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Covenant of La Roche Caribet

Spring 1223

Thinking about Council affairs

I wish we need only perform one season of service each this year, but we need to build up our vis store as we are woefully short of some Arts, and our library is tiny.

We must buy back that stone chip off the menhir from Objurgator. Ideally, I would like to send the vis with Iuris Perita when she goes there this coming Winter. That gives us just three full seasons to accumulate 36 pawns. I think we can do this easily. Our present stocks are such that we might send 1 Animal, 18 Corpus, 5 Imaginem, 4 Intellego and 8 Vim with Aversus immediately and still retain the 5 pawns in those Arts that the Charter requires. I feel this leaves us in a rather too vulnerable position and propose delaying payment until it can be taken by Iuris Perita herself. Even without any effort put into distillation or vis hunting, provided our sources produce as well as they have done so far, by the end of Autumn we should have at least An:8, Aq:3, Au:1, Co:25, He:9, Ig:1, Im:14, In:13, Mu:4, Te:2, Vi:13. Animal and Imaginem are not a great deal of use. Corpus is useful to us but we have quite a lot and it would please Objurgator to be offered it. Herbam must be kept for the agricultural ritual. Vim is renewable with a little effort and time. So, perhaps we might send then 3 Animal, 12 Corpus, 8 Imaginem, 6 Intellego and 7 Vim. I will put it to council.

With that out of the way, we can concentrate on the books. Constantine has suggested that I might usefully write introductory books on Rego and Auram. I did think for a moment it might be worth my while writing an introduction to Magic Theory for the scribes to learn a little so they might be trusted with the copying of some minor hermetic books but Constantine has dropped a hint that reminded me how dreadful it would be if some ignorant or careless mundane made an error in copying. I do not think he likes anyone but the magi going anywhere near the books, which I can partly understand, but our bookbinder must be allowed to work on them.

8th March 1223: Sir Achilles plays the Lord

As Princeps, I feel I should try to keep a little in touch with what passes in the mundane world around our covenant, at least where it affects our people. I hear that Sir Achilles has been to visit Lady Marta over at Plaintel. I hope they got on well and this means she will talk to him instead of disturbing us in future.

14 March 1223: Council meets

Knowing that there was a great deal to get through this day, with the collection of vis in the regio and the casting of the Aegis of the Hearth, I convened the council meeting for shortly after daybreak.

Service and study

The first matter for discussion was how we would spend our time in the coming season. With Magus Joachus still absent, and no word from him as to when he might return, we agreed that he should have this season for private use, so he could waste as much of it as he wished without inconveniencing anyone else. Constantine and Iuris Perita both had plans of their own for the coming three months and Speculor was keen to study "The Learning of Learning" which left me the only one performing covenant service this time.

As the service asked of me was to write a foundation text on the art of Rego; I was very happy to take on the task. It will be in the form of a Liber Quaestionum for beginners but will not be confined to the absolute basics. I shall call it Fundamenta moderationis. If time permits, I may take a copy of it for my parens.

When the talk turned to the writing of books, a discussion developed. For once, Iuris Perita broke her rule of secrecy and let it be known that her personal project this season was to write a Commentary on "The Regio in the Head of Man". She went on to offer to make three copies of this during the following season, if we would accept it as service, so we could have one in the library and two to offer for trade. Since we are all aware of serious gaps in our collection (though I expect we largely perceive different gaps) this offer was readily accepted. My own preferences are for an introductory Liber Quaestionum on Herbam and something a little more advanced on Perdo.

Now that we were talking about the rest of the year, several of us spoke up about longer term plans, all of which are perfectly satisfactory and will, I hope reduce the time we have to spend in meetings later in the year. Speculor has offered to write a Commentary on the Imaginem summa, which will be well worth having. Constantine proposed writing a Tractatus on the Arrow of Flame. I was enthusiastic about this proposal in the expectation that he would write about this application of the art of Ignem but the others preferred that he concentrate on the Creo aspects. I feel sure he can be persuaded to write on Ignem too before long. It isn't as if I have time to read anything for the next few years, after all.

The German spells

The next matter for consideration by Council was the letter recently received from Petrusca concerning the cost of translating the German spells that had been donated to the covenant library by Saskia (I do not know if she still merits the title 'maga'). Personally, while I think it a great pity to have spells in the library that none of us can read, the titles lead me to believe that they are of very specialised application and of very little interest to myself. It seems that others think similarly for, with scarcely any discussion, we swiftly agreed that translation was going to cost far more than we could afford in the near future. Speculor, as Librarius, was asked to thank Petrusca for their letter and let them know that we would give the matter our consideration at some time in the future.

