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Scribed by Husam

Spring 1273AD

Our council began with a lengthy discussion about the ramifications of my failed attempt to scry upon the fragments of pottery that we recovered from London. I informed my sodales that with the aid of our spymaster Lucky I have dismantled our existing spy network and that we will make efforts to start to rebuild our intelligence gathering capability. It was agreed that we must redouble our efforts to take the fight to the demon Guyere for it is clear that he is as great a threat to us as he has ever been in the long years that we and he have been engaged against each other. We believe that the evidence suggests that it is perhaps most likely that Dublin will be the best place to begin, given that it is but 10 years since we believe he worked his fell magic upon the Lord of Dublin. I shall travel there in Summer but this season Lysimachus and Justinian will travel to Ipswich and see if any trail can be picked up through the use of the enchantment eyes of the past.

Following this Justinian requested the council lift the sanction of Excordis that has been placed upon him, his argument being that there had been no consequence to his revealing of our secrets. As is often the case when my sodalis is involved there were heated arguments but in the end all voted against him save Gnaeus who abstained. Justininan then asked to bring a charge against me, stating that I had revealed our secrets to the demon Guyere. There was some discussion as to whether my actions had been reckless or foolish and in the end my sodalis realised that the will of the council was against him and withdrew the charge, although not before he had insulted both myself and my lineage.

Husam’s Private Journal: I have tried for long now to make Justinian understand why we are so angered with him and to see that he continues to follow a foolish and destructive path but it has proved impossible. His attack upon me within council this season shows that the danger he represents to me and this covenant only grows and despite his potential value as a source of information from within the enemy’s camp, and the continued benefits that his skill with divination has brought, I believe that he must be eliminated. Erla would be happy with his expulsion from this covenant but I now suspect that would just lead to his embittered nature taking some form of revenge upon us. No, I think he has to die. I have made a formal request to Quaesitor Faelon that I be permitted to declare Wizard’s War against him. I believe that I have just cause, with the long history of accusations and insinuations that I have made some pact with infernal forces, but we shall see whether the provision that was initially placed in the code to try and ensure that magi did not need to take the law into their own hands has been so watered down that it is now worthless.

Lysimachus informed us that Emma has now entered the final two years of her apprenticeship. He wished to know whether should she desire to remain at this covenant we would be happy to accept her as a member. It should come as no surprise to any who have read this journal thus far that we all gladly indicated she would be welcome, although I can not help but wonder what that might mean for Lysimachus’ position here given his House’s traditional reluctance to have more than one of their number at a single covenant beyond Durenmar.

This season all were about personal study or the training of apprentices. There was a moment when Justinian sought to conflate his agreement to go to Ipswich with permission to train his apprentice but this argument was mercifully short and he was granted leave to perform his desired actions, although this later proved somewhat irrelevant as he and Lysimachus’ trip to Ipswich was somewhat more eventful than they had expected. After travelling to Ipswich with our ship Justinian’s magic was able to grant him sight of the arrival of the Ain Feanh in the winter of 1271. Aboard the ship was a man who sounded to me like the description I have heard before of the captain, Scathal, a large bearded man with a prominent tattoo upon his neck. Justinian was able to discern that this was written in the infernal script that we have encountered before and he seemed to believe that it may be the name of a demon, speculating that perhaps it was some such creature that has been bound to him. Over two nights of spell casting he was able to determine that two people had left the ship well after the fall of darkness, both hooded but identifiable as a slender man and a woman, before heading into town. The speculation was that this might be Girardinho and the White Lady and our sodales decided to press on with an investigation, Justinian meditating upon the question of where the cart that took cargo to the Ain Feanh that winter might now be found. It seems that his powers of divination did not let him down for he was granted a vision that eventually led the two to an inn that lies upon the road between the towns of Stowmarket and Framlingham. When they arrived, shortly after nightfall, they were able to discern a first magnitude infernal aura in the vicinity of the place and thus chose to camp a little way away, making their way to investigate the tavern the following morning. Justinian’s familiar Barnabas was able to espy the cart within the barn where he was stabled and it was clear from its condition that it had not been used in quite some time.

