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Scribed by Maximus

Spring 1255 AD

We met on a cold morning and Lysimacus informed us of the events of the missing records and the fall out of it. He also informed us that he had been summoned to court in the summer of the year. He told us that the relationship with the queen was difficult but he felt there was some trust between her and him. Husam pointed out that he should be cautious of such trust as royalty is notoriously fickle on such matters. I was also questioned and explained that I had seen the demon with my second sight, and I postulated that the demon might be a spiritual demon. Lysimacus quashed this idea saying it had corporeal form in his meetings with him but I was still confused by the demon's ability to walk through the wall as a ghost. Husam could not understand the difference between corporeal form and spiritual form in regard to demons and stated that vim should always be efficacious which I agreed.

I explained about my vision and how the demon had appeared and told me information which I was not able to tell council as my previous ruling stood. Husam made a point that we should extract Lysimachus as soon as possible from Gloucester as the longer he was there the more danger he was in. I inquired of the council if any knew of any who could hurt it. We discussed attempting to learn its name as it could enable us to destroy it more easily but came to no conclusion how to do so.

I then went on to tell of my investigations of the device but unfortunately had to inform the covenant that the scabbard I investigated was restricted to Nathir’s bloodline and had the effect of when squeezed it put a very powerful poison on a blade.

Astrius informed us that Constantius had seen much skirmishing to the north of the forest and Huntley priory had been attacked. We pondered why they had attacked it and it was supposed that it was for food and because it was fortified but I wonder if there was not some other reason due to the spiritual creature called Barak that fights with the Welsh.

We then discussed our yearly tasks and Astrius stated he would extract Vis in summer as Erla needed the vis for her longevity potion in autumn. Daedalus also said he would extract Vis in spring. Lysimachus then discussed the trade of books to the covenant in Normandy called Black Road but he was not sure how long he would be detained in summer in London, so he asked if any other might be able to do the trade. I volunteered and so did Husam, in the end Lysimachus said it should be a short journey and Husam was picked to go to Bristol and onward to Normandy. Erla said she would work on her potions against the plague that the Erechwyth sends our way. I volunteered to research another magical artifact in winter and the specific Item will be picked in the winter council.

Husam and Astrius instructed their apprentices this season, Lysimachus studied from the Vim books, Daedalus studied from Animal text and I studied from personal Muto Vis.

Vis was then distributed at the rate of three pawns per season's service performed. We were then also given twenty pennies each, but I responded that I would like to purchase the silver necklace with the sapphire that the steward had valued at eighty pennies and asked if I could contribute sixty pennies to the covenant and take the necklace which was agreed by the pontifex with no objections from council.

The next day Astrius flew to Blackthorn, refreshing arcane connections to there and Mynydd Merddyn on the way and saw large armies around Monmouth, which had not fallen. Constantius reported that Welsh ships had been seen in the Severn Estuary and we worried over dinner about how to avoid the conflict for our trading ships.

A few weeks into the season Lysimachus confirmed that my quaesitorial ruling asking if hints could be dropped about things he knows but that information might have come from dubious sources and so I unfortunately had to tell him that he was not permitted to pass this information even with the caveat that this information came from demons. I did this as acting on this information could eventually make us dependant on the demon's information and lead to our destruction. Many tribunals have brought case against Magi for less.

A few weeks later it was reported that our spies in the northern Dean had been killed or rendered silent and Husam reported that the English Army had moved north to Ledbury and met up with another army from the Marcher lords and northern lords and then advanced south towards Monmouth where he expected a huge battle near Raglan castle. I volunteered to go down to Lydney and check for sigils in case the Erechwyth's magi helpers have been casting magics around the village. To my horror when I went there I saw what looked like the results of a battle and all the people were gone but there were no bodies but a few burning buildings and flew back to the covenant to report this disturbing event. It looked like giant creatures had attacked and I also saw a Cor watching, which was traditionally an agent of the Bethwyn, the priestess of the pagan spirit Morrigan. Astrius agreed to accompany me to the village there I talked with a spirit and established what had happened. There was a woman that called for a surrender but the wolves and spiders dispatched those who did not succumb. I cast some Intellego magics to see the events and saw the attack on the village. I witnessed a massive spider the size of a house attack the village with wolves the size of ponies and giant spiders. Astrius said the Erechwyth might have taken over the Morrigan’s glade and thus her agents. The staff that the woman wielded was bounded with black metal which struck Astrius as not very Fae as they have an aversion to iron; he speculated some form of control may be exerted over the minions of the Morrigan. Astrius also saw the tracks of many creatures escorting the remaining villagers to the forest. We then went up to the mine and checked that settlement which was also barren of folk. The scariest part of this is that the Erechwyth may have created another Pybaw, a monstrous spider that even the Ruadan could not control. When we reported this calamity we talked about how we could replace the income but I was worried about the fate of the poor people of Lydney.

