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Scribed by Cormoran

Spring 1187 AD

It was as if winter had not released her icy grip on the world that first day of spring in the year 1187. There was much snow upon the ground and although we each raised our Parma Magica, the sun itself was hidden behind grey banks of cloud so that its golden redness could be gazed on without pain, with the ritual of Bountiful Feast in full effect though I worry not for the health of the trees and this spring frost will be shaken off like a man taking off his cloak ready for the years work that waits for my lovely apple trees.

The council itself reported nothing from the previous season as we had all been hard at labour in our laboratories. For the forthcoming seasons activities, Marius stated that he would be wandering the Welsh lands and stated one of his goals for the year was to improve his French so he might better speak with the nobles of this green and pleasant land. I stated that I would be studying the pagan knowledge books as I feel that the only way to stop the domination of the dominion is to try and recreate the worship of the pagan spirits who seem so powerful in this tiny corner of the land. To this effect I asked permission to perform a ritual of Beltane at the spring at the spring equinox this was permission was granted as even if there were no magical beneficial effects from the ritual the grogs and coven folk would enjoy the party and it would improve morale. Due to my interest in all things pagan I took to studying the pagan lore texts in whatever spare time I was given. Tiarnan stated that he would be studying from personal vis and enhancing his magic theory during the year, Dialectica stated that she would undertake one of the major tasks in a magus's life and bind the owl she found as a familiar. Medius decided to read Yania's book about the rituals and knowledges of the church, to better know his enemy. Astrius stated that he would be inventing a spell that season and asked Medius if of an occasional evening he could also peruse the book that Yania penned.

A week into the season Alanus a red cap arrived at the covenant and gave us the grave news that that Giraldus was dead. Some ritual must have been performed at Harco covenant and now they were sure of his demise. Alanus also brought request that an investigation into his death be performed by our resident Quaesitor. Of news mundane he told us that an army of the Turks has been raised and might march on the Christians in the Levant. This could be an interesting development if the Christian world responds in kind as many of the lords and priests of this Tribunal might be tempted to go to those far flung lands in defence of there holy city.

Astrius and Medius went and investigated Giraldus' sanctum and discovered a chest of Vis containing 7 Aquam, 9 Ignem, 3 Corporem, 8 Herbam, 7 Creo, 3 Rego also in the sanctum was a box containing 300 pennies, Medius as Pontifex decided to take these treasures back into the covenant stores.

Medius and Astrius then went to investigate the disappearance and death of Giraldus. They took a grog called Raibert to Gloucester on the newly named barge Severn star. Once there the met with Marius and they all then went to Ross on Wye following Giraldus' last known location. Marius asked around the town but even his skills with people could not find a story related to Giraldus, this was not really a surprise as it would have been over a year ago he visited the town, following a hunch that Medius had they enquired at the docks and discovered that someone matching Giraldus left on a barge south. Asking around the dock taverns it became puzzling for it appeared that Giraldus had apparently gave his travel plans to be travelling west on the road but this might have been a ploy to throw off pursuit as he seems to have taken a barge. Travelling back to the covenant the Pontifex then asked Tiarnan if he would investigate the river for a sunken barge, as Medius had a hunch that the barge had not made it to Chepstow. It must be either his quaesitorial training or just his natural skill for his hunch proved correct again and Tiarnan found it 1.5 miles north of Chepstow.

