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Scribed by Idolon

Spring 1215 AD


A full council met at the start of this new year and none had any news to report from the winter most recently past or indeed any issues that they wished raised for discussion. Tiarnan therefore moved to the matter of services to perform over the course of the year. Given that I have need to work with Fabius on my longevity potion this winter my sodales agreed to create a minor enchantment that will have the effect of dulling a mans desire to take any action over the course of this season. He will set this into a brass ring and it will likely have five uses. It will be an item that could well find some use when myself and the Pontifex travel to Bristol in Autumn to continue the investigation into the Black Knives. Marius will of course continue to operate in the mundane sphere for much of the year and the Pontifex is happy to grant him a season’s service for his efforts magna ex partae. Cormoran and Cynfelyn have agreed to enter Mynydd Myrddin in summer. Following these decisions we were awarded a sum of 5 pawns for each service provided last year, a goodly sum that certainly means people do not begrudge their time in service to the covenant.

Only Marius and Cormoran will be abroad this season, the former at the court of King John and the latter within the libraries of Cad Gadu to which Prima Ex Miscellanea grants free access to members of her House. Tiarnan is developing a spell, Cynfelyn training his apprentice and I chose to study from some personal vis that I have in my possession. I was also granted permission to study from the auram texts during the long nights.

The season itself passed entirely uneventfully with our only visitor being in the last days of spring; the redcap Alanus apparently has a message for Cynfelyn.

Summer

Marius did not attend the council this season although this was entirely expected. In truth he is rarely seen at the Summer and Autumn gatherings of my sodales so busy is he attending to the various schemes of which he is part. Indeed it seems that the covenant will be a lonely place this season as it will just be myself and Fabius remaining here for the duration of the season. The redcaps visit to Cynfelyn was to bring him news that a covenant in Novgorod, called Bear Claw and known to that magus, had sent out a request for aid. It seems that they have received some intelligence that the Order of Odin may be about to launch an attack on them. He and Cormoran have agreed to travel there immediately to assist as they may, a service to the order that the Pontifex was happy to allow to take precedence over the previously planned trip to Mynydd Myrddin. Myself and Fabius have agreed to keep an eye on his apprentice while he is gone. The Archimagus is himself planning to be abroad over summer although I noticed he was not forthcoming with the purpose of his journey. Again we had no other business to discuss and the council meeting was a short one.

The remainder of the season passed uneventfully for myself and Fabius. It is my hope that the experiences of my sodales have been no more onerous.

Autumn

Marius returned for the Autumn council this year which was fortunate as otherwise just myself and Fabius would have been present with the remainder of our sodales not yet having returned from their travels. Marius believes that it is likely that he is within a regio and did not seem overly concerned leading me to believe that he knows something of the Pontifex’s actions last season. Marius was able to provide us with news of events within the mundane world. It seems that King John has suffered several setbacks with the Barons not being entirely impressed by his offer of land rights and demanding the right to overrule his decisions on a range of matters. Marius believes that this is too much for the King to concede and is suspicious that York may be manipulating some of them to create the pretext for a civil war. He is particularly concerned by the allegiances of the March Barons and the threat posed to Wales. Even the pope has not yet accepted the King’s offer and he remains officially deposed amongst much of Christendom. It is clear that Marius is much perturbed by the choices in front of him and whether to support King John or not. I offered such advice as I could but who knows whether it will prove of any help to my tortured sodalis.

Although Tiarnan has not yet returned I stated that it remained my intention to fulfil my service. I shall wait 10 days before making my way to Bristol in order to give him a chance to return. Bothe Marius and Fabius chose to study from art texts within the library.

Archimagus Tiarnan returned a week into the season and we agreed that we would rent a house within Bristol for the season to ensure that we have a secure base from which to carry out our investigations.

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Scribed by Tiarnan

For the second time in a dozen years, I must record the sad news that a member of this Council has died while battling the forces of the infernal for Idolon did not survive our recent venture into Bristol to investigate the Black Knives. I shall recount the tale of his demise here for posterity.

I returned from Gofannon’s halls a week or so into the season to learn that Constantius had already paid a visit to the information broker, Fulk, in Chepstow ahead of our planned visit to Bristol. He picked up a few items of news, including the fact that the diabolist masquerading as the friar Benedict travels around the Dean without any guards, suggesting that he has infernal protection. He also learned that Gudrun, the leader of the harbour gang, had been found drowned, his fate presumably sealed after I used him to locate the merchant Lambert last year.

Idolon, Constantius, Kai, Arthur and I made our way to Bristol by barge, disguising our craft in case the Black Knives had a description of our vessel. Arriving safely, Constantius then spent a couple of days arranging for us to rent a merchant’s townhouse for the season, for we hoped that this would give us a secure base given the possibility that the Black Knives would watch the city’s inns. In the meantime, Idolon sought out the spirit that previously haunted the docks, though he could find no sign of it, presuming that it had passed on now that its murderer, Gudrun, was no longer alive.

