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Scribed by Ruaridh

Spring 1098 AD


At the first council meeting of the year, we agreed that Varsavia should spend her season's service in the faerie regio, mediating between the covenant and Ruadan, the faerie sorceress. We can only hope that the events of the past year have, if not improved, then at least halted in any decline in relations with the dark fae; if I had my way, both parties would stay as far out of each other's way as possible. We also agreed to recompense Idris for the loss of his enchanted bow, which seems only fair given that he was not responsible for its loss.

Following our failure to poison the diabolist Henry of Lakewood last year, we resolved to make another attempt to slay him, reasoning that we had only a limited amount of time before he carried out his fell plans. Petrus agreed to invent a sixth magnitude version of the spell 'Opening the Intangible Tunnel' this season - and it surely says something about his aptitude for the Arts of Rego and Vim that he will be able to accomplish such a feat in just one season - which Varsavia will then use to roast our foe with a 'Ball of Abysmal Flame'. If all goes to plan, we intend to carry out the assassination early next season.

A few weeks later, Idris told us that he had had a disturbing dream about being attacked by wolves; apparently, as he awoke he could still hear their howls ringing in his ears. He and Petrus travelled to the infernal dell to the west of the covenant to check for signs of activity. Although they saw no wolves, Idris noticed that the moon in the dell, which normally moves through its phases much more slowly than the moon in the mundane world, was almost full; somehow the cycle had speeded up. The cause seemed clear: in the centre of the dell, rammed into a crack in the ground, was a black wooden staff with a clenched fist pointing upwards. There was also the faint smell of sulphur in the air...

As any diligent reader of these histories will no already know, the last time the moon in the dell became full, a pack of fearsome shape shifting wolves went on a bloody rampage, utterly destroying a nearby village. We therefore reasoned that someone, most probably an ally of the diabolists in Gloucester, had placed the staff in the dell to awaken the wolves once again; perhaps this time the focus of their rage would be the covenant. Petrus and Idris tried to destroy the staff, but they were unable to set it alight or move it out of the regio. They therefore sent word of the problem back to the covenant, and I made the journey to the dell. Using as much Perdo vis as I could safely manage, I was able to crack the staff and then splinter it into a hundred pieces. I just hope that whoever or whatever put it there doesn't have another one.

Summer


Varsavia reported that Ruadan seemed back to her former self; she was as cold and unfriendly as before, but there was no sign of an infernal influence. Varsavia spent the rest of the season in the regio, and she was able to capture one of the multicoloured birds. The covenant's reserves were therefore bolstered by five pawns of Auram vis. Petrus managed to invent his spell as planned. The one thing we needed to put our plan into action was an arcane connection to Henry, but this time Godwin came up with the goods, apparently bribing one of the castle's serving folk for a hair from the diabolist's beard. Petrus cast the ritual and Varsavia threw in two balls of flame. A few days later, we learned via Godwin that Henry had burned to death in his sleep.

That was the good news; the rest of the season was an unmitigated disaster. The covenant was visited by a wandering troubadour who told the story an ancient king who challenged a mighty faerie lord for his crown. The king made off with the fae's treasure, living a long and prosperous life before being buried in a great stone tomb with most of his belongings. The covenfolk - and even some of the Magi - seemed completely enchanted by the tale. The troubadour was certainly skilled at his craft, but I thought some of the gushing praise heaped on him was a bit over the top; if this is how they react to an evening's entertainment, perhaps they should get out a bit more.

What really caught my interest was the man's claim that the king's tomb was located only a few miles away from the covenant; he told us that we would be able to recognise it by the stone dolmen that had been erected on the tope of the burial mound. Slightly sceptical, the Magi nevertheless reasoned that it would be worth investigating whether any such dolmen existed; if this ancient king was truly buried nearby, his tomb might contain much of value. Idris was the only one of us to council against disturbing the king, arguing that the place was bound to be guarded. Still, the lure of treasure was too strong for us to listen to his words, and Petrus, Varsavia and I set out for the place the troubadour mentioned; from the look in Turold's eye, I am sure he would have liked to accompany us.

True enough, we found the dolmen, and Petrus detected a slight magical aura emanating from the place. Using Turold's mask, we were able to detect goodly quantities of gold, silver and bronze buried in the mound. I broke the seal on the tomb, and immediately felt my parma magica resist some sort of assault. As I stood back, I saw the figure of a warrior - clearly the king we had been told of - materialise at the top of the mound. He let out a great howl, and Petrus and most of the grogs fell incapacitated to the floor. I threw a Perdo Mentem spell at the figure, but, if anything, it seemed only to increase the its power. The spirit struck me with its sword, and I fell to the ground, somehow blinded by the blade. The ghost had time to strike me once again before Varsavia was able to drive it off with her fire magics.

