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Scribed by Astrius

Spring 1264 AD

On the eve of the first council meeting of the new year, Husam introduced me to a new consors he had brought back with him from the Cad Gadu. The man’s name is Cathal and it was immediately apparent that the blood of giants runs strongly in him. He is apparently brother to Harriet, one of the new magi who have joined the refounded Domus Magnus Ex Miscellania. Cathal said that he wishes to seek his own destiny and escape his sister’s shadow. He seemed like an impressive figure and was clearly already a formidable warrior despite his young years. I have set him as a sergeant in the turb and asked Captain Conal to train him and gain a sense of his worth and potential as a future successor to our long-serving Irishman.

All magi were present next day as we began with a review of how each could serve the covenant in the forthcoming year. Lysimachus shall scribe some of his spells, including that which allows him to walk on the air, Erla will craft some more Leap of Homecoming potions, Husam will visit Bristol to assay what evil lurks within that city’s walls and Maximus and I will extract vim vis for the covenant stores.

This season it was to be just Lysimachus and I within the covenant, for the other three magi were abroad on various ventures. Husam was taking ship to Durenmar, Erla was off on some expedition with her shield grog Agnes, for which she said she might not return in time for the Summer council, and Maximus was also abroad on some private venture, though his mission was shorter than he had first thought for he returned some three weeks later and set himself to study in the library. I set about Constanza’s final season of training and, all being well, she shall take her gauntlet later in the year.

Not long into the season word reached us that the siege around Gloucester had been finally lifted as an army led by the Earl of Gloucester and allied Marcher Lords left London and marched on the besieging Welsh army. A great battle ensued in the Cotswold hills to the East. Lysimachus was able to watch it from afar and reported a furious melee centred around the hill where the Welsh had made their stand. Although the Welsh fought hard, the English cavalry ultimately proved decisive and the Welsh were put to flight. English losses were heavy though, including the Earl of Gloucester himself, for he had been over-eager to lead the fight to recover his city personally and was cut-off, mobbed and slain. The Welsh have for now retreated to Worcester castle, while the much depleted English army licks its wounds. Word is that London is now only lightly defended so it is likely that de Montfort and his fellow rebels will seize their chance and march upon it soon.

Summer

Erla had not yet returned so there were just four of us at the Summer council. Lysimachus reported what he had seen of the battle and there was much speculation as to what the result would mean for the country in general and the covenant in particular. It was clear that the Queen Regent Eleanor’s position was much weakened and it is possible that war may break out once again over her French holdings as well as in England.

Regarding covenant service, Lysimachus suggested that the creation of an enchantment to aid in the manufacture of paper might prove to be a good source of future income. He seemed sure that the market for paper will only grow, though it seems like an overly flimsy medium to me. However, with the labour needed to create vellum it seemed worth exploring so Lysimachus will speak with some of the scholars at the Kings College Gloucester to see what can be achieved.

Maximus requested use of the Severn Star for a short trip to Holy Isle. I know not the purpose of his journey but he brought back excellent news – Laurius, Faelon and McKeidh have had a great success in their tireless fight against the UnNamed House and have tracked and slain Raimund, the wizard who so recently attacked Severn Temple. Of the three who answered the late Damhain Allaidh’s call, only Siobhan remains alive. Let us hope that that is soon put to rights.

A week or so before the end of the season word reached the covenant through our spies that a great battle had been fought to the North of London, resulting in defeat for Queen Eleanor’s forces. She and her son Theo (Urbanus’s son) have been captured by Simon de Montfort, though nothing else of their fate is yet known.

Autumn

With Erla now returned, the council was at full strength as we met. The main matter for discussion was what the latest battle and capture of the Queen Regent and heir to the throne would mean for us and Emma. The concern is that Theo may well act as an arcane connection to Emma and Simon de Montfort is likely all-too aware of her existence. While he may well not be able to extract details of her location from Eleanor, if he has also captured her Lord Castellan he will likely be able to break him through torture. However, the fate of the man is not yet known so with luck he has eluded the rebel forces. We agreed on the urgent need for more information on the situation and to that end Lysimachus and Husam will change their agreed services to journey to London and investigate.

One question that arose was what would happen if Theo was not able to ascend to the throne – how would that affect the split between Emma’s status as Queen of the Land and having no connection to the mundane ruler? As best I can guess, the faerie powers are unlikely to be overly concerned with such, but it may prove to have some effect on the Pagan powers and could reduce her influence somewhat, though it is hard to know definitively.