Constantius reported that evidence of a battle near Raglan had occurred close to the end of the season and that there seemed to of been an inconclusive result. Lysimachus bravely scouted the area and spotted the remnants of the battle, several thousand dead lay there with their bodies being picked over by the crows and I hoped that they would soon get a good Christian burial. The Welsh were digging in near Monmouth and the English near Raglan which leaves us in a very dangerous position.

The last days of spring brought Zephyrus to our covenant and he reported news both hermetic and mundane. Of news hermetic, Damhain-allaidh had formed a large warband with the ex-Merinitans and they intended to attack south. The magi of Scafell had been offered sanctuary by prima Edith to retreat to avoid certain death. Magus Magnus stated that he would relinquish Scafell over his dead body but the others had left for the safety of Cad Gadu. Of news mundane he reported of the inconclusive battle between the Welsh and the English. The Duke of Warwick flanked the bowmen and it was reported that captain Barak single handedly slew the Duke by beheading him after dragging from his horse. Queen Eleanor had ordered a full assay of her lands so she could fully tax the lands to support her war against the Welsh. Upon the continent the final stronghold of the heretic Cathars had fallen to the church, and with that the end of the Albigensian crusade might see and end. In Lincoln a lad named Hugh had been taken by a band of Jews and slaughtered and ate him this led to a pogrom against the Jews of that city and appeals had been made to the Queen to exile all the Jews from the country. The Mongols now threaten a country called Bulgaria and they might go on to threaten Thebes. The Order of Suleiman has taken loses against the Mongol horde. Gethin will attend us during our autumn council and Zepherus brought personal message for Astrius. Astrius warned Zepherus about the attacks of the Erechwyth and that Magi coming here must be careful especially if snow is on the ground. He stayed a few days the recover and then went onwards.

The rest of the season passed without incident.

Summer

We met at council, at which everyone was present. We discussed various subjects starting with our mundane resources. With the loss of the mine, we were starved of iron for our forge and smithy hence and thus sellable goods. We only had monies for 2 years. Lysimachus suggested we could get new miners by trying to recruit free miners in the Dean. He also suggested purchasing raw iron ore in to work, however with war in the land the price would be high and the miners would already have regular merchants to sell to. One thought espoused was that the free miners normally do shallow mining and might not have the skills for deep mining.

Myself and Husam volunteered for this mission to recruit the freeminers and to investigate with magics if Amabilia has cast magics or emplaced her own spies in these camps. We came up with a ruse of saying that Lydney had been destroyed by Welsh raiders. Lysimachus said though if they knew of the real cause of the attack we should not mislead the men to avoid creating distrust between us. We also decided to dig some false graves in Lydney to corroborate our deception. Urla volunteered to escort some grogs down to Lydney to perform that task.

We then went on to discuss Amabilia and the defence of the covenant. I suggested developing a spell to destroy the bindings or the staff in battle. Husam stated that in battle he would instead be attacking Amabilia to kill her, rather than trying to disarm her which seemed logical, but if she managed to run I still felt that my tactic was valid.

We also discussed plans of how to deal with the demon that haunts Gloucester college. We discussed talking to the spirit of Benedict to try and get the name of the demon to enable our magics to work better. Rufus piped up at this point to say that you would have to be very careful as many a tribunal had brought charge of dealing with demons. I volunteered to try it but I would need a council vote on the matter for the record. Daedalus stated he would developed a spell this season. We discussed the paucity of Vis and Astrius stated he would try and gather the non-contested vis but held no hope of success.

