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Scribed by Aelfwin

Spring 1169 AD

We meet for our first council of the year and I'm swiftly forced to make a difficult decision. It's my intention to head up to Lear Valley for most of the year, to study with my pater Erin and learn more of his particular techniques for brewing longevity potions. It seems I am not the only one planning to be absent. Our Ministrator, Medius, must travel to his House meeting and so shall be away until winter.

With Theo so often away, it is a choice between Tiarnan and Cormoran for Ministrator. I appointed Tiarnan and turned the agenda to our forthcoming activities for the Season.

After the events of autumn last year, where Medius led an investigation into Snig's end, together with Astrius and Theo, and discovered renewed diabolic activity therein, it was proposed to attempt entry to Edwin of Huntley's manor via the crypts which lie under the Church. A plan was quickly prepared: Theo and Giovanni would travel, disguised, into the village and wait until nightfall. Giovanni would then make his way to the stockade and give a signal for Astrius and Medius to climb over with a ladder. Then the three of them would make their way to the Church and wait for Theo to arrive. From there they would sneak through the crypt and through the secret passage into the basements of Edwin's manor house. The intention was to take an arcane connection and locate any books or scrolls which might identify what this remnant of the Fells were up to. Finally, presuming all went without hitch, they would return the way they had come, resealing the path as they went so that minimal suspicion would be aroused. However, as any of us might have expected, events did not entirely play out as they had planned.

All went well until Medius and Astrius reached the Church; dark and quiet ever since the priest was slain by one of Edwin's men. They espied a mysterious bundle on the altar. Managing to break a lantern in the process, they dared a little light to inspect the contents of the dark rags, discovering a child's body; ritually slain in some diabolical practice.

Deciding to press on to the crypt, aware that the secrecy of their investigation may have been compromised by the disturbed body and the aftermath of the accident with the lantern, Medius became concerned that an entity was watching them from the entrance to the underground tombs. It seems a spirit, known to Theo, was guarding the entrance from a demonic presence summoned by the murder of the child. This puzzle would have to wait until later, as the group pressed onwards through the narrow gate and down into the crypts.

Within that burial place they felt more brooding presences and watching eyes. It appeared that the dead there had been disturbed. They followed the crypts and discovered the tunnel leading to Edwin's cellars. As they left the tunnel they were presented with a choice; a doorway ahead of them and a large, heavy wooden door, reinforced with metal studs. Here Theo was assailed by some infernal spirits; fortunately Medius was able to drive them away with judicious use of 'The Demon's Eternal Oblivion' and Theo was able to recover slowly from the attack. Guessing that this well protected door might lead them to some of Edwin's secrets they attempted to gain entry by magic. However, most surprisingly, the door proved resistant to spontaneous magics designed to rot the wood away.

Unfortunately, perhaps suspicions had been aroused within the household, for noises were heard beyond the far doorway leading to Edwin's cellars. The door opened and a servant spied the intruders. Thinking quickly, Astrius filled the end of the hallway with webs to keep any guards at bay for as long as possible.

With the purpose of subtlety lost, Astrius turned to more direct means to force open the protected door. Fortunately, it's resistance to magic did not suffice in the face of lightning! As the door was blown apart, a monstrous serpent loomed out of the smoke. However, Astrius was able to slay the creature using more lightning.

Behind the door lay a fair sized room, adorned with occult paraphernalia, books and demonological devices. However, all appeared fairly general and there is no sign of a diary or personal correspondence belonging to Edwin. With time running out, the wizards started to grab as much stuff as they could reasonably carry. Then Giovanni discovered a secret store behind one of the tapestries. Having taken an arcane connection and grabbed what Medius hoped was the information they needed; the party swiftly used potions to return to the covenant, as the guards cut through the last of the webbing.