The chip from the menhir

My proposal that we buy back the chip from Objurgator was supported by Constantine but caused Iuris Perita to ask if we had reason not to trust the Quaesitors. I assured her that it was not a lack of trust but a feeling that we were under an obligation to repay a debt. Constantine and Speculor assured her that they trusted Objurgator, of course, but felt that our studies of the regio would proceed much more satisfactorily if the chip was retrieved and the stone restored.

These reasons seemed to be enough for Iuris Perita and council went on to agree that we send the requisite 36 pawns of vis with Iuris Perita in Autumn. Deciding on the arts to send was harder. Speculor's view was "Why send valuable Imaginem and Intellego Vis when we could send Corpus?" I think he will feel differently if he or his personal grogs are injured. We do not have to make the final decision on this until later in the year, so put it off.

Renewing the Aegis

Constantine made the excellent proposal that we cast the Aegis of the Hearth this time using Vim vis so as to be able to retain the small amount of Rego we gather every spring from within the thorn bushes. I had no difficulty handling the Vim vis, and the ritual went off exactly as it ought. As usual, we had gathered quite a crowd of coven-folk as we walked the bounds. Since we had performed the ritual rather early in the day, they had to be sent away again and told to come back at dusk when there would be the usual feast. Perhaps people would be happier if we cast the Aegis of the Hearth at the end of the day in future.

I noticed that Jimena was not in evidence and may enquiry. It seems that Elli is ill, having lost a baby she had been carrying, and needs Jimena's skills. Elli is a good and useful grog; I am sorry she has suffered this misfortune.

Gathering vis

The magi went directly to the regio, with a few selected grogs who could be trusted to gather the bluebells without trampling any of them. Once this exercise was satisfactorily in hand, we took the items that Jehan had got together for us and proceeded to collect the Intellego vis. We started at the mark of Venus. Without Magus Joachus to cast 'Lift the Dangling Puppet', I thought for a moment that we might have difficulty but Magus Constantine cast 'Rise of the Feathery Body' and I was elevated to the symbol in the cliff face. I do not know whether it was something about the spell he used, or a sudden shift in the aura but I thought for one dreadful moment that the magical energies were going to escape my control as I cast MuTe on the copper pan. I got down safely with the copper symbol but felt rather shaken and was happy to let Speculor cast the other MuTe spells.

I must ensure that someone goes to collect that Rego vis in ten days or so.

16 March: Questions about the bridge

I was surprised to hear that Sir Achilles had come to the tower and was asking if any of us had any knowledge about building work at his new bridge. I was very busy in the scriptorium and send a message down that I knew nothing of the matter and hoped that would be an end to it.

18 March: Guardian of the Bridge

Achilles called on us again today, with good news. He has negotiated with a troll to guard the southern approach to Caribet at the new bridge. I had no idea that a mundane, even if a noble one, was capable of negotiating with magical creatures like this. He himself will be paying a toll of three goats per season and. for that, all who give the password can use the bridge in safety. We are told that anyone who does not know the password must pay a piece of silver or risk being eaten. It is unfortunate that the password requires one to declare oneself a 'friend of Sir Achilles' so highlighting for ever his part in securing the services of this troll and his claim to ownership of the land, rather than making it clear that this is the land belonging to the magi of Saxum Caribetum. However, I have no wish to re-negotiate with this creature so will have to live with it. In fact, now I know that a troll lives in a cave under the bridge, I shall myself prefer to go by the old ford if I am obliged to travel to or from Ploeuc.

We had a discussion once Achilles had gone. After congratulating ourselves on having secured a lord of the manor who acts so helpfully, we began to see a few small snags in the arrangement. I mean snags other than the password itself. One potential disaster was easily averted by making sure word gets to the Redcaps. I will make sure a letter goes with the merchant Bertrand next time he calls. He does not use that route, as far as I know, but he had better be told the password, and be sworn to secrecy too (no doubt Constantine would enjoy frizzling anyone who we discovered to have let out the secret). We did consider setting up a notice in Latin on the bridge but decided that would not be secret enough. This would be a way of making sure that members of the Order could pass safely, and also many clergymen. We most certainly do not want any attention drawn here by nasty accidents befalling travelling clergy. Nor do we want knights coming to demonstrate their prowess by taking on the troll in combat. I checked with Iuris Perita that we would not be breaking any laws by having this guardian. The road is as yet little used so we must hope that nothing like this will happen.

