Scribed by Carwyn

Spring 1178AD

The weather was clement, though somewhat chilly, as we met a dawn for the first Council meeting of the year. Despite the presence of the other Magi, the Council chamber still seemed rather empty in the wake of the deaths of Theo and Aelfwin in recent years, and much of the conversation was stilted or perfunctory. Although not naturally inclined to melancholia, I think it worth taking a moment to remember those who no longer dwell here and what we have lost with their passing.

[Carwyn's private journal: As I surveyed the Council chamber, I was struck by how little wisdom remains here. Indeed, I sense the only one with any insight or perception simply waits for the most appropriate time to leave.]

The first matter we discussed was my journey to the Court of Water to learn more of Llyr's attitude towards returning the Crown of Mabh. In short, through my conversations with the Ladies Nimue and Sionedd and the Master-of-Arms Cirdan, I learned that Llyr doubts Aeddan's ability and willingness to follow in his father's footsteps, and so he holds back the Crown to avoid the danger that an ineffective or uncommitted leader could drag the Court into a disastrous war. I suggested that one way out of our predicament would be for Aeddan to dissolve the King's Council, for if Aeddan declared that the Council was no longer needed and chose not to press his claim to the Crown, at least at this time, then we might be spared the possibility of war. This venture is not without risk, for the Council might suspect the hand of Dialectica in this, and without the protection of her membership of the Council, those who regard her has a malign influence over her son might seize the opportunity to do her harm. Yet even so I feel it may be worth pursuing, and we may be able to mitigate the risk to Dialectica by having Aeddan make it clear to all that she is under his direct protection. The Council of Severn Temple agreed that the plan was at least worth considering, and I stated that I would journey to Cad Gadu after the meeting to seek the opinions of Prima Fenriata and the two Archimagi of House Merinita.

[Carwyn's private journal: The only other matter of note discussed during the Council meeting was whether the season I spent learning the spell The Bountiful Feast from the libraries of Cad Gadu should count as a covenant service. I must admit that I was genuinely surprised that my sodales did not regard it as such; although it is true that it was not declared as a covenant service beforehand, I had assumed that it was obvious that I had travelled north to learn it directly in response to the Council's previous decision that we needed it to bolster the growth of our orchards in the fields around Lydney. Since it is a powerful and expensive ritual, I doubt I shall ever cast it except at the behest of the Council, yet none of the others saw it this way, thereby deeming it rather an act of personal advancement. Astrius was similarly treated, having spent several seasons learning healing spells after Aelfwin's death. Quite extraordinary.]

At Cad Gadu, I met Prima Fenriata and recounted the tale of my trip to the Court of Water and my idea concerning the King's Council. Perhaps surprisingly given their barely concealed hostility - actually, unconcealed hostility might be a better description - towards me, neither of the Archimagi of House Merinita present, Pallaes and Radhaic, raised serious objections to my plan, though they both remained wary. Prima Fenriata told the Archimagi that she would not accede to Prima Merinita's request to force me to step down from the King's Council, though she did ask for Prima Merinita's thoughts on disbanding the Council. I spent the rest of the season in the libraries of Cad Gadu learning more about pagan festivals.

Back at Severn Temple, Dialectica visited Hugh, our spy in the village of Huntley. Hugh told her of several recent reports of banditry on the roads throughout the region. The manner of the robberies raised concerns that they might be the work of the Fells, who have been quiet in recent years but might be using the opportunity to raise the finances needed to restore their malign influence. High even suggested that Edwin of Huntley, perhaps emboldened by the death of his rival Yvonne, might be behind the raids. Dialectica also learned that the Baron of Chepstow, far from giving up his designs on our landholdings around Lydney, had in fact offered the Earl a greater sum to purchase them. This is poor news, for we may find ourselves in a costly bidding contest, for we cannot give up our rights there, particularly given the suspicion that the Baron may be part of some secretive Christian cult.