Having returned safely, Theo listened into the aftermath at the manor using 'an Ear for Distant Voices'. To our surprise (and when we'd had time to think about it, alarm), Edwin appeared to blame Yvonne for the break in and theft. Given what Edwin's servants must have seen of Astrius' lightning, this suggests that Yvonne is capable of significant magics! However, better news is that it appears the Fells are divided and infighting amongst themselves and that there is no suspicion yet of our involvement.


At the meeting of the council the matter of the investigation is further discussed, though Medius is absent. Cormoran, hearing of the events in the Church, tries to question Theo further about the pagan spirit; though Theo was unwilling to go into great detail. What Theo has discovered, though, is that Edwin is using a form on non-Hermetic magic. He can only guess, but Theo believes that whilst Edwin is certainly a diabolist (and at least three of his servants are also involved) the Knight is also able to use occult rituals to create magical effects. Edwin, after the initial shock of the raid, is now no longer certain that Yvonne was responsible, but as yet has made no mention of any suspicion towards us.

The books and parchments retrieved from the raid will wait for Medius' return from his House meeting. The hope is that they may reveal something of what is going on at Snig's end and the plans of the remaining Fells.

Theo has also managed to recruit three mercenaries, including two military scouts. His plan for the moment is to have them watch Red Morely to see if they can track any movements of Fells through that area.

Cormoran then broke the sombre mood of the meeting by introducing a new topic. He has hopes to be able to learn the ways of his father and tend magical animals for the purpose of food (for himself) and for occasional vis. He announces that he intends to search the forest for magical pigs (though he changes his mind backward and forwards a few times during the discussion). Theo reminded him not to hunt the magical deer that live within the forest - as he believes them intimately tied to the well being of the forest itself.

With that, activities for the season were discussed. I'm off to Lear Valley for the rest of the year and Medius won't be back until winter. Tiranan intends to explore the faerie forest. Astrius will remain in the covenant and develop a weather spell. Theo will be abroad (again) looking to his land holdings. Cormoran, as discussed, will head off in search of magical pigs.

Scribed by Astrius


With the long summer finally drawing to a close, the four magi present, myself, Theo, Tiarnan and Cormoran met in council. Theo began the proceedings by informing us that he had become the knight of Skenfrith, the great English fortress on the Welsh border that lies en route to Mynydd Myrddyn. Sir Lionel, the cursed werewolf knight who formally held that title has been forced to flee back to the woods. Incredibly, Sir Lionel, along with Theo and many of the local nobles, had been travelling down to London to see the King when he realised that the moon would become full while he was at the royal court. Sir Lionel turned to Theo for help as he was the only one in the party who knew of his curse. After some thought, Theo invoked Jack of the Green and renegotiated the terms of our existing bargain with the werewolves. With the agreement of the pagan spirit he then arranged for Sir Lionel to leave the group without warning. As soon as Lionel was safely away, Theo went to speak with Baron Martin to explain Sir Lionel's sudden departure. Once there, Theo judged that to withhold the full facts of what had happened from such an astute man could be more damaging than the truth itself and so he told the Baron the whole sorry story, werewolves and all.

Thankfully, Theo had judged Baron Martin correctly and not only did he accept this news as calmly as could be expected, he even gifted Theo the now knight-less landholding of Skenfrith. Although Theo cannot move soldiers from Skenfrith to bolster our turb, it will nevertheless be an excellent place to recruit mercenaries. Theo assured us that this new title will incur no great new responsibilities beyond the season a year he is already spends in his existing noble role. Apparently it is not uncommon for knights with more than one landholding to so neglect their other places. There will be difficulties if, or given the two countries' previous histories, when, war comes between the English and the Welsh, but for now, all is well. Another positive outcome from all this was that Theo believes that Jack of the Green accepts that Theo's initial misgivings about letting Lionel rule Skenfrith were correct and with luck this will strengthen out hand in any future discussions with that entity.

