Scribed by Lysimachus

Spring 1261 AD

The Council met on the first day of spring with all members save Husam present. Astrius had used the Leap of Homecoming to travel down from Cad Gadu the previous evening, and he announced his intention to travel back there shortly after the meeting. There was no additional news from winter beyond that recorded in Maximus’ journal, so we turned our attention to how we might defeat Davnalleous and assist the defence of Cad Gadu. Given the suspicion that the mythical lord Myrnaddyrn might once have acted as Davnalleous’ jailer, we discussed whether we should approach him to ascertain the reasons for his prisoner’s release, but Astrius was keen to undertake further research into the man at the libraries of Cad Gadu before doing so. He was uncertain how visitors might be received, as he described Myrnaddyrn as a stern and uncompromising figure from his time on the King’s Council. In the meantime, I proposed to visit Mynydd Myddyn in summer to determine whether the crystal caves still retained their power following the destruction of the regio. If their magic persists, Arcanus has agreed to travel there later in the year to see whether he can contact the ancient magician Myddyn to find out more about the origins of Davnalleous.

Looking ahead to our activities for the rest of the year, Maximus agreed to extract vim vis on behalf of the covenant this season ahead of his journey to Magvillus in summer for the meeting of House Guernicus. Erla, who did not perform a season’s service last year, agreed to perform two unspecified services in the second half of this year. In Husam’s absence, Astrius noted that our sodalis’ activities infiltrating the Welsh courts to learn more about any connection between Llewellyn’s activities and those of Davnalleous’ allies amongst the Scottish lowlanders would also count as service to the covenant, as would my trips to the crystal caves and Astrius’ researches into Myrnaddyrn.

The final item discussed at the council meeting concerned the finances of the King’s College. I explained that, since I had started taking the chancellor’s stipend of 500d per year on behalf of the covenant, the ability of the college to fund its expansion had been severely curtailed. I had recently stepped in to fill the gap from my own resources, but this had exhausted my funds. I, therefore, proposed that I discontinue taking the stipend, which would require the covenant to seek alternative sources of income to balance its accounts. We debated the matter for some time, and we ultimately agreed a compromise whereby I shall take only half of the stipend on behalf of the covenant for the time being to allow the covenant to look for further funds. Maximus raised the possibility of selling copies of certain texts from our mundane library to the universities, monasteries or merchant intermediaries. This is not an idea without merit, but the key task will be to locate interested buyers outside of the academic establishments, as they already have extensive libraries.

To provide further intelligence on Davnalleous’ plans, Maximus agreed to conduct a divination that evening. His previous experience of scrying directly on Davnalleous had not gone well, so he decided to focus his attention on one the former Merinitans, Swain, who we reasoned might spend time away from their main army given his facility for using wild animals to gather intelligence. The next morning, Maximus revealed that he had seen a vision of a great army spilling out of a fortress and marching east on midsummer’s day while a bird with silver eyes watched over its progress. From the terrain, Maximus and Astrius surmised that the fortress may be one of the castles in the north of Wales, which would mean the army’s eastwards march might well take it towards Cad Gadu. If the vision holds true, it seems we have a season and a half to thwart its progress.

A month into the season, Astrius returned from Cad Gadu. He explained that he had uncovered some details of Myrnaddyrn’s history that indicated that he had been a knight at the court of King Arthur who had at one time imprisoned the King’s nemesis, Mordred, for several years. Mordred had eventually been released by his mother, the sorceress Morgan le Fay, who had cursed Myrnaddyrn for his actions. Astrius decided that he would now make the journey to Myrnaddyrn’s realm to confront the former knight. Taking his apprentice Constansa and a grog with him, he announced that he hoped to be back before the end of the season, though he could not be sure that he would be able to do so given that Myrnaddyrn dwells within a deep regio.

