You are at:
Scribed by Astrius

Spring 1221 AD


The heavy winter snows that had blanketed the covenant for much of the previous season were finally in retreat as the council assembled for the first meeting of the year. After a brief discussion of current news, of which there was none worthy of record here, attention turned to how magi might best serve Severn Temple in 1221. Husam was appointed Magna Ex Parte with regard to the Fells in Bristol and he immediately stated his intent to spend the season using Tiarnan's scrying mirror with Constantius and Faulk to learn the faces of the remaining members of the diabolist hierarchy in that city. As previously arranged, I will travel, as hoplite, with a group from Holy Isle led by Quaesitor Faelon to investigate Mynydd Myrddyn and whether anything more could be learnt of the magi who slew Archimagus Tiarnan. After a discussion about Leap of Homecoming potions, mostly revolving around who should be granted them, it was agreed that Fabius will restock the covenant stores in Autumn and that Constantius will be given one of the two currently remaining draughts, the other to be saved for expeditions. The remaining magi deferred making a decision about services at this time, wishing to wait to see how events unfold. In reward for service to the covenant last year, the sum of 4 pawns of vis for each season was distributed amongst the magi.

A week later a party of magi from Holy Isle arrived, Quaesitor Faelon, McKeidh, Geddyn and one who was not well known to me, magus Cerdic of House Ex Miscellania, who is apparently very learned on the lore of fantastic beasts. That evening, we sat in the Great Hall and Faelon stated the three aims of the expedition.
First, to visit the grove of the maiden which lies near the regio's entrance, so that McKeidh can speak with the entity that dwells there and discover more of the reasons for her pleas for our aid. Second, for Cerdic and Geddyn, the latter using his air elementals, to find and capture the wyvern and to probe its mind. Last, to investigate the burnt remains of the druidic village in the woods, the source of the great column of smoke that Tiarnan and I saw. Our base for this mission shall be set in the wizard's tower in the ruined celtic village.

So, with an escort of 6 grogs led by Sergeant Egbert, we set off. However, the imminent mundane war made our journey much more tortuous than the usual couple of days. With Skenfrith being such a key fortress, the river Wye was blockaded by barges captained by soldiers from Chepstow, now our enemies. After a brief discussion we decided that it would be imprudent to try and force our way through and so we turned our barge around. There was a short pursuit from one of the barges manning the blockade, correctly judging our decision to turn around indicated that we were not allied with them, but simple aquam and auram spells sufficed to make our escape without difficulty. The remainder of the diverted journey was not so easy, it took a couple of weeks of cross-country travel through the Welsh countryside, all the time trying to avoid any large settlements or fortifications, before, finally, we reached the white stones that mark the entrance to the regio.

Once inside, Geddyn, in a voice that sounded like the wind itself, quickly summoned an air elemental to seek out the wyvern. While his creature searched the skies above us, we pressed on. Maelgwyn was unable to catch any scent of the Brood and we were unchallenged as we reached the small copse in which the waterfall lies. McKeidh went inside to speak with the spirit, whom he believes is the Maiden, the 3rd aspect of the triple Goddess – the other two aspects being the Morrigan and the Anu. In Welsh she is oft-times known as the Maiden of the Flowers. In any event, he learnt little from her, save that she described the enemy as “dark and corrupt druids” who seek the 13 treasures of Britain and had found their way into the crystal cave.
With that we pressed on towards the ruined village and the tower, skirting carefully round the treeline that borders the rolling open countryside which makes up the large part of the regio, all the while alert for sign of the wyvern. As we stopped momentarily to investigate an old man-trap than Maelgwyn had found, Geddyn reported that his elemental had sensed the wyvern a mile or so away. I stood close to Cerdic as he cast a powerful rego animal spell on the beast as it came speeding through the air towards us, memories of my previous near fatal encounter with it still all too fresh. Fortunately he did not err and his magics were able to tame the creature. Cerdic, clearly delighted, walked over to it and began to stroke it as though it were a favourite hound, speaking soft words into one scaly ear as he did so. Once satisfied it was calm, he cast further magics to peer into its mind.

