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Scribed by Medius

Spring 1168 AD


I will not begin with a lengthy preamble but I feel I must record my sadness that Maga Dialectica no longer resides at this covenant, and indeed my concern as to her whereabouts. The Senior Quaesitor has heard no word of where our sodales has travelled and I sense that she too is aware of how out of character this behaviour is. I have read the journal for last spring but in truth it reveals little about the events that occurred, although this is no part the fault of Magus Tiarnan as scribe. Why has a pagan spirit taken an interest in the apprentice of one of our order and given that Maga Dialectica is of House Bonisagus I would expect the Senior Quaesitor to further pursue her investigations into such an alarming mystery. Despite my disquiet I would also like to record my confidence that our new Pontifex Aelfwin will discharge his duties to the highest standard, and while I am sure that I will not always agree with his decisions I shall seek to offer him what support and counsel I may.

The Concilium started with all of our number present save for Magus Theodosius who had travelled into the faerie regio in winter and had been given permission by the Pontifex to miss this meeting should he not return in time. We began with a discussion of whether to make trip to Mynydd Myrddin this season given that Quaesitor Galfredas wishes to make his investigation in summer. It was agreed that the Imperator and Magus Cormoran would accompany him in that season and make no journey in spring. Magus Cormoran raised the issue of the charge laid by Prima Ex Miscellanea against Holy Isle and after further discussion I agreed that I would accompany the party to ensure that it could be plainly seen by all that the investigation was a just one.

Magus Tiarnan confirmed that he had transferred the laboratory equipment from Maga Dialectica's former sanctum to his own. His own previous equipment now resides in that subterranean chamber although it remains packed in crates.

The Pontifex decided to grant 2 pawns of Vis for each season's service to the covenant. He will ensure that sufficient Vis is stockpiled to pay the last tribunal tithe. I raised the issue as to whether the magical animals that it seems Magus Cormoran's amicus eats should be considered a Vis site. It was agreed that we would register a pawn with Blackthorn immediately and then Magus Cormoran would ascertain whether there will be sufficient to harvest.

There was also a discussion about the continued activity at Snig's End. Magus Theodosius has done fine work in his efforts relating to Huntley but we must pursue our investigation against what still remains of the fells and I agreed that I was prepared to make journey to that fell place in autumn. The Imperator immediately stated that he would accompany me on such a mission.

For the season's activities all the Magi of Severn Temple expressed their intention to follow Hermetic study. Studying from text were the Pontifex, myself and Magus Tiarnan with the arts involved being Vim, Corporem and Rego. The Imperator chose to develop a spell and Magus Cormoran to study Magic Theory from Corlear's notes.

With all residing within the covenant there were no events of note save for a visit from the Redcap Loretius. He brought the news that in the mundane world Henry Plantagenet has been crowned as King after defeating Henry of England. He has summoned all the nobles of the land who wish to swear peace to him to London, and has pardoned some of his former enemies who have done so. It seems that the final battle between these two nobles was extraordinarily fierce and very many were left dead. Loretius also brought a package for Magus Tiarnan and letters from Magus Moravius for myself, the Imperator and Magus Theodosius.

Summer

I write this even before Quaesitor Galfredas has arrived at the covenant, so worthy are the events of the last Concilium of accurate recording. With Magus Theodosius now returned it began with the Pontifex declaring that Cormoran would be making a statement. The Pontifex instructed that we were to allow our sodales to finish without interruption and that it was then his intention to make some comments before the rest of our number would be permitted to make any comment. It was thus with some trepidation that I listened as Cormoran began.

