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Scribed by Cynfelyn

Spring 1211 AD


Cormoran began the meeting with an account of his travels within the Erechwydd’s realm in the faerie regio. He had some very welcome news, namely that he has managed to reestablish access to the “Giant's Tower” and had been able to harvest a rook of vis from that site. The vis took the form of a mixture of muto, imagonem and vim, all either rare or extremely useful forms. When pressed about the Erechwydd's motives behind such a gift, Cormoran was reluctant to make firm promise about what he would or would not do in terms of future bargains that might affect the covenant indirectly. However, when pressed by Tiarnan, who, not unreasonably, cited Bardsey Island as an example of recent careless behaviour on Cormoran's part, he admitted that he actually liked and respected the Erechwydd. Not only that, he stated that his and her essential natures were the same, but he chose to suppress the bad parts of his nature. With that, and a somewhat vague promise from Cormoran not to repeat his previous mistakes, the discussion was concluded, for now at least.

As nothing else was raised, we moved on to plans for the forthcoming year. Much to my irritation, when I reminded my sodales of my prior request for use of our ship for my forthcoming travels in Loch Lagleann, Cormoran 'remembered' that he too needed it in Summer. After a somewhat testy exchange, we were able to sort a schedule which would enable the ship to convey us both to our destinations. Of other planned business of note, Tiarnan will be journeying to his Domus Magnus in Irinchilia, but with his faculty with matters aquatic he has no need of the Severn Star. With that the meeting drew to a close.
I set sail the next day, with Maelgwyn, Njall and Dicken, ordering the ship out into the channel and round and up the North Sea coast. I was a little surprised to discover that the spell 'Aura of Rightful Authority' that I had recently learned was of little use on ship's captains, as I tried when we were stopped by the English picket just past Thanet. On reflection I suppose such should have been expected, but no harm came of it and after a brief warning about the dangers of French warships, we were allowed to continue on our way to Loch Lagleann.

[Cynfelyn's private journal: The remainder of the voyage was uneventful and we made good time up to the port of Leith in Loch Laglean. We were met by some of Carron Valley's men who conveyed us to that covenant, a journey of just a couple of days up into the lowland heather-covered hills. Carron Valley is a robust-looking fort with a well-maintained stone wall and a goodly-sized ditch, all in all it seems like a very well-established covenant.

Maga Auchtorea was there to meet us and she told us what she knew of Dun Croigh covenant and its magi. It lies many leagues to the north of Carron Valley, so much so, that, like the Norse lands the winter days are short and dark. The lands thereabouts are rich with many magical places, though unlike Stonehenge there is no central registry of which vis sites are claimed by which covenants, each must however be clearly marked for any claim to be valid. Dun Croigh is apparently surrounded by a forest and Auchtorea was not only kind enough to grant me loan of a potion of the Leap of Homecoming back to Carron Valley but also a guide. The man, Joran, a ruddy-faced Scotsman in his thirties grew up in a covenant village about half a league from Dun Croigh.

The night before we were to depart, I woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, despite the chill night air. I had had a bad dream of some sort for I could still feel my heart racing fit to burst but try as I might I could recall scant few details of it save that I had been drowning in a great river of blood. The blood aside, the experience reminded me painfully of Dylan's death, when I had inadvertently caused the Severn to flood. Unlike previous prophetic dreams sent by the Morrigan and other such powers I had no great sense that this was a foretelling of some kind, though the unsettled feeling that it left me with lingered on well into the day.

Happily the journey itself began on a lighter note, with the first few days of travelling easy going and actually rather pleasant. A couple of days in though the cloud-topped mountains that we would have to cross began to loom ever larger on the Northern horizon. The walking became progressively harder as we neared the mountain range, with the paths steadily growing narrower and steeper. With Joran talking of the threat of storms I was careful to cast the Sailor's Taste of the Morrow every day and with no sign of bad weather we made good time for the first few days in the mountains proper though it was clear that Dicken and Njall were beginning to struggle to keep up. We reached the top of the pass that would lead us through without incident, with Joran's tales of wyverns, griffins and giants keeping us alert and watchful despite our aching legs.

