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Scribed by Tiarnan

Spring 1188 AD


At Council, Marius brought us news from the Earl’s court at Gloucester, where there is much commotion and excitement amongst the nobility regarding the Crusade against the Saracens of the East. The Baron of Chepstow has apparently “taken the Cross”, which I understand to mean that he plans to accompany the war party, though Earl Richard has sensibly paid the Saladin tithe in order to remain at home. The covenant also chose this option, electing to pay an extra 500 pennies in taxes rather than to supply men to travel East. We can only hope that the weight of coin sinks their vessels, taking the sorry lot of them down into the deeps.

The priesthood seem equally preoccupied with the Crusade, which should hopefully mean that they will cause less trouble here in the Dean, and at least some of them will venture East, perhaps never to return. I doubt the monks will be entirely quiet, however, for Marius confirmed that the Abbot of Tintern had met Earl Richard to discuss the rumours of Edwin of Huntley’s leprosy. Such an affliction raises questions about his fitness to hold his manor, and the monks plan to visit Huntley later in the Spring to investigate the knight’s malady. Marius also mentioned that the Earl, with whom this covenant has had peaceful relations for many a year, has grown visibly older in recent times. Although his health does not seem to be in immediate peril, Dialectica warned that the prospect of death had turned many a man’s attention to religion, and she counseled that we remain aware of the possibility that the Abbot might seek to prompt him to make a deathbed recantation of our alliance. Still, there seems little we can do at this point, save to maintain our good standing with the Earl and cultivate similar relationships with his heir.

Cormoran recounted his tale of slaying the giant in Cornwall, and I sensed both his pride in his martial prowess but also a tinge of regret in his voice as he explained how he had once again rid the land of one of his kinfolk. Curiously, Cormoran had taken the creature’s sacred mattock, thereby depriving it of the chance to slowly heal its injuries, which means that he has now done more than most to thin the land of the giants.

The rest of the Council meeting was taken up with the routine business of allocating the covenant’s resources and determining our activities. The only two of note were my declaration that I would be away from the covenant for at least two seasons for a journey to Irencilia and Medius’ decision to spend two seasons at Lear Valley enlisting the aid of Erin to brew a more powerful longevity potion. The latter seems a wise decision given Erin’s enormous experience in such matters, though I know that in his earlier years, Medius was keen to carry out all such intimate enchantments himself. Perhaps time has taught him that, though assassins may lurk at every door, kindly healers with long track records of helping out those in need are less likely to poison him than most.

[Tiarnan’s private journal: The journey to Irencilia was largely uneventful, though Archimaga Sylvania did not seem quite herself, for she was clearly preoccupied and concerned about how the House meeting would go. The character of the House may change now that we have a new Primus, and it is hard to predict in which direction Palleus may decide to take us. Rather than dwell too deeply on all the various scenarios and ramifications, I resolved not to think about it, since I quickly determined that I had little likelihood of fathoming the Primus’ plans and brooding would only waste a good opportunity to get in some sea fishing. I had a series of interesting conversations with Marissa, who has been exploring the deep currents off the coast of Anjou. She had been trying to locate one of the undersea forests she spied on one of Tressilio’s maps, but so far with little success. She also spoke of great sea monsters that lurk within the deep and apparently hunt by smell. Though some of images she conjured up were unsettling, I was secretly glad, as they lessen the chance that Kai will go swimming off alone and get himself into bother.

Irencilia appeared the same as it was the last time I visited. The first few days were taken up by a great market in which all manner of strange objects were for sale. Kai purchased himself an unusual fish and I bought a curious device fashioned from glass and wood that creates a delightful pattern when light shines on it from above. This shall make a fine gift for Nynniaw when next I visit the summer glade. The price seemed reasonable - I merely have to injure the pride of an arrogant blacksmith named Bert of Tewkesbury within three winters. How difficult can that be?

The House meeting itself was largely taken up with the issue of what to do about the encroachment of the dominion into places of faerie and magical power. Archimaga Sylvania poke of the spreading influence of the Church in Stonehenge, Archimagus Myrnthor noted that some of the silver gates that link the mortal world with Arcadia have closed and Archimagus Raduc described how recent raids by rapacious members of Houses Flambeau and Verditius had resulted in great slaughter of magical beasts in Hibernia. The was general agreement among the host of Magi present that the House should take a stand against these troubles, though it proved difficult to agree on a course of action that both promised the hope of success and would also be more than just a symbolic gesture. Many potential resolutions for the Grand Tribunal were proposed and discarded as either too ambitious or too ineffectual, before Magus Dallian of Hibernia proposed that, rather than seeking to make a grand gesture, we should each pledge to do our utmost individually to make a stand against such problems. By ensuring new villages do not carve great swathes into the forest and by opposing those who seek to bring slaughter to the magical and faerie creatures, we may inspire others to see that the battle to save the mystical places of the world is far from a lost cause. Each of the Archimagi in turn pledged to do so, and they also each offered their aid should any member of the House come into difficulties as a result of their actions. The vote was carried unanimously, which is almost unprecedented in House history, and Primus Palleus seemed most pleased with the success of the meeting.