At the Council meeting at the start of the season, Medius announced that he had decided to appoint Astrius to the position of Ministrator and Cormoran to the position of Imperator. [Carwyn's private journal: What madness is this?! Quite what Medius was thinking remains a mystery to me. I do not mind Astrius being appointed Ministrator, but why on earth would he choose to appoint Cormoran as Imperator? I do not see why Medius could not have left the position vacant, for Cormoran now stands only one accident away from running and ruining the covenant! Medius compounded his astoundingly poor judgment by declaring that he and Astrius would shortly journey to the infernal regio at Snig's End, risking at once the mishap that could effectively end the covenant as we know it. Perhaps the Quaesitor works on some subtle plan of which I am not aware, but given his track record, it seems more likely that he is lapsing into premature senility. Either that or he has suffered an unannounced magical accident and remains addled with Twilight.]

We then discussed the status of our landholdings at Lydney, and Dialectica declared that she thought that our offer to pay increased taxes to the Earl should be enough to see off the Baron of Chepstow's plan to deprive us of the title to the lands. The Earl is apparently firm in his belief that we should retain the lands, and nothing short of his death or an appeal directly to the King is likely to change the current situation. Given the rumours about the Baron's association with the Christian cult being investigated by Arcturus, this is very good news.

The discussion then turned to the forthcoming Tribunal meeting. First, we debated what offer to set before Archimaga Gyriania concerning our desire to have a Redcap stationed at the covenant. Medius made a note of the geographical advantages offered by our covenant, and we also determined that we would consider any seasons spent on Tribunal business as services to the covenant with the attendant right to share in any vis distributed at the end of the year. Furthermore, we agreed that, should the Redcap subsequently wish to convert his or her vis into magical items, the Council would regard the creation of such devices as services to the covenant. We agreed that, considered together, the various aspects of our proposal represented a tempting offer that should, hopefully, stand us in good stead against the likely bids from Carrion Moor and other potential candidates. This all assumes, of course, that the Archimaga does not consider Severn Temple too unstable an environment for a young Magus given this covenant's dreadful history of accident and misadventure.

The final matters we considered were the two motions we planned to raise at the Tribunal meeting. After some discussion, we decided to present a report on the possible re-emergence of the Fells, including an offer to coordinate further information sharing on this matter, and a declaration that we would be holding a celebration at the Autumn Equinox next year to celebrate the passing of one hundred years since the covenant of Severn Temple was refounded. The latter event is certainly a milestone worthy of commemoration, particularly given the unpromising calibre of the Magi, with the honourable exception of Petrus, who refounded the place. Indeed, given the dark histories of these first characters, it seems remarkable that the place is still standing here at all.

As magi from all over the Stonehenge Tribunal gathered at Blackthorn for the meeting at midsummer, there was an opportunity to seek out friends and acquaintances and engage in some mild trading. After conveying to Erin my condolences at the loss of his filius, Aelfwin, I asked whether he would be willing to brew a longevity potion for me, as my current potion nears the limit of its effectiveness. He readily agreed to do so, though the demand for his services meant that he would not be able to start before the spring of 1181, so I shall have to make sure to wrap up warmly for a couple of winters. I agreed to consult with Archimagus Jolyon regarding payment for the potion, for Erin's services are now considered as a service to Lear Valley covenant. I also mentioned the popularity of Erin's services to Medius, for I knew that he was also considering how to secure a more powerful longevity potion, and he quickly scurried off to speak with the alchemist to secure his place in the queue. I was also able to speak with Marissa, and we agreed that I would travel to Narwold covenant to visit her in the summer of next year.

The first matter of business debated at the Tribunal proper concerned the election of a new Prima following the disappearance of Eloria into Final Twilight. The three eldest Magi in the Tribunal - and, therefore, the eligible candidates for the position - were Quaesitor Yania, Archimaga Gyriania and Prima Fenriata. However, Archimaga Gyriania declined to step forward, so her place in the contest was offered first to Kara, who also declined, and then to Archimaga Sylvania, who accepted. The three candidates each gave a short speech outlining their priorities should they be selected. Archimaga Sylvania spoke of her concern over the threat of the Dominion to magical and faerie places and the need to conduct a survey of vulnerable sites in order to inform decisions on how best to ensure their survival. Prima Fenriata set out the injustices meted out to members of her House in recent years and declared that she would press for a full investigation of the activities of the dedicated covenant of Holy Isle. Quaesitor Yania also noted the divisions between the various factions within the Tribunal, and she stated that she would seek to bridge their positions by promoting cooperation and understanding.

