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I hear that the silversmith is busy at work on a project for Sir Achilles. Perhaps we are letting him have too much silver, if he can afford to have it made up into a pair of goblets. A man of his station needs a few fine things, though.
Guenna is growing very round. She is still unmarried, though the child is due in about three months, she tells me. So far, she has continued to carry out all her duties. I do not know how I shall manage when she cannot as I have come to depend upon her. A number of other women are expecting to give birth at the same time, following the fairy-inspired antics at the mid-Winter feast. One of these is Galienne; Guenna reports that Galienne is still convinced that Sir Achilles will marry her soon!
There was no disagreement with the proposal that we modify the Charter. We have, alas, been in breach of it for a while so amendment was urgent. We have relaxed the requirement on Covenant Members to attend the casting of the Aegis of the Hearth. (One tempting proposal was that Senior Members could be absent and be given a token automatically on their return, with permission for absence being given retrospectively, but it seemed unnecessarily complicated.) We have made it clear that it is only resources obtained when out on Covenant business that must be surrendered. The Appendix has been modified to require of us two seasons of service each year until the vis debt is repaid and Vis stores contain at least five pawns of every Art of Vis. We have agreed that Council is to set the priority on tasks for specialists, to ensure that the illuminator, book-binder, glassblower and any others use their skills primarily to advance the Covenant and share their remaining time fairly between us.
We did not reach a happy conclusion of the matter of holding money individually. Constantine likes the monastic ideal of everything held in common, which is all very well, but would require another Charter revision as several of its stipulations assume we do have our own funds. We must debate this for a while and reach a consensus before it becomes a material issue.
I was guided to a tall, slim man, dressed in hunting garb. He had a most unusual grey streak running through his hair. He showed me fine pelts of wolf and bear. Somehow, I did not much like the wolf skin though it was of excellent quality. Cutting it up would have been a pity, yet whole it looked so savage. I think the bear skin will make a fine addition to my room and be very cosy in the cold, wet winter so as well as selecting a beaver skin to trim my cloak, I took the bear. Julius seemed to think the price asked was not unreasonable so the transaction was easily accomplished. I had Julius take both skins directly to our tanner. When he returned, he reported that the tanner is also working on some ermine skins for Sir Achilles. Quite why he wants to wear anything so grand and extravagant out here in the forest, I cannot imagine.
I should also ask her what she knows of her cousin's marriage plans. Of course, it is only right that a Lord of the Manor should have a wife and raise children, but she must be someone who will recognise the special circumstances here and not spread tales of us back to her madre and padre. I have little doubt she will be easy enough to control and will work to our ends and do as she is told.
It was easy to learn from the grogs that several of the visitors had red hair, including Sir Foulque (he who had visited before), Sir Guibert (elder brother of Foulque and father of the bride), Guillame (ten year old son of Sir Guibert) and Helissente (Sir Achilles' intended bride). Speculor determined that the hairs came from a male, which ruled out only one suspect, but did draw a sigh of relief from several of us.
We magi launched into a long discussion on how to proceed. Constantine suggested casting Intellego Corpus magics on the visitors to discover which were truly human. The aura in the village is now that of the Dominion and it would be hard to cast the spell several times close to the visitors and remain undetected. I thought Iuris Perita might use one of her Quaesitorial spells to Pose the Silent Question "Are you a werewolf?". At some point, Sir Achilles had joined us. I did not notice when he came but he spoke up now telling us how he had presented a gift of silver candlesticks to Sir Guibert and that he had handled them without any difficulty, which indicated that the werewolf was not he.
I must remember to question the amount of silver he is taking from our mine!
Since the ability to handle silver seems like an easily-applied test, I was asked to use Muto Terram on some silver to form several goblets. They came out rather well, I thought, though I was getting a little tired by the time I came to make the fifth and it was not quite as elegant as the others. This did not matter, however, as there were four good ones for Sir Achilles to fill with wine and offer to his guests to join him in a toast, and he would use the last one himself.
We quickly went to the village and sent in a message that I needed to speak to Sir Achilles urgently. Not many minutes passed before he came out. He told us that only Helissente had made a fuss about drinking from a silver goblet, but that Sir Foulque's hand had shaken when he took one, and that he had drained it and put it down very quickly. We assured him that we were now in no doubt that Sir Foulque was a werewolf. We agreed to set guards around the manor house at once, which Sir Achilles could assure his guests was for their own safety, since a wolf had been seen in the forest nearby.
While Sir Achilles went back to his guests to tell them about the guards and his own intention to keep vigil that night in the chapel (on the excuse that it was preparation for the marriage), a messenger was sent to instruct Jacques about the guards. The magi went back to the tower to disturb Joach because he is familiar with the spell 'Soothe the Ferocious Bear' which was a key element in our plan. The rest of the plan required that a stout net be created, which Constantine did using Creo Herbam. Jimena found some of the herb wolfsbane in her garden and gave some to everyone who wished for it. We also had some twisted into the knots of the net. Then we made haste back to the manor. All this time, Speculor maintained his observations of the men inside the manor hall.
I saw Sir Achilles come out of the manor with Sir Guibert and observed the two men talking in low voices between us and the bundled wolf. It had been securely muzzled, else it would certainly have howled and brought the rest of the guests out. There were gestures towards the church, then guards started to drag the animal in that direction while one went running towards the priest's home. The magi stayed out of sight until the wolf had been dragged into the church and the men had gone in behind it, with Fr.Edwin too. Then we moved close to one of the windows of the church to overhear what we could of what passed inside.
During the extended wait for Lady Marguerite and Helissente, I was surprised to see Jimena arrive at the church in haste. There had been no noises to indicate that anyone had been injured by the wolf or by anything or anyone else. I wondered what sort of trouble they were anticipating from the ladies. As soon as the other ladies were inside, we clustered silently at the window again. One did not need to be close to hear the fuss that Helissente made when asked to clasp a silver crucifix. She did hold it as long as she was told to, in the end, and with no ill effects, it seemed. Foulque, on the other hand, was unable to hold it long and his skin was marked by it.
We saw the grogs leave the church. Again there was a great outcry from Helissente, this time over Achilles insistence that she should be forced to wear a silver bracelet at all times. Her main complaint, if I heard it correctly amongst all her protestations, was that silver was a nasty, cheap metal and she would wear only gold. The talking went on a while, though we could not hear details. Then Achilles came out alone and sought us out. He wanted yet more confirmation that Helissente was not a werewolf. I can understand why! He spoke to Iuris Perita, went back into the church briefly, and came back bringing some of the girl's hair and much information about the girl that was useful as connections to make the spell as powerful as could be. Iuris Perita cast the spell and stated that Helissente was not a werewolf. Achilles seems to accept this and left us.
Soon after this, Sir Achilles and Sir Guibert emerged from the church in earnest conversation which I could not catch any of. The ladies went back to the manor, Helissente still whining. She looks very young, but that is no excuse for such behaviour. However will she win the respect of her servants and the peasants? What a dreadful Lady of the Manor she will make if she carries on like that! I hope Achilles will use this incident to get out of the marriage contract.
As we walked back to the glade, Speculor and I discussed what we know of lycanthropy, which is, sadly, very little. It would be good to keep Foulque here to study him, but I am sure Iuris Perita would consider that a gross violation of the Code. We will seek a cure for him, if we can, but it will be a long term project.
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