Scribed by Terentius

Spring 1296AD

Patterns and cycles underpin much of our existence. Some – such as the steady repetition of the seasons of the year – are easy to discern. Others may operate over longer timescales or with a less regular cadence that means they lie hidden from all save the most learned or perceptive. We live our lives within these cycles, sometimes making decisions both wise and foolish without understanding the forces at play. They need not prevent certain actions, but they may make them easier or more difficult, depending on whether we swim with or against the tide. So, we would do well to pause once in a while to consider the wider context.

Yet some cycles are not immutable. They can be broken or twisted so far out of recognition that former relationships and certainties no longer hold. I sense that we face such an inflexion point this year. This Grand Tribunal may be one like none other in recent memory, as conflicts both within and without threaten to rob the Order of its strength and what remains of its common purpose. Our place in the world must change, that is clear, but I cannot yet see how this can be achieved without succumbing to internecine strife. I am not downcast – far from it – but we should all be aware that we face an existential threat to our way of life.

Jari began our council meeting by recounting the tale of his journey into the faerie regio. He explained that the Tegid Foel, a faerie knight of the dark earth, had sought to contest his ownership of the tower in the Erechwydd’s lands through a curse that broke the hinges of the door that otherwise barred entry to that place. Jari was able to make a temporary repair through a Muto Herbam spell that jammed the broken door tight into its frame, but once the spell fails, the Tegid Foel will be able to enter and claim ownership of the tower. Pyrrhus suggested that the best way to thwart these plans would be to slay the Tegid Foel, arguing that he had both attacked our possessions and potentially broken the peace treaty that sometimes (but only sometimes) binds faerie actions. Jari countered that such a response was not justified, as the problem could be addressed more peacefully by simply repairing the door. He had commissioned new hinges from artisans in London and proposed to return to the tower in summer to install them. This seemed like a more straightforward option to me, though it was unclear whether it would resolve the problem once and for all, or whether the Tegid Foel could simply repeat his curse. If he must be defeated more directly, I noted that Sir Maurice, the faerie knight of the green chapel, had bested him in times gone by, though none of us knew what price he might demand to repeat such an action. For the moment, we shall trust that Jari’s plans will be successful; it is always possible that Pyrrhus may take matters into his own hands, but perhaps his recent experiences in the faerie regio may temper his enthusiasm to return.

Jari then spoke of his encounter with the Erechwydd. He had intended to enquire in a roundabout manner whether she had noticed the coming of the Shining One in Mynydd Myddyn, but no such subtly was required, for she was unusually open about the matter. She explained that she was no longer sure that the visions she had once had of a great winter cloaking the land were true, for she sensed something else was behind the surge in power she had detected. After Jari described what we had learned in Mynydd Myddyn, the Erechwydd explained that the Shining – or First – Ones were much older than the faerie powers and dwelt in a realm far beyond even the furthest reaches of Arcadia. They were no friend to man nor faerie, being mostly tyrannical and expecting worship and obedience. The Erechwydd said that she expected that some would seek to save themselves by falling to their knees, but she would not do so, for it went against her very nature, and she advised Hypatia to call a council of her magical and faerie allies to discuss how best to meet this potential threat.

[Terentius’ private journal: The Erechwydd’s information largely confirmed what we had heard from other sources, namely the grandfather wolf and the Old Ones of Mynydd Myddyn. Despite the perils involved, we must find out more about the entity at the heart of Mynydd Myddyn – who it is, why it has come and what it wants. This will be no easy task, but I think we can still learn much from those that have encountered it, rather than approaching it directly. As for the matter of the Erechwydd’s advice, it is not my decision to make, though I remain highly skeptical about the true motivations of all of these unearthly powers. They have been unreliable allies at best, and fierce enemies at worst, and my natural inclination is to look to our own arts to resolve our problems, rather than risking manipulation and coercion. Still, Hypatia has a better appreciation of the risks and benefits of such a decision, and I trust that she will be far sighted in her deliberations.]