All three candidates spoke well, put forward cogent arguments and dealt effectively with questions from the floor, some of which were more impertinent than others. After some consideration, I decided to vote for Archimaga Sylvania, as she seemed the most considered and forward thinking of the trio. To my mind, the other two would also have made good Primi, though I had slight reservations about each of them. In Prima Fenriata's case, I had no doubt that she would prosecute her legitimate claims against Holy Isle with vigour and determination, but I was concerned that she would be a divisive figure, even in the eyes of those Latin members of the Tribunal without close links to Holy Isle. In Quaesitor Yania's case, I found her position overly cautious and a little bland - having identified the division between Magi of different traditions as the major challenge facing the Tribunal, she declared that she would try to promote understanding through joint trade ventures in rare goods and the like. Although I really wish our problems could be solved through a simple bout of shopping, in truth I cannot see this approach making much progress. Still, it was a pleasant experience to have to choose between three able candidates rather than having to weigh my vote carefully in an effort to stop a disastrous candidate winning. The other members of Severn Temple also faced a difficult decision in placing their votes. In the end, Dialectica voted for Prima Fenriata and Astrius (and Cormoran, given that Astrius held his sigil) voted for Quaesitor Yania, though I know that Astrius mulled over for some time the implications for the Concilium Quaesitori should Yania win and stand down from that body.

The contest was a close affair, with Yania prevailing in the end over Fenriata by just two votes. The new Praeca assumed her position at the centre of the Tribunal table and, as she had indicated earlier, her first action was to stand down as Quaesitor. I understand from those who have dealt with her in the past that she is a fair minded sort, in which case the Tribunal's gain is the Concilium Quaesitori's loss. Praeca Yania also announced that she intended to move from Solis Castle to Blackthorn, the traditional seat of the Praeca of this Tribunal.

With the new Praeca installed, the next item of business was to try three legal cases. The first case concerned the reappearance of Dionysus and his subsequent attacks on members of Severn Temple. Medius and Astrius recounted the tale of their meeting with Dionysus and, to his credit, Medius did not shy away from giving a full account of his role in the affair. Several members of the Tribunal gasped audibly when they learned just how badly Medius' decisions had been during the encounter, yet his bravery in admitting his failings before his peers must have impressed others. Once the evidence had been given, virtually no one spoke up in Dionysus' defence, though Ursula of Holy Isle questioned just how sure Medius and Astrius were that they had truly encountered Dionysus, rather than some infernal apparition masquerading as him. Astrius declared that he had seen Dionysus' sigil, though I am not sure quite why this would convince anyone given the involvement of infernal magic, but the matter proved moot, as the Tribunal voted overwhelmingly to renounce Dionysus. Henceforth, all member of the Tribunal encountering him are required to bring an end to his existence or to carry word to those who can do so. Reviewing our journal, it is clear that Dionysus has been reviled by the Magi of Severn Temple for many years, so good riddance to him, say I!

The second trial concerned a case brought by Tostig, a reclusive alchemist, against the Magi of Scarfell covenant. Tostig accused Scarfell of deliberately sending a pious friar to one of his vis sites. The friar subsequently blessed the site in the name of the accursed Saint Patrick, ruining it as a vis source. He, therefore, demanded, a fine of two pawns of vis per year in recognition of his loss. For their part, Scarfell acknowledged that they had had problems with the friar in the past and admitted that one of their mundane agents may have encouraged the friar to move on by telling him tales of nearby magical places. They denied, however, doing so with the intention that the friar would visit Tostig's vis site. Though they declared they were not to blame, Scarfell offered a one off payment of three pawns of vis for their role in the affair. In the end, the Tribunal, including all of us at Severn Temple, voted in favour of Scarfell, as they did not seem to have acted maliciously or with knowledge of Tostig's vis site.

