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Scribed by Varsavia

Spring 1102 AD

Our first meeting of the year began with a discussion of what we could do to break the hold of the mundanes upon our supplies of food and trade in ore. Lothar, once again, was ready with unhelpful advice and quickly the meeting descended into poor humour as Turold, particularly, became angry with the young Bjornaer. More practically it was felt that we must become more diverse in out mundane activities to which end Ruaridh volunteered to spend a covenant season in Gloucester to learn what he could. Lothar was sent out into the forest again, having found only some bones which contained a few pawns of Corporem. It turned out that these bones were of the priest of Morrigan who slew the diabolist Jean de Caen. I agreed to assist Idris in the laboratory to help prepare some potions similar to the spell Leap of Homecoming. Petrus is to undertake an enchantment; a leather cuirass to deflect arrows and wooden weapons from the wearer. Turold will extract Vim vis for the covenant.

About a week after Ruaridh had departed for Gloucester we received a messenger from the new Reeve of the Dean, Tobias. The letter stated that in the view of the Earl we owed taxes from the time we were under the occupation fo the Welsh, and must pay them before the end of the year. A sum of thirty eight hundred and fifty pennies in all was demanded, the penalty for our defiance would be the reselling of the land to the Church. We had Pierre make a copy of the letter and sent it with a messenger to Ruaridh in Gloucester. He returned to the covenant with the news that the new Earl was none other than a Benoir de Troyes. It was a 'Benoir' who had been identified as in league with Gierre and the diabolist coven in Gloucester; a fact we found more than coincidence. We debated long and, given the hardship we had suffered last winter, decided to test the water with this new Reeve. We would pay the taxes for this year, some 350d, and see whether they lifted the edict upon our landholding.

Stassius also arrived as Ruaridh returned, a wound from a crossbow bolt fresh upon his shoulder. We gave him the vis to use a healing item and he gave us his news quickly before departing. Of mundane matters, Stassius confirmed much that we already knew or guessed. 'Black' Hugh, as many now call him, was victorious against Gloucester and against Wales, crushing any who resisted him and laying waste to Cardiff and the nearby settlements. Clydoc of Wales was slain, by an assassin it is rumoured, and his Knights surrendered to the English King to prevent further bloodshed among their people. With Gloucester and Wales fallen the Duke of York has capitulated, removing his objection to Hugh's accession to the throne. Now the English King is free to turn his armies against his uncle in Normandy. The Jerbiton are pressing for action to be taken against the counsellors and advisors to the English King. They warn that if the King is not separated from infernal influence then no magus will be safe. Tyriania, from the safety of the Black Mountains, has decreed that nothing can be done within the Code. Lamark is said to be petitioning his Prima to intervene.

Also, Gruder of House Bjornaer has been sighted near Blywyddan taking vis from one of their sites. We are instructed to capture or kill him upon sighting, tho' I cannot see that any of us would have the ability to recognise him if he remains in heart-beast form.

The season progressed in poor cheer. The spring bubbled up blood at the Spring Equinox and many cold shadows were seen moving about the covenant. Idris, in particular, appeared vexed, concerned that the evil abroad in the land was sympathetically affecting our source of magic. Ruaridh returned late in the season with a new friend he had made in the city. A young girl, touched by the fae, whose singing and playing were enchanting to all who listen (save Ruaridh because of the power of his Parma Magica). He brought also the news that the Reeve had lifted the edict, allowing us to trade once again with the towns in our vicinity. We instructed Thurstan to maintain links with merchants in Bristol, however, in case the new Earl had a sudden change of heart come winter.


With our Steward returned to us and trading resumed with Gloucester it appeared that we had passed through the immediate storm of troubles. We were reminded that Thurstan is growing steadily long in the tooth, and so Petrus agreed to concoct for him a longevity potion as an extra covenant service in lieu of next year. I shall help Petrus in this endeavour. Lothar, now that his services are complete and the basic structure of his laboratory constructed behind the stables, will begin to fit out the rooms with basic equipment. Having done it myself I do not envy him the task; it is a slow and boring process fitting out a laboratory.

I suggested that we might find profit in taking Ruaridh's new friend to the Ruadan. I wondered whether the singer's enchanting song might move the half human heart of the Ruadan, and be accepted as a gift. I carefully instructed the girl, Ruth, as to the theme of the song and obtained Turold's permission to have Pendaran accompany us as an escort. Ruaridh also chose to come along, to discuss his bargain with the Ruadan, though in retrospect I think it may have been a mistake to do so. Eanfled led us to the Ruadan's glade, where the Winter was heavy and harsh. Ruth's song moved her to tears which formed black droplets in the snow. The Ruadan accepted the song as a gift and allowed Ruth to keep her tears. Then all of us, save Ruaridh, travelled back to the covenant.

