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Scribed by Turold

Spring 1107 AD


It is over a decade since last I put quill to parchment in recording the history of our Covenant, and perusing these records is a reminder of the tribulations that we have constantly faced in our efforts to reach Summer. Alas, such an exalted position still seems some time away and events this season have provided little settling of our position.

While the beginning of Spring heralded an improvement in the weather, there was still much concern as we met in council. We were still a member short with Lothar's continuing disappearance, and that very morning we received the news that Leofric had passed away after serving but a day as acting Castellan. We appointed Eocfrith in his stead, but as it seems unlikely Varein will return some more permanent provision will have to be made in the future. Ruaridh was sorely troubled by what next years tribunal may bring and asked myself and Petrus if we would be prepared to lend our aid in his preparations to do battle with the demon that besets him. We readily agreed and will give up some time later in the year. For the season he took three pawns of Vim vis so as to further study that form in order that he can prepare some enchantment that will aid him. Petrus was appointed the task of scribing some more of his spells as a covenant service, Antonius decided to read from the Encyclopaedia Hermetica to improve his knowledge of the law, and I was granted permission to extract vis from the aura for my own future use. It was also decided that Ruaridh would travel to our Ignem site and mark it as our own so that there could be no future excuse for any that might take it for themselves.

Just a few days after we met we received troubling news from Black Knee. It appears that a new knight under the Baron of Chepstow, one Sir Gerald, has been granted Lydney. He pressed further and rode in to our village, claiming it as his own and levying a stern tax on the miners. In addition the preacher Godwin was arrested on the orders of a priest that accompanied this knight. It was immediately decided that Antonius and Lucian, under the guise of being merchants, would journey to Lydney and find out what they could. There they discovered that Sir Gerald was a former military man, not born into the nobility, and that he was being hard pressed to turn a quick profit on the landholding granted to him. As council we resolved that we must retake Black Knee and show that we meant to receive no interference on our lands. In return we would offer favourable trade arrangements in order to make peace and help the knight earn his monies. It is formally passed in council that we consider Black Knee an integral part of our covenant.

The night before our action Ruaridh flew to Lydney and there effected the escape of Godwin with little difficulty, though it seems that the priest, a man named Christopher, had tortured him and named him as a heretic.We then sent a large force of men to Black Knee where they quickly overran the two soldiers that had been placed as guards there. They were sent packing with the message that Sir Gerald would do well not to molest us in future, and we sent a grog to convey our desire for a meeting. He did not return and instead we received a message that Andrew, Godwin's companion, was also considered a heretic and that he should be delivered unto the Knight or the lives of our grog, and two of the village women held hostage, would be forfeit. After a lengthy discussion, at times quite heated I must add, we decided to do this and then rescue Andrew later, a plan that he agreed to for the sake of the women.

A large proportion of our men, accompanied by Antonius and Lucian, and also Ruaridh (though invisibly), escorted Andrew to Lydney where they were met by the knight and his men. Antonius masqueraded as Ruaridh in discussions with Gerald and an arrangement was reached whereby we would provide stone and tools at cheap prices while paying a good price for livestock. This was agreed to and Antonius was invited to stay and dine, which protocol demanded he agree to. It appears that this was a plan hatched by Sir Gerald and Father Christopher, for after the meal Antonius was informed that he would attend mass with them. Realising the danger that this could cause Antonius dropped his transformation magics before taking communion so that diabolism should not be inferred. Nevertheless it seems likely that things would have taken a very ill turn were it not for the presence of one Stuart, formerly a lay clerk at the monastery of Lindisfarne. He had some knowledge of the order, even having met Yania in the past, and he managed to persuade Sir Gerald that this was a matter for the rector of Chepstow to rule upon (he is apparently a tolerant man). Antonius was allowed to leave and we shall see what further problems this leads to in the summer.

After this we used the spell Opening the Intangible Tunnel to aid Andrew's escape. It appears that something in the magic went awry, for while it was intended that he be granted the vision of a cat he was actually transformed into one. He still managed to escape however and is now hiding with Godwin in the Covenant.

Summer

The council meeting began with discussion about events at Lydney. In the past there was an infernal aura present in the village and we decided we must investigate whether this was still the case, a task that Ruaridh agreed to carry out. It was also decided that the lack of space in the library is becoming intolerable, so we are to build another level above it in order that we can separate the mundane texts from the hermetic. Ruaridh continued with his Vim studying, while for Antonius' service it was agreed that he would continue to interact with the mundanes, primarily Gloucester and Chepstow. Petrus kindly offered to help me explore a puzzling phenomena that has been occurring to me over the last year or so; it seems that my magic is somehow interacting in a most unusual way with stone, to the extent that I have without my awareness left impressions of my hand in the wall of my sanctum.

A day later Ruaridh informed us that Lydney does indeed still possess an infernal aura. This is a most troubling matter, particularly as Antonius has some doubts as to the piety of the priest there.

Antonius spent a useful season abroad. During his time away he met with the rector of Chepstow, a man named Father Adrian. Apparently he was as tolerant a man as Stuart had described and it seems that the matter has for the present been resolved, though if it goes to the Bishop or higher we have no assurances of the outcome. In return we are to build a small chapel at Black Knee which Father Christopher will oversee, and for a few months every year Stuart will reside as a guest of the Covenant. As a result it was decided that Godwin and Andrew had to leave, Ruaridh making the arrangements for this. Council gave its formal thanks to Antonius for his skilful handling of the problem.

