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Scribed by Idolon

Spring 1207 AD


Myself and Fabius were both approached by Tiarnan in his capacity as Pontifex shortly after dawn on the first day of Spring. The council of Severn Temple had been called and we were both asked to make our petition for membership at that meeting. We entered the council chamber separately, and first myself and then Fabius were accepted on to that body. After so many months spent as guests it felt good to take my place at the table amongst my sodales. Immediately there was a discussion regarding the allocation of laboratories so that we might both practice our arts. Given his House, and the likelihood that he will spend greater time than I in research, I was happy to yield the first choice to Fabius and he chose to take a laboratory with the ancient equipment that I understand provides greater aid than the simple alembics and crucibles that I have. I am not unhappy though; my sanctum is found upon the second floor of the tower opposite the magical library and upon the same level as Tiarnan and Cormoran. I understand that it belonged previously to a former Pontifex of the covenant named Aelfwin and it was surprisingly homely. There is a goodly sized room, separate from the laboratory, that I shall use as my living quarters, and the laboratory itself is perhaps twice the size again with a large fireplace and 4 windows looking upon the north and west sides of the tower.

The council began with reports from the magi present and in the most worthy of record Marius informed us that he had established a coastal network of spies who would watch the ports for any signs of those enemies that have damaged this covenant in recent years. Further spies had been set upon a place called Bridgenorth and were immersing themselves in the gossip and rumour of that town. The hope is to learn more of the Fells and Marius believes that they are based in the wilds rather than in the town, or that of Kidderminster, which I understand is very different from the locales that they more commonly chose in the past. It is likely that they have spies or contacts of their own within these towns however as they appear to have good intelligence of who may be worth attacking upon the road. Marius further believes that this sect of the Fells is led by a diabolist who possesses significant infernal power. There may be dark spirits set upon the crossroads. It was agreed that I would accompany Marius in summer as he visited this spy network as he is often abroad and it is clear that the covenant has need of another to share the burden of maintaining our intelligence within the mundane community. Marius said that he would be in London this season as the noble of York is apparently acting as a focus of discontent against the king and he seeks to block these manoeuvres.

Tiarnan expressed some concern about the financial resources of the covenant and bid us contemplate whether there are businesses that could be established that will bring in a continual flow of coin. He believes that we are too reliant on the mine as a source of wealth and wishes a greater diversity so that should one part fall the others may bear the slack. Fabius immediately set his mind upon enchantments that he might create to aid the villagers that serve us (and who we protect in return) and suggested that he might improve the heat of the forge to improve the smelting. It was agreed that he should spend some time in the village to identify what might prove of value. We also discussed what level of taxation should be placed upon the newly refounded settlement of Lydney and it was agreed that a small sum of around 30 pennies should be levied initially while Blackney remained untaxed, benefiting the older village which will surely lose some trade to the newer.

Cynfelyn announced that he thought there was a good chance he would be called away at some point this year to the investigation at Blywyddan covenant and informed us that the need to identify what had happened there was the reason for the cancellation of the tribunal that I understand should have been called last summer. Such a service to the tribunal counts as a service to this covenant under our charter and it was to the matter of services that Tiarnan next turned. In accordance with the custom of Severn Temple myself and Fabius were expected to dedicate two seasons to the covenant in our first year. It was agreed then that following my journey in summer I would continue to accompany Marius in Autumn so that I might be appraised of the new spy network upon the coast. Fabius was happy to enchant a minor enchantment to destroy demons to help fill a gap in our magical arts, and he began this work immediately following the council. Cormoran said that he would spend this spring fishing for magical fish within the Severn river which will increase our vis supplies. For these services we receive a share of the vis that is gained over the year and for those who had worked on behalf of the covenant in the last year Tiarnan gave a generous sum.

As I have no need of sleep I was permitted to study from the Mentem texts found in the library during the night hours and was granted the right to learn the spell Oneiros’ Curse from the same source over spring. Tiarnan returned north to Carron Valley while Cynfelyn said that he would be making study of the art of Vim. This first season as a magus of Severn Temple passed peacefully and there was no event worthy of record.

Idolon’s Private Journal: I was visited today by Fabius who has been gifted a fine cloak by what appears to be a faerie ally of Tiarnan called Bodkin. He tailored it himself and offered my sodales training in the craft in exchange for supporting Tiarnan within our council. I do not know whether this bartering of influence is common within our new home but I advised Fabius to be cautious until he had a better understanding of what such a bargain might mean.

Idolon’s Private Journal: During the festival that takes place by the spring each equinox I espied with my sight beyond the veil that Tiarnan is being watched over by a powerful spirit in the form of a Hart. At first I was not sure whether to mention this as I would not wish to be accused of scrying so early in my time here but after some contemplation I spoke with the Pontifex. He seemed to know of the spirit already although I believe he was surprised that it was in such close vicinity. He asked me to keep such knowledge to myself for the time being and I assured him that I would speak of it with no other.