Hypatia then retold the tale of Blanche’s vision. She said she had consulted the two Primi in Stonehenge, Gailoin and Julius, who had both advised her not to attend the Grand Tribunal, though they themselves still planned to do so. Messages had been sent far and wide, including to the Primi of Houses Bonisagus and Mercere, describing the vision and seeking corroboration from other sources. Despite my best efforts, Volutus said that he was still minded to attend, arguing that he felt obligated to add his voice to those who would defend the actions of this tribunal in the face of likely criticism from other quarters. Still, he said that he would hold off making a final decision until he met the other attendees at the quayside in Chester at the end of the season. Given he will be away for the summer council meeting, we decided to bring forward the casting of the Aegis to this very day, since no one else had the arts to do so in his absence. We then agreed on our actions for the season: Volutus shall extract Vim vis on behalf of the covenant; Hypatia will study the text on Ignem; Jari shall learn the spell Converse with Plants and Trees; Pyrrhus will study from his own stores of vis; and I will continue to read more on the art of Vim.

A few weeks in to the season, we were visited by Suetonius of Mercere, a redcap from the Normandy Tribunal, who brought news of alarming developments on the continent. Mercere spies had discovered that the Templar, Hospitaller and Teutonic Orders were massing knights ahead of a conclave in June at the Abbey of Saint Jerome, close to the city of Ulm in Swabia. Primus Bonisagus had declared that he remained confident in the ability of Durenmar to weather any attack, should it come, though he advised all travelling to the Grand Tribunal to take care on the road. Suetonius did not tarry long, for he had to take the news to other covenants so that those intending to make the journey would know of the perils that lay ahead.

Later in the season, Acerbia brought the chilling news that, on Ash Wednesday, the Pope had formally declared a crusade against the Order of Hermes, calling on all good Christians to take up arms against us. It is a measure of how far relations with the papacy have deteriorated that this news, which not so long ago would have been unthinkable, now seems like just another inevitable step towards the grand confrontation that we have all dreaded for several years now. Yet we should not underestimate just how cataclysmic an event this is, for it represents the start of open warfare that will not be resolved without terrible violence. Acerbia asked Hypatia how her brother would react to the news. Hypatia said that she could not speak for him, though she believed that he would not support the Pope’s call. Whether this would constrain the acts of other nobles was less clear.

Acerbia also brought the news that the Scots had massed an army and taken Berwick. This puts them perilously close to the covenant of Bori-Tor, though Acerbia informed us that the covenant remained safe enough for now. Theo has given orders to raise an army to contest the Scots’ advance, and he intends to return from France to lead it in the summer.

The final piece of news concerned events much closer to home. Several children have gone missing in the vicinity of the town of Marlborough over recent months. The disappearances had all happened on or about the new moon, a time often linked to occult practices. Given the recent infernal activity in Abingdon, there must be the possibility that the same hand lies behind both events, so we agreed that we would investigate further early in summer.

Acerbia returned to covenant a few weeks later with further news. The Pope’s crusade has received the backing of nobles across the continent, with Philip the Fair of France being one of the first to fix his standard to the cause. Many have sought to raise armies, and there has been sightings of large troop movements in Bavaria. Further afield, Venice has declared war on Byzantium, and there has been a naval clash in the Adriatic.

As spring turned to summer, Volutus bade us all farewell and made the journey to Chester, being careful to avoid travel through Chepstow given that its Baron is said to be a firm Christian. Whether we will see him again in a few days, or following the Grand Tribunal, we do not yet know, but we advised him to exercise caution on the road and wished him fine fortune on his travels.

[Terentius’ private journal: There now seems little prospect that Volutus will think better of the matter, for how could any man watch from the quayside as his comrades sail into danger? I was genuine in my desire to convince him not to go, for he places himself in peril for little real benefit. Yet, were I in his place, I would do exactly the same. Good luck, Volutus; you will need it.]


In Volutus’ absence, I led a short council meeting at the start of the season. We briefly discussed Jari’s plan to return to the faerie regio to reassert our ownership of the tower previously granted to him by the Erechwydd. He has procured a new door from local craftsmen, which could potentially be used to once again bar the entrance to the tower. However, Jari’s intuition was that this would be a temporary solution at best and some further bargain – or contest – with the Tegid Foel would be required to reach a lasting agreement. He explained that, though not one of the foremost lords of the fae, the Tegid Foel was nonetheless a powerful entity; Jari estimated his faerie might at somewhere between the eighth and tenth magnitudes. As such, he would need to tread cautiously in his interactions, though history suggested that the faerie was not entirely unreasonable if treated fairly. We therefore agreed that Jari should have the latitude to negotiate as he as he saw fit.

There was little else of note discussed at the meeting. Hypatia shall travel to London to consult with her brother and determine more about the current lay of the land, and Pyrrhus shall further investigate how to master the explosive forces of his black powder.