It looked like it had been scuttled from the inside, which was a puzzle and so Tiarnan investigated the sunken barge and discovered a decomposing corpse which enabled Medius to use his special skills to question the corpses spirit. Unfortunately the corpse knew nothing and so Medius cast eyes of the past to view the events himself. He saw a barge come up from Tintern and attack the barge which was moored by the side of the river, the attacking barge had the symbol of Lorraine on it and the attackers apparently kidnapped Giraldus then went back north on the barge. After further searching on the river bed our water mage found Giraldus' lyre. Medius cast the inexorable search with the lyre but no success was had. A council meeting was called and we discussed the situation. Of the many discussions we had only one had results, and what results. There was an idea that someone in the covenant or Blackney was selling information to the monks and so we used pose the silent question on the good folk of the covenant, only to find no traitors. In Blackney however a man ran once he saw what was occurring and Astrius' black hound familiar Drudwyl caught the fleeing man. We brought him back to the covenant and questioned him magically to which he had no resistance. He revealed that his contact was a monk from Tintern called Justin. He had been in the pay of the monks for 2 years had been informing on the movements of the wizards and the names of there servants and companions for that time. On the last Friday of each season he travelled to Chepstow where he met the monk in the Swan tavern near the docks.

We finished the interrogation and Marius went to Powys to continue his business with the mundanes but after only a week he returned with the news that he had been attacked on the road by 3 monks on horseback and they killed 2 but one got away.

With this new we decided to inform the Praefector but on arrival at blackthorn it transpired that she had travelled to Narwold covenant in the east of the country, Medius and Astrius then decided to go to Narwold to tell the Praefector of our troubling news. After meeting with her and telling her the news she suggested attacking this Justin and capturing him, which we were nervous to do in case of a breech of the primary code. We took some time in deliberation of a plan but eventually settled on a robust and simple one suggested by Tiarnan whose knowledge of all things Aquam obviously aided him in his planning. Just before the Friday the Praefector joined us and told us some news, that Jerusalem had fallen and a crusade had been authorised by the pope himself.

We implemented Tiarnan's plan and once Kai had warned us of the barges departure with the target monk aboard, Tiarnan pushed the boat to shore with his Rego and Aquam magics and we assaulted from the bank, we easily prevailed and the monk Justin was immobilised in a block of ice by Astrius. I then sailed the captured barge downstream and sunk it in the Severn, luckily Tiarnan hung around the sinking barge as I had forgotten to weight the corpses and he cleared up my mistake.
The initial questioning of monk Justin went poorly as he used his piety as protection from any magic's that might have revealed the secrets of the cult. Medius then using Coerce the spirits of the night on the summoned ghost of the dead guards learnt of the names of the cult members these were Abbot Laurence of Tintern, Justin, Evered, Sebastian, Alan and Timothy there were nine others who served as soldiers and now act as bodyguards but these monks have not the religious fervour of the named ones.

When this shade was asked about Giraldus it transpired that Alan took him to Tintern and Evered tortured him to death extracting a lot of information, Giraldus' remains were burnt there.

On returning with this information to Justin it transpired that the Prior of Huntley was sympathetic to this cults purposes as was Leonard of Prick Nash. It appeared that the powers these monks possess is as follows. They can see through illusions, heal the sick, they know gods purpose, they can sense devilry and they can cleanse unholy places. The men who attack Marius on the road turned out to be messengers who carried the news of war and this cult who call themselves the Brothers of Christ shall crusade with them. After much further and fruitless magical questioning the only other piece of information revealed was that the Baron of Chepstow was a supporter of the cult, but as Oswald his magistrate was a member this information was a bit obvious. The season ended with a visit from the senior Quaesitor but even she could not rip the secrets from the mind of the pious monk.

Summer


The summer came and with it promises of easier times. The crusade called these Christians away to far lands to hopefully die in a futile attempt to regain their holy city. What makes it so holy, the only reason I can think of is that there Christ lord was executed on a hill outside it. Medius told me over dinner that the religion of the Jews has its main temple there, so I can understand their reverence for that city but as for these Christians I am unsure. The church is so wealthy and powerful, using the military tactics I have learnt divide and conquer seems a valid tactic if we could cause a schism in the church as there was in our order then strike whilst they are weakened.

At the council meeting we discussed the previous season plan to steal an arcane connection from the abbot's quarters so as to be able to scry on his doings. Astrius put Vis of heats light into library at my request as I felt I needed a method of seeing invisible creatures. Marius declared he would study from the Rego book, Medius said this season would mainly be spent extracting information via torture from the monk Justin, Astrius learned a spell and I learned the vision of heat's light. Finally Tiarnan declared he would study personal vis.

