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Scribed by Fabius

Spring 1237 AD


As I take up this pen, I am delighted to report that I step down as acting Pontifex – for Archimagus Astrius has returned at last from the deep regio within Mynydd Myddyn. As keen as we were to hear his tale, he wished first to understand some of the events within the mundane world which had come to pass during his absence.

We began with a discussion about the Werewolves of Huntley. Philippe, Nial and Edward were taken last season while Lysimachus had tried to track down the eccentric Augustus, Vice-Chancellor of the King’s College. With Astrius now returned some action could at last be taken. Our Pontifex believes that one must take a tough line with the wolfmen; show them who is dominant. He is minded to enter to the regio and recover the hostages, using force if necessary. However, he believed that by firmly reminding them of the treaty and the obligations they hold to the King, our companions should be recovered without recourse to violence. We voted unanimously to support his plan.

Next we related events within Bristol and Husam’s investigation into the remnants of the Fells. It seems that Lambert, the master of fells we killed in 1234, had a wife and household within Bristol. Husam had become suspicious of this woman and planned to seek more about her background and involvement in the infernal sect. However, it appears, since his last visit, that she had died and the house had been sold on to a man called Hugh of Bridgewater. Husam discovered rumours that the wife had been seen by his spies in the west of the city – sometime after her apparent demise. The money from the house had been passed to ‘Lambert’s heir’; we shall need some access to the Sheriff’s office to uncover his identity. This Hugh of Bridgewater is not long in Bristol, but we cannot yet exclude the possibility that he is a member of the black sect. There are also common rumours of bats being sighted frequently in the city after nightfall. Despite our victory a few years ago, it seems there are plenty of loose threads to tie up within Bristol. Husam intends to spend another season there later in the year.

Finally, with the Stonehenge Tribunal meeting this season and the Grand Tribunal in summer, there was lengthy discussion of Marius’ case. The Archimagus is still abroad, intending to head straight to the Grand Tribunal after Urbanus arrives in Anjou at the end of spring to the lead the English armies. Thus, it will fall to us to ensure that Marius’ best interests are represented at Blackthorn in a few weeks. More detail of the charges against Marius had come to light, and although Maximus summarised them earlier in this journal I shall relate them here in more detail for the record.

The principle charge is that Archimagus Marius’ actions in the mundane world have roused the suspicion of the Church and thereby endangered the Order of Hermes. These have been broken up into five separate charges which will be heard against him at the Grand Tribunal.

The first of these is that Marius did not secure his mundane titles through entirely mundane means; Primus Guernicus claims he used a powerful non-Hermetic magical item, the crown of Math, to control mundanes and manipulate them into following him.

Secondly, Marius, through the use of this crown, is accused of encouraging faerie allies to assist him in mundane battles; aiding King John against the Duke of York, securing victory in the English civil war he prompted by assassinating John’s heir, Henry and securing victory in Provence against the French.

Third, Marius is old by mundane reckoning and has not stepped down from his mundane title, passed it on to his filius or faked his own death. Therefore he is accused of endangered the Order by rousing suspicion about his longevity.
Fourth, Marius, through his actions in the mundane world, has aroused suspicion that he is a Hermetic magus. Order spies in Rome have apparently intercepted a message from the Archbishop of Canterbury and Cardinal Guglielmo Fieschi (I believe that’s how it is spelt) contained a suggestion that the King had been accused of association with the Order. In the letter between Cardinal Fieschi and the Pope, the Cardinal apparently queries whether the King’s favouritism towards the Order might be due to his membership or manipulation by the Order of Hermes.

Lastly, Marius, through naming the Order of Hermes in English legal documents and granting them special rights under mundane law, is accused of arousing the suspicion of the Church. A letter between a Monastic Order and the Pope requesting that the Inquisition begin a formal investigation of heresy within England has apparently been intercepted by House Mercere.
At last, Astrius related the events that had come to pass whilst he lost within the deepest of regios within Mynydd Myddyn. It seems that as he passed the white stones that mark the boundary of those veiled hills, he was drawn far further than he intended; into the ‘lands of the dead’. These lands are the Kingdom of Arawn, the pagan god of the dead, a place Astrius visited once before – long ago – to rescue Cormoran after he had fallen into a magical cauldron (said to be one of the ancient treasures of Britain). On his last journey to that realm, Astrius had been warned not to return while he was alive; so it was with heavy spirits that Astrius travelled through that place of shadows and lost spirits seeking a way to return to the lands of the living.

