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Covenant of La Roche Caribet

Late Spring and Summer 1226: The Cat and the Phoenix

1st June 1226: Escape artist

Joach emerged from his laboratory while I was passing the door yesterday and I remembered to ask about Little Saskia. He kindly brought her out and put her through her paces. His creation is indeed as remarkable as Speculor had said: she follows simple orders, darts about on her four little trotters with grace, and flies with astonishing speed for something so rotund. He was so generous with his time in talking about and showing off his automaton that I feel especially embarrassed about what happened today.

Joach himself came to my door late this morning, carrying Alacritas. As I reached out to take her from him, he lifted her higher and gave me a very stern look. He explained that he was used to cats and their ways and had not felt it worth making a fuss about before, but that this time she had gone too far. I was horrified to think that my pet had been upsetting one of my sodales and tried to find suitable words of apology. While I was thinking, Joach went on to say that he knew the creature had some inherent magic beyond its inability to grow up; he had tried to cast 'Master the Unruly Beast' to make it leave his laboratory without success. This agreed with my own discoveries that it resisted magic, so I was glad to know that Joach had managed to affect Alacritas with a Rego Animal spell to stop her frisking about for long enough to grab her and bring her to me. In hopes of gaining some forgiveness, I offered to have another try at learning more about the kitten. While Joach held her, I cut off a little tuft of fur from her fluffy tail and used it in the casting of an Intellego Vim spell which confirmed that she has a Magic Might of the tenth degree.

I had to agree that it seemed probable that she was not sneaking out of the door unobserved, nor leaving through the window and climbing the wall, but was, in fact, moving herself by some inherent magic from one closed room to another. Any further investigation of the properties and characteristics of Alacritas had to be postponed while I found a way to convince Joach that she would not bother him again. I suggested we might carry her down to Jimena's cottage and leave her there for a while, and see whether she reappeared in the Tower, as the first step towards finding out how far she could transport herself. I also suggested clearing the library and shutting her in there just to prove that she was not making use of a window. Rejecting my research suggestions, Joach was for a more direct method of control and I felt I had no option but to go along with him as he was really making very little fuss about the inconvenience the kitten had caused him. He decided that he wanted to test the effect of trapping the kitten inside a circular Ward. I agreed to the experiment, provided I could place some milk and a little meat inside the circle for her. We went to one of the storerooms, cleared a space, and Joach cast the spell around Alacritas while she lapped. It was a little distressing to see how puzzled she was when she could not run over to us, for the Ward did keep her confined effectively. We watched for some time but there was no hint that she might vanish from inside it. What a great pity that I have insufficient understanding of Animal to perform this warding myself.

Later in the day, I visited the library and the scriptorium while Alacritas was safe within the circle. There was no doubt that she had been in both rooms. I spent quite a long time tidying up the library, removing paw-prints from some of the covers and dusting away shed fur. It would not do to let Speculor see any sign of feline interference there! After hearing from the scribes about some of her antics in the scriptorium, I decided that I would have to humiliate myself so far as to ask Joach to create a more permanent Ward within my own room. Fortunately he was very gracious about it. I felt embarrassed that he should have to see my laboratory in such a strange state, with kitten-proofing measures in place but he was kind enough not to comment on it. I had cleared a suitable area at the side of my room and, while Joach watched, I cast Perdo Terram to draw out a circular groove to form the boundary of the Ward. Then we put Alacritas, some food, a bowl of water, a few of her toys, and a shallow dish full of dry earth inside the ring and Joach cast his Rego Animal ward. I am afraid she will have to live there until I find a better means of controlling her. I have promised Joach that, when I have some results to report on the magical nature of the kitten, he will be the first to hear the news.

5th June: Mortification

The most dreadful thing has happened and I am held to blame for it. Today both Constantine and Speculor have returned, successful, from their vis hunt. Both are furious to find that their rooms have been invaded during their absence and all sorts of damage done. From the sound of the damage, it can only be Alacritas. Indeed, Speculor showed me a vivid image of what he described as the 'devastation' of his apparatus, and even allowing for probable exaggeration, it was indeed a dreadful spectacle. I have never seen Speculor so very angry, with sparks flying from his hair and a ferocious look in his eyes. I tried to tell him about the magical power of the kitten, thinking that he would be as fascinated as I in the creature and maybe calm down a little, but he hardly seemed to hear me. Meeting Constantine was at least as terrifying, for he looked as if he would have gladly fried me on the spot - and I am quite sure he would have set Alacritas on fire, if he could find her. I was rather at a loss. Neither of them was at all interested in any excuses I tried to offer; in all fairness, I had not known what she was doing and had acted, with Joach, to restrain her as soon as I did find out that she was going where she should not. Of course, I could not look into my sodales' sancta to clear up before they returned, and I felt it would only be taken as an insult if I offered to help tidy them now. I did offer to pay for any glassware or materials that had to be replaced, which seemed to be acceptable, but they were both still fuming.

