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Scribed by Fabius

Spring 1242 AD


The winter snows had long departed as we attended the spring council. For the first time in many seasons, we were a full council. Aeddyn appeared somewhat lost in thought as he took his seat beside magus Urbanus, though as Astrius called the council to session he roused from this reverie to impart news of the mundane world.

Whilst nothing may be taken for granted, Aeddyn believes he has done all within his power to secure the English throne for Urbanus. He announced that he intends to stage his death and disappear from mundane society next year, ahead of the deadline set by the Grand Tribunal ruling. Urbanus, named Uren in mundane circles, is named royal heir and if all goes to plan he will be crowned in that same season. Urbanus admitted some trepidation about this rise in status, but I read also eagerness and excitement in his demeanour. Lysimachus raised the issue of the crown of Math, asking whether this symbol of ancient power would be passed to Urbanus along with this great title of temporal authority. Aeddyn was equivocal, stating that he wished Urbanus to have some time to gain a firm hand upon the reigns of power before confronting him with the complications of diplomacy with the faerie and magical entities that court the crown of Math.

In preparation for his staged death, Aeddyn has been working to ensuring that the land will not be cast into turmoil as Urbanus takes the throne. The lands of England and Wales enjoy a rare time of peace and stability. The French claims upon English land-holdings upon the continent have quiesced whilst so many nobles are abroad upon crusade in the lands of the east. Indeed, the French King has potential troubles in Poitou, where nobles have risen up against heavy taxes and perceived injustice. These rebels have asked for aid from the English to defend their independence from the crown.

The Scots, forever watching for English weakness in the north, are unlikely to raise armies whilst the French are so quiet. Aeddyn believes they would not act against England until the French are in position to draw English armies across the channel. Aeddyn's chief rival, York, has become insular and brooding after the loss of his wife. While Aeddyn commands the loyalty of Wales, the West and the Midlands, there is little likelihood of rebellion within England; though Cornwall, Somerset and Norfolk need to be watched.

The kingdom has greatly benefited from this extended peace and the laws that Aeddyn has made in his time as King. There has not been problems with famine or plague for several years, and English coffers have swollen with the fostering of merchants and international trade, and the patronage of apprenticeships and artisans within many of the great cities. The universities of England have flourished under Aeddyn's rule. He spoke with no small pride how the King's college has so quickly risen to rival even the likes of Paris. The laws created to protect the independence of the English Universities means the Church interferes far less in the scholarly pursuits of the scholars in England compared to the continent. This liberal atmosphere has led to innovations such as the swift adoption of the Indian numeral system and the rapid translation of the classical philosophies of Aristotle and Plato. Our sodalis, Lysimachus, has had no small hand in this; encouraging such free intellectual pursuit within the King's College.

There was a short discussion about the King's college, with Aeddyn asking about the recent death of the mathematics tutor, Laurence. Urbanus advised that the Master of the college, also a mathematician, had been keen to keep the matter quiet and had secured Laurence's notes away. Lysimachus admitted his strong suspicion that the death was caused by Benedict's demon who is able to produce a book of academic lore which acts to fascinate any intellectually curious mind who finds it. Lysimachus was not sure whether this was merely infernal acts of random mischief and amusement for the demon, or whether it represented some part of an arch-scheme we had not yet discerned. Our Bonisagus assured Aeddyn that he would investigate the matter as soon as he could, and seek to insure that the good name of the College was not brought down by rumours and scandal.

Aeddyn continued to lay out the state of affairs within the wider mundane world. In the Levant, the crusaders bicker and fight amongst themselves as the Saracen forces, aided by the Order of Sulieman, threaten to crush the last, narrow strip of Christian castles on the coast of the Levant. Whilst the Church is focussed upon these hostile armies in the east, the Brothers in Christ are weakened and less able to prosecute their war against the Order of Hermes in the west.The temporal powers perceive the greatest threats to the east of Christendom. The Mongols press the eastern borders of Novgorod and Transylvania, scoring victories in Poland and Hungary. Alexandr Nevsky, King of the Novgorodians, is believed to be in some alliance with the Mongols and leads his pagan armies in victories against the Teutonic knights and Templars. The former magus added ruefully that there was some suspicion that Nevsky's armies have been aided by House Bjornear and that this threatens to cause significant division within the Order.