A day into the pass we had to stop, despite the threat of avalanches from the high snow and ice-covered slopes all around us, for Njall and Dicken were utterly exhausted. With my magics indicating a storm the next day we sought the shelter of a shallow cave. Our shelter was not quite the sanctuary it appeared for in the dead of night four goblinoid fey emerged from the stone at the back of the cave and attacked our party with vicious-looking curved blades. Maelgwyn and I were able to drive them off but Maelgywn's barks to awaken us to the danger triggered a great fall of snow and ice that completely buried the cave mouth.
With all of us having been pushed close to exhaustion it was some time before I was able to effect our escape, in the end using several castings of 'Blade of Virulent Flame' to carve a small tunnel up to the surface. Finally, much to Maelgwyn's great relief, for he has a particular loathing of confined spaces, we were free, though we had to negotiate a hazardously slippery slope of packed ice to make it back to solid ground.

Fortunately, the path onwards soon began to wind its way downhill and we regained both our strength and our pace. Within a couple of days we reached a small village on the border of a large-looking forest. Njall spoke with a wary-looking man from the village but once he heard we had come to speak with the wizards he was hospitable enough and we were given food and shelter while he made his way to the covenant to let them know that we were here.

A day or so later, a guide arrived from the covenant, another Scot, this one named Malcom. He led us back the half day's journey to Dun Croighe, warning us that the forest was a faerie one so we should take great care not to stray from the path. Before too long, the path, little more than an animal track in reality, opened up, revealing a dry stone wall, maybe three paces high, beyond which stood a low, two-storey fort with a turf roof and dark red stone walls.

We were bidden enter, and while not an ill-feeling place, it was slightly oppressive with low ceilings and air thick with woodsmoke. After we had been served a simple but filling meal, we were approached by a wizened old woman with bone-white hair and yellowed nails, but eyes still bright blue and crystal clear. She introduced herself as Maga Moira and after dismissing the servants bade me lower my parma so that we could speak using the 'Tongue of the Folk' for she knew not latin. After a moment's hesitation I duly complied, with all that was to be done if my quest was to succeed how could I not place my trust in her?

Moira told me that she had divined the purpose of my visit and although what I sought was possible, she was loathe to do it, such was the danger. She told me bluntly that if I were to walk away now she would think me wise, for such blades as I sought were not for mortals to make.

First I would have to find a blade suitable for the magics, it would have to be hundreds of years old and possessed of a natural empathy with the dead and that which lies beyond 'the veil'. She knew where such a blade could be found, a bronze sword once wielded by the long dead King of the Picts in pre-Roman times. It lies in a barrow some 20 miles distant from the covenant. She advised me against fighting the dead king for his blade, rather I should convince him of the worth of my purpose.

Once such a blade were obtained I would then have to face a second and more perilous task, that of imbuing the blade with such power that it could cut between the worlds. That could only be achieved by bathing it in the heartsblood of a creature capable of shifting between the worlds. Few creatures have the ability to perform such a feat, but the greater serpents, the dragons, can. Moira told me that she knew where one could be found, sleeping in a deep regio in the mountains to the north of the covenant. Although not yet fully mature, it was nevertheless an ancient beast and would represent a formidable foe. Nevertheless, to forge the blade properly, it would have to be plunged into the creature's heart as it breathed its last.
As I tried in vain not to appear daunted at the thought of taking on such a dangerous beast, Moira told me of the third and final step, that of taming and binding the sword to my will. Her magical heritage is tied up with blood and she said that we will both have to shed a goodly amount in order to pit our wills against that of the spirit imbued into the blade and channel its rage into a power that can be used against those who are struck with the sword. She counselled gravely that the dangers of this final stage should not be underestimated for if we fail then I will likely be overwhelmed and be driven mad, potentially lashing out and slaying all around in my insane fury.

Her price for all this was simple, the dragon's teeth, a small price to pay all things considered, even if getting them will not be easy! She gave me the night to think about it and for all my earlier bluster now that I knew the scale of the task ahead it was no easy decision. Suddenly the options that the Morrigan had suggested might lead to a blade to defeat Ieuan seemed not so impossible. Eventually I drifted off to sleep and, as on the night of my departure from Carron Valley, I had another vivid dream. I dreamt I was standing in the midst of a great blizzard of snow, the land ahead little more than a blur of white, save for the deep blue of an icy lake. I stripped my clothes off and waded out into the freezing waters until I was completely submerged, the cold so bitter as to penetrate down even to my bones. When I surfaced, the waters were covered with a flickering blue fire, but it burnt me not.