After about an hour, he pronounced himself satisfied that he had learnt all he could and we withdrew, heading quickly towards the celtic village. We set up camp in the base of the tower and Cerdic told us what he had learned. The wyven remembered being enslaved and as it was so ensnared, it felt its heart pounding in its ears, a known sigil of one of the UnNamed House magi. It saw the UnNamed House’s party doing something in the forest, taking a couple of the celts away with them and became angered, though it remained afeared of the magi who had bound it. Its captor then cast some sort of intellego animal magic upon it and, apparently satisfied, wrapped a chain around its neck that left it unable to move. As it stood immobile, it watched as the hearts were cut out of four of the celts and the corpses drained of blood. The process caused the creature pain, suggesting that it was indeed some form of infernal magic that was being wrought. Not long after, a group of celts attacked to try and rescue their kinsmen, but they were swiftly dealt with by the second magus, the ignem and terram specialist, with his cruel spells to burn flesh from the inside out.

Once this threat had been dealt with, the two magi climbed on the wyvern’s back and compelled it to fly them to the cave entrance leading to the crystal caves. The description of this, a narrow gully that lies beyond the small valley in which the Brood make their homes, married with my memories of leaving that place carrying Tiarnan’s body. The ignem magus slew several of the brood once they had landed, but curiously the two magi then had an argument, though over what cause the wyvern knew not. In any event, after that they removed the chain and disappeared into the cave. There was no sign at that point of them making any effort to hide themselves so it remains unclear why they were invisible when they cast the ritual, save for perhaps some natural caution.

We sat back against our bedrolls and talked through all that we now knew. Faelon was sure that the magi must have had prior knowledge of Mynydd Myrddyn, for it seemed to him that they had picked specific individuals from amongst the celts to be sacrificed. However, beyond this insight, nothing else of note emerged from our discussions and we retired to the first floor to sleep. Later that night, or rather after a couple of hours of the twilight that passes for night in that place, our guards on the ground floor were attacked by a small group of celts. Our grogs were able to beat off the attack without serious injury, but after being hit by a hunting arrow, one of the men, Hubert, flew into such a violent rage that he had to be restrained after the celts had fled, lest he attack us. McKeidh interrogated the shade of one of the dead celts and found out that they thought we were the ‘bad wizards’ returned to wreak more wickedness. He was also able to confirm Faelon’s suspicion, for the 4 celts who had been ritually slain were the druid, his apprentice, the chief and the chief’s son. Quite what this means, other than possibly giving their infernal practice more power, I know not, nor were any of my companions forthcoming on the matter.

The next day we set off for the crystal caves and were able to pass unhindered by the Brood caves with mere threat and show of blatant magics, the memory of the carnage the ignem magus had wrought clearly still fresh upon the minds of those savage creatures. To our dismay though, when we reached the end of the gully, we found not one but three cave mouths. Cerdic was sure that the wyvern had only seen one, suggesting that as in some other magical regios the caves were shrouded with some power that could misdirect and mislead us. Fearing that to chose an entrance at random could lead to our becoming lost within a deep and powerful regio, Faelon took the sensible decision that we should leave. So it was, with frequent glances up to the skies, despite Cerdic’s assurance that the residues of the magics he had placed on the wyvern would keep it from attacking us, we hiked swiftly across the rolling hills and back into the mundane world.

Meanwhile, back at the covenant, word arrived that the covenant village of Lydney had been captured and placed under curfew by Laurence of Saint Auvergne, one of Chepstow's knights, and a half dozen or so men at arms. Fabius, acting as ministrator, called an emergency council and following this, Husam set off that same night to investigate further. What he encountered in the woods close to the village was not patrols of Chepstow's soldiery but a small group of worshippers of the Erechwydd who had snuck out to her shrine to call for her help. Husam was reluctant to use his magics on supposedly friendly villagers, but his benevolence was poorly repaid for his erstwhile allies against Chepstow subdued him by weight of numbers and bound him such that he could not cast magic. The ritual they then carried out was poorly worked but effective for the Erechwydd herself appeared in a flurry of snows, with giants and goblins accompanying her. At her command, these creatures strode off into Lydney and made short work of the knight and his men, carrying the former cursing and struggling back into her realm.

A few weeks later, Husam, while studying Tiarnan’s mirror, espied a small group of figures with torches moving into Lydney under cover of night. He was able to watch as they swiftly moved towards one hut, that belonging to Duncan, leader of the Erechwydd cult, and with practiced ease broke in, subdued him and carried him off. Although the figures were cloaked, Husam caught a glimpse of a white tabard with a red cross, it seems the Christian cult is moving actively against us again.