24 March: Joachus returns

I was very glad to see Magus Joach safely returned, and the grogs with him too. He seemed satisfied with the outcome of his expedition. Indeed, he was almost bubbling over with enthusiasm for some project involving magically animated items of some sort. I am not entirely clear if this is some development of those puppet casting tools that he always carries around or not. He has almost at once shut himself away in his sanctum so we will learn nothing more of this for now.

April: Valuable newcomers

There has been a lot of excitement amongst us at news of some skilled people recently arrived to live in the village. I can hardly believe our good fortune. It seems that Sir Achilles has an understanding of our needs and interests for he has brought to us a glassworker, a silversmith and an illuminator of manuscripts! I fear there is a strong possibility that we all want the services of these people at once and it may be necessary for Council to devise a fair way of arranging things. Perhaps it would be best to save Council the extra burden and decide, as Princeps, how to manage things. As a start, I have sent word that I shall have a task for the illuminator before long and requested he work on my LQ during Summer. Sir Achilles has recommended that Speculor be the one to carry instructions to this fellow - it may be that our lord appreciates the duties of the Librarius.

Mid-May: Quaesitorial duty

Eleusinus, the injured party?

My work on the Rego book is coming along quite well but it was nevertheless annoying to be interrupted. A message came from the gate to say that Eleusinus Merinitae filius Eversi, princeps Odela had arrived. I made haste to greet him and make him welcome. The gnomish magus had travelled with two shield grogs and gave the impression that I should have been expecting him. It seems he had sent a letter to Iuris Perita and she had not got round to telling me about the visit. Since the visit was entirely Quaesitorial, I suppose she thought there was no obvious need for her to mention it.

As I conducted our guest to the tower, I picked up something of the reason for his visit. According to Eleusinus, a hedge witch from Wirbelnia has stolen an apprentice from him. She too is coming here so that Iuris Perita may judge the case. Of the inhabitants of Wirbelnia known to me, only one fits the description, the others being male or of House Merinita. This was greatly alarming, for despite our contacts with Wirbelnia, we have made efforts to avoid being dragged into the long-running feud between these two covenants. Unless our Quaesitor can come up with a very cunning resolution, I fear we shall anger one side or the other. I decided it best to offer no opinion on any of this and was very glad to hand the visitor over to Iuris Perita and return to my composition.

I had very much hoped that I would be left in peace until Iuris Perita had got rid of both the visiting magi but when Eleusinus sent a most politely worded message that he would very much like to speak with me, I could hardly refuse. I had no idea what he wanted, but thought it best to suggest we talk in the regio, thus reducing the chance that we be overheard. He got off to a poor start, drawing attention to my youth and inexperience in matters of Hermetic politics and giving me an entirely unnecessary lecture on the rights of House Bonisagus to act if they felt a Gifted apprentice was not being well-trained. I had to admit, however, that he had a point when he suggested that a judgment against him might be interpreted as setting a precedent allowing House Ex Miscellanea to act in a way that hitherto has been the exclusive privilege of House Bonisagus. I was, in fact, rather more worried that a good apprentice might be wasted on a hedge witch, but said nothing of this to Eleusinus as it would have indicated that I inclined to support him. He was loading on the flattery, clearly wishing me to apply pressure of some sort to my sodalis in his favour. He went on to say how badly it would reflect on Saxum Caribetum if Iuris Perita made the wrong judgment - as if I needed to be told!

Now I am quite unable to concentrate on my work. I cannot speak to Iuris Perita on this matter - it would be quite wrong to offer any opinion or try to influence her judgment. I shall make sure I am not seen to be in private conversation with her so no-one can accuse me later of meddling. But the consequences for our covenant and those who live here of the Quaesitor ruling against either of these magi are likely to be damaging and long-lived. We will have someone opposing us in Tribunal, be it one side or the other, unless a middle way can be found.

Anna, thief or benefactor?

Anna Le Bail Ex Miscellanea filia Ideae Mixae ex Wirbelnia arrived with something of an entourage. In addition to a few grog guards, she has with her three females. One I recognised as Gwénolé, her apprentice, but she was introduced as Maga Laurea, newly gauntleted but not yet presented. The youngest female is Laorans, the girl Eleusinus claims Anna appropriated from him. I have to say that young Laorans does not impress; her Gift is not obvious and she is ill-favoured to a remarkable degree. The third woman was not introduced so I take it she is just a maid or other menial. I handed the magae and child over to Iuris Perita as soon as I could. Before I left them, I noticed that Anna handed Iuris Perita something that looked very much like a jar of foodstuff.

