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Scribed by Husam

Spring 1247 AD

The first order of business at the first council of the new year concerned the application of Maga Phaedra to the covenant. She made a good representation to the council, highlighting the benefits that she could bring to the covenant both in terms of magical research and assisting with the local faerie. Erla then questioned her on her attitude to several topics, the horde, Urbanus and Aeddan, and finally her views on non-hermetic talents. After Phaedra took her leave so that we could consider her candidacy Erla told council that she felt that there was something not quite right about her, some hollowness in her nature. She told us that her questioning had been designed to try and draw an answer from Phaedra that might be contentious rather than designed to satisfy the ears of the magi present. There was a lively discussion about this, with Lysimachus clearly firmly opposed to Erla's view and keenly supportive of her gaining a place on the council. Eventually we called Maga Phaedra back in to ask her a further question concerning the Brothers in Christ and as before she gave a good answer that accorded with many of the views on the council. We discussed her application once more and then moved to a vote. Erla and Astrius both voted against her candidacy and as such application requires unanimity we informed Phaedra that she had been unsuccessful. She was disappointed but took it with good grace and I am sure that she will find a home at another covenant with little difficulty.

I formerly announced to the council that I had taken William as an apprentice and there was the common discussion about how we might aid the covenant over the course of the year to come. Erla announced that with her success at gathering herbs she could greatly strengthen our herb garden with further tending and this was agreed by all. Astrius announced that he would craft further potions to effect the leap of homecoming and also confirmed the arrangements for mine and his journey to Durenmar for the emergency Grand Tribunal in summer.

The season passed with little event although news from Wales continued to be a concern with Daffyd ap Gwynedd striking against Cerdigon with the support of the recently defeated Pembroke. We also had another magus approach with a view to membership of our council. Magus Daedelus of Tremere is the filius of Maga Alyssia who resides at Trevalga and appears to have some prodigious talent at Rego for one of his age. He has some physical ailments that mean he is unlikely to travel widely but his desire is to be a Warden of his House, skilled in great defensive rituals. It was agreed that he would stay at the covenant until a decision was made at the Autumn council.

Summer

Myself and Astrius were already upon the sea when the council met at the start of the season and thus I pray indulgence if there are any errors in my scribing of that I have since heard from that meeting and after. I understand that Erla proposed that it would be a good use of the covenant's resources to craft a longevity potion for Blanche and that given her status as Amica, Magus Renwick might wish to support the cost. It was agreed to defer the decision until a later council. With all magi making their own private studies that season the meeting was short but as they retired from the council chamber a knocking was heard from the Great Hall and as they investigated it was clear that it came from the door to the strange regio level beyond. Eventually the decision was taken to open the portal and beyond was an aged wizard, Archimagus Petrus, who said that he had come to speak with Lysimachus. He departed at some point later, after their conversation.

The journey that we made across to the Holy Roman Empire and Durenmar was uneventful. We travelled initially upon the vessel owned by House Mercere, accompanied by my Primus, our Praeca, Quaesitor Faelon and Magus Alanus. Primus Erin seemed strangely withdrawn and the word was that he had recently suffered a significant twilight although he was no longer in that mysterious realm. As we arrived at the Domus Magnus of House Bonisagus we were guided to well appointed buildings set aside for each of the Houses. Within Ex Miscellanea there was a magus from each of Loch Leglean, Hibernia and Novgorod as well as our own contingent.

Private Journal: I spoke at some length with Magus Leopold of Novgorod who lives in the covenant of Winter's End. Like Astrius he follows the pagan gods but he had much of interest to impart regarding the christian threat in his own tribunal with a group called the Teutonic Knights persecuting those who shared his faith. He also knew much of the shapeshifters and did not believe that they were enemies of the order but merely trying to survive the threat that the church represents. He was also greatly concerned that if the order declared the horde as enemies then it would have repercussions due to their alliance with the King's of that distant land. He is a passionate man and I hope one who will, with Edith's likely ascension to the role of Prima in years to come, be a strong voice for our House. I agreed an invite to visit him of sorts, with him happy to act as my host should I be able to locate his covenant.