The final case was a dispute between Moravius and Quellior. The former accused the latter of giving him glamoured vis as part of a deal. A few days after the deal had been completed, the vis allegedly disappeared and Moravius' sanctum was filled with a swarm of biting black flies. Quellior claimed he had done no such thing, and he suggested that Moravius may have angered a local Unseelie faerie, who might have taken his revenge by transforming the vis into flies. Upon questioning by the Quaesitori, it became evident that Solis Castle had indeed annoyed a local faerie by destroying some local woodlands, though Moravius declared that there was no evidence that this had anything to do with his vis. Moravius asked the Tribunal to award him his Rook of vis back, whereas Quellior stated that there should be no punishment, as he had done nothing wrong. After some debate, Astrius (and Cormoran) and Dialectica voted in favour of Moravius, whereas I voted for Quellior. The former proved victorious and claimed his prize.

The three cases had taken all day to resolve, so Praeca Yania called proceedings to a halt for the evening. This gave us the opportunity to speak with the Tribunal's two new Redcaps, Giraldus and Alanus, to determine which of them would fit in best at Severn Temple should we be selected by Archimaga Gyriania. Of the two, Giraldus struck me as the better candidate, for he had an easy manner and an uncanny ability to ferret out information from people without raising suspicions. Alanus, in contrast, had a more military bearing, though Dialectica noted that he was surprisingly stealthy for one of his size. We debated the merits of the two, and I was somewhat surprised to learn that all save Dialectica favoured Giraldus, for I had expected opinion to be split more evenly. Medius had earlier delivered the covenant's offer to Archimaga Gyriania, and we retired for the night hopeful that we would prove successful.

The next morning, the Tribunal resumed its business, with each of the covenants raising up to two motions in turn. First, Theopholis of Blackthorn announced that his covenant planned to hold a symposium in the summer of 1180, where Magi could come together to discuss magical research. Such ventures have not always proved successful in the past, though I shall certainly try to attend to encourage Theopholis in his efforts. For Blackthorn's second motion, Archimaga Gyriania declared that she had decided to place Giraldus at Severn Temple and Alanus at Blackthorn itself. A fine outcome indeed!

Next, Maia of Blywyddan asked why no Redcaps ever visited her covenant. Archimaga Gyriania stated that Blywyddan was currently on a blacklist maintained by House Mercere following its ill treatment of Lauretius in the past. She noted that Blywyddan's status would be reconsidered at the next meeting of her House.

For Cad Gadu, Archimaga Sylvania proposed that the Tribunal should undertake a survey of all magical and faerie sites under threat from the Dominion. The Tribunal voted in favour by a healthy majority, and it was resolved that each covenant would provide a list of threatened sites by the time of the next Tribunal meeting. Next, Prima Fenriata announced that House Ex Miscellanea planned to ask the Grand Tribunal to authorise a comprehensive investigation into Holy Isle covenant, and she asked that the Tribunal also vote in favour of such an investigation. This motion was passed by a significant majority.

For Carrion Moor, Arcanus stated that he had observed a ghostly ship sailing off the south Cornish coast. He had investigated local rumours surrounding the ship, which suggested that it might be connected with a magical or faerie island said to be lost of the coast of Cornwall. He asked for assistance in finding out more from any with the ability to traverse the waves or connections with the faerie folk. Then Kira spoke of Carrion Moor's expanding trade links through the port of Southampton and invited other covenants to engage in trade.

Quaesitor Galfredus of Holy Isle reported that his covenant had investigated sightings of members of the Unnamed House in South Wales, and Motus had slain two members of that organisation. Questioning their spirits led Holy Isle to believe that there continued to be a sect of the Unnamed House operating in the area. Ursula then stated that Holy Isle would levy a tithe of three pawns of vis per Magus to support its activities, an announcement that was greeted with an audible groan from many members of the Tribunal.

