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Scribed by Dialectica

Spring 1158 AD


And so! Another year begins - and with this new year some renewed hope following the destruction of the demon of Lydney and the death of the diabolist magus Gierre. With these two enemies slain it affords us an opportunity to rebuild and grow; both personally and as a Covenant.

The first meeting of the year began, as usual, with news from the season before (a delightfully quiet season!). My meeting with the Reeve of the Dean went well, despite my concerns that his incarceration on accusations of dealing with witches and warlocks from the Dean might have soured him towards us. It seems that influence from Yania and De Camp have helped us here too - for the Reeve, and his liege the Baron of Monmouth, appear to believe that the dropping of charges was due, in part, to our influence. Thus, to my great relief, the Reeve was content to continue the arrangement for taxes that we had discussed some while before. We shall make payment of 400d each year for taxes on our landholding and pay an additional 200d per year until we have paid what else we owe.

A sum of 600d a year is a considerable sum, yet Aelfwin's glass managed to fetch a price of 400d alone and it looks likely that we will obtain some income from the mine this year with full production next year. In addition, we have over 1300d reserve and a number of worthy goods (silver cups and such like) which we could sell at a push. All in all our finances are stable and improving year on year.

Activities this season: Aelfwin shall perform covenant service by making more glassware (it is hoped that his apprentice will soon take over and release a magus from this task for all but laboratory equipment). Theo will travel abroad this season amongst the villages and free-miners as covenant service - so garner news from the shire and hopefully recruit another miner). Cormoran shall serve one season of his penalty services by working in Blacknee overseeing progress on the mining and laying preparations for further brewing (Cider may indeed be a profitable venture given the quantity I saw the nobility put away in Gloucester Castle!). Astrius will study 3 pawns of Animal vis (towards his preparation for a familiar I suspect). Medius shall extract some vim vis for himself. Tiarnan will study some Creo vis. Lastly, I shall study the spell Pose the Silent Question when it arrives from Carrion Moor.

Early in the season a cart from Carrion Moor arrived and we exchanged copies of spells. We received the following: Incantation of Lightning, Leap of Homecoming, Ring of Warding against Spirits (4th Magnitude), Coerce Spirits of the Night (7th Magnitude), Pose the Silent Question and Charge of the Angry Winds.

Whilst I was away delivering the taxes, a stranger paid visit to Blacknee and came to Cormoran's attention. Geddyn, a travelling entertainer, created quite a stir within the village by performing tricks and feats that defied explanation. It appears this young Welshman was capable of such legerdemain that Cormoran started to wonder whether he was actually using some manner of hedge magics to assist his act. His curiosity roused, Cormoran sought the wisdom of Medius, who investigated the site of the 'magical show' and discovered that some form of magic had indeed been used.

Cormoran felt it necessary to seek further advice from Astrius and Medius kindly apported back to the Covenant to pass on the news. As Imperator, Astrius felt that Geddyn's ability to do magic might well make him a potential threat and that he should be apprehended and brought to the Covenant for further questioning. This Cormoran attempted to do, but it led only to a fight in which Cormoran received a sword injury and Geddyn got away. Fortunately, Cormoran had earlier taken a hair from his head to serve as an arcane connection should this hedge magician take flight.

I returned from Monmouth a day later and using the hair retrieved by Cormoran managed to locate him along the river to the North. Wondering whether this Geddyn might have the true gift I determined to trace him and learn more.

By the time I caught up with Geddyn, Theo had already befriended him! Geddyn had, by chance, ended up in the same tavern as he and the two of them had struck up a good conversation over the course of several ales. Over the next few days we followed Geddyn, disguised by spells, so that we could better observe his magic. After only a short time it became clear that Geddyn had the true gift - Theo speculating that he might be an elementalist.

Given that they had got on so well on their prior, and unforced, encounter I determined to let Theo make the opening introductions to the Order. The discussions went well, and before too long I was introduced and we spoke in more detail about joining. Geddyn seems a personable man with a sharp mind and relaxed manner. In the end it was decided to seek sponsorship for a magus within House Exmiscellanea to help him learn Hermetic magic and the Parma Magica. Theo kindly offered to take Geddyn to Cad Gadu - and I understand that Primus Llandoddwyn himself has taken Geddyn as an apprentice.

