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Scribed by Astrius

Spring 1234 AD


The year began with good news, Maximus has been able to persuade the trees to move their branches enough to allow walkways to be installed so that our grogs on watch can now patrol the edge of the covenant from on high. Our quaesitor reported that the trees were happy to help, not unsurprising I suppose if they moved here to protect us in the first place. Maximus however had something else to report, following the unfortunate death of his cat in the tower collapse he may have found another possible familiar, a robin with potential magical abilities of some sort. Quite what they are is unclear but Maximus says that his servant was unusually cheerful in it's presence which he thinks indicates some sort of minor magical effect. There was a short discussion on the nature of robins: the tales I have read state that they are winter storm birds, who can call the North wind, albeit without any great individual power. Husam on the other hand thinks they may be divine in origin, the red of their breasts singed as they bring water to souls in Purgatory.

Covenant services were set: in autumn Lysimachus and I shall venture to Mynyyd Myrddyn; Fabius shall construct an item to extinguish flames to protect both the libraries and the trees that surround us; Husam will be abroad in Bristol again; Maximus will extract vim vis, and Lysimachus will spend a second season at the King's College in Gloucester.

I spent the season with Cerdic at Holy Isle, continuing our researches into incorporating our insights into the nature of animals into practical hermetic spells. The work went well, but I shall need at least a further season to refine the ideas before I will be able to apply our learnings to any new spells.

Summer

Urbanus had returned for the second council of the year, though Marius was still abroad. Troubles continue to beset England with ongoing conflict in the Scottish borders, surreptitiously supported by the Scottish nobility. Marius is apparently sending troops north in the hopes that an overt show of force will resolve the matter. However, Marius is not in the borderlands, but rather is across the channel in Anjou, where the French have once more risen up to try and capture England's continental landholdings.

Lysimachus reported that he had once again met the Benedict's demon in human guise, this time in the university library. The creature told him that the diabolist is staying in the Black Fox inn in Oxford, travelling periodically to the North of that city to set up a new network of bandits and the like. How much of this is true is impossible to gauge but considering the demon's past stated antipathy towards it's master, it may well be true – though slaying Benedict may result in the demon being much freer to wreak evil than it is now. The demon is clearly trying to inveigle its way into Lysimachus's favour for it pointed out to him a book in the college library on the history of the Cult of Mercury, one of the forerunners of the Order. There was some discussion on how to kill the creature, knowing as we do that it is of at least the eighth magnitude. Fabius can make potions of ‘The Demon's Eternal Oblivion’ of the tenth magnitude which offers us a potential option, though it would not make for an instant kill which could be very hazardous for any without a significant parma, so for now we shall hold off any immediate attempt to destroy the creature.

Other than his run-in with the demon, Lysimachus reported that while the college is not yet up-and-running, work is proceeding well. He had another curious tale to report, it seems that the chancellor, despite being a monk of some sort, has written a book on faeries! He took our Bonisagus to see once such creature, a “church grim” in the cathedral, doing some clearing up around the altar. I had though that the power of the Dominion was anathema to the fey but either the cathedral in Gloucester is weak in power or the relationship between those two powers is more complex than I had thought. Other faerie sites noted in the chancellor's book were stone circles in the Dean and disconcertingly the Erechwydd worship in Lydney. Husam asked what consequences could befall us if the Brothers in Christ cult were to read this book, but he was reminded that they know of that site and the worship that goes on there only too well.

The only other item of note from the council meeting was that Lysimachus was formally appointed Civilitor, in recognition of the highly competent and proactive manner he had dealt with the challenge of rebuilding our relationships with other tribunal covenants.

The day after the council, Magus Fergus came to the covenant with news of a sighting of the Renounced Magus Arcturus, the despicable traitor who murdered Praeca Jania some 50 years ago. Fergus reported that Narwold's steward had been buying supplies in one of the neighbouring villages when he was approached by a travelling friar, who was not known to him, with a message for his covenant's council. The message was that he had grave news to speak to the council relating to the security of the tribunal and he would be present to meet them in the Boar Hand Inn in Cheapside in London on Midsummer's eve.

With news concerning a Renounced Magus, one with blood on his hands and well over a century in age, Maximus and I decided that the message had to be brought before the Praeca and the Senior Quaesitor. The journey to Blackthorn took nearly twice as long as usual with Maximus travelling in a wagon; however, while not a speedy traveller, Maximus did report a curious and possibly prophetic dream he had had, which he believes relates to the meeting with Arcturus.