Constantius also paid a visit to the harbourmaster’s office, where he passed a note to the scribe Michael, who serves as our contact there, asking about the movements of the Western Star and the location of the lay clerk Gerald. Ominously, Michael was not there when Constantius returned the next day, though the fact that there was a plausible reason for his absence - it was a Sunday - meant that we did not react with the caution that such an event deserved. While we discussing whether to return again the next day, there was a knock at the door of the townhouse. It was one of the bargemen, who reported that the captain of the vessel had been arrested on suspicion of involvement in corruption at the harbourmaster’s office. We swiftly reached the conclusion that Constantius’ note to Michael must have been discovered and we bade the bargeman return to his craft in case he had been followed to the house. Our suspicions were confirmed when, only a few moments after the man had left, there was further heavy knocking at the door and loud voice declared that he was a magistrate come to arrest the occupants for involvement in the aforementioned corruption ring.

We had only a few moments to act, for the magistrate declared that his guards would break down the door unless it was opened for him. I rendered Kai, Idolon and myself invisible through Grant the Shroud of New Blown Glass, and we retreated to the corners of the room on the first floor. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish that I had also used the enchantment on Constantius and Arthur, even if it was not possible to complete the spell before the door was battered in, for at least we could have made a stand in the house where we had the advantage of surprise. However, I instead chose to alter Constantius’ features using Disguise of the Transformed Visage so that he could pose as someone who had no involvement in the corruption plot. He then opened the door for the magistrate, who swiftly had Constantius and Arthur arrested. The rest of us were not discovered, and the two captives were marched away, though not before I was able to use The Thief’s Pouch to take a hair from Constantius’ head to use as an arcane connection.

With the magistrate gone, Idolon, Kai and I discussed what we should do. Our suspicion was that the Black Knives had discovered our activities and used their influence with the mundane authorities to plant evidence of a plot to defraud the Baron of taxes or other dues. However, given the likelihood that they would have access to the captives, we resolved to spring them from the gaol, even if it could not be done with great subtlety. Using the arcane connection, we were able to track them to an imposing stone gaol barred by a heavy door. I cast Part the Yielding Boards to make a gap in the door, and Idolon rendered the two guards inside unconscious using Oneiros’ Curse, though not before one of them cried out in alarm. As Idolon slew the sleeping guards, I made my way deeper into the gaol, discovering another door leading down into what I presume were the dungeons. I was about to bypass the door when the room was filled with noxious vapours that barred our vision and caused us to choke and gag. Believing that we faced one of the masters of the Black Knives, we retreated towards the entrance of the gaol, but as I once again made to push apart the boards of the door, Idolon cried out that he could see a demon in the otherworld, and he pushed me to the floor as the room was engulfed in flame. I was sorely wounded by the fire and I shouted to him to use his Leap of Homecoming potion to escape the place. I then drank my potion, and I found myself back in the infirmary of the covenant. Constantius had also managed to use his potion to escape the confines of his cell, though Idolon did not appear.

Fearing the worst, I conjured a thin covering of flour over the infirmary floor in case anyone used Idolon’s potion to follow us. I also cast Discern Images of Truth and Falsehood to detect invisible pursuers, though I suspected that it would prove of little use against infernal deceptions. It was then that I felt the Aegis first resist an assault and then be breached. Given our experiences with Lambert the previous year, I suspected that it may have been some form of scrying magic. It seemed to me that Constantius was the most likely target of such a spell, for the diabolists had had ample opportunity to take an arcane connection to him, and I used an Intellego Vim spell to detect the presence of an active arcane connection linked to his hair. I then used a Perdo Corporem spell the destroy the remaining hair on his head in an attempt to render the connection useless. It was at that moment that Kai spotted a slight disturbance in the flour, though none of us could see an intruder. A gout of flame erupted from the spot, and I swiftly erected a Circular Ward Against Demons to protect us from the still unseen assailant.

The demon was not strong enough to breach the ward, yet it could still cause trouble for those outside the circle, for we soon heard the sound of a fiery explosion from beyond the infirmary. I was at something of a loss as to how we could defeat the creature, for we were unable to target it with spells, when Marius arrived and motioned towards the door to the otherworld in the great hall. The two of us quickly opened the door and stepped through, where we spied a cruel, bat-like form. Now able to see my target, I was able to despatch the creature before it was able to summon more fires. With defeat of the demon, we returned to the great hall, shutting the door firmly behind us.

There was still no sign of Idolon, and we surmised that he must have either been slain or captured in the gaol. The power of our enemies surprised us, for the scrying spell used on Constantius must have been cast by an infernalist of significant skill to have breached the Aegis, which raises the suspicion that some of the Black Knives may have had Hermetic training. Whatever the source of their power, it is clear that our precautions in Bristol were insufficient and that we face a potent enemy that will take all of our strength and cunning to defeat. Yet I believe that this is a battle that we must continue, both to prevent the Black Knives from realising their plans and to avenge Idolon.