The discussion turned to the change in the amount of vis we had received from some of our uncontested sources. I confirmed that the Boar tide had delivered no Aquam vis in the winter season and reminded the council that the spring gave less Corporem vis in the autumn. Urbanus had, in the past, implied that the ruling of the Grand Tribunal and the grave injury caused to the former magus Marius might have been to blame for these reductions, but Aeddyn offered an alternative explanation for these events.

He said that there was some trouble between the faerie courts. Whilst some of the fae, like the water court of Llyr, remained keen to support him, others, like Gofannon the lord of the undermountain sought to use Aeddyn's perceived weakness to press claims against the others courts. The mild winters we have enjoyed do represent a waning of the Erechwydd's power, he agreed, but the cause of this was unlikely to be his loss of Gift, but battles between herself and Gofannon over control of the faerie regio. Llyr's court was under similar pressure, he claimed, leading the Boar tide to be weaker as a consequence. There was discussion about this, but in truth we have so little contact with the fae that none were able to qualify speculation either way.

Lysimachus made a good point however, asking why the spring had produced less Corporem vis if the cause was the wax and wane of faerie courts. To this Aeddyn suggested that this change may have a different cause; pointing to the long years of peace within the land and the fact that the Morrigan was the goddess of war (amongst many other aspects). Astrius, certainly the most learned upon the council upon pagan matters, agreed that this was quite plausible. He said that, following his visit to the heart of the forest last season, we would enjoy the full benefits of the Anu's favour, but that the influence of the Morrigan might reasonably decline until such time as she foresaw a need for her aid again.

The last, but not the least, matter of discussion was the impending threat within Mynydd Myddyn. Astrius reported his discussion with Cerdic last season, explaining that the black stone seen in Maximus' vision was most probably an egg belonging to the powerful dragon that sought its way from the deep Otherworld. The question was, even with this knowledge, what might be done to prevent the catastrophic arrival of this terror.

One possibility was to find the egg and, by some method, move it back into the Otherworld. Astrius admitted there was no obvious or easy way to do this, we did not even know how large or portable this egg would be let alone an easy method to transport it across the Veil. An added complication lay in where within the Otherworld the egg was taken. There exists a possibility that, even if successful, we might draw the ire of one of the powerful spirits of that realm if we inadvertently call down such a powerful dragon upon them. The alternative might be to destroy the egg. Again, beyond the fact we don't know where it is, this is beset with problems. Firstly, the egg might possess considerable resistance to magic and be very hard to destroy. Secondly, the destruction of the egg might only serve to alter the purpose of the dragon; seeking vengeance upon the one who killed its young.

It was clear that any plans would benefit from two pieces of information. First, we need to know something of the time frame within which we may act; do we have weeks, months or even years to seek some solution to this puzzle? Second, we need to locate the egg. Whilst we suspect that it lies somewhere underground near the centre of Mynydd Myddyn, that leaves a large area within a dangerous regio within which to search. Maximus was called upon to divine answers to these questions. Our Quaesitor agreed to dream upon these matters and Astrius adjourned the council so that our plans could benefit from his insights.

The next morning, Maximus related the dream he'd had in response to the first of these questions. He saw a grey-green hillside under overcast skies, building towards a violent storm. To one side of the hills he saw a great body of men marching in the mist, their shields and spears glinting in the faint twilight. To the other side, he saw a regal woman in a white robe, fair of face with dark ringlets of hair. They approached each other, the woman raising her hands and the army saluting with their spears - then his vision was filled with bright light and crashing thunder that woke him.

Maximus admitted that he wasn't able to make specific interpretations of what he had seen. He suspected there was a literal interpretation of the scene, perhaps a noble woman or a country represented by the regal figure coming under attack or besieged. Aeddyn could not link this to any specific events in the mundane world he was aware of; there were a number of individuals or nations that might possibly match such symbols, but no events that were current or local. In the absence of a clear time frame, the council agreed that action must be taken sooner rather than later. Thus the council was adjourned a second time, to allow Maximus the opportunity to try to divine the location of this eggs.