Within the tavern our sodales were greeted by an apparently affable innkeep, but using his second sight Justinian saw that there were dark shadows in the eaves, with an oily ichor dripping down the walls and congealed blood upon the floors. The innkeep himself bore the countenance of a skeletal figure with prominent fangs. Using enchantment Justininan was also able to determine that the ale that they were offered contained a mild poison that would turn a man’s innards to water and leave him with foul stomach cramps. Managing to avoid consuming the ale Lysimachus then faked illness and announced that they must be upon the road again but as they tried to make their exit they found the door locked against them, seemingly the result of magic. As the creature revealed its true form a fight ensued and while they swiftly dropped the form they continued to feel their parma magica assailed, Justinian a few moments later determining a horned demon within the room, expelling foul smoke from its mouth. As Lysimachus destroyed the door Justinian cast a spell, using vis, to destroy the demon. Alas the spell went awry and Lysimachus’ parma magica was damaged. The demon swiftly disappeared and once our sodales had determined that there was no further assault they made further investigation of the inn, discovering a regio boundary around the door to the kitchen. Within the mundane realm this looked like any normal inn kitchen might but within the regio corpses could be spied hanging from hooks, with rusted and bloody knives where the utensils might be. They passed into this dark place and followed down a set of spiral stairs where they encountered another region boundary. Beyond this was a cellar with an earthen floor, containing an open grave pit with a many corpses and rotted remains lying within it. As they entered this chamber they were assailed again, the demon hiding within a corner of the room. Swiftly erecting a ward so that the demon could not affect them Lysimachus became suspicious that it was guarding something within the pit. Using spell to clear the charnel he eventually revealed a stone slab pressed into the floor. Using the same enchantment to raise it the two espied a male body lying beneath, bearing a sword and shield and with a helm bearing an ornate crest. Lysimachus recognised it as the symbol of the reportedly long dead King of England, Black Hugh. No sooner had he done so however than the man’s eyes opened and he sprang swiftly to his feet, striking with unnatural speed at him. As it struck Lysimachus felt his magical resistance flattened and a sharp pain in his leg, later reporting to us that he had feared it were about to break, though fortunately the enchantments upon him meant his injuries were not fatal. Lysimachus quickly stepped back out of the room but Justinian was slower and he too was struck, though is protections meant that he suffered no injury beyond heavy bruising. Realising that his hermetic art was having no effect Justinian cast some rite with the Christian magic of Damnat and this seemed to hurt his opponent, giving him sufficient time to follow Lysimachus and make his escape from that place. As they fled the inn Justinian and Barnabas took to the air but Lysimachus turned to face Blcak Hugh as he followed and using as much vis as he could muster cast an arc of lightning against him. The infernal entity was flung back within the inn but not slain and almost immediately Lysimachus again felt his parma magica tested. He swiftly cast the seven league stride and rendering himself invisible also took to the air.

After some time the two met up with one another near Framlingham and found a barn some way away where Justinian could tend to Lysimachus’ wounds. They were initially too far for a leap of homecoming to return them to the covenant but the following day they were able to make their way back to Ipswich where they caught the ship back to the covenant. On their way however they learned that there had been an attack within the tavern at Framlingham with two men slain. Once they had returned a council meeting was called and the tale was told to us all. Myself and Astrius agreed to return to the east of England with them so that we might pursue this matter. We took the ship once more but a little beyond Southampton were able to pause briefly so that Lysimachus might make use of one of the arcane connections he had taken to scry upon the inn. He reported that it appeared to have been burned to the ground. Eventually we were able to make our way there ourselves, learning upon the journey that it had allegedly been set upon by outlaws and that the Baron of Ipswich and a number of his knights were making assay in the area to catch the culprits for the two attacks in the region. We were able to get a day ahead of them though were initially unable to find any trace of the regio, despite an infernal aura of the second magnitude being present. After some time Justinian determined that the stairs down were buried by the rubble of the destroyed inn. That night we set a watch and I espied a rat scurrying away from the ruins, it’s behaviour being unnatural enough to draw my suspicion. I followed a short way and saw it transform into an elderly man, heading along the road towards the camp of the nobles. After rousing my sodales I followed down the road and within one of the three largest tents at the centre of the camp heard a small cry after seeing something small entering under the side canvas. Taking an arcane connection I returned and Lysimachus was able to determine that the tent belonged to the Baron himself. He continued to watch intermittently as the search party made their way to the wetlands to the north, reporting that the Baron had been mumbling during a restless sleep, and seemed pale and listless. He and Justinian then made their way to the camp to see if they could learn more as to what might have been done to the Baron. They could detect no magic upon him but casting a spell to appraise them of the Baron’s thoughts determined that he had been dreaming about butchering men as if they were cattle. That night Lysimachus scryed again and this time was able to discern some of the words that the Baron muttered in his sleep, ‘A feast of flesh, a feast of flesh for the king’.