Myself and Husam with two men, Sergeant Conal and grog Ode, set off towards Clearwell hill, cutting through the forest as the men said that was the quickest route. We wandered for a while through the forest but then realised we had made a wrong turning as we saw webs and heard a wolf's howl behind us. We decided to head back but both the men strode off in the wrong direction and vanished. It later turned out they had wandered into the the faerie regio and wandered for a while then rested and fell asleep. They were captured and tied up by some strange creatures we had never seen before. Conal managed to escape and then attacked the creature and chased after it and killed it. It seemed to be two bodies fused together to make a flesh spider. This did not seem to be a normal faerie creature and it later turned out to be a creature created by Amabilia. He then went back and checked on Ode but it seemed that he had passed on. He attempted to extricate himself from the Regio but with no luck and found himself ensorcelled by Amabilia.

Back outside the regio, Husam stated we should not follow them into the regio and we returned to the covenant and overnighted there. The next morning, Astrius joined us and we went into the regio and using arcane connection we tried to locate the men. I saw through the use of a spell that Sergeant Conal sat by a lake with eyes of black. Astrius knew where this was and we quickly moved to the place called the Nectan's pool. There we saw Conal deep in a trance and although I was tempted to try and wake him, my sodales said we should wait till he woke. I cast my sight into the magical plane and saw that Conal's eyes had been deceived with a shadowy magic as had the pool around us. I thought this might be a touch of the infernal. This proved good for Connal but bad for the covenant as when he awoke he recited his tale. He stated he had a terrible time, the woman who had saved him from the spiders had asked him to drink from the lake as she had saved him, and that he had then been wandering in a forest and had started to be chased by a evil looking creature which he ran from. A white stag appeared but the evil creature manipulated its hands and the stag's heart burst from its chest. He staggered on tiring and wandered into a circle of trees that seemed peaceful and heard a voice saying “Oh no you have led it in here” then he blacked out. From this we theorised that a demon had been led into the heart of the forest and had started to possess the place. We retreated quickly from the place and back to the covenant, although I did bring a draft of the Nectan's water back to the covenant.

Lysimachus went to the college at Gloucester to find out what was happening there from his friend Philippe who was growing old and grey and plump but who am I to judge as I was once was as fat and slovenly, and to withdraw his monies for the assistance of the covenant. He and Philippe then went down river by barge and thence by ship to London to talk to the queen. There he talked with the Castellan and the Prince and finally the Princess who was very inquisitive of the natural philosophy that Lysimachus espoused. Also in London he sold some of our trinkets and precious stones for the needs of our covenant. He then returned to the Covenant.

Autumn

Our council meeting began with us discussing the heart of the forest and its corruption. Astrius informed those of the council that were not there about the horrible events of our trip into the faerie regio. We invited Conal into our council to get his personal view of the events and he told us with a quiver in his voice about his voyage into the magical realm. We discussed other times magi of this covenant had cleansed the heart but this did not give us any clues. Astrius then pointed out this was not something we could let linger and we vowed to investigate the heart of the forest as soon as possible. We went on to discuss Geddyn's imminent arrival as well.

We approached the heart of the forest with trepidation and entered the glade easily enough. The great tree still dominated the glade but all seemed slightly tainted. Casting my eyes into the magical realm I saw that the tree was starting to sicken and that there was a shadow over the place. I could see dark vines growing up it, digging into the trunk and sucking the very life out of the mighty oak. The rest of the glade seemed sickly to my magical eye with the branches starting to twist in a strange way. The tree seemed to be being possessed by the shadow. We then discussed a plan where Astrius would use his sword that could strike into the magical realm on the tree to kill it and hence the possessing demon. He drew the fell sword which in the magical realm was tinged with blue fire and began to strike the tree. Once, twice, three times he struck the tree and the shadow twisted and writhed, again and again he struck and the shadow died. As this occurred, the blue fire raced along the blade and outlined Astrius’ form, possessing him even as he removed the possession on the tree. A strange trade and one I hoped we didn't regret. Astrius continued to stab the tree even after I called out that the shadow was dead. It was obvious to me that Astrius had become a vessel for the blue fire dragon spirit that inhabited the sword. Then, as I thought we were all surely doomed, a shred of Astrius’ personality enabled him to slam the sword back in its scabbard, extinguishing most of the flame that had possessed him. I say most for it still stained his form in the magical realm. We then hastily beat a retreat out of the glade.