15th June: Summer solstice

I awoke this morning and immediately knew what day it was. The currents of magic that drift through our aura were noticeably different from yesterday, and I felt reinvigorated by the change. At the Council meeting, I offered Council the two pawns of vis that Cierella had given to me recently, as some compensation for the damage done by Alacritas. I could see that Speculor thought he was owed a pawn personally, but I only had the two, and both Joach and Iuris Perita had also been somewhat inconvenienced by the kitten. My offer was accepted, and I feel sure that this will be the end of the matter. I shall be able to keep a close eye on Alacritas this season, since my service is to consist of distillation of vis. Speculor is also going to distill, while Constantine is to go out hunting vis. We have good stocks of several types now, and I think more effort should be put into negotiating for trade, but I did not want to push my ideas forward at this meeting after all the trouble I was being blamed for. Iuris Perita and Joach have the season to themselves. Joach intends to pay another visit to his parens, and will take Caspar and Yves with him. It really is about time he acquired his own shield grogs. It is particularly irritating that he takes Caspar the Trainer away, since I know Julius and Ignatius benefit from practice with him. They will go down the Loire, pausing to pour a libation at the Nymphaeum (this saves Jimena going again so soon after her last visit, of which I am sure she is glad), stopping briefly at Petrusca, then on into the region of the puys.

Maga Gwénolé arrived to spend much of the day in the regio with us. The beards of menhir and trees were trimmed, while Jehan brought the menhir up to date with some of the happenings of the past year. She was very interested to hear about Alacritas. Of course, I gave her the whole story, hoping to please and interest her, and maybe elicit some clues as to the faerie nature of the animal. I was very sorry that I could not find a way to introduce Alacritas and Gwénolé. Either Gwénolé would have to come into my rooms, and I did not feel it was right to invite someone from outside just to satisfy their and my curiosity, or I would have had to remove Alacritas from her circle, thereby breaking the ward and causing I do not know what new problems. Introductions will have to wait until I have bound Alacritas as my Familiar, which can only happen when I have had time and opportunity to acquire sufficient vis of my own, or have improved my skill with Rego Animal sufficiently that I can reform the Ward myself. By the time Gwénolé left, the grogs had collected sufficient droppings from talking animals that we could obtain two pawns of vis from them.

6th September: Speculor sets off for Petrusca

Speculor has completed his distillation, and so added three pawns of Vim vis to the store, these being in the form of perfectly formed clear crystals containing tiny sparkles of bright light. He set out today for Petrusca, where he will spend the Winter season with his parens, Jovinus Bonisagi, filius Accanellae, in expectation of obtaining a longevity potion. He is to take the route along the valley of the Loire, which will take him past the Abbey of St. Maur de Glanfeuil so it is the ideal opportunity for him to see the Nymphaeum for himself and to pour a libation. I should think that by now it should be possible to obtain another pawn of Aquam vis from the nymphs in return for all the offerings we have sent to them, but since Speculor is going on south, it will be much the better if he collects this on his return journey. I was surprised how reluctant Speculor was about visiting the Abbey when it was first suggested to him, but as soon as he was reminded of the vis we expect to get from pouring libations there, he agreed to do it.

7th September: Birth day

Harvest Moon has arrived early this year, and with it, four new baby girls. Jimena came to see me on account of some very unusual features evident in the new child at the manor, where Helissente has produced a daughter bearing clear signs of her parentage. The infant's head is well-covered in hair as bright red as that of her mother. She has prominent eyebrows which meet in the middle, and her ears are very slightly pointed. I feel sure this is evidence of her mother's family's lupine blood. These features are all clear for anyone to observe. However, there is more. Jimena was alarmed to see bright flashes of fire burning in the baby's eyes when she delivered it. Thinking this might scare Helissente, Jimena made excuses to delay handing the child over to its mother while she tried to think of a way to warn Helissente about the unusual characteristics of her new daughter. As she watched, the flames died down, and a few minutes later, Jimena felt fairly certain the eyes looked normal. So pleased was she to see this that she entirely forgot to warn the mother in any way about the eyebrows and ears, but it appeared that her ladyship was just delighted to have a healthy child and displayed no sign of concern when she was at last allowed to hold her baby. Jimena assures me that she has said nothing about the flames in the girl's eyes to anyone else, and I have asked her to keep it secret. I suspect that this is proof that the father of this child is Constantine, not Achilles. It may well be a sign that the child has some interesting special ability, possibly even the Gift. She may, in time, make a valuable apprentice for one of us. Constantine will, I suppose, feel he has the right to take her. I would hesitate to appropriate the apprentice of one of my own sodales, but we shall see how things turn out. He may as well do the initial hard work!