After perhaps a couple more days of careful watching it was decided to make an attempt to re-enter the regio. I agreed to keep watch while my three sodales ventured within. They were able to do so, although the boundaries appeared faint and fading and initially they could not pass into the deeper level of the cellar. Where they were they measured the infernal aura as of the 4th magnitude and they decided to rend the magical veil through the brute force of spell. The boundary was resistant however and no rent could be maintained long enough for it to be safe for any to pass through. Astrius was able to cast lightning at the open grave but ion truth he saw nothing within.

The time that they spent within the regio still passed as almost two weeks for myself and midway through that period I saw a rider head past at great speed, bearing a crest that I did not recognise. After we departed the inn I made a visit to Stowmarket and there learned that it had been reported that the bandits responsible had been found within the fens. Despite the protestations of the local priest who said that the two individuals captured were but petty thieves rather than murderers the two had been hanged. Lysimachus and Justinian visited the paupers’ grave so that the latter might speak with the spirits of the executed men. What he found however was something unfamiliar to him as the two spirits lay unmoving upon their graves, not responding to any of the array of spells that he has to interact with such entities. He told us that it appeared that something had clawed out their throats and believed that only the most powerful of infernal enchantments could have caused such an effect as he had found. They then attempted to dig up the bodies using spells but found that both graves were empty. Justinian was able to talk to another spirit within the graveyard and was told that a terrifying darkness had come shortly after the two spirits had first manifested, attacking and destroying them.

While abroad I also learned that the King has summoned his nobles to court, including Fitzwilliam who gossip said had not yet responded. This could bode some open resistance to his rule and it is clear that events in Dublin could yet present a danger to both the mundane and magical realm.

Summer

Justinian raised the question of what the return of Black Hugh might mean for the realm. While it is clear that a demonic presence such as he could not rule the mundane realm our concern is that he could perhaps seek to take the Crown of Math and set himself up as a dark King of the magical realm. I was asked to defer my visit to Ireland and see whether there was any more to learn within East Anglia over the course of this season. We also agreed that we would seek a Verditius magus who might be able to enchant a significantly more powerful effect of the Demon’s Eternal Oblivion within the wand. We also agreed to move the casting of the Aegis of the Hearth to this season in case I have revealed to Guyere when we perform this ritual. Erla and Gnaeus were about laboratory services for the covenant while all others chose to attempt once more to provide their apprentice’s with training.

My journey did not reveal any clues as to the whereabouts of Black Hugh but I did learn some other things worthy of note within this journal. It seems that the Baron of Ipswich, who has himself travelled to London to attend the King’s court, has set a senior captain of the Ipswich watch to search the fens for any further bandits, with the instruction that they must then be returned to Ipswich to face their justice. He has also steeply raised the taxes placed upon his landed knights citing an ancient historical arrangement that entitles him to a greater share of wealth. Further investigation revealed that the document granting this authority was discovered by Bishop Laurence in Colchester, a churchman who is also a vassal of the Earl of Essex. The Bishop resides within a large fortified manor a little way outside the walls of Colchester. The Earl himself trod a careful path during the De Montfort rebellion, managing to avoid upsetting either side.

I also learned that Fitzwilliam has refused to attend upon the King and has instead declared himself High King of all Ireland. Following his court in London King Theo called his vassals to arms and announced a muster to take place at Portsmouth in early Autumn. It is clear that he will take war to Dublin.

I was able to establish some new merchant contacts in the area and signed a small trade deal that will net the covenant some 50 pennies. This might also lead to further opportunities for trade in the future, possibly even involving the Hanse league who control so much of northern Europe’s trade.

