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Scribed by Petrus

Spring 1116 AD


The first council of the year opened with reports from Antonius that the priest at Lydney had made something of a recovery, and that he will try to ensure that the clergy investigate him whilst he is abroad this season on covenant service. For my covenant service I shall investigate the silver wand tipped with a shard of moonstone; one of the items discovered at Mynydd Merddin last year. Edith will study the Intellego book, while Ruaridh, Turold and Lothar will study from Vim, Perdo and Animal vis respectively.

Mathus arrived about a week after Antonius left. He told us that Edward's invasion of England was now complete and that Edward had been crowned at Westminster by the Archbishop Geroul of Canterbury, presumably fresh returned from Rome. Black Hugh was beheaded, but there apparently was some confusion as to what should be done with his remains. Given his ex-communication no church would have him buried on holy ground, but before a solution was found the body disappeared when the manor in Colchester, where the body was being kept in state, burnt down during a mysterious fire. Of Hermetic news there was much talk of the events at Blackthorn and general confirmation of what we had learned from Idris and suspicion of the unnamed house's use of Stonehenge. Sylvania of Cad Gadu confirmed also our understanding that the faerie season had passed through to Spring. On a sad note Tyrell of Scarfell, who had disappeared into a faerie regio some time before, was discovered dead - apparently slain by unseelie fae. With that message of caution very much in mind I hope, Lothar announced that he would venture into the faerie regio towards the end of this season.

At the Equinox I was surprised to discover that Lothar had ordered a feast to be held at the spring. This smacked too much of Idris for my liking, although I understand that Edith and Ruaridh attended the celebration along with half the grogs. Turold and I had a pleasent evening discussing some of the subtleties of Xeros' theory of Supernatural Auras and Corlear's achievements with enchantments. Much more interesting and proper for a Magus than joining in the drunken tomfoolery going on at the spring.

In early April a grog patrol stationed in Blacknee reported that a shepherd and a number of sheep had been found dead under very mysterious circumstances. Neither the animals or the shepherd bore marks of injury, and a trail of bare earth cut through the grassland had led the grogs to the edge of the forest. It was eventually determined that a fantastic beast named a Cockatrice may have passed close to the village of Blacknee, and may yet remain in the vicinity. Edith proposed that we place a cockerel within the village to "ward" off the creature which, I am given to understand, was the limit of our action at this time. Towards the end of the season Lothar ventured off into the faerie regio with Eanfled and two of the grogs.

Summer

With Antonius returned and Lothar still away, we held our council meeting. Antonius reported that the majority of the nobility had survived the war - having surrendered and accepted Edward as their Liege and rightful King. Father Christopher has apparently been arrested, by order of the Rector of Monmouth, for bearing false witness in a trial of heresy against the former Rector of Chepstow. If he is found guilty, which is apparently likely, he will suffer the same fate as the deceased Rector. Antonius has also begun arrangements to borrow an exemplar of the Bible from Pricknash Abbey, and has also met the monks at Huntley Wold to the north of our forest - who appear pious but approachable in Antonius' opinion. I also reported the result of my investigation into the wand - a powerful magical resource which we have decreed may only be borrowed from the covenant by a vote of council. Edith has been asked to continue Lothar's work on the water damaged copy of the Vim book, and Turold will begin an investigation of the Skull Cap set with a Violet Amethyst found in Mynydd Merddin. Ruaridh and myself will both study from Vim vis, whilst Antonius will extract Vim vis for himself.

