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Scribed by Aelfwin

Spring 1174AD


The New Year saw the return of Cormoran to the Covenant, having spent several seasons learning to fish with his reclusive pater, Giddeon. He claimed that he had perfected his technique for catching fish suitable for his diet (which, if true, would come as a great relief to us all!). Tiarnan led the council in questioning Cormoran about these fish; though to our surprise, Cormoran appeared confident that he would not only be able to catch sufficient for his food but potentially find additional fish to register as a vis source. He will report back at next council on the success of this endeavour.

There then followed a rather uncomfortable discussion about Maga Dialectica's petition to rejoin the Covenant. Theo would still not budge on the issue and quickly announced that he would oppose her application (her return requires a unanimous vote of Council). Astrius was still angry with him and some of his considerable frustration was expressed towards Theo. For myself I could not really understand why he would continue to deny her, especially as she appears to have bound herself to the rulings of Theo's "Royal Council" and cannot impede his plans for Aeddyn. When pressed on the matter he said he would put the choice to his son (who still lingers deep in the faerie realm); if Aeddyn wanted her to return, then Theo would agree. Dialectica agreed to stay as our guest for this season to allow Theo the time to speak to their son on the matter.

Theo's trip to the faerie regio took little enough time that he was able to attempt a visit to Gloucester to see Earl Martin. He discovered that the Earl (and by feudal tradition many of the Earl's knights) have been called away to war in service of King Henry. However, the matter he brought before emergency council was a darker concern about the welfare of Huntley. With Yvonne and the returned spirit of Gierre destroyed there had always been a fear that Edwin would become bold again and fill the void left by them with his own agents and activities. Hugh, a spy in the Covenant's employ, has been watching matters in Huntley for several years now and drew to our attention his feeling that the town is falling under an infernal shadow. A variety of dark omens and occult signs had been sighted over autumn and winter of last year; small changes in the character of the town and the people that led Hugh to report his concerns to Theo.

As Theo related Hugh's worries, Medius recalled that during the raid upon Huntley manor they had discovered the sacrifice of a child within the church. Theo related that Candalo, the spirit Theo released from the 'otherworld', had appeared in the church and claimed to have protected the group of magi from a powerful demon that had been summoned by Edwin. Without this protection, this mysterious and dangerous spirit claimed, the group would certainly have been slain by the demon.
Edwin has been called away by the Earl and is upon matters of war, thus giving us a possible opportunity to investigate this matter. It is clear we must seek an end to this demon as surely it is this malign spirit which is starting the influence the town. Medius will seek out Zedekiah and Aaron for advice.

The last matter I shall report for this season was an attack by Ieuan; the lost son of Magus Idris. Theo received a warning from Viremos that Ieuan was coming to attack him and as a precaution for the safety of others he decided to swiftly leave the Covenant. As I warned the Imperator and Astrius, in turn, roused the grogs to alarm, Theo left by the East gate; only making it as far as the spring before the attack came. Ieuan chose to attack from the spirit world using a demonically tainted sword to strike between the worlds at Theo. Theo's own blade was able to counter some of these blows, yet Theo was sorely wounded early in the exchange. Viremos, Theo's spirit companion, was able to distract Ieuan long enough for Theo to rally and strike a vital blow. However, the distraction cost Viremos his "life" as Ieuan cut him down - sundering his spirit. Unfortunately, Theo's mortal blow was apparently averted by some infernal power which also carried Ieuan off at the end of the fight.

At the council meeting which followed, Theo related the fight, and also his concern that Ieuan had been able to bypass all the spiritual defences around Severn Temple and attack him here. He was at a loss to explain how this might have happened, but determined to speak to the Anu next season to learn more. Medius and Giovanni reported that, having investigated the area around the spring, they were relieved to find no signs of occult tampering.

Summer

The first matter discussed at lawful council was Dialectica's third petition to rejoin the Covenant. This time, having spoken to Aeddyn, Theo relented and the unanimous vote required was passed. It was good to see Dialectica returned to the council, though I must confess I still feel a little awkward that I now occupy the position she once did as Pontifex.
Tiarnan's trip to the faerie regio in spring was mildly eventful. He travelled to a new part of the forest, to a dell where he met with dryads, a centaur and the spirit of Varsavia (a maga who lived here long ago, and whose body was taken to the regio when he died prematurely at the hands of Idris). There they enjoyed music and dance, though Tiarnan warned that the nature of the celebration was wild and magical; and that he had struggled to keep his wits about him and avoid staying much longer than he'd intended.