From Lear Valley, Archimagus Jolyon asked the Tribunal to support the creation of an infirmary at his covenant specialising in the healing of Magi, familiars, magical diseases and poisons. Praeca Yania announced that the Tribunal would be able to fund the infirmary, at least for the immediate future, for Eloria had stockpiled a large amount of vis from previous tribunal tithes. This allayed the fears of many concerning the resources needed to establish and maintain the infirmary, and the motion was carried by a small majority. Erin then declared that his services as a potion maker would be considered as services to the infirmary, and he invited any Magi seeking longevity or other healing potions to contact him.

For Narwold, Arcturus reported on his investigation into the secretive Christian sect, which he mentioned had operations in London, Gloucester, York and Durham and perhaps even beyond. He noted his suspicion that pious Magi might be involved, though as yet he had no direct evidence of this.

For Scarfell, Magnus declared that the covenant had experienced problems with a group of hedge wizards that he suspected of originating in the Loch Leglean Tribunal. The hedge wizards had disrupted several of the covenant's vis sites. Magnus had managed to slay one of them, a shape shifter, but three others, a witch, herbalist and diviner, remained. Perhaps due to the arcane talents of the last of the three, the hedge wizards had managed to evade further attempts to track them down, and Scarfell therefore sought the aid of any who might be able to thwart the magics of the diviner.

At last it was Severn Temple's turn. Medius first recounted our recent encounters with the Fells, and our suspicions that they were attempting rebuild their finances and influence following the death of the leader. He then announced the covenant's centenary celebrations to be held at the Autumn Equinox next year, and invited "all friends and other Magi", which I must admit I found to be an awkward turn of phrase, to attend.

Moravius of Solis Castle then declared that, following the completion of work on his item for his forthcoming House meeting, he would be ready to take on commissions for items starting next year. He noted that items requiring extensive experimentation would attract reduced costs, as this gave him the opportunity to try out new and unusual enchantments. Praeca Yania then announced that Solis Castle had obtained copies of several manuscripts from the monks of Lyndesfarne, which they were willing to trade with other covenants. She noted that the tomes contained considerable notes on legends, fantastic beasts and the Church and its rituals.

For Trevalga, Ildanach echoed Moravius announcement that he would be open to commissions from next year. Alesia then mentioned that the covenant had purchased several trading ships, two of which were capable of travelling to the continent and Hibernia. She said that the covenant would be willing to allow Magi to travel aboard the ships for a nominal fee.

With all of the covenants having raised their allotted motions, we turned to the Magi who reside in the wilds. From the North, Gilda announced that she was looking for a rare form of rock crystal shot through with lines of bloodstone. In return for a fist sized amount of this stone, she would be willing to pay vis or conduct three divinations. From the South, Oscar said that he had been appointed Knight Magistrate of Oxfordshire, which meant he could intercede on behalf of Magi who got caught up in mundane difficulties in the county. He noted, however, that Magi should be careful about travelling openly through the city, as he would find it more difficult to do so if they were accused of witchcraft or similar crimes. Finally, Tudric of Wales noted that he had created a batch of magical powders that aid sleep, memory and the regeneration of wounds. He offered to sell the powders for a suitable price or trade them for items of equivalent value.

With that, the Tribunal meeting came to a close, and we departed for Severn Temple. Astrius was not with us, for he had received news that his Primus had convened an emergency meeting of his House in Iberia.

I spent the rest of the season exploring the Wye Valley as a covenant service. After several weeks of searching, I managed to locate the magical site of Gray Hill, which consists of a large standing stone in a clearing upon a deeply forested hill. The site should have been much easier to find, yet I had great trouble, and it seemed as though the forest itself sought to hide the clearing from me. Yet perseverance paid off in the end, and I was able to overcome the misdirection. I detected a magical aura of the third magnitude about the site, though I could not ascertain whether it was the central stone or the clearing itself that was the source of the power. I spoke with a large sweet chestnut tree at the edge of the clearing and asked whether any other men had come to this place in recent times. It replied that one who wore a great crown - an obvious reference to Theo - had visited several years ago; in earlier times, when the tree was relatively young, more people came to the site to make offerings to local spirits by leaving items of value around the central stone. This reference to spirits aroused my curiosity, and I attempted to make any thereabouts become visible, though with no success.