I learned later that Husam had spent the season infiltrating Llewellyn’s court with Alicia. Posing as refugees from English attacks in the south of Wales, they managed to obtain positions assisting the quartermaster at Blaenau Ffestiniog through judicious use of mentem magic to discredit the previous officeholder. While they were there, Llewellyn, who now styles himself as King of Wales, rather than just Prince of Gwynedd, was visited by emissaries from Queen Regent Eleanor’s Scottish and Irish enemies. Husam surmised that the visit presaged an offer of alliance between the groups, though he was unable to observe the negotiations directly as they took place in private chambers to which he had no access. Forewarned about Maximus’ vision, Husam and Alicia also detected an unusual magpie watching the town, which they took to be Swain or one of his avian spies. Towards the end of the season, Alicia trailed Llewellyn and the emissaries while they went hunting in a nearby forest. Though she was unable to get near to the party for fear of tipping them off to her presence, she was eventually able to detect that Llewellyn’s mind had been affected by a faerie spell intended to implant an idea or suggestion. Believing that this might shortly cause him to divert his march towards Cad Gadu, she withdrew from the scene to deliver the message to that covenant, leaving Husam in place to follow the army.


Astrius had not returned by the start of summer, so Maximus, Erla and I held a short council meeting. I indicated that I planned to travel to Mynydd Myddyn to determine whether the crystal caves retain their magic, and Maximus confirmed his intention to travel to his House meeting. Given the need for Erla to remain within the covenant, we voted to overturn the covenant’s stipulation that at least one magus should stay in Lydney on this occasion. Maximus and I voted in favour of this proposition, though Erla abstained in a move that was as puzzling as it was irrelevant.

The following day, Luvidicus and Zephyros arrived from Blackthorn. At Prima Edith’s request, Maximus and Luvidicus held a meeting of the Concilium Quaesitori to review their previous ruling about whether blatant magics could be used in defence of Cad Gadu. The result of the meeting confirmed their previous positions: they provided a list of precedents showing the penalties handed out in previous cases where blatant magics had been used against mundane armies.

Zephyros left shortly thereafter to deliver this information to Edith, but before he did, he provided an update on news from the wider world. Davnalleous’ Scottish army has moved towards the English town of Carlisle, and the Earl of York has raised an army to check his progress. The Queen Regent has also sent forces from Wales to support the Earl. Eleanor has also obtained a Papal Bull that releases her from the stipulations of the Provisions of Oxford, which has angered many of her political opponents, most notably Simon de Montford, the Earl of Leicester. Separately, the Pope has also prohibited the flagellants, a religious sect that seeks spiritual purity through self-mortification. Further afield, Constantinople has been retaken by the Nicaean general Alexios Strategopoulos, restoring the city to the Byzantine Emperor, Michael VIII Palaiologos. This is the first time that the city has been in Greek hands for almost sixty years, though the Empire is much weakened by the disreputable Latin rule. More ominously, the Mongols have inflicted a further defeat on the Bulgars and have also moved towards the unguarded lands of Egypt.

Early in the season, I travelled to the caves of Mynydd Myddyn with Emma and Silas. The journey through the twisting caverns was relatively uneventful, though Silas got himself stuck in the narrower passages on a couple of occasions, and so I used the spell Rock to Viscid Clay to remove the offending obstructions. We passed through the regio boundary into the crystal caves, and to my eyes and ears, they appeared exactly as they had done when I last travelled there some years ago. Strange images flickered in the crystals, suggesting that they retained their divinatory magic. We therefore made our way back south to carry a message to Arcanus to confirm our discovery.

[Lysimachus’ private journal: While we were in the caves, Emma spied the image of a man in one of the crystals, who warned her that the place was dangerous. From her description, the man might have been her great-grandfather, Theo, who was slain in the caves many years ago. As we left the place, I recounted the tale of how Theo was killed in mysterious circumstances by the faerie sorceress Nimue. I hope this will instil a slight caution in Emma around the faerie folk, who often have desires and motivations that seem unfathomably alien.]

Only a week had passed after the trip to Mynydd Myddyn, so I was able to catch a ship to the south coast and make my way to Carrion Moor to speak with Arcanus in person. Given the urgency of finding out more about the origins of Davnalleous, he agreed to return immediately to Mynydd Myddyn to carry out a further investigation. There, he used a ritual that I cannot claim to understand fully to act as something of an anchor, which allowed me to access the divinatory power of the crystals while Arcanus retained the ability to end the vision should it run on too long.

