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Scribed by Astrius

Spring 1239 AD


All magi were present at the first council meeting of the year. Urbanus will be with us for Spring and Winter, and is, I think, glad to be back from his seemingly never-ending series of battles in France.

Although various matters, such as the threat of war in this country and the various dangers we face, were discussed no new insight or decisions were reached. The only matter of note from the council was that Husam was given permission to use three sacs of the spider venom for research. It seems a shame to have a dozen and a half sitting unused in our stores when at least some of them can be made good use of.

The rest of the season passed without notable event.

Summer

When the council convened for our Summer meeting, it became clear that while all had been uneventful in the covenant, in the King’s College in Gloucester it had been an altogether different matter. Whatever mischief the demon had wrought was still very much active, for Lysimachus’s consors Philippe had come to Severn Temple looking for the book (purportedly a very rare work by Aristotle and Plato) which he and Lysimachus studied together in Winter, but has now has vanished, leaving no record of its presence in the catalogue. Lysimachus fears the demon is using psychomachia again, as he think it used on him in their first meeting to stop him being too afraid of it to talk to it. Understandably concerned about his friend, Lysimachus asked our advice on what to do next. What does the creature want? Unfortunately, beyond valuable souls, there was little we could think of and it seems increasingly likely that we may request Fabius to create some more of his high magnitude powders imbued with the Demon’s Eternal Oblivion.

Husam reported that the potential Fell ship, the Ain Fean, had been spotted in port in Bristol, but the news did not reach him or his contacts until after it had left. The only information he was able to glean was that the ship’s crew seemed normal enough and were very well organised.

With Maximus and I off to the Levant, Urbanus off campaigning in France again and Husam in Bristol, it would likely be quiet again in the covenant, with just Lysimachus and Fabius remaining there.

The only other incident of note that season was a strange incident, maybe a result of some sort of a magical accident, which resulted in two grogs, Samson and William floating up into the air. They got alarmingly high very quickly, though Lysimachus managed to get a rope up to them using one of his air elementals, whereupon they were pulled back down to earth. The closeness of their escape became apparent when a moment later whatever was causing them to float vanished and the other miscellaneous items that had also been floating in the air, apples, chickens, stools and the like, crashed back down to earth. The phenomenon repeated itself several times afterwards at irregular intervals but no more people were affected and each time the objects always dropped back down before they reached the tops of the trees surrounding us.

Autumn

Urbanus returned unexpectedly to the covenant with Aeddan. As Maximus and I were still abroad, Fabius took charge of the meeting. His first motion was to raise the issues of Aeddan rejoining the covenant and changes to the charter to allow such a move were discussed but because it was believed that a quaesitor was needed to witness any such changes it was decided to just invite Aeddan to site on the council as a non-voting member.

Husam discussed further his efforts in Bristol, stating that his plan next time was to get men on the Ain Fean to have a closer look at it. He also brought up the strange apparent death of martin, the previous corrupt captain of the watch in Bristol. The man died in his 30s and was buried in Kingsham not Bristol. Husam visited the village and said that something odd was going on there. The knight was unusually harsh but had not been seen at court for over two years and the villagers were extremely loathe to speak of him. Husam did hear tales that the knight had stolen money from local bondsmen to stop them from buying their freedom. Husam said that he will pursue the matter further in Spring, Urbanus wondered whether the Baron could be involved somehow in all of it.

Aeddan reported that he had been able to secure a treaty with the French, which he believes should hold for a few years at least. He had further news picked up during his time abroad; Primus Jerbiton and House Mercere investigated the South of France for information on the Inquisitor, Brother Sebastian. However, despite their extensive combined resources they were unable to find him or any traces of his being in the area.

It now appears that the belief that House Mercere’s sizeable intelligence networks was infiltrated, key agents turned and false information fed back to Harco. One such turncoat has been uncovered, but several other suspects were found to have all died recently, all by unfortunate ‘accident’. The one double agent that was captured was thoroughly interrogated but proved highly resistant to the effects of mentem spells. For example, while, intellego mentem spells were apparently able to pierce any protections, there was simply no answer to any question asked of the man’s mind. Unfortunately for the Brothers in Christ, where magic failed, mundane torture did not and the man eventually broke. He said that he had met a monk who claimed that his spymasters worked for the Devil and this was apparently enough for him to convert and switch sides. He then fed false information about Brother Sebastian to Harco. After this, a non-Gifted Redcap infiltrated the Dominican abbey and found a gravestone for a Brother Sebastian, who died in 1234 – the year when the Brothers in Christ tried to convince the Pope of their cause.

House Mercere is understandably unhappy about being so duped and they believe that it suggests that one or more magi in the Order are still aiding the Brothers in Christ. We would do well to take on board a lesson here, that if House Mercere’s spy networks can be penetrated and turned, then ours most certainly can.

