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Scribed by Lysimachus

Spring 1266 AD

The full council met on the first day of spring to discuss our plans for the coming year. Winter had been a relatively quiet season, save for the welcome news that the restoration of the royal family had resulted in an improvement in the financial situation of the King’s College, as previously withheld subsidies were made good. As a consequence, I should in future be able to take my full stipend as chancellor, which will bolster the covenant’s mundane resources by a considerable amount each year. While we discussed this topic, Justinian queried how long I would be able to continue as chancellor before suspicions were raised about my unusual longevity. I have now served as chancellor for some 35 years, and there must be few, if any, members of the college who remember my original appointment. It is known that I gained the position at an early age through my political contacts, but this nevertheless means that I must look to relinquishing the role within the next five to ten years. It would be a great shame to lose our connections with the college, but it will be a difficult task to transfer the position between personae without revealing something of our powers to the Crown. I shall have to give this matter more thought.

The meeting swiftly moved on to a discussion of our services for the coming year. It was decided that Husam shall endeavour to recruit a spymaster who can better coordinate our network of informants; Erla shall extend the herb garden to cover a wider variety of useful plants; Justinian shall extract vim vis from the aura; Astrius shall construct an item that can create false memories in the mind of a target; and I shall train a young craftsman in the art of papermaking to open up a new source of commerce for the covenant.

Spring proved to be a rather uneventful season, save for a troubling vision experienced by my apprentice, Emma. In her dream, she found herself in forested hills overlooking cultivated fields, with steeper peaks visible in the distance. She felt drawn into a dark cave in the hillside, where she glimpsed a great beast sleeping. It had the form of a great serpent, with heavy scales and sharp fangs. The creature awoke, and Emma saw from its perspective as it hurried from its lair into the open, where it slaughtered many of the peasants in a nearby village. Justinian, who has more experience in interpreting dreams than the rest of us, was sadly abroad during the season, so we did not have the benefit of his counsel, but Emma said that she had the feeling that the beast did not pose a direct threat to the covenant, though it may do so to someone for whom she cares. Astrius confirmed that the description of the creature matched that of a great wyrm, a powerful serpent that lacked the wings of a true dragon, yet posed a threat to any given its size, strength and poisonous breath. The description of the terrain could match several places in Wales, though it was hard to be precise, so we resolved to take additional care when travelling in that area in future.


Husam reported to the council that he had successfully recruited a spymaster to oversee our operations, and he had also managed to negotiate arrangements for safe houses in London, Oxford and Chepstow to be made available to travelling magi for a fee at short notice. He has scribed details of how to get in touch with the owners of these places in the covenant’s records. On returning from his travels in spring, Justinian had heard report of Emma’s vision, and he attempted to divine more about the location and time of the serpent’s arrival. In truth, the signs were mixed and difficult to interpret, but he was able to confirm that the most dangerous time would be twilight, when creatures of this ilk are about the hunt.

With the council meeting over, I took ship to Durenmar with Theophilus for the meeting of House Bonisagus. The journey itself was uneventful, though we spent several pleasant evenings discussing his research into essential nature. At the meeting itself, the House debated three great issues facing the Order: the integration of the magic of House Corpus Domini; religious tension and the status of House Bjornaer; and the magical impact of the Mongol horde.

I participated in the discussion of the first of these, so my notes on it are rather more extensive than for the other two. The group included many of the members of the House who specialise in magical research, notably Archimaga Alexia, who has made extensive study of the interaction between magic and the dominion. Interestingly, she posited that the dominion arises from the activities of man, be they building cities, tilling fields or erecting religious monuments. As such, it is not solely an artefact of the church; indeed, though it may spread through religious activity, this is no more of a spur than other aspects of man’s dominion over nature, be they artisanal, mercantile, agricultural or educational. I should stress that Alexia’s theories are not universally accepted, but I think they provide much to ponder.