He related very little of his time there, though said he met a number of lost souls which sought to extract bargains for their aid. Eventually, however, Astrius managed to cross a great river which bounds the ‘summerlands’, the heart of Arawn’s Kingdom, where he met the dread King of the Dead. Astrius reminded us that Arawn is the equal of the Anu or the Morrigan in terms of power and sits in judgement over the spirits of the pagan dead; rewarding the virtuous and honourable, and punishing the wicked or treacherous. Arawn was apparently furious that Astrius had returned, but listened long enough to decide that the Archimagus’ trespass had been accidental rather than intended.

Whilst the Lord of the Summerlands was satisfied that Astrius had not purposefully defied his command, there was still a consequence he must face for returning to the Lands of the Dead. Arawn agreed to send Astrius back beyond Death’s Door upon the promise that the three spirits, inadvertently released by Theo in 1161, would be hunted down and destroyed. Should one need reminding how dangerous these spirits are, I would refer to the winter of 1170 where it is reported how just one of these creatures, Mona, was able to bring Narwold to the brink of ruin and slay two magi within moments.

There is a complication to any plan to destroy them, as currently the Order is protected from attacks by their oath to maintain the King’s Peace. If Marius is involved in any plan to trap or slay them, then we may no longer enjoy that protection. Thus, Astrius intends to seek help from Geddyn and look to fulfil his promise to Arawn without indicating any of the specifics to the King of England. Further report of this matter shall not be recorded in the journal until after its conclusion.

Before the council meeting ended, there were a few further matters to discuss. First was the sad news that Falk, our spy-master, had passed away over the winter. This will place the burden of coordinating our spies upon Constantius until someone with the requisite skills and temperament can be found and trained. There was discussion also about the need to pursue some of our contested sources of vis, so that our supplies remain healthy and Covenant service can be adequately rewarded. Lastly, Maximus mentioned that he had seen some strange blue-green lights over Mynydd Myddyn when travelling to see his pater Luvidicus at Blackthorn. With his second sight, he espied what he thought might be a serpent of some kind moving within the spirit world. We could offer no firm interpretation of this vision.

As Covenant services this season, Astrius shall extract vis from the magical aura and I shall create an enchantment for the Covenant – an item to detect the elusive boundary of a regio.

***

I am pleased to report that Astrius’ mission to the wolves of Huntley passed without violent confrontation and that Philippe and Nial are returned unharmed to the Covenant. It seems that the grog, Edward, now possesses the gift (or curse) of the werewolves and has elected to remain with the pack. He will act as a messenger between the Covenant and the wolves. To avoid further misunderstandings in the future, the wolves now know the marks of the Covenant and the King, and will not waylay those that bear such symbols.

Of the vice-chancellor, Augustus, and his small group of men, the news is poor. It seems that in his naïve enthusiasm to preach the gospel to the wolves, Augustus trespassed into their lands and was slain. Lysimachus appeared sincerely saddened by the news; I sense he had some measure of a genuine friendship with this eccentric monk as well as admiration for his open-mindedness and intelligence.

Also it has come to light that the Captain of the Grogs, Gilbert, has decided to retire and intends to leave service at the end of the year. This appeared quite a sudden decision on his part, but given his years of faithful service the Pontifex was not minded to deny such a wish. We shall look to interview potential replacements at the summer council.

The emergency Tribunal of Stonehenge took place over the equinox of the season. Given how vital every vote may be at the Grand Tribunal, all my sodales travelled to Blackthorn (I passed on my sigil to Archimagus Astrius so that he might vote in my stead). It was not a long meeting, but there was considerable debate regarding the charges against Archimagus Marius and the selection of representatives the Tribunal would send. Praeca Edith is apparently of the opinion that these charges against Marius are driven purely by the corrupt politics of envy. It seems that she and Primus Erin are strongly sympathetic to Marius’ cause – perhaps their memories of the persecution of House Ex-Miscellanea by House Tremere and House Guernicus making them naturally suspicious of Primus Guernicus’ motives.

Astrius was elected comfortably; his position within the Order and his good name within the Tribunal making him a natural choice for many. There was an indication that Theophilus wished to stand as a representative, but I am glad to say that he graciously stepped aside for Lysimachus. Thus, with no split in the vote between two Bonisagi, our sodalis will join Astrius to vote at the Grand Tribunal. Finally, Quaesitor Faelon was elected as the third of our representatives. Unlike Luvidicus, we believe he will be more independent and resist direction from Primus Guernicus.