Theo also mentioned that on this trip he had met the King of England, whom he described as a fierce-hearted man, utterly loyal to his friends, but murderous to his enemies. Theo was not the only noble to have gained greater station on the trip for our sodalis's efforts in informing Baron Martin about the situation in Gloucester evidently paid off as Martin was confirmed as the new Earl of Gloucester. Theo himself is now knight of four different landholdings, Lydney, Blackney, Skenfrith and Ysgywyd Fawr and is widely seen as the Earl's right-hand man. With all these responsibilities it was no surprise to learn that Theo intends to spend the season visiting the Welsh court. After some discussion, it was agreed that Cormoran will accompany him for at least part of the journey to Ysgywyd Fawr. Cormoran had suggested that with our current parlous relations with the Celts and the ever-present threat from Myrddyn's Brood, it would be a good idea to see if he could find a second passage through to the Mynydd Myrddyn. Given that Ysgywyd Fawr lies just to the northwest of that forest, it seems like a fair place to search for a fresh path. With the potential threats lurking in that region, I volunteered to accompany Cormoran, but Tiarnan, as acting Pontifex, pointed out that this would leave just him in the covenant. As Imperator I obviously could not risk the safety of the covenant and so I agreed to remain within the walls for the season, requesting use of the animal vis to further my studies in that art. For his part Tiarnan will extract vim vis on behalf of the covenant.

Theo also requested monies to buy a horse suitable for his new role and 300d were made available to him, with the proviso that he use funds from Skenfrith to help pay if possible. With that the meeting ended and we set about our various tasks. Theo and Cormoran's journey by barge to Skenfrith was uneventful. Cormoran and his band of companions proceeding separately on foot from there, for a goodly number of them have faerie or magical blood so would arouse naught but suspicion in the town itself. Sir Theodore was however warmly welcomed to his new castle and was able to pick himself a fine stallion from Skenfrith's stable to take as his personal mount. Another of his first acts was to order the kennels to be refounded. Given the taint that lay about him, Sir Lionel had had them disbanded for fear that the hounds would be able to sense the festering madness in his heart. After speaking a little with the local priest, who is apparently a goodly enough man, Theo proceeded on to check on Ysgywyd Fawr, which apparently also fares well. Leaving behind instructions for his steward to treat well with Cormoran, Theo then headed off to pay audience at the Welsh court in Powys, where by his account he was again well-received and treated with much honour.

Unfortunately for our giant, and ultimately the whole covenant as a whole, Cormoran's expedition did not go as planned. Things started inauspiciously when Dermot got into a fracas with some of the burlier villagers from Ysgywyd Fawr, but eventually order was restored and Cormoran and his men were given sufficient provisions for their trek into the forest. After little more than a day's walking they reached the edge of the forest and made camp there for the night. A good night's sleep was had by all and with fresh limbs they set off into the woods, searching for a path or tracks of some sort that might lead them into the regio. Their initial searches turned up little, but that afternoon Dermot discovered a lone wolf pawprint in the damp mud of a small riverbank. Deciding to wait until they had a full day ahead of them before pushing on, Cormoran ordered that they return to the previous night's camp. That night however, two of the men on watch heard the ominous sound of wolves howling from all around them. The mettle of those individuals present soon became clear as a number of the men fled for the safety of the trees, without thought for the safety of their fellows. Cormoran, Conrad, Edward and Henry however stood their ground in what little armour they had managed to put on in time. Seeing the wolves closing in and suspecting from their aggressive behaviour that they might be werewolves, Cormoran loudly declared himself as a magus from Severn Temple, but the wolves still attacked. While my sodales and the men fought bravely, with naught but ordinary weapons to hand they were hard pressed to deal significant wounds to these preternaturally tough opponents, yet all stood their ground even though Conrad and Edward were both bitten. Again, Cormoran declared himself and this time, with doubts perhaps creeping into their cowardly and treacherous minds, perhaps half of the werewolves retreated, before a few moments later the rest turned to flee. As one of the werewolves fighting Conrad tried to run he caught it with a mighty blow from his halberd and shattered its spine, killing the wretched creature instantly. After dying, its body reverted to that of a naked woman, confirming the nature of the enemy beyond any doubt.