Towards the middle of the season Sylvania came to the Covenant in response to our request for aid. She questioned us for some time before informing us that it was likely that Lothar was trapped in Arcadia, caught in some form of dreamlike state. She believed however that she may be able to fetch him out by, in some manner I do not fully understand, using his affection for Varsavia. At Midsummer she took Eanfled and left for the faerie regio. That same day it snowed, presumably as a result of Ninniaw's bargain with the Erechwyth. It was but a few days later that she returned, bringing Lothar with her, though he was much changed. Indeed it was hard to believe he was the same man; the scars on his face had disappeared, he was no longer gently gifted and much of his ignorant stubbornness and overconfidence seemed a thing of the past. We demanded that he be examined by a Qaesitor of House Merinita, and he departed for Loch Leglean tribunal.

At the end of Summer Antonius returned, bringing with him the work on the occult that we had traded with Isaac for. He also brought a more worrying tale. While in Gloucester he and Lucian were surprised to meet Ruaridh, who was apparently there on some personal business. They spoke with him for some time before becoming suspicious. It was well that they did for this was the infernal impostor again. As they related the conversation Ruaridh's fear seemed to return upon him, particularly as we learnt that it had discussed Godwin leaving for London. Only Ruaridh had known this and our concern is that it may be able to read his mind. As a result it has been decided that council will now be permitted to keep secrets from Ruaridh in order that the creature can learn no more of our actions. Indeed, he has agreed he will no longer even read this journal until the demon is defeated.

After the extensive examinations of the season it seems that I have some power to mould stone, possibly a non hermetic addition to my gift. In the future I shall try and spend a season with the Archimagus Jolyon, who is perhaps more likely to be able to help me harness this talent than any other magus of the tribunal.

Autumn

As Autumn replaced Summer Lothar returned from his journey. No word yet having reached us he was asked to remain in the guest house and we held the meeting of council without him. Ruaridh also stayed only for as long as it took him to inform us that he would be working on his spell this season, and that he would require Petrus' aid. For my part I was asked to extract vis as my service and Antonius was granted some Imagonem vis to continue his studies.

The season brought a visit from Stassius, whereupon we were informed that it was Lothar who had returned and we welcomed him back as a member of Severn Temple. A discussion was held and he announced that he would be seeking to join Ex Miscellanea, House Bjornaer being unlikely to react with favour to his rash act. For the rest of the Summer he intended to do some work on his laboratory. Stassius also brought news that the Emperor of Germany had been overthrown by his son, that Scotland had a new king called Alexander and that Black Hugh had returned to England after making several promises to the pope regarding his actions. A large number of religious posts had been filled as a result. Of hermetic news we were told that the war in Germany had come within 13 miles of Durenmar, an event that Primus Jerbiton has been instructed to prevent recurring. The moon has also been seen waxing and waning contrary to nature, an omen that Jordael relates to a coming war, and Krekaranius to the stirring of a giant worm. The tribunal will be held at Cad Gadu next Summer and it seems that we must make even greater preparations. Ponrius had requested that Dionysus make a formal investigation of our Covenant for alleged mismanagement. This has been declined as not appropriate at this time, but it seems that somehow we have made political enemies and should be on our guard. In truth I found this news somewhat hard to believe and am unsure what we can do other than refute any such allegation directly. Finally he brought two letters from magi unknown to us, both being applicants to join us. We have extended an invitation for them to visit us that we may all decide whether each other are suitable. One is a Flambeau however, and if things continue as they have we may yet have need of a magus with their particular skills.

One further event of note occurred and that was upon the night of the equinox. One of the guards saw something by the spring and Antonius was summoned. There he witnessed the manifestation of what we believe was the ghost of Radulfus, an event that has occurred before. His speech was mainly unintelligible but Antonius says he referred to 'the children of Lydney', 'the watchful eyes of damnation' and something further about 'striking thrice' and 'the heart'. We discussed what this could mean for some time, indeed whether it was of any value at all considering the source, and then the possibility of funding the building of a church in Lydney. It is a matter that I am sure we will return to while the infernal has a foothold in our neighbour.

Winter

While the cold months of Winter are never pleasurable, though visiting Petrus' sanctum, with it's enchanted fire, of an evening provides some relief from the chill, the season passed relatively uneventfully and there is always hope as we approach a new year. For a few moments before Ruaridh excused himself we had a full council, the first in some considerable time. Ruaridh continued with his spell and it was my turn to aid him in his work. Antonius and Lothar spent there time studying from the Mentem and Muto tomes respectively. After Ruaridh had left we decided we must try and provide him with additional aid and we decided to try and create some item to do this. We initially considered some form of Perdo Vim item, but Lothar suggested we could create a greater magnitude of effect by creating a potion. This elegantly practical solution was agreed and Petrus gave up his time to work on it, his affinity with Vim sure to produce a significant result. I must admit to feeling somewhat humbled that such a solution had not occurred to me, but it seems that since his return Lothar is thinking with greater clarity than ever before and his general demeanour is increasingly restrained and practical. If it were not for the Qaesitor's ruling it would seem impossible that this was the same man who originally joined us.

The one event of note occurred during a particularly fierce rainstorm in the heart of the season. A section of the temporary roof covering the building works on the library was ripped off during the night and the damage could have been very severe. Fortunately Antonius was in the library during the night and he used his magic to protect the hermetic library. Ruaridh soon arrived and added his protection to the mundane library, but sadly not in time to prevent several of the pagan lore volumes sustaining water damage.

At the end of the season Petrus had produced four bags of sand enchanted as a weapon against our demonic foe, and Ruaridh has developed a powerful Perdo Vim enchantment of his own. I found working with him less of a hardship than I had initially feared. He is very focused in his work but certainly not difficult to get on with in his laboratory, despite the obvious strain that he is under. I can only hope that next year brings him better fortune than this one has.
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