Speaking of independence from one’s House, it appears that Maximus broke with long-held tradition, established by Guernicus himself at the very first Grand Tribunal, and voted in the election of representatives. I would have thought this threatened to bring a good deal of trouble upon him, but he seems unperturbed – so I suppose perhaps it is not so much a solemn vow taken by the Quaesitori but more of a guideline that can be set aside when politically expedient. Still, I understand that the votes were reasonably close, so perhaps he has doubly risked the wrath of his House; by voting at all and not voting for his pater. I am sure he considered the matter deeply and knew what he was doing!

We were pleased with the vocal support that Marius received at the Stonehenge Tribunal and it seems that we shall send a good number of votes to his aid in the summer. Our sodales will travel by Red Cap ship a week before the end of the season. We agreed to hold the summer council nine days earlier than usual.

There was a little news reported by House Mercere at the Tribunal: It appears that Pope Gregory has issued a ‘Bull’ against the order of Assassins in the Levant. The Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller have been charged with bringing them down. Whilst Husam did not openly respond to this news, it must clearly concern him that the Church has squared itself in such direct confrontation. Christian forces have also won victories in Iberia. Cordoba, apparently one of the last bastions of the Berbers, has fallen to the knights of the Reconquista. It seems that the Moors are being driven out of Iberia – though it is clear that Berber pirates still maintain significant presence in the narrow straits that separate the peninsula from the north of Africa.
In other news, it seems that the magi of Oakham Vale have been troubled by a ‘hedge wizard’ who has been cursing their livestock. They have asked for assistance in dealing with this rogue, as it has reached an extent where their food supplies are under threat.

We met for our summer council upon the dawn of the twenty second day of April. As this is technically within the season of spring, I shall record our discussions here.

Urbanus and Marius were not in attendance; the filius joining his pater in Anjou prior to Marius leaving for the Grand Tribunal. The meeting began with a general discussion about the events of the Stonehenge Tribunal and the trial which awaits Marius at the Grand Tribunal. Whilst Marius clearly enjoys popular support within Stonehenge, it is clear that he has enemies and rivals abroad within the Order. The charges against him are very serious – the last potentially carrying penalty under the Primary code which could see Marius renounced. It was vital that every vote we could muster was brought in his support, as the sudden loss of Marius could throw England and Wales into chaos, not to mention the more personal tragedy of losing one of our sodales.

At this meeting, Maximus appeared to be rueful about his decision to vote. He explained that there would likely be repercussions for him at the next House meeting. Apparently he might even be stripped of his position as Quaesitor. One must admire his loyalty to his sodalis, but I fear it shall earn him great ire from his Primus.

We considered next the replacement for Captain Gilbert. In the end we selected one of the sergeants, Michael. He was, to be honest, the best of a bad bunch in my opinion. It is a shame we did not have more notice of Gilbert’s wish to retire so we could train up a more capable man to the post. Still, we have someone to hold the position come winter and Husam will find out what Gilbert intends to do with his well-earned retirement.

Lysimachus reported that he may have identified a man, currently resident at the King’s college, who could serve as a scribe within our large, and ever growing, library. He agreed to follow this up after his return from the Grand Tribunal.
Thus, a couple of days later, Lysimachus and Astrius departed for Durenmar. The last week of the season was quiet and without event of note.

Summer

The season here at the Severn Temple passed peacefully and without event. However, away to the east, within the Tribunal of the Rhine, the emergency meeting of the Grand Tribunal was held at Durenmar over the solstice. It is the events of this meeting that I shall relate here.

The agenda for the Grand Tribunal was brief; first involving the charges brought against Archimagus Marius and second the remit of ambassadors to be sent to negotiate with the Order of Suliman. I am given to understand that my sodales spent little time together for the few days prior to the council; Lysimachus residing within the Covenant of Durenmar itself and Astrius within the compound belonging to House Flambeau.

