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Scribed by Astrius

Spring 1160 AD


Sadly the first council meeting of the new year began without Theo, who still has not returned from his foray into the Otherworld. As none of us have any real notion of how we might contact him, let alone try and reach him, all we can do is hope for his safe return. Cormoran made some enquiries as to where Theo might have gone, but Dialectica saw no point in such a debate and brought the discussion to a swift halt, stating that if Theo is not returned by the start of Summer then a new Ministrator will be elected. However, when the issue of Theo's role as Knight of the Briavel was brought up, Dialectica changed her mind and decided that a new Ministrator was needed immediately. Medius was the only magus to stand for this position and was subsequently elected unchallenged.

There was also some discussion regarding what to do with the cider that Cormoran has brewed down in Blackney, which is now ready to drink. After some debate as to whether it would be best to sell the three barrels to Carrion Moor or use it to help pay off our taxes, Dialectica decided that such a mundane issue could quite properly be left to the steward. Quite what all the fuss about this fermented apple juice is about I do not know. It is a sickly sweet brew and the alleged mundane popularity of this Norman import can surely only be due to people trying to ape their feudal overlords.

With such weighty matters dealt with, attention turned as to our season's activities. Dialectica will travel to Gloucester to begin spreading rumours about the coming of a great storm to mask the flood ritual that is to be cast at the Spring equinox. Tiarnan and I were tasked with extracting vim vis from the aura, Aelfwin will make four Gift of the Bear's Fortitude potions to replace those which saved our lives during the fights with the blood werewolves. Medius will investigate a personal item and also journey to Gloucester to visit his Jewish ally to see how he might acquire more of the strange tinctures that enable him to see something of the infernal. Cormoran was once again on covenant service, tasked with evacuating Blackney in advance of the storms, lest the ritual go awry or stir anything beyond our power to control in Lydney.

A week or so before the equinox, Cormoran began using his powerful spontaneous magicks to summon a series of powerful storms to hide the magical nature of the flood. Dialectica returned a few days later, reporting that her rumourmongering and warnings to those who may be endangered by the floods had worked well. Although she noted that there was some talk of spirits and wizards being behind the storms, she seemed unconcerned and believes that a little bit of work afterwards should put such rumours to bed. There was certainly no sign of any intriguing against us, which hopefully means that the Fells have not got wind of what we are about to do. The ritual will be hazardous enough without any potential trap or ambush in the offing.

So it was, with rain from one of Cormoran's storms lashing down and thunder echoing loudly overhead, we made our way down to the riverbank on the day before the Equinox. Medius and I, along with Dylan, Conrad and Edward took up position on the riverside, safely upstream of where the flood was to be sent. Meanwhile Cormoran and Dermot settled down in the treeline overlooking Lydney, watching for the rising waters in readiness to expose the altar stone to the river and to ambush any creatures that might attempt to flee the regio.

With Medius and the men keeping watch I began the ritual. Although I have heard tales of the river and the great strength of the boar tide, it was not until then that I realized just how much power is contained in the murky waters of the Severn. At first all seemed fine, the ritual was working well and water levels were building steadily and in a controlled fashion. Yet, as the ritual neared its climax something went awry. Whether this was through my error, the inherent fickleness of magic or an intervention by some other power I do not know for sure, but I sensed something else in the water fighting my spell and wrenching control from me.

As I fought desperately to regain control, the river burst its banks and rose up about the ground where we were standing. Medius was nearly pulled off his feet, but Dylan and the other men managed to drag him to safety. I however was concentrating so intensely on the ritual that it was not until the waters had risen to my chest that I realized the peril I was in. Dylan tried to help me, but the pull of the floodwaters was too strong and we were both swept out into the river. The strength of the current was such that it quickly became evident that we were unlikely to be able to keep our heads above water for too long. My own potion of the Leap of Homecoming had been torn from my belt, but Dylan, faithful to the end, thrust his own into my hand and although I sought to press it back upon him, it was too late as he slipped under the waves and was lost.