Another night passed and we reconvened to hear Maximus' divination. His dream had been somewhat unclear, but within it the Quaesitor had seen a long journey, deep underground, through dark, winding tunnels and caverns. At the end of this journey, he had seen that the passages changed from natural rock to some worked corridor. Maximus intuited that this man-made section of tunnel led to the egg, but could give no precise route to find it.

We discussed three potential courses of action we might take as a council. One possibility was to search the surface near the middle of the region to see whether some entrance could be found, or location marker from where we could delve down to find the egg. A second potential plan was to search the caves beneath Mynydd Myddyn and seek the egg below the earth. Lastly, though least certain, was to try to find the crystal cave, reputedly the store for Myddyn's memories when he was trapped by Nimue. Within these crystals it might be possible to find the memories of where the egg was hidden.

We resolved to pursue the first two of these suggestions. Astrius, Husam and Lysimachus would travel to Mynydd Myddyn and search above and below ground. Astrius would take a small party of men, along with Carwen the druid, and seek out any sign of where the egg was buried on the surface, whilst Husam and Lysimachus, along with Constantius, would brave the deeps. One thing that might help the search, if it took longer than a season, was some device that would allow one to navigate better underground. I undertook an enchantment, with Maximus kindly offering assistance in the laboratory, to create an arrow, made of hazel, split into two parts – the head of the arrow enchanted to point towards the haft and provide an indication of distance between the two halves.

Our meeting ended and our council set upon our plans. Aeddyn returned to London and Urbanus to his studies at the King's College, leaving myself and Maximus busy in the laboratory whilst the others endeavoured to locate this dragon's egg.
The season here at the covenant was a quiet one and came to an end without notable event other than the Boar tide only producing two pawns of Rego vis again. However, my sodales within Mynydd Myddyn suffered far more adventure, and I regret to report that Husam and Constantius have not returned with the others.

Summer

We met as council with Husam's empty seat a sombre reminder of the fact that he and Constantius had not returned from Mynydd Myddyn. After brief report of the peaceful season within the covenant, Astrius and Lysimachus related their respective tales.

Astrius, along with Maelgwyn, Njal, Osmer and Carwen, had left the two magi and Constantius at the entrance to the caves and headed north to seek out the centre of the regio. Using conjured fog to hide themselves from the Wyvern, they travelled for some hours before reaching (as best as they could judge) the middle of the wide, rolling hills that form the centre of Mynydd Myddyn. There Astrius led a search for sign of any access way or marker that lead to the location of the dragon's egg. Their search proved fruitless, for whilst the area was riddled with small water courses and cracks leading down into the earth, none were wide enough for crawling. The hope that Myddyn may have left some sign or marker (perhaps even of the Severn Boar) ebbed away as the party made systematic search of the area and found nothing.

Seeking another route, Astrius wondered whether the young version of Myddyn that Lysimachus had spoken to might still be present within the Celtic village to the north-east, or whether the Celts themselves might know something about the otherworldly prize that Myddyn had hidden. He led his group across the hills, but when they reached the ravine on route to the village they discovered that the land must have shifted through time since their last visit, and that the Brood were present once again.

The presence of the bestial men, meant that the Celtic village would likely no longer be at the end of the ravine, but having made the journey, Astrius felt it was worth trying to parley with the Brood and see if they knew ought of the egg. He led his group out of the cover of the fog and a short way into the ravine. Around them, they sensed movement around the mouths of the many small caves that line each side of the sharp hills. Astrius conjured fire to his hand and called out to the Brood. The Brood answered with rocks and spears, causing grave injury to Osmer and forcing the party to retreat back towards the tree-line. Astrius responded by slaying two or three of the attackers, before rejoining his party and leading them away.
Using fog once again to cover their escape, Astrius wondered whether the great bear spirit of the awakened forest might know or sense something about the presence of the egg. They travelled to the old oak tree within that part of the regio, and Carwen used some sort of druidic rite to call the spirit to them. The bear appeared and was willing to speak. However, it claimed to know nothing of the world beyond its borders and was unable to give them clue about where to search.

