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Scribed by Husam

Spring 1243 AD

With Marius away making arrangements for the faking of his death it was just the members of the formal council of the covenant who met at the start of the season. Our Pontifex spoke first, informing us that he had spoken with Faelon about our best approach should we decide to extend our investigations of diabolic foes into the city of Dublin. While there is no bar in the Hermetic code upon us travelling as we will it was suggested that we would do well to contact the senior redcap of the Hibernian tribunal, Maga Floridia of Glencoghlea covenant, who knows the city well and has agents within it. It was also reported that there have been no sightings of lights or tremors at Mynydd Myddin and we remain hopeful that our efforts there have banished the Dragon as well as broken the veil that hid that place. With travel there likely to be much easier it was suggested that an expedition head there in Summer.

More disturbingly we have had no further news on the investigations that the Quaesitorii have made into Brother William and the Brothers in Christ. Given that we we responsible for for leading the capture of our enemy it is disappointing that they hold any intelligence gained so closely and Maximus was asked to speak with his pater to ask for some further news. There was also discussion held regarding what items Fabius could most usefully turn his hand to for the covenant later this year and it seems that we have agreed that a device that allows communication over a distance would be of the greatest value. He believed that a necklace laced with walnut would give him the required sympathy to craft something that would meet our needs.

Half the council announced that they would be remaining within the covenant this season undertaking magical researches. Urbanus of course is travelling to London to prepare for his ascension to the throne of England later this year and we wished him the best of luck in his endeavours. Lysimachas has agreed to accompany me to Keynesham before spending the remainder of his time at the King's College while I will continue to undertake my duties in Bristol.

The investigations of myself and Lysimachas have confirmed that there is a diabolic presence within Keynesham although we are left with as many questions as we have learned answers. We travelled there accompanied by my man Girardinho, who continues to adopt the guise of Guido for his dealings within Bristol, and the grog Osmer, a reliable man who is at home in the wilderness. After a brief visit to the village itself where I was able to speak with my contacts we made camp in a small copse by the river at a great enough distance from the manor that we would not be disturbed. Initial overnight reconnaissance revealed that the manor was lightly guarded upon its walls by just two guards and we agreed that myself and Lysimachas would be the ones to enter the property and see what we could learn. The following night, rendered invisible by spell, we successfully infiltrated the building, climbing in through a window upon the first floor as the two entrances on the ground were both barred from within. I detected that there was a dog in one of the rooms and a man awake upstairs so we initially proceeded to the basement. There was a guard down there, within a small cell complex secured from within, but he was asleep and it was no great task to apport beyond the doors and grant my sodalis entry. There were two doors of the small chamber we had entered and Lysimachas determined that one was a cell with a figure also sleeping under a blanket. The other door was stoutly made and locked but my skills with a pick were sufficient to grant us entry. Within was a chest which contained the Lords monies and a ledger. Lysimachas made a very brief study of the book and we decided to steal it away and return it again after a few days. Covering all sign of our entry we returned upstairs and slipped out of the window, although as we did so I heard the figure upstairs again once more and there was something strange about their gait. There was some difficulty as we left as one of the guards sensed something of our departure but I was able to use a spell to change his memories slightly and we slipped away without being revealed.

A little further study of the ledger indicated that the earliest it was likely to be studied was two weeks hence and so it was agreed that I would return to Bristol to look at it while Lysimachas travelled to Gloucester before returning to help me put it back. I have to say those days were most frustrating as I learned far less from the ledger thatn I had hoped. It contained a family genealogy that revealed that the Knight's legitimate heir was called Thomas and had been born a little over thirty years previously. There were also details of the landholding and it was clear that the knight taxes it very heavily, making good coin for such a small holding. When Lysimachas returned I asked him to spend a day looking at it as I had been trying to identify if there was any link with the Black Knives. His keen wit found signs that the manor's income had risen a little during their period of dominance but nothing that would amount to evidence were we to attempt to use it in the mundane courts.

Private journal: I brought Lysimachas to my house within the city as like me his gift bears lightly upon him and I it is surely useful to have one who knows where I may be found in an emergency. I believe he understood why I was keen that no more obvious magus ever came to the place and readily agreed to keep my secret.

When we returned to Keynesham it was clear that there was some event within the village and we discovered that Sir Gerald had dies a few days previously and his son was to be anointed as the new knight of the manor. What was clear from the people of the village was that they were greatly afeared about what this would mean. While the last knight had been a harsh overseer his son was regarded with something closer to terror. I also spied a young woman from the manor talking to what appeared to be a farmer in the church and it was clear that the news she had given him was met with some concern. We agreed that the ceremony was likely to mean that the manor would barely have a soul within it and thus too good an opportunity for further investigation, but that it would be useful to have Girardinho remain to observe events.

The following day myself and Lysimachas cast enchantments upon ourselves to aid out entry but one of my sodalis' spells went awry. He had sought to grant me the ability to see beyond his invisibility but instead I was rendered sightless. Rather than lose such an opportunity however I was able to use a tincture that grants an effect similar to the spell the Eyes of the Bat and this gave me enough understanding of the world around me to continue. As we had suspected almost everyone left with just an elderly guard seemingly remaining, although we were forced to hide in the room with the dog after we entered. Fortunately I have a spell to calm such creatures and after this brief moment of alarm it was an easy enough task to return the ledger whence it had come, though it was necessary to enchant the prisoner in the cell so that he fell into a sleep so that we could work undisturbed. Given that we suspected that the rest of the building was empty and that ceremonies in the village were likely to last the whole day we took the chance to enter the room on the top floor of the building. As we opened the door however we heard a woman's voice asking if it was Thomas who entered. We hesitated a moment and then rushed in. Lysimachas tells me that the drapes were drawn and the room was very dark despite the daylight without although I was unaware of such nuance. At first I could espy no other occupant but as I looked beneath the bed I was assailed by a creature that can only have been some kind of demon. It was the body of a serpent but with a head that resembled to my altered sight a man or woman. Fortunately I bear upon me an enchantment crafted by Fabius that was effective against such a fell creature and it was destroyed in the bright light of the Perdo Vim effect. We swiftly searched the room but finding nothing resolved to make our escape. Unfortunately the guard had heard something of the disturbance and despite my efforts I was unable to deal with him save with a mortal attack. As we exited the window we had entered through we could hear the fast beat of a horses hooves. There was a moment when I did not believe we would clear the manor before whoever returned had reached us, and given the involvement of the infernal who knows whether our illusions would have been effective. Nevertheless we were able to get clear and we returned swiftly to the camp. Osmer had a few minutes to attempt to eliminate our traces as best as he could but with a hue and cry obvious from the village I determined that our best option was to leave immediately. Making our way to the river so that it might seem to any trackers that we had swum across I gave him a leap of homecoming potion and once he and Lysimachas had left apported back myself.

When I returned to Bristol shortly afterwards I was able to make contact with Girardinho and learn what he had witnessed from within the village. He reported that Sir Thomas had a strange manner to his walk and was unable to mount or dismount his steed without aid. He also wore a cloak that covered his right arm which Girardinho was able to report was withered and much shortened. During the ceremony within the church the new knight suddenly left and it was him that we had heard riding hard to the manor. Perhaps in some way he sensed that some ill had befallen the demon or it had sent some message to him in some way. Girardinho said that he returned to the church for a short while but had the door barred, leaving only him and the corpse of his father within. He then exited and raised a levy to search for the intruders and Girardinho departed when he was able. I wonder whether Sir Gerald is truly dead at all. Have we uncovered another of the disciples of the Black Knives or is this something else. The link with Martin seems to point to the former but there is still much intelligence that must be gathered.

I spent the remainder of the season furthering my intelligence sources from among the merchants of that city and making a study of the gangs that are now establishing themselves within Bristol. There are five in total, with two , including Girardinho's, in the docks, two within the poor quarters of the city and a final more loosely affiliated group operating throughout. It seems that the market centre remains broadly neutral for the time being.

Summer

Our council began with a discussion of the events within Keynesham the previous season. While I sensed that Lysimachus would have preferred to strike against the new Knight immediately, my preference that we should continue to gather intelligence to discover whether there were any links between these events and the Fells of Bristol was supported by a majority. Lysimachus then suggested that Maximus, with his gift of the second sight and study in spirits, could help us investigate the mystery of whether Sir Gerald is alive or dead. He said that he would consider such over the remainder of this year as it is unlikely I will have an opportunity to return until the next Spring or Summer. We will also consult with Urbanus when he returns as to what options we might pursue within the sphere of his political influence as King. This discussion led on to a brief exchange regarding the Brothers in Christ. Maximus reported that he had been unable to speak with his pater regarding the questioning of Brother William. Astrius said that he was travelling to Blackthorn this season to formally ask for Kira's disappearance to be investigated and that he would take the opportunity to speak with the Senior Quaesitor about what has been learned.

Fabius announced that his House meeting was to take place in summer two years hence and that he would soon be turning his attention to the enchantment of his competition entry. He intends to create a double sided mirror, using the mercurial silver that we have gathered, that links effects so that one side will read the surface thoughts of whoever looks into it while the other portrays that image in some way. This season he will create an item for the covenant that allows communication over a distance. Maximus announced that he was attuning a Talisman this season so it was agreed to postpone the exploration of the new Mynydd Myddyn until Autumn.

The season passed quietly with the Redcap Alanus the only notable visitor to the covenant. He reported that the Mongol horde far to the East had routed the Seljuk army and that their allies in the Order of Suleiman had suffered significant losses. The horde continues to head west and the easternmost covenants of Novgorod, Transylvania and Thebes are under threat. House Flambeau is to meet in Summer next year at Coeris covenant, no doubt to take battle to the enemy. My own House has also called a meeting at Cad Gadu for this Autumn. Alanus also confirmed that the English crown had changed with King Aeddan declared dead and Uren the new sovereign of the realm.

Autumn

Marius returned to the covenant, King Aeddan now being dead, and reported that the handover of power went smoothly. Urbanus is likely to face some issues from some of the Barons and possibly the Scots but Marius was hopeful that France will continue to honour their treaty and that supported by De Percy our sodales should be able to handle affairs without great difficulty. Our council reiterated that he was welcome to remain within Severn Temple as he wished and it is likely that his presence here will be greater than it has been for many years. Indeed, we agreed to his suggestion that he take the role of spymaster for the covenant, giving more time for Constantius to pursue his alchemical art as well as accompanying us on trips abroad.

Astrius then reported that he had spoken with Luvidicus and that while the Senior Quaesitor was not prepared to share any intelligence on suspected traitors within the order he did reveal that they had identified another monastery where the Brothers in Christ has good hold, at a place called Shipley near York. Brother William had apparently spent some time there when hunting a witch. Our Pontifex also said that it was considered too soon for a formal investigation into the disappearance of Kira although he intends to seek intelligence within the non magical realm.

Once again the journey to Mynydd Myddyn has been delayed as Lysimachas had suffered a magical misfortune when experimenting on a spell in Summer and had suffered a small injury as a result. He and Maximus intend to travel in the winter despite the poor weather conditions.

I spent the season within Cad Gadu but it was I am told another peaceful season within the covenant. While there I met with McKeith who, following a visit to what he calls the otherworld, supported our belief that the threat from the Dragon within Mynydd Myddyn has abated.

Private Journal:

Arriving at Cad Gadu in the early part of the season I spoke with Edith, who informed me that she had requested the House meeting. She wished to ask the House to declare the Brothers in Christ as House enemies. While this is likely to be reviewed at a Grand Tribunal in the future it will give us an opportunity to take firm action in the meantime and she was keen that I take a significant role in these efforts. I was glad to accept, for not only is the sect a clear enemy of my House and covenant but Edith is a figure I have a great deal of respect for, her drive and ambition steering Ex Miscellanea to greater purpose whilst our Primus presents a safe face for the rest of the order. As the meeting drew closer and magi from predominantly the western tribunals began to arrive it was clear that I was not alone in believing that Edith is the effective leader of the House for I heard similar sentiments many times. The motion that she raised, the only order of business, was comfortably carried and whilst it applies to the whole House various magi from Hibernia, Loch Leglean and Stonehenge were selected to coteries within each tribunal. Within Stonehenge we shall be led by Edith, who will co-ordinate the information that we learn and set our course of action. We have four seers and visionaries, Gilda, Toby, Owain, and Renwick. Fergus and Matthias from Narwold are with us as is the elementalist Geddyn when his duties at Holy Isle permit. Edith is not the only herbalist for we also have Palleas of Borri Tor and Luddwyn who resides in Wales, and is also an alchemist I am told. Dalan of Oakham Vale has good contacts within society and a fair spy network in the east of the land and Hywella, another lone maga within Wales, has some sensitivity to the presence of the dominion and those who practice divine ritual. I am to be the tip of this spear and Edith herself has offered to support me with the crafting of poisons.


