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Scribed by Antonius

Spring 1109 AD


So another year begins for the covenant of Severn Temple and another magus joins those that have scribed the history of the place in these tomes. I shall endeavour, as I am sure those who have gone before me have striven to do, to be as impartial as possible. The season was one of ups and downs. I travelled the local lands at first, seeking to recruit some more men to join our grogs as we are sadly under-manned at present and was lucky enough to find four men who agreed to join and were duly sworn in. Whilst I was abroad I heard troubling news from Lydney, it seems that Sir Gerald’s second child had been stillborn, horribly twisted and deformed. The unfortunate child was given a Christian burial by Father Christopher but, reluctant as I am to give any great credence to the shade of a diabolist, the words spoken by Jean de Caen’s ghost at the Spring equinox last year about a corrupted, twisted and deformed child which would bring great evil seem uncannily prescient now. I fear that the hand of the infernal has not relinquished its grasp from Lydney yet.

Whilst I was in Chepstow later in the season I heard that the situation had grown worse. Sir Gerald rode in to see the Baron, it seems a pair of deformed twins had been born in the village and Sir Gerald had decided, presumably with advice from Father Christopher, that it was the diabolical wizards on the hill who had caused this and the other misfortunes of that blighted village. He was asking the Baron to send him men so that he could crush the covenant once and for all. The Rector of Chepstow, with whom I had had some past dealings, was called before the Baron to explain the situation. On his return to the rectory I went to see him and convince him of our innocence in the matter. To mollify Sir Gerald and convince the Baron that we were indeed good Christian men, we decided that an offer of monies sufficient to found the building of a church in Lydney might sway things. So under the Rector’s protection, I presented myself at the Baron’s court. It was a tense affair, but it seems that Baron Owen cares more for gold than God and the offer of money for the building of a church was enough for him. The Rector was of great help to us and I hope we can maintain his good will. I was able to have the plans for the church drawn up myself and so ensure that it would not have a tower, thus avoiding the potential problem of a bell damaging the aura as before.

The local fey were active again, several of the Ruadan’s corrs tried to fly into the covenant but were repulsed by the aegis. Of the magi, only Turold and Lothar were present at the time. It seems that, acting on Lothar’s orders, Ecgfrith shot one of the creatures and Lothar went outside the aegis to recover its body. Once outside he was met by the Ruadan and he disappeared into the woods with her. He was gone for a short while and on his return he would only say that she had “educated him”.

Summer

Having heard that the wife of Sir Gerald of Lydney was gravely ill we sent our chirurgeon Jacques down to the village to try and cure her of her sickness in the hope that if successful such a move would further aid relations with our neighbour. Jacques was able to heal Lady Elisa of her fever though she will be forever weakened and barren, with luck Sir Gerald should look a little more kindly on us now. There was a somewhat heated discussion at the council, which with Ruaridh and Petrus away comprised myself, Turold and Lothar. The matter of Lothar’s conversation with the Ruadan arose again but Lothar refused point blank to tell us what the Ruadan had said to him. He would only say that it was something to do with House Merinita and that it posed no “immediate” threat. Naturally there was some concern over what implied danger future months could hold for us but he stubbornly refused to elucidate.

On Midsummer’s eve there was much commotion outside the Great Hall as we felt the aegis breached and a great figure rose up from the ground. The fey Mountain King Gofannon had arrived, he claimed that the wizards of the covenant had made a deal with him in years past to teach him longbow archery. Lothar said that we would incur his wrath if we refused to do so. Whilst I went off to check the covenant records to ascertain whether we had any record of such a deal and if so who exactly it had been struck with; Lothar had our best archer, Ecgfrith shoot for the Mountain King. However Gofannon did not think Ecgfrith skilled enough to be fit to tutor him and left abruptly. Interestingly, on checking the journal, as scribed by Idris, who it seemed had some close relations with Gofannon, the deal was apparently made with Mervyn, consortis of Varsavia, who perished in the Dell of Wolves some years ago. Obviously even the so-called nobility of the fey are not above trying to twist deals.

Of news mundane, there was a tourney at Monmouth, the joust being won by Sir Oscar of Mitcheldean and the melee by Sir Kenneth of Colford. We may have to keep an eye on Sir Kenneth a he is by all accounts an extremely ambitious man and will very likely seek to build or take sister villages to boost his current holding. We would also be well advised to avoid the holding of Baroness Evelyn at Eastnor, which lies some miles to the east of Hereford. She is a zealot and would not treat well with wizards, and might call on Archbishop Dominic in Hereford to deal with us. The archbishop is a warrior rather than a holy man; one concern is that with his lack of piety can he do anything to stem the rising threat of the infernal in the area? Is it the office or the man that God speaks through? Anyway I shall press on before I digress any further into the realms of theological debate. Black Hugh and Prince Henry were preparing for war with France when Henry fell ill. He sent his son Edward to London, whilst there Edward discovered that Hugh had a bishop imprisoned, Hugh then tried to arrest Edward who managed to escape and then flee back to Normandy. Rumours have it that Hugh’s hold on the North of England is loose, that Normandy may now seek to ally with Germany and that the Pope may finally take action against Hugh. Cornelius, a member of House Jerbiton who dwells in London outside of any covenant, says that things are “odd” there, darkness is spreading quickly there under Black Hugh’s reign. It seems with the situation so potentially volatile that the mundanes must be carefully watched.

