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Scribed by Antonius

Spring 1136 AD


Despite having decided to study from vis, Turold decided to attend a party in the summer glade to which he had been invited. Whilst such actions undoubtedly help strengthen the good relations that this covenant enjoys with the fey, I cannot help but feel that our esteemed Verditius gains no slight enjoyment from his visits to the faerie regio, much perhaps in the same way that I enjoy my dealings with the mundanes. There is danger there and things can be extremely stressful but both can be exhilarating and quite beautiful. Though by the time he had returned the season was all but over and his vis was wasted he had brought back with him one of the Lyn-y-fan’s hairs which he has wrapped around the healing device which she gifted to us.

Summer

With the tribunal this season the council debated what motions we should raise there. After a brief discussion we made a tentative agreement to use the first for Caelestis to formally present the details of his symposium and the second to offer ignem vis for trade, preferably for rego vis.

I journeyed to Monmouth to see if I could ascertain what was going on there. The Baron has raised a lot of troops from his own funds not the city coffers, which is most intriguing. I also heard talk that he has hired cut-throats to harry Coleford. So the question is, where is the Baron getting this money from? Is it linked to the large monies that we know Guyere accumulated? The Reeve seems more than a little concerned about it as it does not seem likely that the Baron could have garnered sufficient monies from his estates. Time, however, was not on my side and I had to return for the customary pre-tribunal meeting with our allies at Blackthorn.

Serenia offered us any help that we required to help with the threat hanging over us and Blackthorn is to provide five Leap of Homecoming potions so that key personnel might escape the dragon if it should come. Casus added that he had spoken with Garius who said that he might be able to stay with us over winter if time permits. Dialectica then told us the motions that Blackthorn would be raising at Tribunal. The first is a question as to how the Ex-Miscellanian investigations are proceeding and that with their diminishing numbers we should all endeavour to train more apprentices. Serenia then wished to restate her worries, as Senior Quaesitor about the matter of quoracy at tribunal as the second point. As it still stands the Praeco and a single Quaesitor could be quorate. As the first motion was really two separate issues we suggested that we could raise the matter of Stonehenge magi needing to train more apprentices as our second motion instead of the vis trading offer.

Then as magi began to arrive from across Stonehenge so the scope of this journal broadens from the history of Severn Temple to that of the tribunal. There were four new magi present at the meeting, Magnus and Xanthia, magi of Flambeau and Tremere respectively, who have joined Scafell and Arturus and Fulgaria representing Narwold. In total, 34 magi were present as Prima Praeco Eloria gave her opening address. She demanded a queen of vis from Narwold as punishment for missing previous tithes and declaring itself illegally that it was not part of Stonehenge. As general tithe she requested one pawn of vis per magus which is to be paid within two years. Before any normal tribunal business would take place the Prima Praeco announced that the trials of Isabella and Darius would be resolved.

Isabella was brought to face the judgement of her peers first. Quaesitor Serenia, as Accusator, proposed that she had acted without care and with her reckless disregard for the safety of other magi, resulting in the death of Ospectus should be stripped of her Gift. Dionysus, as Patronus, argued that whilst she had acted over-hastily in the midst of the battlefield that she had found herself in, conditions were such that her behaviour warranted a much less severe punishment and proposed that she serve the tribunal for two years as penance. Although there was some discussion about the exact situation when she had killed Ospectus, intellego mentem spells cast by the Quaesitori confirmed that she had genuinely erred in slaying our sodalis and had meant him no ill will whatsoever. That I think was the key piece of evidence, removing any suspicion that she may have been trying to use the confusion of the battle as cover for murder and as such the Patronus won by 18 votes.

