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Scribed by Medius

Spring 1150 AD


On first scribing the journal many of the magi who have come before me have recorded something of their thoughts about the importance of this work and I shall take a moment to follow that tradition. I have been resident in this covenant but half a year and the scope of the events that have befallen Severn Temple since its refounding in 1080 have been great indeed. There remain none that remember back that far at this covenant, with Magus Aelfwin resident the longest at a mere 7 years. Yet events in the past may well have importance for those in the future, particularly given the political maelstrom that we find ourselves surrounded by. It is thanks to those magi who have resided here at the covenant, the words that they have set down in this journal, that we can hope to have any understanding of the causes of these events and perhaps some of the threats that may challenge us in the future. I shall endeavour in my writings to think of those that may follow myself and present a full and true account of events in my own time at Severn Temple. I hope that I may remain objective in my telling but if I fail it is because I am only a man and partiality is a weakness that all men share to some extent.

The Spring concilium opened with the decision to invite Magus Tiarnan to speak with the council so that we might ascertain his suitability to become one of our number. Whilst we waited his attendance Magus Astrius informed us that he had been granted a sword and a helm from the estate of his late master, Magus Garius. Despite the provisions in the charter which give concilium a claim of one third of such a gift it was agreed unanimously that the magus be allowed to keep the items untithed. Magus Tiarnan spoke with us in clear and calm manner, answering those questions put to him concisely but fully. It seems that he specialises most in the technique of Muto and the forms of Aquam, Imagonem and Animal. He has a small selection of spells in the fields of illusions, beasts and water. His interest is as much in bodies of fresh water as it is in the fae where he stated that he was most associated with the courts of summer. This means little to me as there have been no fae sighted in the Rome tribunal for several years and I have never made study of the creatures. He felt that with his stay having been so short to now it was too early for either him or us to make a judgement as to the suitability of his becoming a member of our concilium. It was agreed that he would spend the season reading this journal giving us all a chance to judge each other more accurately.

Once he had departed the council chamber we spoke of our services for the year to come. Magus Theodosius stated that he would spend this season abroad gathering what information he may. Magus Aelfwin also agreed to perform his service in Spring, constructing glass that may be sold to Tintern Abbey for a profit. It was agreed that magus Cormoran would scribe spells in summer and that Magus Astrius would create another magic lamp for use in the basement rooms that were the Magus Turold's. We had decided that it would be wisest to move the mundane library there given its current proximity to the kitchens and the resulting risk of conflagration. I agreed that for my two services I would spend a season learning English and another investigating a magic saddle that can create a horse, a former possession of Magus Turold. I also announced that I would begin this season by visiting Senior Quaesitor Serenia at Blackthorn. I asked Magus Astrius if he would show me the route but he replied that he had agreed to accompany a party seeking the former vis sites of the now lost Morstow covenant. Magus Cormoran said that he would accompany me before studying the Rego texts and I accepted his aid. I requested that when I returned I be allowed to study from the Mentem texts and this was agreed. We also discussed other activities that we might pursue over the course of the year and with the exception of Aelfwin who will be continuing to work on his glass working skills we shall all attempt to develop our Parma Magica.

Allowing a few days before our departure so that we might avoid travelling close to the full moon, myself and the Magi Cormoran and Theodosius (accompanying us for the first day) travelled south to the village of Blackney. Here we met the headman and were given the best facilities that these rustic people could provide. Giovanni was somewhat surprised as to the informal nature with which my sodales were greeted but it seems accepted by these two magi and I advised him that he should not concern himself as long as such informality was restricted to those who have chosen to encourage it. While we were there it came to our attention that there was a merchant and guard, or at least two men claiming to be such, showing an interest in Briavel Village, as our covenant is referred to amongst the surrounding mundanes. It turned out that these were rough denizens of the city of Gloucester trying to strike a bargain for some information that they had about the fells. It was agreed that Magus Theodosius would pursue this later in the season in an attempt to establish some form of information channel.

After that Magus had left the following day I pressed on to Blackthorn with Magus Cormoran. Our journey was not unduly difficult but those who inhabit the crude villages and towns along the route showed some hostility given the nature of my blood and it was difficult to find places to stay as we travelled. After a week of travelling ( and one or two false turns given that we did not know the exact route) we reached the covenant and I was able to attend upon the Senior Quaesitor. She confirmed my concilium's fear that there was to be a motion raised against us concerning events of the past. She asked me to prepare a report on the character of my sodales and deliver it to her before the tribunal of summer. She also told me that the Concilium Quaesitori would meet before the tribunal and I was to attend. The journey back was quicker, taking only 3 days, but once again my appearance made the trip less than pleasant.