Am I to believe my senses? After condemnation by the Tribunal for his reckless impatience, and warnings from us all to take great care within the faerie regio - it appears that Lothar has once again demonstrated his stubborness, questionable motivation and profound lack of common sense! He has returned to us about a week into the season and informed us that he has invited the Nynniaw, Llyn-y-fan and all the Golwg Hafddydd (whose bites turn grogs to animals) to come within the Aegis this mid-summer's night. If this were not enough he has also agreed to bring "the stone of the mountain" as a gift for Llyn-y-fan to give to Nynniaw - for which he has ordered the purchase of a Pearl as payment for Gofynnwy in return for being lead to the mountain realm of Gofannon. To placate the Mountain King's displeasure with us (after his last visit), we allowed Lother to take back the stone bow that Gofannon had given to Myrvin. It appeared that we still had this bow, gathering dust in some corner of the magical treasury. It seems also that he had agreed a deal with the Palug, to win back the mushrooms which once formed part of our Imagonem source. However, the last and only mushroom now belonged to the Tegid Foel - who wanted to use it to obtain a mortal wife (I know not how he proposed to use it). This last part was relayed to us by Eanfled - Lothar having gone off in a sulk because of our displeasure with him. If I was less than outraged when I heard all this news 'twas only because of my disbelief and speechless awe at Lothar's utter stupidity. Turold went further still and questioned whether Lothar was in possession of a brain at all! I sympathise with the question! Lothar left us, hurridly nailing iron across every window and door in the main building, to venture back into the regio. I wonder at his chances of returning, and I fear my only desire to see him again is so that we do not risk Llyn-y-fan's displeasure at not receiving this stone.

During the day of mid-summer we met as council to discuss what our response to this faerie invasion should be - given that Lothar had not returned and Llyn-y-fan's likely reaction to not being given this "stone of the mountain". We grimly determined to make a stand with whatever offensive magics and items we had at our command - if the Llyn-y-fan began attacking the covenant. Suddenly we heard a commotion from outside, and an almighty crash as our north gates were smashed from their fittings. As we struggled to glimpse a view of what was happening from the council window, we saw Lothar returned - with Gofannon and two dozen of his stone servants. We greeted the Gofannon and he challenged us to a wager - a diamond in exchange for our finest archer. Antonius suggested a horse race and discussed ways to prevent the faerie cheating. Antonius' amicus, Lucien, was selected as our champion. Gofannon managed to injure a horse while inspecting it - he pulled it down by the reigns when it reared up and the strength of the act managed to lame it. In apology he created for us a horse from the earth - which he selected to ride in the race. Lucien apparently gave him a good run - but the Mountain King quickly learnt the skill and won. Thus our best archer, a hired sword called Ranulf, was taken into the earth and back to Gofannon's realm.

I left at this point as twylight would be soon upon us and the first signs of Nynniaw's court were visible from the forest. Lothar remained, along with Edith and Antonius. The night passed quietly enough, and the fae seemed satisfied by the feast we had laid out for them. There was the traditional giving of gifts to Nynniaw - I understand that Gofannon returned a key to the Lord of Oaks. Lothar also received a boon from Llyn-y-fan - that by calling her name three times when the stars are out he may become as light as air. It seems that the "stone of the mountain" was Gofannon himself - but then I don't pretend to have any understanding of the fae. Once the faeries were gone I suspect that we were all too relieved to consider punishing Lothar. He apparently spent the remains of the season designing a formulaic spell that would allow him to create a dead chicken. I almost wept when I heard - has this man no respect for his art?

Autumn

Our meeting opened with all of us roundly condemning Lothar's dealings with the fae. We have formally instructed him to think more carefully about his deals in future - and insisted that he does not invite potentially dangerous faeries within the Aegis without the vote of lawful council. Lothar agreed to these things - once again declaring that he had "learnt his lesson" - By my art! I hope it is true! Turold had only had limited success in investigating the Skull Cap, and Edith had inadvertantly destroyed the copy of the Vim book while completing the copy of it. Fortunately we now have a robust copy of the text - so at least the vital knowledge has been saved; unlike the priceless Faerie Lore tome which Jean de Caen squandered in the past. This season I shall make Antonius a longevity potion with his assistance. Turold will begin an enchantment, while Ruaridh and Lothar study Vim and Animal vis. Edith is minded to study the Mentem book.