With Dermot maintaining his cowardly vigil from high in the branches of a nearby tree, Cormoran quickly instructed Edward and Conrad to purge any taint in their wounds with burning brands. This they did, eager to escape the curse, though Edward could barely walk by the time it was done. As everyone hurriedly donned what armour they had not had time to put on in the first rush of the fight, Dermot espied a group of six werewolves in human form approaching. From the sound of it, one of them was the pack leader and the old man, presumably the Grandfather wolf. How I wish now that I could have accompanied Cormoran, for I would have ended this feud with these most faithless and treacherous of creatures there and then.

Acting in good faith, despite their breach of our pact, Cormoran returned the body of the dead werewolf woman to them. Once it had been reclaimed, there then ensued a bitter argument, translated by Henry from Welsh into English. Incredibly, it seems that despite their unprovoked attack on a declared magus of Severn Temple the werewolves claimed that it was we who had broken the pact! The werewolves initially demanded that, as payment for the dead woman, Cormoran hand over the two men who had been bitten. Cormoran quite rightly refused and instead offered a compromise that if either of the men became infected as a result of the bites that he would send them to join the werewolves. Although this would have been bitterly disputed had it ever come up at council, the Grandfather wolf refused to accept the offer, saying that the wounds had been purged and so it was worthless. With neither side yielding any further, things degenerated into an argument about which side had broken the pact.

The werewolves claimed that under the terms of the original deal struck by Theo, the covenant had agreed not to enter the werewolves' territory, save by the path to the white stones and that Cormoran had broken the pact by entering the forest thereabouts. They refused to accept his explanation that he was simply looking for a new route into Mynydd Myrrdyn and accused him of trying to find their secret dwelling places. This was of course untrue, but at least we now know the approximate area in which these places can be found. Eventually the werewolves left, saying that the wrath of Jack of the Green would fall upon Cormoran and the men. It seems that this pagan spirit agreed with the lycanthropes, for soon after they had left, Dermot, still quaking in his tree, sensed something bad coming. Cormoran cast a spell to grow tall enough to rescue Dermot from the tree, but, even as he grew, vines shot up from the forest floor and entangled everyone save Cormoran. Seeing this, Cormoran tried to run for the edge of the forest, but by now the trees were now awake and hostile, lashing out at him with thick, heavy branches that soon rendered him insensible. Back in his tree, Dermot heard a whispering in the leaves as Jack of the Green spoke to him. The spirit said that it would take Conrad's life for slaying the werewolf, but it would release the others. Jack of the Green also warned Dermot that none of them should return, save Theo, who had struck the original pact. As the spirit said this, the vines holding all save Conrad withered and shrank back.

Sensing what was coming, Conrad, who had become a servant of the Morrigan some years back, began to chant and invoke her vengeance on those that were about to slay him. Sure enough, as the others watched on in horror, the vines holding him began to grow into mouth and eyes, choking him to death. Jack of the Green then disappeared, apparently content with his one victim, for the remaining men saw nothing else until morning when Cormoran regained his faculties. After a short discussion, Conrad was buried in a shallow grave and they left the woods.

Afeared for Theo's safety when he returned by the forest at the end of the season, Cormoran hurried the group back to the covenant as quickly as he was able, even shrinking the injured Edward and the corpulent Dermot to the size of children to enable him to carry them. The barge was still waiting for them at Skenfrith so they were able to make good time back to the covenant. Once there he went straight to Tiarnan, the acting Pontifex, who immediately called an emergency council to discuss what had happened.