Cormoran surprised us all by presenting an example of his catch to the council. The silvery scaled fish contained a pawn of Aquam vis and shall be sent to Blackthorn to register our claim. We voted to allow Cormoran to take 3 such fish from the river each season as food, and retained the others as a contested vis site of the covenant. It is curious to note that the fish he presented to the council looked nothing like the ones he'd previously described and that Tiarnan and Kai spent three months unsuccessfully searching for. I struggle to find a charitable interpretation of this.

We also discussed the issues of Huntley and the attack by Ieuan. On the former matter, Medius announced his intention to travel to Chepstow next season to speak with Zedekiah. On the latter, Theo successfully petitioned to travel to the 'heart of the forest' to speak with the spirit of the Anu to see if her 'sister', the Morrigan had removed her protections over this place. He also petitioned to visit Aeddyn within the faerie court of Llyr, which was also agreed.

A few days into the season brought Theo from the Anu with news. We met as emergency council and he relayed some of what he had learnt. First, it seems that the Morrigan did not willingly allow Ieuan through the "otherworld" to the covenant, but there are hidden roads and secret paths within the spirit world that, though difficult to discover and often dangerous to travel upon, can be found and used to circumvent such watchers. Theo was clearly worried by this. He said such feats showed Ieuan had considerable powers within the "otherworld" and it may only be a matter of time before he finds another path which allows him to bypass the Morrigan's watch.

We questioned Theo about Ieuan's capabilities, and he told us what he could speculate so far. Ieuan shares Theo's talent for being able to walk in the spirit world; not simply as a dream or a spirit, but to bring his physical body within that realm (I don't pretend to understand any of this, by the way, I simply report here for the record!). Like Theo, he possesses a sword which allows him to strike from the spirit world into the world of the living, and vice versa. At this point he mentioned that his own sword was somehow imbued with a spirit, which when prompted, he named as the spirit of Magus Ruaridh!

Theo related that when Ruaridh died his spirit decided to continue serving the Morrigan within the blade of a sword. The presence of his spirit allows the blade to move between the physical and spiritual worlds and also, apparently, drink the blood of its victims. Ieuan's sword has at least the first ability, though probably by virtue of a demonic spirit bound to the sword. On the matter of drinking blood, Theo reported that Ruaridh's spirit had become sick since he had used that power upon Ieuan in their last fight. It seems Ruaridh may have drawn the blood of a demon, perhaps one bound to protect Ieuan, and as a result there was a risk he could be destroyed.

Theo told us that the Anu had directed him to visit the Morrigan and seek a way to restore Ruaridh's spirit. He reminded us that, however much we may not like the idea, that the Ruaridh blade was the only way he knew to defend against Ieuan.
It was clear that several of the council did not approve of this idea! Medius said, that from his recollection of the law, that Ruaridh's spirit may well be under the Wizard's March which applied to Ruaridh. His recommendation was that we find, with all urgency, a method of destroying the blade and the sword. Tiarnan countered this, reminding the council that, though renounced, the shade of Magus Idris was allowed to remain in proximity of the Covenant for many years (though at the time this may be because the Magi thought his presence somehow essential to the magical aura). Theo offered to go and speak to the Senior Quaesitor, and return with her adjudication.

Our council resumed when Theo returned from Blackthorn and related Serenia's interpretation of the code. She reminded us that a ghost is no longer a Magus, and has none of the rights or protections of the code, even if the Magus died in good standing. However, it seems that when a formal 'Wizard's March' is called against a Magus, that it is not uncommon for that edict to apply also to the ghost of that Magus - especially in cases where diabolism is suspected or proved. She noted, though, that Ruaridh had already died by the time the Tribunal of Stonhenge considered his crimes, and although Ruaridh was renounced as a member of the Order, no formal Wizard's March had been declared. She determined that it would be a matter for the next Tribunal to determine whether Ruaridh's shade was subject to a Wizard's March, if not then the Tribunal could determine whether Ruaridh's ghost was an 'enemy of the Order'. Until such edicts where voted to apply, the spirit should be considered part of Magus Theo's magical possessions for the purposes of interpretation of the code.

Thus, given Theo was under Excordis by our charter, we had to decide whether to let him seek out the Morrigan to restore the spirit of Ruaridh. There was a long discussion about the sword, Ruaridh and the nature of the Morrigan; Dialectica warning us that the blade was a curse, and had been the first step to Theo's downfall. It was also revealed to council that Drudwyl, Astrius familiar, was a "hound of the Cyn Anwyn" a pack of supernatural hounds fed by the Morrigan with the spirits of traitors and oath-breakers. In truth, the discussion was doing little to change Magi's viewpoints on the matter, so I called it to a vote. In the end the vote was passed with Astrius and Medius voting against Theo's proposed action, and Dialectica surprisingly abstaining.