Summer

I was not returned from Mynydd Myrddyn in time for the council meeting so once again Fabius took charge. The main matter of business was what to do about the templars’ actions in Lydney. The primary question was how did they know exactly who to target? Was there a spy in the cult or in the village? A plan was set for Husam to obtain an arcane connection to Duncan from his hut, but my sodales were uncertain of what else to do, fearing in particular an assault on the covenant itself by the templars. To see if this threat was a real one, it was decided to send out mundane scouts into the wider Dean to try and find out what was going on. Fabius set himself to a covenant service to assist future such missions, bending his art to the creation of items capable of bestowing the ‘Veil of Invisibility’ upon their wielder.
Four days later, the council met again with a feather from Duncan’s pillow on the council table. The feather was found not to be an arcane connection anymore, the precise meaning of this was unclear, though it likely meant that he was dead or perhaps out at sea. The council decided to instruct Faulk to focus his spies on Lydney and Wollaston, in the hope of gleaning something more.

The remainder of that season, though tense, with the grogs on heightened alert, passed uneventfully until a week before its end, when Alannus and a pair of companions arrived. One a magus, Lysimachus, filius Acantha, discipilus Bonisagus, the other his companion Philippe. The Magus said that he had a formal proposal for us, which he shall present for us at the council meeting.

Alannus had much mundane news of interest, not least of which was that Prince Aeddyn was now King. However, the crown was not yet secured, for Henry's forces contest Marius's claim and the Earl of Gloucester has declared for Henry. There was better news politically for Marius, for, as a result of a deal between him and the Pope, the head of the christian church in England, the Archbishop of Canterbury has seen fit to return to England. What this will mean for the resurgence of magical and faerie aurae I know not. Abroad, the Baltic crusade has driven off the pagans in the Eastern Rhineland, depriving many Bjornaer magi there of their covenant contacts.

Of news hermetic, there was the sad news that Fera of Lear Valley had died of old age. Alannus also confirmed that there will be a tribunal meeting in the summer of 1222. There was also curious news from the continent, where the Normandy tribunal has charged the Provencal tribunal with breach of the primary code by nature of their alleged interferences in the affairs of mundanes in that region. How genuine this charge is and how much inspired by some game of the Tytalans in Normandy whose block vote carried the motion is impossible to say. With our Redcap's news thus imparted, we informed him about the actions of the templars in the Dean, so that other magi might be alerted as to their potential resurgence.

Autumn

As we gathered at the end of summer, for once our council was complete, Marius having returned with much to tell of his situation. The civil war is going well, with armies from both sides massing near Gloucester. Marius said that he will try to seek terms with the Earl but expects to have to fight. He warned that there is also fighting near Chester so those seeking to visit Cad Gadu should take care, though Wales itself is now firmly held by his armies so should be safe to travel for all bearing his seal.

After Husam described his experiences with the Erechwydd cult and the templars near Lydney, Marius believes the men who seized Duncan to be former crusaders. As to our failure to establish an arcane connection to Duncan, his being on a boat seems most likely given he was taken close to a major river. Marius noted the timing of the kidnap, coming as it did a mere day or so after the fall of Chepstow when there was much confusion in the Dean. He speculated that they could have come from Tintern and the kidnapping might be a counter strike by the Brothers in Christ cult, those curs who tortured and murdered Magus Giraldus. He will use de Percy's network to try and gather further information on these villains.

We agreed that we will redouble our intelligence gathering in Lydney, in the hope of uncovering anyone acting for the cult. When the issue of how much to spend to enhance such efforts was raised, Marius smiled and said that, as King, money was not a problem. He gifted the covenant 1000d and said that he would help fund a larger purchase such as a tavern or an inn to act as an urban base for Severn Temple.

With the discussions on Lydney and other mundane affairs concluded, talk moved on to more trivial affairs. Maximus asked whether there was any issue with Fabius having permitted use of the Thief's Pouch outside of lawful council. I told him that I saw no problem with Fabius's actions on this occasion. Maximus was clearly not content to let it rest at that and proposed that we seek to change the charter's rules on the distribution of covenant items. As Pontifex, I told him that I was happy to have such considered and proposal brought to the Concillium Quaesitori, but that I first wanted to see the exact wording of any such revision written out and to have it gain the council's approval. Maximus seemed happy enough with this, so we shall see what our young quaesitor comes up with.