Magus Theodosius continued his journeys around the Dean but eventually came to Gloucester. One of the covenant's men, a former thief by the name of Martin, made contact with some criminal figures that he knows in order to find out about Edmund, the man in Blackney who had claimed to be a merchant. Fortuitously the contacts he had, members of a gang led by a cut-throat named Maelgwyn were the sponsors of the man Edmund's trip. Magus Theodosius spoke with this man himself and established that this criminal and his fellows had attacked the fells interests as part of a bid for power in the city's underworld and recovered some artefacts from them that they needed our help to use. Maelgwyn handed over one such item, a map written on human skin with coded writing. My sodalis agreed that he would remove it so that he might break the code and speak with the rest of us, taking care not to reveal that we were magi although it is apparent that this Maelgwyn suspects such. He also informed us that he had an arrangement with the watch so was in a position to take some action.

The Magus called a concilium close to the end of the season where we discussed what he had found. He told us that he had detected a shadow in the spirit world related to the obscene parchment it was scribed upon but assured us that this was but a remnant of pain lingering the item. He was unable to quickly decipher the code but Magus Cormoran said that he could cast a spontaneous spell that would enable us to discover whether the map represented anywhere within the Dean by using our own map in conjunction. This he did although he was sorely tired by his exertions. The map represented an area of land around Snig's End and remembering something recorded previously in the journal it was agreed that the Magi Theodosius and Astrius (by now returned as I shall soon relate) would look back through this text to identify in what context this had been. Magus Astrius had suspected that a place marked on the map was known as a home of unseelie fae but when they reached the entries for 1128 they discovered that it was the chapel that Guyere is said to have destroyed that was marked. I shall not comment further on what was written - a reader may look back to that year and also entries in Autumn 1130 and Spring 1131 if they wish to learn what we discovered. We agreed that we should consider what we might do at the council of summer.

I have written that Magus Astrius returned before the end of the season. He had departed with the Magi Magnus of House Flambeau and Xanthia of House Tremere, both resident at Scarfell. On the way they called at Carrion Moor where Kira of House Tytalus joined them. From his report it is clear that initially they met with some fortune, recovering a sizeable amount of vis from some buried bones and some barrow stones. As they continued their trip however it seems that they entered a wood one night where they were attacked by a faerie that injured one of the shield grogs with an arrow shot. With two Flambeau present the fae was quickly dispatched and they decided to move away from the area in case there was any repercussion. Unfortunately they were not to be lucky; as they entered a glade it was clear that more of these creatures could be espied in the encircling wood. As Magus Astrius illuminated the glade by spell they saw another faerie, this one dressed in black mail and standing a good seven feet tall. This fae launched attack upon Magnus, who had lain the killing blow previously. Despite the strength of the Magi arrayed the creature soon caused considerable damage. Maga Kira cast a Leap of homecoming to wrench her from that place, while Maga Xanthia summoned winds about her so that she might take to the air. The faerie knight sorely injured Magus Magnus and his foot was nearly severed. He might have been struck down had Maga Xanthia not cast spell upon him, lifting him with her into the sky. At this time the creature turned on Magus Astrius and his shield grog lost his life defending his master. The magus was able to escape and after some time wandering in the faerie forest was restored to his companions and later met by a party out of Carrion Moor led by Maga Kira. Sadly much of the vis that had been recovered was lost and Magus Astrius reported that for his efforts he had recovered only 6 pawns, of which two were made over to the covenant. Magus Astrius also told us that during his travels he had heard that there was to be a new covenant established somewhere on the North coast of Cornwall which would be formed with two Magi each of Houses Tremere and Flambeau.

One other event occurred during the season that I feel I should record. A man named Matthew, of Blackney village, said that he had seen six ghostly figures upon the road between that village and Lydney. The matter was discussed amongst the magi and it was wondered whether this was close to the infernal dell that lies in the forest to the Southwest. A brief investigation by Magus Theodosius and Magus Astrius revealed no further details.

Summer

I am happy to record that the first action of the summer concilium concerned the Magus Tiarnan and his decision to join our number, a decision unanimously ratified. He told us that he had, as agreed by the concilium, taken the time to cast spell allowing him to talk to the spring, which told him that all was well with it. Magus Theodosius witnessed this questioning and with his talent for seeing into the realm of spirits said that he had seen the figure of a woman made of water within the pool. One of the former residents of this place had done such and discerned that this was an entity called the Lladra, revered by pagans as a god.