With the great issue of the meeting concluded, there was time to spend in conversation on less weighty matters. Two interesting Magi I came across were Scola and Hortensia of Thebes. The former is a member of the court of water who has a dolphin as a familiar. She and Kai exchanged boasts about their fishing prowess, and they may have the chance to pit their wits against each other in the future. The latter is conducting research on the roots of magic and faerie powers, and we agreed to exchange letters should either of us make any progress in investigating this interesting topic. Finally, I agreed to meet up with Marissa in Autumn next year to venture to the Isle of Moon Setting again to visit the scholar and perhaps learn more of his undersea maps and his connection with the founder of our House.]


Summer


Medius and I were still away in Lear Valley and Irencilia, respectively, so a reduced Council was led by Astrius. Marius again reported from the Earl’s court at Gloucester. He had heard that the monks of Tintern had entered Huntley during the Spring. Edwin had resisted their incursion, drawing forth great monsters from the dark, but the monks had prevailed, their divine powers apparently greater than Edwin’s infernal might. Edwin himself had expired during the melee, for which we can only be thankful, since he would have been a most embarrassing witness had he been captured. The status of Edwin's former manor is not exactly clear, and the Council receive this news with mixed emotions, for we have long wanted to see Edwin’s fall, yet it provides another piece of evidence that the powers of these monks are considerable. Once they have dealt with their infernal foes, it surely shall not be long before they turn their attentions to the wizards of the Dean. Marius also brought news that Prince John intends to visit Gloucester in the Autumn.

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

Autumn

At Council, Marius brought news that Prince John had visited Gloucester during the Summer and taken a keen interest in the Earl’s daughter, Isabella. There are even rumours that, should his attention not wander, he might even ask for the girl’s hand in marriage, which could increase the Earl’s influence at the royal court. Marius said that he had kept his distance from the Prince, who is reported to be a cerebral man with an awkward manner and a tendency to antagonise those around him by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

The only item of note that occurred during the season was that Astrius, responding to rumours of a wandering friar in the vicinity of Blackney, encountered a man named Briarch who claimed to be a shapeshifter of some power. Briarch had come to the Dean to receive a message from one of his ancestors, apparently some great wolf spirit, about how he could further his art. He demanded that no other should witness the coming of the spirit, for he expected it to speak of the secrets of his lineage, and somewhat surprisingly, Astrius overcame his natural distrust of werewolves and allowed him to do so. The next morning, the man agreed to come back to the covenant to explain more of his background. The most interesting development occurred when the subject of the bloodwolves that had attacked the covenant over a score years ago was raised. We had hitherto believed that they had been sent by the grandfather wolf from the forests of Mynydd Myddyn, but Briarch declared that this could not be, for no werewolf would allow this to happen; indeed, he likened the transformation into a bloodwolf to infernal possession, and he also said that Jack O'The Green would also never allow such a ritual to take place in the forest. As we mulled over this information, it occurred to us that our assumptions about the origins of the bloodwolves was based on very little information, and there were other possible causes, not least Ieuan, who has access to both pagan and infernal rituals. Although we as yet have no proof that Briarch’s words are true, they certainly cast a new light on our relationship with the werewolves. Unfortunately, the conversation was cut short when Medius, who had been surreptitiously scrying on Briarch’s mind to ascertain whether he told the truth, fumbled a spell and alerted his target to his actions. Briarch naturally regarded this as a grave breach of hospitality and appalling manners, and he left immediately. Thus, our chances of learning more were ruined by our Quaesitor’s lack of art and subtlety.

Winter

Marius once again brought us news from his travels around the Dean; indeed, sometimes it seems as though is our sole source of information on our homelands. There is apparently a new priest named Justin at Huntley, though as yet Edwin has not been replaced as knight of that village. There followed a discussion on what we should do about the activities of the monks, though we reached no firm conclusions. It is clear that the Council believes that we should take the opportunities offered to us by the distraction of the Crusade to take action against the monks, but we are at a loss as to how best to take things forward. My view is that we need better information on the movements of the monks, so that we make learn of their plans and perhaps even take them unawares on the road; I shall give this matter some further thought. Little else of note occurred at Council, save for Cormoran’s announcement that he now has the facility to train an apprentice. I sense that he seeks to take over training Dialectica’s apprentice, Joseph; he may find Dialectica willing to give up her wardship of the boy, for she has made numerous comments to Medius in recent years about how much the boy’s training weighs on her time for study.

Later in the season, we were visited by the Recap Alanus. He brought news from London, where a host of knights and religious zealots have assembled, ready to take ship to the continent and beyond in pursuit of their goal of taking fire and sword to the Saracens. In Hermetic circles, he mentioned that a new Quaesitor, Ludovicus of Guernicus, had taken up residence at Solis Castle. Elsewhere, several searches of London had turned up no sign of Arcturus, and it is now suspected that the renegade may have left the city to evade the wrath of the Order.
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