In this dream, he saw a dark cloud over a white tower, while below a black dog ran through a crowd of people before coming to a halt with three figures in front of it: one bestial with roots for feet; one with a grey slate face and an unforgiving expression and an innocent child. The grey faced figure passed judgement on the dog, who Maximus insisted was Arcturus and the bestial figure then grabbed the hound. The child was left with a choice – whether to run, in which case the white tower would fall to the storm, or to free the dog, resulting in a ray of sunshine breaking through the dark clouds. Maximus believes that the fall of the white tower could be metaphorical but it might be literal, referring to the King's seat of power in London, the White Tower. He also believes that the innocent child refers to him, though I'm not quite sure what that says about him.

There was bad news awaiting us at Blackthorn, Serenia had passed into final twilight. She will be sadly missed by both me and the tribunal as a whole, she embodied all that was good about the quaesitori – she was fair-minded and independent of spirit, refusing to bow to the demands of Primus Gregorius when that disgraced magus besmirched his office and his house by trying to interfere with attempts to investigate the treachery and oath-breaking of the Tremere. Of all the magi in this tribunal, she was one of the finest.

In any event, after some debate, we agreed to wait for the appointment of a new Senior Quaesitor, which would take place before the tribunal, still giving us sufficient time to lay any plans regarding Arcturus. With that, we returned to Severn Temple, where we spoke with Husam, who agreed to go ahead to London to carefully scout out the meeting location. He will do so without using any magic so as not to be detected by Arcturus, for we know that the Brothers in Christ may have an ability to sense magic. He also took message to send urgently to Marius via his contacts with de Percy.

A month later, Alannus arrived at the covenant (somewhat surprised to find us surrounded by trees) with the news that Maximus's pater, Ludovidicus has been appointed Senior Quaesitor and he is due to arrive at Blackthorn a few days before the tribunal. Alannus had further news, the Inquisition are abroad and busy rooting out and burning Cathar Heretics. Pope Gregory, who has close ties with the Dominican Order, is not however content with murdering those who oppose him in Provence, but has also launched a crusade in the Kingdom of Bosnia on the Eastern edge of Europe.

We gave him letters to take back to Ludovidicus explaining again the situation regarding Arcturus's proposed meeting or the alternative – an attack and execution of the justice that has been awaiting him this past half century. Having weighed up the evidence I was strongly set against any attempt at a parley or indeed an attack. I was gravely concerned that a parley would only resut in us being fed more lies and a fight with a very old magus specialising in mentem and imagonem and with known links to the Church, in the middle of London, could backfire badly. This of course is most likely Arcturus' desired result. Maximus however was I think keen to meet with Arcturus, swayed perhaps by his purported role as some sort of saviour in his vision.

Alannus returned from Solis Castle a fortnight later with letters from Ludovidicus. In them Ludovidicus firmly advised his filius not to go and stated that if he did go, it would not be in his role as a quaesitor. Although disappointed by his pater's words, I think our young quaesitor will heed them. Knowing that Husam was still in London, scouting out the meeting location, we sent word via the spymaster Faulke for him to abort his mission, there being little sense in risking himself for a meeting that will not happen.

However, it seems that our lines of communication are not as quick as we had thought for word did not reach Husam in time, even when relayed through de Percy's extensive network of agents. In London, Husam noted the arrival in the city of a party of seven Cistercian monks from the abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul near Northampton. Husam and his consors Vincent decided to follow them and in the course of doing so ended up meeting with Arcturus after all. Fortunately the renegade did not appear to recognise Husam as a magus, but took him for a consors. Arcturus bore the guise of an old monk, though the frailty he pretended to was faked.

Arcturus was sharp enough to notice Husam's recognition of him and touched him on his arm as Husam went to leave the inn. He then used some sort of imagonem magic to create some sort of little bubble of sound around the two of them such that the background chatter of the tavern receded into a faint and distant murmur. Arcturus told Husam that the Brothers in Christ have sought contact with a Dominican monk named Brother Sebastian, an ally of the heretic-burning Bishop of Toulouse Hugh de Bonchamps. Emboldened by the Church's success in destroying the Cathars, the Brothers are set on renewing their attacks on the pagans and heretics in England. More specifically, they are set on destroying the Order of Hermes.

