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Scribed by Petrus

Spring 1106 AD


The first council of the new year, and our spirits are low. With the death of our Castellan, and many of our grogs, the men are forced to take watch for twelve hours and we are unable to mount patrols. Varein was instructed to gather some recruits as soon as possible. We were encouraged when Antonius agreed to join as a full member of our covenant. His membership was unanimously supported, despite Lothar's complaints the previous year that he did not have any combat magics. Ruaridh suggested that for his covenant service that he design a spell that might counter disease. Given that many of our covenant, even the magi themselves, have fallen ill during the winters here we felt it was a sensible proposal. Antonius will study from the mentem texts, and Turold from the Creo books. I shall study from two pawns of Herbam vis, whilst Lothar will study from three pawns of Animal. We have received a rook of Animal from Antonius as part of his becoming a member of this covenant, and have agreed to respect Lucien's status as amicus to Antonius.

The season progressed well, with three pawns of Corporem vis being delivered up at the equinox. In the past the spring has been altered by the events occurring there. We can only guess that Idris's death (he could extract his blood as Corporem vis) has affected the nature of the spring again.

However, later in the season more trouble arose. It seems that Godwin had met with 'Ruaridh' and had left the 'magus' alone to speak to a young woman from the village. Later it transpired that it had not been Ruaridh at all, but instead an infernal copy of him which had murdered the poor woman and drained off her blood. It seems that Godwin and his side kick Andrew required some convincing of this, and during an argument on the road the two of them attacked Ruaridh and Antonius. During this fracas Godwin was shot in the chest at short range with a long bow arrow. He resides still in the infirmary, and Ceadwith doubts he will ever fully recover his strength.

We discussed at length the problem of Ruaridh's double, deciding that it might originate from the occasion when he lost some of his personal vis within an infernal regio (back in the summer of 1102). This may also have acted as the link required by a demon to use psychomachia against Ruaridh even through the aegis and his parma magica.

Summer

Meeting on the first day of summer we discussed the problem of Ruaridh's double, but with little resolved in terms of action. Ruaridh pressed on with his studies of Perdo, the object of his focus now becoming more apparent. I decided to develop the ritual of the Watching Ward, whilst Turold opted to extract some Vim vis for himself. By way of covenant services, Lothar would hunt for new vis sites within the forest, whilst Antonius (who owed the traditional two services this year) would travel to Bristol and Gloucester to try and establish relations with local merchants. Before heading off on his own, Lothar would accompany Ruth, Eanfled, Pendaran and Gareth (one of the Grogs), into the faerie regio to collect the Perdo vis.

Apart from the tax demand from the Reeve of Dean, Edwin, the majority of the season passed relatively peacefully. A month passed and it was brought to our attention that Lothar and the others had not yet returned from the regio. We decided, given the distortion of time that occurs in faerie places, we would send out a reconnaissance party come mid-summer - if they had not already returned. Indeed, they did not return, and I was sent out to try and find them. Fortunately, our party happened upon the returning group. However, Lothar was not among them.

It seems that they had run into trouble coming back from the cave of snakes (Ruadan had been there to cry). They had left Ruth and Eanfled outside the cave, whilst the others ventured inside to collect the vis (they found three pawns). Upon returning they discovered Ruth and Eanfled missing, and set off to find them. Meanwhile Ruth and Eanfled had been taken by the Erechwydd, the Lady of the Winter Storm to whom Varsavia had referred. The Erechwydd decided to use Eanfled as a way of passing within the summer glade, and having Ruth sent down to a dungeon, set off with some of her minions to attempt an invasion.

Whilst journeying towards the glade, the invasion force were spotted by Pendaran who called out to Eanfled and heard a reply. Gareth, Lothar and Pendaran gave pursuit, but the minions of the Erechwydd managed to freeze Lothar in ice. Whilst Gareth attempted to help and protect Lothar, Pendaran raced on ahead through the snows to find Eanfled. He was way-laid by several of the minions, and a strange faerie knight - named Tegid Foel - whom he bested. As the Erechwydd was approaching the outskirts to the summer glade, Pendaran found them. As the giant raced into battle, the Erechwydd cast an enchantment upon him; freezing the giant as he ran. Pendaran was thus captured and taken back to the Erechwydd's lair.