Let Dylan's sacrifice and long years of good and faithful service be noted here. He was not possessed of a likeable manner, but he was a good friend and a valuable consortis to both me and Severn Temple. If only all those whose demeanour is fairer were so true at heart.

It was with great relief that after downing the thick liquid of the potion in between mouthfuls of river water I found myself lying bedraggled on the cold stone of the council chamber. After the moment or two it took to reorient myself I realized that I was not alone in the council chamber. Medius and Cormoran were also present and an emergency council meeting was quickly summoned to discuss what had gone wrong and what needed to be done. Once I had recounted what had happened with the casting of the ritual, Medius and Cormoran relayed their side of the tale.

Although Medius, Conrad and Edward had managed to escape the initial onslaught of the flood, the raging river did not pause for long and a wave of water pursued them as they ran for the shelter of the trees. Fearing for his safety Medius drank his potion of the Leap of Homecoming, leaving Conrad and Edward to race for higher ground alone.

Meanwhile on the hill overlooking Lydney, in the dark, stormy weather Cormoran and Dylan failed to notice the rushing waters before they engulfed the ruins of the village. Realizing this they urgently cast about to see if anything had escaped unseen by them. It was then they spotted the dark shapes slinking off into the woods away from the flood. Cormoran reported that although these figures appeared to be men, they were moving quickly and were almost certainly the infernal wolves from the Dell in human guise. Fearing any confrontation with them, Cormoran and Dermot drank their potions and apported back to the covenant.

Once we had all shared our experiences, we set about assessing out the full extent of how far the flood had spread. As a first measure, Tiarnan went to the spring to speak with the Lladra. To our great relief, the Lladra confirmed that the flood had completely cleansed the infernal taint from Lydney and she added that the site was now under our stewardship. She also said that the flood was the biggest since ancient times and claimed that it had been caused by my anger, which was such that it briefly even overawed the boar tide. Tiarnan at least seemed to think this a reasonable explanation, though if such consequences ensued every time my ire was raised while casting magic then all hereabouts would have destroyed long ago.

The scale of the flood however cannot be denied. Blackney has been extensively damaged with a large portion of the stockade and a good number of houses destroyed. Unfortunately this damage extends to the laboratory that Cormoran had set up there and it will need a season's work to set it straight. The mine at Blackney has been flooded, but no serious damage has been done and we will only suffer a slight loss of production while the water is pumped out. Downriver the devastation is even worse and the village of Wollaston has been completely washed away. I shudder to think how many folk perished.

There was some debate about what to do with Lydney now that it was free from any infernal taint. Cormoran asked if Theo, in his role as the Knight of Briavel, could claim the site. Dialectica wasn't sure of the legality of this and said that we would need to contact Baron Martin about it, for it seems the Baron may hold a particular interest in the site of the village where he once dwelt. However, before we can do this we need to let the rumours about witches and magic surrounding the flood die out, lest it appear that we conjured the flood for our own "evil" ends. Tiarnan proposed an alternative suggestion, that we attempt to reforest the site using magic. While expensive and probably impractical, it is nevertheless a tempting idea if it can be made to work. Tiarnan is not the only one at the council who fears what will happen if our involvement with the mundane politic continues to grow.

Scrying by Medius to try and find Conrad and Edward brought worrying results. They are not dead, but reside within a regio. Given their last location we must hope that it is the faerie regio that they stumbled across in the dark, not the Dell. On a more positive note, while abroad in the woods a day or two later, looking for some sign of the missing men, I came across Jess, one of Dylan's dogs. Of Dylan's other hound, Arca, there was sadly no sign.

Dialectica and Medius travelled down to Lydney to confirm as best they could through use of Jewish tincture and hermetic spell whether that place was indeed free from malign influence. Although an initial spell did suggest some sort of aura was still present, nothing could be detected by any subsequent spells or Medius's tincture. Satisfied, Dialectica ventured onwards into the Dean to try and minimize any talk of wizards and warlocks being behind the flood.