Darius’s trial was next with once again Serenia acting as Accusator and Dionysus as Patronus. Serenia pushed for Darius to be Wizard’s Marched whilst Dionysus stated that he should receive no punishment whatsoever. The facts of the case were related to the tribunal as follows, Darius and Dionysus had been tracking Erin of Scafell but illusions bearing Blodwyn’s sigil enable him to escape though they were able to capture her. Blodwyn consented to answer their questions and admitted to having healed some of the rebels fleeing Blackridge. At this, formal accusation of a breach of the code was made by Dionysus and an intellego mentem spell was cast upon her which revealed that she had in fact healed Mcgreine, the renounced Primus of Ex-Miscellania, of a disease. A version of the Prison of Flames was used to imprison her whilst Dionysus left to continue the pursuit of Erin, leaving Darius to guard her. As he watched, Darius claimed that he saw her move to try and get something from her robes. He ordered her to stop and to let him re-search her clothing but she made a grab for a potion bottle which had been concealed in her cloak. Darius cast a rego corporem spell to prevent her from doing so but the spell went somehow awry and moved her into the flames surrounding her. Quaesitor Jania verified that the intellego mentem spells which she had cast on Darius backed up this version of events though she had been unable to summon Blodwyn’s spirit for questioning. Although Darius is not a popular man, the evidence placed before the tribunal made it all but impossible to rationally vote any other way that for the Patronus and indeed there was a sizeable majority in his favour.

With the trials concluded we were able to move onto the main part of the tribunal and the motions raised by individual covenants.

For Blackthorn, Dialectica asked about the status of Holy Isle’s investigations and was told by Eloria that such a question was to be answered. Serenia then restated her concern over the quoracy rules, an issue which Eloria dismissed as she had done in the previous tribunal.

Darius spoke of Holy Isle’s investigations. Four magi have so far been cleared and very few magi from Stonehenge have been found to be helping the Blackridge rebels. He also asked for a 5 pawn tithe from all magi present to pay for the ongoing investigations.

Speaking for Cad Gadu, Jordael reported that he has had visions that the war for the crown will be lengthy and very severe, and made public that which he had told Turold, that the Stonehenge itself had been interfered with.

Borrea Tor informed the tribunal that the Scottish army would be entering the civil war on the side f Henry of Chester and that conflict was likely soon with York being held for Stephen of Blois. They were suspicious of whether rebel Ex-Miscellanians from the Blackridge conflict were aiding the Scottish army, seeking perhaps to drag the Order into direct conflict with the mundanes. There were certainly scrying magicks used at the court of York. They also suggested that we should watch the Welsh for any signs that magi may be involved. This is a piece of information we would do well to heed I feel for with legends of the "Welsh War Wizard" still extant, anyone offering magical aide to a Welsh uprising would be eagerly received.

Jania of Solis Castle stood next to make a query concerning procedure for reporting non-investigated Ex-Miscellanians. Should such magi be reported to Holy Isle or Blackthorn? Eloria confirmed that any news of such magi should be taken to the Senior Quaesitor at Blackthorn. Moravius, Solis Castle’s Verditius, then offered his services to the tribunal, though with the proviso that this offer would be for a few years only with his next house meeting in mind.

There was no representative from Moorstow yet again, and with Mathus having been unable to find any sign of its magi for some years now, the covenant was struck from the records.

Lear Valley raised no motions.

Venius, the Tremere Hoplite from Bly Wydden requested clarification on what force Hoplite were permitted to use in restraining Ex-Miscellanians under investigation. Serenia replied quite firmly that they were still members of the Order and as such were to be treated as normal magi unless formally accused of a breach of the Code.

Torius, the only member of Scafell not to have fled that place, welcomed Magnus and Xanthia as new members of the covenant.

Caelestis raised our first motion and made formal presentation of his forum on auras and regios which is to be held at Blackthorn at Midsummer in the year eleven hundred and thirty eight. Petrus will speak on magical auras, with particular reference to his breakthrough, DuClerk of Jerbiton will talk of the dominion and Sylvania of Merinitan on faerie places. Prima Praeco had sadly had to decline Caelestis’s invitation to talk on the infernal. There is also to be an auction and some forum for magi to exchange vis and magical items. Turold then suggested that with our numbers growing ever smaller, all magi present should look to taking apprentices.

From Carrion Moor, Kira asked that if there was only one magus from without covenant present, Cornelius, should they still get to potentially raise three issues? Eloria quickly moved on to the next topic without even bothering to discuss it. Kira went on to warn of a hedge wizard who had attacked DuCamp and was believed to have been heading in the direction of Blackthorn and Severn Temple. She warned that he was very dangerous and had extensive contacts amongst thieves and brigands.