My own season started with some promise, though it ended in failure, making a bad situation even worse. Given Acerbia’s recent news about fell happenings in the town of Marlborough, I travelled there with a few companions to see whether I could determine the source of the problem. The townsfolk were close-mouthed about the issue, but it was not too difficult gain the confidence of a small group, who were then willing to say more. My contact confirmed that several children had indeed gone missing in recent weeks. The local knight, Sir Gregory, had conducted a search of the area, uncovering a nest of six bandits and ruffians, who he planned to execute the next day. No doubt they were guilty of serious crimes, yet it did not seem to me that they were likely to be involved in the kidnappings.

A more promising lead appeared to be rumours that a witch haunted a tangled forest a few miles west of the town. Meliorax’s had spotted this place during his initial survey of our surroundings: deep within the forest, a large clearing was home to an enormous circle of half-buried standing stones. On further investigation, we discovered that the circle lay within a fifth magnitude magical aura. It seemed quiet enough, though I detected signs of a deeper regio level using Sense the Elusive Boundary. I decided to investigate further, and we found ourselves in an aura of the seventh magnitude. The circle appeared little different – perhaps slightly less overgrown – though the faint shades of several robed figures bearing curved knives were engaged in some form of ritual among the stones. They did not react to our initial approach, though my use of investigatory magics temporarily attracted the attention of one of their number. I used the diamond-tipped wand to create a protective circle; thereafter, the shade could no longer perceive us, and it soon returned to its previous activities.

We also noticed a series of indistinct footprints leading from the edge of the circle towards a central stone. There, we spied the remains of various burnt materials, which looked like offerings to whatever powers the spirits sought to conjure. As we investigated, we heard the sound of someone approaching, and we hid behind nearby stones, so we could observe the newcomer’s approach. It was clearly the witch that the villagers mentioned: a small, spindly woman clutching various bags and pouches. She sang out in a reedy voice, which I took to be an incantation against the spirits of the place. As she approached the central stone, her hood slipped back, and I saw two small horns hidden in her mop of hair.

And it is here that I erred. Taking the horns for a sign of her infernal nature, I let loose an arrow, fortified with Perdo Corporem magics, that struck her down from behind. As she breathed her last, she asked why I had done so, though moments later she was lifeless, and her shade joined those of the others among the stones. Looking closely, the horns on her head now appeared more like those of a fawn or small deer, rather than an imp or gremlin. As I contemplated what to do, her shade called out to the pagan god of the hunt, whose name I deliberately choose not to record here, demanding vengeance for her death. We hurried to leave the area, but we paused for a few moments at the regio boundary as we made sure that we were all roped together. This was a costly delay, for the giant figure of a man with the horns of a great stag strode towards us, bellowing some deadly curse. I felt my parma magica fail, and with it, much of my strength and vitality. My companions, Branock and Alwyn, suffered a similar malady, visibly aging before my eyes. The creature bellowed a second time as I staggered through the regio boundary. Though I felt drained by the hex, Branock and Alwyn had suffered a worse fate, for they fell lifeless to the ground, little more than skin and bones. I cut the rope that bound us together and ran from the forest. Meliorax had survived the encounter unscathed, likely protected by the fact that the hex targeted the form of corporem. As we left the forest, Meliorax spied the shape of a stag within the trees, so I used the Cloak of the Raven’s Feathers to take to the wing.

From the air, I noticed smoke and flames rising from an isolated farmer’s hut. Investigating further, I found three bodies within the remains of the hut, their skin horribly burnt as though from a flaming whip. A first magnitude infernal aura lay about the place, but the most disturbing sight was the body of the child within the cot. To casual inspection, she had died in the same way as the others, yet peering more closely, she resembled a hollow burned shell with blackened eyes. I cannot be sure, but my intuition is that the child was actually the remains of some form of infernal changeling. I suspect that this was the cause of the parents’ deaths, though where the creature has gone now, I cannot say. There were signs that local villagers were approaching, so I left the area and returned to Severn Temple.

[Terentius’ private journal: I spent the remaining weeks of my season reading more about the horned god and his followers. I now suspect that the witch was, in fact, involved in some sort of ritual to combat whatever infernal influence plagues the town. This is beyond unfortunate: not only was her death unjust, but I have now strengthened the infernal powers that I sought to defeat. Our texts recount that the horned god is notoriously vengeful and persistent; this will surely not be the end of the matter, though I shall seek to reverse the effects of my mistake regardless.]

