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I had hoped that Iuris Perita would speak up on our behalf, as Princeps and as Quaesitor, but she did not do so, at least in my hearing. Since I was questioned for the best part of half a day by our visitors, I have to assume that they spoke also with my sodales and it may be that Iuris Perita was more communicative in private.
In my interview with Maga Industria, the matter of the reputed Hedge Wizard or Witch in one of the villages not far from here arose. I felt an edge of censure in the Maga's tone. I explained that I would very much welcome an opportunity to investigate this important matter but that, under the terms of our Charter, my time was entirely committed by order of our Council until another season or two had passed at best. There was nothing threatening or suspicious, I believe, in the discussion I had with our guests from Objugator, nor did they use any magic to test my veracity, but I did find it tiring. As soon as they dismissed me, I sought Jimena to obtain one of her potions to ease my aching head but I could not find her. I was surprised to learn that she had departed several days ago with Br.Joseph on some errand as a favour to Lady Marta.
I very much hope that they left with a good impression of the start we have made here and will look favourably upon us at the Tribunal this Summer. The disturbance had put out of my mind the important matter of ensuring a good welcome for us at this meeting and I must put some effort into this. Joach seems unable to help through any contacts he might have at Septem Montes, so I must speak to Speculor but he is still off vis-hunting on his raft in the bogs.
Jimena and Br.Joseph have returned from their expedition, bringing back nothing but a strange story. I listened carefully to parts of Jimena's tale but she dwelt too much on the living conditions of the local peasantry and her attempts to show them healthier ways. I did gather that she had been taken to treat patients who were suffering from an illness that had been brought on by evil humours that accumulated during the cold weather and was exacerbated by melancholy spirits. At least, there was something about the ghosts of two sisters, tragically drowned, who were somehow associated with the sicknesses that were affecting the villagers. It does not seem to me that there is anything there of interest or importance but if Jimena's efforts on behalf of her peasants has pleased Lady Marta, we shall stand in a better position next time we need a favour from her.
We were called together a day or two ago to address a matter put before us by Jehan who had received a visit from Lady Marta. It seems she is bargaining for favours again. We have been asked to send a letter to the Duc in which we somehow offer him our loyalty and respect in return for recognition of our claim on this small area of his forest. Such letter, Lady Marta recommends, should best be delivered through her hands, and it looks as if she wishes to establish with the Duc that we are in some way subject to her authority. Of course, we consider ourselves subject to no authority outside the Order but it is probably politic to appear willing to accept some sort of position in the local feudal hierarchy; but how to find the most advantageous is a mystery. I sincerely desire to get our situation here sorted out with these squabbling nobles so we can ignore them.
M.Bertrand has visited again, and I am delighted that he has managed to obtain all the items and materials I requested of him. I will have my laboratory ready to commence work within a matter of days now. I gather that the merchant brought with him a letter for the friar who is still about the covenant, teaching French and too much theology. With luck, it will summon him away.
At last, we have begun to discuss plans regarding the Tribunal meeting. We are agreed that, if at all possible, we should repay the loan of Vis used in creating our tower. This is to be fifteen pawns of unspecified Vis. Our known renewable resources are not great, and we must be careful to ensure we have the vis necessary to cast our Aegis of the Hearth. We may be able to repay some of the debt using Herbam vis, perhaps all 5 pawns in store since we anticipate being able to renew the stock come mid-Summer. If we can bear to give them up, it might be sensible to sacrifice one of the unique magical items. This might be a way of repaying the debt and simultaneously winning favour with one of the magi who helped us.
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