As I touched the crystal, I found myself in a dark forest, and I was almost ridden down by a mounted man travelling rapidly through the trees. Using the Tongue of the Folk, I was able to communicate with him, and I announced myself as a magician ally of Myddyn. He accepted my words, and he guided me to a large army camp, where Arthur’s forces were marshalling for a battle the next morning against his mortal enemy, Mordred. The mood of the camp was grim, for the men seemed weary and disheartened, as though worn down by many years of struggle. Myddyn recognised me immediately. He said he had little time, for he needed to prepare for the battle, but he understood the importance of my task after I mentioned the return of Davnalleous. He explained that Davnalleous had been a northern king who was a rival to Arthur in the early years of his reign. He had been a dangerous foe for, although Myddyn said that he could been killed easily enough, he bore a curse from the pagan god Arawn that meant his spirit could never rest, which meant he would return from the dead after only a short period. Myddyn sought the aid of Gofannon and Lugh to defeat him; the former had required promises of future aid, while the latter asked for no such price. Myddyn was able to counter Davnalleous’ spells, which took some time to cast, while others slew him, and the magic of the faeries prevented his spirit from returning. His body was taken rapidly to the halls of Myrnaddyrn, who imprisoned him within a maze from which he could not escape.

[Lysimachus’ private journal: I mentioned to Myddyn that Emma now possessed the Crown of Math. He indicated that we must at all costs prevent Davnalleous from taking it from her, for he would use its powers for ill. When I indicated that Emma was still a child, he taught me a strange Welsh incantation, I barely understand, that apparently has the power to unleash the hidden magic of the crown. He said that Emma could potentially use it to turn the power of the land against Davnalleous, though this would be extremely dangerous and unpredictable; it should therefore be used only as a last resort. I need to think about this further, as I remain wary of the implications of such a decision.]

At first light, Myddyn departed, and I was left to observe the battle from a distance. It was a brutal, murderous affair, with no quarter given on either side. Arthur and Mordred briefly fought in single combat at one point, each dealing the other a heavy wound, though I did not see the conclusion of their encounter. As the reserves on each side massed for one final charge, the scene vanished and I found myself back in the crystal caves, for Arcanus had grown too weary to continue with his ritual. Quite how these encounters with Myddyn are possible I still do not know, but I am remain convinced of their veracity.

We travelled back to Severn Temple, where I discovered that Astrius had also returned from his journey to speak with Myrnaddyrn. The entrance to that lord’s realm lies on the far shore of a lake that borders an ancient forest in Powys. Astrius travelled there with his apprentice Constansa and a grog, John. The place is highly magical: Astrius estimated that it lies within a magical aura of the fourth magnitude, even before he crossed the boundary to the first regio. He left his two companions by the shore of the lake, giving them instructions to wait until the end of spring before returning to Severn Temple if he had not yet returned. Astrius crossed the first regio boundary, which lay around a long-decayed jetty, where he found a small coracle. As he rowed across the lake, he saw phantoms in the mist that shrouded the place, but he made his way safely to the far side, where he was greeted by a guardsman dressed in the lorica segmentata of the ancient Romans. The guardsman indicated that Astrius was expected, and he guided him through the streets of a large town that had not been visible from the other side of the lake. They made their way through another regio boundary and entered a large fortress. The place had many confusing passages, but Astrius’ guide knew the way well enough, and they eventually arrived at the great hall, where Myrnaddyrn was seated by the fire.

[Lysimachus’ private journal: Myrnaddyrn greeted Astrius in a polite but reserved manner, and he was evidently unsure of the reason for his visit. The atmosphere improved after Astrius presented Myrnaddyrn with with a signed letter from Emma asking that he be treated with due courtesy. Myrnaddyrn had been unaware of the return of the Crown of Math, and he seemed glad that the former conflict between the King’s Council and the Order was at an end.]