Magus Astrius related the events that I have previously written of and our new magus asked him what had caused the faerie to attack. It seems that it was a question without answer, as the attack as described seems entirely without provocation. We also discussed what our actions should be concerning the fells and the possible assistance of the gang in Gloucester. Much was said concerning the wisdom of forming an alliance of sorts with such low characters and the risks that this might bring. Magus Tiarnan was not certain that we should act against the fells at all and see whether this might lead to a cessation of hostilities between us though the longer resident Magi said that such an approach had not proven successful in the past. Eventually it moved to a vote and with 4 votes in favour (myself and Magus Tiarnan abstaining) it was agreed that we would provide subtle assistance to this Maelgwyn on condition that if our involvement became more widely known it would cease immediately. There followed a discussion about the forthcoming tribunal that, due to my uncertainty about what role I might be asked to play, I decided to absent myself from.

When this was completed I returned and we discussed our activities for the season. As services Magus Tiarnan and myself agreed to take tuition in the language of this country. The Magi Astrius and Aelfwin decided to study in the library, Corporem and Aquam respectively. Magus Cormoran also decided to study from text, travelling to Blackthorn to study Rego in their visitors' library. Magus Theodosius announced that he would be training in the use of the shortsword. Magus Aelfwin also announced that he would not be attending the tribunal, granting Magus Astrius his sigil.

There was no event worth recording prior to our arrival at Blackthorn covenant. When we arrived we were greeted by Magus Cormoran who had a tale to tell us (one that I heard later as I was meeting with the Senior Quaesitor at the time). Whilst he had been studying Praeca Eloria decided to join him for a time. They discussed the alliance and the Praeca seemed to express some dissatisfaction about the current terms of the agreement. I am told that at one point there was a heated exchange of words between Magus Cormoran and Magus Astrius but I am not sure exactly what it concerned. This event was to be a foreshadowing of the actual meeting with the concilium of Blackthorn, a meeting that I attended but in order to maintain my political neutrality did not speak at. Praeca Eloria stated from the commencement that the alliance had been intended to be one of equals but that all the gain had been Severn Temple's. She felt that the only way to continue with the alliance was for there to be a new agreement about the terms of the arrangement. Specifically she wanted specific agreements about our covenant's contribution suggesting eventually a vis tithe and a granting of half of the concilium's vote at tribunal. There was much discussion, both public and private but in the end we felt that we could not accede to these demands and thus Blackthorn withdrew from the alliance.

There had been an additional concern throughout these negotiations. I shall not speak of the precise discussions within the Concilium Quaesitori but I can record that I was informed that there would be a motion raised for a senior magus to be placed within Severn temple to act as Pontifex. Given my interest in this matter I did not exercise my vote in accordance with tradition, a decision that Magus Tiarnan certainly seemed to find difficult to understand. It was felt by some within the covenant concilium that the Quaesitori Dionysus and Ponrius sought to place their own man, perhaps even Magus Ponrius himself, to some private end. I myself do not share these opinions but it is apparent that the Ex Miscellaneans within the covenant feel that those two have been no friend to their house and Astrius has heard unfavourable report about Quaesitor Ponrius. A plan was thus considered to invite another magus to join as Pontifex and pre-empt the motion. Such a plan would rely on being able to raise the motion before any was made against the covenant and the Praeca holds responsibility for setting the tribunal agenda. It seems that my sodales were involved in much politicking for on the eve of midsummer it was announced that Maga Dialectica of House Bonisagus was prepared to join Severn temple as Pontifex. With a full night's notice to allow a lawful council we spoke with the Maga the following morning and after much discussion the Maga was invited to join. She agreed and it was further decided that we would request that the Concilium Quaesitori rewrite our charter to permit a Pontifex.

One other piece of news was revealed to us in the period before the tribunal began. Magus Astrius was perusing the tribunal records relating to vis sites when he discovered that the site known as the Heart of the Forest had been registered as a vis site by Magus Madoc and then, following his death, Blackthorn covenant. There was some discussion as to whether there could be any challenge made against this and precedent suggested that there might be a chance, given that we have harvested there for some time and the vis used for the claim presumably came from Magus Madoc's possessions. However, it is a matter likely to be decided by tribunal politics rather than the intricacies of hermetic law. We shall no doubt discuss this matter further; according to Magus Theodosius it is unlikely that Blackthorn will be able to harvest the vis there.

There were many magi present in the great hall of Blackthorn as the tribunal began although I am told that there were only a few of the Ex Miscellaneans who reside without covenant present. The Praeca began by talking of some of the troubles that had befallen the tribunal since last it met, speaking particularly on the actions of the renegade McGreine and his threat to the northern covenants, and also referring to the cases to be heard against the Magi Ruaridh, Turold and Venius. Maga Gyriania, the senior Redcap, related the most recent news. We were told that the crusaders defeated at Damascus had now returned to Europe. The Scots have launched surprise attacks on the west of the country and Carlisle has fallen. The king has taken heavy losses and there are fears that attack may come from Normandy. There was also much mundane news concerning the appointments of Bishops and Justices.