I exchanged twelve pennies for Ruadan's tears, a good bargain for both the covenant and Ruth. However, the ungrateful girl seemed disatisfied with the sum (more than our grogs see in a year) and appeared to expect us to give her our only riding horse. I must confess I dismissed her a ittle abruptly. I had hoped that she would return next year and sing again for the Ruadan, but I fear we will have this girl's greed to contend with. The next I heard was a few days later when Petrus reported that he had given over to Ruaridh several of the magical items and our large reserves of Perdo vis. We were shocked to hear that he had done so without consulting us, and further concerned when Petrus told us that Ruaridh had with him the infernal wand which had so nearly corrupted the faerie regio. I left Petrus trying to explain his foolishness to the others whilst I used Wings of Soaring Winds to fly down the forest road and try to catch up with Ruaridh. I spent several hours searching for him, going as close as I dared to Gloucester, but to no avail. I returned to the covenant just after dark.

The next day found Idris down by the spring with Petrus. During the morning it appears that Idris had some intuition that something was wrong there. Later that day Petrus cast some Intellego magics around the pool and to his horror discovered that a small infernal aura had developed at the site of the spring. Further more there appeared to be a regio stemming from it deep into the earth. With no small haste we assembled a meeting of council and decided to attempt the Perdo Vim ritual developed at Durenmar. After the success of the rite at suppressing the aura caused by Jean's diabolism and disrupting the regio at the dell, it was felt we had no choice but to attempt the ritual again at the spring. This Petrus did, but the effect of it was such that none of us could have predicted. As Petrus reached the climax of the ritual a hand emerged from the spring; a hand followed by another, and then the head and body of Ruaridh clawing his way out of the spring onto the grass.

We recovered Ruaridh, who was stunned and withdrawn by his experiences, and let our sodalis rest until that evening. I can say for myself that I urgently wanted to know what had happened to him, but we all remained patient until that night. Then with no small hardship, for to relate such dark events requires courage, Ruaridh informed us of his actions the previous night. It appears the Ruaridh had asked the Ruadan for some help in locating the daemon who had given her the wand many seasons before. Ruadan retrieved the wand from the pool in the cave of snakes, using magics to avoid touching it, and used it to obtain a vision for Ruaridh at the scrying spring discovered by Eanfled.

Ruaridh saw the daemon, who is called Baku by the coven, in a cell inflicting torture against someone under the direction of a master. They were asking questions about our dealings, seeking to discover what contacts we were using to trade in food and ore. Ruadan told Ruaridh that the wand could be used to locate the daemon, so long as the wand was kept safely away from physical contact. Ruaridh accepted the wand and had it secure in a leather bag as he returned to the covenant. Back at the covenant he waited at the edge of the aura and called out Thurstan to deliever a message to the magi as to the events that had happened. However, the influence of the wand was such that it whispered to the minds of men; to take it and use it. Thurstan fell to its fluence, and Ruaridh was forced to put him to sleep and call up to the men at the gate to fetch Petrus. Of course, Petrus handed Ruaridh the wands, the protective torc, the leather cuirass and one of Idris' potions as Ruaridh asked and also some 33 pawns of Perdo vis.

Ruaridh then started off towards Gloucester, where he thought the vision may have been from. On the road, however, the wand began to call to him, and in something of a panic it seems Ruaridh stumbled away into the forest. In the forest, shadows began to form around him, and he felt a stab in his back like a knife which forced him to drop the bag. Unfortunately, the bag had become untied in all this activity and as Ruaridh quickly sought to recover the wand, he accidentally touched it with his hand. The wand now had Ruaridh in its influence once again. Ensorcelled by its infernal magics he bore the wand into Gloucester, where it led him to a deserted house in the closed and narrow streets of the poor quarter. Ruaridh entered and followed the wand as it led him down some stairs into a dark cell where he heard Baku and one of the masters torturing another victim. Ruaridh, possessed by hatred and the power of the wand, lashed out with the infernal might striking first the demon, then the master. The wand destroyed them both with scarely an effort.

Ruaridh, seeing the demon's spirit being sucked by green flames and dragged down into hell by clawed hands, realised something of his actions. With a moment of will he cast the wand aside, breaking the enchantment upon his mind. Appalled by what he had done, Ruaridh saught to gather up the wand again in his cloak, but another infernal presence made itself known to him. Using a spell to flip the wand into his cloak, Ruaridh sort to escape. The cell door slammed shut before him, but Ruaridh used some Perdo vis to disintegrate it. He ran out of the cell, but discovered that the stairs he had used to descend were no longer there for him to escape. Re-reading that last sentence I think there is a moral there. The daemonic presence appeared as claws and fire reaching out to grasp Ruaridh in its talons. Forgetting for a moment the cloak and wand contained within it, Ruaridh used the Leap of Homecoming preparation. It appeared to succeed, for Ruaridh was snatched from the talons of the demon and transported to the council chamber.

