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It was a wild, wet night and Iuris Perita did not make an early start the following day. The knight was ahead of her but they met again close to a fork in the road. He told her that he was headed into Burgundy , a walk of a week or more, where he hoped to win fame and fortune with relations who dwelt in a fine castle - he named a place that was unfamiliar to Iuris Perita. He told her that he knew of a place just off the path that she was to take, towards the north west, where she would find a treasure "if she could tackle it". He described the place where the path to the treasure left the more travelled way in such detail that she could not mistake it.
Sure enough, on the second day following, Iuris Perita reached the place that the knight had described. However, she had determined that is was most important that she convey the stone chip safely back to Saxum Caribetum and did not venture along the path.
Speculor was intrigued by the tale and determined to investigate further. He will take Elli, who was there before and should be able to find the path and can speak the odd language of those parts. He will also take Huon, Milon and Zane. I must say that I am not entirely happy about Zane being away so long - he has very useful abilities that no-one else here possesses.
The man was, in fact, totally blind. Jimena believes that his eyes had been damaged by fire as much as eight years ago, probably by accident rather than as a punishment. He said his eyes still pained him so Jimena had applied some soothing ointment and given him the rest of the pot so he could reapply it himself. While she was working, she had asked him how he lost his sight. It was something about spilt tar catching fire and something falling into his face. He got about now with the aid of a dog. He had come here because he had heard reports that there had been magic and miracles worked at Caribet. He mentioned talk in Quintin of a magic tower at Caribet and stories of how the people of Caribet, together with the brothers at the Hermitage, had defeated a devil. It is worrying if there is such talk about - we do not want people turning up like this to disturb us. Jimena sensibly suggested to him that if he sought a miracle he would do best to pray at the Hermitage and offered to set him and his dog on the road.
Once the beggar had finished the food and drink the guards had given him, Jimena led him around the clearing, using the new road rather than walk through the glade, to get on the track to Ploeuc. The man moved with surprising confidence, that one would hardly guess that he had no eyes. Remembering the troll guarding the bridge, Jimena went with the man until she had said the pass phrase and seen the man and dog safely over and on their way. She said she spoke clearly so he would hear and be able to repeat the phrase if he came that way again. I sincerely hope that he and others like him will not disturb us again.
Constantine and I have been working in the scriptorium this season. It really can get very cold up there so it was useful to have a Flambeau magus around! I have to admit that his presence was a little distracting at times. However, this was nothing to the distractions in the latter part of the season when Joach started testing and tuning his alarm bells! I can vouch for the one in the tower being very clearly audible indeed when the one in the village is rung.
The ladies were then content to have our people escort them the three miles or so to their home, a fortified manor house. Speculor and Milon hung back so Speculor could search the ground for clues concerning the robbers once the ladies were on their way.
A spell told Speculor that the rose was in perpetual bloom. Suddenly a voice cried out from somewhere in the bushes, "Who disturbs my rest?". While everyone else was looking about anxiously, Zane wandered round the briar and bramble patch, to see if there was anyone there to talk to, and he found Huon there, lying down, partly inside the bushes. It was he who had called out and frightened everyone else! That grog is a liability and Speculor should keep him under better control - by Rego Mentem if need be. Milon administered the physical punishment that Huon well deserved.
Ignoring the grogs, Speculor had continued his examination of the rose, the briar it grew on, the ground it grew out of and what was under the ground. Learning nothing, he picked the rose. Three drops of red fluid that looked like blood dripped from it; he caught them. The rose contained one pawn of Corpus vis.
Even now, back at Caribet, the rose looks fresh. Constantine was quite excited about it and went on about it being a Christian symbol, then while the rest of us where distracted by some other items Speculor had brought back, Constantine left the tower taking the rose. He was not gone long; he had wanted to show it to his priest. The rose continues to let fall periodically a drop of what looks like blood so we have set it over a small dish. It is been kept in the scriptiorium, on the grounds that a plant needs light.
Speculor was keen to stay overnight in the valley. Zane, who is adept at predicting the weather, said it would be cold and blustery, building to a gale by morning, so the sheltered valley was not a very bad place to camp. Elli and Zane managed to hunt rabbits for supper and the group made themselves quite comfortable. The next morning, Speculor led them all up the hill and over the crest into the valley beyond. There did not seem to be any reason to continue so they had eventually returned to the road to Objurgator.
They headed south until they reached what Elli thought was the place they had met the knight for the second time, then followed the road back north again, to see if Elli still thought that the path they had taken was the one he indicated. She felt sure it was. So maybe the knight knew about the rose and it was that he was talking about all along.
When Speculor heard about the nameless knight from a deserted castle, he got quite excited and wanted to visit the place himself. It was a long way. The road was little used, and the only signs of habitation were two small manors and some peasant cottages. There was a stout stone bridge but no sign of a castle. Speculor could find no magic or fairy aura. On the way back to the road, enquiries were made at both the manors but no-one there had seen a poor knight pass that way.
When they reached the path to the valley where they had found the rose, they paid a second visit to the valley, but found nothing changed. There was no news of the rest of the journey except that Speculor had found two more pawns of vis! He had a goose quill containing one pawn of Creo vis and a strangely-shaped lump of baked clay containing a pawn of Muto vis. We suspect that the baked stone-like material was once soft clay which was melted in a fire or furnace and there flowed into a strange shape, trapping magical energy within it. Maybe it formed inside a magical aura. Perhaps a Pilum of Fire hit the ground and fused the earth it struck. We may be able to learn more in the laboratory, if we ever have enough Muto vis to persuade council that one pawn be used for research.
Joach suggested we take it to the church, to see if there was any sign that might indicate that the rose was affected by the infernal or divine, since we had exhausted the other obvious options. Constantine went to fetch his priest and told him to bless the rose. I must say, Edwin was a bit over-enthusiastic about this, with incense, prayers and holy water. He had placed the rose on the altar and we had crowded round quite close to see if anything happened, so we got the benefit of the blessing too, which was rather uncomfortable. The only discernible effect throughout the ceremony was that I felt as if my Gift was weakened temporarily, in the same way as when I attend Mass, but more so. While the priest put his paraphernalia away, my sodales and I conferred. Constantine confirmed that it felt to him as if the blessing was extra specially holy, like the Consecration at High Mass in a great cathedral on Easter Sunday. Speculor was much in favour of inviting Fr.Albertus from the Hermitage to inspect the rose, but the rest of us rejected this proposal. I certainly do not want the Church poking about in our affairs or taking our vis! We decided that the best thing to do was to leave the rose in the church. Constantine is going to arrange for a special container for it which will partially conceal it yet catch the drops so it won't be obvious to others that it bleeds.
Winter is almost over. I have completed the second third of the copy I am making for my parens of the book on The Manipulation of Aurae, Regiones and Vis. The grogs are back from exploring the bogs with the vis detection wand and have returned with four pawns of vis. If it were not for the continuing threat of trouble from Fudarus, I would say this had been a very successful season for the covenant.
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