As soon as we exited, we were attacked by the Pybaw in ambush. It lunged at Astrius, fangs dripping in poison. It hit the Pontifex, knocking him down and back into Lysimachus, knocking him down as well. Luckily I was at the back and was able to move out of its direct line of assault. The Pontifex and Lysimachus managed to extricate themselves and both launched lightning bolts at the creature. Atrius had cast two and Lysimachus one, which all hit and blew great holes in the creature. It staggered then fell, catching Lysimachus under its bulk as it died. Then bustling into the glade came several huge wolves. As Astrius and Lysimachus started to deal with the pony-sized wolves, Astrius felt his Parma Magica attacked and warned us that Amabilia was present. He also created a magical fog that I could not see through. It was at this point I feel I made one of the worst decisions of my life. Thinking that I could do nothing against the wolves, and that I would be easy meat for Amabila if she stumbled upon me in the fog, I decided to use my leap of homecoming potion. I reappeared safely at the covenant. Back at the fight Astrius used a device to lift him gently into the air to avoid the ground bound wolves. They then quickly killed off the wolves and Amabilia retreated, not being able to see her targets. Astrius and Lysimachus then returned to the covenant and we discussed the results.

We asked if Urla and Blanche could use their skills of herbalism to repair the damage to the tree. They stated that they would try but could make no guarantee. The next morning I was worried that Rufus had not returned and after a quick discussion with Astrius, I asked if he could cast magics spontaneously to locate Rufus. We flew down to the sight of the fight but could find no trace of him. I then tried to change shape to a Robin, a gift that my bonds allowed but it failed. Returning to the covenant we discussed Rufus’ absence and Lysimachus realised that no matter what the distance from him I should be able to change shape into a Robin. I tried to do that and failed. At that terrible moment I realised that Rufus had been killed. I retreated to my sanctum to mourn and pray for understanding. I dreamt of how he died and it seemed a Cor was observing the Heart saw a robin take wing at dawn and somehow knew that it was Rufus. It mentally contacted Amabilia and asked what she wanted to do. She instructed it to catch my familiar and bring it to her. It then caught up with Rufus who was flying through the treetops, snatched him out of the air and took him to her on the Morrigan’s hill where she slaughtered him in some ritual to create a potion.

I apologise for the delay in writing the journal as I had just had my heart ripped out from my chest by a infernal renounced witch! I vow vengeance upon her and all her kind.

Magus Gethin arrived the next day and they discussed the order they would try and kill the spirits and what they could do against the diviner that Barak was working with. After much planning, they decided to summon Candalo to get his assistance. This he agreed to do as long as Astrius swore to never strike Candalo with the sword of blue fire unless the king of the land allowed it. Astrius swore upon the pagan gods, a blood oath, a binding of Astrius' soul to the deal. With the dread deal done, Candalo said he could call the other two so that they could then be ambushed. Simultaneously it was decided that Husam would kill the Welsh seer.

Husam left for Raglan Castle where the welsh were encamped and entered the tower from the top. He sneaked down the tower and came to the Seer's room. Skilfully insinuating himself into the room he saw the sleeping form of the diviner. Then he saw a spindly demonic shape on the wall that called out warning to his master. Husam lunged for the recumbent form of the “master” and struck him hard with his stiletto blade. The seer flinched as the blade struck home and although it was but a small wound, his back arched like he was being snapped in two and he slumped back to the bed dead. With his death the bound demon vanished in a puff of ichorous smoke. Husam quickly looked around the man's laboratory but discovering nothing to interest him left quickly after thanking god for his victory. He then used seven league stride to return to the main group at Mynydd Myrddyn.

Candalo summoned Mona and quickly Gethin and Lysimachus skilfully summoned elementals to stop the spirit escaping through the relevant elements. As soon as she appeared, Astrius laid into her with the blue fire sword that possesses him. She shrieked “you traitor Candalo” and fought back against the powerful strikes of our Pontifex. At the same time, skeletons seemed to come out of the ground and attacked Gethin and Lysimachus, the danger being if they were forced to drop the binding elementals that Mona would be able to flee through the elements avoiding Astrius' vengeance. But the pair managed to fend off the creatures for long enough for Astrius to strike the final blow and with that Mona's spirit was dispatched. But as seemed to always happen when Astrius uses the blade, he lost all control and the sword possessed him completely. He turned, took two paces and cleaved Candalo in two. The wildfire burned his spirit and the sword then commanded Astrius to slaughter the foe. He finished him off with a piercing blow through his sternum and the fire consumed his spirit, as it seemed to be consuming Astrius’.