Scribed by Tiarnan

Summer


At the Council meeting, Dialectica provided news of her travels through the towns and villages bordering the Dean. Public opinion about the causes of the great flood is divided: some claimed it was a natural phenomenon, whereas others argued that it was a punishment from the Christian God for the sinfulness of the populace. More worrying for us, there was also talk that the flood might have been the work of the witches and warlocks of the Dean, and many of the old tales about the magical nature of this place, some of which are admittedly based on some measure of truth, began to circulate. Baron Martin of Monmouth sent men to examine the destruction wrought by the floods in Woolaston and Lydney, and we debated whether this meant that he was likely to try to re-establish either village in the coming years. Dialectica suggested that Woolaston was very likely to be re-founded, though the dark rumours about Lydney may keep men away from that place for some time.

We had a short debate about the prioritisation of magical resources after Dialectica set Aelfwin the task of creating a set of glassware to establish a new magical laboratory. It was Dialectica's intention to re-establish the laboratory in Blackney, but I mentioned that, for several years, I had expressed a desire to set up a laboratory in the faerie Regio. We discussed the merits of the competing options: did the advantage of being able to station a Magus (always Cormoran) in Blackney despite the feeble magical aura of that place outweigh the possible magical discoveries about the magical and faerie auras that might be possible with a laboratory in the Regio? In the end, we left the matter unresolved, but we determined to return to it next season when the equipment was ready.

After the meeting, I left for the faerie Regio to see if I could learn more about two grogs, Edward and Conrad, who had gone missing close to that place following the flood last season. At Palug's glade, I encountered Quaesitor Linaris of House Merinita, who was questioning Palug about the area. Linaris told me that she had come to investigate the faerie knight Sir Turold, and she planned to venture into Gofannon's realm to question the knight about his background. I agreed to accompany her, and we determined to travel back to Severn Temple to collect Medius and Cormoran, as we thought that their talents would prove useful as Quaesitor and Hoplite respectively. I also learned from Palug that the two grogs had been captured by Bethwyn, the sorceress who follows the Morrigan, and she had taken them through the forest to her dark hill.

[Tiarnan's private journal: On the way back to the covenant, Linaris and I discussed Theo, and she told me of a vision she had recently had. She bade me mention it to no other, including Theo or any of the faerie powers, and I shall not even record its details here. I shall, however, state my fervent desire that it should prove false - or that we have misinterpreted it - for, if true, it spells complete disaster.]

Back at the covenant, I discovered that the two missing grogs, Edward and Conrad, had returned a few days earlier, though their time in the faerie Regio had apparently changed their appearances. While Linaris spoke with Medius and Cormoran, I travelled down to Blackney, where the grogs had been stationed by a suspicious Astrius, to investigate them. Both appear touched by the fae, though in different ways: Edward now has the eyes and manner of one of the Cors, whereas Conrad has an Unseelie way about him that I have yet to identify. In addition, to my eyes, Edward's dog appears to have an entirely faerie nature, which is puzzling. The men declared that they had sworn no oaths or made no bargains during their time in the Regio, and they did not behave suspiciously while I was in Blackney, but I still believe we should keep a close eye on them for the time being.

Linaris persuaded Medius and Cormoran to travel with us, and we set off for Gofynwy's cave, as a path to the Heart of the Mountain can be found there. However, it seems my earlier confidence about the waning of winter and coming of spring may have been rather premature, for, within the forest, we spied a snowstorm blowing towards us. It could mean only one thing: the Erechwyth's minions had spotted us and were coming to investigate. We drew ourselves up into a circle to await their arrival, and a few moments later, a group of twisted ice goblins and lumbering ice giants began to encircle us. They demanded to know what we were doing in the Erechwyth's forest, and they were not placated by our assurances that we merely wished to pass through without causing any harm. After I revealed my identity, two of the goblins sped off, presumably to tell their mistress. Linaris demanded that we be allowed to proceed, and she even destroyed one of the goblins to demonstrate that we were not to be trifled with.

