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Scribed by Ruaridh

Spring 1140 AD


Before discussing whether to admit the Magus Madoc as a member of the covenant, we debated several possible modifications to Severn Temple’s charter. We reasoned that this was a good opportunity to clarify the system for admitting new members and removing old ones to ensure that it was both fair and transparent. The existing charter had served us well for a great many years, but we had not fully considered the full range of circumstances that might cause Magi to leave the covenant, and we were eager to close any loopholes that might result in legal difficulties in the future. The debate was good humoured, but we often got sidetracked into trying to reword the charter to protect ourselves against all sorts of unlikely scenarios. In the end, we decided to limit the amendments to the following four clauses:

First, if the Council wishes to expel one of its members against his wishes, it must first remove his Good Standing as set out elsewhere in the charter. After a minimum of one season from this point has passed, the Council may debate a motion to expel from the covenant the Magus who has lost his Good Standing. This motion must receive the votes of all Magi save the one who is to be expelled.

Second, a Magus in Good Standing may choose to leave the covenant of his own free will. The Magus must announce his intention to leave at a quorate Council meeting. The Magus so doing will cease to be a member of the covenant at the end of the Council meeting.

Third, A Magus joining the covenant must complete a probationary period of two years. During this period, the Council may choose to expel him from the covenant by a vote of all Magi save the Magus to be expelled. In this case, it is not necessary to strip him of his Good Standing or wait one season as set out in the first clause. In addition, the Magus in question may also choose to leave the covenant by following the provisions in the second clause.

Fourth, let it be understood by all that the resources here specified belong to the covenant rather than individual Magi: vis sites (whether uncontested or contested), vis stores, magical items, magical texts, mundane texts, laboratory equipment and mundane resources (including, but not limited to, coven folk, grogs, artisans, money, goods, businesses, buildings and land). Any Magus leaving the covenant must surrender any and all of these resources in his possession. The Council may choose to grant a departing Magus use or ownership of any resources at its discretion.

Once the amendments had been passed, we voted to invite Madoc to join us as a member of the covenant. After a brief interlude when he questioned some of the provisions of the charter, particularly those relating to access to vis, he accepted our offer. His first action as a member of the covenant was to declare his mundane brother, Aledd, to be his Amicus. Little else of note was discussed at the meeting save that Turold announced that he would depart immediately to attend his House meeting at Verdi. We bade him take four grogs to protect him during the journey given the uncertainties caused by the civil war.

The day after the meeting, Antonius and I travelled to Clearwell to investigate whether the well, once a source of Rego vis, still retained any magic. Antonius scouted the village and was quite surprised to find that it had not been taken by the Welsh. He then recalled that there was some form of family relationship between the Knight of Coleford, under whose protection Clearwell falls, and a Welsh noble, and this had probably ensured the village’s safety. Unfortunately, I could detect no trace of a magical aura around the well, but we resolved to return on St Briavel’s day in summer to see whether this situation would change.

A week or so into the season, Turold returned and informed us that he had been attacked on the road to Oxford by a band of fells. The situation had looked grim for our sodalis for a while, but he was eventually able to drive his assailants away using the Wand of Arcane Fire. He interrogated one of the fells and discovered that they had been set the task of attacking wealthy merchants on the road in an attempt to gather funds. Two of the grogs had died in the melee and another was badly wounded. We therefore made arrangements to ferry them back to Severn Temple and provide Turold with replacement guards. This reduced the numbers of grogs at the covenant to a dangerously low level, and we were forced to ask some of the coven folk to take turns patrolling the walls. Antonius has been set the task of recruiting more men, though he may find it difficult to do so given that almost all the fighting men in the region have been conscripted into the English or Welsh armies.

By the end of the season, I had finished inventing a most useful spell that I had read about elsewhere, the Seven League Stride. The task involved a great deal of delicate lab work, for the spell was at the limit of my capabilities, but I managed to succeed in my task. Indeed, by pushing myself to try hitherto untested methods of experimentation, I gained fuller insight into the intricacies of the Art of Corporem. A most successful season, indeed.

Summer

Antonius informed us at the council meeting that he had managed to recruit three men during his travels in and around the Dean. He had also spent some time ensuring that his business in Chepstow will not be adversely affected by the war, which should provide us with much needed income. Finally, he brought us news of political events in the region and elsewhere in the country. The Welsh war band surrounding Monmouth has still captured the city, but there are rumours that the Welsh sappers will shortly have tunnelled far enough under the city walls to bring them down. Further afield, it seems that Henry has ransomed the Duke of York from his Scottish captors and that the Duke, in gratitude, has switched his allegiance from King Stephen to Henry. This is likely to weaken severely Stephen’s position in the north. It also seems that Baron Martin of Monmouth has fallen in battle, so we will acquire a new neighbour whichever side wins the civil war.