I learned later that Jari had returned to the covenant after only a few days in the faerie regio. As we feared, the Tegid Foel had reclaimed the tower before Jari arrived. They parleyed warmly enough and ultimately agreed that the Tegid Foel would visit Severn Temple at some future date to discuss the future of the tower.


Volutus re-joined us for the council meeting. It was immediately clear from his haggard appearance and solemn demeanour that the Grand Tribunal had been a disaster. He explained that the journey to Durenmar had started well enough, though there were increasing signs that military forces were on alert as the party made its way by barge down the Rhine. The first indication of the dire events to come occurred once they put ashore to make their way towards the Black Forest, as a Redcap brought news that the nearby covenant of Triamore had fallen to military forces. The precise manner of its destruction was unclear at that time, though reports were that devices powered by explosive black powder were used to fling huge rocks at the walls, bringing them down in short order. Still, the group were able to skirt the dangerous lands, and they arrived at Durenmar in due course.

Primus Praeberus of Bonisagus opened meeting of the Grand Tribunal by declaring that the primary focus of the gathering would be determine how to address the threat posed by the grave deterioration in relations with mundane and religious powers that had culminated in the declaration of a crusade against the Order. He also noted that the Tribunal would hear a charge brought against Hypatia that she was the principal cause of these events. Any objections that might have been raised against this course of action were cut off by a commotion as a Recap named Altius forced his way into the chamber with urgent news for the assembled magi. Prima Mercere convinced Praeberus to let the man speak, despite the latter’s obvious irritation at the interruption.

Altius explained that he had come from the nearby town of Ulm, where a force of a hundred knights and a thousand men-at-arms had gathered in anticipation of pursuing the crusade. A cardinal had openly preached against the Order, urging the secular forces to destroy the “nests of witches and warlocks” who defied the Pope. Even more ominously, the banners of Philip the Fair, King of France, had been spotted in the city, and rumours said he had been accompanied by ten thousand men under arms. As if this were not enough, Altius had tracked a force estimated at 350 Templar knights riding into the Black Forest itself. This would normally be of only limited concern, for the forest quickly becomes far too tangled to permit mounted troops to pass, but the knights simply vanished a short way in. Altius’ party investigated the site of their disappearance, and they discovered an infernal regio that had not previously been known. As they pondered their next move, the group were ambushed by several Templars, and Altius barely escaped with his life. The Grand Tribunal was in uproar at the news, and it took Praeberus some time to re-establish control over the meeting. After some prompting, Praeberus agreed to postpone the planned business of the Tribunal while a war council comprising the Primi and certain select senior magi gathered to debate through the night how to address the looming threat.

Before Volutus retired for the night, he was approached by Prima Margaretha of Criamon. She was clearly aware of some of his recent researches, for they spoke briefly of the Shining Ones, who the Prima described as beings of pure Twilight. She mentioned that the legends did not speak ill of all of them, for some had been teachers, rather than tyrants. She told him that there were hidden tomes, perhaps in Durenmar itself or the Cave of Twisting Shadows, that might shed more light on the nature of these creatures.

Volutus took to his bed with a sense of trepidation for what the morning would bring, but events turned out even worse than expected. He awoke in the dark to the sound of a great crashing and shuddering coming from the walls and ceiling. The magical lighting that once illuminated the corridor outside his room was no longer working, but he could make out Theophilus stumbling through the dark. The two made the way out of the building to witness a terrible sight: Templar knights within the Durenmar compound cutting down the covenant’s desperate defenders. Volutus and Theophilus attempted to flee through the Great Library, but they were pursued by Templars, who slew Theophilus with a crossbow quarrel and set the library alight. Volutus attempted to save Theophilus with a healing spell, but his magic failed him, and the associated vis crumbled in his hand. Volutus located a side door that opened into the main courtyard, but the fighting here was even more intense, as the curtain wall that once protected the area had collapsed. Fortunately, he encountered magus Altius and two mundane companions, who cleared a path towards the stables. Altius and Volutus were able to reach their mounts, though the redcap’s companions died protecting their retreat.

The two magi then rode with all speed through the melee, leaving the covenant grounds and heading into the forest. On the way, Volutus saw evidence that the failure of his magic was not an isolated event, for a member of House Flambeau’s flying spell stopped working, causing him to crash to the ground, and a member of House Bjornaer’s shape-changing spell failed, leaving him at the mercy of a group of very unmerciful Templars. A further distance away, Altius informed Volutus that he had spied a small group of protecting a small but evidently heavy device. As they moved perhaps a quarter of a mile away, their magic returned, suggesting that this device may have been the mechanism by which the Templars had breached Durenmar’s magically created walls. Given the danger, the two did not pause long to debate the matter, and they continued to ride with all speed away from the covenant.

The journey back to England was also fraught with danger. At Mannheim, they witnessed the public execution of a Redcap; he had evidently been cruelly treated beforehand, his eyes and tongue having both been removed. After they killed him, a priest offered a gold coin for anyone who brought them more members of the Order. They also learned the crusading forces had made their way east, evidently with other targets, perhaps including Irencilia, in mind. Altius and Volutus travelled north together for many days, their food slowly dwindling, as English silver was treated with much suspicion. Eventually, Altius was forced to risk entering a town to replenish their supplies, but he did not return. Volutus waited as long as he could, but fear and hunger soon drove him to once again take to the road. It was a thin and drawn figure that eventually arrived at Rotterdam, and he secured passage on a ship to England by pawning two items of jewellery.

We debated for some time what we should do in light of Volutus’ tale. Hypatia informed us that there was as yet no news of the events on the continent in mundane circles, though this was not surprising given the time and distances involved. Instead, Theo’s recent decisive victories against the Scots, including reclaiming the town of Berwick, had made him more popular among both lords and commoners, despite his excommunication.

At length, we determined that I would speak with the members of my House to see if there was any news of others returning from Durenmar. Jari agreed to spend a season in and around the Dean in an attempt to determine whether any of the secular or religious powers were expressing support for the crusade. Pyrrhus decided to first travel to London in search of rare alchemical ingredients and then spend the remainder of the season experimenting with black powder. Volutus agreed to remain in the covenant in case Acerbia brought any further news of events of the continent.

I spoke with member of my House at Eurus Aquilae, Blackthorn and Trevalga. None knew of the whereabouts of Julius or Quintillius, nor had they heard of any other magi returning from Durenmar. We resolved to meet again at Eurus Aquilae in spring unless Constantine can persuade Faelon to call an emergency meeting of the Stonehenge Tribunal. The rest of the season passed without event, save for the occasional retort from Pyrrhus’ experiments.


The winter council meeting brought some more news of events beyond these walls, though in truth much of the aftermath of Durenmar remains shrouded in mystery. There continue to be reports that a few magi escaped the covenant, though no one of particular note. Jari was able to confirm Hypatia’s previous remark that Theo remains popular with the common folk in light of his victories in Scotland. On the other hand, whether through natural suspicion of foreigners, or well-placed rumourmongering by the crown, the Pope and King of France are objects of scorn and ridicule.

Pyrrhus announced that, working with his companion, the inventor Marcellus, he had succeeded in crafting a weapon that uses black powder to fire a small projectile at great speed towards a target. The weapon, which he has dubbed the ‘Vociferatio’, apparently shares features with the hand-cannons said to be used by the Moors. The barrel of the device is made of an unusually strong metal, which Pyrrhus’ companion has immodestly dubbed Marcellian Steel. It can be carried by a single man, and though unwieldy and slow to fire, it causes great destruction and alarm. Pyrrhus intends to further refine the production method over time.

Hypatia put an unusual and intriguing request before the council: her brother wishes to address the Stonehenge Tribunal. We speculated at length what the object of this request might be, though some form of closer relationship between the crown and Order, at least within these isles, seems a likely guess. There followed an interminable debate about the legal niceties of agreeing to the request; as is so often the case in these formless discussions, the conversation quickly spiralled away from the matter at hand to take in the entire legal future of the Order. At length, with nothing productive having been said for at least an hour, we returned to the original question. On balance, we thought it best if Theo met with the council of Severn Temple, rather than the entire Tribunal. We are, in many ways, a safer and more sympathetic audience for Theo’s proposals; after all, if he cannot persuade us as to the merits of his case, he has little chance with those further afield. Hypatia agreed to take this message to him, and we arranged a meeting at the hunting lodge later in the season.

A few days later, Acerbia arrived with more dispiriting news. She reported that Irenicilia had been sacked by Templar forces. The magi there had been unprepared for the assault, and none are thought to have survived. Another, smaller covenant, Turris Acontiarum, had also fallen, this time to the Teutonic knights. In the latter case, the walls had been brought down by mundane mortars or bombards, rather than the strange artefact used by the Templars, and at least some of the magi escaped. Philip the Fair is said to be wintering in Strasbourg, and there is news of a Templar army in the southern Rhinelands, potentially threatening the Provencal and Great Alps Tribunals, while the Teutonic knights remain further north. The conflict between Byzantium and Venice continues, with the latter having won a naval battle fought over access to the abundant lumber in the lands on the east side of the Adriatic.

News had filtered through of a few magi returning from Durenmar to their covenants, though the latest numbers indicate that that only about seven of the two hundred who attended the Grand Tribunal may have survived; none of the Primi are among their number. In Thebes, the senior Quaesitor, who did not attend the Grand Tribunal, has called an emergency Tribunal to elect a new Praeco. Similarly, House Bjornaer, who did not send a Quaesitor to Durenmar, is also to hold an emergency meeting, presumably to elect a new Primus. There are also signs that some magi have taken advantage of the breakdown in Hermetic structures to settle old scores: in Loch Leglean, there is warfare among some of the clans, with magi openly aiding their allies against their erstwhile sodales; and in Iberia a group of unknown magi have slain several members of Houses Criamon and Ex Miscellanea. Faelon has called a meeting of the Stonehenge Tribunal for midsummer next year; he technically lacks the authority to do so, but there is clearly the need for such a gathering.

Two weeks into the season, we received a message that Theo had arrived at his hunting lodge in Lydney, and Volutus, Jari, Pyrrhus and I made our way there to meet him. We were received by Osmund, the king’s scribe, and shown through to a private meeting room without delay. I must admit that I did not really know what to expect; kings so often seem remote figures, far removed from even the distinguished circles in which we move. Yet there was an instant familiarity with Theo that can only be a consequence of the time we have spent with his sister, with whom he shares a deep bond. The two are not entirely the same, for Theo strikes me as more direct and measured, and less whimsical, yet they clearly have much in common.

Theo laid out his argument for closer coordination and cooperation between the crown and the Order in a practiced and methodological manner. He stressed that we have both common aims and common enemies, and that he recognised that his family has been entwinned with the order for several generations. He said that he would defend the stipulations in the Great Charter that protect the Order in these lands, despite fierce pressure from abroad, and this support would not change even if we reject his offer. Still, he argued that the enemies we face are both mundane and arcane, and that we must pool our talents if we hope to prevail. He is content to face his foes on the battlefield, if war comes to these lands, but he cannot defend against unseen enemies that employ dark arts. Thus, he proposed that we exchange information more directly, and work in concert where required. He did not define the terms of any such arrangement in detail, preferring to leave it to us decide, but he did make one stipulation: Hypatia’s role as a conduit between the Order and Tribunal must come to an end. It had caused her much political difficulty in the past, even posing a grave threat to her life, and this could not continue. As such, we must agree a different way to operate.

We each gave an initial reaction to his words. Pyrrhus and I spoke in favour, for I think we both grasp that the struggle to come requires us to take advantage of all our potential allies, however untraditional. Volutus was much more reserved; part of this may be his natural conservatism, but it possible that he also sees wider political ramifications that I do not appreciate. Jari is normally one to always venture an opinion, even (or particularly) if he knows little about the topic, yet he seemed uncharacteristically equivocating, as he listed all sorts of considerations both for and against, but never actually gave his opinion. Perhaps he simply does not know his own mind; how disappointing. Theo seemed content that we had given his proposal a fair hearing, and we agreed that we would debate it further as a council. We departed on good terms and returned to Severn Temple.

Towards the middle of the season, we were again visited by Acerbia with further news of events on the continent. It seems that Primus Calpurnius of House Corpus Domini was not at the war council at Durenmar, and thus survived the attack that consumed his peers. Calpurnius was captured by Templars, brought in chains to Rome and publicly renounced the Order. Seemingly without signs of ill treatment, Calpurnius formally surrendered the Order to the authority of the Pope; he agreed to no longer practice any form of Hermetic magic, was granted clemency and put under house arrest. The Pope then decreed that any other former members of the Order who surrender and undergo baptism would also be treated with mercy; otherwise, they will be prosecuted as heretics.

Calpurnius is well known to this covenant in his former guise of Hadrianus: conspirator, zealot and murderer. It seems plans put in place so many years ago have now come to fruition. The Pope’s offer seems ridiculous from these shores, but can we be sure that others on the continent will see it the same way? Might this be the start of a conflict that pits magi against each another in direct conflict?

This has been an altogether terrible year; may we not see its like again as long as I live.