Two of the Brothers, Michael and Leonard, were sent to talk with him, and while their initial overtures were rejected, a Dominican monk with likely links to the Inquisition will be sent to England in early Spring next year. His job will be to assay the extent of 'heresy' in these lands and the King's court and to report back to his Inquisition masters. Arcturus claimed that if this monk were to be convinced then he would be able to convince the Pope in turn. He said that Aeddan's charter establishing the 'Order of Hermetic Scholars' has raised much ire amongst the Christian orders and the brothers suspect that Aeddan is a hermetic scholar himself. Arcturus also mentionned the incident in Wales where Maximus and Husam had their run-in with the knight while rescuing Tewdric.

Arcturus then claimed that he could not help us work against this monk as much as he would like for he is still not completely trusted by others within the Brothers in Christ, though he clearly expects us to believe that despite his murder of Praeco Jania, he is still on our side. On that note, he said that Henry of Jerbiton, another traitor who went over to the Church, had been completely committed to it so Arcturus had convinced the other brothers that Henry was in fact a traitor and they had killed him. Furthermore, he claimed that there were no more traitors who have broken their oaths and sworn to the Church within Stonehenge, though there may yet be some in Rome. Whether this is true or not I have no idea, though of course it would suit the brothers perfectly for us to drop our guard within Stonehenge. In any event, that was it for their conversation and with a perfunctory dismissal, Arcturus dropped his sound-covering spell and as the hubbub of the tavern returned Husam gratefully took his chance and left unharmed.

Meanwhile, unknowing of all this, the rest of us headed to the tribunal, save for Fabius who was content to remain behind. We arrived at Blackthorn a day before the tribunal was due to start. I met Emerius and Varessio, two young magi from Borrea Tor who reported that their tower had been destroyed with the passing of Archimagus Jolyon. Unlike us they had not been able to move many of their books out of it in time so have lost much of their library. I offered Severn Temple's assistance and also my own, the casting once more from our book of 'Conjure the Mystic Tower”. I was also able to make a most satisfactory deal with Ildenacht for an enchanted sword, it will be expensive but the powers invested in it will I think repay the cost many times over.

Edith opened proceedings with an account of my house's destruction of an UnNamed House covenant in North Wales. However, she had grimmer tidings also on that matter for the UnNamed House's black-sailed ship has attacked Mora Cove covenant in Hibernia. While no magi were slain, many covenfolk died and a tower was destroyed. The first sign of this attack was a magical mist shrouding the ship, followed by winged demons in the air and serpents in the sea. On this note, Edith asked that each covenant give a season's service to Holy Isle before the next tribunal. There were no members of Holy Isle present at the meeting, for they were all investigating the attack on Mora Cove.

On news mundane, with the troubles between the Scots and English ongoing, Borrea Tor asked for help in settling the problem, especially while their situation remains so precarious. Edith then made the sad announcement of the passing into final twilight of Senior Quaesitor Serenia.

Theophilus began the second day on behalf of Blackthorn with an announcement that he will be holding another symposium in the summer of 1240. For Cad Gadu, Sorrentia reminded us to watch for conflict between the flourishing magical and faerie areas with mundane settlements, especially in Wales. She offered her help and that of her House in resolving any such problems. For Solis castle, Moravius boasted a little about his high placing in his House's recent meeting and offered his services for a short period of time.

A little worryingly perhaps given what we know happened after Archimagus Jolyon passed on, there were no magi from Lear Valley present. For Severn Temple, I talked about our new 'walls' and how the covenant could be contacted now.
Kira of Carrion Moor then reminded Edith of her promise to allow another vote on the matter of a re-appointing a Praefectus (or Praefecta). She cited the recent business with Arcturus as a good example of why such a role would be valuable to the tribunal. Edith allowed the vote, a little reluctantly, but said that it was the last time such a vote would be held while she was Praeca. She then adjourned the meeting to allow candidates to obtain nominations – two each, both from without their covenant. I decided to stand, with Fergus of Narwold and Magnus of Scafell being good enough to nominate me.

