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Scribed by Turold

Spring 1133 AD


It is but a few years since responsibility for this journal fell to my hand so I shall dispense with the customary preamble that has on occasion been referred to by many of the former scribes of these pages and press on with recording the few events that befell the covenant during the season. With Antonius, Audacia and Ospectus away pursuing the important tasks that the tribunal has allocated them in this time of unrest it was just myself and Caelestis who met at the first council of the year. There was little to discuss save the allocation of excess vis and with just the two of us present it was of course an easy decision to put this task off until we were once more gathered as a full contingent. Caelestis announced that he would spend the season studying hermetic law in case his role as an overseer of contacts with the Ex Miscellaneans required it whilst I took the opportunity to avail myself of the Aquam texts.

During the spring equinox preparations were made to harvest the Creo vis from the spring, but once again the water bubbled as blood yielding 5 pawns of Perdo vis. This is a troubling development as such events in the past have heralded either coming war or the influence of the diabolic present in the area. Given recent events it is hard to know which is the most likely but it is confirmation, if any were needed, that events have once again taken a troubling turn.

The other event of the season was a disquieting and perplexing one. Darius came to visit in response to Audacia's report of events during the winter that we felt may be related to the un-named house. That magus wished to speak to Meredith on the matter and on being informed that the boy was away his attitude became most aggressive as he demanded the boy be located that he could be interrogated with magicks. I informed him that I did not know where the boy was and that Darius would be advised to remember that Meredith was Amicus to myself whereupon he began to make threat against the boy (and therefore myself) claiming that he may level charges against him. I once again reminded him of what I had already said and he decided to depart, though not before informing myself and Caelestis that Meredith should be brought to him immediately he returned. I shall speak with a Quaesitor on this matter as I am not sure that Darius may have stepped beyond the bounds of his role with his behaviour.

As a last note Caelestis showed a great deal of interest in the location of the boy, and despite my assurances that I did not feel he was in any danger, was insistent almost to the point of rudeness about the matter. Nevertheless he eventually ceased his questioning and I do not feel it was anything more than an excess of idle curiosity, a trait which he has shown in the past on occasion.

Summer

I may have been somewhat over generous towards Caelestis' questionings about Meredith as we had barely met for the summer council when he once more began to badger me. The discussion grew somewhat heated as despite my respect for my sodalis I feel he has no right to pry into my affairs unless it be a matter of great importance. He even went so far as to ask me if I believed Meredith to be a member of the un-named house, a question that I hope speaks more of his lack of tact than his attitude towards me. I barely felt the need to answer, as if I did indeed believe such a thing then I would be the first to take the appropriate actions against such an enemy of the order and I felt a certain degree of anger that Caelestis could not recognise this. Nevertheless, answer I did and my sodalis eventually ceased his harassment so that we could press on with discussion of the studies we would pursue during summer. I took the Aquam texts again while Caelestis chose to peruse the Mentem tomes.

Early in the season Antonius returned though he was of course unable to furnish us with information of his investigations due to the sensitive nature of the task. He announced that he would once more ride abroad in service to the covenant.

At midsummer I planted an oak sapling within the grounds of the covenant in order to fulfil my bargain with Llyn-y-fan and it was not long before the arrival of one of the Golwyg Haffydd. The creature was a typical example of its species, intelligence far outweighed by curiosity, and after a lengthy discussion about the restrictions on its activities and travels it took residence within the tree (though it complained quite noticeably that it was but a sapling).

Shortly before summer drew to a close one of the men made report that there were ghosts in the vicinity of the spring. Myself and Caelestis went to view these spirits which had the appearance of hooded figures without legs hovering in the air. It was decided to question Bledwyn about these beings and after a short while he informed us that they were but magical illusions and he was happy to disperse them to the four winds. After some further discussion he intimated that he may know something about the Sun that was arisen in the otherworld, but insisted that we would learn no more of his secrets until the conditions placed upon him were eased to such an extent that he could once more work his spirit bindings.

