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Covenant of La Roche Caribet

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Part 18: Politics

Internal politics

Talk has been very much centred on who will attend the Tribunal. Maga Saskia believes we should say whether we are willing to attend in our own time before Council decides on who attends to represent us and whether that counts as service or not. I agree with her point that we have too much work to do here to allow attendance to substitute for work that contributes to the building up of our covenant. However, I think that making a good impression at the Tribunal is part of building up the covenant since a good reputation can only be to our long term benefit. I am not willing to say aloud that, in fact, I intend to go to the meeting in my own time if I have to, because that may well lose me any chance of attending as 'service' so I would lose my only free work period for the whole year.

While my thoughts were full of plots and plans for how I could be sure of attending the Tribunal without having to give up any hope that my attendance might be contrived in a way that counted as covenant service, Maga Saskia made an embarrassing announcement. She had been reviewing our Covenant Charter, I believe to see if it offered any rules that might help us decide on who should represent Saxum Caribetum and whether attendance could count as covenant service. She discovered that it did - it requires the Princeps to represent the covenant, or to appoint a deputy to take on that duty, and makes it clear that, as attendance takes considerable time, it counts as service for the Princeps or appointed deputy.

Unfortunately, Saskia also found that the Charter required us to have held elections for the covenant offices of Princeps, Defensor and Librarius at the Winter Solstice, and we had forgotten about this. Since the previous elections, our first, had been held soon after we arrived, those first appointed to these duties have not yet served a full year but the year will be up before the Tribunal. So, we have to decide whether to hold elections at once or to postpone a little until the anniversary of the first Council elections. Also, we have to decide whether to abide by the Charter as it stands and ensure we hold these elections annually in mid-Winter or, as Maga Iuris Perita suggests, alter the Charter to move the elections to Spring in future.

I am rather cross, with myself more than anyone else, that we have failed to act according to the Charter that we took so much thought and care over, and drew up so recently. I maintain that the reasons we decided to hold the elections in mid-Winter are still valid. My preference is that we hold the elections as quickly as we reasonably can and that we hold them at the Winter solstice hereafter. It seems that the first will happen. Very soon after Saskia's information had circulated, discussions began in which the question of elections was closely linked with the matter of Tribunal attendance, for whichever of us becomes Princeps will be able to attend the Tribunal as a season's service and it is to be expected that we are all keen to be the one. I am still convinced that I am, myself, the obvious, logical choice of representative but who can I persuade to nominate me for Princeps?

It was while I was pondering this that I received a very interesting proposal from Iuris Perita. She feels that the reasons for voting her into her present office are still valid and she would like to continue as Princeps - no surprise in that. However, she appreciates that the importance of her maintaining Quaesitorial impartiality means that she is not a suitable representative for us at the Tribunal. We have come to an agreement - in return for my nomination of herself for re-election as Princeps, she undertakes to nominate me for both Librarius and her deputy to attend the Tribunal. This seems to me a perfectly satisfactory solution to the situation.

As soon as I had agreed to this I made my own nominations known: Iuris Perita for Princeps, Joachus for Defensor and Saskia for Librarius. I can give plausible reasons for all these as the current Princeps and Defensor have performed their duties well and Saskia has been taking an active interest in the library recently, both in her enthusiasm for one of the volumes which she has retained for more than a season and in her involvement in suggesting which spells it would be most useful to have casting and study copies of. I don't have a ready answer to the problem of who would vote on behalf of Saxum Caribetum if Iuris Perita, as Princeps, decided to attend in person as our representative. I will have to think of something plausible quickly, unless Iuris Perita makes her plan to send me known. So much depends on who the others favour as Princeps.

Saskia mentioned something intriguing. She says that she is considering attending the Tribunal in person, but must await the outcome of various events in the Rhine Tribunal before making a final decision, which may not be possible until the Summer Solstice. For one thing, if she waits that long I think she'll miss the meeting, unless she uses magic to travel. It must be something important if she is willing to sacrifice her one free season for it. It could be that attending will be the only way to find out more! For now, she has turned down my invitation to stand for the office of Libraria and has nominated Joachus as Princeps. He has declined the honour and expressed his satisfaction with the present incumbents. So, we still have just the three nominations which have been accepted, which is quite satisfactory. With luck, Speculor will not take sufficient interest to stir things up and no vote will be required and Iuris' plan will come off to my benefit.

