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Scribed by Ruaridh

Spring 1123 AD


I must confess I am somewhat loathe to take up my quill and ink to scribe this journal. It is not the events of this season that turn my heart against it, but rather the fear that any words I write will lack the significance of those of my predecessor. Still, if the tales I relate do not have the same sense of wonder or urgency of those of recent years, I hope that my prose is easy on the eye and on the tongue. If I cannot be exciting, I shall at least be objective.

The first council meeting of the season passed without any events of real note. Though Petrus’ move to Durenmar certainly represents a loss to the covenant, it does mean that discussions proceed rather more quickly and with more direction. Unless Turold or Kaelestes decide to take up the fallen baton, perhaps unnecessary diversions into the arcane theory are a thing of the past.

Only two items warrant further mention. First, Turold announced that his erstwhile apprentice, Meredith, continued to disappear at nights, returning in the morning with tired eyes and wild stories. Consequently, the Verditious intends to spend this season investigating the boy’s Gift. Second, Edith informed us that she intended to spend the year binding her familiar. I have never understood why Magi bind themselves magically, physically and mentally to animals, but I must admit to some curiosity about how the process will change her. It seems odd that anyone would select a beast to be their closest friend in the world. Are we so far removed from mundane society that we cannot relate to people? Are bats, rats, cats and frogs really that fascinating?

Later in the season, I travelled north to Cad Gadu to speak with Praeco Jordael. He confessed that he was worried about the Tribunal meeting scheduled for this summer. To be quorate, the meeting would have to attract over half of the magi residing within these isles. Houses Flambeau and Jerbiton had already announced that they would not be attending in protest against the events of last year. We could also not count any members of House Merinita since their House meeting was scheduled for the same time. This would leave us desperately short of people. There was little we could do about this, though we resolved to encourage members of our own covenants and House to attend if at all possible.

As a footnote, I shall record that, while journeying in the south of the land, I encountered an old associate of the covenant, Andrew the crusader, in a sorry state. He had been wounded while battling a coven of diabolists, and he was now blind and infirm. On hearing that we still had problems with the fells in Gloucester, he agreed to send his remaining men to join the covenant. I understand that he has since retired to spend his remaining days as a monk at the Abbey of St Cedric.

Summer

At the council meeting that began the season, Antonius brought us news of mundane affairs that he had picked up during his travels through the towns and villages of the Dean. He had come across much gossip about the perils of dealing with witches and warlocks, clearly a reference to the Magi here. These rumours appeared to originate from south of the city of Gloucester, which led him to believe that the most likely source is the village of Stone. Antonius discovered another link to the coven in Gloucester when he spoke to the Magus Cornelius, who told him that a barge used by the coven, the Bristol Lark, had been seen in London on several occasions. Perhaps there is some connection between the diabolists of both cities. The final piece of information Antonius brought concerned the Sir Kenneth, knight of Clearwell. He had been called to fight for the King in Normandy, and we offered up a silent prayer that he might not return from the campaign. The knight had completed repairs to Clearwell village, though his financial worries meant that it might be some time before he was able to recommence work on the forest road.

Turold informed us that his research into Meredith’s Gift had yielded some surprising results. The boy’s magic had apparently become ‘fixed’ at a very early age, and Turold doubted whether he would even be able to teach him the Hermetic Techniques and Forms. Turold detected that Meredith had some powers as a storyteller and perhaps a shapeshifter, and we decided to take him to Cad Gadu to see whether anyone there knew how his magic might best be developed.

I am something of a loss at how to report the next event. For reasons that I still do not fully comprehend, Kaelestes decided to visit the three most important members of my House in the Tribunal, Archimagus Jolyon, Primus Llanoddwyn and Praeco Jordael, to ask them to get me to stand down from my position as Quaesitor. His argument, the logic of which still defeats me to this day, was that, although my House had acted perfectly legally at the recent Tribunal meeting, it was important to make a sacrifice to soothe the wounded pride of Houses Tremere and Flambeau. As if they would do the same were our positions reversed! This whole affair was caused by the duplicity of certain members of House Tremere. Why on earth should we be penalised just because their manipulations tripped them up for once? I must admit that I was initially furious with Kaelestes, particularly as he had not had the courtesy to discuss this with me beforehand. However, when my anger subsided, I realised that his actions stemmed more from political naivet� rather than malicious intent. Nevertheless, I think I will perhaps encourage Kaelestes to spend more time in his laboratory and less on diplomatic missions in the future.

Towards midsummer, we travelled north to Blackthorn to discuss our plans for the coming Tribunal meeting. Serenea told us that there had been some discussion within that covenant’s council about the wisdom of continuing with our alliance, but the decision had been taken to maintain it for the time being. The look of distaste on Isabella’s face made it clear who had initiated that debate. We discussed tactics for the Tribunal, and agreed that both covenants would propose measures designed to encourage further harmony between the Latin and non-Latin factions.

The Tribunal meeting itself was a muted, low-key affair, though it did not pass off completely without incident. Houses Merinita, Flambeau, Tremere and Jerbiton had not sent representatives, and the meeting only just achieved a quorum. I feared the worst when I learned that it would take the departure of only three magi to render the meeting invalid as this would allow any groups seeking personal advantage to effectively hold the Tribunal to ransom. I must admit to glancing nervously in the direction of Eloria of Tytalus several times given that she is widely known to relish intrigue of every kind. Still, any schemes she had proved ineffective, and the quorum held firm.

