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Covenant of La Roche Caribet

Autumn 1221: Achilles de Azé

Jimena has passed on to me news brought here by the merchant Bertrand of the dramatic rescue of the infant son of the Duke of Brittany by one of his retinue, Achilles de Azé. The story is only of his having fought off a group of bandits and contains no elements that hint of magic having been used. I had almost forgotten the story when Iuris Perita called the council together that same night.

It happens that this Achilles de Azé is a cousin of our Princeps. She has formed a plan to make use of this cousin and his current high standing with the Duke to extricate us from our annoying difficulties with those who hold mundane power here abouts. She will visit her cousin and, if he seems suitable, propose to him that he request from the Duke the reward of a holding of land in the Forêt de Lorge to include our covenant. Then he could live close by here as the nominal 'alcalde', 'lord of the manor' or whatever title the minor nobility care to use and he could swear feudal allegiance to the Duke and so take the pressure off us. This all sounds highly satisfactory if the man be tractable enough. Of course, we could apply Mentem magic to him but that would not be a long term option.

Some days later

Iuris Perita has returned from St.Brieuc and has been at least partially successful in working on her cousin. It was, as always, very difficult to get any details from her of her doings but council needed to know something of the conversation with Achilles de Azé. She is expecting him to arrive here in a day or two to visit us. She makes it sound as if we are up for inspection but no doubt that is because she speaks like a Quaesitor. She seemed to think it was important that Fr.Edwin and Br.Joseph be introduced to the visitor and that Speculor, Joach and myself keep out of the way. If I did not trust her, I would have been suspicious but I was only too glad to be able to get on with my studies.

No sooner had he gone away again than word was passed from Iuris Perita that he had accepted her proposal and was off to speak to the Duke. It looks as if we have a month or more to prepare somewhere for him to live. It is intended that a manor house be constructed for him near the little chapel, which will keep him out of our way adequately. I hope we will never come to regret this major change in our covenant. If it becomes necessary to exert magical control, Iuris Perita is most skilled with Mentem and we should have no difficulty in keeping on the right side of the Code.

10th December: season's end

I have completed my season of study of the book 'Genesis' and feel that my understanding of Creo is considerably improved thereby. There is still a great deal that I could learn from the book so I hope to have the opportunity to return to it before too long. It has been pleasing to be left undisturbed in my sanctum.

I do not often take much notice of which of my personal grogs is on duty at any particular time, but I have observed that Julius has been here for an hour or so almost every morning. I questioned him about this and discovered that he has been covering for Ignatius so that Ignatius may attend Mass even when he is supposed to be attending upon me. As long as the arrangement suits them, it does not matter to me but it does show that we were right to be concerned about the priest and did well to move his activities away from the glade.

I had a message from Pernelle, Iuris Perita's maid, who reports that she is happy to find and train a girl to perform the same role for myself but regrets there is no-one suitable in our settlement. The clearing seems to me to be vastly over-populated with grogs so I was surprised at this, but I do understand that this form of service needs a genteel and biddable girl so am willing to wait for Pernelle to find the right sort.

It is but a few days now until the Winter solstice when we will hold the council elections. I do not see the need for any change. I have considered putting myself forward as a candidate for Princeps but have decided to delay this until our position with the local powers mundane and ecclesiastical are more settled. It is best that Iuris Perita continue to hold the responsibility whilst she comes to a suitable arrangement with her cousin de Azé and, through him, with the Hermitage, Robien, Plaintel, Ploeuc and anyone else who seeks to interfere.

A number of the grogs have been kept very busy since the harvest with the work to construct a suitable dwelling for our puppet nobleman. I took a walk to the top of the ridge this morning to investigate. I was in time to observe Fr.Edwin concluding Mass at his covered altar. Magus Constantine was present with his two grogs, and my Ignatius plus a few others of the coven-folk. I was pleased to notice that I did not find it at all uncomfortable to be close by. It must be that the magical aura of the forest is too strong to be affected by the Dominion. The workers in stone and wood are making good progress with a house for Iuris Perita's cousin. I think it will have walls constructed of stone for the first few feet and then wood for the upper parts, and roofed by thatch.

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