Arturus spoke for Narwold, expressing how pleased they were to be part of Stonehenge and asked if any magi were interested in exchanging vis for vim vis. He also gave a warning that from his contacts within the church he was convinced that there are a number of diabolists operating outside London, some within the church.

As the sole representative of Southern England Cornelius rose to echo Arturus’s warnings about diabolists. Cornelius stated that they were also present in Bristol, Lincoln and London and were extremely dangerous, using spirits to watch and spy for them.

So the tribunal came to an end with little news that was good, though we are reduced in number the tribunal still retains a vigour that I am confident will see if through the troubles that lie ahead.

Autumn

As the Summer came to an end and thoughts turned towards Autumn and preparing for the expected dragon attack in Winter we had a most unexpected and pleasurable surprise. Ruaridh returned despite having been declared dead for almost a decade. He arrived at the covenant with Casus having come fresh from Blackthorn where Senior Quaesitor Serenia had investigated him and found that he was indeed who he claimed to be. We were most anxious to hear his tale of what had actually happened during the Wizard’s War with Isabella that had led to her proclaiming that she had killed him. The truth as he told it was troubling though clearly some elements of it were of no great surprise to some of my sodales.

Ruaridh said that he had been attacked by Darius in the guise of a shadow, identical to the one which had assaulted Edith and killed her familiar. Seeking a sanctuary of some sort Ruaridh fled into Mynydd Myrridin but was unable to shake his pursuer. Tired and wounded he flew deeper into the heart of the regio and fell into a deep regio. When he regained his senses he found himself in an old tiled chamber, which by its appearance dated back to Roman times. In the centre of this place was an ancient body which he examined only to find his parma suddenly assailed. The attacks continued unabated until he cried out in Welsh whereupon they stopped as abruptly as they had begun. Though the language that the spirit spoke was not the same as Ruaridh’s modern Welsh there was enough similarity to enable them to talk to each other.

The shade claimed that he had been a servant at the site of our covenant, watching over the Spring there. Though he would not give his name, fearing that it would grant Ruaridh power over him, he did talk of his times, saying that he knew of the Ruadan when she had been wholly human and also spoke of the power of the Severn, which he called the Serpent River. He said that it was linked to the power of the Old Gods, in particular the Morrigan and claimed that he saw an affinity with her in Ruaridh, perhaps referring to the Perdo vis which courses through Ruaridh’s blood. The chamber was apparently a prison for the shade who had been set there by his enemies the Romans. The shade also told Ruaridh that the pillar atop the hill through which he had fallen had been set there by Myrridin himself and had the power to grant visions.

Ruaridh cast his mind out and saw a series of troubling scenes: Turold attacked and disembowelled in a city street; a great black wyrm laying waste to the covenant; Meredith chased by a wolf and killed by a sickly green blade as he turned to face his attacker; Blackridge attacked as wizard fought wizard; Blodwyn taken by the same shadow that attacked Edith; and, the high tower of Holy Isle where a great wolf spoke with a hooded man whose shadow stood beside him not behind. As this visions faded he found himself seemingly atop the hill next to a large black crow, an embodiment of the Morrigan. Ruaridh spoke with her of his need to escape to bring warning to the covenant and of his desire for vengeance for what this shadow had done. The Morrigan said that she would set him free but that he would be changed by this desire for vengeance and in truth as I looked at Ruaridh talking I could sense a deep passion that had not been there before.

As Ruaridh finished his account of what had happened to him he stated openly his belief that Darius was a fallen magus. Although there is no direct evidence, there is a great deal of circumstantial evidence to support his claim though Ruaridh did not think there was anything substantial enough to bring Darius to trial. He also mentioned that the Morrigan had warned him that Darius had servants of whose nature we are not aware of, which, if this is all true, is somewhat concerning.