Marius arrived in good time, having left Urbanus in charge of the English forces seeking to thwart French ambition in the southern regions of his Kingdom. He appeared understandably nervous and preoccupied with the trial to come, though maintained a positive belief that he would defend himself well against the charges. After the success of our politics at the Stonehenge Tribunal, perhaps my sodales felt confident that the votes would go in Marius’ support. However, it appears we underestimated Primus Guernicus’ capable rhetoric and the fear inspired by the inquisition. Still, I get ahead of myself. The trial took place over several days, with long adjournments before each vote to allow magi to consider their vote and discuss matters with their peers. I shall summarise the results of each of the charges in turn.

Of the first charge; that Marius had used the crown of Math to control and manipulate mundane affairs. Primus Guernicus accused Marius of deliberately understating the influence of the crown when the case against him was heard at the last Grand Tribunal, thereby encouraging the Tribunal to believe he had achieved the position of King entirely through his position as a mundane noble. Marius was forced to explain something of the powers and origin of the crown, with Primus Guernicus challenging whether he genuinely held his position as King through mundane means. The argument hinged on an early precedent, set at the Grand Tribunal in the Age of Aries 912. At this council, it was ruled that Magi were permitted to hold mundane titles. Jerbiton successfully argued that magi of the Order were able to hold mundane titles without being in breach of their Oath because they held such titles as noble men rather than as a wizard. It was agreed that magi of the Order could hold mundane noble titles so long as their identity as a magus of the Order was kept hidden. Primus Guernicus alleged that in using an ancient magical artefact to manipulate the nobility of Wales and England, Marius did not hold his title merely as a mundane.

Marius defended himself by claiming that the crown acted subtly to bolster one’s natural ability to lead and that, in the course of rising to the title of King, he had not used its influence. Amongst the Welsh, he argued, the crown’s ‘power’ was more symbolic than magical. Primus Guernicus proposed the penalty of Marius giving up the crown. Marius offered a fine of five and twenty pawns of vis for using the magical item in his youth. The Tribunal found for Marius by a comfortable margin.

The second charge related to Marius allegedly using faerie allies to aid him in mundane conflicts. Primus Guernicus cited a precedent of the Iberian Tribunal Magi that ruled that magi should not use magic to aid a mundane ally. In this case, the ruling held that no magus shall aid a mundane power overtly or with any sort of magic that can be detected by mortals; lest the enemies of that mundane power blame the Order of Hermes for their losses and other mundane powers desire such magic to further their own ambitions. Primus Guernicus also claimed that Marius was in breach of a ruling of the Levant Tribunal. The ruling was that Magi may aid mundane allies only if they avoid the use of magic and disguise their identity. In the original case, Henry Le Barre of Jerbiton had travelled from Provence with the crusade of Philip of Flanders and had fought the moors with his magic. He was subsequently charged by the Levant Tribunal. At the trial, Le Barre argued that he had served in the crusade as a mundane noble, not as a magus. The Tribunal ruled that in using magic and travelling under his true identity he had breached his Oath. He narrowly avoided the death penalty as the magic he had used was subtle. Instead, he was subjected to loss of familiar and a fine of vis.

Marius had to explain the influence that the crown granted with the faerie and what aid they have given him, without his request or consent, against his mundane enemies. Again, Primus Guernicus proposed that Marius give up the crown of Math. Marius, denying that he had ever sought the aid of the faeries in his mundane dealings, offered no punishment. The margin was narrower, but Marius successfully carried the vote.

The third charge argued that Marius was endangering the Order because he was seventy years of age and had not yet stepped down from his mundane title or staged his own death to avoid suspicion. The case rested on a precedent from the Grand Tribunal from the Age of Aries 938, which ruled that Magi in notable mundane positions must not draw attention to their longevity. The original case was brought against Jerbiton arguing that his great age (in mundane terms) was arousing the suspicion. It was ruled that as Jerbiton held his noble title as a man rather than a wizard, that he should give up such title when a mundane man would have grown old enough to die. Jerbiton conceded to this argument and agreed to make arrangements. Jerbiton was 70 when this ruling was passed, and apparently this precedent means followers of Jerbiton are generally expected to oversee their mundane ‘death’ when they are three score and ten years of age.

Marius defended by arguing that even he was not certain exactly how old he was. He reminded the Tribunal that he had spent many years raised within the court of Llyr, the fae King of lakes and rivers. As time does not pass predictably so deep within a faerie regio, attempts to define Marius’ precise age were open to great uncertainty. Primus Guernicus proposed that Marius must immediately ‘die’ to the mundane world and step down as King. Furthermore, given the risks if he was detected, he should never attend court or involve himself in mundane politics again. Marius offered to step down, as requested, but within seven years so that he had time to oversee the succession and avoid unnecessary conflict within the mundane world and the potential risks to the Order that might bring. Marius won this vote by a significant margin.