The remainder of the season passed uneventfully. I spent my time brewing replacement Leap of Homecoming potions, though I made sure that the arrival point was outside the Aegis this time. We also sent message to Fulk that he should lie low for a while in case the Black Knives learned of his involvement in our schemes, though whether he took notice of our warning I do not know.

Scribed by Cynfelyn

Winter

The mood was still sombre as we gathered for the winter council meeting, the empty chair at the table all too obvious. We discussed how the precise events surrounding Idolon's untimely death might be properly investigated, but, save for the Western Star, it appears we have precious few leads. There was some brief talk about sinking the ship as a statement of intent but in truth we have little idea of where exactly the ship is, nor what exactly it looks like. Also, the only way of acquiring some sort of connection to it would likely as not involve a further trip to Bristol, clearly not something to be undertaken lightly. In the end the discussion petered out and we resolved, somewhat frustratedly, to take no firm action before the investigation Senior Quaesitor Serenia will presumably be undertaking soon.

Cormoran stated that he would ask both Praeca Edith and Prima Amanita for help in dealing with the Fells, asking whether it would be acceptable for him to invite the Prima to use divination magic to help in the investigations in Bristol. It was a little unclear what exactly he was asking permission for, but after clarification that no divining would be made on any members of the council no objection was raised.

Marius then announced that he had called a King's Council for mid-winter, asking that he be allowed to hold it once more within the covenant's great hall and this was duly granted.

I gave a brief account of Cormoran's and my journey to Novgorod, the most pertinent part of which was the clear evidence of hermetic involvement, certainly at least one Tytalan magus, quite possibly two. I have placed a more detailed record of that expedition in the covenant library.

With the destruction of Idolon's body via an 'Intangible Tunnel' we were at least partially reassured that his spirit would be safe from further torment at the hands of the forces of the infernal. Happily, this was confirmed by Cormoran who was able to speak briefly to Idolon's spirit in the Morrigan's realm as it passed on to the other world.

A few weeks before the solstice, the members of the King's Council, beginning with the Welsh princes, began to arrive. Save for the fact that, at Marius's invitation, I taken Archimaga Sylvania's position and Gofannon himself had come in place of his usual envoy, Sir Turold, the King's Council was made up of the same members as the last meeting: the Sheriff of Powys, the Princes of Gwynydd, Glamorgan and Cardigan for the mundane world; Iago, Drulala, Erechwydd and Gofannon for the faerie; and Llandolwynn, Archimagus Jolyon, Archimagus Tiarnan and I for the Order of Hermes and the magical world.

Marius stated that there would be three matters to be brought before the council, his political alliances in the mundane world, equal treatment of council members and an introduction. The first item was the crucial one, for it would largely determine how Marius could proceed as Prince Aeddyn and his relationships with key mundane figures such as King John. Four possible options were discussed: to keep faith with John, which would be a potential disaster if John were to lose; to stand apart from any civil war and take no side, which would be very difficult politically to manage properly; to side with York and his son Edward, though Marius believes the latter would make an unreliable ally; or, least realistically, for Marius to go for the Crown himself.

To Marius's clear alarm, the faerie contingent, led by Gofannon, all pushed for Marius to go for the Crown himself. Although Tiarnan and I tried to point out the high potential for disaster, not least for Marius personally, of such a plan, they were adamant, and to make matters worse both Llandolwyn and Jolyon sided with them, though Jolyon's mind seemed not to be entirely his own, with Gofannon appearing to have some direct influence over his mind. Marius's hopes of achieving a tied vote, in which he could use his vote to decide matters, were dashed when Prince Gwynydd turned against his liege lord and pushed for Marius to go for the crown himself, apparently seeing his grandson as a future High Prince and possibly a King too.

Cormoran was granted permission to make a point but he merely made things worse for Marius, suggesting that the channel could be easily used by either magi or members of Llyr's court to fend off any large scale invasion from the continent.

At this point, Marius stated that the council would take a recess and reconvene the next morning. After a rather subdued discussion between the three of us, Marius and Tiarnan went try and persuade Gwynydd and Drulala respectively to change their minds. Unfortunately neither could be made to see sense and so the next morning a grim-faced Marius assembled the council and, after his worst fears were confirmed by formal vote, he accepted the council's decision (for to reject it would almost certainly lead to the dissolution of the council and risk breaking the pax holding off the three evil spirits long ago freed by Theo). Marius had but one caveat, that he would control all the forces committed to any battles.

With the first matter now decided, we moved on to the second, that of the Erechwydd's shrines and growing power. As agreed beforehand, I put forward the motion that her shrines be disbanded so that none would have an advantage, but this motion was defeated and a second, that shrines to the other fey members of the council be erected, equal to that which currently exists. This will be be supervised by magus Llandolwyn. The last matter was a mere formality, as Marius announced Urien as his son and heir. With that, the meeting ended. I can only hope that Marius's fears do not come to pass. I hope I am proved wrong and he, as King of England, is able to bring about the land free from the Church that the fey so desire, but more likely it will bring disaster down upon Marius, and quite possibly fey and magus alike throughout this land.
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