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Scribed by Petrus

Spring 1115 AD


Once more I shall take up quill and parchment and record the times and trials of our life here at Severn Temple covenant. On this bright spring morning I sit within the library with a mixture of emotion; relief that our covenant is no longer situated within a regio, concern that the strength of our aura has seriously diminished. Aye, and it was my own experimentation which caused this state of affairs. It appeared that by accident I have achieved something that Xeros tried in vain for his entire lifetime to achieve - to affect the strength of a magical aura. Whilst last season our aura rose to the ninth magnitude and we were forced to live within a regio or desert the covenant; this season the aura has collapsed and registers by my spell to be of the fifth magnitude. The affects of living for three months within such a powerful aura appears to have quickly warped some of the grogs, and I sense a change even in some of my sodales. Turold, Antonius, Edith and Lothar all appear to have been subtly warped by the magics here. My greatest fear, however, is that the aura has been permanently damaged by the accident - as a candle may burn brightly and consume itself more quickly. I have been making notes and taking regular measurements since the beginning of this phenomenon. If this damage to our aura is to be permanent, then it is vital that at least something is learnt from our loss. Our council meeting reflected the sense of relief and concern which I have described. I suggested to council that I should perhaps build a new laboratory within the magical aura to the south of our covenant - in the hope that if I am ever able to recreate the accident it will not so sorely endanger this aura. There was wide support for this suggestion, though with some note of concern for my safety whilst working at such a distance from covenant.

For now I shall continue copying our Rego text in preparation for the conclusion of our deal with Lear Valley at the Tribunal in summer. Ruaridh shall study Rego vis. Antonius will work abroad from the covenant and deal with our mundane relations. Turold, Lothar and Edith shall study from the Perdo, Intellego and the Vim texts respectively.

A few days into the season Mathus, the Redcap, made a brief visit. It appears that Dionysus, having fully examined Dafydd's belongings, had discovered some documents taken from Severn Temple which detailed the discovery, by the magi of Severn Temple's previous incarnation, of a large and vis rich regio a few miles south-east of Blackthorn covenant; a place named Mynydd Merddin. The documents, written by Radolphus before his fall into diabolism, also included an approximate map of the area and description of his first expedition there. There was much excitement at the council meeting and it was quickly decided that we would send a small expedition to the site, obtain some vis, and declare it as a covenant vis site before the session of the Tribunal. Ruaridh scouted the region by air, and checked the records at Blackthorn to ensure that the site had not been discovered and declared by any other covenant. Having found that it was not already a declared vis site Ruaridh, Turold, Lothar, and Antonius, along with Pendaran and Lucien elected to undertake an expedition. They left in two groups; the main party making their way via Monmouth and Skenfrith by foot, Ruaridh and Turold flying up to meet them a few days later. The next we heard of them was when our librarian, Jacque, discovered Antonius severely burnt and injured, lying in agony on the council room floor. It appears that the party had found the ruins of a Celtic settlement within the regio, and discovered that one of the deserted buildings had a Sanctum marking upon the door. Ruaridh correctly recognised Radolphus' sigil beneath the mark, and warned the others not to enter - as he remembered the watching ward that we had discovered upon Radolphus' sanctum in the early days of our covenant. However, while the other magi considered what action to take next, Lothar (impetuous and stubborn as ever) barged the door open while in bear form and released a fire enchantment within the ward. Lothar was only mildly hurt by the inferno that exploded from the doorway, his bear form robust enough to survive the blast. However, Antonius was not so fortunate. The explosion which caught him a few paces away burnt him with such ferocity, that he only escaped death by a hair's breadth. Ruaridh was able to remove a shard of wood six inches long from Antonius' chest, and temporarily ease the severity of his wounds by use of spell. Then, after Rending the Magical Veil to allow Pendaran to carry him out of the regio, Antonius used the Leap of Homecoming potion to return to the council chamber.

Whilst Edith has worked with skill and effort to stabilise his wounds, the scars across Antonius' face and neck could not be healed by her art. It was only by transferring him to Scarfell and dealing for Creo and Corporem vis that Blodwyn was able to mend his appearance. Even after this Antonius still feels pain across his face upon occasion - and our fear is that Radolphus' fire spell was infernally tainted.

Lothar checked the inside of the sanctum by summoning a bear and sending it inside. Ruaridh and Turold were then able to examine the diabolist' haunt. Inside they discovered books of art, grimoires, money, vis and magical items which rightfully belonged to our covenant and had been stolen by Radolphus before the refoundation of Severn Temple. They also discovered a journal written in Radolphus' hand which revealed something of his descent into madness and corruption. They had to wait for Lothar, who had gone off to explore the forest in a sulk, but were eventually able to return with a large portion of the find.

Other than a demand for tax; some six hundred pennies, the rest of the season passed peacefully enough. Antonius was infirm for most of the season, but endeavoured abroad to bring us news from the region. It appears that Duke Edward of Normandy has invaded and with forces loaned from the Empire and France has battled Hugh at Ashford. By all accounts the war does not go well for Black Hugh and he has retreated to London. Meanwhile, and somewhat predictably, the Welsh have risen to arms and laid siege to Chepstow and Monmouth.

Summer

Whilst war and strife beset the mundane world around us, our covenant remains peaceful - sheltered by the forest, our reputation and our relative remoteness. We met for council at the beginning of the season and some small share of disquiet descended upon us. Antonius, quite properly angered by Lothar's boorish foolishness last season, has brought case against him. Quaesitor Ponrius of Blywyddan will act as Accusator at the next tribunal. Lothar was angered in turn at this apparent "slight", and stormed out of the council room. We were forced to conduct the majority of our meeting without him.

From Antonius we heard something of the mundane conflict, as I have already described, but he also related his visit to the Abbey at Pricknash and his meeting with the Abbot there; Sebastien. By Antonius' account he appears a tolerant man, and had heard of the Archbishop of Canterbury's opinion that Magi were not enemies of the Church. It appears that Lamark's work in Rome has afforded us the opportunity to make allies among the mundanes. Whilst such things would never interest me, I am grateful we have someone like Antonius who enjoys such a burden. We discussed the Tribunal, and decided upon a motion to suggest that covenant's offer sanctuary to magi without covenant during these times of mundane conflict and the return of the unnamed house. Ruaridh, Turold and myself will study from vis this season, despite the weakened aura, while Antonius, Lothar and Edith will study from texts.

The Tribunal opened on the morning of mid-summer with the Praeco's address in which he reminded us of our duty not to interfere during these times of mundane conflict, and warned us to exercise vigilence and caution (a reference to the events of Ashenrise) with regard to the activities of the unnamed house. He also expressed the widely held desire that Narwold covenant, impertinently established by the Normandy Tribunal in East Anglia, should eventually become part of Stonehenge. Praeco Garius also welcomed Quaesitor Serenia of House Guernicus to the Tribunal, she will act as senior Quaesitor, and Agned of Ex-Miscellanea, who having passed whatever gauntlet (if she had one) will take up residence in Wales. The Tribunal then turned to the matter of Wynedd, who having been accused of consorting with the unnamed house by Dionysus, was being defended (in the formal role of Patronus) by our own sodalis, Ruaridh. Dionysus detailed the case against Wynedd, in that she did aid Stephen and another wizard of the unnamed house, by summoning for them a spirit which gave them information. From the description it appeared that the spirit may have been Idris, and given his recent reappearance within the regio and at the spring this made me particularly suspicious. Ruaridh argued her defence well, but after some time the argument dwelt upon whether Wynedd had known the two men or not. Ruaridh argued that she did not, and thus had only helped our enemies inadvertently. Given her youth and inexperience this argument might have saved her life, but proof of this was required so Ruaridh elected to cast a truth spell upon her while Dionysus asked further questions. Wynedd at first refused the spell and silently shook her head, and growing in frustration Quaesitor Serenia had to insist that the spell was cast. The effects of Ruaridh's spell were unexpected and almost lethal. As he cast the Betraying Whispers upon her some great voice shouted "NO", and Ruaridh was struck unconscious in an instant. The meeting was adjourned in some confusion whilst Ruaridh was carried off to the infirmary and Wynedd was rendered unconscious by a spell from Dionysus.

The next day the Tribunal reconvened with Ruaridh insisting that the truth spell be tried again. Quaesitor Serenia was unwilling and ordered that Blodwyn reveal the nature of the injuries that Ruaridh had received the previous day. It appears that he had suffered a great wound to his mind that would have left Ruaridh as good as dead; it apparently took a ritual and sixteen pawns of vis to remove the harm. However, Ruaridh was still minded to try again, but he conceded to allow Caisus to stand by as Hoplite. This time the spell was cast with success, but still the effects were unpredicted. All in the room could hear the whispering of spirits coming from Wynedd. Dionysus asked questions, but Ruaridh would not reveal what answer he heard from Wynedd's mind. Eventually the trial was adjourned again, while the two Quesitori met privately with Serenia. When they returned Dionysus and Ruaridh offered the same punishment to the Tribunal. The evidence it seemed was clear - Wynedd had knowingly helped our enemies - the vote for her guilt was unanimous. She was lead away by Hoplites Caisus and Orlania; her fate rightly determined by the necessity of the law. After this sorry business was completed the Praeco ordered what motions each covenant brought before Tribunal. I have not the diligence of my Sodalis Turold, but I shall at least record those motions which affected our covenant.