The next morning, still undecided, I went down to the low common hall for some food and met another of the covenant's magi there. The magus, Tyaal, had the appearance of a man in his fifties, with pale skin and dark eyes. He told me that he was a pyromancer and spoke a little of his visions. He has seen something of Ieuan: his corrupt nature; how he is driven by hatred a burning desire for vengeance. However, it is not me that he seeks but Marius and the crown of Math. Tyaal told me that Moira had had a letter from Amanita, in which the Prima spoke of how she fears that she may die soon and potentially House Ex Miscellania too. He believes that my coming here represents a desperate hope. To add to the urgency, he went on to say that Moira spends one season a year making her longevity potion for it breaks every year. Clearly if I am to do this it must be now.
So it was that I knocked on the door of Moira's sanctum and told her that I was resolved to attempt the quest. She sighed, as though she had foreseen my answer, and told me to assemble my companions while she found a guide to take me to the Pictish barrow.

Once we were all assembled she told me a little more about the King. There is it seems little known of the Picts, their history is largely lost, though the King was said to be a proud and honourable ruler who was betrayed by the Scots who slew his son and his brother. She loaned me a blackened coin containing the enchantment 'Tongue of the Dead' so that I could converse with the King's shade. Moira said that she believed the heart of his power lies in his crown or torc and that if pressed I should bend my magics to shatter that and thus release his grip on the mortal world.

There was little else to be said, so, guided by Duncan, a covenant scout, we set off on the short three-day journey into the nearby low hills, sited in which was the King's final resting place. A barrow, marked with two ancient and weatherworn stone pillars. It was close to dusk when we drew near so, thinking it best to approach the tomb in daylight, we made camp a little ways off. There was no sign of any trouble emanating from the tomb that night, though Maelgwyn did wake me when he espied strange flickering lights in the sky to the north. Although they were weaker than in Novgorod I recognised them as the Northern Lights, a curious but seemingly harmless phenomenon.

The next day I headed down to the barrow and after a cursory search found a narrow passageway leading into its heart. The entrance was dark and narrow, and no more than 5 feet in height. I was able to banish the darkness easily enough but could do little about the confined nature of the tunnel. To my relief there were no side passageways or similar from which undead creatures could emerge behind me as I pressed on and after perhaps ten paces the corridor opened up into a circular chamber lined with aged, verdigris-covered grave goods. I placed the blackened coin Moira had given me under my tongue and called out to the barrow inhabitant. Almost immediately a ghoulish figure began to pull itself up from the grave, yellowed skin stretched tightly over a skeletal frame, a mouldy and ragged cloak upon its shoulders and a gold torc around its neck. As it stood, it pulled a long bronze sword from the ground before speaking. “One thousand winters I have slept undisturbed, who troubles my rest?” Setting aside my unease as best I could at being in a confined space with such a ghastly creature and trying to remember that it had once been a king, I answered as best I could, telling it who I was and why I had come.

The king was reluctant at first and not eager to trust a stranger with all the betrayals he had suffered in life, but eventually I was able to persuade him of my need, but more importantly on his desire for his people not to be forgotten. So it was that, shuddering slightly as his hand touched my head, I lowered my parma and allowed him to gift me with the memories he had of his people, the Picts. The images flew so fast past my mind's eye that they were little more than a whirl of colour, but I was able to discern a few pictures, ships of a strange design, oddly geometrical carvings, pitched battles between strange looking foes and finally a great funeral pyre. I swore that I would name the sword Tetheryn, after his dead brother, and that on the first day of the year I would tell the tale of the King and his people, their betrayal and ultimate fate. In return he gifted his sword to me, asking also that before I die I should pass the tale on. With that done the king exhaled a long breath of foul-smelling air and sank back down into the ground.

I took the sword and quickly left the barrow, returning without further incident to our camp. That night my dreams were full of visions of the lives of the ancient Picts and some of the stories they once told. The next day, feeling buoyed by the swift success of the first part of my quest we returned to Dun Croighe and the sterner challenges that lay ahead.

Back in the covenant I spoke with Tyaal again and he warned us that the mountains in which it had its lair were cold and challenging enough, and we packed as much winter gear as we could carry, though such mundane precautions would avail us little from the dragon's breath.

Tyaal told me that there were protections that we could be given against the dragon, a creature closely attuned with fire and like as not capable of breathing out great plumes of frostfire. That night, pack full of furs and supplies sitting at the bottom of my bed, I dreamt of the Picts again.

