nobles took advantage of King Robert's absence, and raised armies against the regent Henry. The revolts were quickly put down and the perpetrators executed. The Earl of Hereford launched a raid into Wales, but there have thankfully yet to be any reprisals.

The Grand Tribunal has formally been called for Midsummer 1097. It will consider three main issues: (1) the recent increase in activity in the dominion; (2) the possible sightings of spies from the Unnamed House and the official dedication of Holy Isle covenant; and (3) how the Order should respond to the gradual loss of magical auras and resources experienced in recent years. We also learned that Eloria of Tytalus, formerly of Blackthorn covenant, has taken up residence at Blywyddan.

On the night of the Autumn Equinox, Turold, Idris and a few of the older grogs disappeared as though magically transported to another land. We do not know how or why this happened, and I would be tempted to dismiss their stories as the product of overactive imaginations and too much wine were it not for the fact that all of their memories of the events that followed coincide exactly. They met a welsh druid who challenged Idris' right to call himself the 'Guardian of the Spring'. Idris and the druid faced off at longbow range and proceeded to shoot at one another (quite why the matter should have prompted such violence is beyond me). The arrows passed through each of the combatants, and, a few moments later, the Magi and grogs were returned to the covenant proper.

We discussed what could have happened well into the night, but we were unable to reach any firm conclusions. One possibility is that there is another magical aura above this one, implying that the covenant is situated at the lowest level of a magical aura. This seems theoretically possible if somewhat implausible, but Turold said that he was able to determine that the magical aura in the place he was transported to was of the sixth magnitude. Given that the 'normal' aura of this place is also of the sixth magnitude, this seems to rule out the regio hypothesis. I fear we will have to wait for Petrus to return before we make any real progress on this matter.

Winter

The cruel sickness that so often accompanies the onset of winter took its toll on the covenant and Gloucester. Idris' young wife, Maneddwe, died in her sleep, as did one of the grog sergeants, Aelfric.

Later in the season, Jolyon of Lear Valley covenant arrived. In return for two rooks of vis, he conducted a ritual that raised tall stone walls around the covenant. Although the cost was relatively high - three full rooks when the cost of actually powering the ritual is taken into account - I am sure it will prove very worthwhile. Once we have constructed gatehouses to guard the three entrances, we will be in a strong position should we ever be attacked in the future.

The ritual also had an unexpected side effect. Unlike the rest of us who stopped work to watch Jolyon's magics, Turold continued to press forward with his research into Imagonem, eager to finish some project or other. The vibration caused by the walls rising from the ground evidently caused havoc in Turold's laboratory, as there was a mighty explosion, and a stream of multicoloured lights burst from his open window. The lights struck the walls, giving them a bizarre hue that has since proved impossible to remove. I think the effect is rather striking, though it will make it rather difficult for us to continue to claim to be simply mundane scholars should we need to do so in the future; this place is now clearly inhabited by magi.

Turold's eyebrows suffered the same effect as the walls, though I am sure the colour will grow out in time. Or perhaps not.
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