This quiet season ended with a small shipment of ore arriving from Blacknee returning with Cormoran.

Summer

Our meeting started with brief recriminations over the contact with Geddyn the season before. It appears that Cormoran's rather heavy-handed approach with Geddyn was due to a misinterpretation of the message that Medius had kindly relayed from the Imperator. Cormoran's subsequent actions could have led to someone being gravely injured - or at the very least Geddyn being put off the Order for good. Still ... given that events eventually resolved themselves in a positive way, I was keen to move past this topic before any of the council were offended.

Astrius raised the idea of appointing a Civilitor, as I was discussing what trades we might seek with other covenants. I agreed to appoint one - though a little with some trepidation given the flurry of Certamen that had followed the vote on Imperator. Fortunately, no such argument ensued. Medius volunteered for the post, and no other contested it, so the matter was quickly resolved.

Aelfwin announced that he wished to travel to Lear Valley to study with his pater over the course of a year. Given Erin's research into enhancing potions of longevity, I could well see the practicality of granting such extended leave. Aelfwin shall return for the beginning of Summer next year.

Activities this Season: Medius: As covenant service shall travel as Civilitor to Blackthorn, Carrion Moor, Solis Castle and if there is time Narwold. Aelfwin shall travel to Lear Valley, whilst Astrius intends to study from the Intellego books. Cormoran, Tiarnan and Theo: Will travel to Gofynwy's cave in the faerie regio. Lastly, I shall learn the spell Veil of Invisibility.

The season was a quiet one, here in the covenant. All but Aelfwin returning by the end of the season.

Autumn

The council met with all but Aelfwin present and began with Tiarnan relating the events of his journey with Cormoran and Theo into the faerie regio last season. It seems that the grip of Winter is finally weakening and that Summer will returning soon to the faerie realm. This will make future journeys through the faerie regio much easier, though the Erechwydd is still a present danger. It seems one of the benefits of this change of season is that Stonevale, a 'landholding' granted once to Turold by the fae, will again begin to deliver vis to the covenant. Medius remarked upon this curiousity, as indeed this was, for the landholding had been granted to Turold and since he had died what reason would there be for the fae to continue this practice. Tiarnan speculated that the fae there are simply carrying out their last duty, that they feel the vis is owed to the covenant and it is natural to deliver it each year. This led to a discussion about Turold's fate. Tiarnan admitted that it was impossible for him to say with surety, but suggested that Cyrgig, Turold's one time companion, might be able to give us more of a clue. Cormoran also discovered some of the properties of the stone sword crafted by the faerie Gofynwy. It appears the sword is unbreakable and of superlative quality. I for one was delighted with this news, perhaps now Cormoran will cease trying to get someone else to investigate it for him.

Medius also related his journeys to Carrion Moor and Solis Castle covenants. With Carrion Moor he has agreed a trade in Iron for grain and the construction of lab equipment in return for 250d and half a rook of Animal, Corporem or Auram for each season's worth of work. They also offered a price of 25d for each barrel of ale we might deliver in the future. At Solis Castle he negotiated offers for lab equipment based on season for a season of Jareth's time. We shall also exchange some spells from our libraries - to be completed by the next Tribunal. Orlania was pleased to trade for Ignem, promising Auram or Mentem. There is also a potential trade for fine wines, if we can obtain such.

Astrius raised the issue of improving our defences particularly the gates that he suggests would benefit from iron reinforcement. He also recommended for a portcullis and several braziers for boiling oil to be fitted to the gatehouse. This discussion, though with merit, brewed an argument Cormoran and Astrius. I fear that the giant has not given up hope of replacing the Flambeau as Imperator, and becomes bitter at losing the last election and rounds of certamen. I moved the question swiftly on, whilst agreeing that such elements for our defence would be explored as and when we had funds.

For our activities the following was decided: Astrius will study from Animal vis; Cormoran will research a spell; Theo will be abroad exploring the Dean; Medius will learn a spell and Tiarnan will travel back into the regio as covenant service to collect the mushrooms and visit Stonevale to arrange delivery.