The next day we headed up into the mountain tarn where Moira was waiting for us, guided by Duncan once more. I had told Dicken and Njall that, given the nature of the creature I was going to fight, I absolved them of any responsibility to accompany me on the mission, it was a matter entirely of their own choice. I was most gratified to see that both of them agreed to come with me without hesitation. I shall not forget such loyalty.

After a day's hard trekking we reached the clear blue mountain tarn that I had seen in my dreams a few days previously. There was a cabin not far from the water's edge, from which Moira emerged as we approached. She told us of a ritual that will offer good protection from frostfire, though she warned that it was an arduous one to complete. When the moon is full, we must immerse ourselves fully in the waters of the lake, which will be cold enough to chill us down to our heartsblood.
So, that night, with the moon full in the sky, we did as she bade and stripped naked, pausing only to cover ourselves in goose fat to protect ourselves from the very worst effects of the cold. Then, shivering, we waded out into the ice-cold waters. Even in the storms I endured in Novgorod I have never experienced a cold like I felt that night and it took all my willpower to wade out until the water reached up to my chest and then, taking a deep breath, plunge down beneath the freezing waters. The shock of being totally immersed in that bitter water was such that I feared for a moment that my heart might stop, but then I was kicking back up to the surface and hurrying back to the shore.

As I stood for a second, catching my breath, standing in the ankle deep snow near the lake's edge I realised that I no longer felt cold at all, even with the icy wind whipping all around. Moira said that the ritual would last for a moon and so, with a week's hard hiking ahead of us, we caught what sleep we could and set off at first light. The going was tough but thankfully there was no repeat of the avalanche we had experienced on the journey up and we made good enough time. On the last day, we made camp and Duncan said that he would go no further but would give us good direction for the last stretch. I again offered Dicken and Njall the chance to wait with him, without loss of honour, but again they declined. So the four of us, Maelgwyn trotting a little ahead with that keen nose of his, pressed on. We found the regio boundary that Duncan had described without great difficulty and, linking up, passed through safely.

The change in the landscape was immediate and obvious, on both sides of us were sheer cliffs of dark granite with long, spear-like icicles hanging from protruding rocks. The sky overhead was dark and overcast, the clouds heavy with the prospect of more snow. We moved cautiously down the narrow path to a rocky outcrop, from where the path turned a corner as the pass opened out into a wider valley. Maelgwyn padded on ahead, paws making nary a sound in the soft snow. He returned and spoke of how the stench of death lay heavily around the land ahead, but there was a great cave entrance, surrounded by a series of smaller fissures in the cliff face. This must be the dragon's lair.

I bade Njall and Dicken wait here, for without a parma to protect them I feared they would have little chance against the great wyrm and I knew that I could not afford to reduce my own to protect them. So it was that Maelgwyn and I pressed on, as we crept nearer to the cave mouth I caught scent of the smell that my familiar had spoken of. It was the scent of death, there was no other way of describing it and I felt the breath catch in my throat, as every fibre in my body screamed at me to turn and run.

The dire need for a weapon to put an end to Ieuan drove me on and I risked a glance into the main cave. It was huge, big enough certainly for a dragon to fly out of and the stalactites and stalagmites that grew from the roof and the cave floor gave it the uncanny appearance of a great maw. There was also a regio boundary deep inside it.
I needed however a better angle of attack, from where I could use my ranged magics and hopefully stay out of reach of its claws and teeth. Asking Maelgwyn to wait without, I used my enchantment of 'Rise of the Feathery Body' and levitated myself up to one of the larger fissures and pulled myself in. The passageway on was narrow and winding, but passable and after passing through the same regio boundary that I had seen in the cave mouth I found myself standing looking down on a great ice cavern, in the centre of which lay the dragon.

The sight and scale, and sheer sense of power emanating from the beast almost caused me to turn around there and then and it was all I could do to simply stand there and try and gather my wits and courage. Then, just as I was beginning to wonder whether I could steel myself to do it, the creature stirred slightly, doubtless sensing something amiss in its lair. A great eye flicked open and riding the surge of adrenalin that shot through me I raised Garius's wand and, without thinking, uttering the words that my old pater had taught me, “Unto death we charge” I sent a gout of flame into the crystal blue depths of the dragon's eye.

The creature shrieked so loudly that I thought my ears might burst and I felt a trickle of blood from my left ear as ice crashed down from the ceiling all about me. Then the dragon let rip a great gout of frostfire, which my parma barely held off. I retaliated with another bolt of fire into the creature's eye and it shrieked again, before letting loose another blast of cold, which, although it ripped through my remaining parma, did not harm me.