The other item worthy of note was a rumour that I could in no way verify and which was not well told. This was that there are monks travelling with the authority of the inquisition who have landed in England, passing through London on their way to Oxford. I returned via that city at the end of the season but my contacts there had no word of any such arrival.

While I was away the redcap Acerbia visited the covenant to impart news. It seems that the Order has had some further victories against the Mongol forces in Transylvania with reports that one of their most senior generals has been slain. The rest of the news concerned events in the mundane realm. Apparently a theologian called Thomas Aquinas has had some kind of mystical experience during mass and is so taken with pursuing his vision that he has ceased work on some grand Christin tome, Summa Theologia, in order to do so. Dispute still continues over the throne of the Holy Roman Empire with Rudolf being elected king but Otakar II of Bohemia refusing to acknowledge the result. A suburb of Constantinople, called Galata, has been given to Genoa for their support of the Emperor there.

Autumn

At our council we discussed the information that I had learned and it was agreed that Lysimachus and I would spend another season in the east of England to continue to pursue word of Black Hugh and what plans had been set around the Baron of Ipswich. My sodales had taken some occasion to scry upon the Baron while he was in London but learned nothing other than that he is a man of rough manners. The other members of the covenant chose to pursue private magical studies.

Husam’s private journal: While all in the covenant are aware of the events that have befallen us this season I have not recorded great detail in the covenant record for fear that someone choose to use it against us in the future. Before we departed for Suffolk Lysimachus agreed to travel to Mynydd Myddyn with Astrius and after their return Astrius called another meeting of council. He told us that he had received a vision from the Morrigan. In it he saw a pale skinned, black veined figure accompanied by a woman in white. This figure spoke to her saying, ‘Because when the sun falls so shall the moon. Be patient, we shall soon have what we desire’. He then saw them retreat into shadow before the vision transformed into the sight of Emma’s broken body lying upon the ground, her throat and no crown upon her head. We discussed this at length and our belief is that there is some kind of mystical bond between Emma and Theo which our enemies might be seeking to exploit. When he was struck by the assassin she had sickened terribly, requiring the best ministrations of Blanche to recover from some strange illness. Lysimachus requested that he and I be released from this season’s service as he had to take some action to protect his apprentice and I agreed that I would accompany him.

We made our way to the muster at Portsmouth and were eventually able to get access to the Castellan, Adelard Reynault, and thence the King. I sensed then that our pretence that I am nothing more than a retainer to Lysimachus might not have survived the King’s keen wit for there were times in the conversation that he glanced subtly at me when discussing the power of my sodales’ ‘spirit’. Such a worry seems of little consequence now given what was to befall us.

It was agreed that we would act as valets to the King and seek an opportunity to separate Fitzwilliam from the sword that we believe Guyere has gifted to him. After two weeks in Portsmouth, much of which was taken for us with learning the duties of a valet to the King, we sailed to Ireland. England had mustered a great army but the word upon our arrival was that Dublin would not surrender and it was likely that a long siege would be required, making it difficult for the two of us to keep a continual watch upon the King. We therefore agreed that we would make a direct attempt to recover the sword. We arranged for a body double for the king while we were absent from the army’s camp and also provided him with additional magical protection; an enchantment I had been gifted by a member of the Kaballah that can harm demons, a ward against demons and a potion that would allow him to transform into a Gecko if in dire need. We had been given good plans of Dublin Castle and under cover of night we flew there, eventually making our way to the roof of the main keep where we were able to ensorcel then slay three guards set upon watch. Making our way below Lysimachus was able to cast a spell to allow us to pass through the walls and into the chamber of Fitzwilliam. While it was not a part of the plan I killed the man lying sleeping in the bed within, the self-proclaimed High King of Ireland himself. I knew that it was an action that would cause Theo some difficulty but I was confident he would be able to sow sufficient rumours that it was an internal murder by those who opposed his reckless rebellion and I was concerned that alive he remained too great a threat, whether through an ongoing rebellion or some other dark practice. We were able to recover the sword but not before there was some commotion raised by our presence and we were in the end forced to swiftly apport from the castle. It later transpired that we had sown enough confusion that there were no rumours of a supernatural element to Fitzwilliam’s death.

