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I saw Jimena this morning. She has been busy 'keeping everyone healthy', she says, which sounds boring but necessary. She spoke briefly about some women who live here and are, she thinks, somewhat usual. There is one named Ana who has an understanding of animals. Her sister, Guen, uses foolish folk charms to help her keep house and yet somehow they occasionally work. The third, Amelle, must be of the fae; she has ears like a cat and eyes with bright green pupils, and cannot touch iron. All three are the daughters of that Widow Eclair of Lanvia we heard of last year and whom I suspected of being some minor sort of hedge wizard. Perhaps someone ought to talk to them and to her.
We gathered in the council chamber at night, without magus Constantine, to sort out some important matters. We were all agreed that Maga Saskia be expelled from the covenant immediately for breaking the terms of the charter. Once this was done, all senior members of the covenant were present and we were able to approve several alterations to the charter to cover the removal of Saskia Apera filia Ottonis, filiaque Franzienis et Idae scholae Bjornaeris from the roll of senior members, a paragraph to cover the case when a former member wishes to return, the use throughout of the Latin form of the name of the covenant, and a few other minor modifications.
We agreed to give magus Constantine the token necessary to allow him the advantage of the Aegis. He is given the use of the room vacated by maga Saskia and will be spending this season distilling vis from the aura for our stores. I argued that it was more useful for him to make a start on writing out the spells he knows. That way we can retain a copy in the library and not lose access to the spell if he leaves us. No-one else supported my proposal this time but I expect they will next season or the one after. It may be just as well for me that council agreed my season of service with the Creo summa before Constantine turned up, or they may have been less enthusiastic about enhancing my own ability to distil.
I was unsuccessful in persuading the rest of the council to let me use a portion of our Terram vis for the creation of a modest amount of silver coinage. There are so many instances when money is necessary that I do not understand their reluctance even though I am very much aware of our vis debt. We are not earning enough by sale of bibles, leather and herbal preparations to cover all the specialised items we need. In particular, I would very much like it if we could purchase some coloured inks to improve our books. My sodales have agreed to reconsider this proposal when we have more vis in store.
My sodales have not forgotten the amount I spent to obtain the magical statue of the nymph and appear to find the pearl inadequate compensation. I did point out that it was not my idea to take the statue back to its 'home' and, had they taken my advice, we would still have it. Our Princeps has been asked to register the Nympheum as a vis source in our name because we feel it quite possible that, if we were to send a suitably persuasive representative to negotiate with the nymphs, perhaps Constantine, they may be agreeable to giving us a pawn or two of Aquam vis from time to time. I expect he will find some way of persuading them, or some acceptable trade to offer.
I had hardly got to the bottom of the page when they were back. Thus I learned that the priest, Fr. Edwin, who arrived with magus Constantine has been celebrating Mass here every day. Fearing for the deleterious effect this might have on our aura, I sent one of them at once to ask if I might disturb our Princeps. Iuris Perita shared my concern and said she would talk to Constantine and resolve the matter.
One is concern for how we can obtain more vis quickly so we can pay off the rest of our debts and purchase back from Objurgator the stone chip from our menhir. It is to me as if it was wounded and must be repaired.
Another matter, of less importance but easier resolution, is that I feel it is time I had a lady's maid at my service. Iuris Perita had two when she came here and retains one, and I have just as much need and right. The covenant population seems to be approaching that of a small village and surely there must be some girl who could be suitable. Perhaps Pernelle might train one for me as I certainly don't have time to teach such duties.
The third issue is of more long term import. It is my duty to train apprentices, to pass on the knowledge and expand the Order, but finding a suitable young person is frequently very difficult. It seems to me that, with sufficient planning, it ought to be possible to avoid spending days, weeks or more on the road searching for a suitable apprentice by producing one here. Carrying a baby will be little hindrance to study from books and even if I have to lose a little time around the birth, it will not be so much as lost in travel and searching. There are plenty of women about the place here who could nurse a baby and bring up the child until it is of an age to be tolerated.
Before I can start training anyone, I must improve my own knowledge and understanding, most especially in Corpus, Herbam and Animal. We have an excellent book on Animal, left by Saskia, and no shortage of Herbam vis from which I could study, so those should pose no problem. I am sure I can advance my own understanding sufficiently in the twelve to fifteen years it will take to raise a child to the right age to begin its Hermetic education.
This means I need to work out the best way to organise timing for the begetting of a child so that it is born before I have to give my full attention to the collection of vis for my first longevity potion, the negotiations, perhaps with someone from Septem Montes, for the brewing of a potion and taking the potion itself in about five years from now. As to a suitable father, if I have to find one here, it is a choice between Magus Speculor, with his magnificently strong Gift, and Magus Constantine, with his noble blood, good looks and breeding. Perhaps there are better alternatives elsewhere, which I should not rule out. Probably it would be best if I should choose someone from any House but my own, to make sure I can have the apprentice, if I wish.
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