Attention then turned to the covenants and the motions that they would raise. The Domus Magnus began and Maga Dialectica used the first motion of that covenant to announce her intention to join Severn Temple as Pontifex. Praeca Eloria, obviously angered, then announced that the great library had now opened at Blackthorn. An inventory of the tomes contained within would soon be available and any member of the order might study there at a price of a season's work for the library for each season spent utilising its resources. She also announced that there would be a tithe of 2 pawns of vis for each magus in the tribunal, to be paid by the next gathering.

For Holy Isle Quaesitor Dionysus revealed that the dedicated covenant had evidence that the un-named House had a base in Wales. He reported that there had been attacks laid against both Holy Isle and Blywyddan. There may be a need to call upon the magi of the tribunal, and probably further afield, to try and trace the location of these enemies of the order and destroy them. In furtherance of this a tithe of 1 pawn of vis per magus was levied.

Maga Sylvania began for Cad Gadu by warning all magi that the faerie season had now changed to winter and that the unseelie court now held sway. She advised caution particularly for those near fae regios. That covenant then confirmed the announcement of Magus Garius' death. Whilst I was not privileged to meet him his reputation was high and the Praeca offered the tribunals sympathy for the loss.

Borri-Tor was represented by Magus Du Clerc who reaffirmed the news that they were suffering daily assaults from the Scots supported by hidden followers of McGreine. They require urgent assistance to support themselves and Solis Castle in their attempts to keep the forces away from Scarfell. Whilst there has been some intelligence provided by the magi of Loch Leglean more is needed. Maga Orlania of Solis Castle spoke in support of these words and announced that the House meeting of Flambeau would take place in two years time at that covenant and would be followed by an attack against the renegade forces. Magus Du Clerc suggested that this might be a dangerous plan but Maga Orlania retorted that her House was capable of subtle attack. The exchange became quite heated and the Praeca sought to restore calm and suggest that the magi of the tribunal offer their aid. Magus Du Clerc then appealed that a new covenant be established in Cornwall. Funded by Solis Castle it would be led by his own filius Magus Augustus. A further five magi had agreed to reside there from the Houses of Flambeau, Tremere, Tytalus and Verditius. The covenant would be named Trevelga after the nearby town. The Praeca supported this and the motion was put to the tribunal. It was comfortably carried although Magus Theodosius abstained and Magus Cormoran opposed it.

Solis Castle reiterated the words of Borri-Tor and Magus Moravius announced that he would be taking commissions on items for the next three years. For Lear Valley Magus Erin announced that he had made a minor breakthrough in his work with longevity potions and was available to manufacture them for others.

Quaesitor Ponrius then rose on behalf of Blywyddan and proposed the motion that Severn Temple, given its history, has a senior magus installed to act as Pontifex. The Senior Quaesitor said that the Concilium Quaesitori had agreed that such a position should be filled with the candidate proposed by that body and ratified by the Praeca. Primus Jordael said that as the covenant had already made such an appointment it was not necessary to impose another. The Praeca asked whether the charter allowed such a position at this time and Magus Astrius then made request that the Concilium Quaesitori prepare a new charter for the covenant. There followed some lengthy discussion about the events that have befallen the covenant over the years and the Praeca suggested that this would be a good moment to hear the cases, two of which related to former members of the covenant.

Quaesitor Yania presented all three cases none of which was opposed by a Patronus. Of Ruaridh the Quaesitor said that her investigations had proven beyond doubt that he was responsible for the destruction of the mundane library at Blackthorn. Although there is no definitive proof that Magus Madoc was slain by Ruaridh the Quaesitor stated that the weight of evidence overwhelmingly suggested that this was the case and that should he be seen alive then Wizard's March should be called against him. She also said that there was insufficient proof to convict him of any other crime and an open verdict should be returned on the matters of the Redcap Loretius and the former Senior Quaesitor's death. The tribunal ratified her findings, only a few of the Ex Miscellaneans abstaining.

Of Magus Turold it was reported that there was no direct evidence linking him to any crime. It seems likely given the failing magic of the items that he created that he is dead already. Accordingly an open verdict must be recorded against him until such time as any further evidence comes to light. Again this was ratified although some voted against her findings, including Magus Astrius.

Finally the case against Venius was set out. Magus Astrius was called as witness and his words were truly chilling as he related the betrayals of this former magus. Quaesitor Yania stated that he was clearly guilty of diabolism. Maga Kira asked whether the actions of our sodales might themselves be said to have breached the code resulting as they did in the death of a magus. The Senior Quaesitor was quick to refute such a suggestion making it clear that it was an act o self defence against a demon and that Magus Astrius could in no way be tarred with any guilt. Again the tribunal ratified the Quaesitor's decision.