As Justinian briefly mentioned in his record of last year’s activities, the magic of House Corpus Domini, which is known as the Septem Sancti, as seven branches:

  • Scentit is concerned with reading emotions, including surface thoughts and preoccupations. More advanced practitioners can also apparently read memories, though this is said to be difficult.
    Sanat covers healing, specifically the laying on of hands, to relieve pain and close wounds. It also has some power over poisons and diseases, though this requires more knowledge and skill.
    Revelat allows the detection of lies, and it may permit more powerful casters to pierce illusions, including the veil of invisibility.
    Protegit provides a degree of magical protection in a manner analogous to a powerful Hermetic Form. At its strongest, this branch also provides some protection against physical threats.
    Loquitur is a rare branch that allows communication with animals and plants. At its pinnacle, it also provides something close the familiar bond, and allows communication over great distances.
    Inspirat can be used to manipulate emotions and motivations, and it is said that the Parma Magica may provide little defence. More powerful practitioners can apparently use this branch on crowds, rather than individuals.
    Damnat weakens, drives out or (allegedly) destroys ghosts, faeries or demons in a manner similar to the practice of exorcism. Those skilled in this branch can also use its power on the aurae of the supernatural realms.

Practitioners of the Septem Sancti typically use prayer and hand gestures to invoke their magic, as doing so without these components makes spell casting more difficult. They do not have anything similar to spontaneous magic; all of their effects are pre-defined, and practitioners tend to specialise in one or more of the branches. The Septem Sancti are apparently unaffected by magical or faerie aurae, weaker in infernal aurae and slightly stronger within the dominion. Holy days and religious practice such as communion also apparently provide some benefits.

We debated for some time whether the Septem Sancti arise from religious belief through the workings of the Holy Spirit – as claimed by Primus Ptolemaeus of House Corpus Domini – or whether they are more akin to Hermetic magic in that any Gifted individual could potentially learn them given suitable training. Primus Gravidus is of the latter view, though he acknowledged that it might be hard for any to master the required techniques if they do not accept the religious philosophy that underpins them. Training in the Septem Sancti normally takes several years after the apprentice has completed their novitiate, though it can be undertaken at any age, rather than only in their early years.

The second group reported on the limited contact that had been established with House Bjornaer, who may be engaged in some form or magical struggle to free their shapeshifter allies from the grip of the Mongols. It is our House’s hope that the Bjornaer will once again be able to resume their natural place within the Order, though efforts may need to be made to smooth religious tensions between the largely pagan Bjornaer and the overtly Christian Houses. The group also advocated working with Houses Mercere and Verditius to sponsor a series of Hermes Portals to reconnect the Order with House Ethiopicus, who have not been seen since the coming of the Mongol horde.

The third group reported that on a strange malaise that seemed to affect those peoples defeated by the Mongols. This torpor saps the will of the people to rise up against their conquerors, which allows the Mongols to maintain control over vast swathes of lands with relatively few garrison troops. The malaise appears to be magical in nature, and several members of my House agreed to analyse it further to determine how it may be overcome.

With the meeting complete, we sailed for home.

[Lysimachus’ private journal: Prior to the House meeting, I spoke with Primus Gravidus about my investigation into Theo’s character. I had planned simply to mention that I had not had sufficient opportunity to make a detailed assessment of the young man, but it soon became apparent that Gravidus knew much more about my activities than I initially assumed. It seems that Davnalleous’ entreaty to deliver ‘the girl and the crown’ to him had been heard by many others beyond Stonehenge, and it required no great leap of imagination to make the connection with Emma given that Davnalleous kidnapped her shortly thereafter. I explained to Gravidus what I had done, and he reacted in a measured tone; it was clear that he already knew some of this, and that the missing information related more to motivations than actions. I could think of no plausible alternative explanation for Davnalleous’ declaration and the subsequent kidnapping, so we agreed that I would give a short summary of my findings with respect to Theo, and then Gravidus would swiftly move the debate onto weightier matters.

This worked well, for the House was keen to understand why the Primus had not called a vote of no confidence in Primus Guernicus as we agreed at the previous House meeting. Gravidus explained that the loss of Edith and Primus Jerbiton’s decision to support Primus Guernicus meant that he could not be certain of winning such a vote, so he instead decided to focus his political influence on ensuring that the Bjornaer were not driven further from the Order. Although I managed to avoid having to answer any questions about Emma’s provenance, it was clear that others in the room – not least Archimagae Victoria and Alexia – were aware of her status. Though I fear no political attack from within my House, I am concerned about how many others across the Order may have heard Davnalleous’ words and made the connection to Emma. If news has reached those who slew Urbanus and Aeddan, they may make a further attempt to steal the crown and end Theo’s line. This must not happen, whatever the cost].