Cormoran related the tale of when he travelled to Trevalga covenant to aid them in their difficulties with a local Giant that was stealing from one of their Vis sources. After the failure of negotiation our sodales was tasked with slaying the Giant and he spent a few days with the creature gaining his trust. Cormoran then told us all that in those few days he was introduced to a Giant practice of eating the flesh of men, partaking of a stew made of such. To add to such an abhorrent revelation he then said that he had also assisted with the gathering of food which following Magus Astrius' attempted interjection he clarified as being the kidnapping and murder of two shepherds who were then cooked and eaten. He went on to say that following his slaying of this Giant he discovered that he could no longer eat ordinary food as on his tongue it tasted as if it were excrement and ash. Beer and Cider were barely palatable and being forced to hunger he turned to the eating of human corpses, a practice that went on for a year. This only ceased when he met with his mundane father, now his amicus, who prepared food for him that was palatable and Cormoran then swore an oath that he would no longer eat of human flesh. Since his amicus came to live in the Forest of Dean he has been sharing meals with him once in each month. Our sodales further revealed that he suspected that the animals being cooked were magical but did not test this until instructed to do so whereupon he confirmed two pawns of Animal Vis in each beast. He said that his amicus had special skills as a hunter that enabled him to capture such creatures, but that men may be able to catch some themselves. He finished by repeating that he no longer partook of the flesh of men.

The Pontifex spoke next, saying that he had visited with Cormoran's amicus. He had found him to be suspicious of Magi but prepared to strike a bargain that in return for being built a cottage he will carry out some hunting on behalf of the covenant. He went on to say that Cormoran had been worried about revealing the full story to his sodales which is why he approached the Pontifex, and it was after a discussion between the two of them that it had been brought before us. The Pontifex hoped that this full and frank admission, of events going back some time, would clear the air and allow for a new start. He stated that he was aware that Cormoran's actions had been horrific but believed his promise never to repeat them. He then said that he hoped that people would stay calm.

Magus Theodosius asked whether our sodales felt contrition for his actions and he replied yes, but then went on to say that he had had no choice when the hunger came upon him until his amicus showed him an alternative path. Magus Tiarnan wanted to know whether Cormoran had wanted to eat human flesh before he had tasted this Giant's stew and Cormoran replied that he had not but believed that the first taste stimulated the legacy of his blood. He also confirmed that he had known what was in the stew before he took the first mouthful but was trying to gain the Giant's trust. The Imperator then asked whether he would have brought this matter before Concilium if he had not been placed under scrutiny by his sodales and he replied that he would not have. For myself I raised my belief that by referring to the killing and eating of two men as gathering food he was not as remorseful as he would have us believe. The Imperator then brought forward a motion of exscilium and the meeting was adjourned to allow tempers to cool.

That evening we reconvened and the Imperator stated the grounds for his charge. He said that some would speak of their abhorrence for Cormoran's cannibalism but that he believed the purpose of this sanction was to deal with a Magus who had persistently failed to mend his ways and he believed the fact that even after the vote of excordis Cormoran had failed to be honest with his sodales. He further said that Cormoran would not have admitted to effectively stealing Vis had he not been forced into a corner.

The Pontifex said that the Vis was the least of the matter and that this was the result of Cormoran's honesty, and his attempt to make a break with his past. The Imperator responded that it was Cormoran's continuous deceit and betrayal that was worthy of exscilium. Cormoran then said that he had thought that if he told us the truth his amicus would no longer be permitted to hunt the magical beasts and that his secrecy was in large part driven by fear of returning to human flesh and shame about his actions. He said that he believed he had been changed by the sanction of excordis that he is currently under and when challenged on this by the Imperator said that he was now more honest and open. The arguments became extremely heated at this point and it was agreed to adjourn the meeting once again.

The following morning we gathered once more and the Pontifex said that while he would allow the charge, he believed that whilst the excordis was still in effect it was inappropriate to banish Cormoran until the effectiveness of that sanction had been seen. Cormoran himself said only that he realised he had done wrong in the past but was now a changed man. The matter then moved to a vote with both Magus Astrius and Magus Tiarnan voting in favour of exscilium and the Pontifex, Magus Theodosius and Cormoran voting against. I chose to abstain, for while I am appalled at the actions of my sodales I believe that there was merit in what the Pontifex had to say.