After successfully defending himself from the first three charges, my sodales perhaps had good reason to be optimistic and even a little confident that the remaining two charges would be similarly dismissed. The Primus’ strategy of breaking the case into a number of charges, might even be helping Marius; as some might see these as more trivial charges designed to unfairly attack Marius’ reputation rather than serious attempts to prosecute him. However, Marius was still apprehensive. The last two charges were by far the most serious – and the involvement of the Church might yet sway votes against him out of fear.

The fourth charge claimed that Marius had aroused suspicion that he is a Hermetic magus. The principle evidence offered in support of this charge was a letter, discovered by House Jerbiton spies. In this letter, between Cardinal Fieschi and the Pope, the Cardinal queried whether the King’s favouritism towards the Order might be due to his membership or manipulation by the Order of Hermes. Primus Guernicus reminded the Tribunal that magi of the Order could only hold mundane noble titles so long as their identity as a magus of the Order was kept hidden.

Marius argued that the origin of this letter had been provoked by the usual tittle-tattle and hearsay that existed within the higher echelons of the Church and Nobility and that nothing in the message intercepted from the Archbishop of Canterbury or Cardinal Fieschi indicated that there was any evidence supporting the idea that Marius was ‘in league’ with the Order of Hermes. He explained that, as a mundane monarch, there was never an occasion when an action on his part was not subject to gossip about who might be in or out of favour. He added that there was no indication that the Pope had treated this rumour-mongering with any seriousness, or that his membership of the Order was genuinely suspected.

Fabius’ private journal

I do privately wonder whether something of this charge may have been inadvertently provoked by Maximus’ interactions with the Knight and Priest of Caerleon five years ago, where our Quaesitor appeared to imply a link between Marius and the Order of Hermes when attempting to represent Tewdric. It is clear that implicating a Quaesitor as the originator of these rumours could have been used to embarrass Primus Guernicus and help his own case. Yet Marius – perhaps mindful of the grave trouble this would have brought upon Maximus – deigned to keep silent on the matter at the trial.


As punishment, Primus Guernicus proposed that Marius’ filius, Urbanus, should not take up the position of King of England, lest this suspicion fall upon him also. Marius, recognising that to offer any punishment might imply his guilt, proposed that the charge be dismissed. The vote was close enough that it had to be counted twice to ensure it was accurate. However, by a narrow margin, Marius carried the vote and the charge was dismissed.

It seems that Marius’ concerns, that the mere mention of the Church might weaken his support, was well-founded. It is said that he was uneasy and somewhat disconsolate in the evening before the hearing of the last charge. I’m sure my sodales worked tirelessly and tenaciously to work such influence as they possessed in his support that night; alas that their resolute efforts were in vain! But again I move ahead of myself.

The last charge, the most serious, was that Marius, through naming the Order of Hermes in English legal documents and granting them special rights under mundane law, had aroused the suspicion of the Church. In evidence of this, the Tribunal heard a letter that had been intercepted by House Mercere. This missive, between a member of a Monastic Order and the Pope, requested that the Inquisition begin a formal investigation of heresy within England. Primus Guernicus left no doubt as to the severity of the charge as he quoted the Primary code as precedent in the case: “I will not endanger the Order through my actions. Nor will I interfere with the affairs of mundanes and thereby bring ruin on my sodales.”

Any move by the Inquisition to investigate the Order of Hermes, he argued, would undoubtedly bring ‘ruin’ upon Marius’ sodales. To underline this point, he called forth witnesses of the inquisition against the Cathars. Several magi gave testimony relating the ruthlessness of the inquisitors and the terrible tortures and punishments inflicted upon those charged with heresy. Marius spoke well in his defence, explaining that the monks who had sent the letter were members of the ‘Brothers in Christ’ sect – a group declared enemies of Stonehenge Tribunal. Yet, it seems, the mood of the Tribunal had turned against him.
Primus Guernicus proposed the most serious penalty for such a crime under the code. Given the danger of creating further suspicion against the Order by any sudden disappearance, he recommended that Archimagus Marius was stripped of his gift. Marius, again aware that to offer any penalty of his own might imply that he was in some way guilty, was forced to propose that the charge be dismissed.