I spent some time before the Grand Council convened speaking with other magi regarding the point of order that Edith was to bring concerning the right of Stonehenge tribunal to declare the Brothers in Christ enemies of the tribunal. I believe that my words found good reception amongst many although Magus Amandus of Tytalus, the Praeco of the Normandy tribunal, said he believed that if we were successful it might lead to Quaesitor Faelon being placed under greater sway from the Senior Quaesitor. I relayed his comments to Edith but she was confident that her motion was necessary and would be successful. I also asked her to ensure that the issue of who constituted the horde be firmly established before any vote was taken on making them enemies of the order. I also had a chance to speak with my sodales Urbanus and Aeddan.

Eventually the meeting began, with Primus Bonisagus opening by establishing the agenda for the meeting. For the first two days we heard news from the Houses and, while I am sure that the scribes of Durenmar will have made far greater record than I, the news is I believe worth recording for readers of this journal. Primus Bonisagus informed us of the loss of the Archimagus Petrus to final twilight, reporting that this had occurred in the spring of this year. Primus Tremere related detail of the Horde, their attack upon Coeris and subsequent actions within the Transylvania tribunal. Primus Viperion spoke for Flambeau, relating the threats to the order. While these remain wide and include the Un-named House, Order of Odin and the Moorish Sorcerors he believed that the Horde, aided by their shapeshifter allies, was by far the greatest. His House have offered a bounty of a queen of vis for anyone who can slay the shaman Latoo. House Guernicus have made investigation into the Shapeshifters and their capabilities. They believe that while they share some aspect of their nature with House Bjornaer they also have the ability to create some kind of effect in their clothing and weapons that is similar to a talisman, allowing transformation of these items with them. Prima Bjornaer spoke next and stated that her House regarded the Mongol Horde as a dread and terrible enemy but did not consider the shapeshifters to be a homogeneous group. She said that there were many clans and that while some have allegiance to the horde, and should be considered enemies, many have not and should not be attacked by the order.

House Mercere expressed concerns over the difficulties arising upon some trade routes, particularly through the Pillars of Hercules, due to Moorish pirates. They have also learned that the Moorish sorcerer involved in the death of Fabius and Ildynach is called Afzal el Hashem. He has an apprentice and his powers appear to be over the winds and the ability to raise efreet. House Verditius followed by placing as bounty on his head, an item with up to five rooks of vis.

House Merinita expressed concern about the aggressive expansion of the dominion and the consequent waning of faerie power. It seems that the last silver gates to Arcadia in both Normandy and Provence have now been lost. Urbanus, as Primus Jerbiton, also raised concerns about church aggression. There is continued pursuit of heretics in the south of France and he is worried about the growing power of the inquisition. There is also the Iberian reconquista and the appearance of further orders of Christian Knights. He further informed the Grand Tribunal that the Horde had struck also against the Persians and that within the Levant Egyptian power was rising greatly. Prima Tytalus discussed the curious behaviour of monks in Normandy who are meeting unknown persons in secret places. She was confident that their co-conspirators were not nobles, clergy or peasant but rather from a different section of society. None could have failed to notice her direct look at Primus Guernicus as she relayed this.

House Criamon shared the visions and portents that the Cave of Twisted Shadows has thrown concerning a new power that is coming to the world, one which will one day bring down the walls of castles and cut down soldiers in their thousands. He said that this power comes from the far east and that it is a secret that the order must learn of quickly. Oda Gosh of House Aethiopicus confirmed Urbanus' news about the rising Egyptian power. They have a great army of slave soldiers, called the Mamluk, who are religious zealots and utterly ruthless. It is their power that should be feared.

In amongst all this news my own House had the opportunity on the second day to raise the point of order concerning the the unjust decision of Stonehenge's Senior Quaesitor to overule the tribunal's decision to declare the Brothers in Christ our enemies. Primus Guernicus made his argument that the ruling protected the dedicated covenant as it meant that the tribunal could not tell Quaesitor Faelon what to do and that as the dedicated covenant was not fully part of one tribunal, serving as it does the three western tribunals, then suggesting that Faelon could preside at Stonehenge suggests he could preside at the others. Edith responded strongly, reminding all present that Faelon holds his vote in Stonehenge tribunal (although he does not use it as a Quaesitor) and is bound by the decisions of that tribunal that do not conflict with his dedicated task. There was an hour's recess but all the Primi voted to support the point of order, save Verditius, Guernicus, Bonisagus and Mercere who abstained. The vote was carried widely amongst the other attendees and passed, meaning that with immediate effect the Brothers in Christ became enemies of Stonehenge tribunal.