This is the fourth year running that babies conceived at the Winter Feast have all been born at Harvest Moon, and have all been girls. Jimena tells me that the births were all very easy, which is not usual but is what she has come to expect of births at Caribet at this time of year. All these children produced under such special circumstances must certainly be watched. I am optimistic that many of them will turn out to have special talents. Maga Gwénolé also seems to have expectations of these children. As usual, she turned up during the day to see the babies which she considers to be touched by the fae on account of the circumstances of their origin. I think it a great stroke of fortune that she was not at the manor when Jimena delivered Helissente's daughter!

While Gwénolé was here, I very much wanted to hear her views on Alacritas. I could not conveniently bring the kitten out of the warding ring and thence out of my sanctum, so I invited Gwénolé inside. Of course, she had nothing to fear from me and I thought she might take it as a sign of friendship between us that I welcomed her in so warmly, but she would only hover at the door and peer in. Of course, Alacritas was all curiosity about the stranger and came to the edge of the circle, meowing in that demanding way she has. All Gwénolé would say was that the cat was certainly a fairy creature, which could not be bound as a Familiar by anyone who did not have some appropriate understanding of or affinity with fairy magic, and that she would love to play with it when I could bring it outside. I hope she does not desire the kitten for herself!

The discussions we had later in the day were more useful. I am now convinced that it would be well worth my while to study the fairy wine that we have had in our store since Speculor's first visit to the Valley of the Mists. I had rather hoped that Lady Cierella might give me some of the same for my own, but when I visit, she takes great pleasure in providing her guests with mundane food, which is a relief to the hungry grogs but somewhat of a disappointment to me when it comes to collecting material for study. It seems highly probable that the wine, which we know to be enchanted with some form of Muto Vim effect, could be harmful. I know that Speculor drank a little once, and reported that it made spells easier to cast. However, drinking more than a few sips might even endanger one's Gift. I believe that by studying this wine I may learn something fundamental about the way in which the fae use magic. All I need to do is find the time to do the research, and persuade my sodales to part with a few portions of the stuff.

8th September

I did not manage to get a word alone with Constantine yesterday. I was most of the day with Gwénolé. She asked after him and seemed disappointed that he was not to be found. He was far less elusive today, and I was able to pass on to him privately Jimena's news about the fire she saw in the eyes of Helissente's daughter. He seemed very excited by this but would not be drawn into a discussion of what it might mean. I did gather that he had been to see the child the day before, which I take as yet more proof of his part in its conception, but he would not talk about anything he may have discovered about it.

12th September: The tail of the Phoenix

Joach, Yves and Caspar have returned, and some very implausible stories are circulating. The grogs are saying that they stole something from a sanctum in the Covenant of Fornacula because Dergorus Verditii, parens to Joach, wanted them to. It cannot, of course, be true. One would have thought two such experienced grogs would know better than to think anyone would believe in a story that contravenes the Codes of the Order so blatantly. If it had any truth in it at all, Iuris Perita would be investigating it, Objurgator would be pursuing Dergorus, Joach would be the one studying Hermetic Law for two seasons, and Fornacula would be justifiably demanding all sort of reparations. So, accepting it as fabrication, it still makes an amusing story, and I will try to tell it.

Travel

The journey to Septem Montes went as expected, and our two grogs were looking forward to spending several weeks there before setting off to retrace their steps north. They had had to convey the wooden box that contained Little Saskia, which had proved something of a nuisance at times, and had been forbidden from entering the Nymphaeum, but had nothing else to complain of. After only a week or so's rest, Joach had come to ask them to prepare to travel again, but that this time they were to be heading west, to the covenant of Fornacula. Joach urged Yves and Caspar to make enquiries amongst the local grogs about the route and anything they could discover about their destination. It seemed that Joach had changed his mind about staying a while at Septem Montes then going back the way he came, and was now minded to go to the coast and sail out into the Bay of Biscay to see if he would encounter any wonders like the great storm and huge, strange creature I saw there, before sailing on up the coast to land in Brittany.