As they approached the glade, Eanfled managed to slip the grasp of the two minions which held him and make a run for the glade ahead of the Erechwydd. By some fortune he out ran them, and when he dived into the glade he was safe - as the Lady of the Winter Storm could not enter on her own.

Within the glade, Eanfled waited, until Gareth and Lothar finally found him. Though they were concerned for the fate of Pendaran and Ruth, they waited in the glade for help. This coincided with mid-summer outside the regio, and the return of Nynniaw to the realm. For a gift, Eanfled informed the Nynniaw of the Erechwydd's plan and told of how he had thwarted her. For this the Nynniaw agreed to try and help Pendaran. Then Gareth came and gave the gift of a farthing. Only a small sum, but a great portion of that grog's life's savings. Finally Lothar presented himself and offered Nynniaw his strength. This seems amazing and improbable I know, but Ruaridh was able to check the veracity of this from Gareth when he returned. In return, Nynniaw granted Lothar a boon. Lothar apparently requested knowledge of the fae. Nynniaw agreed that if Lothar returned with him to the realm of 'Eversummer', that he would teach Lothar all that he wished to know. Whether it was madness or foolishness, Lothar agreed.

The Nynniaw then went and rescued Pendaran, freeing the giant in return for 'one day'. Ruth had already struck her own bargain, agreeing to come back each winter to sing for the court in return for her freedom. Thus all but Lothar were able to return from the faerie realm.

The only other event that occurred in the summer was a report by one of the patrols that a Sir Gerald, who swears fealty to the Knight at Chepstow, has begun to construct a settlement at the site of Lydney. Both Ruaridh and I painfully recall the terrible events which befell the settlements there in the past. Apparently the land there is good for farming and pasture, so I suspect it was only a matter of time before a village was once more constructed there.

Autumn

Our council meets to discuss our activities for the season. Lothar's chair sits empty. We discuss how long we are prepared to wait as a concilium for Lothar's return before deciding that he is no longer a member of the covenant. Given that many magi who have ventured into Arcadia never return, it is a decision we may one day have to take. There is also a problem even if he returns. In the past faeries, claiming to be a magus, have tried to seek entry to the Order. Even if Lothar returned tomorrow, we might seek confirmation of his identity - perhaps by asking House Merinita. Antonius will return to Gloucester and continue his work towards establishing relations with the mundanes. It appears he has met a Jewish merchant, named Isaac, with whom we might discreetly deal. I shall extract Vim vis for the covenant. Ruaridh continues his studies of Perdo and Turold will enchant an axe for Pendaran to replace the one he lost last season whilst trying to rescue Eanfled.

Stassius arrives later in the season, though he does not remain long. Of mundane news, it seems that the King of France came to Duke Henry's aid, and Henry's son, Edward led an army to drive Black Hugh back to Bayeux. Duke Henry has become sick, but has made pilgrimage to Rome to speak to Pope Paschal and ask for papal sanction to invade England. Meanwhile in Gloucester, Earl Benoir has had two of his knights murdered for seeking to protect a priest who was openly condemning the King.

Of Hermetic news, Stassius brought the sad tidings that Tyriania has passed into final twilight. This leaves Dionysus as the new Senior Quaesitor within Stonehenge. Dionysus has been given jurisdiction over the future action of the dedicated covenant by Primus Guernicus. It seems also that Jolyon has been successful in retaining his position as Archimagus in a contest against a Tytalan called Dictus.

With the redcap we also sent an arcane connection, as requested by Dionysus, and a letter to Sylvania of Cad Gadu. We hope that this elder Merinitan will be able to help us decide what to do about Lothar, and evaluate what possibility of rescue there may be.

Towards the end of the season Ruaridh reported that there had been some activity at the Ignem cave. It seems that someone has harvested the vis there before us. He returned to get some vis so that Ponrius, the Quaesitor Flambaeu at Blywyddan, could find out who had taken it. It appears that it was an Ex-Miscellanean who lives without covenant. We have no way of finding him before the next tribunal, so we shall simply have to harvest the vis earlier next year - and catch up with Llandolwyn, as we believe he is called, at the tribunal.