All the magi of Saxum Caribetum, apart from Joach, joined the visitors at supper. The Wirbelnia contingent took over one end and Odela's representative stationed himself at the other end. I positioned myself half way along the table, so as to see both parties and be able to avoid quiet converse with either. Constantine sat close to Laurea and seemed to be flirting with her, which I considered a very bad idea under the circumstances. If he forms a temporary attachment to any of the visitors it would be highly unfortunate. Speculor got into conversation with Anna on the nature and characteristics of our regio. Eleusinus seemed to be ignoring them but I noticed he took up the same subject with Speculor as soon as the meal was over.

Once we had moved away from the table, Anna came to talk to me. She told me that she had an ability to locate vis sources that are often hidden to most people. I was rather surprised to find that her understanding of the theory of magic was considerably greater than I expected from one of her house, and I set aside the strongest of my fears about the education an apprentice would receive from her - not that I said anything about the reason for her being here, of course.

Gifts

Before Anna and I could discuss the location of vis any further, Iuris Perita announced that she wished the disputed apprentice to attend her in her sanctum. Before the pair left the room, Eleusinus went over to Iuris Perita and presented her with something. He then went to Speculor and came to myself with gifts. I am not sure what it was he gave Iuris Perita but it looked very much like what he gave me - a phial of glittery dust which I have since determined contains a pawn of Vim vis. Speculor apparently received Terram vis, and that from a magus known as a specialist in the art of Terram. Such generosity is, I believe, excessive so I can only assume he means these gifts as bribes to encourage Speculor and myself to use any influence we dare on our Quaesitor. If Constantine had not been out of the room at that moment, he too would doubtless have received some vis too.

I was embarrassed by this giving of gifts, however welcome the vis, and was glad to have my attention called back by Anna to our interrupted conversation. Anna suggested that there might be some benefit in taking the child into the regio, since she had the Sight for things magical and faerie. I saw no harm in agreeing that we do this once the judgment had been reached. Anna then went on to ask if there were any coven-folk who had small Gifts. Trust a hedge witch to be interested in minor talents! I immediately thought of Zane but responded more vaguely that there may be such amongst the people of Caribet and left her to find out for herself if she was that interested. I was anxious not to be seen to be favouring either side in this dispute in any way. Anna then went off to talk with Constantine at some length.

I had a private conversation with Speculor. We agree that if he or I were sufficiently advanced in the Arts to be able to train an apprentice ourselves, we might be able to lessen the immediate damage by taking Laorans so neither of the claimants won. This might, of course, saddle us with two enemies instead of one. In addition, it is quite likely that Laorans would not be quite the sort of apprentice that either of us would wish to devote fifteen years or more to, which would leave us having to find someone else to pass her on to for training. We concluded that it was just as well that we could not be tempted to intervene by exercising Bonisagus' right. I suggested that Speculor have a word with Iuris Perita about how her judgment might reflect on Saxum Caribetum. That way, the visitors would not see me talking directly to Iuris Perita alone, which might be construed as some official action by the princeps.

Speculor did manage to speak to Iuris Perita after she had spoken alone with Eleusinus and with Anna. She gave no hint as to what her views on the matter were. She said that she felt sure her ruling would reflect on our covenant but that she would keep it all entirely Quaesitorial. We were up late talking but when I got to bed, I could hardly sleep for worry.

Judgment

We all assembled in the Council chamber the following morning to listen to Iuris Perita. She said she had examined the girl and questioned both magi and that the facts of the matter were clear. The girl had a weak Gift and so was suitable as an apprentice yet had been overlooked by Odela until Anna came along. She ruled that this apprentice should be the property of Anna Le Bail, who had found her, but that Anna should pay a fine of 5 pawns of vis to Odela for taking her from their lands. Anna accepted this gracefully and politely asked Eleusinus what form of vis he would prefer. Not surprisingly, he asked for Terram.

Eleusinus left almost at once, for which I was very grateful. Anna lingered a little longer, to make the promised visit to the regio. It was a squeeze with Anna, Speculor, the apprentice and myself all clustered close around the menhir. It was a little disappointing that Laorans could see nothing that Zane had not already described: the faint images of the trees that become easily visible to all when the regio expands. Anna asked if we minded her casting an Intellego Vim spell at the menhir but I quickly said I would very much rather she did not, for fear of some accident resulting from the visitor's unfamiliarity with the strong magical field.

I was very glad to see them depart and went back to my writing. It took me a little while to push my worries about enmity from Odela aside but the subject of Rego soon drew me in and the book is coming on nicely.

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