While at Cad Gadu I met a number of magi from my House but I was taken by Maga Lorraine who resides in Carron Valley covenant in the Loch Leglean tribunal. Apparently this is where Fabius spent his apprenticeship and she regarded him with a fitting degree of respect. She asked me to carry a message to my sodales as she wants to commission some items once he has time.

Winter

The news that I brought from my House meeting caused varying degrees of concern within the council. Ex Miscellanea has declared the Brothers in Christ enemies of the House and will pursue active measures to rid them from this tribunal and beyond. Unsurprisingly Maximus was most vocal about the dangers of our decision and quick to remind me of the dangers of mundane interference. I could tell that there were others at our table who harboured reservations but to their credit they asked merely what help could be offered.

Fabius also had good news as at the equinox the vis from both the boar Tide and the Spring had returned. It was speculated that the reason could be linked to the change of King in England, as once more we have a gifted magus upon the throne. Marius offered to venture into the faerie regio at some time in the future and see whether he could shed any more light on this.

Private journal:

I believe that the explanations offered in council for the restoration of our vis sources was accepted readily enough by those who were not party to the truth. The ritual that Astrius led with Marius and the Anu has been successful and my sodales is once more restored to his gift. Clearly there is danger in this for such an action is not only in clear violation of the expressed wish of the Grand Tribunal but also means that the Parma Magica is held by a magus outside of the order and there are many within the Order of Hermes who would react with great vengeance against not only Marius but those who have supported him or are privy to the information. I wonder if Astrius truly understands what this means for he is well known to be a vocal supporter of the oath. Perhaps he is well aware and is starting to come to the understanding that an oath, and Order, that can be so easily corrupted has lost whatever purpose it might once have had.


Events within the covenant were peaceful again although the expedition to Mynydd Myddyn is worthy of report. Lysimachus and Maximus, accompanied by Njal and the scout Osmer, determined that the magical aura of the site is now of the 3rd magnitude although it is clear that the all encompassing regio that previously hid the hills and forests has been broken by the events of last year. The tower that stood in the old celt village has collapsed as if centuries of erosion has affected it. The lake water is no longer sulphurous but silty, although Lysimachus was able to summon an Undine to search it and it reported that there are many caves beneath the surface of the water, some of which run for miles, and also some small pale serpents in the deep waters. It may be that there is still a route through one of the passages to the Crystal Caves but my sodales were not in any position to determine such.

From the lake they travelled on to the barrows and it seems that Osmer believed there was some presence there that was unhappy with the intrusion. They were able to determine that beneath the ground there is a regio although they elected not to pursue further investigation on this occasion. Within the ravines there is no trace of the brood who formerly resided there but again there are many caves and tunnels and my sodales were able to locate an old flint axe head that was determined to have Terram vis within it. Within the Great Forest the spirit of the guardian bear is still present and they reported that they had a sense of being stalked while within the boughs. Maximus used a spell to speak with the Great Oak, stripped bare of leaves by the Winter that has returned after so many years, which said that it would give up some of it's sap to what it described as 'servants of the land'. Maximus and Lysimachus decided that as the tree had been tapped many times before the pagan rituals were practiced there they would take some of the sap but they were unable to pierce the trunk and so curtailed their attempt.

There are still two regio boundaries leading up to the hill upon which sit the Dolmens and their Intellego vis filled moss. They were able to make the harvest easily enough but it seems that leaving the 7th magnitude magical aura there is somewhat harder for several times they were unable to find the path back. Eventually they decided to rest and Maximus reported that he had a vision while sleeping on the slopes of the hill, a strange dream in which he saw a forest filled with tormented souls and a gate that he was trying to open. He could hear the baying of hounds from within the forest and espied a woman in a winged cloak. He believes that the spirits of that place do not welcome those of the Christian faith. It seems that the rest was necessary however for after waking they were able to pass back through the regio boundary. The winter was deep on their return and with the heavy snow and lack of food they decided to return to Skenfrith to provision themselves once more before returning and making a further assay of the cave system that myself and Lysimachus have explored so often before. Maximus was unable to enter due to the narrowness of the passages and so remained without with Osmer but Lysimachus and Njal made a good exploration. Much there is the same although less grand than on previous visits, and they were able to recover several sources of vis before returning to Severn Temple close to the first days of Spring.

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