There was nothing of importance that occurred over the rest of this quiet season, save that Ildanach paid a visit with some armour commissioned for Giovanni. Medius' loyal servant appeared quite pleased with the results.

Autumn

Our lawful council met to decide plans for the season. Theo reported back first, relating how he was able to find a pathway through the spirit world to reach the Morrigan and how she restored Ruaridh's spirit. While he was waiting upon the dark hill for the Morrigan to return with the blade, Theo was met by Candalo who told him what the other two spirits were up to. It seems that Mona, the one who attacked Narwold, has disappeared and that no sign of her has been seen recently. Barruc, a warrior by nature, had last been seen back in England fighting in the service of King Henry against the Scots. Theo reminded us that the elementalists researching a way to trap them needed time to further such magics, after which his intention was to trick Mona and Barruc into breaking their peace and then slay them. He seemed less certain about the fate that should await Candalo, though expressed a hope that he might end his existence in a way that released him from the curse he suffered.

On the matter of the war, Theo noted that King Henry's army is one of the largest ever seen but is divided in its efforts, fighting against rebel barons in the East and against David of Scotland in the North.
Medius, having confirmed that Theo had brought Ruaridh to the council chamber, requested that he took the blade away and did not do so in future. Theo consented to this and the meeting continued when he returned without the sword.
Theo announced his intention to travel to Cad Gadu and speak to Aaron if he is there. His main reason for visiting was to talk to his Prima, which council consented to. From there Theo said he wanted to visit the Court of Llyr to continue the education of Aeddyn in preparation for his leaving the faerie regio. Interestingly, when Dialectica asked to come with him, he agreed. Perhaps there is some hope of small reconciliation between these two magi?

Medius announced his intention to travel to Chepstow and speak with Zedekiah (and Aaron if message got through at Cad Gadu). He hoped that some plan might be determined for dealing with the demon in Huntley later in the season; both Astrius and Cormoran pledged their aid in that matter.

The red cap, Loretius, attended us later in the season and told us more news regarding the rebellion against the King. It seems that the Earl of Leicester, a supporter of young Henry, raised an army of Flemish mercenaries and crossed from Normandy to England to join other rebel barons, including the Earl of Norfolk. However, the army was intercepted by English forces returning from the battles with Scotland and was completely defeated in the field. However, things do not entirely go the King's way. David of Scotland renewed his attacks in an attempt to conquer northern England and took up the leadership of the rebel barons. In the meantime rebels have attacked and burned the royal burgh of Nottingham and the town of Norwich.

Later in the season, Medius, Giovanni, Cestus (formally Aaron), Astrius, Cormoran and two members of the Kabala, Zedekiah and Jeremiah, led an attempt to destroy the demon in Huntley. Using a busy market day to slip into the town individually, the group assembled at Hugh's abode. From there they made their way cautiously to the Church while Giovanni kept watch for anyone paying too much notice to the activities going on at the long-deserted church.
Having entered, Cormoran used his talent got spontaneous magic to turn the roof to glass, thus allowing sunlight to enter that dark space. This forced the demon to take on a physical form, which was that of a huge, bestial man armed with dark wings and curved blades gleaming with poison. Its skull-like face was barbed with horns and its legs were those of a goat, with black, matted hair. For its size, the infernal creature was fast and agile, and it took Astrius, Cormoran and the strange stone man crafted by Jeremiah (Medius later called it a 'golem') to eventually pin the creature against the altar so that Cestus could destroy it using his Cabalistic magics. The fight was short, yet fierce, with both Astrius and Cormoran injured by the brute and the stone man losing an arm in the battle. However, thankfully, the group prevailed and were able to safely return to the Covenant.

Winter

Our winter meeting commenced with a discussion about the consequences of the raid at Huntley. Edwin, as far as we know, is still away at war; so it may be a while before he discovers that his demon has been destroyed. Still, the question as to what he'll do when he does find out is an open one. Theo speculated that he would probably be scared that someone had the power to destroy it, given the strength of the creature in the church. His reaction to being so a'feared was discussed, the concern being that he will adopt even more desperate measures to secure himself. The alternative is that, with Yvonne gone, his suspicions (and potential aggressions) may turn towards us. We must be ready for either possibility and ensure that Hugh remains watchful for strange events in Huntley. Medius will also 'listens in' to the arcane connection we possess for his basement room so we might gain some insight into his schemes.