After some debate, Cormoran left to go and warn Theo using an arcane connection to his manservant, Anthony, to locate him. Transforming himself into a red kite, Cormoran was able to fly swiftly over the mountains to the welsh castle where Theo was staying. As soon as he heard of what had gone on, Theo made his excuses to the prince he was staying with and apported home using a potion that Cormoran had carried with him for that purpose. Once he was back, we met again, though not as a formal council, to further discuss the implications of what had occurred. Theo said that the Morrigan would be greatly angered by the death of one of her servants, especially one such as Conrad who she had apparently made one of her champions.

There was much debate as to what precisely had been agreed before in the pact. Theo blamed himself, saying that he had not realised how far the werewolves territory had extended. While no one was certain as to the exact wording, it seems likely that while the werewolves' territory had not been adequately defined, nor had the route by which we could enter Mynydd Myrrddyn. Given that Cormoran was trying to enter Mynydd Myrddyn, then to my mind at least, it is the clearly the werewolves who broke the pact, not this covenant. Treacherous, two-faced beasts that they are, it comes as no surprise that they should try to twist things out of true. Hopefully, if nothing else, this incident will show the folly of expecting such creatures to honour deals.

After the meeting, Theo went off to speak with Jack of the Green to try and resolve the dispute. Fortunately he was able to do this in our forest rather than the now extremely dangerous one about Mynydd Myrrddyn. Two days later he returned with poor news. Jack of the Green was very angry that the pact with "his children" had been irrevocably broken and blamed Theo for it. The spirit even went so far as to suggest that the only way for Theo to make amends would be to sacrifice himself. Given this spirit's close identification with the werewolves, it seems obvious now that he is blatantly biased and in no way an impartial arbiter of such pacts. Maybe Cormoran was right when he said we should just burn the forest down.

Theo went on to explain what he thought would happen next. He expects the werewolves to launch a pre-emptive attack, as given their nature they will fear what we might do to them first. However, the deal we have with the Huntley werewolves still holds good, for what little it is worth. Given the demonstrated nature of werewolves, I believe that at some point in the future we will have to deal with them too. Theo however suggested that we use the Huntley werewolves as allies in this fight, for if the Mynydd Myrrddyn pack come to the Dean then they are just as likely a target as the covenant. To this end he went to speak with their pack leader.

Afterwards he returned with much information of interest. The Huntley werewolves told him that they would expect an attack to come in winter next year, when enough blood moons have passed for the pack to have created a dozen or so bloodwolves. They can only create one bloodwolf per blood moon so if we keep a track on the number of them then we should have a good idea of how many they have created, though of course our last fight with them showed just how quickly that ravening madness can be passed on. Also, only one of these new bloodwolves will be powerful enough to reanimate his own corpse, as we saw before. We shall have to remember that whenever each of these beasts is slain that its body is dismembered and burnt to ash.

The Huntley creatures were able to confirm what the Mynydd Myrddyn werewolves had inadvertently revealed about the locations their favoured camp sites, and also, details of the traps that they set about their woods. If we are ever to launch an attack then this information could be invaluable, though of course we must always remember the untrustworthy nature of the source and be careful not to place too much faith in its accuracy. Theo also said that the Huntley werewolves were going to set wolf spirits, the shades of normal wolves who had died within this forest rather than any lycanthropic ones, to watch the Otherworld for any sign of spying or attack. They will also watch the mundane borders of the wood themselves.

In the meantime, I set about making preparations for an attack on the covenant or its associated villages. Blackney will henceforth be evacuated for the week surrounding the full moon each month until the matter has been resolved. Although this will disrupt the mining, and thus our income, mundane force of arms will not be sufficient to hold off a bloodwolf attack and a 5th magnitude Aegis of the Hearth is unlikely to keep them out. The covenant itself, with its high walls and powerful Aegis of the Hearth is well protected, but I suspect that as before, any battles will be fought in the forest. If war ensues then our primary target must be the Grandfather wolf, for if he is slain then the curse should be broken for all his bloodline. This could potentially extend to the whole cursed lot of them and hopefully a good number of the Huntley werewolves too. I will have to renew my practice with my targeted magics to ensure that if I am presented with a chance again I will not miss.