Aware how swiftly time within the mundane world can move when within the regio, Astrius decided to head back towards the white stone that mark the entrance. On route, he had another idea and took Carwen to speak to the lady of flowers within the spring that lies not so far from the steep slope down to the stones. Unfortunately, the lady of the spring was also unable to tell them much about Myddyn's hiding place for the egg. She said that it lay not within any of the rivers or lakes that formed her realm, and so was beyond her awareness. Somewhat frustrated, Astrius led the party back down the slope to the white stones. There they were met by Lysimachus, who had alone escaped the deeps and returned to the entrance to find the others.
Lysimachus described something of the convoluted journey that he, Husam and Constantius had taken through the deeps. Heading first to the cliff and the cold stream (where they found a good quantity of mercurial silver!) they headed along one of the many unexplored passages they thought might lead them towards the centre of the regio. They followed narrow winding tunnels and vertical shafts through the earth, traversing a a bowl cavern lined with glass-like projections of rock and squeezing through a narrow space into a huge, cathedral-like cavern. This immense space was high and wide enough that they were unable to see the full dimensions of it. Within this cavern, a wide, fast-flowing underground river flowed, its roar forcing the party to raise their voices to be heard. This river appeared impassable on foot, save for a narrow span of rock that crossed, like a bridge, between the two banks.

Lysimachus judged the space to be large enough to summon winds to let him fly across. Taking to the air, he travelled across the great cavern until he was above the great river. As he approached the river, a dark shape ambushed him in the air. A giant bat, perhaps the size of a man with great leathery wings, tried to grab him in the air. Lysimachus was able to fight it off, but lost focus upon the spell that was holding him aloft. Fortunately, he was able to cast 'Rise of the Feathery Body' before he was either dashed on the rocks or plunged into the river below.

Husam and Constantius had seen him fall and raced to catch up with him. The bat had retreated into the dark tangle of stalactites above them, and they appeared safe for the moment. There was discussion about whether to press on, braving the unstable looking bridge ahead of them, or turn back and find another route. Lysimachus was sure that pressing on would take them towards the middle of the regio, so Constantius volunteered to try the strength of the bridge. Tying one end of the rope around Constantius' waist, Husam anchored the other end around himself, whilst Lysimachus prepared to help hold the rope should our Captain fall. Constantius set off, cautiously making his way over the bridge, whilst the two magi kept a careful eye above them lest the bat reappear. The footing was not easy, and the thin bridge of rock threatened to crack under Constantius' weight, but before he could get across, two winged shapes launched down from the ceiling and raced in to attack him.
The Captain was forced to defend himself, but the press of the attack caused him to lose his footing and tip over the edge. The sudden jerk of the rope caught both magi by surprise and they were dragged towards the precipitous edge of the river. Lysimachus was forced to release the rope before he went over the edge, but Husam was unable to disentangle himself in time. Lysimachus described the horrible sight of seeing Constantius and Husam fall into the raging torrent of the river, but his attention upon their plight was torn away as the bats arced in the air and moved into attack him.

An 'Arc of Fiery Ribbons' broke the first attack upon him, but then the bats showed considerable cunning by separating to come at him from different angles. He tried a 'Ball of Abysmal Flame', but was unable to strike the swift-moving target in the air. Then he realised that these two bats were not alone. Above the roaring of the river, the sound of battle had disturbed a greater host and he heard the sudden ripple of leathery wings and high-pitched shrieks from the air above. To his horror, the air above him started to fill with countless dark shapes, dozens of bats now swooped through the air towards him.

Lysimachus fled back towards the entrance to the cave. To cover his retreat he produced the Virga Fulgaris and successfully launched a bolt of lightning that jumped from bat to bat in the air, killing and injuring a good half a dozen. With heroic effort he managed to leap the wall and ascend back into the tiny crevice to make his escape. Exhausted and alone he was forced to retrace his steps and seek a way out of the caves. Thus, by the time Astrius has returned to the entrance of the regio, Lysimachus was able to join him and report the loss of Husam and Constantius. Knowing that the only chance of finding either of them, even if they lived, was to retrieve an arcane connection to Constantius, the magi made their way back to the covenant.

Our discussion immediately turned to whether our sodalis and our Captain might still be alive and how we could rescue them. Lysimachus admitted that Constantius had been struggling in the water, burdened by his armour. He was more confident in Husam's abilities as a swimmer, and knew that he possessed a spell to breathe underwater, but he'd lost sight of the pair of them as they disappeared into a tunnel, carried by the strong current of the river. In truth, finding them seemed a little hopeless given the complexity of the network of caverns and who-know-how-long they might have been down there before we could get to them. However, if there was even a slim chance that they might still be alive we would do all within our power to find them.