I shot more fire at it, but missed and changing tack, the dragon lashed out with its tail, knocking me off my feet and, to my horror, off the ledge on which I was standing and onto the cavern floor. I think the impact cracked a rib, but I scrambled quickly to my feet, ignoring the pain, desperate to stay out of reach of the dragon’s jaws .I found some shelter behind an outcrop of stalagmites and was able to hit the unprotected spot on its underbelly with more flame, though it the wound was not deep. At close range the roar of pain from the beast left me completely deaf on my right hand side and my head ringing. The dragon knocked aside the stalagmites I was hiding behind and ripped open my shoulder. I staggered across the cavern floor towards a ground-level fissure on the far side but I was too slow and it bit me, though thankfully I managed to drop clear before it could swallow me. I sent forth another gout of flame into the scaleless patch on its belly, causing it to rear up in pain. It was further distracted by the sudden arrival of Maelgwyn who gamely tried to savage at the creature’s hind legs.

I used the little time I had to run to the fissure, burning vis in my hand as I did so to evoke the ‘Incantation of the Body Made Whole’. I made it just in time as the dragon’s claws raked against the mouth of the narrow passageway. From my sheltered position I sent ball after ball of flame against the beast’s burnt underbelly, in response it breathed repeated gouts of frostfire into the passageway but even when my parma failed, Moira’s ritual kept me safe, even though my clothes were little more than rags. By now black blood was flowing freely from the creature’s belly and it turned to go, seeking to escape through the cave mouth. I ran after it, desperate not to let it get away and heal its wounds. I threw up a hasty ‘Wall of Flame’ in front of it, though it simply pressed on regardless so I changed tack and with a desperate final sprint managed to get alongside its hindquarters. It lashed out blindly, eyes still singed from my earlier attack, but it only missed by inches. As I ducked backwards to evade the claws I was already bringing the wand to bear on its exposed belly and I shot flame once more directly into its wound. The dragon shrieked in pain and reared up as great gouts of ichorous black blood issued from its underbelly.

Then it crumpled down the ground, sending a shudder through the earth as it fell. I ran in and before it could lash out again I buried the Tetheryn almost to the hilt in its heart. I had to let go as blood flew everywhere, covering the blade completely. I watched as the dragon’s heartbeat slowed and then saw its eyelid twitch and the cold blue flame in its eye flickered and went out. In truth, at that moment, I almost felt sorry for the beast, and stood there for a long while, a little in shock I think at what I had just gone through. Then with Maelgwyn reminding me that we were still within a deep region I pulled out the sword, which was now entirely clean, the blade razor sharp and gleaming as though just polished. As carefully as I could I hacked out the two canine teeth for Moira and cut away some of the belly scales, lest they be of use in armour or some such, and hurried out.

Njall and Dylan were not where I had left them, for several days had passed in the outer level of the regio while I was inside the dragon’s lair, but thankfully they were still waiting at Duncan’s camp a little way from the regio’s edge. With the weather now much more clement as summer drew near, the journey back was relatively straightforward.

We arrived back in Dun Croighe, bearing our trophies, to cheers from the covenfolk, who had clearly not expected to see us return. Tyaal welcomed us back warmly and I recounted the tale to him and then to Moira, who given what now lay ahead of her, was unsurprisingly less effusive. She took a day and a night to prepare herself for the ritual, and then, on the following night, led me upstairs to her sanctum. In the centre of her laboratory was a large, solid-looking table with grooves carved into it to channel blood. Taking a deep breath I climbed up on the table and suppressed my parma as she requested. I clasped the sword tightly as he made a deep incision down first my right then my left arm. The blood flowed freely, much of it onto and into the bronze metal, as well as the channels in the table.

She then cut her own arm and as our blood mingled she began to chant and burn vis. As my blood continued to flow, my mind dimmed and I felt the dread presence once again of the dragon. For a moment I hesitated once again but Moira’s presence was a calming influence and helped me resist the wave of anger and fury that came from the beast’s spirit. As I desperately strove not to succumb to the dragon’s pure rage I could feel my body begin to weaken as my blood continued to ebb out. The creature could sense my weakness I think and pressed once more and while I resisted the first assault, the second overcame me and I was filled with a sudden, overpowering fury. I began to sit up and reach for the sword to wreak bloody violence against anyone near but then I felt Maelgwyn’s reassuring and calming presence and I was able to regather my senses and force the spirit into the blade.