Summer

Marius’ reports on events within the mundane realm once again were the most significant that were made as the summer council was held. York is causing the king some problems and he can not afford an open rebellion whilst still at war with the French. Therefore it appears that he intends to give away some of his power as king in order to placate his Barons and buy their continued support. Those greater nobles who have lost land in France are being recompensed with land taken from the less powerful nobility and this is a practice that will cease. All the Barons will be given a greater say in the affairs of the kingdom and Marius believes that this could serve him well. He may be called abroad again next year in campaign against France but he hopes that he will be asked to remain to watch over York.

Fabius and Cormoran were both successful in their activities during spring and with his experimentation giving him a greater insight Fabius reported that he would be able to make another device with greater charges this season. Tiarnan assigned himself a service and said that we would extract Vim vis for the covenant stores. Cormoran announced that he was travelling to a covenant called Lear Valley to repay a debt owed to a Maga there and Cynfelyn said that we would be developing a spell.

My journey with Marius proved most instructive. We initially spent some time in the Dean itself where I was introduced to the Sheriff and some of the mundane spies. Marius travels as Prince Aeddan when dealing with many of the more important men of the region and I was introduced as his man to them. I was also introduced to a spy in the service of De Percy, a servant of the king of England, and it was agreed that I had licence to operate in the area so that there might be no misunderstandings in the future. Severn Temple appears to have far greater mundane influence than the covenant I grew up in and I shall have to learn the interacting powers as quickly as I can in order to carry out this task in future. After the Dean we headed to Gloucester, Tewksbury and Worcester, meeting contacts in each. Upon the road Marius showed me the path to the barrows where a former member of the covenant was slain by spirits and which provides Mentem vis. This is a place that I am keen to explore but it is clear that the death lies heavy upon my sodales and I will be cautious in any expedition I undertake.

As we approached Kidderminster Marius adopted the guise of a lowlier man and we met there a man who works for both us and De Percy. We also heard that last winter a small hamlet to the west saw a group of strangers passing by who might be mercenaries. We continued upon the road to Bridgenorth but I espied no spirits as we travelled. Marius visited the castle there as Aeddan while I met the principal contact that we hold there and learned that the most notable event that has occurred recently was a vagabond stealing two chickens from a farmstead. It was also noteworthy that while I was there I had an opportunity to witness Marius exerting his authority and it seems to be something that sits naturally with him. Should he have time in the future it might be useful to learn something of the art for my own dealings, but the gentle nature of his gift is something that I will not be able to replicate. By this point we had travelled for more than half of the season and so we returned to the covenant.

While we were away Cormoran, after he had returned from the north, was disturbed one evening while he took his meal in the great hall by a knocking which appeared to be coming from the other side of the strange door that leads to the realm of spirits. After some discussion with the other magi who were within the covenant he opened the door and was greeted by a magical Hart named Ffion, who it appears is known to Tiarnan.

Autumn

At the council meeting Tiarnan told us that he had met the Hart Ffion while travelling in the realm of spirits looking for his sodalis Maga Marissa and that the creature would be remaining within the covenant. I suggested that we should consider once more placing a spirit in watch within the great hall as was done before by Magus Fergus of Narwold covenant. I have the enchantments to do this if a man who serves us now could be persuaded to continue that service after his life has come to an end. My sodales seemed to agree that it would be useful but no suggestions were made as to a suitable man and it seems that I may need to pursue this myself once my gift is less oppressive to the grogs who reside here. Tiarnan also told us that the Archimaga Sylvania had travelled into Arcadia on her final journey from the mortal world and I sensed that she must have been important to him and his joy at her journey was tinged with sadness that he shall see her no more. He has been entrusted with the task of adjudicating her challenge to any who would seek her vacant title.

Tiarnan said that he was performing another service on the covenants behalf, enchanting an item that will bring forth crashing waves upon another vessel. I have a sense that there is a real purpose within our covenant and a desire from the magi present here to put their arts at the service of their sodales rather than blithely pursuing their own goals without consideration. Fabius must have sensed something of this also as he asked whether there were any particular items that the council might find useful in the future so that he might better choose his own researches. We discussed several things but the idea of a device to aid the quick communication of messages seemed to capture his imagination and he asked to borrow the Imagonem books. Next year he indicated that he would create an enchantment so that we can quickly receive a message from our agent in Blackney. Cynfelyn was again developing a spell whilst Cormoran was studying from Herbam vis.

Idolon’s Private Journal: Fabius told me that he had asked Cormoran to show him the Heart of the Forest as he was very curious about this place, but his request had been rejected. Whilst I have been impressed with much of the communal drive within the covenant I also sense that there are a number of secrets held by the elder magi which they are reluctant to share. I advised Fabius to be patient and I will aim to follow my own counsel.