Maximus suggested that he could use the connection to Constantius to cast 'Eye of the Sage', which would at least inform us whether our Captain was still alive so long as they had not passed through the boundary of a regio. Astrius was also confident that he would be able to use the connection to send words into Constantius' mind using spontaneous Creo Mentem magic, which might at least give some chance of finding whether Husam was alive and where they were underground.
Then Maximus came up with a clever suggestion, though one risky in the attempt. He suggested using the ritual 'Open the Intangible Tunnel' then casting a vis-enhanced spell, the 'Seven League Stride', to extract Constantius from the caves. This would be dangerous, as the Rego Vim ritual would have to be cast from text – and this would give significant room for disaster given the use of so much vis. But as we could think of no other way to retrieve our lost companions, Astrius resolved to attempt the magic.

In case this plan failed, for instance because they had passed into a deeper level of the regio, then I would create minor enchantments this season that would allow the wearer of a ring to transform into a salmon. That way, next season, we might try to follow the route they had taken along the underground river and hope that we might be able to track them underground.
There was one last matter to be resolved at council before the rescue attempt could be mounted, that of the symposium upon magical theory at Blackthorn. Both Astrius and Lysimachus had agreed to teach at Theophilus' long-arranged, and once-postponed meeting. Urbanus offered to travel to Blackthorn on his way into Powys for the season and explain the cause for their absence. It was hoped that the magi who had travelled all the way for the symposium would understand why our sodales could not attend.

The next morning, Astrius, Lysimachus and Maximus, joined by Njal, Carwen and a small number of grogs, left the covenant to make their way to Mynydd Myddyn. Urbanus departed also, and I was left as the sole magus to remain in the covenant for the season. I am glad to say there were no significant events within the covenant to report here.

Two weeks before the end of the season, the party from Mynydd Myddyn returned. I was delighted to see that Husam and Constantius were with them; a little battered and tired, but otherwise unharmed from their time deep beneath the veiled hills.

Autumn

Only Aeddyn was absent at the autumn council, where the full story of the rescue and the fate of Mynydd Myddyn was discussed in full.

Having been pitched into the raging river, and still lashed by the rope to Constantius, Husam had managed to fight his way to the surface for breath and cast 'Lungs of the Fish' upon himself. Our Captain had valiantly struggled to swim against the current, but weighed by his armour he had started to drown. Husam was able to pull himself along the rope and hold Constantius up towards the surface so he could breathe, but they were swiftly carried along the river out of the cavern.
In the darkness, Husam was able to pull the two of them closer to one of the banks of the river. The underground course appeared to occasionally open up into small caverns and tunnels, and eventually they were able to grab hold to one of the side and heave themselves out of the river. They found themselves in a small cave with an entrance on the other side of the river. Lost and exhausted they rested for some time before Husam apported across the river and used the rope to help Constantius to make his way across.

They wandered then through the natural tunnels that worm their way through the hills of Mynydd Myddyn. Their path ran into dead-ends and sumps, before they found a route that took them through a sulphurous cavern. Fortunately, they had the fan to ward away the poisonous fumes, but both were wary lest they were attacked by serpents that had been encountered in similar sections of the caves in the past. They were thankfully able to pass through unmolested, and entered a winding network of tunnels. Lacking orientation or direction, Husam trusted to luck and followed his nose until they found an underground lake.
To his surprise there was a symbol scribed into the wall on the opposite side of this lake – the symbol of a Boar tide in a circle which looked burnt into the stone. Husam took this as a sign left by Myddyn denoting the route towards the dragon's egg; though the ramifications of this are profound! I'm quite sure such things cannot be possible, but the likeness to the symbol Lysimachus asked the young Myddyn to make cannot be a coincidence! It surely implies that Lysimachus had truly spoken to Myddyn many hundreds of years in the past; before Myddyn had even created Myddyn Myddyn and many centuries before Lysimachus was born!

Attempting to cross this lake met with disaster, however. Pale serpents attacked them as they tried to swim across. Constantius was bitten and lost his sword in the lake, forcing him to turn back. Husam was pursued to the opposite shore, but managed to get safely out of the water. With Constantius injured, Husam made a short exploration of the tunnel ahead. A short passageway ended with a steep, awkward climb. Too tired to make the ascent, Husam returned to the underground lake, only to discover that Constantius had succumbed to the venomous bite he'd received from the serpent. Realising that the Captain's life might be in peril, Husam risked apporting over the lake. There he was able to draw out the serpent's venom from Constantius's leg, and the two of them were forced to rest and sleep to recover from their exertions.

Hours later, Husam felt his Parma Magica tested by a scrying spell. He roused Constantius in alarm and the Captain reported that Astrius was speaking words into his mind. Following Astrius' mental instructions and communicating back via Maximus with gestures and words scratched into stone, they arranged for Constantius to take an arcane connection to the cave and were able to let the rescue party know they had found Myddyn's symbol leading towards the dragon's egg.

Astrius undertook three dangerous feats of magic; first summoning an intangible tunnel. Casting a ritual from text with so much vis is always a risk and Astrius admitted he nearly lost control of the spell. Then, whilst maintaining this ritual he used more vis to reach across the tunnel to touch Constantius with an apportation spell to bring him out of the caves. Lastly, retrieving the connection that the Captain carried out, Astrius dared a reckless apportation into the caves. Whatever gods there are must have been watching over him, as he arrived safely on the steep, slippery bank of the cave, deep underground to a location he had never seen! Truly only an archimagus could have accomplished such; and only a man driven by such loyalty to his sodales would surely have dared to try!

There was some delay before they could explore further into the caves. Demonstrating how treacherous apportation magic is in such difficult terrain, Husam managed to knock himself unconscious when he and Astrius used magic to cross the lake. However, after he had recovered for some hours, they were able to push on and ascend the steep cliff that lay some way ahead of them.

It took some time to find Myddyn's hiding place for the dragon's egg. Three routes appeared to be marked with the symbol of the Severn Boar, but they led only to the corner of a tunnel marked with a fourth symbol. Eventually, they realised that this fourth symbol must mark some secret door or passageway, though no secret door or mechanism could be located. It turned out that the symbol marked the boundary of a regio. Using 'Sense the Elusive Boundary', Astrius was able to discern the veil across the surface of the tunnel wall and the two magi were able to cross into a deeper regio beyond.

Through this regio boundary, they discovered an artifical passageway, much like the one Maximus described from his dream. Realising the egg must be close, the quickly followed this passage to a winding stair. Beyond this, they found their route blocked by an imposing, and ancient-looking, door. Bound in greening-bronze, this thick wooden seal had no obvious way of opening it, save a bronze handle in the centre. Perhaps guessing that it might be magically warded in some way, Astrius tried pulling and pushing, this way and that, until he figured out a pattern for the mechanism. It seems pushing the handle in and rotating sunwise several times did the trick, as the great door shuddered and began to descend into the floor.

There ahead lay the prize, a great stone orb, black as night and as large as a wagon, lay in a chamber ahead. However, their joy at discovery was quickly soured by terrible vibrations in the earth, signifying perhaps the impending arrival of the dragon. It was not clear how to proceed. The stone was far too heavy even for two men to carry and too large to transport out of the chamber, let alone down the narrow spiral stair. To add to their concerns, cracking sounds could be heard emanating from the stone – it appeared that the egg was in the process of hatching!

The two magi quickly discussed what they might hope to do now they were here as more grinding, snapping noises came from the egg and cracks began to appear upon the glossy, smooth surface. They are not sure what quite was the trigger, perhaps the mention of Myddyn, but an image appeared in the chamber ahead of them of an old man; grey-bearded and white-haired, wearing dark robes and carrying a bronze sword. It announced that it was Myddyn and knew why they had come, though the illusion did not respond to questions it did inform them of an enchantment within the chamber that would open a route to the surface above. It was clear from the shards of rock now breaking away that the dragon youngling would soon emerge; Myddyn bid them open the path to the surface and guide the youngling to the Otherworld before its parent arrived.
Searching quickly within the chamber, Astrius and Husam found reddish tiles that would activate the enchantment. Sharp-eyed and motivated by the urgency of the situation, the two wizards found and pressed in seven of these tiles just as the great head of the youngling started to break free. Above them, the ceiling opened up to reveal a great shaft leading to the grey skies of Mynydd Myddyn.