Praeco Jordael opened proceedings with a speech encouraging co-operation between all the members of the Tribunal. His words echoed around the half-empty chamber, and there was little response from the Magi present. We then moved onto the motions raised by the covenants. To save both precious ink and my weary hands, I shall list only the most important.

Dialectica of Blackthorn announced that her covenant was actively seeking a new member. She invited applications from all Magi, though those from members of House Ex Miscellanea would be treated especially favourably. As her second motion, Dialectica suggested that the Tribunal should convene a special forum to promote discussion of magic theory and traditions. This idea received some support, and Kaelestes, after an abortive attempt to express his ideas in English rather than Latin, put forward the proposal that the first such forum should be devoted to discussing how to adapt Hermetic magic to integrate or at least mimic non-Hermetic talents. Kaelestes was commissioned to put together a more detailed plan by the time of next Tribunal meeting.

Jolyon of Lear Valley said that his covenant was seeking tomes on the Arts of Perdo and Aquam, and he offered Creo, Muto or Herbam vis in exchange. Jolyon also offered to pay a rook of vis for a fist sized block of blanched tourmaline, which I understand is some sort of rare stone. Eloria of Blywyddan announced that it was willing to exchange Aquam or Terram vis fort Mentem.

In the final motion of the first day of the meeting, Blodwyn of Scarfell asked whether the Tribunal considered that the experimental infirmary had been a successful enough to warrant a subsidy. By a small margin, the Tribunal approved a tithe of one pawn of vis per Magus to supply the infirmary. In future, injured Magi will be asked to contribute half the cost of any healing performed at the infirmary.

At the start of the second day, Antonius announced that Severn Temple now considered itself a Summer covenant, having survived the many trials of spring and subsequently prospered. Kaelestes informed the Tribunal that we now had a small visitors library, and we intended to make a nominal charge of two pawns of vis per season for magi within covenants and one pawn for those who dwelt outside covenants. Kira of Carrion Moor tried to make trouble over the ‘unfairness’ of our action, but her protests were quickly dismissed.

The final two motions were raised by Magi from outside covenants. Harnol asked that the Tribunal extend the same rights of protection to followers of pagan faiths that followers of the Christian religion received now. I actually had considerable sympathy for Harnol’s proposal, but it was put aside by Jordael on the grounds that all mundanes, including worshippers of pagan faiths, already had protection under the Code. Vorios, follower of Criamon, announced that he had experienced a strange dream concerning a hooked claw. He asked whether anyone knew what it could mean, but no-one was able to shed any further light on the matter. The Tribunal meeting was then dissolved. It was by far the quietest since I passed my gauntlet. I am not so sure that this was entirely a bad thing.

Before he left Cad Gadu, Turold took Meredith to see Jordael. The Praeco announced that he had dreamt about the boy, and he agreed to let him stay at the covenant. When Turold went to tell Meredith, the boy appeared already aware of the decision, and he claimed to have visited Cad Gadu before. What can this all mean?

Autumn

We briefly discussed the events of last season at the council meeting. Turold informed us of Meredith’s departure, and he was briefly upbraided by Antonius for taking the boy without seeking the permission of council. I do hope Antonius’ insistence on sticking precisely to the rules does not come back to haunt him in the future.

The only other incident worth recording is that the covenant apparently defeated the village of Lydney in a game of ‘football’. I am not exactly familiar with the rules of this particular game, but I understand that one of the grog sergeants, Arnulf, scored the winning ‘goal’ by dragging a stuffed pig’s bladder through the gates of Lydney. The victory certainly improved the men’s’ spirits, and, despite the frequent drunken brawls before, during and after the game, no-one was seriously injured.

Winter

At the start of the season, Turold told us that Pendaran had decided to leave the covenant. The old giant intended to return to the mountains to spend his last few days. Though his incoherent bellowing had become increasingly wearying in recent years, I know the covenant will miss Pendaran. I doubt we will ever see his like again. Still, Turold has acquired a new companion, a strangely shaped half-faerie named Cyrgig. Our Verditius does seem fond of unusual men.

Antonius informed us that a man feeling from the fells in Gloucester had requested sanctuary in the covenant. This Bledwyn claimed to be an occultist who had crossed one of the fells in a deal, and he now feared for his life. In return for his safety, he offered to tell us all he knew of their organisation and plans. Based on Antonius’ assurances that he would keep a close eye on the man, we agreed to grant him at least temporary sanctuary.

Mathus the redcap arrived later in the season, bearing both mundane and Hermetic news. He told us that one of the King’s close advisors, the Bishop of Lincoln, had died in a riding accident. The city of Lincoln had also been razed almost to the ground by a great fire, which seems rather a strange coincident. A new Archbishop of Canterbury had been elected, but the choice was unpopular with many of the priests and monks in the land.

Onto Hermetic matters. The decision of the Flambeau and Tremere to boycott the Stonehenge Tribunal meeting had been supported by the Primi of those Houses, though there was strangely no mention of Primus Jerbiton’s attitude. Separately, Primus Guernicus announced that he was convening a special meeting of the Stonehenge Quaesitori for midsummer 1124 AD to discuss recent events.

A week before midwinter, we received reports that a villager from Blackney had been killed in mysterious circumstances. We examined the corpse, and through the use of magic we detected that the man had been slain by an enormous creature, most likely a spider. The beast in question was much larger than the spiders that had plagued us in the past, and we speculated that this might have been the dreaded Pybaw that the Ruadan had created as a weapon against the Erechwydd. But why is the Pybaw abroad in the mundane realm? Since Varsavia’s death, we have had little contact with the faeries from the nearby regio, and our knowledge of events there is sadly lacking.

I hate spiders.
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