The day after the meeting, Husam, Lysimachus, Njall, Caelwyn and Osmer set off for Mynydd Myrddyn on covenant service. As they camped the night in the woods near the regio’s entrance, green lights in the sky over the regio were once again seen. Nothing came of it, so they entered the regio and made their way up the slope. At the top they saw signs of movement in the woods off to one side. There was also the sound of a distant but violent storm. Caelwyn seemed puzzled, for he said that when Myrddyn made the regio he created it such that there would be no rain, no sunshine, no moon, no weather at all.

However, there was little time to ponder this apparent riddle as at that moment the wyvern attacked. Njall barely escaped its first dive as it ploughed a huge furrow in ground where he had been standing a moment before. Everyone fled into the woods with the wyvern shrieking down in a second dive, but by good fortune and quick feet everyone was able to scramble deep enough into the woodland to be safe.

Once they had got their bearings in the wood, which proved to be harder than anticipated for Lysimachus believes that the forest had changed since their last visit, they set off for the cave. Leaving Calewyn and Osmer outside, Lysimachus, Husam and Njall went in. They were able to acquire some more muto clay, the seam of which appeared as if it had never been touched, a most encouraging sign for future vis collection. They then pressed on through the passage with the foul-smelling air, finding stones containing caustic lime and then, further in, another cave with both stalactites and stalagmites, as well as glassy sections of rock with white bulbous growths of lime. The former stone registered as magical so samples were taken. Further on still was a small river of fast-flowing clear water, in which were strange silvery projections, like solid mercury. The longer it was out of the icy cold water the more liquid it became, changing colour from silver to blue to yellow and then red. With these promising new finds, our sodales returned to the surface to rest in preparation for further spelunking.

The next day a new route was tried, up a cliff made of crumbly sulphur-streaked rock using the Twisted Steel Wand to help with the ascent. Some promising-looking sulphurous nodules were taken, but as the small party made their way back via an as yet untried passage they were attacked by a large serpent-like creature. Husam was bitten quite badly in the leg and although he was able to stab it, he could feel poison seeping through his vein. Lysimachus’s fire simply washed off the creature but a Conjuration of the Indubitable Cold caused it to writhe in pain. A second casting was enough to make it back off, twisting effortlessly round in the narrow space despite its considerable size. With Husam’s head swimming from the poison and grim suspicion that they were in an infernal aura, they returned to the surface. The journey, with several climbs and tight squeezes was not an easy one with one of the party wounded, but make it they did.

Once Husam had recovered a little, there was some debate about how to best escape the regio without being attacked again by the wyvern. Osmer noticed that there were no animals in the forest and Caelwyn explained that this was because the trees became awake and very angry at night. This would certainly fit with my experience of night falling in the regio. Anyway, the small party was able to make its way down back through the Eastern forest to the edge of the regio. However, the going was difficult down the slope at the end and in the confusion the party was split at the regio boundary. Happily though the delay was not a long one and eventually the whole group was able to safely return to the covenant.

Winter

All magi and Aeddan were present. Maximus began by giving an overview of our expedition to the Order of Suleiman, a more detailed account written by me for our own records can be found here.

After Maximus had finishing recounting our journey and its failure to forge an alliance with the Order of Suleiman against the Horde, Aeddan reported that Kiev, a city in the Western Rus, has been besieged by the Mongol Horde. This puts them just a few hundred miles East of the nearest covenant. Conflict is surely not far off now.

There was some discussion of the expedition to Mynydd Myrddyn. Lysimachus revealed that they were only saved from the wyvern by the warning of an air elemental set years ago. Although the spell was of a short duration, it seems like a safe assumption that the unnatural way time passes in that place caused it to last much longer. Fabius recognised the strange colour-changing metal as being ‘mercurial silver’. He said that it was a very rare and one of the most reflective of all metals, legend has it that it can reveal an item or person’s true image. He believes that magi from his house will pay more than mere vis pawn value for it so it seems like a most valuable find indeed. More troubling was the account of the snake, with its venom that fogs the mind. The consensus was that it was indeed an infernal beast of some kind, Aeddan believes it may be linked to Ieuan’s activities in the regio.

Of other infernal enemies, it seems that the demon that plagues him and the college is active again, for two masters have been ensnared by its games with books of unique lost knowledge. Lysimachus will continue to investigate as cautiously as he may.
At the end of the meeting Maximus announced that he had brought back gifts from Constantinople, including a philosophy tome in Greek for Lysimachus and dates for everyone else.

Astrius’s private journal

When Maximus presented the dates he smiled contentedly, as though he had finished a successful mission and was sharing his good fortune with his sodales, apparently blithely unconcerned with all the bloodshed that will likely follow his wrecking of the peace treaty. He should be glad that I hold my Oath in high regard, for at that moment I felt a near overwhelming desire to cut his smug fat head from his shoulders. I hope he chokes on his damn dates.


Winter itself passed quietly, helped perhaps by the heavy snowfall that blanketed the covenant for much of the season.
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