The final matter for council was a happier one, for it appears that Lysimachus wishes to join our covenant. A young man, in his early 20's, his tanned skin and dark curly hair mark him for the Theban that he originally was. However, he spent most of his apprenticeship in Minerve covenant in the Provencal tribunal and it was from there that he was sent to Stonehenge. His arts are focused on the elemental forms and he appears to have the same rare gift as Geddyn, albeit expressed in different terms for he is a keen student of philosophy, in particular Aristotle. So keen in fact, that his research is focused on determining whether it is possible to condense the forms down to their elemental bases. He calls himself a Christian but does not bend his knee to the Church of Rome, rather he follows the rival Christian church based in the East and he spoke eloquently of the devastation that crusaders had wrought on Byzantium and his original home tribunal. As was traditional, we bade him welcome and suggested that he spend a season at the covenant to familiarise himself with it and for us all to get to know him a little better, to which suggestion he readily agreed.

The season passed largely without incident, though our pagan allies appear to have already decided how the vote on Lysimachus's admission will go, for there were two extra acorns in the Heart of the Forest at the equinox! Alas, there was still no corporem vis from the spring, confirming I think that until we find someone capable of performing the rites to the Morrigan again that source of vis will remain lost to us.

Winter

As the Anu had expected, the vote to admit Lysimachus was unanimous and so he was warmly welcomed to the covenant and duly added his name to the long list of magi who have joined the covenant since its refounding almost a century and a half ago. Although he had been told of the dangers that the covenant has faced over the years I could not help but notice that his hand hesitated just a fraction as his gaze wandered over all the names of dead or renounced former members of the covenant.
Marius reported that as expected there had been no terms with Gloucester and while the siege continues he expects a hard battle in Spring to seize that city by force. He advised us to avoid the area until things are resolved. To further complicate matters, the King of Scotland, Alexander II, has married Henry’s sister Joan.

Husam spoke next, his intrigues in Lydney have borne fruit, for he believes he has found a spy acting for the Christian cult there. The man, a woodcutter by the name of Karl, is known as having strong christian views and has shown open disapproval of paganism, his own brother being one of the Erechwydd cult. Husam had also been able to determine that the kidnappers landed at Wollaston and also left from that place, taking a barge further downstream.
We decided to try and question the man from a distance using intellego mentem magics to ensure that we have the right man and to see what we can glean from him about the cult. Ideally this will be done without raising suspicion in him so that he remains an active link to our foes.

Maximus reported on matters from the recent concillium quaesitori he had attended. He said that he had raised the issue of amending our charter, but the concillium quaesitori judged that as long as we have a quaesitor to witness it, our council now has the right to edit the charter as we deem fit. This judgment was made partially in respect of the great sacrifices that our covenant and its magi have made on behalf of the tribunal and indeed the wider Order, but also because those magi whose misdeeds prompted the imposition of a charter from outside are now long gone.

Marius explained how the faerie queen of Winter had been able to seize the summer glade and extend her powers. I know it not for sure, but it seems to be at the very least questionable as to whether Llandolwyn is maintaining the balance between worship of the different faerie courts. Word shall be sent via the tree on Huntley Hill to Llandolwyn about the Erechwydd cult in the hope that he can ensure that her powers do not continue to wane. With that the council came to a close.

The only occurrence of note this season, happened a few days after the council meeting, when we set our plan to question Karl in motion. The King ‘decided’ to pay Lydney a visit and I posed as one of his knights, ensuring I rode close enough to him that I might catch the eye of a man looking at his King. Sure enough, when Marius spoke, all eyes, including Karl's, turned towards him and I was able to subtly cast 'Posing the Silent Question' twice. When asked to whom he betrayed Duncan, his answer was the Abbot of Tintern, but he had no knowledge of the identities of men who took Duncan. But it is now clear that that same foe who murdered Giraldus has returned and is once more actively moving against us. We shall have to keep a closer watch on Tintern so that none of us are so caught again. And maybe this time I will find the time to develop the creo ignem spell I thought of some years ago, one big enough to engulf the whole damn Abbey complex in flame.
 You are at: