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Scribed by Astrius

Spring 1274AD

Our council

The council meeting began with Justinian pressing for a decision on when we would go and rescue Lysimachus, for both he and Erla were still away. With no evidence that Lysimachus was excessively overdue, given I knew he was within a deep regio, I deferred matters until at least the next council meeting. Justinian then moved to propose that a new Ministrator be appointed to replace Lysimachus, but the mood of the council was clear that this was too soon.

Astrius’s private journal
It seemed probable that Justinian had at least some idea of why Lysimachus was up to, but he didn’t come out and say it so I wasn’t about to confirm anything he didn’t know. Nor was I about to indulge him in his desire to be Ministrator, although much younger, Gnaeus is a far better candidate than he were we to need to appoint a new one.


Just two days after leaving for his House Meeting, Justinian returned to the covenant. He’d heard rumours in Chepstow that the King will be returning to London via Chepstow. Quite why he’s chosen to do this is a mystery, especially coming straight from all the strife in Ireland.

Astrius’s private journal
Given what we know of the King’s diabolic possession this is dire news indeed. I spoke with Husam about the possibility of killing the King while he was in Chepstow, for fear that the very future of the covenant was at risk while he was there, but he was extremely reluctant to even consider such – so much for his earlier talk of doing ‘whatever it takes’ to resolve this.


Husam headed off swiftly to scout out the situation in Chepstow and ascertained that the King’s ‘advance guard’ to ensure all was prepared for his arrival, included Girardino, now in the guise of a nobleman. He also espied an imp-like bat or some similar infernal creature watching the streets from the night air. There was however no sign of the White Lady or any other known infernal creatures. The mundane news was worse – one of Husam’s contacts reported that the visit was not about sending a message to the Welsh or border country, but about the King’s sister who lives nearby. Apparently the Baron’s wife has cleared out her room in readiness for the King’s sister’s arrival.

Husam headed off swiftly to scout out the situation in Chepstow and heard from one of his contacts reported that the visit was not about sending a message to the Welsh or border country, but about the King’s sister who lives nearby. Apparently the Baron’s wife has cleared out her room in readiness for the King’s sister’s arrival.

Astrius’s private journal
When Husam returned with this news, an emergency council was called and there was much debate, not least of how much of this information was true and how much was deliberately false information to provoke us into taking precipitous and dangerous action. In the end the council had concluded with no course of action decided.


The rumours turned out to be accurate, for we soon heard that the King had issued a Royal Proclamation stating that his sister and Alexander, Chancellor of King’s College Gloucester, also known as Lysimachus, must present themselves to court at Chepstow by April 3rd. With all the accusations surrounding Lysimachus and him still being away in a magical regio, we could not accede to these demands, so, wishing to be prepared for all eventualities we immediately set about preparing ourselves for a potential mundane blockade.

Astrius’s private journal
Clearly we could not deliver Emma into the hands of Guyere so we immediately set about preparing ourselves for a mundane siege and attack. I flew swiftly to warn Lysimachus of this news, but did not have to venture into the regio in which the crystal caves sit for I encountered him outside the surface cave entrance. His news was equally grim, for he told me that Erla was lost in reverie in the crystals and was dying. He made swiftly for Blackthorn to try and reach Arcanus, whom he knew has a spell that might allow him to try and rescue Erla’s lost spirit.


I flew swiftly to warn Lysimachus of this news, but did not have to venture into the regio in which the crystal caves sit for I encountered him outside the surface cave entrance. His news was equally grim, for he told me that Erla was lost in reverie in the crystals and in grave danger. He made swiftly for Blackthorn to try and reach Arcanus, whom he knew has a spell that might allow him to try and rescue Erla’s lost spirit.

Sadly despite venturing into the Otherworld through Gnaeus’s casting of Arcanus’s spell, Lysimachus was unable to rescue Erla. In the Otherworld he learnt that she had been seen some 3 years ago but the locals’ reckoning. He followed her trail as best he could, leading to a deep, wild wood, near a great marsh where Arthur’s great enemy, Morgana dwelt. A great mythical creature, the Manticore, a terrible man-eating beast, hunted those woods and, sadly, there, in a pit full of bones, he found bones belonging to Erla. Although Erla’s body still yet lived, this meant that her spirit was dead, so there was no hope for her.

Four weeks into the season, Justinian returned from France. He reported that Ptolemeus, Primus Corpus Domini, has been captured by the Inquisition for preaching the heresy of Joachim of Fiore (I confess that I do not know precisely what this is or why it is so bad), and so the House Meeting has been cancelled. He advised us to avoid Paris and all Franciscan monasteries for the time being. He also had word of a dream brought by his talent for divination when he sought clarity on the Inquisition’s plans for him. He said that he saw 12 trees, which, one by one, burned. He thought that each tree represented a person of House of the Order, one being Ptolemeus, one House Mercere and one House Merinita, though, curiously, given his question, he was not among them.

Later in the month, while abroad looking to ensure our contacts and defenses were in good order despite the King’s threat, Husam spoke with Martin, the leader of the werewolves and heard that they had seen signs of dark spirits. They said they would alert us by howling if they learnt anything further.
We also had a visitor – the return of Lysimachus, but he was not back with a healthy Emma as we had hoped. He bore the shocking news that he believed her ‘illness’ was a result of the infernal possession of her brother, the King. He had gleaned such from her fevered mutterings as she battled the shadows that threatened to engulf her too. The King’s strange recent behaviour suddenly all made sense. Fearing just how much of a threat the King could be, I flew to Blackthorn to warn our neighbours, but to my alarm I heard that Ludovidicus had gone into Chepstow in the guise of a magistrate, presumably seeing the King’s visit as a good opportunity to further investigate the case against Lysimachus.

I quickly flew home and spoke with Husam who immediately hurried out to find and warn Ludovidicus if he could about the King’s possession while I headed to warn Blackthorn that the King was possessed and could cause a threat to Severn Temple and possibly Blackthorn too. Husam quickly ascertained that Ludovidicus had been arrested by the castle guard four days ago. We took this grim news to Blackthorn and Providus and Theophilus held an emergency council meeting and decided to enter Ludovidicus’s sanctum to retrieve a hair from his bed. Sadly their intellego magicks revealed that the Senior Quaesitor was dead.

Astrius’s private journal
When the news of his pater’s death was brought to Justinian he demanded to know whether anyone had known about how and when Theo had become possessed. There was an awkward silence afterwards, with no one wishing to share any more with him at that time. In truth, I felt some sympathy for Justinian, for I know how it is to lose your pater to a violent end, but ultimately if no one trusts him enough with information that could be used to implicate Husam and Lysimachus it is his fault and his alone.

Undeterred, the next day, Justinian reported that he had been granted an answer in his dreams to the question of whether the forces of the King would assault Severn Temple. He saw a tall tree on a misty hill and soldiers bearing shields at the base of the hill. The soldiers started to walk up the hill but as they did so there was a great roar of terrifying power and all the men fell dead and a black wind rolled across the Land. Justinian was not sure what this meant, though he was worried for Lysimachus, but the dream did not give us enough to act on, save to recast the Aegis of the Hearth so that there would be no risk of it being interrupted by mundane or infernal attack once the King’s proclamation had expired.

On April 3rd, we heard of a second Royal Proclamation which stated that the Great Charter was revoked and the Order of Hermetic Scholars would be declared enemies of the Crown if the King’s sister, who was being held captive by the Order, was not delivered within 4 weeks. Husam immediately set off to warn those magi outside of covenants to prepare for the worst lest they had not heard this news.

Astrius’s private journal
That night I felt a familiar and ominous stirring in the Tetheryn as the dragon spirit bound within stirred defiantly as it sought to challenge a great rival that it sensed had drawn near. Fearing an imminent attack, I raised the alarm. There was however no immediate sign of any enemy and strangely I felt the blade quieten as I moved away from the great hall. Somewhat puzzled but still afeared of a nearby enemy of significant magical power, I climbed to the top of the keep. But it was not anything beyond the walls that caught my eye, rather it was the night sky for although there was no moon the stars were so bright that they lit the courtyard as though it were a full moon. They were possessed of a preternatural brightness that reminded me of the stars in the sky above the Grey Hill, in the deepest part of its regio.

As I gazed up, I became aware of a commotion downstairs and was quickly brought word that there was a knocking on the door set in the Great Hall that leads through to the Otherworld. The knocking was loud, and as Justinian, Husam and I hesitated, it became more forceful and I could see the door shudder beneath the blows and a slight crack appear in the stone lintel above it. I reached out and took a hold of the door handle and immediately I did so the knocking stopped. Taking a deep breath, and holding Torrwdur in my free hand I pulled the door open. Outside was no mythical creature or foe, but Emma. It was clear however that she was no longer the quiet, sometimes shy apprentice we knew. She seemed older, more confident and commanding of an innate authority that demanded respect. Also, although dulled by my strong parma, I could feel raw magical power emanating from her.

She wasted little time with niceties, asking what had changed politically. I told her about the King’s second proclamation and she said that she would then deliver herself. Justinian asked whether that wasn’t dangerous, but she simply replied that it would be “dangerous for Guyere” and strode straight back out through the still-open doorway into the Otherworld once more, the door slamming shut behind her. We all stood around for a moment or two, a little bewildered at what had just happened. Clearly she was the power that awoke the Tetheryn.

That night, I had sense of someone or something approaching the covenant through a magical spirit ally. As a precaution I called the covenant to alarm, but it was no attack, instead we heard a loud knocking on the door set in the Great Hall that leads through to the Otherworld. Justinian, Husam and I hesitated at first, but after a moment I reached out and took a hold of the door handle and immediately I did so the knocking stopped. Taking a deep breath, and holding Torrwdur in my free hand I pulled the door open. Outside was no mythical creature or foe, but Lysimachus’s apprentice, Emma. She said that the spirit that dwells within the Crystal Cave had shown her the way to free Theo and how to travel along long-lost magical paths, that led here and could also take here to her brother, presumably utilizing their close blood connection. She asked what had happened recently and we told her about the King’s second proclamation, whereupon she said that she would hurry to Chepstow and strode straight back out through the still-open doorway into the Otherworld once more.

Half an hour later, Lysimachus arrived at the covenant, having apported to the usual spot beyond the Gate. He reported that he had spoken with Myrddyn, who had informed him that Emma had been taught enough to save Theo by the spirit of the cave. Before she left the Crystal Cave, she’d told him that she knew how to save Theo and promptly vanished, presumably moving along one of the secret paths. The use of secret paths within the Otherworld hereabouts has long been a mystery, for several magi over the years have used them, including me, though quite how extensive they are is unknown.

Astrius’s private journal
Husam and Lysimachus quickly flew to Chepstow to see if she was alright. They found all the guards on the walls and in the central tower sound asleep. Inside the great hall, amidst the sleeping men and women, lay the pale, motionless body of Husam’s former consors Girardino. As Husam touched him, the body crumpled into pale ash. They pressed on into the King’s living quarters and found Emma sitting on Theo’s bed. She told them that Theo was sleeping and was free from taint. Guyere had apparently fled, though Emma vowed that he wouldn’t get far. There was no sign of the White Lady or any other of Guyere’s infernal allies.


Husam and Lysimachus quickly made their way to Chepstow to see what had happened to Emma for they were concerned both for her safety and to avoid any legal issues for the covenant or wider Order as a result of any actions taken surrounding the King and his court. Fortunately, when they caught up with her, they found that the spirit in the Crystal Cave had spoken true and set her upon a path that led her straight to her brother’s quarters. There she was able to take the infernal blade that had possessed him, much like the one the Fitzwilliam would-be assassin had, from him. This broke the infernal spirit’s hold over him and caused him to return to his senses.

Emma told her pater that she was going to stay with her brother for a while, to help him fix everything, not least the Great Charter to restore peace with the great Barons of England. She said she’d release the Castellan to aid in this and would also consult with Eleanor. She also said that she would petition Primus Erikkson for membership of House Ex Miscellania. Lysimachus told us on his return that she would be known as Maga Hypathia.

Lysimachus and Husam returned to the covenant and that night, after we had heard them tell of the events in Chepstow. Lysimachus then told us what he had been able to put together about what had happened in Hibernia, how Fitzwilliam’s blade had been the trap that caused Theo to become possessed, and the subsequent training of Emma by Myrddyn or the ‘spirit of the cave’, in truth I am not sure that they are different entities, but no matter.

He said that Hypathia will make request soon to join the covenant, which reassured me a little about her safety and I was gratified to see that all my sodales seemed happy with such a request, though Gnaeus was a little unsure at first given how she had changed, but with a little discussion he became content enough.

Astrius's private journal
I and several others in the covenant had vivid dreams of a powerful queen come to the land. I and those I spoke with were all left with the impression on awakening that she was a benevolent force. Perhaps because of my pagan links to this place, though Justinian’s familar also heard the words, I heard her speak in my dream. She proclaimed loudly “I am the girl with the crown, these are my lands, under my protection. If you contest them you will feel my wrath. The hermetic wizards are also under my protection, threaten them and you will earn my enmity.”

We discussed the meaning of the dream in an informal council meeting the next day. The sense was that Emma’s words would have been more widely heard, just as Damhain Allaidh’s were. Although she has clearly come into great power now, with what happened to Marius, we could not help but worry about such a bold proclamation.

The conversation then shifted as to the case that would be brought against Lysimachus and how best that might be contested. Justinian offered the unpalatable suggestion that Lysimachus could be saved by stripping him of his Gift. He also told us his fear that Ptolemeus’s successor could well be Hadrianus, which led to further debate about Corpus Domini, the Brothers in Christ and the Inquisition. There was some bold talk of trying to rescue Ptolemeus but I heard no plausible plans put forward and I fear the succession of Hadrianus is an evil we shall have to face.

Summer

By the time we met for our Summer council, the blockade was lifted and the troops gone. All being well, normal trade relations with our usual contacts should be restored within a few weeks. There was one sad matter to discuss, Erla’s will left all her possessions to Blanche, a great sum indeed, some 1400d and a queen or so of vis. When I told Blanche of this and passed her inheritance on to her, I told her that we would trade fairly with her should she wish to spend any of it.

Lysimachus agreed as covenant service to visit the King’s College and also to visit Chepstow, where he will be publically and formally “forgiven” by the King. He will also prepare his affairs so “Alexander” will die in a year or so and thus remove any suspicion of interfering in mundane affairs. The year’s delay is to avoid any perception that “Alexander” has been quietly murdered by the King. He also announced that he had lost the diamond-tipped wand but shall make effort to retrieve it.

Justinian asked permission to go to Laycock Abbey, which was duly granted, to see if he could learn anything of Ptolemeus’s fate from the Abbot there, who is apparently another one of these “Fiorean” heretics. He returned within a couple of days, having had a brief meeting in the fields outside the abbey with a very cautious monk who reported that the Abbot had been taken by the Inquisition just before the New Year.
A few days after Justinian’s return, we had two guests at the covenant as Praeco Arcanus and Acerbia arrived. The Praeco was keen to learn more about the circumstances surrounding Ludovidicus’s murder and we assisted him as best we could. He said that a new Senior Quaesitor will arrive soon, though he knows not who it will be.

Astrius’s private journal
Arcanus was very disappointed in me, saying that he expected better from an Archimagus regarding the keeping of the King’s possession secret that led to the murder of Ludovidicus . It was hard to disagree, though in truth I do not know how much I would have done differently had I known of Ludovidicus’s plans to investigate the King’s court in Chepstow. Although I do not believe Ludovidicus was a bad man or a zealous one, I do believe that he was weak and ambitious enough that he might have passed sensitive information to Primus Guernicus. Given that traitor’s likely involvement in the murders of Marius and Urbanus, it is vital that he learns as little as possible of Emma and Theo and our involvement with them.

More troublingly he suggested that what happened may in itself constitute an existential threat to Severn Temple with our knowledge of and involvement in the corruption of the King of England and the death of the Senior Quaesitor. Beyond any individual cases may lie the possibility of a Wizard’s March.
Arcanus then left to speak with the other members of the covenant, but on he returned to talk to me and said that given the extent of conspiracy arrayed against us – for I had confided much, if not all, of what we knew to him – he and I must start to use our seniority and reputation to influence others on the continent. I agreed to speak with some of the Archimagi and mayhap a few of the Primi. I also promised to share information with Arcanus and also Olafsson, though we will have to be a little more careful about how we present things to him.

After our guests left, we met as a council to discuss what best to do. Justinian stormed out briefly in a childish fit of pique after it was pointed out to him that saying it would look bad for us if we were to be caught out in a lie was so obvious it was a waste of breath to even say it. There was then a long discussion about what to do. The truth, however noble it would be to be honest, would leave us painfully exposed to the political and legal machinations of our enemies, not least with the new Senior Quaesitor likely to be one of Primus Guernicus’s creatures. The informal decision was taken to invent a cover story that would minimise our involvement and complicity in recent events.

We waited for a few weeks until early June when Maga Hypathia was due to return. Sure enough, I felt the wild spirit within Tetheryn stir once more as she returned. She has clearly been plotting with her pater for she and Lysimachus had a ‘story’ for us, one which we shall have to make sure is the generally agreed truth if magi here and indeed the covenant itself is to escape serious sanction or future legal attacks.

It starts in the Autumn of 1273 when Husam and Lysimachus investigated Fell activity and came across the infernal creature that had once been Black Hugh. While travelling from there, Lysimachus was then invited to attend upon Llyr by water elementals and was keen to go so he requested that his season service be delayed, which was granted. On his return at the end of Autumn he learnt of Emma’s illness. He was unable to diagnose it but heard mutterings in her sleep about her brother being in danger. Having made great study of the old magics in the crystal cave and Mynydd Myrddyn, he thought he might be able to glean something to help her from that place. He went there with Erla and Emma, for the dangers of that place are well known and it was not deemed safe for one magus to travel there alone. There they waited for what seemed like a long time and he sensed a spiritual battle of some sort was being fought for Emma’s spirit. Sadly, as they waited, Erla became caught by one of the crystals and, try as he might, Lysimachus was unable to save her.

Eventually Emma awoke and she said that the spirit of the cave had shown her a path. She took this route, coming to the covenant by the door to the Otherworld and telling us what was happening to her brother, the King. Then she departed via the door again, using a further secret route to the castle in Chepstow. There she was able to travel to her brother’s room and take the infernal blade, much like the one the Fitzwilliam would-be assassin had, from him. This caused him to return to his senses, breaking the infernal spirit’s hold over him.

We debated the tale at considerable length, but it seemed robust enough and does not conflict with the previous journal so we unanimously agreed as a council that this is the tale we shall tell and stand by.

I visited Blackthorn with Lysimachus and Justinian and spoke with the Praeco. I was greatly relieved (and a little surprised) when he readily agreed to go along with it, with the sole price that I keep him informed from now on, something I readily agreed to. Arcanus told me that the rumour from House Mercere is that Primus Ptolemeus has been executed, having been held for a short while in a castle a little ways South of Paris. I then relayed Justinian’s belief that Hadrianus may be the new Primus and told him of that magus’s role as one of the murderers of Marius. Arcanus warned us that Hypathia’s rescue of the King will likely presage the start of Guernicus’s case against her, much like Marius. On that note, he added that the new Senior Quaesitor is expected to arrive at Blackthorn in the next month or so.

Autumn

Hypathia had not returned by the time we sat down for the autumn council meeting. Lysimachus discussed his arrangements regarding his succession plan as chancellor of King’s College Gloucester. The college is faring well and he has been careful to appoint a relatively elderly successor, the current Vice Chancellor, so that it will not be too long before he is able to resume the reins as Chancellor in a fresh guise, that of a visiting scholar, who he has already recommended. Lysimachus also reported that he had presented himself to the King and being publically forgiven. Conversation unavoidably shifted from that to a discussion of what further plots Guyere may have seeded and where he may be hiding now. Somewhere near Dublin seems most likely.

Although abroad this season, Husam will carry on our investigations into the Baron of Ipswich in Winter or next Spring. Gnaeus will also speak with our spymaster to determine whether the Ann Féann has been in Chepstow recently. Lysimachus will travel to Blackthorn to present himself to the new Senior Quaesitor, Octavia, filia Virgilus, discipilus Guernicus.

When asked what his covenant service would be this year, Justinian pressed for an investigation into Ptolemeus. He believes there is a chance that the Primus may not be dead and asked to take the covenant ship to France. He thinks that he may be able to uncover further evidence in Paris or its environs. He believes that Ptolemeus’s death may have been faked and that he’s likely being held and interrogated by the Templars or Brothers in Christ.

Gnaeus rightly raised fears about Justinian’s safety, given he was followed on his last visit to Paris by agents of the Inquisition. Also, the abduction of the Abbot of Laycock shows that they will act in this tribunal too. Justinian brushed off these concerns, saying that Ptolemeus was not trained in hermetic magic, but Gnaeus pressed him to seek the advice of House Mercere in finding a safe route. There was some debate on this issue, but in the end he agreed to speak with a Redcap in Paris beforehand and to seek out a mundane guide to help him move as unobtrusively as possible through Northern France. The vote to allow him to go, Justinian being in the last year of his Excordis status, passed easily, with all save Husam voting in favour. He took ship the next day with his familiar Barnabas, his apprentice and Corporal Luke.

A fortnight into the season, Senior Quaesitor Octavia, a tall and imposing woman, arrived with a small group of soldiers. As expected, she was here to conduct her investigations into the untimely death of Ludovidicus and the court wizard charges laid against Lysimachus. She stayed at Severn Temple for a couple of months, conducting what seemed to be an admirably thorough investigation. She questioned each of us in turn and asked to see not just our journal, but also to speak with our spies and ship’s crew. All of which I naturally agreed to.

Astrius’s private journal
Octavia asked me searching questions and is clearly not one for cutting corners. I agreed to all her requests, not merely because I wished to avoid arousing any further suspicion, but also because I do not believe any of those sources possess information that contradicts the tale we have come up with. If I let anything slip in my conversations with her, I wasn’t aware of it, so I pray to the Gods that she will be satisfied with our story.

The day before the Equinox, Justinian returned and came straight to see me and Lysimachus. He had spoken to Magus Sextus of House Mercere in Paris, who believed Ptolemeus to be dead. What was curious though, was his report of a Quaesitor investigating in Orléans, where the abbey of St Stephen lies. Sextus told him that the men responsible for Ptolemeus’s capture were Brother Jerome, a Dominican and Brother Reynald who dressed like a Franciscan but with chainmail underneath – suggesting he is really a Templar or one of the Brothers in Christ. Justinian’s vision has also indicated that the Inquisition were present so it seems safe to treat this as fact now. Sextus also reported that he had obtained the remains of Ptolemeus’s skull from the ashes of the fire that ostensibly burnt him and has sent it to Magvillus.

Curious, Justinian went to find the Quaesitor in a traveller’s inn, a few miles South of Paris on the Road to Orléans. She turned out to be Maga Felicia, the Tytalan Quaesitor, an interesting turn of events. He related their conversation and an intriguing message that she asked him to pass on to me “Tell Astrius I met a friend in Orléans”. Justinian learnt that The men had travelled south from the abbey with a cart, likely containing Ptolemeus.

He also heard that Silonius, Primus Guernicus’s stooge, has been appointed as the Quaesitor for ‘House’ Corpus Domini and, in his new guise as Quaesitor Calpurnius, had promptly appointed Hadrianus as Primus.

Justinian said that once he’d found his pater they’d need friends to come and get him, which, he speculated, was why she’d asked for the message to be passed to me. The question was, what to do next? In the end, we decided that I should accompany Justinian back to France to speak with Felicia myself.

We flew at night to Southampton, from where we caught ship to Harfleur and then, having disembarked, flew towards Paris, using the great river Seine as a guide. We managed to find the inn without too much difficulty. Justinian booked a room for me and there I waited while he journeyed to Paris to ask Sextus to carry a message to Felicia saying that he and I had come to see her. I had waited for a little over a week, getting slowly ever-more frustrated with the absurdly over-flavoured food the French seem to prefer, when a ‘young noblewoman’ arrived at the inn with her guard.

The three of us met in the small empty common room, but Felicia asked that Justinian leave us two to talk, which he, a little reluctantly, did. Felicia was a lot more forthcoming with me than she had been with Justinian, revealing that she was the mysterious “Dançarina”who sent me a message warning about the threat posed by the Templars and Toma a couple of decades ago. Felicia’s interest lies in the investigation of the military orders involved in the Brothers in Christ conspiracy. She believes that the Inquisition case against Ptolemeus was set up by Primus Guernicus and his associated conspirators in Corpus Domini. She thinks that it was they who revealed Ptolemeus’s Fiorean heresy to the Inquisition, especially as it would break the deadlock over who should be the Corpus Domini House Quaesitor.

I asked her if that were the case, why was Ptolemeus still apparently alive? She believes that this was the Templars acting for themselves, and was not part of any Guernican plan. Although she doesn’t know where Ptolemeus is, she knows that the Dominican, Brother Jerome, who is almost certainly a member of the Inquisition, has gone to Rome and ‘Brother Reynald’ the man in chainmail, who was pretending to be a Franciscan has gone with Ptolemeus to Iberia with the Templars. The likely and rather grim implication of this is that Ptolemeus has been taken to Toma. Felicia said that she hasn’t been able to get close enough to the Templars to help get him out, but asked to be informed via Sextus if we were to make any attempt to free him. She also asked that her name be kept out of this so that she could continue her investigations, which I was happy to agree to. With that I thanked her and left.

Back home I spoke with Lysimachus in his sanctum, that need for secrecy against future Guernican investigation weighing heavily on my mind. He spoke a little about Toma and its fearsome control over the surrounding area and the Templar’s strict discipline. It is clear that any rescue attempt, will be extremely difficult with a high chance of failure. Yet, if Ptolemus could be rescued it would be a powerful blow against Primus Guernicus’s plans, especially if Ptolemeus can implicate the Primus’s hand in his capture. We will have to see.

The key question is what the Templars want from him? It seems clear that he is a prisoner, not a guest. To try and answer such, Justinian sought a divinatory dream about the intent of the mean who took Ptolemeus. He reported that it was torture to reveal names, but that the vision shifted down to what Justinian believed was Hell. There he espied black demons torturing “sinners”. One of these demons saw him and turned from a vile creature into a beautiful being of light. It asked him to join them and when Justinian replied that ‘he was a follower of Jesus and always would be’, the demon laughed and said “no you’re not.” Justinian said that the demon then cursed him and showed me the results. He now has two small horns on his forehead, each about a half inch in height and made of what looks like black bone. Unhappily for Justinian, muto corporem spells can’t hide them, but more mundane means such as hats of long hair can. There was no discernible sigil to them.

I’m not sure what the curse means, but what does seem likely is that he spoke briefly with the demon that has corrupted the Templars in the guise of an angel. Justinian believes that this creature is one of the Lords of Hell, a fallen angel which was once cast down from Heaven. I confess that some of this is lost on me, but one thing is clear, this is no ordinary demon that can be dismissed with the “Demon’s Eternal Oblivion” or a couple of incantations of lightning.


Maga Hypathia returned just before the end of the season.

Winter

The final council meeting of the year was taken up with a discussion of a vision that Justinian had had about the demon that has corrupted the Templars in its guise as an angel. Justinian said that this creature resides on the “Plains of Dis”, which Lysimachus said was where the perjurers end up. I asked about the likely magnitude of this demon and Justinian said that he believes it is one of the original fallen angels and thus its might will significantly surpass that of the demon that haunted the King’s College. Given we believe that creature is of about the 13th magnitude, that makes it a fearsome foe indeed.

Justinian conjured an image of the demon in its angelic guise and it was just like the ‘angel’ I fought in Cotterley and that Lysimachus saw summoned by the Templars.

He also revealed the horns that the demon had cursed him with. Curiously his familiar has not been similarly affected, despite their shared magic. Whether this is because Barnabas is somehow favoured by the Christian God, or, as Gnaeus suggested, the effect was not magical, is unclear.

Astrius’s private journal
Curiously, at one point in his talk about his vision and subsequent curse, Justinian referred to his horns as “a Gift”. Quite what he meant by this is unclear, something is not quite right but I do not know what. In any event, there is much else to be done now, though once we are back from rescuing Ptolemeus, I will have to keep a closer eye on him.

There was a long debate about how this latest intercession and vision correlates with previous dreams about hawks, hounds and doves, and what we should do. In the end we agreed that thwarting Hadrianus was enough reason to act and so we resolved to rescue him. First we had to find him, and after a goodly amount more back-and-forth, we agreed on another question that Justinian could undertake without further risk to himself or coming too close to repeating a previous question. He asked whether Ptolemeus passed through Lisbon in the last two seasons.

What he saw confirmed out suspicions that it was indeed Toma where he was being held. Justinian reported that he saw a ship, the Godeleva, unloading cargo, which included a coffin, in a port. This cargo was met by riders, who rode two to a horse, apparently a specifically Templar symbol. They then headed North from the city, which is the direction in which Toma lies from Lisbon. To add fuel to the fire, Justinian noted that the coffin likely symbolizes a man going to his grave.

So it was we decided as a council to act. Quite how we shall do it was much harder to establish, we shall all think upon it this season, especially as we are without Husam, who will have some valuable perspective on how it may be achieved.

After such a portentous council, the rest of the season passed very uneventfully. Let us hope this is a sign of smoother waters ahead for the covenant once we have done what needs to be done in Toma.




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