However, then the Erechwyth herself stepped forward from the ranks of her minions. It seems that she is still angry that Quellior managed to rescue me from her dungeon a few years ago, and she demanded that I surrender as her prisoner in return for allowing the rest to pass. To forestall a possible battle, I sprinted away from the throng, hoping that if I could make it as far as a nearby stream, I would be able to use an item to transport me to the court of Llyr, King of the Sea. I was told later that it was a close run thing, for the Erechwyth began an enchantment to strike me down, but Cormoran managed to distract her from her task by bearing down on her in a furious charge. I made it to the stream, and sped through the waters, reaching Llyr's court after a long journey.

[Tiarnan's private journal: I spoke with Llyr about recent events at Severn Temple, most notably Theo's attempts to gain the support of Gofannon and Nynniaw. Llyr told me where Theo had gone, and we speculated that he might be trying to recover his memories. I told him of the vision that the Morrigan sent me, and he confirmed the truth of it, including the identity of the faerie woman. He also told me what might happen if Theo learned more of his past, though I shall refrain from recording this here.]

I spoke with King Llyr, and he agreed to send me back to my sodales by a different route, for there are underground rivers that reach even the Heart of the Mountain. I emerged in an antechamber close to Gofannon's hall, where Sir Turold was waiting to be summoned into the King's presence. We exchanged a few words, before we made our way into the hall, where I spied my sodales in discussion with Gofannon. They had not had easy journey: I had hoped that the Erechwyth would have let them pass once I had escape, but it was not to be. A fight broke out, but Linaris' wards were not strong enough to hold back the Erechwyth, and she was forced to apport with Medius to a safer place within the Regio. Cormoran was left to face the goblins and giants alone, but the Erechwyth surprisingly changed her mind and allow the giant to leave. It is not clear what caused her to do this, but Cormoran later indicated that she was full of praise for his martial prowess, and it is possible that she seeks to curry favour with him in the hope that he may prove to be an ally in the future.

Linaris explained her mission to Gofannon, but the King seemed to regard it as an affront that any would challenge the status of one of his knights. He demanded that Sir Turold be allowed to defend his honour in single combat, and we retired for a few moments to select our champion, though in truth, there was only one realistic candidate. Linaris told Medius that Sir Turold appeared to be fully faerie to her eyes, and they agreed that if he was able to best Cormoran in battle without using Hermetic magic, there would be little doubt that he was no longer mortal. Cormoran bravely agreed to face Sir Turold, and the two warriors clashed in a thrilling contest. Though Cormoran had a clear advantage in size and strength, the faerie knight appeared to be made from the hardest stone, and the giant's mighty blows could not pierce his skin. Sir Turold's sword, on the other hand, inflicted a series of deep wounds, and Cormoran was forced to concede the battle, though not before he had picked up Sir Turold and hurled him into a nearby pool in an attempt to knock him out. With Sir Turold's victory, Linaris and Medius agreed that he was indeed a full faerie knight, and we left the mountain court and travelled back to Severn Temple.

What an eventful season!

Scribed by Medius

Autumn

Concilium started with the Pontifex reporting on her efforts over Summer to counter the rumours that had implicated wizards in the flooding of Lydney. She had some good news to impart. The loss of Woolaston has not harmed the Baron of Chepstow's economy and neither he nor Monmouth looks in our direction. The city of Gloucester has also recovered quickly although the severe damage to the south has fared less well for us. There remain tales that a supernatural force from the Dean was responsible, possibly being fuelled by the fells within Bristol. It is also clear that Berkeley continues to believe that the flood was a punishment from god and church attendance there has greatly increased as a new mood of zealotry sweeps the area. We shall yet see whether our efforts will bring mundane harm upon ourselves, although in truth I am hopeful that we will see our way through these troubles. My recent investigations of Lydney show that there is no sign of an infernal aura and that is an important achievement for this covenant.

Magus Aelfwin informed us that he had been successful in creating the glassware required to establish a new laboratory. It became apparent that Magus Cormoran had no intention to spend time re-establishing the Blackney laboratory this year and so Magus Tiarnan was granted the equipment and said that he would spend this season setting one up in the lower levels of the faerie regio. He related the events within that realm last season and there was some discussion of the two changed shield grogs, Edward and Conrad. The Imperator is concerned that there may be some taint of the Morrigan upon them and Magus Cormoran was able to confirm that he was required to invite their 'hound' into the aegis at Blackney, confirming Magus Tiarnan's belief that this is fully fae. This faerie says that its loyalty is to its master and it was agreed that they will remain in Blackney for the time being. Indeed, Magus Cormoran has placed them in the Blackney Watch and they will provide the watch at night, those hours suiting their new natures.