They followed the route they had been recommended, heading over the hills some distance and then following the River Dordogne until it became navigable, where they took passage on a boat for a few days. The next part of the journey took them away from the river into rugged country. A group of bandits demanding a nonexistent toll were dealt with very efficiently by Joach's 'Lift the Dangling Puppet'. Once they drew near to Fornacula, Joach had to refer to some notes he had made and guide them through two regio boundaries. They passed a ruined castle and then, further on, beheld a magnificent castle in the same position as the ruin, but one with a stout, octagonal stone wall, eight fine tall, towers and an entrance way carved like the mouth of hell sometimes seen on the outside of a church. As they got closer, they could see that a different device was displayed on the flags that fluttered above each tower and the same devices were carved around the yawning gateway. Yves and Caspar were instructed to listen out for any talk about an automaton and to pick up any reddish-purple feathers they came across while at Fornacula, while not letting on to anyone there that they were interested in either.

Welcome

It was not until they had walked into the Hell mouth and through a tunnel that they saw any sign of anyone, but in the courtyard were seven guards in elaborate blue leather uniforms and an extravagantly-dressed man in a broad blue hat to greet them. The guards appeared to be carrying lances without any metal heads, just a shiny point on them. The air was full of the sound and smell of a large, active smithy, which made the introductions unusually difficult. Joach said something that was drowned out, then he produced a badge and bade Caspar step forward and announce him. The official, named Evrard, questioned Caspar and Joach about their reason for being there, and seemed satisfied. They were guided to a chamber for Joach, and a comfortable antechamber for the Yves and Caspar. There was a certain degree of interest in locating the privies, but the servants forbade any wandering off and instructed the visitors to pull the bell-rope in their chamber when necessary.

The grogs at Septem Montes had said that Fornacula was run strictly according to some very complex rules, and evidence of this was everywhere. Hardly had the visitors looked around their accommodation, when someone arrived to conduct them to Mamert, Steward, Custodian and Interpreter of the Rules. He was in the Great Hall. The guests had to seat themselves on benches before him. The servants in the hall were the same men who had been introduced earlier as Jules and Xavier the Dormitores, but now they wore white aprons and red caps. Mamert spoke at length with Joachus and read, at much greater length, from the massive Book of Rules. Neither of the grogs appear to have paid any attention to what was said apart from noting that they were sternly ordered to abide by the rules, for they could repeat no other rules from the Book to me except that they were expected to depart after lunch on the second day following their arrival, though Caspar tried very hard to oblige me.

When finally dismissed by Mamert, with instructions to attend for dinner in the Hall at 'five bells', the trio were conducted back to their chambers by the hall servants. The corridors were as empty as when they went to the Great Hall, and with Jules and Xavier doubling as Dormitores and hall servants, the visitors began to wonder if the staff at Fornacula was minimal. Not far from their guest room, they heard a strange screeching sound, which was echoed from somewhere further off. When questioned about the noise, the servants claimed that the rules said that it was nothing. A little further on, they encountered a female in a checked blue gown, leaning on a broom and watching us pass by. Caspar smiled and nodded in a friendly way at her, whereupon she emitted just such a screech as had been heard a moment earlier and another similarly-clad and equipped female figure appeared round a corner. Jules and Xavier appeared not to take any notice. Joach pressed the point with the Fornacula grogs and was told that the women did not exist within the Rules. It soon became apparent that, as far as Jules and Xavier were concerned, these women, the cleaners, were effectively inaudible and invisible.

It had become necessary to try the effect of pulling the bell-rope in the guest chamber. A few minutes later, the Dormitores arrived carrying a bucket and a stick. They were clearly determined to wait until the bucket had been put to use. The stick was obviously an enchanted item of some sort, which worked on the contents of the bucket to destroy any smell - Joach has suggested that it might also have destroyed any arcane connection between the contents of the bucket and the visitor who deposited it there.