An invitation

Towards the end of March, a herald appeared at our gates and handed over a letter. Our Vilicus presented it to Iuris Perita who showed us all. It was from the Lord Gaidon of Quintin, inviting the Lords of Caribet to attend the spring fair there and to attend a feast he was giving on the evening of the first day of the fair, 15th of April. I was pleased that at least one of the local nobility had recognised our importance. One or two of my sodales seemed somewhat uncomfortable about mixing with the gentry at a grand occasion - not all have my good fortune or good breeding.

Over the next few days, and after some of our coven-folk had attended Mass at Plaintel, rumours were circulating that Lady Marta, the clergy at the Hermitage and Lord du Robien had also been invited to the feast, and that Jean de Pleouc had been significantly left out. How comforting to know that the local nobility hold him in much the same regard as do we.

Our Princeps made a formal call for final nominations for the Covenant Offices. I mentioned to her the matter of altering the Charter to move the elections but, since I had expressed a lack of enthusiasm for a change, she has decided to waste no more time on it. Saskia made a very good point today, that if it became known that we had not acted strictly in accord with our own Charter in any of this business, a trouble-maker could move that any representation from Saxum Caribetum at Tribunal was invalid. I am horrified at the thought but no doubt she is perfectly correct. The sooner we get this election completed the better.

The deadline for the council has passed. I am happy to record that no further nominations were put forward so that those who held office last year will continue to hold them until the Winter solstice.

External politics

On 11th April, Aversus of Mercere was with us again. He must have made great haste for he only left here on 17th March. He brought the following important message:

Vote of Welcome

Word has reached us that our worries over the proposal of a vote of welcome may be over. Behold the following message from Septem Montes:
From Officius Mechanistus scholae Verditii filius Misselin ad Lineae Erigonea in Hispania, to the Magi Tribunalis Normandiae,

Salvete Sodales!

Join with me to welcome into our midst the young newcomers at Saxum Caribetum, who have recently celebrated their first anniversary of foundation.

Let their youth and enthusiasm be an inspiration to us all.

One suspects Joachus may have had something to do with this, and it is to be hoped our repayment of the Vis was involved too, else we could have kept it. We thanked Joach for his part in arranging this excellent proposal.

Saskia has passed on news that Magus Rene, her patronus, of Taurus Candidus, is well pleased by our recent payment of Vis. He expresses satisfaction not only with the Taurus Candidus allocation, but with the distribution as a whole, which must put us in a favourable light.

Dispute over Vis

Alas, not all the motions put to the Tribunal concerning Saxum Caribetum are so encouraging - this from Fudarus:

From Probus Malignis Archimagus scholae Tytali, filius Aesculi ex Rellantalis in Roma, to the Magi Tribunalis Normandiae,

Salvete Sodales!

Regarding:

that the Vis to be collected by Competition with the Queen of the Faeries of the Valley of the Lady of the Mists, being rightfully the Domain of Covenant Fudarus, was usurped by Magi from Covenant Saxum Caribetum, who did insinuate themselves into said Competition;
that they so deprived us of the property of IV Pawns of Vis;
that they brought mockery upon our Covenant Fudarus, so alienating us from those Fae.

We call upon the Tribunal to reaffirm our right to this Vis source;
And we call upon the Tribunal to punish the errant Magi who stole from our property, and alienated the Fae.

It seems to me that this is some sort of test or challenge from Fudarus. A great deal depends upon whether their claim to the Vis is registered. If it happens that it is so registered, we may have to explain that the Lady invited us to participate in the Contest, that it would have been impolite and possibly even provocative to refuse, and that it was she who judged the games and made the award, by her own free choice. If witnesses must be called, only the Lady herself can give the full tale.