A few days after the meeting, we spotted smoke rising from the direction of Monmouth. I flew over to investigate and found that the Welsh army had brought down the outer wall. It appears that the inner keep is still in English hands, though the Welsh have free reign over the rest of the city. Given the cramped conditions and lack of supplies, it surely will not be long before the keep also falls into Welsh hands. This will allow the Welsh to march on the other English settlements of the Dean and perhaps attack Gloucester itself.

Madoc returned to the covenant a week or so into the season. He had set out for Clearwell to check on the status of the village before heading southeast to look for vis sites on the Salisbury plains. Madoc’s initial foray ended in disaster after he ran afoul of a Welsh war band in the vicinity of Lydney. He was arrested and taken to Monmouth, where he was thrown into prison. Quite what Madoc did to deserve such treatment from fellow Welshmen escapes me, but both his nationality and his Art failed to save him. At least he escaped the fate of the Saxon member of his party who was left swinging from a nearby oak tree. Madoc eventually managed to secure his freedom after he convinced his Welsh jailors that he was a wizard, though I understand that he was almost burnt to death after his attempt to intimidate his captors failed spectacularly. Still, he reached the covenant with no further casualties and brought us news that the Welshmen who captured him were camped in Lydney. Audacia and Antonius travelled down to the village to send a clear message that the wizards of the Dean should never be molested in this way again. The leader of the Welshmen was left broken and bloody; I doubt he and his comrades will bother us in the future. With the roads once again made safe, Madoc ventured out to complete his mission.

Later in the season, I travelled to Clearwell to check whether the well once again became magical on St Briavel’s day. Sadly, there was no change in the water or the aura, which means we seem to have lost the Rego site forever.

Autumn

Madoc brought us news of his travels. It seems the Welsh now own Clearwell and possibly Coleford. The ties of blood between the local knight and the Welsh nobles are perhaps less important than we first thought. Madoc crossed the Severn into England and picked up the road between Shaftesbury and Salisbury, where he heard rumours of a ghostly settlement full of primitive but friendly villagers. After some investigation, Madoc discovered a strange, possibly artificial hill with a gentle slope at one end and a steep drop at the other. A local peasant claimed that his father once spotted the ghostly village from the summit of the hill, and so Madoc and his band began the hard climb to the top. There, though he could see no sign of the village, he discovered a ruined fortress.

Searching the debris in the fort, Madoc discovered an old fashioned short sword that, though somewhat decayed, gave off a magical scent; he also found the remains of an empty prison cell. Camping near the fortress one night, Madoc’s Amicus, Aledd, had a powerful dream in which a man in Saxon dress beseeched him to carry a warning to others of his kind so that he might not have died in vain. Madoc searched the cell again and discovered the bones of a long dead man. He also found a loose brick in the wall that concealed a worn leather pouch. Inside was a sheet of fine vellum covered in what appeared to be archaic Anglo Saxon runes. Perhaps most intriguingly, the vellum, bones and short sword all dated from around 125 years ago, which put them squarely in the period of the Schism War. We should tread carefully here.

At the council meeting, I cast a spontaneous spell designed to give me an insight to the meaning of the runes. I received the impression that they formed a letter to a friend containing a warning and advice. The warning concerned something that had died yet lived still, whereas the advice was in the form of a riddle. We decided that I would approach Cad Gadu covenant this season to see whether we could arrange a fuller translation. Primus Jordael professed some knowledge of the script, and he kindly agreed to furnish us with a translation next season.