Dinner

There had been some anxiety that 'five bells' might not be recognised, and so dinner could be missed, but the signal was quite obvious when it finally came, as sunset approached. It did not prove hard to retrace the route through the stone corridors to the Great Hall as many other people were also heading that way. When the visitors reached the doors to the Hall, they noticed that the diners all wore gowns with voluminous sleeves, and the magi were also wearing small, square caps. Such garments hung on pegs nearby, and the visitors were invited to borrow them. There were no places set at the long tables, but people were making great haste to seat themselves. Joach walked to the end of the hall were the resident magi were taking their places, where it was made clear to him that he might have only one of his grogs seated on the bench just below the high table. Thinking that the food there might be better or more plentiful, Yves and Caspar quickly came to a whispered agreement that Yves should take the place of honour the first meal, and Caspar the next. Hardly had Caspar found somewhere to squeeze himself in on one of the lower benches, when Jules and Xavier rushed into the Hall, and proceeded, with astonishing speed, to lay plates and knives before all those who were seated. Platters of roast meats and bowls containing highly-spiced sauces were laid before the diners. There was hardly any conversation at table because the residents were too busy eating. It quickly became apparent that this was an essential strategy on the lower benches if one was not to go hungry for green-gloved hands snaked in between the diners to whisk plates away before they had been finished with. It was still Jules and Xavier doing all the work. Up at the high table, the meal was a little more relaxed. Conversation was largely about different methods of destroying things, mainly but not solely by magical means, and after a while Joach began to be concerned that we could have problems at Saxum Caribetum if our own Flambeau's interests turned in this direction.

When the final dish had been cleared away, most of the diners left the Hall, but the magi moved to comfortable chairs around the fireplace. Unsure what was expected of them, Yves and Caspar hovered close by in the shadows, expecting someone to issue them with an instruction according to the rules. No-one did so. All but one of the figures seated in the deep chairs used magic to light a lamp by their seat. Joach observed one of them use a spill to get a light from the fire and did the same himself. The hosts took a polite interest in Joach and his description of his recent project to build the automaton pig then some of them boasted of their own creations. The description of wands that spat fire told the visitors what the topless spears carried by the guards were. There was some dispute about what it was most useful to make, and some rather scathing comments from the more senior magi about Joach's creations. Hoping to steer the conversation in a more profitable direction, Joach told them about the clock at Dextrovorsum and the accident with the bells. They did appear mildly interested but the talk soon moved on to weapons and thence to the subject of fire. Joach, Yves and Caspar were amazed to learn that the fire in the Great Hall was, in fact, a captive Fire Elemental. All the Fornacula grogs were protected by some magical fireproofing; Xavier was called for to demonstrate this. Caspar and Yves watched in fascination and fear as Xavier was first drenched in flammable liquid, ignited then dowsed with water, all without coming to any harm. Having failed to bring up the topic indirectly, Joach mentioned that he had heard of a phoenix at Fornacula. Evaristo dismissed it as "Nothing but a fire lighter" but, under pressure from Joach, went on to add that it was a device or tool that he had made, and was a very handsome bird. Joach expressed a desire to see it, but the other magi urged him not to encourage Evaristo's boasting. At this point, Jules and Xavier arrived, now clad in dark cloaks with hoods, to guide people to their chambers. They took one magus at a time so it took quite a time, but the procedure was conducted entirely in silence. Joach was one of the last to go, so the visitors were able to observe that the Hall was guarded overnight by hounds.

The second day

Night was brief. At dawn, long before any of them had slept long enough, trumpets called out from each tower in turn. There was a clattering outside the door, and there were the blue-gowned women, come to clean the floor. They announced that the visitors were not to mind them, and set to with their mops. They were quite happy to answer questions, possibly because they were somehow 'outside' the rules. They knew about the phoenix. They had to clean up after it, though not on account of shed feathers, but because it could breath fire so often set fire to things and it was the ashes that had to be cleared up. They said it was on guard in Evaristo's rooms. Even in Joach's hearing, they were rash enough to refer to him and the other resident magi as "Silly old fools", which was quite shocking.

Once the cleaners had moved on, the visitors set about getting ready to face the day. Before they were ready, the Dormitores arrived to conduct one of them to hear The Order of the Day. Since the rules required that one of them go, Caspar volunteered. He was taken to join a throng in the Hall, where someone (Caspar could not see who) read aloud from the great Book of Rules. He did not hear all, and understood little of what he heard but it was, at least, clear that the rules did not permit a hunt to take place after fifteen hours following the arrival of the visitors and before thirty hours since they came. Caspar was concerned that this might cause resentment about their presence, but it seemed that everyone accepted the rule without complaint. Once the reading finished, the crowd began to disperse. Seeing that he was apparently going to be left to find his own way back through the corridors, Caspar grasped the opportunity to explore. He had it in mind to try and find the blue-gowned women again, to see if he could find out from them where Evaristo's sanctum was and what time they were likely to be going inside to clean it today.