On the next day the debate as to whether to have the role at all was held. Edith began by speaking against it, talking about potential abuses of power – somewhat bizarrely, to my mind at least, citing the Tremere lich plot as an example of such, when it was Praefecta Orlania who led the fight at key times against those traitors. I asked for clarification of the proposed powers of a Praefectus and it was made clear that, aside from in Transylvania, the role did not carry any authority to order magi to do things but was merely one of co-ordination. Kira too spoke firmly in favour of the position. Then, to my surprise, Maximus weighed in with a rambling speech about the dangers of abuse of power. Sorrentia also spoke against, saying all that a Praefectus could do could be accomplished with an emergency tribunal. Magnus then reminded us of the co-ordinated attack by our House on the UnNamed House covenant – citing it as a fine example of what could be achieved by magi working together under one leader. Augustus also spoke in favour, likening a Praefectus to a Pontifex. The debate then carried on for a while before Edith called a further recess to allow people to think on the discussion, though not before Maximus had managed to rile Moravious by dismissing Solis Castle as being “at the far end of the country”! During the break, much politicking went on, especially it seems by Maximus who I saw holding forth to an audience of young magi with some strange diatribe about “not splitting walls”. When the vote was finally called the motion was tied with 18 votes in favour and against. Kira slammed her table in frustration as Edith rose to dismiss the motion with her casting vote.

With that matters returned to covenant news. Magnus of Scafell spoke of concerns about the ongoing border dispute with Scotland, speaking specifically of conflict between Berwick and Jedburgh. He asked that Marius ensure that the Northern covenants were kept out of any mundane fighting. To my surprise, Narwold raised no motion, but Edith stood and spoke of what had happened with Arcturus and that both I, as Nominated Hoplite, and the new Senior Quaesitor had been consulted on the matter and that the decision had been made not to meet with the Renounced Tytalan magus. She said that Ludovidicus shall speak of it later.

For Trevalga, Augustus said that the attack on Mora Cove had highlighted the need for the tribunal to have a better presence on the seas surrounding it. He asked that the tribunal consider contributing towards the manufacture and arming of ships to patrol the seas, offering that Trevalga would train and supply the crews. Although Holy Isle’s ship patrols the Irish Sea, as we know from the experiences near St Davids, the seas off South Wales and the Bristol Channel need watching too, not to mention the English channel and North Sea. There was broad support for such a motion, though much of it will fall to individual covenants to organise patrols of the seas local to them, perhaps cutting back a little on their ships’ trading and spending a season or so a year on patrol. Edith will task Holy Isle to co-ordinate matters. A vote as to whether tribunal resources should be spent on such passed comfortably. Boats for Scafell and Narwold shall be commissioned and enchanted items commissioned from tribunal vis stores to arm and equip these. As the tribunal has now money reserves, Edith announced a tithe of coin to fund such mundane constructions, to be set in proportion with the vis tithe each covenant pays, as such ours was set at 500d. Between now and the next tribunal in 1241, we shall talk to Holy isle about which covenant shall cover which areas of sea and so forth. Edith further announced that Cad Gadu and Blackthorn, being land-locked covenants, will provide vis for enchantments for the ships of Borrea Tor and Lear Valley, those covenants being relatively poor. Primus Erin was happy to accede to such.

With the magi of Holy Isle busy pursuing leads from the attack on Mora Cove, there were no magi from that covenant present. Borrea Tor noted that their tower had collapsed, but that they had received assistance already from Solis Castle, Scafell and the Praeca, as well as offers of help from us. No motions were raised by Oakham Vale. The day closed with the announcement of a legal case to be heard, that of Maximus versus Magus Renwyck. Maximus outlined the nature of the charges, that Renwyck had lied to him and deceived a noble into thinking that a consors of his (now his Amica) was a member of the Order of Hermetic Scholars.

The trial began with Maximus as accusator and Edith as patronus. The charge Maximus raised was that, under the peripheral code, Renwyck had brought the Order into disrepute. I shall not go into the precise legal debate here, save to record that Edith stated that Renwyck may have broken mundane law but had not breached any hermetic laws. Maximus moved for a punishment of 5 rooks, while Edith suggested that Renwyck pay Maximus 5 pawns for wasting his time in his initial investigation of the matter. There was a large majority vote in favour of the patronus, with no more than a half dozen voting for the accusator.

The next and final matter brought before the tribunal, after a short recess, was that of Arcturus’s message and proposed meeting. Ludovidicus reminded everyone that aiding or abetting Arcturus was an offence and that any word on him should be sent without delay to Blackthorn. Somewhat curiously Ludovidicus appeared to single out magi from without covenant for this caution, though no reason was proffered as to why. Our new Senior Quaesitor made clear that he himself is to lead the investigation into the matter. With that the tribunal meeting came to an end.