Following this discussion returned to Severn Temple and a further lengthy debate ensued. Archimagus Jolyon asked that the tribunal hear the voice of the covenant and Magus Theodosius spoke out. He stated that the concilium felt that there was some validity to the concerns expressed when the history of the covenant was examined and that was why we were gladdened to bring in Maga Dialectica to guide us. Quaesitor Ponrius and Primus Jordael then exchanged harsh words that the Praeca swiftly sought to calm. Magus Astrius drew attention to our new Pontifex's studies in emotions and said that she was perhaps the best qualified Maga in the order to identify if there was any influence in the aura at Severn Temple. Archimagus Jolyon then also spoke on the covenant's behalf. A proposal that the Praeca choose a new Pontifex to lead the covenant was then voted on and narrowly defeated by just two votes. It was agreed that Maga Dialectica would become Pontifex and the Concilium Quaesitori would draw up a new charter.

Quaesitor Ponrius raised a second motion asking that a formal tribunal investigation be held into Severn temple covenant to ensure that it's troubled history was not caused by adverse influences in the order. There was some further discussion but when brought to a vote it was defeated by a wider margin than his previous proposal.

Maga Xanthia of Scarfell then requested that formal case be brought against Magus Magnus for endangering his sodales by endangering the fae. Quaesitor Yania acted as Accusitor and witnesses were held. The tale was much as I have already related it although Magus Astrius' version to tribunal included some small parts that he had neglected in his initial telling. It seems that Magus Magnus had cast a Ball of Abysmal Flame as a warning shot before the faerie chose to attack. As a witness Maga Sylvania suggested that such an action was a provocation to a faerie that was doing little more than seeing who had ventured into it's domain. There was much debate with members of House Flambeau offering unanimous support to their sodalis. Eventually his Patronus, Quaesitor Ponrius, suggested that there had been no crime and thus should be no penalty. Quaesitor Yania in turn suggested that there had been a breach of the primary code but as there were perhaps mitigating circumstances she felt that a fine of 1 rook to each magus on the mission would be a suitable punishment. The vote was very close with the Patronus being victorious by just 1 vote. My sodales were equally split with Magus Tiarnan voting for the Accusitor, Magus Astrius voting for the Patronus along with Magus Cormoran and the Magi Theodosius and Aelfwin (by proxy) abstaining.

For Scarfell's second motion Magus Magnus stood up and once again spoke of concern about attack by McGreine and his followers. Whilst aware that their plight was not as serious as some they had need of grogs or monies so that they could hire mercenaries and spies. Solis Castle said that they could loan some funds and Holy Isle agreed to send six grogs, some of whom would bear enchanted arms.

Magus De Camp spoke for Carrion Moor and gave report that a hedge wizard was roaming the area and attacking travellers on the road. They have no name for this man but it is believed that he has a band of followers who may be fae touched. Narwold covenant repeated the request that they had sent by Redcap for a magus with spirit sight to aid them with a potential vis sight with payment of half the yield for a period of 10 years. Finally the Magus Qwaelion of Merinita, who resides outside of covenant, said that there were many creatures showing heightened intelligence near the borders of Scotland. He feared that they were acting as spies of McGreine and urged caution on any travellers in the region.

These events took a full three days to complete before the tribunal was brought to a halt. Our concilium approached Magus Erin to ask Maga Raeriania, who had not attended the tribunal in person, whether she might be prepared to craft an item containing a Ward against beasts of Legend and if so how much she might charge. I was again summoned to the Concilium Quaesitori and there they set me with the task of preparing a draft copy of the new charter. It is an important responsibility as I must take account of the views of my sodales whilst ensuring that the document meets the requirements of my peers in the Concilium Quaesitori. The Senior Quaesitor also asked that I attend the House meeting of Ex Miscellanea at the beginning of next summer to act as Quaesitor now that Ruaridh is cast from the order.

The journey back to the covenant was made somewhat easier as Maga Dialectica has many contacts and a certain way about her that the mundanes seem to find pleasing. She said that she was happy to take the sanctum that formerly belonged to Magus Turold. It seems that we may have to do some building in order to provide a new home for the mundane library.

Magus Theodosius returned to Gloucester to speak with Maelgwyn. We have copied his map and so returned the original. It seems that he wished to investigate the chapel near Snig's End with the help of Wizards but our sodales was able to put him off. The brigand also had a letter and some texts that he had somehow stolen from the fells. Again these were in code and Magus Theodosius intends to return to Gloucester next year to see what further secrets he can uncover.