It seems that Primus Jerbiton could see the trouble Marius might be in. Even before the vote was called he announced that gifted or no, Marius was formally his Amicus. The fact that Primus Guernicus did not contest this interjection suggests that there had been some private deal to ensure that if Guernicus succeeded in exacting his penalty, a hot-headed magus would not be tempted to finish the job and slay Marius. Thus the Order avoided the potential consequences of having killed one of the monarchs of Europe.

It was so close in the end; a mere three votes! It seems that fear of the inquisition, or the numerous precedents cited to undermine Marius’ defence, weighed heavily upon the minds of those preparing to vote. If only two of them had been convinced to switch their vote or a handful of those who abstained had been won to Marius’ cause, the dreadful outcome could have been avoided.

Alas, my sodalis was led from the great auditorium and prepared for the ritual designed to break his gift forever. 

Autumn


We met for the autumn council in a sombre mood. Marius’ seat was so frequently unoccupied that one might think his absence from the council would not be so affecting. Yet, the knowledge that he would never again take that seat as a magus of the Order left me with a profound depression.

You hear of those who survive having their gift stripped – they say only the strongest minded can even endure the ritual. It is said that few that live get very far; some are slain almost immediately by a magus seeking to make a name for themselves, others beg for death rather than live as a mundane – a request usually granted by a sympathetic magus of their House or Covenant. The few that make it past the first few days are broken figures who still do not live for long; either old age swiftly takes them as their longevity potion has been broken with their gift, or they eventually take their own lives despite the fact that many believe it sends your spirit to Hell.

Many members of this Covenant have died, through misadventure or fighting our enemies, but this is even worse in some ways. At least in death you can grieve for someone and honour their memory. Marius has been unjustly disgraced and cruelly broken, yet lingers on in life.

I wonder who will summon the audacity, or perhaps the courage, to remove his seat from the council chamber.

Marius, or Aeddyn I suppose I should now call him, has travelled to Vlanastium with Primus Jerbiton and from there will visit Urbanus in Anjou. I understand that he will travel back to Stonehenge in the winter to stay at Cad Gadu so Primus Erin can prepare a replacement potion for him.

Astrius reported the outcome of the second matter debated at the Grand Tribunal. It seems a delegation shall be sent to negotiate a truce, of sorts, with the Order of Suliman. This group will be led by Archimagus Marcellus of House Bonisagus. It is said that he has personally prepared the ground for this negotiation for many years and is fluent in the language and customs of the Persians. Senior Quaesitor Lucius of House Guernicus will also attend to ensure that any agreements fall with the remit granted by the Grand Tribunal and the code of the Order of Hermes. It seems that Archimagus Astrius has been selected to serve as Hoplite. His experience of the Levant and his frequent battles with non-Hermetic wizards across the lands of the Order, make him a good choice I think. I suspect his political and personal courage when sent with ambassadors to the Order Ethiopicus mean that House Bonisagus will be pleased at his selection.

The principle purpose of these negotiations, as I understand them, is to secure an agreement that both sides will not interfere with the current politics of the Levant. Some believe that the Levant Tribunal will fail unless we can convince the Order of Suliman to draw back its assistance and aid to the Muslim forces in the region. The second aim is to explore areas of greater cooperation between our Orders in sharing intelligence and otherwise resisting the great hordes of the east which House Tremere believes may shortly threaten Novgorod, Transylvania and Thebes Tribunals.

Astrius shall travel from the summer of 1239, though he believes he will only be absent from the Covenant for two or three seasons. I suspect this underestimates the journey time considerably, though far be it for me to gainsay an Archimagus!
Covenant services were discussed. Husam will travel to Bristol for the season after passing through Gloucester to speak to De Percy about the current location and activities of the member of the Inquisition he had encountered accompanying monks of the Brothers in Christ sect. Lysimachus and Maximus will attempt to gain access and harvest vis from Mynydd Myddyn. They will take Curwen, a druid who was brought back from the last expedition to the veiled hills, to assist as a guide.
The season passed peacefully within the Covenant.

Winter


Our winter council met with Urbanus still abroad and Aeddyn presumably away at Cad Gadu.