Myrnaddyrn explained that the King’s Council had released Davnalleous in retaliation for the Order’s involvement in the death of Aeddan. Once again, the short sightedness of that body astounds me, particularly given that it recognised the threat that Davnalleous poses to their own interests. Myrnaddyrn confirmed Myddyn’s story that Davnalleous had originally been a northern rival to Arthur who was based at the site we now know as Cad Gadu. Cursed to remain deathless, he had been imprisoned with the aid of the faeries on two occasions: the first, by Myddyn with the aid of Gofannon and Lugh; and the second, by Pralix with the aid of Gofannon and Nimue. Myrnaddyrn agreed that he would once again imprison Davnalleous if he could be brought to his fortress, though he noted that our enemy was unlikely to fall for the same trick twice. He hinted that Davnalleous had sought knowledge that was forbidden to any man, which made him a deadly foe. Astrius left Myrnaddyrn on good terms and travelled back to the shores of the lake, where he encountered Constansa and Connal. Constansa explained that she had run out of food several days ago, and John had become lost in the ancient woods while looking for game. She had been on her way to Blackthorn to seek supplies when she encountered Alicia and Erla, who had ventured to the lake to deliver news of Llewellyn’s movements to Astrius.

With Llewellyn’s army marching east, Astrius and I travelled to Cad Gadu to join the other magi who had assembled to defend the domus magnus. Over twenty members of the Tribunal had heeded Prima Edith’s request for aid, providing the covenant with a wide range of magical arts, experience and wisdom. We erected a more powerful Aegis of the Hearth – of the twelfth magnitude, I believe – to provide additional protection, and we discussed how we planned to counter each of the three main threats facing the covenant: Llewellyn’s army; Davnalleous himself; and the former members of House Merinita. Edith distributed many of the items created by the Tribunal, along with significant amounts of vis that could be used to boost our spells. Our choices of how to distribute our forces would subsequently prove to be disastrous: those with powerful ranged spells manned the walls, while others skilled with healing magics assembled in the ground floor chamber of the covenant’s central tower. Little did we realise at the time, but the decisions on where to stand would determine whether magi survived the encounter or perished in the fire and rubble.

The battle was opened when Moravius conjured a great storm about Llewellyn’s army, intending to turn the ground to mud to make his advance difficult or indeed impossible. This plan was also designed to test whether Davnalleous accompanied the army, for we reasoned that he would be forced to counter Moravius’ spell if he wished the army to continue its march. Indeed, the storm raged for only a relatively short while before the clouds lifted and the rain stopped. Moravius recast his spell twice more, but each time the storm lasted an even shorter amount of time before clear skies returned. We had little time to consider the implications of this event before the Aegis was breached as a howling gale appeared within the covenant itself. Fierce winds, driving rain and lightning strikes forced those on the walls to seek shelter in the guardhouses. One of the lightning strikes hit the great oak tree at the centre of the covenant, sheering off one of its main branches.

I must admit that I failed to realise it in the first few moments of the attack, but the storm was actually an enormous air elemental, rather than simply the equivalent of a formulaic spell, which meant that it was able to adapt its attacks over time to cause the most damage. We all realised this error shortly thereafter, as the Aegis was breached a second time as a great earth elemental rose out of the ground beneath the main tower, causing all those who had assemble there to plunge into the void it created. The tower itself began to crack, becoming increasingly unsafe as the elemental shook its foundations. The Aegis was then breached for a third time as a fire elemental began to ignite anything flammable. The fire and air elementals worked in concert to turn the rain into drops of oil, which were then set aflame. A raging inferno soon engulfed all of the outside sections of the covenant, making escape from the tower almost impossible. Those in the tower were only marginally more fortunate, as the oily raindrops also flowed through the cracks created by the earth elemental, starting fires throughout the structure. I learned later that Geddyn estimated that the elementals were each of the fifteenth or sixteenth magnitude in size, which would scarcely seem believable had I not witnessed their destructive power at first hand.

With the defence of the covenant now hopeless, those who could still flee did so, though several did not make it out, as the wards they had erected against the fire proved insufficiently powerful. Archimaga Serentea attempted to use vis to boost the Seven League Stride to transport Blodwyn out of harm’s way, but she lost control of the spell and fell into a temporary twilight. Though this may have saved Syrentia’s life, Blodwyn was not so fortunate, and her bodily remains have not yet been found. Many of those who survived re-assembled at Blackthorn. A count of the numbers revealed the scale of the disaster. As I write, a full fifteen members of the Tribunal, including many of its most senior figures, are missing and presumed dead. These include: Edith, Alicia, Magnus, Owain, Cynwise, Gilda, Blodwyn, Fergus, Cedric, Richard, Alwyn, William, Matthias, Veritius and Acerius. It may be that at least some of them may subsequently prove to have survived, but I do not hold out much hope.