Afterwards, I spoke with Kira and Augustus about the co-ordination of our ships’ patrols in the waters to the South West of Stonehenge. We came to a rough agreement that we will look to the Bristol Channel and South Wales. Apparently Faelon is convinced that the black-sailed ship has a hidden port within a regio somewhere in the rugged Western coast of Hibernia. As to what enchantments can be constructed by our three covenants Ildanacht is investigating construction of a ship-mounted ballista, a large crossbow essentially I understand. Kira will look to scrying devices and the like, Myra could do a powerful item to see through the fog that our enemy’s ship uses, while we at Severn Temple could best contribute a lightning device to strike at the winged demons and I suggested that Fabius’s talent with minor enchantments could be well suited to ballista bolts and arrows enchanted with ‘Demon’s Eternal Oblivion’. I shall also refocus my thoughts on what spells I shall need to best battle sea serpents, as well as speaking with Lysimachus on whether he and Fabius, with their knowledge of Greek engineering techniques, could construct such as Ildanacht’s ballista.

Back at Severn Temple, we heard of Husam’s narrow escape and were able to confirm for him that Arcturus had cast no visible active magics upon him. There was some discussion about what Arcturus’s message meant and how much faith could be placed in it. Why was the envoy going to Nottingham? Should we warn Oakham Vale, which is but a day's travel away from that city? Maximus suggested that the Brothers in Christ may be planning to set-up a case to show how the King protects heretics under the aegis of the Order of Hermetic Scholars. After some debate, I took letters describing Husam's encounter to Ludovidicus and Alannus in Blackthorn. I spoke with Ludovidicus who is particularly concerned that the events at Caerleon may be used somehow. He asked me to speak with Maximus to find out exactly what Maximus said to the knight there.

Autumn

All save Marius were present for the autumn council, which unsurprisingly began with a discussion of Arcturus's message and what could be done if the Papal envoy came sniffing around the Dean, seeking something to implicate us or the King. Husam will keep an eye on the Erechwydd shrine at mid-winter and Urbanus will check that all is in order in our surrounding area, with no sign of spies or suspicious activity, be that of the Brothers in Christ or the UnNamed House. He also reported that there is tension between the Welsh and the Marcher lords and he is concerned that someone is deliberately inflaming things. Old feuds that have lain dormant for many years have reared their ugly heads again, all sparked by apparently petty irritations. Whatever else occurs, the envoy will not be allowed to reach the Spring. I will turn him and his entire party to ash before I let them destroy this place. And if spell does not avail then I have swords aplenty.

Husam then spoke of his ongoing activities in Bristol. He was able to acquire an arcane connection to the room in the Dog Rose tavern where the Black Knives' extortion takings are tallied up. He noticed that one of the underlings, a bald man has been given some sort of Dark Gift by Lambert. The man's skin has gained an unhealthy looking pallor and he has sprouted peculiar dark black hairs. Husam said that he is trying to get a connection to this man for he may lead us to Lambert. Husam also believes that we may need to strike sooner than we had planned if Lambert is spreading his power so swiftly amongst his followers. Husam will continue his good work in Spring.

Lysimachus then announced the deals he has managed to make to improve our library. For three seasons worth of scribing work for Cad Gadu and Blackthorn, we will add several volumes to our tomes on Intellego and Vim. He has also done a deal with Edith, granting her permission to study the trees that form a glade around us, in return for which she will share all that she learns with us. He has also offered help to Lear Valley, which sadly is in a very precarious state and plans to visit there to see what can be done. I announced my plans to take the ship and our tome on 'Conjure the Mystic Tower' to Borrea Tor to raise them a new tower. Maximus announced that Fabius had crafted a fine item that not only allows the wielder to speak with birds, but also to hear the chatter of all nearby birds, as well as removing any fear such creatures would normally have. Maximus generously offered it to the covenant as a gift once he has completed his familiar binding.

I departed the next day, taking our barge and then ship up to Solis Castle. The journey was uneventful, with no sign of trouble on the sea and we made good time. I spoke with Moravius in Solis Castle and was pleasantly surprised to find him much better company than before. Age has perhaps mellowed both of us a little and given us a broader perspective than we had when we were younger, so it was not an unpleasant evening’s chat that I shared with him. He seems to be genuinely concerned about the future of Borrea Tor, doubtless in part as a matter of pride that a covenant he has helped refound and where one of the magi is an apprentice of his should succeed. Naturally, at one point he discussed what enchantments he could now craft, noting that he has had a breakthrough in his forked lightning research, meaning that the caster is now safe from the spell. Alas, that this improvement comes years too late for Medius.

