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Scribed by Ruaridh

Spring 1097 AD

Petrus returned from Durenmar early in the new year, bringing with him news of the defeat of the Emperor's army in Hungary. We told him of the events of the previous Autumn Equinox, which he claimed lent further credence to his theory that the covenant is sited on the lowest level of a magical regio. He argued that the higher level of the regio could have a seventh rather than a sixth magnitude aura as Turold's detection spell was not sufficiently powerful to analyse the phenomenon with complete accuracy. We were unable to ascertain precisely why the two levels, if that is what they truly are, only come into contact on certain days of the year - typically the Solstices and Equinoxes - but we resolved to test our theories at the next available opportunity.

The council decided that, since Idris had been unable to locate the pagan priest last year, we would have to inform Holy Isle covenant of his unwillingness to be questioned. Given that we had no suspicions of any complicity with the Unnamed House on his part, we resolved to wait until Stassius next visited the covenant before passing on our message. I share some of Idris' misgivings about the way in which the Magi of Holy Isle may choose to conduct their investigations, but given the current mood of the Order, I fear we have little choice but to co-operate. Still, we shall see...

We learned of the machinations of another of the Gloucester diabolists - one Henry of Lakewood, a noble at the court of Earl Robert - through circumstances too complex and, frankly, bizarre to relate here. Suffice it to say that a contact in Gloucester witnessed Henry being paid a sum of money, possibly by an agent of another of the diabolists, Richard of Frampton, to assassinate someone in the city. The identity of the victim remains a mystery, though the fact that Henry regularly attends court at Gloucester may mean that he intends to slay a fellow noble. While the politicking of Norman lords would scarcely raise a flicker of interest in these quarters in normal times, I believe that the involvement of the diabolists means that it would be dangerous for us to let Henry's actions go unchecked.

Towards the end of the season, Varsavia's laboratory was damaged when one of her Auram experiments went slightly awry. I cannot disguise a flicker of admiration for the calm way in which she reacted to the mishap, especially since a full season's work had clearly gone to waste. I hope - and rather doubt - I will be able to display the same sort of control should any of my projects go up in smoke in the future.


In an effort to learn more about Henry of Lakewood, we arranged for one of the grogs, Belindt, to get a menial job serving food and wine at the Earl's court. I am not sure why Belindt was selected for the job - he seems almost preternaturally irritating - but, despite my fears that he would be immediately tossed in some dark dungeon for winding up the wrong man, he managed to get close to and apparently win the trust of Henry. Idris and I discussed the possibility of having Belindt slip a vial of poison into the diabolist's wine, but, before we could construct a viable plan, Godwin took matters into his own hands, presenting Belindt with some poison of his own. Henry was almost killed by the draught, but not quite. The Earl assumed that the poison had been intended for him, and he rewarded Henry for saving his life.

This episode has taught be several things, the most glaringly obvious of which is not to place any reliance on wayward priests who teeter on the wrong edge of sanity. Twelve innocent serving staff were slain as the Normans looked for the perpetrators of the crime; their deaths will weigh heavily on my conscience for some time.

On the night of the Summer Solstice, Turold and several of the grogs once again passed through what we now believe to be the boundary of the magical regio. No druid did he encounter this time for the place was inhabited by huge spiders, which Turold described as standing as tall as a shire horse. These fearsome creatures attacked the grogs, and one of the covenant's most faithful servants, Brytnoth, was cruelly slain. Indeed, were it not for the fact that Turold and the other men were quickly pulled back to the lower level of the regio, I am sure there would have been many more deaths. Petrus too saw the spiders, casting Glimpsing Through the Mystic Veil from the safety of the covenant, and, if his reaction is anything to go by, I intend to make sure that I never encounter the creatures.


In council, we discussed what could be causing the recent instability in the magic aura, bringing the two levels of the regio close together at certain times of the years. Varsavia suggested that the changing of the faerie seasons - recently from summer to autumn and soon from autumn to winter - might be the root of the problem. Several of the Magi, myself included, could not understand why a faerie event, albeit a most significant one, should have any effect at all on a magical aura, but in the absence of a more compelling argument, we were happy for Varsavia to spend her season's service travelling north to Cad Gadu to consult with Sylvania. She left shortly after the meeting.

Stassius the Redcap arrived a few weeks later, bringing with him news of great import. Of King Robert's exploits in the East and the rebellion of the March lords we already knew, but we now learned of war in Scotland and the crowning of a new Scottish King, Edgar. Stassius also told us that the heir to the throne, Prince Henry, would shortly be coming to Gloucester, along with Queen Catherine of Wales.

The Grand Tribunal had broken up, with the result that three rulings immediately became part of the Peripheral Code:

(1) No Magus should involve himself in the conflicts between the Christian armies and the Moors.

(2) The Unnamed House is declared an enemy of the Order. Any Magus consorting with the agents of the Unnamed House is also an enemy of the Order. Holy Isle is formally dedicated to the investigation of the Unnamed house, and all Magi are required to inform the covenant immediately if they have any news of or suspicions concerning the Unnamed House.

(3) All Magi are entitled to use subtle and indirect means to ensure that magical auras are not damaged by the encroaching dominion.