Autumn

The apples reddened beautifully as the summers warmth started to ebb. The great curve of the Severn looked beautiful reflecting the morning sun as I flew down to check on my orchards. The trees bathing in the blessing of the bountiful feast were starting to strain under the weight of the fruits that would provide us with food and drink. It truly is a wonderful plant that can provide such and although I can make wheat beer, I find that the quality and character of the trees comes through, almost as if they are old friends gifting me there bounty once a year to create the wonderful elixir that is cider. I have read recently of a ritual involving apples in the pagan knowledge texts, it states that it invokes the health giving powers of the amazing apple. By following the ritual then passing out the apple to the common folk to eat it will act as a ward against evil humours of the frost. I will have to try this next spring as these simple effect will help our coven folk. This brings me to ponder the deeper powers of the apple, that might be locked inside its golden shell, many stories from all religions tell of its powers, when we were in Novgorod I heard a tale of a giant who changed into an eagle and captured a god , he then demanded of this god that a goddess who grew golden apples that granted immortality be given to him so that he might live forever . Eventually this god rescued the goddess through trickery. Even the hated Christianity grants the powers of knowledge to the apple. I think I might have to investigate further these tales and somehow obtain a golden apple.

We met in council and Medius told us of his results in torturing the monk Justin, apparently Giraldus had passed on every piece of information about the covenant. This news was not surprising as I would imagine everyone would break under torture eventually. Tiarnan suggested that our spy in Huntley might have been given away by the tortured babbling of our sodalis and we determined to send word of warning to him. Medius went on to report that many of the brotherhood of Christ will be crusading, as they believe that Richard will be against the order of Hermes. The brotherhood knew of Arcturus in London and there might be other wizards who have fallen under the sway of the Christians, indeed he reported in all secrecy that there was another pious magus who was called Henry of Jerbiton from Scarfell covenant.

Our seasonal tasks where then discussed,Tiarnan made an item for Marius to protect him on the road, Medius continued the torture of the monk to extract all the information he possessed, although after a whole seasons torture what shell of a man remains I wonder. I made leap of homecoming potions as we were running low. Marius improved his skill with Imagonem, Astrius extracted Vim vis for the Aegis later in the year and Dialectica was binding her owl familiar to her will.

Winter

I wander the orchards at dawn,the mist shrouded branches stand empty, there treasure gently plucked by the goodly folk of Blackney and stored away from the frosts and chills. Only the occasional rotting fruit can be seen, a reminder of the golden globes that even now are being pressed for the nectar they contain. But for now the trees sleep there yearly task done, and done well. But in this quite season they begin to coil again for the task that awaits them again. You can almost hear them gasp for air as if they have run a race and stand at the end branches on their trunks bent over from the effort. Rest now my flock rest for you have again provided us with food and drink for another year.

At the council Medius reported that it seems that these monks have the gift which is a blessing as that restricts the number of them with these miraculous powers, do we have to invite them into the order I wonder? They know of the Parma but thankfully choose not to learn it as it would be sinful to there religion. They also believe that Arcturus has given up magic even though we know that to be untrue. There was a big meeting of the brothers in Christ in London 6 years ago. Medius also reported that our spy in Huntley has gone to Tintern and has probably divulged his knowledge to these monks. He left a letter for us saying that he had finished acting as a spy for us and has gone to retire in Tintern, I suggested we might still maintain contact with him but the risks are judged to high. I hope he has a long and peaceful retirement in the abbey as he worked long for us and deserves his rest. As we had lost our spy, the general discussion in the council came round to the spy network in general, because of its lack of active members it was decided to increase the amount of money to the spy network to 75 pennies. I suggested Blackney as a centre of operations as a lot of the bargemen come to the bargeman’s rest tavern. They gossip all the time about river traffic and news from the local towns. It became obvious that this brotherhood of monks was about to assault Edwin of Huntley and because of that I offered the suggestion that we warn Edwin to make there victory Pyrrhic but it is again deemed too risky and immoral by some of our council, but Tiarnan suggests that we strike the monks as they retreat after there assault if they do so. I thought this a good idea but it seemed that the rest of the council decided to ignore this valid suggestion. The use of Fae spies are discussed and Tiarnan declared he would investigate this option when he next goes into the regio. Dialectica introduced her familiar, she had named Aleri, it apparently could not talk and was not of an independent nature.