Our tithes for this year amounted to a total of thirty pawns of vis; eighteen of these to the Tribunal, twelve to Holy Isle. There was another vote regarding vis territories brought before the Tribunal by Quaesitor Ferramir, but despite Narwold's presence the vote was to leave things as they were. Blywyddan has finally been recognised as a Summer covenant, and it is my hope that we too shall soon be so recognised. Ponrius of Blywyddan brought Antonius' case against Lothar and was successful in his prosecution. Lothar will pay Antonius nine pawns of Creo or Corporem vis, and has been formally condemned by the Tribunal for his reckless action. Such a condemnation is widely used in the more civilised parts of the Order to shame a Magus into mending their behaviour; however I fear that such things are less considered at the fringes of the Order where many Magi appear to have no shame. Whilst I hope Lothar will see the error of his ways, I sense only that he feels slighted by Antonius and may not heed the opinions of the Tribunal and his own Sodales. Erin of Scarfell offered to make longevity potions for consortes at a reasonable cost, and Blodwyn presented the records of the Infirmary. It appears that the infirmary has been well utilised, but there is little chance that the Tribunal will consider to bear such costs of vis. We were warned by Holy Isle that the unnamed house has a historical interest in our magical site, and also warned that those approaching Carrion Moor should be on their guard for some magical black beast which has attacked their grog patrols. For ourselves we raised the motion I have already mentioned. I was pleased to see that it gained majority support despite Blywyddan and Holy Isle voting against it. In these dark times the Order must look out for its Magi, and covenants should be prepared to shelter those magi who live without covenant. The second motion was from Ruaridh who formally acted as Accusator in a case against Jerriania. The matter was settled quickly with Llandolwyn receiving three hundred pennies for damage to his laboratory. Thus was the Tribunal business concluded and we made our return to the covenant.

Towards the end of the season we sent men to reinforce the village of Lydney, which had been raided by the Welsh. Mathus arrived at the end of the season. He informed us that Hugh's forces had been besieged at London by Edward of Normandy and the Duke of York until the King had been betrayed by his own nobles and delivered up to Edward. Gloucester was now hard pressed by the Welsh in the West and the regrouped armies of Edward who now marched to crush resistance in Gloucester and Hereford. Duke Edmund of York has returned to his own lands to repulse Scottish armies who have raided in his absence.

Autumn

The weather has broken early and a chill rain soaks the covenant grounds. We met for council, for my part eager to avoid the tempers which had flared last season. The meeting was civil enough, though I fear Lothar continues to harbour a childish grudge against Antonius. Ruaridh and Lothar will copy up some of the water damaged books of art recovered from Mynydd Merddin; Creo and Vim respectively. Edith will utilise her abilities with herbs and potions to make four doses of a preparation to halt the progress of a disease. These she will invest with vis, but Herbam rather than Corporem or Creo, by virtue of some strange non-Hermetic quirk. Turold and myself will study pawns of Perdo and Terram, despite the continuing weakness within the aura.

I write this with my pale hand still shaking with shock at the news I have heard. Long have I believed, since my days as an apprentice, that Blackthorn was an impregnable fortress - the Latin heart of the Tribunal and a sanctuary against the unnamed house. Indeed if it had been Holy Isle or Blywyddan or even ourselves I should be less surprised - but Blackthorn has been attacked by a great winged Dragon summoned perhaps from some deep regio by the unnamed house. The walls of Blackthorn are in ruin, it's towers smashed. Only by virtue of the deep caves which house the vast magical libraries have the knowledge and lore of that place perhaps survived. Lamark lies now in our infirmary - but he breathes no more. Edith struggled for hours to save his life, but his injuries were beyond her art. Gyriania, the gifted Redcap, appeared with him outside our covenant and has apported to Holy Isle and Cad Gadu to gain aid in finding Serenia and Caisus. We fear that even the Hoplite's arts will not avail him against such a powerful creature - and I fear that they too may be lost. It appears that the visions and portents seen by some of the coven folk and grogs have come to pass. Krekaranius's warnings were true also. Perhaps it is true then, that the unnamed house have somehow tapped the power of Stonehenge to raise this ruin upon us. The covenant is on alert, and we are ready to evacuate at any time. In the far distance as one looks from the tower north-west into the mountains, we have seen the black smoke rising from the ruins of Blackthorn.