With the vote being passed in favour of Cormoran it was clear that there was going to be another spate of Certamen, and so it proved. I do not wish to bore the reader with a list of all the battles fought; instead I shall record those in the legal records of the covenant which can be found here. What I shall say is that these battles continued on into the 4th day of the season, with the Pontifex calling adjournments on a regular basis to allow the members of this covenant to continue to press their cases. This might have continued until all possible combinations had been fought but on the 4th day the Pontifex himself lost a battle.

Cormoran then failed in his attempt to change my decision and as acting Pontifex at that time I decided to end this prolonged confrontation and draw the vote to a close, with the vote standing to exile Cormoran at the close of the meeting. I decided to adjourn one further time however to allow the Pontifex to make the decision as to when the meeting was closed.

The following morning we met again and the Pontifex, utilising his authority as laid down by the charter, decided to veto Magus Astrius' motion of sanction. None were prepared to raise another challenge, despite the Imperator's obvious anger, and the meeting quickly ended. The only discussion following was an agreement that a wooden cottage would be built for Cormoran's amicus and agreement as to our activities for the season. Magus Tiarnan is studying from the Herbam texts and all others are performing services. Myself and the Imperator go to Mynydd Myrddin, the Pontifex is extracting Vim Vis, Cormoran will be acting within the area of Lydney and Magus Theodosius will be meeting his contacts in the Dean.

It is clear to me that there is much bitterness within our covenant. There is much anger against the Pontifex and he himself has made it apparent that he resents my decision not to allow the Certamen to continue indefinitely. Indeed it is clear from recent years that Certamen is becoming a danger to this covenant rather than a just way to resolve disputes. I shall propose that in future cases such as this, that where a challenge is made to change the vote of another then the challengers vote itself should also be at risk of change. Perhaps then all will consider more carefully whether Certamen is the best course of action. I sincerely hope that the remainder of this season allows tempers to calm but I fear that our Pontifex will find the coming years to be difficult ones.

It was but a few days after the events that I have recorded above that Quaesitor Galfredas arrived at the covenant. I met with him and we took some time to talk about the loss of Maga Dialectica and how well our new Pontifex was fitting in to his role, no great surprise with the Concilium Quaesitori acting as guardians of our charter. Magus Astrius then joined us and we discussed the events that had befallen him within Mynydd Myrddin. The Quaesitor was clearly interested in the higher levels of regio within that place and questioned us as to who from the covenant had been there before. Quaesitor Galfredas also asked that Magus Astrius act as his hoplite during the investigation. As I needed time to arrange my own hoplite if I was to accompany the investigation it was agreed that the Quaesitor would examine the journal records concerning Mynydd Myrddin for the next fortnight. I sent Giovanni to Blackthorn to see if message could be sent to Fulgaria of Narwold covenant but unbeknownst to me this season was the meeting of House Mercere and no redcap was present within the tribunal. Praeca Eloria spoke with Giovanni and she quickly travelled here to the covenant and offered her services as hoplite, an offer that I gratefully accepted.

Our Praeca's good nature did not last for a great length of time however. When she learned of our mission she was clearly angered that we had not thought to inform her covenant of the sighting of a suspected member of the un-named house so close to Blackthorn. In truth I had assumed that Pontifex Dialectica would have passed message when she sent word to Holy Isle but it is clear that she did not. Matters became even worse on the journey to Mynydd Myrddin. When passing Skenfrith Castle the Praeca was informed that the noble of that place was cursed as a werewolf. Again she angrily questioned us as to why we had not informed Blackthorn, or at the very least the redcaps who sometimes stay there when travelling. This is no small failure on our part for it is a duty upon all in the order to advise the redcaps of those events that might make their travel less safe. Matters became quite heated for the Praeca chose to make none too subtle threats of charges being raised against our covenant, although we clearly conceded that we had been remiss in our duty. We shall see whether anything comes of this or whether she seeks only to gain some advantage over us for the future.

