Jari Alfarsson, filius Stiria, discipilus Merinita

To a quick glance, Jari looks physically unremarkable. He’s a little shorter than most men and has a slender frame, though his pale skin, bright blue eyes and shoulder-length black hair perhaps mark him out a bit. Somewhat languid in his movements, he nevertheless moves gracefully when he chooses, though he’s usually happy to just lounge around. He has an easy charm about him and a mellifluous voice that he loves to show off with songs, stories or just idle chatter. His natural irreverence means he doesn’t take himself too seriously and he has an almost Tytalan philosophy about mishaps.

Jari served his apprenticeship in Summer’s End covenant, which lies deep in the frozen lands of the Sami people in the north of the Kingdom of Sweden and the blood of the faerie Court of Winter flows through his veins. Even in the depths of winter he’s comfortable in little more than a plain shirt, trousers and well-worn green travelling cloak. His manner is usually relaxed and informal, with a smile often playing on his lips as he contemplates some new joke or simply just enjoys life. Jari appears equally at home in the library or the tavern and his Gift lies lightly upon him, not bothering the mundane folk whose company he seems to enjoy as much as that of magi.

His sigil is frost damage.

Jari's views on the Magi at 1297 AD

Despite all she represents I can’t help but like Hypathia. She’s pretty much the only other wizard with a sense of humour here too which clearly helps. Of course, she has her flaws, she’s a bit entitled and used to getting her own way, but she’s not one to throw around her power and influence at council and is generous and kind. Considering her upbringing as both a Bonisagus and the King’s sister, it’s remarkable she’s as unaffected as she is. I think with all her absences from the covenant and association with the mundane realms, her cleverness is often overlooked and she’s brighter than almost all of those seeking to proffer her advice. She might be the Queen of the Land and in hock, willingly or not, to one or more faerie or magical powers, but there’s a lightness of spirit to her than I greatly admire.

For a magus with such potential destructive power at his fingertips, Pyrrhus is surprisingly lacking in self-confidence. Is this why he fails to take offense when his consors Marcellus openly disdains him? Or does Pyrrhus’s vanity mean he perceives it as mere banter between two great minds? I think he fancies himself as one of the eminent scholars of the age, when in truth he just had the foresight to bring Roger Bacon’s work into practical application for the Order, with the help of Marcellus. Credit to him for that, but he’s clearly no intellectual giant himself.

However, these traits together make for a volatile personality and Pyrrhus occasionally seems to feel the need to demonstrate his authority in sudden explosions of emotion. I wonder what effect the death of his pater will have on him? Will he rise to the challenges that face us all or will he crack and lash out at weaker, easier targets instead? Overall, he’s uncannily like the black powder that he’s so fascinated with: quite interesting, dangerous for our enemies, but you can’t help but feel a little uneasy in his presence.

Terentius has become entertainingly moody since binding his familiar, sometimes grumpy and sarcastic, sometimes good humoured enough to crack a joke or two. Amusingly, he still sees himself as having a “wild” side, despite being one of the most controlled magi I know. Never hesitant to venture outside the covenant, this has tempered Terentius’s somewhat black and white views of the world, though he’s still prone to lapsing back into old habits. However, he’s admirably open in owning his mistakes.

The one thing about him that really frustrates me is his impatience. I swear he thinks that seeing nuance in an issue just means you don’t understand it well enough. No matter if there are subtleties still be to be properly talked through, once Terentius deems enough has been said he’ll try to shut down conversation, either through increasingly blatant body language, sighs and tuts, before moving on to whiny complaining. All that said, he’s the magus you’d most want by your side when things get tricky. I’m very glad we share a covenant.

You can tell Volutus is a Trianoman by the deft way he manages to accommodate several seemingly contradictory aspects to his personality. He’s selfless but self-important, boring but worth listening to, and egalitarian but also patrician. He’s hard to dislike, but that may just be because it’s hard to stir any strong emotions about him.