The youngling emerged; the size of a lion, black-scaled with silver eyes, with wicked talons that looked able to rend armour and flesh; though with immature, bat-like wings that it tested awkwardly a few times before folding across its back. Astrius confronted the creature and tried to speak with it. There was no response from the dragon, though Astrius felt his Parma Magica tested as the dragon youngling regarded him. The archimagus took an enormous gamble and lowered his magical protections, allowing the dragon to apparently speak into his mind.

It complained of being hungry, but was not interested in conjured animal meat and instead eyed Husam with a predatory look. It's well known, the archimagus' affinity with animals, and perhaps this allowed Astrius to persuade it to follow him up the passageway to the surface to find a better meal. Passing the arcane connection back to Lysimachus and Maximus to Husam, Astrius levitated up through the tunnel. Shortly after he emerged back upon the grey-green hills, the dragon crawled out after him – having pulled itself vertically up the inside of the tunnel using its vicious claws.

As Husam made his way back down the spiral stair to leave the deeper regio, Astrius led the youngling north-east. The archimagus planned to eventually lead the dragon to the stone circle beyond the awakened forest, but determined to try and minimise the harm the creature might do to the denizens of that wood by leading it to feed first; thus he led the young dragon towards the caves of the Brood.

Reaching the ravine, Astrius encouraged the dragon to seek prey amongst the warren of caves that lined the steep sides. The archimagus did not dwell upon the detail, but apparently the dragon was quickly able to slay a good number of Brood and make a feast of their flesh. However, it appeared the dragon's appetite was rapacious in the extreme, for as Astrius led the creature back towards the forest it still complained of being hungry.
Astrius skirted as much of the awakened forest as he could, before he was forced to lead the dragon into the tree-line in order to reach the hill beyond. The dragon got away from him as he climbed a steep section of hill within the wood. As Astrius caught up with it, the youngling had slain a wolf and was gorging on its corpse. With a sinking heart, Astrius knew what would happen next. It was not long before the guardian spirit of the forest approached; the great bear striding out of the gloom to take vengeance upon the young dragon.

Unfortunately, Astrius' pleas to run fell on deaf ears and the dragon launched itself to attack this new prey. Unlike the Brood, however, the great bear was no easy kill, and as they battled Astrius could see that the claws of the guardian were able to penetrate the dragon's immature scales and drawing blood. Struggling to make himself heard, Astrius resorted to a spell to drive the dragon away from the bear. It worked and the youngling broke off the attack and fled off through the trees with the bear in pursuit. Astrius was forced to run after them.

Closer now to the edge of the forest, Astrius heard sounds of fighting and discovered that the bear had managed to catch up with the dragon again. This time the archimagus sought to communicate to the guardian; explaining that if it slew the dragon, the parent would be driven to a terrible vengeance and doubtless destroy the whole forest. Perhaps the great bear heard the wisdom in this, and the dragon was able to slip free and escape.

Astrius caught up with the youngling on the side of the hill leading to the deepest section of the regio. From here he led it through two boundaries of the veil and into the centre of the standing stones. It took some persuasion, but eventually he encouraged the dragon to pass through the final boundary into the Otherworld. With the dragon gone, Astrius carefully retraced his steps back down the hill before apporting to the camp near the entrance to Mynydd Myddyn.
The changes to the regio became gradually apparent, even as Astrius gave brief report on what had happened and the magi made to leave. The land around started to subtly change; the trees losing their high-summer foliage and turning towards autumn shades, the steep-slope leading into Mynydd Myddyn appearing more shallow now and less of a climb, but the most blatant sign that the regio was losing strength was what happened to Carwen. Even as the group crossed towards the white stones, Carwen appeared to be ageing very quickly. Within moments his hair was white and this face became deeply wrinkled. Carwen staggered as his limbs became frail, before collapsing completely. Even as the magi ran back to try to assist him, Carwen's body was swiftly decomposing until only bones remained, then they too began to decay, until fine bone dust carried upon the breeze was all that remained of him.