On the third day Primus Tremere proposed the motion that the Mongols and their allies be declared enemies of the Order of Hermes. There was a great deal of debate throughout the day. Primus Flambeau, who unsurprisingly was supportive of the motion, said that the Horde was not merely a problem for the eastern tribunals and that he believed that each tribunal should be required to arrange covenants to provide service in support of the battle. This was agreed as an amendment to the vote. Prima Bjornaer said that her House supported the motion against the Horde but had concerns over the issue of their allies. She agreed that those who battled alongside the Horde should be treated as enemies but that she was worried that the Order has in the past not always drawn a clear line and that there must be clear evidence of alliance before any action is taken. Primus Flambeau was angered by her statement but Primus Tremere was much more diplomatic. He agreed that his motion should only apply where an alliance of a particular group has been clearly proven such as those that attacked Coeris. He asked that House Bjornaer be tasked with helping to identify the clans that have allied with the Horde and the Prima agreed. Archimagus Sidonius of Mercere had grave concerns about the motion for the same reasons that the Order had previously shied away from declaring war on hell. He said that such a motion will invite further attacks upon us and that the Empire of the Khan runs a vast distance to the East, beyond the Indus and Cathay, and far exceeding the size of the Order's lands. He had a map prepared and there was something of a gasp from the gathered audience for if accurate his words were no exaggeration.

I had the opportunity to ask some questions of my own during the debate, concerning whether allies could renounce their ties to the Horde and whether such a motion would apply to mundane allies such as the King's of Rus. I was informed regarding the first that once someone has been declared an enemy there is no precedent for the decision being reversed. The second question raised some greater discussion regarding the differences between alliance, diplomacy and submission. Primus Guerniucs ruled that, despite the potential dangers that the Horde is a mundane empire and has other non magical supporters, there was sufficient precedent to make such a motion legal. Eventually we reached the end of the day and Primus Bonisagus said that we would vote the following morning.

Private Journal: I discussed the debate at some length with Edith that evening and it was clear that we both saw the potential opportunities that this precedent might grant in the future. If enemies can be made of this vast empire can it then be done with other groups such as the Roman Church?

The vote took place as agreed and was overwhelmingly passed, with fully three quarters of the sigils tallied in support. Primus Bonisagus reminded all gathered that there was still a requirement to keep our actions far from the mundane world to avoid bringing any wrath upon ourselves in accordance with the primary code. The decision thus made we were bid farewell from Durenmar and returned safely to Stonehenge for the end of the season, accompanied by Aeddan.

Autumn

For the second time this year the council began by considering a potential new member. Daedelus' application was a great deal less contentious than the earlier however, with all present speaking in support of it, and it was not long before he joined us to sign the charter and take the sixth seat at the table. The Pontifex and myself relayed events from the Grand Tribunal and it became apparent that there was some mystery at the heart of Petrus' visit to the covenant given that he had been declared lost in final twilight before he had arrived. It was agreed that Lysimachus would write a letter to Durenmar so that they make what investigations they deem necessary. We also discussed the comments that Primus Tytalus made concerning the actions of the Brothers in Christ in Normandy. Maximus said that here was precedent, as long as there is no impact upon the order, for magi to conspire with the sect beyond the shores of our tribunal.

Aeddan was then invited to speak to the council. He began with the events at Tintern, stating that he has wrestled long and hard with his conscience over the decision that he made. Maximus questioned the ethics of that decision and Aeddan said that his act had been one of a desperate man, reacting to a threat that had been identified by Maximus in a vision. When questioned regarding his status at the covenant he said that he knew he was a guest, despite the past, and that he will always abide by the rulings that the council makes. It was agreed that, despite the concerns of some present about the actions he had taken, he remained welcome to reside at the covenant. He went on to tell us some news relating to the political situation in the Kingdom. The Egyptians taking Jerusalem will have an impact as it is likely that a crusade will be called and with the French Kings so pious some of the continental threats that Urbanus faces will go away for a while. This allows him the time to attend to the matters of Britain. He knows that he needs an heir and that this will settle some of the issues that Daffyd ap Gwynedd has raised, although there will be a need to ensure that he has not taken so much of Wales that he can not be ousted from his self declared title. The Scottish threat is relatively contained but in order to reduce the likelihood of a rebellion from the English Barons Urbanus is considering introducing some extension of the democracy first granted in the Great Charter.