Alas due to the nature of our exit we were forced to travel back to the English camp separately and on the return journey I felt a need to land for a moment. Immediately after I had done so I was wracked with a pain so intense that I had not experienced before and I was writhing upon the ground unable to do anything else I saw Guyere, the pale man with black veins, approach and muster a few words. In an instant I trusted him implicitly, my reasoning no greater than that of a child. Hooded with a sack I was led some way before I found myself in some ruins within a wood upon a hill, two others that I recognised now having joined Guyere. These were Girardinho and the White Lady and it was clear from their conversation that they had not anticipated the death of Fitzwilliam, although after a moment’s thought Guyere said that they might yet be able to turn it to their advantage.

While this was happening Lysimachus had returned and informed Theo of what had happened. Worried after I had failed to return he tried to cast a spell to scry upon me but was unable to detect anything despite the spell seemingly being cast correctly. He set forth to search for me but espied a shadow and making his escape he warned the castellan to change the King’s protection arrangements and not to trust me should I return.

The following morning I awoke and for just a moment felt my senses return but even before the words of a spell were upon my lips some other enchantment was cast upon me and I knew that I had to either get the sword to Theo or slay him if not done by the setting of the sun, and thence kill myself. I made escape from the camp, at the time seemingly due to my own cunning and resource but of course planned by my captors. When I returned I was captured and taken to Lysimachus who questioned me closely in the sight of both the castellan and the King who stood a little away. I was able to convince him that my mind was my own, perhaps in part because I truly believed it at the time and perhaps because it is in my sodalis’ nature to see the best in men and I was released, although it was agreed that Lysimachus would accompany the King during the negotiations for surrender that had been offered following the death of Fitzwilliam.

Alas, in that time I was able to use my knowledge of my sodalis to determine the place where he had hidden the sword and exchanging it for a stick I was able to bundle it within a set of rugs that I knew I would be able to carry into the King’s own tent. As I was summoned Lysimachus went straight to where he had hidden the sword with his plan being to throw it deep into the sea. On discovering that it was gone he swiftly sought to raise the alarm but in that time Guyere’s plan had already come to fruition and had successfully given Theo the sword. Upon his taking it his countenance had immediately changed though I did not tarry, making my way out of the tent with the intention to take my own life. I have heard since that within Severn Temple Emma collapsed at that very moment, her skin deathly pale. Following Astrius’ notification Erla was eventually able to discern that she was wrestling for her very soul.

I do not know how but as I made my way to take my life I suddenly realised what I had done and immediately returned invisibly to the tent. For a moment I considered killing the possessed King, but I was unsure what this might mean for Emma and therefore stayed my hand, instead taking the sword from his grasp, despite the presence of other men. Any hope that this would be enough was quickly snuffed by the dark words of the King and I quickly rendered him unconscious as Lysimachus arrived. Again he believed me, hopefully correctly this time, as I told him what had happened and that I was now rightfully restored to my mind. I left swiftly as Lysimachus told the castellan what he could, for I knew that a bounty would be placed upon my own head. There was some uproar within the camp following the events, but I was able to slip away and later Lysimachus joined me. We could think of no way of alleviating such a possession and we resolved that he must return as swiftly as possible to the covenant and seek the guidance of our sodales while I would remain and keep an eye on events as best as I could until the end of the season.

Those were dark days and I cannot deny that I felt a deep despair at times as events unfolded. The castellan was taking prisoner that very evening and the following day the army marched on to Dublin. The city was occupied and there was a great deal of bloodshed as many of the city’s lords, and all the hostages that the King had taken, were executed. The King claimed all the lands of Ireland as his own direct holding and of the castellan there was no word save that he was held somewhere deep within the castle. Towards the end of the season a number of the nobles that had attended the king were released from his service, including York, and I was able to gain passage on a vessel and return to Stonehenge once more.

Lysimachus’ journey was much harder for such was the urgency of his message he decided to fly across the Irish sea. I understand that he was lucky to make it for his we greatly wearied by the time the shores of Wales came into his view. From there he was able to travel quickly back to the covenant where he found Astrius and Erla in close attention upon Emma. He told them what had befallen and it was initially agreed to take Emma to the Heart of the Forest where she might better be kept safe from the infernal forces besetting her. Astrius also believed that if the King could be brought there it might be of benefit but none could see a way to do so at that time. Astrius and Erla took her to that place and as they entered she awoke. She told them that Theo had been taken by a shadow and wondered whether she might be able to use the crown to help him in some way. While there Astrius spoke with Lugh, the sun god of his faith, who told him that he could protect her for some time but not forever. I sense when I briefly spoke with Astrius after my return that there might be more he was told but he has not yet shared it with me.