Quaesitor Dionysus and Archimagus Casitus have called upon our covenant, now a week after the first news reached us of Blackthorn's fall. It appears that Serenia and Caisus have been found, and both are safe. Rebuilding has already begun to make Blackthorn habitable again, but the covenant lacks young magi who can spare the time required for such duty - they shall have to search beyond the Tribunal to gain new members, or perhaps take the unprecedented step of inviting an Ex-Miscellanean. The two Holy Isle magi came to oversee the transfer of Lamark's body back to Blackthorn - and to summon and interrogate the shade of Idris which now haunts the spring. They questioned the shade for hours under the watchful eye of Ruaridh. It appears that Dionysus can confirm at least some of what Idris has told him. Idris claimed, again, that there were two factions within the unnamed house - only one of which has fallen to the infernal. I am loathe to heed that murderer's talk, but it seems that despite his treachery the Quaesitor believes something of what Idris says. Archimagus Casitus offered to destroy the shade for us - but I was concerned that it might alter the nature of the aura here (as other deaths have done), and Ruaridh was afraid that such an action might further weaken or even destroy the aura (given that in some form or another there has always been a guardian here). I think he regards these pagan superstitions too highly, but it is agreed that we shall hold off from destroying Idris until he either causes trouble or we discover a way of doing so which will not harm the aura.

Two events have occurred in Lydney which I must also report this season. First it appears that the grogs we sent to help defend the village have been involved in some drunken brawl and have killed one of Sir Gerald's men and crippled another. On this matter we have left it to Antonius to make suitable amends. The murderer, a man named Ulf, has been hanged. The sergeant of the squad, Lars, has been flogged and stripped of his position, and Piro, who crippled a man's leg, has been flogged also. Sir Gerald is away fighting the Welsh, so we paid his Sergeant ninety pennies in compensation and replaced our grogs with a fresh squad to maintain Lydney's defence.

The second matter relates to the terrible events which continue to plague Lydney. It appears that the dead man was placed overnight in the Church for a vigil or something, but during the night the body came back to life and attempted to kill Father Christopher, the priest there. Two of Lydney's men managed to save the priest, but the now inanimate body remained within the church. Antonius was loathe to become too closely involved, but helped to retrieve and burn the dead man's body outside the village and offered to try and get help from Tintern Abbey for the priest and the church. With the Welsh still abroad in the area no monk from Tintern could be approached. Antonius says he will try again to encourage someone from the clergy to visit the place once the war dies down. Given the war we were unsurprised that prices for food were raised across the region. This drain on our coffers was partly offset by a rise in the price of iron.

Winter

With the first snows has come considerable relief; the aura has returned to its original strength of six magnitudes. Our site has once again found its natural equilibrium, and for the first time in a year I am confident that no lasting harm has been done. At our council meeting Turold offered to breakdown the lump of quartz which Lothar found a while ago. The quartz dust has a natural power to bestow invisibility and five potions can be extracted. Ruaridh, Lothar and myself will study from Vim, Animal and Terram vis respectively. Edith will study the Perdo text whilst Antonius will extract some Vim vis for himself in preparation for his longevity potion next year. After the council meeting we cast the ninth magnitude Aegis of the Hearth from text.

Shortly into the season we were informed by Antonius and Lothar that the bright star which has appeared in the sky, accompanied by a host of shooting lights, indicates the change in the faerie season from Winter through to Spring. Lothar has taken pains to learn more about the fae and improve his Mentem magics so that he might better resist the manipulations of the Ruadan - and has announced that next year he intends to travel to the regio.

The faeries continued to play a part in the season. One of the grogs was attacked by the Morfan, we believe, and his face is now permanently marked by numerous warts and boils. The man, named Horsta, was already scarred upon the face and his visage now is quite revolting. I have requested that the Castellan ensure that this man does not attend the Great Hall whilst Magi are eating their meals. The other matter was more serious. Eanfled brought a gift of honey for Lothar which, unbeknownst to our Sodalis, had been mixed with some enchantment which shrunk Lothar to the size of a mouse for several days. We have left it to Lothar to explain our displeasure to Eanfled - I believe that Lothar has also killed Ciaran, the faerie trapper who poisoned the dose of honey in the first place. I am sure that Eanfled did not play this "trick" maliciously - but it isimportant that he understands that such things unacceptable if he is to remain a trusted member of this covenant.

Towards the end of the season Antonius reported that Gloucester had fallen to Edward's forces and the diabolist Earl Benoir had been captured and killed by the Welsh while attempting to flee. It seems that the war will soon be over, on this fair news the season and the year ended.
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