The season passed peacefully, until Cormoran drew our attention the mysterious death of one of the fishing folk who work out of Blacknee. The man had drowned, but not as one might have expected, for it seems he was mesmerised by some creature and drawn towards the dark waters. At the creature's touch, the man's lungs were filled with water. He requested Medius's assistance and the two of them investigated. Through questioning the spirit and using Intellego spells to sense magic upon the dead man, he determined the attack had come from a 'sea witch'; an infernal creature that sailors sometimes report on their travels. The Severn is tidal and we wondered whether the blight at Lydney might have drawn such a terror upstream. After discussion we decided to monitor the situation and ask Theo to investigate when he returns.

Winter


The council met at the beginning of Winter and first Tiarnan related his journey into the Faerie realm. After collecting the mushrooms he travelled deeper into the regio and reached Stonevale. There he met Cyrgig who works as something of a steward to the place. Though once mortal, it is not clear whether he is now entirely fae and serving the court of stone. Cyrgig informed Tiarnan that delivery would be made next year to the covenant, though Tiarnan had suggested delivering to the Palug's glade for ease. Gofannon owns Stonevale itself; Turold simply held the land from him and received this share of magical ore as a stipend. Tiarnan also admitted that he had met a faerie claiming to be Turold whilst in Gofannon's realm. This raised a few eyebrows around the table and there was considerable discussion about Turold's legal standing. It cannot be certain that Turold is indeed a fae or whether there is some part of the magus still remaining. Medius requested that a full report to be sent to the Senior Quaesitor by the next Red Cap.

Theo reported that he had spent the season searching for standing stones, marked on the map obtained from Lauretius. He investigated the whereabouts of the Trellech stones and a place named grey hill, but was unsuccessful at finding them. However, he feels he has narrowed the search and will investigate again when he has time in the future. He also passed by Lydney and took opportunity to reconnoitre the ruined settlement. He described the shadow there like a sleeping wolf; dormant yet still dangerous. Astrius had also ventured down with trackers to watch over Lydney, though with a more mundane approach. There seems no sign of recent disturbance or visitors.

Cormoran brought up the investigation of the drowned man and our suspicions that a sea witch was plaguing the waters near Blacknee. Medius related his investigation and seemed very sure of his conclusions, yet Tiarnan questioned this judgement suggesting that perhaps an unseelie faerie of the waters might also fit the evidence.

Our discussion moved on to the problem of Lydney. Theo suggested that flooding the site might weaken the infernal grip upon the place and recovering the shrine to Lludd, said to be within the village long ago, might secure protection for the settlement. A Hermetic ritual of some 7 magnitudes might be enough to flood the region. Astrius says that with assistance he could create such with two seasons work. Cormoran also suggested that Theo and Tiarnan might speak with the Ladra to see what assistance she could lend.

Of our activities: Astrius will extract vim vis from the aura as covenant service; also on service, Cormoran will scribe spells for the library; Tiarnan will study the Intellego books; Theo will continue his exploration of the Dean; Medius shall study vim and I shall learn a spell.

Early in the season, Tiarnan, Theo and Medius sought to learn more about what had been attacking the fisher folk. It seems that, despite his determined opinion on the matter, our quaesitor had leapt to the wrong conclusion. Between them the magi found no trace of infernal sign, and Tiarnan was able to swim down and speak with the creature. It appears to be a fae of the water called Tegfryn who attacked people after it's home among the reeds was disturbed by villagers digging for clay. So long as no one disturbs it's home again the villagers may collect clay from nearby so long as they offer 3 fishes as payment.

Later in the season a more grave matter came to our attention. The werewolves of the forest, with whom we have an uneasy truce, called out to Theo and told him of a raging hunter coming from the North. Against his friend's advice, Theo met with the leader of the pack and was told of a 'blood wolf'; a maddened creature that had been sent by the werewolves of Mynydd Myddyn to slay the renegades hiding in our woods. Theo returned and with Astrius, who was deeply mistrustful and suspicious of a trap, entered the forest to hear the cries of wolves being attacked. They investigated only to be ambushed by this blood wolf. Astrius managed to drive it off with sword and fire, but Theo was mortally injured. Fortunately, Astrius was able to bring him back to the covenant and administer a potion of the Incantation of the Body made Whole. This returned Theo to full health, though concern was raised about any curse afflicting him because of his injuries. It seems that Theo's 'spirit guide' had protected him from the Lycanthropy which normally follows a bite. This was doubly fortuitous, for Theo believes that the bite of this blood wolf inflicts no ordinary curse of the werewolf, but also the madness which drives this blood wolf to slay it's kin.