Lysimachus did not choose to tell Justinian what had befallen but he did ask how one might go about lifting a demonic possession. He informed me that Justinian provided some possible options to undertake such a task, involving various practices of a religious or occult nature or possibly even the Septim Sancti. I hope that he remains cautious about discussing this matter before the former Quaesitor for while Justinian may protest that he cares greatly for Emma does she not stand for all that his House and faith are sworn to oppose?

Lysimachus then travelled to the crystal caves where he spoke with Myddyn via the wyrm that resides there. Apparently the sorcerer said that he could see few ways that both the sun and the moon might be saved and that all are too dangerous. One would require Emma to use the crown to break the infernal spirit’s hold on her brother before she is ready to use such power. It might be possible to accelerate her training by taking her to the Crystal Cave but he cannot be certain she would ever return given the draw of the crystals to her bloodline. He also acknowledged that there were ways involving both Christian and diabolic practice but wither of these would allow these forces to get a hold on Emma’s power. He advised my sodalis that the best course of action would be to slay Theo and let her continue her training, a path that Lysimachus is understandably reluctant to follow given how invested he is in both.

These then appear to be our options and none pleasing. I bear a great weight upon my shoulders for this, for in the span of less than one year my errors have led us far from our cautious optimism that we can face the travails set against us. But men are mortal, even those of us who practice magic, and it is only Allah, blessed be his name and that of his prophets, who can truly be infallible. My pater told me that the mettle of a man is not determined when his choices go well for him but rather the actions he takes when he fails. I will not give in to despair but will seek to do whatever I must to rectify my mistakes, no matter what the personal consequences may be.


Winter

Husam’s Private Journal: On the eve of the council meeting I met with Astrius and Lysimachus to discuss plans for the future following the events of Autumn. While I felt well enough that my mind was free of taint, and Astrius was unable to detect any signs of fell magic upon me, I said I believed that there must still be sufficient danger that it would be best if I did not know exactly what they planned to pursue. Lysimachus has clearly chosen his preferred plan of action and I pray that it will be successful.

At the council I was able to report that during my travels in the last season I had learned that the King had been successful in his war against Fitzwilliam and that he had taken Dublin. It was agreed that we would still need to make our way there in the future to continue to investigate whether Guyere has been present in that place but it is unlikely that it will be safe to do so until the King has departed for their will be much danger in that city currently as there may still be those who would resist English rule. The majority of my sodales announced that they would be engaged in personal study this season though Erla was not present at the meeting as I understand she had business that had taken her abroad and Lysimachus said that he too would be travelling abroad on personal business and was not certain when he would return.

Little happened during the season save for a visit from Quaesitor Luvidicus. He had come to pursue his investigation into whether Lysimachus has acted as a court wizard but unfortunately my sodalis had not returned by that point. I am certain that he is innocent of any wrongdoing but it was clear that Luvidicus was unhappy about his absence and it will not look good if he does not swiftly return to answer those questions that the senior Quaesitor has. Those of us that were present were questioned by Luvidicus and he seemed happy with our co-operation.

Husam’s Private Journal: Luvidicus was accompanied by the redcap Acerbia who met with me privately the evening that she arrived. She had a letter from Faelon that said that while he believed my petition to declare wiazard’s war upon Justinian had sufficient merit to be approved he was unable to do so for the current position within the order is that only the Senior Quaesitor of each tribunal may authorise this provision of the code. Such is the ongoing weakening of the power of magi that the order, through the Grand Tribunal, pursues. It is clear that Luvidicus will not sign such a petition given his relationship with Justinian so I much watch and wait for an opportunity to do what must be done in the future. Acerbia also told me that I would be permitted to use the Hermes Portal within Blackthorn to make my way to Nice upon her House’s business and I told that that I would visit early in Summer or Autumn of next year.




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