Shortly after the council, after myself and Marius had departed, visitors came to the covenant and as he had predicted Cynfelyn was asked to journey to Blywyddan as part of a mission to establish if the un-named House had been to the covenant. This mission was led by the Senior Quaesitor of Stonehenge, Serenia, and accompanied by Quaesitor Faelon, Prafecta Orlania and Kedrick, Magnus and Alanus. Praeco Ponrius also planned to attend but was advised by Orlania that it would not be wise for him to accompany them and while it sounds that he was reluctant given that this was his former covenant he acceded to her advice. From the account that Cynfelyn has made I understand that they made camp near to Blywyddan and used this as a base for their investigations. They found the covenant in ruins, the settlements around it destroyed and a great hall in the castle wall. The ruins were blackened in places and not a sign was seen of a living soul. They found a corpse of a long dead farmer and determined that he must have died 12 or 13 years ago, with his heart having burst within his chest. Further spells determined that it was the result of a magical attack and using necromantic magic they questioned the corpse. The man recalled only that he had been working in the fields when he heard the great walls of the castle upon the hill shatter and as he fled to his home he saw a shadow in the corner of his eye and then nothing further as his doom came upon him. He recalled that it was in the Autumn of 1193 and that there had been no warning of impending danger. He further recalled that both Jerriana and Maia had been present within the covenant that day to the best of his knowledge. Further investigations in the vicinity of the covenant confirmed his tale and that following a great spell being cast to breach the walls death had swiftly come to the area.

They determined to investigate the covenant ruins and seeing that the gate and portcullis were closed entered through the breach. Within the courtyard they found further corpses although little sign of a struggle, reinforcing the belief that the attack had been sudden and swift. Indeed within the barracks some men had not even made it from their beds before being killed. Within the keep itself they found three grogs that had been petrified and stood as statues of stone. There was no active magic upon them and it was surmised that this could have been the work of a creature called a Gorgon, a large serpent heralding from Greece believed to be lost to the world whose very gaze can turn a man to stone. Using mirrors to identify their path through the corridors they ventured further in, finding further bodies and an occasional man rendered into stone. The laboratories still contained equipment but the libraries were almost empty and there were no other magical resources to be found. Within the lower levels of the building they sensed the odour of sulphur and death and in a dark corridor found the two corpses of the magi hung upside down on chains set into the walls. There was an infernal aura of the 1st magnitude and they surmised that the magi had been tortured. They retrieved the skulls before destroying what remained of the bodies and returned to Blackthorn, releasing the hoplites from their service. Later in the season Tiarnan was asked to attend, although to what end I do not know, and Cormoran was also summoned to use his prodigious talents with spontaneous magic to temporarily nullify the effects of the petrification upon one of the grogs.

My own journey with Marius was significantly less intimidating although it had its own mysteries. We initially headed to the Trelloch Stones but I was able to detect no further sign of the spirit that I had encountered there when visiting last year. After that we took a route into Powys which enabled me to meet more of the spy network and which ended at Marius’ own mundane court. There I discovered that he was to be married to a cousin of the Prince of Gwynedd named Roswind and we were joined by Tiarnan and Cynfelyn. While we all attended the public celebrations, filled with troubadors, tumblers and jugglers of no little talent, it was only my sodales who witnessed the marriage and attended the reception feast afterwards. Apparently there was a bard there named Blaine who may have had some minor enchantment about him. He apparently told a story which had some kind of magical affect upon the majority of those present, rendering the emotions in a manner far heightened than would be normal, and which foretold a son being born to the couple. Given that Marius is surely of an age where he is taking his longevity potion then it seems unlikely that the magic is divinatory in nature. Tiarnan has invited the bard to attend upon Severn Temple in the future so perhaps we will learn more of the art of this man.

Winter

At our council Fabius said that he had spoken with the villagers and craftsman in our service and determined that an enchanted forge would provide a firm improvement to the income we generate. Cynfelyn agreed to use his impressive arts of Creo and Ignem to enchant such a device over winter. Fabius said that he would be studying Auram to further aid in the device he intends to create while Cormoran spent the time training his apprentice. The rest of us chose to further our art by learning spells.

A short while into the season we were visited by the redcap Alanus. He reported that there had been no further attacks in the vicinity of Bridgenorth but a large merchant train with many guards had been taken near Oxford. He is planning to make further investigation. He also told us that the investigations into Blywyddan had concluded that the magi there were murdered and the covenant has been declared lost. Magi of the tribunal have been advised to stay away due to the infernal aura present at the site. Following the conclusion of the investigation a tribunal meeting has been called for midsummer next year.

The rest of the season passed without event and I pass on this record to the next magus. My first year upon the council of Severn Temple has affirmed my belief that joining this covenant was the right course of action for both Fabius and myself and I believe that our arts will grow strong in this environment.
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