Although it was our plan to investigate the standing stones where our Imperator had espied the man we suspect of being an enemy of the order events led to a different conclusion. Questioning the Druid within the Celts' village it became apparent that he knew something of this man. Given his reluctance to share such knowledge it was agreed that he would be taken to Holy Isle and questioned there. We decided that we would try and think of a way of taking him that would not anger the Celts and would enable us to continue our investigation within the regio. It was clear that only the Praeca had such arts as to make this a relatively simple task but she said that she would not aid in this matter unless we agreed to make a tithe of some portion of the vis from the regio, a request that even were we minded to agree we could not under our charter. Strangely, following a long discussion between myself, Quaesitor Galfredas and Magus Astrius as to how best to effect the taking of the Druid, our Imperator was heard arguing with his familiar for some time and at no small volume. I do not know what the matter was about for they spoke in the barking and growling that dogs use but the following morning Quaesitor Galfredas announced that he had dispensed with the services of my sodalis as hoplite. This is some dishonour to Magus Astrius but I did not press him as to the cause for it seemed that there was no great anger in Quaesitor Galfredas and he continued to behave with courtesy to my sodalis. As Magus Astrius is my usual hoplite I was happy to appoint him once more and free the Praeca from the burden. Quaesitor Galfredas asked if she would act as his hoplite but she refused claiming that she had other matters that she must attend to.

With the Quaesitor from Holy Isle now unprotected it was clear that the investigation would have to wait for the future and it was decided to take the Druid immediately and depart. The plan was to engineer a confrontation that would allow it to appear that the Druid gave Quaesitor Galfredas no choice but to take him leaving ourselves as helpless in the matter. Again events did not go to plan for no sooner had the attempt began when one of the grogs from Holy Isle slew the chieftain of the Celts. It seemed for a moment that a melee would ensue but Magus Astrius quickly quelled any notions of attack from the Celts by conjuring fire upon his blade. Once the Druid had been taken clear of the village Quaesitor Galfredas offered the life of the man who had so rashly ignored his instructions but the Imperator declined and asked only that he be punished by Holy Isle for his indiscipline. With the Celts so angry it was clear that we could leave no grogs within Mynydd Myrddin and thus I fear that we will have some work to do in the future if we are to have as easy a time within that place in years to come.

Early in the season, whilst we were away, Magus Theodosius returned to the covenant with news from Hugh, the man that we have placed within Huntley to learn more of Edwin's activities. It seems that no priest has yet been appointed to replace the last and the church there remains empty and unused. Edwin himself has grown even more paranoid and now rarely leaves his manor, having doubled the guard. From the descriptions given it seems that at least two of these guards have the taint of the infernal upon them. Although Edwin's night journeys have apparently ended he did make one trip to London, a journey that only last 3 weeks, of which at least two must have been spent travelling there and back. The timing would seem to indicate that he was present around the time of the new king's coronation.

It was Magus Theodosius' belief that he might be able to obtain a key to the church from the Rector of Monmouth and he decided to visit with Baron Martin to share some of the fears regarding Edwin, although perhaps fortunately the Baron would not hear any allegations against a man not in his service. On his journey he learned that the Earl of Gloucester had died and that there were rumours that some of the March barons might make a move upon the city. It seems that he told Baron Martin of this and the baron took a number of men to Gloucester to 'protect' the city for the king. The Sheriff and Captain of the castle were glad of his support and welcomed them with no resistance. Hearing reports that Worcester had a large force of men on route our sodalis was asked to parley with him. The negotiations were successful and that noble returned to his own lands although it sounds like he was less than happy with events. Magus Theodosius has assured us that there is no chance that he can be identified as a Magus of the order but I must admit to having some concerns as to how deeply he seems to be drawn into mundane affairs. I regret now that I gave my support to the arrangement we have struck for our landholding for he travels on the edge of the code and it will take but one misstep to lead to disaster.