The news discussed we declared our seasonal actions, Medius extracted vim vis for personal use, I read from the Aquam texts, Tiarnan Studied from Rego vis, Marius went to Gloucester,Astrius studied Animal vis and Dialectica was training her apprentice.

A few weeks into the season Alanus the red cap paid our covenant a visit. Of news s hermetic he told us that the Praeco has moved from Blywythen to Blackthorn and a warning missive from the Praefector that Arcturus has moved from south east but where he had gone was unsure, I thought at the time he might have gone on crusade to cleanse his soul. Trevalgar covenant reported that they were having trouble with a giant and had asked for my assistance. Of news mundane he reported that there was a war in the levant tribunal, Jerusalem has fallen to a general called Saladin of the Turks and prince Richard has taken the cross and gone upon crusade with many knights to retake there holy city. Because of this there would be a tax rise to pay for the crusade.

Skinfrith castle reported that a great beast had struck a horse and we discussed the possibility that it was some creature from Mynyth Myrthen.

I caught the boat to Trevalgar covenant and received the news that on the way to a local vis site my sodalis at Trevalgar covenant were attacked by a wild giant, from there description it sounded like a giant who had lived a life of eating humans and therefore had lost all his humanity. It is a shame that a giant has lost all his willpower and subsumes himself into the animal side of his nature. It is the lot of our kind that those of limited intelligence will falter and become like a beast. I met the 2 surviving grogs and they agreed to take me to the forest where they were attacked. The next day we ventured into the Cornish hills and the smell of that beautiful land filled my nostrils. Once we had reached the area of attack I sent the men home so they would not get hurt, also if I could reason with the beast I did not want the smell of meat to inflame his senses. I set up camp that night and fell into a deep sleep, around the darkest hour I was awoken by my faerie friend and heard the Giant come crashing towards my camp screaming in anger, As he got within earshot I called out to him “Brother let us talk” but he attacked anyway and he landed a cruel blow on myself, I heard ribs crack and felt the breath knocked out of me, I then took another blow and decided that it would be foolish to attempt to talk and in my wounded condition, decided to flee, I used my Sceptre of smothering fog and ran , then turning into a wolf I limped back to the covenant where I spent a week recovering from my wounds, I bless my blood for I healed quickly from wounds that on any other would be mortal. My only regret was losing the wonderful armour that Ildernact had crafted for me. In wold form I tracked the giant to his lair a cave of huge size on the reverse hill from the forest where he bested me. I entered the cave and in the pitch black made my way towards the scent of the Giant. He must have heard me though and so I retreated and tried again the next night, I think if I had entered in man form he would have smelt me and so on the second night I cast spontaneous magics to make my skin to emit wolf scent instead of man scent. I entered the cave and just as he had struck me twice and stolen my armour I determined to strike him twice and steal his mattock. Unfortunately my second strike was exceptionally powerful and I cut his huge leg clean off. I took his mattock hoping that he would recover from his wounds and flee the area, on the way out however i thought that mayhaps he had put his essence into the mattock and therefore my taking it might have slain him. I regretted this decision but in the end felt that we had fought and he had lost and I am sure he would have shown me no mercy. I returned to Trevalgar and declared my victory, I asked if Ildernact could repair my armour that the giant had rent in two and he readily agreed. I determined to return in the summer to collect it. I ported home and then because of the length of time I had been away decided to change my study to the Perdo texts as I might learn something from them as they were so voluminous.
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