We had more productive talks on co-ordination of the sea patrols that were raised by Augustus at the tribunal meeting. Moravius is happy to ensure that Solis Castle’s ships link with those of other covenants and said they have built good links with Loch Lagleann, most notably Califer Cairn covenant. On a slightly more troubling note, he remarked that it is just him and Jareth in the covenant now. This is a dangerously low number for such a well-established covenant and they are actively looking to recruit magi. I said that I too was hoping to find another apprentice and we agreed that we would point any potential apprentices that were more suitable to the other’s magical talents in each other’s direction. He also had a peace offering of sorts for Fabius, a blue diamond, which he believes might offer Fabius the chance to unlock some new insights into how the form and material of an item can aid his enchantments.

Astrius’s private journal
As surprising as Moravius’s change in demeanour, was his opinion of Ludovidicus. In all my dealings with our new Senior Quaesitor I have found him to be polite, helpful and approachable and did not make much of his casual remark singling out magi out of covenant for warning. However, Moravius was clearly very glad to be rid of him, even though it left just him and Jareth in the covenant. He said that Ludovidicus was a stubborn ‘letter of the law’ traditionalist and somewhat more bluntly “an arsehole”. Although Moravius ceded that Ludovidicus was honest, he expects that things will be very different than they were under Serenia.


The next day, a guide led me to Borrea Tor, skirting the city of Durham and walking through wooded hills up to the steep hill on which the covenant is situated. It was surrounded by a simple wooden stockade but inside was in a sorry state, with a gaping hole, where the rubble from the remains of their former tower had been cleared. However, the tents within were arranged in pragmatic fashion and those grogs who had come from Solis Castel were well-drilled, if not the local recruits. Three young magi make up the council there, Emerius, filius Orlania, Voressio, filius Moravius, and Palleus, filius Jareth. After some discussion about the design and having set Voressio straight about what level of detail was and was not possible, I once more set about casting the ritual. Although I had the confidence of knowing that I had cast it successfully once before, as I burned the two rooks of vis needed I was acutely aware of the grave potential for fatal mishap should my casting go awry. My fears though were not realised and the tower rose straight and true from the ground and Borrea Tor once more had a central keep.

I joined them in a feast that night to celebrate the new tower, which I was pleased to see they were most happy with. As I sat there, mug of ale in my hand, I could not but think of a similar night many decades ago when I, as a young magus, had attended a feast in honour of Archimagus Jolyon’s raising a new tower for us at Severn Temple. And now it is me who is the old Archimagus aiding a brother covenant, how the wheel of time turns.

The day after I returned to Severn Temple, some two weeks into the season, there was ill news from Bristol. Faulk, our spymaster, saw the aftermath of some violent event in Husam’s brothel in the enchanted scrying mirror, with Husam’s Italian consors Giardino mopping up blood. Faulke immediately summoned Husam who left soon after for Bristol with Lysimachus. To Husam’s sorrow and anger, they discovered that the Fells had slain Vincent and wounded Aiken in a dispute over cruelty to the women there. Husam decided to sell the brothel and building and to set up a tavern elsewhere in the city, with Hereric, Aiken and Aiken’s wife running it.

Husam then spoke of what he has learned of the Fells. He knows of three disciples, Roger, the bald man, capable of frenzied attacks, Silas, who has black eyes and a gaze like a viper, and Rufus, whose jaw can extend and bite like a venomous snake. Apparently Lambert has made the collection of extortion monies as something of a competition, where the winner gets some form of infernal gift and the loser gets murdered. The tally for this Husam said was to take place on the Autumn equinox. After some debate on the merits of striking then or continuing to watch and wait, it was decided that if Lambert was busily granting infernal powers to his disciples then we could not afford to wait lest the Fells grow too powerful again. Husam abandoned his studies and set off once more for Bristol, to try and locate where the equinox meeting will take place, while Urbanus travelled to Gloucester, to speak with de Percy and arrange for his agents to be in place to deal with the corrupt members of the watch when we attack.

Husam returned a week before the equinox with the news that the meeting is take to take place in the “black chapel”, a ruined church, formerly called St Peters, in the poor quarter. He believes that it was deliberately burned down and desecrated to create an unholy site. The place will be well defended by the rank-and-file of the Fells while Lambert and his disciples meet inside. Apparently, within, Lambert will “lead the blood sacrifice” and “call upon the master”. With all the information necessary to strike, we discussed how we should make such an attack and the possible consequences if it were to go awry. I called a formal vote on the matter and the vote was 4-2 in favour of the attack, though both Fabius and Lysimachus thought it more prudent to wait a little whiles longer and gather more intelligence.