With the spirit bound to the sword my mind returned to my body and I realised that I was still spraying blood. As I urgently staunched the blood before I lost consciousness, I realised that Moira was lying pale and still on the floor. Despite Maelgwyn’s best efforts she could not be revived.

When I had recovered a little, I bore the sorry news to Tyaal, he was sad but not surprised. A pyre was built for her and the next day her body was burnt and a wake held that night in the pagan style. The day after, head a little heavy, I said my goodbyes to Tyaal and he expressed the hope that we could stop Amanita’s dark predictions from coming to pass.]

My journey successful I caught the waiting Severn Star back to the Severn and home.


Summer

Just three magi were present at the summer council, Fabius, Idolon and Cormoran. With Cormoran set to depart to Lear Valley for the season, there was some discussion about covenant defences, with all the older magi away from the covenant, but in the end it was deemed sufficient for Idolon to bear the Wand of Crackling Flames. The season was quiet, with both magi spending the long sunny days in the magical library.

As the season was drawing to a close, Magus Alannus came to the covenant bearing the new that the Earl of Gloucester had died, leaving his twelve year old son Edward as his heir. The king had thus appointed a regent, Marius, to serve as regent until Edward turns fifteen and can be knighted. Of hermetic news, Praeco Ponrius has, apparently, passed into final twilight and Senior Quaesitor Serenia has called for a tribunal meeting at Blackthorn at midsummer in 1213, with its first order of business being the election of a new Praeco.

Autumn

Both Marius and Cormoran were returned for the autumn council meeting, with Cormoran announcing that he now has a new longevity potion, whose formula he believes will keep him hale until at least eight score years of age. Marius reported that he has moved our coastal-based spies into Chepstow, where Constantius will maintain regular contact with them, a couple of times a year or so. As the new regent of Gloucester, Marius said that this will mean he will spend even more time out of the covenant dealing with his mundane affairs. Idolon asked whether Marius could use his new role to help with the knight of Eppney, suggesting that charges could be trumped up to deal with the problem once and for all. Marius said that he would see what he could do, adding that, he would be away for the remainder of the year, returning only for the recasting of the Aegis at the start of winter.

A week later, I returned to the covenant. The remainder of the season was quite quiet by all accounts, with Fabius concluding a commission for an enchanted item for Idolon, and Idolon and Cormoran ensconced in library and laboratory respectively.

[Cynfelyn’s private journal: I spent the season investigating the Tetheryn, my new blade, but to my great frustration my arts, despite my recent studies, proved insufficient for me to learn anything of note. With Moira dead, I see little option but to journey once more to Cad Gadu to see if Prima Amanita can help identify how to use the sword’s unique power.]

Winter

The council was complete for the first time since the start of the year, with the Pontifex also returned from his travels. The winter meeting began with Idolon informing the archimagus of Ponrius’s death and the upcoming tribunal meeting, as well as Marius’s new role as Regent of Gloucester. There then followed a long discussion on what could be done about the knight of Eppney, given his links with the resurgent Fells. The idea that offered the best chance of success appeared to be having him prosecuted for conspiracy to deprive the crown of its lawful taxes and passing secrets to enemies of the realm. A plan was duly hatched whereby Marius would invite Eppney and all his retainers to the Michelmas feast in Gloucester and, while he was away, Idolon would search his manor house for evidence which could be used against him.

With the plan set, we moved on to talk about other business, during which Cormoran let slip that he intends to set no gauntlet for his apprentice Frioc! It is of course his right to determine his apprentice’s worthiness to take the Oath, but I feel obliged to express my strong disapproval at what seems to be a profound lapse in Cormoran’s responsibilities, especially given what I have seen of Frioc’s nature. Such behaviour can do naught but strengthen those who would paint our House as being made up of less than proper magi. At his request Cormoran was excused covenant service for this year, on the condition that he performs two seasons service next year.

Two weeks before midwinter, on Michelmas Eve, a messenger arrived from ‘Prince Aeddyn’ informing us that Eppney was now in Gloucester. Tiarnan and Idolon set off at once to see what they could glean from the knight’s manor. The house is a fine one, clearly with a lot of money recently invested in it, and while Idolon was unable to espy any sign of spirits or infernal taint, the magi did find coin with Bridgnorth’s mark on it and money records detailing repayments to usurers, starting not long after the tax raids had begun. With the evidence safely in hand, it was placed into the council stores until Marius’s return at the end of the year and thus 1211 came to an end.
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