The other matter we discussed was far more fractious; Dialectica pressed Theo about a timetable for removing Aeddyn from the faerie regio. The whole issue reawakened Astrius' anger with Theo and he rather pointedly suggested that Theo consider leaving the Covenant altogether in light of his oath breaking. There was lots of pressure from various quarters of the council to see Aeddyn returned, but the council broke up with no resolution on this matter.

After the council, Astrius came to see me and suggested a compromise regarding Aeddyn. The idea would be that I would take Aeddyn as an apprentice and ensure that both Theo's and Dialectica's wishes for Aeddyn's future were balanced. This seemed an admirable suggestion to me, so I posed it to both Dialectica and Theo; both seemed to have come to a similar idea themselves and were ready to agree. With this plan proposed, Theo decided to bring Aeddyn back to Severn Temple and left for the court of Llyr.

It falls to me to record here the passing of Magus Theodosius, filius Jordael, member of House Ex-Miscellanea. I shall ever remember Theo fondly as the light-hearted storyteller, full of laughter and songs, a good friend to my family and a close friend and confidant to me. For all the failings that he could be rightfully accused, he shall be a much missed member of this covenant. That his death was at the hands of faeries who deceived and betrayed him, is a fate I long feared since he took up that accursed crown and with it the mantle of being 'King'. After all the weight and grave troubles that sat upon his shoulders over these last years, I hope he finds peace in whichever life he lives in the future.

News of this harrowing event came from Tiarnan, who related that late in the season he'd had a strange dream calling him to the heart of the forest. Curious, though with some trepidation, he followed the call of this dream until he found the lone oak in the sunlit glade. There he found Theo in need of his help. It seems that the Nimue, the faerie maiden that Theo had made guardian of his son, was not willing to give up her charge. Theo, angered by her actions, travelled to the court of Llyr, only to discover that the King was away - in his palace beneath the sea. Theo eventually travelled there, but was sent away with his demands unmet. So, he had returned to speak to the Anu in the hope she might aid him.

The Anu wisely guessed that Nimue would take his son the one place Theo feared to go; the crystal cave where, according to Theo, in another life he had been betrayed and trapped. Theo long believed that the cave contained many of the memories from his previous existences, but was still potentially a trap (set for unfathomable motives by Nimue and Goffanon). Thus, Theo would not enter such a place, but try and create sufficient distraction for Nimue that Tiarnan and Kai might be able to steal in and recover Aeddyn.

This plan of action was carried out, Tiarnan related. They were taked to the border of the lake near to the caves within Mynydd Myddyn by the Lladra. While she waited in the lake, Tiarnan and Kai had crept into the caves by one of the various entrances. They left Theo at the entrance to the caves, where he called to the Nimue in the hope that she would leave Aeddyn and come to speak with him.

Tiarnan and Kai were able to navigate the caves and eventually found Aeddyn in an enchanted sleep within a large cave of luminous stones filled with strange shadows and images. They quickly brought him out, but were surprised to find no sign of Theo. Tiarnan called to the Lladra, who ignored his request for help, and made her way within the cave. When she returned she agreed to take Tiarnan, Aeddyn and Kai home, but would not speak of what she saw. When they arrived back at Severn Temple, the Lladra asked to speak to Tiarnan alone. He sent Kai and Aeddyn back to the Covenant, to find me, and then travelled back to the caves.

Tiarnan traced a route through the confusing network of tunnels and eventually found his way once again to the large cave of glowing crystals. He saw the Lady Nimue cradling Theo in her arms; a great bloody wound in Theo's chest and his life-less gaze told Tiarnan that he was truly dead.

We can only guess that Nimue was somehow able to bewitch or beguile Theo into following her into the cave. How she achieved this I suspect we will never know, but I suspect, in the end, it was Theo's trusting nature that allowed her betrayal. I do not really understand why he ever trusted her with Aeddyn in the first place; it does not surprise me that the faerie were the ones to kill him in the end. Still, message has been sent to find Quaesitor Linaris to further an investigation. Message has also been sent to Praefecta Orlania about Theo's death and to warn her that the three dark spirits, Candalo, Barruc and Mona, may no longer be bound to his 'peace'.

Goodbye Theo … thank you for the stories and the good times. I hope the story of your next life proves to be happier than the tale of this one.

Upon Cormoran's return from Blackthorn, further news of demise greeted us, but one - though it is uncharitable to say - may be considered good news by this Covenant. Praeca Eloria has finally succumbed to final twilight. Whilst I wish Theo every peace and happiness in his next / after life, the same cannot be said for that manipulative witch.
With the end of the season and the year, so my time as scribe for this journal comes to an end.
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