With decision made, all joined in planning our actions. de Percy's agents would move in first to deal with the watch and the rank-and-file fells surrounding the church. Then, I would lead a party consisting of Lysimachus, Maximus, Constantius, Duncan and two grogs, Sergeant Ecgbert and William into the church to slay all within, while Husam and Urbanus and Njall waited outside lest any effort be made from without to aid Lambert.

We entered the city in twos and threes, not wanting to draw any attention to us that might alert our enemies as to our presence. We regrouped in the old brothel building, setting spells about ourselves after dusk and thence made our way quickly and quietly through the dark, narrow city streets. Husam and de Percy's agents made short work of men set to guard the church and before long we were standing outside it listening intently as Husam unlocked the door.

From within I could hear chanting in broken, heavily accented Latin, invoking dark powers. I decided that a stealthy approach might serve best, but as I crossed the first room to the inner door, William, my nominated shield grog made a fearful noise in his heavy armour. Perhaps a little distracted by this, I opened the door and was immediately assailed by Rufus, his serpent-like jaws snapping at my neck as he knocked me off balance and bore me crashing to the ground. For a moment I felt my parma tested as I caught a glimpse of Silas's dark eyes in the corridor beyond, but then it was all I could do to keep Rufus from tearing my throat out. For a moment, our attack wavered as William, his mind overcome by Silas's powers, turned on Duncan behind him. Then I was able to gather my thoughts sufficiently to cast “Terror of the Trembling Heart” on Rufus who scrambled off me and fled in fear into the shadowy recesses of the church.

As I got to my feet, I could hear unnerving sounds of cracking and splintering, and maniacal cackling from deeper inside. I conjured light in the room and that was enough to send Silas scurrying back into the darkness of the church, breaking the hold he had over William. I followed quickly in, William behind me, skirting round the main church sanctuary, determined that neither Rufus nor any other of the disciples would be able to ambush us from behind when we moved in to deal with Lambert and his demon. I moved forward, casting light and webs before me, until all was secured. Then I blew open the door leading into the church proper. Lysimachus and a couple of others were already inside, trying to deal with the cloud of dense acrid smoke that filled most of the room.

I banished the smoke, but not before it had concealed the charge of the demon. It was a large, fearsomely muscled bipedal creature with cruel red eyes and wicked-looking curved talons on its hands. With a sweep of its claws it sent Ecgbert flying, blood streaming from a great gash in his chest. Lysimachus was just quick enough to deflect a second blow with his staff. I stepped in to help but although I knocked aside its initial lunge easily enough it caught me by surprise as it lashed out with its offhand. The blow was strong enough to break several ribs and send me flying back through the doorway I had just come in from.

As I lay dazed on the floor coughing up blood and fumbling for my creo vis, I could see Duncan hurl one of Fabius’s potions of ‘Demon’s Eternal Oblivion’ at it. Where the powder struck it burned the demon with a brilliant white fire. The creature roared in pain and turned on Duncan, but before it could exact any revenge, Lysimachus threw his potion over it. With an unearthly shriek the creature was consumed by white flames, leaving naught but a greasy stain and a wisp of foul-smelling smoke.

Lysimachus then strode boldly into the church to deal with Lambert and the remaining disciples. Meanwhile, somehow Silas had reappeared and managed to bewitch Constantius into attacking Duncan. Although Constantius quickly blinded Duncan with his enchanted blade, Lysimachus’s flames put an end to Silas and his powers before things could go too badly awry. As Lysimachus threw more fire, burning, but not slaying Roger, I completed my casting of ‘Incantation of the Body Made Whole’ and returned to the fray.

With two of us now throwing spells at our foes, we made quick work of them. I illuminated the room, banishing all the shadows that they had been skulking in. Lysimachus sent an ‘Arc of Fiery Ribbons’ at Lambert who I then entangled in webs. Roger charged at Lysimachus in a desperate attempt to turn the tide of the battle, but he was fooled by ‘The Wizard’s Sidestep’. Before he could get a second attack in, I ensnared Roger in more webs, while Lysimachus slew Lambert. Husam executed Roger after a short conversation and I did similarly with Rufus, who was stuck in a conjured web in an antechamber.

A search of the church revealed little else, the cellar was empty and seemingly untouched and the bodies of the Fells had little on them save for small bottles around their necks. Husam had the bodies of the dead Fells arrayed outside the church so that all who passed by could see that the Fells had been smashed and their leaders slain. With that, all save Husam departed.