Autumn

Magus Theodosius was not present at the opening council of the season, having travelled to Cad Gadu to assist Jordael in the making of his longevity potion. We began by discussing the draft charter that I had prepared on the instructions of the Concilium Quaesitori. There was some concern expressed by my sodales, Magus Tiarnan particularly, about the greater restrictions placed upon magi of this covenant that I had proposed. With the aid of Maga Dialectica I tried to explain that given the circumstances that had led to this rewriting being necessary the document was as liberal as I felt it could be. Nevertheless it was agreed by council that certain clauses should be brought before the Senior Quaesitor in order that she could judge whether they could be relaxed any further. These issues concerned the freedom of movement beyond the covenant's walls, the right to sanction a Pontifex and the right to vote by proxy at an emergency council. Magus Tiarnan also felt that the charter should stipulate that grants rather than loans should be made for Familiars and Talismans. The question of whether this should be brought before the Senior Quaesitor went to vote and on both matters the vote was in favour of leaving the clause as it stood. Magus Tiarnan then exercised his right to Certamen on the matter of familiars, challenging myself in an attempt to ensure that the Senior Quaesitor was given the chance to rule as to whether there should be a change. He chose the technique of Muto and I the form of Vim. In an instant we attempted to manipulate the colour of the aura between us, driving it to the art that we had each selected. After one round I was sorely tired and recognising that I was defeated ceded the contest. I agreed that I would travel to Blackthorn and bring all these matters to the attention of the Senior Quaesitor.

Although I was weary I remained for the rest of the council where we discussed our activities for the season. Magus Cormoran agreed that as a service to this covenant he would scribe some of his spells, the Gift of Bear's Fortitude, Eyes of the Cat and Preternatural Growth and Shrinking. Magus Astrius would spend the season enchanting another lantern with Maga Dialectica having taken the previously prepared one to light her new sanctum. She herself agreed to a season of service, travelling the surrounding lands in order better secure our mundane relations and to seek a child suitable to become an apprentice stonemason. Magus Tiarnan and myself also chose to complete the services that we owed to the covenant, investigating an enchanted saddle for myself and the fae of the covenant and the mysteries of the spring for him. Magus Aelfwin announced that he would be studying the Creo texts.

After a few days, in order to best ensure that we would avoid the werewolves active period, myself accompanied by the Magi Astrius and Dialectica left on our journey to Blackthorn. Stopping at Blackney we were greeted by tales of ghosts espied in the surrounding country and it was apparent that a great dread lay upon the village. The tales that we heard spoke of phantoms of a lord upon horseback accompanied by peasants and children. We agreed to remain for the night and I was woken by my consortis Giovanni who had sighted two ghostly children beyond the gate. Maga Dialectica went to speak with these shades, accompanied by myself. We were greeted by the incorporeal spirits of a boy and a girl who claimed that they were playing. The girl seemed open and friendly, and named herself Mary, but the boy was surly and aggressive. He soon dragged her away from our efforts to communicate and they vanished before our eyes.

The two had claimed that they were from Lydney, a village that once stood south of Blackney many years ago. The following day we went to this place, now little more than ruins in the long grass. Investigating we found the foundations of the church surrounded by old graves. Magus Astrius' man Dylan's two dogs were greatly unnerved and as he loosed them they turned tail and fled; indeed his own horse was skittish and reared up as if in fear. My shield grog, a man named Guido and with some sense for the unnatural, stated that he could feel the presence of a great evil and advised us to retreat from the ruins. As he spoke Magus Astrius had stepped forward to a mound, in such a place where the altar must once have stood, and used his sword to probe the earth. At once blood poured from the ground and a great terror came upon me. There were screams on the very wind and I do confess that I too turned from that place and quickly sought refuge away from the ruins of the church. Magus Astrius' sword was by now flaming but with black flames that burned even when he cast a spell of water upon it. There was a greater scream and by now I was not the only one of our party who had ran from the scene. Magus Astrius turned his torrent of water against the mound itself and loosened the earth sufficiently that the sword fell to the floor, the flames dissipating as it broke contact with the soil.

Somewhat chastened by events we returned to Blackney and bid Giovanni ride to the covenant to tell the tale of what had befallen us and ask that the remaining magi see whether the journal held any secrets of this befouled village. We then ate and made to our beds unsuspecting of what was to come.

During that night, at the covenant there was sighting of a shade near the spring. After some delay Magus Cormoran approached it and learned that the spirit was that of Radulfus, a former magus of the covenant in it's first incarnation who had been seduced by the wiles of the deceiver. He claimed that the demon that had once possessed him was in the world once more. He said that the spirits of Lydney were abroad and that even as he spoke to our sodalis their flesh and bones were rising to the south. The magus quickly arranged for a party of men to accompany him and Giovanni back to Blackney but before they had even left we were assailed.