At Kai's suggestion, we each buried five silver pennies on the hill as an offering to the spirits, and we then departed for the cave where we found the shield of Dylan-eil-ton a couple of years ago. On the way there, we encountered a couple of rough sorts arguing in a rowing boat. It was clear from their conversation that they had been up to no good, though they had lost their plunder overboard. With Kai's assistance, I was able to recover the chest from the depths of the river, depriving the two men of their plunder. It contained 80 silver pennies. Curiously, back at our riverside camp, I noticed a strange rustling in the trees that reminded me of a sound I heard back at Gray Hill, I do wonder whether a spirit of some kind followed us from that place, or perhaps it even led us to the chest in return for our offering. We spent the rest of the season fishing for eels at the cave. It was a tricky business, for my line kept getting tangled up in the weeds. Somewhat exasperated, I spoke with the waters of the pool to find out what was happening, and it told me that it was the work of the spirits of those who had tried to recover the shield in the past, since they remained envious of the living. Despite the interference of these malign ghosts, I was at last able to hook one of the eels, which contained three pawns of Animal vis, and I returned to the covenant in a fine mood.


At the Council meeting, our first act was to invite Giraldus to join the covenant. He agreed to do so, and he formally swore the oath and signed the charter. Given the likelihood that he will spend at least part of each year on the roads carrying messages and investigating mundane affairs, Medius allocated him a Leap of Homecoming potion and the Saddle of the Steed Created to aid his travels.

The next matter we discussed concerned Aelfwin's former laboratory, which contained a set of fine, if rather esoteric, equipment. Dialectica indicated that she was keen to take possession of the equipment, and Cormoran also mulled over the possibility for some time before withdrawing on the grounds that he could not spare the time to learn how to use the equipment.

I found this to be a most curious decision, for the advantages conferred by the equipment far outweigh any short-term difficulties, but the reasons for Cormoran's hesitation perhaps became clearer when he recounted the tale of an encounter he had had earlier in the season. He had been summoned to the wall by one of the grogs on watch, who had noticed the movement of a large creature amongst the trees. Though Cormoran saw no sign of the creature, he heard a loud knocking on the gate. Whatever it was did not respond to his challenge, so he opened the gate to get a closer look. There, the ghostly figure of a half-giant appeared. The newcomer declared itself to be the shade of Pendaran, a great champion of the grogs many years ago. He told a tale of a war amongst the giant kind, and he demanded that Cormoran venture north at some unspecified time in the future to sort out the problem. With that, the shade disappeared, claiming that Cormoran would know when the time was to leave. Our sodales said that he was minded to agree to take on this quest, for he was concerned that his bloodline might be destroyed by a rival clan of giants. I was quite surprised at his eagerness, for I recall that Cormoran himself had in the past been responsible for thinning out his bloodline by murdering his uncle, but it was clear that he was keen to go. He invited the rest of us to accompany him to "the Land of Snows", though no one immediately stepped forth to do so.

The rest of the season passed without any incidents of note.


Ah, a quiet season at Severn Temple! It has not always been so, and we should count our blessings that we can pursue our studies in peace. The only matter worth recording was that the Heart of the Forest produced two additional acorns this year, almost certainly in response to Giraldus' decision to join the covenant. He debated for some time whether he should plant the acorns, for he was reluctant to get involved with the pagan spirits, so we referred him to the journal, where he could learn more. Cormoran also offered to buy Medius' acorns, for it seems the giant is keen to plant as many as possible. Whether he seeks to curry favour with the Anu, or whether his involvement with the cider making venture at Lydney has prompted an interest in the health of our orchards (though I doubt he has suddenly become a great champion of the natural environment given the terrible mess he made of the landscape several years ago during his efforts to expand our mines) I cannot say, though I agree that it is better that the acorns are used to strengthen the forest than used in magical research.

I shall now hand the task of writing the journal to another. May the events of the next year be long, pleasant and rewarding for all here at Severn Temple.