[Lysimachus’ private journal: Emma and I were based in Edith’s quarters, as it was judged to be the safest part of the covenant. Edith had lent Emma the Robes of Dusty Dawn as an additional source of protection. I do not know whether they might have saved Edith’s life had she retained them, but at least the artefact has been preserved for her successor. We both used Leap of Homecoming potions to travel back to Severn Temple once the tower became unstable; without these, I do not doubt that we would not have escaped].

Back at Severn Temple, Astrius conducted a ritual at the spring to communicate with the Morrigan. She knew of our defeat, and she agreed to use her powers to make it difficult for Davnalleous to find us. These would not hold forever, but they may provide us with the time we need to regroup. She also told him that it had cost Davnalleous much to summon elementals of such great power: he would now be extremely weary, and he would have had to have slain some or all of the former Merinitans, as his summoning magics were boosted by their blood. She suggested that it would take him some months to recover, which is a welcome relief, though it is not clear exactly how long this buys us. The Tribunal and House Ex Miscellanea will require much reorganisation, and who knows what the implications will be for the measures we planned to raise at the Grand Tribunal next year. This disaster may have cost us more than just lives – terrible though that price may be – it may also have fatally weakened our political hand and change the course of the Order’s history.


The autumn council meeting was a sombre affair that was dominated by discussion of the implications of the disaster at Cad Gadu. We resolved to pursue Davnalleous while he sought to recover from the toll taken by his ritual magics. Maximus, Astrius and I agreed to travel to Blackthorn at the start of the season to offer our services to Luvidicus, who we supposed would lead any investigation of Davnalleous’ whereabouts. We also discussed the various options for trapping Davnalleous’ spirit should we successfully slay him, but all of the possible alternatives seemed equally unattractive, so the matter was left unresolved for the time being.

At Blackthorn, Zephyros first provided us with news from across the Tribunal. Carlisle has fallen to the lowland Scottish raiders, as a relief army under the Earl of York was delayed by a large rock fall. Further south, King Llewellyn has laid siege to Chester. The Queen Regent’s attempts to break the siege have been hampered by the need to suppress a further rebellion by English barons under Simon de Montfort. Although de Montfort’s forces are modest, Eleanor has had to split her armies, which raises the possibility than none will be able to achieve a decisive victory. Equally ominously for the crown is the rumour that the French may use the opportunity to press their claims to Eleanor’s lands on the continent, which would test the Queen Regent’s loyalty to her new country should her ancestral lands of Aquitaine be threatened.

Luvidicus announced that he would call an emergency meeting of the Tribunal for the final week of autumn to elect a new Praeco. He also accepted our offer of aid and decided that he would accompany Maximus and Astrius on an investigation of the site where Davnalleous summoned the elementals, while Archimaga Syrentia and I pursue the question of how to trap our enemy’s undying spirit. Syrentia and I debated the various options for some time before agreeing that she would first approach Llyr, who we hoped would not drive a hard bargain for his aid, before seeking a route to the distant kingdom of Lugh. The latter journey will be difficult, for Lugh’s realm is said to be very distant and the route is not fully understood, yet we judged it to be preferable to dealing with Gofannon given his penchant for manipulation.

[Lysimachus’ private journal: I originally planned to accompany Syrentia, but while we were at Blackthorn, several of us had an eerie dream in which we heard Davnalleous call out to “all those who remember the land” with an offer of immortality and mundane power in exchange for delivering “the girl and the crown” to him. Given the threat to Emma’s safety should any take up this offer, I immediately travelled back to the covenant to take further precautions. I have provided her and Silas with a range of magical potions that I hope will allow them to escape any attack, but there remains great risk should Davnalleous’ offer attract magical practitioners from within or without the Order.]