Autumn

The beginning of autumn brought the return of Audacia and with her news of the assault on Blackridge, an attack that left that covenant in ruins but at a great cost to those who assailed it. It is with a heavy heart that I must here record that one of those who paid the ultimate price in this battle was our sodalis Ospectus and whilst he had been here but a short time the loss of another from our concilium is a grievous one indeed. He was not a strident voice in our meetings but when he did speak his words were well considered and I feel sure that in time he would have developed into a fine magus. It is perhaps best if I attempt to recount the tale as Audacia presented it to us and if there are any omissions or inaccuracies then consider the fault to be my own and not that of that maga.

The assault began with a mundane army, led by DuClerc, sacking the castle of Balblair and thus ensuring that mundane reinforcements were unable to support the rebels in their battle. As arranged at Borri-Tor the primary group made assault directly against Blackridge and they quickly overran the walls, killing all the soldiers who stood against them. At the same time the secondary group pushed forward from another position further away, and it seems they were attacked by a horde of giant creatures which sorely waylaid them. As Audacia heard it there were wolves as large as a horse and these alone would have provided serious threat but worse was to come as a magical mist was raised about them and many of the magi there were transformed into beasts themselves. Three magi of the order were slain, Vortinus of Flambeau, Praeberus of Tremere and our own Ospectus. It seems that our sodalis' death was not caused by these creatures however, but instead by Ignem magicks and Audacia reported that later investigation by Serenia had revealed that it was Isabella who had slain the Bjornaer. This maga who has caused so much grief to this covenant is to be charged under the primary code.

As these events occurred the first group pressed further into the covenant of Blackridge and there they discovered a wide ranging tunnel network beneath the ground. This contained many traps, both magical and mundane, and a number of rebel magi who fought hard to protect their positions. Duncan of Blackridge slew Rastia of Tremere before being slain in turn by Primus Hastus of Flambeau. Tenea of Flambeau was also killed in this melee but she was the only other member of the order who fell, the Ex-Miscellaneans unable to resist the assault in the end. Another 11 of them fell - 2 from Loch Leglean, 5 from Hibernia, 2 from Normandy and 2 from Novgorod. Throughout the assault there was no sign of McGreine although the magical mist that wrought such havoc was found to bear his sigil. In truth this information is most disturbing as it indicates that those who have chosen to rebel are drawn from a wider range of that house than we at first thought likely. Indeed the schism may be very wide as sometime after the battle Eloria met with several of those from the Stonehenge tribunal and not a one agreed to submit to the Quaesitor's investigations, Archimagus Jolyon included.

We discussed this for some time. Audacia believes that the Ex-Miscellanean rebels may well choose to resort to tactics of guerrilla warfare, or possibly they will even attempt to gather away from the sphere of the order, perhaps to the north of Novgorod. It seems that most of the Ex-Miscellaneans in Stonehenge have disappeared, Scarfell now only containing the Criamon magus Torius. There is still the hope that the vast majority have not joined the rebellion but merely seek to lie low until such time as they perceive that it will be less dangerous to submit to investigation and thus be received back in to the order.

One other thing of note arose from this discussion. Audacia was most surprised to hear of the visit we received from Darius as it seems he had been appointed as an assistant to Hastus, and as the result of some significant political manoeuvring. She wondered whether he had permission to leave the force at that time, and further whether it should not be Dionysus pursuing such investigations anyway. It seems Darius, who has in the past shown some enmity towards some who have resided within this covenant, may indeed be straying into areas that are more properly the concern of others and when I finally speak with a Quaesitor he may well have some explaining to do.

Antonius also had some news of his wanderings in the local area. Chepstow and Lydney, having indeed been given permission to wage war, were victorious against Coleford who was forced to flee to his master Monmouth. It seems that he is no longer held in the esteem that he was formerly and now Martin has been granted the holdings of Coleford and Clearwell our mundane position seems to be much stronger. There was also some discussion about Bledwyn. As a council we are agreed that we do not trust him and that he will have to be killed. A provisional plan was formed which I am sure will be used sooner rather than later.