Of the three rulings, it is likely that the second will have the most impact and cause the most controversy in our Tribunal. Holy Isle's powers seem quite far ranging, though this is perhaps understandable given the nature of the threat the Order faces. One of the checks on their actions is supposed to be the fact that a Quaesitor must instruct them to investigate a particular individual or covenant, but since Dionysius is himself a Quaesitor, I do not see how this can work effectively.

In other news, it has been decided that Magi may compete for the title of Archimagus formerly held by Lexor of Cad Gadu, and that Garius intends to take up the challenge. The contest will apparently involve creating the tallest pillar of metal possible. Eloria has left Blackthorn and joined Blywyddan, taking a sixth of the covenant's vis and mundane resources with her. She has also petitioned Tyrenia to have a sixth of Blackthorn's vis sites handed over to her, citing some obscure clauses in the covenant's charter. That reminds me, I think it's time I had a quick look over our charter.

Towards the end of the season, the shade of the accursed Jean de Caen appeared by the spring, apparently accompanied by the ghost of Radulfus. Idris was the only one of us to witness this spectacle, but he told the rest of us that Radulfus appeared as a man rather than in the demonic form we most recently saw him in. Radulfus seemed confused by his current state, and most of his speech was confused. After a few moments, he vanished, as did Jean. I do not really know what to make of this event, but the fact that Radulfus appeared as a ghost implies that he has died. Perhaps Brythnoth's arrow really did slay him, driving out the demon that possessed him. This would explain why our most recent encounters have been with a demon rather than a man. I will think on this more in the future.


I write this at the end of one of the most trying season's of the covenant's short history. The events that transpired are too lengthy and involved to describe in full, so I will content myself with a summary of the most important points.

Early in the season, Eanfled was approached by one of the strange Bwbachod that usually keep to the faerie regio. Following the creature, he was led into a part of the regio he had not seen before. Peering into a shallow pool of water at the top of a mound, he saw a vision of Ruadan accepting a black and red wand from a twisted demon. The Bbachod shed a tear at this, which Varsavia tells me was a sign of great significance since the fae do not feign emotion. Eanfled hurried back to the covenant and told Varsavia and me of what he saw.

The vision puzzled us, since it is widely know that the fae and infernal realms are entirely separate, and that the possibility of dealings between the two is almost unthinkable. Then Varsavia started, recalling that Ruadan had once been human, meaning that the events in the vision, though still highly unlikely, were not impossible. The implications of this were obvious to us all - the faerie regio might be warped by the foul magic of the gift. Though it was winter, we resolved to travel into the regio to confront the sorceress.

Varsavia, Idris and I therefore set off, accompanied by Pendaran, Myrvin, Cynddylan and a third of the men. Pausing only to recruit Gofynwy the faerie smith to our cause, we journeyed through the now wintery regio to the dark faerie dell. There we encountered Ruadan, who admonished us and ordered us to leave. Varsavia challenged her about Eanfled's vision, but the sorceress laughed the accusation off. We realised that we had to force her to tell the truth, and that to defeat her at some contest was the only way to ensure that she complied. Pendaran therefore challenged her to a test of strength, an arm wrestling contest. Ruadan used her magic to bolster her strength, but the giant proved victorious, even snapping her arm off at the elbow.

Pendaran then asked whether she had ever accepted anything from a servant of the infernal powers. Her answer was a simple word: No. Varsavia reacted with alarm; I later learnt that, according to the strange laws of the fae, Ruadan should have given a much fuller answer, and that her abruptness was a sign that she was lying. The sorceress disappeared and we were set upon by half a dozen of the giant spiders that Turold had previously seen in the magical regio. We managed to fight our way out of the dell, mainly thanks to the strength of Pendaran and Gofynwy, the arrows of our archers and Varsavia's fire magics, but we lost several of the men in the melee.

We retreated to the summer dell to regroup, though we again had to fight our way past several giant spiders and a group or cors to get there. We knew we had to get the wand from Ruadan; Gofynwy told us that she often went to the Cave of Snakes to weep (for what I am not sure), and this seemed like the best place to catch her. True enough, we spied her by the stream in the centre of the underground cavern, and, using a full rook of Rego vis to fuel my magics, I managed to knock her unconscious using Oneiros' Blessing. It was here that I made a grave mistake: I saw the wand lying on the ground by the witch, and I picked it up to ensure that she would not recover it. I felt my parma magica failing and then a great surge of power as I was overcome by the magic in the wand.

Idris quickly recognised the danger and moved to stop me; however, using the wand I was able to destroy his enchanted bow. The situation may have become even more grave had Ruadan not recovered at this point and knocked the wand from my hand. As I let go of the item, my senses returned. Ruadan also seemed to be back to herself, and she thanked us for breaking the spell that the wand had put on her. She pushed the wand into the stream, promising to guard it against any who would seek to use it to pervert the regio. The gravity in her voice as she realised how close she had come to destroying this place leads me to believe she will be a most careful guardian.

So, another year is complete. I know we have all learned a great deal from our experiences, and I hope that future years prove to be as creative and vital but perhaps a little less exciting. On the last of these points at least, I have no doubt that I will be disappointed.
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