Before they departed on their investigation, Maximus attempted to divine the location of the former Merinitan Tancred’s death, hoping to circumvent Davnalleous’ protection against scrying by not asking about him directly. This proved only partially successful: Maximus located the site of the ritual in which Tancred died, but Davnalleous detected his presence and imparted a mocking warning that he had left a surprise for anyone who sought to disturb the place. Our sodales determined to proceed despite the danger, and they travelled swiftly to a forested hillside overlooking the ruins of Cad Gadu. Maximus’ keen eyes were able to detect a ghostly green light shining above a clearing some way into the forest, which he suggested was a sign that a very powerful spirit was present. Maximus managed to locate the ghosts of Alwyn and Owain in the rubble of Cad Gadu, and he sought to persuade them to scout the ritual site. The former was afraid and the latter made the strange demand for a corpse in return for his aid, so Maximus instead found the ghost of a grog sergeant, who agreed to perform the task. This proved to be a dangerous error, for the grog returned from the forest clearing with a strange green fire in his eyes, suggesting that he was under the control of the spirit placed there Davnalleous. Luvidicus and Maximus fled the scene, leaving Astrius to battle the possessed grog alone. Fortunately, he managed to defeat it without great injury.

[Lysimachus’ private journal: Astrius was, in truth, overcome by the dragon spirit that lies within his sword, which compelled him to chase the retreating grog into the clearing. He remembered nothing of the battle, for he awoke several hours later, apparently unharmed, However, he could no longer sense the dragon’s spirit within his blade; instead, he felt a malevolent presence lurking in the back of his mind. He guessed that this meant the dragon had been defeated by Davnalleous’ guardian, which had taken its place. This poses a great danger, for the new spirit could potentially take control of his mind and seize the crown should he return to Severn Temple.]

Regrouping the next morning, the three magi entered the forest clearing, where they found signs of Davnalleous’ ritual practices, including large bloodstains that indicated there had been several deaths. Using the Eyes of the Past, Luvidicus witnessed Davnalleous’ sorceries of the previous season. He saw three of the former Merinitans, presumably compelled by Davnalleous’ spirits, slit their own throats to power his rituals before the elementalist left the area, elated but exhausted by his exertions. Maximus them summoned Tancred’s ghost and asked it various questions about Davnalleous’ activities. The ghost was reasonably cooperative, though it claimed that it could not speak on certain topics, and it predicted the downfall of various covenants, including Solis Castle, Blackthorn and Severn Temple. However, it made several requests for blood, claiming that this would strengthen its severed connection to the mundane realm, allowing it to speak more freely. Thinking this was rather suspicious, Luvidicus speculatively cast Demon’s Eternal Oblivion at the ghost, which was immediately banished. It is impossible to know with certainty what went wrong with Maximus’ summoning ritual, but the most parsimonious explanation is that an infernal spirit, perhaps attracted to the area by the great loss of life, decided to pose as Tancred’s ghost in an attempt to lure the magi into making an inadvertent bargain. Maximus repeated his ritual, but this time no ghost appeared, suggesting that Davnalleous’ sorceries had consumed the spirits of the three Merinitans. Alas, this means that we have learned little of value from the investigation, for the infernal spirit’s words were no doubt speculations and deceptions. The magi made their way back to Blackthorn, though not before once again attempting to seek out Owain’s ghost given the similarities between its request and that of the infernal spirit. Despite a long search, there was no sign of it, which may suggest that the same infernal spirit was behind both encounters.

A week before the end of the season, Luvidicus convened a sparsely attended emergency Tribunal meeting to elect a new Praeco. As is tradition, the three oldest magi were invited to stand for the position, though some candidates chose not to do so, opening up the list to their slightly younger peers. After withdrawals by MacKeidh, Faelon, Constantine and Tewdric, the final slate included Moravius, Arcanus and Liberata. Moravius spoke first, pinning his hopes on a strategy of returning the vis tithes stored up by Edith to the covenants that had originally supplied them. Arcanus gave a more considered speech that highlighted his substantial researches into the ancient magical traditions of these lands and his view that the solution to our problems would likely to found among these powers, rather than through Hermetic spell and art. Finally, Liberata focussed on practical steps that could be taken to strengthen the Tribunal’s hand, including pressing the Praeco of Loch Leglean to provide us with assistance, appointing a Praefectus and distributing Leap of Homecoming potions to allow magi to escape future attacks by Davnalleous. I am glad to say that Moravius’ transparent bribery proved ineffective, netting him a mere two votes, whereas the contest between Arcanus and Liberata was much closer, with the former carrying the day by a small margin. He immediately demonstrated his willingness to listen to others’ ideas, agreeing with Liberata’s suggestion to commission Leap of Homecoming potions and Husam’s proposal to extend this to cover magi who dwell outside covenants. It will be interesting to see how Arcanus’ measured leadership copes with the crisis that threatens the Tribunal; stylistically, he could scarcely be more different than Edith, but I have high hopes that he shall prove to be just as effective.