The first that I was aware of our danger was when I was awoken by the screams of Guido, who was being assaulted by the animated bones of one who was long dead. This was not the only such creature to rise from the ground as assault was also made upon the grogs placed to watch at the gate. Magus Astrius was with them but despite his attempts to destroy the creatures, skeletons, walking corpses and wraiths, witnessed one of our men dragged down to the flaming pits of hell. For myself and Maga Dialectica escape from the rude lodgings that we found ourselves in proved a harrowing task. Assailed by more than one creature it was only the Maga's use of an enchanted item that repelled the creatures and the valiant efforts of Guido that bought our freedom from that place. It was a flight at no small cost, Maga Dialectica being wounded and my own shield grog struck down while protecting our evasions. We reached the gate on the eastern side of the village from which no attack was being made and Dylan aided us in removing the stout bar. From there we made our way to a barge on the river where we were greeted by Peter of the village militia. Magus Astrius soon joined us, bringing an injured grog and the headman with him, though he did not tarry long, plunging back into Blackney in an attempt to save more of the villagers. There he saw the demon, describing it as a red, cloven and horned creature of perhaps six and a half feet in height that seemed to glide across the ground. Finding a woman with an infant and child he grabbed the infant and attempted to lead them to safety. The child fell however and its mother turned to protect him. Magus Astrius once more conjured torrents of water, turning them against the creature but to no avail. The demon grasped the child and with one movement pulled it's head from it's body. The mother ran at the creature and sensing that it was best to save the infant Magus Astrius took it up in his arms again and ran back to us. With him aboard we cast off and began to sail the barge towards Chepstow.

As Magus Cormoran and his rescue party travelled down the hill they sighted another phantom, this time in the guise of a priest. Giovanni recognised that the spirit was twisted as if by the infernal and bade that they stay at a distance from it. It spoke saying, "The hell visited upon Lydney has now been visited upon Blackney and will soon reach Briavel". As it did so it made the sign of the inverted cross before fading away into the night. Fearing that an assault was imminent Magus Cormoran sent Giovanni back to the covenant once more to bid those that were still there to make preparations against an assault. He too turned back to give his aid if such an attack should come.

When dawn came a thick mist lay upon the land stretching over forest and hill and reaching far to the south. Magus Cormoran took Giovanni and two guards back to the village to see what they might find. A full third of Blackney had burned to the ground and the air was heavy with the mist intermingled with acrid smoke. No bodies were found at first but entering one of the buildings they came upon recently disturbed earth and digging down found the corpse of Guido. As they uncovered him he began to move and they quickly left the building into the light, into which the abomination would not come. They then returned to Severn temple. We ourselves were almost at Chepstow when we decided that it would be best to return to the covenant so threatening were the wounds to the grog Tostig. Making our way back we travelled up to the oxbow and tying the barge to the side made our way up the steep slopes of Briavel Hill far away from the village of Blackney.

We called an emergency council and several decisions were made. I was to use an apportation potion that we had within the stores to travel swiftly to Blackthorn, there to warn the magi of the tribunal that if they travelled near us they should be cautious. This I did and my message was received, despite Praeco Eloria's attempts to find some other reading in the tale that I had to tell. Whilst there I learned that the Senior Quaesitor was abroad and so left message for her concerning the matters that I had originally set out to discuss. After another day Giovanni came to meet me for the return journey and the Redcap Loretius accompanied us. He used a tincture of some kind to calm Giovanni's horse so that it might bear me upon its back.

The magi Astrius and Cormoran returned to Blackney to look for survivors and fetch back the other barge. On entering the village they could find no bodies at all but further investigation revealed that there were tracks leading to the south, towards the ruins of Lydney. They found some survivors but not many and it seems that we will lose much of our income until there is some way that we might re-establish what we have lost. A carpenter was appointed to build a wharf on the river below the covenant so that we might bring in essential food supplies. Maga Dialectica, on her journeying abroad, established some new suppliers and also spread rumours of plague to ensure that the abandonment of Blackney does not soon become apparent to the mundane world. The remainder of the season passed quietly although events had left a heavy pall upon the covenant and I am certain that we all fear what is to come as a result of these events.