There was also a discussion as to whether there was a continuing need to maintain an aegis at Blackney. The half a rook of vis used to power it has been a significant drain on the resources of this covenant, requiring Magi to spend a great deal of time extracting from the aura and with Lydney cleansed the threat to the village was greatly lessened. The Pontifex quickly moved the matter to a vote and it was agreed that we would no longer provide an aegis there, with Magus Astrius and Magus Aelfwin holding a contrary view.

I stated that I would be spending the season away from the covenant, as did Magus Cormoran. The Pontifex announced she was studying from the Mentem texts and the Imperator from the Intellego texts, with Magus Aelfwin spending the season training his apprentice.

And that is all I need set down upon this journal for I am glad to report that the season passed without event.

Scribed by Astrius

Winter


It has now been a year since Theo first vanished and I cannot help but grow ever more concerned as to his fate. From what little Theo has told me of the spirit realms, time may pass differently there, much like regios, but surely the longer time goes on, the less likely he is to return.

There was some happier news for one magus at least, as Cormoran reported that he has found his mundane father, a true giant by all accounts and has named him as amicus. Apparently he was living in a cave within Blackthorn's lands, but although Cormoran struck a deal with Praeca Eloria to ensure he was unmolested in return for a pawn of vis per year, his father is to move. Our giant requested that his father be given leave to stay within the cave in the woods that once housed Petrus's field laboratory and more recently Raegwulf, consortis of the late and unlamented Madoc.

Tiarnan announced that he had been successful in establishing a hermetic laboratory in the faerie regio. As previously discussed, he has sited it in the glade where the faerie known as the Palug dwells. Tiarnan is on good terms with that creature and the glade is one of the closest places to the mundane world so there is less risk of it being overrun by the Erechwyth or any of the other hostile fey that dwell within the regio.

Any illusions that we might have been under that the death of Guyere and the cleansing of Lydney meant that we could relax our guard even for a brief moment, were dispelled when Medius stated that he believes that a member of the Fells is residing in Huntley. Alarmingly, this person may be in a position close to Sir Edwin, the knight there, so Medius will make careful investigation next year.

Not long after the council meeting had finished Lauretius arrived with news. It seems that the years are beginning to tell on our local redcap as he looks ever older with each appearance, though remains hale and hearty enough. The mundane news concerned details of some new merchants guild from Northern Europe whose influence has spread to London. Although this guild is not yet judged to pose a threat to the Order, it has been noted that they are bribing nobles and so should be dealt with cautiously. Of more local events, Lauretius told us that the word on the streets of Bristol is that wizards were behind the great flood, though whether this is a rumour that is being actively promoted by the Fells is unclear. Of equal concern perhaps is the increase in grave robbing in the Dean, at least a dozen bodies have been taken in the last year alone. Medius will speak further with Lauretius on this subject, lest it relate to his investigations into the Fells.

Of hermetic news, the meeting of House Tremere has concluded recently and that house has given their full backing to House Guernicus's proposed investigation of pagan magi. Primus Tremere is urging the other Primi to do likewise and has also petitioned Praeca Eloria to support Holy Isle. The Praeca has naturally agreed to this and has reminded all magi to report any information that may possibly relate to the UnNamed House to Holy Isle.

Lauretius also announced that a formal Quaesitorial investigation led by Senior Quaesitor Linares, accompanied by Medius, Tiarnan and Cormoran, had concluded that the being bearing the name of Turold in the court of Gofannon was not the magus of the same name, but a true faerie. In addition, given the influence this creature wields within the Court of Stone, he is not to be molested.

Later that season Magus Motus of House Flambeau visited the covenant to discuss matters of my house with me, but those I shall not record here. The rest of the season and thus the year passed uneventfully.
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