Autumn

A full Concilium met and we discussed the events of the summer. It was agreed that Magus Theodosius should see whether he can obtain a copy of the key to the church at Huntley but such an investigation would have to wait until we had learned what we may at Snig's End. Myself, the Imperator and Magus Theodosius confirmed our intention to travel there early in the season. There was also some talk of the events in Mynydd Myrddin and the question was raised as to whether we could still investigate the events at the standing stones. It is my belief that we could jeopardise the investigations of Holy Isle and that we should wait until Quaesitor Galfredas had completed his own inquiry and my sodales agreed. We decided that the three grogs who were to be stationed there due to their unnatural appearances could not return to Blackney given our desire to create a mundane barrier between there and the covenant and that they would instead be posted in the forest under the watchful eye of Magus Cormoran's amicus.

Our activities for the season were declared. The Pontifex would be studying from the Intellego texts and Magus Cormoran from Corlear's notes. Magus Theodosius would once more travel the Dean and both myself and the Imperator were learning new spells (although following events at Snig's End Magus Astrius decided to study from some personal vis instead). Magus Tiarnan requested three pawns of Herbam vis to study from and was granted his request. I understand that he spent some time within the faerie regio during the season but I do not believe that it interfered with his studies.

We decided that we would take no grogs to Snig's End with us due to their vulnerability to magical attack but only Magus Astrius' familiar Drudhuil, my consortis Giovanni (who the Pontifex generously loaned an item of magical protection more usually borne by his amica) and Zedekiah of the Kabbalah. We travelled as close as we could by barge and then continued overland. We were highly cautious as many traps had been encountered on the path through this dark place in the past and so it proved again. We had avoided a number of pits and snares before some kind of creature was sighted deep within the trees, with small flickering flames where its eyes would have been. Although it was quite overcast Magus Astrius' keen eyes identified that rather than a living beast it was some form of statue and he and his familiar quickly approached it, although with a certain amount of stealth. It was quickly revealed that they had been espied by something as we saw a large flash of flames surround our sodalis, although his Parma Magica was sufficient to protect him from them. Magus Theodosius reported that he saw the head of the statue turn in the direction of our sodalis and the flames in its eye sockets briefly flared. As the Imperator swiftly approached he was twice more engulfed in magical flame before he conjured a mighty torrent of water to wield against it, although his aim was awry. Once more he was attacked and his protection must have been pushed to its very limits as his spell failed and there were clear signs of smouldering on the cloth beneath his armour. Again the flames struck him but he pressed on, bringing forth water once more and this time he struck the statue cleanly and with a large cracking side it splintered down one side and the threat was ended. The statue had a dark countenance about it although there was no magic upon it that we could see.

Drudhuil once more led us along the path and suddenly he was surrounded by flames that burst from the ground to the height of a tall man. The familiar was quick on his feet and leapt through the fires which instantly died down. Magus Theodosius viewed it through his second sight and says that he saw the shadows of creatures with black wings within the flames. Finally we reached the clearing and Zedekiah immediately told us that he sensed the presence of something evil. I was able to cast the spell 'Sense the Elusive Boundary' and could see a regio boundary, a black miasma rising from the ground a few feet into the clearing. Magus Theodosius, whose knowledge of the occult is I believe quite substantial, said that whatever had created this had great power, likely a demon within the regio. No sooner had he spoken than all three Magi were alerted to an enchantment of scrying. Casting The Invisible Eye Revealed I could see an eye surrounded by thick oily smoke watching us. Deciding that it would be foolishly dangerous to press on within the regio we turned and followed the path back to the edge of the wood.