Lysimachus and Maximus first recounted their trip to Mynydd Myddyn. It appears that their mission was a success and they were able to obtain a variety of sources of vis as well as make good contacts with the Celtic folk who reside at the hill fort. They reported that whilst Curwen had been an able guide, he had proved most unwilling to assist them investigate the northern barrows – believing them to be sacred grounds. They met some of the bestial man-like creatures known as Myddyn’s brood. Nial and Osma were able to slay four of them and the party took no casualties. Lysimachus estimates that their resistance to magic is considerable, however; only spells greater than the fifth magnitude able to affect them.

During part of the expedition, as they travelled through the awakened forest, Maximus reported seeing the spirit of a great bear following them. This would appear to match descriptions of an entity mentioned very early in our journal – a fierce protector of the forest which can apparently materialise from nowhere and attack those that attempt to kill or trap the curiously sentient animals of the wood. The group were not assailed by this spirit, I’m glad to say, and were able to tap the great oak for the usual harvest of sap. Curwen apparently reported that the sap, which we have registered as a source of herbam vis, has powerful magical properties that would be greatly prized by a skilled herbalist. We discussed approaching Praeca Edith at some point to see whether she would be interested to trade.

Husam then related his activities for autumn. He met with De Percy and asked about the member of the inquisition we believed to be active within England. It appears that the monk had departed these shores back in early spring and that spies reported that he had made little travel in the few seasons before he left. This came as a great relief, though we are still none-the-wiser as to what he found during his investigations or what he might recommend to his order.

In Bristol, Husam discovered there had been no further sightings of ‘Julia’, Lambert’s widow who apparently died last year. We know from the journal that such individuals may not genuinely be human. Medius and Tiarnen discovered that the ‘wife’ of a member of the unnamed House hiding in St David’s was in fact a demon wearing mortal guise. However, unless she surfaces once more in the guise of Julia it is unclear how we will investigate much more about her.

Lambert’s heir, according to the Sheriff’s records, appears to be a man called ‘Scathach’. The money was passed to a Captain Niall of a ship called the ‘Ainfean’, a vessel registered in Dublin. The ship is said to make port in Bristol about once a year – usually in the spring or summer – where it conducts a small amount of trade before departing. Husam will send a letter to Carrion Moor and Trevalga warning them about this ship and asking them to report any sightings they make of it.

Finally, Astrius revealed that the heart of the forest – which provides two acorns of vim vis for each magus of the Covenant every year – had produced fourteen acorns as usual. This would appear to imply that the Anu still considers Aeddyn to be a member of our council. There was some debate about the ramifications of this. Clearly, under the code, Aeddyn is no longer a member of the Order and our charter says that only a magus in good standing within the Order can be a member of our council. Lysimachus quickly suggested that we allow Aeddyn to sit at council – and change our charter to allow a mundane to attend. This met broad agreement, though there was less appetite for the suggestion that he be allowed to vote at council. Maximus will examine the charter and consider the legal issues involved. Apparently he is concerned that this courtesy to our former sodalis may make us court wizards!

There were no Covenant services to determine for this season, so we moved to recasting the ritual of the Aegis.

The only other event of note this season was the arrival of Alannus, the Red Cap, and the news he related to our council.
Of the inquisition, it appears that at a council of Lerida, and after considerable argument, the authority for the Inquisition will be formally shared by the Dominicans and the Franciscans. This may be a good thing, for the Franciscans appear a much more open-minded and less violent monastic sect than the Dominicans. On the other hand, we must hope that the zealous cruelty thus far shown by the inquisition does not rub off on them.

There was news of further religious politics. Pope Gregory IX has decreed that a crusading order, the ‘Swordbrothers’ will be merged into the order of ‘Teutonic Knights’. Both orders have apparently been heavily involved in crusades against pagans of Prussia. The Swordbrothers, however, have experienced numerous defeats and their growing weakness apparently necessitates that they join the Teutonic knights.

This news on its own might not have been deemed of much interest so far from lands of Pussia, save for rumours that House Bjornear has been aiding pagan allies throughout the region against the crusaders. It appears that the Bjornear have had some success in defeating these crusader knights, but that they may be flirting very close to the code.

Finally, closer to home, Hirsutus of Lear Valley had accused magus Lorrimir of being a member of the faerie. Last we had heard, Lorrimir had taken the journey into Arcadia that some members of his House prefer to old age or twilight making their end. The Quaesitor of House Merinita has been requested to urgently attend. From our own journal records, it is clear that it is not always straightforward to discern whether an individual is still mortal or a member of the faerie.

Besides this news, the season drew to an uneventful conclusion.
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