Theft

It was no use asking any of the residents of Fornacula where he might find the women, since no-one acknowledged that they existed, but it was not too hard to find them by listening for their screeching. They were pleased to see Caspar and invited him to take a drink with them - perhaps it was sufficient of a novelty to have anyone notice and want to talk to them. While walking along the corridors with them to wherever it was they were going to have their drink, Caspar chatted about the difficult job of cleaning in Evaristo's sanctum. The women explained that it was easy for them to avoid the magical traps and tricks of the princeps because they both had some magical device or devices that protected them. They reached a small room containing a couple of wooden chairs and invited Caspar to join them in a mug of mulled ale. One of them poured out the ale, then left the room. There was a strange noise from somewhere close by. To his astonishment, the remaining cleaner chuckled and told him that her companion was heating the ale by dunking the phoenix in it! The ale was tasty and comforting. Before long, the women both fell asleep in their chairs. Caspar was torn between talking immediate advantage of the information and opportunity or going back to Joach for instructions. He did not hesitate for long. The most important thing was to work out what it might be that was enchanted to protect the women from danger in the sancta. Both wore a medallion on a metal chain, which seemed the most likely candidate. Caspar was not experienced at theft; his attempt to unclasp the chain from the first woman's neck nearly woke her, but he succeeded with the second and put it around his own neck. He felt he would probably be adequately invisible to the Fornacula people if he could disguise himself in the blue gown and cap of a cleaning woman, but there were no spare garments to be had. He had to content himself with borrowing a cap and a broom before stepping out into the corridor.

He had been worried that it might be difficult to find the correct door, but just a little way down the corridor was an elaborately carved door which just had to be the right one. Caspar opened it and stepped into a small vestibule. There was a squawking coming from the right so Caspar quickly opened that door, then flattened himself against the vestibule wall as a blindingly bright flash of light surrounded him. He peered into the room and saw, on a perch not far from the door, a magnificent bird of gold and bronze, inlaid with firestones and other precious jewels. Then Caspar stepped into the room, trying to imitate the cleaners greeting of "Don't mind me, dearie!", ducked the blast of flame that came at him from the metal bird, grasped the bird firmly, as if about to dunk it, wrenched off a small, jewelled feather from one of its wings and left as quickly as he could. He closed the doors quietly behind him and, with trepidation, returned to the women's little retreat. Much to his relief, both were still snoring. He returned cap and broom, and dropped the medallion and chain on the floor beside the chair of their owner. Then he crept out and made his way as nonchalantly as he could manage to the guest room.

There was no sign of Joach or Yves there. Caspar was briefly at a loss, wanting only to hand his trophy over to Joach, but he tucked it into his belt and rested long enough to regain his composure, always expecting to hear trouble heading his way. Eventually, Joach and Yves returned - they had been visiting the forge and the aviary. Joach was delighted to have the jeweled feather, but there was no time to talk about it as the bells summoned them to a meal. Caspar was not at all keen to take the position near the high table this time, fearing that there would be talk there of his theft (Yves reported afterwards that nothing was said). This time, the meal was very hard bread and over-cooked vegetables, which was the stipulated meal to precede a hunt. After the meal, Joach was unable to avoid becoming an active participant in the hunt. He was pushed up onto a large horse which chased along with those of the Fornacula magi, out of the covenant and over fields, into the forest. All Joach will say of this is that he stayed on the horse and was glad when it was over. The grogs were just glad to see him return safely. It was much later when they were all summoned to the Hall again, there to eat the roasted venison and boar that had been caught by the other hunters.

Escape

As dictated by the rules, the visitors were seen off after lunch on the second day of their visit. Still nothing had been said about the bird. They went back towards the river but, instead of taking a boat towards the coast, headed back upstream and returned to Septem Montes and thence, via Petrusca, to Saxum Caribetum.

14th September: Vis

Constantine has been spectacularly successful, bringing back a full eight pawns! Half of it is Imaginem, which we are hardly short of, but there is also some Herbam, which is desperately needed, and I am sure we will be able to trade the other for something more useful to us. It must be something to do with the spell that Speculor devised to help us locate vis. I feel sure that all our hunts will now be more fruitful, and that Constantine will find Council requesting that he go out hunting whenever he is on service for some time to come.

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