Winter

The cold of winter also brought with it the return of Magus Theodosius and the story of autumn's events was relayed once more at concilium. We discussed some of the history that we had learned from the journal concerning the demon that had possessed Radulfus in the past. It was agreed that we would be cautious in our approach to this new threat, learning what we may without placing ourselves in any greater endangerment than could not be avoided. A trip to Lydney, to try and see if anything could be safely learned, would be the first step. It was further agreed that Maga Dialectica would attempt to cast the 9th magnitude aegis from text 9 a task that she successfully fulfilled). There was also talk of the financial position that we find ourselves in. With no mine, and the related activities that bring us our income we have perhaps enough surplus funds to survive for two years. It was agreed that such was our need that we should sell the glass that Magus Aelfwin has made to be used at Tintern Abbey. Magus Tiarnan was concerned about this action but in the end even he saw the need to adopt a pragmatic approach, given that the Abbey will get its glass from somewhere. The last matter that was raised regarding the events at Blackney was that Magus Aelfwin had used 4 pawns of vis to heal the grog Tostig without making request to the council. There was some brief discussion of this matter but no sanction was raised against the magus for his action.

Tiarnan told us that he had detected no sign of the former fae residents of this covenant, the Golwyg Haffydd and Tegwared. He told us that he had discovered a faerie influence upon the spring, some kind of sheen that is visible to the faerie sight that he possesses. Speaking once more to the waters he told us that they had said that they quite often spoke with the fae and when pressed further named Anu and the Morrigan. This is curious as the judgement of this tribunal was that these entities were powerful spirits. Magus Tiarnan is obviously intrigued by the seeming link between the realms of magic, spirit and faerie that the area shows.

Of our activities over winter, Magus Theodosius said that he would be scribing a spell. I agreed that I would attempt to investigate the Black Torc that formerly belonged to Radulfus to see whether its secrets could be unravelled. The other magi all chose to study from the texts within the library, Vim for Tiarnan, Mentem for Astrius, Creo for Aelfwin, Rego for Cormoran and Perdo for Maga Dialectica.

Magus Astrius and Magus Theodosius set out for Lydney the day after council accompanied by two guards and Dylan. Searching during the height of day they identified some spots that looked like they may have had bodies buried. The two magi exposed on of these sites and lying within it was the body of a girl, whom Magus Theodosius was able to identify as Matilda of Blackney. Using his talents to see into the realm of spirits our sodalis said that the spirit was restless but the light of the sun kept the body immobile. He also said that the spirit was maddened but had not been corrupted. Satisfied that they could not be attacked they placed the body upon a pyre and burned it to ashes. Investigating further around the ruins they saw many occult signs of the infernal but Magus Theodosius was not able to penetrate the mysteries of the mound in the church with his powers. They returned and it was agreed that it would be best to find as many of these bodies as possible and destroy them that they can not be raised against us in future. Taking more grogs back with them the two magi set them to work at one of the spots that they had previously identified. Some unnatural fear came upon some of them and they fled. At the same time another two begun to harbour murderous thoughts about the other. As the magi called for retreat from the area the ghostly apparition of a noble upon a horse was sighted. Until we have some greater protection from such spirits and their attacks it has been agreed that we will not attempt such actions within Lydney.

During the season two men sent by the gang leader Maelgwyn visited the covenant. It seems that he wanted Magus Theodosius to visit him in Gloucester. The magus returned with them after Maga Dialectica had altered their memories of the covenant so that they would recall it as nothing more than a well-appointed village. While with Maelgwyn Magus Theodosius detected an imp perched on the bandit's shoulder and using some non hermetic talent slew the creature within the realm of spirits. There was some discussion of events with Maelgwyn indicating that he did not want to investigate Snig's End unless accompanied by our sodalis. Magus Theodosius seems to be prepared to undertake such an activity in the future but I for one shall urge caution in his dealings with these men.

Towards the end of the season we were visited by the redcap Loretius. He informed us that the Senior Quaesitor would attend upon us at the beginning of spring and that the Concilium Quaesitori would meet at the covenant at the end of spring, so that my sodales could see the workings of that body with regard to the new charter of this place. He also brought a letter from Raeriania regarding our request for an item to ward us from magical creatures. She is prepared to undertake such a task provided that we can guarantee that we do not intend to use it to hunt rare magical creatures for their vis. I scribed a letter to her in return explaining our intentions to use the item to battle the werewolves that have made travel to the north so dangerous for this covenant. We were also told that Praeco Eloria had asked for the copy of the Pagan Lore texts that this covenant had promised to Blackthorn as soon as we had completed scribing them. Loretius also had some mundane news concerning reports of a conspiracy against the Earl of Gloucester by some mercenaries from Bristol. Loretius thinks that there may be some kind of a power struggle within the criminal underworld, a suspicion that ties in with what we know of events.

Thus the season came to an end, and the year also. I shall now pass the scribing of this journal to another and like so many who have written before me hope that the next year is less challenging than this one has been.
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