A couple of days before our Winter concillium, Medius returned from his House Meeting. He spoke a little of the rulings that his House had made, which all seem sound enough to me. The investigation into the pagans has been ruled to have been completed satisfactorily and no further investigations, nor reference to Holy Isle, are required. However, there will be an investigation into the Kabbalah, in which Medius will take part. The Order Ethiopicus has unsurprisingly been ruled to be an organised group of Gifted magi and as such shall be invited to join the Order. I do not believe for a moment that this invitation will be accepted given the blood that has been shed so far, but I do wonder what would happen if they did take it up? Without such an unlikely happenstance it seems very likely that the fights will intensify between our two orders. Perhaps I should give some thought to how I might conceivably fight such an enemy for I suspect they will become a long-term thorn on the Order's Southern borders, much as the Order of Odin are to the North. The last matter that the Quaesitori voted on was to continue with the new interpretation of how certamen is conducted, for the immediate future at least.

After Medius had finished imparting his news, Cormoran brought him up to speed on what had happened with the werewolves and there was another debate, though this time at lawful council, on how best to proceed. In an attempt to forestall further complaint from Blackthorn I agreed to go and speak with their concillium to inform them of what had happened. Although the road between our two covenants runs perilously close to the forest, it does not actually pass beneath the boughs of the trees there and so, with the moon waning, it should be a safe enough trip, though I was given a Leap of Homecoming potion to be on the safe side. Before I departed we also discussed what preparations the covenant can make for a possible conflict with the werewolves. It quickly became obvious that the prime necessity was an item imbued with the 'Ward Against Beasts of Legend', to replace the one that Turold had crafted. A sixth magnitude version of that spell would also be useful for our libraries. We agreed to make enquiries as to where best we might attempt to obtain such things. To aid our efforts, Cormoran will brew some more Leap of Homecoming potions for the covenant and Theo will investigate whether he might be able to launch some sort of attack against the Grandfather Wolf through the Otherworld.

I have just returned from Blackthorn and while the ride back through the cold air has calmed me somewhat my anger has still not entirely abated. As expected, it was Praeca Eloria who met me at the gate and so I informed her of what had happened. After a few acid remarks about how pleased she was that the council of Severn Temple was bothering to let Blackthorn know of such problems on its doorstep, she then launched into a tirade about how this was another example of how our poor management of a vis site so close to Blackthorn endangered the magi there. How much of her anger was genuine was impossible to tell, far sharper men than I have tried and failed to read our Tytalan Praeca, but her casually phrased offer to fix the problem in return for our gidfting the entire site to her makes me suspect much of it was put on. After I told her that I could not accept her 'generous' offer she became angered again and told me that as Praeca she would take a very dim view of a magical battle taking place just a mile from her covenant. Out of respect for the office she holds I shall put down my quill now and retire to the great hall for some ale, before I write something I should not. Woe betide any grog or servant I find shirking their duties en route.

After my anger had subsided somewhat, my sodales and I held a further meeting to discuss what the Praeca had said. Medius subsequently brought up a motion stating that the covenant should not attack the werewolves in their own forest, save for any possible spiritual attacks that Theo may be able to make, but instead would focus solely on defence. Medius, Theo and Tiarnan voted in favour of this, with Cormoran against. While I could see the sense in such a motion, given our Praeca's thinly veiled threats, the idea of backing a motion which hamstrings us stuck in my throat and I abstained.

The rest of the season, and thus the year, passed without incident. There were no sightings of any werewolves or spirits within our forest and while the villagers from Blackthorn grumble about the evacuations they have worked smoothly enough thus far. I wonder how long this will continue, but each peaceful season gives us more time to grow in strength and so we must be thankful for them.
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