Once Ruaridh’s tale had finished and the council had welcomed him back, the meeting proceeded as normal. Turold stated that he was intending on venturing into Gofannon’s realm to try and find Archimagus Jolyon but Ruaridh said that he did not think it would be safe for Jolyon to return unless he had first been cleared by a Quaesitor and reinstated as a full member of Ex-Miscellania. There was some brief discussion but Turold was persuaded to wait until Spring when Ruaridh would accompany him into the Mountain King’s court. Turold was therefore able to join the rest of the council in spending the season carefully packing away the delicate laboratory equipment so that it can be stored safely out of harm’s way in Blackthorn before Winter.

Despite the air of foreboding hanging over the covenant, life in the mundane lands hereabouts continued unabashed with our taxes raised to 500d, doubtless to pay for the war. A few weeks into the season Mathus arrived bringing news of the conflict. Stephen has landed in England, with Gloucester and York declaring for him, though both are tied down fighting against Devon and King David of Scotland respectively. Stephen fought a hard battle at Rochester which he won but sustained heavy losses. The Archbishop of Canterbury has also put his support behind Stephen though Henry still holds London and has the support of the majority of English nobles. As for hermetic news, two more Blackridge rebels have been slain, Kilnoch and Fergus. The mundanes though, whether over-zealous in fighting the civil war or inspired perhaps by some of the rebels, attacked Borri-Tor with such force that it took Maga Orlania’s fire magicks was able to stop them from storming that covenant. In a further development, following the meeting of his house, Primus Bonsai’s has called an emergency meeting of the Grand Tribunal to be held on Midsummer’s day in eleven hundred and thirty seven. Apparently the Bjornaer have moved their meeting forward so that their Primus and Archimagi can attend.

The rest of the season passed uneventfully, save for the constant stream of carts carrying glassware, books and other items to precious to risk being destroyed should the dragon come as foretold. On the last day of autumn, Garius, Fenriata and Caisus arrived, ready to do battle with the dragon and whatever other forces might come against us.

Winter

Our three defenders were invited to our winter meeting so that we could all discuss what exactly was to be done. Caelestis had performed a further divination, hoping to be able to determine a more precise date for the attack, but the best he was able to discern was that it would come in mid to late winter. Garius raised the possibility of completely evacuating the covenant so as not to risk the lives of any magi but we decided unanimously that the site was too important to allow to fall under the control of the UnNamed House. Ruaridh, in his role as Quaesitor, nominated Garius as a Hoplite. Garius then went on to suggest that it would be best if Turold, Caelestis and myself were to evacuate to Blackthorn and wait out the attack there. Turold and Caelestis agreed that this seemed wise but though aware of the dangers I felt compelled to stay and do what I could to help. In the end of the entire covenant only eleven remained within the walls as Winter moved on. Ruaridh, Audacia and I, with three servants who had volunteered to stay on to feed the covenant’s defenders and five brave men who had also volunteered to act as shield grogs to the remaining magi, Rannulf, Alba, Wulf, Kenn and Dannorth.

Shortly into the season we had word that Darius and Dionysus had arrived, seeking entry to the covenant in their role as members of the Dedicated Covenant. Somewhat unusually they arrived at the Temple Gate, I assume they had been doing some investigations of their own before entering though they mentioned nothing. They set up in the infirmary at the base of the tower, disregarding warnings from Garius that they might be safer in with everyone else in the Great Hall in favour of the privacy that a room of their own offered. Indeed so strong was this desire for secrecy that at one point I found the doorway leading to the tower barred from within and had to knock to be granted access to part of my own covenant.

The weeks passed agonisingly slowly with a tense mixture of nervousness and anticipation. There was none of the usual bravado that I have on occasion seen amongst Flambeau before a fight. Against the great serpent that could come swooping down at any time all magi knew that their magicks might not suffice and each waited for that moment to come with quiet determination. The waiting came to an end on Midwinter’s day. As that day dawned there was a feel of expectancy in the air and slowly as the day wore on the winds strengthened until a fierce storm raged about the covenant and dark clouds blocked out the sun. The first attack came from shadow wolves, similar to those that had attacked with the great black stag when the UnNamed House had last assailed this place. They were met by Fenriata and Caisus, the two magi designated to engage the dragon when it came. Although the wolves could be warded away with flame and lightning they were too numerous to be engaged on the ground and the two magi were forced to take to the air. Sadly their shield grogs, Dannorth and Alba were slain by the wolves before they could make it back to the safety of the main keep.