Thus it was with mixed emotions that we sat in council. We have Husam and Constantius safely returned, which is in itself a cause for celebration. We have also avoided a catastrophe with the veiled hills and beyond, for whilst Maximus' divinations cast no certainty upon the matter, we believe the threat of the dragon's arrival in the mundane world is averted. However, we have lost the kind druid, Carwen who I know Astrius particularly had something of a friendship, and we have perhaps lost something of what was once Mynydd Myddyn. Whilst an investigation of nearby sites revealed that the spring belonging to the lady of flowers is still there within a small regio, and the caves still exist and contain sources of vis; it is clear that the magic of the region is greatly diminished.

Still, on the brighter side, this may also mean that it will not take so much of a season to explore the area; perhaps even some of the sources of vis may become uncontested if the threats around are diminished also. Some exploration will need to be undertaken to assay the changes in the place – to see what has has been lost and what still remains.
It is the end of an era, I feel; but also the beginning of a new one.

To ensure that Mynydd Myddyn is not unduly disturbed now the regio is diminished, Urbanus will look to having it declared a Royal Forest. This will prevent mundane settlement, mining or foresting in the area. Maximus will also travel to Blackthorn to update the listings of Covenant vis sites, so there is no ambiguity about our covenant's claim upon the place.
One last piece of news came from Husam. Apparently, there has been sighting of the ‘Ainfean’ and Husam's spy was able to get on board and take a look around. As well as the Captain of the vessel, Niall, we now know the identity of the first mate, Mortimer. Whilst we don't know the contents of the cargo, it seems that they may be using a storehouse in the city to hold goods that arrive from the ship. Husam will look to get a base of operations set up nearby, so the storehouse can be watched more closely if the Fells use it on a regular basis.

Lastly, there was some discussion about the rings I had enchanted for the Covenant. Such items do little good when gathering dust in the storeroom, and the use of such specific magic is not easy to predict when making requests for resources at council. Thus Lysimachus asked if he could purchase one of the rings for himself. Astrius eventually agreed and offered similar trade to the other members of the council. In the end Husam, Urbanus and myself also purchased one of the rings for the price of a pawn of vis (though it irritates me that Astrius indulges in superstitious nonsense about some vis being 'infernal' and actually disallowed payment in the sulphurous Ignem vis. An Archimagus should surely know better!). After all the adventure and Covenant services of the last two seasons, I think my sodales were rather glad to have a season dedicated to study (except Urbanus, of course, who returned to the King's College in Gloucester).

The only event of note over the season, other than the further reduced harvest of Corporem at the autumn equinox, was the arrival of Alanus:

Of mundane news, it seems that King Nevsky continues to score victories against the Teutonic Knights. Apparently a fortress at Lake Peipus was captured after beasts infiltrated the keep and opened the gates from inside (further adding to speculation that the Bjornear may have involved themselves). In the region of Poitou, the rebellion that Aeddyn hinted at has broken out and apparently the nobles there have broken from the French Crown and asked the English for aid. However, most disturbing was the Hermetic news. Kira of Carrion Moor has been reported missing. Apparently she travelled abroad on Covenant service in spring and has not yet returned for either summer or autumn council. Given her great age and capability, it is hard to imagine that something has happened to her, yet I could see that concern echoed upon the faces of my sodales.

Winter

We met as a full council and after such an eventful year, I think we were grateful that there was relatively little news to report.
Maximus related his trip to Blackthorn at the beginning of last season, and assured us that the legal update to the status of Mynydd Myddyn went without problem. He also noted that there was an opportunity to trade with our neighbour; apparently they have a spell that Maximus would like and he suggested he could scribe some spells as a Covenant service in the future.
Urbanus reported that there had been no fresh incident or encounter with Benedict's demon at the King's College. Lysimachus announced that he intended to investigate the death of Laurence in the sping of next year.

Finally, Aeddyn announced that he had set a date for this 'death' in the summer of next year. Urbanus and Thomas de Percy will be in London for at least the first half of next year ensuring that the coronation of Uren proceeds without contest towards the end of that season. Maximus, rather oddly, asked Aeddyn where he would live after staging his death. The council were swift to assure Aeddyn that his invitation to reside here at the Severn Temple remained open as ever!
Thus, with no further event of note, save the lack of Aquam vis at the Boar tide, the season and the year came to an end.
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