The sword then commanded Astrius to kill all around him and he advanced on Gethin who summoned hands from the earth to slow down the rampaging Flambeau. He hacked at the hands and was soon free and Gethin shouted to flee as he took to the air in retreat. Lysimachus created a pit to try and preserve his life, and as Astius extricated himself from there, Lysimachus flew away to safety. Eventually, with no other targets, the spirit of the sword lost its anger and retreated partially back to the sword. Astrius awoke and returned to the covenant.

With the inability to now summon Barak, they decided to disturb me and ask me to have a dream to try and locate him. I numbly agreed to help and slept. In my dream I saw a tower on a cliff and described the location very well and showed them it via a minor illusion. Gethin recognised my description as a place on the north Welsh coast. The three then went forth to the location I described and Gethin and Lysimachus again cast their magics to block the escape routes for the spirit Barak. Astrius then engaged Barak in mortal combat, slowly being possesed again by the sword. It was a very close run thing with Barak using all his warrior tricks he had learnt over the centuries. Eventually, although heavily wounded, Astius slew the spirit and managed somehow to maintain control over the spirit of the sword. Gethin then returned back to Holy Isle and the victorious duo returned to the covenant and their seasonal activities.

The rest of the season passed without incident.

Winter

The Council convened and Astrius informed us that Urla's and Blanche’s efforts were successful and the tree in the heart of the forest would live. This was good news as the resumption of our vis site would be a very useful thing. Of course the vis had dried up when the pagan spirits retreated due to the loss of the crown, so this action can be thought of as hopeful and laying the groundwork for the resumption of vis collection. We discussed how we could take the battle to Amabilia and Lysimachus wanted to locate her. I suggested we capture a cor, as they seem to be able to communicate with her through the regio. I offered to attempt a dream on when and where we could find and destroy Amabilia and it was agreed by council that I should do so. I also asked we should be inquisitive about how Amabila became corrupted. I offered the speculations that she could have met a demon or that the unnamed house could have allied with her at this. Lysimachus proffered the suggestion that there were other ways, implying that he knew the real way and I was wrong. He then stated that due to my ruling he was forbidden from proffering the way he had been told she had been corrupted.

We then discussed our season's services. Husam and Lysimachus volunteered to go to Mynedd Merddyn to collect vis, myself and Astrius agreed to go there also to extract vis from the mound's, and Urla stated she would prepare herbalistic potions. Husam read from texts this season, Lysimachus learnt a spell, I learnt a selection of minor spells, Daedalus learnt imagonem from text and Astrius stated he would be developing a spell.

I informed council of my intention to go on pilgrimage to Rome next year. I offered to meet Lysimachus in London in spring to perform the ritual I had created to determine if someone had the gift. He readily agreed to this and Husam suggested a tavern we could meet in a place called cheapside.

My dream to see where and when we would fight and kill Amabilia was very clear and I saw a circle of crackling blue flame and another circle of shards of ice with a dove between them. This I interpreted that this was a person who will have caused the land to spring to new life and thus brought peace. The vision moved to a place where I saw Amabilia standing on a hill and saw flame and Ice strike her. (Private journal: I saw a black breath escape her mouth and then the vision shifted and I saw myself lying dead).

We gathered the next day and I repeated my vision and was questioned by my sodales. We wondered about this and if this was the only way, whether we were willing to set another up as king of the land as the pagan and faerie spirits consider them.

Husam scouted what was happening west of the Wye and he saw that there was still smoke coming from the castle of Raglan with the royal standard of England over the castle. It quickly became obvious to him that the Welsh had been smashed here and eventually he located them retreating deeper into Wales away from the English. He returned safely and reported this information.

Myself and Astrius journeyed quickly to the barrows and Astrius used spontaneous magics to excavate the door on one of the outlying barrows. We were attacked magically and I intimidated the spirit to restrain its attacks. I then progressed into the barrow and took some of the grave goods. On the way out i became stuck momentarily and let my concentration slip on the spell which held the spirit in check, but due to Astrius lending me his parma, I exited the barrow without being affected by the spirit.

Lysimachus and Husam went to the other vis sites and collected minor amounts of vis from them.

One thing of note, it was a very mild season with regards to the weather and it seems that Amabilia and Erechwyth are fighting out in the Regio, leaving her no time to exert her power outside the Regio. We did try to communicate with the Erechwyth to offer a deal against Amabilia but with no joy as she did not hear our call when Astrius stood on the snows. .

The rest of the season passed without event.


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