Saskia mentioned an idea of sending someone to speak to the Lady of the Mists and perhaps bring some message or token from her to support our position. I agree with Joach, that bothering the Fae with Order politics would be a very bad idea. His alternative strikes me as far to be preferred: to politely suggest, at the Tribunal, that communicating with the Lady would clarify the matter - and point out it isn't a fair debate otherwise. Thus, unless a Magus, perhaps a Merinita, wishes to follow this path everyone there may well vote in our favour to avoid trouble from the Fae.

Iuris Perita has learnt that Fudarus do have a registered claim to Vis which depends upon a Contest with the Fae. So, we must build our defence on the facts that we were invited to participate and won in fair contest.

Praise for our Princeps

This message from Wirbelnia seems good but raises questions:
From Gareth o Fflint princeps, Ex Miscellanea filius Arziali (Dafyd ap Maris) Ex Miscellanea ad Caer Adwell in Britannia, to the Magi Saxi Caribeti,

Salvete Sodales!

Let me send shared praise to you, for the prompt and successful action of your young Quaesitor and her successful intervention in the matter of the Campaign against Magi by the (ex) Bishop Evrard of Sancta Brieuc.

Prior to her intervention, it had become most difficult for us to carry out our business in that City, but by her firm investigation, a Diabolist has been exposed and brought to justice, and been dealt with by the Church Authorities.

The matter was concluded with the utmost discretion, so that no scrutiny was brought to bear upon our own Order.

I hope this is an indication that Wirbelnia will vote in our favour and not hold a grudge against us over the business last Mid-Summer. Of course, with Wirbelnia for us, Odela will undoubtedly be against unless we are very lucky or very skilful. I expect that whatever Iuris Perita has become involved in recently will emerge in some detail at Tribunal. She is unwilling to tell us anything significant but we have the following message from Odela; how can she stay silent?
From Eleusinus princeps scholae Merinitae, filius Eversi ad Silva Nigra in Britannia, to the Magi Tribunalis Normandiae,

Salvete Sodales!

Let me bring to your attention the sorry state of affairs in Brittany, in which the clumsy actions of the members of Covenant Wirbelnia have brought trouble upon their Sodales, in that they did stir up the Bishop of Sancta Brieuc so that he did waged a campaign against all the workers of Magic, and all who bore any signs of the Gift;
and to remind our Sodales that this is a clear breach of the Code to which we all swear;
and to invite the noble Quaesitores to investigate and punish these errant Magi.

These references to Iuris Perita's activities in St.Brieuc brought forth a torrent of questions from all the other Magi. At first she would say nothing but that we could apply to Objugator for the Report and that her activities were protected by Quaesitorial seal. This was very frustrating. Joach rightly indicated that, as Defensor, he needed to know anything that might affect our security and felt that this story came into that category. I managed a quiet word that I would need to know more of this if I was to adequately handle matters at the Tribunal; Iuris Perita assured me that I would be briefed before setting off so I must quietly contain my curiosity. Joach had no such promise of information to come and became noticeably impatient with our Princeps. Indeed, it seemed only fair that we should know what was clearly common knowledge within other parts of Normandy. Iuris suggested that these other covenants were perhaps blowing things up out of proportion for their own ends though she did let out that the bishop had been taken away, charged with heresy and diabolism. Canon Filbert was taking his place while the appointment of a new bishop was arranged.

As it was a Church matter, it seemed a good idea to question Brother Joseph. He knew quite a lot of the story and told us in awed tones how an angel had appeared to Canon Filbert as he was praying in the cathedral. He believed that one so blessed was quite likely to be a suitable new bishop. Apparently, the Canon was told many things by the angel which have been proved true and the visitation has been accepted by the church as a true and real. The friar expressed a lack of interest in or knowledge of any local church politics but did say that dreadful, diabolical activities had been revealed. It is certain that this visitation took place whilst Iuris Perita was here, following her return from her solo expedition, and very soon after Industria Quaesitoris rode so fast away from Caribet towards the north. The conclusion is obvious.

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