Volutus is a facilitator rather than a creator and if there were more magi like him the Order might not be in so much trouble. Like most Bonisagi, he’s overly prone to being pompous and is capable of being quite hypocritical when it suits him, but overall he’s a decent enough sort. He’s probably the least worst leader the council could have, but I imagine he gives himself a little mental pep talk before council and a metaphorical pat on the back after a difficult meeting. All that said, his escape from Durenmar, when almost all others perished, suggests an inner strength and resourcefulness, not to mention a ruthless streak, so there may be more to him than meets the eye.

Personality traits
Brave +4*, Irreverent +3, Cruel +1, Curious +2, Cocky +1, Mischievous +2

*Bonus from faerie/pagan blessing

Jari's views on the Magi at 1283 AD

Oratio exemplifies both the success and failure of Bonisagus’s system of hermetic magic. He’s careless and unimaginative, and often slow to grasp complex concepts and nuance, yet he has a good range of magical arts and is capable of doing much when he applies himself. That said, if my blood didn’t run as coldly as it does, I might rage or weep with frustration at some of the things he does and says. It’s obvious he’s not a natural leader, he’s indecisive and too prone to following strong opinions. I do believe that he tries to be a good man and he’s a fair and generous Pontifex, but when placed under pressure he seems incapable of making anything other than terrible decisions and abandoning his good side for a blinkered selfishness.

Hypathia is a maga to admire, even ignoring her title and crown. She’s clever and strong-willed, with a good sense of humour. She’s perhaps a little too used to having her own way and ordering people around, but of all the people here, she’s the most suited to bearing the heavy responsibilities she carries. However, of late, the weight of those responsibilities is starting to show and for the first time I’m worried that they could become too much for her. I wonder whether it might have been better for her if Theo had died before he was made King, not that I could ever express such a thought to her and hope to remain on friendly terms. She’s understandably partisan about certain areas, but wiser to the influences of the pagan and faerie powers than others of her line. I fear though that unless she’s careful, her story may well still mirror theirs. But she’ll have my support in avoiding such a fate, and not just because my House tells me to give it.

All too easy to overlook, Gnaeus is nevertheless quietly clever and principled, always willing to give up his own time to help the covenant. Beneath his quiet and humble exterior, he’s both interesting and interested in knowledge and thinking outside that of the standard hermetic. He’s also probably the least compromised by other loyalties or sides and has shown himself to be a man of principle. A valuable member of the council indeed.

Spiky, competent, bold and honest, I like our Tremere. I’m sure we will argue quite a lot over the years to come, but that’s a good thing. Terentius is a pragmatist who values coherence and utility. He’s pretty po-faced at times, but he does show a sense of humour on occasion, even if you have to dig for it sometimes. I’m still not sure if he truly favours an all-inclusive council or if his House upbringing has given him a taste for a more rigid hierarchical power structure, as evidenced by his comments about what he would do if he were made Imperator. I suspect it’s just that he’s been indoctrinated into doing whatever task he’s assigned to the fullest, whether good or bad. That makes him a little dangerous, for where his ultimate loyalties or moral boundaries lie is unclear. What exactly is he capable of if ordered by his House? I suspect he would be a poor magus to cross, but, equally, a good ally to have in challenging times.

I need to preface my opinions of Volutus by saying that I don’t feel that I yet have a firm measure of the man. It’s entirely possible that that this is because he doesn’t have much to him, but given his house I should probably give him the benefit of the doubt. Anyway, Volutus is genial, likeable, helpful and, well, a bit dull. He seems a nice enough fellow, one who quietly works to help the covenant and the tribunal, though he doesn’t always follow-through with his big plans, such as revising the Charter. He occasionally shows flashes of passion, but they seem to be few and far between, and generally only when he has little choice but to speak up. However, his amusing fit of pique when Terentius was appointed Ministrator ahead of him showed he has some of the typical Bonisagan arrogance, though whether he has their typical intellect is less clear. I certainly find it hard to imagine him pushing the boundaries of the ars magica.