There seemed to be some argument between the two friends when we met in emergency council, though they did not speak of it to any of us. However, the unease between them was evidently put aside as they determined to hunt down this blood wolf with assistance from Cormoran and the guard.

They returned to the forest the next day and were aided in their hunt from an unusual quarter. A strange hound, which Astrius said he recognised from a vision sent by the Anu, led the party as it hunted infected werewolves. After finding and killing some of these, the magi determined to focus the hunt of the original blood wolf and left the hound to its hunt and followed tracks to Mitcheldean. They reasoned the badly injured creature might have fled within, in human form, to find healing after it was badly burnt by Astrius on the last encounter. Theo entered the settlement and shortly tracked down a herb woman with a reputation for treating burns. Entering her house he found that the blood wolf had indeed been here ahead of him, for the woman was cruelly slain.

Theo made his excuses and left swiftly rejoining his party as dusk came upon them. Just then, the hound re-emerged and communicated to Theo that it had located the original blood wolf along with others that had been touched by its curse. The hound sped on ahead, with the party running as they may to match its pace. If they could catch them before the full moon rose, there might be a chance for speedy victory. But, fate was not with them. As the moon rose the hound stopped still, only Astrius, Theo and Cormoran having matched its pace. The hound barked warning just as the maddened creatures attacked - four of them, each some nine to twelve feet in height. The battle was short, for the magi were unprotected and unprepared. The magi used potions and spells to apport back to the covenant ... aware that in so doing the guard were doomed to meet these wolves alone.

Having returned, the magi used potions to swiftly repair their injuries before Astrius determined to head back out again. His loyalty to his men and his friend Dylan made it clear he would return, alone if needs be, and seek to rescue them. Sensing there was no reason or argument that would bend his will from this course of action, I made loan of what resources he needed from the covenant and wished him luck. Theo, evidently unwilling to allow his friend to venture alone, went with him in the otherworld.

By morning, Astrius returned. He related that he had flown to Mitcheldean and there found two of the guard. But, they had been infected and even as he watched they began to transform into nightmarish blood wolves. Astrius slew them, for undoubtedly they would have turned on him otherwise. Heading into the forest, Astrius was met once again by the mysterious hound. He found his friend Dylan - by some miracle unharmed - and sent him back towards Mitcheldean, then followed the hound onwards into the depths of the forest. This time surprise was on his side and he was able to ambush the blood wolves (their numbers bolstered by some of the guard they had infected) and use the wands of lightning and fire against them. Before long they were slain and he returned home.

Theo, on the other hand, did not return for two days. When he did arrive he was sorely injured and weak with thirst and hunger. It appears that the original bloodwolf had not died in spirit when the body was broken with lightning and flame. It's spirit, still vital and driven by whatever curse upon it, rose up and sought to repair the body to life once again. Theo attacked it and it followed him into the otherworld where they fought. The battle was a close one, with Theo barely surviving with the help of his spirit guide Viremos. Given the claw marks on his body, Medius suggested there was danger that Theo had been infected by the curse. Theo denied this, saying that he and his guide had slain a wolf spirit sent to claim him. With permission, though, Medius sought to test this with the spell Shiver of the Lycanthrope. To his horror, the spell indicated that Theo had the curse. Unsure as to what to make of this, we determined to have Theo locked up for the next full moon - with his full cooperation. Fortunately, there was no change upon him as the moon rose next, and with some relief we concluded that Medius's spell must have been in error.

Theo met again with the leader of the werewolves. It seems that they are grateful for our intervention. This bloodwolf was sent by the leader of the pack within Mynydd Myddyn, and represents a dangerous - almost desperate act of vengence against them. It is possible that the grandfather wolf of that pack may realise that the wolves of the Dean had aid from us. I wonder how long it will be before we are forced to confront this pack.

There is still an awkwardness between Astrius and Theo, though neither of them will speak of it. I do not know what occurred on that first foray into the woods that would have driven a wedge into that deep friendship - but it does not bode well. Also Cormoran has been grumbling privately about Astrius's handling of the hunt, I do fear that divisions are widening between our two warriors.

So ended the season and the year, and my term as recorder in the Journal.
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