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