Astrius’s secret journal
It became clear during discussions that Lysimachus and Husam, doubtless emboldened by their successes at Toma, were trying as subtly as they could to ensure that specific plans of what to do about Theo were not discussed. I did not speak to them about it, either during the meeting or after, and nor did they share any of their plans with me, but I think it likely that they are planning some sort of rescue mission for Theo and possibly Eleanor too. Given Maximus’s previous insistence on making fat-headed rulings that prevented us from taking useful actions in the past this seems eminently sensible to me.


At the beginning of the season, I set Constanza her gauntlet. The challenge was to uncover a mystery dating back to 1261. Husam and his then apprentice, William, had partially investigated it but other events had intervened before they could complete their investigations and I thought a good test of my apprentice’s wits, as well as her art, satisfied as I was as to her valour and martial prowess in the fight against the Erequith’s forces in the faerie regio. In winter of 1261, the journal records that our spies brought report of “a monstrous hound” that 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.

After several weeks, with a little back and forth and the help of two of the turb, Corporal Alwyn and Hugo, as well as Tiarnan’s Mirror, Constanza reported that she had uncovered what had happened. Walding, an ambitious and greedy carpenter from Wollaston, had discovered that his stepdaughter was pregnant with the child of the son of a poor fisherman, ruining his hopes of getting a good dowry for her. He and his brother lured the unfortunate couple out of the village and murdered them on or near the road, burying their bodies in a shallow grave in the woods nearby. This act attracted a Black Shuck of some sort, set to avenge itself on the wrongdoers. One of whom was in the party of merchants first chased by the hound. Having identified the murderers, and with a magistrate due to investigate the death of one of the fishermen who she had spoken to, Constanza left signs indicating that the bodies had been discovered outside Walding’s house, causing him and his brother to sneak out that night to try and move them. The shuck seized its chance and attacked them in the woods by the road and Constanza and the grogs joined in. The two murderers were swiftly slain and Corporal Alwyn, who has the Sight, reported that the restless spirits of the two dead lovers then left to cross the Veil, the injustice that bound them to their bodies now resolved.

The villagers and magistrate needed little persuading afterwards that the disappearance of Walding and his brother were connected to the deaths and so all ended well. With the mystery successfully solved and a good resolution, I was pleased to inform Constanza that she had passed her gauntlet. In accordance with her wishes, we shall journey to the Domus Magnus, Doissetep, next year so that she may be formally sworn into the Order and House Flambeau by Primus Viperion.

Winter

I began the meeting by reporting Constanza’s success and set claim on the ship for a journey to Bordeaux at the start of Summer. Lysimachus and Husam then reported what they had learnt from their autumn investigations. The main rebel nobles have a very uneasy alliance, with de Montfort not much more than a figurehead with little serious prospect of becoming King himself. The two primary power players are Norfolk and Warwick, whose precise mundane rank escapes me. Dukes, Earls or some such. In any event, they dislike each other intensely so if one makes a move for the throne it is likely to be opposed by the other. Theo and Eleanor are apparently safe enough for now, and encouragingly on that front, it seems that the Lord Castellan has escaped capture and is plotting their rescue.

With no real monarch, the parliament of nobles debates how to run the country, though how long such an untried institution can continue in charge I do not know. But, at least it seems that things are more stable than we had feared and, for now, we can simply keep an eye on things using the network put together by Lysimachus and Husam.

A few weeks after the winter solstice, with a light snow covering the ground, Maga Acerbia of Mercere arrived bringing news. Apart from that relating to the civil war which we already knew, she reported that, with the fall of Egypt to the Mongol armies, contact with the lands of House Ethiopicus has been lost. In other news relating to the Mongols, House Tremere has taken the rather unprecedented step of inviting magi from outside their House to attend the meeting of House Tremere to discuss what can be done about the Mongol Horde.

Before the maga left, I scribed letters for her to carry to Praeco Iberia and Primus Mercere, asking for information about the Moorish Pirates. With Damhain Allaidh the Undying dead, and the latest UnNamed House foray repelled, it is perhaps time to consider how other old enemies of the Order can be dealt with, especially they who murdered Fabius and Ildenacht.

There was little else to report for the rest of that year. With such an eventful last few years, let us hope for more such seasons such that we can all grow in our art, ready to meet the challenges that undoubtedly lie ahead.






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