As we came to the edge we were alerted to the sound of horses approaching, as has happened on previous visits to this place. We quickly hid, although in the hurry Zedekiah dropped the potion of Leap of Homecoming that had been given to him. Fortunately I was close enough to pass another to him before the air darkened and we could see an eerie green glow draw near. There was an unearthly shriek, which sounded like a human at first but ended in a bestial roar. I could see nothing but Zedekiah and his expression chilled me to the base of my spine as he looked from his hiding place. He swiftly reached for his potion and stood up, took a step and disappeared. I heard a rasping, gurgling sound and being so close I too apported back to the covenant. I was quickly joined by both Magi and Zedekiah told us all that what he had seen was a creature from hell stalking through the trees, a heresy of the deceiver. The Imperator reported that he had felt his Parma Magica assailed and then almost overcome as dread images fluttered on the edge of his mind. He believes it likely that to come so close to swamping his magical defences then the effect must have been of an order around the 10th magnitude. On his authority I cast the spell Sense of the Lingering Magic upon him and could see that he had been attacked by virulent fire with oily black smoke trailing off it. Of the assault upon his mind there was no sign - clearly the work of the infernal.

Magus Astrius set forth to recover his familiar who had fled on foot from the scene and when he finally returned the following morning it was agreed that he would ride forth and see whether he could track the riders. Magus Theodosius also set out again, to see whether he could get the key to the church at Huntley. From his reports it seems that the Rector, a man named Luke, is a worthy type who is somewhat ill judged by his peers due to his good family connections. My sodalis was unable to obtain the key however. Magus Astrius had more fortune, setting out with a tracker in his service and his familiar. At Snig's End they saw a green glow within the trees even during daylight and decided it would be foolhardy to approach. Casting around some way off however he discovered the tracks that he was looking for and while he did not follow them to the end he stated that he was sure they led to Red Morley. We agreed that we would infiltrate Huntley during spring and investigate the church no matter what. If Edwin was involved in the raising of this demon and regio then we must move against him and I wrote a letter to Magus De Camp asking him how best we might raise a charge against him in the mundane sphere should we find suitable evidence, without directly involving ourselves.

Later in the season Magus Theodosius took it upon himself to pass through Red Morley, being extremely cautious to disguise his true identity. It is a small town, not on any market routes, and he heard of nothing suspicious within its boundaries. Indeed it seems that the Knight is considered to be of upstanding character and is loyal to the Baron of Eastnor. The suggestion was raised that Red Morley might not be the source of the riders. He did hear reports that wolves had been heard howling in the vicinity of Snig's End however and that peoples animals and livestock had been behaving skittishly. There have been no tales of wolves in the area before and this is perhaps worthy of some investigation.

The final matter that I must record from the season was the visit of the Redcap Loretius. He had limited news as he had just returned from his house meeting at Harco but was still able to inform us that there had been a few minor uprisings against the new king but nothing that threatens his position. We were also told that Archimaga Crathia has died, news that he thought would interest us as he has borne many of our messages during our attempted trade with her. He also bore packages for myself and Cormoran and I was able to deliver my reports as to the recent discoveries regarding the infernal.

Winter

As usual we began with a recounting of the events of the previous season and Magus Cormoran had news of interest. He told us that the infernal wolves within the dell had been heard leaving and moving north through the forest. Although we can not be certain it seems likely that they made their way to Snig's End for the timing of the event seems to match what Magus Theodosius had learned. We discussed this issue for some time with it being noted how similar the situation at Snig's End was to that at Lydney in the past. It was agreed that our plan to investigate the church at Huntley was of the utmost importance and thus I decided to spend the season inventing a spell so that I might easily manipulate locks without detection. The Pontifex agreed to craft some more potions so that we might swiftly return to the covenant if danger befell us and Magus Astrius announced that he could now learn the Incantation of Lightning and would do so over winter. Of my other sodales, Magus Tiarnan was tasked with extracting vis from the aura for the covenant, Magus Theodosius was receiving instruction on how to lead men and Magus Cormoran continued to study Magical Theory from the notes of Corlear.

Happily for us all the season passed uneventfully. Our only visitor was Redcap Loretius once more, who brought news to me that a meeting of my house had been called at Magvillus next summer and all were required to attend. A ship has been arranged from Chepstow for early spring and thus as the winter snows melt outside my window I can only pray that the plan that we have developed to gain entry to the church at Huntley is a good one for we will set forth in but a few days.
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