Most present were undertaking services this season with just Astrius and Maximus about their own affairs. I spent the season establishing a new guise to allow me to spend time in Bristol, that of a bargeman named Oswin. I was able to discover that the Italian is said to have returned towards the end of Summer and that he is making examples of those who may have got a little greedy while he was away, with beatings and murders increasing in number. At the end of the season I also received a message from Aiken who runs the Wagoneer's Rest saying that he feared he was in danger.

The other matter worth recording is Lysimachus' time in the hills of Mynydd Myddyn. He took the Grog Sergeant Connell with him to assist as he ventured into new parts of the cave system that we had not previously explored. From the large cavern where in the past myself and Constantius had been swept away he took the passage at the far end which eventually led him to a cave full of crystals, different in appearance from the descriptions that we have had from the Pontifex of his time in the Crystal Caves but as events were to show clearly linked. Our sodalis touched one of the crystals and his companion reports that he instantly froze, staring intently into the heart of the crystal and impossible to rouse from his trance. He resisted all attempts to pull him away from the crystal that was glowing with a faint milky light until Connell was able to exert stronger force. As he did so however Lysimachus immediately went limp and collapsed into a deep slumber from which he could not be lifted. After quite some time Connell decided to attempt to break the crystal and struck it with a hammer. A small crack appeared in the crystal but it was accompanied by a deafening ringing. It seemed to have a positive effect however as Lysimachus rose and after a few minutes to allow their hearing to return they considered their course of action. After a few minutes it became apparent that they had entered a regio as Lysimachus found that the path by which they had entered no longer led back to the covenant but rather looped back upon itself. They made several attempts to locate the exit but with no joy. Lysimachas summoned an earth elemental and sent it out to try and find another exit but with no joy, though it reported a great underwater lake some way below them. He then sent it out to try and cross the regio boundary and it disappeared from view. They were unable to follow this one but our sodalis summoned another and using a rope to bind them all asked it to lead them out and this time was met with success. His journey back through the caves was not easy and at one point he hurt himself while flying across the underground river, but eventually they reached the exit and realised that almost the whole season had passed.

Winter

Lysimachus began by telling us of his adventure in Mynydd Myddyn. He reported that while his body was in a trance his mind leapt far away, into something like a dream but which also felt much like reality. He found himself in the Dean, many years before our own time and there came across a group of riders bearing a Red Dragon banner that he saved from being ambushed. Among the riders was a man who he identified as Merlin himself, far older than when he had met him in Mynydd Myddin but still able to recall that meeting and delighted to hear that their scheme to leave a mark had worked. It seems that Merlin was travelling with a young charismatic man called Arthur, a legendary King of this island's past I understand. Lysimachus said that they travelled to the site of the covenant and while no buildings were there there was a standing stone and a large gathering of the small parties comrades and other heroes from the legendary past. Merlin offered to use a spell to send Lysimachus back and as he did so that was when Lysimachus roused to the deafening ringing of the crystal cracked by Connell. While this strange old magic continues to be difficult to understand Lysimachus clearly believes that there may well be a standing stone buried somewhere within the covenant and that we should consider asking for the assistance of Arcanus in investigating this. Our sodalis cast a spell to show us the scene at the covenant but something went awry and instead we began to see the dream that he had just described while he stood frzen once more. Astrius swiftly broke his line of sight with his cloak and while the image faded, Lysimachus was left gravely confused like a child. We took a recess and met again the following morning when he had recovered his wits.

We discussed my discoveries in Bristol and agreed that we should provide a refuge for those who have served us there and if necessary close down the Wagoneer's Rest. Erla stated that the herb garden was preceding well and again requested that we provide the vis for a longevity potion for Blanche. It was agreed that we would determine the cost from Mattheus and then vote on the matter when we had such information.

As we had a good supply of vis it was agreed that as service Maximus would create an enchantment to allow the posing of the silent question and Daedelus an enchantment to ward mundane beasts.

I travelled to Gloucester with Aeddan and spoke with De Percy. While we were able to safely relocate Aiken, his family and the others that worked at the Inn to Lydney we decided the best course of action to prevent any funds being taken by Girardinho's infernal gang it would be safest to burn both the inn and the house that I owned within Bristol.

During the winter the covenant was visited by Inquisitor Gaufredas. I do not entirely understand what the nature of his visit was but he spent some time with both Astrius and Maximus and asked but a single question of me concerning Urbanus and his use of magic.

The season ended with a strange rumbling and vibration within the covenant which turned out to be related to some magical study of Lysimachus which had resulted in a fire within his laboratory. I understand that he lost some considerable amount of his personal vis stocks

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