The last action of the council was to distribute the vis that had been waiting since the beginning of spring and announce our activities for the season. Antonius and Caelestis studied from the Corporem and Mentem texts respectively, Audacia from Corporem vis and I had a commission to fulfil.

The season passed without event save for Blackney and Lydney playing some game involving a pigs bladder, an event that I seem to recall Ruaridh having recorded some 10 years ago. Antonius seemed to find this quite fascinating and informed me for the record that the match resulted in no outright victor.

Winter

Council had a great deal less to discuss than in autumn and we quickly resolved how we would spend our time during the cold months of winter. Antonius, as the only one of us who had already carried out his service, chose to visit Blackthorn and learn the spell 'Leap of Homecoming'. Caelestis extracted Vim vis, Audacia wrote up some of her spells for the library and I created an item of healing for the covenant.

We also decided that now was the moment to deal with Bledwyn and after the council had come to an end Antonius visited with him. After casting a spell to render him asleep Antonius used further magics to read Bledwyn's mind to question him about the illusions that he had dispersed. It was revealed that rather than dispel them he had bound them to himself to be commanded as a defensive measure should he be assailed. Further questioning regarding the rising sun ascertained that he had indeed heard of such a phenomenon and believed it to be an omen marking a rise in the powers of the occult. He was unaware of the level of threat that it posed but did know that there can be no spirits present wherever the sun shines. Further questioning revealed nothing more and accompanied by Audacia he was taken to the road near Huntley Priory where he was slain in such a way as to make it appear that bandits had attacked him. Antonius, in the guise of a merchant, brought his body to the monks and this ensured that he was given a christian burial so that his spirit will not torment us. Audacia destroyed his possessions outside the Aegis and also dispelled the spirits, which turned out to be a mixture of illusions and infernal spirits. I am glad that this man is gone and hope in future that those who have truck with the workings of the infernal are dealt with less kindly in future. On a somewhat related matter the two magi also travelled to Snigs End and discovered that there was still an infernal aura of the 1st magnitude.

A little later in the season Quaesitor Serenia came to visit us concerning two separate matters. The first was with regard to her investigations into the death of our former sodalis Ospectus. It is now certain that Isabella did indeed slay him with an Ignem spell of such force that no earthly remains were left. In her defence she has claimed that it was not intention to attack him and that she only sought to do harm to the rebels that were besetting her group. Serenia did not seem entirely happy with the Flambeau's explanation and so Isabella is to be charged with a breach of the primary code and the Quaesitor will press for a wizards march as punishment. Dionysus will be acting as patronus and for the time being Isabella is confined to the covenant of Holy Isle. Serenia also brought us the condolences of Primus Hastus, who has further apologised to the Primus Bjornaer. It seems from all accounts that the contribution to the assault provided by Ospectus was of a very great order and that his death has angered many senior members of the order.

The second matter she spoke to us concerned my displeasure at the visit of Darius. This event roused a certain degree of anger in the normally implacable Serenia and she stressed quite firmly that as Darius was not a Quaesitor he has no right to involve himself personally in the investigations to which Holy Isle are dedicated. It also seems unlikely that he had been granted permission to absent himself from the force that was to set upon Blackridge and in truth I hope he is made to answer for his behaviour.

Later in the season a patrol of three grogs approached the village of Lydney only to be sent away as there were plague fires burning in that settlement. In there hurry to inform us of this disquieting situation they were caught on the road at night and there they were beset by wolves seemingly under the command of a great wolf of considerable size. Two of the men were slain, just one managing to hide in the topmost branches of a tree until dawn dispersed the fell creatures. It was decided that it would be wise for us to ensure the wellbeing of the new knight there and, after being fetched from Blackthorn by Audacia, Antonius immediately travelled to Lydney. There he discovered that Martin was indeed gravely ill but with the use of a potion Antonius was able to ensure the survival of our ally who I am sure must now feel even more closely entwined with us. I believe that our Tytalan has provided us with a stable position within the mundane world for the first time within this covenant's history.
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