We held a short council meeting at the start of the season that largely dealt with administrative matters. During the season, various members of the covenant experienced strange dreams, some of which foretold great calamities while others were ripe with promise. The dreams were accompanied by physical manifestations that suggest a magical resurgence in the land, for the spring at Severn Temple bubbled with vis and a local standing stone shone forth with a powerful light. Those with knowledge of the pagan powers interpreted this as a sign of the return of Ludd, a warrior god associated with the sun. Those of Christian faith, in contrast, saw signs that the final battle with the forces of the Antichrist was drawing near. Such feelings were reinforced by news that several churches and cathedrals had suffered damage from earth tremors.

[Lysimachus’ private journal: After weighing the options for many months, I decided at the start of the season that I must take bolder steps to weaken Davnalleous’ powers. I had hoped that Syrentia would return bearing an agreement with Llyr and Lugh, but there has been no sign of her. I remained reluctant to trust Gofannon, so ultimately I decided that I would teach Emma the spell entrusted to me by Myddyn that would release the hidden powers of the crown. It was, in many ways, a great leap into the unknown, for though I suspected it would strengthen the pagan powers, I do not know to what extent it will be possible to bind and direct their actions through Emma’s influence. Still, it cannot be denied that they have protected this covenant during the times of direst need, and whether this is ultimately in service to their own aims, we have undoubtedly benefitted from their aid. The dreams all speak of conflict: between man and beast; civilisation and the wild; and pagans and the Church. This is ominous indeed, particularly as Emma herself dreamed that she led an army in opposition to a great host gathering from abroad. I hope this is merely allegory, and I shall strive to moderate any attempts to provoke an existential clash. Maximus chided me for my decision, declaring that it would cost many lives; I hope he is wrong, though I cannot be sure, and I was forced to remind him of his promise to hold the secret of Emma and the crown close lest he inform his pater or others of his fears.]

Later in the season, Astrius returned with welcome news from his pagan allies that Davnalleous had been stripped of the aid of the three great spirits that he had brought from the magical realm. This had broken his hold over the two remaining former members of House Merinita, and Maximus used the opportunity to divine their whereabouts. In his dreams, he saw Margaret make her way through a dark wood filled with yellow-eyed creatures towards a gate set into the earth; Fausta, in contrast, was seen travelling in a ship called the Great Gull (or possibly the Grey Gull) towards a sea cave close to three rock spires. Maximus also sought to discover how we might find Davnalleous himself, but it seems the elementalist still retains some of his powers to thwart divinatory magics, for Maximus simply saw his own death at the hands of Idnath, amicus to Astrius, which does not make any sense.

Husam spent the season training his apprentice William in the vicinity of Lydney, and he managed to pick up some news from passing merchants. It seems that the Queen Regent and Earl of Gloucester have won a narrow victory over Simon de Montfort, forcing the rebellious Earl to retreat towards Leicester. Further north, the Scottish raiders had fallen into infighting, and the Baron of Richmond had managed to liberate Carlisle with only a small force. The Welsh siege of Chester continues, with Llewellyn holding most of Cheshire. Closer to home, a monstrous hound has been spotted on the road between Wollaston and Chepstow. It apparently chased a group of travelling merchants back to Wollaston, only giving up its pursuit as it came within sight of the village’s church.

[Lysimachus’ private journal: In the closing chapter of what has been a most trying year, Maximus brought some good cheer through his gift giving on the Solstice festival. Most notably, he presented Emma with an extraordinarily fine cloak, which he claimed he no longer needed as its striking appearance interfered with his ability to move subtly through mundane society, though I suspect his real reason is that the cloak contains enchantments that could protect Emma from her from her enemies. Maximus once again demonstrates a generosity of spirit that reminds us he remains the moral compass of the covenant. We may yet need his quiet wisdom to find a safe passage through the storm that is to come.]