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Scribed by Antonius

Spring 1110 AD


Once again the start of a new year begins with tidings of no little import from the mundane world. The Forest of Dean, in which this covenant is situated, has been declared a royal forest. This means that poachers and trappers will be hung and as landlords here we will have some responsibility to ensure that this is the case or risk angering the Baron. On the positive side, if we can acquire dispensation from the Reeve, it is a free mining area and there will be no tax paid on any mines provided that all metal and ore produced goes to the local towns. To try and obtain such dispensation I journeyed to see Hubert, the current Reeve of Dean. He is now based in Monmouth, rather than Gloucester as used to be the case with previous Reeves, after falling out with the Earl. He seems a very efficient Reeve, a very determined man who considers himself too busy to bother attending church. I enquired, as casually as I could, to the legality of our landholding, it being essential that we officially own the land if we are to gain rights associated with it. The Reeve told me that, in his opinion, as we pay taxes we have right of abode there and can own Blackney. However it seems that the legal owner of the land must present himself to get dispensation to hunt and mine the land freely, I believe this means that Ruaridh must journey to Monmouth to resolve the matter finally but I foresee no problems. Other mundane matters of note, Sir Gerald it seems, desperate to bolster his ailing finances, plans to mine South of Blackney hill. More darkly rumours of a curse at work in Lydney have reached Monmouth now. From my sources within the village I have also heard that restless spirits have been slowing work upon the church. I cannot decide whether this is a good or a bad sign, it is ill that such spirits actively slow work on the church but perhaps they fear its completion? On a brighter note, we managed to recruit five new grogs so we now have five full squads of four men once more.

Turold had a rare expedition out of the covenant this season. Welsh peasants had come from Blaenavon seeking help from Idris, the Welsh war wizard, against the giant who he had bested some years ago. The giant was lured into drinking a barrel of poisoned ale and then Pendaran, by all accounts, fighting the battle of his life, slew the giant with some awesome blows.

Summer

Ruaridh returned for the start of the season. It seems he has been accepted at Magvillus as a Quaesitor and now has only a years probation to serve. Turold returned the vis that he had borrowed from the council as agreed. Quaesitor Feremir arrived not long after his more junior Sodalis, for the Tribunal sanctioned investigation of this covenant. After a thorough and extensive study he concluded that there was no evidence of mismanagement. It was only the exuberance of youth and inexperience that had led to the mistakes of the past. He ruled that the treachery of the fallen magus Idris was not the fault of the covenant and seemed confident that the senior Quaesitor, Dionysus, would agree with his ruling.After the investigation had been completed Ruaridh left to begin his own inquiry into the incident at Llandolwyn's cave.

To no little concern we heard that one of the grogs had been attacked by a shadow in a manner ominously reminiscent of the occurrences when Varsavia's spirit was sucked into the corrupted heart of the forest. Petrus thought that it might be a sign that the Radulfus demon was active again. On checking the secret chamber behind the magical stores where the creature has been found before Petrus felt his Parma attacked but not breached. There was an infernal aura there and so he conducted his Perdo Vim ritual to suppress the aura there. With luck we will have a few more years before the creature raises its head again.

Autumn

As a result of his investigations Ruaridh will be acting as Accusator against Maga Jerania on behalf of Llandolwyn at the next tribunal. The council agreed that the 4 pawns of vis that Ruaridh received for his efforts will not be subject to the usual council tithe but Ruaridh must still complete a seasons service for the covenant each year. The season then passed fairly uneventfully save for the Petrus somehow uncovering a tome hidden in the chimney in his laboratory. Intriguingly it appears to be an early history of the tribunal. With my lack of need for slumber and thus more free time to study such a tome I have undertaken to see what it contains.

Winter

It seems that the tome is indeed an early history of the tribunal, however on reading further it also appeared to refer to events related to the Schism war. Aware of the forbidden nature of such knowledge I stopped reading immediately and returned the book to the council, it will be given over to Holy Isle at the earliest opportunity. The council was also concerned to discover that we could harvest no imagonem vis this year, there were no mushrooms in the glade and tracks leading from it give us reason to suspect that someone has picked them all and potentially destroyed the site. We will ask Lothar to investigate when he returns. Turold also raised the matter of his house item, which he intends to be a map of the area with figurines representing the people in it, a version of the Inexorable Search which could prove extremely useful for the covenant if we can collect arcane connections to people of interest. T he council agreed that it would pay most of the vis involved in it's manufacture and in return Turold would give his time for free. A mutually beneficial arrangement that should, we hope, aid our Verditius Sodalis in the furthering of his craft and reputation.

Varein returned to the covenant having managed to rescue his love, Ruth from the Erequith but tragically as they entered the Aegis wounds suddenly opened up on both of them as the faerie magic that had healed them shut was dispelled. Varein was dead before he even hit the ground, such was the terrible severity and number of his injuries, but Ruth was able to be saved. With Varein dead, Gareth was officially appointed Captain. He is still quite young for such a post and a bit of a dreamer but with our limited numbers he is the best choice and I am sure he will strive to do his duty.

We received reports from Blackney that the mine was running dry so the council agreed that each of the magi would spend a week of our time this season with the mask to try and locate some fresh seams. It seems that the building of the church in Lydney has been completed but the troubling signs in that village grow ever worse. Stewart, who has come from there on behalf of the Rector, to see what manner of place we have here, told us what he knew. Ghosts and spirits are apparently still active throughout the village and Stewart himself, an educated and intelligent man, saw a shadow move. Father Christopher has however apparently seen nothing. Villagers have been suffering from "standstills", a condition that sounds uncannily like that which the shadows we have had here have inflicted upon those they touched. Still more worryingly, if earlier prophecies are to be considered, a child has been born and baptised within the church. Could it be an unholy baptism, and if so what could that mean? The news from further afield is scarcely more encouraging. The King has been excommunicated, and the Archbishops of Hereford and Canterbury held a strife ridden synod. Also with the union of Normandy and Germany, there may be war. If so, will the Welsh seize the opportunity to attack with many men fighting far away? Sir Gerald and his men would ride to the aid of the King, Stewart says he may wish to speak to us as his nearest neighbours to arrange some sort of mutual support alliance if Chepstow cannot help.

With the situation sounding increasingly grim in Lydney, Ruaridh, Lucian and I journeyed down to check on the strength of the aura. The aura just outside the church appears to be of the first, possibly second magnitude but is almost certainly higher inside. Later in the season one of our grog patrols was attacked within the woods by a devil. The creature slew one and badly wounded another but fortunately Ruaridh was close by and vanquished the creature with The Demon's Eternal Oblivion. Is the Radulfus demon now destroyed? Only time will tell.

The Merinitan Quaesitor, Linaris, arrived towards the end of the season, to investigate the damage down to the faerie regio by Adolphus. The last act of this year was the wake that was held for Varein. A mourning of his death but also a celebration of his life. An apt end perhaps to a year of mixed fortunes for the covenant and so as we look ahead to the next year I conclude my duties as scribe.
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