Ruaridh was at first relieved, but then discovered that the cloak and the wand were gone from his grip. Settling himself he descended from the council room and sought out others in the covenant; but to his surprise no one was in the great hall, or even in the courtyard. Then he heard daemonic laughter, and turning he saw the illusion of the covenant fade to be replaced by a chamber of fire and magma. He watched as malformed creatures twitched and revelled in the fires. He stood on an outcrop of rock as the presence of the daemon appeared again. The daemon taunted him, claiming that Ruaridh was already damned, and his soul lost like that of Jean de Caen. Ruaridh tried to use one of the wands of daemonic oblivion, but it was snatched from his hand and lost in the magma. He gathered up the reserves of his defiance and tried to grab the Perdo vis from his pack to use in a spell of destruction upon the daemon. The daemon saw his move, however, and lunged towards him with iron claws and sulphurous breath. At the last Ruaridh leapt from the outcrop, seeking to reach another. For a moment he slipped into the fire and heat of the molten rock, but by some miracle he was able to clamber up before the heat had eaten through his clothing and the leather cuirass.

There Ruaridh considered his doom. With no Perdo vis left, and strongest of the enchantments lost, Ruaridh saw little hope. Then, above him, a vibration in the darkness revealed a swirling glow of light. The daemon sensing the disturbance was distracted, and Ruaridh saw his only chance to escape. Inside the whirl of light he could see an opening, a patch of stars. Casting a spell to levitate himself, Ruaridh quickly ascended to the lights, there he reached up with a hand and found grassy earth at his fingers. Thus Ruaridh emerged from the spring at the climax of Petrus' ritual. What horror and repercussions from these events are yet to be known, but one thing above all disturbs me. Within the box of Perdo vis was some which Ruaridh had extracted from his own body. To lose something made from your essence in an infernal regio can only be considered a disaster waiting to occur.

As if these events were not enough, a great murrain has followed three days of gales which swept over the land, bringing ruin to crops and stores. In addition to the loss of food, the Vervain which supplies us each year with Herbam vis, has suffered also. We collected no vis from it this year, and Idris fears that it may not regrow in future. Thurstan has sent Osric by barge along the Severn as far as Shrewsbury. There our steward has succeeded in finding food stocks unaffected by the murrain. At least this find prevents us from going hungry again this autumn.


After three seasons of assisting others in laboratory work it is good to return to my studies. Indeed in the last year I have seen more of the others' laboratories than my own. We discussed at council what we would undertake this season, each of us continuing with our arts save Lothar who will spend this season learning English from Pierre.

The season was marked by three events which I shall relate: First, we had a visit from Stassius, who passed to inform us of the meeting of the Grand Tribunal at Durenmar this spring. The news offered us little hope. It has been decided that Idris' son is the bait in a trap to draw away the Order's most powerful defenders. Instead they shall do nothing, save allow Primus Flambeau to recommend three new Hoplites to Stonehenge Tribunal. Second, at the Autumn Equinox, blood bubbled again from the spring, but unlike in the past it delievered us no Perdo vis. Petrus and Idris were both deeply concerned for days, Petrus suggesting that perhaps something local to us has tainted the spring. The evil in Gloucester would appear source enough for me, but Petrus and Idris investigated the dell and the ruins of Lydney just to make certain. They found nothing unusual, which leaves us none the wiser as to what action should be taken to rectify the taint upon our source of magical aura. Lastly, Kira of Tytalus visited us from Carrion Moor covenant. She has heard of our troubles and can arrange fair trade of food for some of the ore that we mine. She also suggested some trade of Arts from our libraries. We have agreed to exchange equivalent tomes on Imagonem for our Mentem texts, for the rest of the Mentem books we have suggested 24 pawns of vis from the reserves they have plentiful in Creo, Animal and Mentem.


As the snows draw in we meet to decide whether to pay the Reeve for back taxes due from the Welsh occupation. None of us are happy to part with so great a sum, thirty five hundred pennies, but we see no choice. The covenant is too poor at present to meet the tax, but both Lothar and myself have contributed some of the money given to us by our parens to help meet the tithe. Idris, now that the period of his censor is over, travels to Cad Gadu. The rest of us continue with our studies.

The winter almost past without incident, but a few days after the Winter Solstice Ceadwith reports that several of the grogs have bcome ill. Ruaridh quickly falls to the sickness, as does Thurstan and Ceadwith herself. After reviving Ruaridh with spontaneous magics, long enough for him to stabilise both Caedwith and Thurstan, it is decided that we will need aid from another covenant if we are to see this winter through without losing our chirurgeon or our castellan. I used the Wings of Soaring Winds to travel down to Carrion Moor, to fetch Klael, an Ex-Miscellanean there who is adept at Corporem magics and knows the formulaic spell to end the progress of disease. She agrees to come and for only the price of three pawns of Mentem vis. After making a long journey to Severn Temple she casts the healing magics upon Ceadwith and Thurstan.

Later in the season we received word that the Reeve is pleased with our descion to pay the taxes required of us. It appears that there will be no repeat, for now at least, of the edict which was placed upon us. Still, from the records of past years it is a shame we are once again subject to taxes. It is too easy for these mundanes to alter their agreements and increase the taxes upon their whim. We all hope that now we have a regular and uninterrupted flow of monies, such concerns will not bear upon us or distract us from our studies as they have in the past. Thus ends the year, and my time as scribe for now. Our covenant now numbers six magi, but we still have a great many worries to share between us.
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