The rest of the season was fairly quiet until a group of Cors appeared at the edge of the Aegis heralding the arrival of their mistress, the Ruadan. Exacting my now usual deal concerning safe passage, I left the protection of the Aegis to speak with the faerie sorceress. She told me that a Christian priest had entered the Morrigan’s Glade, and that his fervent prayers were disturbing the power of the area. The Ruadan and her allies were powerless to interfere with the man, which perhaps hinted at his holy nature. I agreed to enter the glade and try to persuade the priest to leave. When I first saw him, it was clear that he was very scared at being trapped in such an alien environment, and he refused to listen to my words and promises of safe conduct. However, I was eventually able to get through to him and began to lead him away. Unfortunately, he insisted on completing his ritual, and I noticed, with a degree of alarm that I still do not truly understand, that the runes of the Morrigan’s Stone had begun to fade as they were touched by the priest’s holy water. I moved to stop him defacing the stone, but his faith compelled him to continue and he would not listen to reason. As the holy water continued to splash the stone, I felt a searing pain as the blood in my veins turned to fire. I cast several spells designed to render the priest unconscious or move him forcibly from the area, but they all failed to affect him. In a last effort, I summoned my remaining energy and let fly the deadly Incantation of Lightning. The priest’s divine protection failed him in this instance, and he did not survive. Pausing only to sacrifice a portion of my blood to restore the runes on the stone, I travelled back to the covenant to face the inquiries of my sodales.

Winter

The Council discussed the fact that Turold had not yet returned from his travels to Verdi despite his previous claims that he would be back by Autumn. We resolved to take no action at this stage, but we decided we would investigate his whereabouts if he had not arrived by the time of the next meeting.

A few days after the meeting, a Cor approached the covenant and explained that it had apparently been given to me, presumably as payment for securing the Morrigan’s Glade. I was minded at first to send it away for I had desire to keep the creature, but I was persuaded by Audacia and Antonius that it might serve as a useful spy if we could be assured of its loyalty. I tested the Cor’s willingness to follow my orders by demanding it touch a cold iron blade. It did so with little complaint despite the fact that metal clearly hurt its skin.

We carried out an experiment to see whether the Cor’s keen eyes could detect spirits, and, to our surprise, it managed to locate not only Audacia’s spirit guardian but also the further spirit watching the village of Blackney. Audacia interrogated this interloper, and she discovered that it had been summoned and bound by the diabolist Francis. It had been set the task of watching the movements of the Magi here and making regular reports to what it described as ‘dark spirits’. Audacia then destroyed the spirit, and I commanded the Cor to keep watch over the village in case Francis returned in the future. If we are lucky, perhaps we will catch the diabolist next time he pays Blackney a visit.

Later in the season, Loretius the Redcap brought us news of mundane and Hermetic events. It seems that the new alliance between the pretender Henry and the Duke of York has encouraged other nobles to desert King Stephen. The barons of the Welsh marches proved particularly rebellious once Stephen refused them permission to leave his army to defend their lands from the Welsh. Bishop David of York has arranged an agreement between Henry and Stephen to ban the use of flaming barrels of oil when conducting sieges; several towns had previously been raised to the ground after barrels were indiscriminately catapulted inside their walls by besieging armies. Both Henry and Stephen have also sent emissaries to Rome to seek the backing of the Pope.

Onto Hermetic matters. Du Clerc of Borri Tor said news that there were rumours that MacGreine had returned to the Loch Legean Tribunal, and that he was in discussions with the Scottish rebels. Elsewhere, Serenia had been summoned to Holy Isle to investigate an attack by an infernal creature on Maga Fenriata, who had apparently been in the process of investigating Darius’ former sanctum. A great storm had hit Narwold covenant; when the winds calmed down, the Magi there discovered a set of magical tunnels between the covenant and the sea. Finally, our sodalis Turold had been sighted at Harco covenant, having lost an arm in an encounter with a rampaging bear. To our great relief, Turold had survived the battle by the skin of his teeth, and he was apparently now making his way back to Severn Temple through the faerie realm of Gofannon.

Loretius also brought me a letter from Jordael that contained a complete translation of the Anglo Saxon runes on the vellum scroll discovered by Madoc. I shall quote it in full here, for it contains some quite startling revelations: "Imprisoned through no fault of my own, I know it is only a matter of time before I am executed. For my Saxon brothers that come after me, I record this warning and one piece of advice. Know that Padraig of Swallowcliff, follower of Diedne, long held a suspicion that the Tremere had fallen under the sway of one who had died but whose spirit still resided within his corpse. I know not how he learned of this, but my death is testimony to their desire to keep this secret. Also remember this: the red-eyed serpent follows the rainbow. Bryhtgan, Magus Ex Miscellenea." We sat in silence for a few moments after I read the letter to let the news sink in. After much debate, we then resolved to inform Senior Quaesitor Serenia of the letter and let her decide what should be done with the information.

So ends my time writing the journal. I now hand over to the Magus Madoc, who I feel will have much to record over the next few years. Truly, we live in interesting times.
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