We held a short meeting at the start of the season, at which I reported back on the three issues debated by my House. Astrius announced that he had located a potential familiar, a grizzled hunting hound known as Cadwgan. He was keen to begin the binding ritual in winter given the creature’s advanced years, so he proposed – and we readily agreed – that he could postpone his covenant service by a year so that he could make the required preparations. This meant that Husam was tasked with casting the Aegis of the Hearth after the council meeting, a task that he completed without incident. I never doubted that he would succeed, though I spied several less confident sodales out of the corner of my eye during the lengthy ritual. The season itself passed peacefully. We received warning from our spies that Prince Theo was to spend several weeks hunting in the Dean, but he kept to the south of the forest and departed safely.

[Lysimachus’ private journal: I took the opportunity to arrange a secret rendezvous between Theo and his sister, for they had not seen each other for several years. Despite the passage of time, their relationship was as warm as ever, and they are fast friends. While they talked, I spoke with the Lord Castellan, who had accompanied Theo on the hunt. He explained that a peace settlement had been signed at Kenilworth between the Queen Regent and the former rebels that annulled the Provisions of Oxford and placed Parliament at the service of the Crown. This will perhaps give the English nobles opportunity to march once more against the Welsh, who still hold Chester and parts of Shropshire. Further afield, the war between the Scots and Norwegians has come to a conclusion, with the Scots taking possession of the Western Isles and the Isle of Man in return for peace. Of more immediate concern is that the Queen Regent has asked me to advise her on how to respond to the Pope’s request to allow the Knights Templar to establish monasteries in England. I shall raise this at the next Council meeting, for though we have a vested interest in preventing this, many of the arguments we can bring to bear may not resonant so well with the Pope.]


At the council meeting on the first day of the season, I asked my sodales how we should respond to the Queen Regent’s request for advice on the matter of the Pope’s demand that England once again admit the Knights Templar. From perusing the journal, we learned that Aeddan had denied a similar demand during his time on the throne by invoking a law that restricted the right to bear weapons to members of the nobility and those sworn to them, which would exclude autonomous religious orders such as the Knights Templar. He made this refusal more palatable by offering a large donation to support the crusade to the Holy Land, which seemed to satisfy the Pope at the time. We reasoned that this approach might work once again, for Clement IV is known to be a pragmatic man when it comes to the Holy See’s relationships with temporal powers, and such a donation may be his underlying goal.

We then moved on to the discussion of the possibility that the covenant might be visited by the shades of former magi next year on the fifth centenary of the Order’s foundation. We reviewed the accounts of the previous centenary, which seemed to proceed without adverse incident, and we resolved that we would hold a celebration but undertake no additional precautions beyond ensuring that at least one of us is present throughout the festivities. The Council meeting ended after this discussion, with all magi engaged in laboratory work.

Some days later, the redcap Acerbia arrived with a message from the council of Blackthorn. A creature that bore a resemblance to a great wyrm had destroyed one of their local villages, Hoarwithy. The covenant’s scouts had tracked the creature to a set of caves in a nearby mountain range, but they dared not approach closer given the wyrm’s fearsome claws and poisonous breath. They requested our aid in despatching the beast, and after some discussion about how to protect ourselves against the creature’s attacks, Erla and I agreed to help.

[Lysimachus’ private journal: Justinian conducted a divination that night and determined that the wyrm would next emerge in a week’s time. It would head towards Mynydd Myddyn, and so we resolved to attempt to ambush it on the way there, rather than allow it to reach our vis site.]

Establishing a camp high on a scree slope above the cave entrance, Erla and I waited for the wyrm to emerge. After some time, I spotted movement, and I used the Wings of Soaring Wind to make my way towards its location. However, my view of the creature was obscured by dense forest, and though I could track its progress by looking for movement in the foliage, I could never get enough of a glimpse to use the Arc of Directed Lightning. As the creature reached the edge of the woodland, it paused for a time, exuding a black smoke that soon formed a dense, impenetrable fog. It made its way across the open land, at all times obscured by the fog, and I eventually lost sight of it as it once again entered the forest. I subsequently attempted to relocate it at Mynydd Myddyn, but I was unable to find signs of its presence.

[Lysimachus’ private journal: After our failure to slay the beast, Justinian once again conducted a divination, where he saw signs that the creature now inhabited a chamber within the crystal caves, where it was sating its hunger by consuming the magic of the place. Later in the season, I noticed an acrid smell of smoke in my quarters and saw faint wisps of black fog surrounding Emma’s sleeping form. She was mumbling something unintelligible in a language that I could not understand. After she awoke, I questioned her about her dreams, but she could not remember anything. The presence of the black fog seems a clear link to the wyrm in the crystal caves, but its purpose and meaning are beyond me at this stage.]

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