Back at Severn Temple, Maximus was kind enough to contribute to 6 pawns of vis to aid the healing of Ecgfrith, for the wound our brave sergeant suffered at the claws of the demon was grievous and beyond normal healing.

Husam remained in Bristol to observe what happened next. With de Percy’s men continuing their purge, it soon became apparent to the Bristol underworld that to bear a black knife tattoo was to invite a swift death and those who could fled or hid. Vincent’s killer was not so lucky, as Husam was able to track him down and avenge his fallen friend. Thus did the season come to an end. I am hopeful this is a decisive moment in our long struggle with the Fells. We have dealt them such a blow that if we are diligent, Bristol could be purged of the Fell taint that has cast such a long shadow over it for so many years. A fair season’s work indeed!

Scribed by Maximus

Winter


We met to discuss our activities and plans at formal council on a frosty morning, luckily I had had a big bowl of porridge with honey to help keep me warm. Husam stated that in spring he would go down to Gloucester to talk with DePercy and thence to Bristol to carry on investigations of the Fells there (Private note: He also said he would look out for any infernal devices remaining in the city, I'm sure he will “find none” and look all innocent whilst giving that report). He said he and DePercy would discuss the what to do with the captain of the watch in Bristol as he appeared to be under the influence of the Fells.As for the season of winter Husam said he would learn the silence the smothering sound spell form the library.
Urbanus stated he would learn Creo when he gets back from his mission in Gloucester.

Lysimachus asked if any junior members of the Fells of other gangs could rise up to replace the killed Fells, Husam suggested that now with weakened gangs we should use the opportunity to infiltrate some extra spies into Bristol. We discussed the arrival of inquisitor and decided to send warning to Oakenvale covenant. Astrius and Lysimachus as covenant service volunteer to go to Mynydd Myddyn this winter a harsh season to be exploring but hopefully fruitful as we have never sent expedition to that regio in the cold season before. Lysimachus had been doing some work on forming an exemplar of the journal now that it hath grown to many volumes and in the process he had noted that the only reason we ever found Mynydd Myddyn was that Dionysus the fallen Quaesitor returned the renounced magus Idris’ pater Daffyd’s belongings which contained clues to the location of the regio. Fabius discussed the device to destroy fire and heat which he intended to create that season as a Seasons service. Finally and the most important for myself I stated I would seek out that robin that I saw last year and hope it had survived the harsh winter.

Astrius and Lysimachus left early in the season and went to Mynydd Myddyn, they had an easy passage there now by barge and foot to the entrance but once there something went wrong. As later turned out the Pagan gods play with Astrius like a pawn and he did not appear on the other side of the regio boundary. Lysimachus and the grogs entered to seek him but he had gone, snatched away like a toy for the amusement of those old spirits. We guessed at the time that he had fallen into a far deeper level of the regio than was normal and after a search Lysimachus left the regio and came back to the covenant where we all discussed what we could do.

We decided that we should wait a while then if Astrius did not reappear we should seek help, a harsh decision maybe but he is a fearsome Flambeau who could take care of himself. As he had put his name forward for covenant service Lysimachus scribed some spell books for trade purposes.

Later in the season Urbanus returned from Gloucester with the names of various contacts in Bristol, He had obtained these from DePercy who is watching the ports for the inquisitors.

Alanus the redcap arrived just before midwinter and brought us the news both hermetic and mundane. Carrion Moor reported Templar's moving near there land holdings heading west from Southampton. A Bogomil bishop who had been leading the investigation of the Cathar heresy had been killed and replaced with a Dominican, this apparently was papal politics which must be very bitter, I fear for the church and hope it is not being corrupted from within. Alanus told us that the house meeting of Guernicus was due next summer and as such I would have to go to speak with my pater next year for instruction. We decided to send a message to Marius about Astrius as he had knowledge and magical allies that might be able to help. Lysimachus talked to Alanus about Oakenvale and the inquisitor and he reported that messages has been sent to a wide range of covenants by my pater senior Quaesitor Luvidicus. Fabius asked me to find out what the message was from my pater next season when I went to visit him. Husam went to Lydney in midwinter to see if Erechwyth worship was still going on but snows forced him back as they swirled around the standing stone that the magus Cormoran erected. He did not see any worship or villagers but he did see an unnatural storm swirl round him which he suspected was caused by the Erechwyth.
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