Autumn

Though nothing of great importance arose at our biannual meeting one item of interest did arise. Turold asked if the council would permit him to borrow half a rook of vis for two years, the reason for this is that he has acquired a vis obligation to Harko covenant, Domus Magnus of House Mercere. Turold explained that he had accidentally destroyed a vis source of faerie origin belonging to that covenant whilst on his way to his last House Meeting. The council agreed to his request and so can expect to receive back five pawns of vis at the end of Summer 1111.Of broader news, Stassius the redcap visited our covenant later in the season with much to tell. I must confess a small amount of satisfaction as much of the mundane news that he delivered to us was already known to us through the mundane contacts that I have built up. It seems that Duke Henry has indeed allied with the Emperor of Germany so war now looks likelier still. The hermetic news he brought though sadly revealed that conflict is not something that we in the Order of Hermes can remain aloof from. There was a fight of some sort when Venius and Jerania of Bly Wydden covenant entered the cave of Llandolwyn of House Ex Miscellania who resides without covenant. What they discovered in there they claimed led them to believe the owner of the cave to be in league with diabolic spirits. When he returned to his cave that he believing himself to be under attack commanded an elemental of some sort to attack them whilst they brought down the roof of his cave about him. He escaped though and now hides at Cad Gadu. Another member of Llandolwyn’s house, Harnal, was accused by Jania of consorting with the UnNamed House. He was seen by her speaking to Stephen the bard, a known member or ally of that House. She tried to restrain him with a Rego Mentem spell but he resisted it and had some mundane allies of his restrain her until he had made his escape. Harnal is very apparently very dangerous but if possible we are to try and restrain him for the Quaesitor if we come across him.On a happier note, the covenant received the thanks of Cassitus and Casus for our help in investigating the coven. News also that someone has been stealing vis from Stonehenge itself.

There were also two messages for Lothar that he said were not private so I will record the here as they have some bearing on the covenant as a whole. Sylvania will support his bid to join House Merinita and she will come here sometime this winter to journey with him to Irinchilia in the spring.The second message was a formal declaration of wizard’s war against Lothar from his pater Adolphus. Adolphus is a magus of over 100 years and to Lothar’s knowledge has the heartbeast of a bear, an eagle and possibly a third form. Lothar will depart quickly to the faerie regio to hide out until the month has passed.

It was not long after Lothar had left before Adolphus arrived here and stole into the covenant. I found him coming out of Lothar’s sanctum, fortunately Lothar had had the foresight to move much of his valuable lab equipment out of his laboratory. I asked him to leave the covenant, as Lothar was not within its walls, he then demanded to know where Lothar was. I told him that Lothar had told me where he was going but said no more than that. There was a long pause as he pondered what to do next, before he decided to challenge me to certamen. He chose Muto and I guessing correctly that he might have a weakness in that form chose Ignem. After the first clash it was obvious that I was going to lose as I was near exhaustion so I decided to cede the contest and remain conscious. I told him that Lothar had told me that he was going into the faerie regio and he left to pursue him there.

The rest of the season passed largely uneventfully save for the dedication of the church at Lydney by the Archbishop. We shall find out soon it seems whether it is the man or the office that wields God’s power.

Winter

As we had seen no sign of either Lothar or Adolphus and knowing how time can be twisted with the fey regio Turold and I held the winter meeting with just the two of us in attendance. Petrus returned two days after the meeting with news of his house meeting. Petrus presented his theory and by his account it was well received. There may be many magi from across the Order who might come to learn his “parma aurae” as he calls it and field-test it for him. It is still unclear whether or not it will work within the Dominion as hermetic knowledge of the Dominion and indeed the infernal realms as yet slight, though Petrus reported that there were several magi of his house working on a “Unified Theory of Auras”.

Lothar returned three days later having survived rather than won his wizard’s war. It seems that despite getting lost on the way through the faerie regio and finding himself outside again facing his pater he managed to reach the Summer Glade where he was hidden by the Tuatha de Danaan. Adolphus having pursued him there killed several Golwyg Hafyth, and clawed Niniol’s tree in his furyat being unable to reach Lothar. On his way out he also killed one of the Bwbachod. Fearing that by his actions he may have endangered us by angering the local faeries we decided that we would ask for a Quaesitor to investigate his actions. Turold will fly to Blackthorn to make our request.

Later in the season, welsh bandits raiding across the river attacked Blackney during the daytime whilst the men were in the mines. They killed several women, set fires and looted what they were able before they were discovered and driven off by one of our grog patrols. A few of them were slain but most escaped. We shall station a couple of men there in future, both to safeguard the village but also to keep our miners happy. More news from Blackney, after a few wasted journeys when Father Christopher had not bothered to visit the chapel there, Turold and I went to mass there to help assuage any beliefs that we are ungodly men here in the covenant. Father Christopher seemed determined to try and trick Turold into saying something that he might be able to use against him but thankfully Turold was clever enough that he would only say that he was a magus when pressed as to whether he was a warlock, an important distinction from the Church’s point of view. Whilst we could have a worse priest to minister to our neighbouring villages we must keep an eye on Father Christopher, I do no think he likes us and strikes me as the sort of man who might seek to poison other minds against us.The only other item of news that I have to report here this year is that, a few weeks before our meeting, Castellan Ecgfrith sadly passed away in his sleep.
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