Then swooping down from the dark sky came the dragon. Although I had read of such beasts and spoken with those magi who had faced it before, I was unprepared for the sheer sense of power about the creature. It was quite simply awe-inspiring. With a single breath it devastated the granary and barracks then turned and unleashed fiery ruin upon the keep and tower. I hurriedly drank my potion of the Leap of Homecoming and apported away before the fires could catch me. However, there was more than just the dragon to consider. As Ruaridh, Garius and Meredith waited in the great hall with the remaining grogs the shadow that had attacked Edith and Ruaridh appeared and made a lunge towards Meredith with its sickly green blade. Before it could reach him though Garius let fly with an almighty burst of fire which consumed the shadow utterly. Meredith, his eyes glowing gold, then began to transform into a great red dragon which leapt up into the air to do battle with the black dragon. As all this went on the roof began to collapse as the black dragon’s breath burnt away the top storey and Ruaridh and Audacia consumed their potions on Garius’s command and appeared back at Blackthorn.

As the magi gathered at Blackthorn, scant leagues from Severn Temple, little could be seen of the fight between the two dragons with the storm raging about them. There was sad news though as Caisus managed to apport back to Blackthorn but died of his wounds before he could be healed. Fenriata and Garius made it back safely though neither knew what had happened to the dragons, they had apparently climbed high into the skies as they fought until they were lost from sight. The mood in Blackthorn was grim, with Caisus dead and Severn Temple in smouldering ruins, it was a long and sombre night.

At dawn we flew to Severn Temple to see what was remained. It was badly damaged, the top two levels of the tower and half of the keep were utterly destroyed, as were the granary, barracks and armoury. The storm that had accompanied the dragon had at least ensured that the fires had burnt out before they could consume everything, leaving an acrid smell of smoke throughout the covenant. Of the two grogs that had been caught by the shadow wolves in the courtyard there was no sign other than a bloodied halberd. Nor was there any trace of Meredith. Amongst the smouldering piles of charred timber and rock that was what was left of the great hall we found the body of Wulf, who had been caught by a falling roof-beam before he could escape. There was also the body of a great wolf, partially obscured in the rubble. Was this Darius’ familiar? Had he been the shadow that had tried to attack Meredith as Ruaridh had suspected?

As the rain dampened down the last of the embers we set about our endeavours to get Severn Temple back on its feet once more. I flew down to Blackney to fetch the Castellan, grogs and other covenfolk and bid them bring the fresh timbers and canvas that we had purchased for this eventuality. As our servants began to shore up what they could I left to go and fetch what further supplies I could and to seek out our merchant contacts, for with the destruction that had been wrought we would surely need money now more than ever. Turold flew off to see if Blackthorn or Cad Gadu had a copy of the ritual to Conjure the Mystic Tower and Caelestis returned to our allies to oversee the safe return of our books and equipment which will be stored in the visitor’s library until we have permanent quarters once more. Ruaridh and Audacia began to clear away the rubble and roots of burnt trees using their Perdo magic so that we could raise fresh buildings. There was a slight mishap when Ruaridh’s Perdo magicks ran out of control as he attempted to destroy the wolf’s corpse and this unfortunately brought down what little of the tower had still been standing. Ruaridh also came across a tooth and some charred bones in the remains of the great hall which an Intellego Corporem spell revealed to have belonged to Darius. It would seem that Caisus was not the only magus to have perished in the dragon’s attack though I doubt that he will be much mourned by many within the tribunal for he was not a popular man.

So as the year draws to an end and I look out across the muddy courtyard from the Fox and Chicken where I have taken up temporary residence to write this journal, I can see that there is much work to be done. Yet despite the devastation and the death the covenant still endures and I am confident that we can emerge from this tragedy stronger than ever before.
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