With the spirit gone, I was able to restore my sight. We were all reluctant to enter the tomb, for we were far from sure that the spirit had been destroyed; indeed, I do not understand how it could have been affected at all by Varsavia's spell. While we debated what to do, we discovered to our horror that Varsavia, a couple of the grogs and I had been afflicted with a strange wasting disease. We quickly determined that it resembled the effects of one of the most hideous of all Hermetic spells, Curse of the Leprous Flesh. We fled back to the covenant with all speed.

It was clear that we could not hope to survive the disease without the help of magic, but none of us had the skill to cure it completely. We resolved to journey north to Scarfell where Blodwyn, one of the Tribunal's most accomplished healers, dwelt. We bought passage on a ship from Bristol to Carlisle; I remember little of the journey as I slept off the effects of casting regular spontaneous spells to halt the progress of the disease. From Carlisle, we flew to Scarfell using 'Wings of Soaring Wind'. We eventually managed to locate Blodwyn, and she was able to use the vis we had brought to cure the disease. We are both very aware of how lucky we have been; three of the grogs who accompanied us were not so fortunate.

Autumn

The near disaster of last season convinced us to pass a resolution stating that none of us would disturb the tomb of the ancient king before receiving the permission of the council. This seems like a sensible ruling in the present circumstances, though I for one (and, in truth, I feel I am not alone) am hardly willing to let this matter rest entirely. Give me a few more years, and we shall see just how strong this spirit really is.

Stassius of Mercere arrived a few days into the season, bringing with him most alarming news. In the mundane world, King Robert had reached and taken the great city of Antioch, but the Christian army had made little further progress because of internal bickering. Closer to home, Prince Henry, the heir to the throne, had recently been killed in a hunting accident near Huntley Hill. I do not know anything of the circumstances surrounding this event, but I sincerely hope that Henry of Lakewood did not have a hand in it. The new heir to the throne is Prince Hugh.

In Hermetic circles, Dionysis of Holy Isle has accused Idris' pater, Daffyd, of consorting with agents of the Unnamed House, thereby violating one of the recent rulings of the Grand Tribunal. This is an extremely serious accusation; though I find it difficult to believe that it could be true, I somehow doubt that Dionysis would risk his reputation by making such a bold statement without at least some evidence to back up his claim. I do not know enough about Hermetic law (or should that be politics?) to state with any certainty how the investigation will proceed, but it is clear that Idris, as Daffyd's filius, will be drawn into it. Gruder of Solis Castle was also accused of dealing with the Unnamed House, but I understand that the charge relates to the time of the Schism War.

On a less troubling note, Stassius also told us that Tyrenia had ruled in Eloria's favour, allowing the her to take a considerable share of Blackthorn's mundane and magical resources with her to Blywyddan. Perhaps predictably, Blackthorn retained control over its vis sites.

Winter


In past seasons, we had debated long and hard about possible reasons for the recent instability in the magical aura; in this season we reaped the rewards of our efforts. Careful study of the fluctuations in the aura indicated that they followed a regular pattern, and that it would be in this season that the aura came into closest contact with the higher level of the magical regio. This knowledge meant that we at least had time to prepare ourselves for the possibility that we would have to face the giant spiders - or some other peril - again.

True enough, on the night of the Winter Solstice, the two magical planes overlapped once more. We had assembled virtually everyone who lived in the covenant in the great hall, reasoning that it would be easier to protect them if we kept them close together. As the two magical fields came into contact, Petrus and several of the grogs disappeared, having been drawn into the higher level of the regio; that was the last we saw of them for some time.

A scream from one of the serving folk alerted us to the fact that this time, the giant spiders had come to us. Barricaded in the great hall, we were relatively safe from the monstrous creatures, but we felt obliged to take the fight to them in order to safeguard the delicate equipment in our laboratories. The melee that followed was too fast and furious to relate in any detail; suffice it to say that we slew all of the creatures, but suffered heavy casualties. Several of the grogs were tragically slain, and even mighty Pendaran came close to death.

I learned later that Petrus had suffered an even worse fate in the upper level of the regio. Realising at once what had happened, he immediately set about casting a spell to open a portal between the two levels. Unfortunately, he did not notice the spider that approached from his rear, and he was savagely wounded. The grogs managed to slay the spider, but Petrus appeared too weak to cast the spell needed to take them all to safety. After several abortive attempts, he finally managed to summon the energy needed to control the magics, and he and his companions were able to flee the area. With Ceadwith's help, Petrus was able to make a full recovery, although he remained incapacitated for most of the season.

As the season neared its end, the night sky was illuminated for a short time by strange, flickering lights the like of which none of us had seen before. Varsavia explained that they marked the changing of the faerie seasons once more; just as summer had recently given way to autumn, now autumn was giving way to winter. I am sure this will bring challenges of its own, but it should hopefully mark the end of the fluctuations in the aura, and we should not have to face the denizens of the upper level of the regio again for quite some time.
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