During the season Isaac, the Jewish merchant from Gloucester, turned up looking for Antonius. It appears Isaac was lying low after nearly getting caught up in some riots in Bristol and having much of his property confiscated. Antonius has arranged to make a copy of the Humanities texts in return for one thousand two hundred and fifty pennies; an excellent deal for the covenant. The deal will be concluded in Spring next year.

Later in the season we were informed that two grogs and a local lad from Blacknee had all been slain by the Cockatrice while they patrolled the road between Blacknee and Lydney. There was a long discussion as to what we should do. Lothar was, of course, in favour of simply finding the creature, turning into a bear, and attacking it - but we did not share his confidence that he would be unaffected by the Cockatrice's gaze. In the end we asked Turold to travel up to Cad Gadu and see if anyone there knew much about the creature's strengths and weaknesses. Turold was gratious enough to accept this task and flew to Cad Gadu that night. He returned having made a deal with Primus Llanoddwyn - knowledge of how the Cockatrice can be easily slain in return for it's eyes. Edith noted that the Primus Ex-Miscellanea would probably want the eyes for the liquid they contain (who can say why with these Ex-Miscellaneans). Turold had also been informed that the gaze of the Cockatrice was of at least a tenth magnitude effect - thus it had seemed wise to accept this deal, particularly as Llanoddwyn had said that the eyes did not contain the vis embodied in the beast. However, the Primus' method for killing the Cockatrice did not quite work as he had suggested. We were instructed to set a weasel on the Cockatrice's trail of destruction, and follow the weasel until it had successfully found and slain the fantastic beast. Lothar was successful at finding a weasel in the forest, but when he set it down it just ran off into the forest - and did not hunt down the Cockatrice. Another trip to Cad Gadu revealed that the Primus had forgotten to mention that this trick only worked for domesticated weasels - and preferably a female one. I had little confidence of this working, but having bought a domesticated weasel from a village Lothar was able to set it to track and kill the Cockatrice. We sent the little copse up to Llanoddwyn so he could extract it's eyes - and we have kept its blood; which contains eight pawns of perdo vis, but is also a deadly poison. I am glad to say that we had no further excitement for the rest of the season.

Winter

Our meeting convened with little preamble. Ruaridh will continue copying up the damaged Creo book and Lothar will write the Animal book to the level of adept (ten chapters). Turold will continue with his enchantment, while Antonius and myself will study from Imagonem and Rego vis. Edith will continue her study of the Mentem texts.

What disaster! Long have I feared that during the casting of a major ritual some mishap would cause the spell to go awry - and now this has happened while we attempted to recast the ninth magnitude Aegis of the Hearth. Not only has thirteen pawns of Vim vis been wasted - and a further eleven used to cast a lower version of the Aegis - but Antonius remains unconscious in the infirmary and Ruaridh appears to have lost the use of his magic. Edith, Turold and myself were unconscious for a time - overcome by the uncontrolled discharge of the magic - only Lothar appears unaffected.

Antonius has regained himself - our efforts prevailed little in bringing him to wakefulness. It appears that he had a strange vision of lying within the regio, unable to move, during all this time; but his body has been in the infirmary all this time. Perhaps, a little like Varsavia, his spirit was trapped there? He will change his season's activities to extracting Vim vis for himself.

Mathus arrived later in the season with a letter for Antonius, but had no other news to report to us at this time. Ruaridh is still unable to utilise his magic and I am at a loss to explain either what has happened to him or how soon he can expect his magic to return. It seems that the Aegis has affected him directly - I sensed the lingering magic of the ritual about his person. He appears unable to raise his parma magica, or cast a spell, but this has not impeded his covenant service.

It is now the close of another season, another year, and my time as scribe. I have never felt us to be closer to Summer, as a covenant. At last, with our stable mundane and Hermetic relations and the power of our arts and our magical resources, we should be able to go from strength to strength. All the time, however, at the back of my mind, I can still see the plumes of smoke rising from the ashes of Blackthorn. We shall all need courage as well and luck and good judgement to survive and thrive in the face of the threat posed by the unnamed house.
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