Winter


Our meeting opens with a dramatic announcement by Ruaridh. He explains that while investigating what had happened at the Ignem cave he met briefly with Praeco Garius at Cad Gadu. It appears that Garius has heard of the strange phenomena which attacked and destroyed our aegis, from the fall of Ashenrise in Hibernia. If that were not disturbing enough, Garius claimed that such a ritual would require some sort of link within the covenant. This, and the double which was seen in Blacknee, mount up to some pretty firm evidence that the link is Ruaridh himself - or more particularly, the personal vis he lost whilst within the infernal regio. At Ruaridh's request he will not partake in the ritual of our aegis in future. Garius has also warned him that, if given an uncharitable interpretation, his circumstances might be shown to be technically a breach of the primary code - bringing infernal peril to his soul and to the souls of his sodales. He asks that we postpone his covenant services between now and the tribunal so that he has a chance to at least resolve this situation before anyone has a chance to bring action against him. To this we agree, and offer our assistance in destroying this infernal creature which wears the guise of Ruaridh and has attacked our covenant.

To this end, Ruaridh continues his study of Perdo. Antonius shall read from the Mentem books, and I shall experiment with some of my theories of magic using some of my personal vis. Turold, by way of covenant service, will design and enchant a new alarm bell to awaken the grogs in times of crisis.

After the council meeting we discovered another disturbing fact. It appears that when 'Ruaridh' dined with us one evening late last Autumn - he was in fact in Cad Gadu! The 'Ruaridh' that we met asked Turold to help him get into Ruaridh's sanctum - spinning some story about a magical accident in the cave that had left Perdo magics leaking from his body and would destroy any metal or stone he touched. Turold, helpful as ever, obliged, unwittingly letting the infernal copy of Ruaridh into the sanctum. As soon as we heard this we raced to Ruaridh's room, and with his permission helped him search for whatever evil had been planted there, or magic cast. We found nothing. Perhaps the demon simply wished to torture us with the knowledge that it can beguile us at any time. The copy of Ruaridh may not be perfect, small flaws exist which if spotted could reveal the imposter, but it was enough to fool all of us. We suggest to Ruaridh that he informs us whenever he intends to leave the covenant.

The weather at the start of this season grows steadily worse. Snow storms and blizzards like we have never experienced have come down around the covenant. Before long the grogs are forced to use shovels to clear the snow drifts which block the doors of the great hall. Everywhere is freezing cold, though my sanctum is relatively warm now that I can control the Ignem enchantment upon my fireplace. Before too long we figure out the cause of this unnatural chill. The singer Ruth had reneged upon the deal she had made with the Erechwydd. She is sent, with a guard of two grogs, into the regio. There she is abducted by minions and the grogs only escape by virtue of Gofynwy's aid. He gave them a red hot glowing brand of rock which they could use to ward the thick snows within the forest.

Towards the end of winter we become concerned that there is no sign of her return. We discuss what manner of rescue we might attempt, given that Eanfled will not lead us there for fear that the Erechwydd will use him to invade the summer glade, and that our best warrior Pendaran must not enter there for fear that he will take up his grudge against the Tegid Foel (who stole his axe). We decide to wait until spring.

It is the night before the first day of spring and Varein has made an unusual request. He has asked for permission to enter the faerie regio, alone if necessary, and attempt to rescue Ruth. Though we are exceptionally loathe to lose our castellan in a mission in which success is highly unlikely, we eventually decide that we shall let him try. I for one was moved when he revealed that he and Ruth were intended to wed, though Turold and Antonius required more convincing. The next morning he departed leaving the magical tabard, sword and amulet usually worn by the castellan, carrying with him only mundane arms and taking the glowing rock brand given to our grogs by Gofynwy. We are not hopeful for his return, and he leaves his father Leofric acting as castellan in his stead.

Thus ends my task as scribe and recorder of events. These are times most troubled for our spring covenant, and our hopes for a rapid progression into summer appear to be rapidly dissipating. Indeed, our thoughts now turn more and more to survival than expansion.
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